The ins and outs of hotel life – Checking in, and checking out

Whether you’re staying for a night or a month, there are some things you need to know about staying in a hotel, to ensure that your stay is as pleasant and as hassle-free as possible!

Before you arrive at the hotel

Bedroom-smallWhen making your booking, be specific about what you want. Whether you want twin beds or a double bed, if you need a desk, or Wi-Fi access – ask about these facilities beforehand. It’s much easier for the staff of the hotel to give you what you want, if you ask about it before you arrive.

How to pick a quiet room:

  • To make sure you get peace and quiet, request a room on an upper floor away from the elevators.
  • Booking a room midway along a hallway is also a good idea, as this is usually the quietest part of the floor – away from the vending machines, laundry facilities, exits, housekeeping closets, and other noise-generating locations.
  • Avoids rooms that face the pool. The view isn’t always worth the noise.

Arriving at your hotel

Hotel check-in time indicates the time from which the hotel starts charging for the day. It’s important not to expect to check in before this time, because this is when housekeeping cleans your room between guests – changing linen, towels and making sure your room is spick and span. Checking in early means that housekeeping has to rush to get things done, which is less than ideal.

If you arrive before check-in time, you could make use of the Wi-Fi in the lobby to catch up on work, email and other online tasks or have a drink by the swimming pool, check out the coffee bar or gym.

When checking in, make sure you have all the documentation you need. This includes identification to confirm your personal information. You’ll have to sign a few forms, but at the end of the check-in process, you’ll receive a key to your room.

During your stay

If there is something you need for your room and you don’t see it, ask. This includes things like adapters, hair dryers, pens, paper, more pillows or blankets. Sometimes there aren’t enough of these items to put in every room, but are available upon request.

Make use of the facilities on offer on your doorstep. You might not even have to leave the hotel if you’re looking for boardroom, gym, fax, laundry and photocopying facilities – ask what’s on offer, at the front desk.

Be nice to the staff you encounter. They’re willing and eager to help so if you’re planning on making special requests, it’s a good idea to treat the staff the way you’d want to be treated. Letting the hotel staff know you appreciate their efforts (“I have a special request, I know it’s asking a lot, but I would really appreciate it if you could….” is a good way to get the ball rolling toward what you want).

When you’re not in your room, lock away your valuables. This is just common sense and includes your ID documents, drivers licence and medication. If you don’t want someone else to touch it, make sure it’s under lock and key.

Follow the laundry/linen guidelines in your room. This will communicate to the housekeeping staff when you want your linen changed and your towels washed. Use the dry-cleaning/laundry bags if necessary, to make use of these services.

When checking out of your hotel

Business breakfast etiquetteCheck your itemised billing before you pay and sign for check out. If you have any queries about any charges, sort them out then and there. Doing so politely and quietly will be more efficient than kicking up a big fuss about something you may have been billed for in error. It’s also a lot easier to get unnecessary charges removed from your bill before you’ve paid, than it is to get a refund afterward, so save yourself the hassle.

Check your room for your possessions before you leave. Get down on your knees and look under the bed and furniture for anything you might have missed. Check the cupboards and the bathrooms. Don’t forget anything you’ve plugged into the electrical outlets (chargers and laptop cables!)

Last, but not least – don’t forget to give back your room key!

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