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Hotel Tips / Do Not Do / Tips / Lists / Hotel Advice / → All Tags
We're gonna assume that if you've ended up here on our site, which is all about hotels, then you've stayed in one at least once before. Yet even frequent hotel guests can always use some helpful reminders of Things Not To Do When Staying in a Hotel.
Don't Expect an Early Check-In: Hotels have check-in times of 2 to 4 pm for a reason--they need time to get the room ready for the next guest. That said, hotels aren't always fully booked so if you arrive at 11am and want to check-in, staff could feasibly accommodate you. But...don't count on it in advance.
Don't Let The Hotel Walk You Unless...: They pay for your room and your transportation to the new hotel. If you aren't familiar with the term "walking", it essentially means the hotel doesn't have a room for you and must send you to a different property. This often happens when you book through third-party travel sites. But if you reserve directly through the hotel and they still don't have a room for you, then the hotel needs to pay for your stay elsewhere and any reasonable transportation (cab ride, car service) costs to get there.
Don't Use the Bedspread: We're just not going to apologize for our germaphobe stance on this. The stats are in and the covers have gotta go. Here's our suggestion: Take a hanger from the closet, use it to lift the top blanket off the bed and drop it on the floor. Thankfully, many hotels are taking a No-Comforter approach in the guestrooms, but a few are still insisting on those dreaded floral bedspreads that probably haven't been washed in a queen's age.
HotelChatter Tips / Hotel Germs / Tips / Hotel Hell / Hotel Housekeeping / Hotel Health / → All Tags
We've long known that hotel rooms, even the most expensive ones, can't always be completely germ, stain or hole-free but a new report from ABC News's "Medical Unit" has us thisclose to buying our own personal germ zapping blacklight wand.
Researchers from the University of Houston swabbed 19 hotel room hideouts, from door handles to headboards, and found the fecal bacterium E. coli hiding on 81 percent of the surfaces, including the remote control, the telephone and the bedside lamp.
We've long avoided touching the remote control by either placing a shower cap over it or wiping it down (and thanks to the Lodgenet iPhone app we can avoid the remote entirely) but we never thought about the telephone, where we make our room service calls, or the bedside lamp. Gag.
As it turns out, the folks responsible for flinging the poo are not just the guests who stayed in the room before you but also the housekeepers. Apparently, bacteria was found on the mops and sponges they use to clean the hotel rooms. Oh dear lord.
So what's a traveler to do? Well, you could avoid hotels completely but that's no fun. Here are HotelChatter's Tips for a Cleaner Hotel Stay:
Hotel Fitness / Tips / GoRecess / → All Tags
Hotel fitness centers have made huge strides over the last decade--no longer are we forced to work out in a closet-sized basement space with some dumbbells and a solitary treadmill--but even though more and more hotels are beginning to offer fitness-oriented services, the average hotel gym still isn't as good as a real one. And rarely do they offer specialized classes like pilates, yoga, dance or boot camps.
Which is why if you're the type of person who needs to work out while you're on the road yet the hotel gym isn't up to snuff, GoRecess.com, might be the best new workout "gear" to bring along with you.
The website works like this--you choose the type of workout you want to do (yoga, cardio, pilates/barre, strength, bootcamp, dance pre/post-natal or martial arts), then you select the city you will be in along with what time/day you would like to work out and voila! GoRecess pulls up a selection of fitness studios that offer the kind of class you are looking for.
The holidays are over, well nearly, we've still got 2012 to ring in but already we've got a post-mortem of the 2011 holiday season from our favorite concierge, @ConciergeCorner.
1. On Shipping gifts: I will be happy to map out, recommend and even drive you to purchase gifts, but shipping and tipping, that’s on you.
2. Keep complaints to a minimum: You are visiting family but I’m away from mine, at work. Have a heart and don’t complain about the low floor of your third party booked room, thanks.
3. Restaurant reservations on Christmas Eve are tough: It’s Christmas Eve and for some reason you are under the impression that you are getting a table at the popular family owned Italian eatery. Sorry, not happening. Mr. Lucco is with his family but I’m sure Red Dragon Asian eatery has availability.
He's known as @ConciergeCorner on Twitter who's not afraid to dish on all the crazy things that guests ask concierges. But he also might be the concierge fielding your requests during your next hotel stay and he's got a few tips on how to get the most out of your concierge contact. This week, he's talking about How He Knows Who He Knows. (And no, that's neither @ConciergeCorner or his hotel in the photo above.)
In the hotel business, as in other industries, it’s as much about what you know, as who you know.
When a guest comes to me with a last minute request, I could know all the words in the dictionary, but it's people in the right places that can make things happen. The “must have” gaming system, new Apple product, limited edition handbag or what have you, it’s knowing the right people in a variety of places in the city that can make you a star in the guests’ eyes.
Concierges / Tips On Tips / Yelp / TripAdvisor / Tips / Concierge Corner / → All Tags
He's known as @ConciergeCorner on Twitter who's not afraid to dish on all the crazy things that guests ask concierges. But he also might be the concierge fielding your requests during your next hotel stay and he's got a few tips on how to get the most out of your concierge contact. This week, here are his thoughts on How Much To Tip the Concierge. (And no, that's neither @ConciergeCorner or his hotel in the photo above.)
To tip, or not to tip: an age old question in the hospitality industry. In an industry where at times over 50% of one’s pay is derived from gratuities, tipping is always appreciated. That said, my HR department pays each (hourly) position differently depending on what they feel we likely receive in gratuities. Sadly, their gratuity estimates are quite high and unrealistic.
Yelp ain't got nothing on us.
In the past, boarding passes, dinner reservations and transportation arrangements would be some of the most common concierge requests, but the emergence of sites like Trip Advisor, OpenTable and Yelp has changed this. Today, many guests will skip the concierge, opting instead to utilize websites. There are still some who will utilize our services, especially in the luxury segment. You can imitate the human touch, but you can't duplicate it. When it comes to a last minute dinner reservation at a popular restaurant or a sold out performance, I'm far more likely to be able to secure them for a guest than a website is. Given that this is something that only I, the concierge, may be able to accomplish; common gratuity is $5 or $10. For me at, I'd say the most common gratuity left is $5.
Concierges / Do Not Do / Lists / Tips / Concierge Corner / → All Tags
He's known as @ConciergeCorner on Twitter who's not afraid to dish on all the crazy things that guests ask concierges. But he also might be the concierge fielding your requests during your next hotel stay and he's got a few tips on how to get the most out of your concierge contact. So without further ado, we present 5 Things You Should Not Ask the Concierge as told by @ConciergeCorner. (And no, that's neither @ConciergeCorner or his hotel in the photo above.)
1. Don't ask for the hottest new hotspot in town. When a guest requests I recommend the hottest, newest, sexiest restaurant, it is apparent he/she has no clue what he/she actually wants. Just because something is new does not make it good. So please, ask for what you really want, not just what’s new. On a related note, when I recommend a great local (nearby) steakhouse and then see/hear that you have gone to one of the many chain steakhouses simply because it was a few blocks closer, it breaks my heart!
While we're on the topic of tipping today, we wanted to know what you thought of Gratuity Included Hotels, i.e. hotels where they automatically tack on gratuity to a food and beverage bill, spa treatment or other service.
Obviously, this is common in Europe (everywhere, not just at hotels) but here in America, it's still quite unusual or helpful/offensive, depending on where you stand on automatically tipping for service.
We encountered this recently at the Canyon Ranch Miami when we dined in their Canyon Ranch Grill and noticed that an 18 percent gratuity charge had been added. The same thing happened after we went to pay for our pedicure in the spa. Apparently this is standard for all Canyon Ranch hotels.
Annual WiFi Report / Hotel WiFi / International Hotel WiFi / HotelChatter Guides / Tips / → All Tags
**A HotelChatter Exclusive**
Chances are, you are probably reading our seventh annual WiFi Report right now on your iPad. Or your iPhone. Or your Blackberry, Droid, Kindle or Galaxy Tablet, if anyone actually uses those.
Much like cellphones have practically put land lines out of business, mobile devices are fast changing the way we sign onto the web when we’re on the go. And that includes when we're staying in hotels.
While the hardware we carry into hotel rooms is changing seemingly from one month to the next, our demands free and reliable WiFi have not wavered a bit. And as more and more of us start to travel with cellphones, laptops and tablets, the call for free WiFi is more urgent than ever.
Yet hotels around the world, especially those luxury ones, are still charging daily rates of $10 or more for WiFi. Worse, some are even double-dinging us for our mobile devices.
This leaves guests the choice of navigating the always, ever-changing WiFi fees at mid and high-end hotels, or spending the night at budget places just for the internet.
So you better know the lay of the free hotel WiFi land before you book your room. After all, the one thing we can do as loyal, frequent hotel guests is vote "free WiFi" with our credit cards.
Once again, we’ve broken down the Hotel WiFi landscape into Best Hotels, Worst Hotels and the best and worst from the International Hotel Scene. We’ve also added a couple of new sections; picking out the Best and Worst cities for free hotel WiFi, tips on getting secondary devices on for free when the hotel wants you to pay per device, and where to stay in stylin' and free WiFin', to name a few.
Hotel Bars / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel News / Tipping / Tips / → All Tags
The rooftop bar at Hotel Gansevoort.
UPDATE: In response to this story, the Gansevoort Hotel Group let us know that the Hotel Gansevoort does not include an automatic 20 percent tip on all beer, wine, and cocktails ordered, and has never done so. The Gansevoort Park Ave, however, had included a 20 percent gratuity on all bar tabs since opening in the summer. But, as of today, this automatic gratuity has been eliminated. Yippee! Moving forward, the only automatic gratuity charges at both hotels will for large parties and bottle service.
As you might have guessed from our frequent Hotel Cocktails and Hotel Bars coverage, we're fond of a tipple. But a tip? We prefer when that's left to our discretion. Unfortunately, as reported by the New York Post, we can't always get what we want. Many hotel bars in NYC are now charging mandatory tips on drinks tabs.
Concierges / Viva Vegas / Tips / → All Tags
The front desk at Vdara in Las Vegas.
These days there are all sorts of specialized concierges from shopping concierges to teen concierges to pet concierges and yes, Christmas concierges..But what about a good, old-fashioned general concierge? With so much information out there at the touch of our iPhones and Blackberries, we wondered how the concierges were upping their game.
Staying at Vdara Hotel and Spa the other night, we realized that we had forgotten our memory card reader. We knew where we could get one but we thought it would be interesting to see what the Vdara concierge service would recommend.
After all, this is their town. Maybe they knew of a faster way. Or maybe, just maybe, they had one on loan. Isn't CityCenter supposed to be all about technology anyways?
You wouldn’t know it was Christmas from the weather in London at the moment; you’d think you’d stepped back in time to the Great Flood. So we got a little thrill yesterday when we strolled into The Dorchester and saw the lobby all dolled up with Christmas trees and twinkly lights.
We were there to do something even more Christmassy – to meet the dapper Christmas Concierge, Andy Davies. Sadly, he doesn’t get his title, as we initially assumed, by togging up in a Santa suit for the rest of the month – he earns it because he’s going to be working the concierge desk by himself on Christmas Day. In fact, he’s worked all 26 of the Christmas days that he’s been concierging at the Dorchester. Yup, 26 years of service. And he’s a born and bred Londoner, so he has some serious knowledge to tap.
Seeing as we’re thoroughly unimpressed by the Christmas lights on Oxford Street this year (basically neon ads for A Christmas Carol), we took advantage and asked him where to go to feel festive in London.