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Since the previous post of this column was about flights, today I'll talk about how to be a good hotel guest. There are small details that make all the difference and make your stay and the work of the hotel staff more enjoyable.


1- Arriving

If you’re arriving by car, be sure to stop as close as possible to the Vallet Park and not obstruct the traffic behind you. Pop the trunk open and allow the hotel staff to assist you with your luggage. That’s his job, so don’t be playing tug-o-war with the guy who’s only trying to help you. There’s no need to be suspicious of their possible ulterior motives, either, as though the hotel employee might steal your bags or something. If there’s something in your belongings that should never leave your sight, then calmly and politely take it, saying, “I’ve got this one. Thank you”.


2- At the front desk

No matter how rushed you feel things are, always start the conversation off with a smile. This is particularly helpful if you can sense that the front desk agent may be slightly overwhelmed (although at any good hotel, the staff is trained not to show any signs of stress to guests… who knows, maybe a smile is what he/she might need)! So, all you need to say is: “Hi! My name is (…), and I have a reservation”. The front desk agent will immediately recognize your proper hotel etiquette, and will be far more likely to work extra hard to make things happen for you as quickly as possible.


3- Tips

When budgeting for a trip, don’t forget to include gratuities for services. There’s no need to tip a doorman who simply opens the door. However, if the doorman hails a cab, tip $1 to $5, depending on the degree of difficulty. Pay him $2 to $5 for carrying luggage.

When the bellhop arrives at your room with your luggage, pay $2 to $3 per bag. You don’t need to pay the hotel concierge for answering brief questions, but it’s a good idea to tip $5 to $20 for services such as securing tickets or reservations. Leave $2 to $5 per day for housekeeping.


4- In the room

Treat all the furniture and fixtures in the room with care. These are not your personal belongings, and the hotel has reasonable expectations that you will leave them as you found them. If something is broken or doesn’t work, contact the front desk and let them know right away. Waiting can lead them to believe you broke it.

Keep the noise down. This includes voices, television volume, music, and anything else that can disrupt the rest and relaxation of others. If someone else is noisy, contact someone at the front desk and let the hotel staff deal with it. You don’t need to confront other guests with problems.

Never take reusable items when you leave. You may take consumables such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, and lotions. However, bathrobes, towels, dishes, glasses, mugs, coffee pots, and other objects are there for use only during your hotel stay. If you like something and want one to take home, contact the front desk and ask if they have one that you can purchase. If you remove an item, you can pretty much count on being billed for it later.


5- Expressing frustration

No matter how upset you are, regardless of the nature of the shortcoming, there is absolutely no justification for hurling insulting or foul words at anybody.  It goes beyond hotel etiquette, or even simple social etiquette.  It’s about moral values.  If you find yourself in an infuriating situation, and if you feel that higher management should be made aware of it immediately, calmly and politely ask to be connected to the manager and either speak to him/her on the phone or face to face.  When doing so,this is the most important thing to remember: Keep your composure and communicate in a mature and appropriate way.  This means absolutely no yelling and making a scene in front of other guests.  No matter how valid your complaint or concern is, other guests should not be involved or bothered by your fit. 


6- Common areas

Be as quiet as possible when walking down the hall to or from your room. If you need to talk with someone, use a soft voice. Remember that noise echoes in hallways, and the sound may be amplified in the rooms. Try to refrain from talking in the hallway after 10:00 PM and before 8:00 AM.

Once you get to the elevator, be respectful of others who are getting off or waiting to get on. Once you are inside, wait for others to load before pushing the button for your destination floor. If you have bags, push them as close to the wall as possible and get out of the way of anyone who needs to get past you. Don’t allow your children to play with the buttons on the elevator.

Many hotels have pools, Jacuzzis, and workout rooms. Read the rules before using them. Be considerate of other guests. If someone is waiting for you to finish using a piece of equipment at the gym, don’t dilly-dally. Always supervise your children in pool and workout areas. Not only can they get hurt, they can disrupt or injure someone else if they engage in horseplay.


7- Check out

Many hotels have your checkout information on closed circuit TV that can only be seen inside your room as well as a printout that is quietly slipped under your door early on the morning you are scheduled to leave. Look over your bill to make sure all your charges are accurate. If everything is fine, you don’t have to do anything but leave your key in the room when it’s time to depart. If there is an issue, politely call the front desk and discuss the issue until it is resolved.

Call the porter station to let them know what time to pick up your bags for departure. If you need to store them due to late departure, they will give you a ticket to claim your bags later.

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