What are the secrets hotels are not telling you?

Whether going on an exotic vacation, on a business trip or on a weekend getaway, sooner or later you stay in a hotel.  From one star to five star and somewhere in between, from the best stay ever to a complete disaster, what are the secrets hotels may not be telling you and the things you may want to know…

Lousy room – If you booked your room through an auction or discount website instead of directly with the hotel, the hotel knows you are most likely not to be a loyal repeat customer and are just looking for the cheapest rate.  There is a possibility you can end up in a room that is beside the ice machine, over the bar, beside the elevators, facing the garbage bins, etc.  If the hotel is full you also will be the first to be shuffled off to the alternative hotel.  Priority is given to repeat customers, people who book directly with the hotel, etc.

Security Lock – When you occupy your room you will notice an extra security lock on the door.  It is there for a reason, like not having maintenance people, maids, etc. entering your room while you are in the shower, sleeping, etc. Plus, the hotel staff can make mistakes, double book rooms and viola you have a new hotel guest entering your room while you are in it.

Bad Location – Hotels will exaggerate their location and surroundings, they could be on the edge of a busy freeway, in a high crime/unsafe area, a long distance away from the airport/attractions, have unattractive views, etc.  

Doctored photos – A lot of photos on hotel websites are “staged” rooms, touched up, etc. What kind of room you see on a photo may not necessarily be what you get. 

Bed bugs – “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” is just not a saying you heard when you were growing up.  Bed bugs are making a resurgence everywhere.  They look like apple seeds, like to hide in cracks and crevices.  You can’t tell whether a hotel has bed bugs based on cleanliness alone. Bed bugs come out at night and bite.  You can’t feel them biting either because they have a numbing liquid that basically freezes your skin.  

Pull back the sheets, check the mattress crevices and by the headboard, you will be able to see signs of them if they are there. Goggle “hotel reviews (such & such hotel)” and read what people are saying.  Try not to think it will not happen to you, even the most posh hotels have had problems with bedbugs. 

1-800 – Room rates on toll free reservation lines can cost you more than booking with the hotel directly. Ninety percent of people also book their hotels in the morning, try booking your room in the evening you may get a cheaper rate.

Employee theft –  Although theft is frowned upon by hotel owners/management there are no guarantees that all employees working at the hotel are honest.  It just takes one employee to help themselves to everything from your snacks to your valuables. Keep an eye on your valuables, store them out of sight and lock them up.

Room preference – Hotels can make you feel secure that you will get the type of room you have requested, but a hotel will not guarantee that.  This really depends on how full the hotel is and if they have that type of room available when you arrive.  Read the fine print in your confirmation.

Extra charges – Minibar charges, local & long distance telephone charges, internet charges, gift shop item prices, etc.  Hotels make a lot of money from these high mark up items.  

Cleaning standards – This really depends on how fussy the hotel owner/manager is in general. Some items like telephones, tv remotes, keyboards, light switches and gaming devices don’t get cleaned and are full of germs. Although, sheets are clean, items like bed spreads and blankets may only be washed weekly, monthly or every few months. Coffee makers and mugs located by the toilet should be rewashed and relocated to another part of your room as toilets splash.

Luggage safety –  Hotels assume no legal responsibility if your luggage is stolen off the bellhop’s luggage cart. Expensive luggage may attract thieves. Small locks that come with your luggage purchase are not secure, buy a high quality lock. 

Special rates/Package rates – These deals/specials are more about good PR. They are usually not so special and may end up costing you more than the hotel’s regular rates. 


Check other traveler’s reviews/photos online and verify/double check everything else that is of importance to you.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. coconews
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 19:06:13

    Have a bad hotel experience? Any other hotel secrets?

    Tell us about them here.

  2. coconews
    Nov 11, 2008 @ 12:53:59

    We have stayed in more good hotels than bad ones. The bad ones included cockroaches, mice, dirty crusty bedding, bedbugs and theft by a maid.

    The hotel that had bedbugs was reviewed as the #1 hotel in the area. People claimed it was very clean, but they had the dirtiest carpets of any hotel we ever stayed at.

    I guess people have different ideas on cleanliness?

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