7 Things You Shouldn’t Ask Hotel Staff

by SharonKurheg

Regardless of where you go, there’s an unwritten (although sometimes it’s indeed written) list of rules – things they should and shouldn’t do – people are expected to follow. Some of them are simple: Don’t yell “fire” in a movie theater. If you pick up and eat a banana while walking around the supermarket, pay for it.

The same thing goes for hotels. The things some people do (or not) and say can be annoying, inappropriate, and just plain unsafe. Do they not know better? Do they just not care? Who knows? But here are some things that are best you not say to hotel staff.

I wrote a complaint about your brand on Twitter Direct Message. Did you see it?

Because yes, the first thing you want any hotel staff to know is that you are a complainer ;-).

No, seriously – that is NOT the way to start on the right foot with any hotel, because the last thing you want to encounter is the front desk staff who (A) has the ability to move your room to the crappiest one they can give you and (B) could be passive-aggressive.

Besides, chances are excellent that they, in whatever city you’re in, have no idea what you wrote to the corporation’s social media person.

Chances are also good that whatever your complaint was, it was a one-off at your last stay and has nothing to do with this stay. Or if it’s a thing you’d like not to have this time (i.e., being next to a family with lots of young children who are loud and wake up earlier than you do), just mention politely that you’d like to avoid that situation and please try to not put you next to a room with kids.

Otherwise, just let it go.

I don’t want to pay the resort fee (or for parking). Can we skip that?

Hahaha! Nope.

This post explains a bit more about resort fees and this post can help you find out how much your resort fee will cost.

And if you don’t want to pay a resort fee? Stay at a hotel that doesn’t charge one. Or know that if you’re paying with points, your resort fee will sometimes (depending on the brand) be waived.

It’s similar to when you have to pay for parking. Here’s why hotels often charge for parking, and what you can do about it.

But asking if the resort or parking fee can be waived, “just because?” It isn’t going to work and makes you look cheap.

Can you upgrade me for free?

Well, I don’t know about getting something for free when the hotel purposely charges extra for that kind of perk. But this post about how to get a hotel upgrade almost 100% of the time might help.

Well, MY country doesn’t require masks. Why do I have to wear one in this hotel? I demand my freedom!

Each country has its own rules regarding people wearing masks. On top of that, corporate entities and individual locations may have their policies regarding mask use. They’re in place for the safety of everyone who works and visits there. So stop looking like a jerk and follow them. Or go to a different hotel in another country that doesn’t care about mask use. But what’s done where YOU live has nothing to do with what’s done where you ARE.

I’d like to check in now/early. Or check out late. You told me no. Why can’t I?

When you rent a hotel room by the day, the room is, of course, not a given for a full 24 hours on the day you arrive and the day you leave. It’s closer to 18 hours, usually from around 4 or 5 pm check-in time and about 10 or 11 am check-out time.

There’s nothing wrong with asking for early check-in or late check-out. Depending on when we’ve arrived and our plans, we’ve sometimes asked and have sometimes gotten it, sometimes not.

But keep a few things in mind:

  • Some hotels charge for early check-in or late check-out nowadays. If you’re willing to pay the fee, go for it.
  • The reason you may not be able to check-in early (or check out late) is because of housekeeping’s schedule. Let’s say check-in is at 4 pm and you’ve arrived at 9 am. There’s a possibility that, especially if a hotel is 100% full, the people currently in what will be your room haven’t even left yet!

So yeah, you can ask. But if they say no, don’t question why. Chances are good housekeeping just hasn’t gotten to your room yet.

I know you have a shuttle to take us to and from the airport. Can the driver drop us off at the mall on the way? It’s only 2 or 3 miles out of the way.

Hotel shuttles that bring passengers between the hotel and the airport are usually wonderful. They stop you from taking a taxi or rideshare or renting a car to get to your hotel.

However hotel shuttles are usually on a set schedule, such as twice an hour on the half-hour, and a “quick stop” in-between could mess with that schedule. To say nothing of the fact that they’re simply not intended to go anywhere else.

If you want a ride to the mall or wherever, and you’re not in a hotel that offers complimentary (or paid) rides throughout the city, get an Uber.

I just love the hand lotion you leave in the rooms. I’m going to take a few off the housekeeping cart, OK?

Um, no. Not OK.

From a safety point of view, those housekeeping carts may have been sanitized and are not supposed to be touched by anyone unless they’re wearing gloves.

But from a time and money point of view, housekeepers are often on a tight schedule and might only have as many lotions, for example, as they’ll need for the number of rooms they’re cleaning that shift.

If you love their lotion that much, leave a note for housekeeping and ask if they can spare a few extra for you (and don’t forget to leave a little more in your daily tip for this service!).

Remember your manners. Don’t just take. Ask first.

Feature Photo (cropped): Upsontedmuilo / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA-3.0

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


magice July 26, 2021 - 5:26 pm

Wow, do people actually ask for the parking fee and/or resort fee to be waived, just because? People are confident!

(side note on the extra handlotion and other supplies: you can also call up front desk and ask for a bunch; it’s not that hard!)

flyerco February 20, 2022 - 12:40 pm

I travel all the time for work. I’ve never seen a “sanitized ” housekeeping cart. I’ve also never been admonished for taking bottles of shampoo off cart. (Had housekeeping walk up as doing it even.

Lastly tipping. If I leave room especially dirty sure I tip. If at really high end hotels like the Waldorf or Ritz, I tip. However otherwise tipping is not expected.

Iamajimm January 1, 2023 - 10:09 pm

ALWAYS TIP! Never take without asking!

Miamiorbust January 1, 2023 - 2:16 pm

This is a very American prospective. Americans don’t seem to ask for what they want and often are quick to get mad when the experience is not as they hoped. That is not the case in all cultures. In many places asking for most of things above is fine (twitter thing is silly). Just don’t get angry if you are told. I’ve received most of items above when I asked. I’ve also been told no, which is perfectly reasonable. Just don’t understand the idea that is not ok to ask if you are professional.

SharonKurheg January 1, 2023 - 2:34 pm

Since Joe and I are both American, and roughly 95% of our readers are from the United States, yep, it’s an American perspective and written for Americans. If were were from, say, Canada, or the majority of our readers were, I probably never would have even written this post.

Joe January 1, 2023 - 6:38 pm

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking if there are any complimentary upgrades available if you have status with that chain. I always politely ask and get upgraded fairly often.

SharonKurheg January 1, 2023 - 7:11 pm

Absolutely true. However the vast majority of people who visit most hotel chains don’t have status.


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