10 Services Vacationers Assume Most Hotels Offer but Don’t
Hotels are amazing…but they aren’t genies.
You might be out of luck
Ziga Plahutar/Getty Images
Hotels are magical places where rooms are straightened up the moment you step away from them, trendy restaurants are booked in a snap, and travel troubles (hello, lost passport) are solved. And chances are, these 13 amazing hotel perks will make you want to book a room ASAP. But hotels do their hospitality job so well that sometimes we assume they will do absolutely everything for us. Unfortunately, there are a few services that they don’t typically provide.
Hotels offer so many activities, restaurants, and fun stuff that surely they must offer babysitters, too, right? Actually, it’s super rare for a hotel to offer a babysitter. In the best-case scenario, they’ll provide you with a phone number (or app) for a local or even national babysitting service so you can find your own. It’s all due to liability, says the New York Times. They don’t want to offer a babysitter and take on the responsibility if something goes wrong. That said, according to Fodor’s, it’s pretty common for them to offer kids’ clubs and on-site kids’ services; many of them are outsourced and require you to sign a waiver because of those liability issues. Some resorts like Beaches will go the extra mile, with supervised kids’ activities all day, essentially turning your trip into a child-free vacay. Here are 12 ways to find a babysitter you trust.
Free shuttle to and from the airport
It would be soooo nice if all hotels offered this snazzy perk. The last thing we want to do when we get off the plane is to try to navigate transportation to the hotel. And it really is the worst when Uber doesn’t work in your new location. Then, you feel like you’re totally stranded. But if this is a service that you really want, then check out these hotels that do offer a free airport shuttle.
You can thank all the restaurant-delivery options for this one: Room service simply isn’t profitable for hotels anymore, and many are phasing out room service, according to Hotel Online. Instead, some hotels are partnering with local restaurants that will deliver meals, or you can always try UberEats or other mobile delivery services. Here are more amenities slowly vanishing from hotel rooms.
More and more hotels are going tech-free, according to Thrive Global, because this is what many travelers want when they are unwinding. So while televisions were a standard feature not too long ago, they may not be in your hotel room today. Maybe you won’t even notice: Apparently, business travelers aren’t bothering with televisions, according to the Business Journals. If you want to make sure you’ve got a TV in your room, just call ahead. And if you don’t, then simply BYO devices. And in case you were wondering, here’s why hotels are starting to get rid of minibars.
Just like the supermarkets that have ditched their checkout workers and started offering self-checkout, there are some hotels that are experimenting with going sans a front desk altogether. Courtyard by Marriott renovated about a quarter of their U.S. locations and replaced front desks with welcome pedestals. And Starwood Hotels are testing tech-driven welcome services: Customers receive a text with their room number, so they can go directly to their rooms, according to Hotel magazine. The point is to get rid of that visible barrier between the guests and the hotel—and to make it easier for guests to go to their rooms without any lines or waiting. Still need help from an actual person? The hotels that have replaced their front desks with technology still make sure to staff the lobby with employees to provide a personal touch. Speaking of that personal touch, these 14 hotels have the best customer service.
While there are a ton of overbooking rules for airplanes, hotels simply don’t offer this service. So if they oversell their rooms and you’re left stranded, you don’t have any protection at the federal, state, or local levels, according to SmarterTravel.com. The good news: Your confirmed reservation is a contract, so if the hotel can’t provide you with a room, you can take it up via contract law. The bad news: You may need a lawyer, and you still won’t have a room. If you find yourself in that situation, hop onto Booking.com, TripAdvisor, or Orbitz to find another place to stay, and deal with the mess when you return. And before you book, check out these 13 things you didn’t know about online travel sites.
Can’t go anywhere without cell service? You may want to inquire ahead of time to make sure you’re traveling to a Wi-Fi-friendly hotel. Some go out of their way to disconnect, and others simply don’t have the bandwidth to support all their guests who arrive with multiple devices, according to Hotel Management. Other hotels—often high-end hotels—charge for Wi-Fi. If you need to get online and are having issues, you may want to use a hotspot or go to your nearest coffee shop, where you’ll likely have better luck. By the way, here’s how to turn your smartphone into a mobile hotspot.
I recently stayed at a very upscale hotel that will remain nameless during an unseasonably warm week in the middle of winter. And I didn’t sleep the entire time I was there, thanks to a heating system that was set to operate for colder temperatures. This isn’t anything out of the ordinary, according to The Gate. Many hotels have climate-control systems that are set for specific seasons or temperatures, and guests can’t alter these. In addition, many hotel windows don’t open, and some charge for air conditioning. Read plenty of reviews before booking your hotel to determine whether you’ll be comfortable, and consult our list of the best hotels in every state, according to customers.
Hotels provide shampoo, body wash, conditioner, sewing kits, and slippers…but never toothpaste. Why? Apparently, there are a few reasons for it. The first is the cost: Per ounce, toothpaste costs more than other toiletries, according to Mental Floss. Second, there aren’t enough high-end toothpaste, and simply offering the brand that you’d use at home isn’t very exciting. And finally, to become a Five Diamond Hotel, you need to provide two types of soap, shampoo, and one additional item such as a hairdryer or sewing kit; there are no toothpaste requirements.