Always Ask for Clean Linens at a Hotel—and 20 Other Secrets Hotels Don’t Want You to Know

Hotel receptionists spill their best secrets—from how to score a discounted room to how to get that Wi-Fi charge waived from your bill!

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 Don't try to bargain with the reservations number we give you


The 1-800 reservations number will probably send you to a central office with set rates. If you call the hotel directly instead, you can negotiate. Here's why you should never trust the safe in your hotel for storing valuables.

 We don't get everything from online booking sites


Hotels can pay a commission of up to 30 percent to online hotel booking sites. So offer me 20 percent less than the online price, and we both come out ahead. These are the 11 secrets travel booking companies don't want you to know.

 Don't expect a discount if we are not independently owned

iStock/Massimo Merlini

Independently owned hotels are far more likely to give you a discount. Some chains balk at dropping the rate. Here's how to make your hotel stay as safe and healthy as possible.

Give the housekeepers time

iStock/Steve Debenport

If you show up at 11 a.m. and check-in time is 2 p.m., please don’t be upset if your room isn’t ready. I can’t make the housekeepers go any faster. And you don’t want them to rush. Here's why you should never take a bath in a hotel tub.

 Ask in private for a room upgrade


Don’t ask me for an upgrade when other guests are within earshot. Want a more spacious room without paying more? Request a corner room or a handicapped one. Try out these tips to sleep better while you're staying in a hotel.

 Ask the front desk about excursions


Some concierges get kickbacks for sending you to pricey tourist traps. If you want an unbiased recommendation, ask me. Here are the top 10 most extreme travel adventures in the world.

We all lie


Sometimes my boss makes me lie, like when the elevator’s not working and I tell you someone is coming to fix it soon. I know it won’t be fixed until Monday, because the manager doesn’t want to pay the repairman’s weekend rate.

 Don't call during check-in time

iStock/Jodi Jacobson

Don’t call between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. with a special request. Chances are I’ll have a long line of guests waiting to check out or in and will just want to get you off the phone. Looking for a unique experience? Make sure to book a stay at one of these unique hotels.

 Being a maid means a lot of different things at a hotel


My official job description: errand runner, toilet plunger, bow-tie tier, towel deliverer, and chef (that free continental breakfast doesn’t appear from above). I’ve also sprinkled rooms with rose petals and dealt with dead bodies. All for about $10 an hour.

 Please take the shower soaps


We love it when you steal the soap, shampoo, and lotion. That’s why we put our logo on them. But pillows, bedspreads, and irons? We’re billing your credit card. Ever wonder what happens to half-used hotel soap? So did we. 

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