5 key questions to ask at hotel check in

Checking in at the mod new Homewood Suites in downtown Denver (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Checking in at the mod new Homewood Suites in downtown Denver (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Here are five questions every smart traveler should ask when checking in a hotel:

1) What’s the location of this room?

When you ask about the specific location of the room, the clerk becomes personally involved in your room choice—and does not leave it up to whatever the hotel reservations system has assigned you. Depending on your specific situation, you may want to ask for a room away from the elevator bank, ice machine or maintenance/housekeeping closet for peace and quiet. You may want a room that does not get direct morning or afternoon sun. You may want a high floor for the view or a low floor for safety. It’s up to you but best to always ask for something specific.

2) Does this room have a connecting door?

There’s not much worse than a noisy hotel neighbor, especially when the sound can be heard from under the door to the connecting room. I’ve been roused from precious slumber by loud snorers, screaming babies, eerie prayer chants, and worst of all, loud TVs that neighbors leave on ALL. NIGHT. LONG. Good grief. Avoid all that by requesting a room without a connecting door when you check in. (Did you know that there’s a difference between “connecting” and “adjoining” rooms?)

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3) When was this room renovated? Is it in the new part or floor?

Hotels rarely shut down completely for renovations. Instead, they renovate one floor at a time. Your question here should be two-pronged: 1) May I please have a room on a renovated floor? And 2) Should I be concerned about any renovation noise coming from above or below this room?

An ADA compliant bathroom at the Hilton Westchester (Photo: Hilton)

An ADA compliant bathroom at the Hilton Westchester (Photo: Hilton)

4) Is this an ADA compliant room?

Even though I do not have any physical disabilities, I always seem to be the guy who gets one of the hotel’s ADA compliant rooms. For some reason, hotel clerks won’t tell you this at check in, so you won’t know until you get to the room. You’ll know you have an ADA room when you see two peepholes in the door, the big wide door to the bathroom, metal grab bars around the toilet and the roll-in shower area. The hooks in the ceiling, the paddle-style sink hardware, the unusual closet layout. If I’m just there for the night, I’ll usually take it…and enjoy the extra space. But for longer stays, I’ll ask for another room.

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5) Do you have my correct loyalty program info?

I’m surprised how often I have to follow up on hotel loyalty credits because the person who booked my trip neglected to include the proper loyalty program numbers on the reservation. It’s a lot easier to get the points when checking in than trying to claim them after you’ve checked out. So double check.

Did I miss any? Please leave the question YOU ask below… or comment on mine! 

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Chris McGinnis

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