When it comes to vacations or business trips, our choice in a hotel room is crucial. We want the best amenities for the best price in a comfortable and clean room. Hotels are competing with each other to offer the best options in a very competitive market. With booking sites, travel agents and websites to work from, hotels have to stay on top. But how many of the amenities that are offered will actually be used? And are the ones that are being used really a good option? With a bit of investigation and practical common sense, you will be able to avoid the overcharges, the hidden fees, the unnecessary amenities and find the ones that will truly make your stay worthwhile. So we'll take a look at some of the best and worst of the "free" amenities that so many hotels offer to their guests.
Along with the worst, we'll show you some of the best hidden offers that only the most tuned in VIP guests will know about. With this information, you'll be able to get the best of the best for a price you will be perfectly happy with. Your next trip will be even better when you find the hotel that gives you everything you want and nothing you would rather do without.
24 Toiletries may be helpful, but are they worth it?
We've all made the mistake of forgetting something when we pack for vacations or trips. From the extra sweater to our toiletries. When we get to our hotels and realize we forgot something that we will definitely need, we may find ourselves reaching for the "free" products we find in the hotel bathroom. But that's not always the best option. They may be overpriced or built in to the fees. It's better to go to a local store or convenience store. You'll save money and can guarantee that you'll get the product you really want.
23 Show aren't entirely free
Most people don't think about the hidden costs of on demand television and movies. We have subscriptions to streaming services at home. But, there are hidden fees you might not be aware of at hotels. Many hotels don't offer the ability to use your subscription and you may be tempted to buy a movie or show. This can lead to extra fees. Also, billing errors are very common for this feature. It's best to just avoid the on demand service in hotels. Use your computer if you want a movie.
22 Mini Bar: This Free Amenity Isn't Really Free
When it comes to the most dreaded and despised hotel amenity, the top of the list seems to be the minibar or mini-fridge. Very few people are willing to pay the highly inflated prices of the drinks and snacks that are found in them. But most don't know that some hotels are sneaking fees in. Some of these refrigerators are weight and pressure sensitive and will charge you if you place things in them or move them around. This amenity needs to disappear along with the sneaky fees that can be charged by them.
21 Hidden amenity: A Custom Couture trunk for the room
When it comes to couture fashion, many people will only have an opportunity once or twice in their lifetime to wear some of the most expensive brands. But there are hotels that offer this as a perk. Certain VIP level suites will include a custom couture trunk that gives guests a chance to borrow high end fashion for the night. Not only will you be staying in some of the nicest rooms available, you'll step out on the town in style as well. This amazing, but little known perk could make your stay feel like a day on the runway.
20 A psychic or Psychologist, for the dog
This interesting idea may speak to some, but it's such a small niche of people, that it seems a waste that it is offered. Hopefully, it's only a small percentage of elite hotels that do. Although more and more people are travelling with their pets, most wouldn't spend some of their precious vacation time waiting for a pet psychologist or psychic to give them insight into their pets. They would rather be spending time with their families, both the two and four legged ones, enjoying their trip.
19 A goldfish for the room
Pet friendly hotels are much more common now than ever before, but offering the services of a pet goldfish in your room to keep you company may be carrying things a bit far. Although it's been shown that fish have a calming effect, the idea of having a fish in your room that has to be taken care of by hotel staff seems a bit odd. This amenity may need to be left as an optional one and not one that is found in every room of the hotel. Travelers that have made arrangements for their own pets to be taken care of might not want an unexpected one in their room.
18 Swimsuits form a vending machine
Vending machines are a fixture in most hotels. We have no problem dropping our change into them for things ranging from movies to food. But, would you feel comfortable getting a swimsuit out of one? If you got to your hotel and wanted to take a swim but forgot your suit, you might have that option. Some hotels are partnering with swimsuit designers to give guests this option. It's an interesting concept, but how practical is it? What styles and sizes would be available? Maybe it's a good idea to keep clothing and vending machines separate for a while.
17 Blindfolding and 'taking' guests to hidden locations
This amenity may have you shaking your head in confusion the first time you hear about it. Some hotels are offering a twist on the idea of romantic picnics. They are arranging for people to get 'taken' and led to hidden places. The guests are taken by hotel employees to remote locations with elaborate meals set up. Although, the idea of romantic, secluded meals for two may seem great, the kidnapping portion of this is completely creepy and weird. Offer the picnics, but lose the weirdness surrounding them.
16 Wake-Up Call from Country singers
Many people may have fantasies of talking to their favorite celebrities. Who wouldn't appreciate a warm wake-up call from one? Apparently, there are quite a few people who wouldn't. Especially, when that amenity doesn't offer an opt out. One hotel features a country music theme including a prerecorded wake-up call from musicians. Unfortunately, many guests have noticed that they have no way to request any other type of call or no call at all. If it's an amenity, make it an option.
15 'Free' Internet. You get what you pay for with tiered services.
WiFi is one of the most essential amenities that hotels should be offering. Most hotels have WiFi that is included in their rooms and business centers but it's some of the most basic service to be found. Many hotels actually work on a tiered system, and the free service is very slow. You might also have to sign up for the hotel's loyalty program before you can sign in. Although you may still need to use the service, be aware that the better WiFi will cost you.
14 Concierge service: they know what any local knows
Concierge service is a great offer for many travelers. Being in a different city on business or pleasure can be stressful. You may not know where places are or where to find the best food and entertainment can be found. Concierge service can be helpful from check in to check out, but many hotels can overdo it with too many people for everything. When you have a concierge or butler for every little service, it can be confusing when you have to ask for help. Hotels may want to keep services simple.
13 Workout clothes: Who wore them before?
Hotels have been providing gyms for their guests for years. Many people try to spend time keeping up with their workouts while on the road, but it's very easy to forget your workout clothes. Some hotels have started offering them as an amenity. Although this seems like a great option, you may want to skip on it. If you don't have your clothes with you, either go buy some for yourself, or just skip the workout. It would be more hygienic and healthier to just miss a night or two.
12 Turn down service: not entirely necessary
Turn down service is one of those amenities that people either love or hate. For some, the idea of coming in from a busy day to a bed completely ready to climb into is incredible. But, for many, the idea of people being in your room is hard enough to deal with. It is considered one of the most unnecessary amenities that can be offered. Keep the room clean, keep the prices of the services good, and provide excellent service and lose the obsolete and unnecessary amenities. Bring in some that cater to the more modern crowd.
11 Iron and Ironing board: rarely gets used
One amenity that has become very dated and should definitely be updated is the iron and ironing board. Most hotels offer irons and ironing boards in their rooms. But most guests won't even see them. For people who need this option, we'd be better off with portable steamers. They work much better and more efficiently than the old iron option. Hotels could make their business guests very satisfied with their stay if they knew they could look their best. With a small investment, hotels could provide a much more modern and valuable service.
10 To Scent or Not to Scent
Although this seems like a great amenity, it is one that could easily backfire. Many people would love the opportunity to try different scents and even experience personalized ones, the chance of allergies makes this a problematic service. The residue of the fragrances could be trapped in the room and cause issues for guests that come in later. If a hotel wants to offer this type of service, it should be kept in a boutique type setting where it can be controlled and not vent through the air.
9 Child friendly services
This amenity is simply amazing. Traveling can be hectic under the best of circumstances, but adding children to the mix can make it even crazier. On top of getting your own things together, you have to make sure you have everything for them. You'll also possibly forget to make arrangements for activities on your trip. Many hotels are offering child friendly services ranging from forgotten items to nanny services to allow guests freedom to enjoy their trip. It's like having a nanny, personal shopper and activities director all in one.
8 Free art supplies
I'm all for creative activities, but the idea of being given art supplies to create your own painted masterpiece in the middle of your hotel room seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Having items that could permanently stain the room available, even to kids, is just asking for destruction of property. Offering arts and crafts could be fun, but might be a better idea in a space set aside for it instead of risking hotel furniture, walls, and cloth. It would be better for both the hotel and the guests.
7 Digital concierge service
We've all seen the advancement of technology in every part of our lives. From online hotel reservations to car vending machines, virtual assistance has become a standard part of our lives. We even have them in our homes. Hotels are using the same thing to help their guests with options such as restaurant recommendations and local events as well as check in and check out services as well as many others. This integration of technology into the hospitality industry will help bring more loyalty and repeat business.
6 Luxury bedding has a nice ring to it, but it's washed the same way, infrequently
With all the amenities that hotels have to offer, if guests don't get a good night's rest, it won't make a difference. When travelers were asked what they wanted most, luxury bedding came at the top of the list. Hotels that provide plush, high quality pillows and breathable, soft linens including sheets and towels. If you have a relaxing and restful sleep and an excellent bath or shower experience, your whole trip will be better. Hotels need to be aware that this should be standard and free with every room.
5 Everyone has a laptop nowadays
Most hotels offer WiFi and business offices, but you may want to think twice about using any computers being provided by the hotel. Although this isn't as common anymore, some hotels still have computers set up in their space. There is no guarantee that the computers are secure. Your data could be jeopardized. Hotels would be better off providing free, high speed internet services that aren't throttled and don't require you to sign in to their loyalty program or their website. More guests would be thrilled with this option.
SOME OF THE BEST HIDDEN AMENITIES THAT YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED BUT SHOULD
4 A truly warm welcome - the hidden gifts of the VIP world.
Hotels make a big deal out of their loyalty programs, but there are perks that are only known to their VIP guests. Ranging from personalized items to welcome gifts, luxury takes a step up when it comes to VIP treatment. And most people aren't even aware of these perks. Guests of these exclusive levels will receive perks that will leave them feeling like they are royalty. It lets them feel like they are truly stepping out of their daily lives and into remarkable comfort. Hotels should consider creating tiers of VIP services to attract more guests.
3 Drive in style
After you sleep in luxury, dress in couture, and enjoy a high end meal, what is next? How about the option of using a luxury car, courtesy of the hotel? Now these amazing cars aren't available just anywhere, but many luxury, high end hotels such as the Peninsula of Beverly Hills and St. Regis of New York as well as many others are offering their VIP guests the use of high end cars to match the rooms. Be prepared to spend money for the room, but you'll definitely enjoy the perks of being a VIP at these hotels.
2 All the high end shopping and none of the wait
Having couture available in your room is definitely high class service, but the Bulgari hotel in London really steps up the exclusive treatment their VIP guests get. Certain guests have the privilege of being driven to one of Bulgari's stores and given the opportunity for a completely private shopping trip. The store will be opened early or late to allow for utter privacy and personal time as guests shop to their heart's content. This great service is very exclusive and well kept secret amenity that comes with the name Bulgari.
1 The Ultimate in luxury: From gold IPads to 24 hour butler services
The concept of anything being 24 carat gold is well known. This is the height of privilege, luxury, and wealth. Dubai is a city known for this type of over the top wealth. And the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel truly lives up to this reputation. From gold iPads to suites fit for royalty, the level of luxury found here is second to none. But with suites starting at over $1000 per night, you'll pay for the services. If you're willing to meet the price tag, you'll have an experience that you'll remember forever.
When it comes to hotel amenities, there are both good and bad. The hospitality industry will have to continue to up their game and look for ways to keep bringing their guests back. Getting rid of silly, frivolous, or outdated amenities while providing excellent service for the price will definitely help hotels maintain their guest returns and loyalty.