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Ever checked into a hotel and been pleasantly surprised by the unexpected freebies? I have! From my countless hotel stays, ranging from budget inns to luxurious resorts, I’ve stumbled upon some delightful complimentary perks that most travelers might not know about. Curious about what you might be missing out on? Here are 20 surprising things that hotels often provide at no extra cost. You might just find a few that make your next stay even more special.
In today’s digital age, Wi-Fi has become more of a necessity than a luxury, especially for travelers. Many guests rely on internet connectivity for everything from checking their work emails, streaming their favorite shows, to planning their itineraries. Understanding this demand, numerous hotels globally have begun to offer complimentary Wi-Fi access.
This amenity, while seemingly straightforward, can make or break a guest’s experience. The strength, speed, and reliability of the connection often reflect the hotel’s commitment to guest comfort and modern conveniences.
However, it’s worth noting that while many establishments provide free Wi-Fi, the quality can vary. Some luxury hotels or resorts might charge extra for high-speed access or for connecting multiple devices. Before banking on unlimited, fast internet, it’s always a good idea to check the hotel’s policy.
Some might have free Wi-Fi in common areas like the lobby but might charge for in-room use. Always be sure to check the terms to avoid unexpected expenses.
There’s a well-known adage: “Eat breakfast like a king.” Many hotels take this to heart by offering complimentary breakfasts to their guests. This can range from a simple continental breakfast with pastries, fruit, and coffee to elaborate buffet spreads featuring a mix of local and international delicacies. A hearty breakfast not only provides guests with a great start to their day but also adds immense value to their stay, saving both time and money.
In some cultures and regions, breakfast is a significant meal, and the hotel’s offerings might be reflective of this. From freshly made omelets in American motels to croissants and cheeses in European bed and breakfasts or noodle soups in Asian inns, the breakfast spread can also be an introduction to the local cuisine.
For those with dietary restrictions, many establishments are now accommodating with gluten-free, vegan, or other specialized options. Always inform the hotel in advance to ensure a satisfying morning meal.
For the traveler weary from a long flight, nothing is more reassuring than knowing there’s a ride waiting to take them directly to their hotel. That’s the advantage of hotels that provide airport shuttles.
This free transportation service, often offered by hotels situated near airports, eradicates the stress of navigating public transport or haggling with cab drivers in a foreign country.
However, the provision of this service varies. Some hotels operate their shuttles at specific times, while others might require a prior booking. It’s also essential to check if the service is available for both pick-up and drop-off. While some hotels might offer a free shuttle to the hotel, there might be a charge for transportation back to the airport.
To ensure a smooth transition from the runway to the hotel room, always confirm shuttle details with your accommodation ahead of your journey.
In an era of smartphones and instant messaging apps, the importance of a direct phone line might seem obsolete. Yet, there are moments when making a local call is essential.
Whether it’s to reserve a table at a restaurant, confirm a local tour, or reach out to a nearby service, many hotels still provide the courtesy of free local calls from the room’s phone. This gesture, though seemingly small, can save guests from exorbitant roaming charges or the hassle of buying a local SIM card.
However, “local” can be a relative term. In some hotels, this might mean calls within the city, while in others, it could encompass the entire country. It’s always advisable to clarify what the hotel defines as local to avoid any surprise charges on the bill. Additionally, always double-check rates for international calls, as these can be significantly higher.
Toiletries (e.g., shampoo, soap, toothpaste)
One of the undeniable perks of hotel stays is the array of complimentary toiletries that await in the bathroom. From miniature bottles of shampoo and conditioner to bars of soap, body lotion, and sometimes even toothpaste and toothbrushes, these items are not only convenient but can be a lifesaver for guests who might’ve forgotten their essentials at home.
Over the years, hotels have recognized the importance of quality in these offerings, with many upscale establishments partnering with renowned beauty and wellness brands to provide guests with a premium experience.
Yet, this isn’t just about luxury. The move towards eco-friendliness has seen hotels shift from disposable miniatures to refillable dispensers to reduce plastic waste. Additionally, many establishments now actively promote sustainability by encouraging guests to consider reusing towels and opting out of daily toiletry replacements.
When staying at a hotel, it’s a good gesture to take only what one needs, ensuring that the approach to complimentary items remains sustainable for both the hotel and the environment.
Coffee and Tea in the room
Waking up in a cozy hotel room, many travelers cherish the ritual of preparing a hot cup of coffee or tea without stepping out of their sanctuary.
This comforting touch, where hotels provide a kettle or coffee machine along with a selection of coffee, tea, and accompaniments, can make mornings feel more like home. It’s not just about the convenience but the feeling of warmth and welcome that such a small gesture brings.
For the discerning traveler, the quality of this offering can be a testament to the hotel’s attention to detail. Premium establishments might provide gourmet coffee blends or a variety of herbal teas to cater to different palates.
While it’s customary to offer this service for free, guests should be aware of any extras they consume from the minibar, which might come at an additional cost.
Fitness Center Access
Travel doesn’t mean putting your fitness routine on hold. Recognizing the importance of staying active, many hotels now feature on-site fitness centers. Complimentary access to these facilities ensures guests can continue their workouts, be it a morning yoga session, a round of weights, or a cardio routine on the treadmill.
Having these amenities on-site is especially valuable for business travelers or those on tight schedules.
However, the scope of these fitness centers can vary. While some hotels boast state-of-the-art gym equipment, others might offer basic facilities.
Some upscale establishments even provide complimentary fitness classes, from pilates to spinning. It’s always beneficial to check the available amenities in advance, especially if one has specific workout preferences or requirements.
Whether arriving early before check-in or having a few hours to spare after check-out, travelers often face the dilemma of what to do with their luggage. That’s where complimentary luggage storage services at hotels come in handy.
This offering allows guests to securely store their bags and enjoy a hassle-free exploration of the surroundings or attend to business without being burdened by their belongings.
Though most hotels provide this as a courtesy, it’s essential to understand the terms. Some might have specific timings, while others could have space constraints during peak seasons.
Always ensure that belongings are securely locked and that any valuables are safely stowed, either kept personally or deposited in the hotel safe.
Embracing sustainable tourism and promoting local exploration, an increasing number of hotels are offering complimentary bicycle rentals to their guests.
Cycling can be an excellent way to discover a city, allowing travelers to cover more ground than walking while soaking in the sights and sounds at a leisurely pace. Moreover, it promotes a healthy and eco-friendly mode of transportation.
While this service is a fantastic perk, safety should be paramount. It’s advisable for guests to check the condition of the bicycle, ensure they’re provided with helmets, and be aware of local traffic rules.
For those unfamiliar with the area, many hotels also provide maps with recommended cycling routes, ensuring a memorable and safe adventure.
A dip in the hotel pool can be one of the highlights of a vacation. And while most guests expect the pool, the provision of complimentary pool towels adds an extra layer of convenience.
These specially designed towels, often larger and more absorbent than regular bath towels, ensure guests can lounge by the pool or dry off post-swim without the hassle of carrying wet towels back to their rooms.
Though a seemingly simple gesture, the provision of pool towels reflects the hotel’s commitment to guest comfort. However, it’s always courteous to return these towels to designated areas after use.
Some hotels might also have a towel card system, where guests are issued cards that they exchange for towels, ensuring no misuse and promoting a system of responsibility among guests.
For many, mornings are synonymous with a hot beverage and the rustle of a newspaper. Hotels often cater to this routine by offering a complimentary daily newspaper to guests.
Whether it’s a local publication giving insights into regional events or an international daily connecting travelers to global happenings, this touch provides a sense of connection and normalcy, especially for those on the road for extended periods.
Different hotels cater to diverse guest profiles. While business hotels might prioritize financial or global news dailies, leisure resorts may focus on local newspapers that highlight events, attractions, or cultural happenings in the vicinity.
Should guests have specific preferences, most front desks are accommodating in ensuring the desired publication is delivered to the room.
Board Games and Books
While many modern travelers carry their entertainment devices, there’s an undeniable charm in unplugging and indulging in traditional leisure activities. Recognizing this, many hotels have started offering a selection of board games and books.
From classic games that evoke nostalgia to a library corner with a range of novels, travel guides, and magazines, these touches can make a stay more homely and enriching.
This provision becomes particularly valuable during inclement weather, when guests might prefer to stay indoors. For families or groups, board games become a means of bonding, while solo travelers might find solace in the pages of a captivating book.
Many boutique hotels also focus on curating local literature, providing guests with a deeper understanding of the region’s culture and history.
Children’s Items (e.g., cribs, high chairs)
Traveling with little ones comes with its own set of challenges and needs. Forward-thinking hotels alleviate parental concerns by offering essential children’s items such as cribs, high chairs, and sometimes even strollers.
These facilities not only ensure the child’s safety and comfort but also reduce the luggage parents need to carry, making travel more seamless.
In addition to the basics, some hotels go the extra mile with thoughtful touches like offering coloring books, children’s toiletry kits, or setting up a kids’ corner with toys and games. These considerations make family vacations more enjoyable and stress-free, with parents reassured that their child’s needs are well taken care of.
The concierge is often the unsung hero in a traveler’s journey. This service, offered complimentary by many hotels, is the gateway to local insights, recommendations, and assistance.
Whether guests need reservations at a sought-after restaurant, tickets to a sold-out show, or guidance on crafting the perfect day itinerary, the concierge is the go-to expert.
Beyond simple recommendations, a skilled concierge is adept at understanding individual guest needs, curating experiences, and often pulling strings to make the seemingly impossible happen.
Their extensive local network and expertise transform ordinary trips into memorable experiences. Leveraging the concierge service can often be the difference between a good vacation and an unforgettable one.
Shoe Shine Kit
Amid the many preparations for a business meeting or a special event, the state of one’s shoes might be overlooked. Hotels, understanding the importance of looking impeccable down to the last detail, often provide a complimentary shoe shine kit.
These compact kits typically contain brushes, polish, and a cleaning cloth, ensuring guests can put their best foot forward, literally.
For those unfamiliar with the shoe-shining process or in a rush, upscale hotels sometimes offer a shoe shining service, where guests can leave their footwear outside their room overnight and wake up to impeccably polished shoes. This attention to such nuanced details underlines a hotel’s commitment to ensuring guests always appear at their best.
In an era dominated by digital alarms and smartphones, the traditional hotel wake-up call holds its own unique charm and reliability. This service, provided complimentary by many hotels, ensures that guests start their day on schedule, be it for an early morning flight, a business meeting, or a day of exploration.
The personalized touch of a human voice, rather than the blare of an electronic alarm, often provides a gentler start to the day.
Furthermore, the wake-up call serves as a backup to any technological glitches. While digital devices can sometimes fail due to battery issues or malfunctioning apps, a hotel’s wake-up call service is typically dependable, ensuring guests never miss crucial appointments or plans.
Maps and Local Guides
Discovering a new city or locale becomes immensely easier with the right tools. Recognizing the importance of helping guests navigate their surroundings, many hotels provide complimentary maps and local guides.
These resources, often curated with tourists in mind, highlight key attractions, restaurants, cultural sites, and often include public transport details.
Some hotels, especially boutique or luxury establishments, go the extra mile by offering personalized guides, tailored to individual interests like art, history, or gastronomy.
These guides may also include local tips and secrets, enabling travelers to experience a destination beyond its typical tourist facades and dive into authentic local experiences.
Ice and Water Dispensers
Hydration is fundamental, especially after a long day of travel or exploration. To cater to this basic need, many hotels equip each floor or specific common areas with ice and water dispensers.
These machines allow guests to refill their water bottles or get ice for their room, ensuring they remain refreshed and hydrated throughout their stay.
In regions where tap water might not be safe for direct consumption, these dispensers become particularly crucial, offering guests a reliable source of potable water.
Some upscale hotels might even offer water with added minerals or flavors, enhancing the hydration experience and adding a touch of luxury.
Minor wardrobe malfunctions, like a missing button or a slight tear, can happen at the most inconvenient times. Hotels, understanding the importance of always looking one’s best, often provide complimentary sewing kits.
These compact kits usually include needles, a variety of thread colors, buttons, and sometimes even safety pins, ensuring guests can quickly mend any unexpected garment issues.
While some might see it as a minor amenity, having a sewing kit on hand can be a lifesaver, especially before important events or meetings. For those not adept at sewing, many hotels also offer a quick fix service, where the in-house laundry or housekeeping team assists with minor repairs.
In cities or regions where transportation predominantly relies on personal or rented vehicles, parking becomes a significant consideration. Many hotels offer complimentary parking facilities, be it open-air lots or secured parking garages, ensuring guests have a safe spot to leave their vehicles.
However, the scope of this service can vary. In areas with limited space or high demand, some hotels might charge for parking or have specific conditions attached. It’s also essential to be aware of any height or size restrictions, especially for larger vehicles or those with roof racks.
Always confirm parking details in advance to ensure a hassle-free experience and avoid unexpected costs.