Think before you book
Fancy a luxury hotel stay? If you are planning to leave the hotel early each morning, do a day of sightseeing and then come back late at night, you could be wasting your money. If the spa doesn’t interest you, you don’t tend to ‘do’ breakfast and you aren’t going to make use of the garden or swimming pool, consider why you are planning to stay there. Five-star hotels are best enjoyed if you use all the facilities. You can still eat in the restaurant if that is the draw and most spas will allow day visitors. Do your research too; just because a hotel is ‘five-star’ it doesn’t automatically mean it’s brilliant.
Manage your expectations. The better rooms are usually bigger, have nicer views and in cities are often higher up away from the noise of the street. Don’t expect a better room at an entry-level price.
If check-in is at 2pm don’t pitch up at 10am and expect your room to be ready. Leave your luggage with the porter and come back later.
If you are not happy with your room, get it dealt with immediately. If you have no joy at reception, ask to see the duty manager.
Make use of all the facilities
Arrive as near to check-in time as possible and spend the afternoon enjoying the amenities. Go for a swim, have a spa treatment, explore the grounds, investigate the bar with a book: unwind a bit before dinner.
If you are staying for a special occasion, ask about extras the hotel can provide. A bottle of chilled champagne, a bouquet of flowers, or, even better – something from the hotel shop as a memento – these can all add to the positive experience.
The Dorchester Hotel in London, for example, have teacup and saucers in the Dorchester Rose livery, or even a mug, that make thoughtful gifts. Le Bristol in Paris has a wonderful miscellany book. Mcely in Czech Republic has a superb range of unique handmade herbal skincare products.
Book a late checkout. You will rarely be charged and it means you can enjoy yourself just a bit longer, maybe with breakfast in bed – the ultimate indulgence – and a long, lazy soak in the tub.
Don’t feel obliged to eat in
Hotel restaurants are a mixed bag. Some are truly awful – even 5-star hotel ones – and others are popular and it’s hard to get a table. If you want to eat in, make sure you book when you book your room; just because you are a guest, it doesn’t mean you get an automatic table in their restaurant.
Don’t forget the concierge
Your concierge is highly trained – often Les Clef d’Or – so use him (or her) to help you plan your excursions out of the hotel, whether it’s a restaurant recommendation, tour advice or museum suggestion.