It’s not a secret that I’m a fan of hotels – the nicer the better! I especially adore hotels that are luxe, grand, and too busy to notice that I’m not even a hotel guest because popping into one of these hotels is one of the easiest ways to take advantage of some free or nearly free services they offer their paid guests. Below are all the times a visit to the the hotel may be perfect when you’re already out and about:
1) You need a taxi
4 and 5 star hotels are perfect for catching cabs in big cities where cabs are hard to find. In fact, these hotels often have their own doorman/valet who gladly whistles for a taxi on your behalf. Just don’t forget to tip them $1 for the service!
2) You want to use the restroom
It’s usually a toss up whether or not public restrooms will be clean – especially when you’re in a new city. Why take the chance using a random public restroom when there’s a hotel nearby? Just walk in like you’re staying there and locate the restroom in the lobby – there’s always restrooms in the lobby. I’ve done this so many times. It’s actually amazing how intuitive the restroom location is when you just stroll in. I usually find it on my first try. Bonus tip: The nicer the hotel, the more likely you’ll find hand towels and (complimentary) lotion in the bathroom, too.
3) You need to store your luggage
Maybe you’re in a foreign city and sense you’ll be lugging your luggage around until your flight/train later that day. Maybe you’ve just arrived to a city and you have time to kill before you check into your real hotel (which is clear across town). Don’t drag those heavy bags around! Drop them off with a bellman at a hotel – any hotel you’d like! When you drop off bags, they never ask for your room number. They merely hand you a claim ticket so that you can (conveniently) come back later to retrieve your bags; it’s the perfect way to make sure your luggage is safe for the day – all for the low price of a $1/bag tip when you pick it up!
4) You need recommendations for activities or directions
Hotel personnel give this info out day and night. Why run to a gas station or convenience store for directions/recommendations when there’s a hotel nearby? The kind folks at the hotel should know everything about their city inside and out. If you can find a hotel with a concierge it’s all the better – the concierge do this for a living!
5) You want free internet access
The easiest way to get free wifi when you’re on the road is to bring your own laptop/tablet/mobile to a hotel lobby. If you don’t have your own device, you can also seek out the hotel business center, which is sometimes free for guests. If you’re using the business center, however, make sure you’re not lingering there since guests usually use those terminals to check their emails or print their boarding passes. Stay away from super high end hotels on this one; I’ve found that low-to-mid-tier hotels are way more generous with their internet policies. High end hotels usually require access codes or guest information to connect to the internet even from a lobby.
6) You need stamps and/or you want to mail a postcard
If you’re dying to send a postcard back home but you can’t locate a post office, buy stamps at the front desk of a nice hotel. They’ll either have stamps for purchase or they’ll offer to mail it for you gratis! The nicer the hotel, the more likely you they will stamp it and mail it for you free. If you already have your postcard stamped, you can also drop it off with the front desk attendants. They’ll make sure it goes out with everyone else’s.
7) You need a meeting/hangout spot
Having a quick meeting with your buddies? Looking for a place to catch up with friends? Why not ask everyone to meet at a hotel lobby? Hotels don’t care if you bring food or drinks (though I wouldn’t recommend drawing attention to yourself by having a picnic in the lobby) and there’s always people in the lobby anyway. Plus, hotel sofas and lounge chairs are way more comfortable than what you’d find in a cafe.
8) You need a quiet place to get some work done
When you’re looking for quiet-time, forget the hotel lobby. Head down to the floor where all the conference rooms are located. There’s usually no one there and there’s a chance you’ll find free wifi, too. If there is a conference going on, there’s usually snacks in the hallways outside the conference rooms so if you’re super hungry, you can grab and go. Just don’t act like a leech when you’re grabbing that muffin and no one will even notice. 😉