After all my years of traveling and staying in hotels, I have made countless in-room dining calls and spent way too many dinners holed up in my hotel room. But, on the bright side, I’ve picked up a some quick tips that I always use when I’m too lazy to leave my room for a meal:
1) Consider ordering from the kid’s menu to save you some money. Yes, the menu is more limited, but you’ll often get a decent portion (I’d argue it’s comparable to an adult portion) of food and usually a drink, too, for half the cost of what you’d pay if you ordered from the adult menu. It’s always been enough to fill me up. Oh, and if you’re worried that the person taking the order will say that the kid’s menu is off-limits to adults, don’t worry about that. In 10 years, that’s only happened to me one time and when that did, I told them I had a kid visiting me (what’s it to them, right?). As a note, this tidbit is applicable for the hotels in the U.S. I don’t have enough experience ordering room service when I’m abroad, so cannot tell you what the portion sizes are like there – although, if I had to guess, I’d guess that they’d be smaller than they are here considering adult portions abroad are smaller than what we’re used to in the U.S.
2) Some hotels offer a guarantee on when to expect your room service (e.g., “you’ll get your room service in 30 min or less!”). If you’re at a hotel like this, always make sure to note that time you placed the order. In the event the room service takes longer to be delivered, you can make use of their guarantee and get that order comped.
3) Even if the hotel doesn’t offer a guarantee, they will tell still tell you how long it will take for your food to arrive. So, you should still note the time you placed the order. If they take a lot longer than what they stated, you’ve got an opportunity to ask for the meal to be (partially) comped. Who wants a cold meal, right? Who also wants to wait a ridiculously LONG time for their meal to arrive?
4) Finally, if the food arrives and it’s not correct (“uh, where is the water I asked for?”), make sure you call down and let them know where they fell short. It is really annoying to place an order, wait 30-45min for it to be delivered only to discover that it’s not even everything you asked for! Ugh. I hate when that happens and usually I’m already famished by then! If you find yourself in this situation, call down, explain what happened, and let them know what you expect from them to make up for the inconvenience. I’ve had dishes comped or the whole ordered before depending on the situation.
5) Last tip: In the late evening, there’s usually a “late night” menu that goes into effect for in-room dining. The late night menu is in effect because the hotel chefs have left for the day so the only items they can bring you are cold ones that don’t need any prep work (think: salad, simple sandwiches, fruit, etc.). Given that knowledge, I’ve often asked for items that don’t require prep work (cereal, for instance) or toast (who can’t make toast, right?) that are not on the late night menu and usually get them delivered without any issues – so, don’t hesitate to do the same… especially if you’ve got late night cravings!
Help me keep this series going! If you have any travel tips, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and your tip may end up in a future post!