Questions you should ask at hotel check-in

Ask and you shall receive. Before you grab the key, inquire about upgrades.

Ask and you shall receive. Before you grab the key, inquire about upgrades.  (iStock)

You've researched your hotel, checked all the review sites, and even booked the room online. But there are a few questions that you can only ask in person, while you're checking in, that can make your trip that much better. 

Here are a few must-asks that can improve your stay—and help you avoid surprises when you check out.

Is there a resort fee, and what does it include?

Often, published rates don’t include extras like taxes or resort fees, the often unavoidable extra charges that properties say cover services like Wi-Fi, parking, newspapers, or the use of the fitness center. “Asking this question up front lets guests know what their final charges will be so that there aren’t any surprises,” says Michelle Gonzalez, front office assistant manager at B Resort & Spa in Orlando.

Am I entitled to any exclusive amenities?

Some hotels offer guests extra perks, especially if they booked their stay through a travel specialist that works closely with a particular hotel. “Our clients often receive hundreds of dollars in perks, credits, upgrades, and exclusive experiences,” says Carole-Anne Hughs Wood, a travel advisor with Valerie Wilson Travel and co-founder of Young Travel Professionals. “Take for example our clients checking into the Regent Berlin in Germany through our Suite Access program. Not only will they receive a minimum of $200 on-property credit but they also receive a complimentary original piece of the Berlin Wall" for rates that Hughs Wood says are "comparable" to those found elsewhere.

Are there any special hotel offerings that are not widely advertised?

Even if you don’t book with a travel specialist, the hotel might offer programs or services that aren't publicized. “I've found that some of my favorite hotel experiences are ones the hotel doesn't advertise,” Hughs Wood says. "The Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris has avid runners on its staff who came up with the idea of taking clients out for a casual, energetic morning run once a week through Paris at no charge. You wouldn't know about it unless you asked." Other hotels have running programs, too, including Westin, which even has a global running concierge.

Does the hotel have any local affiliations?

“Unless we've organized all components of our client's trip," Hughs Wood says, "we suggest they ask the hotel about any affiliations they may have with local museums and galleries. It never hurts to ask—and occasionally you may be able to obtain tickets and possibly even skip lines.”

Check out more must-ask questions before you check in.

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