Hotels are often seen as a place of luxury. Tiny shampoo bottles, individually wrapped biscuits, freshly laundered sheets, fluffy towels and a TV right at the foot of your bed. They are home to the solitary business trip, romantic getaways and the classic weekend break.
It may come as no surprise that this place of eternal comers and goers from far and wide sees its fair share of intrigue. We’re here to share some of our secrets from behind the front desk…
the things left behind - the hotel lost and found is a veritable gold mine of weird and wonderful items. A quick pop down to search for a forgotten jumper frequently turns into a half-hour delve into the void beyond. Cricket bats, single shoes, pairs of glasses and about 50 million phone chargers are only a tiny fraction of the items left behind. We’ll happily return the stuff to you for a postage fee but most of the time, things are left to dwell in the cupboard until the end of time.
seeing things you don’t want to see - We often wonder in dismay at how people get locked out of their room, in various state of undress, quite as often as they do. For the new receptionist - it’s almost akin to an initiation experience. A walk around the hotel may also result in some unwanted sights. A particular story comes to mind of happening upon a male guest doing naked push-ups in his room with the door open - “why?” you ask. As did we.
the things people take - it’s fine to load your bag up with toiletries - the disposable shower cap that you will never use, a disposable razor that is not actually as good as your regular one - we kind of expect it. What is not fine is taking towels, irons, vases… do you really think we’re not going to notice - we will, and not only will we judge you for it, we’ll charge you for it!
strange requests - It is a hotel workers job to ensure your stay is just how you want it and you have everything you need. The readiness to ‘go the extra mile’ can however leave you in some bizarre situations. “Yes of course we can watch your cat for a couple of minutes” …8 hours later and you and your new friend Mog are beginning to wonder if this is going to become a full time partnership. Not to mention, the awkward moment when asked at our BRISTOL reception desk where the nearest tube station is. Umm…about 150 miles east.
We’re human too - hotel receptionists are trained to provide the highest level of customer service to all guests. However we are still human, if you are friendly towards us, we will instinctively be friendlier towards you. A particularly heartwarming moment was receiving flowers from a regular guest of three years on their last stay – hugs all-round! Don’t get me wrong - we don’t want to become best buds, but a few pleasantries can go a long way. Don’t forget, we have the power to upgrade you, give you extra biscuits …or put you next to the world’s loudest snorer.
Book direct - hotels pay hefty commission on all rooms booked through online travel agents such as booking.com or expedia. To try and lure you to book direct we (along with most other hotels) will offer discounts and freebies to direct bookers either on our own hotel website or by calling reception. We also tend to feel an innate warmness to people who book directly with us. It feels like they chose us for reasons other than they sorted a long list of hotels by price and picked the cheapest one.
Unexpected room charges - even we are surprised at the long-distance call rates - It really is best to just stay away. That moment when you have to tell a guest there is an additional £80 charge on their room for a 12 minute call to Kentucky is not fun for anyone! Also a last minute taxi ride from Bristol to Gloucester Cathedral to see where Harry Potter was filmed may not be the best idea. Although we truly admire your dedication, a better planned trip may have helped to save on a whooping great taxi bill!