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Old Dec 1, 09, 12:16 pm   #1
 
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Hotel Room Assignments - You Often Have to Ask

After suffering with many hotel rooms that are well below average for the property where I am staying, I now ask the front desk clerk to describe the room being assigned - location regarding floor, view, noise; size of the room; bedding; and anything else I can think of for that hotel. Often before I even ask if there is something better, the clerk will say something like, "Well, you know, Mr JerryFF, I really have something quite a bit nicer I could give you."

Obviously, they know they are trying to assign the least desirable rooms to those who don't ask. This even occurs in hotels were I have some status, such as Hilton Diamond or Starwood Gold. And people wonder why travelers often seem "pushy" or "picky".
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Old Dec 1, 09, 12:28 pm   #2
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I tend to pick my battles... More for karma's sake than any notion that different properties ever swap stories on their picky customers...

If I'm traveling alone for business, I just verbally confirm bed/smoke type before leaving the front desk. With any of the big three chains, I haven't had any problems recently. As long as I feel like I'm getting a decent room (which Golds/Plats do, even when they aren't actually upgraded), I'm happy.

If I'm traveling on leisure, such as with family to a resort location, then I care a bit more and am more likely to write/call ahead of time to inquire about room specifics. It's on those stays where I want my elite status to actually mean something and tend to be pickier. But I tend to exert that extra effort sparingly...on stays when I need it the most.
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Old Dec 1, 09, 1:16 pm   #3
 
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In some countries, it's quite acceptable to ask to actually see the hotel room before accepting it. Try that in the US, and the desk clerk is likely to look at you as if you are a dangerous loony and the police will be called if you utter one more word.
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Old Dec 1, 09, 3:47 pm   #4
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That's probably because most parts of the U.S. don't have many unique hotel properties where that really matters much. I imagine if you were staying in a small boutique or a B&B it would still be considered a normal request. (Or more normal anyway...)

The other thing is that even my domestic B&B stays (places like Northern California) tend to be pre-reserved with a specific room already selected. It's different than some of my European trips where we just knocked on the door and said "What rooms do you have? Can we look at a couple of options?"
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Old Dec 2, 09, 7:23 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
That's probably because most parts of the U.S. don't have many unique hotel properties where that really matters much. I imagine if you were staying in a small boutique or a B&B it would still be considered a normal request. (Or more normal anyway...)
My favorite example of this was a stay at The Library Hotel in NYC. On checking in, I was asked "Fiction or Non-fiction?" (You can reserve specific rooms, but I had actually been walked from another hotel.)

The chains where I have status seem to do well at meeting my needs, but I'm not remarkably fussy. As long as it is non-smoking and not next to the elevator / ice machine, I'm fine.
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Old Dec 2, 09, 9:10 am   #6
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Originally Posted by JerryFF View Post
After suffering with many hotel rooms that are well below average for the property where I am staying, I now ask the front desk clerk to describe the room being assigned - location regarding floor, view, noise; size of the room; bedding; and anything else I can think of for that hotel. Often before I even ask if there is something better, the clerk will say something like, "Well, you know, Mr JerryFF, I really have something quite a bit nicer I could give you."

Obviously, they know they are trying to assign the least desirable rooms to those who don't ask. This even occurs in hotels were I have some status, such as Hilton Diamond or Starwood Gold. And people wonder why travelers often seem "pushy" or "picky".
I usually don't make a point of pre-screening the room before I get to it. If I get to it and don't like it, I will simply get moved. However, if there is a known issue with the hotel due to location or construction, I will make sure I am as far as possbile from the airport/freeway/intersection side of the building.
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Old Dec 2, 09, 10:00 am   #7
 
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Originally Posted by Cha-cha-cha View Post
In some countries, it's quite acceptable to ask to actually see the hotel room before accepting it. Try that in the US, and the desk clerk is likely to look at you as if you are a dangerous loony and the police will be called if you utter one more word.
I can see that you've never travelled with my wife. No matter where we are, US or abroad, unless it's a hotel with which she's visited before, a room "inspection" is an essential ingredient at check in. While her rejections have been frequent, I don't remember a desk clerk ever refusing, usually without accompanying us to visit the first assigned room. While the second room assigned has often not been much better, the third time around has almost always resulted in noticeable improvement. Is all the trouble gone to worth the time and tribulation? Yes, for any property where we're staying for more than one night.

On business, alone, I'm less picky, but don't hesitate to reject a room which is badly located, awkwardly or uncomfortably sized/arranged, or with cleaning/furnishing/prep problems. Obviously, I expect more most places than at the $39.95 pet friendly Rodeway in Amarillo (when travelling with 2 Jack Russells), and all evals are relative.

After all, we're paying them, not them paying us....
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Old Dec 2, 09, 10:05 am   #8
 
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A "classic" to request....

Chicago's Hilton Palmer House has some rooms reborn from two former bedrooms of miniscule dimensions. They have only one awkward feature, 2 bathrooms, one on eaither side. When with my wife, I used to always request one (and usually got it, since they are apparently held back for MODs and last minute guests). What could be better than a second bathroom?
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Old Dec 3, 09, 9:46 am   #9
 
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one of the reasons I am divorcing Marriott

I am tired of my room preferences being routinely ignored by FDR's.Upgrades?Yeah right
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Old Dec 3, 09, 10:20 am   #10
 
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I agree that modern standardized chains have less variability than older hotels or B&Bs. However, just in the past two weeks, I was initially given a room directly facing the freeway in one location and one facing and just over the main heating/airconditioning fans and exhaust in another.
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