We’ve all seen them: Those people who show up at the hotel club lounge for breakfast in their pajamas, faces unwashed, hair uncombed, maybe even barefoot to complete the look. Or maybe you’ve seen the guy who likes to get super comfortable by putting his feet on the coffee table.
Or the lady who makes a mad dash for the fried chicken when she spots a refill, then shoves the contents into her purse before taking off. Not everyone is a seasoned traveler or understands how to act considerately of others in public (that goes for professional passenger shamers and novices alike). I’ll stand by the point I made to the person running the Passenger Shaming account: Calling out bad behavior is fine, just don’t humiliate people or violate their privacy in order to do it. That being said, here’s a refresher on club lounge etiquette:
I don’t mean put on your evening gown and Tom Ford suit. Dressing appropriately just means looking presentable. Wear neat, clean clothes. Try to avoid sweats, flip flops (unless you’re in Hawaii), and wrinkled clothing. Pajamas are a hard pass.
Take Reasonable Portions
Some club lounges have massive spreads that rival any Vegas buffet, while others offer cheese and crackers with the occasional hot item. Once this item is set down, a mad dash usually ensues, with people piling it on their plates like famine is coming. Don’t do that. Take what you can reasonably eat. Or even better, take as much as you would if you were actually paying for the food. That’s a great way not to end up with mountains of leftovers that get tossed out while people outside the hotel (or those at the adjacent table) are starving.
Use Your Indoor Voice
A few years ago I was having breakfast at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong club lounge when a movie producer-director-finacier-extraordinaire was having a very loud phone conversation a few tables away. He spoke loudly about his finances, project budgets, and anything else to erase all doubt that he was anything but a hotshot. It was rude and inconsiderate to everyone in the lounge.
At the end of his conversation, another man who had been quietly reading a newspaper a few tables away, walked over and gave him the most well-mannered dressing down I’ve ever witnessed. Young James Cameron sat quietly in his chair, did not even look up, and the next day I observed him having another loud conversation – this time in a room outside the lounge.
At the Conrad Dubai a few years ago, a guest at the lounge was loudly screaming about his foot. He was in pain and wanted to “cut it off” – his friends kept urging him to go back to the room, but he was perfectly content shouting his lungs out while everyone else jumped every time he yelled out in pain. The lesson? Be mindful while around other people. That goes without saying, but in this day and age when everyone has a love affair with their cellphones (and their fabulous selves), too many people commit this faux pas.
Don’t Guest in an Unreasonable Number of People
Every hotel lounge has its own policy regarding guest access. Generally, lounge access is for you and one other person. Some hotel will charge a fee (often quite high) for additional guests accessing the lounge. In my experience, the Hilton chain is very generous with their lounge access policy. I’ve been able to get lounge access for multiple rooms – upwards of eight guests.
I think if you’re a single traveler staying in one room, it’s fine to bring one person into the lounge as your guest. But if you’re meeting up with multiple people and the lounge explicitly prohibits access unless you pay a fee, maybe take your friends to a coffee shop or something. Follow the rules and don’t put staff in the awkward position of having to kick you and an entire baseball team of friends out because they’re not all guests with lounge access.
It really comes down to being considerate and respectful of others. Sometimes when people pay for things (or get them for free), they feel entitled to take advantage to an unreasonable degree. We all need a reminder sometimes of how not to act in the club lounge. Is there anything you all would add to the list?
[Photo: Wikimedia/Phillip Capper]