11 Secrets Hotels Don’t Want You To Know

Discover the untold secrets that could change the way you travel forever.
Updated May 8, 2024
Fact checked
guests giving their reservation infomation

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When you’re packing for your next trip, there are a few things you may want to know about the hotel you’re staying in.

Maybe you have some tried and true hotel secrets in your pocket for each time you travel. Maybe you want to add some things to your checklist for your upcoming visit that you haven’t considered before.

Whatever the case, here are some hotel secrets that hotels don’t want you to know. A few could even keep more money in your bank account.

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The furniture isn’t as clean as you think

GeorgeTsamakdas/Adobe minimalistic style double hotel room

Things like couches or desk chairs aren’t easy to clean, and you may want to think about what’s been on them before sitting down.

One option instead is to cover those pieces of furniture with blankets or other linens that are more likely to be cleaned regularly, compared to more cumbersome items in the room that take more work.

Hotel workers get leftovers

Bartek/Adobe hotel breakfast buffet

You may have chosen a particular hotel for its great restaurant with a buffet breakfast or a snack bar with little things you can grab throughout the day. But there’s plenty of food that gets made in the morning and may not be eaten.

For things like buffets, know that staff will likely take any leftovers home even though you’re paying for the food as part of your stay.

You can cancel your room for free

Zaleman/Adobe male tourist in hat sitting on sofa

Sometimes, you can get dinged with additional fees if you cancel your room and it’s too close to your arrival date.

Instead, try calling the hotel and rebooking your room for a later date well outside the cancellation window. You can then go back in and cancel that reservation to avoid the extra charges.

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The bed could have bed bugs

BillionPhotos.com/Adobe bedbug under magnifying glass

Some hotels may have bed bugs, which can be difficult to get out of a hotel room.

Check the bed for bugs (underneath the mattress) before you even put any personal items on the bed or sit down on it. That step could save you a lot of hassle and an expensive terminator bill if you transfer them back home.

Staff can review the lost and found

RaspberryStudio/Adobe devices on charge in the bedroom

You may accidentally leave a phone charger or a t-shirt behind. It happens to the best of us.

Those items go in the hotel’s lost and found, and you can call to see if the hotel has found your item. The hotel may even try to be accommodating and send the item back to you.

But if it stays in the lost and found and isn’t claimed after a certain amount of time, some hotels have a policy to allow employees to take the item for themselves.

Good behavior can get you upgrades

Space_Cat/Adobe couple and receptionist at counter in hotel

Like other retail workers, hotel workers see their share of bad behavior from guests who may disrespect staff or treat the hotel poorly.

But good behavior can get you extra points with staff members who appreciate the respect. Consider putting on your best behavior if you want a room upgrade, for example, or a particular view to enjoy.

Mention your celebrations

Africa Studio/Adobe towel swans and rose petals on bed

Another way to get an upgrade is to mention a celebration or other event that could be the reason you’re visiting. Perhaps you’re spending a romantic night away for your anniversary or celebrating a birthday.

Hotel staff may have special treats or upgrades for these celebrations to make your stay more memorable. Mention them when you book your reservation to enjoy an upgrade.

Your safe isn’t completely safe

DAVID/Adobe safe seen in a hotel room closet

The hotel safe is a great option to toss in valuable items like laptops or iPads when you leave the room.

But remember that hotel personnel need to have a way to get into the safes if a guest accidentally forgets the code. While security personnel are considered trustworthy, it’s possible for someone to crack your hotel safe while you’re gone and take valuables out.

Try not to bring extremely valuable items with you or find another option, such as carrying them with you.

A-listers get special treatment

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe bodyguards protecting mature businesswoman

You may be surprised to find your hotel cancels your room or downgrades you without pause, particularly for popular locations in areas frequented by A-listers.

Remember that hotels can change plans at their discretion, so be prepared to potentially find an alternate option if you’re heading somewhere to rub shoulders with the elite if you're not elite.

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Don’t assume the glasses are clean

tarnrit/Adobe coffee cup on the table

You may look at the glasses on the dresser next to the ice bucket and assume they’re clean. After all, they look clean, and they’ve been left there by housekeeping.

But sometimes, housekeeping may leave the glassware alone if it looks like the previous guests haven’t touched it.

Give the glassware a rinse before you start using it, or consider calling guest services to get new glasses if you want something to drink.

Check the minibar seals when you arrive

rilueda/Adobe hotel room interior

Minibars can get expensive, especially if you're not the one who actually opened the bottle.

Things can get missed sometimes by housekeeping. Check the minibar in your room when you check in to avoid wasting money

If you notice any opened bottles or broken seals, call the front desk immediately to let them know of the oversight so you don’t get charged.

Bottom line

Prostock-studio/Adobe guy booking hotel online

Hotels can be a great option when you’re traveling as long as you know the secrets to watch out for.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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