After celebrating my sixth wedding anniversary and then three solid days of sleeping and unpacking, I have finally returned to the world of blogging! I apologize in advance for the poor quality of my photos. I left my Nikon at home. If I had to forget something, at least it wasn’t my makeup! To read about our relationship, you can it here. Also, check out Sheila’s Music Monday Playlist. This girl is too cool!
When my husband decided to go to Florida to buy cars for his job, I tagged along because it fell during out anniversary week. Even though it was a business trip, we still found time to play and relax (me, more so than him)! Our first stop was Orlando, where we were treated like royalty at the Waldorf Astoria. This “queen” was loving every minute of it! While Ashton worked the first auction, I pampered myself with a glorious body scrub and massage. As usual, I can never resist a spa. Somewhere between lounging in the sun, lazy rivers, and extravagant meals, we found time to exchange anniversary rings. Our next stop was Tampa, where we were, once again, treated like royalty at the Hilton. We both worked the auctions in Tampa, but spent afternoons in the roof top pool, surrounded by palm trees and tall mirrored buildings. Downtown Tampa and Orlando were very opposite, but equally wonderful!
The Downtown Tampa Hilton, our view from the rooftop pool
My auction tag. I, however wasn’t allowed to buy the cars!
While some people are “foodies”, I am a “hotel-ie”. There are few things I love more than a beautiful hotel. While I might scrimp on some things, I will not compromise on hotels. I want to be completely submerged in fabulous-ness. If I have to eat stale pop-tarts for breakfast and lunch to splurge on a room, than it’s done.
With many hotel experiences under my belt, I have discovered a few tips to get those fabulous little extras. I want to share these tips with you!
1. Dress Nicely. That doesn’t mean that you have to wear a prom dress; just look neat. There are many comfortable things that you can wear during traveling that look neat. The homeless look is not cool if you are wanting upgrades. Nice hotels want to maintain a certain clientele and they appreciate your looking the part.
2. Show Loyalty. Become a member of their rewards club. Usually club members will get upgrades before anyone else. It doesn’t matter if it is your first visit. You can join their club on the hotel website before you go. Often, club members get free valet service or free drinks or breakfasts. It’s easy. Do it. My husband and I have a few hotels we prefer.We have always had impeccable service at the Hilton hotels. They are always very consistent in decor and service. I like knowing exactly what to expect when I book a room. Hilton has some really upscale hotels, as well of the more economical hotels.
3. Ask for an Upgrade. There are a few strategies for this! You must be courteous to the desk staff. They can immediately deny you an upgrade if you don’t connect with them. If you are celebrating something….anything….let them know. Don’t tell crazy stories; be honest and sincere. Compliment the hotel and tell them that you are happy that you chose to stay there. Let them know that you chose them! If you are checking in at a peak time, don’t be upset if you can’t get the requested upgrade. We have found that we nearly always get an upgrade if we check in around dinner time or later, rather than earlier. On our past trip, we were told that all of the rooms were booked. We were very disappointed to find that our “river view” room only offered the tiniest river slice. We asked the bellman if there was anything else with a better view. Immediately, he knew which rooms were open and he placed us into a much better room, with a tip, of course! When we went back down to the desk, later, to thank them for switching our room (remember, always be gracious!) , we mentioned that it was our anniversary. Upon seeing that we were dressed in our dinner clothes, the manager escorted us to the restaurant, where we received the best table, along with complementary champagne, and dessert. When we got back to our room, there was a cheese tray waiting for us (which was our lunch for the next day!). The next night, the brought an assortment of crackers and honey. We have found that the Hilton always showers us with niceties of some type. Sometimes, even if you don’t get a room upgrade, they compensate by giving nice extras. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. Also, did you know that the Hilton offers bathrobes? I am obsessed with the white fluffy hotel bathrobes. If you find that your room doesn’t have one, you can request one. Also, if you want different pillows, you can request those as well. Good to know!
Our upgraded view in the Tampa Hilton
Chocolate covered strawberries and the sweetest card signed by the desk staff at the Tampa Hilton
3. Book Directly Through the Hotel. If you book through one of the “money-saving” sites (you know the ones I’m talking about!), you won’t get any special treatment. You will be a no-body. A big, fat zero. Besides, sometimes booking through the hotel is cheaper. Often, they offer seasonal deals. Because I am a teacher, Hilton always lets me have the state employee rate…..even if I am staying in a different state. Sometimes, they even have discount cards for teachers. This time, with my teacher discount card, we received 10% off food and drinks in the hotel.
4. Be Gracious! The hotel employees work very hard to do their jobs. They often have to deal with grumpy, rude people. If someone does something nice, let them know. If the desk staff or bartender was excellent, let their managers know! I always carry a few note cards with me every time we travel. It only takes a few minutes to leave a note of praise for the people that have have made your stay memorable.
And, I have to share another money saving tip from our trip that has absolutely nothing to do with hotels. My husband and I wanted to exchange rings last year. As a result of house projects, we were unable. Knowing that I wanted a new sofa this year, I saved a chunk of money, earmarked for that purpose. I shopped the sofa and found such a great deal, that I had enough money left over for rings. GO ME! Ashton’s ring came from Overstock. I was leery about the quality, but it is a very nice, heavy ring. We both loved it! I shopped all over for my anniversary band and couldn’t beat the price at Sam’s Club. I have no problem shopping around to find the best deal. After all, that’s more to spend on a fabulous hotel!
As with anything you do, make it count! Have fun, and get the most out of your hotel stay. Even if you are on a budget, you can have a grand experience!
Do you have any hotel tips to share? If so, please comment!