Irrespective of whether you stay in five star hotels or budget hotels or really cheap hotels, a hotel is a hotel. That is what I believed in till recently. Somehow, I’ve never been a fan of hotels. I’ve always tried to stay with families or friends or even people I have met on the internet. No, they are not crazy internet stalkers waiting to kill Indian travelers.
Having spent the last few months in a hotel in Austria, I changed my mind. One can feel very much at home in a hotel and it depends on these few golden rules that I have come up with.
1. Known every nook and corner. If its your home, you would know where the kitchen is or the storage room is. It is no different in a hotel.
2. If you feel that its weird to have your bed made when you come back to the room, tell the housekeeping guys to skip making your bed. They get a day off and you get to feel at home.
3. Offer to walk the dog. If your hotel has a dog (in Austria, most of them do as they are family run hotels and its normal to have a pet), that is the sweet deal.
4. Do 10 minute reception duty every once in a while. Answer the phone and say, Good morning ‘you have reached ….’. It makes you feel like you own the place and that helps.
5. Ask for things which are not available in the menu. If they manage to whip that for you, its an amazing feeling. Don’t try to be a pain about it…. do it with a smile.
6. Fall asleep in common areas, like the terrace or the bar. When any one of the staff wake you up, they stop being strangers.
7. Finally, get to know everyone. Receptionist, Chef, Bartender, Housekeeping. Even the guy who rakes the leaves. Not just their names. Talk to them and genuinely care about them as people. They are people doing their daily jobs. Don’t make it more difficult for them.
Once you do that, you’ll realise you can never be a ‘guest’ in a hotel. You are someone who never leaves. Even if you leave the hotel to go back to your city, you will manage to stay there forever. A guest they will miss. A friend. Sometimes, even family. And that’s what you want to be.