Ok to ask to see hotel rooms in Europe?

Old Mar 28th, 2005, 05:30 AM
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Ok to ask to see hotel rooms in Europe?

I'm wondering if you think it is OK to stop into a hotel and ask to see a room - for future reference. We are staying at apts in Paris and Rome for upcoming trip, but would like to have some ideas of where to stay for future trips (especially in Rome). Thanks.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 05:42 AM
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Of course! As long as you don't happen to stop by when the front desk is exceedingly busy with customers, they should always be happy to take a few minutes to show you a room or two. I've done this quite a few times and never encountered anything but willing and helpful hotel staff.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 05:47 AM
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Agreed
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 05:53 AM
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Let me tell you that our first trip to Rome, we checked into our Hotel Internazionale. The clerk made a big point that it was "one of our very best rooms", so when we opened the door and saw how awful it was, it actually never occurred to us to go ask to see another room. We thought about it and decided we'd probably have to pay for that night, but we were NOT staying there. We spent the next several hours pounding the pavement checking dozens of hotels but everything was full. We returned to our hotel and unloaded on a clerk that had just come on duty. He showed us another room that we couldn't believe was in the same hotel. We moved and stayed.
Lesson learned. Sometimes I think they'll give you the worst, the smallest, or the least attractive in the hopes that you'll take it.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 05:56 AM
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Duh, when all else fails, read the question. Sorry, I was thinking about simply asking to see the rooms when you check in -- an often overlooked issue also. Now I'll have some more coffee and see if I can wake up.



But yes, I have stopped at hotels for future reference. To be honest, even though we try to do it around noon when we figure they'll be less busy and more rooms are likely to be vacant, we have often been met with "we have no rooms available to show you, sorry." But sometimes they do show us -- which is a mark in their favor as far as I'm concerned.

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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 06:05 AM
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I agree that you can do this; we have done it in various countries without any difficulty whatsoever.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 06:34 AM
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Some of the more popular places will hesitate with your request. Many "full" hotels, especially in Rome, may ask you to stop by between 1-3 PM, the average turnover time between occupants. This is also lunch time and it can be very inconvenient to coordinate this activity into your schedule.

Seeing popular hotel rooms on-the-cuff almost never works in Rome (although you can certainly try). The best way to do this activity is to set aside a specific time and hope that the hotel will have something (worthwhile) to show.

If you speak Italian, you may be able to work your way into seeing an occupied room that is being serviced by housekeeping. Most hotels are very reluctant to do this but I've managed on several occasions. Being able to charm the desk manager with your request helps.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 06:52 AM
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patrick:
Asking for a better room is also a lesson I've learned the hard way. I once organized a trip to NYC for me and some girlfriends. I reserved rooms at the Helmsley on 42nd and 3rd. I had stayed there a lot for work in the early 80s and it was nice - at the time. So I got cheap rooms there 10+ years later and they were AWFUL. It was embarassing, really. I never even thought to ask for better rooms! Anyway, at the time I wrote to Leona and asked for a full refund for the 2 rooms because they were so disgusting. And I actually got it! Can you believe that? It still would have been better, though, to have simply requested better rooms.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 07:18 AM
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Absolutely. I do it all the time. I never stay anywhere without first seeing the rooms. It is very acceptable throughout Europe. If they refuse run as fast as you can to your next choice cause they have something they don't want you to see.

Larry J
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 07:42 AM
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If you are checking into a hotel, you have every right to see the room first. If you are just checking for future reference and the hotel refuses, I wouldn't necessarily run the other way. Depending on when you stop by, it could be fully booked and a hotel really shouldn't show an occupied room to a stranger. I'd be mighty peeved if a hotel I was staying at let a stranger come in and look at my room. The housekeeping staff and the hotel manager would get an earful!
In addition, the hotel staff could also simply be too busy when you drop in. If they say no, ask if it's possible to come back at a more convenient time. Tell them the type of room you'd like to see. If you need a low-end double, for example, there's no point in being shown a single or a suite.
In Paris, I checked out a few hotels for friends...the Danube and the Luxembourg Parc. Staff at both hotels were very accommodating (as it turned out, the Danube rooms we saw would have gone over with our friends like a lead balloon and they ended up staying at the Luxembourg Parc).
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 08:02 AM
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I've never had a hotel "refuse" my request. They've all mastered the disapproving look, the hesitation, and the prolonged I-really-don't-have-time-for-this meandering. The worst they say is come back at such-and-such time, hoping you won't return. I usually return and see a room.

BTilke is right, most hotels would never consider letting the average someone "peek" into an occupied room. I'm not average. All three times in Rome I was accompanied by the desk clerk. I won't share what I said to get into these rooms but certain boutique hotels will go above and beyond the rules to promote their business. Nobody took interest in personal belongings and nothing was touched during the 90 second visit. I'm sure the occupant never knew that I had seen the room.

I don't recommend anyone try this, unless you speak the language and have a similar agenda. The "star" rooms of certain boutique hotels are almost always booked, even in off season. If you're not charmingly pushy and tell a realistic tale, there's no way to see what all the fuss is about unless you blindly book the room yourself (a year down the road). Sorry, possums, I don't have time for that.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 08:49 AM
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This is an interesting post. There really is so much difference between rooms, especially in boutique hotels. I'm curious- how exactly do you ask to see a room first when you are checking in (without getting on their bad side before you even begin your stay)? Is there a trick to doing this in a way that they will give you the best room available in the category you've booked? Or what about upgrades? I never know how to ask for those, either, without feeling pushy.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 09:00 AM
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europhile,
Good point. I often ask to look at rooms when out walking and often get the feeling they are showing me the "good" room. If you think this is the case, then just jot down the room number so you know which one to ask for.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 09:01 AM
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europhile,

I went with a girlfriend to Paris last month. Our hotel room at the Abbatial St Germain was not what we were hoping for, so we immediately went back downstairs and politely asked if there might be a different room we could switch to (one not directly above the trash cans!). They upgraded us to a "superior" room without any hassle whatsoever, and no extra cost to us. I would think that the management of a good hotel would want their customers to be happy, but how will they know you're not happy unless you tell them?
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 09:35 AM
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I hate to tell you this but I know many people who routinely "peek" into rooms that are being cleaned..they may not actually go very far in but they do get a look and the person there never knows it has happened..and neither would you if the hotel allowed it unless you were right there.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 11:37 AM
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I think you can tell quite a bit simply by going into the lobbies of hotels you're interested in and asking the clerk for a business card or a brochure with prices if they have one.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 12:31 PM
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Actually, suze, I'm not sure I'd agree with you. We've seen many places with really beautifully furnished lobbies that had rooms I wouldn't stay in if they paid me. And sometimes we've had great rooms in small hotels that had almost no lobby, or one I'd be ashamed to welcome guests to. And most of the brochures will show pictures of one room, often their largest suite or special room, not indicative of what they have to offer at all.

When I have been shown rooms in hotels (for future reference), I've often been amused to see into tiny plain rooms the maids are cleaning while we are being led to a wonderful and spectacular room, so even what they show you may not be idicative of what you'll get.
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