Work the Room
How to get the best accommodations at a resort ( and how to handle the situation when you don’t)
We all want the best
room possible at the resort when we take a dive vacation, along with the best price. And it can be frustrating when your friends always seem to snag better deals. To help you get a great hotel experience on your next dive trip, we’ve put together six tips for booking the best room in your price range — and what to do when things go wrong.
Know What You Want
Everyone has his or her own definition of what makes the best room. Hardcore divers may prefer a groundfloor room steps from the dock, and families may want adjoining rooms, or couples a top-floor room with an ocean view and a private Jacuzzi tub. Spend some time researching the room options at your preferred hotels so you know what to ask for or book.
Calling the hotel or resort directly is the best way to get the room and amenities you want. Not only can the booking agent give you recommendations based on your needs, but they also have the power to offer upgrades or extra perks that just aren’t available when booking through a third party online. Not to mention booking through a discount website practically guarantees a room that’s priced at the bottom rung of your budget, as priority is often given to return customers or those booking directly.
Ask the Right Questions
When booking your room, ask pointed questions to get the best experience. For example, asking if the hotel has recently been renovated could let you know that rooms on a particular span of floors are newly outfitted with upscale amenities. If you’re a nonsmoker, make sure to tell the clerk, and ask whether the entire floor is dedicated to nonsmoking rooms. Or you may mention that you’re a light sleeper and learn that the groundfloor beachfront rooms are within earshot of the early beach-side aerobics class.
If you get to your room and something isn’t right, talk to the front desk right away. Remember, the person manning the desk didn’t personally cause the problem, but he or she usually has the power to fix it. So be friendly but firm. The best approach is to clearly state the problem and propose a solution that would make you happy. And be sure to ask for the clerk’s name — accountability does wonders for getting things done.
It Never Hurts to Ask
From Wi-fi access to drinks and meals, there any many small amenities that hotel staff has the power to discount or give to guests at no charge. Sometimes simply asking for a discount on these services is enough to get one, but you never know unless you try. Some services are offered at discounted rates at the time of booking, such as adding on a breakfast option.
Be Vocal about the Good Things
Be sure to let hotel staff know when they do things right, rather than simply complain when they go wrong. Give a generous tip to the bellhop, speak with the manager to explain how the concierge went out of his or her way to help, or simply chat with the bartender. If you’re friendly and complimentary about the things you love, the staff will often go out of its way to make it even better.