Few places do luxury lodgings like Las Vegas. In fact, Vegas trails just behind New York City for having the second-highest number of top-tier hotels in the country. This should come as no surprise given the 40 million visitors that stay in Sin City every year. But even the most seasoned travelers are bound to have questions, such as whether it is better to book at an independent or chain hotel, if (and how much) to tip staff and what rooms are best?
The following is a quick dive into the aforementioned questions and other interesting (and likely surprising) hotel tips everyone needs to know. Especially before booking their next Las Vegas vacation.
- Stars aren't exactly an indication of quality. Quality here means the cleanliness of the room. In contrast to popular thought, a five-star hotel does not unilaterally denote the crème de la crème or finest lodgings imaginable. Rather, stars are almost always used to denote the amount of guest services and amenities a hotel may have, such as fitness center, indoor pool and hot food room service.
- Stars are an indication of how much a tip you should leave. While overall the practice of tipping appears to be fading out (even upstart restaurants are focusing on phasing it out), housekeeping staff should remain on your must-tip list. For one and two-star hotels the tip decision is yours, but for the rest, consider daily tipping of at least $5 at three-star hotels, $10 at four-star hotels and $20 at five-star hotels.
- Independent hotels tend to be more guest-oriented. Where chain hotels have certain brand standards and rates that must be adhered to, independent hotels are more flexible. They are more likely to drop rates when requested, prioritize what an individual guest wants over brand standards, and feature a more unique design layout and style.
- Remember the 30 percent. If you are calling a hotel to request a reduced rate, it's important to know many hotels will pay up to a 30 percent commission to an online booking site. Keep this price window in mind when bargaining for a lower rate. Additionally, avoid calling the 1-800 reservation number for a chain hotel as this will likely send you to a central office with set rates that are non-negotiable. Instead, find the local number and call directly.
- You can upgrade from continental. While the phrase 'continental breakfast' may seem posh, the actuality of it often leaves much to be desired. The offerings are typically underwhelming pastries with bananas on the side, leaving you wishing you had upgraded to the breakfast buffet. But did you know you don't necessarily have to pay extra for that bacon and eggs? Upgrading to a hot breakfast often only requires putting in the request during booking. Simply ask whether hot breakfast is being served and if you can get that option rather than the standard continental.
The tips don't stop! Continue reading Part II soon. Also, if you're having trouble deciding between Downtown Las Vegas and the Strip for your next stay, take our fun quiz to see which suits you best.