By Christine Sarkis
Add this to your list of Golden Rules of travel: You don’t get what you don’t ask for. Hotels don’t necessarily offer all they have to give, so it’s up to travelers to know what’s available. Ask and you can receive everything from workout gear and kids’ toys to vegan toiletries and flat irons. Even better, if you know what to expect in advance, you can trim your packing list and borrow upon arrival. Now that’s what we call smarter travel.
Nightlights. Super Glue. Fashion tape. Collar stays. Welcome to Kimpton’s magical lending closet. The Forgot It We Got It program offers both the standards (dental floss, mouthwash, etc.) and other items that you may not even know you need until you suddenly need them urgently (for instance, Super Glue). Extension cords, stain-remover wipes, even re-sealable plastic travel bags solve problems of all kinds for guests in need.
Photo: Candlewood Suites
Candlewood Suites focuses on the extended-stay experience, so it makes perfect sense that its Lending Locker is geared a little less to forgotten toiletries and more to the comforts of home away from home. The locker is stocked with items like reading lamps, board games, small kitchen appliances, and even hand tools. The initial pilot program was such a success that now, all Candlewood Suites have Lending Lockers, stocked and ready for guests in search of crockpots, desk fans, and Monopoly.
Photo: Conrad Hotels & Resorts
Whether you’ve got sensitive skin, prefer certain brands, or simply don’t like the scent of the default toiletries in your room, Conrad Hotels has you covered. They offer all guests a range of toiletries brands, including Tara Smith Vegan Hair Care, Aromatherapy Associates, Shanghai Tang, and geared-to-men Refinery. According to Roys Laux, vice president of marketing for Gilchrist & Soames, many hotel brands are expanding their toiletries offerings, though guests often have to know to ask in order to sample them. This is good news, particularly for guests looking for “clean” products. Laux says, “Hotels have largely adopted the ‘good for you, good for the Earth’ mindset that is so prevalent now, meaning that having products readily available for environmentally conscious guests has become a necessity.”
No longer will hotel guests in the know have to settle for bad television. Marriott has just debuted a partnership with Netflix that allows guests to sign in (or sign up) to their Netflix accounts on the hotel’s Internet-connected guest room televisions. By the end of the year, Marriott will offer in-room streaming Netflix at 100 hotels, and plans to offer it at nearly every property by the end of 2016. Wondering if your Marriott is one of the first hotels to debut service? Ask.
If you are a forgetful person who travels a lot, you should consider a close relationship with Hyatt. Its Hyatt Has It program offers an impressive list of complimentary items to borrow. In addition to the standards such as mouthwash, sewing kits, and combs; you can call for deodorants, hairspray, lint rollers, nail polish remover, sanitary products, and makeup remover. Hyatt also has you covered on laundry soap, baby shampoo, curling and flat irons, free weights, humidifiers, power adapters, steamers, tea kettles, yoga mats, and more. Really, there’s more.
If you’re the type of traveler who has to try every pillow in your hotel room just to find the least uncomfortable option, the Pillow Menu at W Hotels is your dream come true. Designed for princes and princesses in the pea who just don’t sleep as well without a great pillow, the Pillow Menu program is part of W Privileges, a set of comfort- and convenience-oriented offerings. Simply make your request to receive a body pillow, neck roll, firm foam PrimaLoft pillow, or 100 percent goose-down feather pillow.
More from Smarter Travel:
WATCH: Flying Singapore Airlines In First Class For an Hour Ruined My Life