When you arrive at a hotel, you must check-in at the reception or front desk. The check-in process can take awhile since the receptionist has to find your reservation, request payment for the room, and then inform you about the hotel's policies and procedures. You are also given a key to your room at this time.
Hotels often distinguish themselves by the services they offer. Fancy hotels often have a concierge or porter to help you with a variety of tasks. They can help you get a taxi, make reservations at restaurants or plays for you, and give you advice about the city. Often, this person is also in charge of the bellboys, who carry your luggage or baggage up to the room for you.
In smaller and cheaper hotels, the job of concierge is done by the receptionist and a doorman, who opens the hotel doors and car doors for you.
These are nice services, especially after you've been traveling, but they're not free. It is common courtesy to tip the concierge and bellboys each time they help you.
Other features that are generally found in hotels are a lift or elevator to take you up to the floor your room is on; a lounge area or lobby where you can wait if you arrive before the check-in time; and a safe where you can store valuables.
In your room, there may be a single or double bed, depending on how many people are staying there. There may even be two single beds, or twin beds. Also in the room are a desk, a dresser to store your clothes in, a nightstand with a lamp beside the bed, a television with cable, heating and air conditioning.
If you're lucky, there may even be a mini-bar in your room. This is a small refrigerator that has tiny bottles of alcohol, as well as snacks. But beware: these are not free. In fact, they typically cost two to three times as much as they do in a grocery store. But many people pay the exuberant price for the convenience of not having to leave the hotel.
Another convenience that hotels offer is room service. To order room service, you call down to the reception and ask for a food item listed on the hotel's menu. The food is then brought to your room for you to enjoy. Remember, this is another service that deserves a tip.
Many hotels also have restaurants attached where breakfast is served in the morning. A hotel breakfast can range from a Continental buffet, which consists of you helping yourself to food that has been laid out for you and other hotel guests. The Continental breakfast is not very elaborate and is often included in the price of the room. However, you can also order prepared food from the restaurant's menu.
At the proper check-out time, which is often early, you must vacate the room so that the maids, or cleaning staff, can clean the rooms and make the beds. If you don't leave on time, charges may apply and you will have to pay extra money. Fortunately, you can ask for a wake-up call from the front desk so you won't sleep through check-out
To get to your next destination, you can take an airport shuttle, which will take you directly to the airport. If a hotel doesn't have its own shuttle, it can usually arrange for one to pick you up at the hotel.