Frugal Traveler

Check out hotel amenities that make traveling easier

December 22, 2012 

Spa services and swimming pools may get most of the air time during amenity discussions, but the truth is there are other unsung heroes that make a huge difference for travelers. From lounges to laundry support, here are some of my favorite hotel perks.

Appliances: Depending on how tightly you book your schedule, it can take as little as one flight cancellation to derail your ability to stop off at home and switch clothing for a different climate. This happened to me while traveling from a snowy destination to a tropical one, quickly shooting in-room washers and dryers to the top of my short list of favorite travel amenities. The biking shorts and exercise shirt I packed for use in the fitness facility were able to serve as my daily outfit on the second leg of my trip, due to my ability to launder them every night in my suite.

Additionally, espresso machines are showing up in more and more hotel rooms these days as an alternative to basic drip coffee makers, and provide a stronger morning beverage option typically included with the cost of your nightly stay.

Moreover, microwaves have the potential to make a huge difference for those whose travel schedule forces them to dine outside traditional restaurant hours. Having a microwaveable veggie burrito from the grocery store stashed in your room’s refrigerator can sometimes mean the difference between eating and going hungry.

Hospitality: Luxury chains aren’t the only ones leveraging perks to lure travelers. Many mid-range hotels offer extra freebies for guests as well. For example, when my husband and I attended a recent conference, we noticed that not only were stocked fruit bowls available at the lobby desk, they were also available in the venue’s workout room, along with bottled water. Similarly, hospitality suites that stay open from morning through evening are a great perk, particularly when they include happy-hour snacks, wine tasting and extensive beverage options in addition to morning breakfast selections.

Some hotels even offer departure lounge access to paying guests, making the wait for international departures more comfortable. For example, the Graycliff hotel in Nassau makes its private airport lounge available free to guests who participate in certain vacation packages, and charge only a $15 fee for others, less than half of what airline lounges typically cost for a day’s access. The Sandals resorts also offer complimentary departure lounge access to patrons with afternoon departures and delayed flights, along with complimentary airport transfers.

Myscha Theriault

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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