It’s the little things that can make all the difference for a weary traveller.
But you don’t need to check in to five-star hotels for thoughtful touches that make your stay more memorable.
From Hyde Park to Hong Kong, these are the surprising and welcoming extras some hotels are offering guests – often for free.
Few travellers have escaped the dreaded phone bill shock after exceeding their roaming allowance. So how about a free smartphone to ease your mind? Hotels in destinations like Hong Kong and Bali are catering to our modern tech needs by loaning phones for guest use.
Check into the Silka Seaview Hotel in Kowloon, for example, and your complimentary Freedy smartphone includes unlimited 4G internet access, local and international calls to selected countries (including Australia), personal hotspot sharing and a Hong Kong Tourist Guide.
The art-filled Cordis in Mongkok offers free smart phones as well as a rooftop pool and spectacular views.
Unless you’ve recently won Lotto, an $8 packet of mini-bar chips can leave you feeling salty.
So brace yourself – there is such a thing as a free mini-bar. Well, almost.
Rooms at the Red Brighton Blue boutique guesthouse in England are choc-full of complimentary confectionary, chilled cans of diet soft drink and a generous array of tea, coffee and hot chocolate sachets.
Tall jugs of cold water and OJ upon check-in to The Caesar Hotel in London might seem like a small gesture. But when you’ve battled the Tube for an hour and a half from Heathrow in a heatwave, before lugging your bags along roadworks-laden streets, a jug of water can nearly conjure tears.
Back at Heathrow, the Moxy Hotel offers a plate of free pastries and croissants at reception, while the Hotel Sultania serves up a delight in Istanbul, Turkey. Not only is there a welcome drink, but a tray of Turkish delights on a copper platter in the room.
The cheery chaps behind the front desk (it always seems to be chaps manning the desk in Turkey) will even provide a tasty takeaway breakfast pack for early flights.
Get lit up!
Terrified about getting locked out in the hotel corridor – naked or close to it – in the middle of the night when nature calls? Yes, it does happen.
But with sensor lights under your bed at the Moxy Hotel and Stamford Plaza in Adelaide, you’ll never mistake the front door for the bathroom again.
Be careful what you ask for
The Novotel in Melbourne’s South Wharf keeps a firm eye on social media, and on occasion responds to complaints – and compliments – with fruit baskets and room upgrades.
The same hotel also erected a cardboard cut-out of Ryan Gosling in a guest’s room after she jokingly requested a visit from the movie star in the ‘special requests’ section when booking.
Cut the queue
There’s little more irritating about travel than queues. Queues for airport security, queues for customs, queues for castles, queues for cabs … it can be a never-ending frustration. But the rise of the ‘express checkout’ – aka, throwing your room key in a bowl – can be a godsend at hotel reception when you are rushing for a flight.
Airing your dirty laundry
Much like the mini-bar, the cost of getting your clothes laundered in-house can trigger a nose-bleed.
But on the Greek island of Hydra, boutique guest houses like Pension Erofili treat you like part of the family.
The owners take home bundles of dirty washing at no cost, due to the absence of a laundromat on the island. One kind-hearted hotelier even patched up a ripped skirt after a guest struggled to find a local seamstress.
How to find extras
Read the hotel website’s fine print to find extras like laundry deals, free food and drinks, free smart phones, included breakfasts or club access – both health club and executive – which can include great value.