If you only go away for a few days occasionally there is so much that you take for granted and never even think to ask about. Here are a few questions I wish had asked when booking.
You just assume that hotels have car parks, but town centre ones often do not. There is usually one nearby and the hotel will tell you about this, but only after you have booked. At best it is inconvenient having to carry your luggage further at worst it could be a substantial extra cost.
Disabled parking spaces may be limited to just one or two. If this is an issue that might affect you then be sure to ask.
Hotel websites never say “Not including breakfast” or “Breakfast extra”. They might use phrases like “Room Rate” which basically means you are paying just for the beds.
Even if the literature mentions breakfast, do not assume it is the breakfast you are used to. It could just be a bread roll and a pot of coffee, rather than the rashers and eggs that you were expecting.
You would think that for the price of a pint of milk that hotels would offer you a choice of full-fat, low-fat and skimmed milk. In Ireland and the UK they don’t. If you want skimmed milk take some with you.
En-Suite bathrooms have become the norm and we don’t even think about it any longer, but there are hotels that do not have bathrooms built into each room. They never say “No en-suite” of course; you just get a nasty surprise when you arrive.
You might have had a shower every day of your life, but many hotels only have an over-bath shower rather than a walk in one. This can be an issue if one of your group has limited mobility and cannot climb into a bath.
Always ask if there is a wedding party booked in. If there is then your access to the bar and public areas of the hotel will be limited. The bar may be theoretically open to everyone, but you will feel an outsider in a room full of wedding guests. Public lounge areas are usually used for the reception, or at least as an overflow area and your quiet weekend away turns into a nightmare.
Weddings also make parking very difficult and the staff will be fully stretched, so service to non-wedding party guests will be below standard.
Hotels never see the fact that they have a wedding group booked even as an issue that you might be interested in. You will only find out when you actually arrive to find the hotel reception area decked out in ribbons and flowers.
So many hotels offer free wi-fi as standard you will often find that there has been a recent upgrade. Check that it is free and check that it is working; specifically ask when you arrive whether your room has wi-fi.
When you arrive at your room, switch on your computer or phone and check that there really is a wi-fi network that you can log onto. Sometimes there will be a network but the router is not connected to the Internet.
Most hotels will move you to a different room that has a better network connection if they have one available, just be sure to ask before you get too settled in.
Mobile Phone Reception
If there is no wifi network then you can use your own mifi device to connect laptops and tablets to the Internet if there is good 3G network coverage. Make sure that you ask about mobile network coverage when you book. Some rooms will have better reception on particular networks than others and the hotel staff usually know all the peculiarities of the different rooms.