Room service in hotels is a convenient feature that allows for the utmost privacy and comfort during your stay. Simply imagine: you have just checked in at your hotel after a long-haul flight, the onsite restaurant is already closed, and you are jet-lagged and hungry. Luckily, an increasing number of hospitality establishments are offering 24 hour availability so that guests staying in the hotel may order food to be delivered to their room any time of the day or night. Despite the price, it is highly likely that many travellers will request this service at least once during a short stay, because nobody will keep great memories of the early morning breakfast buffet, but what about the late breakfast in bed or the lazy rainy days without leaving your fancy hotel room? In most cases, ordering room service in a hotel is totally worth the price.
That being said, do you know how to be polite and ensure you will get your message across, which is particularly important in order for them to cook exactly what you want and how you want it? Bear in mind that the larger the hotel you are staying at, the greater the demand for food delivery they will have, as well as that the kitchen staff will be cooking your meal expressly for you, so be kind and patient. In any case, you will be informed of the estimated waiting time when you call or place your order via tablet.
How to order room service at the hotel
Needless to say, you should always say “please” and “thank you”, and use expressions like “I’ll have” or “I’d like” if you are using the English language or their equivalents in the language used. Picture yourself dining at a fine restaurant as a reference.
Let them know your room number; sometimes they already know when you call, but confirming it never hurts and it may avoid confusion.
When ordering, mention the codes of each dish instead of reading the whole description aloud; this will save precious time and help staff by using their working method. Then, simply add “without mayonnaise” or “without egg” (by way of example) and make sure you inform them about any allergies or specific dietary needs you have.
The hotel room service phone call generally ends with the person on the other end telling you how long you will need to wait (approximately); if they forget, ask them so that you can be ready to open the door. Also, understand that during peak hours (those when they serve the main meals of the day) waiting times may be longer.
When the waiter delivers the room service tray to your room, check that all the delivered items are all right and sign the receipt that will normally be added to your final bill, to be paid upon checkout. The tip for room service is sometimes already included in the price, while other times you will have to decide whether you should leave a tip or not. To make this clearer, you can read our post about Tipping etiquette in hotels.
Once you have finished, the most polite way to return the cart to the hotel staff is by calling the front desk to tell them you are about to leave it outside your room. Then they will let room service know so that they can remove it as soon as possible.
All this process, however, is significantly simplified by some hotels that put in-room tablet devices at the guests’ disposal, which –among other features- offer the possibility to order room service from a digital screen without talking to anyone, submitting all your specifications in great detail and even paying for it in advance using your credit card info, just like in a fast-food restaurant self-order kiosk.
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