Cover image for Hotel secrets from the Travel Detective : insider tips on getting the best value, service, and security in accomodations from bed-and-breakfasts to five-star resorts
Hotel secrets from the Travel Detective : insider tips on getting the best value, service, and security in accomodations from bed-and-breakfasts to five-star resorts
Greenberg, Peter.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Villard, [2004]

Physical Description:
xii, 291 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX907 .G659 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
TX907 .G659 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Travel

On Order



Indispensable information for away-from-home lodging, from the author of the New York Times bestseller The Travel Detective

In Hotel Secrets from the Travel Detective , America's best-known and most trusted travel authority reveals the insider knowledge that can make every hotel stay as comfortable as (and sometimes even more cost-efficient than) home. With his incomparable access and nose for news, Peter Greenberg shares the secrets that people who know hotels--managers, maids, reservation clerks, bellhops, chefs, and maintenance guys--don't want you to know about value, service, safety, security, and cleanliness. Tips include:

* How to tell if your room is really clean
* What never to order from room service
* The real way to prevent hotel crime
* How to beat excessive hotel phone charges
* The exact rooms where headline-making events took place

Drawn from the author's experiences as both an investigative reporter and a constant traveler, Hotel Secrets from the Travel Detective is an essential guide to everything from luxury resorts to motels, from airport hotels and bed-and-breakfasts to outrageous (and often secret) alternatives to hotels.

Author Notes

Peter Greenberg in the travel editor for NBC's Today show, the chief correspondent for the Dicover Network's Travel Channel, and editor at large for National Geographic Traveler magazine.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Today show travel editor Greenberg (The Travel Detective) is determined to get travelers the best hotel rooms and perks for the least amount of money, whether they're staying at a Holiday Inn or a Ritz-Carlton. His advice covers everything from how to tip, snag a nice room and make friends with the concierge to ordering room service and childproofing a room. His advice is a choppy mix of the valuable (e.g., a hotel's Web site isn't always the best place to find the lowest rate), the commonsensical (e.g., beware the charges that may be incurred for merely opening a mini bar), the gutsy (e.g., ask if there's a handicapped-accessible room available when arriving at a hotel-even if you're not handicapped-since those rooms are larger), the far-fetched (e.g., if room service won't bring a specific dish, call the hotel dining room and ask them to deliver what you want via room service) and the paranoid (e.g., hotels that have in-room safes aren't trustworthy). All the same, Greenberg's chatty humor and use of detailed anecdotes will be appreciated by both jet-setters and those just beginning their travels Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

Travel editor of the Today show, Greenberg (The Travel Detective) shares the inside scoop on how to get the best room rates-not necessarily on the Internet-and avoid the many pitfalls of hotel lodging. He tells scary stories about hidden fees, theft, dirty rooms, and other difficulties and introduces readers to the best person to ask about hotel conditions (hint: it's not the manager). Some of the more useful chapters include "What the Housekeepers Won't Tell You," "What the Concierge Won't Tell You," and "The Truth About Stars and Diamonds." Though entertaining, "Rooms with a Past" serves no practical purpose. The last chapter covers additional resources, such as hotels for the disabled and frequent-stay programs. The level of detail will overwhelm infrequent travelers, though it might be useful for those who use hotels often; bed-and-breakfasts and motels get scant coverage. While certainly illuminating, this expos? might deter people from ever setting foot in a hotel again.-George M. Jenks, Bucknell Univ., Lewisburg, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



CHAPTER 1   My Life in Hotels     People travel for the same reason as they collect works of art: because the best people do it.   --Aldous Huxley   I have been traveling and staying in hotels since I was six months old. I've stayed--and, some might argue, I have lived--in hotels most of my adult life. At the very least, hotels could be considered my second home, and certain ones qualify me for near permanent residence status.   My official residence is Los Angeles, but in the past three years, I have spent an average of forty-seven nights a year there, few of them even consecutive. I have made the acquaintance of some of my neighbors in Los Angeles, but I know all of the bell and front desk staff at the Mark Hotel and Essex House hotels in New York, the Athenaeum in London, the Regent and the Oriental in Bangkok. When I check into these hotels, the staff often greets me by saying, "Welcome home." I feel at home in hotels.   Indeed, hotels are where we live much of our personal history. In nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, so many of the modern mythical heroes eventually turn up at one of the great hotels. Murders, love affairs, business intrigue, and political negotiations, ranging from acts of war to declarations of surrender, happen at hotels. The players include arms merchants and divas, journalists and boxers, traveling salesmen like Willy Loman, and real-life characters like Ernest Hemingway. Each has his or her own special relationship with hotels.   Hotels evolved as transportation options grew, and the types of hotels became as distinct as the fast-changing and different types of people who started to visit them. Butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers--as well as the owners of their businesses--came to stay.   Small inns were eclipsed by skyscrapers like the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, railroad hotels in Canada dwarfed the terminals they served, and a new form of grand hotel architecture was accelerated by the appearance of hotels like the Savoy in London and the Ritz in Paris. It's been argued that the grand hotel was one of the great innovations of the Industrial Revolution--a visible reflection and a symbol of an elevated society, as much seduced by service as demanding of it.   With every grand hotel came not only pomp and circumstance but a sense of entitlement. If you were in the lobby, you presumably had reason to be there. If you actually had a room at the hotel, you belonged. Joan Didion once wrote that "great hotels have always been social ideas, flawless mirrors to the particular societies they service." And that same sense of entitlement and service endures today.   Hotels still loom larger than life to me. One of the first books I read was Kay Thompson's Eloise, which allowed me to fantasize about the wonderful exploits of this marvelous child who lived at the Plaza Hotel in New York. I remember my first visit to the Plaza, when all I could do was look up because it was the biggest thing I'd ever seen. I felt privileged to be there--and one reason was that my mother told me I was privileged to be there.   A hotel is much more than simply bricks and mortar housing bedrooms. It is a living, breathing entity, a welcoming edifice where the front door is never locked. "You must suspend reality when you are in a hotel," says Jon Tisch, CEO of the Loews hotels, "because you are placing your trust and safety in the hands of others."   The hotel concept is a fairly recent one. In colonial Boston, travelers found rest not in hotels or motels, but at local taverns and inns. Since women rarely took to the road in those days, colonial men generally frequented these roadside taverns. They slept in rustic bedrooms--often sharing beds--after spending considerable time drinking pints of beer. These taverns were centers for male bonding and conversation, and, in periods of unrest or revolution, they were the hubs for secret political meetings.   As these precursors to the modern hotel developed beyond simple taprooms, they began to be known as "houses"--a gentler title for a much-improved environment. During the second quarter of the nineteenth century, an increasing number of travelers arrived in Boston by coach or ship, and lodging and dining houses proliferated throughout the city, many bearing patriotic names such as the American House, the Shawmut, the Adams, the Revere House. Boston's resident houses became so genteel--and, sometimes, so luxurious--that even ladies were ably accommodated.   MOST EXPENSIVE HOTEL ROOM:         The world's most expensive hotel room is the Imperial Suite at the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland, which can be reserved for the princely sum of $33,000 per night. The suite, which is accessed by a private elevator, takes up an entire floor of the Starwood Luxury Collection hotel. It has bulletproof windows and doors and four bedrooms, all of which overlook Lake Geneva. The master bedroom boasts a dressing room and a study. The oval mahogany table in the dining room seats twenty-six guests, and the living room contains a billiards table, a cocktail lounge, and a library.     SECOND PLACE GOES TO:         The Royal Suite at the Grand Resort Lagonissi in Athens, Greece. For $25,600 a night, guests get an indoor pool, a steam room, a sauna, a dining room, a private massage room, a private business center, and a private dock.     THIRD PLACE GOES TO:         The Bridge Suite at the Atlantis in the Bahamas. For a mere $25,000 a night, guests get a bar lounge, an entertainment center, a kitchen, and the services of a butler.     Today, of course, the numbers of and the demographics for hotels are as staggering as they are different. In the past decade, there has been unprecedented growth in the hotel business. In 1990 there were a reported 2.5 million hotel/motel guest rooms in the United States. The most recent room census indicates that the total now exceeds 4.4 million rooms.       HIGHEST-ALTITUDE HOTEL:         The Everest View Hotel above Namche, Nepal--the village closest to Everest base camp--is at a record thirteen thousand feet above sea level.     Baby boomers (age 35 to 54) generate more travel than any other age group in the United States, registering more than 241 million trips last year. Many baby boomer travelers spend a substantial amount on their trips--14 percent pay $1,000 or more for a vacation, excluding the cost of transportation. People in this group are also more likely to stay in hotels or motels, travel for business, and fly to their destinations.   The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reports that at any given hour, there are sixty-one thousand people airborne over the United States, and a majority of them are headed for a hotel when they land. Thousands more travel by car to their destinations, which, more often than not, include hotels. In fact, on an average day the travel industry sells 2.5 million hotel rooms.       NORTHERNMOST HOTEL:         The world's most northerly hotel is the Svalbard Polar Hotel (now known as the Radisson SAS Polar Hotel) in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, at a latitude of 78°13′N.     If recent history and experience are any indication, by the time we get to the front desk of any hotel, we've already been abused by the airline travel experience to such an extent that we arrive feeling either like refugees not wanting to be beaten anymore or like Rambo on a mission--and taking no prisoners.   At that point, many hotel executives fail to see that they are in an enviable position: they have the power to completely turn things around and make it not only better for their guests, but truly memorable.   Of course, most don't seize that opportunity, and that's what this book is all about: how to have a memorable hotel experience. It reveals the inside process of hotels, their design, and the obstacles to having a good stay. In short, this book teaches you the finesse you need to improve your hotel experience--to not only perceive but also receive value. Believe it or not, this is not only possible--it is doable, virtually every time you travel and stay in a hotel.   I wrote the first Travel Detective book (The Travel Detective: How to Get the Best Services and the Best Deals from Airlines, Hotels, Cruise Ships, and Car Rental Agencies, Random House, 2001) as a sort of manifesto and inside guide to beating the airlines (and, yes, some hotels) at their own game, playing by their rules. But in recent years, there's been an unfortunate trend, as many hotels apparently follow the airline model of customer service, turning the hotel experience into a commodity.   I contend that there has been a paradigm change in the way we travel and in the expectations we have when we travel. First, travel is no longer about just the destination, it's also about the experience. In fact, for many of us, the destination has become incidental to the experience. That experience is the focus of this book.   Perhaps it's more useful to describe what this book is not about. It's not about just the price of hotel rooms and how to get a great deal. Rather, it helps you avoid the frustrations involved in the process of first finding and then staying in a hotel--and it helps you maximize the value of your stay once you are there, especially in terms of service.   Excerpted from Hotel Secrets from the Travel Detective: Insider Tips on Getting the Best Value, Service, and Security in Accommodations from Bed-and-Breakfasts to Five-Star Resorts by Peter Greenberg All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.