You Probably Had No Idea You Can Ask The Hotel For These Freebies

A hotel acts as a home away from home for travelers, a place of refuge and respite when they explore new locales or reconnect with old ones. Like homes, hotels are designed to make you feel comfortable, safe, and secure. Properties work hard to ensure that guests are happy; after all, a content customer is a repeat customer. While hotels can accomplish this through the standard amenities of a clean, spacious room and polite, professional service, they can also make your stay memorable in other ways. It could be something as simple as an employee calling you by name or remembering how you like your pillows arranged on the bed. It could also be the free things they offer, items that, perhaps, guests don't know are available on a complimentary basis.


These small tokens are not only nice perks but can sometimes be unexpected necessities — travelers often forget to pack items when going on a trip, and the convenience of having the hotel offer them is a welcome gesture. According to a survey by travel size item supplier Minimus, almost one-fifth of respondents forget their toothbrush when they travel. While some free items that hotels allow guests to borrow or take — like complimentary hotel breakfasts, umbrellas, extra soap, pens and stationery, and basic slippers — are common knowledge, other supplies might surprise you.

Toiletries and hygiene products

Guests commonly bring the small bars of soap in bathrooms home with them; don't worry – hotels assume you will pilfer these items and factor the loss into the room price. However, you have access to other complimentary toiletries during your stay. Simply call or stop by the front desk, and a property can provide a host of additional items that might not seem obvious at first. 


The hotel has other toiletries beyond the oft-requested toothbrushes and toothpaste that visitors might need or prefer not to pack because of the strict liquid rules enforced at airports. Want a disposable razor and shaving foam but don't want to schlep out to a drug store or supermarket in an unfamiliar destination? How about lip balm or deodorant? Hotels can even supply feminine hygiene products, which are easy to overlook during the packing process but can be essential during a stay.

Hair tools

A person with long hair can never have enough hair accessories. That might explain why some individuals wear hair ties on their wrists, a way to combine pragmatism with sartorial panache. You may need to tie up your hair during a vacation — maybe on a boat ride, at a dinner, or when heading down to the beach — and you know that a hair band will do the trick. And yet, you can't find one anywhere. Luckily, some hotels will supply one in a jiffy.


Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, which has 71 properties all over the globe, offers free hair bands to guests. In addition, it can lend you hair straightening and curling tools, as well as top-of-the-range hair dryers, so getting your locks to hang perfectly should be a breeze. Other amenities at the hotel chain that will help guests ensure that they look like a million dollars are a make-up mirror, nail clippers, and nail files. Free tape for temporary wardrobe malfunctions will iron out any issues with your clothes.

Body pillows

One of the most indulgent aspects of a hotel room is the proliferation and plumpness of the pillows. Guests will find them propped up at the head of a bed, sometimes appearing as a patchwork of different-sized cushions. Some hotels will let guests tailor their combination of pillows through a pillow menu, with up to 10 options available. For example, At Westin Grand Frankfurt, choices include a bamboo pillow, an anti-snoring pillow, and the cooling cherry pit pillow.


But for a sense of comfort and reassurance, no pillow matches the body pillow's quiet potency. An excellent accessory for people who sleep on their sides, a body pillow is enjoyable to snuggle up to and helps with the spine's alignment. To further enhance your sleep, check with the front desk at your chosen accommodation about whether it can supply an eye mask, earplugs, or a white-noise machine, as some hotels do.

The room you want

Visit any hotel booking site, and you'll notice that a property will have a range of room categories. They start from the entry-level type, the cheapest option, and then get bigger and pricier. The room types are demarcated by name, with labels like junior king suite, garden superior double queen, oceanview queen, overwater bungalow, etc. Typically, when you make a reservation, you book a unit within a category, not a specific room within the hotel. Since there tend to be multiple rooms within a property across each category, you will only get your actual room and room number when you check in.


If two guests reserve a standard king, one might have a city view, and the other might look onto an interior air shaft, yet both count as the same type of room. Rooms in the same category can be on a higher floor or a lower floor; they can be near the elevator or a long walk away from it. They can sit in the core of the building or at the corner. You should ask for the one that best suits your needs or your traveling style at check-in. However, you can increase your chances of getting the room you want if you call before arriving, ideally shortly after making the reservation.

Laundry bags

While a hotel might be a home away from home, some things are clearly different. Having fresh towels daily, for instance, is one stark contrast. So is having someone make your bed every day, a household dream come true. Hotels don't typically have self-service laundry facilities that guests can use. They will launder a visitor's clothes for a charge—although chains like Candlewood Suites offer free laundry — but some might prefer to do their own laundry during the stay.


You might notice a laundry bag in a closet, often a large plastic variety with the hotel's logo on it. This bag isn't only for clothes you want to have laundered but can also be used to keep your dirty duds separate from the clean ones. The bags are free for travelers to take with them. Note, though, that if the bags are made of fabric or look in any way expensive, they probably aren't freebies. If there are no laundry bags in your room closet, you can typically get one with a quick call to the front desk, guest relations, or housekeeping department. These bags are handy for repacking your bags in preparation for checkout and ensuring your dirty laundry doesn't get aired within the suitcase.

A bicycle

Exploring a place by foot is a sound way to get under the fabric of the destination, but it's also time-consuming. Getting around by bicycle replicates the low-impact, high-connection experience of walking but allows a traveler to see and do more in a day. Bike rentals are a common service in many cities across the United States and beyond. But bicycle operations aren't always conveniently located, sometimes situated quite a distance from the hotel. Thankfully, a number of properties in the country offer guests free bike rentals.


Not only is this a user-friendly amenity — you don't have to travel across town to pick up the bike — it's also wallet-friendly. In Seattle, the Belltown Inn has a fleet of two-wheelers and supplies locks and helmets alongside them. At Ambassador Chicago, guests have two free hours on the hotel's bikes, enough time to pedal down to the Navy Pier or iconic Cloud Gate sculpture and back. In New York, several properties provide bikes for customers to use. The Arlo Midtown offers day passes for guests to use a Citi Bike, the bike-sharing network with stations all over the Big Apple.

Plug adapters and phone chargers

All sockets, plugs, and voltages across the globe would be the same in a perfect world. That way, you would never have to worry about travel adapters and current transformers. As anyone who has traveled overseas will know, not having the right adapter for an electronic gizmo can spell disaster. It can render a piece of finely tuned, highly calibrated machinery utterly useless with supreme, cold-hearted efficiency. It can also quickly deflate your mood, knowing you won't be able to recharge your laptop, portable razor, or smartphone, for example, and create a logistical headache.


Thankfully, hotels will stock adapters, so borrow one during your stay to ensure your electronics continue to have juice. This inventory also extends to phone charging cables, which are easy to leave behind. How many people have rushed out of their homes and left their phone charging cable behind? Contact the front desk for a backup cable if you haven't packed an electronics organizer for your vacation and need some power.

Gym equipment

For active travelers, continuing their exercise routine even while on vacation is critical. Some will pack their running shoes and hit the streets. Others will head to the hotel gym for a regular workout. But some people like to work out privately, in a home gym, for instance, away from the public eye. Thanks to another surprising freebie, they can recreate that sense of privacy even in a hotel room. 


Hotels recognize the desire of some guests to exercise in their rooms, which is why they've made it easy to do just that. Among the amenities a property can provide a client are yoga mats, balancing blocks, and workout bands. That way, they can perfect their downward dog or work on their arm toning comfortably and quietly. Better yet, they can ask the front desk for a massage gun, a goodie that Westin Hotels and Resorts provides guests, to ease their sore, post-workout muscles.

Baby accessories

For parents of babies, taking your youngster on a trip is sure to be a logistical nightmare. From bringing the right clothing to packing enough diapers, from the small accessories that have become an intrinsic part of the baby's daily life to an infant carrier and stroller, it requires a lot of items and equipment. There is a great deal to think about and a lot to pack when you have a baby in tow. Luckily, you may be able to leave behind the portable crib or the pack-and-play, depending on where you stay. 


Under a program called "Hyatt Has It," Hyatt hotels can supply a host of items for parents traveling with their progeny. And these aren't restricted to very young kids. Among the objects that Hyatt will lend guests are cribs, booster seats for cars, high chairs for eating, and even games for children a little older. At Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, amenities also include covers for outlets, night lights, and toilet latches.

A glass of wine

At the end of a long day exploring a destination, there's nothing quite like finding a comfortable seat, kicking back, having a calming drink, and taking in what you've achieved in the preceding hours. Some hotels can assist in that relaxation process with a complimentary glass or two of wine, a drink that many travelers find helps them decompress. During wine hour, often held in the lobby, guests are treated to a bit of vino. It's a way for the hotel to show its appreciation to guests for their business and a persuasive method for getting customers together to create a sense of community.


Triumph Hotels, which has six hotels in New York City, holds a wine hour at one or more of its hotels every weekday evening from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. At Kimpton La Peer Hotel in West Hollywood, the daily wine hour also takes place from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. And at White House Napa, in the heart of California wine country, guests can enjoy free bike rentals and a daily wine hour that comes with a sense of place.

Car and shuttle service

There's a convenience to having a car when on vacation, either your own vehicle or a rental. With a car, you have the freedom to go to places not easily accessible by public transport, and you can go when you want. But having a vehicle can also be a headache. You have to worry about damage to the car, parking costs, fines for flouting traffic rules in an unfamiliar place, and then there is also the additional cost of a rental. For anyone who prefers not to bring a car, some hotels offer car services that can be a real bonus to the trip.


The cars are usually on standby, ready to take guests anywhere within a short radius of the hotel for free. It's a great option if you are dressed up and need to go somewhere in the surrounding neighborhood but don't want to walk, like going out for dinner or an event close to the property. In New York City, the St. Regis and Baccarat Hotel are a couple of properties that can shuttle guests around the environs in a luxury car. Cities like Chicago, Kansas City, Orlando, and many more have free shuttles to hotels, though these properties tend to be near the airport. In the case of Orlando, some hotels also provide a free shuttle to Walt Disney World, taking the driving and parking annoyances out of the equation


Shoe shine and sewing kits

Some things you can plan for and pack accordingly. Others catch you by surprise. Needing a shoe shine or sewing kit isn't something that you'd probably think about when on vacation. But, if you are on a trip and find yourself requiring a shoe shine kit or a needle and thread, chances are that you really need it right now. Suddenly, at that moment in time, something inconsequential becomes a vital, indispensable item. These two things aren't items you see in many shops, so finding them isn't as easy as it might seem.


While not all hotels offer them, some do; all it takes is a call to the front desk to get one. Also, bear in mind that these are handy kits to have on your travels, even if you don't need one during your stay there and then, so why not stock up? And for guests that prefer not to shine their shoes themselves, properties like the Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street, in Boston, will shine them overnight for free, and have them ready, spick and span, in the morning.

Walking tours

Learning about a destination's history, folklore, and architecture can be done using a book or a travel guide. But to bring all that background to life, a walking tour is a fantastic option, a way to immerse yourself in the deep knowledge in real life. Though it's not a standard hotel service, some properties offer guests a free walking tour.


In New York, The Pod Hotels has teamed up with Streetwise New York Tours to offer complimentary slots on sojourns that wander around the Upper West Side, Brooklyn Heights, Central Park, Lower Manhattan, and more. Triumph Hotels also works with the same tour operator for walks around the areas surrounding each of its hotels. For visitors to Chicago, a stay at Acme comes with the chance to take part in the free Saturday walking tour. Guests assemble at the hotel lobby at 10 a.m., though non-guests are welcome to join the fun.

Dog treats

The boom in pet-friendly properties isn't confined to big cities. People traveling with a pet can book a room that allows cats and dogs to stay in large metro areas like Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Dallas, as well as even smaller locations. Farmington, Missouri, a town of less than 20,000 residents, for example, has five pet-friendly hotels, according to BringFido. 


Some hotels might already offer a doggie bag filled with treats as part of a welcome to guests with four-legged company. But even if they don't, they can provide them for free if you ask. The Alexandrian in Virginia will supply dog beds, bowls, and treats to visitors with a pooch. Visitors should note that hotels typically charge a fee to bring a pet into the hotel, which goes toward ensuring that the room gets a thorough cleaning for the next guest. The rest of the amenities are gratis.

Snorkeling gear

Going on a vacation to a tropical resort, especially near a stunning snorkeling destination, is an exciting prospect. The sun, sea, and relaxing beach allow visitors to decompress, while snorkeling lets them embark upon a voyage of discovery. But lugging around snorkeling gear can be a pain and can also take up a lot of space. It's especially problematic if you only travel with carry-on luggage — a set of fins can fill the entire suitcase.


If your resort is near a good snorkeling spot, it may have snorkeling gear you can borrow without having to pay a fee. This cost-effective option also frees up valuable luggage space. Hotels near and far offer this amenity, from the Garza Blanca Preserve Resort and Spa in Puerto Vallarta to Matai Polynesia Bora Bora. However, if you're planning a trip to the Caribbean, we suggest the essential hack of bringing your own mask and snorkel if space permits.