Nowadays people travel on business and as tourists more than in the past. No businessman can avoid being a paying guest every now and then. In big cities there are a lot of good hotels. Accommodations as well as rates vary from hotel to hotel. There are deluxe hotels, the most luxurious and the most expensive, resort hotels used for entertainment or recreation. Still, if you do not want to get disappointed, it is advisable to book accommoda¬tion beforehand by fax or telephone, especially if you are visiting the town during the summer months. If you do not book accommodation beforehand, you may have to leave the hotel because it is fully booked up. That would be an unpleasant experience, especially if you arrived late at night.
Rooms in most hotels have all modern conveniences: central heating, air conditioning, bathroom, hairdryer, trouser press, telephone, satellite TV and others. Service is usually quite satisfactory. You can take a single room, a double room or a suite, charg¬es varying accordingly. If you can't stand the noise of the street, do not take an outside room, ask for an inside one.
Service is supposed to begin at the door. When your taxi stops at the entrance to the hotel the doorman and the bellboy help you with the luggage. The doorman is very important during the reception procedure. He is stationed at the entrance to the hotel and assists the guests in and out of taxis and cars, calls for cabs. In the lobby of a hotel there is a registration or front desk where the guests check in and out, pick up and deposit keys and so on. The guest is given a registration card to fill out the name and permanent address. The desk clerk or receptionist enters the guest’s room number, the room rate, and the arrival and departure dates into the computer. Then he asks the guest to sign his or her name.
When the guests are through with the formalities, the bellboy takes them and their luggage up in the lift and shows them to their room. He shows them where the light switches are and explains the use of the room appliances, such as the television set, cooking facilities, if any, and the air conditioning. He can also run errands for you. Now that you have been settled in a hotel room and have been given the key of it, you become a regular hotel guest.
At the hotel you can get various services. If you want to have your suit pressed or dry cleaned, your shirt ironed, or your laundry done, you should ring for the maid and she will see to it that everything is done. You can also have your meals served in your room.
In the lobby of a hotel there are a lot of offices: a booking office, post and telegraph offices, an information desk supervised by the concierge. At the information desk you can enquire about the depar¬tures and arrivals of trains and flights, about telephone numbers and addresses of offices and private individuals and about a lot of other things. Concierges are always ready to help the guests and provide them with all kinds of useful information. Besides, there is a newsstand, a bookstall, a kiosk selling picture postcards and souvenirs. Cosmetics and liquor are sold too, but with a sales tax. At the airport you can buy them tax-free. At the booking office they can book for you seats at the theatre or on the plane, or hotel accommodation in another town.
In the same building there are also restaurants, bars, cafete¬rias, beauty parlours, saunas, steam rooms and massage rooms, along with fully equipped supervised gyms and swimming pools.