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A Hotel Guests' Bill Of Rights

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To us, there's nothing that induces relaxation quite like checking into a luxurious hotel: no cooking or cleaning required, and you can enjoy an array of amenities. But no matter how great a hotel is, there are a few things that can quickly sour your stay. That's why we created the Hotel Guests' Bill of Rights. Now if only we could get these ratified.

1. Free Parking and In-Room Wi-Fi For All
How many times has this happened to you before: You spend hundreds (or in many cases, thousands) of dollars on your hotel room, only to check in and find out that Wi-Fi will cost you an extra $12 per day and parking will run you another $18 per day. All of a sudden, your "best value" hotel isn't looking like such a hot deal.

Bottom Line: All hotels should provide their guests with free access to both.

2. Room Size is No Longer a Mystery
Some hotel brands always list the square footage of their rooms on their websites, but you'd be surprised by how many hotels don't publicize this information or, even worse, don't have it at all. Wouldn't you want to know if the junior suite you intended to book was only 300 square feet, the same size as many hotels' standard room categories?

Bottom Line: All guests have the right to know exactly what they're paying for and what to expect when they open the door to their room.

3. Mandatory and Hidden Resort Fees Are a Thing of the Past
Resort fees are the boogieman of the hotel world: They hide in the shadows and then jump out at you when you least expect it -- and often after it's too late to escape them. Guests shouldn't have to pay extra to access the pool or fitness room, nor should they have to pay for services they don't even intend to use (shoeshines, anyone?).

Bottom Line: If hotels insist on charging resort fees, they should at least publicize them openly, so guests aren't misled into thinking they're getting a good deal, and the fees should be optional for those who don't want to use the included services.

4. Late Checkout is a Right, Not a Privilege
The average checkout time is between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m., and we think that's too early. We propose a universal checkout time of 1 p.m., so guests can have a leisurely breakfast or lunch; a long, hot shower; and sufficient time to pack up, without paying an extra $30 or feeling like they're racing the clock -- traveling can be stressful enough as it is.

Bottom Line: If hotels are going to charge guests for a full 24 hours in the room, then they should consider rolling the checkout time back a few hours. After all, shouldn't hotels want a guest's last impression to be a memorable one, not getting rushed (or escorted!) out of their room?

5. The Cost of In-Room Water Bottles Must Be Regulated
Isn't it frustrating when you're parched in your hotel room, and the only sources of water are bathroom sink water and two $6 bottles of water? Guests should be entitled to fairly priced water bottles while they're staying at their hotel and not expected to drink from the bathroom sink. It's not that we're against tap water, but this simple courtesy would at least afford guests an option when it comes to hydration.

Bottom Line: If guests are shelling out for a hotel room, a few affordable bottles of water shouldn't be too much to ask. After all, hotels are all about convenience, and there's nothing convenient about paying $12 to hydrate.