Hotel Hacks: Tips from Dorothy Jean Hicks

Just a few more days until Spring Break! Who else is ready to not have a care in the world and to have a nice tan? Our favorite part of vacations (and STAY-cations!) is the hotel.

There is nothing quite like checking in to a hotel, dropping off your bags into a nice room, and sitting by the pool or beach, without having to worry about dishes and checklists. Our very own Dorothy Jean used to work at the Shore Club in Miami Beach. Her role as “Genie” at the front desk/office was to make sure the guests’ wishes came true and that they had the best vacation!

Here are some of her tips and tricks to get you the most out of your hotel experience!

#1: First and foremost, be friendly to the front desk when you arrive! Asking the people working at the front desk something as simple as “How has your day been?” or mentioning how excited you are for your stay, could mean the world to whoever is helping you. This could also potentially lead to the front desk upgrading you to a nicer room in your category!


#2:  Always tip the bellman helping you to carry in your bags. It is standard in most hotels to tip around $1-2 per bag. Some bellman are paid like servers in a restaurant so tips are greatly appreciated!IMG_6999

#3: Ask your bellman or valet for local restaurant suggestions! They typically stay with one hotel for the longest amount of time, and are well versed in the best local restaurants, bars, and events! Get to know the concierge too. They will know all the new hot spots and are well trained in helping with any requests. IMG_8991

#4: Sliding a $20 (or maybe more if it’s the Ritz in Paris) to the people at the front desk often helps. Doing this can help upgrade to a better room in the category if available or could get you a complimentary drink ticket. Some hotels are not able to accept tips but I know I was always thankful when someone would graciously tip me. DSC_0339

#5: Make friends with someone who works at the hotel throughout your stay! At the end of your trip ask for their business card and keep in touch with them when it comes to travel. Often, people move their work from one hotel to another and have connections all over the country. By sending an email to this new “hotel friend,” they may be able to set up your next stay with upgrades, friends & family discounts, additional drink tickets, or put in a good word for you at their “sister hotel” in a different state.


#6: If you are on vacation celebrating a birthday or anniversary, call the hotel beforehand and ask sweetly if there is anything they might be able to mark on your reservation to indicate the celebration.

This doesn’t mean that you are always going to have champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting in your room upon arrival, but that definitely does happen on occasion or for a small price! NOTE: If you want to be sure that you are upgraded to the best room, then be sure to book the best room. Otherwise, there are no guarantees & plenty of other birthdays, anniversaries, and honeymoons also taking place. There definitely is some wiggle room though, and being appreciative and sincerity helps!DSC_0356

#7: If you need an early check-in or late check-out, let the hotel know ahead of time! Hotels have a lot of people coming in and out of the doors, and just because of a late flight, unless notified, the hotel will not know to save your room. However, most hotels will have an area to hold your bags if you are not able to have a late check out. Some also have shower rooms or spa showers for an additional cost that you can still use if need be. Some hotels may charge a small fee for a late check out so be sure to ask the front desk when you are checking in. It is always based on availability though!IMG_0770

#8: When checking out of the hotel, be sure to tip the housekeepers with anything from a few dollars to $10! This means the world to them! Place the money in an envelope and ask the people at the front desk if they will deliver it to the housekeepers for you! Sometimes money that is left out for housekeepers in the room gets picked up by people filling the mini bar or by other employees at some hotels. The housekeepers will be extremely appreciative of the tip, as most of them have several kids to provide for. IMG_6953

#9: Once again, just be sweet like we know you all are! Most employees work super long hours and something so simple can make their days AND your next trip! Hotels take note of everything and recognize good or bad behavior for future stays. Please, don’t hassle them for upgrades the second you arrive or threaten bad reviews if hotels aren’t able to provide them. Hotels do, however, love receiving positive Trip Advisor reviews because they work so hard to deliver a good experience to you.IMG_6966

#10. Again, stay in contact with that hotel friend when booking in the future because booking directly through the hotel will possibly get you the best room in that category and a better chance at complimentary upgrades rather than booking through those discounted websites!

For any other hotel tips, come stop in Cicada and ask Dorothy Jean herself! We hope you all have the best spring vacations & we can’t wait to hear all about them!!


The Cicada Girls


Photos were taken by Josie Slaughter in Oxford, MS & Cape Town

Date: March 7, 2018
Posted by: Anne-Marie Varnell