Traveling can ruin all your plans just because some transport was late and it broke the chain of commuting. Sometimes our plans work out differently and we need to adjust to the new situation. But what if it’s not only about us? When we travel, we cooperate with many companies like airlines, bus companies, taxis and transfers, hotels, guides, etc.
The question is whether you can check in to your hotel after midnight. And this question is not that easy to answer. It all depends on hotel policies, check-in desk timetable, country, and also some individual factors.
In our today’s article, we’ll try to cover everything that deals with late check-in rules and tips. Here are some questions we’ll answer today:
- Is it legal to check in after midnight?
- Which hotels can refuse to check you in late?
- What should you do if your plans for the check-in time change?
- What to do if a hotel refuses to check you in?
Let’s get started!
Do hotels allow guests to check in at night?
This question may seem a little stupid. Do airlines have night flights? Do buses travel between cities at night? Yes, they do, so hotels will be happy to offer you such kind of service as late check-in. But things may be different.
In the US, for example, virtually all hotels, hostels, and motels will have a 24/7 check-in desk. In Europe, this may work differently. Still, the majority of European hotels will offer you late check-in as an option, but some of them may take fees for that.
If you are going to travel to some exotic country that you don’t know anything about, you’ll have to google some rules and requirements for hotel guests. Many countries will offer the 11 p.m. check-in option as the latest and the 6 a.m. option as the earliest one. Why? Because they don’t want to pay anyone to sit there the whole night and wait until you arrive.
So, here’s what you need to do:
- when making a reservation, ask a hotel receptionist if they have a 24/7 check-in desk;
- also don’t forget to ask if you have to pay some extra money if you arrive after midnight;
- inform the hotel that you are going to arrive late once you know it;
- check reviews of other clients to make sure that the hotel works at night;
- call the hotel one day before your arrival and ask if they remember that tomorrow night you will arrive.
These are super important steps because many people forget to ask if a hotel works at night. In some countries, laws for hotels are very raw and they allow them to apply their own rules. So many small private hotels will just close their check-in desks at night and you’ll have to sleep in their lobby as the best option or even find another place to sleep.
How to book a hotel room if you want to arrive at night?
It’s also a very tricky question. Most hotels will book a room for you starting from 1 or 2 p.m. – this is a standard check-in time. Also, they will ask you to check out up to 11 a.m. This means you have some time from 2 p.m. to 11 a.m. the next day when you book a room for one night.
Sometimes people get confused this way because they actually arrive at 1 a.m. the next day their booking should be. For example, you want to check in on the 5th of October, at 1 or 2 a.m. This means you have to book your room for the 4th of October. They will allow you to check in anytime between 2 p.m. on the 4th of October and 10 a.m. on the 5th of October.
If you book your room for the 5th of October which is actually the date of your arrival, you’ll be able to check in at least at 2 p.m. on the 5th of October and spend the next night in the hotel. Please remember this when booking your room.
Which hotels can close their check-in desks at night?
In basically all developed countries hotels work 24/7 and they will be glad to offer you check-in service at any time. But in some other countries, you will find plenty of small hotels and hostels that are administered by one person only – the owner. This means 24/7 check-ins are impossible because this person needs to sleep.
Here are some kinds of hotels that may be a bad idea to book if you want to check in after midnight:
- small family hotels that only have 5 or 7 rooms for guests;
- guesthouses that usually have one or two people administering them;
- hostels that are located in flats and are small enough;
- hotels that limit the schedule of their check-in desks on their websites;
- any other hotels with a bad reputation and poor service.
When you use some kind of internet service like Booking or Airbnb to book your accommodation, you sometimes may not see the information about the check-in desk schedule. Better contact the employee of the hotel and ask about that.
Plans changes, late arrival because of airlines
Sometimes people plan to arrive in some city at noon and they don’t care much about the check-in desk in their hotels. But suddenly things may change. Their plane can be delayed for some reason and this can bring to late arrival. In this case, you will need to do two main things:
Call your hotel as soon as you get to know about the new arrival time and inform the staff that you are going to arrive late.
Call the customer service of your airline and ask for compensation because you may lose your booking in some cases.
In most cases, hotels will offer you late check-in because your late arrival is not your fault. In many countries, airlines will book another hotel room for you if you apply immediately because any delay is basically their fault. Also, delays are usually compensated for clients of airlines, so you may even get some cash additionally.
What if your hotel is closed at night?
You may have checked everything thoroughly, but still, when you are standing next to a closed hotel door or near an empty check-in desk with a piece of paper saying “Closed” on it, you will feel lost.
In this case, you may do a couple of things.
Firstly, call the number that you have as the official hotel number. They may answer and solve the situation. You may also go online and find some other contact numbers on the official website of the hotel.
Secondly, check the date and time of your arrival. It may be that you just booked your hotel room for tomorrow.
Then, try to find someone who works in this hotel. It may be any person. Ask them to contact the managers of the hotel and report about the situation.
If everything is alright, call the police. You are in a new city at 1 or 2 a.m. without any idea of where you should go. The police may offer you some ways to solve your problems.
If nothing works, you may use lobby couches and armchairs to sleep. In the morning you should still call the police or contact the hotel managers and report the situation. You are eligible for a full refund and compensation for your hard night.
Late arrival rules and tips
So, here we are going to give you some tips that will help you when you arrive late to some new city and have to go through a late check-in procedure.
Here’s what you should do:
- Always make sure that your hotel supports late arrivals and someone will be waiting there for you to check in at any time.
- Save the contact phone number of your hotel check-in desk to inform them instantly if anything changes in your schedule.
- Call your hotel the day or two before your arrival and check if everything is OK with your booking and if they will be waiting for you.
- Don’t hesitate to call your hotel any time to get some support and to make sure that everything is OK with your booking.
- Don’t just leave if you see a closed check-in desk, try to find someone, or even call the police to let them handle the situation for you.
- You can even use the hotel lobby if it’s accessible for you and sleep there if they refuse to offer you the service you have booked.
Unfortunately, the situation when people find the check-in desks in their hotels closed is not that rare. You may investigate it on travel forums where people tell other travelers about their adventures and say how you can avoid such problems.
Be careful with booking your hotel. Better call them ten times to make sure you won’t have any problems when you arrive. If you travel to some other country, always have some numbers you can call in case of emergency – police, hotel managers, tourist information, embassy.
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