Nice Hotel, Honeymoon, what service can I request?
January 23, 2014 1:37 PM   Subscribe

We're going on our honeymoon and staying at JW Marriott and a Ritz Carlton in Oahu and Tokyo, respectively. Since it's our honeymoon, I'm wondering what sorts of 'gratis' services can we attempt to ask for before we arrive? These are things like having them call for hard-to-get restaurants to welcome gifts, to notes thanking us for coming. Wrinkle-- I'm using points (i.e. these are free) but have top Marriott Status (which doesn't get me anywhere at Ritz, I know). 1. Does anyone have any experience in this regard? 2. I booked online, how can I request/let them know regarding this? E-mail? Call? Who? 3.Bonus question: does anyone have any suggested Tokyo spots we can/should ask for help getting in?
posted by sandmanwv to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would think you'd call that hotel directly and if the person who answers the phone can not assist you, then I think you ask to speak to the concierge. A concierge's job is to make sure your stay is as remarkable as it can be.
posted by zizzle at 1:39 PM on January 23, 2014

Best answer: Congratulations!

I wouldn't ask directly for the free stuff. Call and ask to speak to the concierge. Let them know it's your honeymoon, and ask if they can recommend some fun activities, great restaurants ("And could you assist with reservations?"), any other tips to make the honeymoon as enjoyable as possible.

That gives THEM the cue to set up something special in the suite.

But if you really want the roses/champagne/chocolate arrival treatment, you should probably ask for it and be willing to pay (in case they don't come through with a free surprise).
posted by amaire at 2:03 PM on January 23, 2014 [13 favorites]

I poked around a bit in Japanese for you but I don't see any special offers catered especially towards honeymoon couples worth noting. Perhaps it's because it's hard to tell if the couple's really on their honeymoon and the place would have to hand out special offers to any couple claiming to be. Anyway, I agree with the above posters and think you'll get the best service from the concierge at the Ritz Carlton, so call them and ask.
posted by misozaki at 2:21 PM on January 23, 2014

I wouldn't expect too much for free. If they know it's your honeymoon, you can expect a complimentary amenity. Anything more than that you'd probably have to pay for.

If you have a good travel agent they can use your honeymoon as an excuse to try to get you a free upgrade to a larger room or suite if one should be available.
posted by kdern at 2:23 PM on January 23, 2014

Definitely work ahead with the Concierge for hard-to-book restaurants and other suggestions.
If you do, and they come through with great stuff, you should also tip the Concierge. Generously.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:24 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I doubt the concierge will do anything for you as far as a room upgrade or a surprise bottle of wine. They don't wield that kind of power.

Call and get the email address for the general manager of the JW Marriott. Send them this email:


As a NAME OF ELITE STATUS LEVEL, I am pleased to use my reward points for my upcoming honeymoon at NAME OF HOTEL on the nights of LIST DATES. We would appreciate any special touches you can think of to help us celebrate this very important occasion to make our stay with you even more memorable. Please don't hesitate to contact me at EMAIL ADDRESS should you have any questions.

Most sincerely,

For the Ritz Carlton, I'd just call the reservations desk and tell them to put a note in your record that you are celebrating your honeymoon. Generally that's enough to trigger something like a small fruit basket with a congratulatory note.

I'm in the travel industry and for our VIP clients, we do this kind of thing all the time. Sometimes the hotel will charge me for a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates (which I absorb as part of doing business), but if we already have a relationship with the hotel or if's a five star hotel, they'll often do something like some complimentary flowers and a small bottle of wine with a note of congrats. Don't expect much more than that.

Oh, and congrats!
posted by HeyAllie at 2:25 PM on January 23, 2014 [10 favorites]

My experience with Marriot's at resort locations is that unless you're there during the off season your status won't really get you anything.

That being said, the person to talk to at any hotel is always the general manager. And the way to do it is not before you get there, but after the first night. Ask the front desk for his name, and then ask to speak to him, introduce yourself as a guest, compliment him on the stay, tell him why you're there and ask him if he has any suggestions on where to go or what to do since he's familiar with the location and might know something that isn't in every guidebook. Make a friend. And that's it.

Every GM has had tons of experiences with guest complaints. Guest compliments just for the heck of it are rare. They appreciate that. If you're on twitter tweet a nice comment and @ the parent company.

If you're likely to return to the hotel in the future mention that. When you make your next reservation drop the GM an email letting him know you're coming and looking forward to another stay at that hotel.

Really, the GM is the king of the castle. Make him happy, and you'll have a great time.

Do not ask for comps. Do not even hint at comps. If you've done it right the comps will start to flow automatically.
posted by Runes at 2:31 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I generally find the best way to use a concierge to make bookings is to give them a ranked list of places you are interested in and ask them to make bookings. Even at a place like the R-C the choices will veer towards the safe and poor value for money but comfortable for westerners unless you prime them with a list - and then they might come up with some awesome suggestions. In Tokyo you really should book many of your meals - even at places that seem casual by US standards.

The Western Foodie blogosphere is lousy with Tokyo restaurant reviews at the moment - they are (rightfully) having a bit of a moment.

I also heartily recommend Tabelog using Chrome's Auto-translate feature. A friend describes it as Yelp if Yelp had a homogenous user base all of whom had the same expectations in food and service.
posted by JPD at 2:38 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: On our honeymoon in Europe we booked everything online, often through discount sites. In the comments field I'd put a comment like "One double bed, please -we're on our honeymoon!" I started doing that because most European hotels seemed to say 'double or two singles' and I forgot to specify the first time, and so we spent the first night of our honeymoon in a twin room :|

Several places we stayed at responded with notes, chocolates and rose petals on the bed but one extra lovely place in Prague sent us up a bottle of local sparkling wine. But several did nothing out of the ordinary, and that was fine by us too.

If you've already made the booking, you could try ringing them up, ostensibly to confirm your booking, and explain that you're double checking because it's your honeymoon and you want everything to be perfect. They might make a note to make your stay extra special, or they might not.
posted by escapepod at 2:57 PM on January 23, 2014 [6 favorites]

My husband and I spent our 10th anniversary at the Ritz in San Francisco. Upon check in, the lovely reservations clerk asked what brought us to the Ritz. We told her, she congratulated us, and we checked in. That night, the hotel sent up complimentary chocolates and wine. We ordered room service the next morning and they added in complimentary mimosas. After we returned to the room later in the day after sightseeing, there was a vase with a dozen roses and a card wishing us a happy anniversary. That evening they sent up a tiny cake with our wedding anniversary date on it!

Don't expect anything, but don't be surprised if they go above and beyond.
posted by cooker girl at 3:12 PM on January 23, 2014

Best answer: I stayed in a regular old marriott on my honeymoon. I didn't ask for anything, but they knew and sent us wine, chocolate-covered strawberries and some oversized tshirts. one said "honey" and the other said "mooners." pretty sure I left those in Aruba...
posted by sabh at 3:34 PM on January 23, 2014

Mr. Bowtiesarecool and I spent our wedding night at a Ritz, and I just put a note in the reservation about it being our wedding night, and asked that the concierge call me to discuss options. They wound up giving us complimentary champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries, and then I paid to have a rose-petal turndown (so absurd, but when else are you going to do something like that?). I didn't ask for the freebies, they just responded to the polite hint. I think I could have also arranged to buy flower arrangements, other kinds of wine, or desserts. I don't think most places do anything beyond the wine/chocolate thing gratis.

But just so you know, the concierge at any decent hotel should be able to get things like tough tickets or reservations, no matter why you're staying there. Just make sure you tip them decently!
posted by bowtiesarecool at 6:39 PM on January 23, 2014

When Mr. just_ducky and I went on our European honeymoon last summer, I wrote in every single comment field of our online hotel bookings "We're on our honeymoon!", but otherwise I didn't mention it when we checked in. I didn't want to ask for free stuff explicitly, but I was interested to see what might come of it.

In London we got two free bottles of wine, in Ghent we got some sort of specialty candy, a nice note and a balloon(!), in Antwerp nothing came of it, in Amsterdam we got a nice note, and Cologne we got champagne. It was fun, but definitely go in with no expectations, so that if the hotel does something nice, it is a fun surprise :)

posted by just_ducky at 8:28 PM on January 23, 2014

Read the book Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality. The author describes exactly what you should do if you would like extra amenities and it is a really fun book.

If I remember correctly, his solution is to tip the person at the check in desk who has some freedom to comp you late check outs, wine, fruit baskets, room upgrades. The author (the book is quite entertaining) explains how best to do this. I guess he would recommend placing cash on the desk as you check in and ask what he can do to make your stay more comfortable. I believe he also wrote that you won't find too many free things, but if you tip right, your stay could be really improved.

He also writes that the less money that you generate for the hotel (bad news for paying in points) the less you will get. Your rooms will be worse and it will be harder to get upgrades.

Good luck and have a great trip!
posted by jazh at 4:36 AM on January 24, 2014

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