Room service, for many years, was known as slow, expensive, and limited. But the pandemic has changed hotel room service standards. Menus have been expanded, time guarantees are offered, and in some cases, prices are the same as “dine in” options.
For one, the dining room may be closed, and room service is the only option. Two, they have expanded the options to include cocktails, to go along with their beer and wine. And third, and most importantly, their menus have been adapted to fit the room service option. By this, I mean more appetizers, finger foods, and “plates”, meaning things like cheese platters, fruit platters, charcuterie, and Asian pot stickers.
But there are a few hidden tricks to this whole process. The first is to know when to order. By all means, avoid the peak mealtimes. For breakfast and a big pot of brewed coffee, order the night before. For dinner, order early or late. The second, is my unwritten rule of room service. Always ask for “specials” or off menu items. And do not be afraid to specify options like gluten free, sugar free, or nut allergies. Third, try to order within the cuisine of the hotel you are staying. Order local dishes, as opposed to the standard hamburger.
Also, make sure you understand the pricing. Is the tip included, as this has become the norm during the pandemic? And be sure to distinguish between service charge and tip, as one or both may already be included.
Don’t be afraid to order in courses. If you eat an early dinner, perhaps you may want a later snack and dessert to round out your meal. The same goes for morning coffee. A larger breakfast can be delivered after a morning shower or exercise routine.
Then again, if your room has a butler, you need not worry about any of this. When we stayed at the Rasa Sayang in Batu Ferringhi, Penang, our room had a butler. We also had a hot tub on the balcony. And we also had “high tea” at 3pm every day.
The next best thing was our stay at Pebble Beach’s Casa Palmero. The all-day bar and appetizer offerings are more than enough for dinner. And it is included in the price of the room. Oh, and each room has an outdoor, private spa/hot tub.
It is definitely more fun to get out and explore the neighborhood. But if you get back from all day treks, cycling, hiking or touring, room service might be perfect!