By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: Staying at a hotel has never been one of my favorite things when I travel. I seem to get the room by the elevator or by the ice machine. For someone who loves her own bed how can I make my stay at a hotel more pleasant?

A: Hotels like most accommodations have their good and bad points. For starters, someone else makes the bed, cleans the room and with a phone call to the front desk, most any whim can be met. So if you forgot your iron, hairdryer or didn't pack your toothbrush, never fret.

For others, the points you mentioned certainly don't add to a pleasant stay. Next time you make a hotel reservation, list your requests and depending on room availability, all of these concerns will be addressed and met. One of my friends makes this a routine habit.

After a 19-hour flight, she went to bed then started to hear the incessant sound of ice cubes crashing into the bucket. The loud sounds became routine throughout the night. These days my seasoned travel colleague contacts the property in advance and lists her hotel needs. Here's a quick list of things to keep in mind.

Check those coffee cups in the hotel room. While they look clean, it's better to wash them yourself. Strip the bedspread. However beautiful, you don't know how many times people sat on them and traditionally bedspreads are washed less frequently than linen.

Request your wakeup call but if you need to wake up at a certain early time, take your alarm clock. Find the extra pillow in the closet and use it instead. Sometimes we hate sleeping on "someone else's" pillow so use the one in the closet. It's most likely been used much less.


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