Staying at a hotel on an anniversary, honeymoon, or other special occasion can already be a pretty romantic event.
But sometimes you will want to enhance the romance of your stay by making a special request with the hotel. Maybe you want to decorate the room or have items like champagne or chocolates delivered to your room.
But how should you go about making these requests and what can you realistically expect the hotel to do for you?
In this article, we will answer those questions and more, so keep reading for some helpful insight.
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What is your version of romance?
When you think about making a hotel room romantic the first Image that may come to your mind is a bed full of red rose petals, kissing towel swans, a box of fancy chocolates, and maybe some champagne.
Don’t get me wrong, everybody has their own idea of what they consider romance and plenty of people would appreciate getting surprised with the above but I’d recommend not getting “boxed in” to thinking that this is the only way to be romantic during a hotel stay.
Consider that you could forgo spending extra money on those things and instead splurge on a room with a vastly more impressive view where just the two of you could sit out on the balcony and watch the sunset every evening.
Maybe one of those nights, you slip your partner a hand written letter describing how you felt the day you met them and have some music playing in the background while the Jacuzzi bubbles up.
The point is to just not think that there are only a few cookie-cutter approaches to romance during a hotel stay. Try to combine your personal touch with what the hotel has to offer.
Remember, it’s not about spending money — it’s more about you putting real thought into doing something special for the person you love. A hotel can help set the mood and get the vibe right but you still need to show up!
What type of property are you staying at?
The first thing you want to think about when making a romantic request is what type of property are you staying at?
Luxury properties are some of the most accommodating when it comes to special requests like this — you would be surprised how above and beyond they like to go. Seriously, some of the staff members at these properties live for stuff like this!
These are properties like the Conrad, Waldorf, St. Regis, Ritz-Carlton, Park Hyatt, etc. You can feel free to ask them just about anything and if they can do it, they probably will.
At your standard middle-tier property, you can still make special requests and the hotel may even have romantic packages to choose from. This is especially true if you’re staying in a romantic destination like Niagara Falls.
But at lots of these properties, your special requests will be more hit or miss. If you keep them within reason, you probably still have a decent shot of the hotel helping you out.
Then there are those budget hotels.
The worst thing these hotels can tell you is no so it never hurts to ask, but I would not expect budget hotels to do anything extra.
Perhaps if you keep it small, they can help you out but they rarely have the resources to do anything extraordinary for these type of requests.
What event are you celebrating?
Another consideration is what event are you trying to make extra romantic?
Valentine’s Day is one of the most common days when people want to do these type of romantic requests.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of doing these for a few reasons but one major reason is that lots of other guests could be making the same requests to the hotel during the same time.
Not only that, but people in general are making these requests so nearby shops and stores could be running low on items and not have adequate staff to fulfill deliveries.
This means that you could have a limited number of options or be dealing with hotel staff that is already overwhelmed and less willing to go above and beyond for you.
I would much rather prefer to make these type of requests for anniversaries, birthdays, etc. And of course a honeymoon would be a perfect time.
Be very careful about how you word requests if making a request for a special secret event.
One of the worst misfires is when somebody calls about an engagement and a staff member accidentally ruins the surprise. So be very, very careful with those delicate situations.
To be honest, I would probably try to avoid involving a hotel with your engagement for that reason.
When are you making your request?
If you want to make a special romantic request, you need to make this at least several days in advance. Last-minute requests can be honored but your options will be limited and you will be putting a lot more stress on the hotel staff.
Personally, I would try to make these requests at least one week prior to your arrival. Two or three weeks would be even better.
You can always make it very far out in advance such as a couple of months out but you will need to check back in as the date gets closer to verify that everything is in order.
Tips on making a request
When making a request, the first step is to figure out what is actually possible.
The easiest option would be to go with packages already offered by the hotel.
As mentioned, hotels have romantic packages sometimes and you can find these online or by calling. If your destination is known for romantic getaways, chances are that hotel has something.
The packages shown online are not always exactly what you will get so sometimes you just have to expect to get something similar. You can usually customize them to a degree.
You could also come up with something on your own and then contact the property and see if that’s possible.
The hotel may be willing to run to different stores to put together your request for things like balloons, champagne, desserts, flowers, etc.
But don’t be surprised if an understaffed hotel can’t carry out your requests (which again is a reason why I would avoid Valentine’s Day for these type of special requests).
Obviously, you should expect to pay for anything that they will have to purchase for you and you also may have to pay for their time to put all of this together. Some hotels are rather generous when it comes to these requests and they may do it on a complimentary basis — at least for basic items.
Either way, it would be a good idea to leave a tip for the extra efforts.
Just be aware that when you make a special request for something the hotel does not provide you may need to follow up on this several times to make sure that the job gets done. There’s a big difference between a front desk agent telling you that they can do something, and it actually getting executed.
Tip: If you are arriving early in the morning then consider booking the room for the night before your stay so that the staff can have extra time to get things situated.
Tip #2: If the hotel is making a sign for someone with a commonly misspelled name, make sure that you note that in your request!
Ideas for a romantic hotel room
My preferred options for a romantic hotel room would be a room with an unforgettable view, preferably one with a balcony that you can relax on.
The balcony can function as a place to not just enjoy the view or sunset but also a place where you can enjoy a romantic dinner or breakfast if it’s big enough.
Having a nice big tub is also a major plus. Lots of resorts with a romantic leaning will have Jacuzzi tubs for you to relax in. Bubble bath is a must.
You want to be able to set the mood with music so bringing a Bluetooth speaker or connecting to one is a good choice. Your laptop can also suffice.
You can make a custom playlist or search something like “slow dancing music” or “sexy music” depending on what the “goals” are at the time.
And finally, dim lights is always a good choice. Lots of hotels that cater to couples will have the ability to dim the lights in the room or at least near the tub but you could always bring your own LED candles.
Remember, real candles are probably not allowed in the room because they can be a fire hazard or potentially set off the smoke alarm.
In terms of requests that you may want to make, here are some traditional ideas:
- Rose petals leading to the bed or on the bed
- Towel design arrangements
- Special sign or message with “happy anniversary” (could be placed on the pillows or spelled out on the bed)
- Chocolate covered strawberries
- Other sweets such as macaroons
- Room service desserts such as creme brulee
- Bubble bath
Just be mindful two things.
First, you may need to time your arrival so that your room is ready or the items get delivered when you are in your room so plan your activities accordingly.
Tip: See if the hotel can text you when things are ready so that you can be more discrete.
Second, some of the requests you may have could put a strain on housekeeping and so the hotel may not allow it or may not appreciate it.
Rose petals are a thing at many hotels but others consider them too much of a mess. And confetti and/or glitter could be frowned upon.
If you don’t have specific requests, you could probably just make a general request for the hotel to “do something romantic.” If you’re staying somewhere like the Maldives, the hotel will know exactly what to do.
In terms of things that you may want to bring from home:
- Bath salts and bubble bath liquid
- Massage oils or other essential oils
- Other ideas here
If you ended up doing something in excess (spilling coconut oil everywhere), you could get hit with a cleaning fee of a couple of hundred bucks so keep that in mind if you are doing self decorating.
Beyond your room, other opportunities where your romance can sparkle include dining opportunities.
If you’re staying at a resort on the beach you may be able to arrange a private dinner right on the beach or in a special area of the restaurant. Sometimes you could even request someone to come and play live music.
And of course, spa treatment is another go-to.
You can go for a special couples massage or each of you can do your own thing. It’s usually pretty easy to find a special package that includes spa treatments or credits to be used at the spa.
At some resorts, you might be able to do spa treatment inside your room or in the case of a property like the Conrad Maldives, you could have a special room designated for spa treatment!
Involve the concierge
A good hotel concierge can work wonders for your requests.
They often have experience with helping people put together romantic surprises and so they can help you come up with ideas or better execute on the ideas you already have.
As soon as you make a request or show interest in making a special request, the hotel should put you in touch with the concierge. But sometimes you can simply call the hotel directly and tell them you’d like to speak to the concierge.
Hotels are accustomed to guests making special requests to make their hotel experience more romantic. If you want to make a request, you need to:
- Keep in mind the type of property you are staying at
- Make your request several days ahead of time at least
And most importantly, try to put your own personal touch on the experience because that is what will end up making it the most memorable for the person you love.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.