>  Advice   >  Should you stay at a hotel under renovation

Have you ever stayed at a hotel under renovation and shared your accommodation with Bob the Builder? I was invited to stay at a hotel to experience their newly renovated rooms recently. But it turned out there was a bit of a problem. Only 4 of them were finished. One of them was mine – which was fantastic – but major renovations were still happening on the floors above and below my room. This was less fantastic because it was very, very noisy. I was there as a guest of the hotel so there wasn’t much I could do but it got me thinking.

What is the best way for a hotelier to handle renovations?  Closing down for a period of time like the Ritz Paris is the ideal option for guests but it equates to a lot of money in lost revenue. Most hotels can’t afford to do this. Renovations are difficult for a hotel and its guests but both parties can benefit if the situation is handled well.  Honesty is the best policy when it comes to hotel renovations.  It’s much better to inform people about any work being done before they arrive. Guests like surprises such as a free bottle of champagne in their room, not a whole lot of scaffolding outside it.

Putting an announcement with a positive spin on the website is a common (and effective) approach. This lets guests know about the renovations when they book and for those considering a stay in the future, it can be an enticement. Who doesn’t love staying in a newly renovated hotel?  Depending on the extent of the renovations, offering a discounted ‘renovation special’ can keep hotel occupancy up and buy a little goodwill.  Even if the renovations are somewhat inconvenient, guests cannot complain they didn’t know about them. Management can also point out that the guest received a discounted rate as compensation. 

Renovations can also work in a guest’s favour.  My husband and I once chose to stay at a property undergoing an extensive upgrade.  It was a hotel we could normally only dream of staying at but the generous renovation special made it an affordable luxury. We also got a stack of extras like complimentary breakfast, a welcome bottle of champagne and a guaranteed room upgrade.  If we were after a cosy getaway with late morning lie-ins, this hotel would not have been a good choice. However, we were out exploring most days so the noise didn’t bother us and we spent our evenings in absolute luxury. Hotel building works usually stop at 6pm so if you are going to be out and about during the day, a ‘renovation special’ can be an excellent deal. 

Discounted spas? Yes please.
Discounted spas? Yes please.

There can also be other benefits, particularly if the renovations aren’t major. When a Bali hotel was undergoing minor works recently they offered everyone half price spa treatments. This was a stroke of genius on the hotel’s part as the spa was exceptional but hadn’t been doing great business.  Lots of the guests, myself included, took up the offer.  After a lovely massage, it wasn’t just the hotel that was feeling brand new. 

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.