Things never go perfectly. Sometimes your flight gets delayed, and other times the taxi breaks down.
Therefore, arriving late is pretty common. But, how late can you check into a hotel?
Late arrival check-in times vary with the individual hotel, but most hotels consider check-ins between the hours of 10 pm and midnight late.
If you have a room booked, you shouldn’t be late by more than three hours unless you have already informed the hotel.
Standard Hotel Room Check-in and Check-Out Times
Most hotels typically tell you their check-in and check-out times when you book a room. In that case, you have to follow the standard check-in time.
Generally speaking, the standard check-in and check-out timings are 2 to 3 pm, and 11 am, respectively.
These times help to ensure the housekeeping’s system runs hassle-free. Thus, following the check-in and check-out times keeps the rooms clean for each guest.
But 3 pm doesn’t mean you have to be there at 3 pm. However, 11 am check-out does mean you have to be out of the room at 11 am.
Additionally, note that just because you can check into a hotel late, it certainly doesn’t mean that particular hotel allows early check-in too. If you have arrived early, you might have to wait for the previous guest to leave or pay an extra hourly fee.
Late Check-ins With Different Hotels
If your hotel requested you to inform them if you are checking in late and you have no idea what they mean by “late,” there are a few things you can do.
But remember that the late check-in policy can vary greatly. It often depends on the particular hotel, its size, and the number of rooms it has.
Small inns or motels with a relatively tiny number of hotel rooms usually consider check-in after 7 pm late.
These motels rarely have a 24-hour front desk agent to check you in if you arrive late at night. They might even refuse to check you in after a particular time because of the unavailability of staff.
Your best bet is to call the hotel and inform them in advance if you are arriving more than a few hours past check-in time. Otherwise, you may find the doors locked for the night because they have considered you a no-show.
But if you arrive for a late check-in without a call, there is a reasonably good chance your spot will still be available because small hotels’ rooms do not get sold out quickly.
Medium-sized hotels almost always have at least one person on night duty. But the front desk clerk might not be present all the time.
Thus, if you inform them well ahead, they will know you are coming, and someone will wait for you.
But, keep in mind that when you arrive at midnight, you have to get past the gate security. So, if you have already put your name in the register, the security office will call the front desk, and they will let you in.
Large Hotel Chains
Hotel chains have their staff on duty around the clock. So, usually, there’s no problem arriving late.
However, large hotels are strict with their timings. And the chances of losing your reservation are even greater with these hotels.
Unless there is a card payment involved, in which case they will hold your room.
But, if your check-in time is 3 pm, for instance, you must not arrive too late unless you have already told the hotel. If you have used a third-party hotel room reservation website, you should definitely call the hotel to confirm your arrival.
According to a hotel employee, they are more likely to cancel rooms if you use a booking site because many of the reservations made through these websites never show up. As most hotels cannot hold rooms if they are unsure about your arrival, they don’t hesitate to give up the room if required.
At the same time, losing a room in large hotels isn’t always a disaster. There’s only a slight chance that there are already guests in all the rooms, so you can just book another one and immediately check-in.
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Why Shouldn’t You Check-in Late?
Hotels have fixed check-in and check-out timings. Generally accepted timings are 3 pm, and 11 am, respectively.
Thus, no matter when you check into a hotel, you must leave the room by the relatively early check-out time of 11 am the next day.
In a rare case, the hotel might give you a late check-out time if you ask. The housekeeping staff can clean your room last, which can get you a couple more hours.
Although it is not a policy and not guaranteed, you can still ask for a late check-out.
Also, remember that they might charge you for the previous day even if you checked in at midnight. Thus, the room rate will probably be the same even if you come late in the night.
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Do Hotels Charge Extra for Early Check-in?
As a matter of fact, most hotels do charge a fee for early check-in
Most of the time, if you arrive before check-in time and the hotel has the room empty, you can check-in early. But some hotel policies charge you extra if you check-in early, even if they have the space available.
You can expect to pay a fee of around $15 per hour for early check-in. But it may be worth it to check-in early if you’re already in town.
Or, a better idea, you can always just ask if the hotel will store your luggage, so there’s no need for early check-in. Thus, you can save some extra money for things like resort fees which may come up.
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You can only check-in late at night if the hotel has the staff working at that time. But, you shouldn’t be late by more than three hours no matter what your hotel check-in timings are.
If you are running late, you can always call and give your approximate time of arrival to secure your room. However, staff may not allow a late check-out, so keep that in mind if you arrive late at night.
Also, when booking online, paying for the room is a good idea. Paying ahead tells the hotel staff that you are certain about the stay, and they will hold your room no matter what.