The future of in-room dining

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  • cwoodward

    I found the below article both interesting and informative.

    Very often I find that my in-room dining experience leaves a lot to be desired.
    Cold food – wrong food – items missing – very long delay etc etc

    Also I find in-room dining is more expensive than it should be and often the process does not work well thus the innovations suggested look to be a step forward

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    Thanks for posting. Personally I stopped in-room dining many years ago: I don’t like the added fee for delivery, the food cooling down on the way to my room, the smell of food in my room, or the trays being left behind. And in any case I like getting out to a more congenial location to eat e,g, the hotel restaurant or coffee shop.

    4 users thanked author for this post.


    I’ve sometimes enjoyed dinner in my room, in places where going out is not an option due to weather, security, or location. It’s quite pleasant to have a relaxing bath, put on bathrobe, sit with feet up eating and drinking whilst reading or watching TV, finish the wine and collapse into bed!

    The downsides are as stated above, so going out is always my preferred option.


    Had a really amusing room service spat a few years back.

    I was staying in a good quality airport hotel at MAN and I ordered a Caesar salad. When it arrived, it came complete with a lot of raw onion and grated carrot. When I called down and commented that Caesar salad should not be made with those two ingredients, the reply was “it is here”.

    I decided to go down to the restaurant instead, where I ordered Saltimbocca a la Romana. After a long wait, I asked where my food was. The reply was “they’re just defrosting the pork”. When I said that Saltimbocca was not made with pork, they said “it is here”.

    5 users thanked author for this post.


    I’ve mentioned before, this is one of my pet peeves ….

    How is it possible for my local Chinese / Indian to deliver their full range of top quality roasting hot food , in a motor vehicle from somewhere miles away at a significantly lower delivery charge than respected 4 & 5 hotels quicker than they can within their own premises ?
    Who have the audacity to add an eye watering tray charge to carry or more likely push on a trolley (as mentioned above) tepid below restaurant standard food from a limited choice at prices well above your local takeaway .

    Learning my lesson, I now annoy the more highbrow hotels I stay in by doing a wee bit of research and getting my room service delivered to the front desk from a local takeaway.

    As an aside , As you walk through hotel hallways how many unfinished meals do you see lying on the floor collecting fly’s …. A damning testament to the value of in room dining.

    Now, onto by 2nd pet peeve , the price of bottled water ….. only joking : )

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    I use room service often as I can work, watch TV or read while I eat. I can offset the delivery charge by buying a bottle of wine from a local supermarket.

    My favourite is to have room service delivered to the exec lounge where I have a decent table and chair, plus I can enjoy the lounge wines:-)


    IMO room service will continue to exist and may even thrive in future considering people are preferring to stay alone more and more.

    I rarely take room service, but found it useful when I travel to/from Asia to USA. After the long journey and freshen up at hotel room, I feel better to eat at room so that I don’t have dress up for the restaurant.

    I find room services in USA hotels are better than Europe and Asia. USA hotels do variety of sandwiches and burgers and most time I get those warm.

    On cost, it is same price as hotel restaurant, the extra service charge is what normally one have to pay as tips in case one go to restaurant.

    My main peeve is that food trays left at corridor is not cleared for a long time at most hotels.


    On cost, it is same price as hotel restaurant, the extra service charge is what normally one have to pay as tips in case one go to restaurant.

    I’d dispute that Inquisitive , the charge goes onto your bill and not to the person delivering the food. Using your comparison it would be the equivalent of dining in the restaurant and summarily being charged for using a plate. Your server would still be disappointed if you don’t tip them in spite of the plate charge.
    And actually every time I sign the chitty in my room I’m given the option to add a tip onto the bill rather than give them any loose change I might have about my person.
    And it plays on our sense of guilt, to reward all that hard work. After all pushing a trolley into a lift and then traipsing for miles along an endless corridor should recognised as feat equivalent of scaling Everest.

    Compare that to a journey my takeaway Indian makes for travelling 3 or so miles ……. £18ish for a meal for 2 that invariably has enough for Sunday morning wake up munchies , and a £ 3 delivery charge. The driver gets handed £25 quid “keep the change mate” and everyone is happy .

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    I find in room dining really convenient at times, after a long journey and not wishing to change and go down, or for breakfast when taking a leisurely approach in the morning, forgoing any free breakfast in the lounge, which depending on the hotel may be very limited. Strangely a hotel I used in Manhattan had no in room dining which was inconvenient, but had a store, to take away in the lobby including fresh foods to purchase and take upstairs.

    I think the problem with used trays etc in the corridor might be due to the guest not calling for collection, I can think of no occasion when trays, tables, have been left after a call. I expect the prices reflect the convenience, which any guest can take or leave as their budget permits, which is the same for any service. In terms of quality, I think this depends on the hotel and expectations. I find the hot cupboards built into the tables to be quite effective.


    In-room dining can be done well.

    Last week I was in Bangkok -5 star hotel.

    The in-room menu ran to 20 A4 pages.
    Telephone was answered on the first ring
    Full dinner for 2 arrived 20 minutes later.
    Trolly with fold out leaves…..silver white table cloth etc etc
    Expertly set up by the waiter
    Asked to ring X when finished……trolly was taken away within 10 minutes of ringing.
    All was perfect

    Cost = 75% of what I paid for an inedible meal (at a well known 4 star chain hotel just off of the motorway in Brighouse a month or so ago) that took 50 minutes to arrive, was wrong, no condiments, tray with no cloth was slammed down on the table. Condiments took another 20 minutes to arrive and the food was then of course cold.
    The tray was of course still outside the door the next morning !


    This week at 5 star “The Yeatman” in Oporto my vast room (for 2 people) had one arm chair and one desk chair, no table, not even drinks size.
    Room service costs an extra 10 Euros.
    I asked the Duty Manager (Head Housekeeping Manager!) “If I order room service, what do I sit on?, if I use the Mini Bar what do I put the drinks on?”
    Actually I had no intention of ordering room service it would not be hot, I was 8 floors below the kitchen.


    When I started travelling solo (for business), I was not daring sitting alone in a restaurant. I thought I would look miserable… Now I have more white hair, I don’t care! Actually I almost never order room service anymore, for all the reasons above (excepted breakfast in bed, and sometimes dinner on the room’s terrasse or garden, when travelling with Ms. SD).

    Mineral water… I drink a lot and refuse to pay the ridiculous price asked sometimes since that day when a EUR 20 check for one 1l bottle of water in Sofia (excluding any service fee – it was a Sheraton LC if my memory serves) stunned me to say the least. Where it is possible therefore, I often go out to buy my water!


    When I travelled on business and wasn’t meeting someone for dinner or travelling with a colleague, I would nearly always have room service because it was more convenient (and slightly less sad) than eating alone in a restaurant. Now, travelling with my family, we will usually have room service on the night we arrive because we are normally tired and it is nice to sit in front of the telly (we take an Amazon fire stick with us so we can usually stream something from Netflix or Amazon Prime, and also often have movies etc downloaded on our devices that I can connect to the TV).

    Experiences vary – the room service food at the Peninsula in Bangkok is excellent, beautifully presented (the trolleys have built-in hot boxes too, so the food is always piping hot) and quickly cleared, and they always accommodate my request for a Penaeng Gai even though it hasn’t been on the menu for years. We usually take wine with us and ask for an ice bucket to cool it down. Lots to like, not much to dislike! The Marriott at Mai Khao beach in Phuket (where we have a “timeshare” for two weeks a year – this is in the Vacation Club section rather than the hotel but the room service provision is the same) is also pretty good.

    Having said that, many hotels don’t get it right. And IME when it is poor, it is usually dreadful.

    Interestingly, we find many Ibis and similar hotels in the UK, although having a very limited menu, generally do those choices quite well (and quite reasonably).


    I know both Hotels that IFHKG mentions well and (my post above referred to one of them) and I can echo the points that he made re the in room food and services.
    Both excellent choices for the quality of the room service.
    The Bangkok Shangri-la although not as polished as the Penn is also good but surprisingly is more expensive.

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