Certainly, you’ve witnessed your travel plans “go south” before because of travel delays, late airline connections, bad weather, car problems, etc. You shouldn’t be surprised when things go wrong as you travel.
Sometimes you even need to check in late to your hotel. Ever wondered HOW late you can check in? What about after midnight?
How Late Can You Check Into A Hotel? – Most hotels allow you to check in anytime after 3 pm and before midnight, while others may provide a 24-hour front desk, offering guests the option of checking in at any time. However, some hotels may have a later or earlier check-in time, depending on availability and policies.
I will answer these questions and other related questions I often hear from site visitors.
Here’s How Checking Into a Hotel Typically Works
There’s a pretty standard, familiar process when it comes to checking into a hotel:
- Arrival: You arrive at the hotel and park your car at the front of the hotel and walk in or go find a parking space.
- Check-in: You’ll go to the front desk and present a valid ID and credit card to secure your reservation and offer a form of payment if you haven’t already paid for your room. Your card number is also held in case of additional services you may charge to your room. The front desk clerk will also verify your reservation and check you in officially.
- Room assignment: The front desk clerk will let you know about your room number and location and provide you with your room key or keycard. They may also provide additional information about the hotel’s amenities and services.
- Sign-in: You’ll sign some form of registration card to confirm your name, address, and other contact information.
Then, it’s time to relax and enjoy your room!
It’s worth noting that some hotels now offer contactless check-in and check-out options, like using a phone app or online check-in, to minimize human contact.
Can I Check Into a Hotel at Any Time of the Day or Night?
Whether or not you can check into a hotel at any time of the day or night depends on the specific hotel’s policies. Some hotels may have a specific check-in time, such as 3:00 or 4:00 PM, while others may have a 24-hour front desk that allows you to check in anytime.
Some hotels also offer late check-in or early check-in options for an additional fee. It’s best to check with the hotel directly for their specific check-in time policies and see if they have any options for flexible check-in times. Also, If you plan to arrive late at night, you should call the hotel in advance and let them know your expected arrival time.
What Should I Do If I Arrive at the Hotel After the Front Desk has Closed For the Night?
If you should happen to arrive at a hotel after the front desk has closed for the night, there are a few things you can do:
- Contact the hotel in advance: If you know that you will be arriving late, call the hotel in advance and let them know your expected arrival time. They may have arrangements for late check-ins if they don’t regularly offer 24-hour check-in..
- Look for an after-hours check-in: Some hotels have an after-hours check-in system, such as a night auditor or a key drop-off box. Look for instructions on how to check in after hours, and follow them carefully.
- Check for self-check-in: Some hotels now offer a self-check-in option using a kiosk or an app, allowing you to check in and get your room key without going to the front desk.
Worst case scenario, you may want to have a backup plan in place so you don’t arrive at your hotel and find that the front desk is closed for the night and that there is no after-hours check-in or self check-in option. You might want to have a room booked in another hotel ahead of time, just in case, or have plans to stay elsewhere (like with friends or family) for the night.
When in doubt, I’d recommend calling ahead to verify if you can check in later than usual. Technically, you’ve already paid for the room for the night, so the hotel should be able to accommodate your late arrival somehow.
Is It Possible to Make Special Arrangements for a Late Check-in With Your Hotel in Advance?
Yes! And this is what I always recommend when in doubt about your arrival time. It is possible to make special arrangements for a late check-in with your hotel in advance (if they don’t normally offer anytime check-in).
Many hotels offer late check-in options for guests arriving after the front desk closes. To make special arrangements for a late check-in, you should contact the hotel directly and let them know your expected arrival time. They may ask for your contact details and a credit card to hold your reservation.
Is There a Cut-off Time for Checking Into a Hotel?
The cut-off time for checking into a hotel varies depending on the specific policies of the hotel where you’re staying (private and corporate hotels). Some hotels may have a specific check-in window (e.g., between 3 p.m. and midnight), while others offer a 24-hour front desk, which means that guests can check in at any time of the day or night. Early check-in or late check-out may also be available for a fee. It’s best to check with the hotel directly for their specific check-in time policies.
Remember, a hotel’s number one priority is to “accommodate” its guests. As soon as you know you might be arriving late. They’ll probably be willing to work something out with you, even if their official policy states otherwise. Technically, you’ve already paid for the room for the night, so the hotel should be able to accommodate your late arrival somehow.
So, Just How Late Can You Check Into A Hotel?
Each hotel has its own policies regarding check-in and check-out. You may have a specific window to check in, or you may be staying somewhere where the hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, which means you can check in at any time of the day or night. Early check-in or late check-out may also be available for a fee. It’s best to check with the hotel directly for their specific check-in time policies. Technically, you’ve already paid for the room for the night, so the hotel should be able to accommodate your late arrival somehow.
If I am running late and cannot check in until the following morning, will the hotel charge me for an extra night’s stay?
If you are running late and cannot check in until the following morning, it depends on the hotel’s policy. Some hotels will charge you for an extra night’s stay, while others may allow you to check in the following morning without an additional charge. It’s best to check with the hotel beforehand or when you call to inform them of your late arrival.
Can I check into a hotel using my phone or do I need to go to the front desk in person?
Some hotels allow you to check in using your phone through their mobile app, while others may require you to go to the front desk in person. It’s best to check with the hotel beforehand to see what their policy is. Just give them a call if you don’t see the option to use the phone to check-in.
Since COVID, more hotels offer “contactless check-in” options.
Will the hotel charge me a fee for checking in or out at a late hour?
No, hotels will not charge you a fee for checking in t a late hour. I have checked in and out of lots of hotels at various hours of the day. The only way you will be charged is if you check out much later than expected.
And if you know in advance that you will want to check out late, speak with someone at the hotel, and they will let you know their policies and options.
What is the process for checking into a hotel if I have already made a reservation online?
The process for checking into a hotel if you have already made a reservation online varies depending on the hotel. Some hotels will require you to go to the front desk, while others may allow you to check in using a mobile app or self-service kiosk. It’s best to check with the hotel beforehand or check your confirmation email to see what options you have.