What is the Executive Floor in Hotels?
Just like airlines offer first- and business-class sections with more comfortable seating and enhanced service, many hotels set aside entire floors to accommodate guests willing to spend more or demonstrate loyalty to the property. The floors, usually called executive floors or club floors, might provide a few extra perks in the room, free snacks or a private gathering space to work and socialize. They are not ideal for every type of traveler, however.
Executive floors are fairly standard features across four- and five-star hotels. You almost certainly will find them at the well-known hotel brands: Hilton (hilton.com), Marriott (marriott.com) and Hyatt (hyatt.com) offer them at many of their properties, for example. Upper-tier boutique or independent hotels in major cities also are likely to have them. You'll find them less frequently at lower tiers of hotels, but some do offer them, particularly in business-travel-heavy locations. Holiday Inn (holidayinn.com), for example, has business and executive levels in some of its larger properties.
Amenities on an executive floor can vary wildly, even among properties in the same hotel brand, so you will need to check with your hotel, either by phone or on its website, for the exact offerings. As a base expectation, they should offer a public lounge area with work spaces and a small buffet, and a room with extra working areas. Many hotels, however, have invested well beyond that. In the lounge, you might find cocktails, gaming areas and free Wi-Fi hot spots. Your room might have free goodies to eat and drink and nicer bedding and furniture. You also might have an elevator exclusive to lounge floors or a private check-in area. Some luxury properties even offer high-service perks such as a butler to handle your packing and unpacking.
Usually, if you want access to an executive floor, you will have to pay. Upgrade fees will depend upon the hotel and amenities offered, but $50 to $100 is a fairly common range, at the time of publication. You might be able to upgrade when checking in at a cheaper rate, depending on availability. Checking in later in the day, when a hotel has a better picture of its inventory availability for the night, boosts your chances of getting a good upgrade deal. Hotel loyalty programs also can provide a pathway to the executive floor. Hilton's HHonors program, for example, offers diamond-level members free executive lounge access at its upper-tier properties.
Upgrading to an executive floor is not always worth the cost. Before upgrading, consider the value of the amenities offered and, more importantly, how they fit in with your travel plans. If you are traveling with your family and will be spending most of your time at activities outside the hotel, for example, you will be paying a premium for services you won't even use. However, if an executive floor offers free Internet, breakfast, an evening snack and a complimentary shoeshine, and you use all those amenities, you will be getting your money's worth. If you are traveling on business, check with your company's policy on staying on executive floors. Some have policies that decline to reimburse you for those costs.