One or Two Room Keys?

Checking in is one of these awkward moments of truth. It can make you feel vulnerable, almost naked in front of the person across the counter. First, you entirely depend on her to give you a good room, upgrades or goodie vouchers. So you better be friendly. And secondly, they get a better glimpse than anyone into your intimate secrets, without even knowing them well. Which bed type do you prefer? Do you smoke? Drink alcohol? What movies do you like? And, most of all: One or Two Room Keys?

I have always wondered why receptionists would ask that even when you are seemingly checking in alone. But then, they have the experience. Checking in alone doesn’t always mean sleeping alone. The most exciting part of the question is the reaction of people, from a clear “one is OK” to blushing, thinking “well, maybe…I always lose things. Give me two.” – as if the receptionist and concierge wouldn’t know anyway.

But of course, there are several reasons to request that second room key, except for the obvious one. For example, I am a notorious key dropper. Especially those cards. I feel more comfortable having two keys, in different places (like, in a wallet and one in my pocket).

This also helps me with another problem of plastic card hotel keys: Magnetic radiation. Ever went up to your room on floor 64 after stopping on almost every level to let people in and out, only to realize that your key doesn’t work anymore because you kept it too close to your perpetually whirring cell phone? Well, there comes the second key from the wallet.

Another reason to maybe get a third key is air conditioning. We all know of those hotels that switch off all electricity – including air con – when that key card is pulled from the master switch. Not too cool when you’re in the tropics. If you want your room chilly and fresh when you come home, leave one key in the keycard reader. Or any other card, like one of the thirty-something hotel programs you are a loyal member of.

So next time you’re asked “one or two keys” – give it a thought and ask for three! (Priceless: The look on the receptionists’ face)

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