FEATURE: Carl Hutchinson’s Tips And Tricks For Getting By In Hotels | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Stand-up comic Carl Hutchinson knows what life is like out on the road, with tours of highly successful solo shows, he’s a man in the know when it comes to surviving in hotels. We caught up with him to find out his best tips and tricks ahead of something of a homecoming show for his newest offering The Fixer, just before Christmas at The Stand on Sunday 18th December. Over to you Carl…

You can take the lad out of Jarrow, but you can’t take blah blah blah. It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been doing comedy, it never hurts to be thrifty from time to time. And by “from time to time” I mean as much as I can. Here are some cleaver, devious or perhaps outright charvy tips to save as much money while staying at a hotel.

Makeshift Fridge For Your Beer Or Soft Drinks
Loads of ice from the hotel bar, make a couple of trips if you have to. Fill your sink or bath along with a splash of cold water for a rapid affect.

Mini-Bar
Speaking of beer & soft drinks, as long as your mini bar doesn’t have a sensor for each item you can often simply replace what you drank the night before as long as you make sure to match up the brands. Careful now, don’t replace a coke can with a multi-pack coke can. There’s only so much saving you can do! The same can apply to the snacks that are in the room, however it’s a little harder to match them with what they sell at the local supermarket chain I have found.

Snacks
It never hurts to bring your own, remember you have a kettle in the room too, so get creative. Pasta and sauce where you only need to add water are ideal. I have knocked up a tomato pasta in a kettle once. Remember to clean the kettle afterwards; you’re not an animal.
NB: One time I bought a Pot Noodle (Chicken & Mushroom and a packet of crips, plain Squares (you don’t really need flavour it was more for texture). I planned on crushing the crisps so they could act as croutons) only to discover there was no kettle. I ended up filling the noodles up with the hot tap from the sink (the sink that had doubled-up as a urinal as my room didn’t come with a bathroom). I then realised that I didn’t have any cutlery so I figured “well I’ve came this far…” and brought in my toothbrush to double-up as a folk. The experience was as enjoyable as you can imagine.

Make Use Of Ground Floor Rooms
Most ground floor rooms will allow the window to be opened more than the standard 2cm. One on occasion in Milton Keynes I knew all the rooms were ground floor and had thought ahead. I arrived armed with a George Foreman grill. Sock on the smoke alarm, hanging out the window, curtains closed and towel at the bottom of the curtains. Sausage and bacon all round.

Gym
It’s hard to keep fit on tour so it is important to exercise and make full use of the hotel’s gym and spa facilities. When your hotel doesn’t have spa and gym facilities simply go to a hotel that does, make up a name and room number as you sign in the guest book. No-one ever checks.

Freebies
We’ve all taken something from a hotel before, a towel, toiletries, a duvet cover, a pillow for the train back? You have to be a real maverick to take a dressing gown these days as they’ll bill you. But what if you book a spa treatment with your room, then cancel it on the day (it won’t show up on the booking), take the robe from the room then should you get billed for it simply say you left it at the spa.

More Freebies
Any time you don’t get a good night’s sleep the staff are usually very apologetic and will do anything within reason to leave you with a smile on your face. Next time you hear a bit of noise from the bar or outside, grab a drink or two from the mini bar and order a bit of room service. Come checkout time go to pay for it but mention you had trouble sleeping. They’ll not charge you for those beers and toasty.

Ok, This Is Just Plain Stealing…
Pretend the vending machine has just eaten your money. If it’s night staff they’ll just want you out of their hair.

What Time’s Check-out?
How many times have you been disgusted with a 11am, 10:30am or even a 10am checkout?! If you’re a normal person you’ve probably just adhered to the hotel’s policy. But if you’re a monster like me, this is what you do…
Make a note of the person checking you in (seldom are the same people there come checkout), go to your room and unplug the phone, when the maid wakes you up in the morning tell them you have negotiated a late checkout with the staff. When the staff question you simply say Sally said it would be fine. No harm done, except for Sally who now needs a new job but that’s her fault for not giving you a late checkout in the first place.

Well I hope this helps, let me know how you get on next time you’re in a hotel by finding me on Twitter @CPHutchinson.

You can catch Carl Hutchinson’s show The Fixer at The Stand, Newcastle on Sunday 18th November.

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