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Travel Tip: Get a Master Key for Multiple Hotel Rooms

I recently got a life-changing travel tip from a friend that I thought was worth passing along for those who find themselves booking group travel: Ask for a master key at the hotel. I didn’t even know this was a possibility until @ringsthecaddy brought it to my attention after I complained about my stay at the Conrad Dubai. There were eight of us in three rooms, only two of which were on the same floor. The annoying part was trying to get from one floor to the next. At the Conrad Dubai, guests have to tap their keys in the elevator to get to their floor…and they can only visit their own floor (and the 24th floor if they have club lounge access).

Hallway and elevators at Conrad Dubai Hotel

This was really annoying. Inevitably, someone would need to borrow something and if they weren’t on the same floor, they’d have to meet in the lobby or the 24th floor to get it. At one point my dad needed his phone charger but my brother took his key. So I had to arrange to meet my brother on the 24th floor when he returned and hand over the charger. He then went back up to his floor to deliver the charger to my dad.

Another time, I managed to get up to their floor. They got in the elevator to go to the lobby, and I realized I had left my key in my room and couldn’t even get back! I bumped into the housekeeping staff and one of them used his key to help me get to my floor. Otherwise, I would have had to go all the way back down to the lobby to get a new key. Based on how things had played out at that point, there was a 50% chance it wouldn’t be working.

I didn’t even know it was possible to request a master key, but going forward I will. It just makes it so much easier for everyone to navigate the hotel when rooms are located on different floors. A master key is also ideal for times when someone leaves their key in the room. This, admittedly, happens a lot in my family (and I’m probably the person it happens to the most).

Anyway, I thought I’d share this tidbit for anyone who wasn’t aware of it. The next time you’re herding a large group on a trip, ask the front desk for a master key that gives you access to all the rooms. Or, if everyone is comfortable with this, see if you can get master keys issued all around. It will make navigating the hotel and multiple rooms so much easier. And when you’re traveling as part of a group, every bit of convenience can lessen the stress that comes with being part of a chain gang.

Were you aware that hotels can issue a master key for multiple rooms in the same reservation?  

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Ariana Arghandewal

4 Comments

  1. oh wow, that’s great to know … our family of four is usually split up in two rooms, sometimes on different floors. thanks!

  2. A key that opens 2 or 3 rooms is typically referred to as a multiple room key, not a master key. Although that’s a feature typically found in most modern electronic locking systems, it may not be available at all hotels if the feature is not programmed in the software that integrates with the hotel’s property management system. Many hotels link the physical key encoder to the registration screen to cut down on human errors when issuing keys. More common, particularly with mid to smaller sized properties, the hotel simply does not enable the feature even when available, for security reasons. Your scenario of everyone needing access to everyone else’s room is not common at all. From an operations perspective, if one key is lost, all keys need to be reissued to the entire group. To recut a key after checkin, you typically have to produce photo ID. Imagine the hassle of everyone in the group coming back to the front desk, ID in hand, and waiting for new keys. Imagine someone in the group, out all day, coming back to find out their key no longer works because someone else lost their key. It would be more than an annoyance to me.

    If the multiple room key is something you must have, I suggest calling in advance as it may require manager approval.

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