Here's what we think: the folks at our sister-company Oyster are true hotel experts. Last fall, I spent a week in Japan with an Oyster photographer and was amazed at her ability to see things that most people miss. Where most people saw a hotel hallway, she saw hidden clues about maintenance. Where I saw a breakfast buffet, she saw a way to gauge how a hotel was faring against the competition.

So when we decided to do a tip series focused on hotels, we knew just who to ask. This summer, we're teaming up with Oyster to bring you tips to help you get the very best out of each hotel stay. Our first topic: how to find the right people to ask for help at any hotel.

The Golden Rule of Asking for Help at Hotels

Here it is: Never be afraid to ask for help. Oyster editors advise that you'll never get what you don't ask for, so even if asking for things is out of your comfort zone, it's worth pushing yourself. You can be as friendly as you like, but don't feel like you need to apologize for asking. Because, as Oyster reminds us, "Hotel staff is there to assist you."

At any hotel, you have two primary resources—one is obvious but the other may surprise you.

First off, ask hotel staff. The front desk can help direct your question to the right person, and even if, Oyster says, "the person you first come into contact with can’t help you, he/she will often know who can and get you to the right person." Many people also favor hotel bartenders, who tend to offer more candid suggestions than, say, a concierge might.

Your other best resource is other people staying at the hotel. Many of your fellow guests "may have stayed at the hotel before, or visited the area before, and therefore will likely have suggestions on everything from what the hotel front desk can provide to the must-visit tourist spots." So strike up a conversation with the person you meet in the lobby, and if they seem like your type of traveler, ask them for advice.

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Read the original story: The Best People to Ask for Help at Every Hotel by Christine Sarkis, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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