Have You Ever Requested Hotel Room Downgrade?

Hello from Amsterdam! I’m spending the week in the Netherlands, and am presently staying at the Hotel Pulitzer in Amsterdam. It’s just down the street from the Andaz Amsterdam, where I stayed last year during my visit.

I checked into the Hotel Pulizer yesterday afternoon and was impressed by the overall check-in experience. All elite benefits were recognized, and the front desk associate even called over the duty manager to greet me since I’m a Platinum member.

I was informed that I had been upgraded to a “family room,” which objectively is an upgrade, since the rate is quite a bit higher than for a standard room. He told me to just “ignore the extra beds.”



I should note that there were no suites showing as available online, so they were clearly doing their best to upgrade me. I’m realistic, and don’t expect a suite upgrade in Amsterdam in summer unless using Suite Night Awards (however, suite upgrades in Abu Dhabi in summer are a different story). 😉

When I got to the room it sure was… interesting. On the first floor it felt about as big as a standard room.

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam family room

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam family room

And then there was a second floor with two twin beds.

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam family room

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam family room

As much as I’m generally a “top bunk” kinda guy, I can’t say that I was about to sleep in either of those beds, so that space was more or less unusable.

Beyond that, the room had an odd odor, and it didn’t face the canal or even the garden (which is the “less” premium view), but rather just a wall. It felt sort of like a prison, with no natural light whatsoever.

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam family room

So I went to the front desk and explained that I didn’t want to be a pain, but asked if they maybe instead had a standard room with a bit better of a view. After looking at inventory they said one should eventually become available, and had me store my bags and come back at 4PM.

The classic room certainly was charming, but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced vertigo like I did in this room.

I really, really loved the design. This isn’t your cookie cutter chain hotel, and for that matter, no two rooms in the entire hotel are the same.

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam classic room

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam classic room

But I literally felt like a giant in the room. Due to the “beams” I could only walk through the center of the room, and the ceiling in the shower was so low that I could barely stand up. I felt like I was on a cruise ship.

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam classic room

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam classic room

And all that would have been fine, except I swear the floor of the room was at an angle…. or it was some really mean mind game. I’ve never felt as “buzzed” as I did in this room from just sitting at a desk.

On the plus side, the room faced the garden, which was certainly better than the view the other room had.

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam classic room

Ultimately I prefer this room to the family room, though they’ve told me that if a better room opens up they’ll move me to it.

Have you ever requested a room downgrade? If so, under what circumstance?


  1. I have when it’s the view I’m looking for. Last year I used my Ambassador 2-4-1 weekend cert @ intercontinental Park Lane. The room wasn’t ready when I showed up so I stowed my luagge & went to the Harry Potter studio tour. I was tired when I returned to the hotel & saw my upgrade was to the two level London Suite, the best room in the hotel. But being tired I didn’t like the idea of climbing the stairs. I went back to the lounge to see if something else was available. The clerk of course was amazed I didn’t want the suite. Alas no other rooms were available. As it turned out the London Suite was great fun. Don’t look a gift horse on the mouth lol

  2. Yup. Asked for a downgrade at the National in moscow. The hotel was similar to your scenario as each room was slightly different then the next. upgrade was Kremlin view and asked for a downgrade to a non Kremlin view for a suite with a larger layout. Front desk thought I was nuts to give up the room they had put me in…

  3. Yes I have. I received a beautiful suite at a St Regis not so long ago, but downgraded it to a regular room as I wanted a smoking room. What a beautiful regular room that was!

  4. Funny about the height issues, given that the Dutch are the world’s tallest.

    I’ve asked for a downgrade when the “upgrade” included stairs. Seems the last time was the “casita suite” at GHTB.

  5. An interesting fact about the Hotel Pulitzer. It was the hotel that Danny Ocean and his gang stayed at in Amsterdam in the movie Oceans 12, and yes they did get upgraded to a canal view room. Just a question, are the houses connected, and how are the rooms accessed?

  6. At Plaza Athenee in Bangkok, i really like being on the club lounge floor, so will often take that over a suite on another floor.

  7. Hilton Queenstown upgraded me to a suite, but I wanted the private hot tub of the mid-level relaxation room. They were happy to downgrade the amount by which I was upgraded.

  8. I have requested a downgrade when I’m put in the attic. In Europe, top floor used to be servant quarters in older buildings, and I feel very claustrophobic with the angled ceilings.

    Given that standard rooms are tiny (177 square feet), and family rooms are really only useful for multiple occupancy, I’m wondering whether this hotel is worthy of luxury collection? I know the rooms vary widely, but I’m curious about what percent of the rooms are reasonable (reasonable size, not dark, not in the attic, etc). Is there a level between classic and family?

    Like the other posters, odor from smoke or otherwise has also been a reason to request a downgrade. Bottomline, it’s not a downgrade in a true sense (because the lower category room is better), just in a technical sense.

  9. @Robbie Plafker

    Yes, the houses are connected, and many of the rooms require stairs.

    My parents love the Pulitzer and have been staying there for well over 20 years.

  10. You had me at “top bunk guy”.

    More seriously, I find it odd when larger ADA rooms are the cheapest on property. I would feel like it’s unnecessary for me.

  11. I asked for a downgrade at the Hotel Metropole in Hanoi recently. We had a Grand Premium Luxury Room with club benefits in the modern wing, but the Grand Luxury Rooms (which is one level down) in the historical wing were so much more charming and beautiful, so we really wanted to move.

    At that particular hotel, I do believe that the rooms in the historical wing are more sought after than the rooms in the modern wing, that’s probably why they have larger, higher level rooms (there are no Grand Premium Luxury Rooms in the Historical wing) and throw in the club benefits that you don’t get with the historical rooms, to compensate for having to stay in the new wing, which is still very luxurious, but not as beautiful. For us, the beauty of the room in the historical wing as well as the atmosphere there was worth more than the larger room with benefits. So the downgrade was totally worth it.

  12. I have requested that an upgrade be downgraded at the Hyatt Boston. They frequently upgrade me to a Lafayette Suite upon arrival, but I prefer their corner rooms. Lafayette Suites are odd shaped and all the way at the end of a long hall. Corner rooms are spacious and closer to the elevator.

  13. Yes, at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. Had used suite free nights from the Hyatt Credit card but hated the room as the suites had not been renovated (but the regular rooms had been). Downgraded to a regular room and had my Hyatt private line redeposite the free suite night certificates (and deduct standard points amounts from my account) after the fact

  14. In China, the air conditioning start/stop dates are apparently outside the hotel’s control. I had a high floor suite at the Sheraton Urumqi which was pre-heated to about 350 degrees by the sun, with no A/C available. A downgrade to a cooler room on a lower floor was much appreciated!!

  15. At the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas. It’s a beautiful, tranquil hotel with flawless service. But! The MOLAS’ location means all of the premium “Strip – View” rooms look out over the tackiest section of the Strip. The hotel now knows to downgrade me to one of the “Cityscape” rooms, which face the mountains and sunsets. They’re also quieter.

    Lucky, surely you knew that the Pulitzer is housed in a series of ancient (for Amsterdam) canal houses and that the hotel had to mold itself around the quirky architecture. I guess it would fall under the category of “charming.” But it’s not me as I’m 6’4″ and fairly claustrophobic.

  16. Hmm. Not so much a ‘downgrade,’ but yes, and generally equal trade. In this case, please remember that you are in A’dam, with lots of serious rebuilt/remodeled antique buildings as hotels – not ground-up new construction. Frankly, I rather ENJOY the modern use of the classic features of very old buildings in Europe’s older central cities. I usually travel solo and don’t spend a lot of daily time in the room for other than daily functions and sleeping. Yes, that ‘family’ room was a waste, but (based on the pix) find no fault with the smaller substitute that you received. (And, as you certainly know, the published Rack Rate for any room has little to do with how well it may suit one’s needs and interests; uprated charges don’t mean much.) I guess it is fair to say that you prefer modern facilities and with lots of fluff and amenities. My taste leans toward older, classical maturity, modern, always functional plumbing that may not appear so and understated amenities that highlight gentile service rather than glitz or the ‘right brand’ of body wash. In the older, classic hotels of Europe’s central cities, I’d rather not see a TV, and I’ve been known to piss and moan loudly when charged for internet access. Just my quirks. Why? All of those preferences are likely because I’m about 2.5X your age. Yes, different strokes…
    In fairness to your apparent taste for services and amenities designed for the fast-moving folks of your generation, I certainly do enjoy access to ‘Club Level’ services at times. I’ve been known to request a slightly lesser rated room in exchange for Club access, especially if some measure of breakfast is available. I’ve also been know to raise enough (very polite) HELL about Internet access that they usually give it to me without charge.
    So, to answer your direct question about requesting a “Downgrade,” YES. Airlines engage in little, usually no negotiation over fees and services. In the hotel industry, it is quite common, even without status. If always conducted quietly and politely, the smaller the hotel, the better the results. IMO, room downgrades are always swappable for some of the services that are important to me. Your miles may vary!
    [[Of course, these unpredictable arrangements are far different from those made with the two tiny Guest Houses that have had my Spring Vacation business for 25+ years. Those places have become close to family visits where a little money changes hands. I never quibble about prices or services with those folks. Even when their fares increase a bit every few years, they are a bit embarrassed to ask. Two, very different worlds.]]
    The bottom line with hotels seems to be ask for what you need, release what you do not need and find a price that it satisfactory to both sides of the desk. That policy tends to be less effective with mega-chains and one of several reasons that I do not push the hotel points programs. Medium and smaller hotels have wiggle room; the better of the class know their guests well, even without points programs. If one shops with care and takes the time to establish the personal relationships, points, programs and ‘free nights’ become a bit silly. It has worked for me and for many years. If one is easy going, more interested in being welcomed with warmth and can use a bar of soap more than once, the opportunities expand. a lot.

  17. I downgraded myself at the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo. I can’t remember why, oddly – I think it had a dreadful view and the rook facilities were identical to the smaller rooms, just more spread out.

    I have done 2 IC trips with an RA friend in the last 18 months. In both cases, the double upgrade he got was to a room that was smaller than my AMB upgrade, just notionally more prestigious. In both cases we agreed my room was better.

  18. Great hotel. Be sure to ask the guy who works at the coffee bar in the morning about his stories as a flight attendant! He’s awesome (wish I could remember is name)

  19. Hmmmm… that hotel looks TERRIBLE compared to the Andaz. Would never stay there!
    And yes, many times I have downgraded if the room just doesn’t make sense. In some hotels I know already to ask for a lower type room. Sometimes I have found the layout of standard suites much better than thousand-dollar presidential ones. So it truly depends!

  20. @ Robbie Plafker — They have four sets of elevators, though ultimately they’re all connected. I’ve never been to a hotel that’s as much of a maze at this place, though. Each floor probably has a dozen sets of stairs you have to take just to stay on the same floor.

  21. I am curious if you wouldn’t mind sharing some info on the rates you are paying for these hotels?
    Maybe have a list or excel spreadsheet

  22. @ Jeremy — I’m booked here using points — 48,000 Starpoints for four nights, with a fifth night free. When I booked the paid rate was 300EUR per night, so quite a good value, in my opinion.

  23. Stuck in Atlanta when all flights cancelled on 9-11-01. Was upgraded to the top suite (incredible!) at the Westin Peachtree….on the top floor of the tallest building in downtown Alanta. Given the unknowns of the day asked for a room between the 3rd and 6th floors….just in case. Paranoia at the time, yes.

  24. I usually request a downgrade at a Four Seasons. So often I am greeted with an enquiry of whether I would like to upgrade for a $ cost. My response now is to enquire how much $ cost I would save if I downgraded from the category I had booked?

  25. Only twice. Both times in Paris, because the bedroom was on a different level than the W.C.
    The Pavillion de la reine, and The Crillion. Both times front desk thought I was eccentric… But who wants to break there neck in the middle of the night whilst taking a wee…
    This REALLY falls into firstworldproblems :))))

  26. @Joe Wish I’d said that. 😉

    @Lucky Have fun in Amsterdam! What a great city to spend a few days visiting. Don’t bang your head in that room!

  27. First upgraded, then downgraded,then upgraded and finally downgraded.
    Spending the most of this year at the Park Inn, Sandton , Johannesburg, check-in is usually very un eventful, just until I checked yesterday.
    Because of different issues with the room, and location of room i ended up requesting a downgrade, which they tried to change to an upgrade by re-configuring the room… after changing room I ended up in a really nice room, which is a downgrade, but was again informed they will try to upgrade the room, by re-reconfiguring it… a downgrade, yes but technically i guess I am in between..

  28. Lucky,

    Funnily enough, I stayed in this hotel–and by the look of it, possibly even the same room facing the garden–just last week. Wonderfully unique property, although the fitness center leaves a bit to be desired due to the economy of space.

    Never downgraded, but I’ve turned down quite a few upgrades in order to get a room more quickly. Especially in early spring when having US/EU on different times can mean arriving at 5am.

    Enjoy your time in Amsterdam!

  29. Like others said it depends on a hotel and, as you visit a certain property more, you kind of figure out most convenient rooms for your routine. At a Sheraton that I frequent, I don’t push for suite upgrades because the layout is not very convenient, it’s close to the ice machine/elevator, and my most important preference there is being on the same floor of the lounge.

    Another interesting question to ask — in hotels that have “mirrored” room layouts, are there other people like me who prefer one versus another? 🙂

  30. I’ve stayed at the same Classic Room, on SPG points! It indeed felt claustrophobic, especially the shower but my wife and I don’t spend much time in the hotel while we’re on vacations anyway.

    I found odd the floor leant to one side. That along with the 6 hour jetlag made us feel we had way more wine than we actually had 🙂

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