I've stayed in my fair share of luxury hotels and spas over the last year or so and I must say that I'm enjoying my chance to review such beautiful and grand venues, I'm always excited when checking into a new temporary home-from-home. However, I've become a creature of habit and have formed some "quirky" traits when checking into a new hotel room for the evening, one or two that frustrate the heck out of my traveling companions, but are 100% essential when reviewing a new boudoir for the night. It got me thinking, are these new hotel traditions normal behaviour? Does everybody have their quirks when it comes to sampling a new spin on the mini bar or checking out the bathtub before heading out to nosey around the neighborhood? I recently read an article based on a survey carried out by Marriott, which stated that 32% of hotel guests check out the view outside their window before they do anything else. I have to say, this is in fact one of the very last things I will do when checking in, it's never top of my priorities whilst snooping. SO what is the first thing I do when checking into a hotel with my "Secret Stays"? Here's my top (and most annoying!) activities when running around "oohing & ahhing" over the boutique venue facilities on offer to me for a short while. Get Snap Happy Yep, you guessed it, before ANYTHING (luggage AND companions included) can enter the room behind me, I have to run around and get snap happy - ensuring that everything is photographed prior to using it. There's nothing worse than unmaking a beautifully made bed, as however much you try, you can never make it back up to the standard it was when you found it on arrival. I adore a freshly made bed and I equally love to photograph it before I jump onto (or into) it, so the first thing I must do is to take photos of absolutely everything, all whilst my luggage and companion may be sat in the doorway for fifteen minutes before they can follow me inside. This is a mild annoyance that any traveling companion of mine must endure if they wish to tag along - no apologies on that score I'm afraid! Snoop At The Toiletries I've been met with every bottle shape and size imaginable, sewing kits, shower caps, ear buds, flannels, fluffy towels, bath robes, slippers, soap bars, toilet roll folded into intricate origami and massage oils to add to the bath or rub into your skin after a hot shower. These can make or break a bathroom and (after photographing them, naturally!) I love to open them up and smell them, plot a long and rare soak in a copper bathtub and plan a relaxing lounge wrapped up in a robe with a good book. I'll consider a hair mask and conditioning session after a swim if the right hair products are placed in front of me - the toiletries will shape my stay, as geeky as that may sound ; ) My Inner Housekeeping Nerd Will Kick In I will sweep my finger across door frames, check showers for cobwebs (oh so many I've found on my journeys!) and peek behind headboards to find all kinds of bizarre trinkets and the like. I once found a toy soldier under the bed in one hotel and a bag of dog mess on the patio of another... The hotel inspector in me comes out before I've unpacked my suitcase, I want to know that the room I'm sleeping in is clean and tidy before I start making myself at home... I'm yet to find a "perfectly" spotless boudoir, I'm sad to report, no matter the quality of the venue I've stayed in, nowhere has yet been entirely faultless or spotless! Unpack.... And I mean UNPACK! I'm quite anal when it comes to staying away, I'm very much as I am at home... everything must have its place. Even if I'm staying away for just one night, I have to unpack absolutely everything before I can leave my room and explore. My toothbrush has to go in the holder at the bathroom sink, underwear in a drawer, makeup and hair straighteners at the dressing table (or, a desk in most cases) and my iphone charger has to be plugged in at the wall. I'm an odd creature I fear, but I can't leave until I have an empty bag, carefully & neatly tucked away in the wardrobe with my coat, jacket, rain-proofs and shoes... yep, I'm a nerd, I warned you! Take Some More Pictures Once I'm happy with my room, the view and I've unpacked, I wander around the venue and get even more snap happy. I love the tiny details dotted around a well thought out hotel. The walking boots lined up against the entrance hallway wall, the silver ornaments on a fireplace, the ornate chandeliers dropping from the ceiling and the furry friends that occupy a country retreat - I can't help it, I have a problem. Hotel-anonymous may well be needed in a short while! What Else Is There To Do, But....? Well, once I'm settled, I've taken a million photos & I've Instagrammed / Tweeted / Facebooked my share of awesome shots and checked out the food & drink and the spa facilities, I'm ready to head back to my room and suss out the bed! Who doesn't love to flop onto a nicely made bed, to test the bounce, cuddle up to feel the thickness of the duvet and see just how fast those goose feathered pillows deflate under the weight of your head?!.... If they do this quickly, then a call to reception to request more pillows has been known on many an occasion! What do you do on checking into a hotel yourself? Do you head for similar traits or do you just dump your luggage and run for the nearest tourist attraction/pub/etc? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!