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You Snooze You Lose

You Snooze You Lose


One of the difficulties of flying to Europe is the arrival at the crack of dawn after an overnight flight. Wouldn’t it be nice if you arrived and got to check into your hotel as soon as you arrived? Here’s my latest adventure on the “morning after.”

No matter what I do, I can’t sleep on overnight flights.  I’ve tried drinking wine, taking Benadryl, and even taking sleeping pills.  Nothing works!  I flew over from JFK to Athens on Delta Airlines Business Class (thanks to miles), so I had my own cozy little cubbie.  I watched a few movies and attempted, once again, to sleep.  My seat reclined all the way down and it was all very comfortable but still no sleep.  I laid there listening to jazz music with my eyes closed and aware of all the sounds of plates being put away and people snoring around me.   Eight hours later we arrived in Athens.


Delta Airlines Business Elite
Delta Airlines Business Elite


Upon arrival into Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport we gathered our welcome kit at the City of Athens Infopoint which included: A city map and guide, transportation passes, Athens Spotlighted Card, and a letter for free admission to a variety of venues.  We popped into the metro and off we went to the Acropolis Metro Station.

By the time, we arrived at our hotel “Royal Olympic Athens” it was close to 11:00 AM.  We were exhausted and just wanted to sleep a few hours.  I had a tour already arranged with the “Athens Walking Tour” group to see all the sights of Athens at 2:00 PM.   When we arrived at the hotel, the lobby was impressive and the staff very attentive. Once we got to the reception counter we got the dreadful news “YOUR ROOM ISN’T READY“.   My husband told the employee that we were exhausted and needed to sleep.  The hotel was very accommodating and put us in a “De Luxe Room” facing another building and overlooking the pool area.   We had a small view of the Parthenon.   I was disappointed when I saw our room.   It wasn’t one of their glorious rooms that I had looked forward to.  Our bathroom and the bedroom were a little outdated: The air conditioner hardly worked.  We were pretty busy and my husband hates changing rooms once we’ve checked it so I didn’t pursue getting a better room but it continued to bug me that we weren’t in one of their great ones.  I believe we were staying in the old wing of the hotel and it wasn’t a 5 star hotel room.


De Luxe Room
De Luxe Room at Athens Olympic Hotel
De Luxe Room View of the Pool Area Athens Olympic Hotel


The next day I run into another blogger who was staying at our hotel and was raving about his room and the view.   His room was facing the Acropolis and had floor to window views with a marble tub in the bathroom. Was I a little jealous when I heard he had a fabulous room with a view?  But I had told my husband I wouldn’t make him move…So I kept my month shut.


Athenian Panorama Room
Athenian Panorama Room (photo credit: Athens Olympic Hotel)
Athenian Panorama Bath
Athenian Panorama Bath (photo credit: Athens Olympic Hotel)


Wouldn’t it be nice for hotels to accommodate travelers arriving from overnight flights to Europe by charging a little extra to have your room available upon arrival

About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Her travels allow her the opportunity to pursue her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.


  1. Stef
    October 31, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I agree with you, also with overnight busses, you then have to wait soooo long until you are finally able to go into your room. I mean if you fly to another continent, it’s actually quite good as you have to stay awake and combat your jetlag. But I don’t understand the problem as you always indicate your arrival time before, so if there’s is a room free or the person already checked out earlier, why can’t I already enter the room???

    • Carmen
      October 31, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      Hi Stef, When I make my reservations I alway ask the hotel if we can check in earlier. The hotel normally says will note it on your reservation but there’s no guarantee. I agree with you. If they have a room available why don’t give it up. In our case, I feel we got downgraded because our room wasn’t available at the time of check in.

  2. Katie
    October 31, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Yes! I would love to see hostel/hotels having rooms ready a little earlier to accommodate travelers from the US. I have arrived miserably tired around 6am on several occasions. Luckily, the places I have stayed have allowed me to leave my bags there, which has allowed me to force myself awake while wandering around a strange new city. The worst was in Iceland, because it is not the full time change from Europe, and it is a quick flight from the east coast. I got to the hostel around 6/7am and had to walk around for hours until 11am check-in when I could finally get some rest. Ah the joys of travel!

    • Carmen
      October 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Hi Katie, I had the same issue where the hotels was willing to hold my bags, but I found myself wandering around a city that I’m not familiar with killing time. It’s specially worse if you arrive at 6-7 AM., most places are still closed.

  3. Sarah Ebner
    October 31, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Yes, absolutely. I really think it would!

    • Carmen
      October 31, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      Hi Sarah, We need to get the message out to the hotel industry.

  4. Erin of No Ordinary Nomad
    October 31, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    For sure! I couldn’t even count the amount of times I’ve arrived in a new destination and been dead tired, only to be told that they can store my luggage for me until check in time and send me off to kill time. I would happily pay extra to be able to check in earlier.

    • Carmen
      November 2, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      Hi Erin, You would think hotels by now with the amount of guest traveling from overseas, should allocate a few rooms for guests that are coming in on overnight flights. Most of them now a days ask what time you think you will be arriving.

  5. Jolanta
    November 2, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about your disappointing room. Your fellow TBEXer’s room does look much nicer, and it was kind of you not to force your husband to switch. I do hope you didn’t pay the same price for such different rooms.

    When we travel to Europe we do tend to sleep the first day, or, if we can’t quite check into the room, but can drop off our bags, we do a bus tour of the city (so that we can still sightsee but don’t have to walk). I do agree that hotels should be willing to get a few rooms ready early for travelers who arrive early.

  6. Shikha (whywasteannualleave)
    November 3, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Oh Carmen, I do feel for you – must have been the last thing you wanted to hear after a long journey when they broke the news that the room wasn’t ready! The same thing happened to me when we flew from London – Borneo, which was a very long journey – we were so tired but it wasn’t too bad as they put us in a lounge for an hour, where I stuffed myself on chocolate brownie which gave me a bit of a sugar rush to stay awake 😀

    • Carmen
      November 6, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      Hi Shikha, I would of been really happy to sit around and stuff myself with chocolate. Instead, I had no sleep and went off on a five hour walking tour throughout Athens. I was exhausted by the time we returned to the hotel. If I was by myself traveling I would of made a big fuss about it, but my husband isn’t one for change.

  7. Jessica @ The Dining Traveler
    November 3, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Oh no! That’s the worst! I’ve emailed the hotel ahead of time to ask for an early check in and it has worked sometimes. Usually works with bigger chains, especially if you have the loyalty program. Looking forward to following all the TBEX stories!

    • Carmen
      November 6, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      Hi Jessica,

      I called the hotel ahead and requested an early check in since we were arriving at 10:00 a.m. The hotel’s normal check-in time I think was 3:00 p.m They did give us a room, but not one of their best ones.

  8. Michele {Malaysian Meanders}
    November 3, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Oh my, that other room does indeed look better. I actually did come across a hotel that offered guaranteed early check-in at a price, but it was so expensive that I didn’t even consider it. For the last few red-eye flights that I’ve taken, we’ve arrived at 7AM to a hotel that didn’t have a room ready for us. I actually like that it pushes us to stay awake and start getting on schedule.

    • Carmen
      November 6, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Hi Michele,

      Finding a hotel that offers early check-in for a price is unheard of here in the states. I would of happily paid for a room to get in earlier. I agree keeping yourself up forces your body to get acclimated to the new time.

  9. Marissa | Little Things Travel
    November 3, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    This all looks glorious! What a great place to stay!

    • Carmen
      November 6, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      Hi Marissa, It’s a very nice hotel, but it would of been even nicer if we stayed in the better room. 🙂

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