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I have a short 48 hour hotel stay in Massachusetts. My girlfriend already lives there, and wants to spend the night with me in the hotel.

After scouring the Web, as well as these questions

Can a hotel kick you out if you let an unregistered guest share a room with you?

What is proper etiquette on bringing one night stands to a hotel room?

Do additional guest need to be present for hotel check in

Can I have an unregistered guest come over at a hotel?

I have found many general answers that basically amount to "it depends." Obviously, though I can't seem to find anything concrete.

Having stayed in many hotels in the area, I only ever saw them ask for a CC and ID for the person paying. I don't get the impression that they would even care, and the hotel policies make no mention of additional guest fees.

In Massachusetts, USA, will there be any issues if I simply bring my girlfriend up to the room? Do I have to tell the front desk? Both of us are very private people and would rather not go through that rigmarole.

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    It comes down to what the hotel management allows or doesn't allow, and indeed, one location of a hotel chain might have a different policy from another location of the same chain just down the street. You can call the front desk without identifying yourself as a guest/future guest and simply ask. – choster Aug 16 '16 at 23:18
  • It's "traditional" to register in these circumstances as Mr and Mrs Ares. Many an old movie uses this in the plot. – Andrew Lazarus Aug 17 '16 at 1:23
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    @AndrewLazarus We've advanced some since then. – Karlson Aug 17 '16 at 1:24
  • @Karlson Reading "very private people" as: not in the OP's community. – Andrew Lazarus Aug 17 '16 at 1:28
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    Honestly, I'd just make sure you get two keys at check-in. If it's a standard chain hotel, it's unlikely anything will happen other than you receiving two keys. – Zach Lipton Aug 17 '16 at 1:39
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Charging fees per guest is very unusual for the US hotels. Most charge per room, and as long as the room legal max occupancy isn't exceed, they don't care how many people are there. Typical max occupancy is two adults (sometime two adults and two children), and when you book your hotel, the booking site typically tells you this.

You can test it yourself when you book your hotel by first trying to book it as "1 adult 1 room", and then as "2 adults 1 room". If you can book the same room, you're not exceeding max occupancy, and if the price doesn't increase, there are no per-guest fees.

Also many US hotels, especially in the lower segment (Motel 6, Super 8 etc) have open planning, meaning their doors open into the courtyard which is also a parking lot, meaning the hotel staff doesn't even see you entering your room.

To summarize, the easiest way would be for you to:

  • Book a room for two adults;

  • Tell the hotel during check-in that your girlfriend will join you later:

    • If you only hear back 'huh-huh' (I'd say in US hotel this is 95% probability), you can assume they don't care.
    • If they say she needs to stop by the front desk and show her ID, ask what if she arrives at 4:30am? If they still insist, then they do care, and in this case it is worth stopping by and showing her ID. If they say she can stop next morning, where you'd be already leaving, then they don't really care.
  • As a data point, I have seen Choice Hotels charge around $5 more when selecting 2 guests instead of 1 at some locations (probably because a hot breakfast was included in the room rate,) but I agree that there's usually no difference. – reirab Aug 17 '16 at 6:21
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    I have never ever ever encountered a hotel wanting ID from someone other than the person booking the room. I think you only need the first bullet point "book a room for two adults" and forget about the rest of them. – user35890 Aug 17 '16 at 13:10
  • I have never encountered this in US too, but this doesn't mean it couldn't happen. Some municipalities, for example, might have local laws requiring hotels to register for all guests. – George Y. Aug 18 '16 at 2:02
  • Update: I'm still waiting to catch my flight but I called the hotel. Nobody cares – Ares Aug 18 '16 at 13:04
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Just ask for a second key at check-in. It will likely be provided without further ado. (It has been for me, with neither spouse nor child in evidence.) There are hotels that have kickback arrangements with women who "stay" there on a regular basis, but for genuine guests, there should not be a problem.

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    To add a comment to myself: I have encountered many big-city hotel elevators that require a key, and a few where late at night security discreetly checked in the lobby for room keys. You do want the second key. – Andrew Lazarus Aug 17 '16 at 6:00
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Anywhere I stayed in the US I have not found any rules prohibiting additional guests or requiring to pay extra fees if a guest is present overnight unless a hotel has to provide an additional bed or an additional key.

That being said, once you get to the hotel you can do one of 2 things:

  1. Ask the front desk if it would be an issue if someone else stay with you.

or

  1. There is usually a book (more like a binder) that is place either by the phone or on a desk that in addition to all the useful information about all sorts of things provide restrictions placed on guests, while using the hotel room. If you find anything specific to another guest joining you in a room those rules will apply.

Otherwise, enjoy your stay.

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