More hotels iron out the wrinkles for guests

ByABC News
August 3, 2009, 10:38 PM

— -- Owen Mekitarian checks into a hotel almost every week and faces the same problem when he unzips his bags.

"I arrive just about every week with wrinkled clothes," says Mekitarian, 52, a Canadian broadcast engineering consultant who frequently travels across the border to visit U.S. radio stations.

Like Mekitarian, millions of travelers can arrive at hotels each year with wrinkled clothing. Many reluctantly reach for an ironing board and iron or call the front desk for the equipment.

That's no longer needed at Omni Hotels. In late April, it announced that its 41 North American hotels are providing free ironing for frequent-guest-program members.

Omni joins a growing number of hotels offering complimentary clothing and grooming services. Complimentary shoeshines, for instance, are increasingly common. And more hotels are letting guests use washers and dryers for free.

But simply getting the wrinkles out is often the biggest concern, and free ironing remains a rarity. Looking for hotels with free ironing, USA TODAY contacted numerous chains, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association asked its thousands of members.

Two other hotels offer the free service: the White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine, and The Jefferson, a Washington, D.C., hotel that's scheduled to open later this month after an extensive renovation.

The White Barn may have the most guest-friendly policy in the country. Guests can have as many items as they wish washed and ironed for free, and the inn provides free shoeshines, says spokeswoman Kristin Hutton.

The Jefferson will iron one item of clothing for free per stay and provide free shoeshines.

More common abroad

Omni irons two items for free per stay for most members of its Select Guest frequent-stay program, which can be joined without charge at check-in.

Select Guest black-level members those who have 11 stays or spend 20 nights annually at Omni hotels can have as many items as they wish ironed for free.