A fancy-schmancy hotel exec reveals tips for getting great hotel service

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The global brand leader of St. Regis Hotels, who stays at hotels 150 nights a year -- and not only at properties affiliated with his brand -- tells how to get the most out of a stay at any hotel.

St. Regis's Paul James offered his tricks of the trade in a Wall Street Journal interview. James advises three key steps a traveler should take to get great service:

1. It never hurts to ask. If there's anything special you want -- a crib in the room, a mini fridge, a certain style or shape of room, some fruit waiting on arrival -- call the hotel and request it, and then ask again when you check in. "It's surprising how much a hotel generally can do and can provide for you once you get there," says James.

2. Dress nicely: "If you look the part, you'll tend to get looked after a little bit better."

3. Be nice and give feedback to the concierge. Good concierges are extraordinarily knowledgeable, so it is wise to build a rapport and to help them help you. James says, "If you reward them with a, 'That was great—more like that, please,' it could help open up a whole raft of new access points to the city."

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