When it comes to finding the perfect hotel room, especially when visiting a new place, sifting through ads and carefully crafted “reviews” that litter hotel-sponsored travel magazines and websites can be a daunting task.
Choosing a Hotel
There are three reasons people travel: Vacation, business, and emergency (such as a funeral). You can treat each one differently.
If you’re heading on vacation, choosing your hotel can be part of the fun. Remember that the anticipation for going on holiday is a great de-stresser in many cases as you daydream about what you’re going to do while you’re there. Hotels on the beach can be a lot of fun for you and your significant other simply for the convenience alone.
On the other hand, if you travel frequently for business, spending time looking for a hotel room can be a drag. Consider asking your colleagues who work or live near the location to give you advice or even book a hotel for you. Of course, you could always cut down your travel time by using video conferencing and conference call services which are very affordable and becoming quite popular. If you’re offered a choice of room, you should consider the following tips.
Be it business or pleasure, every traveler’s needs vary, but no matter what motivates you there are a handful of important general points to consider when researching hotel rooms.
Location, Location, Location
With tools like Mapquest and Google Street View, it’s getting easier and easier to research a hotel’s exact location, if you’re traveling on vacation, you’ll want to be at a central point where it will be easy to visit the local area but also catch a cab or shuttle bus to other attractions. If you’re on a business trip, you’ll probably want to stay within a reasonable distance from a convention or the office where your meetings will take place.
Once you’ve made your reservation, you may want to consider your room’s exact location within the hotel. Consider the view, proximity to emergency exits or distance to and from the elevator. Others might want to be closer to the pool or on the same floor as the in-house gym. Most hotels, when there is enough vacancy, will allow for these sorts of requests.
Look at your budget and decide what you’re willing to spend. Some cities like New York tend to be very expensive, no matter where you go, and the room you get often feels like a closet. On the other hand, Las Vegas theme hotels can be adventurous yet no be particularly expensive (since they want you to gamble and get your money that way).
You can also search online for discount hotel rooms to find the one that best suits your needs. Don’t forget that being a part of an organization may get you a better rate, such as being a member of AAA.
If you plan to stay for more than a few days, you’ll want to look into the amenities. Items like fitness rooms, saunas, pools, and in-hotel restaurants and bars may be useful.
Hotel review websites can be a tremendous help but be careful. Many reviews are written by hotel staff. If it sounds like a fake review, it probably is. When you reading hotel reviews, look for how specific reviewers get. If they talk about a lot of details in general, it may be fake. If they provide a review that has details specific to their stay, it’s may be more likely to be real. There’s no exact science in determining which hotel review is real so use these websites but be diligent.
Whether visiting high-crime cities or touristy villages, it’s important to consider hotel security. Distant travel to more exotic locations may be more dangerous. Ask the concierge, booking agents, or reception if the hotel is equipped with surveillance cameras or security guards. Does the room have solid doors with extra locks? Are there safes in the room? Are there peepholes? These are questions to ask when choosing the perfect overnight dwelling. When traveling, it’s always better to remain safe than sorry.
Hotel Room Features
There’s nothing more aggravating than turning in for the night, only to be kept awake by noisy neighbors. Loud music, noisy TV sets or uninhibited couples can make a hotel stay rather unpleasant. Ask the receptionist if the walls are soundproofed or, even better, try to reserve a room away from other lodgers. Specific room selection might only be possible when vacancies are low, but it’s always worth a shot. If there’s a conference or other event going on in the hotel, you may want to stay in a room that’s on an upper level so as not to be bothered by all of the noise from attendees.
Nothing beats coming back to your room at the end of the day and climbing into fresh sheets for the night but, on the other hand, getting a knock on the door at nine in the morning when some maid wants to tidy up the room can interrupt a good snooze. “Do not disturb signs” are handy, but often lead to no service at all. Ask for a room that tends to get cleaned in the afternoon rather than the morning to avoid a sleep-killing knock at the door.
Deposit or Not to Deposit
When reserving a room, some hotels require a hefty credit card deposit. Some travelers can be caught off guard by the policy and should double check the fine print before swiping plastic. Although room deposits are common around the globe, some off-the-chain hotels might find ways to dock dollars for unforeseen reasons or, worst, keep the deposit all together.