On vacation with the kids? A business trip? Choosing the right hotel can make your trip heaven, or hell. Choosing the perfect hotel – read on…
We all need a place to sleep and relax when away from home. Whether you’re on a business trip or on vacation with the family, a comfortable hotel room in a hotel that caters for your needs can be the difference between a great trip and disaster.
But, how can you choose that perfect hotel that provides the balance between comfort, facilities, location and cost? Is it enough to check how many stars the hotel has or should you look deeper?
Obviously you want a hotel that is centrally located. If you’re on vacation, you want to be close to the main attractions, to transportation. The last thing you want is to have to travel the busses or subway for hours on end just to get from place to place or spend hours looking for a free parking space. Most people want to be in the city center or next to the beach – after all, after a day in the sun, having to walk 15 – 20 minutes back to your hotel for a shower and a change of clothes can be a real pain!
If you’re on a business trip, you’ll want to stay close to the commercial center or wherever your business meetings are taking place. After all, you’re time is valuable and you don’t want to waste it on unnecessary travel from hotel to office.
But a good location carries a price – literally. The more centrally located the hotel to the “hot spots”, so the higher the price.
One of the major headaches of traveling with a car is finding a place to park. If you’re coming by car, does the hotel offer parking for its guests? How much parking space is available? Some hotels may offer dozens of parking spaces, others just a few and this could be a problem if you intend using your car and come back to find nowhere to park. Is parking free or is there a daily charge? How secure is it?
Alternatively, if you’re arriving by train, coach or plane, does the hotel offer a shuttle service from the terminal or to the town center? Does it have to be arranged beforehand or does it run regularly throughout the day. How many people can it take and is there space for your luggage? Is it a free service or do you have to pay? If so, how much?
Your hotel is much more than a place to shower and sleep. It’s a home away from home and, whether on business or vacation, you have to feel comfortable and relaxed. So, what should you be looking for?
If you’re a family and need more than one room, does the hotel have connecting rooms? Does it have a family suite with a room for the parents and one for the kids? Does it have a fold out sofa? Double bed or single beds? Bath or shower – perhaps both? Separate toilet? Closet space?
What amenities come with the room? Some of the things that we’ve come to expect as standard include an iron (but is there an ironing board?), a safe, a telephone (local calls free?), TV, hair dryer, internet (if it’s free so fine, but if you have to pay, check out the cost because it can be expensive), tea and coffee, mini bar and so on.
About that mini bar. Be careful! While it can be very convenient, the snacks and drinks can be very expensive relative to their cost at the corner store. Another thing to be aware of – many modern mini bars charge your room as soon as you remove that can of coke or a bag of peanuts. Even if you put it back unopened, you get charged. So, especially if you’re with the kids, check it out to avoid any unpleasant surprises when you check out.
Be sure you know the hotel’s check in and checkout times and if they offer a luggage storage service for early arrivals or late departures. Can you extend you stay for a few more hours without paying for an extra night?
Here the list can be endless. Restaurants, coffee bars, in-hotel stores? Does the hotel provide entertainment like a piano bar or a kids club (this can be a life saver!). Is breakfast included in the room price? Does the hotel provide conference rooms, a business center? Pool, spa, fitness center? Is there a washer and dryer available for you to use – it’s a lot cheaper than the hotel’s laundry service.
The number of stars the hotel has is a good indication of its quality. But look for guest reviews and comments on the web, if they come with photographs so much the better. Check out the local Tourism Bureau to see if they have had any complaints.
Hopefully this article will help you choose the perfect hotel for your trip; a comfortable room at a hotel that provides good service and care for its guests so that you make the most of your trip.