Knowing how to choose a hotel that is right for you will make a huge difference to your travel experience. If you are choosing a resort, you will probably end up spending quite a bit of time in your hotel. However, even if you are just looking for a place to sleep, after a long day out and about, where you come back to at the end of the day is an important decision.
Price is often the first filter I apply, because I have a budget and know how much I want to spend on accommodation. However, I am often flexible – if I find somewhere incredible for a little more than I wanted to spend, then I’ll often choose it anyway, and skimp on something else.
In some towns or countries that are quite expensive, I am willing to go basic to save money. When I was backpacking around for months at a time, the cheaper the better. Now I travel during two-week vacations, I spend more money on hotels and stay in nicer places. You need to decide what you are willing to spend and look in that price range.
If you’re not sure how to pick a good hotel, official ratings can give an indication of the quality of the hotel. However, bear in mind that there is sometimes quite a range of quality within the same star rating. It can also be more of an indication of amenities than quality of rooms.
I have stayed in plenty of three and even two- star hotels that had plenty of character, were clean and charming and I loved staying there. I have also stayed in soulless four-star hotels on business trips that met my needs, but could have been anywhere and they added nothing to my trip
Some hotels may have a swimming pool and gym, but this isn’t always the case. If you’re looking for a place to experience unusual luxury escapes, some of these amenities are essential. However, if you want to spend your time at the hotel relaxing in the pool or working out in the gym, make sure you check that they have their facilities up and running before you book anything. In addition to having these facilities, it’s essential to know what time they open and close. This is especially important for pools because things like cleaning and restocking might happen when you don’t want to be swimming. So ask your hotel about their pool opening time. The same applies to other features like a gym and paying activities like restaurants and bars.
Do you want to stay in a well-established, touristy area or do you prefer a more up-and-coming or residential neighborhood with a local flavor? In Los Angeles, for example, Beverly Hills is an old-school standout location for visitors eager to go shopping and celebrity-spotting, while areas such as Downtown and Koreatown attract fewer tourists but are vibrant with lots of restaurants and locally-owned stores. “If you’ve been to a destination before, it’s always worthwhile to pick a hotel that’s in a part of town that you don’t already know,” Mr. Sirota said. “You’ll get a new perspective.”
Decide what is important to you when you choose a hotel
The question is not so much “How to choose a good hotel?” as “How to choose the right hotel FOR YOU?” What you want in a hotel can be very different from what someone else wants, so the first step is to really think about what’s important so you can select a hotel that is just right for you.
Are luxury and amenities most important? Do you want to stay somewhere that seems like home, or do you want somewhere exotic and different? Is character and charm important? Is location a key factor for you?
When you know what’s important to you, it makes finding somewhere you’ll love much easier, because you can focus in on those things when searching for a hotel and then choose the hotel that best fits your personal needs.
Travelers often put their trust in hotels to provide them with a clean, modern stay, and too often, that’s not the case. Before booking a hotel, find out when the whole property was last updated. Remember, a hotel’s photography can lie. .
If the hotel has updated or renovated their spaces within the last four years, you can usually expect clean, well-maintained decor. No one wants to see grime in the showers or peeling wallpaper! Between four and six years is when things start to look dated and any more than six years—well, you might not be satisfied. Don’t just focus on the decor when it comes to asking when the hotel was updated. You also want to know things like when the mattresses were replaced, so you don’t end up sleeping on a saggy, spring-riddled bed.