Choosing a place to stay during a vacation or weekend getaway can make all the difference between a mediocre stay and one that sets the bar for what a hotel or resort should deliver to guests. I’m often asked how to decide which hotel to book on vacation, or how to select the perfect hotel for a honeymoon, proposal, memorable trip, or family getaway, and I think this question is so important that it deserves its own post. Here are my tips on how to select the perfect hotel, so that you enjoy your travels to the fullest, sleep peacefully, and feel at peace.
Plan Your Itinerary First
Once you know what you want to do, and where those things are located on a map, it’s much easier to determine the area you’ll want to stay in. I’ve heard of people wasting 2-3 hours a day commuting from their hotel to the sites they wanted to see, and that’s a huge loss of time. Pick an area in the middle of the things that interest you, and look at surrounding hotels. Here are my tips on planning the perfect itinerary.
Be sure to check traffic times from your hotel to destinations, and investigate options for transportation. Not every city has public transportation and renting a car is your only option, whereas places like Tokyo and London have such excellent public transportation options that make the city much easier to navigate, which means more options on where to stay. In some places like Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Toronto, taking an Uber or Lyft can be much cheaper, more convenient and simpler than attempting to drive yourself, and it can also broaden your options when it comes to hotels. Here are my tips on ride share safety.
If you’re looking for a hotel with a spa, an indoor or outdoor pool, and convenient parking, prioritize those amenities and use them while searching properties. If you plan to stay in your hotel the entire time during your travels, then these amenities become almost non-negotiable. If you’re hoping to fit in a couple laps in a pool during your trip, but you won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen, then that’s something that’s much more flexible. Prioritize what you’re looking for in a hotel stay, and look at it like dating. You’ll need to have a list of non-negotiable items, and anything else is a bonus.
Check the Safety of the Area
If the area your top choice hotel is located in is safe, you can rest easy knowing that you aren’t likely to have any safety issues during your stay. A quick Google search of “(your destination) crime statistics 2021” will pull up plenty of information.
If the statistics these safety websites pull up are a bit nebulous, you can add “vs (your hometown)” to compare something you live everyday to your future destination. When we went to Seattle last year, I searched for “Seattle v. West Bloomfield Crime Statistics 2018” in order to get a better idea of how safe the city was before we visited. We felt totally safe in both cities the entire time we were there, which put us at ease.
Read Reviews to Select the Perfect Hotel
Reading reviews and blog posts will be your best tools for determining where to stay, particularly if aesthetics play a role in where you decide to stay, but even if it doesn’t always. Search Google, Trip Advisor, and Pinterest to check for current reviews. Read both positive and negative reviews to get a more complete picture of the range of experiences people have.
Pay particular attention to how the hotels reply to criticism and how they solved problems reviewers mention. If they attempt to make things right, or offer to contact the person to learn more about the situation, that demonstrates that the hotel cares about their guests experience and their own image, both of which are important. If they ignore the negative reviews, or worse yet, attempt to belittle or argue with people offering their own experiences, steer clear as you’re unlikely to have a pleasant stay at places who staff rude employees.
Seek out reviews with guest images or blog posts that offer real photos of the property in order to see what the rooms currently look like. Most hotels take photos before they open, which could have been years ago, and years and years of wear can really deteriorate a property if they’re not properly maintained. This will prevent you from thinking you’re splurging on a great property only to arrive and realize it’s deteriorated since the hotel website photographed it.
Use Reward Points If You Have Them
By using reward points, if you have them, you can stay at a nicer, more luxurious hotel and have a much more pleasant stay. When it comes to hotels, you truly do get what you pay for, particularly when it comes to amenities, in-room gifts, early check-in times and late check-outs, and more, and reward points can help you upgrade your travel experience without going over whatever budget you have set aside for accommodations.
To explore some of the most elegant and refined hotels with the best guest experiences available, explore my Luxury Hotels of the World vertical. I hope these pieces of advice help you learn how to select the perfect hotel during your next adventure!