At the risk of sharing my biggest secrets, I want to share some of the key qualities I look for when scouting out a hotel or resort when planning my own travel or for a client.
For some, the location may not be the most important quality or highest on their list of priorities. However, I believe that the right location can impact your travel experience significantly. I always look for a hotel that is closest in proximity to the main attraction I am visiting. If there are multiple attractions or locations, I want to visit within the vicinity I will either stick with being close to one of them or close to the main road that we can easily navigate.
Even if budget isn’t necessarily the most critical factor, I also feel that I want to get the best value at the resort. I also look to see if the price is comparable to other hotels nearby with similar amenities. Also, when looking at the price I factor in any additional fees like resort fees and parking and what amenities are included, like breakfast. Sometimes these additional costs or add-ons can make or break my decision.
Depending on the location and overall reason for travel, sometimes you need a hotel with a pool and other activities. In some circumstances, you may find it helpful if breakfast or snacks are included with your stay. Different situations may just require a safe and comfortable place to lay your head at the end of the night. Either way, amenities add so much value and impact to your hotel stay that you have to carefully consider what is included and what you are simply paying extra for.
Chain versus Independent
There are all chains and brands we trust because of the consistency of our experience. However, in the hotel world, it can get tricky because some hotels are independently owned, and therefore quality is hard to maintain across the board. A hotel that is not part of a chain is tasked with keeping up its standards and, sometimes you will find better attention to detail.
Yes, I absolutely read reviews. I read maybe about 20 or so and look for any consistent themes or complaints. I also look to see how many of the reviews are recent. With many resorts working on their return to service, I sometimes notice trends of improvement or lack of quality after reopening that previous guests will comment about. Of course, I find reviews that are just unhelpful, and I take those with a grain of salt. Along with the reviews, I do like to compare them with social media and any pictures I can find. Sometimes these resorts have photos that are many years old, and the hotel has either been kept in good condition or it needs a little TLC.
Have I stayed in some bad hotels? Oh yes, I have! Maybe someday I’ll share some of my worst hotel experiences. Clearly, I have learned from those experiences how to make better selections and improve my future travels.