When we stayed in Miami, I spent quite a few hours looking through various websites to pick the perfect hotel. During our last trip, we thoroughly enjoyed the hotel from the moment we checked in as we were handed margaritas to the moment we checked out as we were handed a bag of waters for the ride to the airport. In college, any time I looked for a hotel, I looked for the cheapest 3 star option I could find. Over the years of increasing travel, I have changed how I look for a hotel due to good and bad experiences from hotels. Here are the most important factors when looking for a hotel:
- Location – I believe location is the most important factor when picking a hotel in any spot around the world. By setting your main agenda (for example: visiting the beach, seeing particular tourist sites, etc), you will find the best hotel location to fit your desires for your trip. In Europe, knowing that we were to rely on public transportation, finding a hotel that was close to the main attractions was important. If you plan to do a lot of walking, having a hotel that you can return to easily if needed should be considered. A relaxing vacation means your hotel should be close to the spot so you don’t have to venture further than the hotel bar for a refill on your pink umbrella drink.
- Concierge – A hotel’s concierge has become increasingly more important to me. During our trip to Miami, we used the concierge for a suggestion of a place to grab dessert as well as the best way for us to paddle board at the beach. The concierge contacted a local company and within an hour had a company bring us paddle boards directly to the beach outside our hotel. I have used a hotel’s service more and more for suggestions on the best places to eat, how to get around and places we must visit. Especially when visiting another country, you want to make sure that the hotel offers a concierge that will help you with any request that can help to make your travel easier.
- Parking / Transportation – If you are driving to where you are visiting or renting a car, make sure to check the parking situation. I have learned the hard way that hotels can charge an additional $20/night just to park your car. Other hotels may offer a limited selection of parking which you will regret if you plan to return to your hotel late. If you are not driving, you want to find a hotel that is located close to local transportation like the subway or a bus stop.
- Hotel facilities/ amenities – Every time I pack for a trip, I ensure that I throw a bathing suit in my suit case. It is rare for me to not use the pool or jacuzzi when I stay at a hotel so a hotel with a pool is important for me. In addition, gyms, restaurants and spas are important facilities that a hotel can offer. Although you will leave your hotel, you want to know that while you are at your hotel, you will enjoy all it has to offer.
- Reviews – Reading other people’s experience from their visit is insightful to what you can expect from a hotel. I always look for reviews that mentioned specifics such as the cleanliness, any extra fees that may have been added and the service received. There are many places that have reviews that do not match their number of stars. Reviews are the best view into what you will encounter during your stay.
Tell me: What do you think is the most important factor to consider when booking a hotel?