The difficulty of finding a great hotel, one that meets everyone’s needs, is a pain that all travelers have felt. Yet our trip design manager, Meagan, tells us that booking the perfect hotel doesn’t have to cause headaches and anxiety. Today she shares her secrets on where to look and what questions to ask in order to get it right the first time.
“Whenever I am traveling (especially to a new destination) and I need a place to stay, I simply start by asking my friends. There is nothing quite as relevant and dependable as a strong personal recommendation. I’m lucky since most of my friends are in the travel industry and their word of mouth carries some serious weight.
If I can’t find a place I love based on what my pals have to say, I look to my favorite travel publications to see what nods they give hotels in the area that I’m planning to travel. Afar, Travel & Leisure, and the NY Times, as well as websites such as Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Relais Chateau, are all great places to look. I also check out online reviews, blogs and booking sites (such as Trip Advisor) to see how different hotels rank in the area.
Once I settle on a few options, I like to dig into the exact location on a map. Is it within walking distance to all of the attractions I would like to visit? And more importantly for me personally, what kind of restaurants are nearby? The hotel website is my next reference—I look at the rooms and room types to decide what best suits me. I look for super detailed information about the hotel breakfast and coffee options. If they don’t have great coffee I am not going! It’s sometimes nice to have tasty dining options on site and entertainment as well, even if it is just a cozy lounge or terrace with a view to enjoy a beverage.
Of course, the amenities and services are important to keep in mind. Does the hotel have a sauna, mini bar, bike rental or fitness center? I look around the hotel site for special offers and sometimes (gasp!) even pick up the phone to see if I can talk to the friendly reservation department about getting the best room available at the best price or complimentary valet, breakfast or another perk.
After all that, I just kick back and imagine myself on vacation! If I am lucky, I won’t spend too much time at the hotel because I will be out riding my bike or exploring.”
Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge, Meagan!