In recent years, I have found myself - due to circumstances good and bad - staying in a lot of hotels. The hotels have been in Chicago, New York, Washington D.C. and Boston.
I am a dedicated user of online search engines to find a hotel that meets my standards, in the city I am visiting, at a price that meets my budget. I also sign up for travel blogs as well as franchise discount programs so that I can take advantage of their best prices. In other words, I try to be travel savvy.
Over the course of my travels, I have discovered some things worth sharing:
~I almost always call the hotel directly to ask their reservation desk the very best rate they can offer me. Sometimes, when they find I have done my homework, they do meet the online rates which are often lower. However, there are other times, the reservation desk says they simply can’t meet the rates that Expedia or Orbitz can deliver.
~I rarely stay at a hotel that is less than a 4 star. It is not that I won’t deviate from that, but I find the accommodations that are most comfortable for me include luxuries like down comforters and attentive services. Boutique hotels do not often room service, but boy, oh boy they do go above and beyond with little thoughtful things - like umbrellas on rainy days, EXTRA towels (I mean, at the prices they charge, why skimp?), and afternoon teas. My hotel rooms must have, without exception, a bathtub and hot water. ~I can advise you never to accept a room that is directly across from an elevator. If the dinging bell doesn’t bother you, the disembarking guests will. The other side to that observation is that the room behind the elevator is usually as loud due to the engineering and mechanics of elevators.
~I do read guest reviews before booking in a hotel where I have not stayed previously.
Here is where I learn how far the establishment might be from public transportation, or that the wifi service doesn’t work. Also, in reviews, I often glean tips. For example, that a Trader Joe’s is two blocks away, that the best wine in town may be found at the wine bar across the street or that, though check-out is earlier than usual, the hotel provides complementary luggage storage. These hints make navigating a new hotel a bit easier.
This is not meant to be a primer on how to find a really nice hotel for a good price. Really! As I write, while lying in bed in a a lovely four star hotel, I am enjoying a bit of a joke I played on myself. I was so excited to find a 4.5 star hotel in the neighborhood of Boston where I wanted to stay, that I never actually recognized that I stayed here about a year ago. Of course, the outside looked familiar, but when I stepped inside and saw the holiday decor, I remembered being here in a blizzard. As a result, I came up with this new hobby for myself, Starting here and now, I am going to take snapshots of the hotels where I stay. Not only will I have a travel-log of sorts, I will, hopefully, remember where I have been.