I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to the act of choosing a hotel. I love scrolling through the gallery to get a feel of what the hotel looks/feels like, but I hate sifting through alllll the options available and reading through tons of reviews. Lots of choices equal analysis paralysis. However, I do want to make sure that I’m choosing a hotel with the best price, top notch views, great amenities, etc. — basically best all-around! — so I have to put in the time.
It all pays off when we score on a hotel that checks everything off my list!
I’m not going to talk about price being a factor because everyone has a different range depending on their preferences. To note, we typically spend less than $150/per night for a hotel, with the exception of this one time. We also frequently book hotels using credit card and hotel points, so the points to cash conversion may vary.
Once I set a budget to work with, I start diving into the hotels’ features.
What I look for and think about when picking a hotel:
My absolute number #1 (and I hope is yours too) is cleanliness. It must be in the 4.5-5 out of 5 rating for the category, and multiple RECENT reviews must mention cleanliness as a positive.
I can almost tell if the place is pristine as soon as I walk through the door, which makes me instantly relieved. The bedsheets are crispy white, appliances and amenities in the room placed neatly and orderly, and the bathroom just screams “bathe in me!”.
On the flip side, as a growing germaphobe, nothing makes me cringe more than stained carpet/chairs, smelly bathrooms, and finding hair/stains on the bed (especially this one)!
Cleanliness means comfort, and to me, it’s a non-negotiable.
Let’s be real, we all love a good view. I die for the best views at a hotel, and we’ve been pretty lucky so far with this.
I like to browse through the gallery of the hotel’s site to see what kind of rooms offer a view.
If it’s a premium room type, is it worth the upgrade and how much of a dollar difference is it from the standard room? Depending on how long my stay is or what the itinerary looks like, I may go for it if I’ll be spending a good chunk of time in the hotel. Sometimes, I’ll go for it anyway if the view is killer. Yes, it’s my guilty pleasure.
Whenever we stay near a body of water, I always try my best attain the room with a view. Something about views overlooking the bay, lake, ocean, beach just makes the experience 10x better and more relaxing.
Location is definitely important. If it’s a place where public transportation is the main way to get around, then the hotel should be, at max, a 10 min walk from the nearby metro station/bus stop (I prefer 5 min because I’m lazy). This makes it easier for when you have suitcases to lug around.
I try to choose a place surrounded by restaurant/food options and a convenience store close by as well. You know, late-night eats.
If I’m in a big city, I’ll research which neighborhoods I think I’ll enjoy. I usually opt for chill areas, not too touristy and avoid loud, nightlife scenes. Hotel cost is normally better outside of the popular areas, and I find that it’s pretty easy to visit those parts of town during the day/night without having to stay there.
If it’s a destination where there’s one pocket that’s the place to be, then sure, I’ll choose to stay there rather than out in the boonies. Unless we have a car and it’s a short drive, I would pay for the convenience.
Great amenities is not super high on my must-haves but is nice-to-have depending on where I’m going.
If it’s a warm or tropical destination, having a pool should be a must.
Free breakfast is appreciated, but I’m okay if a hotel doesn’t offer it. I tend to not wake up in time for it anyway…
Now that I’m working out more, it would be cool if the hotel offers a gym. Otherwise, I could still workout in the hotel room if space is available.
Last but not least, I always love a good hot tub, so this one makes me extremely happy!
After staying in a bunch of hotels on our travels, I have a pretty good grasp on what types of hotels I like that also encompass all the things I look for. At the end of a long day exploring, I need to come back to a room that calms me and feels like my second home.
The type of hotel I prefer is usually modern and sleek, simple in aesthetics, and provides a homey, relaxing atmosphere.
These are some of my favorites:
I love discovering new hotels and supporting the ones that I’m already a big fan of. Let me know if you have the same or different criteria when looking for hotels!
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