Size Matters: Find A Hotel That’s Right For You

HotelPhoto credit: CC license  by Kevin Dooley
Impersonal service. Unpleasant surprises. An uncomfortable night’s sleep. These are all problems that occur when you choose the wrong hotel. But how do you know how to choose the right kind? The veteran traveler knows that an enjoyable trip hinges largely on the sleeping arrangements. But if you take the time to consider your needs from your home away from home, you can book the right place for you.

Oh, it can be tempting to just book the local Best Western, wherever you are going. Too tempting. Large, worldwide hotel chains offer a few comforts that cannot be ignored. When you go with a chain, you expect a certain level of service, no matter where you are. Likely, there will be set standards in place to establish a modicum of cleanliness and comfort. You can compare a three-star hotel to any other three-star hotel in the chain and see a lot of similarities. If you need specific amenities (e.g. a refrigerator, or business services) or if you are traveling with small children, you may be better off choosing one of these.

Think about what you need from your hotel. If you just want a place to crash for the night, you have a lot of choices available to you. Check out local hostels, to save a lot of money. These days, hostels are often run by big corporations with standardized management and amenities. As a plus, they are nowhere near as scary as they used to be. You might even get a private bathroom.

When you really desire a sense of the area, you should at least consider the opportunity to go local. You see, when you always go big, you have no idea what you’re missing. Small hotels and bed and breakfasts may offer you personal service that you would never get when you’re one of 1,000 guests. When you are planning your vacation, ask friends and relatives about their experience in the area. Read reviews of specific businesses. If you are checking out a bed and breakfast, find out the times that meals are served. Most expect you to be a fairly early riser, if you expect to eat. If you are traveling out of the country, research local customs, so you do not get caught making an awkward faux pas.

The key to enjoying your stay in a small hotel is that you must follow the rules. In a big hotel, you can make a mess of the room and the housekeepers will likely clean it up without complaint. In a bed and breakfast, you may face a scolding for not keeping the room tidy. But in turn, the owners may be willing to make you a sandwich for dinner when you arrive late, when a big hotel would leave you in the lurch.
It is surprising how you don’t really remember a good hotel experience. But you’ll never forget a bad one. Choose your hotel based on what you want to use it for, and you will rarely go wrong.

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