The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Hotel reviews coming!

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on November 24, 2009

The Wife and I have discussed it, and as we seem to travel so much, we’ve decided to start talking about hotels we stay at in local areas, in addition to destination and restaurants.  Actually, it seemed like the next logical step in the blog.  The cost of the hotel is possibly the most expensive part of any trip, depending on how you travel to your destination.  While a lot of my hotel stays are at someone else’s expense (for work), I’m always sensitive to the cost of the hotel relative to the amenities I’m enjoying.  We’re hoping that by providing some insight, not only into specific hotels, but also into hotel amenities and the relative costs of those amenities, people can get a better feel for what they really use a hotel for, and it can positively impact their travel planning and ability to travel, and allow for more travel with a higher satisfaction rate (either getting the most out of their room and/or having more cash in their pocket for other things).

I have traveled a lot in the last 10 years, with a couple years being in a hotel room for a little over 100 nights a year.  Over time, I’ve really thought about what’s important to me in a hotel, and what I require and desire in a hotel room.  The Wife, however, has different requirements, and when we travel together, we meet both sets of hotel requirements.  We’re hoping that by consistently reviewing hotels, people can get a feel for what they can and can’t live with in hotels, which can positively increase their ability to travel.

I’ve noticed that with a lot of travelers a.) there’s a lot of things that they think they need in a hotel, that they really don’t need and b.) there are a lot of things in a hotel they think they’ll use that they really won’t use.  These things are all things that affect the cost of the hotel.

As concrete examples, I require a few basic things in a hotel room: bed, clean linens, bathroom, hot water in the shower, heat/AC as the climate requires, and a door that locks.  I know this seems like a Spartan analysis, but I didn’t just happen by this observation overnight.  I stayed in a hotel in Seattle several years ago that didn’t have a clock and TV was broken.  I realized my phone, laptop, and watch met all my requirements that the TV and clock provided, and they were dropped from the “required” list.  Other similar experiences have allowed me to whittle down what I need in a hotel room to a minimal list.  There ARE, however, several things that I WANT in a hotel: TV with cable, clock, free internet (preferably wireless), free breakfast, free parking, and a refrigerator.  I’ve also noticed, however, that there are several things that I don’t care about in a hotel, regardless of price:  restaurant/bar, free newspaper, sleeper sofa, jacuzzi tub, free local phone calls (or a phone at all) to top the list.

The purpose of the travel will have a tremendous impact on what someone might “want” in a room.  For example, consider how much time is spent at the hotel at a resort, and how important are in-room amenities?  A balcony might be nice, but if you’re at a spa resort, and you’re there to pamper yourself, and you look out over an interstate or a construction site, is the balcony really a benefit?  A nice window might do just as well.  Likewise, a walk-in closet might look wonderful, but if you’re only at the hotel for a night as you’re passing through on a backpacking trip, the closet is largely wasted.  In room internet is irrelevant if you don’t travel with a laptop (or wi-fi enabled device), and if you’re planning on using your room for a mid-afternoon respite from local attractions, what are you going to do without a TV, radio, internet, etc.?  The answer to the last question certainly could be “read a book, have a cup of coffee and relax,” or just “take a nap,” but it’s important to ask yourself about what you’re using the room for, and what’s the purpose of the travel.

Anyway, we hope these thoughts all trickle through your head next time you’re considering booking a hotel, and we’re hoping that by seeing the myriad of hotels we stay in, you begin to build your own philosophy about what you might need in a hotel, so you can tailor your travel plans to give you the most bang for your buck.   I don’t mean to shamelessly plug my personal blog, but I did want to provide a link to my rant about the inverse relationship between the cost of the hotel and the cost of the “additional” amenities it provides.

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