Whether you’re travelling, holidaymaking, or just doing a city-break over a weekend, the one thing that’s always crucial is your hotel. There’s no pleasure in being somewhere new and exciting, or familiar and beloved for that matter, if when you go back to your room at the end of the day it’s just not up to scratch. At best you’ll feel a little uncomfortable with the arrangements and at worst you’ll actually be unable to properly relax and rest, meaning that a bad hotel choice could totally ruin your experience. There are some obvious and some less obvious points to consider when choosing your perfect hotel that should ensure you get it right every time….

Location

Most obviously the location is hugely important. The subtle point here though is that a great location for one person is a bad location for another. That might sound odd but it’s true; some people love to live in a city and some in the country, likewise with a hotel location some love to be right in the heart of the hustle and bustle and others well out of anything even remotely resembling energetic living!

One of the easiest ways to cut through all the spin and unrealistically positive marketing material of brochures and websites and to ascertain what it will actually be like to spend a week or two in a particular hotel is to make use of Google Maps and Street View. You’ll get an instant sense of how built up the surrounding area is, how far the hotel is from train stations and shops, and even what it looks like from the street. Some of them even have a little view into the lobby now, so it’s well worth doing.

Budget and facilities

These aspects are far easier to deal with because if you know your budget then you can filter your online searches accordingly and get straight to the relevant options. The facilities are always listed of course, but the point to bear in mind with this is that you must “manage your expectations”, to borrow a phrase from corporates!

In other words, don’t expect to get beautiful towelling and bedding in a middle-of-the-road hotel. Expect cleanliness by all means, but not luxury. Equally, don’t expect really sophisticated décor unless you’re splashing out and going for the five-star experience. You’re not going to get an exquisite velvet bed as standard; that’s something special and it definitely costs a little more.

Service and your attitude

The way you’re treated in a hotel is the most important thing of all. Unfortunately it’s also the hardest aspect of all to gauge before you’re there. The plethora of customer reviews now accessible online is an excellent development. It not only lets you see what others have experienced but it also pressurises hoteliers to ensure that they’re constantly impressing customers so that they don’t get a bad write-up.

Your attitude once you’re in a hotel is important too. Remember that basic communication between human beings, whether they’re playing the role of customer, employee, manager or owner in any given scenario, is much harder than we realize. When we think we’re communicating well, we’re probably not. A subtle hint might be missed, a harmless comment might be misinterpreted, a request might be forgotten in a busy moment! Don’t think in terms of the “them and us” dichotomy or the staff-customer divide; but just be intelligent and understanding in your attitude and most of the time hotel staff will reciprocate.