The dates for your trip to Rome, Paris, Tokyo (wherever you dream about) is scheduled. You have your flights and basic itinerary but where will you stay?
Do an internet search for anywhere in Europe, and you’ll find multiple choices; in fact, in the major cities you will have hundreds. How do you choose the place to match your desires? Here’s six things that can change your stay.
Location: we all know the old saying in real estate “location, location, location”. It’s also true in travel planning. Do you dream of waking to the Eiffel Tower out your window? Or maybe cocktails on a Roman roof as the sun sets over the ruins is your vision. Maybe it’s listening to elephants trumpet as you wake on safari. As I often ask clients, “if you could plan the dream stay in insert your destination, what does it look like?” Those dreams are possible with the right planning.
How would you know that the “bargain” hotel you chose in Paris is in a commercial area with no restaurants or shops available nearby? Or that Rome hotel may look great in photos but is so far from public transportation that everything you thought you were saving in cost will be spent on taxis or Uber.
Not only have I seen a lot of places worldwide, but our suppliers do annual inspections of all the properties we sell, and I rely upon their objective ratings and information. Trip Advisor gives some input, but it’s also verysubjective, so I rely on the objective information.
Pro tip: for maximum enjoyment, you want easy access to public transportation, shops and restaurants. In many major European cities, the prime sites you want to see are in one or two areas of town; staying in that area will allow you more time to enjoy those sites and to soak in the local flavor. It may cost a little more, but the savings in time and transportation are well worth it. And, how many times in your life will you be in the midst of the magic of this place?
Some people are more comfortable staying in places that feel more like home; I call them “Americanized”. Others, like me, prefer lodging that reflects the history and character of the locale. Which fits you best? Last year, one of my clients, who I know prefers contemporary style in a mid-size hotel, called with a couple of suggestions from friends for where they should stay. Each of the suggestions was a large, heavily Baroque style hotel, with “frou-frou” décor, and lots of gold gilding throughout. As I explained that to her, she understood the recommendations I made, as they were herstyle. Just because your co-worker liked a specific hotel, doesn’t necessarily mean you will. This is your trip—not theirs–so think about what makes you feel special in this place.
3. Built-in convenience
- Breakfast in a French garden to start your day of wandering the Parisian streets is fantastic! Do you dream of high tea in London? Having it steps away from your room can make your stay more enjoyable. Some hotels are also popular with locals due to the excellent dining or drinking onsite. If food and beverages are important to you, look for those amenities, as hotel guests usually receive special treatment. It also allows more opportunities to mingle with locals and absorb the flavor of the place. Pro tip: I always stay in locations that offer full breakfast with the stay. Not only does it start my day better, but I usually grab a piece of fruit or something as a mid-morning snack.
Do you want multiple restaurants or bars onsite? Do you want concierge service available? A spa? An exercise room? Room service? These are just a few of the features to consider if they matter to you.
4. Size does matter
Hotels range from huge to boutique; from hundreds of rooms to a handful. Which do you prefer? There are pros and cons for both. Larger hotels will typically have a larger range of restaurants and amenities, but are you okay with walking a long way to your room after a day of sightseeing? Smaller hotels have a homier feel, and less walking inside, but may not have the amenities of spa, exercise room, multiple restaurants and bars. Some people say, “I won’t be in the room anyway”, but then again, coming “home” at the end of an exciting day in your dream location can add to the joy. . . or maybe take away from it if you don’t have the features that matter to you.