There are many different type of hotels in the world. Often it varies from country to country.
Where do you prefer to stay? What do you like the most?
I tend to stay away from big international chain hotels and always opt for a small, family run place whenever possible. Usually the welcome is warmer and you get great information about (often secret) local places to eat and drink. Over the past few years I have gone out of my way to find hotels with 15 bedrooms or fewer and have always been rewarded with great little gems and MUCH better than expected service.
Hi Alexander, I like historic accommodation the most!
I've booked hotel rooms in lots of places in the world, for professional trips or for tourism. I forgot almost all of them, even if the facilities were usually quite alright. The hotels that left me with the nicest memories are period buildings, authentic old houses providing accommodation.
The Bella Tola hotel in Switzerland was already famous in the 19th century, when the first British tourists explored the Alps (and the joy of skiing)
I like it when bed rooms tell a story. When they help you experience the genuine atmosphere of the places you are visiting – before they get trivialized by hostelry's global standards. Just have a look at a post I wrote about this habit I took exploring such "entries to the past".
It is such an enjoyable feeling to wake up in an other era...
There are lots of historic hotels to be found online. Unfortunately, not all of them are equally inspiring. You have to find enough authentic vestiges in your room to actually "stay in the past". Just because new construction materials do not have the same evocative power. If you are a true 'travel history buff', do not hesitate to go and have a look at this website, specialized in historic hotels in Europe.
Let me know if this suggestion is helpful to you, Gery
The type without bed bugs. Honestly my main concern is how sanitary it is and how safe it is. After that everything is secondary since most of the times while on vacation I don't plan to spend that much time in the actual hotel room.
I like B&B's better than hotels if I can get them; but I resent spending a lot of money on a hotel because, really, how much time do you spend there? If its clean & quiet (and not a real dump) & local to the area/activities I want, that's all I need.
I steer clear of hotels now and use Airbnb to find flats or houses to rent. Nothing beats having a kitchen and your own bedroom when you're traveling with a group of people! It also lets you experience the culture by putting yourself in a neighborhood instead of an area aimed at tourists. I prefer Airbnb over VRBO/Home Away because Airbnb holds your payment until you've been checked in for 24 hours - this way you can easily get your money back if there is a problem and you need to stay somewhere else. I haven't had any problems with Airbnb, but I have with VRBO and never got my money refunded!
It depends on the type of trip I'm on. On road trips within the United States, any clean chain hotel with a decent rate will do. Sometimes we'll take a chance on a local place, after checking the ratings on tripadvisor, etc.
When I'm staying in an area for a few days, I'll research and make a reservation ahead of time. My mother is a Marriott member because they have good deals on their many hotels in New York City. I've enjoyed staying at Kimpton Hotels, which are generally well-designed and have perks like cute, plush bathrobes, cookies, and wine. Historic hotels like The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa in Denver or the Grand Canyon Lodge have also been worth a splurge.
Outside the US, I tend to look for something that will enhance my experience of the place I'm traveling to. In Luxor, I wanted a laid-back getaway with a pool after a long, dusty day of sightseeing, so I stayed at the Maritim Jolie Ville Kings Island Luxor. In the Amazon, I wanted to experience a jungle lodge, and went with Iguana Turismo's Juma Lodge - it was like being back at summer camp! Typically, however, I'm on a much tighter budget, and in that case, hostels and airbnb rentals fill the void. There are some great finds out there in both categories!
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My favorite hotels are boutique, luxury and modern hotels.
Top five picks:
1. Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa balanced cocktails, comfy rooms, beautiful bathrooms, whole almonds in the hand made soap in the bathrooms, every morning you tell them what time you want coffee and they bring you coffee or decadent Mexican hot chocolate on a tray to your little ledge outside of your room. They had caftans in every room! Amazing service.
2. Shutters On the Beach Our room had two walls of sliding doors with amazing views, fluffy white bed, fancy smancy.
3. lebua Hotels & Resorts This is the hotel where they filmed Hangover II, the rooftop terrace for cocktails can bring tears to your eyes. You wonder how the hell you are in Bangkok having cocktails! Modern hotel, great service.
4. Hotel Healdsburg Modern, boutique hotel. Casual elegance, just like everything in wine country!
5. Willows Lodge This hotel is like a cozy cabin, roaring fire, comfy beds and fancy tubs.
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To be honest, my favorite type of hotel isn't a hotel at all. I much prefer staying in a B&B or pension. I feel it gets you closer to the culture to traveled to see. I enjoy nothing more than conversing with my hosts on an intimate level; the kind you just can't have in a large hotel.
I've had some conversations that I couldn't have had in any other type of accommodation. I discussed the vindictiveness of some on-line review sites with a woman in Ireland; the misconceptions Americans have when they discover German women don't shave their armpits with my hostess in Berlin, and plumbing concerns with my landlady in Amsterdam.
The guests too seem more approachable and open to interaction with their fellow travelers. I've hung-out with a "bike gang" on the west coast of Ireland; I've discussed theater with an elderly couple in the Cotswold, and revolutionary politics with a middle aged couple in Seville.
Each of these are little gems you'll collect and keep forever. They may not be adventures in the traditional sense, but you'll always be able to amuse and entertain others with the story about the parrot that swore in French, or the old lady at the check-in desk that had to stand on a stool to see over it, or the time the landlady forgot to give you a hot water token, and when you asked her how to work the hot water was so embarrassed she gave you two tokens for the next day. Years later the very thought of them will bring a smile to your face.
Sadly, these types of accommodations are sorely lacking in the USA. It seems the general attitude is "go big, or go to hell". In America the notion of the B&B is entirely different from that of Europe's. Here they tend to lean toward pretense (OOH LOOK! There's a basket of assorted jams on the pillow! BFD!).
There are still is the small family run type of hotel that was mentioned by Maria O'Dwyer, but they're few and far between, and definitely a vanishing breed. As they become swallowed up by the larger corporate entities, the only "family run" places seem to be the old, run-down motel that some couple is actively trying to restore to it's former glory. Many of these tend to be of the historic nature, as mentioned by Gery de Pierpont, though be it a much more recent history. You can still find these along some of the old national roads like the Lincoln Highway or route 66, as well as in old resort areas like the Catskills in New York.
Like Maria, I avoid the Intercontinental style of hotel. Once you realize Intercontinental means "the same thing everywhere" this type of hotel takes on all the charm of a chain restaurant.
That being said, there certainly are exceptions to this rule. On a motorcycle trip to New England, not long ago, I was dismayed to discover my favorite Mom & Pop motel was booked up, without a room to be had. Looking for another place to stay, I passed by a large industrial/business complex without many cars in it's lots, and a plethora "Space Available" signs. Way in the back I noticed a multi-storied hotel. As with the rest of the complex, there weren't many cars in the lot. Being around 5:00pm on a Friday, I was sure they had plenty of rooms. I decided to take a chance and roll the dice. Walking to the front desk, I asked for a room, and how much it would be. They came back with a price that more than reasonable. However, rolling the dice I looked across the check-in desk and said to the clerk, "do better." They asked me to repeat myself, and I did. To my shock, they came back with a price about 15% lower than the original one.
I don't know what was better; getting a great price on the room, or standing there in my bike gear beating up the check-in clerk like a suited yuppie.
Hello Alexander! Mine are the "boutique type" hotels. These type of hotels are smaller and more intimate. Another characteristic is that they are designed to be more artsy, couzy and young in spirit. They are becoming more and more famous nowadays probably because you feel you are still at home.
I avoid B&Bs because I feel like I'm staying with a stuffy aunt and uncle whenever I'm in one!
Now, themed places like Woodlyn Park in New Zealand or the Jumbohostel will always grab my attention. I also like places like Inn At Northrup Station in Portland - in other words, locally owned, with full kitchens, with easy access to sites and public transit.