One of the tricks when travelling is finding a nice hotel – a nice hotel that is on (or under) budget. There are a couple of things I always look at when figuring out which hotel to stay at – what are the “expert” star ratings and what are the “customer” review ratings. Some travel sites, like Hotwire.com, use a combination of other travel sites’ star ratings and customer feedback ratings to determine their own star rating. Other sites, like Travelocity, use their own research to determine star ratings. When I arrive at a hotel, I have my own “ratings” system to determine whether or not I’m in a nice hotel.
1. The towels are plush.
The nicer the hotel, the nicer the towels. Some hotels have towels that are so thin and non-absorbent that they’d hardly qualify as rags, let alone bath towels. If you can see through the towel, you’re likely staying in a 1 star hotel. If drying your hands feels like you’re using a super absorbent piece of silk, you’re probably in a 5 star hotel.
2. The grout is clean.
There are few things ickier than using a shower that has dirty, moldy grout. The better the hotel, the cleaner the grout. Grout can sometimes be hard to clean, especially in the corners, but it is also a dead give away for how good the hotel cleaning staff is. Proper and regular cleaning of the shower should prevent any mold build-up, meaning the grout should be clean and the caulk should be white.
3. The iron works.
If you’ve ever tried using one of the hotel irons only to have it leak water everywhere, you’re not in a nice hotel. Whether it’s how good the in-room coffee brewer brews, or whether the iron heats up to a temperature that actually can get wrinkles out, these smaller “appliances” are often left unnoticed except by those hotels that pay attention to the details.
4. You can wear white socks.
If you’ve ever walked around a hotel room in white socks only to have the bottoms of them turn brown, you now understand I bring slippers with me whenever I travel. I know I could keep my shoes on, but who wants to keep their shoes on when they’re trying to relax? You probably want to kick off your shoes and chill with the ability to walk to the bathroom without contaminating your feet, right? Or at least, I do. Unfortunately, I’ve found that few hotels care about keeping their floors clean. Perhaps I’m not staying in a nice enough hotel, but if I can pick-up a steam carpet cleaner for my home, I think the hotels should be able to steam their carpets at least once a week, right?
5. There are ample, easily accessible electrical outlets.
This is a good test of whether or not a hotel is “up-to-date.” There are some hotels that have extra electrical outlets on everything from the lamps to the desks. I was just in a Hyatt that had extra outlets galore so we could charge our laptops and phones without having to do some sort of outlet relay. Other hotels use one of those electrical outlet converters that converts one plug to 6 plugs and then hides it behind a nightstand or a desk so you have to unplug the alarm clock in order to charge your phone.
6. Two-ply toilet paper.
You may laugh, but I always appreciate when a hotel forks over an extra few cents to upgrade to two-ply toilet paper. Some of the more thrifty hotels use toilet paper that feels a bit like sandpaper. Not luxurious at all.
While reviews about amenities and in-room dining are great, I think it’d be even more beneficial if hotel reviewers shared more about the little things that can affect a hotel stay.
What are some of the things you look for in a nice hotel?