Hotels are the top-dog as far as accommodations go! They’re the most plentiful option and the most popular for tourists and business travelers alike, but, as with anything, there are pluses and minuses. So, here’s my quick and honest look at the pros and cons of staying in a hotel!
It’s nice to know what you’re getting, right? If you stay at a Hilton property, you know what to expect if you’ve stayed in other Hilton hotels. The same goes for Marriott-branded hotels. The same goes for Hyatt hotels. When you go to a hotel, you know what to expect. When you choose a vacation rental, hostel, or bed and breakfast, there might be some unexpected surprises (good or bad!). But when you choose a hotel, especially if you stick to a particular brand, you know what you’re getting because there are tried and true standards.
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Okay, during the pandemic, this one went down the tubes, and it’s really too bad. But let’s all remember that it’s just for now, not forever! At a hotel, you can count on someone coming in to tidy things up, make the bed, refresh the towels and sheets if needed, and generally help you feel more organized when you come back in after a long day of touring, working, or anything else.
Think about it: how to you feel when you walk into a dissheveled room, even if you’re the one doing the dissheveling?
Now, think about how you feel when you walk into a clean and tidy room. Which is better?
I rest my case.
Someone else makes the bed
This is the big one for me: someone else makes the bed! I don’t mind making our bed at home, but I definitely feel like I’m on vacation when someone else does it for me, you know what I mean? This is my favorite form of self-care: someone else makes the bed!
Related: The Best Hotel Luxuries
Flexible Check-in and Check-out Times and Procedures
I know, I know, check-in time isn’t until 3:00pm, but your flight landed at 8:00am. Did you know you can check in early at a hotel? It’s true! It amazes me when people don’t realize that. If your room is ready, your hotel will let you in early to stash your stuff, refresh yourself, and get going about your day. If it’s not ready, they’ll stash your luggage in a secure area and let you know when your room is available.
I know, I know, you have to check out by 11:00am. But if you call down to ask for a late check-out time, you might get it for free. It depends on availability, of course, and some hotels charge a fee, but it never hurts to ask! And even if you do end up needing to check out by 11:00am, again, the hotel will be able to store your luggage in a secure area until you need to pick it up and be on your way!
This is not always the case with bed and breakfasts. Because there is usually only one person or one couple in charge, they can’t be on duty or on-site at all times. They often need you to be there for narrow check-in and check-out times. The same goes for vacation rentals—they often have strict check-in and check-out times. Hostels sometimes have someone on duty 24/7, but let’s be honest, hostel employees are not the most dependable people!
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Lots of Amenities
Hotels usually have plenty of amenities to offer that bed and breakfasts or vacation rentals can’t. These might be things like a gym or fitness center, spa, pool, ocean-going rentals like paddlesboards or surfboards, snacks, room service; the list can go on and on. Not all hotels have every possible amenity, but you can usually find a hotel with the right combination of amenities for you!
More here: Your Ultimate Guide to Accommodations
Often Centrally Located
Hotels, with their big budgets and heavy-weight brand power, can typically score the best locations. If you want to be right downtown, close to all the things you came to see and do, or near a convention center for your business trip, your best bet is probably a hotel!
Get all the details: Staying at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel
The good thing about daily housekeeping is that your room will be tidied up each day (and someone else will make your bed). The bad thing is that someone will be in your room every day. They come in to clean and tidy up at mid-day, but they may also come in later for turn-down service. Use that deadbolt if you go to bed early and don’t want to be disturbed—it’s more effective than the “Do not disturb” sign, I know from experience!
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This can happen in almost every accommodations (unless you’re in a villa or detached vacation rental situation), but the liklihood of having noisy neighbors is greater in a hotel, mostly because there are so many more people in a hotel than other accommodations. Even the nicest hotels could have thin walls!
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When you go to a bed and breakfast or get greeted by a vacation rental host, they know who you are. You’re their guest. But at a hotel, you’re one of hundreds, maybe thousands of guests. Rarely will anyone remember your name, much less that you asked for extra towels! I’m always delightfully surprised when I visit a hotel where someone knows and remembers my name the next day, but it’s not something that happens often!
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People like different things. My husband doesn’t mind the generic, sterile look and feel of hotels. But me? I’m a sucker for history, uniqueness, character, and something special! Hotels are usually basic and not at all special or even unique to the location.
Keep those expectations low: Staying at the Hotel del Coronado
That’s up to you! So what do you think? Do you prefer hotels over other accommodations, like B&Bs, vacation rentals, or hostels? What are your own pros and cons of staying in a hotel? What’s the best hotel in which you’ve ever stayed?
Don’t forget to check out my Accommodations Page for more!
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