How to Find the Right Hotel for a City Break
One of the problems with finding the right hotel when planning a city break is in the name of the holiday. The city is big. Therefore, you will probably find an awfully high number of options to choose from. Here are some tips to help you avoid mistakes.
Location is perhaps the most important thing
Living in the wrong area can ruin your city break. The most common mistake is to choose a hotel that is stated to be centrally located, but which turns out to require long transport stages to what you actually came to experience. Transportation costs both time and money. Be aware that many hotels claim to be located in the city center, but where the term “city center” is used in a far wider sense than you yourself think is acceptable. It can also spoil your holiday if you choose a hotel located in the middle of the street with the noisiest nightclubs, right by the highway, or right next to a train station. Either you are kept awake all night, or you are awakened at 06.00 in the morning when the cars and trains start to move.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the areas that are best to live in in advance, and take the map to help. Basically, it pays to choose a hotel that provides walking distance to what you want to get with, alternatively a hotel with a short way to the subway with fast and good connection.
What kind of hotel do you want?
There is a big difference between going on a city break with your girlfriend, a group of friends, alone or with your family. This applies to both what we want to experience and where we want to live. And especially; how we want to live. Think about what is most important. If you just need a place to sleep and shower, most hotels can be comfortable enough. If you want a room that is good to relax in, maybe romantic as well, the choice will often be completely different.
When considering the various options, look at the photos from the hotel and note how the hotel is described. Do they cater to business people or families? This helps you to weed out the hotels that are not up to date for your needs.
What must be included?
Do not let your city break be spoiled by details you forgot when choosing a hotel. To end up in a room without air-conditioning in Barcelona in July can be a complete scandal , even though everything looked good in the pictures. On the other hand, it can be just as sad if the romantic and antiquarian hotel you chose for your city break in December turned out to have a window that draws raw and cold air, precisely because the windows are also antiquarian. If you are renting a car on holiday, the hotel should have secure parking available on the hotel’s own plot, not in a rented garage a few blocks away. Most people also need access to in-room networks. Is it important that the hotel has a good breakfast? How far into the day should breakfast be available?
If such specific details are important, read carefully on the hotel’s website about what is included. If in doubt, call the hotel and ask to make sure in advance. Also check if the important points are included in the price, or if you have to pay extra.
Refine your search
Decide on an acceptable price per night, and start searching for current hotels where you want to stay. Search sites like Booking.com and Expedia.com let you specify most things, such as price level, number of stars, distance to the city center, what services are included, and so on.
Depending on how many results your search gives, it may be a good idea to specify only an upper price limit. If you set a lower limit, you may miss out on regular bargains. Many hotels and chains have promotional prices in specific periods, and some of these only apply when booking via search sites they work with. If you are lucky, you get a hotel room in the caviar and champagne class, but pay with beer and sausage money.
Read reviews from other guests
Check other people’s experiences at the hotel before you decide. Use sites like Tripadvisor to read reviews, but be aware that you may still get the wrong impression. Ignore the oldest posts if the hotel has many reviews. A laudatory mention from 2010 is of little value today, both in terms of service level and standard. The hotel may have fallen into disrepair since then, may have had completely new owners and staff, and the neighborhood it is located in may have become a circus in terms of sound. Read especially the most critical, and the most praiseworthy reviews. They can show a pattern, both in terms of negative and in terms of positive moments.
Still, take reviews with a pinch of salt, especially if the number is very low (a high number will give a truer picture). Some people complain no matter how good things are. Unfortunately, it also happens that hotel owners themselves submit false reviews to create a better impression than they deserve. Please note that many hotels state when they last refurbished. The date gives you a good indication of whether the pictures tell the truth about the standard.
Pay by credit card if you can
Once you have made all the assessments, looked up the right options, and finally decided, pay by credit card if you have any. Then you are better secured in the event of cancellations, in the event of errors in payment, and if you have good reason to complain later. If you pay by bank card, you will be weaker than if you have borrowed the money from a credit company. The creditor can become co-responsible if you do not get the service you were promised.
Some cards also provide free travel and cancellation insurance. It can be worth its weight in gold if you have to cancel the trip yourself due to illness or some other problem that prevents you from traveling. With that said, remember to pay your credit card bill on time, so you avoid extra costs from interest and fees.