Hotel Hoopla:: Choosing a Hotel for Your Visit


Let’s be honest: the most frustrating and expensive part of travel is typically your temporary residence. You want to find a deal, since it can be so costly, but at the same time you don’t want a cheap-o hotel in a less-than-reputable part of town… you do want to enjoy your vacation or excursion after all. Well, I can tell you, I would (almost) always prefer a less expensive hotel — I would rather spend the money on sight-seeing, shopping or cultural events. Even if the hotel is a 2-star hotel lacking luxury… who cares? You’re only there to sleep and shower for the most part, right? Like I said, I’m not looking to get mugged, but I’m also not looking to spend $300 a night on a glamorous hotel when I could use those funds for a train ticket or airfare. Chris & I hit up San Francisco earlier this year and stayed at the Fairmont, which was a total eye-opener to me. Although the hotel is luxurious and has hosted a number of old school celebs, the room’s cost ($300 – $500+ per night!) was excessive for the service and amenities provided. The rooms were average sized, the service wasn’t spectacular (not to warrant the cost) and we had to pay for Internet ($15 per day or so)! I have stayed in Residence Inns and been more pleased. After that experience, I promised myself that 5 * hotels were not ever going to be on my personal menu again; more money definitely didn’t mean a greater experience. So, here’s a run down of some super cool hotels that are worth checking out.

Budget Hotels:

Choice Hotels International :: This chain includes familiar faces like Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Econolodge and the Clarion. Although the room costs are relatively low, many of these hotels include free high-speed Internet (to Skype at night), a continental breakfast (to energize your day’s travels), an indoor heated pool and a hot tub. I found a room for $59.99 for two people — not too bad!

* Holiday Inn::  Holiday Inn always offers great deals and special offers, depending on where you’re staying. Plus they have hotels all over the world! Although rates vary, I found rooms for $55 per night for two people. And — get this — each suite has a fully equipped kitchen with a full-size refrigerator, microwave, range, and dishwasher. Plus there’s free high-speed Internet and a desk for uploading pics to your facebook account at night!

* Best Western :: Super spacious rooms and some awesome amenities including high speed Internet (a must!), cable TV with HBO, a microwave, fridge and free continental breakfast. These guys run at around $65+ per night for two people. 

* Joie de Vivre Hotels :: This super cool hotel chain can be found in California. Although the rooms aren’t always inexpensive, you can find them from about $89. Plus courtesy of Joie de Vivre, check out 100 Affordable Things to Do {in California!}

* Hostels :: Let’s not forget — hostels are a fantastic way to travel on the cheap! Check out HostelWorld or Hostelling International to find rooms all over the world! If you’re wary of sharing your room with 10 other people, remember that you can spend a little extra and get a double or triple room for you and your friends! Many hostels offer free Wi-fi and kitchens for travelers. Typically even a double room in a hostel will be cheaper than a hotel.

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Let me tell you from my personal experiences, when I am traveling and sight-seeing, I am there to truly travel and sight-see. I love getting up early in the morning and heading out for the entire day to enjoy the culture and diversity of a city. That being said, things like free high-speed Internet and a free breakfast mean something to me. I like being able to grab a quick cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal to fuel my day. Even better, I like being able to get back in at 10 or 11 in the evening to upload pictures, call people using Skype and blog about my day’s adventures. Those things really do add up! If you’re spending $55 a night for two people and your breakfast and Internet are included, that seems like a better deal to me than spending $40 for two and having to find an Internet cafe (or pay $2 – $5 per hour) and pay for breakfast. Weigh all the factors (maybe an on-site fitness center is worth the extra $5 per night for you versus trying to find the nearest gym?) before just picking the cheapest option <3.

** Note: For all of the pricing, I used Salt Lake City, UT as my point of interest — an average sized town with an average amount of tourism, unless otherwise noted. Costs will obviously vary depending on the city (NY will not be equivalent to Kansas City. Duh.)

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