A perfect vacation is not necessarily about the activities you have planned, but it’s more about the whole experience, such as the good or bad people you’ve met. They seem to be uncontrollable and by good luck.
I can tell you that the one very key controllable factor to accelerate your whole trip is staying in a good hotel. To summarise my experience in picking the hotels across the world in the past 10 years, the 4 tips below are something good to remember when you are searching and browning for your next stay.
- Don’t be lazy, do your research
Travelers easily lose their insights in researching hotels, as they think they will only spend less than 8 hours in the hotel room every day, and rather spend time on other research such as food and things to do. But imagine after a long exhausting sightseeing day, you want a nice, clean and relaxing room for recovery and recharge. I highly recommend you to go through the negative hotel reviews on different platforms, trying to find out the common complaints of the hotel and reconsider before you make the booking.
If you are looking for better deals, people suggest comparing and finding the lowest rates in HotelsCombined, Trivago or KAYAK, but I think that is not the best rate you can get. Some of the hotel or deals websites offer even more, for example, they send out special discount codes to members. Some even introduce package deals for a free stay on the 4th night, so please do your research and compare.
- Price isn’t everything
Expensive luxury hotels are definitely good hotels, but budget hotels are not coming with bad quality or services. Frankly speaking, the hotel rate is not a good indicator of picking a hotel. Local boutique hotels such as Tmark Hotel Myeongdong, Hotel the Designers and Hongdae Seoul Korea in Korea offer good location, amenities and quality similar to the international hotel groups with 20-40% cheaper rate. In addition, staying in a B&B in Australia and New Zealand is a wise choice, they are all well-decorated and with a unique style. Although the price is close to a 5-star hotel, it is still worth a try.
- Look into the details
Bad hotels can ruin your trip. I still remember I regretted to book a cheap hotel room without any windows, the room was full of stinky smell. Since then, I always pay attention to the hotel room descriptions, images, and the amenities on the listing sites. In Europe, many hotels do not have an elevator, taking suitcases to 3 to 4 floors is a nightmare. If you drive a car, parking inside the hotel can be expensive, so remember to check the price and find a hotel with a public parking lot nearby.
- Don’t be suspicious
Because of my job, I slept over a hundred hotels in the past decent and the most asked question from my friends is “Have you come across any paranormal situation?” I am proud to say that I’ve never experienced any spooky moments or staying in a haunted hotel.
Rumour said trying to avoid staying in the first and the last room, knock the door before you come in, turn on or turn off the bathroom light during your sleep, there are plenty of rules or norms regarding staying in a hotel. What I believed it’s all about your suspicious mind, the more you do, the more you suspect. To have a good quality sleep, place a flat pillow underneath your knee, it can improve your sleep and reduce swelling.
Location is the key.
Choosing a hotel is somehow similar to buying a house. Location is very crucial. Some of the hotels provide shuttle bus services to the main bus or train stops, but they have time constraints, which also limit your activities. Room rate is higher in the bustling districts, why not staying in their edges, like Namdaemun (also close to Myeong-dong), the rate is way cheaper but still accessible.
Author: Poon Wai Nang (Poon)
Poon is a travel columnist on HK01, Sky Post, Ming Pao, and AM730. He shares his travel experience and industry trends on a regular basis.
He is an enthusiastic travel photographer, who works with tourism boards, airlines and premium resorts like Club Med on various travel projects. He also works with Oxfarm as a volunteer photographer.