Most travelers consider a variety of factors when booking a hotel, from free WiFi to the quality of the pillows. However, exactly where you book your hotel can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a bad one. I have hotel booking indecision to the point where I often spend more time looking for a hotel than actually staying in that room that I spend days considering. To try and cut back on my time spent looking for hotels, I often place an emphasis on location. It is not always easy to know if where you are going to stay is in a good location, especially in foreign cities that you simply do not know. Before you commit to a hotel and its location, here are a few tips to help you land in the best spot possible.
Punch the hotel’s address into Google Street View: Photos of hotels and their neighborhoods always tend to paint a pretty picture. However, these manicured photographs can be far from accurate. When I am considering a hotel, I first punch in its address to Google Street View. I want to get a sense of the neighborhood and what the hotel actually looks like without doctoring. You can usually tell a bad part of town from a good one just by taking a virtual drive down the street using Google Street View.
Weed through reviews describing the location: Many hotel reviews will lament the bad service that they received or how their room didn’t have a teakettle. Most bad hotel reviews are merely circumstantial. Just because one person had one experience doesn’t mean that you will have the same terrible time. However, the reviews that can be universally helpful to all travelers are those that delve into the location. Some reviewers will flat out describe how the part of town felt unsafe. Other reviewers will tell you that the hotel isn’t within walking distance to any sort of attractions and amenities. These reviews can be taken to heart for locations don’t tend to change too much over the years. You need to search through reviews that specifically mention tidbits about the location. If the location is highlighted in any sort of bad light from safety to distance from attractions, it might be best to find a better contender.
Consider how touristy areas can mean a loud location: One problem that my sister had when deciding on a location for a Dublin hotel came down to noise. While she wanted a central location within walking distance of the sights and sounds of Dublin, she didn’t want to be awake at 4 in the morning due to the sounds of the city. While you might think a hotel in the heart of the action is a good idea, it can at times mean a loud night of little sleep. Again, Google Street View can help with this to discern if your hotel is above a nightclub or bar. Heavily touristy areas can sometime mean a very loud hotel room as they are parts of a city that tend to go all night, even if just for the tourists.
Measure distances to public transportation and main attractions: Hotels outside of city centers are often priced considerably lower than those inside the city’s heart. For some travelers, the money saved is worth the price that you pay with location. While I prefer to spend a little more for a central location, if I do consider a hotel outside of the heart of town, I first measure the distances from the hotel to public transportation and main attractions. If it is a hike just to get on the subway to get into town, the hotel with the cheap price isn’t always worth it for location. If however there is a bus stop right outside my door that takes me right into town, this hotel’s location will work.
How do you settle on a location for hotel?
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