6 Red Flags to Look for When Booking a Hotel
You’ve picked out your dream destination. You’ve booked your flight. All that’s left is choosing a nice place with fluffy pillows to rest your head at night. Seems easy enough. But before you click that “reserve” button, read these six red flags to look for when booking a hotel—and shop a few of our favourite hotel essentials while you're at it!
We’ve all looked at hotels that show more photos of the nearby sites and attractions than of the hotel itself. Seeing what the area’s beachfront looks like is nice, but the focus should be on the rooms and amenities. Often several hotels in a tourist district boast some of the same exact stock photos, none of which reveal anything about what they personally have to offer. Look closely, and make sure the photos you fall in love with are actually of the hotel you are booking.
You’ve been told your whole life to read the fine print. But when reserving a typical hotel, it must all say the same thing. Right? Wrong. It’s not uncommon for budget hotels in some cities, for example, to have rooms without windows. A “small” oversight like this would obviously have a huge impact on your vacation. So read the details—all of them—before committing to your stay.
Typically, hotels will save their worst rooms for those who book via a search engine. After all, those guests are seeking the best deal and probably don't have loyalty to any specific hotel group. But don't go swearing off Expedia just yet. Instead, compare the cost you find on third-party sites with the hotel's published rates. If it doesn't differ much, opt for a direct booking.
There are times when a perfectly placed palm tree outside the window is nothing more than the owner’s creative liberty, when spaciousness is the result of the lens, rather than the square footage, and when a housekeeper isn’t the only one cleaning up. Images, particularly of non-chain hotels, are often enhanced to make your stay appear that much more appealing. Have a keen eye when looking at pictures, and take that balcony’s view with a grain of salt.
You can’t always simply take a hotel’s word for it regarding the neighbourhood it is in. “Venice Beach” can be anything from a happening oceanfront boardwalk to a peaceful canal paradise to a sketchy inland alley. Google Maps is your friend. Do your research and make sure that the hotel you’re picking really offers the type of getaway you’re looking for.
Nope, that’s not a typo. Why? Well, consider the source when trusting other’s opinions. Perhaps a place is a favourite of the spring break crowd because it hosts the best DJs. That’s not going to be very conducive to your relaxing getaway. Another hotel may be a top pick for its peaceful solitude, but you’re looking for a place to have your bachelorette party. Look beyond the five stars and discover why a place is ranked the way it is before you make any decisions.