Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What is really important in a hotel room.

As I told everyone yesterday, I'm blogging this evening from a hotel while on the road.  I'm staying at a "Hyatt Place" for the first time ever as it was the ONLY place we could find with availability in the area.  The cost is too high, likely because our company doesn't negotiate a corporate discount with this chain - it was $149 a night + tax...

This room is not worth $149, but it does have some nice amenities.  Hyatt has a good brand reputation and I knew coming here that I'd be staying at or above my 'baseline' for a quality hotel which is Hampton Inn.  When I stay at a Hampton Inn in the San Francisco Bay Area - my price is $109. - Am I getting $40 more in 'luxury' here ? - Absolutely not.

This prompts the question - what is really important when it comes to a hotel room ? - Last year I spent close to 100 nights in hotels for business and pleasure, so while I'm sure there are some of you that laugh at anything less than 250, 100 is still a lot to me. It's not always the same place or same chain as last year I stayed in hotels in London, Barcelona, Iceland, Sydney, Hong Kong and of course - the US [Orlando, Las Vegas, San Jose, Yosemite, Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, Washington DC)

So without further delay - Here is Dave's top-10 things to look for when selecting a hotel.
  1. Price - For me, $125 is my target for either business or personal travel; it should afford you everything you NEED and a few nice-to-haves
  2. Clean - As my mate Stuart likes to say, "Avoid the hire-rooms with sticky carpets"; I include 'non-smoking' in my definition of "clean"
  3. Location - I like to sleep and to drop my laptop back off before dinner - a 5 minute commute to work/customer/vacation destination is critical

    So let me interrupt here - if you can get a clean room where you need to be for under $100, quit 'cher whining...

  4. The Bed - King Size mattress, quality soft sheets, a foam pillow; nothing can ruin your 'game' like waking up feeling like a pretzel
  5. Sleep Timer for TV - I actually carry my own universal remote control in my bag because Hampton Inn doesn't properly program their remotes.  Waking up at 3am to turn off the TV also can mess you up.
  6. Thermostatic temperature control - Blowing hot air all night long, or freezing not only messes you up for the night, but causes me to feel miserable for days to come.
  7. FREE Internet access - I'm geting 1.2MB down and up here at the Hyatt, that's about 4x what it was yesterday.  Make it wireless, make it free and ideally - keep those blasted codes out of it. - I also often travel with 2 laptops (Win & Mac) and like to use them both.
  8. The shower needs to be good for,,,, you guessed it - Showers ! -- I would never soak my body in a hotel tub, so please make hotel showers roomy enough to not have a cold/wet plastic curtain blowing in on you and soaking the foor (ick).
  9. The Brekky - Can you believe that a Hyatt Place has NOTHING warm, and a mediocre selection of Otis Spunkmeyer preservative-filled muffins ? - Maybe it's because it's an Amerisuites being remodeled here.  Hampton Inn has never let me down, but Hilton Garden Inn annoys me because it's 'serviced' and I feel compelled to leave a tip.
  10. Last but definitely not least - Loyalty points.  I have collected Hilton points for 7 years and am sitting on a mountain of them. - Ya know what ? - Their rubbish ! - I can barely get a week a decent hotel.  Starwood points (Sheraton properties) on the other hand have a genius offer called 'Cash & Points' - I love it because it lets me pay $50 a night at a $220/night hotel in London along with about the same number of points as I'd earn in 3-4 nights at a cheapie 4-Points by Sheraton.  Too bad they closed their Sunnyvale, CA property :-(
So there you have it - My first Top-10 list and hardly a technical review to be found.  Do you agree with these or when you travel is it all about the fitness room, the free USA today or the minibar ? - Let me know !

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