Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hotels Are Like Shoes...

Hotels are like shoes. Some are practical, yet still attractive. Some are impractical, but very attractive. Others are unattractive, impractical , and just plain ugly. I've been in my fair share of hotels and I've owned a lot of shoes, and I have a confession - I love both hotels and shoes. With that being said, I'm more along the lines of either practical, yet still attractive or impractical but very attractive. Call me shallow, vain or the likes, but I know what I like.

When you are going on a trip do you think about what your hotel needs are from a practical standpoint, or from an impractical standpoint? Are you merely looking at cost, or are there other needs that you have to have in order for your stay to be enjoyable? I know there are a myriad of reasons why people travel, but using leisure travel as an example, I'm curious to know what others are looking for when they are selecting a hotel. When I work with a client, I have a lot of questions that I ask, but that's because I want them to get exactly what they want and are expecting.

Below, I've listed criteria for what I am looking for when selecting a hotel, and it's pretty much in order of importance to me:
  1. Rooms - this one would seem self explanatory, but all things are not created equal. I am into cleanliness above and beyond ANYTHING else. Bedding's should be clean and crisp; bathrooms spotless, and being able to move about is important too (although, that is a caveat if traveling abroad, as they are efficient in a lot of their hotels, even the luxury brands).

  2. Location, location, location - now, the location venue may change based on what my needs are at the time. For example, if I want to go to Paris, then I want to stay where all the action is; however, if I am going to Vermont or Maine, I'm looking for an eclectic location with privacy, nature, and serenity.

  3. Sexiness - ok, this one is extremely subjective, and will be covered in another Post later in 2010, but part of my criteria is the Sexy factor. It's a look, vibe and first impression when I go into a hotel lobby; enter a room, or eat at the hotel restaurant. Not only do I want the place to look and be sexy, I also want to feel sexy when I am there.

  4. Restaurants - now this is one that is near and dear to my heart. I love food. I think it's suffice to say that any hotel that has a highly acclaimed restaurant that is good, will be forever imprinted in my heart and soul. The chef doesn't have to be a James Beard award recipient, but I like to see creativity and some thoughtfulness behind their selections. Also, any chefs who are into "green" cooking are aces in my book.

  5. Spahhhhh - do I really need to add anything to this? Well, in respect to the spa treatments, I look at it the same way I look at the rooms - cleanliness is always a number one factor. I like to have a lot of services available, but I don't want to be overwhelmed with too many selections either. A man/woman who knows how to use their hands...a massage, a body exfoliating scrub, a facial -whatever they are doing should be done with the highest degree of professionalism. Although, a little humour goes a long way. There is a story behind that, but that is definitely of the "confessional" type.

  6. Price - who isn't looking for a competitive price for a 5 star hotel? Again, personal preference plays a huge factor in this category. I know travelers who have a lot of money, but don't care about staying in a five star hotel. They are 2-3 star people, and that's quite alright. Then there are the travelers who only travel a couple of times a year, and they want their experience to be as decadent as possible, so they have no qualms in staying in a 5 star hotel, and paying for's a choice, but if it's important to you, then it should be on your list of the top criteria you are looking for in a hotel.

When you are working with a travel professional, these are some of the questions they should be asking you in respect to what your needs and wants are. I may have specifications for myself, but I don't expect my clients to be of my same mind; however, they are expecting a service from me, and they are wanting my professional opinion regarding their selections, so I provide it.

Always have a list of what you are looking for and what you want. That is the only way you will be assured that you will get exactly what you are paying for, and in some cases, you may get much more than you expected, and will be pleasantly surprised.

In 2010, I will be writing a lot more on hotels, but some of the top hotels I've had the privilege of staying at are amongst the luxury brands of Starwood, as well as Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Some of my favorites are: Four Seasons - Westlake Village, CA, and Scottsdale, AZ; The "W" - Seattle, WA, San Diego, CA, and Los Angeles, CA; and, Sanctuary Camelback Valley Resort & Spa, Paradise Valley, AZ.

Pick your shoes and your hotels wisely.

*shoe photo taken from: