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GOOD HOTEL GUIDE
(If you're looking for a list of good hotels, see the Hotels page or for a Guide to Specific Hotels see Mr & Mrs Smith's Hotel Guide, or for the INTERNATIONAL LIST OF HOTELS, visit Lodging.com)
This GOOD HOTEL GUIDE is based on personal experience of a hotel guest who has had considerable experience of a variety of different hotels and varying quality hotel accommodation. This Good Hotel Guide is a set of guidelines for good practice, so if you've come here to find a LIST OF GOOD HOTELS, then you should visit the Hotels Page or Lodging.com, whereas if you've come here to see a guide to good practice from a guest's point of view, read on...
What make a hotel a GOOD HOTEL? The key factor is the unworried state of mind in the guest. "Hotel" is an almost magical state of mind in the guest, perhaps like that in a child where everything is being sorted out and taken care of and you don't need to worry! A good hotel can allow that state of mind to be generated, whereas a hotel that's not so good can muck it up by some stupid point that spoils it.
The most important thing about a hotel is the staff. It's the staff's desire to help. It's not what they do, but their willingness to do it. In a good hotel, staff will go out of their way to accommodate the wishes of the guests. Friendliness is important, but it's not just a matter of being polite, it's to do with being able to conjure up special solutions to unusual problems, and to do more than just the standard stuff.
Hotel facilities: It's a generally held belief in the hotel business that what's important is en-suite toilets, to the exclusion of other facilities. Whilst it's useful to have en-suite, it's not the most important thing about a hotel room, and in terms of price per installation it's not the most cost effective. There are many other features a hotel room can have. A few of these are listed here:
FREE TEA, whether in the form of do-it-yourself free tea in the room (preferably with REAL milk!), or in the form of free tea by request supplied by the friendly hotel staff, is a facility which is not expensive to provide and yet which makes a big difference!
Any free items (such as the free fruits and mints provided by London Victoria Holiday Inn) cost a minimal amount to the hotel and yet are very good for public relations. Guests feel generosity is extended to them and that they could in theory eat a vast amount of fruit etc, but in practice the cost is minimal as guests can't actually eat that much!
FOOD should be available in large quantities. The "as much as you like" policy is recommended. Again, people feel they are being treated to an infinite resource, whilst in practice the cost is only as much as the guests can eat. Most hotel guests can't eat as much as I can, so it turns out to be not as expensive for the hotel as it might seem. Besides the fact that the main cost of providing food is in the service and expertise, and not in the quantity of food involved. You may have guessed I am not a fan of Nouvelle Cuisine, and regard it as actually dangerous in my metabolism, rather like putting a tiny amount of fuel in the engine and putting a match to it!
COMFORTABLE BED. Plus, it should be possible to switch light(s) on and off from a position of in the bed!
PHONES. Phones in hotel rooms generally have a problem where the cost of making a call is stupidly high. Quite why this is, defies rationality. Why shouldn't they cost the same as a payphone? The hotel would still make a profit. Anyway, payphones, whether in rooms or in the hotel lobby, need to be able to accept coins, not just the overpriced cards. And, they should have the phone number displayed and accept incoming calls.
TELEVISION. With remote. And with some channels you don't usually get at home. I'm not talking pay-per-view here (see the warnings on "extra costs"), more a matter of being able to watch international news and odd multilingual schedules from around the world. International resort hoteliers may be intrigued to know that guests have a surprisingly keen interest in local news and affairs and will watch television channels even if they can't actually speak the language!
If there is a SWIMMING POOL then it should be at a reasonable temperature, and should have the right chemical balance. Also, there should either be NO DRESS CODE or it should be a "modesty is preserved" policy, and definitely NOT the problem of "must wear a conventional swimming costume" as encountered at a very few places. Some people choose to go swimming with their clothes on; it's a freedom which they should be allowed and not be denied. Besides being a matter of personal taste and free choice, and it being the guest's own skin that they shouldn't be compelled to have exposed to the sun and/or everyone's inspection, there have recently (2006) been cases where swimming pool managers have been sued for discrimination versus personal choice of swimming apparel.
As a general principle, the higher class a hotel is, the more tolerant it is of guest eccentricity. Guests, especially those who have experience of staying in posh hotels, understand this.
Hotels are expensive. You pay a lot of money to stay at a hotel, so let's have as many of the things IN the hotel free! It seems a bit awkward to have the situation where you pay a lot of money to reside in the hotel and then have to pay again for things which should come as part of the service! If it's an all inclusive resort, then it should really be all-inclusive, and you shouldn't be excluded because of some reason or other, especially if you can reasonably expect it to be all inclusive in advance.
SECURITY. Not only does a hotel room need to be secure, but it needs to be seen to be secure from a guest's point of view. I've noticed some hotel rooms have locks with the latch removed. This infers that anyone with a key can get in! See How to Avoid Being Robbed while in a Hotel Room
Religious books in hotel rooms should be OPTIONAL and ideally a guest should have a free choice of Gideon's Bible, some equivalent Satanic book, various alternative spiritualistic or atheistic works, or none of the above. If you feel it's unlucky to sleep in a room which has a religious book in it, you may hand it in to reception.
SPECIAL REQUESTS. The ability of a hotel to cope with odd dietary requirements, and anything unusual, is all to the benefit of ALL, even those whose requirements are normal. It shows a flexible approach. Well Done to places that get this right!
Now here are a few things that DON'T matter about a hotel (and yet which are often imagined by some corporate belief-system to matter):
EXTRA hotel enhancements:
Other things that are an asset to a hotel:
Things that can spoil a good hotel:
These are only guidelines and personal opinions derived from accumulated experiences of a guest. The guest experiences have been accreted from visits to many hotels in a variety of resorts and locations. This guide to good practice is to help hoteliers have an insight into guest-thinking! Meanwhile, if you are a potential hotel guest, you may be interested to see the International List of Hotels, and Lodging.com, and the section on Travel in general.
Also see Zyra's Good Affiliate Marketing Company Guide and other Guides to Good Practice
Although it's tempting to believe in the Zyra Motel, please note that this is a virtual location online.