How to choose a hotel: the most important criteria and tips

One of the most important components of a good rest is the right choice of hotel.


Waiting from the hotel

First of all, you must determine what you expect from the hotel. Room, service, meals, entertainment, additional services – all this affects the experience of the trip.
Especially sensitive to the choice of hotel, if you are traveling with children. Find out in advance whether the selected hotel has an animation program for children, parks with attractions, babysitting services. If you go on a sightseeing tour, then pay attention to the location of the hotel, how quickly you can get to all the main attractions from there. In this case, the level and category of the hotel will not matter much, because most likely you will only come there overnight.

It is useful to know the features of the hotels in the country where you are going. Beach vacation in Spain or Italy, for example, does not imply a stay at the hotel all the time, so there is no animation or variety of additional services.


Choosing a resort, you should ask whether the place is a good option for youth recreation or designed for people of age, prefer to stay there families or self-staying tourists. It is also worth considering, tourists come there for beach holidays or more for recreation. It would be useful to know what kind of infrastructure at the resort and how much breakfast / lunch / dinner can cost in local cafes and restaurants.

Cost of living

When planning a vacation, you must calculate how much you are willing to spend on housing. Sometimes the difference between 2* and 3* hotels is small, but the price level for additional services in the latter will be higher. There is a rule – the more stars, the better, but when choosing a hotel, try to abstract a little from the stars and read the description and reviews to begin with.

Classification of the hotel

Today there are more than 30 different hotel classifications in the world. The systems of stars, letters, crowns and others are widespread. The most popular is the “star” classification system. The stars indicate the level of comfort and service in the hotel. The more stars there are, the better the hotel is considered. This is a common rule for everyone.

One star means that all rooms in the hotel are of the same type, with the area not exceeding 8-10 square meters. Facilities are on the floor: bathroom and toilet are shared for several rooms, TV in the hall. The list of hotel services with one star does not include meals.
Two stars indicate that such hotels have several types of rooms. As a rule, you will be offered breakfast. The room must have a toilet and a bath or a shower.

Three stars guarantee the availability in your room of 10-12 square meters. meters TV, telephone and mini-bar (or refrigerator). As a rule, such a hotel should have at least two facilities providing additional services: gym, swimming pool, sauna, massage room, hairdresser’s, business center, or conference hall. The room must have a full bathroom, where you will find shampoo, soap and shower gel.

Four stars indicate that the level of comfort and service in this hotel is much higher than average. The hotel will have a 24-hour bar and/or restaurant. There is a laundry room, currency exchange office, business center, a fitness center with sauna and swimming pool is mandatory. In addition to a TV, telephone and mini-bar, the room will have a safe, air conditioning and hair dryer.  As a rule, the room area is at least 13 sq. m.

Five stars designate the hotel as a luxury hotel. Service here is at the highest level. You are sure to be met by a doorman, and your luggage will be taken care of by a porter. Room service in these hotels is round the clock, if desired you will be served breakfast or late dinner in your room. In addition to the standard set of services you will also be provided exclusive. Room size is at least 16 sq. m.

It should be noted that the indicated level of comfort may vary in different countries of the world.  In addition, there may be many classifications at the hotels in different countries:

  • Greece – letters, where D is equated to 5, A – 4, B – to 3, C – 2.
  • Great Britain – star classification. Even the 1* hotel has all the conditions for a normal holiday without special luxury. For private categories of accommodation there are different designations, for example, “family” hotel – “diamonds”, apartments – “keys”.
  • Star classification is adopted in France. However, here you will not find a 5* hotel, such hotels are equal to 4L (L – luxe). 2-3* hotels are taken by tourists who are looking for active recreation. The conditions of stay at these hotels are good.
  • Italy – almost the same as in France, there are mostly no 5 * hotels except for elite expensive resorts and major cities. 4L hotels are not equal to 5. They are all the same 4, but with a large range of services.
  • There is a star classification in Turkey. However, the quality of comfort in the hotels of the lowest category leaves much to be desired. For example, the hotels of 2* agencies do not even offer. Most of the entertainment and additional services in 3-5 hotels are included in the price.
  • Malaysia is a star classification, but the service level is much higher. For example, a 4-star hotel can be safely equated with a European 5-star hotel.
  • One should not forget that the set of services in the hotels of the same category in different countries is different. If you are used to the spacious rooms of Egypt or Turkey, you will not see such in a European hotel of the same category.

Catering system

BB – breakfast, HB – half board (meals 2 times a day), FB – full board (3 times a day) and “All Inclusive” system. If you have chosen a hotel in Europe, you will usually be offered the system BB, HB or FB. There are cafes and restaurants in the cities, offering cuisine to suit every taste and wallet, so the choice of catering system is at your discretion.

If you rest in the southern resorts, then be prepared for the popular “all inclusive” system. This system is common in the resorts of Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and several other countries.

Accommodation and Eviction

There are two important factors to keep in mind when settling in a hotel: check-in time and check-out time. These two parameters are individual for each hotel. As a rule, the check-in time is after 14:00, the check-out time is at 11:00 -12:00, in the apartments at 17:00 and 12:00, respectively. Some hotels allow early check-in, if there are free rooms, and in most cases you will have to pay extra for late check-out.

And if you vacate your room with a delay of several hours, you will be charged the full price.  Therefore, it is not superfluous to stipulate in advance the possibility of early arrival or late check-out.  Many hotels meet the guests and do not pick on them if you have released your room half an hour later. 

If you have luggage and want to leave things in the hotel, you will take care of their safety. It is also a good idea to find out the distance from the airport to the hotel, and whether the hotel provides shuttle service.

Additional services

Going to a hot country, find out if your room will have air conditioning. For some people it is important to have a mini-bar, a safe. What about the view from the window? It is good, if the view from the window opens to the sea, but what if the windows overlook a noisy street and you do not let sleep all night?  So ask in advance about rooms with windows on the sea / mountains / courtyard or, if you are staying in the busy city center, the presence of noise insulation windows.  

If you have chosen a beach holiday, find out if the hotel is far from the beach (better to find out specifically in meters, not minutes); if the hotel provides free sunbeds and sun loungers; if there is no beach nearby, whether there is a free shuttle service from your hotel to the city beach. If you work out, ask if your hotel will have a gym, swimming pool, sauna, etc.  And, of course, find out in advance: what services are free and for which you will have to pay and how much.

Tourist Reviews

Often, it is tourist reviews that become a decisive factor in choosing a hotel. However, study the information carefully. You shouldn’t rely on reviews from a year ago and short comments. Pay attention to informative reviews, where hotel guests describe what they specifically liked or disliked. Such information will be the most useful and will help to make a reliable impression of the hotel.

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