In the past couple years, we’ve stayed at 23 motels or small hotels in 15 states. There are highway hotels (for white collar: interior corridors — and blue collar: exterior corridors) and destination hotels. Destination hotels are worth researching to get a view or a fireplace or proximity to the galleries. But highway hotels… we play roulette.
I like a white collar place with quiet interior corridors but they are seldom worth the price differential. The roadside Best Westerns and Days Inns often understand simple guest needs better than the Courtyards and Gardens. Our needs are simple:
1. Cleanliness, of course (nothing grosser than someone else’s overcooked danish in the microwave). No decades-old aroma of cigarettes and sweat, please.
2. Wireless internet in the room (esp. where they think to give you the password when you register)
3. A wall outlet near where you want to work with your laptop. Amazing how many hotels have no electrical outlets available. And who wants to start pulling out furniture looking for one. Ick.
4. A listing of local channels for the TV. How hard can this be?
5. CNN and MSNBC. I fear for the locals when the only cable news network is Fox.
6. Refrigerator and microwave. Great way to economize, by eating leftovers. Sometimes these amenities are available, but you have to ask. A little coffee-maker is nearly always available these days. Convenient ice is an expectation of course.
7. An easy chair or couch. Facing the TV, please. Rooms with one bed (instead of two) tend to have these.
8. Free continental breakfast, with a USA Today, has become an expectation. At least fresh coffee, please.The super-duper hotels always have fresh cookies and hot coffee available in the lobby.
I’ve decided to put my hotel ratings on the internet — my duty as a traveler. We booked some of our rooms through AAA, but (to my surprise) they don’t keep your trip record online and don’t give you a place for feedback. So… I discovered Trip Advisor and posted my reviews there.
Visit the Mad In Pursuit Travel Page for more tips and travel diaries. Let me know your own simple needs in getting a room.