5 Tips to Picking a Hotel

Stay Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast - Pikalily Food Travel Blog

When it comes to booking a holiday, your hotel is arguably the most important part. Although you may not spend much time inside the hotel, you need somewhere to touch base and feel comfortable. You want somewhere you can rest peacefully at night, pamper yourself when you feel like it and somewhere to dine for a quiet evening. If you need some help finding the perfect hotel, take a look below.

What is Most Important to You?

Perhaps you want a hotel that is a short distance away from the beach or boasts its own private beach. Maybe you want to be in the centre of all the nightlife, so you don’t have far to fall into bed after an epic night on the tiles.

If you go for an inclusive holiday, perhaps you’ll be searching for a hotel with a 5-star restaurant so you know the quality of your meals will be second to none. Before you start searching for your holiday hotel, you need to figure out what’s most important to you.

Beef Main - River Room Galgorm - Pikalily Food Travel Blog

For us, it’s all about the location and the room. We want to stay somewhere that is located to the sites we want to see so that our walking is kept to a minimum. Also, we view hotel stays as a treat so we want to make sure the room we stay in is nice. This doesn’t mean spending a fortune as there are some great deals to be got online. It’s all about the amenities and having a room we look forward to coming back to after a day of exploration.

Choose Your Amenities

And speaking of amenities… Not all amenities will be free, but it’s important to know what you want before booking your hotel. For example, in a hot country it will be important for your hotel to have working air conditioning in each room. Even if you plan on having a work free holiday, it can be handy for your hotel to have free WiFi for all its guests.

What about parking? Do you plan on driving yourself to your hotel? Does the price of your room include your breakfast? Finding out these things before you make your booking will make life easier when you arrive. When we’re travelling in around Ireland, breakfast and parking are two things that are a must for us. It just makes the trips so much easier.

Check the Hotel’s Website

Although booking through a travel agency or website will give you most of the information you need, looking at a hotels website may tell you something you don’t know.

A hotels website will have updated pictures, updated prices and information a travel agency may not hold. For example, there are some countries where it’s unacceptable for women to wear bikinis on private beaches. Here are some tips to avoid embarrassment on holiday. Check all the information on a website before going through with your booking.

Check a Map

Never let someone else book your hotel until you’ve researched the destination on a map. For instance, booking a hotel near to the Termini in Rome doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a good hotel. You may be near to local transport, but the hotels in that area are often more tailored to business people than travellers.

Eiffel Tower in Paris - Pikalily Food Travel

Booking something nearer to Colosseum, although often more expensive, will ensure you get good views and you’re near to local transport. The same goes for cities like Barcelona and Paris. Looking for accommodation near the likes of Las Ramblas (Barcelona) or Champs-Elysées (Paris), although more expensive, will have you well placed for some of the cities top sites and transportation links.

These were two cities we visited on our honeymoon (Madrid being the third) and the location was crucial when it came to us selecting where we stayed.

Look at Guest Reviews

Guests will leave authentic reviews that you can rely on. Look for the ones that have been left within the last twelve months. Also look to see if the hotel has replied to the reviews. A good hotel management will always reply to compliments and concerns.

TripAdvisor is the go to for many, but check reviews on online travel websites like Expedia and Booking.com, or even look at reviews on the likes of Google and Facebook. These will give you a good idea of what to expect. Our top tip when it comes to reviews is check out the ones that are 2, 3 or 4, as these are the ones that will give you most food for thought.

It’s also worth considering why someone has marked a hotel down or up, and whether this would actually impact in a positive or negative way on your hotel stay.

Wherever you decide to stay when going on holiday, take your time to book the right hotel for you and your needs.

Got Something to Add?

What is the number one thing that you consider when booking a hotel? Let us know in the comments section below.

Until next time, happy travels.

Helen, Nial and Lewis.


Welcome to Pikalily, an award-winning food, travel and lifestyle blog. We are Nial and Helen, a happily married couple from Northern Ireland, who share a passion for food and travel among many things. We became parents to our beautiful boy Lewis in 2017. Follow our adventures through the blog.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

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