What To Look For In A Hotel

October 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

You can trust established chains such as Marriott or Hilton but there is so much on offer that it would be a shame to miss out on the smaller or independent hotels as they may be able to offer you something the larger chain brands can’t.

The Rating System
The star system was created to help guests judge how good a hotel is. Star ratings symbolise the level of standards a guest can expect and are recognised worldwide. Ranging from 1 – 5, the quality of service, amenities, size and condition of rooms and building, safety and security, atmosphere, quality of food and drink, hotel presence and efficiency of staff are judged.

1 Star
Practical accommodation. Don’t expect anything more than the absolute basics. The shower room is likely to be down the hall, but remember, it’s the cheapest accommodation. If you’re looking for a bargain, and don’t mind not having en-suite facilities, don’t hesitate to consider one-star hotels – just check the room first. Go for one that offers clean sheets and a nice neighbourhood. It may be cheap but you don’t want to slum it next door to a crack den!

2 Star
Although many offer en-suite facilities you may find in some hotels there is still a need to share the shower room down the hall with other guests. You’ll have a colour television, a comfortable bed, and a restaurant/dining room for breakfast and dinner.

3 Star
Private bathrooms in the (usually smallish) room colour television, occasionally even a mini bar, a phone, laundry service (optional) and a more formal style of service along with the opportunity for room service during certain times to be expected.

4 Star
Four-star hotels are spacious and have the creature comforts with a touch more luxury, including private baths in addition to a strong emphasis on food and beverage, 24-hour room service and a dry cleaning service available. More often in well situated locations.

5 Star
Simply the best. The interiors will be of the highest standards. Opulent, stylish and of absolute luxury. Nothing is too much for guests. Exceptional comfort, 24 hour room service, luxury amenities, for example, spas or star rated restaurants serving superb cuisine are the norm. The concierge will be only too happy to get you want at whatever time of the day, (so long as it’s legal). You will feel very well cared for by professional, attentive staff providing a flawless service. This is the kind of luxury dreams are made of.

The star definitions should be treated as a general guide to what you should expect from a star rated hotel as there is yet no definitive worldwide standardisation available.

Because of this, it can sometimes be abused and you could find yourself booking into a hotel that just doesn’t come up to what you believe to be adequate for its rating.

Due to the lack of consistency in hotel ratings around the world you could find yourself staying in, for example, a three-star hotel abroad which may be better than a three-star hotel in your native country. But be warned, it can go either way and you could find yourself in a less than desirable hotel with exactly the same star rating.

Keep in mind it is your right to view a room before you commit to staying in it. Ask to do so.

Recommendation
If you’re thinking of booking into a hotel, but don’t know what it’s like, www.gate14.co.uk suggests you take the following steps.
: Ask trusted friends with similar tastes to recommended somewhere
: Alternatively, search the name of your intended hotel and read impartial hotel reviews from people who have stayed in the accommodation.

Reviews can be seen at Holiday Watchdog. It’s free to use and you can even submit a review of your own.

If you would like to see special offers in accommodation, go to http://www.gate14.co.uk/SV4.html.

Smart Travel Tip 7 Things To Look Out For When Dealing With A Travel Agency

August 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

Many people are looking at price when searching for a discount travel agency, however, there are some other things you need to watch out for that can save you time, money and headaches when using a travel agency to plan your trip.

1) Check to see if the agency is a member of ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents). Agencies who are members must follow strict rules of conduct. If you should have a problem with your agency, it will be easier for you to file a complaint.

2) Make sure their offer isn’t too good to be true. The travel industry is very competitive and some agencies will promise you the moon. Make sure they can deliver what they promise before signing up.

3) The agency should disclose their full contact information. You should easily be able to find their name, address, phone number and email address. Call the phone number and see if a real person answers. If their contact information isn’t readily available, you should take your business elsewhere.

4) Some discount agencies will promise you low rates to get your business, then hit you with hidden fees. Since you are budgeting for your trip, you don’t want to be hit with a larger bill than you planned on. Be sure to get all agency rates and fees on paper to avoid surprises.

5) Respectable travel agencies will bend over backwards to make sure you are well taken care of, especially if you have medical needs while traveling. An agency out for a quick buck will not provide you with great customer service, so ask questions about how they will accommodate your special requests before signing.

6) A good travel agency will be there to help you during and after your trip to make sure everything is going smoothly. If you have a problem during your trip, the agency will be available to assist you. Fly by night services will disappear after you’ve handed over your money. Check out the agency’s reputation before you commit to a deal.

7) A good travel agency will have access to all kinds of information about the city and/or country you are visiting. They are one of the best insider travel tip resources around whether you need a business travel tip, family travel tip, an air travel tip, or a travel packing tip.

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