How to Choose the Best Hotel

For many travelers, a hotel is more than just a bed and a shower; it’s a refuge from the outside world and an opportunity to escape work and everyday life for a little while. Choosing the best one means knowing what to look for, from location and amenities to the type of property and price point. Whether you’re looking for luxury in the mountains, a family-friendly getaway or something more secluded in a remote locale, we’ve rounded up the top hotels to suit your travel style and budget.

The first thing to keep in mind when selecting a hotel is your desired destination. For example, if you’re traveling to a major city, there are likely several hotel options within walking distance of the area’s most popular attractions and restaurants. If you’re traveling for business, choosing a hotel with easy access to airports and other transportation hubs is crucial. If you’re traveling with kids, it might be more important to choose a hotel that offers on-site child-care services or an on-site swimming pool.

A hotel’s star rating is another important factor to consider. While there is no universal rating system, the American Automobile Association created a ratings system (outstanding, very good, excellent, and good) that started in 1917 and has since evolved to include one-to-five diamonds in 1977. These ratings appear on AAA’s website and in its TourBook guides and TripTik.

Likewise, online travel agencies like Expedia publish their own ratings, and their stars are based on an anonymous inspection process that involves hoteliers providing the agency with a list of amenities, as well as allowing inspectors to stay overnight in a room without being told who they are. The company then assigns the hotel a star score and provides consumers with the details of what to expect from each property.

If you’re a big traveler and want to save money, you may consider booking through a hotel loyalty program. Loyalty programs give frequent guests freebies and perks, such as upgrades or complimentary meals. While the most valuable programs are from luxury chains such as Hyatt and Marriott, you can find a number of perks at less-expensive properties.

Once you’ve determined which hotel you want to book, you can take advantage of a service offered by Google that scours all the top booking sites for the lowest prices. Simply click the “view prices” button on a hotel page to see all available booking options. Once you’ve found the cheapest hotel, click through to the booking site and book your stay! This can save you a lot of time and money. If you’re unsure of the quality of a hotel, you can also click on the Google reviews button to read real-world experiences from previous guests. Just make sure to filter out fake reviews and use a trusted source such as Trip Advisor.