Choosing Your Perfect Hotel

June 15, 2017

Choosing a hotel can be confusing.  What is the difference between this hotel over here and that hotel over there?  Why is that one a suite, but this one isn’t?  Homewood who?  Fairfield what?  And why are their names so similar?  Well, stress no more! (Because we know this keeps you up at night) We’re here to finally explain hotel brands and which amenities are standard at each.

Every franchise (Hilton, Marriott, IHG, etc.) offers different brands that cater to a certain segment like business, family, leisure, or long term.  In order to find the hotel that best suits you, first you need to figure out which segment best describes you.  No judgement here!  Once you figure that out (cue Jeopardy music), you’re ready to start looking for the perfect hotel to meet your needs. 

Is complimentary breakfast important to you?  Then you will want to stay away from full service hotels and those slated toward business travelers.  Your best bet is a select service hotel like a Fairfield Inn, Hampton Inn, or a Holiday Inn Express.  You’ll want to stay away from hotels like Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn, and Courtyard by Marriott, or you’ll be shelling out extra for their restaurant breakfasts.

Do you hate eating out every night when you’re on the road?  Then you will want to keep your eyes open for an extended stay property.  With full, in-room kitchens and many offering complimentary evening socials during certain week nights, you won’t need to venture out to find your next meal.  Most even offer complimentary grocery shopping service and some have outdoor grilling areas!  Watch for Residence Inn by Marriott, Homewood Suites by Hilton, and Staybridge Suites by IHG.  

If you can’t leave home without your furry companion, and no we’re not talking about your husband, then you’re in luck.  More and more hotel brands are becoming pet-friendly, because they understand that your pet is part of your family.  Look for Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites by Marriott, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites by Hilton, and Staybridge Suites by IHG.  Keep in mind, this is certainly one feature that varies by hotel, so if the website doesn’t clearly show the hotel is pet-friendly, we recommend checking directly with them.  Also, remember there is typically a fee for this service, which can vary from a few dollars to over $100.  So if you aren’t sure, it doesn’t hurt to ask before you arrive so you aren’t surprised at check-in.

What about amenities like free Wi-Fi, free parking, fitness center, and business center?  Most of these are now fairly standard at any select service hotel.  But, never take it for granted.  With the wide scope of the internet, it’s pretty easy to find if the hotel you are looking at has the amenities you want.  

Have you ever noticed some hotels have “& Suites” in their names, but others don’t? (Fairfield Inn vs. Fairfield Inn & Suites) Then there are those that are “all suites.” (Homewood Suites) The main difference is mostly how the rooms are setup, but it can also mean a difference in amenities.  We recently converted most of our Fairfield Inns to Fairfield Inn & Suites.  That means we added in fitness centers, Markets, and expanded some of our rooms to be suites, something regular Fairfield Inn’s don’t always have.  They now include an expanded seating area, but the bed is not separate from the living space.  Don’t mistake this for a suite at a Homewood Suites.  Since extended stay hotels are meant for just that, they offer more space to spread out and make you feel like you are back in your college day’s apartment, minus the ramen and kegerator.  “All suite” hotels actually offer multiple bedroom suites, which means the bedroom is completely separated from the living area.  So if your idea of a suite is a separate bedroom, look for an “all suites” hotel.  However, if you’re fine with just a seating area, then you’ll be safe staying in an “& Suites” hotel.  

Keep in mind these are general guidelines and to every rule there’s an exception.  If you are ever uncertain about which amenities a hotel offers, it’s best to pick up the phone and ask, or check their website.  But we do caution you, it’s best to verify with the hotel’s own website and not third-party sites.  These sites often pull their information from other sources and hotels can’t guarantee the information is accurate or up-to-date because they have no control over the content.  The last thing you want to do is pack your swim suit and get to the hotel only to find out they don’t have a pool!