I have recently lived through a shooting schedule that’s kept me in hotels for as long as I can remember (I’m struggling to draw the line between the start of it and the end of University). Long drives and varying jobs aside, this trip has finally given me some words of advice to impart on a subject! Introducing;
5 Tips for picking the right hotel; Darren’s gift to the world.
(It should be acknowledged this list is both for the betterment of mankind and also Matt, our production assistant, who has picked enough bad hotels to make this list possible. Thanks Matt)
1) Bed linens and Soft furnishings
Dependent on the weather, age of building and your personal preferences on body temperature, you’re going to want to pre-check the Tog rating and filling for duvets and pillows. This can be vital to the most basic part of a hotel experience… sleep. Worst case scenario, you find the hotels soft furnishings unacceptable and simply take your own to ensure satisfaction. Though this practice is generally frowned upon (especially if there is a sizeable queue for check in as it raises questions) at least you are guaranteed your personal preferences are matched perfectly!
2) Quality of Reception staff
This really goes without saying, the tip here is about the best method of assessment. In the week leading up to the stay find 3 opportunities, one morning, one afternoon and one evening to call the hotel. On each occasion call with a 10 – 15 minute “problem” you need help with. This could be anything from “I seem to have misplaced my arm” to “You’ve delivered the wrong Pizza”. The goal here is simply to assess how keen they are to help. If they’re attentive in the search for your severed limb you know a request for ice water during your actual stay is guaranteed to be met with enthusiasm!
Speed, Strength and cost of use! Simple! There is only so often you can sit in small en-suite facility with no window for the evening because it’s the only place you get WiFi before thinking “… I really need to start checking this”. Especially if you’re paying £14 a day for the privilege.
4) Wall Thickness
If you’re trying to get an early night you don’t want to lie awake listening to the couples in surrounding rooms be very angry, or very friendly with each other (happy or angry is normally dictated by the quality of the hotel). Getting a building with thick walls is normally the best way to minimise this problem. Wall Thickness can normally be approximated by the age of the building. Old buildings are good, very new buildings are good. In buildings constructed between the early 1970’s and late 1990’s it clearly became acceptable to construct interior walls with Tracing Paper. Avoid these at all costs, unless you want to hear Stuart and Andrea Turners first weekend away from their kids in 5 and a half years. I learned the basics of their situation in a building constructed circa 1982 in Taunton, I have much more detail but most of it is not blog appropriate…
5) Communal Areas
Is there a bar, restaurant or lounge area with some character and a nice atmosphere? In an ideal world all 3. With a lot of modern hotels this is sadly gone. Obviously social media has almost eradicated face to face contact with other humans. What social media can’t remedy however, is the cabin fever generated by excessive time in a small room painted “asylum white”.
Hopefully this short list will help you focus on the finer details of a hotel stay and prepare better for them! To Matt – please let me know if some guidance on the basics of hotel selection would be useful, I will happily put this together for you!