10 reasons to choose the cheaper hotel

So. You’ve got your upcoming trip narrowed down to a handful of hotels. Do you reward yourself with the loveliest luxury hotel you can afford, or do you quietly, triumphantly select the cheaper hotel?

The quandary itself can feel like a moral dilemma. Websites are designed, whether intentionally or not, to encourage you to buy spendier things. You, the frugal shopper, click “List by Price – Ascending” and immediately assume that the first couple of options listed are below any discerning human being’s taste level. For heaven’s sake, some of them don’t even include photos. Sound familiar? Well, stop right there and check in with what you already know: more expensive does not always mean better quality, and it certainly doesn’t always mean better value for your dollar.

Before you go shelling out for your top or mid-range options, consider why you were shopping online in the first place: to get a good deal. As for that lack of photos, there can be any number of reasons a hotel booking company doesn’t host the cheapest hotels’ photographs (“the hotel didn’t pay to have them hosted” is one of the most common), and you can certainly find photos of it on Flickr or TripAdvisor.

Even if you are looking for luxury, it’s a mistake to assume that the most expensive hotel is going to be the best experience. Here are the 10 reasons to choose the cheaper hotel:

1. You can get a better room.

Do you want the tiniest room in the fanciest hotel, or a fabulous suite in a less expensive hotel? Think about it.2. You’re not going to spend that much time there.

Depending on what kind of trip you’re taking, the hotel may just be a place to sleep. Of course you want it to be clean, but do you need twice daily turndowns and personal butler service just to store your clothes, crash there at night and shower in the morning? Consider.

3. It might be a discounted rate.

As mentioned above, you’re looking for a deal. The less expensive hotels on your list may simply be offering a discount — and normally, they’d be the very most expensive.

4. Location, location, location.

Before assuming that the most expensive hotel is the best hotel for you, look at the location. It may turn out that you wanted a beach vacation, and the more expensive hotels you were considering are located downtown in the business district. Furthermore, cool, up-and-coming neighborhoods often have up-and-coming hotels which haven’t earned the right to overcharge you yet (but one day, they will, fear not).

5. You will never use that gym and you know it.

The pricier options may also feature amenities you just don’t need, like a gym or a 24-hour concierge. If you weren’t going to use those things and they make one hotel more expensive than the other … you get the idea.

6. Airfare.

Airfare is more expensive than ever, and if you can lower the cost of your hotel, you may have a little more room in your budget to keep you off that rock-bottom, all-infant-red-eye flight.

7. Breakfast.

It’s a well-known fact that the more expensive your hotel is, the more ridiculously they will charge you for coffee and a couple of eggs. Unless breakfast is included, you can pretty much assume it will cost you as much as a reasonable dinner at home at an ultra-luxe hotel. Cheaper hotels tend to have cheaper breakfasts.

8. Some places are just plain overpriced.

The most expensive hotels on your list may simply not be worth it. Big-name hotels, for example, can often charge more than a boutique hotel can, even though the boutique hotel offers more personalized service and authentic amenities and experiences. It takes a little time to investigate, but the cheapest hotel on your list may actually be the nicest.

9. Because you don’t have to spend your whole vacation budget.

And, the least expensive hotel on your short list may be the most expensive hotel on someone else’s.

10. Beer money.

Or wine money, cigar money, whatever your pleasure.

Photo by Annie Scott.


ABC News and Hotels.com list best US cities for hotel deals

On most trips, your two biggest expenses will be your transportation and your accommodation. You don’t have much control over the price of your flight, but you can balance out that cost by picking a destination where you are more likely to score a deal on your hotel. ABC News has put together a list of popular tourist destinations in the US where hotel rates are falling, including Las Vegas, Tuscon, Anchorage and Chicago.

In some cites, the savings can be as much as 30%. In New York, the average has dropped from $281 to $196 – nearly $100 per night. Stay 2-3 nights and that could cover your airfare. Miami’s average is down from $176 to $140 and the cost of a typical hotel room in San Francisco has decreased from $155 to $124. Even rates in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, are down 18% from $191 to $157.

The stats came from Hotels.com’s list of average hotel room rates around the world. Chicago, with a drop of 22% came in third place (tied with Anchorage) among major cities for the most significant drop in rates. Juneau, Alaska, was in second place. New York and Las Vegas tied for the top spot with a drop of 30%. Every state in the US experienced a drop in the average nightly rate, except for North Dakota. Rates there remained stable.

The lowest prices in the country were found in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Boise, Idaho; and Las Vegas.

The global average for hotel price drops was 17% with Moscow experiencing the most significant decrease of 52%.

$19 hotel room, bed not included

For $19, I wouldn’t expect much out of my hotel room. But a bed, lights and toilet paper are among the things I would consider to be basic necessities at any price. That’s not the case at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, where guests can elect to have different features of their hotel room removed in order to decrease the price.

The “Survivor Package” starts at $219 for deluxe accommodations and breakfast for two. Take out the breakfast and the price goes down to $199. Take out the AC or heat and you’re looking at $159. The removal of pillows, sheets, lights, linens, and toiletries decreases the price incrementally to just $39. Then things really get interesting. For $19, the resort will remove the bed and replace it with a tent. Basically, you’re paying for an indoor campsite.

The hotel’s manager says he wanted to do “something different” for a promotion. This gives guests on a budget a cheap, and memorable, way to enjoy the resort, which is set on 20,000 acres in San Diego. There’s a a golf course, three pools, three restaurants, and a spa that was named as the best by Conde Nast in 2008.

The deal has already been quite popular, with over 50 people making reservations for the $19 rooms. The promotion will run from August 16 to 31.

[via CNN]



What’s the dirtiest hotel in the U.S.? It has company

TripAdvisor has just released its annual list of the dirtiest hotels in the U.S. I suppose this is akin to Mr. Blackwell’s Annual Worst-Dressed list aimed at celebrities. Who would aspire to land a spot on such a list?

The Hotel Carter, a 700 room architectural beauty in Manhattan is right at the top of the worst of the dirtiest. The photo on its Web site looks rather 40ish funky–perhaps it hasn’t been cleaned since then. At one time, the hotel was probably magnificent and the place to be. Perhaps, it’s in need of a real update. Whatever the reason, if you look at the travel ratings review chart, this place isn’t even recommended for budget travelers. Young singles might like it a tad better. Young singles without dates, or nowhere to go perhaps?

If all the complaints are accurate, it sounds like this could be named Hell Hotel with accuracy. Mice, lice, cigarette butts, prostitutes, police, blood, hair of various types everywhere, slow to fill tubs, paint peeling–you name it, this place has it. So, this is what the dirtiest hotel looks like? On the plus side, for the Times Square area, it’s price is a deal if you don’t have health or safety concerns. Patricking, who posted this shot on Flickr wrote that this is how he found his room when he arrived. The bag is the only additon. This was in April 2007. For other dirty of the dirtiest.

Check out these weird hotels:

Also on the dirtiest list:

  • Nashville – Days Inn Vanderbilt / Music Row, Nashville, TN
  • Ramada Niagara Falls – Niagara Falls, NY
  • Red Carpet Inn, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Regency Inn & Suites, New York, NY
  • St. Augustine Beachfront Resort, Saint Augustine, FL
  • Travel Inn Civic/Medical Center, Miami, FL
  • Eden Roc Motel, Wildwood, NJ
  • Days Inn Lancaster, Lancaster, PA
  • Pacific Sands Motel, Santa Monica, CA

    It’s too bad that those connected to Days Inn and Red Carpet Inn have such bad ratings. Since these are brand name hotels, it goes to show that reading about a hotel before you show up is a good idea instead of relying on the fact you have stayed in a perfectly fine Days Inn. I’d also double check to see if anything has changed since the last comments were made. Hotels and motels can go through transformations, however, in the case of the ones listed, there needs to be major, major improvements.

    For those of you traveling to the UK, TripAdvisor also lists the dirtiest hotels there. If a hotel has the word Eden in it, don’t be fooled in thinking it might be paradise. Regency, Manor and Resort also may not mean anything. Whoever thought up the name of some of these hotels had a way with words, even though they didn’t have a clue about how to run them.