Choosing the Best Hotel: Travel Done Right

Choosing the Best Hotel: Travel Done Right

Choosing the best hotel for your next business trip can be a frustrating and challenging part of your planning process.  Just this week I heard my colleague calling around to every hotel in the city, desperately trying to find an available room that met all of her criteria. After hours of searching with no success, she threw in the towel and cried foul, resigned to search another day.

Choosing the best hotel for your trip doesn’t need to be a painful process, though.  In fact, it can be very rewarding when you are able to marry location, services and price together in one convenient, welcoming package. Whether you are traveling to a nearby city for a night or across the world for a few weeks, here are my tried and true:

Top Five Tips for Choosing the Best Hotel:

  1. Location, location, location.  Just like when purchasing or leasing real estate, the location of your hotel means everything.  If you are meeting uptown and your hotel is downtown, you will end up wasting precious meeting time sitting in the back of a cab.  While researching your hotel, be sure to map out the day/week’s meetings and choose one that is accessible and convenient.  When I am planning a stay that is longer than a night or two, I look at what is around the hotel as well.  A hotel that is located in a central, safe, accessible area is always top of the list – great shopping and restaurants just add to the appeal.  The Hazelton Hotel in Toronto is the perfect example of the hotel that I like to book – it is located in the heart of the city’s posh Yorkville neighbourhood, surrounded by some of the country’s largest head offices, top shopping destinations and most sought-after restaurants.
  2. Reviews and recommendations.  Read online reviews about the hotel, speak with your peers and ask the customer service team at the hotel a lot of questions. The SoHo Metropolitan Hotel’s concierges are respected members of Les Clefs d’Or Canada. Accolades reflecting this designation and the superior quality of service they provide can be found in all of the hotel’s online reviews.
  3.  Services. Is there a business center with a printer, copier and fax machine? Concierge or on-site travel assistance? On-site laundry? Restaurant, bar and/or room service? If you are planning a short overnight or a week-long trip, these services really make a difference. Depending on the nature of your trip, an on-site, high-end restaurant like One at The Hazelton Hotel would be of great value to you. Whether you are entertaining clients and prospects or simply treating yourself after a long day, you want to know that you are coming “home” to a good meal.
  4. Amenities. A spa, gym, indoor or outdoor swimming pool, sauna, on-site personal trainers – these are all value-added amenities that can make your trip even more enjoyable. Toronto’s upscale SoHo Metropolitan Hotel has a premium on-site fitness facility that offers an in-house personal trainer and swimming pool – after a long day of meetings nothing will help you unwind better than a great workout or a few laps in a refreshing pool.  If you have specific health routine it’s always good to ask the concierge if the hotel is able to accommodate at the time of booking.
  5. That personal touch.  Are you bringing Fido with you on the trip?  It would be wonderful if your hotel provided dog walking services.  Do you have a favourite chocolate bar, brand of chips or red wine?  Hotels like The Hazelton and SoHo Metropolitan will ensure that when you arrive in your home-away-from-home you have the comforts of home waiting for you.  Choosing a hotel that is willing to anticipate your needs while going above and beyond to learn what truly makes you happy can turn an overnight business trip into a relaxing, enjoyable escape.

What are some of your tips for choosing the best hotel?  Share them here!

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