On Booking Hotels...
Obviously, what you want is a Five Star hotel, complete with Limo from the Airport. Once there, you will have very few problems, in fact, there will be an entire fleet of people whose only desire is for you to be Very, Very Happy. Those are easy to find, you go to your handy Zagut Guide, or Amex Platinum Concierge or if you are going this route, more than likely Someone will have already taken care of this for you, and all you have to do is look for the Guy with your name on a sign at the airport.
For most of us tho, lovely as it sounds, there is a little more work to it than that. I'm here to help.
First of all, don't call the hotel, ask for reservations and take what they offer you. That is SO five minutes ago, people. This applies however, for the most part, when you are looking around an area for the best deal, and are not set on one particular hotel. Even then there are things you can do.
If you want a specific hotel, look online for the website. Many will have "Internet Only" rates. I stay often at a Sofital in Minneapolis, when I need a hotel, and they have such a thing. Calling gets you $385 for the night. Online, it is much lower, going on down to this Internet Only deal. Last time I paid $79. Kid you not. They want to fill rooms. Now, when you book this, know your card is charged then and there, and if you have to cancel, that is so sad, no money back. Make sure your plans are firm, read the fine print.
One of my favorite sites is Hotels.com. Simply fill in what Star hotel you are looking for, what area you are looking for, and up comes a list saying "We will get you a room in this area for this much money at this Star quality hotel." You don't get to know WHICH hotel, but they haven't failed me yet. You agree, pay and then find out. May not be refundable, or the best room, but once you are THERE, you can upgrade for very little $$. Of course, best be sure you are going to be there.
Hotels want to fill rooms. I have gotten four Star in Manhattan for under $200 a night.
Check your airline site for Hotel and Fly packages. Check with the travel sites for the same. Search them all.
You can also Google "Hotels in the Boondocks (or whatever city) area. Then start looking at websites. Look for key phrases. In the list of features "In room temperature control" should not be on the top. In fact, it shuld not BE there, if the place is at all decent. That, along with say, Sheets, ought to be a given.
Read the customer reviews. If one person says, "Well, the loud music from the bar down below kept me up all night" well, that's sad. If 50 people say it, look elsewhere. Watch for trends, see what people are saying. If 25% of the reviews say the staff is un-interested in customer service, they most likely aren't.
Saving money is a good thing. Don't get me wrong. If you have to stop on the highway, well, you might have to, say stay in a roadside hotel. Sad but true. But even there, spending a little more, will make a LOT of difference. And trust me when I tell you it WILL make a difference. If it is a horrid place and you can't sleep, why are you there?
If you are going on a Holiday, re-think what you can spend, and spend a little more. You don't want to end up somewhere un-comfortable, there you are , having fun all day, looking forward to tomorrow, and there you are back in your hotel (with the in room temp control) finding out they also rent by the hour.
Live it UP a little. Share with a friend. Treat yourself well for a change. Comfort is so well worth it. I've done both. Better IS better.
Basically, do the research. If you are going to save money, don't spend $75 on a crap hotel. Spend $100 on a nice one.
Good Hotels want to fill rooms. The deals are out there. People get them.
And aren't you worth it?
Love and Travel,