Staying in Clean Hotel Rooms

You don’t have to be Tony Shalhoub from the TV series Monk to worry about the germs lurking inside your hotel room. Any time you live out of a room that is not your own, one that may not be as clean as you like, you might find thoughts of bed bugs and dust balls dancing in your head. You may wonder when the last time the bathroom was scoured or wonder how many people have wiped their dirty hands on the hotel room curtains. And, of course, you may fervently hope that no previous patrons lived by the mantra “what happens in a hotel room, stays in a hotel room.”

For those who travel frequently for business or pleasure, there are a number of things you can do to reassure yourself that you are staying in the cleanest hotel possible:

Be Picky: When cleanliness is a factor in choosing a hotel room, you can’t let your decision be dictated by price: expensive does not necessarily mean clean. Instead, keep in mind the hotel’s reputation. Many booklets and travel guides will rate hotels based on several factors, one of these being cleanliness. If a hotel received five stars for food, but only one for cleanliness, you’ll know that that hotel has great food, pieces of it just might be stuck inside the carpet strands of your hotel room floor.

Look Around: It’s usually pretty easy to tell if a hotel room is clean or if it’s dirty. This doesn’t require tracing over every ounce of furniture with a prestine white glove, it simply requires looking around. If you notice that the towels are dirty or the bathtub is filled with slime and grime, then mention this to the hotel room staff. If you notice that your sheets are stained or your TV stand contains the world’s largest collection of dust, don’t be afraid to ask to be moved. You aren’t only paying for a hotel room, you are paying for a clean one.

Stay Away from Smoking Rooms or Rooms that Allow Pets: Both smoking and pets – and not to mention pets that smoke – can dirty up an otherwise clean hotel room. Smoke lingers in the air and rests on the tangible items of the room, leaving them discolored and filled with an ash-tray like smell. Pets walk on beds and carpets with muddy or wet paws. They roll around on the floor with possibly flea infested fur and mark their territory in foreign places, forever leaving your hotel room knowing that “Spot was here.”

Get Rid of the Spread: Ah, the hotel room bed spread. If there is one thing in the hotel room that hasn’t been cleaned in a while it’s probably the comforter, a fact that ironically brings you very little comfort. If you think about it, you probably don’t wash your home bedspread all that often, perhaps saving it for the “Spring cleaning” times of year. This is often true in hotel rooms: bedspreads aren’t washed with great frequency. The sheets, however, are washed regularly. Simply removing the bedspread, and cranking up the heat if it gets cold, can save you from sleeping under a blanket of germs.

Hotel rooms may seem impossible to keep immaculate: so many people circulate in and out that it’s hard to keep track of all the germs. But, the hotels reputed for cleanliness are often reputed for a reason: they are, in fact, clean. Limiting your traveling to these types of hotels can also limit your exposure of things to which you don’t want to be exposed. If you can’t limit yourself to hotels known for being clean, then simply travel with your own cleaning supplies, a hazmat suit, or, naturally, a giant bubble.

Finding Discount Hotel Rooms – What You Should Know Before Booking Discount Travel Online

The internet is a great place to find discount hotel rooms but before you book that bargain price 4- star hotel, there is essential information that I believe you should have in order to work the online booking process to your best advantage.

Once armed with this valuable information, you will know just what to look for and the right questions to ask in order to find the best available deals and avoid making potentially expensive mistakes.

When booking discount hotel rooms, be aware that the average room holds a maximum of four people. Some hotels have rooms that will sleep five, others will provide a portable bed on request for an additional charge, usually around $15-$20 per night.

If there are five or more in your party, be sure that the room you are about to book has the capacity to sleep all members of your group. If it does not, you will have to book two rooms making that great looking deal not as appealing anymore.

Another thing to keep in mind is many hotels define four people sharing a room as two adults and two children. An additional fee may be applied if there are more than two adults in a room.

Be aware of additional charges. (Many hotels have them.) These include things like resort fees, parking charges, telephone calls, internet access, etc. Keep in mind that the quoted price for discount hotel rooms usually does not include taxes, unless clearly stated otherwise. Always read the small print. Charges and restrictions are often buried there.

When you book discount hotel rooms online, allow a few days and then call the hotel directly and confirm your reservation. Why should you do this? Because generally speaking, when booking rooms on discount travel sites, your reservation will be treated as best available on arrival, which means that any requests you have made during the online booking process may or may not be granted when you arrive at the hotel.

If you have a specific request such as type of view, smoking or non smoking, etc., or have any doubts about your booking, always call the hotel directly and confirm. Never assume anything!

In my time as a hotel concierge, I saw many a dream vacation ruined when the ocean view room guests thought they had booked, turned out on arrival to be by a noisy elevator shaft with a view of the parking lot.

Some but not all of the discount travel websites will wait to inform the hotel of your booking until 24 to 48 hours before you check in. This is because they block book rooms and they do not tell the hotel who will be staying on any given night until shortly before check in. In this case, call the hotel to confirm your reservations a day or two before leaving home.

When dealing with a website that is owned by a major hotel chain such as Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn, etc., the rules are a little different as there is more flexibility to make requests and have them confirmed online. The reason for this is that you are dealing directly with the seller of the rooms, not a third party discounter. However, I would still recommend that you contact the hotel where you will be staying to confirm your reservations have been received and your requests have been noted.

It is always best to call the hotel directly where possible and not the central reservations 800 number. The hotel will be better informed on your booking and the staff will also be an invaluable source of local information. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

When calling for hotel room reservations (especially Disney), always ask what discounts are available. This information is not usually given unless specifically asked for. Many hotels, especially on the beaches, vary their room rates depending on occupancy. If they are not at full capacity, they may offer large discounts but only if you ask!

Pay close attention to cancellation policies! When booking online, many hotels and /or discount travel booking sites apply stiff penalties if you cancel within a certain time period. Be sure you read and understand cancellation policies.

Always remember the old saying, “You get what you pay for.” If you don’t plan on spending much time in the hotel room, quality may not matter and a cheap hotel will be fine. However, if you will be spending a week or more at the same location, your choice of hotel room will have a big bearing on the overall quality and enjoyment of your vacation.

Spending a little more will usually ensure more comfortable and spacious accommodations and some mid-priced hotels such as Embassy Suites will offer perks such as free cooked to order breakfasts and free cocktails.

To find more free tips on how to book discount travel on the internet including Hotels, Flights, cruises, and package vacations click here []

About The Author:

My name is Stephen Temple. As a former concierge for a major Florida beach hotel, I learned all the ins and outs of the hotel business. My duties consisted of assisting guests from all over the world with their travel plans, including making room reservations, flight reservations, and planning day to day vacation and business activities.

How to Buy Hotel Rooms – A Beginner’s Guide

It might sound like an odd question to ask, but how exactly does someone buy hotel rooms in the first place?

Let’s start at the beginning. Experienced hotel developers, both domestically and abroad, have traditionally used bank and private investor finance to fund the development of major high-end developments. Many of these developers now allow private investors to buy hotel rooms within these upmarket developments in much the same way you might buy any other property.

As an investor you benefit from the capital appreciation in the same way as if you were buying a traditional property but with two added benefits. Firstly, buying a hotel room is essentially a buy to let investment – but without the need for you to find tenants or to manage ongoing requirements. As the hotel attracts guests you earn a percentage of the room rate – covering your mortgage costs and potentially delivering a healthy profit on top.

The suites in the hotel are pooled so that you’re not reliant on your individual hotel room being rented but rather share in the overall success of the hotel. Being able to offset your individual exposure in this way is, for many, what makes buy to let hotel rooms such an attractive investment when compared to the risks inherent in buying an individual property to let.

Secondly, as an investor you’ll also have the personal use of your suite for a fixed number of days throughout the year. In short, that means you’ll have a high-end holiday home to enjoy for up to 8 weeks a year and you won’t have to worry about who is looking after it while you’re not there. For those investors that don’t require personal use, buy to let hotel rooms are even ideal for purchase via SIPPs or other personal pension investments – giving them tax free capital growth and earnings.

Having said that, the most obvious attraction to investors considering who want to buy hotel rooms is that the developer and management company who run and staff the hotel are responsible for ensuring that the hotel rooms are full and the properties are maintained to the highest standard.

That includes everything from delivering a top-class finish to promoting the resort and managing the staff to ensuring a premier customer experience. The in-built management of the hotel makes buying a hotel room an ideal opportunity for the more ‘hands off’ investor more interested in capital growth and high yields than fixing broken toilets or placing ‘to let’ ads in the local paper.

Of course in both property and travel, location is everything. So, the first job when considering buying a hotel room is to find somewhere that will attract a steady stream of visitors. Opting for a more established tourist destination is often the safest bet. Somewhat unsurprisingly consistently popular places like Spain, Portugal and Dubai provide the best mix of solid tourist numbers and high-end developments that fit buy to let hotel rooms.

When considering the development itself, it’s worth viewing it as both investment and holiday destination. Is this somewhere you would consider visiting yourself? Does it offer the features that will attract guests? How high will the standard of accommodation be?

Similarly, the quality and track record of both developer and management team that will run the hotel must be first class. One of the biggest attractions to investors is in knowing that an experienced team is running the show. Experienced operators will have access to thousands of travel agents and potential clients worldwide and a wealth of experience in managing high-end hotels.

Once you’re satisfied with the development, location and management the final step is the deal itself. Although buy to let hotel rooms can offer a potentially safer investment than going it alone, if you are going to buy hotel rooms you need to do so at the right price. Buying hotel rooms can actually amount to a relatively low cost upfront investment. In most cases when considering a buy to let hotel room the developer’s agents will have already negotiated bank finance and the developers may often agree to pay fees and costs.

Once you’ve done your homework and found a development and investment that suits you, the process of buying a hotel room is not vastly different than investing in any other buy to let property.

Overall it’s not really the ‘how to buy hotel rooms’ questions that counts – that’s the easy part – but rather the ‘why buy hotel rooms’ question that you should consider. Reduced personal exposure and the involvement of an experienced, professional management company are the factors that makes the idea of buying hotel rooms so attractive to investors in the first place.

Is Buying Hotel Rooms Right For You? Five Reasons Why it Might Be

If you’re considering a property investment, especially overseas, then you’ve plenty of options available to you. From traditional holiday homes, to shared-ownership schemes, to off-plan apartments, they all have their upsides and downs but one type of investment is increasingly becoming the alternative of choice – buy to let hotel rooms.

Buy to let hotel rooms, apart-hotels or condo-hotels, call them what you will but the concept is incredibly simple. Hotel and resort developers offer individual investors the chance to buy hotel rooms within a high-end development. The investor sees an annual income from room rentals, benefits from capital growth and can even make use of the hotel room as a perfect holiday destination complete with all the benefits of a top-class hotel.

So if you’re considering a property investment, overseas or closer to home, could a buy to let hotel room be the right option for you? Well, here are five good reasons why it might be:

Buy to let hotel rooms can help reduce your exposure to risk

When you invest in a buy to let hotel room, your investment is less in the room but in the success of the hotel as a whole. Generally, buy to let suites and hotel rooms are pooled together so that you earn a percentage of the room rates across the hotel, not just on your own room. A single investment property may lie empty for months at a time, meaning lost revenues, but hotel rooms attract guests all year round.

Buy to let hotel rooms offer a low initial investment – and a decent return

When it comes to investing in any property, current markets can make it incredibly difficult to access the finance you need. These problems are only compounded when the property you want to invest in is overseas. When it comes to buying a hotel room, the developers and agents will likely have negotiated with a bank in advance to help prospective buyers along – the banks are often more willing to invest in the security of these types of developments run by experienced developers and management teams.

Indeed, the current troubles in the housing markets can actually be an advantage to savvy investors considering whether or not to buy hotel rooms. A buyers market often means help from the developer with fees and other out of pocket expenses. For example, the high-end hotel and spa development in the Portuguese resort of Sesimbra is attracting huge interest with investment levels starting from as little as 3% – with the developer paying all closing fees (which is around 10% of purchase price in Portugal). They are even offering 7% cash back to investors who’s deposits are received before the 15th of November, 2008.

When you buy hotel rooms, you benefit from capital appreciation and a regular income

Like any buy to let property investment, buy to let hotel rooms offer both a regular income and the potential for capital growth. Unlike buying a single, one-off property, buying hotel rooms can generally provide a greater degree of security. Whereas your property might lie vacant while you search for tenants or holidaymakers, high-end hotel rooms will always be popular with everything from overseas tourists to ‘locals’ on a weekend break. Traditionally, high-end hotel rooms will also generate a higher rental per night than stand-alone holiday lets or buy to let options. That means returns in the region of 10% or more can be achieved at even 50% occupancy rates. How much would you earn if your buy to let property were vacant 26 weeks of the year?

When you buy hotel rooms, someone else manages all the day-to-day hassle

Perhaps the biggest attraction of buy to let hotel rooms is the fact that an experienced and professional team is in charge of everything from the finish and furnishings of the rooms to fixing the broken toilets. Buy to let owners will happily pay management companies a hefty percentage to look after the day to day needs of their properties – when you buy hotel rooms, that service is built in. Experienced management means existing contacts with travel agents and tour operators, it means tried and tested marketing methods and extensive marketing budgets. It also means you’ll never get a phone call from a disgruntled neighbor or have to chase a late paying tenant. If fact, it’s the perfect option for hands off investors who’d prefer to enjoy the benefits and leave the hard work to someone else.

When you buy hotel rooms you enjoy the benefits of a beautiful holiday home – if you need it

And perhaps the most enjoyable of those benefits is being able to access your buy to let hotel room for your own private use throughout the year. Whether it’s a short weekend break to escape the stresses of the working week or the annual family holiday, buying a hotel room delivers more tangible benefits than any savings account could.

And If you don’t require personal use of your room? Then buy to let hotel rooms are ideal for purchase via SIPPs – giving you tax-free capital growth and earnings.