How to Select a Hotel in Europe

January 23, 2012

We arrange custom trips to Europe, and in so doing, avoid pre-arranged, package tours, instead focusing on truly unique trips to beautiful places. Part of the trip planning involves recommending hotels.

With the sheer volume of travel information available, we understand that it can be difficult separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to finding the perfect hotel. But with the enjoyment of our clients at stake, we can't recommend just any hotel. The criteria below are what we look for when selecting the best hotels to recommend:

How were our past clients treated at the hotel?

A little care and empathy goes a long way in making a traveler feel welcome at a hotel. Even seemingly insignificant things such as having to wait a long time to be helped at check in or an indifferent receptionist can sour an otherwise good trip. In order to make recommendations on whether a hotel will suit a client's needs, we visit them anonymously and take our past clients' feedback to heart.

As many of us, particularly in the U.S., have little vacation time, we believe it's extremely important to make every moment count. We never want to worry whether our clients' needs are being met, they are having a good time, or if a hotel is stressing them out.

Is there something special about the hotel?

Travelers who come to us are often looking for distinctive travel peppered with special experiences. Their hotels should be special too. Hotels with a strong a sense of place that exhibit authenticity and character are often good fits.

If you're visiting the Loire Valley, a stay in a castle or farmhouse may feel more authentic than other types of hotels. Or if you're traveling to Venice, consider a converted palace with sumptuous tapestries and artwork. Perhaps you're visiting Berlin or Madrid. How about a contemporary design boutique hotel that mirrors the contemporary architecture of those cities?

Does the hotel have historic or cultural significance?

Along the lines of the distinctiveness of the hotel is its cultural significance. Hotels where opera singers have stayed and composers presented their works may have special meaning for opera lovers. Or a hotel filled with ballet-inspired artwork can mean the world to a ballet lover. Or how about a hotel with a storied past, frequented by celebrities, or notorious historical figures?

Is the hotel beautiful?

It can be demoralizing after a long flight and weeks of anticipation to walk into a hotel that makes you uncomfortable, feels dingy, or is just ugly. We seek out beautiful, impeccably clean hotel rooms. Hotels get special points with us if they're located on a tree-lined street surrounded by beautiful architecture and charming shops. We also have a few boutique hotels with chic, contemporary design and ultra high tech amenities to recommend.

Does the staff attend to the details?

The details are important, from the treatment of guests, to the efficiency of the staff. Even the scent in a room or how plush the towels are can have an impact on how comfortable a place feels. Further, the staff should work diligently to ensure the privacy of their guests.

Where is the hotel located?

Because we plan trips that allow travelers to experience the cultural richness of Europe, it's important to ensure the accommodations are close to places such as opera houses and the tourist sites our clients wish to visit. We also consider how easy it is to get around in the destinations when recommending where to stay.

Does the hotel offer real value?

Those who wish to travel well yet still maintain a budget shouldn't have to trade style for affordability. We work to balance cost and comfort when recommending hotels in order to provide clients with real value.

Of course, things are always in flux. Nice hotels close, others change over time, new hotels open. That's where we come in. If you're looking for hotel recommendations for a trip to Europe, consider our trip planning service.

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