Hotels use a star rating system, but this isn’t always a good indicator. Five star hotels gain their ratings by putting a little mint on your pillow in the afternoon and offering things like valet parking and an ironing service. For most people, none of these things are deal breakers.
Many people judge how classy a hotel is by its wine list, but I go straight for the toiletries. Little bottles of luxurious shampoos make me happy.
Fresh flowers, perfect lighting and a roll top bath are all good. So are newspapers, flat screen TVs and iPod docking stations. Pad around your new abode in little white slippers and a heavy bathrobe before sinking into a king sized bed with buttery-smooth sheets and heavenly pillows.
The size and quality of the room can vary massively in a single hotel. Sometimes it’s better to get a more premium room in a less expensive hotel, than the cheapest room in a flashier establishment. Don’t expect a fantastic view just because you have paid more. Call ahead to see what the manager can guarantee for you.
This is the main thing about a wonderful hotel – its people. For the price you are paying, you deserve to be brought cheese fries at 3am and get a few extra bottles of shampoo every day. Even big hotels can provide a personal service, with welcoming smiles and relevant information for every guest.
For me, there’s nothing more luxurious than a big, sparkling swimming pool. On the roof, preferably, with plenty of places to lounge around and drink cocktails. The bar is always important, perhaps more so than the restaurant. An excellent restaurant under the same roof is great, but it can keep visitors from exploring the world outside the hotel. A nightcap in a plush hotel bar is the perfect way to end the day.
This brings us neatly on to breakfast. A fresh, tasty, filling breakfast leaves you with a positive memory of the hotel. Enjoy freshly squeezed orange juice, eggs cooked to order, and pastries. Lots of pastries. If at this point you feel very relaxed and spoiled, then the hotel has done its job. The Premier Inn will be hard to go back to now.
Visit Mr & Mrs Smith to book somewhere fancy.
Image: Rooftop pool at the Manrey Hotel, Panama City