THREE HOTEL TIPS FOR SUMMER TRAVEL
1. DON’T CALL ROOM SERVICE. Dine out, not in. At many hotels, room service prices are inflated beyond restaurant prices. Then they’re topped off with an 18 percent gratuity, plus a delivery charge and taxes. Not to mention a blank line inviting you to add yet another gratuity.
2. DON’T EAT BREAKFAST WHERE YOU SLEEP Unless, of course, it’s included in your hotel rate. But if it’s not, and you’re staying in a city hotel, ask the front desk for a recommendation for breakfast. Or check out a local guidebook or newspaper or the city magazine online for a suggestion or two. With rare exception, your first meal of the day is likely to be better and cheaper around the corner than that at the hotel. As a bonus, you’ll see some local color, not just fellow visitors.
3. TAKE HOTEL WEB REVIEWS WITH A GRAIN OF SALT
Websites such as TripAdvisor.com, which lists star-rated user reviews of hotels around the world, have become essential guides for many of us who research our travels on the web. But don’t believe everything you read. How can you, when all too often, a property will have a five-star review that praises its merits while the next review is a begrudging single star that describes the various indignities suffered by the user. Was the first one written by the hotel’s public relations department? Was the second maliciously scribbled by a competitor? You’ll never know. But faced with conflicting reports, you should assume that the truth lies somewhere in between. As a general guide, sites like TripAdvisor.com are useful. But as a statement of absolute truth, forget about it.