Ask any regular traveller about their experience of hotels and you’ll probably hear a common complaint about how similar many international hotels are. Whether you’re in London, Rome, New York or Jakarta, your hotel will probably have the same bed, wallpaper and television. Extremely regular travellers even report waking up completely unsure of where they are because the surroundings become so familiar.
One of the best ways around this problem is to avoid the chains altogether on your next trip and choose boutique hotels instead. These tend to be individually run and operated and are much more likely to bring some of the character of the region that you’re staying in into the room. This does come with advantages and disadvantages. If you’re the type of person who likes to know that their room will be full of creature comforts, then it’s worth taking a look at some boutique hotel websites before you choose where you’re going to stay.
Once you’ve chosen where you’re going to stay, the next challenge will be actually booking a room there. Unlike major chain hotels, which normally have popular websites that make it easy to book any hotel in the chain, many boutique hotels run independent and idiosyncratic websites. The situation has improved somewhat lately, mostly thanks to the rise of major booking consolidator websites. However, if you’re looking to go somewhere that is truly off the beaten track, then you may find yourself having to make a phone call and piece parts of the reservation together by yourself.
Because of this, you’ll probably need to do a bit more research than you usually would before you decide where you’re staying. We’d highly recommend that you spend some time tracking down reviews of the hotel that you’re looking for on a website that you trust. Any hotel owner can cherry pick a few positive reviews, therefore you’ll want to be certain that the website you’re using offers a truly independent selection of reviews. It’s also worth choosing one that gives you a bit of information on the travellers who have actually left the review. There’s no point in worrying about a review that slates facilities for young children if you’re going to be visiting the hotel as a couple (in fact, this may well be a plus point for you).
Choosing a boutique hotel is a great way to move away from the beaten track and make the most of the precious time that you actually have in your chosen holiday destination. By taking a bit of time to do some research before you commit to your chosen destination, you’ll find that you have a far better time when you’re there.