Choosing a hotel for a vacation is fun, and an important decision – it will be your home away from home for a length of time, and it will influence how you experience that city.
However, as attentive readers will know, Miss Expatria has another use for hotels – getaway weekends for no reason whatsoever. And for this purpose, gentle reader, there is an entirely different set of criteria that is taken into account.
The first thing one must realize when planning a hotel getaway weekend is that the destination is of little importance. You are going to spend almost all of your time in the hotel, not traipsing around the city. You might head out for a meal, or for a walk, or for vital supplies like cigarettes and Sunday newspapers. But the point of a weekend like this is to hole away from the world and interact with as few people as possible.
The destination should only be a consideration if it is at all possible to get a hotel room with an unobstructed view of the sea. Sea trumps all!
The other factor regarding the destination should be that it’s easy to get to – you want the weekend to be about the hotel, not the long and arduous voyage to the hotel. If you have a car, great – I don’t drive, so I consult transportation schedules and routes constantly during my search for the getaway hotel.
Normally, for vacations, I like little hotels that aim to please and are attentive to my comings and goings. But for getaway weekends, I prefer the larger hotel chains – the rooms are usually bigger, and they have all the whistles, horns and bells that hotel rooms should have.
Which brings me to hotel amenities: Does it have a decent pool? Does it have 24-hour room service? Check out the menu online, if you can. I’ve chosen one hotel over another because there was something on the menu that I just had to have.
Bathrooms are a big factor in my choosing a getaway hotel – you want a big, deep tub for soaking, and good lighting for taking care of all the things you can’t see in your bathroom light at home.
While I love staying in bed all day during these getaway weekends and bringing everything into bed with me and having everything set up around me like a princess, an extra bonus is a room that has another, comfortable area to sit in when you feel like you might be getting bed sores.
In terms of searching for the actual hotel online, I use opposing tactics than my normal routine – I sort by number of stars, start at the five-stars, and work my way down. For a vacation, I try to see how close to a hundred bucks a night I can get, and never spend more than $150. But for getaway weekends, I go to $200 for a truly spectacular hotel – although I rarely need to spend that much, because the deals are so great.
This is also where consulting the hotel’s actual website comes in handy – you would not believe how many large hotels, for whom business travelers and conferences are their bread and butter, practically give away their rooms for weekend stays. And don’t be put off by staying in the hotel on Sunday night, especially if it’s part of a great deal. For one, it RUINS the idea of a decadent hotel weekend if you have to get out of there by noon on Sunday. Who the heck wants to break up their Sundays like that? Also, it merely increases the decadent factor when you glide into work an hour late on a Monday after having a long bath and room service omelets. (Not that I’ve ever done that. Ahem.)
The most important thing to remember when planning a hotel weekend is that it’s going to cost you some money. You’ve got to fork over the bucks if you really want the weekend to be a mini-vacation. I know plenty of New Yorkers who think nothing of dropping $600 for a weekend at a friend’s summer share in the Hamptons – complete with nasty traffic, ignorant rich people, and lumpy sofa beds. Why not stay in town over that weekend, or book the nicest room at a hotel in the opposite direction, order the entire room service menu, have someone else pick up after you, and have unlimited use of a pool and gym, which are hardly ever used?
Try a decadent hotel weekend. You’ll be glad you did. Tell them Miss Expatria sent you!