This post is sponsored by Ecolab.
How to Choose a Hotel
I get a lot of questions about why we choose the hotels we do, and this year, as we’ve been road tripping, I’ve received a lot of emails and DMs asking about which hotels have done a good job implementing protocols related to the COVID-19 virus. So, this is a perfect time to talk through our thought process when it comes to picking out a hotel somewhere we haven’t been before, and the easiest way to choose a hotel from a cleanliness perspective.
Our Hotel Priorities
When our kids were younger, we had different priorities. We looked for hotels with kid-friendly pools, good kids’ clubs, kid-sized amenities, and extra space in the room for a crib. We also fully appreciated check-in gifts. With two teenagers and a 10-year-old now, everything has changed! Our priorities now:
We want to be in the absolute best location for exploring on foot. We don’t want to have to drive to reach the best things to do or spend too much time on public transportation. If there’s a pedestrian area in the middle of town, that’s where we want to be! It usually means there are good nearby dining options as well.
Whether we’re in the room for downtime during the hottest part of the day, or for online schooling, or simply at the end of the day, I want to be able to look out on the city (or countryside) and watch life taking place and local residents coming and going. I want to know where we are in the world. It’s always a shame to be somewhere like New York City and look out onto a brick wall six feet away and not skyscrapers, taxis and parks.
With a family of five, we’ve rarely been able to find rooms that would sleep all of us, so a decent two-room setup has always been a priority. It’s ideal when a hotel has connecting rooms, or two rooms that can be connected by closing a door in the hallway and opening both room doors, which is becoming more and more common. As our kids have gotten older, we’ve been more comfortable with them sleeping in a room down the hall from us, but when we can control room setup, we’ll always choose to be next-door.
When we know we’re going to be driving we research how easy it will be to park and access the car. We try to avoid valet-only situations, since there have been times when we had to wait over half an hour to get the car. And we never want to have to park down the street. This summer we stayed in eight hotels where it took less than 30 seconds to reach the car from our room – so easy when carrying luggage! On the flip side in Las Vegas our car was over 10 minutes from our room.
Is there an iconic hotel where we’re going? If there is, I’ll always be tempted to book it. I love hotels with history, especially since they’re usually in the best location. I’m willing to sacrifice a little on the room setup and parking fronts in order to stay where treaties have been signed and where heads of state and celebrities have stayed for 100 years.
Hotel cleanliness has always been a priority for us, but at the same time it’s a big uncertainty. Most rooms have looked clean, but still we wondered: is the remote control as bad as everyone says? Have the glasses been washed or only rinsed since the last guests, and when was the bedspread last washed? Basically, what can’t we see that we should be concerned about? This has been especially true this summer with the pandemic going on. In the course of road-tripping around the southwestern US, we’ve found a balance between being very aware of the virus and how to continue taking precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to germs while still being able to enjoy everywhere we’ve been, from the National Parks to Colorado mountain towns. Hotels that are committed to the Ecolab Science Certified™ program and its science-based products and protocols have made us feel more confident in our choice.
If you’re not familiar with Ecolab Science Certified, it’s a program for hotels and restaurants with four key elements: Create Clean; Check Clean; See Clean; and Believe Clean.
Ecolab’s team of
The Ecolab Science Certified program helps deliver a high level of cleanliness through detailed public health and food safety training and periodic auditing to determine whether procedures are being followed.
When you visit qualified locations, you’ll notice their commitment to a high level of cleanliness with visible signage and front-of-house cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
When you spot the Ecolab Science Certified seal at a hotel, restaurant, retail store or other location, you can feel confident the location is committed to using science-backed products and protocols to achieve a high level of cleanliness.
Follow Ecolab on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to learn how they are using science to help advance cleaner, safer practices through science-backed products and protocols in the places you eat, stay, and play.
What’s Not Important to Us
Conversely, there are two things that aren’t important at all to us when choosing a hotel:
We have airline preferences based on the advantages of loyalty, but we’ve never had hotel preferences. If a hotel is in a great location with a kid-friendly room setup, easy parking and an Ecolab Science Certified seal, we don’t care what brand it is, or whether it’s a boutique hotel or part of a chain. The line is blurring anyway, with large hotel companies creating niche brands that are just as service-oriented as small independent hotels.
We’ve stayed in some amazing hotels around the world but have never chosen luxury properties for the sake of luxury. It’s far more important to feel comfortable, especially with kids.
How about you? What are your priorities when traveling with kids?
This post is sponsored by Ecolab but all text, photos and thoughts on hotel priorities are mine. The photos I included aren’t meant to imply that specific properties are cleaner than others.