Defining the indefinable: what makes a perfect stay?

by Julie on January 26, 2018

Great hospitality is hard to define, isn’t it? Saying what exactly makes a great stay at a hotel or B&B is perhaps even harder. Sometimes trying to actually capture the essence of how to make a stay most enjoyable, whether from the perspective of the hotelier or the guest, can seem like a daunting task.

Of course there are those TV shows with a kind of superstar consultant such as The Hotel Inspector, but they often tend to strip things down too much. This reductive tendency is at its worst when they go into the accounting side of things; because whilst profit and loss are of course essential, real hospitality isn’t quantifiable like that, is it? It’s not a number… it’s a feeling. Let’s start by looking at one of the most elusive features of any stay….

Atmosphere

When you go somewhere that isn’t your home, you want to feel at home but also feel that the whole thing is somehow elevated. So it’s all about striking the balance between homeliness and luxury. In the case of a room, this of course means cleanliness but also attention to detail. The bed should always also be the centrepiece. As a guest you know as soon as you walk into a room when it just has a bad or grotty feel to it. Even in your own home this applies: bad bed equals bad room, lovely bed equals lovely room. Yes they can be expensive, but new beds can be affordable from places such as Bedstar and it makes all the difference.

Price

Speaking of affordability, the price is of course a crucial part of a great stay anywhere. Now this doesn’t just mean the lower the better. That’s too simplistic. It means that the price should match the quality, or in other words that you should get what you pay for. There are times when we just want a functional hotel for a night or two and there are times when we want to indulge in five-star luxury for a week or two. Both are perfectly viable choices, but the price should reflect the quality and as long as we feel we’ve got our money’s worth we’ll generally come away happy.

Facilities

A great stay means great facilities, but how exactly they are defined will again depend on what you’re paying. A hotel doesn’t need an Olympic size swimming pool, a sauna and a Michelin starred restaurant to provide an amazing time (though things would never go amiss… check out these amazing hotel pools)! What it does need, and this goes for a B&B too, are the basics- things like fresh towels and tea and coffee facilities so you can freshen up on arrival or after a busy day holiday making.

Location

Now location is a tricky one to talk about because it can really matter, but equally be totally irrelevant. For instance, you might think that an out of the way hotel would be an absolute nightmare, taking hours to reach going off the beaten track and so on. But imagine if that hotel had the most incredible views in the area and an amazing atmosphere. Now that would be far better than a hotel right by the airport or right in the city centre that had views of brick walls and a horrible atmosphere. It’s a question of balancing a convenient location with all of the above factors.

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