Hotels and motels are a necessary part of traveling but how do you know if a particular motel is right for you and your family? Sure, it’s standard practice to visit recognizable motel chains or ones which you’ve stayed in previously which were satisfactory. Another factor, for many, is the price of the rooms. A low price often implies a not-so-impressive room whereas higher priced motels often get the reputation of charging more just because the name is well known. These are, indeed, the usual ways in which travelers discern whether or not the room is worth renting.
One thing that many people don’t take into consideration when renting a room is which day the pool is maintained. Certain chemicals, when dumped into the pool, prevent swimmers from their business for eight hours or more. Finding this out upon arrival at the pool makes for a bad day, particularly for children.
For some families, the motel stay along with the pool time is a very important part of the vacation. It allows you time to rest but can also provide an afternoon and evening of recreation for the children. Of course, you can always ask for your money back if you find that the pool is being treated after you’ve checked in but to prevent the hassle, ask first if the pool is open and on what day it will be serviced. Will there be any down time for the pool during your stay? Has the pool been treated recently? Some people are more susceptible to skin reactions if the chemicals have been applied within the last 24 hours.
Another important question to ask is what time the maid service begins. Although checkout time for the motel may be eleven or twelve a.m., the maid service often begins long before that. And, if you forget to put out the “Do Not Disturb” sign, you could be in for a rude awakening. Often the clean-up services begin when most people’s shifts begin: eight or nine a.m. If you plan on sleeping in, ask the clerk to notify the maid service of your wishes so that if you fail to place the sign on the door you won’t be awakened before you’re ready.
Ask if the room has a refrigerator and microwave. Many families save money while vacationing by purchasing good at the local grocery store then preparing them or keeping them in the room. One other consideration is whether or not there is free internet service. If you can’t live without your laptop it’s important to know if the internet service is free or a fee will appear on your bill at checkout. Many motels offer free internet services but some establishments do charge for this service.
Some motels advertise blatantly that they have free premium channels such as HBO or Showtime. But, motels that offer these free premium channels often don’t feature the basic cable channels. Ask in advance about the cable availability along with the premium channels.
Ask for a downstairs room if you have children and don’t want to worry about them maneuvering stairs. Or, find out if they have an elevator or escalator to lead to the upper tiers rather than trying to master sets of steps repeatedly during your stay. For those who have weak knees or other ailments it’s a must to find out this info in advance or to simply ask for a downstairs room.
If you’re traveling with a work crew, ask if you can receive a commercial rate. Many motel chains offer a discount of ten or fifteen percent if they know they will rent several rooms at once. Even if you’re not with a company you can still ask for a lower rate, and in some cases, receive it. If it’s a slow day some chains will allow the desk clerk to offer a lower price, but only if requested.
Some people feel secure with the locks and bolts that are on motel doors but to others, this simply isn’t enough. Ask about the security at the motel. Do they have a security guard? Do the police cruise through the parking lot on a regular schedule?
Ask about the breakfast accommodations. Many motels offer a continental breakfast which is sometimes nothing more than toast or cereal. Ask what types of items are on the breakfast bar and what hours the bar is open. Many close early, so this is important information to have if you’ve budgeted breakfast costs in with the motel cost.
Most any motel clerk will allow you to examine the room and the motel itself before paying. Take this opportunity to note the location of the room to the pool, breakfast bar and office. When renting more than one room check the proximity of one room to the others. Look behind the refrigerator or bureau to see that there’s no trash – an indicator that the rooms are not well kept.