No matter where we go, one of my favorite things to do is search out a unique boutique hotel with great design and character. For one of our recent trips to Paris, we stayed at Les Plumes Hotel which was themed around French writers and poets. It was so beautiful and unique!
Where you choose to stay can really make or break your trip and your overall experience. Today I am sharing with you a few tips on how to pick the perfect boutique hotel in a city you have never visited!
Ask friends. If you are traveling to a city you have never visited before, ask your friends for recommendations on where in the city is best to stay. This was our first trip to Paris, so I asked some friends about areas that they liked and we decided to pick the close-by Opera district in Paris for our home base for the week.
Avoid busy tourist areas. As much as it seems nice to be in the middle of the most popular spots (next to the Eiffel Tower, in the middle of Times Square, etc), the cost of hotels will be much higher and you can easily save $100+ per night be staying a mile or two away. Also, hotels a little farther from the action are usually much quieter which is good if you are jetlagged.
Search “boutique hotel (city name)” on Google or Pinterest. Sometimes you will find unique places to stay just by searching through images. Also, check out websites such as The Venue Report or travel blogs and instagrams for fun spots.
Tip # 4
Near public transportation. Once you start making a list of hotels, check out how close they are to public transportation. In cities in where you will be using public transit, it is good to pick a hotel than is within 1-2 blocks of a station for easy access.
Read the recent reviews. I really like to use Trip Advisor to start saving my list of hotel options in the area I am looking at. The map view is very helpful if you are comparing to where public transit is. Once I have several saved, I go back and read the recent reviews to see if the hotel has any negative feedback within the past few weeks.
Look at photos. I also love Trip Advisor because I can look at the hotel’s professional photos as well as travelers’ photos which will sometimes give you a more realistic view of what the rooms look like. I especially look at the bathroom images because I want a clean and new bathroom.
Check amenities. I make sure to look at the hotel amenities. Do they have free wi-fi? In-room safe? AC for the summer time? Free parking? Amenities that are not included in the price can add quite a bit of extra expense. What seems like a great hotel price may not be so great once you add on that expensive per night parking charge.
View the area. If you are staying somewhere totally new, a good way to get a sense of the area is to get on Google Maps street view and “walk” up and down the hotel’s street and view what is around. It may show you if there are some good restaurants nearby or if the area seems run-down, etc.
Check the prices. Since I am usually searching on Trip Advisor, I can get an idea of the best price for specific dates. But don’t forget to check several websites as well for the best rate – Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Booking.com, etc. If it is the same price on the hotel’s actual website, I will book through their website.
Have fun! Staying at a boutique hotel is sometimes a different experience and it can have its quirks. But it is fun to stay somewhere that is beautifully designed and totally unique! By spending a little extra time doing your research, you can have a more enjoyable experience on your trip!
Thank you to Les Plumes Hotel for the wonderful stay in Paris! We will be back!