What is important to you when choosing a hotel?

It’s easy to spend hours and hours looking at websites, reading reviews and getting lost in the details when trying to find a place to stay. Maybe you have very specific criteria such as must have pool for the kids. Or maybe you always choose a small B&B. But even so, there are certain areas that all of us look at first, and these vary for each of us and for each hotel stay.

As you know, we were recently in Savannah and then Charleston. We chose the wrong hotel in Savannah but better things were on the horizon in Charleston!

We stayed at
The Elliott House Inn on Queen St.  
We had walked by here last February and were really taken by its charm (despite the unusually cold weather and walking very fast to stay warm…) and made note of it.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.02.28 PM

There are a few very specific things I look for in a hotel, both in searching on line and, once we arrive, in looking over the room.

Fresh Air

Ok, this is one of my idiosyncrasies. I (almost) cannot stay in a room with windows that won’t open. Yes,  I will stay there…but now I ask when I call before I book online. You would be amazed at how many cities, both large and small, have a law in place that no hotel room can have windows that open. Aaahhh, I just want some fresh air!


The door to our private terrace. Lots of air!



This is impossible to know ahead of time. But think about the lighting in your recent hotel stays. I am betting it was not great, particularly in the bathroom. Many, many hotels are cutting budgets for lighting in the bathroom. And often, it’s not only in the bathroom, but the room itself. Low wattage and not enough lamps by the bed or reading chair. Read about this here and here.

Elliott House Bath_wm

So much great light. Glass, mirrors, all reflective. One of the best bathrooms I’ve ever seen in a hotel!

These mercury glass table lamps meant business: each was 150 watt bulb.
Thank you, Elliott House, for making it easier on the eyes.

Elliott House lamps_wm


Again, you won’t know about this until you arrive. We like pillows that are substantial and each of us likes at least two. So one flat pillow just won’t do.

Eliot House Bedrm_wm

Lots of pillows: on the bed and the sofa. Note all the pretty detailing.




Breakfast is served: either in the courtyard or on your own terrace.

 While I am definitely not a breakfast person, I DO like my cup of tea and maybe a scone, or croissant or even bagel. The Elliott House serves a lovely breakfast. A real tray, with a pot of boiling hot water (I carry my own home made tea bags..), butter, jam etc. You sign up for delivery time the previous night, receive a call in your room about five minutes before delivery, and voilà: le petit déjeuner!


The courtyard was charming; it reminded us of Bermuda, which is always a good thing!

I just spoke to Ashley Fitzgerald, General Manager of The Elliott House. She said the hotel strives to be unique and offer its guests something different and out of the ordinary in hotel stays. Their repeat rate is about 42% which far exceeds that of most hotels both large and small.
Think about this property for your next visit to Charleston!

So what are some of the things you consider when searching for hotels?

Here is my  list of things to consider in a hotel stay, whether for business or vacation.

  • Location
    Do you want/need to be in the center of things, or do you want a quieter more remote location. Kind of hotel: luxury to budget
  • Size/Number of Rooms
    Consider whether you want a large, often chain, hotel or a smaller more intimate setting. Both have advantages.
  •  A balcony perhaps 
  • Room Service 
  • Breakfast
    Is it included, and what kind is offered?
  • Free WiFi
    This is still not a given, so check
  • Amenities
     Do these matter to you or not? Pool, hair dryer, fridge in room etc.
  • Parking
    In a city like New York you will pay at least $40.00/day
  • Rewards:
    Is it a chain where you get rewards points? Does this matter to you?
  • Reviews
    Does it pay to even look at them? Do you?


And finally, here are just a few more images taken all around the city. Oh so much better in the warm weather than last February! The architecture is varied and a joy to photograph.





Please do let us know what other considerations you have in choosing a hotel and any experiences you have had (positive or negative) in hotel stays.