Friday, January 11, 2013

What makes a good hotel great?: itravelnet.com Travel Blog plus 1 more

What makes a good hotel great?: itravelnet.com Travel Blog plus 1 more

Link to itravelnet.com Travel Blog

What makes a good hotel great?

Posted: 11 Jan 2013 05:42 PM PST

What made you book the last hotel you stayed in? Was it the look of the website, a testimonial from a friend, the low booking prices, or the location?

While many people think the hotel industry is ruled by price and cost, it's not actually that simple. A lot of people base their hotel booking choices on completely different factors, and as each person will be looking for something different, great hotels need to stand out in all areas.

For instance, a good hotel looking to make the jump to becoming a great hotel will want to ensure it offers the following perks:

Value-for-money prices
There's been a huge increase in hotel comparison websites in recent years, showing that the cost of a hotel is one of the main factors assessed during booking.

While this isn't the be-all and end-all for hotels, it certainly is important. Hotels should advertise prices that match the quality and standard of the rooms, restaurant and other amenities they offer.

Good service from friendly staff
Customer service is one of the most important aspects of a hotel stay for many guests. Unfortunately, in 2011 73% of UK adults thought customer service in the food and accommodation industry was below standard.

It's vital that hotels utilise good customer service techniques to give guests a better experience. Hotels that overlook it altogether are opening themselves up to bad reviews and diminishing guest numbers.

Clean rooms with soft mattresses
Hotel guests want to stay in freshly cleaned rooms that smell nice, have sparkling bathrooms and soft mattresses they can sink into. A hotel should act as a home-from-home for guests, and needs to be absolutely perfect.

Hotels that offer all of these things get great reviews online, along with repeat visits from guests. Hotels that don't make the grade get publicity for all the wrong reasons though.

Delicious food, including breakfasts
Dining in the hotel restaurant is one of the many things you have to do when staying in a hotel for your holidays. However, guests have revealed that not only do they want great food served at lunch and dinner, but they'd also like free breakfast included in the cost of their booking.

Free Wi-Fi that’s easy to use
Over 31% of hotel guests think that free Wi-Fi should be a standard feature in hotels by now. Of course, in the 21st century, providing a good Wi-Fi service is a must, as no one wants to have to stand in one corner of the room in order to get a good signal.

So, when next booking a hotel, consider all of these aspects to ensure you end up with the right hotel for you.

This article was written by Aurora Johnson on behalf of Hotel Sis Pins, a Majorca hotel in the Balearic Islands.

What makes a good hotel great? from itravelnet.com - Travel Directory

Discover the Rainbow Nation along South Africa’s Garden Route

Posted: 11 Jan 2013 04:59 PM PST

South Africa is often referred to as the Rainbow Nation – which is how it was described by former archbishop Desmond Tutu post-apartheid – and if you book a break here you’ll certainly find out why. The colourful landscapes are beautiful to take in, especially along the Garden Route – which is known for its lush green areas and deep sea blue hues – and the variety of shades reflects the nation’s multiculturalism.

Running along the nation’s south-east coast, the Garden Route stretches from Heidelberg in the Western Cape to the very west of the Eastern Cape. Lakes, lagoons and rainforests characterise the area, which is rich in biodiversity.
If you want to take in the best of the region, keep reading for a guide to the must-visit places and attractions to be found on a South African Garden Route holiday.

Mossel Bay – Yellow and blue
With around 300 days of sunshine every year, Mossel Bay is a haven for sun seekers looking to hit the beach. The area has around 60 km of sand, as well as awe-inspiring mountain scenery, being close to the Outeniqua mountain range.

Mossel Bay is especially renowned as a top spot for catching sight of whales so, if you’re a fan of the big, gentle creatures, you should head out to sea aboard a boat on a whale-watching expedition. You can also get active in the water with sports like scuba diving and sailing.

If you want to find out more about local history and culture, call in at the Dias Museum Complex, where you can visit the Maritime Museum, Cultural Museum, an aquarium and an ethno-botanical garden.

Knysna – Green
The town of Knysna is another must-visit location, boasting rainforest, water and geological formations known as the Map Stones. During your visit to Knysna, head to Monkeyland – a 12 hectare sanctuary home to 15 species of primates, including black lemurs and golden howler monkeys.

Nearby is Birds of Eden, a sanctuary for winged creatures. The 2 hectare dome is home to more than 3,500 birds, as well as some miniature monkeys.

Oudstshoorn – Brown and grey
Known as the Feather Capital, Oudstshoorn is renowned for its many ostrich farms, and it’s well worth paying a visit to one of these during your Garden Route holiday. The Safari Ostrich Show Farm is one such location, being home to local breeds as well as Zimbabwe Blue and Kenyan Red birds. It’s possible to ride an ostrich, and stand on their virtually-unbreakable eggs during a visit to the farm.

You should also spend some time exploring the Cango Caves during your break. The dripstone caverns can be found in a limestone ridge opposite the Swatberg Mountains and you can take a standard tour or an adventure tour of the fascinating subterranean world.

Stellenbosch – Purple and green
The pretty town of Stellenbosch has an awe-inspiring backdrop of the Great Drakenstein and Stellenbosch Mountains and is renowned for its valley, which forms part of the Cape Winelands. This is the larger of South Africa’s two main wine producing regions, and the town is surrounded by vast vineyards.

As a result of its position at the foot of mountains, Stellenbosch’s soil is particularly good for grape growing, and you can tour the vineyards and wine cellars in some cases. More than 200 vineyards and grape growers comprise the Stellenbosch Wine Route, which is split into five trails. Follow the course and you can sample many varieties of wine, although it’s worth bearing in mind that some cellars work on an appointment only basis.

Discover the Rainbow Nation along South Africa’s Garden Route from itravelnet.com - Travel Directory

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