I have the opportunity to visit dozens of hotels of different categories during the year, both for tourism and business. Although this year my itinerary has been heavily reduced.
The most important thing for me is the quality of service, because it is the most memorable thing.
However, I pay attention to many more elements and a few practical and comfortable solutions that affect the comfort of my stay. I appreciate when good hotels, not necessarily luxurious, can take care of it.
It is said that the first impression after entering the hotel is the most important one and often influences the final rating. This is true. Especially when it comes to service and first contact with the staff (receptionist, waiter) – smile, eye contact, courtesy conversation, showing interest in the guest and demonstrating comprehensive knowledge about the services and products offered.
In the context of the staff it is necessary to mention the uniform – not only neat, but also suited to the character and class of the hotel.
However, before I show up at the hotel, I browse the website. What counts for me here is the responsiveness of the website on my smartphone; the graphic design that will arouse interest; legibility (intuitive operation) and good quality photos emphasizing the hotel’s advantages.
What is important is the aesthetics of the interior – nice furniture (armchairs, pouffes, sofa, tables); live plants or a table with compositions of fresh flowers, and even a work of art (painting, sculpture, photographs, graphics), which can have a local character.
A good hotel will also take care of the appropriate music; the smell in the lobby that catches the guest’s attention; or climatic lighting changing depending on the time of day (the light may be too dark or too bright).
The arrangement of the reception desk itself tells me a lot about the designers’ approach to the topic of hospitality. I like it when, instead of a reception desk with a high counter like a defensive fortress, the receptionists’ positions allow them to easily go out front to the guest when needed.
After opening the door, I would like to feel a fresh, natural smell, and not the sharp scent of air freshener, or worse, cigarettes.
Attractive to the eye style of the interior today is the basis – subdued colors, local accent, detail (lamp, picture, fabric pattern, designer chair) and photogenic frame (desk zone, part of the bed head with a bedside table), which will encourage to take photos and publish on Instagram.
It is not so much the size of the room that matters, but the functional equipment. Apart from a comfortable mattress, which should be a priority for the hotel investor, I also appreciate it: two free contacts at the bedside, good quality bedding (pillow, comforter) and towels (soft); atmospheric LED lighting; curtains completely darkening the room (no clearances); a kettle with cups (not cups) for tea and a coffee maker at least in the upper room; a large TV set (at least 42 inches) with various information and movie channels and the possibility of switching on Netflix without the need to connect a computer cable.
In the bathroom, on the other hand, there is a mirror with LED facial lighting, good quality cosmetics, a powerful dryer and a shower with a rain shower.
And one more thing, which is very important nowadays – fast and reliable wi-fi internet.
Gastronomy and hotel restaurant
Catering service in a good hotel should be a culinary experience. The taste of food is obviously crucial, but it is also worth taking care of other elements.
Attractive looking table setting, adequate to the style of the hotel. Here I mainly mean plates. Now the offer of porcelain is very rich and there is plenty to choose from, regardless of budget. Again, it is worth remembering that a good-looking plate with appetizing food encourages to take a photo and free promotion in social media.
A classic is to serve bread with oil, preferably when baked in a hotel. A nice touch, however, would be to serve an amuse-bouche, which can be prepared in any form, whatever the chef has in stock that day.
A good offer of wines, which doesn’t have to mean several dozen labels, and regional artisan beers.
The value of the hotel gastronomy apart from the chef is the person of the bartender, talented and, what is important, creative.
And breakfasts. A solid breakfast is the basis of the hotel catering service regardless of the Christmas category. Apart from the range of assortment and a good choice for guests from various dietary groups (including several types of bread and milk, high quality coffee, local products), the presentation of food counts. There is so much inspiration on the Internet for a buffet arrangement. You just have to want to. And if only logistically it’s to be embraced by the staff (in premium and luxury hotels there should be no excuses), warm egg dishes should be prepared on request, instead of lying in the heater on the buffet.