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Laura Marano

"Chilling out on the bed in your hotel room watching television, while wearing your own pajamas, is sometimes the best part of a vacation."
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Diane von Furstenberg

"When you get into a hotel room, you lock the door, and you know there is a secrecy, there is a luxury, there is fantasy. There is comfort. There is reassurance."
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George Bernard Shaw

"The great advantage of a hotel is that it is a refuge from home life."
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Bill Bryson

"I still enjoy traveling a lot. I mean, it amazes me that I still get excited in hotel rooms just to see what kind of shampoo they've left me."

Tips for Improving Your Hotel’s Service

clean hotel room

People have always asked me what makes my hotel so stellar, despite it being a relatively mid ranged budget hotel. My answer is that I give extra special attention to the service at my hotel. So, how do you improve the service of your hotel anyway?

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The Difference of Staying in a Hotel and Staying in a Cottage

When going on vacation, you sometimes have to ask yourself: hotels vs. cottages, which one is better? Hotel rooms are usually defined as a room for rent within a larger building, usually with many other rooms available. Some hotels are better than others and will have varying features and amenities.

On the other hand, cottages for rent are small, stand alone buildings. Some cottages can be the same size as a hotel room, or sometimes even bigger.

It really depends on what your budget allows and what is available. Cottages are great because they have a very natural feel and are perfect for those who want something a bit more rustic and closer to nature.

Here are just some of the differences of staying in a hotel and staying in a cottage. Choose for yourself what you think is best for you and your family.

cottagesCottages and hotels typically have very different locations because of the style of accommodation that they offer. Cottages will often be located in a wider area close to several outdoor activity centres such as a lake, close to the woods, or close to hiking or bike trails.

Generally, cottages are more geared towards outdoor activities and nature. You may have cottages close by or be separated from your neighbours depending on how far away the cottage is from others.

Hotels on the other hand, are usually best for city locations. They will be close to the market, to stores, and to commuting areas such as bus stops and train stations.

They are convenient because hotels do not require as much horizontal space as cottages, as they can be made into high rise buildings.

hotelCottages and hotels have varying amounts of space available. A cottage can consist of just one room and a bathroom or an outhouse, while a hotel room can consist of many rooms the size of a small house or apartment.

Of course, if you are looking for affordable accommodation, you obviously would not be going for the luxury cottages or fancy hotel suites. The smaller the accommodation, the cheaper it is.

Living quarters and services
When you are at a hotel, you can order room service and have your clothes laundered. There will always be someone at your beck and call nearly 24/7. The living quarters are also a bit more cramped and if the other patrons on your floor are noisy, you will likely hear them.

On the other hand, a cottage is more suitable for people who like to cook for themselves and enjoy keeping everything clean for themselves.

Family and pet friendly
Hotels are great for families if they have more than one room, but it is certainly better for solo travellers and work. On the other hand, cottages are perfect for families and you can even bring your pets. It is perfect for families.


You might want to check out the best hotels to visit during your vacation, see this video:

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How to Hide Ugly Renovations When You Have to Keep the Hotel Open

sacffold renovation

Sometimes hotels need to upgrade and renovate–this is part of running a hotel because you want to always stay updated and make sure that you stay appealing for many years to come. You want to maintain a relevant facade and a beautiful interior if you want to keep your doors open for a very long time.

And as hoteliers, isn’t that what we all want to do? So yes… it’s important never to slack on keeping things updated–even if it’s just a small detail or two, or something as simple as a repainting every so often.

Here’s How to install Cavity Battens and Building Wrap:


But once in a while, when budget permits, sometimes it is a good idea to do a major renovation or two. Or sometimes something might go wrong and require repairs.

And when something major like this happens, often it can get messy and it can get ugly–especially if the renovations are on the exterior.We of course can’t just let guests come up to the hotel and see it in disrepair–there has to be a way to hide the construction as it goes on.

How to Hide Construction Workconstruction

Some construction may not need hiding, especially when it’s something that is over in a day or two, or at most a week. But when the construction/repair/renovation work will take weeks, or even months, it’s not a good idea to let it stay out there in the open where any guest or potential guest can see.

So what do you do? Personally, when one of my hotels had a major renovation, I found a company that does building wraps and asked them to create a wrap around my renovation to hide and contain it.

What are Building Wraps?
Okay so if you haven’t heard of them before, then probably you are sitting there scratching your head and wondering…just what exactly are building wraps? Well don’t feel bad, because until I had to do my own renovation, I had never even really heard of them.

But put in simple terms, building wraps are just what they sound like–building wraps! Scaffolding is built up around the building, and then a tarp, or a sheet made out of tyvek or some other appropriate material, is wrapped around.

This can help contain dust, mess, and also hide the construction that is going on.

building wrapsWhat Can You Do with Building Wraps?
Apart from just hiding the construction that is going on, building wraps can actually also be quite useful because you can print on the material that is used for the wrap.

So you can advertise the new feature you are installing or updating, or you could do something like apologise for the inconvenience as construction is ongoing, or you could say you are open for business as usual, or direct customers to another area, and so on and so forth. You can even print an advertisement on there. The options are pretty endless.


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Staying Fit While Travelling – is it Possible?

E and D

We all know that travelling makes everyone (with almost no exception at all unless they’re one of the very very lucky ones that never ever gain weight no matter what they try) quite a bit prone to gaining a few pounds and perhaps growing just a bit more rotund.

It’s almost unavoidable really–most people when on vacation tend to eat since they want to taste local cuisine. Plus most of the time people just tend to let go and have fun when they’re on vacation. Drinks are had, food is eaten, and everyone ends up leaving happy…but just a slight bit more round.

3 Travel Training Tips for Working Out & Staying Fit on the Road

But of course there are some of us that don’t want to go home from vacation having destroyed all the progress we’ve made in the gym.

So those people who want to stay fit even while travelling have found ways to do just that. It is possible…I mean just going by these tips that people have told me when I asked them (believe it or not many guests at my hotel make remarks about gaining weight, so I figured it might be a good idea to have some advice at the ready), it obviously can be done…as long as you put in the work.

So if you’re travelling and staying at a hotel soon, have a quick read of this, maybe it might help you!

gym in the hotelStay at a Hotel with Fitness Options
It goes without saying that staying in a hotel with perhaps a gym or some brilliant outdoor fitness equipment can help you to stay fit when you’re traveling.

You would have to go there during your downtime, of course, when you’re not busy exploring or going about doing all the things you’d planned. But even just thirty minutes in a day can make a difference.

Bring Running Shoes
Something you can do that never requires any equipment whatsoever is run. Running as a matter of fact is a great way to see the sights of the city/town (or wherever you are staying) while you put in your daily exercise.

It may not completely burn off everything that you’ve eaten that day, but at least it should help minimise any weight gain. If you aren’t the type to like running then just go for a brisk walk. It offers similar benefits.

running shoesTaste Everything but Practice Moderation
I know it’s incredibly difficult to not just indulge in everything you see especially with how delicious everything looks. Well you should.

You should try everything and have fun tasting everything you want to taste. But do just that. Taste. There’s no need to go overboard.

Hotel Room Exercises
If you have no other fitness options, then you can always just do some calisthenics in your hotel room.

Jogging in place, squats, push ups, lunges, those are all things you can do within the comforts of your own hotel room. That makes it a bit easier on you!

I’m sure you’ll find some way to stay fit that will work out for you! Good luck!

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Keeping Your Hotel Bathrooms and Drainage in Tip Top Shape

Recently, I read about how certain formerly pristine sea side communities are being polluted due to improper drainage of the various hotels that started cropping up in the area. The drainage system is ill maintained and all the bath water, toilet water, and sink water all end up in the ocean without being treated.

This is unacceptable, and of course affects the beauty of the hotel’s surroundings. After all, people go on vacation and stay in hotels, but what really drives people to your hotel is the location. If you compromise the beautiful view by polluting your hotel’s surroundings, you may as well be flushing your livelihood down the toilet.

Here are some tips for making sure that your hotel keeps its drainage in tip top shape.

Make sure your water works comply with city standards
pipeUnlike most kinds of buildings that only have bathrooms in certain floors, hotels tend to have a separate bathroom for each and every room.

This means that water usage, and of course water drainage, is increased ten fold depending on how big the hotel is.

As such, you need to be sure that your hotel follows stringent city standards in terms of water works and drainage. You will probably need multiple septic tanks and your drains should be big enough to accommodate the larger amount of water that your guests will be using.

Have a professional plumbing service inspect all of your bathrooms and water works to make sure that your heating, water pressure, and drainage are all in order.

Keep bathrooms clean
tubIt is part of your hotel’s service to keep the bathrooms and the rooms clean. Since bathrooms tend to always be humid, they are prone to moulds, grime, and unpleasant odours.

Your hotel guests may also inadvertently flush things down the toilet that may clog the drain, or hair and other debris may pile up in the shower.

Keeping everything clean will help keep your pipes and drainage all in order.

On top of cleaning, ensure that your housekeeping staff will inspect the bathrooms for drips, leaks, and clogged drains. It is one of the best ways to check if something is wrong.

Have a good plumber on hand
I have a contract with exeter drainage repair who always inspects the inner workings of my drain system and also makes sure that everything is working properly.

Any problems in the plumbing is handled by Exeter in an expertly manner.

They handle everything from drain clearance to drain maintenance, and they even have cctv technology so that they can check the drainage without having to hammer open any floors and walls.

The drainage is just one of the many things that you have to keep track of when managing a hotel.

Here’s a good video on how you can find a good plumber to work with:

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Amenities That Improve New Hotels

Hotels are not always equal to each other. Some are better than others–that’s why we have the ratings system for them after all. The star system is around specifically for that reason–for people to know the quality of the hotel.

There are amenities that improve hotels and make them better than others too, aside from the very simple fact that some hotels are really just better than others–by name, by design, by reputation and so on and so forth.

Quite honestly, a good way for smaller, newer hotels to get ahead is to get amenities that will improve their hotel.

Let’s talk about amenities for hotels that improve the value for the customer–beyond the usual amenities that is, like a pool, a gym, conference rooms, ball rooms and so on.

These are amenities (okay some are not amenities but requirements, but the truth is not all hotels implement these requirements–trust me, I have been to hotels far and wide) that I try to implement in my hotels and any hotels that I manage.

Handicap Access
One of the most important things in my opinion is the fact that there should always be handicap access. Not just the ramps for the people who need to be in a wheelchair, but also assistance for anyone who is blind or hard of hearing.


It is also a good idea to have braille translations on most if not all signs. This to me screams “we are a hotel that cares for its customers” and I’m sure that these touches help to make a hotel guest feel most welcome and at home.

Childcare and Entertainment
Chances are that when some guests travel, they also bring their children. Now, make it easier on your parent guests by providing entertainment for children in the form of childrens outdoor play equipment or an indoor playroom somewhere.


Even better if you can have a day care in your hotel, so that parents can leave their children if they need to attend to some business during their stay, or if they need to leave the children somewhere for a while while they see a movie, a play, and so on.

Kids should never be left unattended, even on vacation. And they shouldn’t be left bored either!

Laundry Service
You would be surprised how many hotels do not offer this. But laundry service is a service that many guests will truly appreciate a hotel for–especially when they have packed only a few items for a much longer trip, or if they stained their clothes while out and about.


I have had guests come up to me and personally thank me for having a laundry service available in the hotel because they stained their beloved and the quick laundry service saved it!

I can think of many others but these two are the ones that are top of mind. I try to give this advice to every new hotelier I meet.

If you plan to travel to London, watch this video of the best hotels you can pick:

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Vacations with Your Kids – Choosing the Right Hotel for Your Family


If you are like me, then chances are that you sometimes get stumped about coming up with activities for the school holidays for your children. It’s not always easy, trying to come up with something that will keep them happy and engaged. But sometimes you figure out exactly what you want to do for them–send them to camp, send them to some sort of lessons, or heck, even take them on a vacation somewhere they’ve always wanted to go.

As a parent, I’ve been asked a few times by my kids to take them to amusement parks. And of course, we all know which one in particular all children want to go to…right? ;)


So one day I decided to surprise my children with the fact that I was taking them to Disney World in the US. But before I did that, I had to make sure that everything was all pre-planned, just because I prefer everything to be set as soon as humanly possible. So I booked all manner of tickets…and then of course there was the matter of choosing the right hotel.

Choosing a hotel that’s the right fit for your entire family isn’t always the easiest thing in the world. But thankfully given the fact that I am in the hotel business, I know what to look for. So here are a few tips in case you’re also looking for a hotel when you go on a vacation with your kids!

The first thing you need to do is look at the amenities. All hotels are going to have hotel rooms. And beds. And bathrooms. But you need amenities suited to your children. Does the hotel have a pool? A playground? A daycare service just in case mum and dad want to go out on their own for a day?


Some hotels have other amenities too that would make life easier for you as well, like laundry services (believe me, not all hotels offer it). So look for the best fit for you and your family. Of course amenities for mum and dad aren’t bad too.

The second most important thing I look for when it comes to hotels when I am taking my kids with me is comfort. The beds have to be comfortable. The rooms have to be black out dark at night. It has to be quiet.



Everyone–mum, dad, and kids–have to be able to get a good night’s sleep. Because going on vacation with cranky children is never any fun. The better quality sleep everyone gets, the happier everyone will be.

Naturally when traveling everyone has a budget, so if you want to stay within it you are going to have to look for a hotel that is within your price range, but still ticks the two boxes above.

And I know that it can be difficult to book a hotel when you’re not even in the place itself, so what you can do is look online for reviews and base your decisions off that. Best of luck to you and your family–as well as your vacation!

You can also refer to this video on how to find a cheap hotel in London:

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Checking Into Pet Friendly Hotels


We are all about hotels here and of course we want to talk about varying accommodations to suit every kind of traveller. Today, we will be talking about animal lovers who enjoy travelling with their pets, whether it is around the world or just to another city.

More and more people are choosing to bring their pets with them while travelling or while on holiday. So it is no wonder that there are now more and more hotels that are willing to allow people to bring in their pets, particularly, dogs.


Dogs are by far one of the most common pets so it is no wonder that hotels will usually cater to dog owners in particular. If you need some tips for checking into a pet friendly hotel, here they are:

Check online for pet friendly hotels
One of the things you need to do is to check online for pet friendly hotels at your destination. While a quick keyword search will often get you good results, you can also try certain websites that specialise in finding you dog friendly hotels by listing. It really helps if you want to check for specifics too, as many of these places will include pictures of the room and such.

Always call the hotel directly for their policies about pets
However, always make sure that you call the hotel directly to inquire about their policies, even if you can book online. Hotels have the right to change their policies without prior notice so it is quite possible that they may suddenly not accept pets at all.


When booking, make sure that you ask for any extra fees and requirements, and if your stay will include a deep clean to get rid of any pet hair and the like.

Make sure your pets meet the hotel’s requirements
Usually, hotels have specific requirements for those who want to take their pets in. First off, your pet has to be house trained and not soil the carpets or other surfaces of the room. Next, your pet has to be proven to be free of fleas and ticks, which could cause a nasty outbreak of parasites throughout the hotel. Most hotels will require that you provide proof of a clean bill of health as well.

Your dog should also be non-aggressive and quiet, as dogs who bark incessantly are a bother to all hotel guests.

Meanwhile, here’s a cool video some celebrity dogs checking into hotels:

Bring your own dog food
You should always bring your dog food as most hotels do not have a reliable stock of dog food available. If they did have dog food available, it is often of the low quality variety that could make your dog sick. I always choose high quality, grain free dog food to give to my dogs, so I always bring my own.

My suggestion is that you purchase dog food sold at wholesale, so that you can get a bulky order for a much lower price than the usual. This way, you will be able to feed your dog a healthy diet, even while you are inside a hotel.

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