Okay so you are ready to go on vacation, but you just don’t know what makes for a great hotel. There are many factors to consider when selecting the best hotel. I am going to break down for you the top 10 things you need to look for in deciding on the best hotel.

1. What’s really important to you – There are many different options when selecting a hotel, but what is really important to you? Price is usually the number one deciding factors for a lot of people trying to determine if this is the hotel for me. But is it also access to the beach, the selection restaurants, the entertainment available during the day and night or the room service availability. Or is it the room size, bathroom size or shower/jacuzzi amenities. These areas all important things to consider when selecting the hotel for your vacation.

2. What are the amenities offered – Some hotels/resorts only provide certain types of amenities such as butler service, swim-up suites, nightly entertainment, beach activities, beach equipment rentals, pillow menus, etc. These amenities can enhance the vacationers experience if available. Most hotel star ratings of 4+ offer these types of services. Experience is everything, but most are not cheap. These locations usually offer different types of experiences such as Diamond Club or Preferred Club.

3. Check the hotel website – The hotel’s website can offer a lot of valuable information such as # of restaurants, # of rooms, amenities offered, reviews, events calendar, map of the property, proximity to airport or transportation, pictures & videos of the features, some even have live webcams and 360 views.

4. Where is the hotel located – If you want to be close to other activities off property, you may want to take a look at where the hotel is located. If the airport location is essential you want to make sure you take a look at the closest airport and book your flights to that airport. If you’re going to stay on the beach, then you need to make sure the hotel is directly on the beach vs. across the street or a distance from the beach. Hotel location can be extremely important especially if you are planning to take a taxi vs. private or shared transportation.

5. When was the hotel built or the last renovation – The age of the hotel plays a considerable role in the quality of the hotel. By quality, I mean the asthetics of the hotel. You can call the hotel or check their website to see if it lists the year the hotel was built or their last renovation. If it was renovated, was it for specific room categories, buildings or the entire property. Older hotels/resorts that have not been renovated shows a lot of wear and tear, hold odors, tend to have maintenance issues. It is just a great idea to check into this particular aspect when making the decision.

6. Guest reviews and when they were published – Guest reviews are always a way to get helpful insight on a particular property. Read the ones that are the newest within a year but as close to the current date. Things can change over time, so it is a good idea to keep that in mind. When reading the reviews read the less favorable reviews as well. Some reviews you have to take with a grain of salt and look for a common theme of good vs. bad reviews. In this arena, I go with the common theme as my baseline. If they are all stating the food was okay but not great, I will tend to go with the food is not that great. Some people are just hard to please, so I don’t let one recent negative review sway my opinion.

7. Who does the hotel cater to – Certain hotels provide to specific groups. If you are going on your honeymoon, it may not be a good idea to book a family friendly resort as they will be children there. Some people want a lot of activity, and you should make sure the hotel caters to this type of atmosphere and age group.

8. Restaurant selections – Select a hotel that has multiple restaurant choices so that you are not bored with a menu that may be offered daily. Options are always a good idea. Make sure that the restaurants that are provided are the types of food that you don’t mind eating from or trying.

9. Access to favorite spots or the beach – If the hotel list close to the beach you want to be sure of how far that is exactly. Usually, hotels located near the beach or downtown can be a little more expensive due to having easy access. You pay to be near the action in a lot of the Caribbean destinations.

10. Proximity to airport and transportation – Having an early morning flight when you are traveling can be inconvenient if you are not close to the airport. All international flight requires you to be at the airport at least 2.5hrs early. If you are riding in shared shuttle service or just taking transfer services in general, the service will pick you up early due to additional stops along the way.