Hotels: Expert shares how to pick and book a hotel in 2021 plus major red flag warning

Holidays: Simon Calder reveals how travel situation is looking

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Hotels can reopen their doors in mid-May under the new guidelines issued by the Government this week. From April 12, “self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen,” detailed 10 Downing Street. Then, from May 17, ” the rest of the accommodation sector” can reopen.

Many holidaymakers will be eager to get a holiday in the diary, but what’s the best way to go about booking a hotel stay this spring and summer? spoke to Paul Hackett, Head of Inspections and Assessments at AA and, for his travel advice.

The hospitality company shared its top tips for picking the right hotel.

First up, think of location, whether it’s a city break or somewhere more rural.

“Think about where do you want to go and what experiences you want to have,” said Hackett, “keep an open mind.”

He advises having a budget in mind and always checking what added value there is such as, is breakfast included? Or is a free upgrade possible?

Factor in how to get there. “If you don’t want to drive, check-out public transport routes,” said Hackett.

Make sure the hotel offers what you need, too.

“If you are travelling as a family, is the hotel family-friendly? Does it have family rooms?” suggested Hackett.

“If you want a hotel with a spa, see what’s there and book treatments in advance.”

It’s also worth checking the hotel lives up to the standards you’re after.

“Check the rating from an objective source,” advised Hackett, with VisitEngland and AA itself worth examining.

“If you like your food, see what accolades they have (for instance AA Rosettes) and if it’s a special occasion, see if the hotel has AA Red Stars – this denotes this is the best hotel in its rating.”

Another tip to make sure it’s the right hotel for you is contacting the establishment with any queries: “Give the hotel a call in advance to check it’s what you’re expecting and offers what you’re looking for.”

When choosing a hotel there are some red flags you definitely look out for.

According to AA Hotels, these include too cheap a price, a poor website and consistently poor customer reviews.

Also, beware of poor reservation experience and be cautious where there are too many restrictions when it comes to booking.

Hackett also highlighted some positives holidaymakers should look out for when checking out potential hotels.

“An excellent user-friendly website which shows with pride their accreditation and accolades,” is worth noting.

A good sign is “helpful pre-arrival advice highlighting services and facilities (including Covid advice – the AA has a Covid Confident accreditation you can look out for).”

What’s more, it’s promising when you experience helpful interactions with the hotel via email or phone as well as “being made to feel your business is important and that the hotel is looking forward to welcoming you,” said Hackett.

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