Holiday Accommodation: Choosing the right one for you
It’s not always easy picking the right place to stay – it can make or break an entire trip!
Some of the typical questions can include:
- What different choices do I have?
- Should I just go with a hotel room and not risk it?
- Are there better-suited options for my holiday?
- What if I want a view, location or a specific setting?
- I mean what exactly are my options for finding the ideal holiday accommodation?
Great questions and we have you covered.
If you’ve used our hotel meta-search to look for stays all over the world, you may have noticed there’s a filter called ‘property type’.
Depending on the location you’re searching, there’ll be some variation to your choices as not all providers offer the exact same service, naturally.
Searching by property type is a feature that allows for a more tailored experience, by opening up further options for you.
However, without having an appropriate guide defining holiday accommodation types, we could be missing out on amazing choices and experiences, so let’s dive right in.
Starting with the most known accommodation choice. It can be hard to define what a hotel is, as technically others on our list meet the criteria.
In a nutshell, a hotel is a building that’s open to the public, typically providing these two services: a room (for overnight lodging), and food & drink (whether included in the price or not).
Natural locations for hotels include:
- Cities and Urban areas
- Near Airports
- Close to large venues or tourist hotspots
- Within range of travel and transport amenities
Hotels try to meet the needs of comfort with convenience and will be heavily customer-service focussed.
A hotel can offer other services such as a gym, business suite, restaurants and bars as well as room service.
Pros and cons of staying in a hotel:
- Lots of hotels across the globe, so you’ll have plenty of choices.
- Hotels adhere to certain standards of cleanliness and hygiene.
- Aims to be accessible to all needs.
- Convenient locations.
- Generally adopt good security precautions so people can’t just walk in and explore the building unless they are guests as well
- Particularly with larger hotel chains, you don’t get much of a feel of the environment you’re in. They offer a set experience that may not be what you’re looking for.
- Rooms may not be as advertised. Being competitive, hotel managers will of course want to present their available rooms in the best light possible. Room sizes, views and facilities can be different from what you thought. Always check the room you are booking, and if unsure, always check with the hotel before purchasing.
Holiday apartments, or ‘vacation rentals’ saw a boom in popularity in the 2010’s as travel tastes changed.
A holiday apartment is a rented property (usually a flat/apartment or house) in a location of your choice that comes with the facilities available in the property to be used as needed (unless specified in the ad description). This can include bedrooms, living room, balconies, dining rooms, gardens, electric goods and so forth.
They’re a great choice as it allows even more flexibility of location than a hotel which needs larger premises limiting where one can be situated.
An apartment can be in the heart of a popular street, in rural areas where other accommodation is scarce, or just about anywhere where someone is willing to let their property out.
Some choose this option as they want to feel as close to a place as possible. Staying in a ‘locals’ property opens you up to new experiences that you may not find elsewhere.
There are complexes as well, where lots of apartments are grouped together and can have shared facilities like a swimming pool.
Young professionals who like to travel have found this accommodation option to be ideal as it allows a group (or family) to live together, share facilities and feel more ‘together’.
Pros and cons of staying in a holiday apartment:
- Enhanced choice of location, just about anywhere can be rented out and enjoyed
- More privacy, as you won’t have other ‘guests’ walking around, sharing the property’s facilities. Some like the comfort of being around people they know
- Get a better feel of the place you’re staying in
- Can ‘live’ with family, friends and share one space together
- Safety. While many rentals are part of larger networks of rentals and will have undergone security checks and so forth, it doesn’t beat the confidence you feel staying at say, a hotel. Some still aren’t fully sold on the idea of staying in a local property without a concierge service, reception or staff available should they need it
- Security. As above, how secure the place really is, isn’t known until you turn up. Make sure you always read any reviews by previous guests to get a good feel for the place
- Cleanliness is always a huge factor in any place you stay. While many rentals will come fully cleaned and ready, it’s hard to know whether professional cleaners have done their work, or the homeowner themselves
A firm favourite for short stayers and travellers who are moving around more frequently from place to place.
A hostel mainly offers rooms (single, double or shared) in a price-friendly, community-based environment – meaning sharing and socialising is a big part of the hostel experience.
Holidaymakers that are looking for comfort and a more tranquil environment may want to avoid hostels as it offers a much more immersive experience.
Depending on the hostel, you may find it has a social room, terraces and other open spaces to encourage interaction and fun, but the main thing you should be looking for is a great price, a decent location and other facilities it may offer (like a laundry room).
Hostels come in all shapes and sizes, but will typically define themselves as a hostel in order to avoid any misinformation.
Pros and cons of staying in a hostel:
- Very social, for those who like to meet new people and hear ‘campfire stories’!
- Ideal for travellers who will want to budget expenses
- Cheap prices, it’s hard to beat the average hostel price
- Gain new knowledge and experience as you’ll generally meet travellers who can offer a lot of insight about the place you are in and other places you haven’t yet gone.
- Living with (potentially) multiple people who are constantly changing and moving isn’t everyone’s desired accommodation experience
- Shared facilities in almost all areas, so if you like privacy this may not be for you
- The quality and look of a room can differ and it may not be as easy to change rooms
- Safety. You don’t know the people you meet, so while socialising is great, make sure your possessions are safe and the room you are staying in is also secure when you aren’t around
B&B (bed and breakfast)
Similar to a hostel in many ways, but with a guaranteed meal at the end!
B&B’s are short-stay lets and are great for overnight or weekend trips. It’s more like a hotel in that it’s focus is to provide a lodging service, not necessarily to promote a social atmosphere.
They can be standalone buildings or converted houses.
Pros and cons of staying in a B&B:
- Well priced for short-stays
- Great for quick visits, business trips or last-minute requirements
- The look and feel of the B&B may not be what you were expecting. Rooms are quite standard, yet comfortable
- Breakfast room. Most will want breakfast in the morning and at the wrong time there can be quite a lot of people trying to sit down and eat in a relatively small space
Somewhere between a hotel and an apartment but aesthetically pleasing and usually in desirable, sunny locations, villas are the choice for privacy, relaxation and self-pampering.
Having roots in upper-class Roman society, modern villas pay homage to this history - which is why the Mediterranean region is one of the top places to rent a villa today.
In a hotel, rooms will be next to and likely on floors above and below. In an apartment or holiday rental, you will be side by side to other properties. The idea of a villa is that you stay in a detached property (but not always, as there’s no strict definition of a villa), away from others and the property itself will have some private land you can lounge, stroll and bask in.
Enjoy your own kitchen, bathroom and social/dining areas.
Some villas have extra amenities like a swimming pool, sauna, gym and spa facilities and other leisure activities like tennis.
Villas look great and holiday villas will be set in beautiful surroundings to compliment the look and feel of the property itself. It’s common to rent a stay with a partner, family or group.
Pros and cons of staying in a villa:
- Privacy, it’s your own slice of paradise
- Homely– villas are there for you to fully enjoy with all the comforts the modern holidaymaker would want
- Usually set in a lovely location with scenic views
- Can be more expensive to rent that other accommodation choices – but a lot are still competitively priced
- Fewer villas on offer globally, so you’ll have to go where they’re available (don’t worry though, there are many gorgeous locations to choose from)
- Moving around can be more difficult if you’re in a location that doesn’t have great transport links and you haven’t hired a car, scooter or bike
Holiday lodges are beautifully built holiday homes. They’re usually on one floor and you can compare them to caravans without wheels – in a fixed position, but larger in size and more luxurious.
Perfect for a family or couple to enjoy.
One feature many lodges have which has distinguished it, is the front porch or terrace you sit and eat or relax on. You’ll often find lodges in holiday parks and are usually set in a natural environment, meaning you get the benefits of picturesque surroundings.
The UK has a thriving industry when it comes to holiday lodges and they are becoming increasingly popular due to being set on a large area of land where other activities and outings can be enjoyed which is great if you have children.
Pros and cons of staying in a lodge:
- Great for family holidays
- Many are set in lovely locations so you have the benefits of inside and outside beauty
- Peaceful and quiet, perfect to those who want to ‘get away from it all’
- Some lodges come with a hot tub!
- Lodges can be privately owned and so the quality of the property and price charged for the stay may not be in line with acceptable industry standards. Always shop around a bit to get a feel of what you should be getting for your money.
Resorts are the all-in-one holiday experience! Some simply refer to resorts as all-inclusive holidays - but they aren't necessarily all-inclusive.
A resort is usually a large compound that contains (but certainly not limited to): accommodations, restaurants, bars, shops, social events, tennis, swimming pool, sports, water activities, lounges and entertainment of all kinds.
The accommodation can range from basic to stunning and the variations to room styles are endless.
Resort are location heavy, meaning most will seek to charm you with factors such as the weather, scenic views, the ocean, on-site services to minimise any work you have to do, allowing you to relax in peace and tranquillity.
As resorts have become more competitively price, they’ve opened up to new holidaymakers and themed resorts have become a choice for all tastes and preference such as:
- Beach resorts
- Island resorts
- Luxury resorts
- Golf resorts
- Spa Resorts
- Destination resorts
Holiday resorts are excellent choices for families, honeymoons, partners and group trips.
Pros and cons of staying in a resort:
- Price. While the entire package may not make you feel this way, remember that if you were to book each stay, activity, meal or outings individually, the price would skyrocket. One of the benefits of a resort is economies of scale – things are mass booked and this brings the price down
- Convenience. Having everything all in one place means you don’t need to go travelling to find things, wasting valuable holiday time going from area to area. It’s all on one site and staff there can help with any questions you have. It’s one of the most luxurious forms of accommodation available for reasons like this
- Secure. Resorts want to ensure you are and feel safe, so take measures to provide security. It’s part of the overall appeal they want to give, Hakuna matata – no worries!
- Small print. As there can be so much do to on a resort and a lot of options, make sure you know what you’re paying for. You may think you are able to use all facilities, but on arriving, find out you need to pull out more cash to cover it. Always check with the resort if you’re unsure
- Restrictive movements outside the resort. Choosing a resort means you want to stay put, but aren’t we allowed to explore outside the resort walls if we want to? Many find they’d like to see the country they are staying in and so will venture out. Resorts can be clustered in a certain area, meaning you have to find travel and directions to go to a local place. This can be difficult and in certain resorts, they recommend you don’t do this - if they do, we’d advise you to listen to them.
In today’s world there’s so much choice when it comes to holiday accommodations. We hope you have a clearer understanding of the different types and what each can be great for. It just makes you want to explore and book.
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