As I mention in The Problem With Tripadvisor, everyone has a different idea about what a good hotel room is. Similarly, what people some people will consider worth paying for a hotel room is a vast extravagance for others.

But how much is too much when it comes to a hotel room?

Hotel vs experience

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given Yorkshire stock on one side of the family and Scottish blood on the other, I’m rather ‘frugal’ when it comes to paying for a hotel.  It depends on the city I’m staying in of course, but there is a line where I just don’t see any point paying any more.  Generally, if it’s a trade-off between spending money on a hotel and spending money on going out and doing things, then the latter is going to win.

Hotel room price ceiling

But if we’re putting a figure on it, what is the ceiling? Well, if I’m travelling on my own, my standards are lower. I need somewhere clean, with a half decent bed, an en-suite bathroom and Wifi access. As long as it fits that bill and it’s not an outrageous trek from the part of town I want to be in, it’ll do. Usually, I reckon on being able to find somewhere like that for under £50 (US$80).

Of course, sometimes that’s going to be a real push, with the only options pretty grotty-looking. Hotels in Washington DC, for example, are generally a lot pricier than hotels in Prague. In that case, I’ll probably push the maximum up to £60. In dire cases, I’ll go up to £70, but I’ll be really, really angry about it.

Travelling as a couple

The game changes a bit when I’m travelling with my wife. Standards have to go up a bit, partly because the reason for travel is different. On my own, it’s usually work, as a couple it’s often leisure. And no-one wants to stay somewhere miserable when they’re on holiday, do they? Plus, the cost is split between two people, so I’ll generally double what I’d normally pay on my own.

That said, in most cities, you can find a good hotel for under £80. Raise that to under £90 if you’re being generous or under £100 if you’re pushing the boat out. To me, that’s where mid-range finishes and luxury begins. But you can often get four star relative luxury for under £100 anyway. In some of the world’s most expensive cities – London and New York for example – I may push this up to £120, but beyond that I start to question whether anything extra I’m getting for the money is worth it.

Is it worth it?

In my job, I get to stay in and inspect a lot of luxury hotels. I can tell the difference between a good luxury hotel and a mediocre one. There are vast differences from hotel to hotel in the quality you get for, say, £250. But if I’m paying my own way, I’ll always come back to thinking: “Is this really two or three times as good as the Novotel or Holiday Inn?” And generally the answer is: “No.”

What are your cut-off points when paying for a hotel room? How much is too much, and what maximum price do you generally aim for? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.


One Response to How much will you pay for a hotel room?

  1. Tim Richards says:

    Varies depending on the country, of course. But generally speaking, I’m happy with a comfortable 3-star room somewhere between £40-60. For a big fancy one-off splurge in the company of the other half, I’d go up to, say, £125.

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