There are many different types of accommodation on offer; With each providing various facilities and a different experience. In this post I will explain what Hostels, Guesthouses, Apartments and Hotels are like, and the types of facilities you may get at each. You may also want to read my post with things to think about when choosing where to stay.
Hostels may provide the cheapest accommodation. They normally offer shared rooms with bunk beds, but some also have private rooms available. Often the amenities are shared and you don’t get towels or toiletries included.
Despite this hostels are fantastic options. They are normally very friendly and great for meeting new people, they are often in great locations and may even provide superior views compared to some of the top hotels in the area. Such as the image below which was taken from the top floor of Hostel Uppelink and probably offers the best views of Ghent Historical Centre. Read my post on what it’s like to stay in a hostel.
Common features of hostels
- Shared rooms and facilities
- No free toiletries
- Towels for a fee
- Affordable bed options
- Social atmosphere
- Free WiFi
- 24 hour reception
- Often good location
- Often used by younger guests
- Great for travellers wanting to connect
Guesthouses are fantastic and may be family run. The hosts often take pride in the property, has nice local furnishings, and will make you feel like their home is your home. Guesthouses may come with shared facilities like bathrooms and kitchens.
You may get home made food and even tours of the destination through guesthouses. A good example is Goa Guesthouse in Mostar, where Emir the host, provided an exceptional local breakfast (for a small fee) as well as special tours around Bosnia and Herzegovina (also for small fees).
Common features of guesthouses
- Homely environment
- Friendly staff, with them often being the owners
- Cooking facilities
- Fully equipped with bedroom and living space
- Food options, including breakfast, lunch or dinner
- WiFi access
- Great for cultural stays
Apartments are especially great for longer stays or if you want to have your own space or cook. Many apartments come with great furnishings and facilities allowing you to settle down for as long as you need.
Common features of apartments
- Modern and well equipped
- Bedroom, kitchen and living spaces
- Sometimes washing machines
- WiFi access
- Great for long stays
Hotels can offer the most facilities and come in different star levels, often from 1-5 with five being the highest. Star levels of hotels are often determined by the country and not defined by a worldwide authority, so what may be a five star in one country, may only be a four star in another.
Generally though a one star hotel will be a basic room with the bare essentials. There is unlikely to be a pool, bar or anything besides the room.
As you go up the star levels the hotel will offer benefits, such as the furnishings will be nicer, you’ll have a lot more facilities in your room and also around the hotel. In your room you’ll likely get bigger and better televisions as you go up, better coffee facilities, bigger and more comfortable beds, and in some hotels heated toilet seats (Shangri-La At the Shard in London). Around the hotel you may get a pool, fitness and spa facilities, bars and multiple restaurants.
Also as you go up the service will also improve, with higher ranked hotels having more staff, butler services, 24 hour concierge and will basically do everything to ensure you have the most amazing stay possible.
Common features of hotels
Features vary a lot across hotels, please check what the hotel offers on booking.
- Separate bedroom and bathroom
- Sometimes different room options throughout the hotel
- Living rooms (suites)
- Restaurants and bars
- WiFi access
- Work Desks
- TVs with multiple channels, movies and more
- Room service
- 24 hour receptions
- Well equipped rooms including toiletries, bathrobes, coffee machines and more
- Pool and fitness facilities
- Business and conference facilities
- Great for week long holidays, weekend and also luxury breaks.
Another accommodation option to stay in is a resort. Resorts tend to be self contained and come with all the facilities you need and can often be great for family holidays. They can sometimes be located in central places such as close to the local towns, or may be in more rural isolated locations, which can be perfect to just get away from everything and for honeymoons.
Common features of resorts
Here are some of the features you may get at resorts. These would rather across resorts depending on where you stay.
- Large pools, sometimes even multiple
- All inclusive options which can include meals and drinks.
- WiFi access
- 24 hour reception
- Gym facilities
- Classes such as Water Aerobics
- Excursion and activity options
- Well equipped rooms with private bathrooms, television facilities and more
If you’d like to read about an amazing resort I stayed at head to my post: Exotic Retreats at Padma Resort Ubud in Bali.
Wherever you do decide to go, always read reviews to get opinions of others travellers. If you use www.booking.com then you will be able to read and see ratings from other travellers. Or you could use other sites such as www.tripadvisor.co.uk which provides huge amounts of reviews on most properties.
Alternatively check for personal reviews on blogs. We offer some from hotels we have stayed in (click here). Some bloggers will get free stays which can change someone’s opinion slightly vs if they have paid for it, but this should be stated, and whenever we are lucky enough to get free stays we always give an honest opinion.
I hope this helps you decide what accommodation type you want for your travels. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave one below.
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