Hotels and resorts… Most of us have been to a hotel or resort sometime but have you been to a property? Well a property is a hotel or resort. In the travel industry, we often call them properties, meaning the buildings and the land.. “This is a great beach front property!”
All-inclusive… “All” is often not what it says, so always double check. It should mean you prepay for all meals, snack, beverages and activities. There can be several up-charges; scuba diving, top shelf beverages, spa treatments and specialty restaurants just to name a few. So when the property says all-inclusive know what they are offering.
MAP, BP and EP… do not ask me which is which I find them most confusing! They refer to meals being included in a rate. MAP for modified American plan, meaning breakfast and dinner are included. BP comes from Bermuda Plan, a full breakfast daily.
And EP stands for European Plan meaning no meals or “empty plate” as my colleague calls it! So now you know!
Amenities…These are something extra or special. Hotels and resorts and now cruises offer extra incentives. Sometimes there are offered from whom you make your reservation. For example, I am connected to Virtuoso and when I reserve (book.. another word) a Virtuoso hotel room rate I can offer breakfast daily and often a room upgrade or credit at the spa or hotel restaurant. These amenities can add a significant benefit. Many of these amenities are only available when booking with a travel consultant.
Room categories… There are lots of words here.. deluxe, luxury, first class, one-five stars, ocean view and ocean front, garden or pool view. One important thing to remember is often these are the terms of the property and not necessary uniformed throughout the travel industry. For example, ocean view may be you can easily see the water from your window and balcony or it can mean if you lean over the balcony and turn your head you might see a wave or two! Ocean front does most often imply the water is straight out in front, but there may be trees blocking some of the view. Cruises may have a cabin with an ocean view or outside only to have a life boat hanging there. So ask ask ask and learn the location of your room before booking.
Hotels, resorts and cruises often boast a particular star rating. Also tour operators rate them. These ratings are all subjective to who is doing them and the hotel may say one rate and a tour operator another. The higher the rating usually means the more services offered by a hotel rather than the level of service, but certainly can imply service too. So in general use them as a guide or comparison rather than the specific truth. One rating that is generally accepted as consistent is the Michelin stars for restaurants. If the resort or hotel has a Michelin star restaurant you can be pretty sure it is a very nice place to stay!
Room types… And then there are categories double, single, quad, suite, junior suite, one bedroom suite, kitchenette, just to name a few. Hotel rooms are generally per night rate while a resort may quote per person double occupancy. A double may have a classic double bed mattress to a king size or there may be two beds. A double basically implies two people in the room, where triple is three and quad is four. That does not mean you can not put four people in a double two queen bedded room. In Europe, a triple and a quad often also implies more beds. Possibly four beds in a quad. Again you need to just ask. Suites can be just as confusing with a junior suite just a very large double room with a sitting area. But of course often a luxury room implies the same! Isn”t this fun! The one or two bedroom suite for sure is two or three rooms; a living room and a bedroom or more. The number of bathrooms may vary. Some suites have kitchenettes; very small kitchens with limited appliances some may have a full kitchen and dining area. Some regular rooms have very small kitchenettes stuck in a corner. So basically decide your needs and I can find the room that accommodates you!
Lets move on from rooms to…..
How to pay for them..
Guarantee and deposit… When booking a traditional hotel room most require a credit card to hold the room. If you do not show up for the room you will be charged but it also should guarantee the hotel does not give away your room if you are very late. I usually let the hotel know if you plan to be late. During high seasons and holidays most hotels and resorts require a deposit, usually a pre-pay of one to three nights. You need to know in advance what the change or cancellation penalties are, before you give your credit card. Many hotels and resorts have a nonrefundable less expensive rate. They are what they say: non-refundable. Your credit card will be charged, period. I rarely book these rates without cancellation insurance coverage.
Pools… one last word. Sounds simple: a concrete container of water! Not so.. for there are infinity pools, plunge pools, free form pools and family or adult only pools. An infinity pool has one side no higher than water level. Often these are hillside resorts where when you sit by the pool the infinity side merges with the ocean or sky in you view… Most spectacular! A plunge pool is when you have you own small private pool. Here was mine at Ladera in St. Lucia last spring.. in a one bedroom suite…
As they say the only question you do not ask is the dumb one. There is just too much lingo in the travel and tourism industry for you to know it all.. so just ask. And call soon to book your plunge pool!