I’ve referred to myself as a pedestrian business flyer in this space. What does that mean? I fly 75-100,000 miles a year, mostly domestic, mostly bread and butter business destinations. Nothing fancy. Some fly much more, and some fly less. It also means I spend a number of nights in hotels. Living where I live, I think my choice of airlines is obvious. However, with hotels, I have options, lots of options, but it seems I’m pretty loyal when it comes to hotels too.

In the days before I lived in Atlanta, you could bet that I’d be staying in one of two hotels if business brought me to town – The W Atlanta Buckhead, or the W Atlanta Midtown. Now that I live in Atlanta, I’m usually flying somewhere else with my number one destination being Washington, DC. Unless rates are stratospheric, you’ll usually find me at the Mayflower Hotel in DC. During a recent stay I was reflecting on my hotel habits over a nightcap. I wasn’t especially thrilled with my room, it was on the club floor, but smallish. Not unusual for an old building I suppose, and in the end, I wasn’t bothered by it. I just need a bed, a bath, and internet. I rarely turn on the TV in a hotel room. It occurred to me that it’s been many months since I’ve bunked at any other hotel in DC. But why?

Location – In the evenings, I want to separate from work if at all possible. I prefer not to stay very close to a work site. Walkability is important to me, as is access to trains/subways, and easy access to taxis when necessary. A choice of eating options nearby is also key. Most evenings, I’d rather not just return to the hotel and veg.

Amenities – It might not show, but I like to workout when I can. A hotel with a well-equipped fitness center will win over one with a repurposed guest room with a treadmill and stationary bike every time. While I usually prefer to leave the hotel for the evening meal, I prefer hotels with a decent restaurant/bar option under roof. Sometimes the weather is bad and sometimes I just don’t want to go out.

Consistency of service – I’m all for quirky as long as quirky gets done consistently well. I look for polite staff and clean rooms with a functional work area that is well lit. Power outlets help too. While things rarely go wrong at a good hotel, issues can come up anywhere and I appreciate an earnest effort to fix things if there’s a problem.

Price is certainly a factor for me, but it is usually not the deciding factor unless rates are through the roof. You can get the three things I look for in a hotel at a lot of properties, and they need not necessarily be what one calls “fancy.” The Mayflower does all this, and it’s a pretty nice (by my standards) hotel too. What do you look for in a hotel, and what keeps you coming back?

-MJ, June 4, 2014