What sort of ho­tel suits the busi­ness trav­eller?

Do self-pro­claimed busi­ness ho­tels cater well for busi­ness trav­ellers – or should we look fur­ther afield?


Re­cently, I have been think­ing about what sort of ho­tel suits the busi­ness trav­eller best. A life­time of travel and work­ing in ho­tels has, per­haps, made me a lit­tle par­tic­u­lar (my wife might say pe­cu­liar), but I know that many of you also have spe­cific likes and dis­likes. Here are mine.

Firstly, I am look­ing for a prop­erty that main­tains high stan­dards, will sell me a room for not much more than £250, and is near the city’s busi­ness cen­tre. Ideally it would be adults only, and have easy trans­port to take me to the fi­nan­cial cen­tre. I also want su­per-fast broad­band, a break­fast with­out soggy toast and a re­ally, re­ally com­fort­able bed.

In re­sponse to my ad­mit­tedly spe­cific on­line ques­tions dur­ing my in­ter­net search, I have been of­fered al­ter­na­tives. No blan­ket ban on fam­i­lies with chil­dren, but a prom­ise of some seg­re­ga­tion while stay­ing at the Ge­or­gian Court Ho­tel in Van­cou­ver, who – un­aware of my gen­der – of­fered me a “Ladies only floor”. To tempt me fur­ther, the on­line sales agent also pro­posed padded hang­ers for my del­i­cate cloth­ing items and a yoga mat. Pre­sum­ably that means there are trav­ellers who have those two things on their per­sonal wish list. I hope that I never meet them.

I should add that al­though I do con­sider a fit­ness room a top pri­or­ity, on my sec­ondary ros­ter of “use­ful but not es­sen­tial”, I seek out a heated swim­ming pool with a sauna. Some ho­tels have par­tic­u­larly grim ex­am­ples of both of th­ese, but when they are well main­tained, and prefer­ably de­serted, they can make a trav­eller very happy.

Dur­ing my in­quiries I in­sist I am on a busi­ness trip, and need a ho­tel that can cater to th­ese needs. This has elicited lots of in­for­ma­tion about busi­ness-fo­cused ameni­ties: a daily news­pa­per, a busi­ness lounge, a se­lec­tion of sta­tionery items in my room and all-day tea or cof­fee. One Hil­ton ho­tel be­lieved my bed­room was not a place of rest, and sug­gested a room that looked like an of­fice space with a bed jammed in the cor­ner. This de­sign might ap­peal to Churchillian worka­holics who fol­low the great man’s lead of con­duct­ing busi­ness by the bed­side, but it doesn’t ap­peal to me.


In my ideal busi­ness ho­tel I have also con­sid­ered the op­tions for food and bev­er­ages. I want a din­ing room that doesn’t look as if it is feed­ing five thou­sand, and a break­fast that of­fers more that the ubiq­ui­tous buf­fet. I ap­pre­ci­ate it when the serv­ing staff don’t look at me strangely for choos­ing Coco Pops as my morn­ing ce­real (af­ter all, there are no chil­dren to eat them in my ideal ho­tel). It is cer­tainly prefer­able to have a restau­rant that has linen on the ta­bles and car­pet on the floor. I like ta­bles that are sig­nif­i­cantly well spaced from each other in or­der for me to dis­cuss my busi­ness dis­creetly with the din­ing part­ner seated with me. All too fre­quently I am pressed into a ban­quette along­side a stranger.

In ad­di­tion, the acous­tics are im­por­tant. Unadorned walls and hard floors cause sounds to ric­o­chet, some­thing that can be off-putting when your favourite choco­late-flavoured break­fast ce­real is bal­anced close to your mouth. Noth­ing spells dis­as­ter to a busi­ness trip like a morn­ing spill. And in the evening I like a bar as a place to re­lax, where I can per­haps watch some sport I don’t nor­mally get the chance to view at home – bas­ket­ball, for in­stance, or base­ball, or kabaddi.


None of the above cri­te­ria are easy to sat­isfy, but I have not yet given up all hope of find­ing my Val­halla. For many years I have prob­a­bly been fo­cus­ing too much on the big brands and their ob­vi­ous ameni­ties. Re­search has re­vealed that the best places for peace, tran­quil­lity, fine com­fort­able beds and ex­cel­lent food has to be the smor­gas­bord of hum­ble bed and break­fast es­tab­lish­ments ex­ist­ing in most ma­jor cities. Mid-week there will be few chil­dren, the break­fast will be served freshly cooked, and the ta­bles will be suit­ably spaced apart. Not all meet ev­ery re­quire­ment (few have sports bars, for in­stance, though they do have lo­cal TV), but the top ones are usu­ally well lo­cated near good trans­port, and the hosts are al­ways per­son­able. Not only that, but there are morn­ing pa­pers and good broad­band speeds. Many of the best aren’t cheap, but they still fit within my bud­get.

The next time you meet a busi­ness col­league and they tell you they are stay­ing “in a lit­tle place I know” per­haps they have come to the same con­clu­sion; that the best ho­tels for busi­ness might be bed and break­fasts.

For many years I have been fo­cus­ing too much on the big brands and their ob­vi­ous ameni­ties

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