More than just a place to rest your head

The modern hotel concept sprung up in Europe around 1768.

Before hotels, travelers pitted in at coaching inns which tended to the needs of the traveller and their livestock.

Travel was considerably less common due to restriction of time and distance prior to the proliferation of the railway system.

But with advances in travel came the need for short term lodging.

To say we’ve advanced past seeking a place to lay our head, however, is understatement.

How much service are you looking for?

There are really only two generalized types of hotels: full and limited service.

Full-service hotels have food services like a restaurant, bar or both on site. Limited service is, well, limited to neither.

Typically amenities such as pools, business centres, and fitness facilities are found only in full-service operators.

Some limited services, however, are finding they are now having to offer more to guests in order to stay competitive.

Travelers’ demands tech

As a kid, there was always some luxury to watching TV from your hotel room bed. And if you were lucky, maybe even a cable channel or two you didn’t have at home!

Once TVs were readily available, so came pay per view choices tied to your hotel room billing.

Technology demands of the weary traveler have only increased.

Rooms have switched from literal keys to card passes, much to my mother’s chagrin in the art of the tap and enter.

I recall thinking many years ago that in room ethernet hook up was a snazzy feature. We’ve now rocketed past that.

The Trivago commercials are currently making fun of hotels that advertise free wi-fi.

Surely you can’t charge people for that and as if you wouldn’t have it.

Feed me

The continental breakfast is a perk that has taken on a very different interpretation in hospitality.

Previously encompassing coffee, juice, maybe some fresh fruit or muffins, many hotels have moved to a nearly full breakfast buffet.

I stayed at the Travelodge in Regina this past weekend and was astonished at their breakfaster offerings.

Multi cereal choices, fresh fruit cups, yogurt, and bakery items anchored a full warm breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage and pancakes.

It appeared most guests were taking part in the free (included in your room cost) breakfast.

The Travelodge, it seems, made an economical decision to close their on-site restaurant for use exclusively for the breakfast crowd instead.

Soaked in fun

Very few full-service hotels are built anymore without a pool.

Brands that are interested in attracting family traffic to increase occupancy and average daily rates are especially shelling out on water features for ages young and old.

We booked at the Regina Travelodge specifically for their Soaked waterpark.

I think it’s safe to say my nieces and nephews would give the value-added feature their water wrinkled thumbs up.

Two speedy waterslides dominate the refurbished pool area, gently shooting you into exit chutes instead of the whirlpool death traps of my youth.

There is a generous hot tub and separated swimming pool as well.

Nestled in the heart of the pool area is a lit-up spray pad with massive rainfall structure that changed patterns.

Definitely not your average hotel pool.

Overall it seemed like good bang for our buck on a sold out, Roughriders game night in Regina for $160 taxes in.

When traveling without my extended family entourage, I’d likely opt for a hotel with a good location over provided amenities.

As well I’m a points follower and have spent years trying to weigh brand rewards versus actual value.

It definitely comes down to what I’m going to get for what I actually need, and it seems each hotel has their own unique pitch these days.

Posted by Kelly Macsymic

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