Hotels – What Keeps Me Coming Back

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



About Marshall Jackson

Marshall Jackson is a former airline pilot, grounded by diabetes. After spending several years in operations management, he exited the airline business for a more stable career. But that hasn't dampened his interest in airplanes, airlines and travel in general.

More articles by Marshall Jackson »


  1. Marriott Platinum for Life here…

    I look for a friendly greeting, thanking me for loyalty (OK I like a little ego massage on occasion). The upgrade to which I am entitled by status (if available). At the VERY least, check me into a clean, fresh room that is NOT already occupied (been there done that) where EVERYTHING works and that LOOKS like the maintenance and housekeeping staffs have kept up… ie, repairing any major cosmetic things…

    I want the toilet to flush and not run, the shower diverter to work and the tub to DRAIN-all of which can usually be discovered if housekeeping does their job. OH and do NOT NOT NOT ever tuck in the bottom sheet, top sheet, blanket/duvet and if it’s there, the 3rd sheet at the same time!! The whole bed will come apart.

    Having been a housekeeping manager, this stuff makes me NUTS!! And if I find a couple things that are not clean I will start looking for other things that they missed.

    Also, if something goes WRONG, FIX IT! Invite me back on your dime, and then spoil me! Good will costs nothing really. I had a not so great stay at a Ritz Carlton outside of DC. Once I contacted the GM, he made it right and then some. If you don’t point out issues then hotels will never know. Of course, it’s all in how the problems are presented.

    One other thing, when I have a great time and I take a few minutes to send an email/letter saying so, hotel managers should really have the courtesy to hit “REPLY” and say ‘thanks for letting us know…” When I was an associate, kind words from guests meant a great deal to all of us. I don’t think that’s changed!!

    BTW I do love the Mayflower….they usually upgrade me too ….. 😉 If you’re ever in the DCA area, the Renaissance Arlington Capital View is amazing as well.

  2. I worked by th Mayflower hotel for 18 months and agree it is a great location for a hotel in DC. Marriott may not get a lot of love on boarding area but the Mayflower is a quality hotel in a great location.

    @Meg, I actually parked under the Renaissance Arlington Capital View for 2 years when I worked in Cystal City. Agree about the view although I am not sure I would want to stay there for any period of time unless I had an early flight out of National.

  3. I would add reliable internet to the must-haves. You’d be surprised how many hotels still can’t get that right, but it’s a must.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *