Like most travelers, when you go anywhere on a trip you will be staying in a hotel or a series of hotels. Usually this is the most comfortable way to travel. You can leave your room a mess and someone will clean it for you. You don't have to worry about security, and the hotel will have most of the amenities that you have grown accustomed to.
But there are still some guides that you should follow when embarking on your quest for accommodation. Sure, many of the variables are dependent on your personal preferences, but there are some absolutes that you should keep in mind when looking for a place to stay.
This is the golden rule of Hotels. You should book your room as far in advance as you can. This will ensure that there is a room waiting for you, but most importantly it will ensure you get the room you want. Not all hotel rooms are created equal and you need to keep that in mind. For instance, if you are sensitive to smoke you should request a room on a non-smoking floor. Also, a hotel room on one side of the building might have a much nicer view, which will greatly enhance your experience. Also, some hotels are giant buffers of street noise so be sure to ask as many questions as you can of the reservation staff in hopes of getting the details of the rooms that are available. They will know which side is the noisy side and which on is the calm side. It never hurts to ask.
Having a hotel downtown is not always the best choice. Most downtown hotels are far more expensive then hotels on the outskirts. So if you are short on cash, or you would rather spend your cash on something else, take a closer look at these hotels. For instance, if cabs are cheap where you plan to go, you can easily save lots of money by taking cabs to and from the hotels.
Also, as was mentioned before, a hotel right downtown can be a noisy experience, if you are a light sleeper you might like to have a hotel that is in a quiet part of town. Also, if you are a beach lover, getting a hotel on the beach is almost always better then one that is not. Nothing is more relaxing then taking a leisurely stroll down to the beach from your hotel room, sit un the sun, and make trips back for things like food and more sun screen.
Much like rooms, not all hotels are created equal. The quality of your hotel will have a massive impact on how you like your traveling experience. Sure the pictures in brochure look nice, but how is the smell, are those sheets clean? It is stuff like this that you can glean from a brochure. Luckily we live in an age of information technology. You can quickly browse different travel guides and online blogs to find out the real goods on these hotels. In many cases you can even contact people who have stayed there so you can find out what the real deal is. Simply search the name of the hotel along with the words 'opinion' or 'review', this should get you all the information you are looking for.
My best advice for staying in a hotel is to treat the staff like they were made out of gold and chocolate. These hard working people see EVERYTHING and they are treated like human trash by many of the people staying there who seem to believe they are on vacation for basic human decency. Treating the staff well ensures that they will treat you well. There are innumerable ways that hotel staff can reek their revenge on you and your possessions, so don't tempt fate.
If you treat the staff well, you will have access to any information about the hotel that others may not have, and trust me all hotels have their little perks for good customers.