Picking the right hotel is something you do not want to screw up. If you are visiting a city for the first time, and you are like me, you probably spend hours researching the location and reviews. Taxis and even public transportation can really add up, so putting yourself right in the heart of the sight-seeing-action is pertinent.
Kayak, the travel booking giant, has a super-sweet hotel mapping tool. You have probably seen travel websites that show you “map view” so you can spot hotels that are in the neighborhood you want to be. Well, what if you don’t know which neighborhood is best for the traveling fool? Kayak has a slick solution.
Again, viewing hotels on a map is nothing new. Viewing hotels on a heat map that is based on photography and tourist density, now that is pretty cool! You can even toggle shopping, nightlife, and restaurants if those are relevant to you.
Looking at the “sightseeing” heat map of Manhattan, you can clearly see where the popular areas are located. If you wanted to be in the heat of things, just pick a hotel smack-dab in the middle of the action.
Above, I have pointed out the main tourist areas in Midtown-Manhattan. Did you spot Time Square, The Chrysler Building, and Rockefeller Center? There are a couple of hotels that would put you within a 10 minute walk of any of these must-see spots.
In all honesty, New York is not too difficult to pick a hotel. If you land somewhere in Midtown you will be close to anything thing a traffic-stopping tourist would want to see. Now, a city in a country that you have never been to, that is a different story. A city like London, which I loved, is not as walk-able as Manhattan. But do keep in mind The Tube in London can get you around rather easily. As you can see on the image above, there is a huge difference on one side of the Thames River (pronounced tems, don’t ask) compared to the other. On the north side of the river you will find Piccadilly Square, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben! (all a must for a first time visitor)
When shopping for a hotel, make sure to check a number of sites like Priceline, Kayak, Hotels.com etc. Another key thing to keep in mind is that booking on a hotel’s website is typically more advantageous than booking through a third-party like Kayak if pricing is similar. Booking direct on a hotel’s website will, at times, get you free WiFi and will always make ensure that you will earn points and status qualifications from your stay. If prices are very similar, definitely go through the hotel’s site, you might even get free cancellation.