All about how I select lodgings for this site
For each major destination, I've included my own hotel picks in every price category.
Back when I was writing guidebooks, I spent a frightening amount of time touring European hotels. Depending on how large the city, I'd see anywhere from two dozen to more than 100 hotels, a never ending process of badgering desk clerks to let me peek into rooms, bouncing on beds, turning on taps (hot water? check), repeatedly opening and closing windows to see how well they kept out traffic noise, and furiously scribbling notes. (I also spent an inordinate amount of time politely nodding at linen closets, hotel kitchens, conference rooms, and other bits of the hotel useless to my purposes but that overeager owners or managers felt it was vital that I see.)
Then I'd take my notes and my laptop back to my hotel (or a convenient pub) and spend hours crafting intricate, 300-word descriptions of the top 50 or 60 inns in each city, including laundry lists of obscure amenities and obsessive details on the decor, because this is what the guidebook editors required of me.
Not only was this excruciatingly dull, it was fairly useless to the travelers using the books.
After having seen—and, over ten years of updating multiple editions of each book, stayed in—thousands of hotels in hundreds of cities and towns, I finally figured it out.
You don't need lengthy articles on 30 different places in Oxford where you might spend the night.
No, far more useful would be to know, right off the bat, the top four or five places where you'd want to spend the night. The places that offer great value for your pound no matter what the price range—whether a $20 hostel, $80 B&B, or $500 hotel suite in a Listed building. Hotels, inns, and other accommodations where it really is worth booking ahead for a room.
In short, the hotels where—having sampled them all—I, myself, would stay if given a choice.
It doesn't matter what you prefer in a hotel—quirky & cheap, amazing location, rooms with a view, classic comfort, elegant, or designer. We've got choices for everyone.
Well, I've finally posted them, the hotel short-lists I've long e-mailed to friends and family. When I need a room—for myself, my parents, my buddies, or my Boy Scout troop—these are the places I call.
These are, in short, my favorite hotels in Britain.