Why I Prefer 2.5 Star Hotels to 5 Star Hotels


photo (59) One of the things I’ve increasingly realized is that I prefer 2 1/2* and 3* hotels to hotels that are 3 1/2* and above. Here’s why.

1. Fewer people you need to tip.

Honestly having to deal with people wanting to carry my bag for me is stressful. I carried that thing from New Zealand, I don’t need someone to help me get it to my room.

I also want to self park, not valet park.

2. Less pretentious.

The hoodie I’ve been traveling with has holes in it (I don’t see a reason to get a new one until they’re large holes!). No one looks down at me arriving at a 2 1/2 star hotel like this (or maybe they’re just better at hiding it!)

Half the time I think the only thing that makes me look vaguely respectable is that I’m usually carrying my shiny Mac Air.

My favorite hotel staff are often those at 1* hotels, like Motel 6s. My general observation is that the lower the star level is, the nicer the staff are. I often observe that the staff at places like Motel 6 seem to treat every guest with respect, even if they appear to be down on their luck. I love to see someone being treated with respect, even if they’re trying to split their hotel night across cash and their debit card.

3. They usually have a microwave for guest use.

Either the rooms will tend to have a microwave or there will be one in the lobby that guest’s can use. As a vegan traveler, this means I can heat an Amy’s burrito for lunch or dinner and be totally sorted.

4. Free wifi and, at least sometimes, free parking.

Under 2 1/2 stars and you run the risk that there might not be reliable wifi that reaches every room, but I’ve never paid for wifi in the 2 1/2 to 3 star range.

There also tends to be free parking except at airport locations or in densely populated cities. 2 1/2 star hotels are more likely to have free parking than 3 star hotels.

5. No, or at worst low, “resort fees.”

In places like Las Vegas and Palm Springs, you’ll usually get hit with resort fees if the hotel is 3 1/2* or above, which can be $25 a night. In Vegas it’s possible to get a room for $25 a night!

A 3* hotel might have a resort might have a resort fee of $12 or none at all.

5. Windows that open.

One of the things about staying in a lot of hotels is that I’ve become a bit claustrophobic about windows that don’t open. I find that 2 1/2* or lower hotels usually not only have windows that open but often have a balcony. In most cases the windows have a screen which means that temperature permitting it’s possible to have fresh air all day long and not have any issues with insects.

6. Less of a walk from the parking to your room.

In some large hotels, it’s often a bit of a maze to get from the parking lot to your room. Again, the lower the star level, the easier the parking access tends to be. Parking at lower star hotels is often outdoors and there is typically a side door that means you can just swipe your key and go up the stairs to your room. No waiting for the elevator or trying to remember what floor you parked on.


  1. // Reply

    These are all very good points!. Occasionally there are extra special features of higher star hotels but often they’re not THAT different from 2-3 star hotels, except in all the extra little charges!

  2. // Reply

    Oh boy do I agree with your post, especially right now about point 4…we are spending 2 nights at a nice chain resort through a points program I have and I was appalled that wifi isn’t free! We had just come from a hostel that was 1/6 the cost of this hotel per night and we had no issues or charges for the wifi! Geesh.

  3. // Reply

    I have to say it really depends on the type of holiday I am trying to have.

    If I am on the move a lot and out all day site seeing then cheap and cheerful is the way to go.

    However if it’s all about relaxing by the pool – then I want 5 star all the way!

  4. // Reply

    I love that you look for a microwave to heat up your Amy’s burritos…we are both vegan too and I think we’d be the same way! Great tips here! 🙂

    1. // Reply

      Thanks for stopping by to comment. I’m going to read your cruise posts to see how that went for you as vegans.

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