This comparison looks at four popular hotel chains in the United States. These hotels serve a variety of business and tourism needs. This review looked at locations, prices, special amenities, travel packages and loyalty plans. All of the hotels featured had some of these elements. The hotels ranged from the top of the line to more economical lower end rooms. Services and amenities offered varied at each company. Sometimes these services were on special for the season; others were showcased as part of the brand. The results proved to be quite interesting.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts are a collection of several upper scale hotel chains. These include the Sheratin, Westin, W, Four Points and Element. Most of these hotels are situated at the more popular and exclusive tourist areas. Large parts of the United States have areas that are not served by this chain.
Pros: This hotel chain provides top of the line service. Rooms are tastefully decorated in modern looks with modern furniture. Most hotels offer the option of both single rooms and suites to their clients. The company has a loyalty program that provides extra benefits for its customers. Rooms offer extra amenities including irons, coffee makers, internet ports, desks and storage areas.
Cons: The cons are very few. Any location will offer a great stay. The main con is price, which can rise to hundreds of dollars per night depending on the resort and type of room chosen. That said, as the price goes up, more services are added for the customer such as attraction tickets and butlers. Very little to complain about here, except for those parts of the country that are not serviced by Starwood.
Pricing: Here are some examples of pricing at Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Price shown is the lowest for the location. Often these prices are only found at Starwood's more boutique hotels.
Radisson Hotels are a group of middle to upper end hotels that strive to offer their guests a unique experience. The hotel emphasizes their grab-and-go breakfast, late check-outs, and local packages. Located in trendy areas, these hotels are a brilliant choice in the mid-price range for lodging.
Pros: These hotels provide well appointed, spacious rooms. The rooms include extra amenities. Most hotels have business centers and conference rooms. Room fees include an early breakfast; additional choices can be added to the lodging package. Pricing is appropriate for the level of services provided. The late check-out is a nice bonus if you are a night person.
Cons: There are not very many cons. Hotel packages are resonably priced, but could induce a customer to spend more than they need. Hotels are somewhat geared to the business traveler; families with pets and young kids might not be too welcome here. Again, some locations of the country are not served by this chain.
Pricing: The cost per night varies, but these are some of the lowest cost choices available when I wrote this article. Prices are in the midddle to high end range for a night's stay.
Marriott Hotels is a group of hotel chains that cater from the lower end of the market to the high end. Brands include Fairmont, Marriott, Ritz-Carleton, Courtyard and Renaissance hotels. The company features special travel packages, discounts to military and government employees, senior citizens, and members of AAA.
Pros: Marriott offers a range of hotel levels at multiple locations. Using any of these locations allows loyalty members to earn points and receive discounts. The higher end hotels generate more packages and discounts. The company offers discounts to military and certain corporate groups. Hotels are geared to the business person, but families will feel at home here. Pets are welcome at many sites. Lower end rooms are tastefully decorated. The company serves most areas of the country.
Cons: There are not many cons here. Some hotels tend to be a bit on the noisy side, and some of the business centers are small. The packages are competitive, but not the cheapest in the industry. The company does want to push its customers to its higher end properties, but that is to be expected.
Pricing: Pricing at hotels in the chain vary in the same area. Some lower end hotels can be more expensive than some of the higher end hotels. It pays to check out your package and room rates thoroughly.
Motel 6 advertises it has the lowest prices in the United States. Its hotel rooms are low budget, but will get the job done. The floors are covered in linoleum. The beds are comfortable but not king-size. Furniture in the room is made of plastics, not wood. The hotels accept pets and children stay for free. The company is building Studio 6 hotels for those customers who want a little more space in their room and a few more amentities. Studio 6 includes a small kitchen and dining area. Most rooms come with internet access.
Pros: Offers a clean, comfortable room at as great price. Rooms are plentiful and located by major access points. A loyalty club rewards customers who stay at the hotel on a regular basis. Pets and children are welcome at these hotels. Some hotels offfer discounts on tourist activities near their locations.
Cons: Hotels are busy and can be noisy. Decor is plastic-like; there is no wood or marble like bathrooms here. Some amenities are missing in some locations such as air conditioning, irons, and coffee makers that are common throughout the industry. Some hotels have local residents that simply stay at the hotel all the time.
Pricing: Here are some examples of prices at some hotel locations. Prices are for a one-night stay.
I have listed these hotel chains in order of their level of sophistication. If I were to list them in order of price, the order would be reversed.
Motel 6 offered the best prices on a night's lodging. Rates were sometimes more than 50 percent less. In some of the larger urban areas with more competition, some of Motel 6's prices can be more closely matched for a less plastic room. Motel 6 is everywhere, and most hotels are a cookie cutter version of the last one. You know what you are getting with this chain.
Marriott's was next in pricing with its different levels of hotels. Staying at Marriott's, a customer could chose a high end hotel or a middle level accommodation. This is very useful when lodging in an expensive area. It means that Marriott's loyalty club can be used by more customers over the other companies reviewed. Marriott's also offers discounts to certain groups.
Radisson Hotels is an upper end hotel chain. Thier hotels run from higher end to extremely posh. They are located in some of the most popular tourist areas. Radisson offers travel packages, a generous loyalty plan, late check-out for their guests and their continental breakfast. These hotels are more adult oriented, but offer a high quality product.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts is the most expensive of these hotel chains. A high end resort and hotel company, these hotels offer their guests almost any comfort they desire. Rooms are tastefully decorated with modern amenities; many rooms are suites. Most of the hotels have plenty of activites on site for guests to use during their stay. They often include the cost of a local attraction as part of the benefit of staying at the resort.
To sum up, for economy, Motel 6 is the clear winner. For posh care and comfort, Starwood Hotel and Resorts is the leader. For slightly less posh at a more economical rate, a good compromise is the Radisson. For those who want a choice between middle and high end hotels and a loyalty program, the Marriott is the way to go.