When it comes to traveling, your accommodations will inevitably account for a huge chunk of your expenses. So why settle for a run-of-the-mill stay in a chain hotel? If you’re not into Airbnb, there’s still a way to make your room a comfortable and memorable part of your trip. And if you’re traveling the right way, your room shouldn’t be just a place where your head hits the pillow, but rather an extension of the place you’re visiting.
So what’s the best way to sleep at an immersive place with a more personal touch but still ensure you have room service? Boutique hotels, which are more popular than ever in these days of airline flash sales, travel bloggers and Instagram.
The thing is though, the right boutique hotel can be more difficult to find. A service, called Tablet Hotels, however, takes care of that for you. Their team of curators has looked at every hotel in the world to give customers a short list of the ones that have taste and soul, across a range of prices and style. And to boot, booking with Tablet lets you unlock a ton of perks you wouldn’t have access to if you book through the hotel’s own site or other booking sites.
“But the thing is, you don’t just sleep in a hotel, you live there, for a night or two, at least,” reads Tablet’s website. “And while you’re there, you’re not just getting used to a different pillow, but trying on a whole different life—inhabiting a new space, eating in a new restaurant, drinking in a new bar, checking out your traveling companion (or yourself) in different lighting, against a new interior-design backdrop.”
What lands hotels on Tablet is uniqueness, attention to detail and amenities that offer you the chance to upgrade from your everyday life. Architecture, decor, scenery, food and the overall personality of the place is what matters. Each year, the search for more boutique hotels continues, and the ones already on the platform are reevaluated to make sure they’re still worth it.
And it’s more than just a booking platform. Users submit reviews, and Tablet will remove any hotel that is underperforming. Additionally, they can submit any hotel that isn’t on the site for consideration.
The real value of Tablet, though, comes with the Tablet Plus program. For $99 annually, you get more access at 1,200 of Tablet’s hotels across 88 countries. The membership entitles you to serious perks like early check-in, free drinks, fresh flowers in your room, discounts at local attractions and more—it all depends on what each specific hotel is offering.
At the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where this reporter once stayed, Tablet Plus members receive: a complimentary room upgrade upon check-in, a $50 spa credit, free bike rental and a complimentary breakfast buffet daily. In this case, just the breakfast pays for the $99 membership. The Hotel Louison in Paris, on the other hand, offers: a complimentary upgrade, 2PM check-out, a bottle of wine and a seasonal welcome gift.
The Plus program is perfect for traveling business people and those who vacation frequently, but even just one trip is worth it when you add up the value of the extras. Plus, you can’t put a price on the experience.