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Christiane Germain on choosing a hotel

An interview with Christiane Germain, Co-President of Groupe Germain, globe-trotter and epicurious. She gives us her tips on how to choose a hotel abroad, even with a small budget!

Le Hublot: How much time do you spend travelling outside the cities where Groupe Germain has offices?
Christiane Germain: If I counted all my travels to one office or the other, I would say that I am away most of the year! I spend an average of 6 or 7 weeks a year outside the country or in Canadian cities where we don’t have hotels yet.

LH: When the time comes to choose a hotel, do you go back to the places you know and like, or do you prefer to discover new ones?
CG: It all depends on the type of travel. If I’m in an urban environment, then of course I’m interested in the hotel I stay at but also in the city I visit. So I choose a hotel that corresponds to what I want to see. However, when I travel to a sunny place to get some rest, I tend to go back to places I like and I’m familiar with.

LH: What motivates your choice when it comes to picking a hotel?
CG: Most of the time I rely on people’s recommendations and things I’ve read. I also often research a hotel when someone I follow on Twitter recommends it. To me, word of mouth is the number one reference.

LH: What characteristics should we look for so we can make sure to book a nice hotel according to our budget constraints?
CG: The best advice I can give, especially with budget constraints, is to pay attention to the number of stars and the age of the building. If it’s a 2-star hotel that’s been in business for 20 years, it’s most likely a bad hotel. However if it’s a 2-star hotel that’s been in business for less than a year or two, chances are we get value for money as the hotel is new. Also, many hotels offer special opening rates so it’s worth trying out new places.

LH: What’s the best way to know that the hotel we book offers a good price/quality ratio?
CG: First of all, one has to be aware that many hotels offer very high, even disproportionate rates when major events take place in a city. If there’s a big difference between the regular seasonal rate given on the website and the rate given when booking, chances are that the hotel is overvalued and not worth your money – no matter the price you pay. That being said, the best way to make sure you get the best quality/price ratio in a hotel is to travel as often as possible outside peak periods.

LH: Finally what is the best hotel discovery you’ve made during the past months?
CG: I didn’t have to travel far. I had a huge crush on Hotel La Ferme in Baie-Saint-Paul. Otherwise, I constantly fall in love with Europe and the beautiful hotels there.

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