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Room with a View

What Not to Overlook When You Book

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Room with a View

Ocean front view from master villa at One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas.

One of the best things about staying in a hotel or resort room on vacation can be the view. It's balm for the spirit to get up in the morning, throw open the curtains to your room, and take in a view of the ocean with no obstructions between your line of sight and the blue horizon.

Similarly, the view from city hotels from New York to Hong Kong — especially when your room is on a high floor — can mesmerize and make you feel as if you're on top of the world.

Alas, not all room views are created equally. Having been the recipient of dumpster views, a bank-of-air-conditioners view, even a moss-covered-crypt view, I bring to your attention some of the options hoteliers do advertise.

It should come as no surprise that the better the view from your room, the more you must pay. These are common view descriptions you are likely to come across. They are presented in order of desirability:

  • Ocean front - An ocean front room connotes not just an unobstructed view of the ocean but also indicates a room that has direct access to the beach.
  • Ocean view - An ocean view room has a water view, but a walk may be required to reach the beach. Tower hotels often provide a beach view.
  • City view - A city view room means a skyline view. Ironically, in many cities the hotels in districts that face the city afford better views than hotels within them.
  • Garden view - A step down from an ocean view, a garden view normally overlooks a landscaped area.
  • Pool view - The least desirable view — especially on a lower floor — a pool view can mean a noisy room, especially at a resort that permits children.
  • Atrium view - Hotels built around a central atrium sometimes have windows looking out at the core. Unless you enjoy looking a people looking at you from across the way, there's not much to recommend this view, either.
The next time you reserve a hotel room, don't just ask "What's the rate?" — have them tell you what's the view, too.

Tip: Check the view as soon as you check in. If it's not what you paid for, or you see cranes or other evidence of construction, or you simply find the view unappealing, ask to switch to another room. If I had done that in the room-with-the-crypt view, I wouldn't have stayed up all night, biting my nails....

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