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Last week I shared some travel planning tips on how to find a unique hotel. This week I’ll discuss the value in staying in an independently owned or family run hotel. You can have a pleasant, upscale experience without staying in a chain hotel.
I know going “off the chain” might make some people worry about quality control. Just because a hotel may be independently own doesn’t mean they may not be part of a larger organization, either local or statewide. These organizations audit the smaller hotels, only accepting hotels that meet set criteria of standards.
Finding these organizations is another great way to search and find hotels that have higher standards. While I can imagine there’s many of these alliances nationwide and worldwide, here’s a few sites to start you off.
Superior Small Lodging
Search for Small Hotel Organization in Florida, and you’ll come across Superior Small Lodging which is a statewide organization. SSL has approximately 150 independently owned hotels in the state of Florida. The non-profit organization is only for authentic properties with less than 50 rooms. These small hotels, inns, and bed & breakfast locations are full of unique authentic Florida charm, yet still have modern conveniences and luxury.
Superior Small Lodging maintains high standards by conducting independent inspections of each property yearly. In order to remain a part of the SSL group, the properties must pass inspection and those that receive a perfect score are awarded the White Gloves Award. Searching their site, you’ll see the White Gloves Award symbol. These are also linked with their TripAdvisor Ratings so you can review real travelers’ comments.
I’ve had personal experience with more than one SSL rated property and I can attest the ratings and quality control are up to par for my experience.
Small Luxury Hotels
Small Luxury Hotels is a worldwide organization of 520 independent hotels on the more luxury side of things. along the same lines as Superior Small Lodging, SLH does inspections of each hotel to ensure quality and luxury. I like that they are also champions of small, authentic, and unique hotels as well as offering a reward/membership club so that you don’t miss out on the perks larger chains offer.
Small Elegant Hotels
Small Elegant Hotels is another worldwide organization offering quality small hotels around the world. My favorite part of their site is the Search by Hotel Type. Here you can search for hotels offering wellness, beach, child-friendly, ranch hotels, and more.
What about you? When looking for a unique hotel, do you have a go-to website? I’d love to include more. Comment below with your suggestions.