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There’s been a tremendous amount of talk lately among various travel outlets about hotel rooms. Not the rooms themselves, mind you (though that’s always important), but the views out the windows.

Ostensibly, all the chatter is linked to the arrival of Room77.com, a California-based Web site that purports to show you what you’ll be looking at from the window in your accommodations, thus helping you choose a specific floor or even a room when you book. You put in your specs and the site creates a virtual shot of the view. There’s also an iPhone app that lets you know on the spot (read: at check-in) what to expect when you open the door, thus allowing you to request an immediate room change and negating that annoying trip back to the front desk.

It’s all very cool, and very much in the nascent stages. Only three-star hotels and above will be offered, and only 16 cities are represented so far (though that translates to a rather impressive 425,000 rooms). You can’t book directly on the site yet, but that’s reportedly going to change soon. All in all, it has the potential to be a powerful force once it catches on — and it’s great fun playing around on the site to see how it measures up at hotels where you’ve already stayed (I, for one, am mightily impressed by its accuracy).

crowne plaza boston newton massachusetts turnpike hotel room view

For its part, USA Today conducted a recent poll asking readers if they cared to see the view from their hotel room prior to arrival. A whopping 88 percent indicated that they would.

I wonder: What’s up with the 12 percent who don’t?

A huge fan of hotels, I’m always a bit anxious at check-in, as much over the quality of the room as the scene on the other side of the glass. My strategy to avoid disappointment? I always ask for a room on an upper floor. Even if the hotel is three stories, it’ll keep me from being at eye level with the Winnebago in the parking lot or the kids racing around the pool. I also routinely request a “quiet” spot, which means nowhere near the ice machine or elevator bank, and away from the main drag.

How to Get the Best Hotel Room

That backfires on occasion, inasmuch as the dumpster is usually out back, leading to a fair (unfair?) share of garbage-filled vistas. And there’s no accounting for construction eyesores (which even Room 77 may not be able to avert). Once in Las Vegas, I was psyched to get a suite near the peak of the Venetian, a soaring monolith on the Strip. But when I got to the room and opened up the curtains, a giant crane was swinging a girder bound for the Palazzo, the sister resort under construction next door.

dumpster view starlite hotel miami

Room 77 wouldn’t have done much to help ward off the worst view I’ve ever had, at a bed and breakfast in Chincoteague, VA. Promising a “waterfront location,” the inn was actually plunked in the parking lot of a neighboring marina. A huge truck for storing fish — with a bellowing refrigeration unit that ran 24/7 — sat about 10 feet outside my window. When I asked to move, the only other choice was … the other side of the truck. I stayed put and kept the shades drawn.

What’s the worst view you’ve ever had?

— written by John Deiner

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10 Responses to “Hotel Room Views: Do They Really Matter?”

  1. Simon says:

    I once stayed in a hotel in a room that had NO windows…… no view whatsover.

  2. Jo says:

    Years ago in Olongapo, Republic of the Philippines, we got the last room in a local hotel. It was late and we had no choice. The room was generally rented \by the hour,\ but we paid to sleep there all night. The room had no window at all and it was full of flying \water bugs!\

  3. Jon says:

    I love a room with a view. It cost more, but there is nothing like the night and the morning views. I always ask for a room with a view at the desk and when on line.

  4. tyrus says:

    Many Glacier Hotel at Glacier National Park in Montana. Looking out over Swiftcurrent Lake with the snowcapped mountains in the background is spectacular. You may also be able to look to your left and see a grizzly bear along the mountain side off in the distance. It doesn’t get any better than that.

  5. Julie says:

    My two favorite views were from Holiday Inn while staying the night before a cruise. One was a bayside room at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami. The hotel on the bay side is somewhat noisey due to the traffic and the taxi drivers calling out for customers but, when you open the curtains, you see the whole port and the fun marketplace out there. While staying at the Holiday Inn at the Port of San Diego, I also requested a bayside room and when we woke up in the morning and opened the curtains, there was our ship, just across the street. And I mean, right there……. Very exiting for me and my fellow travelers.

  6. Shawna says:

    Worst view – From the bathroom, I could look down on the train tracks in a station in Inverness, Scotland. Memorable. If I had had insomnia, I could have watched trains arriving and departing through the night.

    Best views – The town square in Chicester, England in a drizzling rain and the island of Santorini out my porthole at dawn.

  7. soliteyah says:

    We arrived at a mountain lodge in Dominica a couple of years ago and were led to a room overlooking the side of the building and a pile of trash, including an old broken toilet seat. Since we were literally the only guests in the whole place, we asked the manager to put us in a different room facing the mountains and the sea. (Why he initially put us in that crummy room I have no idea.) He complied, and we had some of the most gorgeous views I’ve ever had at a hotel.

  8. John says:

    Mostly I don’t care. When I travel to another location, I am in the room so little, (mostly out and about seeing the town), that when I am there I am sleeping, or showering and getting ready to go out.

  9. Cindy says:

    I stayed at Tabacon Hot Spring Resort in Costa Rica. You could lay in bed and watch the lava flow down the volcano!

  10. Cercyse says:

    I once stayed at a hotel in Williamsburg, VA and my room had a sliding glass door which was no longer being used, on the first floor with a bullet hole in it. I move to another hotel quickly!

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