(RTH Sigurdsson)
Article 05 August

Stay safe in alternative accommodation

Novelty hotels, glamping and budget hostels offer a different experience for the adventurous among us, but it’s important to also remember your wellbeing and safety... Here's how

Nowadays, you can sleep beneath the stars in a ‘pop-up’ tepee or eat breakfast under the sea. The eccentric possibilities for a night's sleep on the road are endless, but it’s important to also remember your wellbeing and safety...

It is easy for guests to become distracted by the unique features of a novelty hotel, such as exposure to the sunshine and fresh air that a tepee provides, but health and safety should never be compromised. If traditional establishments are finding it a challenge to maintain good hygiene standards after thorough training of staff and rigid procedures, imagine how difficult it might be for somewhere a little bit different.

There are five ways that guests can ensure their stay at a novelty hotel is a safe one:

1. Before you book...

Contact the hotel you want to stay at directly. Ask some of the following simple questions:

a. Do you have a Food Hygiene System in place?
b. How do you guarantee the cleanliness of your rooms?
c. How regularly do you have your water checked for Legionnaires’ disease?
d. Do you keep records of guest illness rates?
e. When was your fire safety system last checked?

If the answers given are evasive, consider looking for somewhere else. Hotel managers should be happy to answer any questions if they are able to back up their claims.

2. The hard evidence

If a hotel uses scheme logos/labels as evidence of quality, make sure that these are valid and significant. All too often these schemes are limited or in the worst case are only a paid for badge that has no associated verification.

3. The small print

When looking at the website of a hotel, make sure you read the small print. This might give you a clue as to how reliable the information supplied really is.

4. Best practice

Book your stay through a tour operator if at all possible. You will be better protected by law if anything goes wrong. The 1992 Package Travel Directive (PTD) makes EU tour operators responsible for the welfare of their clients.

5. A matter of opinion...

Don’t rely on hotel review websites unless you know how they obtain their information. Remember different people have very different views on what constitutes a good place to stay, especially when you are dealing with quirky novelty hotels. There is also the risk that reviews are written by the hotel themselves. If a review uses terms like “great value for money” and the “wonderfully friendly staff” or refers to a special offer, think twice about how genuine it is.

Mark Harrington is the CEO of both Check Safety First and Room Check