Best Western Plus Hotels - often a good value

What You Need to Know

  • Look for hotels designated Best Western Plus (or full service "Premier" but those are mostly in Europe). Their quality is significantly better. Plus hotels provide rooms with a nice desk with lighting, easy access to power, a good desk chair, free Internet access, a nice reading chair, a comfortable bed, a decent free breakfast, a complimentary USA Today, and often, warm cookies in the lobby each evening.
  • Discovery:   Best Western's "Plus" designation is not as helpful as I'd hoped.For example, the Grand Strand Inn & Suites, Myrtle Beach, SC, while very nice as a motel, is not in the same league as The Inn at Valley View in Roanoke, VA. Checking the hotel's website doesn't help. As you would expect, the photos on the website give no indication that the Grand Strand is actually a motel, not a hotel. Best Western needs to correct this and apply designations that are more informative. It would be very helpful to guests (and, in my opinion, to the brand) to know when a hotel is of the caliber of the Inn at Valley View.The owner of Grand Strand Inn & Suites, Jack Robertson, explained that Best Western has much more variation in its properties as a membership organization (not franchise) vs. a wholly owned chain. Owners sit on the board of directors and are slow and careful about whatever is approved by them. The "Plus" designation requires a list of upgrades but owners have a few years to fully meet those requirements. Even then there will still be a wide range in the caliber of properties that earn the Plus designation. So setting accurate expectations is still a point of guest research.What are the requirements to be awarded the Best Western Plus designation? The "official requirements" page from Best Western has been removed. Some info can be found at Best Western Plus, and Wikipedia on Best Western which says: "In 2011, Best Western changed its branding chain-wide (after starting a similar idea in 2002 in some areas of Europe and Asia) with three levels of progressively more amenities and features: Best Western, Best Western Plus, and Best Western Premier. A Best Western can have the basics, e.g. a in-room coffeemaker, free local calls, available breakfast, cable television, and free WiFi, etc. A Best Western Plus would have those amenities of a Best Western plus a fitness room, swimming pool, business room, and onsite laundry room. A Best Western Premier would have all those amenities plus onsite dining, high-quality furnishings, premium towels and bath products, an onsite shop for snacks or essentials, meeting rooms, and an LCD television with HD channels."
  • When I refer to a "decent" breakfast—hey! It's free! But then, I admit...I like freshly cooked Belgian waffles. There are pastries and muffins, cold cereal, juices and milk, and usually an entree choice like biscuits and gravy, eggs of some variety (usually powdered), and sometimes bacon and sausage.
  • Some "Plus" hotels have wonderful indoor pools and Jacuzzis. But a large number just have a small outdoor pool and no Jacuzzi.
  • Repeat visitor? By calling a given hotel in advance and arranging for corporate rates, you can get a much lower nightly rate.
  • What is with the smoke detectors giving off a subtle but disturbing flash all night long? Most Best Western's seem to have at least one of these in a room.
  • I also wish that Best Western hotels would move the soap holders in the shower so that they are not perfectly placed for whacking one's elbow. I love the (far too few) hotels in some other brands that install large flat corner shelves in the showers.
  • Sign up for the rewards program. You can quickly get to platinum and diamond status. Besides earning bonus points, you can upgrade your room when one is available (in my experience, a room upgrade is usually available and is worth it).
  • Marriott or Best Western Plus? I participate in the rewards programs for Marriott, Hilton, and BW properties. I love all of the Marriott properties. If you are going for the extra comfort of a high-end hotel, or to seek to impress, or for a quality restaurant on site, then go to a full service Marriott or similar. You'll pay exorbitant rates for Internet access, parking, telephone and the ever hated "resort fee". You'll get central air conditioning vs. a wall unit (the latter being loud and often irritating).  
  • If, on the other hand, you're looking for a comfortable room, nice staff, decent work space, and a clean place to sleep, all at a competitive price, then a Best Western Plus is often an excellent choice.