CHOOSING A HOTEL
1. Smaller is smarter: you want the staff to be familiar with guests and with you. The smaller the lobby, the more noticeable the loiterers.
2. Aim for a well-trafficked street (neighborhood restaurants and late-night stores mean traffic, corporate offices mean darkness). Affluent residential areas tend to have more reliable transportation and fewer threatening street people.
3. If you're still concerned about the area, ask a female employee--not one in reservations--whether she walks around at night. (Call the restaurant, for instance.)
4. A reception and concierge desk near the entrance, and/or the elevators, is more likely to deter non-guest undesirables.
5. There should be privacy for guests checking in: no one should be able to overhear a name, room number, or other personal information.
6.Room numbers should be written on the key envelope, not mentioned aloud or inscribed on the key--this way, anyone finding your key won't have access to your room.
7. Look for a parking lot that is well lit and secure. Find out if there's valet parking . . . and if it will be available when you need it. Use it, even it costs a little bit more.
8. Does the hotel gym have an attendant? Being alone and semi-dressed in the basement is not good for your health.
9. The hotel should have sufficient staff to walk you to your room late at night. Inquire when you book and you'll get an idea of how woman-friendly the hotel is.
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