Selecting a hotel is one of the most important considerations when traveling. The hotel is your home away from home and maybe some travelers incorrectly also view it as a sanctuary from the dangers that are present at the location.
There are several key factors to look at when selecting a hotel. There are two schools of thought on choosing a hotel: using a name-brand property vs. using a low profile hotel. Which hotel to choose depends largely on the type of threat at the location in question.
In locations where the primary threat is opportunistic, economically-motivated crime there are good arguments for choosing a large, western-brand hotel which is likely to have better security measures, a quality control and audit process administered by a regional office and these types of hotels are more likely to keep out undesirable people.
For cities where the primary concern is terrorism it may be advisable to choose a lower profile hotel that is not as likely to be targeted by terrorists.
This is not a hard and fast rule by any means and really requires a detailed examination of the hotel options and different threats at your destination.
When possible it is best to try to choose a room between the 2nd and 7th floor. The 2nd floor or higher makes it generally more difficult for a burglar to access from the street. Most fire service equipment – especially in the developing world can’t reach higher than the 7th floor. In locations where terrorism is a concern it is best to request a room on the backside of the hotel rather than the street side. This provides some additional protection against a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) being detonated in front of the hotel.
There is some debate about whether or not to get a room near the fire exit or not. In the event of a fire in the hotel you want to navigate as short a distance as possible from your room to the fire exit through a smoke-filled hallway. On the other side — there is a credible concern about having a room near the fire exit as criminals can potentially lurk in the fire stairwell and victimize people as they enter or leave their rooms.
Whenever possible its best to avoid rooms that adjoin other rooms.
Of course all of these preference items such as floor, room location, etc. are subject to availability in the real world. Often you won’t be able to make these choices but it is still good to understand the different considerations.