Advantages of ‘Room Only’ Hotels

Room Only, Self Catering, Hotel
The Sebel Manly Beach

If you are planning a holiday in an area with lots going on locally, then it is worth considering a ‘room only’ hotel,rather than an all inclusive option. Here are 8 advantages of ‘room only’ hotels…

8 Advantages of ‘Room Only’ Hotels

1. Explore other dining options

When staying at an all inclusive hotel you may feel obliged to eat at the resort having already paid for the food upfront. Choosing a room only hotel allows you to explore other dining options. Speak to hotel reception and find out the recommended places to go to suit your mood. Sometimes you may feel like you would like to dress up and go somewhere a bit more upmarket. Other times, you may want go somewhere a bit more low key and keep it casual. Find out where the locals go! Reception will also organise taxis to take you there and bring you back if you prefer.

Pizza, Farringdon, Santore
Pizza at Santore, Farringdon, London

2. You are more likely to experience local nightlife

There are likely to be plenty of places to go to outside of your hotel. In an all inclusive hotel, it is tempting to stay in the resort at night as food and drink is included, as well as the entertainment. But where do the locals head to after sunset? Room only options give you the flexibility to go to different restaurants, bars and get involved in other activities rather than staying on resort. You are more likely to go out and explore local nightlife when it is not at your hotel. When in Australia, I have been to bars that have live bands playing nearby. In the Caribbean, I have been to reggae parties. In London I have been to dance classes. It gives you the opportunity to live as the locals do and maybe try something new. Have a look at the destinations I have travelled to alone. Each country has links to recommended solo activities and restaurants for solo dining.

Reggae Party, Shirley Heights, Antigua
Reggae Party, Shirley Heights, Antigua

3. Meet the locals

Getting out of the comfort of your hotel gives you the chance to meet the locals, giving you more of a feel for the culture and the area you are staying in. It may be from a bus ride, trip to the supermarket, taxi ride, restaurant or bar. Either way, it is worth doing.

4. No need to revisit somewhere if you don’t like it

Imagine you are in an all inclusive hotel with only one restaurant to go to for dinner and you don’t like it. As well as being quite repetitive, you are pretty much stuck with it unless you choose to pay again to dine off resort. With the room only hotel option, if you go somewhere and you don’t enjoy it, you can try somewhere else the next day!

5. Support the local community

Getting out and about helps to support the local community in terms of spending your money in the local shops, restaurants and activities, rather than keeping all the money from tourism within the walls of one hotel.

Dance Class, Forro, London
Dance Class and Live Band in London

6. Flexibility

Room only hotels give you the flexibility to tailor make your own holiday to suit how you feel on a day to day basis. You can explore when you want to, eat when you want to and rest when you want to. There is no pre-set timetable of organised activities, entertainment or meals making you feel obliged to be somewhere at a given time and place.

8. May be cheaper

Depending on the star rating of the hotel you choose, a room only option could work out cheaper. Some hotels will not offer any extras at all, apart from perhaps tea and coffee making facilities in your room. Others may have a pool for guests’ use or a restaurant to buy a meal.

8. Less likely to over-indulge

An all inclusive resort will usually have 3 eat as much as you like meal options available to guests as well as afternoon tea! There is so much temptation to over-eat because you want to try a bit of everything and it is included in the price. The same goes for drink as well! On a room only basis you are likely to eat when you are hungry and drink more sensibly. If you have a good breakfast and want to go out for dinner in the evening, you may find you skip lunch or have something light rather than just eating for the sake of it.

Suggested Further Reading:

These are some ‘room only’ hotels that I have been to which I recommend as a solo traveller.

Australia Hotels

The Sebel Manly

Pokolbin Village

Antigua Hotel

Admiral’s Inn

Amsterdam Hotel


Florence Hotel

Hotel Luxor

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