A hotel should feel like returning home — only with the dishes done, the beds made to that inimitable hotel standard and the sun still kissing the back of your neck.
But if you’ve seen the classic British sitcom Fawlty Towers, you’ll have recognized the treatment that’s often on offer when staying on somebody else’s property: the feeling you’re intruding on their carefully balanced empire. Thankfully, customer service has come a long way since then, with hoteliers keen to create a welcoming environment and encourage guests to return for repeat visits.
Travelers now have more power to respond to the hospitality they get — good or bad. Trip reviews are a way of returning the warmth offered by friendly hotels or warning fellow travelers away from unwelcoming ones. To make things easier for you to find that friendly welcome for yourself, HawaiianIslands.com has analyzed millions of publicly available Tripadvisor reviews and ranked the U.S. and international hotels that are most frequently described as “friendly.”
- The friendliest hotel in the U.S. is The Royal Sonesta Portland Downtown in Oregon (43.57%).
- North America’s friendliest hotel is the Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel in Whistler, Canada (47.10%).
- Europe’s friendliest hotel is 3HB Clube Humbria in Olhos de Agua, Portugal (52.11%).
- The friendliest hotel in the UK is the Belmore Court & Motel in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland (50.47%).
- Kombo Beach Hotel in Kotu, Gambia, is the world’s friendliest hotel, with 52.74% of reviewers calling it “friendly.”
America’s friendliest hotel is The Royal Sonesta Portland Downtown in Oregon. The hotel boasts, as its mascot, The Viscount of Portland: a “true deer friend, the Elk” who “welcomes guests with open arms (and antlers).”
“Where did you find these wonderful people?” asks one visitor. “They should train everyone in your system on how to treat other humans.” Meanwhile, “the manager had a PhD in putting tired travelers at ease,” suggests another.
We found three U.S. hotels whose friendliness rating is within just 1% of the Sonesta’s: Homewood Suites in Montgomery, The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club in Oahu and the Hotel Indigo San Diego-Gaslamp Quarter. The Surfjack reminds us that “in Hawaii, hospitality doesn’t come with a stiff lip and white gloves… true Hawaiian hospitality is about treating your guests like they were part of your ohana [family].” In true family spirit, some mentions of the Surfjack’s friendliness refer to the hotel being “pet-friendly.” Visitors can expect a warm welcome from the crew and a range of canine guests.
More than two-fifths of the guests at New York’s friendliest hotel state that it’s a friendly place. The Fitzpatrick Grand Central on East 44th may need a lick of paint, say reviewers, but the staff are upbeat and attentive. “The concierge was brilliant too and organised our cab to the airport the day before plus explained the yellow cab pricing clearly,” reports one visitor. “On the day of check out, he offered and printed our boarding passes while we were waiting for the cab – which was considerably better than the yellow cab on arrival.”
The countries with the friendliest hotels are clustered in Europe, with four of the top five — including the UK’s Belmore Court & Motel — on the ‘old continent.’ However, it is an African hotel, the Kombo Beach Hotel in Gambia, that is friendliest of all.
The UK boasts two top-ten hotels, and they’re both in Northern Ireland; Manor West Hotel, in the Republic of Ireland, also makes the grade. “Everything was a five star,” says one reviewer of Belmore Court & Motel, the UK’s friendliest hotel. “Amazing staff! Everyone was super helpful, phoning us cabs, dinner reservations and helping us navigate the area.”
Hawaii’s Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club is one of five U.S. hotels that are among the top ten friendliest on the continent. But the friendliest of all is Canada’s Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel in the city of Whistler, British Columbia. Pets stay for free, although the car parking fees are a little less friendly — reviewers suggest finding an alternative lot nearby. “Just wanted to give a special mention to our room steward Iryna,” mentions another reviewer. “Whenever she saw us, she would check on us and our dog Anna. She went out of her way to make sure we had everything we needed. She was very sweet, kind and thoughtful.”
Argentina’s capital offers the two friendliest hotels in South America. The Duque Hotel Boutique & Spa wins by a comfortable distance, with more than 41% of reviews mentioning the word “friendly.” It’s an all-around feel-good hotel with a jacuzzi, sauna and Turkish bath on offer, as well as 24-hour access to pastries. “What really makes it shine, though,” says one reviewer, “is the team of professionals who make you feel at home and who are so willing to help with questions, suggestions for dinner, and whatever else is needed.”
Europe’s ten friendliest hotels are the friendliest on average compared to those of the other continents. Portugal’s 3HB Clube Humbria and Cyprus’ Avanti Hotel are among the four global hotels where more than half of the reviews use the word “friendly.” Nested on the southwest coast of Cyprus, the Avanti is a particularly homey place with returning visitors year after year. “All the Reception team go out of their way to give you a warm welcome on arrival and help with any queries during your stay,” writes one. “I have to mention EFE, the lady who keeps our bedroom looking clean and fresh and always welcomes us with a big hug.”
Peninsula Boutique Hotel in Port Douglas is Australia’s friendliest hotel. It’s so friendly that the hotel manager even personally accompanied one guest on a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef — however, this guest was Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, so he may have gotten special treatment.
New Zealand’s friendliest is an airport hotel in Christchurch. Despite its proximity to the airport, the Commodore boasts of being set on seven acres of land and featuring award-winning native gardens. “This is obviously a place that cares about people and the environment – great efforts to sustainability in the rooms as well,” says one guest. “I definitely recommend!”
Four Vietnamese hotels feature among the ten friendliest in Asia. The Hadana Boutique Resort HoiAn is the friendliest of them and second in Asia only to Sri Lanka’s Mermaid Hotel & Club. The Hadana also boasts a perfect 5.0 rating from Tripadvisor reviewers and is not just “friendly,” according to one reviewer, but “Family friendly: our two daughters were really happy with the hotel services/accommodations and meals. We were amazed by the service of the staff.”
Africa’s friendliest hotels are the second friendliest on average, after those of Europe. A pair of hotels in Gambia are the friendliest of African hotels. The Kombo Beach Hotel in Kotu is known for welcoming back repeat guests, and customer service is the key. “The night Manager Alpha is above and beyond helpful,” states one guest — “he regularly asks all the guest if they are ok and makes us feel that nothing is a problem for him. Total asset to this hotel.”
Despite the joys of traveling, arriving at a new place can be an unsettling experience — and lonely, too, particularly if journeying alone or concerned about potential discrimination. But in the age of short-term vacation rentals, when big chains must compete with the personal touch offered by home hoteliers, and in a moment when people are actually kinder (thanks in part to the diversification of local populations), it is not unusual to find a warm welcome when you check in and a conscientious staff throughout. If only you could take them home with you!
To determine the friendliest hotels for hospitality around the world, we analyzed 12.6 million reviews of more than 14,000 4- and 5-star hotels around the world. Hotels were ranked based on the percentage of publicly available Tripadvisor reviews that contain the word “friendly.” Only hotels with at least 1,000 reviews were considered, aside from within certain U.S. states in which the threshold was lowered to 500 reviews. Only English-language reviews were considered. This analysis is correct as of October 2023.
|This is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Tripadvisor, Inc.|