The Real Difference Between Ocean-view and Oceanfront Hotel Rooms

And how to ensure you get the best view for your buck.

View of tropical beach from the patio of a bungalow

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Undoubtedly, you put a great deal of time into crafting the perfect vacation — from choosing the right destination to picking your preferred seat on the plane and finding the ideal hotel room. But, even with all your diligence, there may be one thing you can’t control, and that is how much ocean you can actually see from that "ocean-view" room you requested. This is why it pays to know the difference between "ocean-view" and "oceanfront."

The term "ocean-view" can mean totally different things at different hotels. While one might consider an ocean-view room as one that comes with panoramic views of the sea, another may dupe you into paying more for a mere glimpse of water off in the distance.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure the view of your dreams.

Know the Difference Between Oceanfront and Ocean-view

Here's the real difference between the too-similar and easily confused descriptors "ocean-view" and "oceanfront:" The former means you can technically see the ocean from your room, no matter how unimpressive the view of it, while the latter ensures your room faces the ocean, likely giving you some of the best views the hotel has to offer.

Next time you book a beach hotel, beware of language like “partial” ocean view. Also, pay close attention to the price. Ocean-view rooms tend to cost more than standard rooms, and oceanfront rooms tend to cost more than ocean-view rooms at hotels that offer both. Remember, if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Look at the Layout of the Hotel

Many hotels provide floor plans on their websites. Always check these before booking so you can orient yourself with the property and see exactly how the rooms are laid out. Sometimes, with a little research on Google Maps (especially that nifty Street View feature), you can figure out how good a view you would have from different parts of the hotel.

Call the Front Desk

A hotel concierge should be able to help you decide which room to book by finding the best view for your budget. Be sure to ask specific questions so you don't get generic answers. You may even score a good deal in the process.

Check Photos and Reviews

View of the sea from hotel room in Turkey

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Nobody will be more honest about a hotel’s views than previous guests. Check out the property’s hashtag on social media, or click over to the “tagged” section on Instagram to see what other users have posted about the hotel and its views. Then, search for the property on sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor to read actual customer reviews.

Remember Views Aren't Everything

Sometimes the rooms with the best views aren't the best rooms at the hotel. They may be especially small — hotels will try to cram as many rooms-with-views-as they can along that ocean-facing wall — and noisy, thanks to thin walls or a parking lot below the window. Figure out whether you really do value the room's view over other factors like size, decor, amenities, or proximity to the lobby.

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