I usually book accommodations through CouchSurfing or Hostel Bookers, so when I was asked to review a site called Hotel Calculator I was delighted.

See, my plan is to book a semi-swanky hotel after volunteering, treat myself to a few nights of pampering and an intense body scrubbing.  Trust, I will need it.

Hotel Calculator is hotel comparison website that grabs hotel prices from various reservation sites and merges them into a single source.

Instead of checking 15 different reservation sites, you can check one.  Not bad, I thought.  Let’s give this a twirl.

Layout

When I’m under the gun at an Internet café, I prefer simplicity when it comes to web surfing.  Hotel Calculator has a clear, white background and it’s easy to identify anything from the hotel search widget to their social networking icons.

Navigation

Once you’re ready to search, just type in the city you’re interested in or use the drop down menu to select by alphabetical order.

A neat option I liked is being able to visually see how many countries Hotel Calculator covers.  Scroll till you get here:

Then click “see all”.  A new window opens and a list appears with flag icons. For some stupid reason that delighted me.  The world at my fingertips?  Super cool.

Normally I type in the city, it’s easier, quicker.

Hotel Choices

I was interested in finding something snazzy in Mumbai, so I popped that into my search and the results loaded:

Again, I’m partial to the clean layout.  The left column allows you to narrow your search, we’ll get to that in a second.  The main column is easily readable offering a picture of the hotel, address, star rating, and price.

The left column is where you can refine the search by quite a few parameters: price, amenities, even name if you are so ambitious to have that on hand.  The price range toggle took a second to figure out, but once I did, it’s easy.

Pricing

The first hotel I selected was UniContinental.

The price surprised me!

In this window, you can scroll down to see a gallery of the hotel or suite.

Off to the left are the important particulars and even an option to view more hotels.

My go-to is always “guest ratings”.  I won’t bother investigating a room further unless the ratings are generally positive.  However, when I clicked on it no ratings were available and the window asked me to post one instead.

This is where the site confused me.  There was little indication on how to get ratings.  It wasn’t until I actually selected the booking engine, in this case Booking.com, that ratings appeared:

After I figured that out, it was time to play.  My next search brought up the Sahara Star.

$207 per night is chump change, right?

The range and types of hotels were surprising and impressive.  Hotel Calculator seems to fit every budget.

The Verdict

How does Hotel Calculator stack up against similar sites like Hotwire or Hostel World?

For one, you can plan an entire trip with Hotwire by checking hotels, flights and rental cars.  Which is great for one- stop shopping.  However, I prefer to compare and the hotel search engine in Hotwire is not user friendly.  Instead of multiple windows that sometimes don’t work like Hotwire, Hotel Calculator provides one window of searches and it’s only when you want to book does it forward you to the reservation site.

Hostel World is straightforward from it’s moniker, normally providing searches for budget priced accommodations.  If you’re looking for both: a little bit of luxury or some budget options Hostel World won’t do.

Overall, Hotel Calculator is a decent, basic source for hotel searches.  It reminded me a lot of Momondo, which I’ve switched to as my main flight search engine.  You save time and money, two things I like.

In keeping with the times, Hotel Calculator also has an iPhone app.  Grab it here: Hotel Calculator app.

I always remember something my former boss said, “Always use K.I.S.S.”  Keep it simple, stupid.  And that’s what Hotel Calculator does.