Q – My wife and I watched Peter Greenberg on The Early Show this morning and we heard several things that were rather new to us. He said that you should never stay above the eighth floor in a high-rise hotel, that you should only ask for rooms that have a booster of some sort, and that it is never a good idea to book a hotel with anyone but the Manager of the hotel. I know he has written several books but I was wondering what you thought of this advice and if  it makes sense for travelers like us who go abroad on vacation twice a year? I guess we’re also asking if Peter Greenberg is someone we ought to be listening to regarding travel advice?

A – Peter has been at this for a long time and he recently joined CBS after serving as the Travel Editor for the Today Show on NBC. He does have a sense of the dramatic but, look, when you are on live TV they expect you to be dramatic. Peter has strong consumer travel credentials and we think his advice is always well-intentioned, if a tad overblown. The issues of water pressure boosters and the safest floors in a high-rise hotel are subjects we have covered previously on traveltruth.

Rooms do not have boosters, but entire floors do at high-rise hotels. Peter is correct in recommending that guests request a floor that has a “water booster system”. These boosters are used every three or four floors. The water pressure from your shower on a floor with the booster system will definitely get you significantly more water pressure. That is rather important to some folks. We have heard Peter reference the fire safety issue concerning rooms above the eighth floor. He is absolutely correct in suggesting that most fire departments do not have the capability of rescuing guests from their rooms above this height. But the installation of fire suppression system or alert system by can alert you for moving in safe zone. High rise hotel managers cringe when he raises the subject but we give him a great deal of credit for doing so. Ideally, we recommend that our clients seek the fifth through the eighth floor to avoid street noises and banquet rooms. But, of course, every hotel is different. Finally, if Peter suggested that you make your hotel reservations through the Hotel Manager we would, respectfully, disagree. You never want to book a hotel online, because you will be assigned the worst room. If you use a hotel’s own 800 number you will likely be outsourced or handled by reservations staff that lacks the authority to throw in upgrades or amenities that actually mean something. The best way to book a hotel is to do it through a travel agent who gives the hotel a lot of business and who has a personal relationship with management. If your agent belongs to one of the better consortium groups such as Virtuoso, Signature, or Ensemble, it is possible that guaranteed amenities and upgrade programs are already in place. But don;t expect your travel agent to have any clout with Holiday Inn. Clout only really works at the upper end of the hotel scale.  If you choose to pay the hotel the built-in travel agent commission but you prefer to book directly, try dealing with tthe Rooms Manager or the Director of Reservations. Peter’s books including “The Travel Detective” are filled with advice that is tough to find elsewhere. His style requires the reader to be rather confrontational but, then again, Peter lives in New York.  Yes, you ought to be listening to Peter’s advice. He’s forgotten more than most travel commentators know.