Coming to terms with your hotel

Nothing ruins a beach vacation faster than learning that the "ocean-view" room you were promised requires you to lean out the window to actually catch a glimpse of the water.

So before you book that dream vacation, ask about the hotel terminology.

*Request an "ocean-front" room. This way you can sit on the hotel balcony and watch the sun dip into the sea.

*Ask about "easy access to beach." It may mean the beach is on hotel property, or it could be a five-block walk or a bus ride away.

*Ask about the hotel's "free breakfast." Is it coffee and doughnuts in the lobby or a full buffet in the restaurant?

*If the hotel says "parking available," find out if it's free. Downtown hotels in New York and Boston charge about $25 a day to park.

Finally, make any special requests known at the time of reservation. If you want a quiet room, be sure it is noted - you don't want to spend vacation nights over the disco.

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.