Now I have experienced the whole gauntlet of lodging options that are out there, from Couchsurfing and hostels to Hotels, small budget to Luxury, to Vacation rentals. I've enjoyed them all, but I've come to find that specific lodging often matches a specific time in your life. This applies both financially and emotional maturity. Here's the path of progression:
16-25: During your travels in this age, it's all about the experience and the people you meet. I highly suggest Couchsurfing or hostels. There's nothing like see a destination through the eyes of locals and meeting fun fellow travelers. If you're traveling alone, this might seem overwhelming, but don't worry- Life's not a horror film produced by Quinton Tarontino.
26-35: Vacation Rentals are usually the best way to go. You may be starting a family, or traveling with friends during this time of your life. The best way to full relax is to have a home away from home, and that's what a vacation rental provides. You have some much flexibility when you have a kitchen or laundry at your disposal. Here's an article about vacation rental from USA Today. I have recently stayed at a vacation rental in the south of France and it was one of the most amazing lodging experiences of my life. If you're headed to the south of France check out My Beaucaire.
36-55: Hotels are great for short trips and during the peak of your career and family life, that's really what you're going to have time for. Hotels range from budget to luxury and I say that it's up to you and your preferrence to what is appropiorate for your trip. If it's romantic, splurge. If you're going for some adventure-driven weekend, it probably is just the place your going to pass out each night. Take these things into your consideration.
55+: Around this time most of your trips are going to be with family and friends again, so I woul again suggest Vacation Rentals... but there is still a great opportunity for hotels.
This is all at your discression, so don't consider this the "RULES" for all your travels. It's all about what you're wanting from you trip.