Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Hotel Thing

Saguaro-Hotel-California Amangiri-Resort-Utah Adrere-Amellal-Egypt Taj-Lake-Palace-India Boat-Hotel-Cocoa-Island-Maldives Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali Heidelberg Suites, Germany Hotel Le Bellechasse, Paris Buqshan-Hotel-Yemen Perivolas Hotel, Santorini, Greece Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, French Polynesia Angsana, Marrakech, Morocco Barin-Ski-Resort-Iran Marataba-South-Africa Oyster Box Hotel, Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa J.K. Place Capri Katikies-Hotel-Santorini Ubud-Hanging-Gardens-Hotel-Bali Huvafen-Fushi-Resor-Maldives Marrakech-Hotel-Morocco Vedema Resort, Santorini, Greece The Pierre, New York One and Only, Capetown, South Africa Crazy-Bear-Hotel-UK La Mamounia, Marrakech, Morocco Burj Al Arab, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tree-House-Point-Washington-USA Hotel-Le-Moulin-du-Roc-France Seixo-Portugal Whitepod-hotel-switzerland Parador-de-Ronda-Spain Llandudno-Lighthouse-Bed-and-Breakfast-Wales Fairy-Chimney-Guesthouse W Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey Wildflower Hall, Shimla, India W Hotel, Los Angeles, California Eco-Camp-Patagonia-Chile- Hotel-Endemico-Mexico

Does the whole hotel thing drive anybody else crazy? Determining a vacation destination is hard enough, but then the hotel search begins.

BUDGET usually determines where I will stay. I grew up in a large family of six, and my parents didn't have much money. When we traveled, we went b-b-b-b-budget all the way, driving halfway across the country to see relatives, and staying in skeevy motels and eating in cheap restaurants. So that works. But then one day I tried a NICE hotel, and it kind of messed me up. Nice hotels are REALLY, REALLY NICE. But paying for them ISN'T. So most time I pretty much try and split the difference -- avoiding the super cheap options and not even bothering to check on the really expensive places. But I tend to get angry paying over $100 for a place that is just so-so and generic [I'm talking about you, American chain hotels]. Does that make sense? At least give me a CUTE ROOM if it is going to be any amount over super cheap, otherwise why should I bother?

Do a hotel's looks/accommodations reallllllly matter? It is just a place to sleep, right? How much time do you even spend IN the hotel room? I guess it is like saying any clothes will do as long as they cover a body, or any food will do as long as it provides nourishment, but that is sort of MINIMALIST thinking. Sometimes it is nice to indulge in things that go beyond what we really need. Ugh. It all drives me crazy!

I also struggle with how much to spend on a vacation.  One week's pay?  Two?  Three?  More?  The boyfriend and I were considering taking a trip to Amsterdam next year, but I choked when I saw flight prices.  $1800 round trip.  For ONE.  UGH.  Then throw in hotel, food, entertainment, etc. and you are looking at one VERY EXPENSIVE TRIP for a week or ten days.  UGH.      

Needless to say, I am trying to plan a summer vacation, and I am getting overwhelmed. Budget and fear of flying dictates that it can't be too far away, or for too long, or very expensive [grumble grumble -- this happens every year and will most likely continue unless I budget funds better or win that frigging Powerball], but we will see what materializes. Or maybe I'll just go on the cheap and have a staycation with little road trips on the side. Humph.

Horrifying hotel story for co-worker mentioned that he and his girlfriend were sleeping in a hotel one evening -- I think it was in Amsterdam -- when he heard someone opening their door in the middle of the night.  !!!!!!!!!!!!!  He yelped and told the would-be intruder that the room was occupied, and thankfully the person just closed the door and left.  YEEEE-IKES!!!!!  When I relayed this story to my boyfriend, he said this same exact thing had happened to him in two different hotels.  !!!!OMFG!!!!  Way to make me want to travel more!  

ANYWAY!  Do YOU have any interesting vacations planned for the year? Any fab or horrifying hotel stories?  Details, por favor!

P.S. If you like the looks of any of the hotels above, hover over the picture to find the name and destination.  Links are listed below.

Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali
Amangiri Resort, Utah, USA
Adrere Amellal Ecolodge, Egypt
Angsana, Marrakech, Morocco
Barin Ski Resort, Iran
Buqshan Hotel, Yemen
Burj Al Arab, Dubai
Boat Hotel, Cocoa Island Hotel, Maldives
Crazy Bear Hotel, UK
Eco Camp Patagonia, Chile
Fairy Chimney Hotel, Turkey
Four Seasons Resort, Bora Bora
Heidelberg Suites, Germany
Hotel Areias do Seixo, Portugal
Hotel Endemico, Mexico
Hotel Le Bellechasse, Paris
Hotel Le Moulin du Roc, France
Huvafen Fushi Resort, Maldives
J.K. Place, Capri
Katikies Hotel, Santorini, Greece
La Mamounia, Marrakech, Morocco
Llandudno Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast, Wales
Magic Mountain Lodge aka Montana Magik Lodge, Chile
Marrakech Hotel, Morocco
Marataba, South Africa
One and Only, Capetown, South Africa
Oyster Box Hotel, Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa
Parador de Ronda, Spain
Perivolas Hotel, Santorini, Greece
The Pierre, New York
Saguaro Hotel, Palm Springs, California, USA
Seixo, Portugal
Taj Lake Palace, India
Tree House Point, Washington, USA
Ubud Hanging Gardens Hotel, Bali
Vedema Resort, Santorini, Greece
Whitepod Hotel, Switzerland
W Hotel, Istanbul
W Hotel, Los Angeles, California, USA
Wildflower Hall, Shimla, India


kathy @ vodka and soda said...

we went to aruba in march and we're going to orlando (disney) in october (again since we had such a great time last year!).

the key thing for me with hotels is that it MUST be clean and spacious. i hate being in a cramped room and since i have a kid, having enough space is crucial. that said, it doesn't have to be the most extravagant hotel; we were perfectly fine at the holiday inn in aruba (as opposed to the Riu Palace) because although the hotel was one of the older ones, it was big and clean. i will spend the extra money to upgrade if i need to but it's not like you're going to spend time in the hotel room except to sleep and shower.

Stoic Tia said...

Vacation prices stress me out beyond belief. We have not been on a vacation since Lincoln was born, and that dude is almost 5. So.....that's real sad.
My sis is getting married in Jamaica next January, so we will finally be going on a vacation then. Problem is, my sister is a huge hippie type, and the place they have chosen is a plantation. The rooms are rustic, to say the least, and we will be surrounded by farmland and shit. For the amount of money we are spending, I kinda want to be lounging by an infinity pool with waiters bringing me a constant stream of alcoholic beverages. But that's not gonna happen!

The Savage said...

I haven't had a real vacation since 1997...

Dancing Branflake said...

I stayed at a horror of a bed and breakfast in the Scottish Highlands. There was always hair in my bed (not mine) and spiders everywhere.


Claire Kiefer said...

I love hotels. But I do not love paying for them. Instead, I go to fancy places with the family I babysit for and get to stay in the lap of luxury . . . while toting around two crazy ass toddlers. ;)

I once stayed in a gross (disgusting) cheap hotel . . . shit, what was it called . . . America's Best something? I don't know but there were STAINS ON THE WALL. I'm gonna vom just thinking about it.

Annabelle Archer said...

Yeah, we're perpetually broke, so vacations only happen when Pops and Stepmom have a bad ass place and want a family vaca. Which, actually is fun because they just want to play with the kids, so Hubs and I do get lots of time off to ourselves.

That said, anytime a nice relaxing trip ends with nightmare travel home, I consider that a fail. So if flying is not your thing (me too) and you live in Cali, I think you could work out some pretty amazing driveable mini vacays at a swanky joint with a good pool and a good bar, maybe a beach to walk on.

Meanwhile, all those pics above have me itching to win millions and never go home again.

cerebral e said...

$100 for a hotel in Australia gets you budget accommodation - maybe even a shared bathroom.

Last year when I travelled to SF and Vegas I paid for my friend's accommodation to because it was so cheap compared to when I travel here by myself.

I waste way too much time choosing hotels, trawling review sites, google maps and guide books.

The coolest accommodation I've visited has always been youth hostels - old castles, forts and boats.

$1800 seems really pricey for a flight from US to Europe. Cheap for a flight from here - that's what I get for living in the most isolated city in the world.

I spent about 6 weeks' pay (yikes) on my 3.5 week trip to North America last year - including travel, accommodation, food, gifts, shopping (everything's so much cheaper over there so I stock up) and unauthorised credit card charges made by Virgin US that I never got back.

Tom Tuttle from Tacoma said...

i can totally relate. nice hotels have affected me. and with age, somehow i can't deal with cheapo stuff any longer. which doesn't help at all, because i'm as broke as a church mice. this is depressing.

Trissta said...

I love to travel. SO MUCH. I have two words for you: Boutique Hotels. Sometimes they're more expensive, but then sometimes they're not. They're really cool and most often very well designed. I usually try to look them up, even if I'm just in the area so that I can see them. I know, I'm a dork. As for spending money that way... I often have found that going through a school program has worked best for me. (I guess that's a perk of being a life-long student) Because most everything is wrapped up into the tuition and what-not, so then I don't have to worry about anything but food and souvenirs. IDK what I'll do once I'm out of school, but travel is one thing I'm definitely willing to splurge for.

Much Love,

Megan said...

I've been lucky because most of my domestic and international travel (hotels and occasionally airfare) in the past 3 years were paid for by my husband's former employer as I tagged along with him on business meetings or moved across the world and back with him. Unfortunately, some of the hotel stays for his business travel has been at the Marriott which is a hotel chain that I find so trashy and grosses me out. I always think of Marriott as the KMART of hotels. Yuck. Anyway, I digress...

For hotels, I recommend doing research on whether they have problems with bed bugs. This is the last thing you want to bring home with you from your trip.

For flights, traveling economy on international flights is incredibly tedious (it's how I usually fly). If you are flying economy try very hard to get booked in the exit row (more leg room). Or, upgrading to economy plus is worth the cost. If you can find a good deal on a business flight, you will get access to your airline's airport lounge. BA and Continental have really nice ones. You can also investigate the airport you are travelling though if you have a several hour layover. Sometimes they have lounges you can pay to use (Dallas airport has one for $35.00) that has snacks, free booze, and showers, like airline VIP lounges.

Megan said...

PS - I can't sleep on international flights and jet lag always messes with me so for many years I had my internist prescribe Ambien for my international travels. It was a god send and I was able to sleep through flights. The best part was being able to take it when I went to China and it helped me acclimate to the new time zone very quickly so I woke up refreshed after my flights. It also helped when I got home (it takes me at least a week to get over jet lag when I get back from Europe, two weeks when I got back from Asia).

Just be really careful if you do use it, flight attendants have told me stories about people blacking out and undressing on flights after taking Ambien. I had only one bad experience where I took it on a flight back from England once and blacked out. I had weird conversations with people and was offering my seat mate Ambien. My husband was not impressed and I started to lay off of it after that. But that was the only weird experience after many flights! :-)