One of the joys of planning a holiday is actually planning. With so much information readily available on the net, browsing through sites for hotels and planning itineraries is so much fun. I also takes a lot of time and I when I finally visit a place, it’s often a sense of deja vu.
Choose your hotel wisely
I always believe life looks better in photographs. Very often that cute, family- run hotel can turn out to be a crummy little place run by an equally run down mom & pop whose home like themselves had seen better days.
While planning our trip to Paris, I was co-ordinating hotel bookings with Betty in Amsterdam. We were both on the same site almost ready to confirm a hotel when suddenly her page went off screen! When she came back, we had both lost the name of the hotel.I actually wanted to stay in Hotel la Bourdonnais a three star place close to the Eiffel Tower, highly recommended by my friend who had stayed there earlier in the year. But once we lost our page on Booking .com, we quickly agreed on a hotel that was more or less similar . Eventually, we chose the Pavillon St. Augustin on Rue de la Pepiniere which turned out so wrong! Firstly, it was hard to find and when we did step into the lobby, it was far from the bright happy place I’d seen on the net.The beds were squeaky and the additional bed we’d asked for was far too small to be comfortable. The large bathroom flooded easily, the air conditioning just didn’t work and the buffet breakfast was pathetic!
And when I walked passed the Bourdonnais, I gazed at it wistfully. If it wasn’t for a dodgy internet connection, I could have stayed there!
Hotel Abalu in Madrid turned out to be another instance of not getting what you see. Touted as a boutique hotel for the ultimate experience, I was extremely disappointed to find it one little dingy hole in the wall. The buffet breakfast was managed by the a retired policeman and father of the owner who positively scowled his welcome at every guest. But what was worse was the bathroom which was actually just a shower cubicle on one side of the room!
So what about a homestay?
Old European cities have charming houses which turn out not so charming when you actually inhabit them. For instance the steps in Dutch homes are treacherously steep and what would seem like a quick jaunt to the floor above can actually be a good aerobic workout. So may be a homestay is not always the best option.
Always spend time while choosing a hotel. Quite often you don’t get what you expected.
But then surprise makes life more interesting isn’t it?