I am a bit of a travel freak. I try to use up ever little hour of vacation I get on an out of town getaway. Mostly I like to leave the country. My last few trips have been in Europe. When I first started traveling for fun (not work trips) I was secure enough in employment that I could afford nicer accommodations but I refused to spend the money. Partially because I thought the money had better use for something else and partially because travel companions would be on a tight budget. I have stayed in a good number of crappy hostels and a surprisingly high number of good and cheap ones.
Now I try to stay in two star hotels, cheap boutique hotels or nicely priced b&bs. At times I will stay in fancy places due to my friends who work in the service industry that can get fantastic deals. Additionally a few of my friends have champagne taste so I end up staying at nice places with them. When I am traveling alone with my husband I pick the cheaper places.
My requirements are location and cleanliness. I feel there is personal attention given at these places. They have character. Often an interesting continental breakfast is included. And usually there is a comfortable room where there are tourist information and a book exchange for those of us who love to read. The hotels are not as new but typically have something different about them. Additionally the people who seem to work at these places tend to be a lot more personable and tend to remember you. I have had staff go out of their way to help me (sometimes that doesn’t even happen in fancy hotels ). The staff seem to enjoy what they do more.
One of my favorite memories was in staying at a B&B in San Jose Costa Rica. The owner offered to drive us to the casino herself. She even stayed and gambled with us. In our trip to Bayeux France we competed with honey bees for our breakfast outdoor. I found it charming. We never see bees in the states.
There have been a couple of bad choices – like the hostel in Amalfi that was moldy and the “boutique” hotel we stayed at in Barcelona that was in a sleepy neighborhood and was not too comfortable. All in all one can usually find a good cheap place if you put in the time to research (tripadvisor) and book far enough in advance (many of my first choices were booked full already in Barcelona because I waited too long).
Cute Hotel In Sevilla
Great Room in Madrid
Hostel with Character in Cinque Terre
Bunnies at B&B in Normandy