Where to next, Marija?
From cozy country homes to funky city flats.
Great to see you again, Marija! Booking is in the mood for me today.
How to pick the most reliable hotel for the least money… or, if you are as wealthy as an Austrian emperor, just how to pick a room. Using booking.com
First, you have to sacrifice a lot of time scrolling through pictures and comments. Like, ten days. For me personally, it’s not that different from buying the damn property.
You know those people who would say: “Why would you spend so much time in choosing accommodation, it’s not like you’re going to spend much time in a hotel room. Explore the city, have fun, go to that market, see that street. This movie scene was made on that particular square”. I intend to, after I check the sleeping cushions, bed sheets, try out the bed mattress, take a long bath, call the receptionist to ask some stupid question, check the facilities, check the room service menu, ask at the reception: Where is the other receptionist I talked to earlier?
So, to give myself some break while looking for a hotel I just disqualify all non SUPERB or EXCELLENT hotels. Sorry everyone else. Only in Venice, I can go with VERY GOOD, since its (booking.com) tourists are somehow angry at its damp feel in the rooms, from all that stupid water.
Of course, if you’re traveling to Astana to an Expo then you just have to get satisfied with a few GOODs.
The most important reference is the photos. Next to them are the guest’s comments but I’m a phd in analyzing booking.com photos.
Regarding photography, resolution has to be perfect. Lighting, framing, set design, lots of blurry backgrounds. Adorable little breakfast in bed with a flower is excellent way to show that you care for details. It means your hotel has respect for your laziness. Then, a photo of a door knob. If you care how your doorknob looks, then you sure have a passion for… well knobs, like me. Hotel lobby is the portrait of a hotel. That first impression when you enter the building after which you will spend some quality time over there, drinking mint tea while relaxing your tired feet. I’m not going to self-cater myself with a Lipton tea from a plastic water boiler. Unless the room is larger than 25 sqm.
I also disqualify photos with generic guests in it. I need to feel that I’m the only one who is sleeping in that bed. Having a photo of the staff… that’s ok. Especially when the staff is blurry. We see them in action under a vail of mystery without further personalization. I shall respect their privacy. One day they will become famous Hollywood stars.
Colorful plastic kids’ corner… out. As a dinkey (double income no kids) I prefer an adult feel. Don’t mind the kids if they act like adults. Kids from Sweden do. They ask on their own for some non-lactose milk in perfect English.
I want to see details… bathroom amenities… are they from a local organic market, are they from a cheap branded supplier with a hotel logo on it, or is it L’occitane or Bvlgary. If there isn’t a nice atmospheric photo of the amenities, you’re out. If there is a bathrobe on one of the photos, it’s a good sign.
If the curtains are rolled in, it means the view is not presentable.
If you are traveling to a metropolis city it’s good to have a soundproof room. Istanbul Istiklal can be as noisy as if you were sleeping in the middle of the street while everyone is trying not to step on you but they still do.
Location. Staying close to the train station can be tricky. Although very convenient, you can find yourself in a busy, small, shabby hotel since they see themselves as close-to-the-train-station hotels and nothing else. City center, like never. I’m an away-from-hustle-and-bustle type of person.
No free wi-fi is not an option. It’s 2017… the internet should be free as warm polluted air. Non-negotiable.
Breakfast photo. Very important. I’s all about the cold cuts. If they are elegantly sorted and arranged (quality in front of quantity) … if there are all sort of nuts and dried fruit, local cheese and at least three types of eggs you are at the right place. Booking.com (hotels) has gone stricter about the breakfast policy so you have to double check if you reserved a room with breakfast or without it… in which case the price for it will be ridiculously higher, if you choose to have it later.
Type of the property.
Whether it’s a palace, Ibis dorm rooms, business hotel, farm stay, Kasbah or a coral resort you need to bear in mind the type of guests who are staying there and the atmosphere in general.
Palaces – vast old space, usually with old couples tired of hiking. Drinking tea, eating a cookie, silent dining, slow motion in general, friendly, open, always say “Good Evening. How was your day?”
Business hotels – business people, not very interested in the city they are in. Also very silent. Hotels are cozy, generic, a bit more expensive than they look, can’t open windows…
Farm Stay – read family stay… agro-tourism… there’s a cow, and a donkey, and a stable, and wooden key in the shape of a grape, each room called Green Apple Room, Lavender Suite, Huckleberry Finn. You all eat at one table, as a farm family.
Resort – just avoid aqua park resorts, Fake Hiltons (Royal Hilton Sultania), neon fountains, (neon lights in general), fake palms, fake flowers, pool exercise, kids animation, fire dancers (just please stop doing that… in front of other people), flip flop dinner guests, names Coral-Sun-Paradise-Sea-Royal-Desert-Jumbo-Beach-Sand-Angel Resort
Design hotel – similar to boutique, yet a bit more contemporary… cool people, Instagramable, pet friendly, squeezed juices, organic soy milk, menus always with highlighted allergens.
Anything home away from home… not interested. I wanted to get out of my home. That’s why I bought a plane ticket and packed a ridiculously large amount of cosmetics and footwear that I won’t be using.
Now when I think about it, I could write a book on this subject, so I will just stop here.