Home from home: the importance of good accommodation

Home from home: the importance of good accommodation

Picture the scene. You’ve just rocked up to your accommodation after an 18 hour journey. Your bags feel heavier than ever, you’ve not slept for nearly 30 hours, your armpits stink, you’re sweating profusely, you can’t feel your feet, your hair is greasy, your head hurts and you’ve got the worst halitosis imaginable. Now- where would you rather be?

  • Option A – a hostel bedroom you’re sharing with 13 people you’ve never met, where you now have to make your own bed before you can rest your head. The rocky mattress and pillow will dig into your back all night, you won’t get much sleep and those cockroaches are likely to get far too cosy next to you. Oh, and the water’s not working so it’s chewing gum and a shower in a can for you, mate.
  • Option B – a clean, comfortable hotel with air conditioning, running water and free wifi so you can tell your friends you’ve arrived. You’ll sleep like a baby in the cotton wool like mattress, be able to wash off the journey in a shower as big as your garden back home, and then even grab a beer from the mini bar to celebrate.

I’m obviously giving you best and worst case scenarios here, but I, without a doubt, would choose Option B every time.

I’ve stayed in my fair share of grotty places. A dirty, $18 multi-share hostel in a dodgy Manhattan neighbourhood. A campsite at Yosemite where we were warned about the black bears stealing our food, and trained to punch them on the nose if they got too close. A hotel on the very edge of Cuba where we had no running water and I was eaten alive by fleas every night.

Sure, these accommodations enabled me to experience some of the most fascinating places on the planet, but I’m pretty sure I’d have still managed that if I had have slept in a cosy room and soft pillows instead.

I am probably most definitely a hotel snob. I like my creature comforts, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Travellers talk at length about the worst places they’ve ever stayed and then always finish with ‘but that’s part of travel – it wouldn’t have been the same otherwise’. But, if anything, a luxurious hotel enhances your experience of travel.

Hotel Parque Central, Havana

The best hotel I’ve ever stayed in strangely comes from a country not known for its hotels. Cuba. The Parque Central in Havana is pretty damn special. Right in the heart of the city, even the standard rooms are massive, and there are enough facilities to make it a home from home. Or, in our case, even better than home. It was the perfect end to a trip where I was crying out for a proper shower and air con to soothe my poor flea bitten legs. As soon as I stepped foot in that hotel, I felt safe, content, happy and finally on holiday. Plus, they give you champagne at breakfast. A.maz.ing. It turned what could have been a disastrous trip into something incredible, and I truly believe I have the hotel to thank for that.

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What’s the best accommodation you’ve ever stayed in? Do you prefer hotels over hostels over campsites? Why?

2 Comments

  1. 14th August 2016 / 11:55 am

    I completely agree about finding accommodation you can feel properly comfortable in. After a day out exploring a new city I love coming back to a clean, private area where I can recharge. Though having said that I find a lot of the private rooms with ensuite in hostels these days are a good balance. Most are very modern and clean with all you’d need, for a fraction of the price.

    Liz | Poulet s’il vous plaît

    • 11th September 2016 / 4:22 pm

      That’s a really good point, Liz! I think I’ve been scared off by my previous visits to hostels but it’s about time I tried it again! What’s the best hostel you’ve stayed in around the world? It might restore my faith!

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