April 6, 2006

ho(tel)ing across europe

I still have a few posts here and there that will refer to my recent trek across Europe. This one is essentially a travel guide for anyone who stumbles across this while searching for hotel recommendations or reviews or is planning their own trip.

I like to stay in local hotels that will be a part of the experience, not in American chains. I don't mind paying a little more for a decent hotel that I'm comfortable sleeping late and lounging a little in (especially after that month in the Olympic media prison!). However, I don't need or look for any luxury amenities - except, as any of you who followed my blog posts as I traveled know, I did require some sort of internet connection or wifi.

I recommend using a website called tripadvisor.com - this is not a hotel booking site, but a user recommendation (and complaint) site. Its a great way to cross-reference the great photos and description from the hotel against the experiences of others who have stayed there. It also has a feature called quickcheck that allows you to check the current prices on 3 or 4 travelocity/expedia type sites at once. Usually if you google the name of the hotel and city, the third or fourth match is a tripadvisor post. A booking site I had great luck with was bookings.org - it often had the cheapest rates, but also has detailed writeups and REALLY great maps that show metro stations and nearby hotels and attractions. I was booking the next stop from whatever stop I was in the middle of, so I would always find the area of town I wanted to be in and then go from there. These maps made it easy to find several hotel choices in a specific area or near a particular site.

Something else to know for those that don't already - European hotels have traditionally very small rooms compared to American ones, although I found half of my hotels actually had pretty large rooms. Also, a single room almost always means a single bed - and often a double bed or double room means 2 single beds pushed together. If a larger bed is important to you, look for something that specifies the bed size and book accordingly. Bathrooms are also commonly small and cramped. Deal with it - even if you're spending a lot of time in the hotel, hopefully its not a lot of time in the bathroom! Small stall-type showers are also common, though again, I had as many large bathrooms and showers as I did small ones.

Since this post has already gotten this long, I'm gonna make it a two-parter. Tomorrow - the specific hotels I stayed in across Europe and a very brief review of each.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Nice headline...I get the double entendre word play