Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How Do I Pick a Hotel?

Margo and Briana from The Travel Belles have asked how their readers pick a hotel. The question is for this week's edition of  Across the Cafe Table. My answer required some thought when I realize that I have stayed in about every type of hotel found in a zillion sorts of ways. A few highlights and lowlights come rapidly to mind:

The "B&B" in Bodrum reserved for us by a "friend." Slavering Doberman tied up by the door and toilet in the yard. But another in Isparta, central Turkey, found by asking the locals who led us to the new hotel Brifing where we listened to a Stravinsky concert and watched the resident generals drive up in their flagged staff cars for a Rotary Club meeting.

The Serena in Zanzibar where we stayed with friends who had heard about it and the resort of Ras Kutani also recommended by old Africa hands.

The evocative Taybat Zeman in Petra, recommended by an Egyptian co-worker.

The lovely Villa Margarita on the Brenta Canal found in the French guide, Hotels de Charme.

The ghastly half-ruined castle in southern Italy where there was no heat in winter and the wind was so strong it blew the toilet roll in a stream of flapping paper out the broken bathroom window. That was in an English guide to Italian hotels. (Ditched the book)

The splendid Norfolk in Nairobi and the tiny hotel near Ankor Wat where for $15 a night you got CNN and the need for flea powder. Both courtesy of the UN.

Another UN pick: the beautiful and doomed Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince not long before it collapsed in the earthquake killing all within.

The delightful La Suite Villa on Martinique. I ran across it while searching sites about the island then checked it out on Trip Advisor. When I found the French loved it that sealed the deal.

The Best Western Hotel Amazonia in Cayenne, Guyana found by my travel agent when we were in extremis.

And the nicest of all: Le Hameau in St. Paul de Vence, recommended by a friend.

So...there is no best way. Take a chance and see what happens!  

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