Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Planning a not-horrible holiday

I have had an uncanny knack over the last few years for picking holiday hotels so bad they single-handedly ruin the vacation.

There is an upside to this, like the week spent forking over pantloads of cash to stay in a deluxe historic property where very bad things happened in threes and fours on a daily basis, and the management people for the chain offered me a very steep discount to stay with them again anyway, and I picked the only hotel they had that gets good reviews on TripAdvisor and it turned out to be the Best Vacation Ever (if you don't count how far away it is and how many scary roads and drivers and missed turns made up part of the To and From.)

Anyway I think I have finally figured out how to not have this problem, and it is to stay at budget hotel chains. Frequently- and well-reviewed ones, of course - some of them turn out to be 30 years out from their last carpet replacement or have perpetually crabby people greeting you at the door - but otherwise, budget hotel chains are the choice of champions.

Here is my logic: you may not get much, but you're also not paying much. You can get just as little for a lot more in a resting-on-its-laurels behemoth. Bonus: with less on offer, there is less to go wrong. And frankly, you're going to get a better sleep in a hotel that focuses on patrons' sleep than in one that distracts itself with bars and spas and proximity to jazz festivals and so on, if only because you aren't likely to have drunken gangs roaming the halls and partying in the room next to yours till 6 in the morning.

(Oh yes. And did you know that Some Hotel Chains have a corporate policy of not kicking out drunken partying boors until the 10am the next day even though the people on either side of them are paying over $300 before tax to sit up all night listening to hallway brawls and moving chairs in front of the door? And they don't give the people on either side a discount on the bill either. Or, apparently, clean up the broken bottles in the elevator until after said people have checked out.)

All of which is to say that last night when I was supposed to be getting to bed early to fight back this re-encroaching cold I've got, I sat up at the computer planning this year's vacation - not by destination, but by well-reviewed budget hotels. And that seems to be sending me to beautiful downtown Sudbury. Bring on the summer!

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