Travel Reviews You Can Trust
Having spent 12 years in hotels it seemed very apt to share some of my hotel reviews (that is 12 years actually in hotels by the way not 12 years visiting hotels!).
I’ve been travelling for over 30 years now and during that time I think I’ve come to know what makes a great hotel and what doesn’t.
I certainly remember some pretty bad experiences in hotels like that time there was blood on a guests bed sheet, or no slats in the bed base, to finding other guests in their bedrooms. Don’t worry it’s all going into my book!
Whilst great locations and prices help if the service isn’t very good or you can’t get a good nights sleep or the room is not clean the location and price don’t really matter as much. Generally when I am travelling I am working so a good nights sleep is super important. However, that isn’t always easy given some of the hotel rooms allocated to Tour Manager and Tour Drivers – let’s just say they are not always rooms that guests would get.
Over the years my view of hotels has also changed – I am more willing to spend a little more and have a better location than perhaps I would have done before. I am also much more prepared to complain about a room that isn’t right, whether I am working or not and more willing to complain about things such as noise.
No matter what I still get excited when staying in a new hotel and love that feeling of opening and the door and seeing what is inside. I still go and explore my new room every time I arrive!
I love being in hotels, which is good given the amount of time I have spent in them and I am fond of a in room buffet or room service as well, although I’m now a big fan of an in room takeaway thanks to services such as Deliveroo!
Most often my stays in hotels have been because of work, initially travelling for business and latterly travelling as a Tour Manager with groups. As such I have stayed in all sorts of rooms that guests wouldn’t normally access, everything from apartments in hotels to staff accommodation and pretty much everything inbetween too.
Great Hotel Experiences
One of the travel companies I worked with had a philosophy that if you got the hotel and the food right then guests would be pretty happy and I think they were right. A great hotel can certainly make a good trip great.
Generally when I have been travelling I have been travelling for work so whilst a great room isn’t necessarily what the trip is about for me it certainly helps.
Over the years I have still had some great hotel experiences and I still remember them today.
The Sofitel at Noosa Heads was one such memorable experience. I had an amazing room which had a wonderful view across the area. I remember being entranced and going to sleep with the curtains open so I could enjoy the changing light and colours. The hotel was well furnished, it was in a good location and all my tour group were happy with the hotel too which made it an even better experience. I was exceptionally tired when I arrived at the hotel because of the long tour I had been leading so it was wonderful to sink into the really comfy bed and sleep like a Queen. I hope to return one day.
Some hotel experiences have not actually been hotels. In Lake Como I was booked out by the hotel, a common experience for guides and drivers and ended up in my own apartment with a lake view and balcony. It was fantastic and amazing to be able to cook myself some food having been away in hotels for a long time during a busy season.
Not So Great Hotel Experiences
Staying with groups in hotels brings it’s own complications and given the amount I have travelled with groups it is unsurprising that some of my worst hotel experiences have been on these trips.
A particularly memorable hotel, which I won’t name was in Brussels. The hotel had actually booked the group out completely to another hotel. This can happen but the main hotel should advise the holiday company in advance to make sure the hotel the group is being moved to is suitable. This didn’t happen so we turned up to what was supposed to be an equivalent 4 star hotel.
The hotel itself was probably 2 star. We had an evening meal booked which turned out to be a buffet but they had put the buffet out long before we arrived, despite telephoning and giving them an arrival time. As such flies were having parties on the food by the time we got there.
The rooms smelled like a load of builders had just left. They were poorly furnished and guests just kept returning with problems. One lady had sat on her bed and promptly ended up on the floor. The bed was missing half the slats. Another guest came back to say there was blood on the bed sheets, the hotel manager said it was OK as the sheets had been washed so it was a stain.
As if things couldn’t get worse they hotel refused to serve any tea or coffee after the evening meal, despite this being included so the coach driver and I ended up making tea and coffee on board the coach for everyone.
The next day I told everyone to check out and I rang the company to say they needed to find the group another hotel. We ended up at a lovely Novotel in Brussels which was much more like we should have had. The only problem? One guest didn’t want to change hotels. I told him he had to as I couldn’t leave him in one hotel and the group in another hotel on different sides of the city.
After that we had an amazing trip, partly because of the relief of leaving such a bad hotel!
Travel Reviews – Hotels
Whilst a hotel room isn’t necessarily the focus of any trip a nice hotel room is always good whether you are on holiday or working. Whilst I love a lovely luxurious room with a great view I won’t enjoy it if the room is noisy or light and I can’t get a good nights sleep.
Of course hotel reviews are subjective so I have tried to be open about what I liked and what I didn’t and share anything else relevant to my stay that you might find helpful.
I have tried to include information that I think others would find useful if they were staying in the hotel too. Information not just about the room and the hotel itself but about the hotel facilities, the local area, any parking or local travel tips or suggestions.
I also try to be realistic in my reviews. I know that not everything is going to be perfect for every stay. Often a sign of a good hotel is how they deal with some sort of issue. However, the basics should always be there such as a clean room with a comfortable bed.
I hope you find the reviews helpful.
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