Hotels hardly ever make your visit to a destination, but they most definitely can break it. I have spent over 200 nights per year in hotels for the last 7 years. So by now, I have a pretty good idea what a good or a bad hotel is. I have had some amazing hotel experiences. On the other hand, I had my fair share of dirty hotel rooms and I had my sad birthday hotel experiment. Here are my experiences.“Polle …” he said “it is pretty simple to run a hotel. The bed has to be good, it needs to be clean and you need a decent shower”. Talking to me was Nah-Dja Tien, who had by then set up and managed the top5 best scoring hotels in Prague.I often have to think back to Nah-Dja’s words when I enter a new hotel room. Too often, it is just not the case – especially the cleanliness part.I check my hotel room for dirt, I take pictures of my room number, I have my breakfast preferences and do small (sad) experiments. I have a habit of booking hotels according to the time of the year.A few years ago, I had one too many bad experiences when booking my hotel with Booking.com. I decided to radically switch the way I was booking hotels and go for the big hotel loyalty programs. I joined IHG first, then Hilton and lastly Marriott. By now, I have Spire Ambassador status with IHG, Diamond status with Hilton and Titanium status with Marriott.
There are many benefits to joining these loyalty programs. It has you earn points which you can redeem for free nights (e.g. I stayed for free in Dubrovnik, Bali and Seoul). Especially the higher tier levels give you free stuff – free upgrades and -something I maybe like even more- free breakfast (with Marriott and Hilton that is), which is quite the nice gesture and seriously saves me on food cost when traveling.
But there are also downsides. You are sort of locked in in the programs. You can book with other hotels, boutique hotels, but it won’t earn you points and won’t bring you towards renewing your status. That nudges you a bit into always booking these points hotels, even if you like another hotel better or when they only offer limited choice in the city.I check my hotel room for dirt, I take pictures of my room number, I have my breakfast preferences and do small (sad) experiments. I have a habit of booking hotels according to the time of the year.I have so many memories here, but these are some of my favorites.
- Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam (Netherlands)
- QO Amsterdam (Netherlands)
- Hotel Indigo Antwerp City Centre (Belgium)
- 1898 The Post in Gent (Belgium)
- InterContinental Aqaba (Resort Aqaba) (Jordan)
- One Shot Fortuny in Madrid (Spain)
- Hotel Nassau in Breda (Netherlands)
- Hotel V Fizeaustraat in Amsterdam (Netherlands)
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