Tag Archives: hotels

HOTELS AREN’T WHAT THEY USED TO BE

Much like UBER changed the landscape for taxi users, different models of hotels and accommodation have changed things radically for travellers.  Air BnB is growing in popularity, although there is a backlash even here in Calgary from “proper” hotels who pay taxes and must abide by very tight guidelines.  VRBO has been around for years and is still popular and now hotel chains are reinventing themselves to provide varying levels and types of accommodation.

On top of that there are YOTELS you can choose – how does a YOTEL differ from the regular hotels you may be used to?  Well first of all their rooms are called “cabins” – conjures up images of a weekend in the woods.
log cabin

with strange neighbours

weird hillbillies

So Hoteliers are notching up their game and coming up with different ideas in accommodation and locations to entice you away from Air BnB and their friends.  But are they going too far?

Would you stay in a silo in New Zealand?  Definitely different but not really my cup of tea.  I wonder how our Alberta farmers would feel about spending their holiday in a silo?

silostay-newzealand-p

Or you can stay in  Magic Mountain in Chile – described as a water spewing volcano hotel.

magic-mountain_chile

This one however is my absolute favourite and I would stay there in a heartbeat – the only hotel project undertaken by Frank Gehry and located in the wine regions of Spain. It’s absolutely beautiful

hotel-marques-de-riscal-la-rioja-spain-p

There’s so much to consider when booking a hotel – location, facilities, wifi (there’s another debate …. many today feel free wifi is a basic human right) and naturally of course – price.

This is where VRBO and Air BnB have got the edge.

Or have they?

I came across this handy website where Air BnB and hotel rates are confirmed – and wow – the results are surprising.  Seems like Air BnB did not come out cheaper at all in certain cities.  https://www.busbud.com/blog/airbnb-vs-hotel-rates/

There has also been a lot of controversy about AirBnB when certain would be guests are refused based on their ethnicity.  Those using AirBnB were recommended not to have a profile picture on their facebook account as property owners regularly do online checks of people wanting to rent.   (report in The Guardian on 27 April 2017).

Me – I like having a proper hotel with a check in desk, security, facilities like a coffee shop and a concierge – but then maybe I am just old fashioned.

doorman

 

 

 

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Have you reached the tipping point?

When it comes to paying for service how do you feel about that?  Do you feel that you have paid enough already for the hotel / cruise / dinner that you don’t really need to start shelling out cash left right and centre?  There are some countries where tipping is not expected – such as Australia and the Cook Islands to name just a couple.  There are also cruise lines (such as Silversea) and hotel chains (such as Sandals) where tipping is expressly discouraged.  The reason for this is clear – they want their guests to be  totally relaxed the entire vacation and not feel that they have to walk around with a bunch of small denomination notes for tipping.

Service people very often depend on tips to make up their income.  I do believe that tipping is an expression of satisfaction with a service well provided and I hate the feeling I have on some cruise lines (who will remain nameless) that I actually have to tip this poor Filipino or Russian because the cruise line is paying them such a miserable salary.

Having said all of that I sometimes cannot believe how mean people can be when it comes to tipping.  Go on a tour and watch the people climbing out of the rear exit of the bus to avoid the driver and tour guide.  Shame on you people!

I have no cash

I have no cash

Of course then you do get the other end of the stick.    The over-eager, super-friendly server who wants to be your best friend for a whole week.  We had one such person on our Seine river cruise a couple of weeks ago.  Don’t get me wrong.  He was brilliant.  He knew everyone’s name and remembered it.  He knew what drinks people liked.  He was proactive, prompt and pretty damn creepy.  He had a smile like the dog who wants some treats….

smiling_dog

No…. he was worse than that.  Sad thing is I felt sorry for him and we probably tipped him more than anyone else.