Friday, February 22, 2013

How to Choose a Hotel - Our Booking.yeah Moments

Have you seen the new very hilarious, and very dorky ads from Have you ever had a reaction like that?

I definitely have had this feeling (and probably something very close to that reaction) for several hotels I have stayed in in recent years, which I'm quite proud about because too often a bad hotel stay can ruin your entire vacation, at least I know it can ruin mine. But i'm quite lucky with 5 weeks vacation a year, so going wrong once or twice isn't as dramatic as it would be for those who only have 2 weeks vacation a year and risk it all on one hotel.

Our method is simple, we choose our hotels based on review score and rarely book anything that has a score below 8, but the higher the better and anything above 9 is sure to be a great deal and make us giddy. Since learning to use's reviews in this way we haven't gone wrong once for whatever it was we were looking for- from 5 star decadence to rest your head for the night budget and everything in between. We then cross check the hotel reviews with those on Tripadvisor, we have found that these generally tend to be in the same range.

The interesting thing is our budget has remained almost unchanged but the standard of hotels we stay in has shot up, on average we have spent around €89 per night, but we no longer let budget and price dictate the hotel we choose.

And the result? 

Choupana Hills Resort & Spa - Funchal, Madeira. Probably the best hotel I have ever stayed in, set up in the hills and surrounded by eucalyptus trees we were blown away with a private bungalow overlooking the sea, but what truly stood out was the impeccable service. (I also wrote a very comprehensive review on Tripadvisor).

Image used with the permission of Choupana Hills Resort & Spa

Lawrence's Hotel - Sintra, Portugal. Few things are better than being upgraded and upon check-in we were upgraded to a suite. To top it off the setting is magical and the service is very attentive, it is also home to an excellent restaurant. Lawrence's was so good that we decided to have our wedding and wedding weekend there!

Image used with the permission of Lawrences Hotel.

Mercador - Lisbon, Portugal. Jaw dropping decadence set in a gorgeous building that dates back the 16th-century with all the extra touches and luxuries, for such a high standard it was excellent value for money. Understandably one of the highest rated hotels we have ever stayed in.

Image by Ana Carvalho. Used with the permission of Mercador.

Riad Chbanate - Essaouira  Morocco. Imagine a super lux, exotic Moroccan riad, well Riad Chbanate is the reality. Not surprisingly it has also won a Tripadvisor Travelers Choice Award. The rooms have excellent attention to detail and lavish large bathtubs, the service is excellent.

Frogner House Apartments - Oslo, Norway. Super stylish and housed in a beautiful grand building, the location is in a nice area of the city making it unbelievably good value and and quality for Oslo, which we usually find painfully expensive and horribly depressing. 

Image used with the permission of Frogner House Apartments.

Monte Santa Catarina - Monsaraz, Portugal. A relaxing little country house with friendly staff who went out of their way help us with anything we needed and who had excellent recommendations and insights into the surrounding area.

Image used with the permission of Monte Santa Catarina.

Albergaria do Calvario - Evora, Portugal. A boutique hotel in a lovely setting, some of the best service we received in Portugal hotels, they also offered a delicious breakfast full of locally produced products. Inspired by our stay I wrote a blog post about it here.

Image used with the permission of Albergaria do Calvario.

Hotel Regina - Vienna, Austria. One of our biggest gamble's on choosing a hotel was when we decided to recommend a hotel to the family for Christmas, but the Hotel Regina did not disappoint, although the entire hotel was booked out they fulfilled our request to have the room with the piano. Christmas Eve and Christmas day had a perfect setting.

Image used with the permission of Hotel Regina.

Riad Thais - Essaouira, Morocco. My favorite Riad in all of Morocco, at just €50 per night. The entire riad was new and excellently designed and furnished, what really made it amazing though was the service, the owner went out of her way for us and even made me the most lavish breakfast imaginable when I told her I couldn't eat gluten.

Image used with the permission of Riad Thais.

Lisbon Story Guesthouse - Lisbon, Portugal. Unbeatable value at just €30 a night, clean and a cute vintage chic design, it was the perfect place for an overnighter in Lisbon.

Image used with the permission of Lisbon Story Guesthouse.

Vacation/weekend getaway bliss!


Anonymous said...

Nice blog you got here! The St. Regis in Singapore gave me that wow feeling, still stands as my best hotel experience.

Jamie said...

Nice article Angela!

It's interesting that your budget has remained the same, those are some nice hotels! I’m always blown away by the expensive small rooms in Europe compared to those in the US.

Happy Travels!!

Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane said...

Delicious eye candy, those enticing photos of yours! Makes me want to pack and go somewhere fabulous.

We usually don't stay in hotels for any length of time, but rent apartments or cottages from owners. Have had some great and interesting experiences.

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