Over the past decade I had a chance to go on many business trips, where staying in hotels (from fancy ones in Japan and Slovenia to a shockingly bad one in Cambridge) was either inevitable or preferred by the company or institution that paid the trip. My own favorite way is to stay with people, but unless I have close friends or family in a distant location, I feel bad about staying with hosts and having close to no time to interact with them. Companies or conference organizers tend to book hotels by default, so over the years I developed some general insights about hotels as a ‘species’.
I must admit that I dislike hotels as a concept – the sterile, impersonal and hyper-structured accommodation, which barely differs across countries. To be fair and listen to the other side, I searched for travel blogs and articles that are positive about hotels. One in the Huffington Post praises comfortable beds and 24/7 room service. I believe these things, apart from features available only in luxury hotels, are welcome additions, but not necessities for most people. Comfortable beds are neither universal nor unique to hotels. Another article is more convincing, citing several ways in which professionalism and safety can make travel more comfortable. Still, they hardly outweigh the disadvantages. Continue reading