CALGARY, Alta. Oct. 8, 2016/ Troy Media/ – Big hotels for travellers can be a great option, but there are also drawbacks. It’s a little hard to define the pluses and minuses because what might be a plus for you could be something that would turn another traveller off.
Big hotels will probably be the most expensive option for accommodations. They’re great for business people on an expense account, but harder on the average travel budget. But remember that, when the global economy takes a downturn, big hotels suffer along with everyone else so they could be offering discounted rates or upgrades.
So if you’d love to stay in a big hotel, but you think your budget just wouldn’t allow it, you might want to check for special offers before you settle for something less. Another way to save is to book them on weekends or holiday periods when the business people who generally occupy them are home or on holiday themselves.
Big hotels, found mostly in cities, offer uniformity: in other words, you know exactly what you’re going to get. They will have phones and TVs and internet connections. (Surprisingly, however, those internet connections often come at a high price!)
You will get plenty of lotions and shampoos and big fluffy towels. There will be a restaurant in the hotel, sometimes even two or three. You’ll get front desks that are staffed 24/7 with multilingual desk clerks, and you’ll get a concierge and doormen.
You may opt for a big hotel because you want that central location. Even if you’re the type of traveller who prefers small local places with lots of cultural immersion, once in a while a bigger place can make for a nice refuge from the chaotic streets of a foreign city, and a little break from diving right into the local culture.
The uniformity and sheltered feeling are also among the downsides of staying in a big hotel. Aside from costing you more than staying in a small local hotel would, big hotels DO cushion you from the culture that you travelled to see, sometimes too much. That really nice room could be anywhere in the world, giving you that “if it’s Tuesday, this much be Belgium” feeling.
My advice? If you find it expedient to stay in a hotel, at least get out on the street for lunch and dinner. They might have a great restaurant, but you’ll get something much more authentic, and probably more reasonably priced, in a restaurant down the street among the locals.
Most of these hotels do not include breakfast in the price of the room, but they do have coffee and tea in your room, so grab a cup as you get dressed in the morning, then skip the expensive breakfast buffet and wander out onto the street to find breakfast. Stand up at a pasticceria (a pastry shop) in Italy for cappuccino and biscotti.
In Budapest, find a little local restaurant and grab a table outside and order Kifli (a traditional Hungarian pastry) with cheeses, cold cuts or jam and honey. In Denmark, have a Danish pastry and coffee. Anything local will cost you less and be more fun.
Big hotels serve a great purpose for all kinds of travelers at different times during their travels. But look at your itinerary and travel goals, and decide when one works for you.
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