The second most important part of your travel experience is where you stay. The hotel or house you stayed in plays a profound role in how much you enjoyed your trip. You can have an entirely different experience based solely on where you stay and in what location of the city you stay in.
Naturally, the first most important part of your experience abroad is who you travel with, even if that person is solely yourself.
I have had the privilege of affording several nice hotel destinations, along with invited home-stays, when I was abroad. There is a true magic to getting invited into someone’s private residence while traveling abroad because you get to see how the locals live and what standards they live by and are accustomed to. However, staying in a hotel gives an exotic and luxurious touch to your travels.
I loathe hostels and other budget accommodations. I loathe having to smell other people, listen to them snore, pay to rent a locker, smell the mold on the bathroom walls and share oxygen with wheezing people with cols who had no business staying in a hostel while sick. I am at the point of my adult life where I am no longer willing to stay in budget accommodations or hostels. I can not rough it anymore and require at least a decent hotel room. However, I am quite the princess and prefer luxurious accommodations. My favorite experience in the world is the rugged wild beauty of capricious nature balanced with the sleek and perfect touch of a luxury hotel. I have not had too many experiences in fancy hotels, and hope and pray I will get to continue my journeys in nicer accommodations one day.
The most important thing about the hotel is the pool. I love big luxurious pools that are too expensive to build in a private residence. The pool size, shape, color and location all matter. The pool creates a special kind of joy in my heart. I also look for decor, originality, authenticity to the culture of the host country, the dining and bar rooms, the lounge areas, the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff, the pride of ownership of the owners, the location and the feeling the hotel inspires.
So far, here are my favorite hotels:
The Davis Hotel in Bangkok:
The U in Chiang Mai:
The Augustine in Prague:
The W in Bali:
Lapa Palace in Lisbon:
Kasbah Bab Ourika in Morocco:
The Dominican in Brussels:
Various hotels in Antigua whose names I forgot:
The W in Seoul:
La Mammouina in Marrakech: