I’ve stayed in a lot of H for Hotels in my time. 5 star, no stars – posh city ones, nice rural ones, cheap B&Bs and hostels. I had a job where I travelled around lot and where we had meetings abroad quite often, but travel was also my preferred recreation.
My top 3 hotel experiences
1 Cusco, Peru
Cusco is an amazing city in its own right, high up in the Peruvian Andes, but it is also the kicking-off point for visits to Macchu Picchu. I was joining a friend on her round-the-world trip, my contribution being to see her through two weeks of moving from Peru through Bolivia to Brazil. It was a fun trip – as much for things that nearly went wrong as anything else. I absolutely loved the people, the scenery and the wildlife.
We needed to book ahead at Cusco to know we had a firm meeting point. I discovered the Hostal Los Ninos in the Lonely Planet Guide. The owners set it up to pay for their work in rehabilitating some of the many street kids in Peru – giving them a home and schooling so they could get back on their feet. It’s a traditional building, with rooms opening onto a courtyard, where you can sit and sip coca tea and regain your breath after the exertion of walking downstairs. There’s not much air in Cusco!
2 Moorea, French Polynesia
Moorea is the island next to Tahiti and is immortalised as the Bali H’ai island in South Pacific. I booked this as part of my round-the-world trip, and I was glad I did. The rooms were wonderful, thatched and on stilts if you were over the sea. I had a cheaper one among the palm trees, but it was still idyllic. I couldn’t afford to eat there, but I did treat myself to a banana daiquiri – the creation of which started with the attendant picking a banana off the tree…
3 Marriott Marquis, New York City
In the late 80s I was still new to skyscrapers and their extraordinary architecture. I had a room on the 42nd floor, which was about halfway up, and was reached by a glass elevator shinning up the inside of this enormous cavern surrounded by rooms and walkways. Very futuristic! I would normally have received a travel trade discount to stay there, but they were full. I arrived back after a day of touring to find a huge trolley full of cheese – I checked, yes it was for me. I can eat a lot of cheese, but not that much. Fortunately I made a lot of friends at a special performance of Phantom of the Opera that night, and we all came back to my room to demolish the hotel’s gift. Thank you, Marriott!
I have to leave out the Cairns Hilton, also on my round-the-world trip, newly opened and at a huge discount, and some lovely hotels in the UK – the Turnberry on my first senior management meeting, beautiful ones in the Lake District, the hotel in Broadway in Worcestershire. When I was travelling for work there were three I stayed in many times, because they were convenient; what you need then is familiarity. Thank you to all the wonderful people I met and who looked after me so well.
22 thoughts on “H for Hotel”
I, too, have experienced many and varied hotels, and their names certainly act as a focal point for my memories of travels. Manila Hilton, Dubai Hilton, Hong Kong’s Excelsior, the Majestic in Kuala Lumpur, the Railway Hotel in Mbeya, Tanzania (my reaction to the last two was that they must have been splendid, once) and the New York Athletic Club would be among those that I would mention. In fact, I could probably do another A-Z just on hotels I have visited – mostly in the 80s.
The Railway Hotel in Mbeya? My dad looked after the resthouse for Imperial Airways through Mbeya in the 30s! You must blog these next year 😀
Ah, Jemima, I should travel with you! One of my husband’s and my most memorable hotel experiences was at a truck stop in Arizona, where we HAD to stop for the night (we were moving and driving our own truck and couldn’t afford much). We had our cats with us, and they wouldn’t even walk on the floor – we had to carry them to their litter box!
That reminds me of a place I had to stay in Turkey one night… lol
I haven’t been in many hotels, since we usually travel with a tent :). A smattering of Motel 6, and once before I was married a rather nice place in Victoria, BC. And a few grossly overpriced conference hotels.
I look forward to experiencing some interesting hotels in Peru, though we didn’t get the Hotel de Los Ninos in Cusco.
If you ever go back you know where to go now! We had a wonderful night with the local people on an island on Lake Titicaca too.
The one in French Polynesia sounds just lovely. 🙂
Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
Minion, Capt. Alex’s Ninja Minion Army
The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge
It was. French Polynesia was everything I thought it would be 😀
I love old hotels and the history behind closed doors. Delightful blog!
Happy A to zing
hopeful for spring
Thanks for visiting, Moondustwriter!
I’ve never been on a 42nd floor. Can’t even imagine it. Gets me dizzy. But I do enjoy reading about your adventurous life.
I think I was only halfway up! I hunted for old photos, but couldn’t find any – and the hotel’s website doesnt have anything useful either 🙁
Hoe beautiful the pics you have-love Bali H’ai. I have stayed in a variety of places. the one elevator was so small it only fit me and 1 suitcase:) Another could be deemed the worst hotel/motel ever. We saw the owner with bags on his head yelling…at nobody:) There was used soap and orange walls and 1 crooked picture. we were young and stupid but it was memorable
Yeah – what we put up with when we were young – the mountainous stairs in Amsterdam B&Bs, the cupboard I was offered as a single room (fortunately the bathroom wasn’t working so I managed to get a proper room!) – but the Japanese pods must be the most amazing invention!
I’ve stayed at the Marriott Marquis in New York before. It’s nice and great location. I don’t stay there now when I go, but it was fun to stay in the middle of Time Square.
It was, wasn’t it! I can’t afford it now. 🙂
Oh, I would love to stay in the French Polynesia! I haven’t had the chance to stay in many hotels other than The Hilton (once) and a few that were not so wonderful, unfortunately.
They are amazing and varied places 🙂 Thanks for visiting, Chrys.
Would love to stay at that hotel in Peru some day!
I hope you can, Damyanti – maybe via Tahiti or Bora Bora?
I haven’t stayed in many fancy ones. I do remember one in Grenada though.
The reception area was all white marble and water features, and was always pristine. It was very much a hotel for people who wanted to lie on loungers by the pool drinking cocktails all day, whereas we were getting out and about a lot.
One day we went up to the rainforest, not really having twigged that rainforest=rain+forest=mud! We came back, mud up to our thighs, and had to tramp across this pure-white reception area to get our room keys. Just about everything we’d been wearing went straight in the bin!
Good for you! I’ve found those posh hotels remarkably good with visitors who take the time to find the hidden gems, though. I think they appreciate that you appreciate their country more than those that just want sun.
I’ve not been to the Caribbean – nearly went to Grenada once, and always wanted to go to Domenica. I suspect it won’t happen now.
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