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
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.