Old castle-like buildings in lively green mountains; scenic views as far as the eye can see; the ultra-relaxing Steigenburger Grandhotel; fresh, stingingly sweet and pure cherry juice; quiet, quaint and non-touristic town full of welcoming smiles; Rhine river flowing by; succulent Italian gelato ice cream and charm flowing through every corner. Königswinter, Germany is an enjoyable destination where you can take a break from chaotic tourism and just breathe some fresh air with the locals.
Posts Tagged With: hotel
That is the question!
When I mention the idea of staying in a “Hostel”, what comes to mind? Believe it or not, plenty of people out there in the world think it’s a cheap, scummy and dangerous place to stay; well, let me see… Cheap? Yes, most certainly! Perfect for those that want to budget travel! Scummy? Not if you research into where you will be staying and ensure that there are well-written, unbiased reviews. Dangerous? I don’t believe that there are any dangerous places out there, just travellers that are not using their head, intuition and common-sense. Please don’t base the idea of staying or not staying at a Hostel on the movie: “Hostel”. A movie is a movie.
A stay at a hostel can be as good or as bad as you want it to be, it all boils down to preparation and travel research, but sometimes, even for the well-educated and avid traveller, you will sometimes bump into the inevitable. With proper research and travel skills, you can highly reduce that chances of staying at a crummy hostel and making the best of your trip!
I’ll list off some Pros and Cons for you to weigh out:
- Hostels are much cheaper than almost any other kind of accommodation out there. I stayed 8 nights in Cracow, Poland for 140$ USD!
- Hostels are generally located in the heart of the best districts, usually in better locations than most Hotels!
- Hostels often offer free Wi-Fi and sometimes even a free Breakfast!
- Hostels often offer private rooms for just a few dollars more, for those that simply cannot sacrifice a bit of privacy.
- Hostels will provide you with information and ideas of what to do and see in the area that you’re visiting; not only the major sights, but all the local hotspots as well!
- Hostels often have a common-room, where you can socialize and meet other travellers just like yourself!
- Hostels may give you a discount if you own a “Hostelling International Membership” card. (Imagine that! Cheaper than the cheap price you’re already paying!)
Of course, there are so many more “Pros” that I could list, but that should be good enough for now. Time for some “Cons”!
- You may have to sacrifice some privacy. (Are you really going to spend all of your time in your room anyways?)
- The bathrooms are usually shared. (You share the bathroom in your house and you share the bathroom with several other employees at your workplace, what’s the difference?)
- It might be difficult to get some sleep if people are snoring. (The “Ear Plug” is a wonderful invention!)
- You run the small chance of running into a hostel that is not properly maintained in several manners. (Don’t you run that risk staying at a Hotel you’ve never been to? Besides, that’s where doing your research comes in; read unbiased reviews!)
- You run the risk of your goods potentially getting stolen if you are not provided with adequate storage facilities with appropriate security features for your gear to be stored while you’re out exploring. (Again, read the reviews. Travelling is an art and you will learn through experience).
If you have the money, you want the posh lifestyle and don’t have a budget to worry about, then by all means, take the luxury hotel situated in the heart of the city, but if you’re on a budget like me, which is probably most people reading this blog, then you’re going to want to find options that won’t have your wallet screaming in agony.
Here’s what I do:
- Enter the URL: www.hostelworld.com
- Enter the City and Country you will be travelling to and of course, the respective dates with the amount of people that will be staying.
- Click “Search”
- Several results will show up, displaying a list of several different Hostels that you can choose from; the best thing to do at this point is to sort all your results appropriately. Click on the drop-down box right next to “Sort by:” and select “Overall Rating”.
- Now, all your results should be sorted by the best rated Hostel to the least rated Hostel. Check them out one at a time to ensure that the room that you want is available for the dates that you specified, the Hostel is located in the part of the city you want to be staying in, the price is affordable and the ratings are good. Always keep a keen eye as to what kind of Hostel you may be staying at, as some are themed and even oriented towards “Partying”, which may not be the type of Hostel you want to stay at if you’re trying to get a good night’s rest!
I’ve always used www.hostelworld.com for all my hostel needs. The thing I like about the site is that they provide accurate, unbiased reviews about the Hostel that you could be potentially staying at. Also, when you do decide to reserve your room/bed, you only have to place down 10% over the internet and then pay the remaining balance once you arrive at the Hostel. You also have an option, for just a few dollars more, you can protect yourself from losing your money if a cancellation on your booking is required. You will get credited the balance on the website to be used towards another Hostel in the future.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ve stayed at Hostels all over the globe and I’ll tell you from first-hand experience that again, with some experience and research, you will find yourself enjoying your stay at Hostels, whether you’re staying in a private room or a shared dorm. I personally, won’t choose to stay in a Hotel again unless I absolutely have to. The most important thing is that you have to keep an open-mind and with an open-mind, you’ll be a happier person in the end.
Last weekend, Amy and I stayed at a Hostel in the heart of Toronto, the “Entertainment” District to be exact. The name of the Hostel was called: “The Clarence Park” Hostel. We booked a private room that had it’s own bathroom and for 40$/per person/per night, you can’t beat it! We basically stayed 3 nights in the heart of Downtown Toronto for 240$ and the room was PRIVATE! No shared Bathroom either! If we chose to stay at any hotel in Downtown Toronto, 3 nights would have easily costed us 450-600$!
Here’s a snap of the place we stayed at:
As you can see, the room itself is basic, but very cozy, clean and acceptable! The bed is King-sized, there’s a television (which you can’t see in this photo) mounted onto the wall with cable facing the bed. There’s a desk, comfortable chair, balcony and a private bathroom. In the bathroom, you have the essentials: Toilet, sink and shower. There’s no bathtub, but again, think of the money you’re saving, you’re getting the absolute essentials at rock-bottom price in the heart of Downtown Toronto! A very expensive city to live in. The room itself was very quiet with the balcony door closed; we had no problem obtaining a full night’s rest, every single night!
At the end of the day, you should consider trying out a Hostel, what do you have to lose? Nothing, because you’re actually saving, big time!
Keep an open mind, explore, have fun and always try something different and new!
It was an awesome full seven days in Vegas, but now I’m back to my home, sweet home and back to the training cell to get back up to the standards.
On Saturday, we were flying home with Air Canada, which apparently is the airline that represents Canada, but personally, I think they shouldn’t be, I wasn’t impressed with their regulations and service one bit.
When I was booking the flight online, the website gave me the choice to select the seats for both Amy and I, so naturally, I chose two seats directly beside each other so we could sit with each other. Upon arrival at the airport, we printed out our tickets only to find out that we were positioned on two different ends of the aircraft. I decided to speak with an Air Canada representative that was working at the gate we were going to enter for our flight, I told her about the dilemma and she responded with: “Oh really? Yeah, it happens sometimes” with a really piss poor attitude. She looked away and we continued to stand there and didn’t do anything about it. Fortunately, another Air Canada representative standing next to her overheard the conversation she had with us and intervened to give us a helping hand. He was very polite and managed to resolve the problem that we had.
When we were leaving Las Vegas, we were dealing with Air Canada again. Arriving at the airport, I walked over to the self check-in kiosk to receive our boarding tickets and baggage tags, only to find out that we were being charged 52$ total between the both of us to check-in just one piece of baggage each. Apparently, when flying outside of Canada, there is no longer any baggage allowance when flying with Air Canada, you have to pay for each individual piece. Seriously, there is not many people who choose not to check-in any baggage on an international flight. It’s absolutely ridiculous. They don’t even allow any baggage allowance for serving Military members. As far as I know, Westjet allows two pieces of checked baggage and then if you’re Military, you’re allowed four pieces.
I urge you, from my own experience, to take Westjet or another airline when flying within Canada, unless you prefer to pay extra and unnecessary expenses.
If you want to save money on your Vegas vacation, stay in “Old Vegas”, which is Fremont Street. You will eat cheaper, drink cheaper, slots are more loose, accommodations are cheaper and there is plenty of entertainment and energy all around you. The “New Vegas” strip is overpriced in every way that you can imagine, but if you insist on staying on the “New Vegas” strip and don’t want to pay 8$ per beer, then you have the option to buy your own beer at any convenience store and drink it wherever you wish, as well, a hidden casino / hotel gem on the “New Vegas” strip, believe it or not is the “Best Western Plus”, where they are selling 1$ bottled Michelbob beers and 2.50$ Heineken beers; it is pretty much smack-dab center of the strip too. For cheap eats, go to the “Earl of Sandwich” inside “Planet Hollywood Casino and Resort”, there is also a delicious smoothie and panini cafe called “Tropical Smoothie Cafe” just before “Planet Hollywood Casino and Resort” that is very fair priced for a filling meal.
We spent entire Sunday just unpacking and relaxing, nothing special… We’re back to the grind with working out and eating healthy; man, oh man did my body feel like a bowl of spaghetti after today’s workout, I’ll slowly get back into routine though.
Back to the wonderful life of flying the world, stay tuned!
Here are some snaps from our last day in Vegas:
I thought I was all shopped out, but Amy and I really wanted to visit a few particular stores they had at the “South Premium Outlets” that they didn’t have in the North. The store I really wanted to visit, which I didn’t even know existed as a store was “Under Armour”. No other brand beats Under Armour when it comes to breathable, dry and comfortable workout clothing, but you sure do pay the price for it. Everything that we purchased at the Under Armour outlet was half the price of what I would have paid in Canada, plus I got a Military discount on it all.
The difference between the North and South outlets are, obviously, the stores, but also, it was a nice surprise to see that 90% of the stores in the South outlets were inside a shopping mall-like structure with lots of natural sunlight pouring in and A/C. All the stores in the North outlet are accessed from outside, there is no mall. The North outlets can be overbearing, temperature-wise, due to the intense heat that you get here.
At 7PM last night, Amy and I attended a show at the “Wynn” hotel, it was called “Le Reve” (The Dream) by the famous “Cirque du Soleil”. These tickets were expensive, over 100$ for each ticket, but I have to say that this show was an absolute masterpiece. I’ve never seen such wild acrobatics in my life, and theater display. It actually felt like I was sucked into another world, it didn’t feel like I was watching a theatrical production, I was sucked into a “dream”. I highly recommend this show to anyone visiting Vegas.
After the show, Amy and I toured several hotels and casinos, as each one is a architectural masterpiece to be admired. We toured the: Wynn, Encore, Palazzo, Venetian, Treasure Island, Mirage, Best Western Plus. I think out of all of then, I enjoyed the “Wynn” and “Treasure Island” the best, but there are still several other hotels we haven’t even toured yet, so my opinion will probably change soon.
Keep in mind, drinks are expensive on the strip, almost every hotel charging about 6-8$ for a single bottle of beer and even more for an imported one. Amy and I wandered in the the “Best Western Plus” on the strip last night, a Casino probably less visited than the other big names on the strip. They were selling beers for a 1$ bottle domestic and then 2.50 for an imported (Heineken). The Best Western Plus is pretty much located in the center of the strip too.
Today, Amy and I are going to check out the “Paris” hotel and have some Crepes for a late Breakfast. After that, we’re catching the SDX to Old Vegas (Fremont St.) to explore the older and original casinos and hotels. Our money will go much farther there, not only for drinks, but for food. I saw ads displaying 10$ steak dinner in that area of town, compared to Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant on the strip called “Steak”, which is 50-100$ per entree, at bare minimum.
Here are a few snaps from last night:
Unfortunate to hear about the plane crash in San Francisco yesterday; thankfully Amy and I were not on that plane, we are safe and sound in the vibrant city of Las Vegas!
We’re currently staying at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino right smack-dab center of the new Vegas strip. We haven’t had enough time here yet to explore the entire premises of the hotel, but I’ll tell you what our initial impressions/experiences were:
45 minute wait in the hotel check-in line (Although, I think that is common with most hotels here)
The room itself appeared to be in good order, until we noticed two missing lightbulbs. Also, the white on the bed appeared to have some darker stains on it and the pink bed cover seemed a bit faded. There is no fridge in the room but we do have a beautiful view! We do have to keep in mind though that that is one of the older hotels on the strip and a tad less expensive than the other newer luxury hotels.
Last night, we went to see a show called “The Mentalist”. It’s a magic/illusionist show starring “Gerry McCambridge” who also wrote script and starred in the the television series “The Mentalist” a few years back.
His illusions were impressive! A few volunteers from the audience were chosen to take part in his act and I happened to be one of the lucky ones that he randomly selected. Blindfolded and never had met before, he was able to tell the audience about things in my life that only people that were as close as friends or family would know. He even mentioned things about Amy too. How he did it? I have no idea… Apparently it’s all in “illusion”, but I mean, what he was doing was pretty much reading my mind. Man, we have so much more to learn about in this world.
Today, Amy and I are heading off to some Outlet Stores in the North-end of Vegas, where we’ll do some shopping for a new wardrobe. For those of you that don’t know, “Outlet Stores” in the United States are the best places to find your favorite brands of clothing at bargain prices. You will never find deals like it anywhere else and that’s guaranteed!
Here are some quick snaps I took from my phone last night: