Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's the Little Things-European Hotel Rooms

We've stayed at quite a few hotels during our travels, everything from big chains to small bed and breakfasts. I tend to use several different sites when looking for a hotel. These sites allow for reviews from people who have stayed at the hotel, which is helpful. Everyone is looking for something different in a hotel so I always take what people have written with a grain of salt, but I find that if a hotel is too far away from the sites, really disgusting, or absolutely fabulous you can figure it out from the reviews. We have only stayed in one hotel I wouldn't go back to and it didn't have any reviews. We typically choose budget hotels, unfortunately no 5 stars, and we haven't stayed in any hostels. The hotels are pretty similar to those you might find at home, but there are some differences. Here are a few I've noticed.

1. The bed. I have read several complaints in hotel reviews about the double bed. Most, not all, European rooms have two twin beds that are pushed together instead of an American style queen bed. There is only a flat sheet on each mattress and a down (or down alternative) comforter with a duvet cover. Most of the pillows are big feather pillows, which is usually too soft for me.

2. The bathroom. I have never seen a washcloth in an European hotel room. The shower is always a bit different. In a small hotel in France, the shower was directly across from the window (luckily I figured out how to close the shutters) and the shower doors wouldn't close. In a large business hotel in Germany, the floor was completely tile, with no specific separate area for the shower, and water splashed everywhere. Most of the time, there is a hand held shower head, usually mounted low on a side wall, more for a bath than a shower.

3. The breakfast. You will not find buttermilk biscuits or pancakes at a European breakfast buffet. I have had waffles, but there was no syrup, only honey. Usually there are various cold cuts, cheeses, and rolls, yogurt, and cereals. There might be scrambled or hard-boiled eggs, bacon (never as crisp as I like it), sausages, or fruit. Sometimes there is a wider selection. I usually have a salami and cheese sandwich on roll or a croissant with nutella (so good!) and a cup of the excellent coffee. I enjoy these buffets, although sometimes I miss the biscuits and pancakes.

4. The TV. The TV itself isn't different, but usually the programs will not be in English. This doesn't bother me, I don't go to another city (country) to watch TV. We might be able to watch one or two English channels, usually BBC or CNN news and maybe one other. We've seen quite a few American shows in German and it was fun to watch the German version of American Idol.

5. Family rooms. A few times we've needed a room for three. This is always interesting. In a great B & B, we had a large room with a double bed and bunk beds. In another place, the third bed was two mattresses placed on the floor with no bed frame and there was barely enough space in the room to move. If you are in need of more than a double you might want to call the hotel and ask for details.

6. The elevator. A lot of places have elevators, but there are quite a few that do not. Once we had to take various elevators and stairs, including going up a half floor. In Paris, we couldn't take the elevator all the way to the floor with our room.

You'll find everything you need when you visit a hotel in Europe, although it might be slightly different than what you are used to. Of course, isn't that the point of traveling somewhere new?

Originally posted on my private blog.

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