Hello Darlings, Spending a few weeks traveling Europe was everything I had hoped for – no drama – just tons of fun and adventure! It was leading up to the trip that presented the challenge. Choosing destinations was a breeze, but accomodations not so much. What qualities does one hunt for in a hotel given the unlimited options in an unknown country?
Our route was Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic. Plenty of places to discover and each one with it’s own distinct character. Creating an itinerary for every country was rather easy with the help of my Lonely Planet app but deciding on where to stay in Frankfurt, Vienna, Budapest and Prague took weeks of research. After hours on Booking.com and Instagram, I finally narrowed down the search to five boutique properties — Altstadt Vienna, Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest, Kempinski Hotel Gravenbruch, Chateau Mcely in Czech countryside and Grandior Hotel Prague.
Those who know me know that my hotel stay is as important as the destination itself. I am less picky on where I travel, but where I prefer to lay my head at night is a different story. You might wonder why?
To me a hotel is a home base and finding the right one is a make or brake it decision. I put lots of thought into picking a place and over the years have narrowed down what I prefer. I love modern aesthetic but the room must also be comfortable and cozy. It is equally as important that the property reflect the culture and energy of the location. How does one decide on what the right hotel is?
Below are my five must-haves prior to clicking “Book”.
Some properties are a destination themselves, meanwhile others need to be centrally located. I prefer properties that are not in the centre of action as I enjoy being away from the hustle and bustle of the street noice. The hotel room needs to be a calm escape.
All five of the properties for this trip were strategically chosen for their location.
Altstadt Vienna was central but in a chic and artistic district that felt like home and was within walking distance to all of the museums.
Buddha-Bar reflected the vibrant and nonstop atmosphere of the city and was in the heart of action while offering peace and quiet. My room was facing a small pedestrian street with minimal outside noise.
Chateau Mcely was a destination location in the heart of Czech countryside where we spent a few days simply relaxing and being pampered. Probably one of the most charming and beautiful escapes I’ve enjoyed. It was magical.
Grandior in Prague was centrally located but turned out to be a business hotel. It would have been an excellent choice for a business travel with number of conferences taking place at the hotel during our stay. The reviews online were the deciding factor and I should have taken note that most came from business travellers. Lesson learned! We did however enjoy having a 24hr casino in the hotel.
Kempinski Hotel Gravenbruch was our final destination prior to our flight which is why it was closely located to Frankfurt but far enough to be considered an airport hotel. About 30 minute drive to the airport, the property is a forrest retreat that was exactly what we needed prior to a long flight home.
All of my friends and I agree that Instagram is a deciding factor. I am not biased because I work in digital but rather because it will offer the best sense of what the property has to offer and the demographic. I always look at the page of the property, tagged images and most importantly – location tags and stories. It will give you the most authentic look inside a property as most people are simply sharing their experiences.
I always read reviews on Booking.com and consider the overall rate but always approach every negative review with a grain of salt. It is wonderful to know what people have to say but every individual also has different standards. In combination with social media research, reviews will give you a clear image of what to expect of the property and service.
I love beautiful spaces that are unique in character. I’m definitely a hotel lover! It does not need to be overly fancy but it does need to have charm. During this trip no property impressed me as much as Altstadt Vienna with its uniqueness. Every part of the property is detail oriented. Beautiful and cozy with a perfect combination of traditional and modern decor. Not to mention that I had a library in my room which is a dream come true.
Food Choices at the property
I am a big foodie and when traveling for work, I will especially look at restaurants and room service menus available at the property. During leisure travel the breakfast and late night food options are most important to me. Chateau Mcely and Buddha Bar were absolute winners in this category as both offered incredible cuisine.
All of the destinations were chosen based on our planned activities and preference in environment, overall we were pleased with each and everyone. More on each destination and property in the weeks to come as I publish Trip Diaries, in the meantime you could save $40 off your next hotel stay at Booking.com using this unique link. When planning a trip take your time in deciding what you like – remember, it’s your home base away from home!
Part of travel is the joy of anticipation and planning.