hotels: my home away from home away from home

When it comes to hotel rooms, the logical, sensible side of me has pretty minimal requirements: clean, centrally located, and helpful staff. But at the same time, one of my favorite parts about a vacation is staying in a hotel. I can’t help it! Sometimes I even ask hubs if we can stay in a hotel in Manhattan, just for fun. He says no 100% of the time.

We’ve been pretty lucky when we go away, so I get my hotel fix pretty regularly. Of course we’ve had our fair share of ridiculous places to sleep (that sailboat in St. Thomas was a better story than sleeping experience), but for the most part, we’ve had a pretty good run. We make it a rule to stay in a few different hotels on each extended trip, and because of that, I have more than a few recommendations–in all different price ranges–on where to stay.

Athenstyle – Hostel, Athens, Greece: This was our first trip abroad together and so maybe I remember it through rose colored glasses, but still: we stumbled out of the Athens train station with our overstuffed suitcases and couldn’t decide if we’d rather eat or sleep, made it to the lobby of our hostel in no time, and were promptly escorted up to our top-floor suite. Complete with a balcony and this view:

It didn’t matter that the rooftop bar was the only place in the city that stayed up all night, or that we had to relocate for the second night because they mixed up our reservation. For the one night, I was in love. (And also, it really was clean, in an amazing location, perfectly priced, and the staff was lovely–the res mix-up was an honest mistake). Worth it.

Suites of the Gods – Spa Hotel, Thira, Santorini, Greece: You may recall that my very favorite hotel room from our trip to Greece (in Oia) also had a pretty incredible view, but we really did get so lucky on this trip, because this was our view in Thira.

This hotel was a little off the beaten track, but once again: the staff was so amazingly sweet, and the hotel itself was amazing, that we didn’t mind. This was also the day we rented a car to get lost on the island, so being a little out of the way wasn’t a problem. OH and the breakfasts. To die for, and when you can sit outside on a balcony with this view in the morning, you don’t care what’s behind you.

The Westin Europa & Regina – Hotel, Venice, Italy: Cutest room hands down, and again the view was iconic in its own right. Also: central location, free speedboat tour to Murano, and Prosecco when we checked in. Downside: yes, those are two twin beds pushed together. Not so weird for Europe, but usually hotels try and make it a little less obvious.

Renaissance Vinoy – Resort & Golf Club, St. Petersburg, Florida: As the wino pointed out, we rarely write about our trips around the states. And St. Petersburg ranks pretty close to Pittsburgh when it comes to Most Exciting, I’m sure, but a view like this was enough to bring us back for a second year.

Milestone House – Bed & Breakfast, Dingle, Ireland: It’s not all room decor & amazing views that sucks me in. Sometimes, it’s the neighbors. Our hosts (Barb and Michael) and Michael’s famous homemade soda bread may have had something to do with our love for Milestone, too. Actually, between the prices, location, soda bread and the horses greeting us every time we came and went… I can’t really take up any qualms with Milestone. We did have to have breakfast with everyone else staying at the B&B, which was awkward after a particularly rough night out in town, but that was neither Barb nor Michael’s fault.

These are by no means a list of all of my most favorite hotels I’ve ever stayed in, but it’s a pretty good reminder that unless you’re willing to pay an exorbitant amount of money, you have to settle on a few things. Much like real estate in Manhattan, I recommend picking two out of three: price, location, size/class.

And now if you don’t mind, I’m going to go obsessively compare our upcoming hotels and make bets with myself on which one will be the most amazing. So far, Bruges is in the lead.


the romantic

– all photos are my own



  1. Danielle
    October 4, 2011 / 10:37

    There’s something about staying in hotels that I love. I love the decor in the Westin in Venice. And staying at a bed and breakfast in Ireland where there’s soda bread and horses outside? Sounds like heaven to me.

    • October 4, 2011 / 10:51

      we can’t recommend milestone house more!! dingle in general was amazing, and it was the perfect place to stay.


  2. the Hubs
    October 4, 2011 / 20:42

    I’ll second the Athenstyle endorsement. That place was absolutely perfect – clean, well-located, good value, friendly staff, and what a view!

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