moroccan babouche

I have just completed a six week long greatest hits tour of my favorite European cities and it got me thinking about rentals vs. hotels. 

el fenn marrakech

On this trip I stayed in some gorgeous hotels, and I stayed in some gorgeous private homes.  But I also washed my hair with soap, shared a single toilet with three other women in what was advertised as a three bathroom flat, was preemptively reprimanded about bad behavior in a host's effort to keep me from breaking their dishes or staining their floors, and rented sheets and towels because the host didn't provide them.  

palazzo daniele

Increasingly, I'm finding that hotels are trying harder, and rental hosts are making it harder.  From my rental hosts I received long lists of chores I needed to complete, and trash collection schedules I needed to adhere to if I didn't want to be fined.   I received rude messages from a host's housekeeper when she thought I had skipped out on a 60 euro payment (I had not).  And a bunch of bug bites I can't really explain. 

hotel le barn

From the hotels I chose, I received glasses of champagne while I waited to be checked in and lovely messages asking about my food preferences.  And from prior posts, you know I love to start my evening at a hotel bar.  

 

nardo air bnb

If it weren't for this rental in Nardo, Italy, I would say I'm done with Air BnB, VRBO, and any other service that promises, but doesn't deliver. 

But our host Alessio gave me hope to keep trying to find that perfect blend of home and away.    It was a nice combination of the comfort of a home stay and the convenience of a hotel.  The host thought of everything:  TVs if we wanted to be slugs and watch movies, a list of local spots if we wanted to get out, storage space in every bedroom, big fluffy towels, candles the we weren't warned against lighting, music, and great mattresses.  

So I'll keep looking for those sweet gems among the rentals, but meanwhile, I'd like to share my list of the lovely hotels I thoroughly enjoyed on my tour.

freehand hotel nyc

NYC

Freelance Hotel

Cool hotel in a great location with great service. We stayed in the Quad with two sets of bunkbeds.  Hilarious.  

chateau voltaire paris
Paris 

Chateau Voltaire

Another great location very near the Louvre, and such seamless service.   And a gorgeous art deco bar in the lobby.  

riad el fenn marakkech
Marrakech

Riad El Fenn

All other hotels are measured against El Fenn.  My sister arrived after several long travel days while we were out in the souk with a guide.  So they sent her to the room to freshen up, then tucked her into a pink tuk-tuk to meet us at Nomad for lunch.  

palazzo daniele
Puglia

Palazzo Daniele

We only stayed one night because it's extraordinarily expensive, but it's also extraordinarily beautiful. 

le barn hotel paris
Bonelles

Le Barn

A weekend country getaway frequented by Parisians who don't have country houses.  It's relaxing, quiet, and comfortable.  
July 07, 2023 — Laurie Furber