Hotel Room, Cruise Cabin or Motorhome? Why I would choose Motorhome every time – well almost!

Many people don’t understand the lure of life on the road living in a motorhome. I certainly didn’t – until I tried it! Here I’ll explain why I find myself longing for a stay in our van when we find ourselves in a hotel for a few nights.
(please note the final part notes some more trips away, but doesn’t provide more detail. sorry)

Let me be honest with you. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be writing a post like this I would have laughed at you…

The fact that when I am on a hotel break I often find myself dreaming of being in the van is still a source of endless surprise to me! But that doesn’t change the fact that I would now choose a motorhome holiday the majority of the time – notice I’m not saying I never want to go on a hotel holiday again…

So, let’s just take my travel in the last year and compare all the experiences:-

Nov 2019 – 2 nights hotel, New York / 2 nights hotel, Miami / 7 nights Caribbean cruise

Please don’t take anything that I’m about to say to mean that we didn’t enjoy this holiday. We really did, but that doesn’t mean we’d do it again. We wouldn’t. This is mainly to show the comparison with being in a motorhome….

I can’t believe that I didn’t take any photos of the hotel rooms on this trip 😦 We stayed at the Hotel Gallivant in New York, and the room was tiny. The reception staff weren’t particularly welcoming, and the taxi trip from the airport was long (even though it’s not THAT far..). We couldn’t get in our room until after 3pm, so had to leave our luggage and head out to explore. (‘Welcome to America…’)

On checking-out we were hit with a ‘resort fee’. I can’t remember the exact amount, but it was quite considerable and it hadn’t been mentioned when we checked in (we weren’t the only people querying it either). At least that meant we were ready for it at the next hotel (although it was considerably cheaper there and we were told about it immediately).

So, another flight took us to Miami, a slightly more pleasant transfer and a much nicer hotel room at The Hilton Cabana

Now the thing you may have noticed here is – 2 flights, 3 transfers, 2 hotels. We’ve spent about 12 hours in the air and 2 hours in a car just to get to our accommodation. On top of that there were no meals included in our stays at either hotel, so we had to either pay through the roof for breakfast or go out and find our own, and we also had to find lunch and dinner. All of which adds greatly to the cost, and is not always what you really want. In America you also have to source drinks as only water is provided in the room (apparently part of what you pay your resort fee on top of your room rate for…). We did have a drink in the bar at the Hilton. Just the one though!!

Then for a transfer to the Cruise terminal where the check-in process took over 2 1/2 hours!! It was mad, and, quite frankly enough to put you off cruising completely. Once on the boat though we were able to go straight to our cabin, which was a balcony cabin and a good decent size, with a good size shower room. We were really happy with the cabin and the boat was beautiful. However, again the extra costs were astronomical. We had taken the drinks package so didn’t have to worry about that, but the excursion prices were mad (although if you’re going to do this holiday I would recommend booking a couple of excursions as there’s really not much to be seen within walking distance of most of the ports you might be stopping at..)

We were expecting something special from the food as everybody goes on about the food on cruises. The restaurant food in the evening was fine, and sometimes there was something decent in the buffet, but getting to it before the hordes was the problem… Anyway, we’ve done a cruise now!

Nov 2019 – 3 nights hotel, Benidorm

I joined my sister and her running club for their trip to Benidorm to run the 10km race. I signed up for the 5km race, but it was cancelled.

Debbie and I stayed in the Bloc Hotel, Gatwick the night before our early morning flight, which was very handy, but the room was very tiny! Did the job though 🙂

The Queens Hotel in Benidorm had been booked for the whole group. It was in a really good location, had a good breakfast and they were very friendly. Debbie and I managed to get the. smallest. room. EVER!! Not quite as small as that in The Bloc Hotel (but then you wouldn’t stay there for more than 1 night). Neither of us had ever seen a smaller bathroom – you could clean your teeth while sitting on the loo!!

Of course, with both these rooms we had the issue of sorting out food for the duration of our stay. None of us realised that breakfast was included on the 1st morning, so a group of 8 of us were wandering round Benidorm trying to agree on where to eat 🙂

The Issues with hotel rooms (and cruise cabins)

Often the only place to sit is the bed (of the 4 hotels mentioned above only 1 had separate chairs to use).

The issue of finding food if you’re not all-inclusive. (On the cruise I would say the issue that the food gets rather repetitive after a couple of days; and having to watch people pile up their plates as though they’re never going to eat again, only to leave the majority of it before going to fill a new plate…)

Living out of a suitcase. Getting there often involves extensive travel including flights and transfers where you are herded around and have little control over your movements for the best part of a day!

March 2020 – 6 nights motorhome, France (the start of our aborted European adventure)

This isn’t actually a brilliant example as we drove 900 miles stayed in 4 different spots (1 of them, Dieppe Aire, twice for a total of 3 nights).

However, in the situation we were in (with the country slowly shutting down around us) we had our own toilet and shower facilities (although we only needed them on the 2 aires we used, 1 of them free with a toilet to use and electricity), all our own food (so we were eating really well) and the freedom to go wherever we wanted next (well, in this instance as long as we were heading home in the end).

As we headed back north for the ferry we got caught up in an incident where all traffic was diverted away from the street through a village in to a car park. Whilst held up we were able to make ourselves a cuppa, chat with the locals and other camper inhabitants. Of course the other benefit is that we also have a loo to use.

The other major benefit of this was that having booked nothing then we had nothing to cancel and no money to lose other than what we spent whilst away..

July 2020 – 1 night motorhome, Sixpenny Handley (with grandchildren)

July/August 2020 – 19 nights motorhome – 5 different locations

September 2020 – 2 nights self-catering, Bigbury, Devon

September 2020 – 2 nights motorhome, Sixpenny Handley


4 days in Benidorm

On Wednesday (1st February) we left Cullera and the lovely Santa Marta site.  We only had about 60 miles to go but we knew Benidorm was going to be busier and we might have to visit a few sites to get a pitch.  However we knew where we wanted to go, Arena Blanca, and duly input co-ordinates into the SatNav.

We stuck to the main road, as opposed to toll road, and it was absolutely fine, plus we got to drive along the coast for some of the time.  We also found a couple of supermarkets en-route.  We went into ‘Family Cash’ as we could see it had parking that we could use.  It was a bit like Home Bargains AND they had PG tips! But no fresh milk.  They also had mini Maxi-Bons, which I didn’t see myself but Calv found and, knowing my obsession with Maxi-Bons, he hid them in the trolley for me to find at the checkout – it’s the little things 🙂

While I was putting the shopping away he decided to head into Lidl’s to see if they had fresh milk.  They did! But he didn’t buy any (even though he’d had his pocket money – I keep saying anyone who tries to pick his pocket is going to be really disappointed as he never takes a wallet out – I’m in charge of the money apparently).  Anyway the point is he wanted me to come in and see just how NICE the store was!

Okay I concede – I liked Lidl.  There I said it!  We bought fresh beefburgers, fillet steak and diced steak.  And chocolate (no Cadburys though…)

We arrived in Benidorm about 2.30pm.  At our chosen site the lady on reception was making noises about us ‘being too too big’ and I swear she didn’t believe me when I said we were 8.5m!  Anyway there were just 2 pitches available, and, apart from a car parked badly right opposite our chosen pitch, it was fine.  What was quite amusing though was all our new neighbours clearly believing Calv needed loads of helps getting onto the pitch, so there were lots of encouraging ‘keep coming’, ‘bit more’ etc.  When he got into place within a couple of minutes they wandered around muttering about what a tight lock this van had (it really hasn’t!!)

This is a small site, at 150 pitches.  There’s 1 over the road with aobut 2500, and another behind us with 5000 pitches.  And they’re all busy!  There’re so many people who spend months here, and, as far as we can tell, many of them don’t leave the site.  That’s not something we can understand at all.

We’ve got free Wifi and TV (there’s an aerial point on each pitch).  Which is nice 🙂

So. Benidorm.  It’s everything you’d expect.  We’ve been here 2 full days now and have cycled down to the seafront and then walked, and walked, both days.  There’s a lovely cycle path right outside the campsite; unfortunately it stops at the part of the road where it starts getting busy!  Anyway it’s not a problem; I’m getting more and more confident on my bike.  The drivers here though are somewhat more impatient than those we’ve encountered so far.  Never mind eh?!

The promenade is really busy, even now.  So there’s people wandering in the road (it’s not busy and is 1 way – cyclists, including us, were cycling both ways along it) plus, of course, the mobility scooters!  We like the ‘limos’ best 🙂

We struggled to find somewhere to park our bikes and in the end had to jump into the scooter parking.

On the 1st day we walked all the way along the Levante Beach and up the hill to the viewpoint (not the best area – wouldn’t recommend it).  The lifeguards were stationed on the beach even though there was no-one in the water, and they stayed there when it rained!  There’s also a good police presence.


On the 2nd day (today) we went the other way into the old town and found Placa de Castella and the other 2 beaches.  There’s a definite different feel along the seafront here and it feels busier.  Although we think this is because there is just the promenade and not a handy road to walk in!  It also feels a little more Spanish, in that there are more Spanish people wandering on this side.  Must admit we preferred Levante Beach.


Both days we popped into The Bulldog, a nice, small relaxed bar towards the top end (Old Town) of Levante Beach.

We were originally going to stay 4 nights, but extended this to 5 so that we could go to see The Rat Pack at the Benidorm Palace.  We booked the tickets today 🙂  It’s about 1/2 mile up the road from where we are.

We also did a bit of shopping in Iceland (very useful, and they have Cadbury chocolate).

We’ve got an indoor swimming pool onsite and it was really nice to get in for a swim yesterday.  We didn’t go in today because I was busy making a gourmet meal – Beef Wellington 🙂  See below for my makeshift rolling pin (a bottle of Nip from the Hip flavoured rum).  It worked a treat! (And dinner was lovely – even if I do say so myself!)


Tomorrow we’re hoping for some sun (we had a little bit today) and then I’m looking forward to popping down to one of the nearby bars (there’s plenty of choice and we’re a couple of miles inland) to watch the rugby.  Not sure Calv’s looking forward to it quite so much, but I’ll feed him some San Miguel and he’ll be fine 🙂

We’ll be moving on on Monday, just as far as Alicante though.  I’ve been there before and really liked it.  That’s my next job – to investigate sites close by.

Will post again in a few days.  See you then xx