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