An Ode to Hotels
I’ve been missing hotels. For so long Airbnb maintained their allure as a cheap way to travel, especially for longer periods of time, a month here, a month there. The digital nomad’s wet dream.
But now those prices are barely cheaper, if not more expensive, than many hotels. And what are you gaining?
I used Airbnbs for years for both personal and work travel until I had some interesting experiences travelling solo. Nothing ‘bad’. Just a level of discomfort that made me realise a hotel would be a similar price, and that my peace of mind was priceless.
In Airbnbs you are the subject to your host’s every whim, and you never know what you’re going to get. One time, a host had over a hundred cans of Pepsi delivered while I was staying with no explanation. In Greece, a host arrived to watch as a friend and I packed our suitcases before check out. Another time, I checked in to find a note reading: Don’t use a stupid amount of water. Compare that to the complimentary bottles of water on a hotel mini bar. Checking in can be a treasure hunt of trying to find a lockbox, sometimes not even on the same street as the Airbnb, or you can find yourself after a 12 hour flight making chit chat with the host who is not getting the hint that you’d rather be asleep.
There’s nothing more luxurious than checking in at a hotel, leaving your suitcase with the concierge no questions asked. Not feeling guilty if you’re home late. Ordering room service. Clean sheets. No guilt if you leave a towel on the floor. There will always be hand soap, shampoo, and body wash.
Plus, a hotel is guaranteed to be clean. There is an inherent amount of trust you need to instil in your Airbnb host, whether they are present or not. In Covid times you need to trust the host has cleaned to a standard of pandemic hygiene. You don’t know who stayed there before you. Hotels use industrial strength cleaning supplies, although you still need to use shared lobbies and elevators. In the pandemic, hotels have disrupted the disruptor by leveraging their hygiene and refund policies.
The way Airbnb can claw their way back is post-Covid global nomads seeking longer term rentals. If remote work is still the norm and workers are embracing a nomadic life, usually the amenities of an Airbnb for a several week or month long stay are more attractive than a hotel room.
In the meantime, the most alluring trip is getting out of your house, down the road, to a hotel staycation.