Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Traveling Solo - How I chose my accommodations

One of the questions I've been asked the most since returning from my solo vacation was 'how did you decide where to stay?'

There are so many different options for you to choose from, Air BnB's, Bed & Breakfasts, hostels, hotels, boutique hotels, etc. It all depends on your personal preference, budget, and how you would like to spend your time.

Since I was never spending more than two nights in one location I decided against an Air BnB. Most of the Air BnB's I found were room rentals and I didn't feel comfortable staying in a strangers home as a single lady traveling alone.

There are an abundance of hostels throughout the UK + Ireland that come in all different price ranges. I wanted a place where I could unwind alone at night and have the freedom to shower with my bathroom door open. There are plenty of hostels where you can get a private room with a private bathroom, but I noticed that those would be just as much, if not more, than a regular hotel room.

Bed & Breakfasts seemed to be the way to go in the Highlands and traveling around Ireland, but they will typically be in the country which requires a car. Even though I rented a car during my time in Ireland, I didn't want to have to worry about going out to dinner and enjoying a drink or two and driving. 

When it came to hotels, I didn't want to stay in a Holiday Inn and my budget wouldn't allow me to stay at the Ritz Carlton, so I had a list of must have's, created maps of sites I wanted to visit in London, Edinburgh and Ireland, and worked from there.

Must have's: WiFi, comfortable bed, hot shower with strong water pressure, central location and a 3+ Trip Advisor rating.

Airways Hotel Victoria London ***
Single Room $130/night
I stayed at the Airways Hotel Victoria which put me within a 1-2 mile walk to every destination I wanted to visit. My room was small and simple, but the room was clean, the bed was comfortable and the shower was exactly what I wanted after an 8+ hour flight and walking around all day.

The location was perfect for me with a main train station just down the street and several bus stops near by. I only took two taxi's while in London, one from the airport (about 40 min away) and one to my train station to take the train up to Edinburgh (about 20 minutes away).

The Place Hotel ****
Single Room $104-$110/night
The Place Hotel is listed as a luxury boutique hotel for the Georgian style building it is located in. The room layout was very similar to my room at the Airways Hotel, small room, single bed, but clean and with basic amenities like shampoo, soap, body lotion and an electric kettle for tea or coffee. 

There was also a restaurant and bar in The Place Hotel that had very good food and a full bar selection. I took advantage of the onsite restaurant after returning from my bus tour and being in the rain all day, I just wanted some comfort food and to crawl into bed with a cider :) 

The Waverley Train Station is where my train dropped me off from London and that was just a three block walk to my hotel. The beginning of the tram is also right outside of The Place Hotel which made getting to the airport a breeze. 

Fort Williams:
Guisachan Guesthouse ****1/2 
Single Room $50/night
The Guisachan Guesthouse was booked for me through the bus tour that I took to the Highlands. We had an option to choose a hostel, hotel or bed & breakfast and I opted for the bed & breakfast. Once again, the room was small with all the same amenities as the hotels I had stayed at. I really appreciated the makeup remover wipes and Q tips. They also included free breakfast that smelled amazing but I had to skip out on since my alarm didn't go off and I almost missed the bus.

The House Hotel ****1/2 
Standard Room $160/night
I have to say, The House Hotel was my favorite hotel of my whole trip. I had a car at this time and there is a car park about 1/4 mile down the street to park and the hotel will give you a discounted rate.

This was the first elevator I had encountered on my trip and I was surprised to see such a spacious room with a King size bed. This was also the first hotel that provided free bottled water and conditioner. There was an onsite restaurant and bar that I took advantage of at the end of the night and they made one heck of a ham and cheese sandwich.

The House Hotel is just a block off from High Street, a pedestrian street lined with pubs, restaurants, shops and street performers.

Foley's Guesthouse **** 1/2
Deluxe Single Room $79/night
When I originally decided to spend the night in Kenmare I had booked a bed & breakfast outside of town. I'm happy that I found Foley's because it was raining the whole time I was there which meant there was only one thing for me to do...try every pub.

Foley's was listed as a luxury hostel all with individual rooms and bathrooms. My room had a Queen size bed and all the amenities of the previous hotels I had stayed in, but it was upstairs from a pub. Win win!

You can't beat it's location and with having a car, there was an abundance of free parking lots, and I was able to leave my car on the street overnight with no issues.

The Temple Bar Inn ****
Double Room $140/night
I picked the Temple Bar Inn for two things. It's location smack dab in the middle of Temple Bar and it's price for the location. It was on the trendier side like The House Hotel, and I loved it. The bathroom was spacious, the bed was incredibly comfortable and it was stocked with shampoo, conditioner, soap and body lotion. Because the hotel is right in the middle of a very busy area, there was a door man/security on duty 24/7. I never felt unsafe, but it added that extra level of security.

Because Temple Bar Inn is in such a busy area, the room came with ear plugs which I never had a need for since the windows seemed to keep the sound out. This was also the first hotel that had a stoked mini fridge.

I booked a majority of my hotels through Travelocity since I received a discount after booking my flight through them and the discount would get a little better with every hotel I booked.

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