Best of 2015 (part 1)

December.

Time to dust off the “Best of…” awards and give them a polish. As with 2014, the awards start with accommodation.

I stayed in 5 Airbnb apartments during the year. Amsterdam, Toulouse, Vilnius, Helsinki and Budapest.

Vilnius "home"

Home from Home, Vilnius

All were excellent in their different ways. It would be very hard to choose the best of them.

Classy

Home from Home, Budapest

My hotel experiences were quite varied, to say the least. The Station Hotel in Newcastle. Not a happy experience. Novotels in Newcastle, Edinburgh, Prague and York. All fine, but typical multinational chain hotels. Edinburgh Park was very good, but Prague was the best of them by a big margin.

I enjoyed a return visit to the Royal Terrace (now a Crowne Plaza) in Edinburgh after an absence of 5 years.

The Excelsior in Mariánské Lázně. Enjoyable but not a winner.

Nice Place

Nice Place

The King David in Accra? A dump.

Cheap but not Cheerful

Cheap but not Cheerful

The Beach House on Tiree. A B&B. Loved it.

When making my choice do I disregard my overall trip experience in that place, or is that part of the package? I loved Tiree, Helsinki and Budapest, and those were my first visits to those places. Does that impact on my view of the accommodation?

Home from Home, Helsinki

Home from Home, Helsinki

Revisiting Vilnius, Amsterdam and Toulouse was great. The same question, but for a slightly different reason. All three of them have places in my heart. I’m prejudiced.

The Mole Motel inside Mole National Park – near Larabanga in Ghana – probably deserves an award all of its own. It was special. “Best Baboons Fighting on the Roof of your Room” award? Or “Best Warthogs Sleeping outside the Door of your Room”?

No Fear

No Fear

The positives:- wildlife all around; air conditioning; a pool; fresh air (in the sense of no pollution); friendly and helpful staff.

A few negatives however:- my shower didn’t work; my fridge didn’t work; the restaurant didn’t have available much of the food on the menu (and there was no-where else to go); it’s a 7 hour drive from where we were living and working.

Truly spoiled for choice in 2016, but I think it comes down to the Beach House on Tiree.

Beautiful Location

Beautiful Location

The island is a special place, and we chose the ideal spot to stay.
“…many good memories, but one will be lying in bed at night hearing only the sound of waves breaking gently on the nearby beach.”

© iain taylor 2015

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