There are countless options available now on where to stay while traveling abroad, living abroad, or looking to have a staycation. Weekend trips to new cities and extensive exploring are always popular within the GLOCAL community. Through this, how do you really know where to put your feet up when looking for accommodation? If your budget is reasonably flexible and the curiosity is stirring, there may be more than one option or on your list that is justifiable. Through fancy to functional, I explored three different kinds of popular accommodation that are available in a city.
The 5 STAR Experience: Shangri-La Toronto
If you’re going to go grand you may as well do it on New Years. Those were exactly was was taken into account when visiting the Shangri-La Toronto. At a pricey $520 Canadian/ night for the most basic of the rooms, I was expecting luxury in the highest form. Shangri-La did deliver. At first the simplicity of the Chinese inspired decor was a little underwhelming. Neither myself or my guest were initially impressed with the hotel. However, as the day progressed and we became more aware of the facilities and perks, the experience gradually heightened.
Everything was controlled by the room iPad, which allowed you to order room service, dim the lights and adjust the heat - to name a few. The bathroom, which was completely made of marble, had a television in the mirror. This allowed entertainment from every angle (including the toilet seat).
Following this was the equipped gym and a beautiful pool and spa area, where guests had free complimentary access to the sauna, jacuzzi, pool and couples beds with a television for viewing pleasure. The festivities leading into the night were grand and unexpected. The rectangular bar on the main floor of the hotel, right by the entrance of Bosk restaurant has all the drinks and liquor you need. This was especially handing for bringing strangers together in light of new years festivities.
Verdict: Would go back right now.
The LIFESTYLE Experience: Airbnb Copenhagen
On the contrary, I rented an Airbnb in the cool, hip Vesterbro region of Copenhagen. The place was large, spacious and 1/5th of the price of the Shangri-La, at a reasonable $128 Canadian /night (CHEAP for Copenhagen standards). The place had all the amenities we needed and more, with a large fully equipped open kitchen prodiving utensils and tools needed to cook a huge dinner and breakfast.
When we initially walked to the door of our night home, we were greeted warmly by Dennis, our host. Dennis showed us around the flat and made sure we knew exactly where everything was located and how to use it. He left us maps of Copenhagen and all the trimmings you would expect from a hotel. We didn’t even need to buy the alcohol, as Dennis provided us with an unlimited supply of Havana Club rum. The Airbnb was also a fifteen-minute walk from all the main bars and eateries in the area. Cozy and private, it didn’t have the luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets or any sign of marble, but it was exceptionally spacious for two people. Another plus was that it truly felt like we were locals living in the city.
Verdict: Cheap and easy. The Airbnb experience is really influenced by the place and host, but for a fraction of the five star price, it's definitely a great option.
The BUDGET Experience: YHA London Oxford Circus
I stayed here and was in a four person female-only room, with unisex shared bathrooms. The location was right in central Oxford Street ( a hop from Oxford Circus) and the price was an awesome 30 pounds /night.
Amenity wise, the results were pretty limited. This experience is pretty much a DIY from start to finish. They have storage for your bags, and protection provided you bring your own lock (unless renting a large one for 3 pounds). Bathrooms were well kept, as well as the kitchen, which provided a basic breakfast at a 4 pound charge.
Verdict: No privacy but a very cheap and interesting way to see a new city. The great thing about this though is the people you meet along the way. Traveling solo, I met friends from all over Europe and North America who were willing to discover with me, and attend the free walking tours.
WINNER: The LIFESTYLE Experience Airbnb
Don't get me wrong, the luxurious feel of a five star can truly never be replaced. Even the experience in a Hostel and being able to gather with new friends in the lobby as you all venture out for a night on the town is truly a topic on its own. All these are memorable, but nothing beats a relatively cheap price and feeling like you are truly apart of the city that you're visiting. Even the attributes of meeting the Airbnb host and getting their take on recommendations on monuments and places is an added bonus. Be sure to read the reviews on the host and the place when you're looking for your Airbnb accommodation. On that note, I can't wait to discover the prospects of Airbnb in every city in the future.
* Cover image via weheartit