Pillow Talk

We keep track of where we have stayed here. It helps us when we return to a city and hopefully it will help you if you visit a city we have been to in the past. Our current rules for hotels are simple: no dorms, no shared bathrooms, no wet rooms (you know, where the shower isn’t separate from the rest of the bath and where, in the absolute worst case, the shower head is right over the toilet – we use to be less militant about this rule but are pretty strict about it now), and no comments about bedbugs on Tripadvisor.com or Booking.com.

We have organized this alphabetically, first by country and then by city. If we have visited a city multiple times, the more recent visits will come first. (It was chronologically, but that got to be confusing as time passed and we visited the same places multiple times).


  • San Pedro (2015):
    • Mata Rocks.  $111.19 (including breakfast).  Very cute little hotel.  Pool is small, but adequate.  We did not get up in time for breakfast so can’t comment on that.  Unfortunately, this hotel has been hit hard by the seaweed problem hitting all of Belize and it was quite smelly when we stayed there with a virtually unusable beach.  (They were constantly trying to clean things up, but it is a never-ending battle).  Would we recommend it?  Only if the seaweed problem subsides and if you have the budget for a room nicer than the basic one we stayed in.
    • The Yacht Club.  $118.99.  We loved this place.  We had a small kitchenette with a hot plate and fridge.  But even better, we had a nice patio where we could sit outside and see the pool and the ocean (and all the ocean birds fishing for their meals).  Our room was clean, wi-fi worked well, and air conditioning worked well.  Plus, we couldn’t smell the seaweed at this hotel.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.


  • Battambang (2015):
    • Emerald BB Hotel. $15/night. Unbelievable value for the money. Room was huge with plenty of storage space. Air conditioner kept the room nice and cold. Hotel was a bit off the beaten track, but only about a 10-minute walk to the heart of everything. Bathroom (wet room) was dark, but everything worked well. Internet was spotty, but worked most of the time (although we did have to bounce around multiple SSID’s). Would we recommend it? At that price?  Absolutely.
    • Vimean Sovannaphoum. $43.09/night (breakfast included). We booked this hotel for the pool and the pool was lovely – warm enough that we could stay in it for extended time periods and well decorated. The room was likewise lovely with nice local furniture. The bathroom was a bit problematic in that the shower water got progressively warmer as we showered until it was scalding hot. Breakfast was not a buffet and the menu options were very small – for example, a baguette with jam.  Internet worked well.  Would we recommend it? Only if you want to splurge on the pool.
  • Kampot (2015): 
    • Kampot Manor.  $27.80/night (breakfast included).  Lovely little guesthouse with a very friendly and helpful Australian owner.  Breakfasts were big:  fruit, cereal, weird donut like things, yogurt, juice, Cambodian sweets, eggs, bacon and toast.  Rooms were extremely clean and comfortable.  Bathroom (wet room) worked well.  Only downside is it is a ways from town, but we had no problems with that.  And Lisa survived without a tv in the room.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.
  • Kep (2015): 
    • Le Kep Bungalows.  $35/night (breakfast included).  If we are being honest, there are quite a few places where this hotel could be improved — the bed was rock hard, the shower stall was constructed poorly so the floor never dried, the bathroom occasionally smelled, and the breakfasts were pretty miserable.  All that said, we loved this place.  It was well-located (walking distance to the crab market and Kep National Park), the staff were friendly, our bungalow had a front porch with a table and chairs, and the pool was the place to be.  We ended up extending our stay not once but twice.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.
  • Phnom Penh (2015):
    • Blue Corner. $32.20/night (breakfast included). Very small room with absolutely no storage space for luggage. Breakfast was ok, but nothing special. Hotel is well located within an easy walk of the river and the pool was nice. Staff were friendly. Internet worked most of the time, but was occasionally slow.  Would we recommend it? Probably not, because the lack of any storage in the room was beyond annoying.
    • Hotel Zing. $28/night. Funky little hotel right near Central Market. Hotel is new, but fairly poorly constructed. Room was entirely white with a few purple accents. Separate shower with plenty of hot water and plenty of water pressure. Towels were big and fluffy, bed was comfortable. That said, lots of standard items were missing: no hand soap by bathroom sink, no hand towels, no tissue, kettle for making hot water but no tea packets. Internet was horrible. Would we recommend it? Yes (if you don’t need internet), with the caveat that we think in about 6-12 months the place is going to go downhill fast unless there is a fair amount of maintenance performed.
  • Siem Reap (2018): 
    • Memoire d’Angkor Boutique.  $40 /night(including breakfast).  This hotel was absolutely amazing.  Our room was bigger than my apartment in DC.  In addition to the bed (which was huge), we had a desk/chair combo, a dining room table with two chairs, and a swinging couch.  The staff were beyond friendly and knew our names within 2 days.  The breakfast was fantastic, with eggs or noodle sup made to order plus a buffet of eastern and western dishes that included real bacon and chocolate croissants.  And, the pool was our favorite place to spend an afternoon.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.  (Note if we return to Siem Reap, we would probably prefer a place on the other side of the river.  That part of town is a bit quieter, a bit more quaint, and a bit more our speed).


  • Hong Kong (2015): 
    • Ibis Central.  $125.47/night.  One step up from the standard Ibis (and it should be at that price point) — we even got facial tissue.  Staff were friendly, internet worked well, nicely located within an easy walk of Metro stops and the ferry.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, if it is one the cheaper places you can find, as it was when we visited.
  • Macau (2015):
    • Sofitel.  $146/night (including breakfast, tea, and happy hour).  This place was heaven.  The room was huge.  The staff fell over themselves to ensure we were happy.  The pools looks nice (although it was too cold to use them).  Because of our status, we had free breakfast, tea and happy hour and the food was very good.  The location is close to the old part of town, but not close to the newer casinos like the Venetian.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.  (Note it is also very reasonably priced compared to the other Macau hotels).


  • Bogota (2020):
    • Novotel.  $70.58/night (including breakfast) and $44.25 (not including breakfast).  A very nice hotel.  Comfortable with fast wi-fi and in a good neighborhood (although not in the most touristy neighborhood).  Breakfast got pretty boring after the first couple of days, but was perfectly edible.  Would we recommend it?  Probably.
  • Bogota (2015): 
    • Ibis.  $42/night.  A typical Ibis hotel.  It was not in the heart of the tourist district, but it was an easy walk to many of the main attractions (including the gold museum) and there were plenty of shops and restaurants around.  The one downside is that the room did not have heat and it got pretty cold at times.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.
    • Sofitel.  Let’s not talk about the price.  It was a splurge.  And worth every penny.  Staff friendliness was over the top.  Room was huge with a couch that could easily sit four people, along with a desk and two chairs.  (Seriously, before this trip, I never realized how luxurious it was to have a chair in the room).  Well located in the heart of Zona T, which reminded us of being in the U.S. but seemed to have more upscale locals than tourists.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.
  • Cartagena (2020):
    • Holiday Inn Express Manga.  $70.85/night (including breakfast).  The hotel itself was brand new and quite comfortable (except for the shower, which seemed to have air in the pipes so the stream kept “spurting” which was quite annoying).  Breakfast was edible, staff were friendly, wi-fi worked well, and the AC was strong.  The pool was very small (only 6 lounge chairs) but we were usually the only ones at the pool so it didn’t matter.  However, and this is a big however, the hotel is in the middle of nowhere.  Would we recommend it?  Probably not.
    • Holiday Inn Express Bocagrande.  ~$85/night (including breakfast).  So…the room was nice.  Nothing else was.  The pool was small with insufficient loungers and no shade.  Breakfast was bad and served in a room that was far too small resulting in bottlenecks every morning.  But, the worse thing was the staff.  They charged us in dollars after confirming they were charging us in pesos, which cost us extra money due to their awful exchange rate and service fee, and then they had the gall to tell us their credit card devices don’t allow them to charge in dollars.  Would we recommend it?  Never.
  • Cartagena (2015):
    • Ibis.  $47/night (including breakfast).  Typical Ibis hotel — at least with Ibis you pretty much know exactly what you are going to get.  Clean, but nothing special.  Unfortunately, this hotel was not well-located and there wasn’t much around it.  That said, it was only a 30 minute walk to the old city.  Plus, the windows were so filthy we could hardly see out.  Would we recommend it?  Probably not, because of the location.  But, it was cheaper than comparable hotels while we were there.
  • Medellin (2020):
    • Novotel.  ~$77.42/night.  Robert was taking Spanish lessons all day and I wanted a place where I felt comfortable spending the day alone with my extremely limited Spanish (pretty much yes, no, please, thank you, and white wine).  This completely fit the bill.  The room was large and comfortable with a fast wi-fi connection and plenty of hot water.  The hotel is connected to one of the nicer malls in Medellin.  The mall even has some lovely seating areas for when you just want to sit and read.  It is a long walk up a very steep hill from the party spots in Poblado, but a cab only costs about $2 so we just cabbed home every night.  Would we recommend it?  Sure, if you want to stay somewhere a bit insulated from the hustle and bustle of the city.
    • Blux Apartments.  $64.82/night.  This apartment had both good and bad.  The good included the location, the fact that we had a washing machine in the apartment, the fact that we had a 1.5 baths, and a good wi-fi connection.  The bad included the fact that there were no overhead fans, the fact that the half bath was so small we had to sit on the toilet at an angle, the fact that the AC was a portable unit and didn’t cool the entire apartment, the door did not have a deadbolt or security lock, and the fact that the apartment was very dusty when we checked in.  All in all, the good outweighed the bad.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, especially if you want a washer.
    • Ibis.  $45.89/night.  See 2015 review.
  • Medellin (2015):
    • Ibis.  ~$33/night.  Another typical Ibis hotel.  Not in the heart of the tourist neighborhood, but an easy walk there and an easy walk to two subway stops.  Plenty of restaurants around and a grocery about a block away.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, if you don’t mind walking.
  • Minca (2020):
    • Hotel Minca — La Casona.  $61.75/night (including breakfast).  The only good thing about this hotel was the bird watching.  The room was dark and dingy and hot.  There was no way to get a breeze in at night, and the mosquito netting had holes in it.  The pool looked neglected.  Would we recommend it?  No, just stay away.
    • Loma Nevada Minca Hostel.  $59.53/night (including breakfast).  We adored this hotel.  It is high up in the mountains and you have to take a 4X4 up to the hotel.  When we visited, the road was under construction so we actually had to get out of the 4X4, walk with our bags through the construction zone, and then get into another 4X4.  Quite the experience!  Anyway, the hotel is lovely.  There are birds everywhere (including toucans).  We could hear howler monkeys.  The internet only worked in common areas, but generally worked well except for one very cloudy day.  Meals were taken at the hotel as there is nothing else around and they were varied and filling and reasonably priced.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely, if you don’t mind the remote nature of the hotel.

Costa Rica:

  • Cahuita (2015):
    • Cabines Nirvana.  ~41/night.  Another nice hotel.  Great pool and great patio for lounging.  Plus, we saw a sloth hanging out in a tree at the hotel and enjoyed playing fetch from the pool with the resident dog.  A bit out of town and there is no sidewalk most of the way, but the road is not busy so it was fine.  The one downside of this place is there was no AC, and a couple of nights it was really, really hot in our room.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, if you can stand the heat.
  • La Fortuna (2015):
    • Hotel Tangara. ~$44/night (including breakfast).  This place was a real find.  It is brand new and very clean.  Wifi worked well.  Showers were hot.  And, it even had AC!  The hosts were very friendly and cooked up a delicious breakfast each morning.  It is a bit out of town (about 1km), but there is a sidewalk and it is a safe walk.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • Liberia (2015):
    • Best Western El Sitio.  $70/night (including breakfast).  Probably the nicest Best Western we have ever stayed in.  It even had two pools and a crocodile pond.  Wi-fi worked well, shower was hot, and the breakfast buffet was filling.  Would we recommend it?  If you absolutely have to spend a night in Liberia, absolutely.
  • Puerto Viejo (2015): 
    • Be My Guest.  $39.25/night.  This was a small little place with only four rooms.  It was about a 30 minute walk to the main town, but there were several groceries, bars and restaurants along the way.  The room didn’t have air conditioning, but we didn’t need it.  We made great use of the small kitchenette in our room and cooked nearly all of our meals in the room.  Guests have free use of the beach at a local resort.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, if you don’t mind being a ways out of town.
  • Santa Elena (2015):
    • Pension Santa Elena.  $42/night (including breakfast).  Room was stark.  We literally had nothing but a bed and a nightstand connected to the bed on one side.  And there was no soundproofing.  Breakfast was a joke — either a single taco or two slices of toast along with a small piece of watermelon and (some days) a small piece of banana.  That said, the staff was beyond friendly, the shower was hot, the wi-fi was fast, and the hotel was well situated.  Would we recommend it?  Probably, if you are looking for a cheap room.


  • Guayaquil (2020):
    • Hotel Palace Guayaquil: $48.91/night (including breakfast).  So, we stayed here in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak and we were in a bit of a tizzy so it is hard to review.  But, the wifi worked well and the shower was hot and the breakfast was good and the staff were friendly.  Would we recommend it?  Probably.
    • Airbnb:  $41.41/night.  Not sure what to call this.  The listing just says “fully furnished luxury apartment” and is run by someone named Catherine.  The apartment was wonderful.  We had two bedrooms, 3 full baths, a half bath, a laundry room, two balconies, and a huge kitchen.  The host was lovely.  The apartment was a bit noisy, as it is right on a main road.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • Isabela Island (2020):
    • El Rincon de George: $66.89/night (including breakfast).  The staff here were absolutely lovely.  They noticed we did not eat the papaya at breakfast and, from there on out, we got kiwi instead.  The location was perfect (although Isabela is small so my guess is there are very few hotels that are out of the way).  The room was OK with a small balcony.  There was even working (albeit very slow) internet in the room.  The real problem was there was nowhere to hang wet things.  A few pegs on the wall would have been so helpful.  Would we recommend it?  If the price is right.
  • Quito (2020):
    • Ibis Quito:  $86.11/night.  A typical Ibis.  Nice enough for a short stay and located within walking distance of many restaurants, a supermarket, a mall, and numerous ATMs.  Would we recommend it?  Sure.
  • San Cristobal Island (2020):
    • Hostal Cattleya:  $67.03/night (including breakfast).  This was probably our favorite hotel in the Galapagos.  The room was huge and comfortable.  The shower had plenty of hot water.  The AC was cold.  There was a kitchen that guests could use (although we thought it was too hot in the kitchen to bother cooking).  The owners were beyond nice.  The wifi didn’t work well at all though.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.
  • Santa Cruz Island (2020):
    • Hostel Costa del Pacifico:  $54.92/night.  We only stayed here one night, but this place was way better than Suenos Silvestres.  The room was big enough with a large closet.  The bathroom was large with hot water.  The wifi worked in the room.  The only potential downside is that it is right in town so it was somewhat loud.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.
    • Hotel Suenos Silvestres:  $70.56/night.  Hmmm…this wasn’t a wonderful introduction to the Galapagos.  There was no internet in the room (although we could at least check email at the front desk).  The man that runs the hotel wasn’t very helpful.  The room was fine, but absolutely nothing special.  The shower was small and the water temperature was inconsistent.  Would we recommend it?  No.


  • Beckington (2015):
    • Woolpack Inn.  $93.28/night (including breakfast).  Adorable little place.  Comfortable room right above a pub.  Clean and quiet.  In a small little village between Stonehenge and Bath.  Friendly people and a horse even went trotting by in the morning.  Plus, breakfast (including chocolate croissants) was amazing.  The only downside (other than the price) is that the wi-fi only worked in the pub.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • London, England (2015):
    • Sofitel at Heathrow.  $235.07 (including breakfast and lounge access).  A great airport hotel.  Very convenient to Heathrow and very comfortable.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.


  • Bordeaux (2019):
    • Adagio Bordeaux Gambetta.  $104.56/night.  This was an aparthotel, meaning we had a small kitchenette and there was no maid service (unless you pay extra).  The room was somewhat rundown (e.g., the dining table was all scuffed).  And, the toilet was on one side of the apartment and the sink on the other side.  But, the location was fantastic.  Would we recommend it?  Cautiously, yet.
  • Lyon (2019):
    • Hotel Saint Vincent.  $97.11/night.  Cute little place.  Room was small but had nice high ceilings with old timber beams.  Shower had a towel heater.  Wifi worked well.  Hotel was a bit out of the way, but still an easy walk to Old Town.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, if the price is comparable to other available properties.
  • Marseilles (2019):
    • Holiday Inn Express.  $75.71/night (including breakfast).  The hotel itself was fine.  The room was comfortable.  Breakfast was good, but got boring as the food was exactly the same every single day.  The real problem was the location — right near the train station with a bit of an unsavory crowd.  Would we recommend it?  Only in a pinch — try to find something closer to the harbor area.
  • Paris (2019):
    • Ibis Paris CDG.  ~$238/night.  Something crazy was going on the one night we needed to stay by the airport, and this was the cheapest hotel we could find.  It has the advantage of being right at the airport and easily accessible from all terminals.  But, the lobby was a disaster, we waited forever to check in, and the room was tiny.  It definitely wasn’t worth the price we paid, although it was clean.  Would we recommend it?  Only if you (like us) arrive in Paris at night and leave early the next morning.  (Note:  We stayed here a second time due to a very early flight and paid $79.76/night.  Check-in went smoother and the room was nicer.  And, we stayed there a third time for the same reason and paid $92.58/night.  Once again, check-in was a cluster and our first room stunk of cigarette smoke.)
    • Pere Lachaise Vintage.  $125.59/night.  An absolutely wonderful apartment.  It was a true one bedroom (which is hard to find in Paris in our price range).  It had everything we needed and then some.  It is a bit far from the center of all things touristic, but the neighborhood is friendly.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.


  • Amed (2018): 
    • Harmony Cafe and Bungalow.  $38.42/night (including breakfast).  Cute place.  Large, clean room with open air shower.  Note there were HUGE spiders in the bathroom, but they apparently were not dangerous.  Beautiful gardens.  Small but perfectly acceptable pool.  Short scooter ride to beach and less than a mile (mostly uphill) to Sunset Point.  Breakfast was decent and they used bamboo straws in the cafe.  Owners were very friendly to guests, but we got the sense they were quite strict with staff.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, if you are willing to hire a scooter to get around.
  • Jakarta (2019)
    • Ibis Styles Jakarta Airport.  $46.22/night (including breakfast).  The room at this hotel was fine.  Clean and quiet and comfortable.  The real problem with this hotel is the airport shuttle bus.  First, the bus only runs every 90 minutes, which is completely unacceptable for an airport hotel.  (We are pretty sure there is no way to safely walk to the hotel even though it is very close to the airport).  Second, the bus doesn’t even run on schedule.  We arrived a few minutes before the scheduled pick up and the bus never showed — we are guessing it arrived early and left but we were forced to wait and wait and wait because there was no way for us to know that we had missed the bus.  Third, service at the hotel is less than stellar.  For example, when we called to confirm we were waiting in the correct location, the hotel said “ok, ok” and hung up on us.  We had no idea what that meant.  Additionally, the lobby is swarmed with hungry mosquitos and the restaurant food is barely edible.  Would we recommend it?  Not a chance.
  • Kuta (2018): 
    • Ibis Bali Kuta.  $29/night (including breakfast).  Again, typical Ibis.  Not very well located, as it is a long walk to the Kuta hot spots.  And, the breakfast was really bad.  Would we recommend it?  Probably not.  We are not Kuta people and, if you are, it isn’t very close to the Kuta attractions.
  • Labuan Bajo (2018): 
    • Wae Molas.  $39/night (including breakfast).  We loved this place.  Wonderful pool and cafe and we were able to get lemon poppy seed cake for breakfast!  Friendly staff and an easy walk to the harbor.  The only downside is it is near a mosque and those 4:50 am broadcast prayers are loud, loud, loud — there are enough mosques in town that I suspect this is an issue at every hotel.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • Legion (21019):
    • Mercure Bali Legion Street.   $61/night (with breakfast included due to status).  Perfectly located hotel.  Easy walk to beach.  Plenty of shops, bars and restaurants within walking distance.  Room was comfortable and everything worked as expected.  There were only two small downsides.  Although there were two pools, it was hard to get a lounger in the shade, especially given that it was low season.  And, the breakfast was fairly miserable (although they did have peanut butter).  Would we recommend it?  Yes.
  • Legion (2018): 
    • Ibis Bali Legion Street.  $32/night (including breakfast).  So….this is your typical Ibis.  A small but functional room, decent wi-fi, nice shower.  But, the room wasn’t up to the cleanliness standards of the Ibis.  And, the pool sucked.  And, breakfast was beyond bad.  They served some kind of jelly that was absolutely inedible and we repeatedly saw people touching food they did not take.  That said, it was well-located.  Would we recommend it? Yes, if the price is right, if you don’t pay extra for breakfast, and if you don’t intend to spend much time at the hotel.
  • Nusa Due (2019):
    • Sofitel.  See below.  Amazing as always (and fewer — although still too many — kids this time).
  • Nusa Dua (2018): 
    • Sofitel.  Expensive.  This place was amazing.  Our room was huge, the pool was huge, the buffet breakfast was amazing, and Sunday brunch was out of this world.  However, this is the most family friendly Sofitel I have ever seen.  Kids everywhere, and several of them completely out of control.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, so long as you are not looking for a romantic couples get-away.
  • Pemuteran (2018): 
    • Mimpi Nyata.  $28/night (including breakfast).  We adored this place.  Huge room, plenty of storage space, good breakfasts, incredibly friendly hosts, great location, lovely patio.  Robert loved the open air bathroom.  I loved the pool.  Only thing we would change is to add a mosquito net to the bed (we didn’t need it while we were there).  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.  Except we don’t want it to get so busy that we can’t get a reservation.  🙂
  • Seminyak (2018): 
    • Ibis Styles Petitenget.  $45.74/night (including breakfast).  The room here was quite nice.  The pool looked pleasant, although we did not use it.  We were not, however, enamored with the location.  It seemed a bit dead and off the beaten track.  Don’t get me wrong, we were able to walk to everything we needed, but the hotel just felt out of the way and was much further from the beach than the Ibis Legion Street (although there is a shuttle).  And, the breakfast was pretty bad.  Would we recommend it?  Certainly not at the price we paid, but if you can get it cheaper and don’t mind long walks it isn’t bad.
  • Ubud (2018): 
    • Pondok Kutah.  $29 /night (including breakfast).  We loved this place.  The hotel is in the back yard of a family compound.  The family was very friendly.  Our room included a nice balcony where we could sit outside and enjoy the day and the pool view (and, surprisingly, the breeze kept it plenty cool most of the time).  Security isn’t up to U.S. standards (no safe, front doors had gaps), but then again there is no need for that type of security in Ubud.  The hotel was an easy walk to everything we wanted to see.  Note that we were woken every morning by the roosters.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • Yogyakarta (2019):
    • Ibis Malioboro.  $38/night.  If you want to be near Malioboro Street, this hotel was perfectly located.  In hindsight, it was not the right location for us as it was far too touristy.  The room was exceptionally large for an Ibis (we were upgraded).  However, the wi-fi was far too slow, the AC kept the room far too cold, and the water in the shower did not get hot enough.  Plus, unlike every other Accor hotel we have stayed at, they only gave us one free breakfast voucher — as a result, we never bothered with breakfast at the hotel.  Would we recommend it?  Probably not.


  • Florence (2019):
    • The Artsy Apartment: $58.88/night.  Overall, this was a great apartment.  It was well located, it was clean, it had a smart tv with Netflix, the kitchen had everything we needed, and the bed was comfortable.  However, the shower was comically small.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, but know that you won’t enjoy your showers unless they rehab the bathroom.
  • Monopoli (2019):
    • La Dimora di Mercurio:  ~$44/night.  We adored this apartment (booked through booking.com).  It was beautifully decorated, it had everything we needed, it was in a great location, and it actually had two bedrooms and two bathrooms.  There was a patio on the top floor that we would have loved to have used if the weather had been better.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • Naples (2019): 
    • Casa Principe Di Sansevero:  $72.30/night.  We were fairly disappointed with this AirBnB.  For starters, we had booked it specifically because it had a washer but we were informed upon check-in that the washer was broken and no attempt to fix it was made during our eight night stay.  Then, we were informed that we could not flush tp down the toilet and that we could only take out the trash three days a week.  Disgusting!  (We have grown accustomed to not flushing tp in Asia, but there they have bum guns and the trash is disposed of every single day).  The apartment was in a good location and was walking distance to everything and the wi-fi worked well.  Would we recommend it?  Probably not.
  • Rome (2019)
    • Trastavere_House2: $61.83/night.  This was a perfectly acceptable AirBnB, but nothing great.  It was located in the Trastavere neighborhood, but it was a bit far away from most of the nicer restaurants.  That said, it was right on the tram line and right near two good grocery stores.  The kitchen was not very well stocked, although the basics were there and we were able to cook basic meals.  The wi-fi worked well.  There was a very cute balcony, but we didn’t use it because it was cold and rainy.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, but we would probably look for something slightly better next time.


  • Laung Prabang (2018): 
    • Kham & Henri’s AirBNB apartment.  $42.16/night.  We had a one bedroom apartment all to ourselves.  Nice little place.  It was fantastic to have a kitchen for a change.  It was about a mile away from the heart of town and, I have to admit that we occasionally really wished it were closer.  But overall, we really liked it.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.


  • Georgetown (2018):
    • The Museum Hotel.  $50.74/night (including the additional per night Malaysian tourist tax and then some Georgetown tourism tax and service fees that came as a surprise to us).  This place was very well located, and the staff were friendly.  But the room was so inconvenient.  A huge room, with nowhere to unpack our stuff.  Floors and a bed that creaked every time we moved.  A shower that required we first turn on a hot water heater and then wait for the water to heat up.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely not.
  • Georgetown (2015):
    • Apollo Inn.  $37.77/night (including breakfast).  The room was very small and the window (which we paid extra for) was small and up so high that even standing on the bed we couldn’t see outside.  And the “bathroom” had glass walls.  Seriously, glass walls.  That said, the room was very quiet, the bed was comfortable, the AC worked and the shower water was hot.  The breakfast each morning was more than sufficient (and they even had peanut butter).  Plus, they had free cookies available all day.  So, all in all, it wasn’t bad.  Would we recommend it?  Only as a last resort.
    • Armenian Suite.  $36.21/night.  This was a great little hotel.  We had an internal room, but we have finally realized that those are sometimes better as they are darker and quieter.  The bed was super comfortable.  The room was spacious.  The bathroom was a wet room, but it was quite large and it dried very, very quickly.  The hotel is above a cafe that sells a dessert called “snow” – it is some type of flavored ice/ice cream type concoction which was quite good.  We likely would have extended our stay but for the fact that we had already booked ferry tickets.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • Kuala Lumpur (2018): 
    • Ahyu Hotel.  $33.09/night  (including the additional per night Malaysian tourist tax).  When we walked in, the lobby reeked of sewer.  Disgusting.  Then, the front desk clerk tried to tell us that our standard-issue credit cards were “too big” for the credit card reader.  We think it was a scam to force us to pay cash, but who knows.  The window (which we had paid extra for) overlooked HVAC equipment and a wall.  The bathroom, which appeared to be a dry room in the photos, was actually pretty much a wet room and the shower was more like standing in a heavy mist than a shower.  And, they never cleaned our room even though we put our sign out.  Plus, the laundry service they use shrunk our clothes.  Would we recommend it?  Not a chance.
  • Kuala Lumpur (2015): 
    • Lantern Hotel.  $29.55/night (including breakfast).  Completely overrated.  The public areas were quite nice — there was an internal sitting area and an outdoor patio overlooking Chinatown.  But the room was miserable.  It felt like a prison.  The walls were made of cement block.  The room was big enough for only the bed and about a foot and a half next to the bed to walk to the bathroom.  The bed was in an alcove and abutted three walls so I had to climb over Robert to get out of bed.  Plus, to top it off, we paid a couple dollars extra for a “balcony.”  The so-called “balcony” was just another room with wooden shutters and a single chair — the windows had no glass or screens so we kept it closed off the entire time with a sliding wooden door, rendering our room effectively windowless.  And yet the wooden door failed to block out any of the street noise so we didn’t get a single good night of sleep.  Would we recommend it?  No.
  • Kuching (2018): 
    • Imperial Riverside.  $35.32/night (including the additional per night Malaysian tourist tax).  Very nicely located right on the river and within walking distance of nearly everything we wanted to see.  River shuttle stops right outside.  Room was a bit dated, but functional.  Shower was fantastic.  Staff were friendly, if not entirely competent.  (They suggested I go to the hospital to fix a tooth issue.)  Note that from the outside it looks a bit scary, as the area right around it is a bit run down.  Would we recommend it?  Definitely.
  • Langkawi (2015):
    • Cactus Inn.  ~$34/night (we paid two different rates because we booked some nights on-line and some nights directly with the hotel).  Cute little place.  Room was small but completely functional.  AC was powerful and wi-fi worked well enough to stream tv shows.  All of the rooms have a patio with outdoor seating.  We had monkey visitors, we saw a giant squirrel and there were a ton of birds that visited the area, including kingfishers and horn bills.  The staff were friendly, as were the resident cats and dog.  It is a bit of a walk to Centai beach, but there are plenty of stores, restaurants and bars around.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
    • Salsa Resort.  $29.21/night.  There was nothing wrong with the interior of this hotel.  The room was large and comfortable.  But the staff were standoffish (at best) and the hotel was a long, not particularly safe walk to town.  And the breakfast was inedible.  Would we recommend it?  Only if everything else was full or if you rent a car or scooter and don’t mind driving everywhere.
  • Melaka (2018): 
    • Ibis Melaka.  $43.14/night (including the additional per night Malaysian tourist tax).  Loved this Ibis.  The room was huge (pretty sure we got an upgrade although it wasn’t mentioned) and we even had a couch.  The hotel was well located.  The shower was fantastic and spacious (not the typical Ibis shower).    Would be recommend it?  In a heartbeat.


  • Puerto Vallarta (2019):
    • Rincon de Almas.  $68.39/night.  A lovely little apartment in the heart of the Romantic Zone.  The apartment had everything we needed (including a washing machine) and was in a wonderful location.  Netflix on the tv, although wifi in the room was a bit slow.  We loved it.  Would we recommend it?  In a heart beat.
    • Westin Resort & Spa.  Nightly price was too complex to calculate, as it varied by night, the taxes varied by night, and the stupid resort fee varied based on the exchange rate, plus we got 20% off all food and beverage and a $50 credit when we checked out, but it was roughly $130/night.  The grounds were lovely with a beautiful pool, cool birds, and iguanas everywhere.  The room was large, but very, very damp — so damp we had to run a dehumidifier our entire stay.  Would we recommend it?  Probably, given how great the pool was.


  • Bagan (2015):
    • Kaday Aung Hotel. $75.00/night (breakfast included). Located in New Bagan within an easy walk to several restaurants and several pagodas. We could have found a cheaper place, but we really wanted a pool in Bagan (and that was 100% the right choice) and this was about as cheap as we could find for a property with a pool. Outdoor space was quite nice – the pool was lovely (but freezing cold) and there were plenty of places around the hotel to sit and relax. The room was large and functional. But the bathroom was a disaster – frequently smelled like sewer and the shower alternated between either virtually no water pressure or plenty of pressure but alternating between scalding and freezing water. And, our room abutted either a monastery or school and we heard children chanting from 6 am until 10 pm every single day. Breakfast was included but about the only edible items were the eggs made to order, the toast and the watermelon. Would we recommend it? Not a chance.
  • Mandalay (2015):
    • Tiger One Hotel. $40.50/night (breakfast included). Clean, friendly hotel. Located within walking distance (if you don’t mind a long walk) from several attractions and from numerous restaurants. Good breakfast buffet, which changed slightly each day, but which included both Western and Asian fare. Free use of bikes included (we didn’t use them so don’t know how good they were). Room was small (but very clean) and noisy (cleaning staff started early and what we think was a call to prayer from a local mosque woke us up very early).  As a bonus, we were able to watch a Chelsea match one night and a current episode of Scandal another. Would we recommend it? Now, yes, but we strongly suspect that the market will change quickly and new options may be better.
  • Yangon (2015):
    • MK Hotel. $70/night (breakfast included). A bit out of the way, but still within walking distance of Sule pagoda, the markets, and Chinatown. Recently opened. Basic room, with a wet room for a bathroom (although there was a shower curtain which helped somewhat), but clean. Staff was friendly. Breakfast was the best we had in Myanmar. The typical eggs, pastries, fruits and a hot Asian dish each day – one day mohinga, another day a really good and unique chicken soup, another day shan noodles. But the best thing was the Internet – it was the best we had in Myanmar. Fast enough to load photos and Skype home. Would we recommend it? Yes (but see the caveat above for the Tiger One).


  • Granada (2015):
    • Casa Silas B&B.  $52.65 (including breakfast).  This place was a real find.  The owners served an amazing breakfast each morning.  The French toast was delicious.  The owners were also fantastic at providing recommendations of things to do and places to eat.  The room was very comfortable (although the shower was a bit less than ideal), the wi-fi was speedy, and the air conditioning worked well.  The three house dogs made our stay.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.
  • Leon (2015):
    • Hotel San Juan del Sur.  ~$45/night.  Bleh.  This place was just ok.  The room was small and vaguely prison-like.  Very few amenities — no hand towels, no bath mat, no shampoo, no fridge, no free water.  Wi-fi only worked in pool area.  Room was borderline clean, but certainly far from spotless.  Staff wasn’t particularly friendly and one pretended to not speak English although Robert caught the guy watching Jerky Boys.  Resident cat is too skinny and there are signs forbidding guests from feeding it.  That said, when we decided to extend our stay we couldn’t find any place that looked better at the same price point.  Would we recommend it?  Grudgingly.  Keep your fingers crossed that something better has become available.
  • Moyogalpa (2015):
    • Hefziba B&B.  $47.67/night (including breakfast).  A very comfortable B&B.  Room was large and nicely decorated.  Hotel is an easy walk to town.  Wi-fi was spotty, but generally good enough to get emails.  Staff was friendly.  Courtyard was really nice with comfortable seating.  The only down-side besides the spotty wi-fi was that the water pressure was really low.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.
  • Playa Maderas (2015):
    • Casa Maderas.  $39.00.  This place has so much potential.  It is a shame the potential isn’t realized.  The pool is one of the best we have experienced.  It is large, with a ton of seating.  And the views of the countryside are quite nice.  However, the room was fairly dirty and there were a ton of bugs in the room (including at least one scorpion and some kind of bugs that showed up in the shower every time we turned it on).  Plus, the mosquito netting wasn’t big enough for the bed.  And, they jammed two beds into a very small room which meant there was no airflow on one side of each bed — which is important when there is no AC.  The final straw?  The restaurant at the hotel was abysmal and nothing else was an easy walk away.  Would we recommend it?  Most likely not.  We saved some money, but we were SO ready to check out.
  • Playa Santa Domingo (2015):
    • Xalli. $91.26/night (including breakfast).  We loved it here.  The hotel is right on the lake and it is very, very quiet around the hotel.  The room was clean and large, AC worked well, and wi-fi worked decently (and well at the restaurant).  Resident dog was adorable.  The hotel menu was limited, but the meals were delicious.  A perfect place, but only if you are willing to rent a scooter or pay through the nose for a cab and get out and explore.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • San Juan del Sur (2015): 
    • Hotel Posada Bahia Azul. $45.00/night (including breakfast).  This was a quick stopover before taking a morning ferry to Ometepe and we didn’t get to try the breakfast.  Room was relatively clean (sheets, towels and bathroom was clean; walls were filthy) and quiet.  AC worked decently well.  Wi-fi worked, but not consistently and not good enough to make a Skype call.  Located right on the edge of town.  Friendly staff, although they don’t speak any English.  Would we recommend it?  Sure, if you can’t find anything cheaper there was nothing wrong with it.
    • Hotel Victoriano.  $115.83/night (including breakfast).  This was a splurge for Robert’s birthday.  It was OK, but we don’t think it was worth the price.  Room was clean and comfortable.  Wi-fi worked well.  Breakfast was good.  However, there was nothing special about the place and the staff were very disinterested.  Would we recommend it?  Probably not, but if you don’t mind paying that price there is nothing wrong with it.  (Edited to add:  we actually stayed here a second time at a slightly lower rate when we needed some time in Playa del Sur to figure out how to get to Costa Rica as nearly everything else was sold out for Independence Day).


  • Bocas Town (2015):
    • Hotel Posada Isla Chica.  ~$39/night.  This place was a real mixed bag.  It included AC and hot water.  The sheets and towels were clean.  It was well located.  However, it is very, very run-down.  So run down that water dripped into our shower when the people upstairs took a shower.  Disgusting.  Would we recommend it?  No.
  • Boquete (2015):
    • Hotel Reboquet.  $40/night (including breakfast).  This place was a dream.  Very clean, fast wi-fi, and well-located.  Room was modern with a huge king bed.  And the shower was one of the best showers ever with plenty of hot water and plenty of water pressure.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • Panama City (2015):
    • Novotel.  $68.71/night.  Panama City hotels were pretty expensive, so we decided to stay at an Accor property so at least we would accumulate points.  This was a good decision on our part.  Our room was huge and kept spotlessly clean.  The hotel was well-located and an easy walk to both the metro and numerous restaurants and stores.  Wi-fi was fast.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, if it is in line with prices of other comparable places.


  • Edinburgh (2015): 
    • Ibis Hotel Centre South Bridge.  ~$190/night but we used points.  Very well located if you want to be right in the heart of the tourist district, as it was literally two blocks from the Royal Mile and a very easy walk to the castle.  Typical Ibis hotel — a budget hotel (I gagged a bit when I wrote that given the price) that meets your needs but doesn’t do much more.  Unfortunately, our toilet didn’t want to flush and we had to play with it repeatedly.  Also, parking was VERY expensive if you have a car.  Wi-fi was strong and fast.  Great caramels in the lobby.  Would we recommend it?  Sure, if you are using points.
  • Inverness (2015): 
    • Mercure Hotel.  ~$200/night (including breakfast) but we used points.  Nice location right in the heart of Inverness.  But that is where the positives end.  The plumbing is old, very old, and the pipes made a horrible (and loud) noise each and every time the toilet flushed.  Water pressure in the shower was also low.  Sea gulls squawked outside our window ALL NIGHT LONG so we did not sleep well.  And, our window was absolutely covered in sea gull poo.  Yuck.  Breakfast was decent, but there was absolutely no variety — exactly the same things were served each and every day.  Would we recommend it?  No.
  • Glasgow (2015):
    • Holiday Inn Express City Center-Theaterland.  Price (including breakfast) unknown because we used points and didn’t keep a record.  Great location in the theater district.  Perfectly acceptable budget hotel.  We were actually a bit impressed and expected much less than we got.  Bathroom was a bit weird, with a single door that could be used to close up the entire bathroom or just the bathroom stall.  Breakfast was very, very, basic with canned fruit.  Would we recommend it?  If the price is right.


  • Singapore (2018):
    • Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen.  $138.30/night.  Very well located.  Walking distance to multiple subways stops and at least two different subway lines.  Walking distance (albeit a long walk) to Merlion Park.  Walking distance to Little India.  Free bottled water and soda water at the bar.  Friendly staff.  Quiet room, but a little bit run-down.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, if the price is right when you visit.  (Singapore hotels are SO expensive.)
  • Singapore (2015):
    • Sofitel So.  Prices in Singapore are through the roof — we saw dorm beds going for $50.  So, we picked this stay to splurge and went all out by staying at the Sofitel So (using points for two of the three nights).  This particular Sofitel wasn’t up to typical Sofitel standards but it was still the height of luxury for us after 5 months on the road.  Would we recommend it?  Probably not.  There is no lounge, the bar was out of the first two wines I ordered, and the hot water was hit or miss.  I suspect for the price paid we could have gotten quite a bit better.

South Africa:

  • Benoni (2015): 
    • Sleep Eezy Cottages.  Don’t remember the price.  We loved everything about this place except the location — it is out by the airport in a residential neighborhood.  The hosts were amazing and a treasure chest of information.  Rooms were comfortable and included a fridge and a microwave.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely, if you need a place to stay before or after a flight.
  • Cape Town (2015):
    • iKhaya Lodge.  $56.78/night (including breakfast).  This was a miss.  The room was fine (nothing special).  But the staff were a real let down.  We arrived 45 minutes before breakfast was supposed to be over to find the staff clearing it away because “most” of the guests had eaten.  And, nobody notified us of the electrical outage that occurred the morning of our departure, even though it was a planned outage.  Would we recommend it?  Unlikely.
    • Protea Fire and Ice. ~$117/night (including breakfast).  It was ok.  Room was decently comfortable and breakfast was good.  However, the staff at the hotel were unfriendly and uninterested in doing their jobs.  Indeed, the only positive interaction with any staff member was in the bar (fitting, I know).  Would we recommend it?  Hmmmm…maybe…depends on what else is available and at what price point.
  • Franschhoek (2015):
    • Le Balloon Rouge Guest House.  $61.51/night (including breakfast).  Once the heat turned on, we loved this place.  Very comfortable, with a huge bathroom.  Breakfast was a highlight, with amazing croissants.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely!
  • Knysna (2015):
    • Bridgewater B&B.  $55.31/night (including breakfast).  Another great South African B&B.  Well-located with friendly hosts and a very good breakfast.  The place would be amazing in the summer.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.
  • Greater Kruger (2015):
    • Nyeleti camp in Klaserie Game Reserve.  Price unknown as included in the larger safari price.  Pure luxury.  Rooms were beyond comfortable, with a huge soaking tub and dual sinks.  Our safari company had booked a chef to cook for us, and her cooking was out of this world.  An antelope of some sort came for a drink from our swimming pool one night and we heard an elephant nearby another.  Tracker and guide were friendly and got us some amazing experiences with the animals.  Would we recommend it?  100% yes.
    • Tshukudu Private Game Reserve.  Price unknown as included in the larger safari price.  A great introduction to safari.  Rooms were basic, but had everything we needed.  Plus, there was a watering hole right outside our rooms and we got to see a giraffe and other animals from our front porch.  Included meals were basic, but sufficient.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, because the game viewing was amazing.
  • Mossel Bay (2015):
    • Bay Lodge.  $64.07/night (including breakfast).  This place would be amazing in the summer, as it is right on the ocean.  Sadly, we were there in winter.  It was still a very comfortable stay.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.
  • Stellenbosch (2015): 
    • Fynbos Villa Guest House.  $50.50/night (including breakfast).  Cute little place.  Well located.  Friendly staff.  Decent breakfast.  Room was cold though.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.


  • Seville (2019):
    • Apartmento Faustino Alvarez.  ~$88/night.  A wonderful apartment about a 20 minute walk from the heart of the tourist district.  Host was very friendly.  Apartment was comfortable and had almost everything we needed (we bought towels to dry dishes).  Lots of bars and restaurants and groceries nearby.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • Valencia (2019):
    • Apartment hosted by Igor.  ~$77/night.  We liked the location of this apartment and the apartment had most of what we needed.  However, it wasn’t particularly clean, there was no hot water in the kitchen at all, there was an oven but no baking dishes, and the shower barely had enough hot water for two showers.  Would we recommend it?  Probably not.

Sri Lanka:

  • Bentota (2015):
    • The Residence.  $45/night.  This was a splurge, but it was luxury (for the most part).  We had a mini apartment with a living room, kitchenette and bedroom.  The pool and grounds were lovely.  The wi-fi worked well when it worked.  Unfortunately, there were far too many bugs.  Would we recommend it?  If you go to Bentota, but we don’t recommend going to Bentota.
  • Dambulla (2015):
    • CLN Guest House.  $24.30/night.  Such a disappointment.  Room was fairly dirty and full of all kinds of bugs (although thankfully no bed bugs even though there were plenty of bugs in the bed).  Robert woke up two mornings with huge bug bites on his forehead.  Bathroom had three huge spiders.  That said, it was well-located for taking the bus on day trips and we ultimately did extend our stay by one night rather than deal with the hassle of moving.  Would we recommend it?  No.
  • Ella (2015): 
    • Ella Okreechi Cottages.  $27.90/night.  Nice place set on the hillside with nice views and a great balcony.  Very friendly owners.  Room was clean, but full of bugs because the bathroom windows did not have screens and were kept open and because there were openings between the walls and the ceiling (although the fireflies at night were a nice treat).  The real problem in Ella is the stray dogs.  They bark all night long.  And then, in the morning, some kind of music is blared through loudspeakers.  So, although we liked the hotel, we got very little sleep.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, in spite of the noise.
  • Kandy (2015):
    • 256 Rest House.  $23.00/night.  This place is a real find.  Well-located within an easy walk of the lake and the Temple of the Tooth.  Room is clean and huge.  Staff are very friendly and the bake shop downstairs serves a great and very cheap lunch (and a fantastic chocolate donut).  Internet is a bit hit or miss, working well sometimes but not others.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • Marissa (2015):
    • Sanovin.  $26/night (including breakfast).  This is a hard one.  The place is only half done and looks a bit like a hovel from the outside.  There was no wastebasket in the room.  And, the water heater for the shower had to be plugged in outside the bathroom, which meant there was a cord preventing us from closing the bathroom door.  But the guys that run the place were amazingly friendly.  And the room was clean and (for Sri Lanka) relatively bug free.  And the AC worked very well.  And it was very convenient to the beach and right next door to a coffee shop.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, but wait until the construction is over.
  • Negombo (2015):
    • Marine Tourist Guest House.  $31.05/night.  I really wanted to like this place, but I didn’t.  The room was huge, but pretty run down.  The AC worked well, but it was insanely loud.  And the hotel is a bit far away from most of the restaurants.  The drying rack in the room was actually a very nice touch that we appreciated.  Would we recommend it?  Probably not, but it likely isn’t your worst option either.
  • Tissa (2015): 
    • Lakeview Cottages.  $19.84/night.  Just lovely.  Hotel is out of town and set on a lake.  Lots of wildlife around.  The room was clean and comfortable.  Staff were friendly and organized a good safari at what we thought was a fair price.  Welcome drink on arrival, free breakfast before safari, and cool drink after safari.  Unfortunately, the food at their restaurant was some of the worse we have had in Sri Lanka.  And, the wi-fi was pretty much non-existent.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely, but come prepared with snacks and knowing you will be out of touch for your short stay.
  • Unawatuna (2015):
    • Black Beauty.  $31.62/night.  Beautiful grounds, lovely gardens, a nice little pool, friendly staff, and the friendliest yellow lab.  Close to the beach and to town.  But, the wi-fi was virtually unusuable.  And the power went out.  And the bed didn’t have a cover sheet or blanket; instead it had a sleep sack for one (thankfully, there were two beds so we each had a sleep sack).  And the pillows stunk.  Would we recommend it?  It pains us to say this, but probably not.


  • Ao Nang (2019):
    • Holiday Inn Express.  $71.38/night (with breakfast).  Fairly typical Holiday Inn Express.  The room was small but it was clean, the AC worked well, and the wifi was fast.  The pool was large, but fairly busy.  The location was fantastic — right across the road from the beach with a ton of bars and restaurants nearby.  Breakfast was pretty miserable, but we pretty much expected it would be.  Prices were probably high for Songkran.  Would we recommend it?  Probably.
    • Ibis Styles.  ~$48/night (with breakfast included due to status).  Still a decent choice in Ao Nang.  Bathrooms have been remodeled (which is good) but it makes the room even smaller (which is bad).  Wifi was not always working at the pool, but was strong and fast in our room.  Breakfast was pretty much inedible.  Would we recommend it?  Probably.
  • Ao Nang (2015): 
    • Ao Nang Beach Resort.  $26.79/night (including breakfast).  We were upgraded to a mini suite and really liked our room.  It was comfortable (extra pillows, yeah!) and everything worked well.  It is right smack dab in the middle of the beach.  Lots of people would like that, although we got a bit annoyed at the constant hawkers trying to get us into their restaurants — we preferred staying a bit away from the beach.  The only problem with this hotel is that a band plays in the restaurant every night.  The band is loud and the bands we heard weren’t very good.  Our room was about as far away from the band as possible, and we could still hear them crystal clear.  I suspect in the rooms right above the band that you couldn’t even hear yourself think.  Would we recommend it?  Only if they turn down the volume of the band or you can confirm a room far away from the band.
    • Ibis Styles.  $41.34/night (including breakfast).  So, after bouncing around Ao Nang a bit we decided to splurge on the Ibis.  It was worth every penny.  The room was clean and comfortable (albeit small), the wi-fi was wicked fast, the pool was nice, and the staff was friendly.  The staff helped me find a good doctor for an injured footand even asked several days later whether everything was ok.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.
    • Miti Resort.  $23.90/night.  So, this place had amazing reviews and the primary criticism seemed to be the distance to the beach.  Well, the distance to the beach is no problem — a 20 minute walk down a street riddled with shops and restaurants.  But we have no idea why the reviews are so good.  The room was dirty — something disgusting all over one wall, toilet seat had to be cleaned before I would use it, sheets and towels with disgusting stains.  Wi-fi is intermittent.  Pool is very small with no umbrellas for shade.  Low water pressure in the bathroom.  Would we recommend it?  No.
  • Bangkok (2019):
    • Ibis Bangkok Sathorn.  $35.66/night (with breakfast included due to status) and $33.52/night.  A perfectly acceptable no frills place.  The room was small but functional.  It is a short walk to the subway.  There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the neighborhood.  The only negative is the barely edible breakfast.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, but don’t pay extra for breakfast.  (And, oddly, they gave us breakfast due to my status one stay but not the next.)
    • Sofitel Sukhumvit.  See 2018.  Still one of my favorite places…..
  • Bangkok (2018): 
    • Novotel Sukhumvit 20.  $90.51/night (with breakfast and happy hour included due to status).  This was a huge splurge for us, but largely worth it.  Our room was large and included a sofa and desk chair in addition to the bed.  The hotel was in a great location and walking distance to two BTS stations and one MRT station.  There were plenty of shops and restaurants around.  Our status entitled us to access to the executive lounge for two hours of free drinks and snacks every night — the food wasn’t much to write home about, but the space was nice and the drinks were solid.  Our status also entitled us to free breakfast — again the food wasn’t stellar, but if you picked correctly, you could make a nice meal.  The only real downside to this hotel was the pool.  Unfortunately, there was virtually no shade during the afternoon, making it largely unusable for us.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, in spite of the issues with the pool.
    • Sofitel So.  Expensive.  This is one of our favorite hotels and has been since the moment we first stepped inside this hotel in 2015.  The rooms have style, it is right next to Lumpini park, and the staff are friendly.  However, if truth be told, it is starting to show some wear and tear and the pool lounge area is a little bit small, and they no longer serve back bacon at the amazing breakfast buffet, but for some reason we easily overlook those facts.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.
    • Sofitel Sukhumvit.  Expensive.  Our love of all things Sofitel continues.  The service at this hotel is outstanding, the rooms were large, and the pool had some of the most comfortable loungers ever.  On a day when they were having electrical issues, the hotel went above and beyond to make everyone happy.  They put out a free buffet of snacks and, when they overheard that I wanted a macaroon (trust me, there was no complaining or asking or anything), they delivered three to the pool for me AND delivered a box to our room.  The hotel is well-located, with both the Skytrain and the subway within an easy walk.  The vibe is a bit more stuffy than we would like, but not over the top.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.
  • Bangkok (2015):
    • Sofitel So. We are huge fans of the Sofitel chain, have accumulated a fair number of points, and have platinum status with their frequent stay program (at least for this year!). Not surprisingly, we loved this hotel. Because of our status, we got to eat at their impressive breakfast buffet for free each day – the buffet was huge with pastries, eggs cooked to order, local fruit, rice, noodles, bacon (both streaky and back), cereal, meats, cheeses, ice cream, and about 6 different types of juice each day. Watermelon juice, yum. We also had access to the lounge, which meant free glasses of wine and appetizers each evening before dinner. The hotel is well located, across from a park and between a subway stop and a sky train stop. Our only criticism was the bathrooms – let’s just say they did not provide a whole lot of privacy. Would we recommend it? In a heartbeat.
  • Chiang Mai (2018): 
    • White Boutique Hotel and Spa.  $24/night.   This hotel was ok.  We booked it for the pool, but then never even used the pool — the loungers were made of wood with no cushions, there was insufficient shade, and the pool was pretty murky several days during our stay.  The room itself was fine, but nothing special.  The location likewise was fine, but nothing special.  I had a pedicure at the hotel one day and (1) it was overpriced and (2) they did it outside so part of the time the sun was beating down on me.  Would we recommend it?  Only if the price is right.
  • Chiang Rai (2015):
    • Grandma Kaew’s. $21/night. This is a small guesthouse run by a Thai woman and a British man. It is well located, just a quick walk from the night market and numerous bars and restaurants. It is a basic hotel with a wet room for a bathroom. It was spotlessly clean. No English language channels on the tv, but we did find a channel that pretty much just played football (soccer). No breakfast included, but they did provide bread and bananas each day. Would we recommend it? In a heartbeat.
  • Khao Lok (2019):
    • Baan Chong Fa Resort.  ~$45/night.  This place was a gem.  We were in poolside room P4 and our patio opened out right onto the pool (which, most days was empty except for us).  The patio came with two chairs and two loungers.  The room was huge.  The wifi was super fast.  The shower had plenty of water.  The only slight downside to this place is that it is about a 20 minute walk to stores and restaurants — but if you rent a scooter that is no problem.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.
  • Loh Lanta (2019):
    • Siri Lanta Resort.  $61.50/night (including breakfast).  Hotels on Koh Lanta are crazy expensive (even during shoulder season).  But, taking that into account, this was a good value for the money.  The room was large and spotlessly clean.  Breakfast was plentiful.  We could walk to the beach.  The only downsides were: (1) the pool didn’t get much shade; and (2) the bathroom vented outside so we had to keep the door shut and it got brutally hot.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
    • Verona Lanta.  $58.70/night.  If you want to spend some time on the quieter east side of the island, this is probably your best bet.  Eight stand alone bungalows around a pool.  Very friendly folks running the place.  Sea eagles nesting in the trees.  Very clean rooms with strong AC and a dry bathroom.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • Koh Lipe (2015): 
    • The Reef Hotel.  $43.59/night.  It seemed to us that all the hotels on Koh Lipe were overpriced, and this one was no exception.  The front desk staff was not the friendliest, the bed was the most uncomfortable one we have had on our trip, and soundproofing was minimal.  And the dogs that hung out there woke us up each and every night barking.  That said, the sheets and towels were clean and the hotel was conveniently located between the two primary beaches.  Would we recommend it?  Not likely, but in a pinch it will do.
  • Koh Lanta (2015):
    • Soontreeya Resort.  $88.11/night (including breakfast).  Room is clean, internet works well, and the place has a nice pool.  It is horribly overpriced, but it seems like everything on Lanta is.  Would we recommend it?  If the price point justifies it.
  • Koh Samui (2018): 
    • Ibis Koh Samui Bophut.  $42.73/night.  We adored this hotel.  The inside is a typical Ibis (although we were upgraded to a family room so we had more space).  But, it is right on the beach.  Who has ever heard of an Ibis right on the beach?  And, there is a boat that pulls up to the beach every day to sell snacks.  And, the hotel is an easy walk to numerous restaurants.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.  (Note we were there in low season.  If the hotel was full, our recommendation might be different because the pool space was not huge).
  • Phuket (2018): 
    • Ibis Phuket Kata.  $33.25/night (including breakfast).  As we noted in 2015, this hotel is well-located with a nice pool.  The wi-fi is still spotty.  The staff were some of the friendliest people we have ever met.  That said, the hotel is looking pretty beat-up, and many of the sun loungers were broken.  The hotel also seems to cater to families and there were unsupervised and out-of-control children everywhere.  And, the breakfast was absolutely horrible — we had to stop eating it by the end of our stay because we couldn’t choke it down anymore (yet, oddly, we saw people stealing the chicken sausages for later consumption even though there were signs saying no take away was allowed).  Would we recommend it?  Only if the price point is right.
  • Phuket (2015):
    • Ibis Kata Beach.  $41.87.night.  Typical Ibis but with a very nice pool.  Easy walk to beach, bars and restaurants.  Pancakes and fried ice cream right out the front door.  Staff was friendly.  Only downside was the internet did not work well in our room.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.
  • Sukhothai (2018): 
    • Scent of Sukhothai.  $36.92/night (including breakfast).   Not big fans of this place at all.  Most beds in Asia are hard, but this bed was like a rock.  I wondered at one point whether my hip bones were bruising my insides.  The shower had virtually no water pressure.  Breakfast was bad.  Staff were surly and tried to overcharge us for the bikes even though the price was clearly posted.  Not a single English language TV station (which is pretty much unheard of in tourist hotels over here).  The location was good and the wi-fi was fast though.  Would we recommend it?  No.

United States:

  • Arizona:
    • Green Valley (2021):
      • Best Western:  $111.91/night (including breakfast).  Boy, has this place gone downhill.  Our room was filthy.  The wi-fi repeatedly kicked us off the system.  And, after being told that housecleaning was by request only, someone came in and cleaned our room without advance warning, which is totally unacceptable during a pandemic.  We have to find a better hotel in Green Valley…  Would we recommend it?  No (and next time we might just stay in Tucson).
    • Green Valley (2019): 
      • Best Western:  $100.04/night (including breakfast).  There is nothing very good about this hotel, but there is nothing very bad about it either.  A very basic hotel with a very basic breakfast and wi-fi that works most (but not all of the time).  Would we recommend it?  Well, there isn’t anywhere better in Green Valley….
  • Florida:
    • Miami (2019): 
      • Crowne Plaza Miami Airport:  $159.95/night.  We stayed here as we escaped from Ecuador during the Covid-19 pandemic.  We arrived late and left early.  The wifi worked well and the room was comfortable, but run-down.  Would we recommend it?  It is fine for a quick overnight stay but nothing else.
  • Illinois:
    • Chicago (2021):
      • 21C Museum Hotel:  $159.78/night.  Great location.  Fun art.  Powerful shower.  Fast wi-fi.  But…. the bathroom had a motion sensor in it that controlled the light.  After spending hours trying to figure out how to shut it off so I wouldn’t be blinded in the middle of the night, I was told by the front desk that it couldn’t be shut off.  Unacceptable.  And, there were no outlets by the bed so I couldn’t charge my phone next to me as I slept.  Would we recommend it?  No.
      • Sofitel:  $291.91/night.  This has always been our favorite hotel in Chicago, but that might be coming to an end.  The rooms are still nice, the location is still great, and the wi-fi still works well.  But, service has taken a big hit.  There are fewer towels and amenities in the room, the bar refused to sell us water at 10:30 pm claiming they were closed (even though there were people still inside and the closing time was listed as 11 pm), room service ends at 11 pm, and when we tried to order room service at 10:45 pm they tried to reject our order because they closed in 15 minutes.  Not the level of service one expects at this price point.  Would we recommend it?  That depends on whether service recovers.
    • Chicago (2019):
      • Aloft River North.  $130.78/night.  A very solid choice in Chicago.  See our 2015 review.
      • Hilton Chicago O’Hare.  $123.13/night.  We have never been huge fans of this hotel, but the location can’t be beat when you have an early morning flight.  The rooms are fine, but you are pretty much stuck at the hotel restaurant unless you want to pay for a $5 el ride.  Would we recommend it?  Only if you have a very early flight.
      • London Hotel.  $125/night.  Lovely little hotel right on the river.  Room was large and comfortable, shower was huge, and the views were lovely (I had a cheap room so didn’t have to look at Trump tower).  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
      • Sofitel.  $327.12/night.  One of our favorite hotels.  We probably wouldn’t have stayed here, but every single room in Chicago was out of control expensive while we were visiting, so we figured we might as well splurge on something nice.  The hotel is within walking distance of trains, buses, sightseeing, and restaurants, the bar is always pleasant, and the wi-fi always works.  And, they have great croissants.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.
      • Renaissance Chicago O’Hare.  $160/night.  Not bad at all for an airport hotel.  Room was reasonably comfortable and the hotel is right next to an el stop.  We were a bit annoyed to learn that only the top floor rooms have safes.  Would we recommend it?  If the downtown hotels are too expensive (they were running $600/night when we stayed here), sure.
    • Chicago (2015):
      • Aloft City Center.  Price unknown because we used points.  We were very pleasantly surprised by this hotel.  The room was huge and very quiet.  The hotel is nicely located within easy walking distance to the loop, the lake and multiple el lines.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.
    • Des Plaines (2020)
      • Holiday Inn Express O’Hare.  $99.77/night (including breakfast).  But for covid, this would have been a pretty nice hotel.  Our room was huge, the bed was comfortable, everything was new, the wifi worked, and there was plenty of hot water.  They were not enforcing the mask mandate so we saw both guests and staff (front desk and housekeeping) without masks.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, if you have a reason to stay by O’Hare and you have a car.
    • Litchfield (2021):
      • Holiday Inn Express Litchfield West.  $176.61/night (including breakfast).  Newer hotel with great customer service.  Walking distance to multiple restaurants.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
    • Marion (2021):
      • Holiday Inn Express.  $136.71/night (including breakfast).  Not our favorite Holiday Inn Express.  The room was run-down and in need of remodeling.  There is a BBQ joint within walking distance for dinner.  Would we recommend it?  Probably not.  The Holiday Inn Express in Mount Vernon is not that far away and much nicer.
    • Mount Vernon (2021):
      • Holiday Inn Express.   $129.17/night (including breakfast).  Not as good as it was in 2019, but still a decent place to spend a night while you are on the road.  Would we recommend it?  See 2019.
    • Mount Vernon (2019):
      • Holiday Inn Express.  $113.97/night (including breakfast).  The price initially seemed outrageous to us after spending a year in SE Asia, but it is on par with the surrounding hotels.  A large clean room.  Fast wifi.  Very friendly staff.  A fairly decent breakfast.  Would we recommend it?  Well, we wouldn’t recommend spending any time in Mount Vernon, but if you are passing through this hotel is just fine.
    • Springfield (2019):
      • Holiday Inn Express.  $108.51/night (including breakfast).  Not up to the usual Holiday Inn standards.  The room was dirty and nobody seemed to care.  Would we recommend it?  No, there are plenty of other hotels in the area to try.
  • Indiana:
    • Greenwood (2021):
      • Holiday Inn Express.  $148.29/night (including breakfast).  This place was a dump.  Our ceiling was literally falling down.  The only upside was it was walking distance to a decent sports bar.  Would we recommend it?  Never.
  • Iowa:
    • Dubuque (2019):
      • Holiday Inn.  $165.74/night.  Pretty run down and not very clean with the tiniest shower ever.  Would we recommend it?  No.
  • Kentucky:
    • Lexington (2021):
      • 21C Museum Hotel.  $219.43.  A great place to stay.  The room was large enough and comfortable, and the hotel is located within walking distance to bars and restaurants.  Staff was friendly.  Things were still “off” because of covid (e.g., the bar had weird hours), but the potential is there.  Would we recommend it?  Yep.
    • Louisville (2019):
      • 21C Museum Hotel.  $234.85/night.  A fun hotel.  The room was large and comfortable, although the bathroom was a bit small.  The bartenders were friendly.  The hotel was located in a prime location.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.
  • Louisiana:
    • New Orleans (2020):
      • Intercontinental.  $147.78/night.  The location of this hotel can’t be beat.  Our room was a decent size and was comfortable.  However, they weren’t enforcing the mask mandate and both customers and housekeeping were walking around without masks.  Would we recommend it?  After covid.
    • Natchitoches (2021):

      • Holiday Inn Express.  $142.10/night (including breakfast).  This was an absolutely horrible hotel.  It was filthy.  The shower was so disgusting we refused to use it.  Management didn’t care.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely not.
  • Minnesota:
    • Minneapolis (2021):
      • Moxy.  $143.67/night.  This was a perfectly acceptable place to spend the night.  Well-located, clean, and quiet with fast wi-fi.  It would not be suitable for a longer stay or a business stay, as there was no desk.  Clearly geared for a younger crowd, but we liked it nonetheless.  Would we recommend it?  Sure.
    • Minneapolis (2020):
      • Sonder 2nd and 2nd Apartments.  Price varied significantly, but averaged about $3000/month for a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom.  This was a fully furnished apartment with all utilities (except cable) included.  The kitchen was well-stocked and the wifi worked well.  The apartment building was nicely located, with a Whole Foods just a couple of blocks away and the river walk was only about a block away.  It would be perfect for a week or two, but the furniture was not that comfortable for six months.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.
    • Minneapolis (2019):
      • Le Meridian.  $191.17/night.  We were upgraded from a queen room to a king room.  It was huge.  And quiet.  And the wi-fi was fast.  And the bathroom was huge.  The location was an easy walk to the light rail and various bars and restaurants.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.
  • Mississippi:
    • Magee (2021):
      • Holiday Inn Express.  $129.78.  Perfectly acceptable Holiday Inn Express to stay at during a hurricane evacuation.  Would we recommend it?  Sure, if the hurricane is going to miss Magee.
  • Nevada:
    • Las Vegas (2019):
      • Aria Resort and Casino.  $187.75/night.  This is our “go to” hotel in Vegas.  We love the rooms and like that the casino generally isn’t very smoky.  Would we recommend it?  Yes.
      • MGM Grand.  $224.14/night.  OK, let’s start with the fact that this hotel was horribly overpriced because we were spending the night before New Year’s Eve in Vegas.  That said, the room was fine and, had it been anywhere other than in Vegas, we would have been pleased with it.  It was quiet enough, it was dark enough, it was big enough, and the wifi worked well enough.  But, Aria will always have our heart in Vegas.  Would we recommend it?  Only if you can’t afford Aria (and we couldn’t the night we stayed here).
  • South Dakota:
    • Sioux Falls (2021):
      • Holiday Inn City Center:  $198.33/night.  Not nice at all.  Room was extremely dated and run down.  Would we recommend it?  No.
    • Rapid City (2021):
      • Holiday Inn Express Rushmore South:  $228.77/night (including breakfast).  Brand new (or at least it seemed hotel).  Extremely friendly staff.  Not much around it, but an easy drive to the heart of the city, to Mount Rushmore, and to Custer State Park.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • Tennessee:
    • Memphis (2020):
      • Holiday Inn Express Medical Center.  $147.05/night (including breakfast).  We really disliked this hotel.  It was old and run-down.  The room was small.  It was horrifically overpriced for what we received.  They weren’t enforcing the mask mandate and the hand sanitizer dispensers were often empty.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely not.
    • Nashville (2019):
      • 21C Museum Hotel.  $245.51/night.  We adored this hotel.  The room was comfortable, the wi-fi was fast, the drinks in the bar were strong, and the art was unbelievable dark.  Plus, the location can’t be beat.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.
  • Texas:
    • Austin (2021):
      • Intercontinental.  $171.08/night.  We loved this hotel.  Staff were friendly.  Room was very comfortable.  Location was great.  The only downside is that the pool got very crowded.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
    • Dallas (2021):
      • The Fairmont.  $137-237/night depending on the day.  The room was clean and comfortable, but dark.  Everything was horribly dated.  Staff were friendly.  Would we recommend it?  Probably not because everything was so dated but it would do if you want your Accor points.
    • Fort Stockton (2021):
      • Holiday Inn Express:  $118.50/night (including breakfast).  Not much to say about this hotel.  It was a perfectly acceptable place to stop for the night while driving across Texas.  Would we recommend it?  Sure, if you are crazy enough to drive across Texas and you just need a place to crash.
    • Ozona (2021):
      • Holiday Inn Express.  $129.58/night (including breakfast).  Newly renovated.  Very nice rooms.  The town doesn’t have much of interest, but we were just staying there as the mid-point for a long drive.  Would we recommend it?  Sure, if you are crazy enough to drive across Texas and you just need a place to crash.
  • Wisconsin:
    • Madison (2019):
      • Hilton Monona Terrace.  $247.88/night.  Horribly overpriced (as was every single room in town) because there was a cross-fit competition in town.  Room was fine.  Hotel is well located.  Nothing to complain about, but nothing to get excited about either.  Would we recommend it?  Not at that price point, but sure if the price is more reasonable.
  • Wyoming:
    • Cody (2021):
      • Holiday Inn Buffalo Bill Village.  $260.45/night.  Dated property that caters to tour buses.  It was within walking distance of restaurants.  Would we recommend it?  No.


  • Can Tho (2015): 
    • West Hotel.  $32.65/night (breakfast included).  Brand spanking new hotel right on the riverfront.  Soft (or as Lisa says, comfortable) bed (rare in this part of the world) and huge bathroom with more water pressure than we had in Chicago (at times, too much for the drain to keep up).  The bathroom wall was oddly made of glass, but there was a shade that could be drawn so you didn’t see into the bathroom from outside.  Good breakfasts with both Asian and Western food, including noodle soup and an omelet station.  Friendly staff.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, at least until the price goes up (and it will).
  • Dalat (2015):
    • Tulip 1 Hotel.  ~$25 night (we had two rates).  Reminded me of a room a grandma would live in, with fussy wallpaper and a still life hanging on the wall.  Not very clean.  Maid service was pretty much non-existent (although very loud starting at 6:30 am).  Our bed got made each day, but the maid didn’t replace soap, didn’t replace the soaking wet bathmat and didn’t wash used glasses.  The room was also incredibly damp – so damp laundry still wasn’t dry after two days.  All that said, we did extend our stay because it was well located and we were too lazy to walk around and look for something better.  Would we recommend it?  Most likely not.
  • Da Nang (2015):
    • Finger Hotel.  $29.32/night (including breakfast).  Awful, just awful.  We were initially given a room that was already occupied.  The room we ultimately were given had a malfunctioning door lock that beeped for a full 30 seconds each and every time the door was closed.  The hotel said they would send someone up to fix it, but never did.  As an added bonus, one of the lights would periodically turn itself on (and strobe) in the middle of the night.  The walls and ceiling were paper thin and there were screaming toddlers on both sides of us.  One day, the maid replaced our wet but otherwise clean towel with a dirty towel.  Someone had spilled something on the wall and it had never been cleaned up.  And there was soap scum from past guests on the bathroom counter.  We couldn’t wait to leave and our mood lifted the minute we got in the cab.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely not.
  • Ham Tien (2019):
    • Mui Ne Hills Bliss. $27.12/night (including breakfast). This is the sister hotel to Mui Ne Hills Villa, where we stayed in 2015. The pool is lovely and the bar is cheap. Breakfast was just ok, but it always took far too long. The hotel room itself is really run down.       The door to our balcony wouldn’t close all the way and certainly wouldn’t lock. We regularly woke up with mosquito bites and there was no mosquito netting around the bed. The bathroom was a wet room, even though it doesn’t look that way on the photos at any of the booking sites. And the rules were crazy – we couldn’t even bring our own water to the pool (and they didn’t supply any water free of charge). Would we recommend it? Sadly, probably not.
  • Ham Tien (2015):
    • Xin Chao.  $28/night.  Nicely located across the street from the beach and from a very good local restaurant.  Staff was friendly.  Plenty of hot water and water pressure.  But, this was our second least favorite hotel so far.  There was no complimentary drinking water (first hotel in 2+ months without it), there was no fridge, there was no safe, the tv didn’t work (the only English channel that had both sound and picture was CNN; the rest had picture but no sound), the “shower” was just a hand held nozzle that could not be used as a shower because the hook was far too high and pointed the water straight out of the shower area, the shower curtain was moldy, and the towels were hard and crusty.  Plus, the pool wasn’t that great.  It looked nice, but it was in a garden so dead leaves were constantly raining down on us and the loungers were filthy.  Would we recommend it?  No. (With the caveat that the more expensive rooms may be nicer).
    • Mui Ne Hills Villa.  $35/night (including breakfast).  Loved, loved, loved this hotel.  There was nothing special about the room, but it was clean and functioned well.  The best part was the pool and the bar and the clientele.  The pool had plenty of loungers in both the sun and the shade, although we spent most of our time on some couch-like things under a thatch roof.  The view of the ocean was outstanding and there were staff available to grab drinks or food.  The hotel complex also includes Breeze bar, which is run by a Dutch guy and his staff of friendly, and funny, Vietnamese — including a guy that goes by the name of Hip Hop.  We gathered at the bar every night, along with people from all around the world, and had a blast.  Would we recommend it?  In a heartbeat.
  • Hanoi (2018): 
    • King Palace Hotel and Spa.  $33.46/night (including breakfast).  This place was awful.  First, it stunk.  I’m talking a stench so bad it woke us up at 4 am.  And, if that wasn’t bad enough, it was loud.  Construction outside the hotel started as early as 6:30 am and continued as late as 3 am (no, that is not a typo).  And, there was no soundproofing so we could hear our neighbors do just about everything.  Yes, just about everything.  Oh, and the one day out of fourteen when we tried to eat breakfast at the hotel, the only hot food available was french fries.  We didn’t get a good night’s sleep during our entire stay.  Would we recommend it?  Never, ever, not in a million years.
    • Hanoi Charm Hotel.  $43.72/night (including breakfast).  So, in 2015, we loved this place (see below).  In 2018, not so much.  The room felt very small, the bathroom was really quite dirty, and the door handle was falling off of our door.  All that said, the hotel is in a perfect location, the staff are friendly, and the room is quiet.  Would we recommend it?  Most likely if it is the best option in your price point.
  • Hanoi (2015):
    • Hotel Charm Hanoi.  $35.78/night (including breakfast).  Best.  Hotel.  Ever.  We adored this hotel.  Brand new, spotlessly clean, charming staff, well-located, comfortable bed, hot shower and surprisingly quiet.  Juice and a fruit plate on arrival, another fruit plate in the room, and fresh flowers in the room.  The staff really made this place:  one day they walked me to a flower market and helped me buy flowers and when we had to transfer to a new hotel (because Charm was booked) they delivered our luggage to the new hotel free of charge (and didn’t even stick around for a tip).  I doubt anything will top this place at this price point.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
    • Posh Hotel.  $32.64/night (including breakfast).  So we knew that any place we booked after Charm (short of the Sofitel) would be a disappointment and tried to keep that in mind here.  This place was fine, but nothing special.  Our “king” bed was actually two twins pushed together and the sheet wasn’t quite big enough.  The bathroom was pretty run down but functional.  The location was good.  We didn’t bother to get up for breakfast.  The real problem is that we are pretty sure there were critters of some sort in the walls and ceiling.  Each night at bedtime we could hear them scampering around.  Thankfully, we didn’t see any in the room.  Would we recommend it?  Probably not, as we strongly suspect you can do better at the same price point.
  • Hue (2018): 
    • Gardenia Hotel.  $25.60/night (including breakfast).  We want to duplicate this hotel and stay at one just like it everywhere we travel.  It was new, it was modern, it was comfortable.  There were even two soft chairs in the room plus a desk and desk chair.  Breakfast wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • Hoi An (2018): 
    • The Blue Alcove.  $32.62/night (including breakfast).  A wonderful hotel.  Brand new and very comfortable.  Breakfast each day was at the sister (and more expensive) hotel and was quite good (not sure if that is something that will continue or if it was because for most of our stay there were only two guests at Blue Alcove so it didn’t make sense to have breakfast on-site).  Internet worked well.  Room was spotlessly clean.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely!
    • Gem Riverside.  $39.47/night (including breakfast).  A wonderful new hotel just a short walk from the old town.  The staff were lovely, and we felt like family.  We even went out to dinner with the manager one night and Robert went out for drinks with another team member another night.  Nice little pool, although we didn’t get to use it much in light of the weather.  Room was large.  Wi-fi was fast.  Breakfast was acceptable.  The only negative was that the shower had a limited supply of hot water.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely!
  • Hoi An (2015):
    • Villa Nova.  $30/night (including breakfast).  Cute little hotel, comfortable rooms, well located, friendly staff.  The place would be perfect except for two things:  the room got far too bright in the morning and the internet was miserable.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, if you don’t need to access the internet for work or to plan your next stop.
  • Mai Chau (2018): 
    • Mai Chau Sunset Boutique.  $45.50/night (including breakfast).  Huge room.  Nice location.  Friendly staff.  Really good food at dinner (although you have to pre-order it).  There was nothing fancy about this place, but it was comfortable and quiet.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely.
  • Nha Trang (2018/2019):
    • Novotel. $107.60 (including breakfast). We never expected to pay this much in Nha Trang. But, we were there over New Year’s Eve and we waited too long to book rooms. By the time we got around to booking, everything was sold out or completely overpriced so we decided to at least get points. The hotel was ok – the room was huge with a balcony overlooking the ocean, the wifi worked well, the shower had plenty of water, and the hotel was right on the beach. But, the breakfast was miserable and the room was a bit run down. And, the price they charged for laundry was absolutely absurd (especially given there were numerous places within a block that would do it for a dollar a kilo. Would we recommend it? Not at this price point but, otherwise, yes.
  • Nha Trang (2015):
    • Nhi Phi.  $26.22/night (including breakfast).  So…we booked this hotel for the pool.  And the pool sucked.  Small, very few loungers, no cushions on the loungers, etc.  That said, we ended up liking the hotel and decided the beach was far better than a pool anyway.  The staff were very friendly and helped us with our Vietnamese, the room was comfortable (although it really is stupid to decorate entirely in white) and the hotel was very well located.  Would we recommend it?  Maybe.  We didn’t really research places without pools and next time we would not worry about a pool when booking.
  • Quy Nhon (2015):
    • Seagull Hotel.  $53.14/night (including breakfast).  Ugh.  This was a mistake.  We decided to splurge because Quy Nhon is not yet very touristy, there aren’t many options, and the reviews for this hotel were very good.  The hotel was clean and the staff were friendly, but this hotel so wasn’t worth this price.  We never used the pool, the room was no nicer than other rooms we have stayed at for far less money, and the bar was expensive.  Would we recommend it?  No.
  • Saigon (2019)
    • Aristo Hotel.  $58/night (including breakfast).  Sadly, The Sonnet (where we stayed in 2015) was fully booked and prices in Saigon were through the roof when we booked.  This hotel appeared to be the best compromise on price and quality.  And, it turned out to be a nice little find.  The room was smaller than advertised but otherwise this is a perfectly acceptable hotel in District 3 (which we prefer to staying in District 1).  It is an easy walk to District 1 and pretty much everything you might want to see.  Breakfast was good with a wide variety of Western and Asian fare.  The room was clean and the wi-fi worked well.  Would we recommend it?  Sure.
    • Ibis Saigon Airport.  $63.80/night (with breakfast included due to status).  As you can tell, we stay in quite a few Ibis hotels.  They tend to be reasonably priced for the area and they are generally clean and practical.  But this was absolutely the best Ibis we have ever stayed in.  The room we were given (as an upgrade) was a suite with a kitchenette and a nice living area.  The bathroom had a huge walk in shower.  And, there was a fantastic rooftop pool and bar.  There isn’t much around the hotel, but it is perfect for the night before a flight.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely, the night before a flight.
  • Saigon (2018). 
    • The Pullman.  $116/night (with breakfast and happy hour included due to status).  We decided to splurge for Christmas and this hotel was generally worth it.  The hotel is well located, near the backpacker area and within walking distance of Ben Thanh market, the Opera, and other things you likely will want to see.  The room was comfortable.  The wi-fi was strong.  The breakfast was delicious.  The spread was huge and included pho, eggs to order, noodles to order, waffles, french toast, bacon, various cooked Asian foods, cheese, pate, yogurts, cereals, various pastries, and even chocolate.  The one significant disadvantage was that the bathroom was not enclosed.  The toilet and shower were both in frosted glass stalls, but the sink and tub were not enclosed — I just don’t understand the lack of privacy.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, but check the price of the Sofitel.  If it isn’t too much more, we would stay there instead.
  • Saigon (2015):
    • Sonnet Hotel.  $36.82/night (breakfast included).  A very good value for the money.  We struggled to find a decent place that wasn’t in the backpacker area and wasn’t outrageously expensive.  This hotel is in district 3 so you don’t have to deal with the hordes of tourists, but within an easy walk of pretty much anything you would want to see.  We found a nice local restaurant nearby as well as a coffee shop playing football.  Breakfast was decent, and the noodle soup was very good.  The bathroom was very small and, maybe to compensate, the shower wall was glass so one could look into the bathroom from the bed area.  There was a curtain, but it wasn’t opaque.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, but you can certainly get a cheaper room if you don’t mind being in the backpacker area.
  • Vung Tau (2019).
    • Leman Cap Resort. $54.29/night (including breakfast). We really, really liked this hotel. We were upgraded to a huge room. The bed was soft. Breakfast was really good and the hot food changed every single day we were there. The pool is an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, and we loved lounging there. The only downsides are: (1) you have to walk up a big hill to get to your room; and (2) most of the restaurants are quite a long walk away. Would we recommend it? Yes, absolutely, if you don’t mind hills and walking.


  • Cardiff (2015):
    • Ibis.  $94.53/night.  A budget hotel chain.  Room was fine.  Nothing special, but fine.  Hotel was conveniently located and wi-fi was fast and strong.  Would we recommend it?  If it is one of the cheaper options when you book, as it was when we booked.
  • Llandudno (2015):
    • Headlands Hotel.  $115.55/night (including breakfast).  We found this place completely by accident, as there was a mix-up with our other booking and we arrived in town without a place to stay.  It was quite nice.  On top of a hill, with beautiful views.  A cute bar to hang at in the evening.  And, a very good breakfast.  Unfortunately, wi-fi was very slow during peak periods.  Would we recommend it?  Absolutely (but be prepared to have the owner talk your ear off).

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