(Warning… there’s a photo of a cat in this one – sorry Bairbre…)
(The cat is telling me there’s no “nice” cat food. Cats can talk too….)
Today Dave asked me to recommend some places to stay on the west coast of France but I had only one place to recommend as we had stayed in only one place, La Rochelle. Instead, I told him how I choose somewhere to stay. He suggested you might like to know too…..
(Breakfast tomorrow – rice porridge and pecan nuts – yummy)
Over the forty-two days we were on holidays we stayed in twenty-two different places, not including the boat. After the first few I got a system going and it seemed to work. Of the places I choose, most were good, some were great and one or two were just fine.
This is how I did it……
(Made it outside the front door today – to cut the grass)
I always checked airbnb.com first because we had such great experiences with the people it brought us in contact with last year. This year I couldn’t seem to find places that “felt” like a fit. Actually that’s an important part of finding the place to stay – feeling it! I’ll come back to that in a minute. So on the airbnb website I put in the general area we are heading towards, I restricted the places initially to whole houses/apartments only with wifi and then sorted the list by price. (If that sounds complicated go visit the site and play! Any questions, let me know.) If it doesn’t show up a house/apartment within our price range, then I try the private room locations.
But this year we also used Booking.com and it was very useful. This site has lists of hotels around the world. You get to compare the hotels by price, see if they have space and then book there and then all online, no language difficulties because it’s all in English!
(There’s a funny flower growing out of our aloe vera plant?)
You input the town or area where you want to stay along with the dates and it’s a free service. I always put in the first day that we expect to be there and choose to stay only one night. We would stay longer if we really liked it – the adventure begins when you want to stay longer and there are no rooms and you have nowhere to stay for the next night!
When I click on the SEARCH button a list comes up of hotels in my chosen area. Then I re-sort the list so that the cheapest hotels are at the top. Then I scroll down to the first one in my price range that has an 8 or higher score from reviews. Ok, in case you haven’t seen or heard of the site, we need to talk about the reviews.
(Had a very nice coffee and a scone, who needs croissants?)
Each time someone stays in a hotel they have booked on booking.com they are asked to review the hotel. Basically “what did you love about it?” and “what did you not like?” and some score options. Based on the reviews returned the hotel gets an average score. This score along with reading some of the reviews gives me a “feel” for the hotel.
The hotel needs to have more than 50 reviews to be useful but this isn’t a hard and fast rule, reading the few reviews can sometimes give you a good picture of the hotel and therefore a good “feeling”.
(Up close to a scone)
Generally if the reviews say “owners lovely” or “helpful” or other good customer service stuff I’m in – you’ll find your own “in” words. Also, keep an eye on the Logis because of their good service and food I might choose them with a score of 7.7 or higher. They generally have basic rooms but very fancy food (by fancy I mean very, very nice!)
(Sneak preview of the new harbour in Greystones, blue sea, blue sky and white clouds… oh and six men rowing)
(Aren’t the clouds in Ireland lovely?)
But, back to “feeling” the accommodation. I know.. it sounds weird but wait …..I’ll explain. Anytime we are faced with a choice, a decision, there are three possible “feelings” we get (there’s probably more but I’m only interested in these three). A “yes”, a “no” and an “I don’t know”. It happens, probably, straight away.
And then we second guess it. We put up all the logical reasons why we couldn’t possibly… or definitely should… or whatever. But we already have the answer in our system, in our body.
You know when you look at a menu and something jumps out at you? That was a yes. Then you think about the calories, the cook, the other food? That’s the second guessing. (If on the other hand, you really don’t know what you want? All you need to do is wait and get a bit more information, the yes or no will emerge.) So “feeling” the accommodation means when I got a “yes” about a particular hotel or home, I picked that one.
Are there any decisions you are finding it difficult to make? Try the “feeling” method!
I’ll pick something shorter tomorrow…… Mairead.