"Man is born free, but everywhere in chains." -- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 18th C. Enlightenment philosopher.
Maybe he knew something we didn't since hotel chains had yet to be born. Perhaps we should look beyond the chains, at least where it is in our best interest to do so.
PS -- I can't help adding to this because as I typed a tag it offered me a first choice as I started typing Category that started with Catastrophic. Unfortunately when I went back I couldn't replicate it.
Agree that hotel chains may not be the way to go.
Prior to Marriott expanding as they have, I used independents when not at Marriott.
I never particularly liked Hilton ever. Sheraton was okay for a while then became unpredictable. Hyatt wanted me to pay to be in their loyalty program. Occassionally used Embassy Suites on government rates as it was encouraged since breakfast was included, so they could reduce our per diem.
Some of my most interesting hotel stays have been in independent hotels where we really got to know the local culture much more. The Asian properties below are the reason why American hotel chains can not lower their standards in Asia or they will lose their clientele as these properties are wonderful, and very reasonable.
Finding interesting independents just takes a little extra work to check out the options but is much easier now that most have web pages.
Hi Gem Princess,
My comment was a little bit inspired (teaching prep) but then felt heartfelt. I realized that at least with hotels, I had put myself in chains. I was staying at at least some places I didn't particularly care for (especially when I was still staying in the US) just to get Marriott points. And now that some of the best hotels in Europe are above my pay grade at Cat 9 for rewards (let alone price x currency), I'm throwing off my chains. I probably won't do this, but I EVEN looked at hotels in Athens for next month even though I have a booking at the Ledra, one of my favorite Marriotts. If I get demoted in status, I would still often stay at Ghent, Brussels, and Athens, but since points seem so unimportant now, maybe I should be closer to the Acropolis, esp if I also get breakfast, wifi, etc.? The Athens Ledra has treated me wonderfully from start to finish in my five stays, so I would feel bad. But I am going to look.
I think all of us need to do a cost/benefit analysis with regard to our stays from now on.
I have fallen into this travel rut which I think started when my work travel ramped up, and it was just hard to keep up with the reservations. The loyalty programs were just starting up, and the vendors that had great programs, and took good care of me became my go to travel plan. I also trusted these vendors to take care of me as a cusotmer, and focused my travel, and the team's travel through these vendors.
With this sudden devaluation of points, services and ultimately the customer, I am starting to remember more creative travel days, where I spent more time researching a destination, and logistical options, instead of just searching the Marriott directory.
Perhaps I have become lazy and uncreative.
Just checked my lifteime point balance and discovered that its $2.6M.
Had I been a bit more creative, I could own several properties.
Indeed I have, since it is also home to the Bibliothèque Sainte-Genéviève. Rousseau did have the good sense to make some good acquaintances before Paris, live in beautiful Annécy with his 'mentress' for a bit, then go, bedraggled (which made quite the impression) to the famous salons of pre-Revolutionary Paris. But he ultimately was a Geneva sort of guy.