My feet at a small hotel in Prague in a building dating from the 1400s.
I've been in chains, one-owner, châteaus and on a canal boat. And as long as they are clean and not wild-life infested, I've appreciated them all for different reasons. The iguana in my room in Puerto Rico needed to go and the hotel agreed and removed him or her. Had he or she wanted to share the bill, I might have felt differently. Still the creature was about the size of my daughter's cat.
The no-star hotels included:
Lyon -- near the train station in hot, hot July. Spotless but cracks in the wall. The owner went out of his way to be friendly and his breakfast of different French delights almost made up for the dilapidated state.
Why was I there?
My traveling companion was on a limited budget and we were only in the room to sleep and melt.
Coral Gables FL -- I was on a month contract and it was in walking distance of the job. The owner had just bought it after years of living in Latin America. He had fled a coup. We talked almost every evening after his chores were done. In my imagination I made him an ex-CIA agent based on his stories. Whether he was or wasn't I will never know.
View from our Malta hotel.
Quite a contrast was the five-star hotel in Malta with its balcony and view of the sea. This was a special trip, promised to myself and my friend after an emotional roller coaster where we both lost people we adored. Support in crisis is priceless. The hotel was a confirmation of good in life.
When I worked for DCU and was doing regular routes of branches, I could no longer distinguish one Holiday Inn from another.
Although luxury chains with their atriums, glass elevators, multi-restaurants and usually an ubiquitous piano player stashed somewhere in the lobby can be lovely, I love the small ones like the one in Prague pictured above or the one in Mirepoix which still had wooden gargoyles on its roof. It had been a 12th century jail. The owners had each room decorated with local antiques and if the floor was uneven, it was much more interesting than the cookie cutter chains.
Each is an experience to be savored or laughed at.
What is the best?
My own bed at home but thank goodness it isn't an either or.