241 days to go…

Hello again!

I’ve been so busy today, but not with much trip planning, unfortunately. I did look at pictures of the construction of Super Nintendo World though and it looks amazing. I can’t wait to visit there in October.

Also, remember the hotels I said I’d booked? Yeah, I’m back looking for hotels, one of the ones I’m booked into just doesn’t feel right. My gut feeling is not to go there, since there’s no reviews for it online. We’ll see how that all pans out though.

BTS had their comeback today too! How exciting. Not sure if I mentioned that I’m an ARMY or not, but their album (Map Of The Soul: 7) is amazing. If you have a few minutes, you should definitely check it out. Here’s the Music Video for the lead single → ON

That’s about it for me today, I may have a day of travel planning tomorrow so I have more to blog about tomorrow!

Speak soon.
Sara

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Hotels, Hostels, and Motels: What's the Difference?

If you’ve done much traveling the chances are that you’ve staid overnight at a hotel before. Hotels are the most common place for travelers to stay when they’re visiting somewhere far away from home and don’t have family or friends in the area.

However, there are several other options for room and board while traveling that some people aren’t as familiar with. Unfortunately, some folks are scared to sleep anywhere that isn’t a well-known chain and are missing out on other opportunities.

Motels and hostels are among the most popular sort of establishments to stay while traveling, aside, of course, from hotels. And, despite what you may have heard, the differences between all three are massive.

Each one has distinct features and benefits that help classify which category it falls under. Likewise, hotels, motels, and hostels all have different advantages and disadvantages as well. In this article, we’ll give you a quick rundown of all three.

The Difference Between Hotels, Motels, and Hostels

Hotels, motels, and hostels, are all establishments which provide rooms for tourists and travelers. Depending on the company, location, and other factors, additional accommodations and services, such as room cleaning, laundry, and room service will vary.

In fact, some establishments offer nothing more than a bed, pillow, and blanket while others provide you with food, clean towels, spa treatment, access to swimming pools, saunas, hot tubs, and more. Knowing the differences between these three major types of establishments will save you time, money, and peace of mind.

Hotels

Technically speaking, a hotel is an establishment that provides accommodations, such as private rooms, food, and other basic needs, to travelers.

That said, hotels are also thought to be the oldest traditional sort of business in the industry, dating back over 4,000 years to the time when Hammurabi ruled the lands of Babylon. Technically speaking, these ancient hotels were actually Inns & taverns more so than modern hotels.

In the 18th century, King Christan the Fifth opened up Inns and taverns across the entire country of Denmark in order to provide rooms for those traveling under the employment of the newly formed postal service. The King ordered at least one hotel to be opened in each city along the postal service’s route. Since then, not much has changed. Many hotels to this day still operate as Inns with taverns.

Hotels are the most luxurious establishments in the travel lodging industry, no doubt about it. In fact, even the most basic hotels provide food, bar, pool, gym, and room service.

Another significant factor about hotels is that they are located in all major cities and tourist destinations, similar to hostels but opposite of motels.

Motels

Much like hotels, motels are also defined as establishments that provide basic sleeping and showering accommodations to travelers. Normally a motel room will include a private bathroom, shower, bed, TV, and writing desk or sitting table.

Unlike hotels and hostels, however, motels don’t include any sort of room service, extra accommodations, or food.

Motels are also the newest kid on the block as far as the travel lodging industry goes. Started in the middle of the 20th century in the United States, motels began popping up left and right along the newly formed interstates and highways that criss-cross America.

These new establishments were created to benefit the long-haul truck drivers and a large amount of tourists on road-trips, hence, they are mostly found outside of city limits and on long stretches of lonely roads.

Most motels were built in I, L, or U shape with a parking lot in the center. The buildings are much smaller than hotels, they offer no services or facilities like a common room, pool, or lobby, and are all around generally cheap quality from the construction materials down to the bed covers and toilet paper.

However, the price for a motel room is also typically three to five times cheaper than a standard hotel room.

Hostels

The cheapest travel lodging available in most countries are hostels. Started over a century ago in order to provide cheap lodging for touring youth, the idea has more than stuck around; it’s caused a major impact on the travel lodging industry.

Today, hostels are more popular than ever, especially in places like Europe. However, many people, specifically those from the United States, seem to have a fear of hostels due to urban legends and horror movies.

Some of the main differences between hostels and hotels and motels are that hostels provide no services at all, rather they offer many self-services such as laundry rooms, full kitchens (stocked with ingredients in many cases), pools, and more.

In addition, for the most part, hostel rooms lack private bathrooms and showers. Unless you request a room with a private bathroom (which will cost you $5 to $50 extra), plan on sharing the toilet with anywhere from 5 to 20 other people.

Hostels tend to have a much more laid back and casual atmosphere than hotels. Likewise, hostels are also much more interactive than motels, meaning, you’ll probably meet a few people while staying overnight at a hostel (whether you want to or not).

The rooms also tend to be lower quality than hotel or motel rooms, while the common areas are generally high quality. All of that said, you have less chance of catching bed bugs or seeing roaches at a hostel than you do at a major hotel or motel.

A Final Word About Hotels vs Hostels

As you’ve probably figured out by now, hotels and hostels are worlds apart. Other than being competitors in the same industry, they don’t have as much in common as you’d think. Staying at a hotel is somewhat of a production, they have professionally trained staff that wait on you and stay on call in case you need something.

Hostels are more like staying with a friend or family. No one is going to serve you, they’re simply going to show you to your room, as well as where to find the bathroom, shower, and kitchen.

Depending on where you’re traveling, another factor to take into consideration about hotels and hostels in the price. Tourist destinations, especially the popular ones, tend to attract high-ticket hotels and not have much else to offer in the way of lodging, which can cause a real impact on your wallet.

In the past few decades, more and more hostels have been popping up around popular tourist spots and major cities around the world as well. The difference in price? A Standard hotel room may cost between $100 and $150 for a single night, while a hostel costs only $5 to $50 per night.

Suggested article: Top Tourist Destinations

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Algorithms that claim they know me better than my husband

Google keeps on asking me to sign in “to discover events and places picked just for “you” and to “get matched with experiences you’ll love”.

Well we all know why they want me to sign in really – which is just to collect my free data and mine more information about me. But the offer is interesting too – while these events and places might just be picked for me will they really be “experiences I’ll love”. My husband of 36 years struggles to be sure of what I’ll like or dislike – well he’s a bit better on what I won’t like – friends and family tell me I’m impossible to buy for – I do sent a lot of gifts to charity shops – but Google’s algorithms seem more sure.

I’m skeptical – Alexa never does what I ask her to – playing random Moscow and New York radio stations but mostly saying “ I don’t know that one”. She’s not able to learn.

So I think we are a long way off machine learning and google really knowing “what I’ll love” – it would be great and it is tempting to think one day a search engine could clear out all of the impossibility stupid suggestions that makes one long for a simpler world with less stuff and choices.

Brands used to have a role in this – but as they become more generic and homogeneous you know that a Four Seasons in one city or resort is unlikely to bear any connection to another and more so when you get to big names like Penisula, Marriott or even Mandarin. The Mandarin Oriental in Miami is as much like the iconic M.O in HK as margarine is to butter.

Some have tired with some success to keep consistency – The Aman group is great but still the Aman is Tokyo cannot be compared to the hotels in Bhutan. Belmond are all different but classic individual hotels. Six Senses are on a building spree and perhaps moving up market but will they loose their USP? Perhaps we’re left with the only consistent hotels being those unique and privately owned properties. The Siam in Bangkok or Hambleton Hall in the U.K.?

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New Opening – Fairmont Windsor Park

A new hotel opening to me is more exciting than receiving 50% off in a Chanel sale. It is truly magical and the fact that this particular hotel opening is right on my doorstep well, that’s on par with 75% off.

The Fairmont Windsor Park is set to open in Summer 2020, adjacent to the stunning Great Windsor Park and Savill Gardens it is going to be something quite special and I cannot wait for it to open.

The property becomes the third Fairmont property in the UK of which The Savoy and the Fairmont St Andrews are part of and is situated on the site of the former Savill Court Hotel and Spa. 

The property will boast 16 meeting and event spaces with a ballroom spanning 800 square meters (pillar-free no less).  Coupled with natural daylight throughout, some spaces with outdoor terraces and able to fit up to 700 guests, the property is going to be something of an event planners dream.

The Fairmont will have over 200 bedrooms in total (including a Royal Suite) all of which will be opulent in design and as the press release advised will “redefine luxury in the UK hospitality market”.

I am not going to pretend that this is not what I am most excited about and I do feel a little disloyal with what I am about to say to some of my favourites in the region, however… The Fairmont will also have a spa will be a very impressive 2,500 square meters in size. That’s huge and apologies hubs, I can see myself spending quite a bit of time there as it is literally, on my doorstep. I have heard a rumour that there will also be a Japanese Foot spa, a salt room and a hammam.

Equally important to the spa for me is the dining options and the property will have a tea lounge, a champagne bar, a gin bar, an all-day dining restaurant and its own speciality restaurant. So many exciting options for corporates and leisure alike. 

I cannot wait for this property to open and am really hoping for an invite to the launch party!

Do also make sure you subscribe to the Event Consult YouTube Chanel here where we will shortly be talking to John Swift, Head of Sales of The Fairmont Windsor and Windsor Mice in anticipation of the hotel launch.

Photo credit: The Fairmont Windsor

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A common sight in cruise ship cabins, towel animals are popping up everywhere

No one is quite sure when and where the first towel animals started popping up in cruise ship cabins, but the practice has been spreading to hotels around the world and shows no signs of slowing down.

While the art of shaping bath and hand towels into whimsical animal shapes is inspired by the Japanese art of paper folding known as origami, its true roots lie in the practice of decoratively folding napkins that began in Europe centuries ago.

Some credit Carnival Cruise Lines with popularizing the act of decorating passenger cabins with towel animals, but stewards on just about every cruise line are known to amuse their customers with a zoo’s worth of different animal shapes. There are even books and online guides to help you fold your own at home.

The first time I encountered one of these creations wasn’t on a cruise ship, but was actually at a luxury resort in Fiji. The housekeepers had left a pair of kissing swans on my bed with their arched necks forming the shape of a heart. There was an extra touch of a welcome on the bed spelled out with flower petals. It was all very romantic, but, sadly, I was travelling solo, but it was a memorable site and I’ve since spotted towel animals in rooms all over the world.

While some people hate them, I appreciate the extra effort hotel staff take to personalize the room and it reminds me that the spotlessly clean room didn’t happen on its own.

In honour of this art form, I offer this gallery of some interesting examples spotted in the wild.

Swan

Possibly the most common towel animal you’ll see, swans only seem to come in romantic pairs.

Monkey

Don’t be surprised if you find a monkey hanging in your closet.

Elephant

Elephants are another popular towel animal, but decorative eyes are sometimes added to complete the effect.

People

Towel scarecrows might seem a bit alarming at first, but they’re usually set up with sunglasses or reading glasses left behind by the room’s guest for comical effect.

Turkey

Birds are popular towel subjects. Turkeys (or are those peacocks?) pop up in rooms now and again.

Stingray

Cruise ships are ocean-going vessels so aquatic creatures are a common subject for towel artists like this stingray.

Scorpion

You never know what animals you’ll find on your bed if your housekeeper or steward is a towel-folding aficionado, but you’re not going to see a scorpion very often.

Llama

On cruise ships, towel animals aren’t restricted to passenger cabins, but are frequently spotted in common areas like by the side of the pool.

Mouse

If you’re on a Disney cruise, expect to see a mouse or two during your voyage.

Alligator

Staying a hotel in Florida? You might see an alligator in the wild, but you’re just as likely to find a towel version in your hotel room.

Dog

Can’t find the TV remote? Helpful housekeepers will make them easy to locate with the help of a towel animal.

Duck

Hand towels aren’t exempt, but their size limits the number of creatures that can be made out of them, but creative minds have come up with a few.

This gallery is just a small sampling of the many towel creations that populate ship cabins and hotel rooms around the world. What do you think of towel art? Kitschy or cool? Let us know in the comments.

– Mark Stachiew is a Montreal-based freelance writer who shares travel news and tips at www.stachiew.com and curates a collection of cool travel gear at www.jetsetgeneration.com.

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Maple Valley’s justice is fined on booze charge

Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, February 21, 1920

Maple Valley had some real excitement yesterday and was all agog today.

E. Clark is justice of the peace down at Maple Valley and besides that is proprietor of the hotel, grocery store, and the pool room.

Armed with certain and specific search warrants, Deputy Sheriffs Julius Von Gerst, William Downey, and Raymond E. Murphy went to Maple Valley yesterday.

The folk of the community gazed in open-mouthed awe. Gee, what’s going to happen?

You could have knocked them over with a straw when the deputies entered the home of Justice of the Peace Clark.

And when the deputies emerged with a cache of moonshine, five gallons of corn whiskey, and a small quantity of wine and beer, you could have made the community folk believe the world was coming to an end.

Justice of the Peace Clark was brought to Seattle and arraigned before Justice of Peace Otis W. Brinker. He pleaded guilty to possessing liquor.

“But I had it for a long time. I never sold any,” he explained.

Justice Brinker imposed a fine of $100. Justice Clark paid the same and returned to Maple Valley.

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