Why You Should Never Book A Hotel That Only Gets Five Star Reviews
3. There’s a sandwich that says it all
When ordering from room service, I always choose the club sandwich. It does well from the kitchen to the bedroom, and virtually every hotel in the world has it on their menu – another good way to compare accommodation options.
4. Never trust the NYC subway – to get you to the airport
I was heading from my apartment in Manhattan to JFK airport for an overnight flight to Europe for work. With only one wheeled luggage and plenty of time to spare in the living room, I decided to take the metro. But as we were going through the tunnel under the East River, the subway had some kind of terrible accident – a collision – and I was stuck in the subway car with no power or cell phone reception for over two hours. until the jaws of life come. to get passengers off the train. We were escorted along dirty tracks and had to walk up and down the subway platform.
By some kind of magic, I was able to catch the flight just as they closed the jet deck door. The stewardess looked at me puzzled, “Are you sure you’re supposed to be here?” watch as I took my seat in business class. Later, I went to the bathroom and noticed tar patches on my face and clothes from walking through the NYC subway basement. I looked like Oliver Twist. I never took the subway to the airport again. (And I always carry a small oshibori towel, the washcloths found in Japanese onsens, with me in case of an emergency.)
5. If you want a great hotel, skip anything with 10/10 reviews
Personally, when I book a hotel based on reviews and information, I look for a bit of controversy. I want a property that has been praised by nine out of 10 people, and I want that 10th person to absolutely hate it. This is how I know this is not a stuffy hotel, which could be anywhere, but takes a risk and makes a statement instead – memorable.
The best example I can think of is Jade Mountain in St. Lucia: most people swear by the open-air design, with built-in plunge pools and a missing fourth wall that overlooks the island’s Piton Mountains ( count me as an enthusiast). But there’s always someone who prefers air conditioning to island breezes or doesn’t mind dark teak furniture.
6. The Great Barrier Reef isn’t Australia’s best place to dive
I think we often get stuck in these travel paradigms, all flocking to the same specific destinations to fulfill certain fantasies when there are 20 different variations on the theme, and usually the lesser-known places are even better. Australia has very good examples. Most people spend a lot of time in Queensland, but I would encourage them to explore the west coast instead. This is where the orange sands of the desert meet the typically turquoise beaches of the country. The Unesco-protected area of Shark Bay is particularly attractive, with reefs full of friendly sea turtles. I have been a PADI Divemaster for about 15 years. Some of the best scuba diving is found on the Ningaloo Coast, a straight (but 1100 kilometer long) stretch running north from Perth.
7. Your most memorable travel experiences will always be the ones you never planned.
At 19, I took my first real trip on my own and backpacked solo in southern Vietnam. My fourth-grade teacher, Madame Nguyen, had fled the country in the 1970s when Saigon fell and found her way to French-speaking Canada. His story had stuck with me ever since. I fit into the Southeast Asian backpacker circuit of hidden beaches and market tours in bustling capitals.
One evening, alone, I saw a “Bill Clinton ate here” sign and sat down at a half-collapsed plastic picnic table in an unassuming noodle house. A young Vietnamese couple – also in college – sat down next to me, and we quickly struck up a conversation about our mutual studies. They quickly moved my hands away from the bread nibbles on the table which they assumed had been sitting for days. We drank our pho, shared more stories and they quickly had to leave. When I waved the waiter to pay our bill, she told me the deceased couple had already covered it. I was touched. It remains one of my most memorable meals, not because it was ‘local’ or ‘authentic’, but because it was nice.