Tag Archives: Accomodations

In the wake of a few miserable hotel stays, Rand has hit his limit. He has, apparently, had enough of toilets that don’t flush properly and continental breakfasts that look like the remnants of a cold-war-era kitchen after a particularly harsh winter.

“We’re going to start staying in nicer places,” he told me the other day. And I smile and nod, because I’ve heard this resolution before (usually after a particularly heinous experience overseas). And while I appreciate his gesture, I remind him that I don’t need to stay in fancy hotels. I don’t need prosciutto at breakfast, or a central location, or an expansive, pristine bathroom. I simply need a comfortable bed (I’m flexible on the size), a pitch-black room, and a reasonable amount of quiet.

Of course, if a hotel has all of those attributes, I’m not going to complain. Even if a night’s stay costs more than my first car (and considering that my first car was a 1976 Ford Pacer, there is often a good chance of that) and the nightly rates make my heart stop (just for a few seconds), I will say nothing, because if I am allowed to spend my days blogging and gallivanting around the planet, my husband is allowed to book us a crazy nice hotel once in a while (I am nothing if not reasonable). Which is precisely what he did in Rome.

We spent four nights at Hotel Raphael – a small, vine-covered boutique hotel just a few steps from Piazza Navona. The Raphael will not make any budget travel lists. It will not rank for “Good Deal Hotel Rome”, nor will it make the cut on any “Italy on $50 a day” articles. And that’s okay. Hotel Raphael realizes what it is not: it is not affordable. But it is so many other things (immaculately clean, quiet, with an obliging staff, an abundant breakfast, and a fantastic location) that you can almost disregard this. Almost.

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Last weekend, some friends of ours invited us to tour a few Oregon wineries with them. We thoroughly enjoyed the pinnacle of our yuppiedom, which included a tasting menu at The Painted Lady (a lovely restaurant that was named for style of the building in which it resided. I had hoped it was some reference to a whore, but was disappointed), and a stay at The Allison, a boutique hotel and spa that has a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

In other words, they don’t just say they’re green – they have a plaque to prove it.

And clearly, a lot of attention was given to being environmentally conscious (save for one oversight). The hotel had solar panels, a grass roof (which collects rainwater, apparently. I think. Grass roofs kind of confuse me, to be honest), and had numerous little touches in the room that showed they really were paying attention when they learned to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

They’ve eliminated plastic water bottles, and instead water can be found in refillable glass bottles (which are sanitized, filled, and sealed between uses).

They look like tiny little bottles of Patron.

They look like tiny little bottles of Patron.

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