The readers of Travel + Leisure magazine have rated their top hotels, and the magazine has produced a “top 100” list from the results. The hotels feature a lot of beautiful views, enormous rooms and posh furnishings, and extremely expensive prices.
That’s all well and good, but it’s pretty much irrelevant to the travel that most of us experience. We’re business travelers, and except for rare occasions we don’t stay at places by lakes — unless you count those artificial ponds with the spraying fountain in the middle — or any staggering natural beauty. We’re in downtown areas for the most part, on a block of a city grid that looks pretty much like the next block over. So, the Travel + Leisure ratings might be interesting, but they don’t have much application to our daily business travel lives.
So, what do business travelers care about? Speaking for myself, I’d say the baseline needs are a place that is quiet and clean. Quiet, so I can try to get a good night’s sleep after after a busy travel and work day, and clean, so that I don’t notice dust bunnies under the bed or something left by the person who stayed in the room last night, and I can at least maintain the pretense that I’m not staying in a room that is probably used by hundreds of total strangers every year. After those basics, I’m looking for a room that has the right functional furniture — a desk is a must — a comfortable bed that isn’t covered in accent pillows that need to be thrown on the floor and that might trip me when I go to the bathroom, and an easy-to-use coffee maker that can make at least two cups of decent regular coffee. If you then throw in a shower with lots of hot water and decent water pressure, you’ve got a top 100 business hotel in my book.
No need for a mint on the pillow, or turn-down service, or a huge room. Just make sure I’m not awakened in the middle of the night by a party down the hallway, and I’ll come back.
Angkor Wat – Siem Reap Cambodia – WOW
Tomb of Khai Dinh – Hue Vietnam – the most beautiful temple I’ve ever see
Thailand truly is The Land of Smiles
German Village is dog territory. It seems like 90 percent of the residents here have dogs, and whenever you go out for a walk, you’re likely to encounter every variety of canine, every form of terrier and shepherd and retriever, from mutt to pure-bred, out strolling our brick-lined streets.
And you’re also likely to encounter signs warning dogs and their owners to avoid answering the call of nature in the yards and flower beds of the non-dog owners among us. Some signs are more polite than others, some use “please” and some just say “No!,” but the message is ultimately the same.
What, exactly, is the purpose of those signs? If it is to encourage dog owners to be responsible in performing their poop scoop obligations, the signs seem . . . unnecessary. Most dog owners accept the need to stoop and scoop as part of the price that must be paid for having a four-legged friend in the house. And f a dog owner is inclined to ignore his/her general obligations in a civilized society, a mere sign doesn’t seem likely to change their approach. So I’ve concluded that the signs really are just another example of the prevalent NIMBY phenomenon at work. The people with signs know the dogs are going to do what dogs do — which is to produce dog doo — and what they really want is for dog owners to yank their canine friends away from the sign owner’s property so that they find their target in the neighbor’s patch of ground instead.
The signers are really saying that their property deserves special treatment. It’s not a very neighborly thing to do, when you think about it.
Every once in a while the New York Times Travel section publishes an article that tells people “where to go.” The 52 Places to Go in 2019 article came out this week and our city — Columbus, Ohio — actually made the list. It’s number 47, right there between Houston, Texas and Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The article notes Columbus’ innovation, food scene, and cool districts and neighborhoods, including our own stomping grounds of German Village.
The article poses the following question about Columbus: “Is this the American city of the future?” The honest answer is: “Who knows?” But Columbus is definitely a good place to live — as well as a “place to go” — and it’s nice to see it getting a little bit of recognition.
(In case you’re interested, Plovdiv is described as “a city ready for the spotlight.”)