I must admit it: there’s something to be said in favour of letting someone else pick your accommodation. Someone who won’t read review -or just barely- and factor in less criteria than you.
Granted – some choices can be a let-down, offering poor wi-fi and no bed-side lighting. But it turns out there’s also a bigger chance of encountering the unexpected. The unexpected and cool, why not.
This is what happened to me in the delightful city of Xalapa, Mexico. Our team leader picked hotel following two simple criteria: proximity to the city center and, above all, free parking. Charm was not in the equation, yet charm we got at Hotel Villa Margarita.
I was the last in the team to check in, and was given what initially appeared to be the worse room in the package: ground level, with views on the street – or rather, passer-by views on me if I dared pull of the blinds.
But the room was large and tastefully decorated, and had a hidden surprise: a tree trunk in the bathroom.
“No it’s not decoration”, they told me at the reception desk. “It’s a real tree”
I added two plus two. “That means…”
“Yes. There are branches and leaves above. We can show you whenever you want.”
That night my team and I enjoyed a lovely meal in the city centre, topped by tequila shots and conversation at midnight in the lovely patio.
The morning after we decided to extend our stay another night.
“Of course”, they told in reception. “But your rooms have already been booked. May we offer an upgrade at the same price point?”
You sure may. Especially if you’re moving me up to the first floor. To a spacious room, tastefully decorated, with two large beds and…..a tree in the bathroom.
Oh, of course. It’s the same tree. Only a story higher. Wow – what luck!
That day my team and I explored Coatepec and Xico, and discovered great coffee, wondrous waterfalls and locals willing to take us hiking on the tracks left by Hernán Cortés. I’ll tell that story somewhere else, but let me say we were tired, and it was so so nice to return to a nice, comfortable room. A room with a tree.