Hi Frugalistas! When I went to Athens last year I chose a hotel with fabulous views of the Acropolis. It was also reasonably priced. Even though an Acropolis view room was available, and was within budget, I elected not to book an Acropolis view room. What, I hear you say? No, I didn’t book a room with the most iconic view in all of Greece. There were a number of reasons why I didn’t. Sometimes I love a room with a view, and sometimes I don’t. This time I decided against a room with a view, and I’ll tell you why…….
Firstly, the location. The hotel I chose was located in Monastiraki, over-looking Monastiraki Square. Monastiraki is a cool, vibrant part of Athens with a buzzy night life. It also has a busy metro station on it. Vibrant, buzzy neighbourhoods are fun, but they can be, to put it bluntly, noisy. I’m not a night owl at the best of times, so a room overlooking a busy square was not going to work for me.
As it was I could hear the noise from the Square from my room at the back. And yes, the Square was very busy and noisy at night.
The hotel amenities were another reason why I decided against it. My hotel had a fabulous rooftop terrace. The breakfast room had an uninterrupted view of the foothills of the Acropolis and the Acropolis itself. I got my view for free every morning when I ate my breakfast. I did go to the terrace a couple of times and took in the view as the sun set over a glass of wine.
I got plenty of beautiful views, including sunrises and sunsets, for the cost of a couple of glasses of wine. I didn’t need to pay for a room with a view.
I was also very busy in Athens. Regular readers will know that I went to Athens for the big travel blogging conference, TBEX. With conference, social functions, catching up with friends, sightseeing and organised trips I didn’t spend much time in my room. The room I had was lovely. It was spacious, well appointed, and just oh so comfortable. It just didn’t have a view……
I was on a strict budget this trip. I always travel to a budget, but this time my budget was tight. I decided to spend my money on a business class airfare instead of a more expensive hotel room that I wasn’t going to spend much time in.
Regardless of budget, why pay for amenities or a room that you just won’t get any benefit from? It’s just not money well spent.
So, when do I think it is worthwhile to pay for a room with a view?
When it’s a special occasion choosing the best possible room you can afford is always money well spent. If that includes an iconic view, then, yes, I’m going to do it. On my first trip to Istanbul in celebration of a significant birthday, choosing a room with a view of the Blue Mosque was a real treat. If need be, cut back in other areas of expenditure and enjoy.
If you are going to be spending time in your room and will enjoy it. I really don’t think it makes good financial sense to pay extra for a room with a view if you are never going to be there to enjoy it. A resort room with a lanai or balcony where you can enjoy a quiet sunbathe or evening gin and tonic is one thing. A crash pad that you literally only sleep and shower in is entirely another…….
If it’s your only chance of getting “that” view. My favourite hotel in Paris has a few rooms with a view of the Eiffel Tower. If you genuinely want a view of the Eiffel Tower it is the only way you can guarantee getting one at that particular hotel. There is no view from the breakfast room, and there is no roof top terrace. Those few rooms are it. I’ve never booked an Eiffel Tower view in my favourite hotel in Paris, but I have stayed in one. How? I once got upgraded!
If it’s within your “usual” budget. The last time I went to Istanbul instead of paying for a cheaper hotel, I stuck to my usual budget and ended up with a glorious suite with a Galata Tower and Bosphorus view. I wasn’t quite expecting such a grand view, or grand room for that matter. In a less expensive city, there is an opportunity to go for the view, without the financial pain.
If it isn’t going to ruin your experience of the hotel. I really enjoyed the hotel I stayed in in Athens. But would I have enjoyed it if I had had to put up with the noise from busy Monastiraki Square below until all hours of the night? Definitely not. If you are seriously contemplating a room overlooking a “vibrant” (read noisy) part of town, check independent reviews, and ask carefully of the hotel before you book.
If you can make savings elsewhere on your trip. Can you save money elsewhere without detracting from the enjoyment of your trip? Can you save on eating out? Will a cheaper mode of transport do just as well? Do you really need to do all that shopping? If it is important to you, make it a priority, and save in areas that are less important.
If it is an inherent part of your destination. Visiting the Italian Lakes, it really is all about the lake. So when I stayed in Stresa at Lake Maggiore, and Bellagio on Lake Como I made sure I budgeted for a lake view. I made savings on other parts of my trip, and loved my room with a view.
No one really needs to book a room with a view, but if you do make that booking, make it in the right place, for all the right reasons. Then you will really enjoy the benefits of it……..