I am not a seasoned traveller but I experienced the big difference between staying in a hostel and a decent hotel.
Staying in hotels will eat up a great portion of your travel budget. Personally I am not keen on shelling out money for hotel stays. When travelling, I prefer budget accommodations. Their basic facilities and amenities are fine with me as long as it is clean and safe.
But if given an opportunity to stay for free in hotels, then I am more than happy stay. I have to say – it is more comfortable.
We had two rooms for our overnight stay in Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral last June 2013 and we stayed for free.
Last time when we were too lazy to drive back to Abu Dhabi, we stayed in Sheraton Deira Hotel in Dubai for a weekend for free. I wrote a review about this hotel and you can read it here.
When my family was here last year for a visit, we stayed in Ramadan Downtown Hotel in Dubai for a weekend. We even stayed in the penthouse for free. Check it here.
One time my friends and I decided to celebrate our birthdays together since our birthdays fall on first week of August. We did a budget road trip – First stop was in Ras Al Khaimah and we stayed in a beautiful Cove Rotana Hotel. Second stop was in Fujairah and stayed overnight in Fujairah Rotana Hotel. Third stop, we stayed in a luxurious pool villa in Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman.
Our stays in Cove Rotana and Fujairah Rotana were not for free but we paid AED 110 (USD 30) per room night inclusive of buffet breakfast for two persons. It was a good deal, right?
The Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman was free stay.
As much as I love staying in hotels and resorts, I felt like paying their actual room rates are just way over my resources. I can use that money in something else, a better sensible option like adding to my mutual funds.
Sometimes I pull strings to get staff rates like our stay in Rose Rayhaan Hotel, the world’s tallest hotel (at that time of our stay).
I have few friends who are working in the hotel industries and usually for big hotel chains, they have this staff benefit. It means they can stay in the other hotels in the same chain for a fraction of the real room price or they can request for special rate for their family and friends.
Oftentimes I take advantage of that.
I also get free night stays through the points I earned for making hotel bookings for others. Basically at work, I assist in arranging hotel bookings for our visitors and I earn points in every night they stay. It means the longer the stay, the more points I earn.
I redeemed some points thus it enabled us to stay for free in Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral and Sheraton Diera Hotel.
If you are a regular traveller using hotel accommodations, the hotels have their own reward programs too which oftentimes allow you to redeem for free night stays.