Saturday, January 12, 2008

Do I look like a travel agent?

On a break from sightseeing in Liverpool, my brother James calls me again. He wants me to do research and find him a good hotel in Los Angeles for when he's out here on business in two weeks. I made up a list of all the posh or hip hotels I could think of: Chateau Marmont, The Standard, Mondrian, Four Seasons, Hotel Roosevelt, Sofitel, etc. Then today he tells me they have to be under $200 a night. Preferably under $180.

OK, none of the hotels I picked are under $300 a night. Actually it's really tough to find hotels less than $200 a night. There's a handful of one-star dives that can be had for under $200--some even less than $100. But I think this is a case of getting what you pay for. I remember when I drove out to Los Angeles eight years ago. I was trying to save money so for the first couple of nights I stayed in the cheapest rooms I could find.

It was scary. Gritty, grimy, dank and dreary rooms. So by the third night, I decided to go upscale. Howard Johnson in Albuquerque, NM. It was clean, air-conditioned and had the little strip of paper around the toilet seat. Ah, heaven! And it only cost me like $10 more a night than the sleazy dives I had stayed in the two previous nights.

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