What is my #1 consideration when selecting the best hotel for me? Location, location, location.

Price? Of course it’s important—my last name isn’t Rockefeller.

Comfort? For sure—my husband rebels if there isn’t air conditioning.

Style? I love a historical hotel.

But when it comes down to it, a city-center property always catches my eye. Those of you who are regular readers are probably thinking this seems incongruent with my frugal self. City-center locations generally command the highest prices. Why then would this be my first consideration?

  1. Proximity to sights—I’ve spent a lot of money and traveled a long way to get to a destination, so I can experience historical sights. I want to wake up, grab a coffee, and stroll across the street to see the sun rise over Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. As charming as I’m sure Parisian parking lots are, I don’t want to be in an outskirts hotel looking at one of those while eating my morning croissant. Instead, I plan my hotel’s proximity to my favorite sight (or what I think it might be) so I can visit my love daily
  2. Immerse myself in culture—When many tourists have gone to chain hotels in more remote areas of the city, I’m left with locals. I have much richer experiences when I can roam the streets at night, have a late leisurely dinner, enjoy an after-dinner stroll, and join locals at a nearby watering hole. Although cities like Rome may be overrun with tourists during the day, at night locals dominate many of the city’s neighborhoods. I can gaze upon the floodlit Colosseum (without any fear of being hit with a selfie stick) and join Romans in the Monti neighborhood for a bit of vino at an awesome enoteca. These are memories that stay with me for a lifetime.
  3. You don’t actually save that much staying in the outskirts—I price check rates for more remote areas and generally find prices at hotels on the periphery of a city save me a negligible amount. Granted, they’re often newer with more amenities than those in the same price range in the city center, but more remote accommodations come with increased transportation costs.
  4. Historic authenticity—in Europe, the cities are old and I have a chance to stay in history if I reside in the heart of the city—the suburbs don’t have the same historical pedigree. Renaissance palazzo in Florence on the Arno River with a view a medieval bell tower? Yes, please.

The benefits of staying in city-center locations are well worth any increased cost for me. When I dream about the places we’ve been, I think about strolling Florence’s streets at night while marveling at the fact that Michelangelo and da Vinci roamed the same paths. I remember grabbing a pizza and a bottle of wine while sitting on the retaining wall of the Seine River in Paris. I recall the soaring frescoed ceilings of a centuries-old Roman hotel. I reminisce about the drinks and laughs we had in Athens’ plaka. The money that was spent isn’t taken into account—I no longer even remember how much we might have saved, all that is brought to mind is what we gained by staying in the heart of a city.

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