Since even before we had children, my wife Air and I have enjoyed booking the occasional night at a fancy hotel in downtown Vancouver, just for the hell of it. We did so again this evening, so we had only a short trip after Navarik's annual staff Christmas party to a comfy bed at the Sutton Place Hotel. The kids are at home with their grandparents and the dog.
Some people find it odd that we spend money to sleep in a strange bed in our own city, but that's why we choose only the nicest downtown hotels. It's a relatively cheap luxury experience, where we can order room service, soak in a hot tub, have a maid clean our room, and get easy access to city-centre shopping, while minimizing travel time and hassle. (I even rode the SkyTrain down to check in before Air met me after work.)
A few years ago, our friend Tris pointed me to the then-new hotwire.com, which offers superb (but non-refundable) deals on hotels, plus the sometimes-fun bonus of not knowing the name of your hotel until after you book it. It becomes a mini-vacation with a bit of lottery unpredictability built in—except, since any four- or five-star hotel downtown is great (especially for less than $125 a night, as little as a third of the standard price), there's no way to lose.
If the concept of a stay-home trip seems odd or a waste of money to you, I recommend you try it. It can actually be less expensive than a fancy dinner and a show (though you could add those too), and often feels like a longer getaway than it is.
Plus: mmm, room service breakfast.
It's a great idea. B&Bs are nice for the same reason. It's great to get away from the routine and the little nagging things you should do at home like take out the trash, return phone calls, open the mail, etc. If you plan a night away your focus in on one another. I spent years traveling for work, so I'm pretty much "over" the hotel experience, I prefer the comforts of home.
Yet my husband and I love to get away like that and enjoy all the little extras. Yup, breakfast in bed and that big fluffy robe. It can be a great gift to give too. If the recipient has kids, consider providing the babysitting as well.
We enjoy the impersonality of big hotels. At a B&B you have to TALK to people (shudder). Incidentally, we never got to the hot tub or room service last night: just slept till after 11. Enough time to pack up and head out for breakfast crèpes and some shopping.
A little Hotwire trip: If you know the street address of a hotel, you can start your search by entering that address. Because it's an exact match of the place you want to stay, it'll be the first in your list of results. So you can kind of game the system, so to speak, and end up knowing exactly where your reservation will be.
you're sure writing up a storm. nice to see you're back to your old self.
Great tip, Cecily. Moua-ha-ha!