Since moving out of our 2-bedroom townhouse in mid-March of this year, we have lived exclusively in hotels/guesthouses/extended stay hotels. Since May, we have lived in a business luxury hotel. There are many perks to living in a hotel. I bet if I didn’t have a toddler I would be perfectly fine staying in hotels for long periods of time. There are some downsides, though. I will list them all- pros and cons- here for all who are contemplating living in hotels to consider before taking the plunge.
- Maid Service every day/ No Housework ever!: I don’t have to worry about the messes Landon makes, for the most part. We have someone to come in and clean our room every day. This is my favorite pro.
- Never have to wash sheets: Automatically with maid service comes new sheets and towels whenever we want! I know this is horrible for the environment, but we’re not in a position to do anything about that.
This is our hotel buffet!
- Free buffet breakfast: This isn’t all hotels, but Austin’s company has paid for us to have breakfast at the hotel. This can be a blessing or a curse depending on your restraint. My typical thinking at a breakfast buffet before this stint was, ” SWEET! All this food that I didn’t have to make! It’s free! I’ll eat as much as possible because it is only this one night before it’s back to the daily grind/ healthy eating.” Now I have to watch myself and show some restraint so I don’t get huge. One bonus is that I am eating more protein at breakfast that makes me full all day long so I have actually lost weight while in Korea. Hooray!
- Free haircuts: We get free haircuts at a really posh place in the mall. They actually washed Austin’s hair twice during his haircut. When I went in, they did a great job, but no double hair washing. This is a sweet benefit.
Landon likes our hotel!
- Free toiletries: We receive free shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, sponges, toothbrushes, toothpaste, tissues, etc. If you don’t really care about shampoo quality, it cuts costs for sure. I am snooty about toothpaste so I have my stash of all natural tea tree oil toothpaste that prevents canker sores that I bring along.
- Laundry services: We had full laundry service in India, and here in Korea we have laundry service for 5 items a week. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but we have sent many pieces of clothing with horrible stains that they magically get out. Also they are experts at ironing Austin’s shirts and slacks, which he appreciates after years of dealing with me and my scanty ironing.
- Big screen TV: We had an old, small tube TV at our house. We don’t watch enough TV to really appreciate it that much, but it is a nice feature.
- No maintenance responsibilities: Light bulb burns out? Call the front desk, and they will take care of it for you! Our door stopped being able to be propped open so they sent a crew down to fix it.
- Fluffy, wonderful bedding: Growing up, we never had down comforters- we lived in CA so light blankets or doubling or tripling of light blankets was all we ever needed. Plus, I think my mom was allergic. Anyway, down comforters or synthetic down makes it feel like I am sleeping in a fluffy cloud. Hoorah!
What our room looks like!
- Helpful front desk staff and security people: Need something mailed? How about translated into Korean? Some hotels have concierges, but ours is small enough that the front desk staff takes care of everything for us themselves. They all speak good English, although when Landon’s stuffed whale went missing it took some doing to get the message across as to what a whale was. It is a weird thing to have as a stuffed animal, but Landon loves it, so what can you do? P.S.- we still don’t know where the whale is- see cons list. The security people hang out by the front door and make sure Landon doesn’t escape without his parents. A few days ago, Landon made it down the elevator without me and the security guard apprehended him until I could catch up. They also make sure he doesn’t get hit by the revolving door at the entrance to the hotel. They open the doors for me when I come back from a run with the jogging stroller. Just helpful, happy people.
- Hotel rewards: We stay at a Hyatt when we are in Chicago in between assignments. We had enough nights/rewards points there to book 3 nights at a Hyatt Regency on Jeju Island for vacation for free. It was so worth it to stay in a hotel just for that! Here in Korea, the hotel chain is local so we get 5% of our money spent back in the form of coupons to spend at the Lotte duty free store at the airport. Fortunately even though Austin’s company pays for the room we get to use the benefits.
- Simpler life: Since we are living out of suitcases in a small space, we really have to prioritize the things we want in our lives. No extra junk, and very few impulse buys help us make sure that we are saving money and not cluttering our lives.
- Limited Space: The days of staying “home” and doing nothing all day are gone. Our toddler will play quietly in the room for about 20 minutes at a time. Other than that, we have to be out and about making sure Landon is entertained somehow. If not, he starts doing very naughty things like dumping sugar or nuts all over the floor or throwing things in the toilet. Just typical toddler past times. There is limited space for our stuff as well, which is a pro in some ways and a con in others. I’m guessing this is common for those living in big cities with tiny apartments as well. Mostly we have to be careful about how many toys we let Landon bring with us, and books and things. Landon has memorized all of the books we brought, though!
- One family, one room: Ever since our 1-bedroom student apartment, we have always had at least two rooms in our home to give everyone some space. Once Landon came along, he had his own room and it came in handy because starting at around 9 months old I could put him to bed awake and he would just play around in his crib until falling asleep. Now, he is too big for pack n plays and so he has a big boy twin bed that he can easily escape from. So we have to lay down with him until he falls asleep. It’s fine for now, but it would be nice to have a child-proofed space that I could put him in for time-outs and for bedtime where I could just leave him when he was tired. I guess I will just enjoy the snuggles and the mauling until he is old enough to stay in bed by himself. Also, with Austin working either evening shift (4pm-12am) or night shift (12am-8am) he is not sleeping at exactly the same times we are. With a toddler, that means that Landon and I must vacate the room when Austin is sleeping, or Austin does very little sleeping and a lot of having a toddler bottom sitting on his head.
|We go to the park to get out of the hotel|
- No kitchen: This is a big deal for me. I actually like cooking and baking. If we can help it, I would much prefer to have a kitchen when we travel. In fact, when we have traveled before we usually use vrbo or airbnb to find places with kitchens so we can cook ourselves. Anyway, this has not stopped me from cooking completely, but has really put a damper on our home-cooked food options. I cooked many meals in a rice cooker, but we killed it trying to make cookies a few weeks ago, so I have been using only the microwave and hot water since then. It also stinks that our bathroom sink is our only sink so I must use the bathroom sink for dishes and food prep, which is kind of gross.
- No supplies for cleaning toddler messes: As I alluded to above, Landon likes to make lots of messes. Most of the time I end up cleaning them by hand, but I would love to have some supplies at hand to help me out. One day he dumped half a bag of sugar on the ground right in front of our mini fridge. I went out in the hall to see if we could borrow the vacuum (our room had already been cleaned that day) but the really nice cleaning lady insisted on coming back to our room and doing it herself. It was nice, but I hate to impose especially when she has already done her job. Landon also likes to pour yogurt on the floor, and I would love some carpet cleaner, but I don’t want to buy a whole thing, if I could figure out what it was. I usually just use baby wipes to clean it up.
- Tiny fridge: We try to save money by purchasing food at the grocery store to prepare for later. I have to be very careful what I buy because our refrigerator is about 1/4 the size of a normal refrigerator in the U.S. I know the fridges in India were smaller than U.S. fridges, but I’m not sure about Korean fridges. Anyway, there is no freezer and the fridge is small. That is all
|Yeouido Hangang Park- another outing
to alleviate hotel living boredom
- Little privacy: Everywhere except our small room has people walking about all the time. Koreans go to bed later than Americans, and so sometimes we hear people walking back to their rooms incredibly late. Also, if I want filtered water or to use the microwave or laundry, I have to go downstairs. You know how in your house you just want to wear pajamas and go barefoot and have no one look at you? It always seems to be my luck that I see lots of people when I go on little excursions to throw away poopy diapers or microwave something. Usually Landon is barefoot and I’m in PJs and slippers, whatever! It also is kind of funny because Austin and I have noticed this guy at breakfast who has lived at the hotel at least as long as we have. He is a well-dressed Korean with really cool hair and occasionally he sports a mustache. At first we noticed him because he seemed to bring a different girl to breakfast every day. Recently, his mom has been staying with him, and he got braces, so we see him more. Turns out he lives two doors down from us. We have shared the elevator a few times, and never officially spoken, but I think he thinks Landon is cute. Austin and I joke that he is some Korean celebrity holed up in the hotel while he undergoes orthodontia. I guess we will never know.
- Phones: Landon had not seen a corded phone until hotels. He thinks it is funny to pick it up and dial things. Sometimes he dials the front desk. Other times, he dials the emergency number for the hotel, so when I hang up the phone the front desk calls back asking if everything is ok. I wish we could disconnect it or place it out of reach of Landon, but there isn’t anywhere to put it.
- I’m sure there are other CONS to living in hotels, but these are my main grievances right now. The no kitchen and little space are a big deal to me right now, I just want to stay in a separate room from my toddler! AH!