This month’s Travel Linkup is all about the places closest to our hearts: Home. There are so many avenues I felt I could have gone down with this. I could have given you a guide on my little-known Essex hometown, written about the parts of London that have become my second home thanks to work, or even written about that feeling of happiness you get when you get back to your house after a long trip. I was also tempted to write about just how my concept of ‘home’ has become rocked since my mum passed away – because, truly, home really isn’t about ‘things’, it’s all about the people. But, in the interest of trying to keep myself sane and out of the low funk I’ve been in recently, I wanted to think about the concept of ‘home’ while you’re on the road.
It always makes me laugh how, on trips abroad, your hotel/Airbnb/hostel always becomes referred to as your ‘home’. My boyfriend is the best at doing this – I’m not even sure if he knows he’s doing it! When we’re out and about, deciding where to go next, he’s often the first one to say: “Right, let’s go home and freshen up, and then decide what we want to do.”
It’s the very embodiment of the phrase ‘home is where you lay your head’. Which makes sense with someone like me who’s all about the comfort… As long as there’s a bed, plenty of blankets and a way to boil up water for a cup of tea, I’m happy. When you’re away, your ‘room’ becomes much more than just a room. It’s your very own private space where you can unwind, sleep, make plans, break plans, get away from tourists, feel homesick, get excited about the prospect of discovering a new city, rustle up lunchtime sandwiches, have midnight feasts, have meaningful conversations and Skype friends – all away from prying eyes.
So, thinking about my travels over the last few years, here are the hotels that have really felt like ‘home’ for me.
1. Hotel Seespitz, Austria
I’m of the firm belief that a hotel feels a lot more like ‘home’ when you’re in a cold country. Maybe that’s just because it reminds me of England, or maybe it’s because it’s the place you can really wrap up warm, snuggle down, and get away from the cold.
Our room in Hotel Seespitz on our Austrian ski trip was definitely like our own little home. It had that rustic Austrian charm and plenty of pine furniture that reminded me of my mum’s personal interior design preferences. This room saw so much over our week-long stay: Us trying to squeeze into our ski gear…and then lying on the floor after our ski sessions, absolutely exhausted. It was also our favourite place to unwind in the evenings, sitting on the balcony overlooking the mountains with a glass of wine or beer.
2. Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Yorkshire
With a ‘room’ that was almost larger than the flat I grew up in, it’s no wonder that this felt like home. Even though the remote nature of Ox Pasture Hall Hotel meant the whole hotel was super quiet, our larger-than-average room became a place for us to chill and do virtually nothing – sit and watch TV, chill in that huge bathtub (I think we had about 3 baths a day each?), and fuss the hotel cat. Bliss.
3. Residence Agnes, Prague
Our ‘home’ in Prague may have been smaller than others on this list, but that didn’t make it any less homely. Ian and I somehow ended up with the honeymoon suite (nope, we totally didn’t elope and marry, I promise) at Prague’s gorgeous Residence Agnes. The room itself was whimsical and romantic, with curtains over the bed and a window that looked out over the convent next door. But it really became a home-from-home for us after all our days clocking up 20,000+ steps exploring Prague. We’d often just pass out on the bed for an hour, gather up our strength, and then head out for another few thousand steps…
4. The Double Vintage & Hand Crafted, Budapest
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: The Double Vintage & Hand Crafted Airbnb in Budapest is my ideal home. I mean, apart from all the rogue ants in the kitchen, but I’m all about the animals. Don’t tell anyone, but I definitely spent more than 1 night in bed, watching Netflix on the Smart TV and eating chocolate gingerbread biscuits… This was how at home I felt in this place.
5. Backstage Hotel, Amsterdam
The central location of the Backstage Hotel made it easy to pop in and out as we rushed around the city trying to sample all the teas and cakes. But I think what I really loved about it was the fact my bed was right by the window which looked out over the canal. At night I would lay in bed with the window open, listening to the sounds of bicycles zooming past and people stumbling along the streets to their hotels. It reminded me of my uni accommodation, where my window faced into the halls, and I could hear a constant hubbub of noise.
6. Three Glens, Dumfries and Galloway
The Three Glens luxury eco home is the one accommodation my boyfriend always holds up as the one accommodation he really fell in love with, and I can totally see why. The Three Glens could literally be a home – it’s not like a traditional hotel where you have your room, an ensuite and that’s it. With four individual guest rooms on the lower floor, the upstairs is open for all. That includes everything from the absolute dream kitchen to the patio, the sitting room, and the side snugs where you can curl up and read a book or watch a spot of TV. The fact this home is in the middle of nowhere definitely makes it all the more homely; when it was raining or foggy outside, we would just snuggle up in the warm with some good food and just admire those incredible views.
Which hotel/Airbnb/hostel has really felt like home for you on the road? I’d love to know what other places I should be checking out!