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What is different about what Europeans want in a place to stay than Americans?

" Hotels and restaurants that were once filled with Americans (like Isabella’s place) are now a microcosm of the EU. In some cases, this has required the business owner to make some changes to become more Euro-friendly."

This is from Cameron's blog. I can't help wonder what Europeans want in a place to stay that is different than Americans. Any ideas what it means for an establishment to become more Euro-friendly?

Posted by
6857 posts

Probably drinkable coffee (real espresso machine or at least dark roast so it's strong and flavorful) and edible food (less pop tarts, waffles, colorful cereal, quasi "juices" out of automated machines and more focus on fresh items like real fruit, fresh juice, yogurt, better bread, etc).

Just like Americans have certain preferences, it's not suprising that people from other countries do as well. I have not seen a kettle in a US hotel (yet), even in NYC. Europeans are not monolithic and have a variety in breakfast spreads. I would say that, in general, there is more of a focus on better bread, fresh/ local items, and good/strong coffee (in smaller cups), and quality over quantity.

Posted by
263 posts

I'm all for it in the USA, too! Poptarts, "fresh" waffles, colorful cereal and mass-produced eggs aren't my idea of breakfast either. I'd love a kettle in every room, drinkable coffee and better brands of tea. Lipton? No thanks.

Posted by
2517 posts

I agree with Agnes, I've stayed in both American and European hotel chains and the breakfasts are probably the biggest differentiator. You wouldn't be able to get away with an American style "dessert" breakfast for European clientele. Less processed sweet foods and more local meats, cheeses, baked goods, fresh fruit.

Posted by
1645 posts

Beverages I can see as a real difference-my husband is partial to Dunkin Doughnuts coffee which is a tragedy to some Italian colleagues of mine.
We have had a kettle in some places we have stayed in Europe and I have always enjoyed using it. But I would not consider the absence of one a deficiency. But I was reading some booking.com reviews for a hotel in Greece and a common complaint was a lack of a kettle!
A healthy breakfast I would think would appeal to both sets of tourists. But perhaps Americans are more tolerate than Europeans?

Posted by
6857 posts

But I was reading some booking.com reviews for a hotel in Greece and a
common complaint was a lack of a kettle!

A kettle is really important to Brits, and many other Europeans drink tea as well (although more have coffee for breakfast). It may seem silly but it's habit and comfort. Americans have their own baggage - some want a large, heavy American style breakfast everywhere even though that's not the culture of the place (e.g. Italy, where a simple cornetto and espresso while standing at a bar does the trick). If you've never had, say, a German breakfast spread with tons of fresh juices and meats (which I don't eat, but still) and fresh bread, you don't know what you're missing and just how good it can be. Most people staying at 3-star family type hotels (Holiday Inns, etc) eat the fruit loops and waffles etc with no complaints because they're used to that predictable breakfest menu. I just eat the hard boiled eggs and have tea instead of coffee because at least it can't be ruined if it comes in the predictable tea bag. I don't care if the breakfast is free if I'm not going to enjoy it or if it's unhealthy.

I remember being in a hotel in Bosnia and there were Italians there at the breakfast table and they had special coffee requests that weren't satisfied with the regular stuff (I believe it was yucky instant coffee and they wanted an espresso or cappuccino). So there are many differences in Europe as well. It does make sense that if a hotel has a disproportionate clientale from wherever, then they should try to cater to them and their tastes.

Posted by
8285 posts

BethFl, if it gives you any comfort, my husband drinks a spoonful of a French-brand of instant coffee in a bowl of hot milk for breakfast every day. And he’s European.

Euro-friendly? Wash mitts instead of washcloths? No wait, neither is ever provided. Duvets? Large cups of café au lait or cappuccino? Those square pillows instead of rectangular? What country is Isabella’s? Beats me and I live on both continents.

Posted by
5334 posts

I have lived in Germany for four years and Saudi Arabia for five years, as well as traveling all over the World (78 foreign countries).

Breakfast is very different in some parts of the World from North American tastes, particularly in East Asia. However, hotels in East Asia always seem to offer the choice of a local breakfast or one similar to an American or British breakfast.

If anyone thinks an American breakfast usually features pop tarts, they are wrong. I never see those at hotel breakfasts and certainly don't see it at home. Even when I had young kids, I wouldn't stand for them.

A typical English breakfast is very similar to an American one, except the bacon in England is more like our ham (its sausages are more like small hot dogs in taste) and it includes pork and beans, grilled tomato and potatoes. Down South, we include grits instead of potatoes.

German breakfasts include cold cuts, sliced cheese, brotchen (a type of bread roll), butter and perhaps a boiled egg.

The French usually have croissants a wonderful bread cooked like a pastry with other pastries, jam and butter.

The coffee in Europe is better than standard American coffee, but specialty coffee has taken America by storm.

Also, perhaps some Americans do like cereal for breakfast, and hotels usually provide that as an option, but most of us will take the eggs, bacon and toast if given a choice.

I agree with others, that Europeans would probably demand high quality coffee more so than Americans. Some Europeans like the French and Italians would probably choose a lighter breakfast than Americans, Germans or British.

Posted by
20855 posts

I once had a conversation about towels with the manager of budget-priced hotel in Nice. My room had a large, heavy bath towel but no hand towel at all. When asked, the manager said his French clientele insisted on quality towels, but he had to cut some corners to remain competitive (the room was in the 55-60 euro range in May 2017), so there was no hand towel. It made sense to me; I considered the place a well-run hotel for its price bracket. Breakfast included a croissant, a hard roll, small containers of yogurt, butter and jam; I don't believe hard-boiled eggs were offered, which I would have appreciated. I don't drink coffee or tea, so I have no idea of their quality. In a further effort to avoid unnecessary expenses, you were required to notify the hotel each evening about whether you wanted breakfast the next morning--an unusual requirement, but acceptable to me.

I believe fewer Americans above college age than Europeans are willing to accept hotel rooms without en suite bathrooms. Or perhaps Europeans have now caught up with Americans in that regard.

Posted by
4596 posts

A typical English breakfast is very similar to an American one, except the bacon in England is more like our ham (its sausages are more like small hot dogs in taste) and it includes pork and beans, grilled tomato and potatoes. Down South, we include grits instead of potatoes.

I disagree. British breakfast sausages taste nothing like hot dogs, continental attempts at a breakfast sausage taste like hot dogs. Sausages for a Full English can range from simple pork, to lincolnshire, pork and apple, cumberland, pork and chilli and even beef. They are never cured which is what gives hotdogs their characteristic taste. Bacon comes in either "back bacon" which is cured from the loin or "streaky" which is from the belly and is the bacon most recognised by Americans however it's never cooked to the crispness that American's like. I find that American bacon is very thinly sliced and consists mostly of fat which is what makes it so crispy. Black pudding (or white pudding) is another traditional addition although it's a love/hate food. Potatoes have no place on an English breakfast, that's an American invasion!

I can't stand percolator coffee. The thought of a big jug of coffee sat on a warming plate for whoever knows how long is depressing. I've stayed in a couple of Air BnB's in the US where there was no kettle and we had to resort to boiling water in a saucepan in order to make a cup of tea. How do American's fill their hot water bottles?

Posted by
2517 posts

Here's a quote on American Coffee from a Spanish guide to the United States, I've roughly translated it into English:

Coffee requires a separate mention. There is no God in heaven who can sweeten that watered down American coffee! If you like to have a good coffee in the morning, don't forget to pack a few packets of soluble coffee in your suitcase.

Posted by
8210 posts

You can get exceptionally good coffee in the San Francisco Bay Area and in many parts of the US.

geovagriffith forgot that baguette is traditionally part of a French hotel breakfast.

I have stayed in many not-budget hotels in France that asked us if we’re having breakfast in the morning.

Posted by
2517 posts

Sorry, should have mentioned that quote from the Spanish guide was talking about coffee in American hotels, not coffee in the US generally.

Posted by
2186 posts

As mentioned, breakfast and coffee can be very different. Talking to European hoteliers - and these are generalities/opinions - they feel Europeans travel slower, stay longer at their hotels, often return to the same hotel year after year (and often ask for the same room!), prefer courtyard views (for quiet) as most Americans want "the view," often avoiding those courtyard rooms. 

They feel European travellers are more demanding - and more price sensitive. European travellers like details... and hold the hoteliers to those commitments! Europeans tend to travel most extensively as FITs (loosely defined as free independent traveller or perhaps fully independent traveller), and - this makes sense - are very experienced travelling in Europe. It's no surprise that Germans are the most prolific EU travellers. As expected, the internet has impacted booking trends. Americans tend to book online. Europeans more often use travel agencies to create a booking. Americans are more interested in a kitchen on the property. Europeans not so much as they'll be dining out! 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, meeting hoteliers in conferences the last few months, they've all had record sales - despite fewer American clients than a "normal" year. 

Posted by
8433 posts

How do American's fill their hot water bottles?

a) we use electric heat pads; b) microwave reusable gel packs c) use hot tap water as is

few packets of soluble coffee in your suitcase.

Is that 'instant' coffee , or is there something else to which you refer?

Posted by
2517 posts

Is that 'instant' coffee , or is there something else to which you refer?

This is the quote from the Spanish guide to the US, not my own words, I just roughly translated from Spanish. It's "café soluble" in Spanish, not sure how it is in English, but it's probably what you are referring.

If we're talking about coffee, in the US I usually go for LavAzza In Blu thankfully one can get it here on Amazon.

Posted by
1841 posts

In line with RnR above, the France24 news financial show has been running a segment with an interview of a hotel-industry representative going over the numbers from the summer, and they show that because a greater proportion of Europeans did their getaways (during the summer lull in infection rates) at places, mostly by the coasts, within their own countries, those hotels were almost back to pre-covid occupancy levels for the season. The loss of American visitors was almost completely made up by the increase in intra-travelers.

At least in resort areas -- they reported that hotel/hospitality business in big cities was still down considerably, but they are hoping that this winter's business conference travel would bring those properties back up to speed as well.

I thought that the coverage was missing some key issues, though -- sure people were attracted to coastal towns while the season was right, but they didn't mention that part of the reason for not going to big cities was that the attractions there, like concerts and museums and festivals, were either still canceled or doing attenuated work-around versions that aren't worth the bother and expense of city lodging.

An anecdote on the danger of generalization about what Americans want and what Europeans want -- one of my favorite hotels was getting middling ratings on American websites, and when you looked at the criticisms in the low-score reviews they would mention how the parking spaces were too tight for their SUVs and minivans. Horrors!

Posted by
6857 posts

As expected, the internet has impacted booking trends. Americans tend
to book online. Europeans more often use travel agencies to create a
booking.

Assuming this is true, why would that be? Are their travel destinations more exotic as to necessitate greater hand holding/ the human touch? Or are they more interested in packages to certain destinations (African countries, Thailand, etc)?

Americans are more interested in a kitchen on the property. Europeans
not so much as they'll be dining out!

If you stratify by family vs couples, discretionary travel budget, and any food sensitivities/ special diet needs, I think you'd find both groups to be similar.

Posted by
8285 posts

French breakfast at home is whatever is left of yesterday’s baguette with homemade jam or butter, dipped in the giant mug or bowl of café au lait. Or, there are baked breads on supermarket shelves to keep for when there isn’t enough baguette left. Croisants and other goodies are for special occasions or hotel breakfasts. In our house, you’ll also find fruit andSkippy crunchy, too.

French TV news tonight said that fall vacation hotel, apartment rental, and campground reservations were higher than in pre-Covid 2019. One hotel on the Riviera said half the reservations were coming from outside France. It’s booming.

Posted by
5334 posts

JC,
I defer to your native knowledge of an English Breakfast. We have visited the UK several times over the years and I always look forward to the English Breakfast. In some B&Bs we are offered the option of Eggs Benedict, which are wonderful.
Still I enjoy the eggs, toast, beans, etc. However, the bacon while acceptable is extremely salty and comes across as cheap ham. The sausages are very poor compared to the breakfast sausages we have in the USA. The closest comparison that I have is that they remind me more of the flavor and texture of a hot dog (sorry and not a good hot dog).

Another point, is that I have noticed over the years that coffee has made serious inroads into Britain, where tea was dominant. Now, good coffee is always available.

Posted by
1117 posts

I'd challenge the idea that breakfast can be made "Euro-friendly", for the very simple reason that there is no such thing as a European breakfast. A Greek breakfast is about as different as can be from a British one, and I am certainly not going to trade my Brötchen for any churros.

For the same reason, there is no such thing as a general European coffee taste. Our (German) filter coffee is not only different from American filter coffee, it is also quite different from a French café au lait or from an Italian espresso or a kafe elliniko.

German breakfasts include cold cuts, sliced cheese, brotchen (a type
of bread roll), butter and perhaps a boiled egg.

You forget the jam! Yes, people will have cold cuts or sliced cheese on their Brötchen, but first and foremost, a German breakfast is sweet.

have tea instead of coffee because at least it can't be ruined if it
comes in the predictable tea bag

Funny you should say that. I assume that you are a coffee drinker? :D My husband is a confirmed tea drinker and he always drinks coffee when we are traveling. There are so many ways to ruin tea... starting with the tea bag and ending with the water...

You can get exceptionally good coffee in the San Francisco Bay Area
and in many parts of the US.

"Exceptionally good" is a matter of taste, and of what you are used to. Bay Area friends have presented me with what they believed to be an exceptionally good French roast, and to me, it just tasted like the same bland coffee, just with an added tinge of a burned flavor. No doubt Italians will say the same kind of thing about the coffee I feel is "exceptionally good".

Europeans more often use travel agencies to create a
booking.

Assuming this is true, why would that be?

I am not sure this is true. But if it is, I could imagine a number of reasons: 1. We usually get a much better refund policy when booking a package than when booking things individually. 2. In case something goes wrong, I have a real live person to talk to and will not spend hours trying to reach someone in a hotline. The travel agency is my legal partner; I have no direct dealings with the airline or car rental or hotel. 3. If the price is the same, why shouldn't I support local businesses? I have tried it: found an online offer, went to my travel agency around the corner and asked them if they could book that for me. Works every time, and they get the commission and not some big internet dealer. 4. I don't have the hassle with some website that keeps trying to trick me into buying some insurance I don't want.

I believe fewer Americans above college age than Europeans are willing
to accept hotel rooms without en suite bathrooms. Or perhaps Europeans
have now caught up with Americans in that regard.

Yes... for about the past thirty or forty years...

Duvets?

Yes please! I hate being locked in between two sheets. My legs need freedom!

Posted by
2517 posts

I'd challenge the idea that breakfast can be made "Euro-friendly", for the very simple reason that there is no such thing as a European breakfast. A Greek breakfast is about as different as can be from a British one, and I am certainly not going to trade my Brötchen for any churros.

Sure, the breakfast one eats at home can vary from country to country within Europe, especially on the regional level, like Scandinavia vs Balkans vs Iberia.

However, I think there are many similarities with hotel breakfasts in Europe, especially in the 3-4 star class range. I've had much the same breakfast spread, whether I'm in Bergen, Warsaw, Bilbao, or Milan. It mainly consists of fresh fruit, cold cuts, cheese, bread like this image European Breakfast Bar, there is almost never pancakes, scrambled eggs, or fried bacon like is typical in a US style hotel breakfast. Of course there are 2-3 regional breakfast items, but the main spread is practically the same across most of Europe (that I've traveled to).

A caveat, once you get out more in the countryside or stay smaller BnBs, I've noticed more regional foods and less European style breakfast spread.

Posted by
1028 posts

My hope when I am traveling to a different cultural zone is that the hotel would present its amenities according to that local culture, not to my creature comforts. I really look forward to a Scandinavian style hotel room and sprouts and cucumbers at breakfast. It helps that my addictions don't include caffeine (presented in a familiar form) or any particular food. I do love a glass full of ice cubes, but will happily do without.

Posted by
1695 posts

I take great exception to bacon in England being described as “acceptable”! It is the thing I look forward to most!

Posted by
8210 posts

Anna, everything is a matter of taste and what you’re used to. One person’s taste isn’t better than another person’s.
Let me know when you’re in San Francisco, I’ll take you on a coffee tour… starting with Blue Bottle, Equator, Four Barrel, and many more. All high-end, excellent coffees. True, you may not like them, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re all excellent.

Posted by
737 posts

What a lovely thread about European breakfast and coffees! It makes me wistful for the days of room service breakfast trays with separate pots of coffee and steamed milk, and a basket of baguette, croissant, and pain au raisin. Small French hotels seem to have abandoned this.

One of the differences I have noticed in many European breakfast rooms is the quiet. Couples and even families talk in hushed tones. Even in B and B’s, a nod and bonjour is the most one usually hears. Conversation with the innkeeper is more likely.

Susan, I like Blue Bottle, too, and Peet’s of San Francisco has been shipping me fresh roasted coffee for years. You really do have some coffee treasures there.

Regarding American vs European styles, I do wonder if some of the European hotels have put away the ice machines they bought for their American guests.

I do love most of the different European breakfasts, from full English and Scottish, to Greek and eastern Mediterranean. It’s part of the fun of travel.

Posted by
8285 posts

OK, I skimmed the blog and IMHO he’s using hyperbole to convince people to fly over. For example: he says there’s social distancing, temperature checks— not happening. Isabella built her hotel with Americans in mind—hum, maybe. She most likely built it with many nationalities in mind. I wouldn’t take this literally.

Posted by
1117 posts

I do love a glass full of ice cubes

There! Now we've got it! That's the answer to the OP's question. No ice cubes for Europeans! :D

And there is certainly a big difference in the atmosphere: no paper cups, no styrofoam plates, no plastic knives, no rushed grabbing of food. Instead, sitting down at a table with proper porcelain dishes.

@Carlos: You are totally right in pointing out the (huge) difference between a breakfast at home and at a hotel. Actually, I find that hotel breakfasts have become very mainstreamed, with very little local variation unless you are in a really upscale place. Even the scrambled eggs and the bacon (of whatever quality) have become part of the mainstream 3-star hotel breakfast in Germany.

@Susan: No disagreement there at all. That was exactly the point I meant to make.

@Aimee: I have been wondering about that too, is it the roasting or the brewing, or something else altogether? IMO it can't be the brewing because then the coffee would have to taste the same when I brew it myself, using the identical method I use at home.

Yes, specialty coffee has taken the U.S. by storm, but is it really
coffee?

You'll probably all hate me for saying this, but Starbucks & Co. have done a lot for good coffee in the US. If I want a traditional American atmosphere, I go into a coffee shop. If I want good coffee, I go to Starbucks.

Having said that, flavored coffee of course is something no serious coffee drinker would ever tolerate in their cup. :D

Posted by
10986 posts

I agree with Bets. Who knows what Isabella means.

I've been in France for three weeks all outside of Paris. Seven hotels. Few, if any other, English speaking guests. The breakfasts are basically the same in every hotel. It would be the same regardless of the nationality of the guests. Only one had mini- donuts. All had coffee machines that grind beans for each cup with a choice of types of coffees. And a selection of teas.

I do know of one B & B up in the Lake District of England, that bought a small table top ice machine because it got a lot of American guests. It was self service so the owners wouldn't be bothered.

Posted by
6539 posts

. . . and so ends that "travel like a temporary local" foolishness.

I'll have an espresso in Italy; tea in the UK; coffee in Germany, one cup no refills, etc. Part of the experience: I don't want breakfast to feel just like home.

Posted by
784 posts

Hmmm. I think Europeans don’t need a mini fridge in their room, whereas, I always appreciate a place to store the yogurt, cheese, meats and drinks in a little fridge.. it isn’t a deal breaker for me if there isn’t one in the room but I wonder if Europeans want a fridge.

I agree about the free breakfast in American establishments. Most of the time, I do what Agnes does and take a hard boiled egg, fresh fruit (if it’s FRESH) and tea if it isn’t Lipton. Most of the time, I bring my own tea and just use the hot water and take-away cup offered to make my own.

Posted by
1117 posts

I think Europeans don’t need a mini fridge in their room

Why wouldn't we? Traditionally, we are much more used to eating at home and taking our own home-made food along instead of constantly grabbing something from some fast food restaurant. So the possibility of having a bit of food at the hotel instead of constantly running to restaurants makes a lot of sense to us.

I would take the whole blog with a pinch of salt.

It's more like a ton of salt in some places. Assuming a "kind of European pragmatism that figures you’re going to get sick at some point, so why fight it" is no longer over-generalization, it's simply blatant nonsense. Or: "enigmatic washer/dryers that should come with an instruction manual" - well, guess what, they do, and assuming that you have figured out the internet, you can access the manual any time.

Posted by
2203 posts

I'd like to thank the North American hotels for not making Nutella a breakfast staple like it seems to be wherever I've been in Europe. The last thing I need to is eat my weight in Nutella on two continents.

Posted by
8285 posts

This has to be one of the stupidest threads I've ever seen on this website, a proportional reaction to the blog post that generated it.

But I'm the stupidest of all for continuing to read through this thread trying to discover what Europeans want in a place that is different from Americans. I still haven't discovered it despite reading forty posts, and I have both nationalities.

Posted by
2517 posts

I've found this topic highly entertaining, because there is no right or wrong answer, just speculation and opinion. Its a breath of fresh air from covid related discussion.

Posted by
27481 posts

You forget the jam! Yes, people will have cold cuts or sliced cheese on their Brötchen, but first and foremost, a German breakfast is sweet.

I'm not sure that I have really found a "German" breakfast as could be defined.

I think perhaps there are regional German accents on breakfast. The items on the table at my favourite hotel in the southern Black Forest have been different to one degree or another from that served by the witch tower west of Frankfurt.

And my favourite is the breakfast at a hotel east of Munich where not only are there fabulous Brötchen but large (yes the big ones) pretzels and a pot of Weißwurst with a small adjacent pot of Suß.

These are all family owned and run German hotels, not big chains. I love the variety.

Oh, almost forgot the octogenarian daily (the owner's brother) making home-made dumpling broth every day and every time we stayed there (a lot), in the hills above Trier. A wonderful addition to breakfast.

At all of these places we were likely to be the only English language voices heard.

Posted by
10986 posts

Okay....I'm going to say it...I think a lot of the blog posting we're referring to is meant for people who have never been to Europe or have very little experience.

To think of some of the things said in the posting would make me think it's from an inexperienced traveler or one who wishes it was still like traveling in the 1970's with bathrooms down the hall and no one knew what a credit card was for.

I rarely read blog postings from some of the people who do so on this site because, as an experienced traveler like many if you, I find them inane. They sound more like sales pitches than anything else.

Posted by
13419 posts

The thread title and the question references "Europe" while the blog is about the EU; big difference.

My Albanian and Ukrainian acquaintances would be a bit different in their desires than say, most upper middle class EU citizens.

So, on the topic of EU, as pointed out more culturally relevant beverages and food; beyond that, I really cant imagine.

We all demand ensuite toilets these days so that's no longer an issue, and 24 hour front desks.

"We" meaning Americans and EU citizens; maybe not the Albanians though.

I stayed at a few "high end" Albanian hotels recently with shared bathrooms, and it was okay as the toilet seat was always warm.

Posted by
12794 posts

I'll say it is rare to find this but you can still find the "traditional German breakfast."

It is part of the buffet offered in small hotels and Pensionen. As recent as the late 1990s and 2001, I found " the traditional German breakfast" still offered in Pensionen and small hotels in Berlin and Lüneburg. and not part of a buffet. Both these establishments still exist but the breakfast now is the buffet table.

Almost exclusively I stay in these places in France, Poland, Germany, and London, I don't patronize US hotel chains in Europe. where one presumably would find American breakfasts offered.

Posted by
12794 posts

@ James....If you decide to come to Munich or Berlin and want the WC down the hall, I'll tell you where that 2 star place is. Both places are Hoteel-Pensionen ; I stay in those cities with the WC and shower down the hall...so what? Almost all guests there are German or other Europeans. No Americans, Asians, or other anglophones. No Albanians.

Posted by
13419 posts

Fred, exactly! I use to avoid such places then on my trip to Albania I discovered the joy of a warm toilet seat on a frosty morning. I worked out a method. I waited till I heard the door open and close twice, then I ran and got in next.

Posted by
4360 posts

This post reminds me of two funny breakfasts in Spain & Australia.

In Spain, I always ordered the bread, oil, crushed tomato breakfast with espresso. My husband would pick something like a pastry & coffee. One of our last hotels was in Nerja. On the menu were a choice of breakfasts; they were all given a name of a country. I ordered my usual which also came with some delicious cold meat & cheese - the “Spain breakfast”. My husband decided to order the “American breakfast”. Oh, we laughed! His plate was stuffed with: eggs, toast, English-type bacon, pork & beans and two American large hot dogs! It must have been the English breakfast + more!

In Australia, I was on a work trip to teach an intense leadership class where VP’s had to stay at the conference center. Since I came from the US, I arrived two days early to get over jet lag and prep the room, etc. Each morning there was a nice buffet for breakfast for the conference center guests, and I was consistently choosing fresh fruit, cold meat & cheese, bread, tomatoes and coffee. The first morning the class had stayed overnight, I came to the breakfast room and began to select the same items. The Australians said, Oh, no! They’ve made pancakes for you.” Sure enough, there was a silver-covered warming plate with pancakes….which I didn’t want. I took one to be courteous.

Posted by
900 posts

While I bow to no man in my admiration of the Full English heart-attack-on-a-plate breakfast, nothing says ‘regret’ like the fry up, extra cup of tea and two slices of toast and marmalade squeezed in because, well, it would be rude not to, when you leave your accommodation for the day’s hike and find that it immediately heads decidedly uphill.

Posted by
8064 posts

This: "the frustration of paying for a meal with your credit card, then trying to scare up a few coins for the tip". How much does he travel that he doesn't know he can add the tip to the credit card? When the server cashes out at the end of the night, they keep the difference out of what they took in with cash.

The FFP2 masks have not been required in Germany for months, and those were only on trains, not in stores or restaurants. He found one restaurant in Berlin that wanted them, but they were never a requirement. Bavaria was the last state to drop the requirement for them on the trains. What is not ok are cloth masks, some sort of medical mask is a must. Cameron should update his blog. As to wearing your mask at a cafe, etc. Once you sit down, you take your mask off.

Yeah, the Americans are so much better with covering their mouth and nose when they cough statement is surprisingly dumb. You see 2 kids being kids and rate a whole country on it? There are homeless, teens, and seniors riding trains that pull their masks down, but at least they aren't punching people in the face or killing them because they were asked to wear a mask.

The free tests for the population in Germany stopped in Sept. Our rates are skyrocketing and now people are in line again to get vaccinated, now that they can't participate in anything without those free tests twice a week.

The whole blog post is borderline bizarre and really poorly researched. I am with Bets, that it is stupid.

Posted by
12794 posts

Staying in the same establishment is exactly what do, be it in London, (B&B) , Paris, Munich, Frankfurt, or Berlin ie, a Stammgast due to its location, price, comfort, atmosphere, or whatever, or just patronizing the particular proprietor.

Whether Americans or international tourists stay there in Munich and Berlin is totally immaterial. I told the Berlin Pension proprietor that Americans would not stay there since no credit card payment is accepted, no on-line registration, and no A/C. is available. Instead, the place has that Berliner Milieu

Posted by
4596 posts

@ Jean. We have just recently returned from week in Mallorca. Usually the hotel puts on a great breakfast buffet which includes a lot of Mallorcan specialities and I usually opt for the bread, tomato and garlic alongside some cheese and charcuterie I've never been one to survive on a pastry and a coffee for breakfast, I need some protein and fat. However this year, due to Covid, the buffet had gone and we were served, without a choice, pots of bacon (Spanish attempt, not very good), hot dog type sausages, beans and mushrooms with an order taken for eggs of your choice which arrived at a time when everything else had gone cold. Every guest was provided with this meal and we never went back.

Posted by
1117 posts

How much does he travel that he doesn't know he can add the tip to the
credit card?

And how much does he travel that he doesn't know credit card usage isn't as widespread everywhere in the world as it is in the United States? Why doesn't he carry an appropriate amount of cash in his wallet in those countries where cash payment is common?

I am with Bets, that it is stupid.

The blog post, yes. The thread, no.

Posted by
8285 posts

The trouble with the blog is that the "facts" haven't been fact checked. Opinions are one thing, but his incorrect pronouncements discredit the essay.

One other annoyance is the attitude that those who are traveling now are a cut above those who aren't. I detest superiority complexes of this sort. Saying people are "overreacting" when not coming to Europe is horribly judgemental. I've flown transatlantic four times since the pandemic began, but I'd never say that about others.

Most cancellations I heard about this year weren't out of fear of the virus, but due to the US re-entry test requirement. Many people can't risk being delayed extra days in isolation overseas, unable to fulfill duties and commitments at home. And so what if some people are more cautious than others. This has been a traumatic couple of years for everyone. However, I'm very happy to say that I haven't run into this superior attitude from one person on this Forum, nor any of the regulars that I've met up with here in Europe.

Now I really have to get out of here, out of this thread. Enjoy all your interesting breakfasts. Yeh, Nigel, another bad day in paradise. :--)

Posted by
1117 posts

Most cancellations I heard about this year weren't out of fear of the
virus

Even if they were, it wouldn't be anything to be ashamed of. You have got an excellent point there about that "superiority complex". As a well-traveled person, I have sometimes been tempted to feel that way when I met people who have never traveled. But what right do I - with my huge travel-related carbon footprint compared to theirs - have to any feelings of a moral superiority?

Posted by
6857 posts

Can someone please post a link to the blog referred to? I apologize, my response didn't take the blog into account because I don't spend extra time searching for something unless someone posts a link. I answered the question generically, thinking it had to do with how American hotels cater (or don't) to Europeans.

Posted by
381 posts

I don't understand why that blogger ("Cameron") felt the need to denigrate people who don't feel comfortable traveling right now.

Why not just share your enthusiasm for travel and share observations about what it's like now?

Posted by
8064 posts

Biggest difference? Bedding. American hotels have flat sheets all tucked in with additional blankets. Europeans use duvets, everyone gets their own instead of a giant blanket. Personally, I cannot stand having the sheets tucked in and I always question whether those blankets get washed each time a guest checks out in the US, when over here I know that a duvet gets a fresh cover each time and a bed will not have flat sheets on it.

Posted by
8285 posts

Many, many hotels in the US have switched to duvets with covers that are washed like sheets. I won't stay in a hotel that uses blankets and bedspreads anymore. The TV news infrared camera reports of the filth on the blankets and bedspreads got that change going. Now they just have to get the questionable carpeting dealt with.

Posted by
1117 posts

I always question whether those blankets get washed each time a guest
checks out in the US

I don't question whether. I am sure they don't.

The idea of direct body contact with the same blanket the ten people who stayed in that room before me had direct body contact with is just plain gross. I have used all kinds of makeshift strategies to fold the sheets in such a way that I won't accidentally get in touch with the blanket, from tying knots into it to using safety pins to keep it folded, but none of that works really well. And you have to undo everything in the morning. It's not something you can explain to the housekeeping person. :D

Unfortunately, this type of bedding is pretty widespread in Southern European hotels too.

Posted by
4596 posts

Narrow parking stalls

I wouldn't say that's what Europeans want but rather just how it is. This comes from a time when cars were a lot smaller and space was limited. Trying to park an SUV in old European towns and cities can be quite a challenge whether you're European or not.

Posted by
27481 posts

SUVs can be problematic in more than one way. COP26 activists went around Glasgow last night letting down the tyres on SUVs as they contribute more pollution than smaller cars They left them notes on the windscreens....

Posted by
1117 posts

SUVs have become more popular with Europeans too though I really have no idea what they would be good for except huge fuel usage and emissions, taking up lots of space in traffic, plus causing much more damage to pedestrians and bicyclists in case of an accident. Actually, I think they are mostly just a fashion statement.

Posted by
4596 posts

I purchased mine to tow a large trailer and to be able to tow it onto fields therefore requiring 4 x 4 ability. I also prefer the height of the seats and find it easier to enter and exit as well as the increased field of vision when driving. The MPG was similar to my wife's Mini Cooper S.

A lot of cars now aren't true SUV's as many are two wheel drive only but many people prefer the height and driving position that they provide. A lot of people with mobility issues prefer the ease of entering and exiting them, certainly after my knee operation I find it much more comfortable to get in and out of my car than one lower to the ground. Most of them are as economical to drive as an equivalent saloon or hatchback.

Posted by
3586 posts

Now they just have to get the questionable carpeting dealt with.

Just stayed in an Avid hotel, a chain with IHG. All the rooms have hard-surface floors. There is an echo talking in the room.

I kind of miss the garish, floral-pattern nylon bedspreads once common in American hotels. I loved the way the slick surface caused it to slide onto the floor with barely the flick of a finger.

Posted by
13356 posts

Tom, we stayed in our first AVID hotel (Sioux City, Iowa) in September and loved it! Our nicely sized room with crisp bedding was spotlessly clean, and we liked that it had a hard-surfaced floor versus carpet with God-knows-what in it. Great desk staff, and a 24-hour bean-to-cup free coffee machine in the lobby. Nice grab-and-go breakfast. I don't know if they're all as good as what we'd experienced but I'll definitely put AVID on the list for future travels.

Posted by
3586 posts

Kathy: The one I stayed at was off I-95 just north of Richmond VA. Same amenities. Also shower only I think is one of their features. The rooms are stark: bed, desk, and plastic mesh office chair and no other furniture. The dream room of someone allergic to dust mites. Wall-attached reading lamps and a place for book and phone charging on both sides of the bed w/usb ports another plus.

Posted by
582 posts

JC--We have been driving SUV's since the very early 90's. I swear by them. As you said, after knee surgeries they are a godsend. We do a lot of hiking in the mountains here in Oregon and Washington, and for many of the "roads" we go on, our SUV's have been much needed. We also used to tow our boat when we had that. I was hit/run on I-5 in Tacoma while going 60mph, and the Mercedes SUV that hit me had massive damage while mine wasn't too awful. Still bad, but not awful. Most importantly, we were ok, which is pretty much a miracle considering what the guy did.

Posted by
1117 posts

This seems to be turning into a pro-or-con-SUV thread now which is probably more political and less travel-related than the webmaster will like us to have this forum.

The point here was the difference between European and American use and streets. For someone towing heavy trailers on a regular basis on big American streets, a SUV may make sense (though I have never actually seen my American friends tow anything with theirs; I'd venture to say that it's mostly a fashion statement for them too).

On narrow European streets with even narrower parking stalls I just don't see that they make any sense for at least 90% of their owners. There have been cars with a similar comfortable height and driving position for people with back or knee issues a long time before they had SUVs.

Posted by
900 posts

My ‘cod SUV’ - it’s not your typical ‘Chelsea Tractor’, it looks a bit SUV-ish but really isn’t and also looks like it might have been an SUV before it shrunk in the wash - was bought with my recent hip replacement in mind so I could fall into it as opposed to the ‘semi pour’ of getting into my ancient but well loved Mini Cooper.

Currently the newmobile is in the repair shop, my having had a very frank exchange of views with a now late pheasant which lurched off the verge directly in front me. The plastic radiator grille was trashed, but more importantly so was the behind grille lane assist radar, as a result of damage to that the manufacturer deems the car in need of ‘recalibration’ and thus to be immobilised as undriveable. If this sounds unreasonable, a) try throwing a medium sized frozen chicken at your car and see what damage it does and b) that’s the penalty of owning a car that’s smarter than you are!

Posted by
6539 posts

European: Fawlty Towers
American: Bates Motel

Posted by
7496 posts

Coffee in the US varies greatly from region to region. Some serve strong and some weak varieties. We have lived all over the US and this is a major difference.

Posted by
18241 posts

About coffee, et al.

As the office manager for the company in Germany said to me, "It seem in the US you have three kinds of water. 1) you have the water that comes out of the faucet in your sink, 2) you have yellow water you call beer and, 3) you have brown water you call coffee.