My wife and I have been on 5 Rick Steves tours and truly loved them. The company I work for sent me to a conference in Barcelona, Spain (flight and room paid for) so I was excited, a trip to Europe for free!!!! Of course, I took my wife with me since all we had to pay for was her airfare. The conference was in the Ritz Carlton, on the beach in Barcelona!!! The hotel staff was awesome, the room was huge, heck the bathroom was bigger than most of the rooms on the RS tours. We had a balcony overlooking the ocean, we had finally hit the big time!!
(Now the sad part)
After 2-3 days my wife looked at me and said she missed the quaint & folksy hotels that we stayed at on the Rick Steves tours! I had to confess that I did too, I missed the bathrooms that you could barely turn around in, the showers that ran hot & cold all at the same time, the stairs that creak as you walked up or down, the two single beds pushed together and then called a double bed, the air conditioning that just pushes the air around a little. Yes, we have been ruined, the RS hotels, in spite of all their quirkiness, just felt like home to us, so we look forward to going on the Switzerland tour 2019 and getting back to the "backdoor" experiences that we love!