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Are Americans too picky about accommodations abroad?

Are Americans too picky about accommodations abroad?

Jun 29th, 2008, 10:19 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Hi Janis, I have a comforter with a duvet cover on my bed. I have that type of bedding for decades. But I always use a top sheet too. I haven't seen a bottom sheet with a dust ruffle however.

I sure hope that any public place that has a comforter with a duvet cover and that does not have a top sheet washes the duvet cover between guest, lol.
LoveItaly is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 11:04 PM
  #42  
 
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Bottom sheets with a dust ruffle are I think perhaps a UK thing, and then from at least a decade ago. But that is probably what was on the beds in the house in Scotland.
I too have duvets and would never use a sheet as well - I wash the covers when I wash the bottom sheet.
In the US I noticed a few hotels now have duvets, but they use two sheets with it and a cover and pack it all in tight as you would with blankets. Don't think they've grasped the concept quite yet.

Showers are notoriously bad in the UK due to the hot water system in most houses.
hetismij is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 11:49 PM
  #43  
 
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I don't tuck my comforter with the duvet in tight, I just fluff it up and put it on the bed each morning. But I don't understand about washing the duvet cover every week. It is so much easier to wash a top flat sheet than it it to remove the comforter from the duvet cover weekly so that the duvet can be washed each week. And than the comforter has to be put back into the duvet cover after the laundry is done and the bed is made back up. Is there something I am not understanding?
LoveItaly is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 01:04 AM
  #44  
 
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it may be interesting to mention that in her original post of october 2006 the OP talked about a budget of $5000 per week.

When renting at $3300 per week, she should have reduced her expectations accordingly...

By the way, this 'seasoned traveler' queried the forum about a hotel in London sleeping 5 persons in one room...
raspberry7 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 01:05 AM
  #45  
 
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Is there something I am not understanding?

No, I wash my duvet covers.
It's not rocket science.
You replace the under-sheet with a clean one and also replace the duvet cover. They both then go into the wash.
People DO have more than one cover.
I find the word "comforter" a bit confusing.
Some Americans seem to use it for eiderdown which is a down filled object that doesn't have a cover.
In the days before central heating, it went on top of the sheets and blankets and very welcome it was too.

MissPrism is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 01:14 AM
  #46  
 
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>>>>>>
In the days before central heating...
>>>>>

many, many people in the uk STILL do not have central heating. a great many are still struggling with useless storage heaters and the like. even in places built within the last 10 years or so. sad.
walkinaround is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 01:23 AM
  #47  
 
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Basically, you get what you pay for and you need to do your homework.
I have stayed in several self-catering cottages in the UK.
I always go through a trusted agency and have always found that the places have been thoroughly cleaned before my arrival.
There are always basic pieces of kitchen equipment such as a cooker and washing machine, but nowadays, you are quite likely to find a microwave and dish-washer included.

You need to check if bed linen is included.
If it isn't, you either take your own or hire it.
There is always somebody local to whom one may complain, even if it is Mrs. Jones next door.
What the OP should do is to complain to the letting agent.
This will be more sensible than complaining to a travel forum.

BTW, as for wooden loo seats.
In the UK, catering establishments have been ordered in the past to replace wooden work surfaces with plastic.
Recently, a study has found that wood actually has anti-bacterial qualities.
Grandma was right after all ;-)
MissPrism is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 01:35 AM
  #48  
 
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Miss Prism, I am not sure we are using the same language although we both speak English. Well more or less.

I have a featherdown comforter (that is what we call it). It is covered with a duvet cover. At one end over of the duvet cover is buttons.

It is a bit of a work out to pull the featherdown comforter or whatever you want to call it out of the duvet so that the duvet can be washed weekly. It is so much easier to have a top sheet removed from the bed which goes between ones body and the comforter or whatever you want to call it than to remove the comforter from the duvet cover. With using the top sheet ones body is not touching the duvet cover and so there is no need to wash the duvet cover ever week. It is only necessary to wash the bottom sheet, the top sheet and the pillow cases of course. At least that is the way it seems to me.
LoveItaly is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 01:57 AM
  #49  
 
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Walkinaround, I forgot that your mold/mould is quaint. American mold is just nasty.

LI, I agree it's much simpler to just wash a top sheet but have noticed many times they're not in use in the UK in most of the places I've stayed.

It's a hassle removing & replacing the cover but with constant different travelers staying in the places I guess it saves on laundry. Not something I'd do at home though.
Carrybean is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 02:26 AM
  #50  
 
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I am tempted to suggest that we have separate threads on bedding and UK heating systems, perhaps with automatic translation of difficult terms like "duvet" and "comforter". This language thing always poses problems, and it was strange to visit a Welsh castle with a young American yesterday and hear him refer to the garderobe as the bathroom.

I believe that British terminology and practice on bedding is as MissPrism states. A duvet goes inside a duvet cover, and the whole thing hangs loosely over the bed. There is no top sheet. Changing the duvet cover each time the rest of the bedding is changed is easy. My American sister-in-law has been known to tuck the duvet under the mattress, with mitred corners, but we believe she saw it in a book somewhere, and think it a weird practice.

Incidentally, we have found it best to have a duvet and cover larger than the size of the bed. The extra weight and size stop it slipping off. Duvets wee introduced to the UK in the seventies, but we have never hung them out of windows to air each morning, as is done in some countries.

We all get to like what we are used to, and feel that must be the best way. Americans sometimes to take that view more than other nationalities. Having been raised to believe that their country has been uniquely blessed by God, they find it hard to accept alternative approaches. Brits are different, in that they have a tendency to think their country is hopeless and rubbish at everything. I am never sure if Walkinaround is a fine example of this, or an expat American.

Lastly, when looking back on my travels, I have a better recall of the bad experiences than of the good or merely satisfactory. We still talk about that hotel dining room in Santa Maria, California ....
chartley is online now  
Jun 30th, 2008, 02:37 AM
  #51  
 
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In order to reply reasonably to this post, I think it's important to see both sides of the story. Again, here's the OP's tripadvisor review with the owner's reply below it:

Please scroll down a bit and you'll see the review:
http://tinyurl.com/4yk62r

Here's another review on the house written by a Brit:
http://tinyurl.com/5hgk4u

And the homepage of the accommodation:
http://www.stronvar.co.uk/
kleeblatt is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 02:55 AM
  #52  
 
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I guess it's just different ways of approaching the same thing.

But, over here, no one ever uses a top sheet with a duvet. Top sheets are pretty much obsolete now as they are only used with blankets and virtually no-one uses blankets any more.

We just change the duvet cover each time - don't worry, your hotel/apartment will also be changing yours between visitors. Our way of looking at it is that the cover replaces the sheet. It only takes a couple of minutes to change the cover once you've got the knack of it.


The dust ruffle I couldn't even imagine as I've not heard of one. I think the previous poster has got that one sussed out though - it was the bottom sheet. Over here we call this style a 'valance' sheet. It's a fitted bottom sheet with a fabric frill that hangs down and hides the mattress and bed base. Does that sound like it? It's nothing to do with dust, it's just a rather frilly sheet beloved by old ladies and hotels for some reason.

To be honest, it sounds as though you got a perfectly normal set of UK bed linen.

Far from paying 'top dollar' you actually were paying quite a budget price so you couldn't expect wonderful fittings and fixtures.

The mould/broken windows are not acceptable though.
nona1 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 03:12 AM
  #53  
 
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To answer the initial question, and to fuel the discussion on national prejudices:

Yes, I do think that some Americans go a bit overboard when travelling abroad. Everything has to be exotic and foreign, but offer the same level of convenience or reliability as their domestic travel destination. But Europe is not Disneyland.

But: Do I think that Brits have a tendency to be too apologetic?
Yes, just take a look at the trip report of that UK traveller, Schuler posted earlier.
The British poster wrote:
Inside it is a bit shabby & old fashioned as one would expect of such an old house in this area.
Why would one expect that? There is a huge construction & supplies industry for renovating historic buildings according to strict preservationist building codes. No rocket science.
The water does run brown in the bathrooms but it comes from the peaty hills.
So.. why doesn't it receive proper treatment before supplied to the residents in the area? Again, no rocket science.

My pet peeve is that somewhat knee-jerk apologetic approach towards criticism. As if any failure to achieve an average level of quality was the wrath of the gods and had to be taken with the proverbial stiff upper lip. Instead of simply getting things done.
Cowboy1968 is online now  
Jun 30th, 2008, 03:25 AM
  #54  
 
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There is also a liking for a style called 'shabby chic' here - where items look worn and old even if they are new!
nona1 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 03:29 AM
  #55  
 
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One of the nicest small hotels I know, gets its water straight from the hills.
It is filtered, but is still brown.
It is certainly untreated, but is beautifully soft and certainly not undrinkable.
If you are worried, you'd better avoid whisky ;-)

It was interesting to see the Tripadvisor report and reply.
I get the impression that the OP is trying hard to get a refund.
I see that the building has been a youth hostel. That might explain the slightly shabby appearance.
MissPrism is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 04:07 AM
  #56  
 
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My pet peeve is that somewhat knee-jerk apologetic approach towards criticism. As if any failure to achieve an average level of quality was the wrath of the gods and had to be taken with the proverbial stiff upper lip. Instead of simply getting things done.

Exactly. And sometimes, a place is just c**p. Call a spade a spade. Don't dress up run-down as "character."

Just because a building is old does not mean it can't have been renovated to a high standard. Where I grew up, much of the housing stock was around 200 years old. They all had their quirks, and any indoor plumbing, heating units, and the like would, obviously, have to have been retrofitted. Amazingly, water pressure was fine. Hot water was abundant. Bathrooms were in a good state of repair. Mold was not present.

This is really quite simple. If you own an older building, particularly one you rent out, just take some pride. Spend a little extra money on your renovations. Make it nice.
travelgourmet is online now  
Jun 30th, 2008, 04:24 AM
  #57  
 
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>This is really quite simple. If you own an older building, particularly one you rent out, just take some pride. Spend a little extra money on your renovations. Make it nice.>
Mine is from the 17°century, imagine how it should be...
cocofromdijon is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 04:33 AM
  #58  
 
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Water is not necessarily unsafe if it is brown: it could be brown from local iron deposits, or from the tannic acids associated with sphagnum moss bogs (sphagnum moss is the main source of peat.)

The idea that peat water would be used to produce whiskey strikes me as a little strange. Peat water can be extremely acidic - as acidic as undiluted vinegar! I've only heard of pure spring water being used in the best distilleries (much easier to control quality of the final product, if nothing else.) I HAVE heard of peat fires being used to dry the barley used in Irish whiskey - it is the SMOKE, not the WATER, which gives the peatey taste to a 'peated malt.'

Back to the water: As I've already agreed, brown water isn't necessarily unsafe. However in cities brown water is most often associated with a water main break and contaminated water. Given that most people live in cities these days, a little good communication goes a long way. A note in the bathrooms to the effect that the water is safe to drink, along with an explanation for the colour, demonstrates thoughtfulness on the part of the hosts.
Sue_xx_yy is online now  
Jun 30th, 2008, 04:34 AM
  #59  
 
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There's a little bell tinkling somewhere and a slight aroma of rat.

Wasn't there a case earlier on when somebody really slated a small hotel (I think, near Glasgow)?
The owners come onto the forum with their side of the story and we believed them.
That was also a case where they wanted a refund or reduction.
I am probably a nasty suspicious old josser but, "Give us a partial refund or we'll write a nasty review which will be seen internationally and prevent people visiting your hotel".
Not that I'm suggesting anything of the sort, of course ;-)
Josser is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 04:55 AM
  #60  
 
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Josser, I generally keep an open mind on these things - I wouldn't necessarily avoid a certain place just because a single party complained about it. I think other posters are pretty much the same way: note how the the thread hasn't really been about a specific house but a specific set of circumstances, and whether all, some, or none of those circumstances could have been reasonably expected when renting a room/house at this price range. So the motives of the OP for posting here don't really come into it - be those motives benign or ignoble.
Sue_xx_yy is online now  

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