Booking Fail…

Remember the house accommodations I booked for La Batalla del Vino in Haro, Spain? The owner canceled the reservation 24 hours later.

I guess he has more important clients coming in.

The refund came in quick but now I’m rethinking the whole Airbnb thing. It seems kind of shady that so many of these home owners would put their homes up for rent and then cancel the reservations. Maybe it’s a scam. You have to request the refund, they don’t automatically give it to you. Maybe they’re hoping people will forget to request the refund, which I’m sure some have.

It’s starting to seem sketchy. I’ll keep you posted.

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Accommodations booked!

I don’t drink alcohol but I just rented a house in Haro, La Rioja, Spain so that I can attend La Batalla del Vino (the wine fight). I know, strange, right?

Who wouldn’t want to go to a festival where they waste wine? They literally waste wine! Every year, on June 29, they fill up buckets, super soaker water guns and anything else that will hold wine and then they run around battling each other with it. Sounds like fun to me!

The requirement is that you have to wear white clothes and a red bandana. Or at least a white shirt. Another requirement is that if you see anyone who still has white on their clothing, you MUST remedy it immediately.

I’m thinking about wearing all white, including my shoes.

Obviously my accommodations are for June 2016 since I only learned of this battle two weeks ago. I was debating on whether I should stay at a hostel or rent a hotel. Turns out there aren’t any hostels in Haro (that I know of) and I hadn’t even begun to look at hotels when I discovered Airbnb.

Airbnb is a website that allows people to rent a house for any given amount of time. There are also rooms to rent in case you don’t feel like renting an entire house. I chose to only rent a house for 2 days since I want to see Valencia and Madrid while I’m in Spain. The total for the accommodations came out to $151 (divide that by 4 people and it’s $38 per person total), but then I clicked the “book” button and saw that I got $25 off and remembered that I was given the $25 for signing up on the site. That brought the total down to $126 (or $31 per person). How cool is that?!?

I’m super excited about it. Although, now I have to wait a year!

I decided to book early because I read that accommodations fill up early and it can be difficult to find a place if you wait too long.

So who’s in? Let’s do this thing!

By the way, if you don’t already have an Airbnb account, sign up! It’s free and you’ll get $25 off your first accommodation. It’s an awesome deal!

Want to learn more about La Batalla del Vino? Check out this site.

I hope to see you there.

Texas Station Gambling Hall & Hotel (Las Vegas)

I’ll start with the good things…

The outside of the hotel looks great. There is a gift shop that has some really nice items that are actually affordable. The buffet is fantastic! They have American style food, Italian, Chinese, Mexican and some others. Great desserts. The buffet staff is super friendly. There is also a gym, movie theatre, bowling alley, pool and some other great amenities that gives this place a lot of potential. There is also a massive parking garage so you never have to search for a place to park! Now for the not so good stuff…

This was my first time going to Vegas. Originally my cousin and I had reservations for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Due to a storm in our area we weren’t able to leave until Friday. My cousin called Priceline (who we booked the reservation through) and had them change the reservation to Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We arrived around 2 AM and found out Texas Station had canceled our reservation because we were “No-Shows” on Thursday… They claimed Priceline never changed the reservation even though Priceline and my cousin both had confirmations that the reservation had been changed. They didn’t want to give us a room and claimed that they were all booked. My cousin told the staff worker that she wanted to speak to the manager and at first the girl refused. Finally the girl called the manager and my cousin spoke with her. Then they wanted to charge us a different price than Priceline. The manager finally agreed to the Priceline price that we had reserved and somehow they magically found an available room. You know, one of the rooms that were all booked just minutes before!

I got to the room and the shower was dirty. After giving it a quick cleaning I attempted to take a shower. The water pressure is horrible. Rain gets my hair wet faster than their shower! The water did warm up immediately, so that was a plus. The tub is an oval shape, but too narrow and when I tried to take a bath my shoulders were pushed forward so far it probably looked like I was trying to push my breasts together! Most of the water drained out from the “overflow drain” within a minute, leaving me taking a bath in a few inches of water.

The faux crown molding in the room was actually nice, except for the section where they didn’t even bother to line up or match the ends to make them meet. They just overlapped it. The beds were so horribly old that they sounded like they would break just from sitting on them. The mattresses were also horribly old. When I laid down on the bed I could feel that the side of the mattress closest to the nightstand was actually slanted from the amount of people who had slept in that spot in the past. Each bed had two pillows and one log pillow. The log pillows had massive tears on each end that clearly needed to be repaired. The ends/posts of the headboard also looked dirty, as if someone had spilled soda or something on them and it ran down the end/posts.

There is no soundproofing whatsoever in the rooms and I could hear people further down the hallway talking and yelling as if they were in my room. And this was even at 3 AM. I get that it’s Vegas and people are there to party and do whatever, but I would think that they would at least give the rooms some soundproofing for those who are there on business or there with children and aren’t partying at 3 AM.

Oh, and the T.V. didn’t work. I checked the remote, but that was working. Pushed the power button on the T.V. itself and nothing happened. I checked the power strip the T.V. was plugged into and got that to work, the lamp that was plugged into that started working. The T.V. still would not work. I plugged the T.V. into the wall outlet instead of the power strip and it still would not work! Pretty sure the T.V. either died or a previous roomer stripped the T.V. of components that it requires to work.

It’s as if this place takes no pride in their rooms looking and being decent.

Then when I came back from lunch at the buffet my key cards wouldn’t work. Turns out housekeeping locked me out even though my stuff was still in the room. I went to the front desk to have them reactivate my key cards and the girl told me they couldn’t do that. When I told her my stuff was still in the room she looked in the system and didn’t understand what was going on from our check in. I explained the situation to her and she called the manager who made her give me new key cards. It also sounded like she was arguing with the manager over the phone. I heard her say something like, “I’m not supposed to be dealing with this!”

You and me both, honey!

The last bizarre thing about this place is that the floors do not coincide with the elevator. In a normal building when you enter you are on the ground floor and to get to floors 1, 2, 3, etc. you go into the elevator and press the button coinciding with your floor. In this place the ground floor is actually the first floor. My room was 102 and to get to it I had to press G (ground floor button) and go down instead of pressing 1 and go up. Very strange.

Like I said, this place has a lot of potential with its amenities but either housekeeping or the management don’t care about the rooms being decent or the hotel owners are hindering the management from being able to make sure the rooms are updated and decent. Either way, something is not right here and I wouldn’t stay here again unless things are changed.

My Place Adelaide Backpackers Hostel

I booked this hostel through HostelWorld and stayed in February of 2009. I practically lived there for 2 weeks. The owner is a girl from Switzerland and she’s super nice and helpful. There were about 7 beds in the room. At the time I stayed there were co-ed rooms as well as all-female and all-male rooms. The area that the hostel is located is decent, the city center is within walking distance and I never had any trouble while I was there.

You get keys to your room so make sure you (and your roommates) lock the door at night. We forgot to lock our door one night and when we woke up there was some strange girl from another room sleeping on one of the beds. The owner wasn’t too happy to see her sleeping in a room she hadn’t been assigned and promptly woke her up and shooed her out of the room! We also got a brief lecture about locking the door. This place has a washer and dryer that work great, a kitchen with a stove, dishes, etc. and if I remember correctly, two fridges, so stock up! No, I’m kidding, be nice and at least leave one shelf for someone else, okay? 😉

I met some really great people during my stay here. Some of the backpackers would clean the bathrooms in exchange for their stay and they did a good job keeping them clean while I was staying there.

There’s a great balcony to hang out on and if you’re into saunas, this place has one! If you ever find yourself wandering through Adelaide, check this place out.

Chillout Hostel (Zagreb)

Chillout Hostel street

Lovely little kiosks in the morning.

I stayed at the Chillout Hostel in December 2013. It has a great location and is very close to Ban Jelačić square as well as other squares. There are a lot of shops nearby. Old Town Zagreb (Gornji Grad) is above the hostel and the stairs to get to it is located at the end of the street next to the hostel. The street the hostel is on is narrow and was lined with food and drink kiosks on both sides.

Soundproofing inside the hostel isn’t all that great due to the fact that it’s in an old building but the noise from other visitors is tolerable. The rooms are very small, again, due to being an old building but not bad since the place is just for sleeping. The beds are pretty comfy and there’s a wall outlet for each one so you can plug your stuff in. Beneath the bunk beds are drawers for storing your items, quite handy! There’s a kitchen where you can order food or you can buy your own food and use the kitchenette. There’s a bar area as well but I can’t tell you much about that because I don’t drink! =)

The same street the night before!

The same street the night before!

The staff is fantastic! I was having problems with an inconsiderate drunk in the room and the staff (and owner) were kind enough to move me to another room! I would definitely stay here again.

P.S. – Remind me to tell you the story of the drunk… Or at least write about it!