We'd rather stay at the Travel Inn, say travel writers
The world of the freelance travel writer seems a piece of piss to anybody who's not tried it. Sunshine, beer, food until your gut bursts? Magic. In reality, it's long hours out researching followed by longer hours writing up, sleep lost to timezones and sometimes no guarantee of payment for it. You don't get to see the world so much as pass through it at speed.
So when it comes to accommodation, it's not a great surprise that travel writers might prefer to stay with soul-destroying hotel chains than a bizarro theme hotel with a reception sculpted from jam and a room with a gnu. Journalist David Whitley has written a blog post about this, which he calls the travel media's "dirty little secret":
"Newspapers and magazines... rarely admit the truth about what a large percentage of the travelling population actually want. And the truth is that people go somewhere to see the destination, not a hotel. This silent majority doesn’t really care where they stay as long as they’ve got somewhere decent, reasonably priced and comfortable to rest their head. A cool hotel is a bonus, rather than a necessity.
"This isn’t to say that all design hotels, boutique hotels and charming, quirky guesthouses are bad. Far from it – there’s usually very good reason for them being selected. But they’re not necessarily the best accommodation option within the price range, or an ideal place to stay for someone who cares more about exploring the sights than staying somewhere cool."
The same seems to go for many travel writers, too. A lack of surprises is exactly the reason why hotel chains are sometimes the best option - you know what to expect for your money before you arrive:
"If I wasn’t being paid for it, I’d much prefer to stay at a soulless chain hotel where I could work in the evening... I’m sure many travel writers will surreptitiously nod in tacit agreement."
Judging by the response in the comments to Whitley's posts and those floating about on Twitter, plenty of travel writers agree.