After endless hours of online research, reading traveller reviews, and virtually making my way through Europe, the last piece of the puzzle finally comes together with my hotel rooms being booked.
Planning to go "budget" all the way, I booked a cheapie hotel in Paris northeast of the Louvre. All I needed was a place to lay my head and a pot to pee in. However, after reading some reviews on other budget hotels, I came across a few reviews for the one I had booked and found out I might be bunking with some friendly bed bugs or cockroaches. Needless to say I quickly cancelled my reservation and upped my hotel budget to "mid-range".
Here are the ones that made the cut:
Hôtel de la Paix (Paris)
This hotel was a nice compromise of budget and comfort. Two blocks from the Eiffel Tower and meters from the nearest Metro station, it will be convenient for me to sight-see day in and day out.
Praktik Rambla (Barcelona)
Virtually making my way to Barcelona, I found a minimalist, boutique-style hotel that sparked my creativity. They're in a central location and even give you a lomo camera to wander around Barcelona with. At the end of your stay they develop the photos and give them to you as a souvenir. I thought this was a nice touch.
Hotel Berna (Milan)
Heading into Milan I found a cool little hotel steps away from the train station. Since I will be arriving into the city around 9pm, I figured it was a wise decision to not have to run around and find my way through Milan late at night. It's also near historical buildings, the fashion/shopping district, and, of course, the Last Supper so it was a wise choice. What was nice about this place was that they asked what my preferences are for room temperature, pillow-type, drink choice, and offered many upgrades that might tickle my fancy including Italian cheeses, strawberries and wine, aromatherapy, and even a laptop rental (for a cost of course). Even still, I feel like a superstar!
Al Portico Guest House (Venice)
In Venice, "mid-range" price gives you a "budget" hotel so not only was it challenging to find a good rate for a decent place but most hotels were booked up. I considered staying in Murano or Lido but didn't want to be too far from the train station so I booked a guest house that would suit all my needs.
Hotel Duomo (Venice)
Florence was a little easier to find a hotel and much more budget-friendly. I was able to find one at a decent price (again) near the train station, right behind the Piazza del Duomo & near the Florence Cathedral.
Rome ApartHotel (Rome)
And lastly, ending up in Rome, I found this quaint guest house in front of the Basilica of St. Peter and near the Vatican Museums.
Going into this, I never knew so much research was needed to find a good hotel, in a central location, for a decent price. They say you get what you pay for and in Europe, it would seem, that you definitely do.
Word to the wise: read reviews, research the city & its neighbourhoods, don't go cheap - unless you actually DO want the bed bugs to bite.