For a motorcycle rider, hotels are a very attractive form of accommodation: you can travel with less luggage than when you pitch your tent, and you can travel until late, because you don't have to pitch your tent in the dark.
There are other advantages as well: hotels, the ones that we like that is, give you the opportunity to feel part of the life in the village or town where you stay, for an evening and a night.
In this article, we describe how we (try to) choose a good place to sleep for motorcycle riders.
You will also find some examples of hotels that passed our selection criteria.
What we like: the building
The first impression doesn't tell everything, but...
When you see a place to sleep, while traveling, the looks of the building are your first clue about how the hotel will be. First impressions don't tell you everything there is, of course, but they can tell you something:
Size of the hotel
In the first place, they tell you something about the size. In general, a smaller hotel will be more personal than a bigger one, so size is important.
Of course, all character could be renovated away, inside a building with lots of character, but in most cases, owners who prefer a building with character on the outside, love character, and preserve it on the inside.
In a building like this for instance, it will be very difficult to create rooms that are all exactly the same.
A feature of its own
And finally, a building that somehow symbolizes the region you are visiting, is a bonus of its own. In a region with half-timbered houses, it's nice to find such a building as a place to sleep; in a region with plastered houses with big red-tiled roofs, it's very nice to find a building like this one (Gasthof Russenbräu in Tieffenbach, Germany, where we had our lunch here).
What we like: a place for the motorbikes
A place specialized for motorcycle riders?
Some people only consider hotels that are exclusively directed toward motorcycle riders. When you travel with a group, that might be wise, but in our experience, there is no need to restrict your choice in such a way.
Only in very rare cases, you will find a hotel where they don't like motorcycle riders as customers (which is one argument for specialised hotels). In most hotels, you will find a safe place for your bike (which is the other argument).
Always ask where you can park your bike. Even when there is parking space for cars, most hotel owners will propose an extra safe place for your bike. Almost always for free.
In some cases, you will even be invited to use the garage of the owner: he will park his car outside, for the night.
What we like: family-owned
A personal touch
A family-owned hotel means, in the first place, that it is one of a kind. You will never feel like you could be anywhere in the world, once inside, like is often the case in a hotel-chain.
In a family-owned hotel, you really are a guest of the host. Often, you have the chance to have a chat, about the history of the hotel, about the building, or the restaurant.
Because you are the guest, for one evening, night and morning, of a family, you will experience far more of the region you are visiting than when you would have chosen a hotel-chain, or even a camping. That's a bonus of a family-owned hotel.
What we like: the village bar
Be part of the village for one night
Many small hotels used to be, and still are, a place where people of the village come together in the evening: they have a bar, and often, the bar is from which the place has grown into a hotel.
When the bar still functions as the bar for the village, you can really be part of the village for one evening. This is a special treat.
Different per country, per region
The village bar is where you can see the habits of the people within the country, and especially within the region that you are visiting.
In the bar on the photo for instance, of the Jerichower Land-Hof in Schopsdorf, Germany, we learned a habit which is still widely spread in the eastern part of Germany: when someone enters the bar, he or she walks along all tables, and knocks with the knuckles on the table. You, sitting at that table, are invited to greet back in the same way. It is an informal form of greeting, without shaking everybodies hand: after the greeting, you are no longer strangers to each other.
A great habit!
What we like: the food in the restaurant
Your evening meal in the restaurant of the hotel
When traveling, it's very comfortable when you can ride untile rather late, look for a nice hotel, unpack, and then have your dinner in the restaurant of the hotel.
Of course, not every small hotel has a restaurant, but if so, it's very nice.
Food with personality
Sometimes, the restaurant of a small hotel serves very simple food. Often, you find meals that could be cooked for the family: homely food. Sometimes, the real passion of the hotel owner is the food, and you will eat unexpectedly excellent food.
In all cases, you will eat food with personality.
Lunch or evening meal
In many places, lunch is still the main meal. Enjoying your main meal in the form of a lunch in the restaurant of a hotel clashes with the idea of riding the whole day until late, and then eating in the restaurant of the hotel where you did find a room.
Sometimes, however, it's tempting to choose the hotel of the restaurant where you did enjoy a really good lunch. Yes, you didn't ride very far on such a day, but you're on a holiday anyway: the idea is to relax.
The food itself, the people who serve your lunch, the atmosphere, all of this enables you to judge the quality of the hotel of which the restaurant is part of: don't hesitate, and stay there, if everything is perfect ;-)
What we like: the room
It doesn't have to be a canopy bed
Of course, the room doesn't need to have a canopy bed: this is one of the most beautiful rooms we ever stayed in, I think.
But it certainly adds to the experience when the room has character, when the bed and the floors and the rest are in accordance with the outside look of the building.
Space and chairs
An extra bonus is when a room has some extra space. A chair, where you can read your guidebook, or even a desk, at which you can write your experiences.
Or just a big floor, to lay out the map: a GPS is perfect when you riding, but beforehand, to decide how you will continue your trip, nothing beats a paper map.
What we like: the view and the surroundings
A view: a bonus
Not really necessary for an agreeable stay, but a real bonus when it's there, is a view.
I don't think we will ever get a more beautiful view than here, on the Peles castle in Romania.
Everything else is more important, but a view on the mountains, over a valley, or, as in this case, on a castle, is a special treat (as is a balcony to enjoy the view on)!
The view on the photo is from Hotel Economat in Sinaia, Romania.
More important are, of course, the surroundings. If there are nice roads around the hotel, if the hotel lies in a mountainous area, it's tempting to stay a couple of days, and explore the region from the hotel.
So that's a real bonus as well, as long as you don't plan your trip beforehand, but just take things as they come (which is the most relaxed and surprising way to travel, of course).
Hotel Viking, Uddevalla, Sweden
If you have read, and enjoyed, the book about Pippi Longstockings, you will probably enjoy the view of this wooden house in Uddevalla, Sweden.
The interior of the hotel lives up to your expectations: you will stay in a traditional Swedish wooden house.
The friendly owners will welcome you. There is a lounge with free coffee or tea, and the rooms are all different; some of them have a large sofa.
There is no restaurant in the hotel (but there are restaurants nearby), but there is a sunny breakfast area.
Where to find?
The website of Hotel Viking has all the information.
Places to visit
Uddevalla lies at a fjord, and has a long history as a harbor town.
You could drink coffee in the fairytale-like Villa Elfkulen, you could take a stroll along the old harbor, or along the Strandpromenaden, or you could visit some of the museums, like the museum of the Shellbanks: in Uddevalla, you can find one of the largest shellbanks in the world.
Nearby, you could take a look at the rock paintings in Tanum, from the Bronze age.
Where to ride?
Uddevalla lies in Bohuslän, a coast with thousands of small silands, made of big, rounded rocks. Houses here are often wooden houses, in the famous dark-red colour.
There are numerous narrow, beautiful roads to discover here.
Hotel Viking has a website: www.hotell-viking.se.