25 Feb 2013
I’ve always been a big fan of budget accommodation. It saves us money so we effectively travel longer and feels more adventurous than a ‘prim and proper’ hotel.
Many (though not all) backpackers share this sentiment actually – it’s their ethos that to travel ‘properly’, one must go budget. They condescend the person who stays at a luxury hotel, seeing him as too timid, pampered, stuck in his comfort zone and not really living it like a local.
Yup, it’s the ‘Tourist vs Traveller’ debate I hear you say. It’s strange and anti-Darwinian cos for the first time, relatively ‘cheap’ people who call themselves true ‘travellers’ get to look down on their wealthy resort-loving ‘tourist’ counterparts.
Being a backpacker myself, I sometimes wonder about it. Yes, most of my friends prefer starred hotels and yes, they miss out on a lot of adventure in the process..but are these ‘tourists’ really ‘inferior’ and not travelling ‘properly’?
As I write about my visit to the Empire Hotel & Country Club, I’ll elaborate on the answer from my point of view. Being Brunei’s top-rated and most prominent luxury hotel, it’s surely a tourist haven, from the viewpoint of a ‘traveller’.
Of course me being a budget guy, I didn’t spend a night there – I went sightseeing as a tourist. Or traveller, if you want to be kosher. Whatever.
What I saw upon entering immediately blew me away. It was grand, simply put. I couldn’t have expected less – this hotel has a 6-star rating!