Let me first answer the question of the title of this post: budget accommodation beats a five-star hotel in Warsaw for many reasons, but not least of which is the fact that this place makes for a much more interesting blog post than a fancy spa and sheets with a high thread count. Well, at least in my opinion.
I came across these photos while writing up a piece on Warsaw and was instantly transported back to the week I spent in the Polish capital shortly after my Trans-Siberian journey. It was summer, although you would barely know it from the weather because this rainy photo is pretty typical of my Warsaw memories. Given that I was travelling for several months in between teaching jobs, the budget was, well, at a very budget level and accommodation was picked simply by choosing the cheapest available. At the time, it was the Majawa Hotel and Campsite - have a click over to Majawa's website because it is worth it to look at the moving clouds, sun rays and occasional birds flying over!
My travelling partner and I stayed in this bungalow. It was tiny inside (much tinier than this picture makes it appear) and for me, the most memorable feature was a light globe of such low wattage that I was literally unable to read a book at night. I guess the positive side of this was early nights, plenty of sleep and lots of energy for exploring Warsaw during the day. I also had plenty of cash left over to enjoy the city and its tasty food.
Despite spending so much time travelling, I can count on one hand the number of times I've stayed in even vaguely "posh" hotels. Unless somebody else is paying for it (and even then, I'd still rather pick somewhere more interesting) I am all for staying somewhere mid-range or budget, a place that probably has a bit more local character than a big chain luxury hotel, and where I'm more likely to meet some interesting locals and some interesting fellow travellers. And yes, I even enjoy camping - a tenting trip through Croatia is still one of my favourites - I can still remember lying in the tent in a beautiful green Croatian field feeling rather pleased to be close to nature.
Is it just me? Luxury or non-luxury - what's your preference? Let me know in the comments below.