We landed in Bucharest and soon realized that my husband had left his driver’s license back home. I was of no use. My license had been stolen the week before, when I left my wallet on the seat beside me at a cafe in Berlin. Don’t judge; I’m the West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times and travel a lot, which means I sometimes let my guard down when I get tired.

Then it came to me: One trick we had learned was that splurging on a hotel after a red-eye flight seems to make everyone happy. The plush bathrobes. The chocolates on the pillow. The powerful Wi-Fi signal. And guess what fancy hotels are good at? Making guests happy.

We had booked a room at the Grand Hotel Continental, an opulent 1800s-era hotel, and the lovely receptionist was more than pleased to help us right our rental-car wrongs. Soon enough, I was sitting in the marble lobby across from a man in a black leather jacket who rented me a town car after unquestioningly accepting a license that looked as if I had typed it in my mom’s basement. Perseverance triumphed. And the hotel was wonderful — old and ornate but not rundown, and the rate was a relative bargain compared with the snazziest hotels in Vienna or Berlin.

-Dionne Searcey ‘Cobblestones? Check. Castles? Check. Budget? Check. Why Romania Is Worth the Trip.‘ The New York Times


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