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Final Four!!!!

September 21, 2012

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At long last, we’ve made it to the Final Four of my ridiculous Megatrip Lodging Bracket. If you missed my explanation of how all this works, click here. To recap the paths that each entity took to reach the Final Four, I will include links to their respective regions in the next paragraph.
The match ups are as follows:

Thuy Nga Hotel – Hanoi, Vietnam, 5 seed out of the Northeast Region
versus
Harold’s Mansion – Dumaguete, Philippines, 1 seed out of the Southeast Region

and

Malak House – Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2 seed out of the Northwest Region
versus
Reggae Mansion – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 4 seed out of the Southwest Region

It’s an interesting mix, to be sure, representing four different countries and four different months of the trip. Obviously, I would strongly recommend all four to anybody traveling through these places.

Rather than doing my usual random choice thing, I’m going to actually use a semi-scientific point system in order to determine the winner. I’ll be using a 4 point scale on a number of categories. Basically:

4 = Rocky IV, good enough to singlehandedly defeat the Soviet Union
3 = Led Zeppelin 4, very high level
2 = 4chan – solid, but plenty to complain about
1 = Brett Favre, so past gone that even an outdated reference is needed

Points will be tallied in the following categories:

Staff: how friendly and helpful they are
Location: where the property is in reference to nightlife, transit, and sights
Value: price in relation to other lodging in the area given the package provided
Room: in-room amenities like aircon, wifi, fridge, cable, in-room bathroom, and privacy
Common: other features of the property such as common rooms, bars, and cafes.
Social: how easy it is to meat other travelers
Cleanliness: duh
City: how interesting the surrounding city itself is
Work: I never write in a hotel room. Where is the suitable workspace?

Three additional categories will be added for the finals.

Alright, I think we’re all on the same page.

Semifinal 1: Thuy Nga versus Harold’s

Thuy Nga:

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Staff: 2 – Nice enough, but the hotel closed early so I had to wake someone up to get in.
Location: 4 – Awesome.
Value: 3 – Good, but rooms are cheap in Hanoi.
Room: 3 – Nice overall, but some wifi issues.
Common: 1 – Really no common area to hang out.
Social: 1 – No common area means no place to meet other people.
Cleanliness: 3 – Definitely clean, but not sparkling.
City: 3.5 – Yes, I’m being a dickhead with a half point, but it’s my game.
Work: 2 – I could have theoretically worked on my balcony, but there was no table or chair.

Total: 22.5

Harold’s:

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Staff: 3 – Most are very nice, but they don’t do the best job at room cleaning.
Location: 3 – Walking distance from downtown, tricycle cabs are cheap and easy to find.
Value: 2 – Comparable to other budget places around, but no discounts for longer stays.
Room: 3 – No fridge, bad smelling shower water, and a horrible TV costs a point.
Common: 4 – Harold’s has a cafe and a rooftop hangout area with couches and a pool table.
Social: 4 – Very easy to meet other people.
Cleanliness: 2 – The common areas are always clean, but there are ants in the room.
City: 4 – Full disclosure: I’m totally in the bag for Dumaguete, one of my favorite cities.
Work: 4 – There’s a balcony right outside my room where I wrote this whole tourney blog series.

Total: 29

Result – Harold’s moves on to the Finals.

Semifinal 2: Malak versus Reggae

Malak:

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Staff: 4 – Honey was the best.
Location: 4 – It was easy to get anywhere in Chiang Mai, late night bars were around the corner.
Value: 4 – Cheapest place in this field.
Room: 2 – Nothing special, just a fan, an in-room bathroom, and wifi.
Common: 3 – Cool upstairs bar, but it wasn’t as popular as some other common areas I saw.
Social: 2 – I only met a couple people here, but it was easy to meet people elsewhere in town.
Cleanliness: 2 – Nothing special.
City: 4 – I could live in Chiang Mai, it’s great.
Work: 4 – Easy to work at the rooftop bar or at the nearby Hut Cafe.
Total: 30

Reggae:

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Staff: 3 – The were helpful, but not particularly warm.
Location: 4 – Steps away from the most useful subway station in town.
Value: 3 – At $15 a night, easily my most expensive dorm room.
Room: 2 – Not really a room but a bunk, that said, best bunk evar.
Common: 4 – Restaurant, courtyard, and a rooftop bar.
Social: 4 – Met cool people my first night, hung out with them for the next 3 days.
Cleanliness: 4 – Immaculate.
City: 2 – I used to dig KL a lot, but I liked plenty of cities on this trip more.
Work: 3 – Easy to get work done in the courtyard.
Total: 27

Result: In a tough battle, Malak moves on to the finals.

Finals!!!!1!

Malak House versus Harold’s Mansion

So it comes down to a house versus a mansion. In the semis, Harold’s scored 29 and Malak scored 30. As I stated above, a couple of new categories will come into play in the finals.

Sleep: Comfort, noise, and light, the main sleep factors.
Extras: Other available bonuses.
Return Factor: Would I come back?

Malak:
Sleep: 3 – Thin walls but not too noisy, no aircon but not too hot.
Extras: 3 – Prolly should be a two, but bonus point because Honey is such a nice lady.
Return: 3 – On a similar budget, definitely. On a shorter trip or with a GF, I would upgrade.

Total: 9 + 30 is 39

Harold’s:
Sleep: 3 – Nearby street dogs can be noisy at night, but overall pretty comfy.
Extras: 4 – free coffee all day, free bicycle rental, free oysters on Friday nights.
Return: 4 – obviously, since I’ve now stayed at Harold’s four times.
Total: 11+29 is 40

Result: Harold’s wins the whole thing! Of course, the fact that I’ve spent the last three weeks there spoke to its appeal.

The last of my wrap-up should be up next week.

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