Recommended Guides and Hotels
Afghan Logistic Tours are the premier operator in Afghanistan. This company often works with the US embassy, journalists and businessmen. They also come personally recommended by Lonely Planet. They use soft skinned or hard skinned vehicles and have an armed guard with you at all times. The guides speak excellent English. I used them to tour Balkh, Mazar, Panjshir, and Kabul. If you are going to be traveling to a conflict zone you must use a reputable guide. There was never a moment in Afghanistan when I felt unsafe with this group.
G Adventures is the guide company I have used the most. They a large and very commercial company, but sometimes that can be a good thing. They run the same tours week after week and have them nailed down perfectly. Would I go into a conflict zone with G Adventures? No. I would not. They don’t operate in countries that I would consider to be true conflict zones. However, they are excellent at operating in third world countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Peru, Zambia etc. I highly recommend them if you are looking for a “stepping stone” country and want a great guide.
Albania – Sar’Otel Hotel: This hotel is located right in the heart of Tirana and is a 5 minute walk from the bus station. The only downside is that the staff speaks no English.
Brazil – Orla Copacabana Hotel: Doesn’t have a lot of frills but it is in a great location and the staff is friendly.
Bulgaria – Magic Castle Hotel: This hotel is right in the heart of Sofia. It’s a 3 minute train ride from anywhere you would want to possibly go in Sofia.
Colombia – Hotel Puertas de Cartagena: The location of this hotel can’t be beat. It’s right in the best part of the historic old town and right across from some great restaurants.
Egypt – Kempinski Nile Hotel: Close to the US Embassy but not too close for comfort. Rooftop pool and a good restaurant. Metal Detectors and good security as you enter.
El Salvador – Hotel Las Magnolias: This hotel is in a really good area and they do have an armed guard. They are right next to some good places to eat and are really good at setting up tours and transport. I felt safe when I stayed here.
Indonesia – FM7 Hotel: This hotel is outside of the hustle and bustle of downtown Jakarta. It’s perfect for someone that needs to be in Jakarta but doesn’t feel like dealing with what can often by a chaotic city.
Macedonia – Hotel Senigallia: This hotel is actually a ship in the middle of the river. The staff is charming, the rooms are nice and the location is the best of any hotel in the city.
Namibia – Casa Blanca Hotel: This hotel is located in a very safe part of Windhoek. The rooms are great by even US standards. It also has a really nice pool and seemingly very few guests. It’s the perfect spot to rest if you’ve just been on a hunt.
Poland – Old Time Hotel: The inside of this hotel is decorated the way I would like my house to look one day. The staff was incredibly helpful, and it’s an 8 minute walk from the historic square. This area is beautiful around Christmas time.
Romania – Capitol Hotel: This hotel is located in the historic part of downtown Bucharest. The staff is nice and so are the rooms. It’s also located right near several great restaurants.
Serbia – Garni Hotel: Serbia is not a very luxurious place and neither is this hotel. However, the location is good and it’s in a safe area of Belgrade. I would stay there again.
South Africa – Genesis All Suite: I liked this hotel because it was in a very quiet location and had a restaurant. If you want something in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg this is not the hotel for you.
Tanzania – Pongwe Beach Hotel: If I had to be on house arrest somewhere for the rest of my life it would be at this hotel in Zanzibar. It’s perfect. Everything about it is perfect. It’s on a forgotten stretch of beach at the far north end of the island. The staff was great, room was great, but the location was mind blowing. It’s not near Stone Town, but it’s near some great diving.
Tunisia – Tunisia Palace Hotel: Amazing location and decent rooms. They have no armed guards but in Tunisia you won’t feel as if you need them.
Ukraine – Hotel Atlas: Lviv is a beautiful city and this is a beautiful hotel. They are right in the heart of the best part of the city and the food is amazing.