No thanks, I'll be at the Sheraton
November 15, 2017 10:42 AM   Subscribe

I have a strong (as in strong) preference to not stay over at people's houses when I go traveling. Is there a way to turn down an invitation to be a houseguest without seeming rude or cold?

So a bunch of years ago now I went to Zingerman's to take one of their week-long Bakecations. I had a great time in the class, and hit it off with a guy I'll call Mike. Mike and I wound up taking two other classes together, and we keep in touch via email with reasonable frequency. (Just to be clear, there's nothing romantic or crushy at all going on; he's much older than I am, is married with children and grandchildren, and lives in a different state.) Since the first time we took the class, he's moved to Ann Arbor from the state where he was living before.

I still get the Zingerman's emailings, and Mike and I sometimes email each other about them and say, Oh, we should take another class together. Recently, when we had one of those email exchanges, he said that if I wanted to fly into Ann Arbor for a class, he would sign up as well, and reminded me that he lived in Ann Arbor now so that I could stay with him and his wife (whom I've met and like) instead of staying in a hotel. I just never responded to that part of the message.

So I recently got an email from Zingerman's with a couple of classes over the course of a weekend I'm super interested in taking. I emailed Mike and said, Hey, we should take these! and he responded, "I'm in!"

So you see where this is going: I've been to Ann Arbor many times and am very familiar with the hotels there. There's one I like a lot for various reasons. But of course, Mike will offer to let me stay with him and his wife. I'm an off-the-scale introvert and really, really just want to hang out on the bed and read or do crosswords after being around people all day. I'm very happy to go to dinner with Mike and his wife and a couple of other friends from there -- in fact, I have done that -- but I'd really like to stay in a hotel and not be a houseguest. I do stay with family and very close friends when I travel, but that's different to me, and I don't consider Mike a very close friend (I wasn't invited to his son's wedding, for example).

So is there a way of saying to someone, "Oh, no thanks, I'd rather stay in a hotel" without coming across as rude or unpleasant? I want to emphasize that I like Mike very much, and don't want to offend him, but I'd look forward to the trip far less if I knew I wouldn't have a chance to chill and unwind at the end of the day.
posted by holborne to Human Relations (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This isn't a big deal. My husband prefers to stay at hotels instead of with friends when we visit places, and people don't generally push the issue that much. Just say that you love having the excuse to stay in a hotel when you have the chance and leave it at that.
posted by cakelite at 10:44 AM on November 15, 2017 [27 favorites]

Just say you don't get the option to stay at hotels often and you're looking forward to taking advantage of the amenities.

If I had the money I'd never choose to stay at someone's house over a hotel when traveling, personally.
posted by blackzinfandel at 10:47 AM on November 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

It's not rude or unpleasant at all and it would be weird if he insisted. So he hasn't offered yet? When he does, just say "thanks! I've already booked at room at the Sheraton! But I look forward to seeing you at the class and meeting your wife!" Keep a light and breezy tone and don't go into detail or offer excuses.
posted by AFABulous at 10:51 AM on November 15, 2017 [15 favorites]

There's nothing rude about just saying "Thanks but I always prefer hotels" You can throw in "I appreciate the offer but" to be extra polite.
posted by bleep at 10:51 AM on November 15, 2017 [5 favorites]

"I appreciate the offer but I love hotels and will never turn down the chance to stay in one!"

This is an actual travel preference many adults have, you don't need to feel awkward about it.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:54 AM on November 15, 2017 [37 favorites]

Yup, this really should not be a big deal. I offer to let friends stay with me if they are planning a visit to my city, because hotels are expensive and I want to see them and if not having to pay for a hotel makes it easier for them to come, great! I am 100% not disappointed if they say, "Thank you for offering but I'm going to treat myself to a hotel." Like, the opposite of disappointed, really, because having houseguests is stressful.

Especially if you follow up with "I'd love to go to dinner with you guys, though, if you're available!"

Depending on Mike's ideas about hospitality, you might have to turn him down more than once, but seriously, it should not be a big deal.

It does sound like Mike might have reasonably interpreted your non-response to his offer of hospitality as acceptance, so you should explicitly say that you're not planning on staying with him and his wife, though.
posted by mskyle at 10:56 AM on November 15, 2017 [15 favorites]

I like staying with people and I like having house guests, but also understand that people have the opposite preference.

Just tell him you have a hotel reservation but that you'd still be happy to see them for x, y, and/or z.

The important thing is to be clear about what you want, and to say it sooner rather than later, to help him with his planning.
posted by floppyroofing at 1:08 PM on November 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I would say "I'm an off-the-scale introvert and really, really just want to hang out on the bed and read or do crosswords after being around people all day."
posted by sugarbomb at 1:48 PM on November 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

I usually don't stay with people or have people stay with me due to anxiety/PTSD related stuff when I/they are traveling, I need to have my own private quiet space enclosed at night. I've never once encountered a problem with this, and I explain my reasoning maybe only half the time. Also, hotels are great.
posted by colorblock sock at 2:01 PM on November 15, 2017

I suggest you start with "It's so kind of you to offer," which sounds warmer than "No thanks". And finish up with any of the suggested sentences above. And finish with one of the suggestions above, or "I *need* a lot of alone time every day, thanks."
posted by puddledork at 3:22 PM on November 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

You're so kind to offer, but I plan to stay at X Hotel. Blah, blah. Really, I've stayed there before, and I like it, but it's awfully kind of you and Wife to offer. You might accept an offer to dinner at their place, if offered, but there's no obligation to stay with someone.
posted by theora55 at 3:42 PM on November 15, 2017

I know this can be regional in the US (southern hospitality etc) but the vast majority of adults I know find hosting people to be a burden, and you may be overthinking it/having some anxiety about a friendly invite. Just be honest and say you prefer staying in a hotel, you actually have a favorite hotel in that city you are looking forward to visiting, and if that isn't enough, suggest a night for dinner or something. If your friend is particularly frugal, homey, or similar they have the option to suggest dinner at theirs.

When I tell people they can stay with me I am hoping they politely decline because it's really stressful for me to "entertain". I live in an extremely high COL city and it's the total opposite of glamorous to sleep here; I assume if I had a few bedrooms at my disposal guests would sound better, but I would still likely prefer not to host. Really and truly only want my siblings to crash (even the one who told me he didn't buy his own house just to have friends and family sleep in it ;) but I have hosted half a dozen folks in the last year and get pretty good "ratings" as a host. I have only stayed with a very small handful of friends/family who either had designated guest bedrooms, honest "DGAF" attitudes, or a partner they didn't live with, in spite of being "frugal" myself. As far as I know the only person who ever got upset with me is my mother and she has every right in the world to be mildly upset with me for any reason at any time.
posted by love2potato at 6:34 PM on November 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

A white lie to keep on hand is that you had "hotel points" to use or that were going to expire or something. That sounds a little less like "it was worth $350 not to have to deal with you!!"
posted by salvia at 7:39 PM on November 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

“I always stay in hotels when I travel, but thanks for the kind offer!”
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 9:27 AM on November 16, 2017

I'm so relieved that I'm not the only person that feels the same way as OP, these are such helpful tips. Am I allowed to ask what the good Ann Arbor hotel is? I'll be there next spring and remember pretty slim pickings last time I was there. But if that's too off topic, please ignore!
posted by lettezilla at 10:44 AM on November 16, 2017

Thanks for the reality check, everyone! This is kind of typical for me; I'm stressing and sweating bullets about a particular situation and the rest of the world is all, "Yeah, this really isn't that big a deal."

lettezilla, I'll MeMail you later today.
posted by holborne at 11:59 AM on November 16, 2017

I'm in the minority and this may largely be cultural on my part but it's considered rude to stay at a hotel or to ask a guest to stay at a hotel. Given that, the best thing to hear is "Oh thanks! I've already booked a room at the xyz Hotel." and keep it moving by showing enthusiasm in seeing them.
posted by PeaPod at 12:48 PM on November 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

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