I've done enough traveling on business to appreciate the value of a good hotel room. A good night's sleep really does help you be more functional the following day. Comfortable rooms in major cities aren't cheap, so I don't cringe (much) when it costs three times more to attend Semicon West than to visit my family.
But then I look at the travel budget for officials at the Smithsonian, and I wonder what planet they're living on. Remember, these are government employees, traveling at taxpayer expense while keeping both hands out for donations. Thousand-dollar hotels for the head of a museum paid for by children's lunch money. Sheesh.