How do you select a luxury hotel to stay at?

Mar 29th, 2019, 11:40 AM
  #1  
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How do you select a luxury hotel to stay at?

Hi Everyone,

My boyfriend and I are looking to travel more over the next few years and have recently taken the leap to increase our travel budget and stay at more "luxury" hotels. We still want to get a good value, though, so I'm hoping I can get a better understanding of how people book this type of travel.
When booking luxury hotels, do people normally pick the destination first (for example, Paris or London) and then do research for the best hotel? Or do people decide where to go BECAUSE of the hotel? For example, I could see this being the case with Aman properties. In either case, how do you guys find, research and vet luxury hotels? Is there any good resource you trust and recommend?

Thanks!
floridasun is offline  
Mar 29th, 2019, 01:05 PM
  #2  
 
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You are in a quiet branch of Fodor's travel forum. I'm not sure how many people who travel at a "luxury" level will see this post.

You might want to put it where there is larger readership? Like in the Europe forum.

As far as your question, I'm sure different people do it different ways. Some choose their city. Some choose a specific hotel they want to try.

I don't think the planning part would be any different than people who travel with more modest means
suze is offline  
Mar 29th, 2019, 01:14 PM
  #3  
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Thank you, suze! I'll check out some of the other threads that might be more active!
floridasun is offline  
Mar 29th, 2019, 01:19 PM
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Sure. Welcome to Fodor's! Nice to see new people here.

Do know there is a limit when you first register than you can only post a couple times a day (or something like that, to try to eliminate spammers).

So if you are trying to post and it doesn't go, you might have to wait until tomorrow.

After you've posted a half dozen times or so then this limit is lifted and you can post wherever and however much you like!
suze is offline  
Mar 29th, 2019, 04:55 PM
  #5  
kja
 
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It depends on what you want! Do you want a luxury experience WHILE visiting a destination of your choice (in which case you start with the destination) or do you want a luxury experience REGARDLESS of the destination (in which case you start with lodging).

Either way, you are likely to end up with booking.com and tripadvisor.com as research options, unless your choice is Japan, in which case you would probably include japaneseguesthouses.com
kja is offline  
Mar 29th, 2019, 05:40 PM
  #6  
 
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In 40+ years of luxury travel (many times with multiple trips each year) there have been only 2 occasions when I chose a destination because of a specific hotel/resort mainly because on those 2 trips, the “resort” was the destination.

For all the other trips we always decided where we wanted to go then did the research to find the “best” hotels in the area. We usually start with an internet search using topics like “best hotels in NAME OF DESTINATION”, “Luxury resorts NAME OF CITY”, etc. After a while you’ll gain experience and know instinctively which hotels/resort chains and/or affiliations meet YOUR definition of luxury.. For us, it’s hotels chains like Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Penninsula, Aman, to name a few. Likewise, affliliations like Relais&châteaux, Virtuoso, Leading Hotels of the World, Andrew Harper, etc. are good sources for luxury hotels.

In almost every instance we book our stays using the hotel’s own websites rather than “booking sites” like hotels.com, Expedia, TriVaGo,
RoamsAround is online now  
Mar 30th, 2019, 05:39 AM
  #7  
 
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We choose a location based on things we want to do. Then we look for the best hotel/resort. After all, we won't spend all our time in our hotel since we like to explore the destinations.
schmerl is offline  
Mar 30th, 2019, 07:00 AM
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In almost every instance we book our stays using the hotel’s own websites

I think that is good advice regardless of the level of luxury, even for budget travelers that would be my recommendation.
suze is offline  
Mar 30th, 2019, 07:56 AM
  #9  
 
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When you go to make a reservation on the hotel's own site, first know what the online agencies offer rooms at. If the price is lower than the hotel's, ask for price match. If the online site's price is the same, ask for an extra amenity, free breakfast, or a room upgrade as the hotel will be saving the not inconsiderable booking agency fee.
AJPeabody is online now  
Mar 31st, 2019, 05:18 AM
  #10  
 
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We also explore a little bit the location then we read some reviews from other people.
kapia is offline  
Mar 31st, 2019, 06:50 PM
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Location vs Hotel: Either?

i have a list of hotels I’d like to stay at someday. Sometimes I’ll plan a trip around one particular lodging. Almost always, though, they’re in places I’m interested in visiting.

otherwise— depending on who is with me—I look at location, building, amentities, and bar, roughly in that order. Some relatives and family like a pool or spa, so that goes in the amenities section. Some want modern vs traditional, and that plays a large role. My mother and grandmother hate modern. My sister and one of my friends want cutting edge. I really like a good hotel bar to come back to at night, and my father is that way too.

Mostly, for me, it comes down to the location and the building. I love historical buildings. I also love hotels where you can walk out and be smack in the middle of the city you came to see. I don’t stay in luxury hotels often when I’m by myself, but usually, when I look for one, it’s because it’s a means to get the location I want.

As with anything else, it’s dictated by price and location. Maybe I’d spend $500/nt in Paris, but I sure wouldn’t at Disneyland.

I think (as with any sort of lodging) the best resource is knowing how to read reviews and knowing yourself. Case in point: my grandmother. Lovely woman. Loved high end hotels, dining, etc. But if I saw reviews praising a hotel for modern aesthetics, flat screen TVs, online concierge/check in, chummy customer service, I’d know not to book it. Gran wanted elaborate old world style. She wanted bend over backwards, in person customer service. So I think, more than anything else, you need to know what will make you happy. No resource can do that for you.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Apr 1st, 2019, 09:15 AM
  #12  
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Thank you @Roamsaround! I've heard a few people mention Andrew Harper before, but when I went to their website a few months ago there was a $300 subscription fee to access the reviews. Do you think it's worth it?
floridasun is offline  
Apr 1st, 2019, 12:56 PM
  #13  
 
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It's "worth it" if you travel frequently and routinely stay in higher end hotels/resorts. Andrew Harper members get special perks like reduced room rates, free room upgrades, meal and drink credits, free or reduced price on hotel/resort amenities and activities, etc (the perks vary from hotel to hotel) and they can sometimes get you last minute accommodations that might not be readily available to non-members. Depending on where you go or how long your stay it's possible to recoup the $300 membership fee in perks in one or two trips.

Like I said, I usually make several trips each year and almost always stay in high end hotels. Over the years the value of the Andrew Harper perks I've gotten in any given year have almost always exceeded the cost of the yearly membership fee.

On the other hand, if you only make one trip a year and tend to stay at low priced or mid-priced hotels you probably won't think it is "worth it".
RoamsAround is online now  
Apr 2nd, 2019, 12:04 PM
  #14  
 
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Do you necessarily need a luxury hotel? I always prefer Hilton hotels - the service is always on point whether it's a midscale, upper midscale or luxury hotel.
alexfisher50 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2019, 05:48 AM
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It's best for you to choose the hotel after you reached your destination. Otherwise, you have to go to the hotel which is not your destination. Better first look whether your destination has luxury hotels or not? Then it is better to look for the hotels and book your stay.
dalesrejo is offline  
Apr 9th, 2019, 10:30 PM
  #16  
 
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I favour the "top down" approach I usually employed when doing research when I was working. In the case of hotels, that would be location first, hotel second.

From time to time for shorter breaks the alternative "bottom up" approach is often better, especially when searching on special offer sites like Voyage Privé and Secret Escapes, where it is more about the experience than the location.

The very definition of luxury will clearly be significantly influenced by one’s budget and taste. These days we travel for extended period and of someone else paying my hotel bills are are long gone so we tend to stay mostly at cheaper places with the occasional splurge.

What is self evident, as soon as you start looking at booking sites, is that a "splurge" in London or Tokyo can easily cost upwards of £500. Equivalent quality can be found in SE Asia or South America for a LOT less. If your primary reason for travel is about the hotel experience, then location is a huge factor.

Another, related question I have been wrestling with is: should I stump up for the comfort and convenience of business class flights at the expense of settling for lower level hotels?
crellston is offline  
Apr 10th, 2019, 05:49 AM
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<<...What is self evident, as soon as you start looking at booking sites, is that a "splurge" in London or Tokyo can easily cost upwards of £500. Equivalent quality can be found in SE Asia or South America for a LOT less. If your primary reason for travel is about the hotel experience, then location is a huge factor...>>

So true, 15+ years back we planned an "Around the World" trip and our itinerary had us moving in a easterly direction. Our early stops were in London, Paris, Madrid, etc. and for budget reasons we opted for 3 star hotels. As we traveled on to Asia we found that for the same price range we could stay in higher end hotels like Four Seasons, Peninsula, Ritz Carlton, etc. Spoiled us forever.

<<...Another, related question I have been wrestling with is: should I stump up for the comfort and convenience of business class flights at the expense of settling for lower level hotels?...>>

No brainer for us, except for very short flights or in cases when Business Class is not available, we almost always opt for Business Class and doing so has no bearing on our choice of hotels. For us, our comfort and convenience is worth every penny.

Last edited by RoamsAround; Apr 10th, 2019 at 05:51 AM.
RoamsAround is online now  
Apr 10th, 2019, 07:51 AM
  #18  
 
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“ No brainer for us.... we almost always opt for Business Class and doing so has no bearing on our choice of hotels.” Lucky you!

Unfortunately we travel for around six months of each year so, staying in Four Season or Mandarin Orientals all the time is not a viable option , oh that it were!

Having said that I have just bitten the bullet and booked Bus Class on Emirates to South Africa (they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse in their latest sale). However, looking at hotels there and, although accommodation is reasonably priced, I suspect there may be some drift upwards when I do get around to booking!
crellston is offline  
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