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How to Enjoy a Five-Star Hotel Alone

Especially when you're feeling lonesome.


hy did I do this to myself?” That was my first thought when I checked into my room at a five-star hotel in Jaipur. All through 2021 and 2022, my travels included other people, whether they were getaways with girlfriends or group tours with a travel company. After years, I had planned a truly solo trip and the moment I arrived, I second-guessed my decision. 

I have always felt at ease at five-star hotels, so that’s what I booked for myself. They are my safety blanket in a new city. I know what to expect from rooms and services. I can depend on them to cater to my allergies and make me feel secure. This time, however, I felt loneliness like a shard. The room was too silent, too empty, too much. That’s why solo travelers prefer boutique hotels and hostels—hotels can be overwhelming when you’re alone and without an agenda.  

But five-stars are special to me and I wasn’t going to let one emotion define my trip. It was a mission to have fun on my own—it is something that I’m reintroducing in my life by dining alone, watching movies alone, and going for experiences alone. For next time, I have a game plan from all the learnings from this trip.

Related: 12 Underrated Countries for Solo Travelers to Explore

The First Day Can Be Lonely. Go Out. 

It was a good thing I had booked a walking tour on the day of my arrival. My first instinct was to stay in bed, but the bed wasn’t made (they were running behind schedule) and I had somewhere to be. So within an hour of checking into my room (when I played music and called people), I was out the door. In hindsight, it was a sensible decision because the first hit of loneliness can be overpowering. A city tour, conversations with the guide and locals, and a few hours outside of the room gave me a breather from overthinking. 

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If you’re not a planner or don’t like having a set itinerary, just go for a walk. Or go to the poolside and have a drink. Anything is better than moping around in the room.

Ask for a Hotel Tour

The hotel I was staying at had an art collection that the concierge was happy to show me. If it’s a historic hotel, ask them to tell you stories of its past. I have once gone on a tour of rainwater harvesting units and another time on nature walks to see vegetable gardens and a century-old banyan tree on the property. Depending on the kind of hotel you’re staying at, if they have a concierge or travel desk, strike up a conversation on things to do at the hotel and around locally. They are always happy to help.

Make the Most of the Amenities

Is there a pool? Go for a swim or read on a cabana. Is there a full-service spa? Book a massage. Do they have room service? Order a snack. On-site restaurants? Treat yourself to a nice meal. A tennis court? Book a session with a coach. These will add up to your bill, yes, but it will also bring you face-to-face with hotel staff, who can be your allies. 

In Jaipur, on the second day, I came down for breakfast, they knew I wanted cold coffee-to-go in my flask and asked me to try something I hadn’t the previous morning. That’s the thing about premium hospitality—your preferences get noted. 

I’ve also had hotels leave chocolates on my pillow when my room was readied for the night. Some have Googled me in the past and left gifts or cards (one even had my photo in a frame on the bedside to make it feel homey). High-end hotels almost always know who’s staying with them and they will go out of their way to help you out. 

By hanging at the hotel, you will also start seeing familiar faces on trips, maybe some other solo travelers, and exchanging smiles will lead to chats.

Maintain Your Routine

Do you have a morning or a bedtime routine? Don’t skip it. If there’s anything in particular you need, bring it with you. Or ask the hotel. Do you do stretches or yoga in the morning? Your hotel may be able to provide you with a yoga mat if you ask. Want to have chamomile tea before bed? There may be a teabag in your room along with a kettle (and if not, dial room service). 

The thing about routine is familiarity, which is especially important when you’re not in your normal environment. These are things that are almost on auto-pilot, so fewer decisions to make, much less stress, and more feelings of control. 

It’s Okay to Feel Lonely

Solo travel is empowering. Travel in itself is a wonderful way to discover yourself, but when you’re on your own, it goes up another notch: it’s challenging in a positive way and you get this boost of confidence in your own abilities. But there’s a flip side: you don’t have anyone to share precious experiences and the joy of travels with. Solo travelers get lonely and it’s a part of the deal. Expect it and feel it when it happens. Absolutely normal. But what you need to do is go out and do things. Take time to chill and watch movies in your room, but don’t turtle yourself. Going out, even if it’s just to the lobby, will ease tension.