Are luxury hotels worth their money?
Well, this question might seem a little bit overdue, but after reading an interesting article on YHBU (comparing the room at the Four Seasons Prague with a Suite at other five-star hotels), we came to the conclusion that this question is not yet clarified. After having stayed at several upscale luxury hotels, expensive boutique hotels and outrageous resorts, we would like to through in our personal opinion on this topic.
So, why should you stay at a more expensive luxury hotel (we are speaking of Aman, Ritz Carlton or a Four Seasons) instead of a big chain hotel (such as Sheraton, Hilton or InterContinental)?
First of all, it always depends on your personal character. Are you the frequent flyer, aiming to collect as much miles and points as possible and like to stop by the Club Lounge before heading to your usual Suite, upgraded because of your loyalty status? On the opposite we have the individual luxury traveler who is trying to avoid these kind of travelers. While a "loyalty traveler" is looking for the best upgrades, most efficient check-in and most value for loyalty points, an "individual luxury traveler" looks for the most expensive hotel, preferably a hotel without a loyalty program, warm and attentive service, a perfect look as well as an excellent location. I would not say that these two groups can stay at one hotel, as one will always feel uncomfortable. With the luxury traveler missing the personal service at a Hilton or Sheraton, a loyalty traveler might feel totally unsatisfied with a Four Seasons and Aman not taking extra care on them - in the eyes of these extremely expensive hotels, every guest has the right to be treated equal which is of course the thing you expect when paying an arm and a leg. Having arrived at another important factor: the two different types of travelers are also very different when it comes to the room rate: A luxury travel is not taking care of the price nor the size of the room - the software needs to be perfect and they just want to have their privacy.
So from our point of view, it is not possible to compare a Four Seasons with a Hilton, Sheraton and InterContinental and this is by good reason:
The furniture is more luxurious, the location better, the toiletries more exclusive, the service more dedicated, the design more attractive and the design of the hotel more special. When staying at an Aman, you will always remember the destination when waking up due to the design with local influences, while a room at a Sheraton looks quite similar all over the world. Most of these extraordinary expensive hotels have USPs, which make them even more attractive: the Four Seasons in Prague has the best location (there is no doubt), the Splendido Portofino the best views, the Corinthia London the best spa in London, the Burj Al Arab the most exclusive suites and the One & Only Reethi Rah the most famous guests. Remember what Cesar Ritz always said about luxury hotels: "Location, location, location!" - this has always been a remarkable factor to calculate room rates.
Last but not least it is always about the people in a hotel. You can always catch an unfriendly employee at a Four Seasons as well, so there is never a guarantee for this. However when paying a much higher rate, it is not always about room size, it's often about prestige and privilege.