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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Top 5 tips to planning a luxury escape: getting the most out of your hotel

After you’ve decided on your luxe hotel, or narrowed it down to a short list (see previous post), here's how to make the most out of your indulgent getaway:
1. Club access: check on the hotel site to see if there are ‘club’ rooms. While the rate may be slightly higher, you’ll be spoilt by the extras offered. Typically, they include transfers, complimentary welcome drinks, Club Lounge access where breakfast, afternoon tea and cocktails are served, luxurious toiletries, complimentary newspapers, Internet access, spa use, and private butler. Lazing around reading newspapers after breakfast in bed is preferable to waiting in line for cold scrambled eggs. Not to mention popping into the lounge for champagne and hor d’oeuvres before dinner.

2. Promotions: also check for special rates. Most hotels offer promotions that represent such excellent value you immediately become suspicious. This is because they’re taking advantage of quiet periods. It may be that a city hotel busy mid-week with business clients is dead on a weekend, so it offers ‘weekend city breaks’ or ‘theatre packages’ including sightseeing tours and tickets to shows. Or a beach resort relying on weekend trade offers fantastic mid-week deals.

3. Romance packages: if there are several offers, opt for the romance package, which may include flowers, canapés, champagne on ice, chocolates, a candlelit bath, in-room breakfast or champagne breakfast, spa treatment, and late check-out. Whether you’re rekindling a romance or not, just enjoy the lavish extras. Plus, if the hotel is really quiet they’ll probably upgrade you to a suite.
All-inclusive packages: definitely not something I normally encourage travellers to do - it goes against all my beliefs about travel – travellers on all inclusives rarely leave the resort, don’t see much of a destination and don’t mingle with locals. But on a luxury getaway, you don’t want to leave the hotel! The reason you’re there is to enjoy the place. But not having to worry about money is a luxury, right? One thing you don’t want to be doing is calculating costs the whole time, so if you know up front all meals, drinks and activities are included, you can relax and just enjoy it all. The total figure might seem outrageous, but do the math, it’s generally cheaper than if you had to pay for everything separately.
5. Travel off-season: you’ll find even the most expensive hotels are affordable off-season, but keep in mind that while Venice might be romantic in winter, Dubai is sizzling in summer and few can handle it. This is when hotel rates are lowest though and even the seven star Burj Al Arab is a ‘bargain’ at only $1000 (!) a night over summer.

The pic above is of the plate of scrumptious
canapés that welcomed us in our Grosvenor Club Room along with champagne, chocolates, Arabic sweets, and a bowl of fruit at Grosvenor House, Dubai.


Deshpande said...

My experience tells that Bed and Breakfast inns are the perfect accomodations for travellers. They are very much useful for the visitors with limited budget as this also costs lesser than the hotels. B&Bs often delight for the high levels of services and personal touch and the care that they are capable to provide. Visit
for detailed info. For the Globe trotter can visit; and

Lara Dunston said...

HI Deshpande - when B&Bs are good they can be great, but when they're bad they can be horrid. I will check out your site.