Luxury means different things in different contexts and, unfortunately, in some cases, it means unreasonably expensive, rather than exceptional or truly excellent. A hotel, however, always has to substantiate the luxury they claim to represent. Guests will bring a high level of scrutiny and expectation, as they very well should. So what is it that makes a luxury hotel truly luxurious?
Discretion and Decorum
The very first interaction you have with the hotel needs to feel premium. If you’re booking the hotel through their website, then the booking process needs to be simple, effortless, tailored to you, without confusing small print. The whole process should feel like a wedding invitation, not an invoice. Once you arrive, you should feel like they’ve been waiting for you. Because the way you know you’re in a regular hotel is that you have to wait for them to finally get to checking you in. In a luxury hotel, it is you who should be approached, discretely and efficiently checked in, with your luggage arriving in your room within minutes. And the checkout process should be even faster.
Get What You Book
In a luxury hotel, you book the room you want and then get exactly that room. Not one like it, but with a slightly different bed; not the same kind of layout but on a much higher or lower floor. You should get exactly what you’re paying for because you’re paying handsomely for it. If you’re told that your room has been accidentally assigned to someone else and they can offer you a different one – this means there is nothing luxurious about that establishment.
When you enter a luxury car, you’re immediately immersed in an environment of high-quality materials and comfort. A luxury hotel room should evoke the same sensation when you enter. From the very first step inside it should feel luxurious. Every surface you touch should be real. If it looks like wood or leather or crystal – that’s what it should be. Nothing should squeak, no unpleasant (or unwanted) odours should be present, and even the handles on cabinets and windows should feel expensive. No cheap plastic light switches or wires in a knot “hidden” under the table are acceptable. This, of course, also applies to the bed. The matrass should be sumptuous but reasonably firm, covered with smooth cotton sheets and a generous selection of pillows to ensure you find the optimal comfort combination.
If a bar is judged by its lavatory, one can only imagine the scrutiny a guest has for a luxury hotel bathroom. The bathroom should be immaculate, tastefully appointed and highly practical. The toilet should be neatly partitioned from the rest of the bathroom space. There should be two sinks, for him and her. There should be plenty of hooks, hangers, and electrical outlets within easy reach. The toiletries should be in pleasant packaging and without an overbearing fragrance. Nothing should be scratched, chipped or dented. A two-person bath is also a must. Robes and slippers should go without saying.
Finally, there should be no unwanted noises. Air conditioning, elevators, someone vacuuming, a grumbly mini-fridge – these are absolute sin for a luxury hotel. If they want you to feel like home, then you shouldn’t feel like you have new neighbours.