Old Jul 7, 18, 8:28 pm
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Join Date: Nov 2000
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Originally Posted by AlwaysFlyStar View Post
It's interesting. I don't go to North America that often, maybe once or twice per year. But I have seen that the Marriott/Hilton lounges tended to charge for alcohol in the lounges, but just kind of assumed that was because they are 'upscale' hotels, whereas my impression was that Fairmont was marketed as 'luxury' and the times I have stayed at Ritz Carltons, etc. even in the states, I feel like they had free alcohol. And if Fairmont was competing with Marriott/Hilton, I wouldn't think much of it, but my understanding is they are more competing with Ritz Carlton type hotels and so I guess that is why I am surprised.
It is hard to categorize where Fairmont fits in. Accor tried to do that over a year ago when they first acquired Fairmont via a survey. If you ask me, generally speaking, most Fairmont hotels are solidly 4 stars hotels. Although in Canada, Fairmonts tend to occupy historic buildings or were built in the 19th century as railway hotels. Keep in mind, not all cities have real 5 stars hotels other than places like New York, Los Angeles, London or Paris. You ought to treat Fairmonts in Canada separately from the rest of the world. Fairmonts in the USA are more comparable to the chains you mention, more generic. In Canada, their locations and history tend to make them feel unique and special.

Here is what a Fairmont Gold Lounge in Canada looks like:

Originally Posted by AlwaysFlyStar View Post
I really do find it interesting that people do seem to feel that they are often quite special, because this just strikes me as unnecessary penny-pinching, which is not something I normally associate with luxury hotel stays, and makes me wonder where else they try to save a few quid.
In Canada, they can be special, not so much in the rest of the world. I mean Fairmont Singapore is really nice, they even upgraded me to a smaller Penthouse Suite on my last visit and the service was exceptionally good but they are just not that different from the St. Regis in town for instance. Or the Fairmont Orchid in Big Island for instance, they are nice but still had to compete with so many other brands which have similar resorts in the area. None of them is considered 5 stars per se.

Originally Posted by Jasper2009 View Post
I'd argue that Fairmont Gold lounges are *much* superior compared to Hilton/Starwood/Marriott/etc. lounges in North America (less so outside North America), but probably a notch below the Ritz Carlton Club experience.
It depends on the location. Some Fairmonts take their Gold Lounges more seriously than others. Some even serve coquilles Saint-Jacques (scallops) as evening hors d'oeuvres, others are less memorable.

Originally Posted by Jasper2009 View Post
But I agree to a certain degree, complimentary drinks would definitely appeal to quite a few people (and I'll happily admit I enjoy the occasional glass of wine, especially when travelling); and since Fairmont Gold lounges outside NA already offer this benefit, I wouldn't rule out that properties in NA will offer it too eventually (IIRC the Fairmont properties in Bermuda recently introduced a "happy hour" in their Gold lounge).
I tend to ignore alcohol offerings at hotels given that they are generally mediocre at best. If you are going to spend that kind of money for Fairmont Gold, then surely, you can buy yourself a nice bottle of wine or champagne which tends to cost less.
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