Gradations of Luxury

Old Jul 10, 20, 2:25 am
  #1  
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Gradations of Luxury

With little to do in the travel department during these U.S. pandemic days, Iíve been pondering the gradations of luxury. I think these can be sorted as following, based on my experience.

ó Ultra Lux
Laucala, Fiji
Twin Farms, Vermont, U.S.
Le Bristol, Paris
Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Los Cabos, Mexico (the Signature villas)
Auberge du Soleil, Napa, U.S.,
Hotel Bel-Air, Beverly Hills

óSuperior Lux
La Casa Que Canta, Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Savoy, London
Claridges, London
The Beverly Hills Hotel
Peninsula Beverly Hills
St. Regis, NYC
Cap Juluca, Anguilla
Las Alamandas, Costalegre, Mexico

ó Lux
Esperanza, Los Cabos, Mexico
Chileno Bay, Los Cabos, Mexico
Belmond Maroma, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Ventana Big Sur, California
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California
Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Four Seasons Downtown Miami
The Sandpiper, Barbados
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Old Jul 10, 20, 9:59 am
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This is certainly going to be an interesting thread. I stay in very different hotels to you (different demographics and interests) so I have a limited amount to contribute on the specifics, except to note that putting the Bristol and Laucala in the same bucket feels counter-intuitive. Perhaps we're talking about the personal service one gets in a higher end Bristol Suite as a repeat visitor, but (ignoring the different environments) I can't see these as in any way comparable to the Laucala experience.
I have stayed at the St Regis NYC and the Savoy and would also find it hard to see these categorised as "Superior Lux" given their hardware and service issues (again, probably not an issue when a serial repeat guest and/ or staying in one of the higher end suites). These hotels are expensive and have fame because of the city they are in, but in my stays at least they've not brought anything that I haven't seen bettered elsewhere in a $200 a night hotel at the bottom end of the Lux scale.
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Old Jul 10, 20, 11:17 am
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Last year perhaps as follows, with some I am not 100% sure

---ultra Lux
Amanzoe, Porto Heli
Aman, Venice
Four Seasons, Athens

---- Superior Lux
Eden, Rome
La Posta Vecchia, Ladispoli
Four Seasons 10 Trinity, London
Four Seasons, Hampshire
Mandarin Oriental, Munich

--- Lux
St. Regis Florence
Majestic, Bologna
Sa Sagredo, Venice
Relais San Lorenzo, Bergamo
Ellenborough Castle, Cheltenham
Manor House, Castle Combe
Jumeirah, Frankfurt
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Old Jul 10, 20, 12:43 pm
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Originally Posted by EuropeanPete View Post
This is certainly going to be an interesting thread. I stay in very different hotels to you (different demographics and interests) so I have a limited amount to contribute on the specifics, except to note that putting the Bristol and Laucala in the same bucket feels counter-intuitive. Perhaps we're talking about the personal service one gets in a higher end Bristol Suite as a repeat visitor, but (ignoring the different environments) I can't see these as in any way comparable to the Laucala experience.
I have stayed at the St Regis NYC and the Savoy and would also find it hard to see these categorised as "Superior Lux" given their hardware and service issues (again, probably not an issue when a serial repeat guest and/ or staying in one of the higher end suites). These hotels are expensive and have fame because of the city they are in, but in my stays at least they've not brought anything that I haven't seen bettered elsewhere in a $200 a night hotel at the bottom end of the Lux scale.
Indeed we will have different experiences and I welcome contrary opinions.
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Old Jul 10, 20, 7:26 pm
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I've been thinking about this. I'd probably categorise hotels in the following:

Near Private Island level Luxury - Hotels which provide at base level a near private rental experience but with personal Butlers, potentially private chefs or at least private dining venues, etc. and/ or are just ridiculous in some other way
Laucala Island
Necker Island
The Brando
Some of the Oetker Collection hotels which do private hire

Global Luxury: The world's best hotels with the best service
The Connaught
The Dorchester
The Bristol
Le Georges V
The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
The Peninsula Hong Kong
Villa Feltrinelli
The best Aman's (subject to opinion - candidates include Amanjiwo, Amankila, Amanzoe, maybe Amanpulo)
One or two of the best Indian Palaces - maybe The Oberoi Udaivillas? (not the ones I have been to sadly, even if the Taj Lake Palace is special in its own right)
Some of the top end African Safari camps

High Luxury - Hotels which other 5* hotels look up to
Heavy presence of top-end chains here - Amans, Four Seasons, One & Only, Six Senses (selected properties), the better St Regis, Ritz Carltons, Park Hyatts, SLHs, etc.
Lots of hotels which are best in their market - the Gritti Palace in Venice, the Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel or the Royal Mansour in Marrakesh comes to mind
Lots of Maldives over-water places

Also-ran expensive luxury
Hotels which are highly priced in their market but which don't meet the standards of the above. These nonetheless sit above the local 5* Marriott.

...And others.

Disclaimer: I've been to nowhere near all of these, particularly not at the top-end which is unfortunately hard for me to justify at the moment.
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Old Jul 11, 20, 9:42 am
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I like this. I would also like thoughts about if the value matches the price point. If I am going to spend the high end money I don’t want to leave with a feeling of money wasted just so I can say I was there.
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Old Jul 11, 20, 10:08 am
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Originally Posted by LinLant View Post
I would also like thoughts about if the value matches the price point. If I am going to spend the high end money I donít want to leave with a feeling of money wasted just so I can say I was there.
I agree with this so much. Many many years ago, we didn't stay at luxury hotels because I didn't think they delivered value. I decided to try one of the iconic properties in Geneva that had a view of the lake and the water plume. I was so disappointed. The room was barely bigger than the king bed. I could only see the lake from the balcony. It was off season and they hadn't cleaned it. It was covered in bird droppings. I was so disappointed. I continued to stay in mid tier properties for many years though our finances would have allowed more. Why pay extra for this?
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Old Jul 11, 20, 12:08 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
I agree with this so much. Many many years ago, we didn't stay at luxury hotels because I didn't think they delivered value. I decided to try one of the iconic properties in Geneva that had a view of the lake and the water plume. I was so disappointed. The room was barely bigger than the king bed. I could only see the lake from the balcony. It was off season and they hadn't cleaned it. It was covered in bird droppings. I was so disappointed. I continued to stay in mid tier properties for many years though our finances would have allowed more. Why pay extra for this?
Very much agree with this. We had a similar experience at Villa d`Este many years ago. We had seen glorious pictures of the rooms with traditional furniture and glorious beds plus views and got a room which could have been in a 3-4 star hotel anywhere with no view whatsoever. This was supposed to be the big splurge of the holidays back then and it was money wise but the room was really such a disappointment. Many years later I have learned to do my research ahead of booking and to speak up when the room I get is not up to expectations and price tag.
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Old Jul 12, 20, 3:43 am
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Originally Posted by Musken View Post
We had a similar experience at Villa d`Este many years ago. We had seen glorious pictures of the rooms with traditional furniture and glorious beds plus views and got a room which could have been in a 3-4 star hotel anywhere with no view whatsoever.
This is a problem with almost all classic/traditional five star hotels around the world - Villa D'Este, D'Angleterre, Hassler, Gritti, George V, Savoy . . . there will always be a broom cupboard and a shower curtain lying in wait for you. At least with modern built MOs, Four Seasons etc you can have some confidence in getting a decent room and with Amanresorts and a few others there won't be poor rooms anywhere.
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Old Jul 13, 20, 1:26 am
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Originally Posted by Pausanias View Post
This is a problem with almost all classic/traditional five star hotels around the world - Villa D'Este, D'Angleterre, Hassler, Gritti, George V, Savoy . . . there will always be a broom cupboard and a shower curtain lying in wait for you. At least with modern built MOs, Four Seasons etc you can have some confidence in getting a decent room and with Amanresorts and a few others there won't be poor rooms anywhere.
There are many hotels outside you only can book a suite. If you book a suite you get a totally overprices 5 star experience, if you book a room you get an overpriced 3 star room. Also there are some hotel even I (who has a lot of humor with prices) think they aren't worth it. If a hotel claims 2000 € per night for a 25 - 35 sqm "Junior-Suite" (more Junior than suite) it can't be good or even acceptable value.
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