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Top 10 & Bottom 10 Category 8 Hotels

Top 10 & Bottom 10 Category 8 Hotels

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Old Aug 22, 18, 11:16 am
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Top 10 & Bottom 10 Category 8 Hotels

I was bored this morning so figured I'd bust out a Top 10 Best Category 8 Hotel list, especially now while they're pricing as Cat 7. And I also added a Worst 10 list, a warning to stay away from those redemptions.

Note: My methodology was to use the lowest average rate for a standard room as shown on Tripadvisor. The higher the lowest avg rate, the better the value; the lower the lowest avg rate, the worse the value. This seems to me a pretty good way of doing things as it's the base rate to enter the property. However, there are some instances where rates are really low in low season and really high in high season -- those are outliers that I'll list separately. I had the thought to average out a particular property's highest and lowest average rate for a standard room, (Tripadvisor gives a range of average rates for a standard room) but that's more work than I want to do without getting paid . There are a few other property specific things that may work into an equation -- you'll just have to work all that out on your own.

Top 10
1. The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort $1,507 - $3,604
2. Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai $989 - $2,985
3. The St. Regis New York $989 - $1,705
4. The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort $876 - $4,025
5. W Maldives $828 - $2,115
6. The Ritz-Carlton, New York $821 - $2,139
7. The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico $742 - $1,496
8. The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto $692 - $1,660
9. The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort $656 - $1,327
10. Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Paris $650 - $1,543

Bottom 10
1. The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas $354 - $670 (this may have something to do with hurricane damage - rates might come up once all has been restored?)
2. Gramercy Park Hotel, New York, a Member of Design Hotels $369 - $746
3. Phoenician Residences, a Luxury Collection Residence Club, Scottsdale $232 - $1,190
4. Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection $264 - $1,273
5. Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Crete $273 - $1,054
6. The St. Regis Osaka $279 - $1,063
7. Hotel President Wilson, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Geneva $292 - $939
8. The Miami Beach EDITION $305 - $1,244
9. Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Cortina d'Ampezzo $311 - $931
10. The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal $316 - $1,039

Outliers
Sir Joan Hotel, Ibiza City, a Member of Design Hotels $245 - $3,573
The St. Regis Aspen Resort $410 - $3,579
Hotel Patrizza, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda $446 - $3,565
Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, Mykonos $571 - $3,414
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman $409 - $2,891
Hotel Cala di Volpe, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda $362 - $2,826
Hotel Romazzino, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda $464 - $2,547
Mystique, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Santorini $513 - $2,591
The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort $378 - $2,319
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch $280 - $1,998
The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice $507 - $2,190
The St. Regis Deer Valley $366 - $1,927


What do we think? Semi-accurate list?
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Old Aug 22, 18, 12:04 pm
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Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto is consistently priced higher than The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto. At least the basic room from what I seen.
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Old Aug 22, 18, 12:16 pm
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I don't understand what this list...is? If it's simply high- and low-value redemptions, how can you have outliers? And a lot of these are highly seasonal so it's hard to have a definitive list.
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Old Aug 22, 18, 12:33 pm
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Great work and very interesting!

Now, nothing you can do about it without a lot more work, but my only hot take on this is that many of the "Outliers" could likely be in the "Top 10" for most of the time that you would "want" to go there because they are places that are very seasonal and so for now (until we get hit with seasonal upcharges on top of the implementation of Cat 8 pricing) are great value if you can get them in season at current redemption rates (thinking like the Costa Smeralda properties, Greek isles, ski resort properties (Aspen and Deer Valley), etc.).
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Old Aug 22, 18, 4:11 pm
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I don't think the Ritz Carlton in St Thomas should even be a Category 8 hotel. The website used to say it would reopen in January 2019, now it says Summer 2019. At this rate, the hotel won't accept reservations until after the Category 8 prices kick in, so we won't be able to book it at 60k points/night.
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Old Aug 29, 18, 3:15 pm
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Originally Posted by tonywush View Post
Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto is consistently priced higher than The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto. At least the basic room from what I seen.
Ya, there's a good chance of that. These numbers are based on rates as reported by TripAdvisor.

Originally Posted by CLEguy View Post
I don't understand what this list...is? If it's simply high- and low-value redemptions, how can you have outliers? And a lot of these are highly seasonal so it's hard to have a definitive list.
It's a list of consistently high and low value properties. For example, you're going to consistently get fantastic value from your points at the St Regis Maldives or to Al Maha - you really can't go wrong -- there is no way to get in the resort without otherwise paying exorbitant rates. Conversely, the bottom ten properties will be a challenge to try to get outsized value from -- sure some of them might be good values depending on the time of year, but even then, they're not outstanding values.

Maybe "outlier" isn't the right terminology -- it seemed to be when I was doing the stats on all of this, but in hindsight maybe "Season Dependent" would be a better name. This list are those properties where it's very cheap in low season and very expensive in high season. Meaning you can get exceptional value but only during certain times of year.

Originally Posted by KParks View Post
Great work and very interesting!

Now, nothing you can do about it without a lot more work, but my only hot take on this is that many of the "Outliers" could likely be in the "Top 10" for most of the time that you would "want" to go there because they are places that are very seasonal and so for now (until we get hit with seasonal upcharges on top of the implementation of Cat 8 pricing) are great value if you can get them in season at current redemption rates (thinking like the Costa Smeralda properties, Greek isles, ski resort properties (Aspen and Deer Valley), etc.).
Ya, I felt it would be inaccurate to leave them off a best/worst list bc you CAN get great value from them, but not necessarily. That's why I created a separate list.

Originally Posted by smgainey View Post
I don't think the Ritz Carlton in St Thomas should even be a Category 8 hotel. The website used to say it would reopen in January 2019, now it says Summer 2019. At this rate, the hotel won't accept reservations until after the Category 8 prices kick in, so we won't be able to book it at 60k points/night.
Ya, in regards to this list I really no idea what to do with this property, so I took TripAdvisor at their word. But you're right that it seems that we likely won't be able to book it at Cat 7 prices.
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Old Aug 29, 18, 5:25 pm
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Interesting concept, but I disagree with the fundamental premise that rack rates are an indication of quality or value. Maldives and Dubai may be expensive location but I have no intention of vacationing in either location. A better ranking would necessarily include the subjective factor of desirability and quality. For example IMO St. Regis Princeville is much more desirable than Maldives (though one could definitely argue about the quality of the rooms etc.) Similarly IMO the St. Regis Aspen and Gritti Palace are desirable all year round (though the rates very depending on season).

In my vision, you would have a top 10 city properties and top 10 resort properties based on desirability and quality, and perhaps subdivide resorts by season as well. My list would include:

City:
  • New York
  • Paris
  • Osaka
  • Venice
  • Miami Beach
  • Rome
  • Florence
Resorts:
  • Aspen
  • Deer Valley
  • Mykonos
  • Bora Bora
  • Princeville
  • Scottsdale
Would not include Maldives and Puerto Rico on my list but I know opinions vary. Would be helpful to have the complete Cat * list linked
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Old Aug 30, 18, 8:20 am
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Thanks for putting this list together. So one conclusion is that on average, St.Regis Maldives is the most expensive property of all Starwood + Marriott?
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Old Aug 30, 18, 8:42 am
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What strikes me is that out of the 32 properties listed, only 6 are Marriott legacy hotels and they won't give much in the way of benefits except welcome points.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 8:48 am
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Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
Interesting concept, but I disagree with the fundamental premise that rack rates are an indication of quality or value. Maldives and Dubai may be expensive location but I have no intention of vacationing in either location. A better ranking would necessarily include the subjective factor of desirability and quality. For example IMO St. Regis Princeville is much more desirable than Maldives (though one could definitely argue about the quality of the rooms etc.) Similarly IMO the St. Regis Aspen and Gritti Palace are desirable all year round (though the rates very depending on season).

In my vision, you would have a top 10 city properties and top 10 resort properties based on desirability and quality, and perhaps subdivide resorts by season as well. My list would include:

City:
  • New York
  • Paris
  • Osaka
  • Venice
  • Miami Beach
  • Rome
  • Florence
Resorts:
  • Aspen
  • Deer Valley
  • Mykonos
  • Bora Bora
  • Princeville
  • Scottsdale
Would not include Maldives and Puerto Rico on my list but I know opinions vary. Would be helpful to have the complete Cat * list linked
funny enough, I donít disagree. While the Maldives are probably out-of-this-world amazing, the other associated costs while there make it less desirable to me.

But thatís just it - personal preferences are, by definition, highly subjective and thus one canít really put together an objective, globally useful top 10 or bottom 10 based on oneís own preference. Therefore I used average cost as a substitute for value and desirability. Itís of course not a perfect substitute but thereís certainly a strong positive correlation between the two. If you have an idea for another positively correlated pairing with readily available meta-data, Iím happy to do another analysis.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 8:54 am
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Originally Posted by escape4 View Post
Thanks for putting this list together. So one conclusion is that on average, St.Regis Maldives is the most expensive property of all Starwood + Marriott?
ya, I think thatís a very safe conclusion to draw from the data. Take a look at the explosion of activity on the st Regis Maldives thread here on FT - I think thatís evidence to support your conclusion.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 9:33 am
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Originally Posted by margarita girl View Post
What strikes me is that out of the 32 properties listed, only 6 are Marriott legacy hotels and they won't give much in the way of benefits except welcome points.
Ya, that stood out to me too. But when you look at the breakdown of all cat 8 hotels, only 12 of the 61 are Marriott legacy which is almost exactly the same ratio of 6 in 32. So itís not all that surprising.

But it does show that Marriott leadership views the best legacy SPG (LSPG) properties as more upscale than the best legacy Marriott (LMAR) properties.

as for elite benefits, none of the LMAR properties on the best/outlier lists will give free breakfast and/or lounge access; in fact, only one LMAR in the entire cat 8 portfolio does and itís in the bottom 10 - Domes of Elouda. Meanwhile, every single one of the LSPG properties grants these benefits, even the st Regis Maldives.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by ramalama8 View Post


Ya, that stood out to me too. But when you look at the breakdown of all cat 8 hotels, only 12 of the 61 are Marriott legacy which is almost exactly the same ratio of 6 in 32. So itís not all that surprising.

But it does show that Marriott leadership views the best legacy SPG (LSPG) properties as more upscale than the best legacy Marriott (LMAR) properties.

as for elite benefits, none of the LMAR properties on the best/outlier lists will give free breakfast and/or lounge access; in fact, only one LMAR in the entire cat 8 portfolio does and itís in the bottom 10 - Domes of Elouda. Meanwhile, every single one of the LSPG properties grants these benefits, even the st Regis Maldives.
Exactly. Legacy Marriott members are the big winners here.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 10:12 am
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Originally Posted by margarita girl View Post
Exactly. Legacy Marriott members are the big winners here.
Why? Because we now can use MR points for St Regis properties at soon-to-be inflated rates?

Perhaps that is true on the micro level (access to award nights at luxury resorts) but overall I think SPG members get a huge win as the ROI for spend is much higher now. I was never happy receiving 3/$1 spend when I stayed at SPG properties (vs. 12-15 points for MR) as the award values were not 4-5x cheaper.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 10:27 am
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Originally Posted by margarita girl View Post
What strikes me is that out of the 32 properties listed, only 6 are Marriott legacy hotels and they won't give much in the way of benefits except welcome points.
I totally agree with the consensus that Marriott has recognized that Starwood had far more luxurious properties in its portfolio--as evidenced easily and blatantly by the proportion of Cat 7 and 8 properties that are from the SPG portfolio.

That being said, what those legacy Marriott properties won't give as much of is in the way of elite benefits. That doesn't mean they won't give much in terms of excellent experiences, excellent service, and access to more luxurious moments for those who stay. They likely do.

Sometimes we can get caught up in the elite benefits and forget what makes these hotels so special in the first place. They are amazing properties even for those who aren't Marriott/SPG members or elites. They deliver incredibly good service, great food/beverage, and usually wonderful amenities in terms of luxury decor, luxury services available 24/7, and other things that most regular full service properties just don't deliver.

So these properties STILL deliver. They just don't always deliver in terms of guaranteed new Marriott elite loyalty benefits. I suspect repeat customers at these RC hotels will get upgraded still. I suspect repeat customers at these RC hotels sometimes even get upgraded to Club level rooms/suites. I suspect that some Ambassador level guests may also get upgrades to Club level rooms/suites on a case by case basis when availability allows it.

Obviously, not everyone likes that equation. I understand. Most elites here will understand, especially if there are other comparable hotels that can offer similar luxury with more benefits (like St Regis and some Luxury Collection properties, and perhaps an occasional W and Edition).

I will always prefer a St Regis to a RC--largely due to the butler services and the added guaranteed elite benefits. Still, i love having the option of these RC properties (and few Edition properties). I will be staying in San Francisco in Nov, and the StR was about $800/night vs the RC being "only" $450/night with a AAA rate. I gladly took the RC in that instance and look forward to comparing it to the StR experience. I will miss the butler service, but I will be excited to enjoy a new luxury property and just as interested to see if I might get upgraded to a nicer room or suite. I could care less about the Club, since I could care less about lounges in general.

I had an amazing award stay at the RC Kyoto in May--where I was upgraded to a speciality suite despite there being no guaranteed entitlement for that for me, even as an Ambassador level guest before the merger happened. The hotel has no Club (which I don't mind at all), and so provided us with free breakfast in the restaurant like any StR would offer. There may be different guarantees, but that doesn't mean that certain properties can at their discretion offer even more to be competitive.

I had a very nice paid stay at the RC Boston in spring, where I was upgraded a suite category (though downgraded back to the original category after the air con failed). All in all, I was treated very well and very much enjoyed the stay. I plan to stay again whenever in Boston and the rate isn't that much higher than the W; otherwise, the W Boston likely would be my best option. (I don't trust the Liberty air con or management.)

As I said, it's nice to have new options. Regardless of the loyalty benefits, these luxury hotels can deliver in other ways. It''s just a matter of whether an elite member values those other ways enough to justify the cost/benefit.
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Last edited by bhrubin; Aug 30, 18 at 10:33 am
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