Hotels are arguably the trickiest part of the travel planning process. Go too cheap and you just might leave with a souvenir mystery rash; opt for something in your price range and you could end up somewhere totally void of charm and character. But, if you’re willing to take it a step above that, you just might discover a whole new world of accommodation. Luxury hotels are… well, luxurious. They’re also expensive and overrated, right? Not always. Like anything that requires a splurge, there’s an appropriate time and a place. Luxe hotels can be worth the hefty cost if the occasion is right, so to help us decipher exactly when you should throw down on top notch rooms, we consulted Andrew Pike, the general manager at London’s Milestone Hotel, a historic destination that’s the epitome of a five-star stay.
1. It’s a major occasion. When was the last time a major life moment was marked at a Best Western? According to Pike, “The Milestone is a place that’s kind of synonymous with celebration. It doesn’t have to be a honeymoon or anniversary; it could be that you’ve just had some great news, a change of job, or a promotion. If you just want to mark that occasion in some way, this is a great way to do that.” We should celebrate with a stunning backdrop in establishments that make celebratory activities extra convenient. The Milestone, in particular, offers room service, a cozy bar, and a romantic restaurant, and they’re not alone in these offerings — these sort of amenities tend to be standard across the luxury hotel board.
2. You love personalization. One night at a swanky hotel and you’ll decide pillow chocolate is child’s play. For many luxury hotels, customers aren’t just customers, they’re guests. And what does a good host do for a guest? They spoil them, of course. Now we won’t say this is the standard, but you shouldn’t be surprised if your temporary fam (AKA the staff) surprises you with some special treatment. Pike tells us, “For us [at the Milestone], it comes down to personalization and making things really particular to that guest. There was a couple staying here who missed their train to Paris for their anniversary so our concierge arranged a horse and carriage drive through Hyde Park as a surprise.”
3. You’re serious about your fitness regime. Gyms are regularly found in even the most mediocre of hotels, but if you’re serious about staying in shape while on vacay, luxe hotels tend to have the most motivating options. Because who’s really going to skip a lazy morning in bed to run on a treadmill in a basement? At Pike’s hotel, a yoga instructor will come to your room for a private lesson or you can hop across the road and do a morning workout with a trainer in historic Hyde Park.
4. You don’t trust TripAdvisor. Pinterest, Expedia, Instagram… the list goes on. So who can you really trust to give you a solid recommendation? The hotel concierge, of course! This career is slowly becoming a lost art, but at luxe spots, there is always someone who can advise you on your next move. If you’re feeling a spontaneous night of theater or you want to surprise your S.O. with a swanky dinner reso, your hotel’s concierge can handle all of this for you while taking into account all of your aforementioned likes and dislikes. They’re basically a human Yelp, minus the trolls.
5. You’re not exactly a well-prepared traveler. The beauty of living large in a hotel is that the staff is there to help you feel comfortable while you’re away from home. The Milestone takes this idea one step further by also offering a butler. Yes, a real butler. If you’re like “LOL, cool but what does one even use a butler for?” Allow Pike to explain. “Butlers are kind of like the perfect middle person,” he says. “A lot of guests would be happy to go to the concierge desk and get information, but often there are lots of things people want that aren’t obvious. Like if someone isn’t feeling well and they need a prescription from a pharmacy — a butler is a go-to person for something like that.”
6. You and your pooch are travel BFFs. Are you and Fido travel companions? Cute. But you can’t take your dog to the hottest club in town. If you want to make sure your pup is safe and not destroying the place (and costing you your deposit), luxe hotels are well worth the extra cash. There’s an entire list of animal services at the Milestone, like dog walking, a custom dog bed, food and water bowls, turndown treats, and even pet first aid kits.
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(Photos via Milestone Hotel)