Why I Pay Extra To Stay At A Nice Hotel

Let me start by saying that Izumi & I are boring…like really, really boring. While most people were out on New Years Eve partying it up, we were in bed at 10:30…watching Mexico Life on HGTV (true story).

With that being said, we really enjoy our time in hotels. Some people don’t like spending any time in hotels, and for them, it doesn’t make sense to stay at a nice place. For me, part of the fun of staying in a hotel is getting the blueberry pancakes for breakfast, ordering a bottle of champagne room service, and relaxing in the sauna/pool area.

For about the same cost of staying at a “business hotel,” wouldn’t you rather stay at a 4 or 5 star property? Here is a list of the top 5 reasons we always try to stay at luxury properties whenever we travel.

1. Cleanliness

It’s not that 3 or 4 star hotels aren’t clean…it’s just that 5 star luxury properties tend to be spotless. You won’t notice the difference as much in a modern city, but in remote areas of the world, the difference in a 4 star vs. 5 star property is huge.

Clean bathroom @ Shangri-La, Vancouver

2. Sleep Comfort

Pure silence in our room at Portrait Roma

Think about it; the main reason of a hotel is that you can rest somewhere. Sleep comfort is often overlooked unless it sucks. Then it literally ruins the hotel (insert cough The Joule Dallas, Hotel Raphael cough cough).

The worst thing in the world is to be constantly woken up by hallway noise, trash pickup outside, or loud AC units. Add to that a scratchy set of sheets and a thermostat that doesn’t function properly and you are guaranteed to be too tired to truly enjoy your vacation.

3. Service

In my opinion, this is the biggest thing that separates good vs great hotels. There is a line in the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel that states “a lobby boy anticipates the client’s needs before the needs are needed.” Great hotels do that.

While we were eating our breakfast at  Portrait Roma (Rome), we had mentioned to one of the staff members that we wanted to drink on the rooftop after dinner at breakfast. When we returned from our dinner, the same staff member had started the rooftop fire, brought out champagne on ice, had blankets draped over the chairs. and brought out a bowl of fresh berries. AMMMMAAAAAZINGGGG.

At Four Seasons Koh Samui, we were talking to the GM at one of the hotel wine and cheese events (which was surprisingly great), and mentioned that we were going to Singapore. He told us about an awesome cocktail brunch at the Regent, a hotel which he used to manage.

A few days went by and we didn’t see him. While we were checking out, he made it a point to come by, and thank us for staying. He also informed us that he had made us a reservation for brunch just in case we decided to go.

Now THATS SERVICE!!!!! Btw, we went to the brunch, and it was incredible.Check out the pics. It was all you can eat and drink. No brainer.


4. Amenities

Such a game changer !!!! When people think of amenities, they think of the toothbrush, the soap, the body lotion. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know anything about nice bath products, but I can tell you I feel instantly more refreshed when I take a shower using organic ginger honey soap vs dial.

I’m talking about all the other little things that people sometimes over look.

  • What type of coffee maker is in the room? Keurig? Illy? Jura?
  • Is milk in the fridge?
  • How nice is the gym?
  • 24 hour room service?
  • Unlimited bottles of water?
  • Lounge?
  • Loofa vs wash cloth?

A good lounge (like the one from the Prince Gallery) can make a big difference in booking hotel accommodations.

Club Lounge at The Prince Gallery Kioicho
Club Lounge at The Prince Gallery Kioicho
Club Lounge at The Prince Gallery Kioicho
Club Lounge at The Prince Gallery Kioicho

5. Food

In case you haven’t noticed, I love food. Breakfast buffets at a Hilton are fine, but breakfast buffets at Four Seasons, Rosewood, or other 5 star resorts are at a whole new level.

Look at these pics. Can this come from a “business hotel”? When I look back at some of my trips, the memories of eating breakfast with my family really stand out.

Room service breakfast at Shangri-La, Vancouver
Breakfast buffet at Prince Gallery, Tokyo
Portrait Roma breakfast on the rooftop
Just casually eating breakfast in front of historic Thai Villas



Okay, so what if these things aren’t offered at my hotel? You’re right, it is not going to deter me from having fun on my vacation.  However, would you rather look back at your trip saying, “I really enjoyed my vacation, but I wish my hotel had…..” OR would you like to look back at your trip knowing that it was perfect in every way and it was one that you would never forget?

Sometimes staying at a nice hotel with a stomach full of good food, feeling refreshed, and well rested is what you need to see the cities you visit objectively (as opposed to staying at the Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica.. I hate Jamaica now). This is why I tend to pay a little bit extra (not a lot) to stay in a 4 or 5 star hotel.

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