Over the years, I’ve received a great deal of questions about hotels and hospitality. I love anything related to my industry, so I thought it’d be fun with a little Q&A here on the blog. Below you’ll find a curated selection of the most frequently asked questions, and I hope you’ll find them fun and useful. Remember, if you have a question yourself, you can always reach me through email.
“Of course great hotels have always been social ideas, flawless mirrors to the particular societies they service”Joan Didion
- What defines a ‘luxury hotel’?
Although there are no set standards (e.g. stars) for luxury hotels, they are often 5 star – or even more. The concept of ‘luxury’ in hospitality is ever-changing, and the word ‘luxury’ has unfortunately degraded due to overuse in the last decades. Still, excellent service, high end interior, 24-hour roomservice, a spa and wellness area and turndown service, are some of the things that will determine whether a hotel belongs to the luxury category or not.
- Do 7 star hotels exist?
Yes, there are currently six so-called 7-star hotels in the world. They are:
– Signiel Seoul (Seoul, Korea)
– Burj Al Arab (United Arab Emirates)
– Taj Falaknuma Palace (Hyderabad, India)
– Emirates Palace (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
– Laucala Island Resort (Fiji)
– Pangu 7 Star Hotel (Beijing, China)
- Which hotel is the most expensive in the world?
Hotel President Wilson (a 5-star hotel in Geneva, Switzerland) is home to the world’s most expensive suite; $80.000 per night. The suite includes the world’s largest flatscreen TV and, of course, the most incredible view of Lake Geneva.
- Where do I find the smallest hotel in the world?
Several hotels are competing about this record, but I’ve picked out two that fit the description very well: Hotel Punta Grande in the Canary Islands and Central Hotel & Café in Copenhagen.
Punta Grande is remotely located on a rock over-looking the majestic ocean, and the tiny hotel is supposedly made from shipwrecks!
Central Hotel, on the other hand, is located in the midst of the busy capital of Copenhagen, but there’s only one room here, and it’s situated on top of a tiny coffee shop. Which one would you choose?
- And the largest?
The US is home to several mega hotels (including The Venetian in Las Vegas!), but the largest hotel in the world as we speak is the 3-star First World Hotel in Malaysia housing no less than 7.351 rooms!
- Where is the world’s oldest hotel?
Japan is home to the oldest hotels in the world. Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, as it’s called, is a traditional Japanese inn that has been owned by 52 generations of the same family. That’s 52! The first guests here were samurais who enjoyed the hot springs around 1.000 years ago.
- What’s the difference between a hostel and a hotel?
While a hostel provides dormitory-settings where several people sleep in the same room, a hotel provides individual rooms for more privacy. It’s cheaper to stay in a hostel where you’ll also have the chance of meeting fellow travelers. A hotel, on the other side, provides more amenities and, depending on the standard, a higher level of comfort.
- Where can I find the most beautiful hotel in the world?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but most people would agree that the hotels listed below provide not only incredible settings, but also amazing interior. Here’s a handful of the world’s most beautiful hotels:
– Hacienda de San Antonio, Mexico
– Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India
– Monastero Santa Rosa, Italy
– L’hotel, Marrakech, Morocco
– Ellermann House, Cape Town
– La Bastide de Gordes, France
– Amangiri, Utah
– The Peninsula Shanghai, China
- What is the difference between a concierge and a bell boy?
A concierge is assisting guests with their inquiries, eg. booking a table in a restaurant, arranging for spa services or recommending hotspots, transportation services etc. A bell boy carries the luggage of guests and runs errands.
- What does ‘turndown service’ mean?
Turndown service refers to the practice of hotel staff entering a room and literally ‘turning down’ the linen of the bed, making it ready for the guest to sleep. Other things that are usually included in turndown service: putting a glass of water next to the bed, turning on subtle music, putting a mint or a chocolate on the pillow and light cleaning around the bed area.
- Should I tip housekeeping?
This depends on the country you’re visiting. In Japan, for example, tipping is considered to be rude, but in the US and Africa, it’s mandatory to leave a tip. In Europe, tipping isn’t as common, but it’s always polite to tip the waiter or housekeeping staff.
- What is a ‘loyalty program’?
Also known as a ‘reward program’, a loyalty program is a marketing strategy used by hotels to attract and retain business. All the larger hotel chains such as Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt and Starwood offer loyalty programs meaning their guests will earn points and other bonuses when staying in one of their hotels.
- What does the star rating of hotels mean?
The stars were designed to measure the quality of hotels, but Europe has a different rating system than the US. While a 1 star hotel means that you’ll only get the absolute basic amenities, a 2 star property is usually a part of a chain and offers a bit more. Three star hotels are often part of larger chains and considered to be family-friendly. If you choose a 4 star hotel, it’s most likely part of an upscale chain or hotel group, and a 5 star hotel is the best you can get.
- What makes a hotel 5-star?
Earlier, a hotel was rated by formal travel guides who had certain criteria and procedures to follow. Nowadays, official reviews often come from the actual guests, so what might be a 5-star hotel experience for some, is a very different case for others. But there are still a few standout qualities that will assure a hotels 5-star rating.
A true 5-star hotel will undoubtedly present a beautiful lobby guarded by concierges and bellboys. Guests will find a spa with professionally trained therapists and a swimming pool. Rooms will be adorned with state of the art interior, quality bed linen, an array of different services (e.g. 24-hour roomservice) and turndown service every evening. Most importantly, a luxury hotel is often (and should be! defined by its high level of service. Beforehand, a guests in a 5-star hotel would often be escorted to their room, however, the Corona pandemic has changed some of these things for good.
It’s important to remember that a 5-star hotel today isn’t necessarily the same as a luxury hotel.
- What’s the most famous hotel in the world?
According to a list made by CNN, the 9 most famous hotels are:
– The Plaza, New York
– Raffles, Singapore
– Taj Mahal Palace, India
– The Peninsula, Hong Kong
– The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin
– The Ritz Hotel, London
– Hotel Ritz, Paris
– Claridge’s, London
– Beverly Hills Hotel, Los Angeles
(I’ll dive into the history of these iconic hotels in another post soon!)