A stay in a luxury hotel or resort is top of the list for many travellers celebrating a special occasion, whether it’s a honeymoon, anniversary or last holiday hurrah as a couple before children arrive.
But if you don’t regularly visit fivestar hotels, a stay like this can be anything but relaxing. These tips will help you make the most of your special getaway and have the staff thinking you’re the perfect guest.
WHAT TO WEAR
Arriving at a five-star hotel is a bit like meeting someone for the first time. You will feel a lot more confident and comfortable if you are dressed appropriately. There is no need to go overboard, but opting for smart casual when you arrive , rather than thongs and T-shirt, and casual business attire for a corporate fivestar hotel is a good rule of thumb.
BE THE PERFECT GUEST
Remember, you are a guest of the hotel and should therefore behave appropriately. Make an effort to fit in with the way things are done and be polite and treat the staff with respect.
I never got used to wearing my bathrobe to breakfast at a fancy Italian spa hotel, but the receptionist suggested it and everybody else was doing it, so I did too.
If you aren’t sure what to do with regard to some things, check the inroom compendium for information or call reception and ask. For example, if jackets are required at the hotel’s finedining restaurant, this saves you the embarrassment of being turned away at the door if you aren’t wearing one.
If the hotel you are visiting is in the US or somewhere else with a tipping culture, you should definitely tip.
That said, you shouldn’t feel pressured by the atmosphere to give
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more than the norm or to tip for something you can do yourself, such as opening the door.
If you are staying in a country where the standard of living is poor, consider tipping as many staff as possible. Those few dollars will mean a lot more to them than they do to you.
DINING LIKE A STAR
Dining at a five-star hotel can be wonderful and intimidating in equal measure, especially if the restaurant is a signature of the hotel or hatted with a celebrity chef at the helm. With many five-star hotel restaurants, dress standards are high but not often to the extent of formal attire.
If you don’t own any designer outfits and end up seated near the kitchen, look on the bright side. At least your meals will be hot as they don’t have far to travel.
WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
Things sometimes go wrong, even at hotels with an impressive reputation. This can be especially upsetting for travellers who rarely treat themselves to five-star accommodation and are there to celebrate a special occasion.
The key to fixing any problem is to keep a cool head. It is always best to be calm, respectful and state clearly what the problem is and how you would like it to be fixed. However, while you are entitled to complain, think carefully about whether you should. If there is no electricity in your suite, that is a serious problem.
If your room service burger arrives 10 minutes late? Not so much.
ONE FINAL TIP
It is easy to conjure up images of a lavish property with incredible staff at five-star hotels where you and your partner are the centre of the universe. However, the reason these hotels fall short for some guests is because their expectations are unrealistic.
There is something to be said for “keepin’ it real”, even when you are staying in five-star splendour.