Spoilt for choice as deluxe ho­tels and re­sorts of­fer spe­cial deals

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Luxury - MERRY KIRK­WOOD

AS global economies fluc­tu­ate, cashed-up Aussies are mak­ing the most of fresh op­por­tu­ni­ties to hol­i­day in the lap of lux­ury. Keen trav­ellers with an eye for value are en­joy­ing bet­ter deals at 4.5 and five-star ho­tels and re­sorts, par­tic­u­larly since the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Glam­orous es­capes or spe­cialoc­ca­sion city breaks are more affordable than ever.

Some of the best prop­er­ties in Aus­tralia list their rooms on travel and auc­tion sites, in­clud­ing last­minute.com.au, ex­pe­dia.com, roomauc­tion.com and wo­tif.com. These on­line busi­nesses also of­fer an ar­ray of dis­counted flights and pack­ages, as well as ho­tels and apart­ments in the five-star cat­e­gory.

‘‘We’re see­ing Aus­tralians tak­ing ad­van­tage of the cur­rent heav­ily dis­counted ho­tel rates and up-star­ring their ac­com­mo­da­tion,’’ says Amee Evans of Ex­pe­dia.com, who also be­lieves that a lit­tle bit of re­search goes a long way to­wards find­ing the best deal.

These sites also of­fer five-star ‘‘sur­prise’’ ac­com­mo­da­tion such as last­minute.com.au’s Se­cret Ho­tels and wo­tif.com’s Wot Ho­tel, whereby ho­tels sell rooms with ex­tra sav­ings if trav­ellers are happy to book ‘‘blind’’, not know­ing un­til the book­ing is con­firmed where they will be staying in their se­lected city.

Ideal for hol­i­day-mak­ers with a sense of ad­ven­ture, such a lucky dip can be an en­tree into lux­ury ho­tels for the ex­pected cost of a 3.5-star room.

This week, four Syd­ney fives­tar ho­tels have Se­cret Ho­tels deals on last­minute.com.au rang­ing from $165 to $235 a night.

Reg­u­lar trav­ellers to Asia, no­tably Bali and south­ern Thai­land, have also been able to up­grade to qual­ity re­sorts with great sea­sonal deals. Lux­u­ry­seek­ing hol­i­day-mak­ers are be­ing swamped by a se­ries of fur­ther en­tice­ments such as free-night pack­ages and room up­grades, plus ex­tras in­clud­ing se­lected meals, wine, gifts and spa treat­ments.

It’s a win-win sit­u­a­tion for those of us look­ing to in­dulge.

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