What’s not to love about the luxuries of a five-star hotel?
To start there’s the luxurious bed linen in the immaculate room, then there’s the charming white-gloved waiters and fine dining, not to mention the meticulous attention to detail everywhere you look, all making you feel special and well looked after.
This can come at a price, and may leave many believing five-star luxuries are out of their budget range. However, thanks to Skyscanner’s data and deals, five-star luxury might be more affordable than some travellers think.
The global travel search engine has uncovered 10 popular destinations where the average five-star hotel prices have dropped. Amsterdam is leading the way saving travellers up to 42 per cent year on year on the average five-star hotel room price.
Travellers could also go further afield to Havana in Cuba (saving 23 per cent), Tokyo in Japan (-16 per cent), Sydney in New South Wales, Australia, (down 11 per cent) and Los Angeles, California (down eight per cent)
Venice in Italy is down 22 per cent, Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands is minus 20 per cent, Bang Tao Beach, Thailand, is down 12 per cent and Dubai is minus seven per cent.
See more: See Paddington, Diversity and Justin Fletcher on family breaks at the seaside
Lisa Tyndall, senior growth manager at Skyscanner, said: “The luxury of a five-star hotel might seem like a distant dream for some travellers, but according to our data, that dream could become a reality. We have found a number of popular destinations which have seen average price drops of up to 42% YoY on their five-star hotels. Our current hotel deals are also showing rooms available from as little as £38 a night, when staying in Venice, proving that travellers really can enjoy luxury for less in 2019.”
Skyscanner has also pulled together these top tips on how to keep that final bill under control.
* Try an alternative destination: To get more bang for your hotel buck, try a less fashionable destination. As in any business, the price of a five-star hotel room follows the laws of supply and demand, so if you choose Montenegro instead of the Côte d’Azur, or Trieste instead of Venice, you’ll probably get a better deal. Dreaming of a Californian road trip? For equally amazing coastal highway views, why not try Cape Cod instead?
*Travel off season: Sometimes you can enjoy five-star pampering for half the cost if you go ‘off-season’. The destination will be less crowded and more relaxed, too. Take, for example, Switzerland in summer. Ok, you might not be able to ski, but you can mountain bike, hike, have a picnic next to a waterfall and relax in some stellar spas. The price differences speak for themselves.
* Eat out: Steer clear of the hotel’s restaurant (and room service) and you’ll make the final bill more manageable. Instead, research the hotel’s neighbourhood before you arrive, and make a hit-list of more affordable restaurants and cafés – especially ones that are popular with locals. For example, the glittering Four Seasons George V in Paris is home to Le Cinq, one of the city’s best restaurants. It’s a place of pilgrimage for foodies, but its foie gras starter will set you back €85. Meanwhile up the road at the Relais d’Entrecote - a traditional bistro with Parisian-red awnings - starters can be had €6.50. And if you want the luxury that comes from being served by George V’s beautifully-trained staff, why not treat yourself to a pot of tea or a soft drink in the hotel’s La Galerie lounge? It’s the beating heart of the hotel.
* Make the most of the freebies: Five-star hotels aren’t just for sleeping. You want to soak up as much of the atmosphere/service/facilities as possible without spending extra, and one of the surest ways to do this is to head to the spa. There’s no need to book an expensive treatment, just wander down in your hotel slippers and enjoy a swim or a spell in the steam room – it won’t cost you a penny. Make the most of the unlimited mineral water/flavoured teas/cookies/dried fruit and fashion magazines in the relaxation areas too - and before you go, slather on some of the free lotions and potions. At the new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, there’s a large counter of La Prairie testers in the spa’s lobby, plus free SPF50 dispensers in the changing rooms.
* Try a different type of hotel: If it’s ultra-chic design details that turn you on, you needn’t splash out on a five-star hotel. Hipster chains such as Sister City, Mama Shelter and Roam provide dapper digs full of inspiring touches – especially in their buzzing public areas. It’s also worth bearing in mind that some flashy five-star hotels have smaller satellite hotels nearby at more affordable prices. Finally, don’t overlook the odd luxury B&B – especially if it’s the quality of the bedroom that matters most. Sometimes, they’re more spoiling than a five-star suite.
* Scan the internet for soft openings: When hotels throw open their doors for the first time, they often have a few creases to iron out. The swimming pool might not be ready, the hotel might not have its liquor licence or the service might be a bit iffy while new staff learn the ropes. The upside of this is much lower room rates – but only for a limited time. The big chains such as Anantara, Hilton and Alila Hotels & Resorts are always opening new hotels, so make sure you sign up to their mailing lists for special offers.
Fill the minibar with your own treats: One of the best things about staying in a five-star hotel is lounging around your room in a dressing gown à la Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. But indulging in snacks from the mini-bar will send your bill skyrocketing. Instead, clear some space in the fridge and store your own shop-bought drinks and snacks. Hey presto: a lavish night in and nothing extra to pay. Bear in mind, however, that some hotels use weighted fridges, which take note if you remove items. So tell reception what you’re going to do, and put the mini-bar items back afterwards. Then check the bill to make sure you haven’t been charged.
One final thing - for more tips on how to get the best hotel booking, go to bit.ly/2stCRdT. And don’t forget to keep the cost of your flights down by using Skyscanner’s flight search tools.