This guide highlights how to book into luxury hotels and travel in style on the cheap. Whatever your budget can afford, these tips and secrets will help you to travel in 2017 for less.
1. Travel Out Of Season
The oldest trick in the book. Lets take two of my favourites; the Marbella Club in Spain (pictured above) can be booked for under £300 GBP per room per night in March. Just a month later, in April, the price goes up to almost £600 GBP per room per night. The Hermitage in Monte-Carlo currently has a 3 for 2 offer which brings the rate in at just over £200 GBP per room per night in March. In August, you are looking at the same room costing £650 GBP per room per night. The same goes for most luxury hotels; if you can bear to travel out of the main season, you can make incredible savings.
2. Join The Hotel Loyalty Scheme
Even luxury hotels have loyalty schemes. Leading Hotels of the World: Leaders Club is a particularly good example. You can join as a standard member (costs $150 USD) and get a room upgrade where available, free gift per stay, free night credits (1 per 5 stays), and free breakfast along with other benefits. If you join as an Unlimited member (costs $1,200 USD), you get a priority room upgrade, an additional free gift (usually bar credit of around $90 USD or afternoon tea; this is usually the same as you would get by booking with Finest Hotels and Resorts by Amex and Virtuoso) and get a free night every 4 stays instead of 5 as well as free airport transfer in some destinations. I have looked at whether it is worth upgrading from standard to Unlimited Leaders Club separately. Small Luxury Hotels also has a similar scheme. Fairmont gives nice suite upgrades with higher levels of membership.
3. Mattress run
It is an effort, but it can be worth hotel hopping, particularly when you are collecting free nights on schemes like Leading Hotels Of The World. For example, if you book 8 nights in London at a single Leading Hotel of the World, you would generate 1 stay credit which works out at 1/4 or 1/5th of a free night (depending on whether you are Standard or Unlimited Leaders Club).
Conversely, if you booked 8 nights, each at a different member hotel in London, you would generate 2 free LHW nights if you were an Unlimited member or 1 & 3/5 if you were a standard level. PLUS, you would get a free gift and credit in the bar/afternoon tea type gift on each stay if you were an Unlimited member. That is 8-afternoon teas or 8 x approx. £75 GBP spend or similar (you would have to call the hotel to find out what the gift is). The last time I stayed at the Langham London, the gift was a significant spa credit at their amazing spa.
This is, of course, an extreme example, but it does usually pay to move about and make the most of your loyalty scheme.
4. Look Out For Special Offers
Ensure you are subscribed to all relevant hotel email newsletters so that you can take advantage of 3 for 2 and 4 for 3-night stay offers.
5. Use A Luxury Travel Concierge
Luxury Travel Diary offers a Travel Concierge and can usually achieve a % cashback off rates you will find online. It is worth additionally connecting with a Virtuoso Agent (we can recommend one via our concierge) to ensure you are getting the best deal and offers. As an example, booking a stay at the Four Seasons Hampshire via a Virtuoso agent will get you to spend in the bar and a welcome gift along with early check-in and late check-out, (subject to availability).
6. Be Flexible And Take Advantage Of Flash Sales And Travel Auctions
If you are flexible, you can take advantage of special offers when they come up. Keep an eye on hotel websites for flash sales. We also have our own Luxury Travel Auction that auctions one-off stays at luxury hotels with no reserves and prices starting at £0.99 GBP ($1.25 USD).
7. Book At Newly Opened Hotels
Find out which hotels have recently opened and then book while they are still in the “soft launch” stage. Many new hotels offer their guests discounts of more than 50% (including many extras) just after they open.
8. Pick A Less Expensive Destination
Taking Aman hotels as an example, which are opening a number of new hotels in Asia; their Asian properties are often significantly cheaper than their European or American counterparts. Equally, destinations in Eastern Europe and Portugal can be cheaper than the old classics such as the Cote D’Azur, Amalfi Coast, or Venice.
9. Don’t Over Pay Your Bank Or Credit Card For Currency Conversions
Be careful when using credit cards abroad. Most charge 3% on each transaction. If you are based in the UK, a Curve can save you significant money when spending abroad. It charges the MasterCard rate + 1%, compared with the 3% charged by most credit and debit cards. You can also get £5 GBP free when you apply for their free card with my referral code NRJWI. Read about why £5 GBP free + Cashback + Credit Card Points makes the Curve Card worth applying for.
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Any auction prices listed correct at time of publication, but will be subject to change.
Disclosure: Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.