Ritz-Carlton Vs Four Seasons. Which Is Best?


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Which is best, Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons? While the choice between these two hotel brands varies between individual hotels, Four Seasons hotels are generally more service-oriented and individual.

Ritz-Carlton has adopted a more generic mentality in its service and decor to fit the Marriott brand. That said, both portfolios have exceptional properties, so let’s break the comparison down into the different parts of the hotel to compare the two brands.

1. Style

Four Seasons offers a variety of styles across their hotels according to the destination and the property itself. For example, Grand Hotel Du Cap Ferrat by Four Seasons is a historic property, so it takes its style accents from its classic and historic french architecture.

Check-in occurs on one of the plush white sofas in this magnificent foyer, which overlooks the sea across a cloud of soft treetops. Following check-in, it is worth taking a tour of the hotel to ensure you don’t miss out on the wine cellar packed full of almost priceless bottles of vintage wines, the route to the beach club, or the tunnels that lead to the spa, adorned with photos of past visitors like Roger Moore and Liza Minelli. Winston Churchill (well-known for his penchant for champagne) caught my eye. It tickled me that he, too, had enjoyed a tipple on the terrace of this fabulous hotel.

Rooms are either in the main historic building with views out to sea or back inland towards the pine woods or in a newer building that must have been modeled on the Thunderbirds house. The latter, more modern rooms, offer marvelous large balconies but lack the history.

Another example of a Four Seasons hotel that embraces traditional architecture and mixes this with classic modern furnishings is The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas. Others, such as the best Four Seasons resorts in Hawaii offer a more modern architecture and feel.

Four Seasons Milan is another brilliant example of a completely unique Four Seasons hotel. This Milan property is housed in a former 15th-century convent that is situated up a tiny side street in the heart of Milan. Here, you’ll find a most unusual and warm pool in the convent’s former cellar. This pool is reached via steps between thick pillars, and you swim in its warm waters under 19th-century vaulted ceilings. The Four Seasons in Florence and the soon-to-open Four Seasons Venice are also dripping in history.

On the other hand, the Ritz-Carlton offers a more consistent classic American style. The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua is a particularly good example of an outstanding and recently refurbished Ritz-Carlton hotel with an incredible setting, pools and club lounge.

Ritz-Carlton Maui Lobby Firepit
Ritz-Carlton Maui Lobby Firepit
Credit: Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua

While we love Ritz-Carlton hotels, overall, I think that Four Seasons hotels tend to offer more unique and historic surroundings.

2. Location

Goodness, this is so dependent on the individual hotel and will usually dictate which brand to choose. If you want to stay in Waikiki, there is no Four Seasons hotel in Waikiki, so the best choice must be the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach, when choosing between these two brands. Don’t forget to take a look at the Halekulani in Waikiki too. This excellent hotel is not Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton but is a gorgeous waterfront property.

There are some brilliant Ritz-Carltons in Florida, and they are in different locations from the Four Seasons hotels, so you can choose the hotel according to where you want to spend your time location-wise.

In Geneva, the Ritz-Carlton is just up the road from the Four Seasons Geneva. In Geneva, the Four Seasons has the edge with hugely ornate communal areas, whereas the Ritz-Carlton feels more modern.

Another interesting location with both a Ritz-Carlton and a Four Seasons is Maui. The Four Seasons Maui is in the sunnier location and is a brilliant property. The location of the Ritz-Carlton in Maui can be windy, but this remains an incredible hotel that has just been refurbished. In Dubai, the Four Seasons on the beach is better in location and quality than the Ritz-Carlton on the beach.

3. Size

Although this is not always the case, generally, Ritz-Carlton hotels tend to be larger and more impersonal than Four Seasons hotels.

4. Grounds

Both Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons resorts offer glorious grounds. To choose between them would be too property-specific, so neither brand wins on this point.

5. Beach & Pool

Again, beaches are more property-specific than brand-specific. In Maui, the beach at the Four Seasons is closer and less windy than the beach at the Ritz-Carlton.

Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, A Four Seasons hotel has one of the most magnificent pools on the French Riviera at its beach club:

Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, A Four Seasons hotel pool
Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, A Four Seasons hotel pool

6. Rooms

Both hotels offer equally luxurious rooms. As a general rule, we find the rooms at the Four Seasons to be more consistent in size and decor, but again, this is very property-specific. The rooms at Ritz-Carlton Maui are, for example, large and modern.

7. Food

Both brands offer excellent and not-so-excellent restaurants. You will need to review the specific property to determine whether a particular property has an award-winning restaurant. The Ritz-Carlton in Vienna, for example, has an excellent steak restaurant and a rooftop terrace, which attracts guests to this hotel.

8. Family Facilities

Both brands are family-friendly, but Four Seasons has a particularly amazing kids program with gifts and special touches in the rooms. I would say Four Seasons is the best child-friendly hotel brand in the world.

9. Nickel And Diming

There do not tend to be any resort fees at Four Seasons hotels. Some Ritz-Carlton hotels charge $50 USD per room per night resort fee, so watch out for this.

10. Conclusion

Both of these hotel brands offer magnificent hotels, and the merit of the hotel is very dependent on a specific property and varies hugely. Four Seasons has the edge as a general rule, but please do your research regarding where you specifically want to travel to, as Ritz-Carlton may offer a brilliant and sometimes a better overall package.

Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. Enquire for more information. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.