Filed under: Luxury Travel & Hotels
Over the past few years star escalation reached the point that some planned projects were promising six, seven and eight star hotels even though what services would exactly merit those types of classifications had not been determined. It seemed the sky was the limit. Enter the economic meltdown and travel, like real estate, took on the look of a souffle bumped in the oven. All of a sudden a seven-star hotel seems unnecessary or even vulgar and a suite that runs deep into the four figures for a night's stay a bit of an extravagance.
Hotel operators are forced to discount rooms cutting into their profits. One way to stay afloat is to reduce operating costs. The requirements for five-star luxury requires scrupulous attention to the guest which necessitates a larger staff. Luxury hotels are betting that most guests won't really mind losing some of the more intrusive guest services especially since they are paying reduced rates. The question is how much the touches really do matter to guests. Five-star hotels often seem to traffic in the ineffable. Any time I've ever heard a CEO of a five-star hotel chain speak, their stories of exceptional luxury include customer service that attains near psychic levels with service personnel who aren't just polite and efficient but who anticipate the wants and needs of their guests with a fervid attention. The truth is that most of us will generally be quite content in a four-star hotel unless you prefer being attended to in a way that makes you feel like a movie star or royalty. Maybe there should be a new classification, a four-star hotel that can be upgraded to a five star if you require the additional bells and whistles. A four and a half, if you will.