Our travel adviser Susan suggests how to find stylish and high-end places to stay — even on a diminished dollar …
HOW TO FIND STYLISH PLACES TO STAY*
Be on the lookout for hotel packages
Make sure to check the websites for all major chains as well as for any other property you’re considering in a given city for special packages (such as included breakfast and other amenities). Some are offering stays guaranteed in US dollars. Example: the Capital Hotel, London in tony Knightsbridge has a reduced rate, three-night package, inclusive of breakfast and airport transfers guaranteed in dollars. Also, just like the US, hotels in large European cities often have weekend rates at reduced cost and include other perks.
Use a consolidator
Mentioned in previous posts, Classic Vacations offers pricing in US dollars for hotels and resorts worldwide. Although many of their properties are high end, their pricing is usually less than what you would pay if you book with the property directly and you lock in the price in dollars.
Upgrade to the hotel’s Club Floor
Yes, spend more money to save money (if you are staying a major chain hotel)! Once you add in the included perks – breakfast, beverages (and sometimes light snacks) during the day, a cocktail “hour” and often a dessert “hour;” plus free internet and/or wireless access and personal concierge service – you usually can’t go wrong. This is especially true if you are traveling in Asia where the service “ethic” is so high that you really do feel like “king or queen for the day.” Further, the cost of a simple glass of white wine is also so high – about $20 in Tokyo– that the included cocktail hour is an especially good value.
Rent an apartment or house swap
If you’re staying somewhere for a week or more, consider renting an apartment. In some cities it is even possible to find “serviced apartments” – geared to the business traveler – available for rental for less than a week at a time. Note: There are so many listings for apartment rentals on the web that you may wish to contact a travel agent who has worked with specific agencies and/or speak to friends or colleagues who have rented abroad. If you are staying even longer, and have a desirable home here, a House Swap may be the way to go (see home exchange and others listed on the web). Note: I haven’t tried it, but in reading about others’ experiences, it has seemed to be a positive thing to do.
Consider a cruise
Prices may seem high at first, but you will pay in US dollars and the cruise cost includes the transportation between ports, lodging, meals, etc. Any excursions you pay for onboard are also in US dollars. Caveat emptor: Watch out for hidden costs. Many small and medium sized ships are all inclusive – meaning that all beverages (yes, alcoholic too) and gratuities are included in the fare per passenger. On ships where beverages/alcohol and gratuities are extra, these costs can really add up (Figure at least $500+ extra per passenger on a typical sailing, maybe more).
Have some “where to stay secrets” you can share with us? Please send them on to email@example.com …
* Picture shown here just to illustrate this post