I work in the luxury hospitality industry training people service and sales skills. This means that I travel a lot and stay in gorgeous world class hotels that I personally could never afford. Let me respond to what you are thinking: “…Yes, it is a rough job… no, you won’t fit in my suitcase.”
I average 3 or 4 hotels a month. When staying in a $3,000 per night suite I enjoy it, but never forget I am not the typical guest for that suite. I am also happy with simpler accommodations but a recent layover made me remember exactly what luxury customers are paying for -and it is not the heated towel racks.
I Won’t mention Where the hotel Was, or mention Which chain it Was either, but consider this sentence a clue as to Who I stayed With! (It Wasn’t W or Wyndham.)
I had two nights to kill near an airport between jobs so I booked a predictable (if slightly pedantic) hotel chain for $90 bucks a night. I was paying so I went on the cheap, and actually looked forward to hiding in a hotel for a couple of days and catching up on work uninterrupted. What I really care about when staying on the fly is cleanliness and safety. This chain of hotels is known for just that. Seeing as many hotels as I do however, I can tell in a nano second upon entering the lobby if the managers care or not. I knew this stay would be tough. The phony, cloyingly swee,t pretend smell they pump into the lobby hit me first, but the agent at the desk was nice and that made up for a lot. (‘Stop being such a snob.’ I thought to myself.)
I arrived on my 13th floor (seriously) and heard water running down a drain. It was the broken ice machine which stayed that way (this is a drought state). The walls were painted the color of hopeless brown. My room was not much better- here is where you learn that little things that mean a lot. The ottoman slid to one side revealing crushed Fritos on the brown carpet (a reminder to wear flip-flops), there was a hair on the pillowcase that did not match mine (yuck), and a strange brown greasy smear all over the beige closet door (this I chose not to investigate). Most people would ask to move rooms, but I knew better. Other horrors would be awaiting me anywhere I went.
Flip flops on; I ventured into the bathroom and discovered a yellowish crust (1,000 year old egg?) on the rim of the water-glass. From there the story goes downhill, the restaurant utensils were not quite clean, the plates were greasy, the salad greens were wet, once you find filth, you find it everywhere you look.
At check out my bill came to $250 total. The agent asked about my stay and I said, “It was not very good actually, the room needs a deep cleaning. The walls and carpet were filthy.” She looked at me sideways and said, “I’m sorry to hear that. Thanks for telling us. Have a nice day.” (You’re welcome. Apparently that is what I am here for. That and to pay everyone’s salary.)
That is what people buying in the luxury market are paying for! When people ask me, “What makes a hotel room worth $500 per night?” The answer is that if something goes wrong, someone will care. 300 Thread count be damned, I want to know if I have a problem, there is a qualified staff member available to help me. Should we have to pay extra for good service? Yes. A luxury hotel has three times as many employees than the Woeful and Weird property I just visited. Peace of mind is worth every penny!