Hotel Connoisseur – Luxury Choices
September 28th, 2011

I’m a hotel connoisseur, if there is such a thing. I love hotels. One of my favorite aspects of  traveling is finding a great place to stay. I thoroughly enjoy exploring the property – however large or small it may be, dropping down on the bed to feel how cushiony the mattress is, playing with fancy bathroom accessories (whirlpool tubs, fancy shower heads), looking through the room service menu. I feel very at home in a good hotel. Naturally, when I am planning travel for myself or others, choosing accommodations is key. I’m an upscale hotel person. 3.5 stars is about the lowest I go and many of my clients are the same way. I sell luxury travel after all.  So here, from around the world, are some of my top picks among those I’ve stayed in, along their pros and cons. These aren’t the only good hotels I’ve found by any means, just some of my favorites. I’m dividing my hotel suggestions up into two categories – this blog will focus on the larger hotels with parent companies. The next will focus on more stand-alone properties.

Ambassador Hotel, Vienna

Pros: Ideal location, on a pedestrian street with shops, restaurants and beer gardens literally as you step out of your hotel. Beautiful hotel in every possible respect; spacious rooms including some two room suites which do not cost any extra; attentive service and though I was entirely not upscale enough to stay there, I didn’t feel looked down upon. Above all, the location is key.

Cons: Vienna is an expensive city. You pay for quality. This isn’t really a con, just an acknowledgement.


Castille Hotel, Paris

Pros: Around the corner from the Champs Elysees, but on a quieter street so it’s the best of both words location wise; helpful, friendly, attentive service; for Europe, decent sized rooms.  The hotel seems to have a lot of good sales (discounts, free room nights, packages, etc) – take advantage of these!

Cons: The restaurant is quite expensive, especially for dinner, and you aren’t stuffed when you leave. I’d suggest dining elsewhere for dinner. Their breakfast buffet is quite tasty and expansive though also pricey.

Radisson SAS, Edinburgh (formerly Crown Plaza)

Pros:  Located directly on the Royal Mile, close to basically everything: shops, restaurants, bars, within walking distance of Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. Good service and good-sized rooms for Europe.

Cons: Location equals higher price tag, but worth it in my opinion. Also, in the summer, make sure your room as air conditioning if the weather requires it.

La Blanc Palace, Cancun

Pros: adult-only, all-inclusive, impeccable service, modern design, delicious food for an all-inclusive, swim up bars, jacuzzi/hot tub in each room.

Cons: Obviously this type of place comes with a high price tag. That’s basically the only “con” I found.

Intercontinental, Tahiti (Papeete)

Pros: very personalized service: they arranged a half-room-rate so that we could stay in our room until our 10 PM flight out which meant basically that we were depriving them of a guest in that room for the following night.  Plentiful grounds with amazing sunset views, spacious rooms with a tropical feel (it’s Tahiti).

Cons: Other than price, I couldn’t find any. It is more appealing on the inside than the outside (unless it’s been redone since I was there). When you arrive at night, it might not look as impressive as it actually is.




Park Hyatt, Mendoza, Argentina

Pros: Luxury from every angle, and it looks the part. Modern, well-sized rooms, outdoor dining terrace, proximity to wine region (15 minutes to some wineries) are all big pluses.

Cons: While not necessarily a con, it definitely feels like a luxury hotel – meaning that if you like to stay high end but don’t want to feel like it’s an exclusive hotel, you might feel a bit out of place here. If you don’t mind walking around in jeans when you feel like you should be dressed up, you’ll be fine. No one made us feel out of place at all, nor did they talk down to us. We just felt a little under-dressed and under-salaried.


*Note: not all of the pictures here are of the hotel or hotel grounds. Many are from the surrounding areas, to highlight the location.  Scroll over each photo to see the description. 

2 Responses to “Hotel Connoisseur – Luxury Choices”

  1. maya says:

    I have heard that the Bloody Mary’s there are very good. I think that “con” depends on what people are looking to do. I would personally agree with you that there is pretty much just shopping food, and bars, though you do need a slight walk to get to it and those activities are rather touristy and not for everyone. However, one good thing about the La Blanc is that you can use the services of all the other Palace Resorts in the area, so for instance at the Moon Palace which is in the same general area, they have a highly rated golf course. The hotel does have tours to the Mayan ruins and such, though those do of course cost extra.

  2. One con for the La Blanc is that if you if you walk outside of the hotel there is almost nothing else to see/do. The Bloody Mary’s at the pool, however, were excellent.

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