Five Tips for Luxury Newbies


St. Augustine, FL was the place for my summer vacation this year. We stayed at the Casa Monica hotel (where I’m shown here), which is the grand dame hotel in the area. Recommend this place to your clients who love history, beaches and a great walking “old town.” The Casa Monica has one of my favorite hotel bars ever. Watch for my report in the next issue.


With the glut of deals currently in the marketplace, the thought of all the “newbies” booking luxury hotels for the first time crossed my mind. I was wondering if they need a “101” on how to visit a luxury hotel.

I’m not being snooty, rather I’m thinking that inherently, when humans are new to a situation, they are shy to speak up. They may not realize that luxury hotels are there to service their requests, simple or complex. Knowing this can make or break an experience.

Case in point: I recently met a couple who spent a lot of money to stay at a resort for a week. They hated it. Why? There were ants in the room. They didn’t like where they were seated for dinner one night. They had a few other complaints that were on this level and they truly felt they’d wasted the $10,000 they’d spent. I asked them if they’d ever spoken up. “No, we didn’t want to cause any trouble,” they said.

So here are a few very basic things you might want to pass along to your clients. Some of them may sound inane, but ask yourself if you’ve personally ever hesitated to do any of these things.

1. When you get to your room, decide if it’s acceptable. If it doesn’t have a bathtub or the view isn’t what you paid for, call downstairs to request a change. If the person you speak with doesn’t have authorization, ask to speak to the manager. Be polite, but clearly outline your objections. Doing this on arrival is better than waiting a day and deciding you want to switch.

2. Ask for more hangers: Hotels have lots of these. If you find yourself piling all of your new resort wear onto five hangers, request more.

3. Ask for more towels. Hotels have lots of these, too.  (It may make senses to leave a note for housekeeping on the day of arrival with all of your requests). Another small favor to ask for is to have the ice bucket filled in the morning and at turndown.

4. Request that your room be serviced by housekeeping. You know how when you’re on vacation and you put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door and you totally miss that first opportunity to have your room cleaned? Then you finally wake up, go to the pool for three hours and return to find the housekeeper has only just begun to get to work.  So you wander around aimlessly even though you’d rather hoped to change and go out for a drive. Hint: When you are leaving your room to go to the pool, call to ask that your room be serviced. It will likely happen within the hour.

5. Don’t be afraid to call with a complaint in the middle of the night. We stayed at an ultra-luxe resort this spring and around midnight we were awakened by a harsh mechanical noise that kept getting worse. Not wanting to wake anyone up, we endured it until 4 a.m. and then finally called downstairs and got someone to check on it. The problem was finally rectified (an air-conditioning unit had come undone because of high winds). By then, we were so bereft of sleep we didn’t recover until about 11 a.m. that morning, which was a shame because this was a quick weekend trip.

With all of these tips, I’m not suggesting you create the hotel guest from hell; you have enough of them already and they seem to manifest naturally enough without encouragement. But giving them permission to truly act as a client at a hotel also gives them the opportunity to have a better vacation. That’s good for them and good for you, too.


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