How to Choose a Luxury Hotel in a Capital City

Sofitel So Bangkok

Paris, London, New York, Tokyo… you’ve probably noticed that the largest cities in the world are overflowing with luxury hotels! It’s often difficult to make a decision when there are so many options! This blog post is meant to offer some advice to help you choose your luxury establishment in a large or capital city. Here are some guidelines you can follow to find the perfect place for spending a few blissful nights on the town!

1) Location

Location is the first point we have to define. What the largest cities in the world have in common is of course their huge size, oftentimes along with terrible traffic that prevents you from traversing the city in less than two hours.

It’s therefore crucial to outline the zone where you’d like to stay. If it’s your first time in a city, choose a central neighborhood, a practical location which will allow you to travel quickly to important tourist attractions. If you’ve been there before, consider defining the activities you’d like to do (excursions, restaurants, bars) and, based on where they are, choose a hotel in the same sector. You could also just pick out a neighborhood you’d like to explore; this was my experience when I was last in London, and wanted to discover the neighborhood of Mayfair. Having heard so many good things about the area, I chose accommodation right in the center of the neighborhood.

The Peninsula Bangkok located in front of the river (© Peninsula Bangkok)

In the heart of Mayfair in London

2) Determine what’s essential to you

Every hotel has its own special features! Some are extremely urban and well-located, but cramped; others may be found in more residential neighborhoods. Are you ready to spend some time in public transport, or would you rather be close to everything? Maybe you’d like to have a spa nearby and combine your city escapade with some relaxation.

la Villa Haussmann à Paris, you can combine visiting and relaxing moments !

An obvious problem in Bangkok, for example, is the hotel pool. Most central hotels keep their pools on the roof, and these are unfortunately small, not very pleasant, and with little poolside seating. When I was last there this past December, I really wanted a few days of relaxation in Bangkok, which is why I chose the Peninsula with its beautiful (and enormous) pool alongside the river. It’s really just a matter of choice!

The Peninsula Bangkok swimming pool is one of the best in town.

3) What is your budget?

There are several types of luxury hotels… and several different categories of rooms! Based on demand, prices can skyrocket, or you may find that all that’s left are high-end rooms and suites which largely exceed your budget! Even if you are choosing to sleep in a luxury hotel, the budget is a consideration which you must sometimes take into account (especially in cities like New York or London, where the prices shoot up very quickly!).

The Carlton Suite at the Ritz Hong Kong, an amazing place but also a huge budget !

4) Reputation

Certain hotels benefit from a superb reputation and a remarkable history. I’m thinking of the Ritz Paris, for example, which no longer requires an introduction, the La Mamounia hotel in Marrakesh, or Le Savoy in London… These are legendary establishments in which the service and quality are generally exceptional.

The entrance of the Ritz Paris

The Ritz Paris, a mythical hotel in the capital !

5) Luxury hotel guides

Guides or consortiums of luxury hotels are often an easy and practical way to find upscale accommodation anywhere in the world. You might consider The Leading Hotels of the World, today made up of 375 hotels in 75 countries, or Relais & Châteaux, an exceptional French luxury guide with recommendations across the globe, featuring more than 500 hotels in its catalogue.

The JK Place Firenze, member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World

6) Consult luxury blogs

I’d have a hard time not encouraging you to use blogs to make up your mind… because that’s exactly what I do when I’m trying to choose a hotel. I like the idea of seeing “real photos” and observing the establishment as it truly is, not through the lens of a professional photographer paid by the hotel. This helps me to form a more objective viewpoint (with the hotel’s qualities as well as its flaws, as even if there are just a few it’s important to note them).

My hotel reviews around the world !

7) Check out reviews on the internet

On the whole, I always confirm my choices by looking at reviews on the internet, be it on Tripadvisor, Booking.com, etc.  However, reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, as false testimonials are commonplace and complete objectivity is difficult to find. But often, reading reviews helps you to consider certain elements to take into account before making your final decision.

With the help of these tips, there’s no way you won’t find the hotel of your dreams on your next trip to the big city! What do you think? What steps do you take to find that rare gem? Another piece of advice that I’ll use to finish this post is that you can of course ask for recommendations from family, friends, and acquaintances, who can offer some ideas about places that they’ve enjoyed and that they’d like you to discover!

What are your recommendations and tips for choosing a hotel? Feel free to send me your comments or questions by posting them on social media.

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