The word luxury conjures a myriad of images, ideas and connotations and is, suffice to say, a somewhat subjective term. That said, almost every person will share certain expectations when booking into or arriving at a hotel described as a ‘luxury’ one.
What is Luxury?
Whilst luxury, as aforementioned is a term used subjectively and without any solid or concrete definition, it is commonly accepted (and expected even) that a luxury UK hotel will provide the following as standard:
- Ensuite facilities
- Excellent customer service
- Room service as standard
- Rooms of a high specification
- Furnishings of a supreme quality
- Impeccable cleanliness and attention to detail
- Complementary toiletries, and convenience including tea and coffee making facilities
- Exquisite style, well thought out decor and quality furnishings, such as a choice of feather or synthetic bedding and Egyptian cotton towels
Many hotels advertising themselves as offering luxury also feature onsite facilities such as restaurants, pools, spas and private gardens depending on the location of a hotel; the real mark of luxury is a hotel which caters for the needs of its intended clientele.
Contemporary vs. Country Luxury: What Differs?
The notion of what constitutes or can be described as luxury when it comes to hotels is exposed as non-standard in at least one respect when considering and comparing contemporary and country accommodations. Take, for example the hotels provided by Lake District Country Hotels which are all wholly unique in several respects, yet unified in that all three offer traditional British and quintessential hotel accommodations that fulfil and exceed the ‘luxury country’ accommodation description. Then, and suffice to say, what constitutes ‘country luxury’ differs massively from what people arriving at a contemporary inner city luxury hotel such as The Shangri-La Hotel situated in the iconic Shard skyscraper in the Capital.
Country luxury is typified by graded and / or historical buildings located in rural locations and surrounded by outstanding natural beauty. Meanwhile, ‘contemporary luxury’ characteristically describes suites occupying innovative, modern builds most often in inner city locations and which feature more glass than local stone and champion technology over tradition. Meanwhile, what unites both a luxury country hotel and a contemporary city hotel is that both equally provide an exceptional quality of accommodation that reflects, celebrates and is appropriate to the location in which it resides and caters to those requiring use of it.
UK AA Star Ratings
Another way to measure luxury is of course to search for accommodation according to its star rating.
Specifically, within the UK there are regulations put in place to prevent non star rated accommodations and hotels from purporting to offer accommodations described as such. Further, this legislation is put in place to provide some level of standardisation when it comes to what can be described as ‘luxury’ and to safeguard holiday makers and travellers from disappointment and what otherwise can prove a rather unpleasant surprise when arriving at hotel.
Then, the star ratings earned and permissible to use by hotels when awarded via the official AA tourist authorities are what those travelling to or within the UK need to look for to ensure the accommodation they book provides the level of luxury they expect and are willing to pay for. Of course, to know what AA star rating constitutes luxury in your eyes will require first understanding the AA banding system when rating a hotel, as different people have different standards and expectations. Then, to learn more about how the AA rate hotels and why some UK hotels are rated whilst others opt not to be, visit the Official AA website.
Star Ratings in Europe and Worldwide
Whilst within Britain AA star ratings are a reliable way to find appropriate accommodation, standards can vary massively when booking a hotel in Europe or just about anywhere beyond UK borders, as discussed and explored in more detail via the Telegraph Newspaper and reported on via their article: European Star Ratings Explained. Therefore, if you are a Brit planning to book into a hotel abroad, it is prudent before doing so to give the Telegraph feature a read rather than simply trusting that ‘five stars’ in France means what it does here in Britain.
Not only will being aware of the potential differing standards in different countries potentially save traveller’s a lot of stress and disappointment, it could too save those travelling beyond Blighty’s shores a serious amount of money; suffice to say, judging accommodations outside of the UK as ‘five star’ does not necessarily means it meets the standards expected in the UK in order to advertise itself as such – or to advertise itself as even three or two stars. Hence, star ratings should never be taken for granted when in search of a luxury hotel or accommodation, especially when searching abroad.