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Is a $600 a night hotel room better?

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Lucy Huber and Alex T. debate that question, and they both seem pretty skeptical.  (I am surprised to see Alex’s view, I might add.)  I would not pay that much for a room, but sometimes when I am invited to events I end up staying in places that I suspect are in that price range, or higher.  I think they have a few big advantages:

1. Location, location, location.  What is a good beach hotel in Miami or Miami Beach these days?  I’m not sure, I don’t even love the beach.  But many people do — the Four Seasons room down there is going for over $1300 a night.  (It is odd to me to pick on $600 a night — in some places that is cheap!)  The best locations in London and Paris are expensive too.  If you have some business appointments, and only two days in Paris, is it so crazy to shell out such money to stay right where you want, so you can sneak into the Louvre during a break?

2. Concierge tickets.  At a very good hotel, the concierge can get you all sorts of reservations and tickets that otherwise would not be available.

3. Swimming pool.  It might be heated, or much better.  The on-site shops can be much better too, which matters for people with less flexible time budgets than mine.  Gyms I find do not vary so much in actual practical quality, though they vary a great deal in attractiveness and general mood.

4. They might have much better business and conference facilities, noting that some very expensive hotels don’t have those at all.

4. The hotel restaurants will be much better (and more expensive of course).  Much better breakfast too, and that is the meal you are least likely to eat out.

5. Some hotels are marvelous architectural landmarks.  I was very impressed by the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah when I visited.  I had only a meal and a tea there, both expensive but worth it.  Google claims “prices from $1,330,” for a room that is, but I suspect the variance of actual price is pretty high.  In any case it ain’t cheap.

6. The beds are more comfortable and the rooms are bigger.

7. The WiFi is less likely to go out, or if there is a problem you will get help more quickly.

8. In Malta only a few hotels have wonderful views.  I wonder what they cost.

So it’s not just status, you genuinely get a lot more for your money.  If you can afford it and have those priorities, that is.

I do, however, have two gripes about very expensive hotels.  First, the staff can be overly solicitous.  The worst version of this is when they want to knock on your door or call you too many times to see how things are going.  I also don’t like how they sometimes reorganize your things, in addition to cleaning up the room.  Do I really need my shoes to be put into the closet?  Second, sometimes the tech-laden shower and room lighting systems are so complicated I find them difficult to operate.  Boo hoo!  Not even a first world problem.  But in those cases perhaps the $400 a night hotel would have been better.

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