We travel the world – permanently – that means we stay in a LOT of hotels and resorts, and we get to see all the good and bad points of properties. We know what we don’t like, and we know what we do like, but we also know what makes us fall in love with a place too.
My experiences in different hotels have always shaped the way I look at travel and leisure. After walking into countless luxury hotels, I have discovered a secret that most people never notice unless they are very keen.
By revealing these secrets, I believe people will be more appreciative of the luxury they enjoy from their visits.
I had to admit that this list was inspired after spending three nights at the lovely Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Hurlingham, Nairobi, Kenya. is a compilation of what I saw, smelt and touched:
Here is a compilation of the senses: what we saw, heard, tasted, smelt, and touched:
In a world where competition is swallowing the weak, no business manager desires to be an underdog. This is something that seems to stick in the minds of every luxury hotel owner or management. It is for this reason that I have realised that most luxury hotels have something that is very outstanding about them. Yes, they have the same management structure or even transport system.
However, there is always that one feeling that can never be replicated anywhere else. It, therefore, gives them an edge over their competitors.
At Four Points by Sheraton Hurlingham, I think their rooftop restaurant and bar Mezze On The Deck is their point of difference. It is the first and only restaurant of its kind in Nairobi so it is really popular and a great meeting place. With a breathtaking view of the Ngong Hills in the distance and the city on the other side, we came up here for some ‘killer’ sunset photos.
Staff members at the right properties are trained to treat everyone with courtesy regardless of the countless rotten eggs thrown at them by arrogant guests. They still have to maintain the lovely smiles and try hard to calm themselves down even if they feel like throwing a tantrum back at such guests.
I remember seeing a really rude guest, shove her way into the queue of waiting people in a resort in Bulgaria. She was just obnoxious to the lovely lady attending to everyone that was nicely waiting, but she served this lady with grace and decorum.
I have come to realise that this is made possible by proper structures of training within these properties. Everyone knows his/her role and will not meddle in any other person’s business unless they have to. Unlike the small hotels, issues are not just handled by anyone. There is a hierarchy that has to be followed.
You need to understand that these hotels receive dignitaries from all over the world. The last thing they would want is to mess up a client’s experience through careless responses since this might cost them so much. Staff members, therefore show courtesy to everyone – I wish airlines did the same.
While journeying around the world, I have been to a number of less luxurious hotels and have been put off by their lack of variety when it comes to food. Their restaurants sometimes can serve too many local delicacies and very minimal international cuisines which can be a bit of a problem when feeding a 12-year-old.
While local cuisines are always very delicious, there is a time during the trip when you just desire to feel more at home and eat something that you are used to, back at home – we call this ‘comfort food’. This is where these hotels fail since this only becomes a desire that cannot be fulfilled at these particular hotels.
However, the story is different when you visit some business and luxury hotels. Most of them have internationally accredited chefs, and this means that they have the prowess of making some of the most mouth-watering cuisines from around the world.
This means that you stand a chance of trying the local cuisines on one day and an international cuisine on another day. I believe this is one reason why many foreign tourists opt for them regardless of the high costs of accommodation.
We loved that Four Points by Sheraton Hurlingham’s rooftop restaurant Mezze On The Deck specialises in exquisite Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes and also offer platters of tapas by expert chefs. Even vegetarian options are available too, and the menu is healthy and fresh.
There is also an exotic Shisha Bar with Shisha flavours being served at this poolside venue.
This can not only be seen but can also be felt and we felt this here in Kenya.
I always love the way bed covers are neatly spread, and how desks and tables are neatly arranged. Here in Nairobi, we had a large working desk and full-size chair, so it suited the independent traveller here on business or leisure, or a combination thereof. Everything always seems to be in its PERFECT place.
Most of these hotels work together with interior designers who come in to ensure that rooms are properly arranged with the best decors in the world.
I always love the arrangement of origami folded napkins on the restaurant tables. I find it to be a masterpiece to behold since I am still figuring out how some of them are made to fold perfectly well.
As you will realise, no single luxury hotel copies the style of the other.
Each always wants to be perfectly unique.
I always say this: If you enter a luxury hotel and fail to experience a peace of mind, then that is probably not a good hotel.
To me, luxury and style is a combination of being able to feel pampered, yet very at ease. Even during hot seasons, I never feel the difference since rooms have ACs installed in them. Entertainment is usually something that is relaxed and within the property, and organised at hours after sightseeing or meetings, and doesn’t go all night long.
There are always so many recreational facilities that range from gyms to spas and swimming pools and the rooftop pool here not only is heated for all year use but is ‘easy on the eye’ in the evenings when it forms a backdrop for the bar and rooftop relaxation area.
Some offer yoga or gym classes or one-on-one assistance, and these all help to make guests feel at ease and forget about the hard times back at work or home.
What do you look for in a good hotel?
We’d love you to tell us in the comments below.