In the beginning, we book a hotel because it’s something we have to do. We obviously need a place to sleep, right? But we often forget the little things that make staying in a hotel worthwhile. Like a friendly smile. A great restaurant recommendation. The bellhop who’s all too willing to lug your heavy luggage upstairs. Not every place has this.
To ensure your stay is as memorable as the destination you visit, we tapped two seasoned travel experts to share their picks for hotels with great room service. Here are their suggestions.
1. Singata Lodge, Grumeti, Tanzania
One of the most authentic private-use camps you can find on the Serengeti, Singata’s staff is trained “exceptionally well,” said New York travel agent Lisa Lindblad, and follows the chain’s ethos that revenue goes toward protecting the land, which in turn supports their families. Such thinking “creates a remarkably happy and energetic front and back of the house,” she said.
2. Hotel Sacher, Vienna, Austria
“I have taken many groups to this hotel, and the level of service, the speed of their response and how quickly they make arrangements we request has just always been top-notch,” said Nathalie Nagy, an agent with Protravel who lives part-time in Central Europe. “The concierge also has special connections,” she said. “We needed to get VIP guests into a private, members-only night club, and in minutes, they arranged it through their contacts.”
3. Hotel Kempinski Adlon, Berlin, Germany
This family-run hotel goes above and beyond to accommodate guests, said Nagy. Years ago, when she didn’t have cash on hand to tip the bellman, she left an envelope later that day and never saw him again. “Two years later, I returned to the hotel and when I got out of the taxi, he picked up my luggage, looked at me and said, ‘Thank you, Mrs. Nagy, for leaving that tip during your last stay.'” She added, “I feel this with many of the staff at this hotel: ultra-personalized service and a high level of guest acknowledgement.”
4. Hotel Aria, Budapest, Hungary
Every aspect of this hotel, from the front desk to the spa, is excellent, said Nagy. “I also love the unique music concierge, who helps guests with recommendations not only as a regular concierge but with the musical theme of the hotel.” Hundreds of options are available via complimentary iPads, and the music concierge is well versed in many genres. “It is a nice extra touch!”
5. Villa Feltrinelli, Gargnano, Italy
A loyal staff and grand Venetian interiors put Villa Feltrinelli at the top of Lindblad’s list. “They are well trained, quiet, old school in their demeanor and knowledgeable about caring for guests,” she said of the staff. “They are like family retainers in any private house in Europe. Extraordinary.”
6. Amanemu, Ise-Shima, Japan
Renowned for its sumptuous take on the Japanese bathing tradition of onsen, Amanemu, near the holy Shinto site of Ise Grand Shrine, is an absolute gem. Like other upscale chains in Asia, Aman, which owns and operates Amenemu, is “able to tap into a labor pool that is culturally respectful, careful, kind, pleasant and professional … the result is superior to any other,” said Lindblad.
Save on Your Next Hotel Stay
Before you book your lodgings, make sure you’ve made a plan for your spending. Travel rewards cards are one way to save, as they offer kickbacks for purchases on things like hotels, car rentals and airfare. Check out our roundup of the best travel rewards cards here.
Remember, before you apply for any credit card, you’ll want to know if you qualify. If you’re not sure about your credit standing, you can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.
Image: Kajdi Szabolcs