Unfortunately, “luxury” is a subjective word that every person defines differently. The mantra to keep in mind when planning a luxury vacation abroad is you get what you pay for. Some people prefer to work with a travel agent who knows the ins and outs of the country you’ll be visiting. If you prefer to research and cherry pick your itinerary, however, it’s a good idea to know a little about what you’re getting into.
Online reviews are great in theory, but have you ever noticed there are few places that people fully agree on? What’s considered luxe accommodations to one person is mediocre at best to another. Even worse, you don’t want to stay where everyone else does, which makes online reviews moot. So how can you ensure you’re getting the kind of escape you’re dreaming of?
Are You a Visual Person?
Don’t depend solely (or even much) on the photos on the resort sites because hotels have a knack for making things seem much grander than they are. However, if you find pictures posted by guests, that’s a reliable indicator of how things really are. On the resort site, go by the amenities listed and check for add-on options.
Much like precision CNC machining, it’s all in the details. I once stayed at what was supposedly the “best” resort in Napa, and perhaps it was 20 years ago. I blame myself, since I didn’t do proper research or read between the lines. A truly top-notch resort will have oodles of details concerning luxury amenities, superior customer service and other personal touches.
It’s All About Location
It’s fairly easy to figure out where the trendiest or best neighborhoods are within a city. Unless you’re specifically seeking out a secluded resort, remember, location counts for a lot. If the downtown part of a city is reputable, both that region and the trendy neighborhoods are a pretty safe bet. Always consider price, even though it seems uncouth, because that is often a big indicator of what type of quality to expect.
Picking the right resort might not seem as complicated as titanium machining, but it can be. No matter how well-traveled you are, you deserve the best on every single vacation. Try giving the resort a call before booking. You can tell a lot about your future service by how you’re treated on the phone.
Red Flag Words
There are certain key words to keep an eye out for, including “renovated,” “complimentary,” “remodeled,” and of course “luxury.” Renovated and remodeled do not necessarily mean luxury, but it can (I certainly wish one of those words were listed on the Napa resort). If a resort boasts a luxury atmosphere, most of the time you can trust that it does.
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that you’ll love your home away from home. It’s wise to always have a backup plan, just in case you’re completely unhappy when you arrive. It’s your vacation, and it should be sheer bliss. If it’s not, there are most likely other resorts in the area who will be happy to have your business.