Among the dozens of hotels that stand out to us each year we place them into two categories: Top Luxury Hotels and Hotels of Great Value. In this second category of ‘The Exceptional List’ we find it equally important to share our experiences, because finding great service and stellar hospitality for agreeable prices captures the definition of value.
We have found in our experience that these hotels outperform the status quo of their market or brand designation and here’s why for each one:
In one of Europe’s most underrated towns for panorama, culture and cuisine, the Sheraton is a perfect complement to any stay. We found service to be intuitive, the subterranean spa was a labyrinth of relaxation and the high floor lounge offered delightful fare and mesmerizing city views.
The hotel’s floor to ceiling windows were a perfect match to the greenery of the city beneath it. With a dedicated executive lounge and a variety of themed restaurants one will never want for lack of food variety and an elegant atmosphere. The wellness facilities were on point and a helpful concierge enabled us to navigate the more far flung daytrips this city offers.
It seems almost surreal to find a new Marriott in Armenia’s far flung ski resort town, but it is a gem of a hotel in the middle of a developing mountain town. The hotel’s restaurants offer a blend of local and international fare, the wellness facilities are perfectly complementary after a day on the slopes and the staff go out of their way to make one feel welcome.
Set in the upscale neighborhood of Las Condes, this Courtyard property could easily be a Marriott hotel or higher category. The décor in the tower is refined, the location is just steps from one of the best shopping centers in all of Santiago and our platinum status was noted and recognized with exuberance.
The hotel is not the newest in the Bangkok scene, but it is well maintained and certainly sports one of the city’s best river views. It is situated just across the river from ICON SIAM which is the city’s newest luxury mall and there are endless ways to move around from this centrally located property into the temples and streets beyond.
A typical courtyard with a great vibe of California wine country. The hotel captures the Spaniard colonial style of the region. I disliked the fact that they charge for parking and the service was friendly and attentive. A nice breakfast was included for elite status and while some might dislike the location on the edge of town, I enjoyed the 20 minute walk to the downtown. The hotel bar is very reflective of the local culture of wine.
One of the best courtyards and airport hotels we have enjoyed on several occasions, the venue is close to the airport with a free shuttle, points go very far for Europe, we always get an amazing upgrade and it is a fantastic spot from which to explore Southern Europe. The hotel is a really hassle free experience and a great place from which to launch or end a roadtrip.
This is a new brand, but the specific property is unique in a 40th floor skyscraper, you feel you are in a great Asian capital and it has all the trimmings of a luxury property, with a great location giving a view of the Petronas towers. The suite comes with everything one could want while still being true to the Element brand simplicity. This is a true five star property but comes at a value as rooms can go for $50 a night at times.
It is an affordable property to be a Conrad and some of the things it is lacking are why we have placed it in the value list rather than the top hotels list. First off, is in located in a development called Karibana surrounded by impressive golf courses, but almost 40 minutes from downtown Cartagena. A shuttle is provided at a charge. Breakfast is one of the best I’ve had in Colombia with local and international fare being provided. Another criticism I would bring is that it has cheap looking furniture and the cleaning was not always done properly.
This is a brand that I sometimes struggle to categorize, but this hotel leaves no doubts as to its luxury status. It is brand new property and one of the nicest suites we’ve seen in China. The executive lounge is top notch with an incredible view of the city. The place was really worthwhile for use with points and the wellbeing facilities are on point. It really looks more like a JW Marriott and is a great value hotel.