I’m best known for helping people save money and upgrade their travels through the savvy of points and miles, but no one loves a perfectly executed vacation more than I do.
Sometimes, dare I say it, that means ditching points and miles and splurging on the places and things that makes a trip as memorable and seamless as it can be. As hotel points programs continue to self destruct and devalue their currencies, that emotional detachment has gotten a lot easier to jettison.
No chain has the best hotel in any given city, and I love a great Airbnb, but lately the Four Seasons has been ticking all the boxes for me and winning more of my business. It’s an indulgence, but also a product I find worth indulging in.
I’ve heard people bang on about it for decades, but I’m pretty sold.
Stays have felt like the old school days of hotels in the hospitality business, rather than the lodging business, and the investment in personalization is simply outstanding. I get that these hotels may not be practical for everyone, but there are valuable nuggets to take away from these experiences, so I’ll share all the same.
Perks Without The Hassles Of Loyalty
At luxury hotels, such as the Four Seasons, loyalty helps, but how you book does too. I use a Four Seasons Preferred Agent, Michael Trager, who GSTP Royal Suites members have access to, to book my stays.
By doing so, I enjoy perks that I’d have to work for at other chains with a lofty number of nights, automatically.
A ridiculously generous complimentary breakfast for two is standard, as is a typically $100 property credit or amenity, in addition to late check out and a one category room upgrade, the latter subject to availability.
Preferred agents also have access to private “Third Night Free” style offers quite often, which can be total game changers on pricing, or at least palatable to more people.
This ‘Four Seasons Preferred Partner’ method of booking also gives the travel agent an opportunity to liaise with the hotel on behalf of the client to help personalize the stay or celebrate special moments.
I’ve found most hotels are eager to help in this way without even asking. They want to know their guests and entertain them. I can’t say that about any major loyalty chain stays, lately, though I wish I could.
I find myself surprised by the satisfaction, because just years ago, I felt many Four Seasons were becoming dated both in property and approach. That’s not been my experience lately at all. They seem extremely “on it” with service and room refreshes are fantastic.
Personalization To Perfection
My stays are a mix of work travel and when I’m lucky, travel with my wife and two year old daughter. Whenever I’ve arrived at a Four Seasons with my family, there’s been a little “kid friendly” amenity in the room and a focus on happiness.
Sometimes it’s a coloring set and personalized welcome note for Olive, and sometimes it’s something more over the top, like a stuffed animal. Her eyes light up and her smile is worth something there to me, for sure!
This week, at the stunning Four Seasons Lisbon which is finishing an amazing refresh, there were even kiddie slippers in the room, which were highly amusing to our little one. A sweet note was left in the room suggesting a trip to the local zoo, with clear instructions for getting there.
The front of house team, including the fabulous Mariana, even made an effort to learn Olive’s name. They say hello in the lobby, even if Olive doesn’t yet say it back. Trust me when I say this is not “blogger” treatment. We have friends in residence here this week who are experiencing the same joys.
I found the same in Las Vegas recently as well, traveling solo. Where possible, people try to remember your name.
Making Work, Easy
When I stay for work, Four Seasons has been the most predicting of my needs of the major hotels I’ve stayed with.
In fact, rooms proudly display cards on work desks stating that any equipment such as extra computer monitors, ring lights, keyboards and other business centric tools can be furnished for free during the stay.
This helps lighten packing loads too, which I’d value at “priceless”, personally. Anything not to check a bag! You had me at carry on – etc.
Tables for one in Four Seasons property restaurants have also been pleasant, and staff seem empowered to entertain solo guests, whether it’s a generous wine pour, or just good chat. Depending on the day, one or the other usually does the trick.
Leaning Into Hospitality Costs Money
Amenities cost money. Slippers cost money, and the generous breakfast credit for guests who book through preferred partner agents also costs real money.
At a time when major hotel groups are slashing away at all of the above, and even daily housekeeping, it’s really refreshing to see a chain actively investing in the satisfaction of customers. It’s a cost, but one which can earn a rate premium over others as travel rebounds. For me, it’s certainly worth something, which is the game, right?
There are other luxury brands leaning into guest satisfaction, including recent changes from Peninsula and the ultra baller status from Shangri-La, but right now, for me, Four Seasons is winning business. As long as they continue to, I’ll be back.
What’s your favorite luxury hotel brand?