How to choose the right luxury hotel for you
With the need for constant connectivity on the one hand, and a desire for immersive experiences and authenticity on the other, the modern luxury traveller has a completely different set of expectations from the previous generation.
To some extent, increasing globalisation has led to a ‘blending’ of cultures around the world, meaning hotels – especially those under the banner of a worldwide brand – have to work harder than ever to differentiate themselves. So it goes without saying that those who are able to combine seamless technology with a real sense of place – by actively integrating unique aspects of local culture into interior design, cuisine, activities and service – are already one step ahead.
Identify your priorities
But of course, it all depends on what you’re looking for. ‘Selecting the right hotel for you is all about identifying your priorities for a vacation,’ says Todd Cilano, Regional Vice President and General Manager, Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita. ‘Are you someone looking for privacy and seclusion or do you prefer to be active with a wide choice of leisure activities, such as watersports, golf and tennis?’
Fortunately in Mauritius, the majority of luxury hotels can cater to many different co-existing priorities, especially important when travelling in a large family group. Indeed, the current trend for multi-generational travel – which can often take months to plan – demonstrates just how much value is placed on family time together, rather than money spent, which now seems a rather old-fashioned way of defining ‘luxury’.
Todd Cilano agrees. ‘We see a huge range of requests from guests during their stays with us, and our job is to tailor our service and offerings to ensure that it suits how they wish to spend their precious vacation time,’ he says. ‘Our Ernie Els championship golf course is a big draw for some guests, as is the all-pool villa accommodation. While for parents, our extensive children’s programme and babysitting service offered through our Hobbit Village kids’ club is sure to be a key factor in making a decision.’
Service is key
But since the act of travelling itself is no longer seen as a mark of someone’s status in the world, how else can hotels provide a sense of occasion or prestige for their luxury-seeking guests? According to Ilias Vamvakas, general manager of Angsana Balaclava Mauritius, it all comes down to service. ‘Ambience, service and staff friendliness play a vital role in distinguishing a world class brand such as Angsana Balaclava Mauritius from others,’ he says. ‘Ongoing staff training and development is the key to maintaining high standards throughout. And the hotel is very committed to developing local talent and the future generations of our country. Being an international brand blends very well with Mauritian culture, in which all our guests are treated like royalty.’
But in the end it all comes down to this: travel is deeply personal. When we fly half way around the world, we want to feel like we’re experiencing something truly special or even transformational. And those hotels which recognise this – and are able to satisfy both practical needs (faultless wi-fi, flawless service) and personal desires (exclusive experiences, uncommon adventures) – are truly on to a winning formula.
Photos: Four Seasons at Anahita, Angsana Balaclava Mauritius.