What makes a true 5-star hotel pet-friendly?

Your four-legged furry friend is part of the family, you go everywhere together, so why should your upcoming vacation be any different?

Here’s your top 10 list of things to consider when bringing your pet to a luxury hotel:

1. Do airlines like to transport pets in the cabin?

Check with the airline about their pet policy. Not too many airlines are pet-friendly. In case you travel on your own private jet, 1. does not apply.

2. Do the best hotels generally have a pet-friendly attitude?

No! Instead the vast majority of true luxury hotels has a “pets – no thanks” policy.

3. Which hotel types accept pets?

Typically more city than beach hotels accept pets.

4. What is a pet in this context?

A pet in this context can be a dog and in many cases a cat as well. Not sure about other four-legged companions though….

5. Are there any weight restrictions?

Yes, there are! Typically your friend should not exceed 11 kilos / 25 pounds. However, in some hotels dogs of all sizes are welcome.

6. How many pets are allowed per room?

Typically just one but it all depends for example on the room type.

7. Are there any room type restrictions for pets?

Yes, there could be. In some hotels pets are only welcome to stay at the villas or bungalows and not in ordinary rooms or suites.

8. Are pets free to roam the property?

Haha, of course not. They are confined to the guest room. When there is a need to go for a walk they must be leashed in the hotel at all times. The walk itself, of course, has to take place outside of the hotel premises.

9. Do pets stay for free like babies or children up to certain ages?

Some hotels let your friend stay free of charge but they might incur a one-time cleaning fee which can be as high as USD 100. In most cases however, luxury hotels do charge a daily fee which is typically about USD 25 – 60 but can occasionally be up to USD 100.

10. What kind of treats or even luxuries are offered to make and keep our friends happy?

Actually hotels are quite creative when it comes to providing your best friend with a truly memorable experience…..welcome basket with treats and toys, “pet sleeping” card, deluxe bedding, comfy duvet, turndown treat, dog jumper, meal options, mineral water, in-room massage – grooming – pedicure, sitting and walking by hotel staff, outdoor play areas, pet birthday celebrations, in-room photo shoot with a pet photographer, taxi service to a pet spa and even a three-course meal prepared by a Michelin-starred chef!

As a passionate dog lover with two adorable doggies at home, here are my final tips:

1. Check the hotel’s pet policy because every hotel has different rules.

2. Contact the hotel ahead of making a reservation to make sure everyone is on the same page.

3. In case you are granted a “special treatment” with respect to your pet(s) make sure you got this in writing, email will do.

Any pet-related hotel experience you would like to share?

Happy vacation with the entire family!


TRUE 5 STARS Luxury Hotel Brand Guest Review Analysis – August 2017

TRUE 5 STARS (T5S) features the world’s top 1,550 branded and unbranded hotels.

As the only platform that focusses on true luxury hotels T5S is 100% independent of the hotels since it charges and receives no listing fees. As a result, T5S‘s hotel selection is the only one 100% unbiased featuring the entire luxury sector and as such is ideally suited for an analysis that compares the same with the same and not apples and oranges.

Included in the analysis are 1,078 branded hotels within 156 luxury hotel brands. Hotel brands comprise 1 to 96 hotels. Featuring only one hotel means that the brand typically comprises more than just one hotel, however, their standard is not sufficiently high to be listed on T5S. One of the major challenges for hotel brands is to keep the standard consistent across the entire portfolio. Therefore T5S lists only the hotels that match or exceed the desired standard regardless of chain or marketing affiliation. Only very few brands manage to deliver a consistently high quality throughout their entire hotel portfolio.

The study is based on 1,074,265 verified guest reviews or more than 996 per hotel aggregated from a variety of different sources, provided by TrustYou, the inventor and world market leader of “meta” guest reviews.

While the branded hotels average about 123 bedrooms, branded and unbranded properties feature a combined average of 100 rooms. The average starting room rate is 567 USD for the branded vs. 591 USD for branded and unbranded hotels combined.

The average score over all 1,377 hotels with a TrustYou score is 91.94%. The average score of all branded hotels is at 91.76% only slightly lower.

The 156 hotel brands scored between 86.0% and 98.0%.

The top scoring 42 brands are smaller local brands with up to 6 hotels listed on T5S while the 28 lowest performing brands are also smaller local hotel groups with up to 4 hotels.

The best performers are The Huka Retreats (98.0), Tintswalo Lodges (97.0) and Inkaterra (96.7).

The global luxury brands performed as follows:

Ritz-Carlton Reserve (95.0), Como (94.3), Sofitel Legend (94.2), Regent (94.0), Capella (93.6), Peninsula (93.5), Andaz (93.5), GHM (93.3), Langham (93.2), Six Senses (93.1), Belmond (93.0), Oetker (93.0), Oberoi (92.8), Dorchester (92.5), Rosewood (92.5), Four Seasons (92.5), JW Marriott (92.4), St. Regis (92.3), Shangri-La (92.2), Mandarin Oriental (92.1), Raffles (91.9), Banyan Tree (91.8), One&Only (91.8), Rocco Forte (91.7), Waldorf Astoria (91.7), Conrad (91.6), Park Hyatt (91.6), Taj (91.5), Sofitel (91.3), InterContinental (91.3), Luxury Collection (91.3), Ritz-Carlton (91.2), Fairmont (91.0), Royal Meridien (91.0), Gran Melia (91.0), Okura (91.0), Jumeirah (91.0), Wilderness Safaris (91.0), Anantara (90.9), Aman (90.4), Westin (90.2), Kempinski (90.2), So Sofitel (90.0), W (89.6), Alila (88.7), andBeyond (87.0).

The most exclusive small and/or regional brands performed as follows:

Inkaterra (96.7), The Royal Portfolio (96.0), Lungarno Collection (95.5), 137 Pillars (95.0), Swire (94.7), Lotte (94.0), Cheval Blanc (93.8), Virgin Limited Edition (93.5), La Reserve (93.5), Constance (93.0), Bulgari (92.7), Fasano (92.5), Tschuggen (92.3), Armani (92.0), Maybourne (92.0), Explora (91.7), Monte-Carlo SBM (91.3), Beachcomber (91.0), Sacher (91.0), Soneva (90.3), Per Aquum (90.3), Hotel Barriere (89.7), Victoria-Jungfrau Collection (88.8), Elounda (87.5), Versace (87.5), Resplendent Ceylon (87.5).

Here are my findings and conclusions:

I. All rating scores are within a relatively narrow range of 12% (86% – 98%).

Conclusion: All the hotels are of relatively high quality or the methodology to ascertain the rating scores is not detailed and/or differentiating enough.

II. Most of the larger well-known brands scored within a very narrow range of just about 3% (90% – 93%).

Conclusion: Brands are apparently very similar in their product and service offering and not really differentiating for the guest. As a matter of fact, their quality assurance audits are in most cases executed by the same provider.

III. The average rating score of 91.76% is about 5% higher than the 87% worldwide average score of the expert reviews of a very large quality assurance provider and about 18% higher than my own quality assurance findings.

Conclusion: Whose findings reflect reality (more)?

IV. While guest review scores are post-stay results of spotty and random reflections aggregated from many (verified) guest expectations – derived pre-stay from images, descriptions, guest reviews and price – expert reviews are more or less comprehensive compilations based on a 2-3 day on-site audit executed by a hotel expert. Relative vs absolute approach.

Conclusion: Are guest review results and expert review findings comparable? Are they complimentary?

Feel free to comment!