Let’s face it: for most of us a five star hotel is an elusive treat. With travel budgets becoming increasingly tight most people would pay less for a week’s worth of accommodation than some of the most exclusive places charge for a night.
But just because staying a night in a top hotel may be out of reach it doesn’t mean that these grand establishments should be avoided. Posh hotels provide many useful amenities for the budget conscious traveller, none of which they make a point of advertising. So here is a simple list of useful things you can do for free in almost any five star hotel.
1. Enjoying the view
The most prestigious hotels are often high-rise affairs with the upper floors commanding some of the finest views of your immediate surroundings. Why not take the lift up to the top floor and soak up the views from the windows in the hallways? You’ll have the place to yourself and you won’t be paying through the nose for the privilege.
2. Catching your breath
Walking the streets of a big city can be hard work and the time will come when you need to rest your weary feet. Of course you can use the park bench, providing you don’t mind sharing it with an occasional drunk or lunatic on a day’s release from the asylum. A far better option is to wander into the finest hotel in town and plonk yourself down on the most comfortable sofa you can find. With people constantly passing through the lobby you’re unlikely to attract anyone’s attention and you can enjoy your rest in style.
3. People watching
There are few better places to watch the world go by than from the comfort of a seat in a hotel lobby. Observe in bewilderment as guest come down with mountains of luggage, shopping bags from every boutique in town or perhaps even a menagerie of small dogs in fluffy baskets. Wait a while and you’re bound to witness a scene that will have you scratching your head and questioning the sanity of those involved.
4. Celebrity spotting
Choose the right hotel in the right city and you have a good chance of recognising the odd famous face breezing through the hotel entrance and on their way to the presidential suite. Look out for the staff standing to attention and fawning over any of the guests. It’s a good sign that there is a celebrity in the house even if you have no idea who they are.
5. Best free toilets in town
Perhaps the best reason you’ll ever have to visit a 5 star hotel. If you need to go in the city centre, do you really want to go to the nearest public toilets? More often than not they are in a disgusting state and yet you still pay good money for the privilege of holding your breath for as long it takes.
Yet luxury is close at hand and free of charge to those who choose to use it. Breeze in through the doors (always greet the doorman with a smile) and make your way with purpose across the lobby, avoiding the gaze of the reception staff as you head for the loos which are usually easy to find. Once inside you can enjoy piped music, fancy towels and of course immaculate cleanliness.