Back in 2007 the average room rate at chic hotel chain Malmaison left you with little change from £200.
But right now, at 11 of the 12 Malmaisons around the UK, you can book a Sunday night or bank holiday Monday night for just £10 if your clients spend £75 between them on a meal in the hotels’ brasseries.
An isolated case? Not quite – look around and you’ll find plenty of discounts and deals in the luxury hotel sector.
LateRooms is seeing five-star hotels dropping their average daily rate by 10% in a bid to entice guests who, when they do book, are tending not to upgrade. The Celtic Manor hotel in Wales was recently offering rooms through LateRooms for £99, despite its rack rate of £345.
LateRooms head of marketing Jessica Reading said: “Hotels in the five-star market have traditionally been reluctant to get involved in any special rate deals, and are only happy to sell via a third party if they are not part of a promotion.
“However, this is changing and they are not so adamant about keeping their rates exclusive. They are also adopting more opaque purchase deals.
“Traditionally, customers pay for their room on departure, but more and more high-end hotels are asking customers to pay up front – so that there’s less chance of them cancelling at the last minute.”
Ewan Grant, operations manager at Dakota Forth Bridge Edinburgh, said agents should be getting excited about great value-adds rather than any price drops.
He said: “It definitely is more about adding incentives at the moment. We have found that recently, people are seeking out total packages and are looking for flexible, bespoke offerings – combining food and drink as well as ancillary services such as meetings or leisure packages.”
The group has recently launched a new spa package, which throws in treatments at ultra-cool spa group Zen Lifestyle. “It’s just another offering that we hope will help us stand out in the market,” added Grant.
Luxury hotel deals
The Lanesborough, London
Madonna, Jim Carrey and Leonardo di Caprio favour The Lanesborough and stay in its ultra-private Royal Suite, which sells for a cool £7,000 a night. Star or no star, though, your clients will be treated like kings here – whether mixing with A-listers in the Library Bar or rubbing shoulders with moneyed diners in Apsleys restaurant.
The deal: Two nights at the hotel at £255 plus VAT per night. Rate does not include breakfast, champagne or parking. It applies to deluxe single, executive single and deluxe double, and no upgrades are allowed. Rates are available Friday, Saturday and Sunday. As a comparison, rack rates for a deluxe single are £375. (020 7259 5599, lanesborough.com)
The House, Barbados
Sitting on the west coast of the island, a stay at The House is all about colonial living with a modern twist – afternoon tea is served daily, but then again, so are champagne breakfasts. Five-star service will see clients receiving blissful jet lag massages in their suites, a beach ambassador to smooth out guests’ towels and gourmet dining in renowned London outpost restaurant Daphne’s.
The deal: Agents can bag a 30% discount at luxury boutique hotel The House when booking three nights or more until May 31. The offer is valid for travel between June 1 and December 14. Rates start from £318 per room per night for a Garden View Junior Suite. Bookings before May 31 for travel up to December 14 will also bag clients $100-worth of in-resort credit at The House. (+1 246 432 5525, thehousebarbados.com)
A Gazetteers user from Thomson Milton Keynes wrote: “The property is absolutely amazing. I arrived here in the evening and walked through the main gates to a floor of candle light, a glass of champagne and a mango smoothie. I was met by my own personal ambassador, Andrew, who was fabulous. The gang here are fantastic and cannot do enough for you.”
Le Touessrok, Mauritius
This is where royalty honeymoon, and no wonder. Private beaches, butlers and unrivalled luxury characterise Le Touessrok, which sits right on the beach on the eastern side of the island. The main hotel is a whitewashed village-like set-up, splashed with pink Torch Ginger and hibiscus. There are two private islands, for sunbathing and water sports, an array of top restaurants serving French and Mauritian cuisine, spa treatments galore and plenty of places to sit and lap up the luxury, while your waiter anticipates your every whim.
The deal: Hayes and Jarvis offers this hotel as part of its Luxury for Less category in its Mauritius Unmistakable Value Collection. Agents can book a 10-night half board package for £1,979 per person for departures on June 7 with Air Mauritius from Heathrow. That is a £2,000 saving per head on normal prices for this time of year. (0871 664 0246, hayesandjarvis.com)
Raffles Canouan, the Grenadines
Sitting next to two pristine white-powder beaches and with direct ocean views, Raffles Canouan is a home from home for the seriously well heeled. Clients shouldn’t be surprised to bump onto Cheryl Cole in the lobby (she and Ashley are said to have had a secret holiday here) or in the restaurant, which serves cocktails to well-to-do guests.
The deal: Caribtours is offering clients half price on ocean view rooms, one-bedroom suites or the Raffles Villa, with potential savings of £931 per person. Agents can book seven nights at the resort for £1,698 per person, staying in an ocean view room, including breakfast. Price includes flights, inter-island flights and transfers. Travel must be booked by June 30. (020 7751 0660, caribtours.co.uk)
Little Governor’s Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya
Strictly speaking, this isn’t a hotel, but the Little Governor’s Camp in the Masai Mara, Kenya, offers no less of a deluxe experience. En-suite tents mean slumming it is out of the question at this posh safari camp. Surrounding a watering hole that roars and echoes with wildlife, the camp is an intimate affair, offering priceless insight into the life of the animals via game viewing in custom-built four-wheel drives. Dinner is always first class.
The deal: Original Travel offers a four-night trip to the camp for £1,120 per person twin-share, a £590 saving on the £1,710 the trip would have cost pre-recession. The price includes flights, internal flights, transfer, all meals, park fees and safari activities. (020 7978 7333, originaltravel.co.uk)
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