Hotel Club LevelGalavante Confidential – Best Hotel Club Levels
Look, we’re no strangers to travel. We take it seriously, like it’s our job or something. We can rank each First Class by suite size, availability of Tesseron cognac – Lot 29, of course – and even sock thread count in our overnight kits. Similarly, we know the ins and outs of a luxury hotel. We’re masters of the upgrade. We have one standard – a high one. And frankly, it can be challenging to find a hotel that meets expectations in every way.
So we felt it was time to talk about hotel club floors – specifically, the coveted club floor lounge, that exclusive, alluring space that means the difference between Prosecco and Dom. (Gratis, obviously). Sure, some hotels, like the St. Regis in Beijing, believe in club floors for the privileged masses, hosting daily cocktails and hors d’oeuvres for guests. But then there are the true club lounges, occupying the hotel’s most primo space and accessible only by the elite few with the key cards to the kingdom. Don’t kid yourself that overflowing gourmet food and top-shelf liquor are overrated. As far as we’re concerned, there are destination hotels, and there are destination club floor lounges. Our favorites are worth sharing. Sometimes, the champagne is just best from the top.
Ritz-Carlton San Juan, Puerto Rico
OK, so we’re suckers for free booze. At the Ritz-Carlton San Juan, it’s free-flowing champagne morning, noon, and night. Not to mention a constant array of gorgeous, Top Chef-worthy buffets, from brunch to a lavish dessert spread. On our last visit, we counted five food offerings over the course of the day. And frankly, everything’s better with a belly full of waffles and a brain full of bubbles. With the relatively reasonable (in luxury speak), club floor hotel rates, it’s the most accessible of our favorite lounges. Don’t be surprised if you take advantage of your club status by camping out for the full day. You can thank us later.
Hotel Arts Barcelona, Spain
There’s a lot to love about this modern Spanish hotel, not least of which is its club level. The Mediterranean view is enough to take your breath away, along with the stunningly attractive people who occupy the uppermost club floors. Then there’s the Cava Concierge (self explanatory), five daily tapas that emphasize local ingredients, and complimentary spa access. To top it off, you get own Smart Car to tour around in, which is not really part of the lounge but so darn fun, we had to mention it.
Four Seasons Maui, Hawaii
Ever wonder what it’s like to be the best of the best? For Four Seasons junkies, the Maui property more often then not finds its way to the coveted favorite Four Seasons slot. First, you take a quintessential vacation destination – one of the most gorgeous, idyllic, and relaxing locations possible. Throw in a high dose of swank accommodation from one of the world’s most trusted brands, and add in a kick-a-- view of the Pacific. Then go club lounging, which takes it to a whole new level. It’s not inexpensive to upgrade, but you can argue that it’s worth it with all the gratis gourmet food and top-shelf cocktails. We know you’re up for the challenge to drink and eat your money’s worth – all while taking in the hotel’s finest views.
The Excelsior Hong Kong, A Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Let’s face it – even for upscale hotels, the Mandarin Oriental is superlative. Arguably, it’s the most exclusive, with the best service and the most lavish rooms. Now take it up several notches and add a club floor lounge in the city where the Mandarin Oriental all began, and you’ve hit luxury nirvana. At the Excelsior Hong Kong, the club floor provides guests with decadent breakfasts, afternoon tea (they were under British rule), evening hors d’oeuvres, and cocktails. A bonus is the discounts on spa treatments and dining – this is one membership that pays back.
Soho House, New York City
This may not be a traditional club floor with free food and booze all day (and night), but booking a room at the Soho House provides something even more exclusive – access. Wait-listed is a dirty word, but it happens to the best of us, especially when it comes to membership at this private club. And if you’re in finance? Forget about it; this is the one time your Centurion Amex and hedge fund background are not going to get you past the membership rope. But of course there is a way to game the system, and that’s by being a hotel guest. So while you might not be able to conduct all your daily coffee meetings alongside the likes of Bono and Christy Turlington (yet), booking a room gives you full access to the bar and rooftop pool, where you can take as many dips with your “influential” friends as your little heart desires.
(Photos courtesy of Ritz-Carlton San Juan, Hotel Arts Barcelona, Four Seasons Maui, The Excelsior Hong Kong, Soho House NYC)