select images supplied by The Goring Hotel London
select images supplied by The Goring Hotel London
As a larger family, we mostly use apartments when travelling, especially for extended stays. The primary reason is cost, and the second being space, location and freedom. There is a degree of choice that apartments present over hotels. I have researched and used many country-specific apartment services as well as those through booking.com, Airbnb, and specialty groups like onefinestay and KidandCoe.
Across these services, you will find excellent options, especially when staying in cities (which we most often do). However, I use these as more of a utility than an experience. Yes, you are within local communities through apartment rentals and can feel like part of the city, but in my experience, it does not match the world created by the best luxury hotels.
This is the essence of Stay Someday, a hand-picked list of exceptional family hotels. For me, an outstanding luxury hotel or resort is not the ‘norm’ when travelling. But it is the delicious local treat that I will try for perhaps a small portion of the city stay. Luxury properties that I recommend on Stay Someday are complete experiences and great companions to well-chosen apartment stays.
What you will most fondly remember is that great hotel with its comfort, delicious cuisine, well maintained and luxurious amenities, and an unsurpassed level of service. A luxury hotel is a window into the surrounding area, often well located, giving access to cultural attractions that you may have through other accommodation options. A luxury hotel is by no means a guarantee of this, however, you can tell the truly exceptional ones worthy of their expense by the great lengths they go to in providing a unique experience on-site and around the city.
A recent example of this is the carefully curated services that Rosewood Hotels has publicised for its worldwide properties. Another is the continued excellence that the Peninsula Hotels deliver through their Academy Program.
The Sense of Place Journeys includes 2-day itineraries for guests to immerse themselves in their surrounding city with unique private experiences. These include a private walking and museum tours, a cooking class, west end show, and personal shopping in London. Yoga, cooking, and seaplane sightseeing in Vancouver. A walking tour, garden tour, farm tour and cooking class, a private museum and design centre tour in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Other locations offering similar services are Dallas, Silicon Valley, and Sante Fe. Further to this,
Rosewood A Sense of Taste provides rare insights into local culinary treasures such as a cooking school, bespoke dining, and farm tours in Tuscany (Castiglion Del Bosco). At the Carlyle in New York, market tours and brewery tours are offered with bespoke picnics and exclusive in-house themed dining. Other locations offering this initiative are Santa Fe, Vancouver, Dallas, San Martin, Menlo Park, San Miguel de Allende, Los Cabos, Riviera Maya, London, Tuscany, Abu Dhabi, Beijing, and Bermuda (although I am sure this would also be valuable at their Bangkok, Paris, and Hong Kong locations).
The Rosewood Limited Edition program is offered at 12 properties, with highlights including vintage car design in Paris, treasure hunting from a mega yacht in the Bahamas, street art in Yangoon, and a photographic expedition through Hong Kong.
The Peninsula Group has integrated exclusive cultural experiences through its Academy program since 1997. Each property offers services across a variety of pursuits, with the Peninsula Tokyo including Karate, glass blowing, food tours, and contemporary art explorations. The Peninsula Chicago gives access to helicopter tours, boot camp classes, pastry and dim sum cooking classes, floral design and river exploration.
The Peninsula has set the standard in enhanced experiences through a program that is consistently excellent at every property worldwide. I have chosen these two hotel groups as they are the very best as a group for properties worldwide and are among others who also deliver iconic cultural experiences (Four Seasons, Firmdale, Rocco Forte).
There are also many other independent properties who provide an equally immersive experiences like The Mark in New York City, Athenaeum Hotel and The Goring in London, The Dylan in Amsterdam, Bab Al Shams in Dubai, Cordis Hotel Hong Kong, La Florida in Barcelona, The Biltmore in Miami, and The Merrion in Dublin.
These independent properties are well worth considering both for cultural activities and the range of family services and amenities provided. There are other excellent luxury properties that offer great cultural immersion worldwide, but without the family focus, they won’t rate a mention from me.
For your next trip, consider a short heavenly stay to elevate your family experience and complete a treasured memory of that holiday. It is the most effective way to make a vacation truly special.