Booking everything online for travel, is the way to go. While there are many sites that aggregate rooms such as Agoda or Booking.com, for parents with small children or booking several rooms, we have found that booking directly on the hotel’s website is the best bet. Booking directly with the hotel’s site ensures that you can ask them all the questions you need-such as booking connecting rooms and making special requests. Most hotels will give you an additional discount if you find a cheaper rate on line – so this ensures that booking on their site will still give you the best prices.
The experience and service of a hotel begins with the usefulness of their website. You can get an idea about the kind of hotel by the website interface. Is there a direct contact or email available? When you try and book something, does it show you all the possible options or just the current available ones? We have put together a list of the best hotels with the most user friendly sites.
Shangrila Hotels: There is a local number available that connects you to their call center. You are billed as if you are calling a local phone number. The operators are friendly, helpful and specific.
Four Seasons; Their ‘contact us’ form seems general on the website, but when they reply to you, it feels very personal. They also offer choices that were not presented on the website.
Peninsula: Peninsula is very prompt in replying to emails and take careful attention to details.
St James Club in London: A small boutique hotel part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the St. James offers very personalized service that gives you a hint of what the service will be like at the hotel
Edition Hotels- While the Edition Hotels belong to the much larger Marriot group that usually leads you to a massive world wide reservations call center, the Edition seems to be set apart from this. It is young, hip and very easy going and the people that respond to you are very helpful.
Dorchester Collection Hotels : The Dorchester Collection is a group of luxury hotels all over the world, probably some of the world’s most iconic such as Plaza Athenee in Paris and The Beverly Hills Hotel. If you are looking for luxury, this is the site to visit, as they have amazing service to match.
Mandarin Hotels: Mandarin hotels are always a favorite. They uphold the highest standards of Asian hospitality ( in our view Asian hospitality is still top notch for service) while combining European luxury. Their online interface is no exception.
Aman: Aman is synonymous with understated extreme luxury. Their booking website is as streamlined and efficient as the service in their resorts. They are also one of the few call centers that actually take time out to get back to you to confirm the smallest details. We called them up to ask if their Amannemu property had cherry blossoms on the property. They replied that they would call us back. When they called back two hours later, the lady said that they did indeed have cherry blossoms on the property and provided approximate dates of when they would be in bloom, but apologized profusely as she could not guarantee an exact date. Now that’s service.
St Regis: When you talk to them on the call center, they don’t know much about the property. It’s a waste of time when they get your SPG number too because their agents seem to be slow. The only plus is that they call you when you click ‘call me now’ on the website. The rooms hardly ever can accommodate a family of four.
Ritz Carlton: When you call them up, you go into a general system of the Marriot which makes it feel so impersonal. The interface of the website is cold and almost too corporate.
Sherraton: The operator had no idea what property I was asking about. Enough said.