We chatted with the best of the best luxury travel bloggers to find out how anyone can be treated like royalty on their next trip. Our experts even threw in some complimentary vacation tips to really up the ante.
Let’s meet the crew, one by one…
Mrs. O Around the World
Ana Silva O’Reilly, a.k.a. Mrs. O Around the World, is the queen bee of luxury travel bloggers. Based in England, she’s made an entire career out of jet-setting aroundthe globe and she knows how to do it impeccably well. Mrs. O books early and often. Sometimes she’ll even plan her trip up to 11 months in advance. And when she shows up, a hotel always rolls out the red carpet like they’ve been expecting her for months (because they have).
Photo courtesy of Flytographer
For example, Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills always has a handcrafted gin cocktail, aptly named Mrs. O, waiting for her upon check-in. “I love how they go out of their way to make sure everything is just right,” Ana says. “It’s taking attention to detail to the limit.”
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
Lesson: Plan far in advance, so the hotel knows to expect you. Maybe even give them a shout-out or two on social media, so you’llstand out from the crowd. Oh, and it probably helps if you’re a recurring guest of the Four Seasons like Ana.
Luxury Travel Mom
Known as the Luxury Travel Mom, Kim-Marie Evans has taken the average family vacation to a whole new level. The Connecticut-based blogger travels the world with any one (or all) of her four kids in tow, and says that luxury doesn’t necessary have to mean expensive. “It’s about the experience,” she says. When each of her children turns 10-years-old, she lets them plan their dream trip. “My baby turns 10 this summer and is debating between Easter Island and Las Vegas, which I find hilarious,” says Kim-Marie.
Photo courtesy of Kim-Marie Evans
If the Luxury Travel Mom herself was planning the trip, she’d likely head back to one of her favorite haunts, the Shangri-La Paris. “I think the staff at the Shangri-La in Paris should be training every hotel employee in the world. Their concierge managed to create the most extraordinary experiences for my daughter and me, from learning how to make macaroons in aFrench kitchen to meeting Gwen Stefani.” And, she adds, tipping properly can change your travel experience. “It’s amazing the magic that can happen when you tip; also, it’s the right thing to do.”
Photo courtesy of the Shangri-La Paris
Lesson: If you’re traveling with kids, let them help plan the trip. And if you want to meet Gwen Stefani, make sure you royally tip the concierge! But, really, you should always tip hotel staff because, as Kim-Marie says, they’ve earned it. Here’s a handy tipping guide for your next trip.
Based in Australia, Jean Carmela Lim is the beach babe behind Holy Smithereens and she manages to effortlessly combine luxury travel with heart-pumping adventure. Jean says to pick your travel companions wisely because a trip can be terribly marred by bad company. That’s why she likes to travel with her hubby. Apparently, you know you’ve married well if you pick your spouse to be your travel companion.
Photo courtesy of Jean Carmela Lim
Jean and her husband fell in love with Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island because a few of the staff members went above and beyond to introduce the couple to the local culture. “My experience here defied that oft-said remark that one doesn’t really get an authentic experience in hotels, as the only locals you see are hotel staff,” says Jean. “We had such good rapport with a couple of the staff, who were genuinely interested in showing us the real Bora Bora; some even invited us to their homes on the island.”
Photo courtesy of Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island
Lesson: First and foremost, choose your travel companions wisely. Take this quiz to determine if you’re really travel compatible. And always leave yourself open to meeting locals, who can help you see an authentic side of any given destination.
A Luxury Travel Blog
Paul Johnson started A Luxury Travel Blog in the early days of travel blogging, and now he and an army of bloggers cover fabulous trips on every corner of the planet. Paul’s advice is simple but important: Be ready for anything and travel light. “It sounds simple but there are lots of scenarios that make this a little more difficult than you might imagine,” says Paul. “For example, you might need a range of attire if you’re going somewhere with a wide range of temperatures, or if your schedule dictates you have both formal and informal clothing. Or if, say, you get whisked away on an unexpected helicopter ride.”
Photo courtesy of Paul Johnson
Often on-the-go as a family of four, traveling light makes it easier to get from place to place. Paul took his own advice on a recent trip to Elounda Gulf Villas & Suites on Greece’s largest island, Crete, and found the trip to be much more relaxing without all the extra baggage.
Photo courtesy of Elounda Gulf Villas & Suites
Lesson: The less you take, the easier and more comfortable your travels are likely to be. Plus, think of all the money you’ll save on baggage fees by stuffing everything into a compact carry-on! See our picks, based on the new IATA guidelines.
Amy Lynne Hayes has a penchant for creativity, so she named her luxury travel-meets-design blog Créatrice Mondial, which is French for “global creator.” When she travels, Amy likes to take it slow and savor every moment. “On the first day of any trip, I recommend planning nothing. Just arrive. Take the day to soak in the destination and bepresent.”
Photo courtesy of Amy Lynne Hayes
Whenever Amy visits one of her favorite hotels, the Belmond Charleston Place, she likes to spend time enjoying that southern hospitality at its finest. “I love Charleston. I love the food, the culture, the history, everything about it,” says Amy. “We always stay on the concierge club level, and it’s not unheard of for us to spend an entire day hardly leaving the lounge. Breakfast, afternoon tea, evening cocktails, late-night desserts…they offer it all.”
Photo courtesy of Belmond Charleston Place
Lesson: Savor every moment and if you’re looking for a little R&R then spend more time enjoying the hotel’s amenities, like the club level.
The Cultureur is a hybrid of a luxury and culture blog because when Nyssa Chopra travels, she seeks a healthy dose of both the finer things in life AND the vibrant local culture. She has a soft spot for Mandarin Oriental New York because of their five-star hospitality, Oriental aesthetic and breathtaking views of Central Park. She’s hopping from city to city constantly, so how does she figure out where to find the locals’ scene? From the hotel’s concierge, of course!
Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental New York
While visiting Mexico, Nyssa left the big city and set out to find an authentic, family-owned restaurant. Based on a tip and a whim she discovered a small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant owned by a local family of artisans. “While we had the most delicious and authentic Mexican feast imaginable, what was most memorable to me was talking to the family in Spanish about Mexican society and culture for hours and feeling like I was part of their family only moments after meeting them,” says Nyssa. “It’s that kind of connectedness that is at the crux of hospitality.”
Photo courtesy of Nyssa Chopra
Lesson: Seek out a local’s perspective about where to go; there’s no better person to ask than a hotel’s concierge. Ask them for itinerary suggestions and let them make those hard-to-get reservations for you. Chat with them about the destination and their favorite haunts. And it’s worth mentioning again, don’t forget to tip!
Now that you have a few tips from the pros, where are you off to next?