Ask Imagine: Luxury Hotel Vs Standard Hotel

Dear Imagine Lifestyles,

I travel infrequently, and often stay at the Holiday Inn or the Hilton Double Tree.  I find these places to be clean and sufficient, and am curious what the difference is between a standard hotel and a luxury hotel?  I know that compared to a Motel 6 or other rattrap the Hilton is pretty much a luxury hotel.  What defines a 5-star hotel and am I missing out?  Is it just another way to separate people from their money just for a label or place to sleep?  I am curious.

Bill, New York



Hello Bill,
Imagine Lifestyles Luxury Rentals
Thanks for the email, your question is one we get often and I know many people also wonder.  There are fundamental differences between standard hotels and luxury hotels, mostly obvious in terms of service and atmosphere.

While a standard hotel is suitable, a luxury hotel is designed to ‘wow’, to make you feel deliciously special.  When you walk through the doors of a luxury hotel, you know it.  There is an overall feeling that has been strategically crafted, from the sights, smells down to even the temperature.  The color schemes are designed to evoke a prescribed feeling/mood, whether to excite, relax, inspire or a variety of others. 

The rooms of a luxury hotel are elegantly appointed, continuing the overall hotel theme down to the last detail in every room.  Only the best modern amenities come standard for all luxury hotel rooms.  You will not find a charge on your bill for wi-fi from a luxury hotel. 

The restaurants located inside a luxury hotel are usually touting the name of a famous chef, or serve only the best culinary creations.  An example is Mondrian Hotel South Beach, with its famous ‘Asia de Cuba’ restaurant serving a fusion of Asian and Cuban inspired cuisine, in the hotel’s ground floor adjacent to two exotic cocktail bars.  In the after hours, private parties are often hosted at the chic lounges inside luxury hotels, such as fashion shows and celebrity birthdays.  Try crashing one of those at the Holiday Inn!

The pools at a luxury hotel are often more breathtaking than the lobby, perfectly manicured and completed with outdoor bars and clubs.  In South Beach and Miami you can find celebs sprinkled about the outdoor pools at the W Hotel, the Setai, Shoreclub and more.  Many of these luxury poolside retreats boast expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean or intercoastal waterways.  You many never want to leave your hotel. 

Now picture the small indoor pools of a Holiday Inn or the equivalent, in a small glass cubicle that only serves to induce claustrophobia and create an echo-effect of the small children tearing ass and screaming as loud as they can while peeing in the water.  Sounds relaxing…and it likely closes at 9pm.

All of this, and I haven’t even mentioned the top-notch concierge service.  At a luxury hotel, no request is too large or too small, and it seems nothing is off limits.  As you enter and exit your luxury hotel, you are free to gawk at the gorgeous luxury car rentals like Ferrari F430 Spiders, Lamborghini Gallardo’s or Escalades filtering in and out of the valet.  Sigh.  Not sure about you, but I feel a weekend getaway coming on!

I hope this helps to paint the right picture for the key differences between a standard hotel and a luxury hotel Bill, let us know if we can help you find the right one in Miami, New York, Chicago or LA!


Imagine Lifestyles




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