We dislike bland, characterless chain hotels and passionately believe that hotels should add to the travelling experience. Any hotel needs an excellent USP to be featured by us.
We visit all the hotels in our portfolio and this guiding system is designed to provide a semi-objective judgement to help you decide whether the accommodation suggested is the right choice for you.
There are very few hotels we would describe as 'ultimate'. Hotels in this category must have absolutely everything anyone could want and really be aiming for the stars. These hotels generally go well above and beyond and they would always be at the very top end of the market. These are for clients looking for that extra special place.
Luxury hotels would have a superb level of service, very comfortable and usually spacious bedrooms, excellent food, great design and character. For us, when we visited, these places all had the ‘wow factor’. A luxury hotel should satisfy the criteria of the most discerning clients.
This is our first really 'upmarket' category. It might be a beautiful tiny hotel with very limited facilities or a 5* resort hotel with all the trimmings; but any hotel in this category will be a well-run establishment with very comfortable rooms, a strong service ethos and excellent food.
This is what we would describe as our standard category. These will be decent 3/4* hotels providing a really good level of service. We would generally expect them to be providing a little something extra, in terms of character, guest experience or facilities too.
This is our lead in category. There will generally be a no frills approach and while some will be characterful, some will do exactly what it says on the tin – provide a clean, comfortable and good value place to spend the night. These places are normally 3* hotels.
This category covers gorgeous lodges in the jungle, comfortable safari camps and dreamy, but simple, beach cabanas. These places defy conventional categorisation: what is communing with nature to one person may be terrifying bugs to another! Many of these places are very comfortable and the service generally of a very high level – but please read the website review carefully and/or talk to us and be sure to have understood what you are letting yourselves in for!
The 'Basic' category covers places which are very simple indeed, with extremely rudimentary facilities. These places are used when they are part of the experience, such as a village homestay, or when there are no other hotels available in an area.
The 'Villa' is a similar concept to the 'holiday home' in Europe, with some key differences. Our villas in Asia are always fully staffed with cooking and service provided for you. Staff will generally cook meals to your specification and purchase food and drink for you at cost price. They are generally pretty smart and luxurious too and feel in many ways like a small private hotel. Nonetheless, your villa is still effectively a home and therefore you cannot expect the same level of training, English speaking or slickness that you might expect from a hotel at a similar cost. As the owners are not generally holiday professionals we cannot guarantee the quality of a villa matches expectations in a way we can with hotels. That said, the personal local touch means villas are generally much more friendly and interactive than hotels and have much to recommend them. The privacy and space makes them wonderful for families, groups of friends or couples looking for privacy and relaxation.
What we mean by 'Homestay' is generally a large family owned house, still occupied by at least some members of the family. Interaction with guests is encouraged and is in fact unlikely to be avoided! These places always have bags of character are usually highly charming and can provide a fascinating shortcut towards understanding local life a little better. Facilities can range from the luxurious, to pretty basic and meals are generally taken as a group and served in the local style rather than from a menu. The service is almost always fairly quirky and idiosyncratic. Great fun.