Of course, I’ve never once spent the night at either of those places.
My experience with hotels is usually focused on “let’s see how little I can spend without getting bug bites.” It’s rare, to put it mildly, for me to even consider forking over $400 or more to sleep in a bed – even if it’s a great bed with high thread count sheets.
But oh, how I love a little taste of luxury.
So I cheat.
It’s not actually cheating, per say, but I have found that luxury hotels offer more in the way of luxury than just an overnight stay. Specifically, I like to indulge in the spas and restaurants of these fine hotels.
The best meal I’ve ever had was at Seasons Restaurant, the restaurant located on the seventh floor of the Four Seasons Chicago Hotel. Your typical bread basket came in the form of a bread display, and my perfect white table cloth was removed of all crumbs by a small golden contraption resembling a straight edge razor. The food was beyond divine, and the service was extraordinary.
One of my dining partners asked what beverages were available and our waiter responded with “what would you like? If we don’t have it, we’ll get it.”
I am not a hard core foodie, but I could become one after eating at Seasons Restaurant. And I would use words like “caramelized” with reverence and love.
The bill came up to about $125 per person. That bought us a four hour dining experience, four gourmet courses and a dessert coated with actual gold flecks.
We left the Four Seasons and retired to our $69 per night hotel room with full bellies and angelic smiles.
I’ve never dined (or spent the night) at The Ritz Carlton in Orlando, but I have spent more than one day there soaking in the lap of luxury. I go to The Ritz for their spa.
The Ritz offers a full spa menu – everything from pedicures to massages – including the massages that involve someone walking on your back. Of course, there are dozens of places to get pedicures and massages for less money in the Orlando area.
What makes The Ritz unique is that one spa treatment (even if it’s just a pedicure), gives you access to their entire spa and facilities for the day. I lounge on a comfy couch in one of their relaxation rooms before my “treatments”, and then enjoy a leisurely sit in the steam room afterward. I might also take a dip in the pool or relax in the sauna before heading off to the showers – which are private and well stocked with amenities.
I might pay just over $100 for an hour long massage, but I typically spend several hours unwinding in an environment of luxury and opulence.
When I’m done, I head home to my own bed where I sleep for free – and boy, do I sleep well.
The great thing about luxury hotels is that they excel at service. That means that you will never be treated like an interloper while enjoying their non-guestroom amenities. For a few hours, you’ll be treated like a star, without having to pay a star quality room rate.
Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel and Ritz Carlton Orlando Resort Grande Lakes