Hotel Club Level Stays Are The Best Luxury Bargain In The Hospitality Business

The best indulgences are always those that are easiest to justify. Heading to the club level of a hotel is one of my favourites. A privileged enclave of peace and quiet. Space to work. Magazine and newspapers to rifle through. Usually at the top of the hotel, guests benefit from the best views in the building. One more hors d’oeuvre. Another glass of wine. 

Not all club levels are equal though. Some appear to content themselves with a few slightly curled sandwiches and rapidly dehydrating cake at tea time, but at others, the sense of munificence runs the course of a full day.  

At the Belmond Charleston Place – in a quintessentially Southern way – the hospitality doesn’t stop coming. Breakfast has all the bacon, salmon, scrambled eggs, bagels and danishes you might want. It moves seamlessly into lunch – a mixture of cold and hot hors d’oeuvre, then afternoon tea (a particularly delicious coffee cake to go with the sandwiches). Evening sees more hot appetisers and cheese. 

Cementing the Belmond Charleston Place’s charm, to one side, there’s a bar to sit at, with a sterling collection of wines, beers and spirits and if you’re lucky, veteran bar tender Dan Etherton will be mixing potent cocktails, all of which are complimentary.

A really good club level of a hotel has the ease of your parent’s fridge but with none of the restrictions or guilt factor; the feel-good flipside to butler service, and a boon to greedy introverts who don’t want to navigate room service. At the Renaissance St Pancras, guests of the Chambers Suites have access to the Victorian splendour of Chambers Club room. As hotel loyalty programmes start to ramp up, club lounges are being increasingly deployed.  Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite, and Ambassador Elite Members of the Marriott Bonvoy travel programme have guaranteed lounge access.

It’s an area where innovations are coming thick and fast. At the PuXuanhotel in Beijing, the club kitchen has been designed by Bulthaup. Designed to look and feel like an apartment, the perks include laundry and dry-cleaning, secretarial assistance and complimentary car travel. At the Ritz-Carlton Millenia in Singapore, there’s an easel set up and drawing materials provided. 

Initially designed to appeal for business travellers, these days, they often have considerable appeal for families. Food at club level is generally buffet-minded and keep extended hours, cutting down on room service and are a handy, controlled space outside the hotel room for both parent and child. 

Do your sums right and they can be cost-effective too, especially for leisure travellers. For instance, rates at Belmond Charleston Place start at $345, but only $475 for the club level. A few cocktails in the evening soon smooths out the price difference. For the best bargains, look for weekend rates in hotels that are generally geared towards Monday-Friday business travel.

A good club area isn’t too quiet either. Guests chat to each other, conversations are easily formed. Clubs are meant to be convivial places after all.


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