Picture this: you are sent by your company to a certain destination for the coming weeks or months and you are faced with a choice of hotels to stay. How would you decide which were the best hotels from each chain?
If your answer is purely linked to the comfort, beauty, service or location of the possible options you have yet to be stung by the points obsession.
Next time, instead of focusing only on each hotel’s features consider as well the miles you may earn.
Why? So that, after all those nights on the road, you can splash on the dream vacation you have earned. And dare I say, with such amazing reward stays from the main hotel chains, an ordinary or below average stay for a few weeks may feel much less painful. These are the best hotels and resorts to break the loyalty point bank on
1. Hilton Group – Conrad Maldives (95,000 Hilton Honors Points per night)
No words are necessary to justify why this is the best hotel in the entire Hilton chain.
Award winning resort featured, years after it was first opened, in the Conde Nast Gold List in 2013, included in the list of 100 Best Hotels in the World and with over 1,000 reviews on TripAdvisor still gathers a 4.5 rating. From the beauty of the Maldives, which require no introduction, to the level of service, the reef a step away from the beach teeming with marine life, the outdoor over water Jacuzzi on the water villas, the adults only island, the infinity pool and, above all, the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant where you can dine with the fish.
You will wish the city you have to travel to has a Hilton where you can accumulate points. The Conrad also has the largest cellar in the Maldives and a great spa for those lazy afternoons. Needless to say, these are the best spent points in a lifetime.
2. Starwood Hotels and Resorts – Gritti Palace in Venice (35,000 SPG Points per night)
A member of The Luxury Collection, The Gritti Palace was built in 1525 as residence of Doge Andrea Gritti and is located on the Grand Canal. It is not far from the Piazza San Marco and it offers private views of Santa Maria della Salute. If you have not been to Venice this is the romantic vacation that can justify any below average hotel stay to save enough points for a memorable trip. Can anything be more magical than this? Of course, location and architectural and historical beauty are complemented by great service earning the hotel a 5 star rating on TripAdvisor and many other accolades. Enjoy alfresco drinks on the canal or marvel at the sunset over the gondolas. The Gritti Palace has recently been renovated refreshing its original style to make it an even more obvious choice when spending SPG Points.
3. Shangri-La Hotels and resorts – Lhasa, Tibet (6,500 Golden Circle points)
Shangri-la has been expanding its portfolio with Kerrit and Traders Hotels and now boasts a tempting range of new hotels with a high pedigree. Beyond the obvious choices in Asia including the Shangri-la Boracay or the several hotels they have in mainland China points are best spent on their Lhasa property which has been very recently opened and offers unrivaled views of the Potala Palace from the room, a truly Shangri-la location.
Service is top notch as is the Tibetan decor, the peaceful surroundings, the food and their on-site clinic ready to treat any symptom of altitude sickness you may have if landing straight on the Tibetan plateau. Although the hotel has only just opened a month ago service levels and quality are already of the expected 5* standard.
4. Marriott Hotels – Ritz Carlton, Cayman Islands
Marriott Hotels is one of the largest hotel Chain in the world and owns properties in all geographies and luxury ranges. On the higher end you will find the Ritz Carlton and the Bulgari properties which most of the public does not known belong to Marriott. These are the only two chains, with few exceptions, where your points would take you to truly unforgettable destinations. However, Bulgari Hotels do not participate in the Marriott Rewards Program so you can’t use your points there.
So go ahead and use your points for a Caribbean stay where Marriott has a wide presence. I would choose the Cayman Islands resort for its wonderful location and luxury flair. Bear in mind, not all of Marriott’s Hotels were created equal and some are not necessarily luxurious.
5. Accor Hotels Thalassa Agadir, Morocco (12,000 points)
Accor Hotels is the owner of the recently revamped Sofitel hotels which have been popping up in spectacular locations and starting to create a name for style, elegance and modern luxury
But the Sofitel Hotels tend to be in urban locations so, for that special vacation, stay at one of Accor’s Thalassa Resorts all of which are in special locations of therapeutic value. Each Thalassa Resort features a Wellness Institute with trained staff ready to tailor that special vacation that will see you rejuvenated and re-energized for the busy life.
The Agadir Thalassa Spa also boasts several pools for relaxation, sea views, private beach access and a golf club. And of course, being in Morocco the spa has various Jacuzzi and a hammam.
6. Intercontinental Hotels – Thalasso Spa Resort, Bora Bora (50,000 IHG points)
With the new revamp of their loyalty program IHG may actually start offering reasonable loyalty value. The best hotel to use your points at is the Intercontinental Thalasso Spa Bora Bora. Not only is the destination in everybody’s dream list but the points will be real value for money because the luxury resorts in these tiny islands have rates of over $1,000 per night. Use your points and book a beach villa then upgrade to a an over water one for the true Polynesian experience.
And if the Thalasso is full, you can also use the points for the Morea Resort, a short boat ride away from the main property. Get your breakfast delivered by boat right to your villa’s door, enjoy dinners under the stars and the many activities that make Bora Bora the most romantic and sought after destination. And since the stay will be paid for with points you can splash in some of the once in a lifetime activities on offer including helicopter rides, swimming with sharks, trekking or diving. And if you are celebrating a special occasion you can also book one of their sailing boats just for you two.
All photos from hotel websites