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Special Hotels of the World – a little confusing?

Hotel bedroomI’ve long been aware of The Leading Hotels of the World, Great Hotels of the World and Small Luxury Hotels of the World, but it is only recently that I became aware of Special Hotels of the World, from the same people that are behind Great Hotels of the World, the Great Hotels Organisation. Apparently…
Special Hotels of the World is a collection of the world’s finest independent four-star luxury hotels and resorts. Each luxury hotel is chosen based on their unique individuality and exclusive facilities. We have travelled the world in search of its finest hotel treasures, and we are pleased to present you with the most awe-inspiring of our discoveries.
Great Hotels of the World presents an unrivalled collection of independent five-star luxury hotels and resorts. Each hotel is selected for its dedication to the highest standards of luxury, unique sophistication, stunning surroundings and innovative facilities. We handpick the most exclusive hotels in the world for your convenience, so you can indulge in the ultimate of extravagances when you travel.
So, let me get this right… is this saying that five star hotels are great, but four star hotels are special?!   All this is a little confusing for the layperson, don’t you think (particularly when you consider that some countries don’t even have five stars in their official national tourist board hotel classification)… is it just purely marketing hype?

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Telegraph.

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One Comment

  1. I agree that it’s a little bit confusing. However, I’ve tried to come up with a logical explanation. Of course, I could be completely wrong but here’s what I think.

    To meet the five star criteria, a hotel must have certain facilities – swimming pool, gym, etc, etc. Things I never or rarely use but still have to pay for in the room rate.

    A four star, on the other hand, might not meet these criteria. But who cares? If you’re not wanting these facilities anyway, then you might find the place “special” even though it doesn’t have five stars.

    Homestays could also be “special”. If you spent the night in a historic building you wouldn’t expect it to have all the trappings of a five star, but it could still be a great experience. The Residence of Ku Din Ku Meh in Penang would be a good example of this.

    Having said all that, I think you’re probably right – it’s marketing hype. :-)

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