Defining Modern Hotel Luxury in Five Parts

April 2017
Larry Mogelonsky, founder, LMA Communications Inc., Toronto

How many times have you heard the word ‘luxury’ in a hotel description? It seems to be one of the most abused words in the hoteliers’ dictionary! I’ve seen many hotels claim to be luxurious, when at most they are just slightly better than average.

There seems to be no clear definition for luxury. Looking for some clarity in the dictionary, the word ‘luxury’ come from Old French luxurie and the Latin luxuria or luxus, meaning excess. In other words, something that is luxurious is an inessential – a desirable item that is more than basic but not a necessity.

In keeping with this definition, the basics of our product/service offerings are definitely not luxuries. These include cleanliness both for rooms and public areas, free and fast Wi-Fi, comfortable beds, sufficient amenities, generous hot water for showers, enough towels, quiet HVAC, good lighting for all needs, entertainment facilities and security. These are the minimum expectation. Don’t confuse delivering any of these elements with providing a luxury for your guests.

The first and obvious step toward attaining bona fide luxury status is to seek quality – better furnishings and fabrics as a start – to better differentiate your hotel. While these are CAPEX decisions, quality can also be found in smaller items such as room amenities. But let’s look beyond the mere concept of quality to define luxury for hoteliers with these five aspirations or status markers.

1. The right technology. The luxury guest anticipates easy and fast Internet access for all of his or her devices. Increasingly, the expectation is for a tablet device in-room that controls most functions such as exploring room service menus and learning more about the local area. But technology is so much more. It involves advanced in-room controls, smart thermostats, televisions that record your preferences and tools that can automate turndown service or front desk coordination.


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