Why spend a fortune on a luxury vacation when you can spend less? It's possible to go anywhere in the world for a high-end trip without a hefty price tag, but it needs to be tailored to the destination. London, Paris, San Francisco, Singapore and Sydney are five cities known for being expensive, and below, people from these five places share their tips for saving money on a luxury vacation.
Seize the moment
Paula Fitzherbert, a native Londoner and media director for the five-star Claridge's, Connaught and Berkeley hotels, said London has some particularly busy peak seasons with extremely high hotel rates. This includes June, during which there is the Chelsea Flower Show, the Royal Jockey Club and the Wimbledon Open, as well as Fashion Week in February and September. Outside of these periods, Sunday night occupancy is the lowest and rates are the best. "It's a time when it's possible to stay for half price and have access to free amenities than other days of the week," says Fitzherbert. The hotels she represents will try to give Sunday night guests extras such as a bottle of champagne, free breakfast and room upgrades.
James Manning, global projects editor for Time Out London, suggests choosing the end of August or the full month of November if you want to go to London. Airfare and hotel costs are lower then, and there are several noteworthy and free events. Europe's largest street festival, Notting Hill Carnival, is in August.
Smart meal arrangement
Skip the fine dining. Manning says some casual and affordable restaurants in London, such as Taiwanese teahouse Xu Ruhua Yuan (Xu), outperform many Michelin-starred restaurants in terms of atmosphere and taste. Fitzherbert says that for extravagant cuisine at low prices, head to the food sections of Harrods (Harrods) or Selfridges (Selfridges) (also her own choice). "You can buy small portions of uncommon cheeses and artisanal chocolates, and the stores inside often offer free tastings on weekends," she says. She also suggests taking advantage of the common and well-priced pre- and post-theater menus at other expensive restaurants like The Ivy and Savoy Grill, and enjoying an evening drink at an upscale bar like Connaught Bar for less than $20 -- usually with olives, nuts and other ingredients. -usually with olives, nuts and other snacks.
Free or low-cost cultural tours
Admission is free to most major museums, and venues such as the Tate Modern (although special exhibitions often charge), the South Bank Centre and the Royal Opera House have regular free performances. (Weekly updates on the best free events in London on Time Out.) Most West End theaters put out reduced-price tickets (usually about $25) for that night's performance every morning. Fitzherbert also suggests trying to see a show at a non-West End theater. Tickets can cost as little as half the price of the West End.
Timing is important
Avoid visiting during Fashion Week (womenswear, menswear and couture), the French Open in late May and early June and the International Contemporary Art Fair in October. Prices are lower in winter and in August, when most Parisians are out of town, but this also depends on the schedule of events during this period, so it is best to do your research first. The Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau website lists the city's major events.
Stay in a low-key and mysterious high-end hotel
If you want to stay in a place that is not as expensive as a palatial hotel, but still luxurious, you can stay in a hotel that is low key but no less luxurious. For example, the San Regis, tucked away in a quiet street in the 8th arrondissement, known as the Golden Triangle, or the Jacques Garcia-designed Hôtel Bourg Tibourg in the Marais. Do a search online for these lesser-known gems - some can be found on the Paris Boutique Hotels website and in the Paris edition of Time Out.
Experience a palatial hotel without paying high prices
Standard double rooms in palatial hotels in Paris usually start at $1,000 or more per night, which is overpriced for most people. But Elsa Bacry, a native Parisian and director of European partnerships for the luxury travel network Virtuoso, said locals often patronize casual bistros and beer halls such as La Bristol at 11 Avenue Faubourg for a taste of luxury. "It's not particularly cheap, but it's not particularly expensive either," she says. Parisians also like to drink at hotel bars, such as L'Oiseau Blanc at the Peninsula Paris or Bar Josephine at Lutetia. Frequent Paris correspondent Hannah Meltzer (Hannah Meltzer) said there are also spa treatments such as the caviar facial at the Four Seasons Paris luxury day spa.
Avoid various conferences
According to Teresa Rodriguez, editor-in-chief of the San Francisco edition of WhereTraveler magazine, San Francisco hosts a large number of conventions throughout the year. When there is a conference held during the hotel prices will rise to more than three times. Check the calendar for the Moscone Center, the city's main conference venue, and plan your trip according to it.
Book a lesser-known hotel or rent an apartment
Debbie Kessler, head of Protravel International's San Francisco office, which sells high-end tours of the city, says moving away from well-known international brands and into a luxury boutique hotel can help travelers save money. "They're much more reasonably priced than the big-name competitors," she says. Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, for example, has four design-inspired hotels in San Francisco. Booking an upscale hotel in South Marin County, about 20 minutes from San Francisco, is another money-saving option her clients will use. Rodriguez encourages visitors to rent a place through Airbnb or other rental platforms - you can stay in a historic Victorian home or a sleek high-rise condo for a fraction of the price of a hotel.
Watch out for luxury hotel deals
Singapore does not distinguish between high and low seasons and maintains a certain level of traffic throughout the year, said Howard Oh, concierge manager at Mandarin Oriental and a Singaporean. So, with the exception of off-season rates, the city's high-end hotels offer deals all year round. Howard Oh's advice is to compare the prices of three luxury hotels you'd really like to stay at, and then see which one gives the most enticing option. "The deals vary in price, but you might find a weekend stay with a discounted rate, breakfast included and other items, or a two-night stay with a free night," he said.
Eat like a local
Eating out in the city is generally expensive, but some neighborhoods are home to excellent and affordable restaurants, says food writer Annette Tan. One such restaurant, many of which are not Chinese, is Cure, which serves modern European cuisine with a Singaporean twist. Another option is Renmei Lane, a hidden alley off Xiamen Street, full of lively restaurants such as the French-Japanese fusion cuisine Le Binchotan. Singaporeans also love to enjoy extravagant afternoon tea at the city's five-star hotels. Annette Tan recommends the Regent Singapore, where weekday afternoon tea costs about $33 a head and includes sandwiches, pastries, scones and cheese. She also recommends the Fullerton Bay Hotel's (Fullerton Bay Hotel) Red Light Pier restaurant (The Clifford Pier) afternoon tea, priced at $37, where it overlooks Marina Bay.
Book the right accommodation
Carly Rea, founder of Splendour Tailored Tours, suggests staying in one of the five-star boutique hotels in residential areas, where room rates may be half of those in the commercial centers frequented by tourists. Rea recommends the Spicers Potts Point Hotel in Potts Point, an area with a variety of local boutiques, cafes and restaurants, as well as the Paramount House Hotel in Surry Hills. Josh Blake, assistant concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney, is a veteran "Sydney-sider," as the locals call it. --(-Note). He says visitors who want to stay in the city center should know that several luxury hotels in the CBD, including Shangri-La and InterContinental, have club lounges. On top of the room rate, you'll need to pay an additional amount. For example, the lounge at the Four Seasons costs $96 per day for two people. But you get the service of a concierge receptionist, a hearty breakfast buffet, and a premium complimentary bar in the evening that will also serve hors d'oeuvres. For longer stays, think about renting a residence through Contemporary Hotels or Luxico. "You can find a great two-bedroom apartment for rent for a week for the same price as a standard hotel room in the CBD."
Eat like a local
Rhea says the best, most affordable food in town can be found in every neighborhood. One example is Bistro Rex in Potts Point, which is vibrant and offers seasonal dishes. She also recommends a meal at one of the city's affordable Asian-inspired restaurants, where diners can bring their own drinks. Darlinghurst and Newtown are full of such establishments. In Bondi Beach, Blake says, a table at a random beachside cafe is a better deal than an expensive restaurant and much more authentic. He suggested Speedos Cafe, a popular local spot that serves dishes based on healthy eating and using seasonal organic produce. Picnics are a long-standing tradition for Sydney residents, and visitors should try them too.