What do you look for in a hotel suite?

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  • Michael Allen

    Dear all,

    I’m curious about what Business Traveller readers look for in hotel suites (as opposed to standard rooms)?

    What features do you think are essential for hotel suites?
    When would you upgrade to a suite?
    Do you have any recent experience of positive/negative suite stays you could share? (Experiences in the Asia-Pacific region preferred, please.)

    Answers may be quoted in an upcoming Business Traveller Asia-Pacific feature.

    Thanks and best,
    Michael Allen
    Business Traveller Asia-Pacific


    What I most enjoy in suites is the spacious feeling. I hate suites which are essentially two standard sized interconnected rooms. These are good if you need to hold meetings or entertain people in your room but otherwise feel like ordinary rooms. A proper dining table is always a plus though. What I prefer most about suites is the extra windows/balconies which make the place much brighter. The extra space also makes the room feel more aired and fresh, especially when there are no opening windows.

    Would I upgrade to one? That would depend entirely on the premium I have to pay and my requirements on that trip (whether I need to invite people into my room or hold meetings etc). However, if the cost is only marginal, I would not think twice.


    As Ahmad already said, the addition of space is a true luxury, as are the unexpected suprises such as your own personal sauna, or fabulous steam shower cabin in the generous luxury bathroom. Again, in the Bathroom, having a bathroom with a view when most normal bathrooms are dark and without any windows. Luxury amenities, personalised welcome and unobtrusive service throughout your stay. An ultra luxurious bed that you never feel you want to get out of!


    In Asia of course paying for a suite also will normally give you access to the club floors and it’s facilities. As the other posts mention a suite must be two purposed separate rooms, living and bedroom.
    The suite itself needs upgraded furniture and fittings from other rooms and priority attention from housekeeping.


    Why a suite? For me, these are the main reasons:

    – Space of course (agree with Ahmad regarding the bundling of two rooms)
    – Garden access or terrasse or view
    – Amenities, in particular an espresso machine

    High floor is indeed something I like such as this suite in Dubai on the 61st floor, probably the highest room I’ve ever occupied…


    Michael Allen

    Wow, that room certainly isn’t for those afraid of heights!

    : would the lack of an espresso machine in a suite be a dealbreaker for you?


    I’ve only booked a suite twice, both times when travelling with a friend or colleague and we wanted to share living space but not a bedroom. Good arrangement and lovely to have the space and big windows. One was at the MIA airpoort Hilton overlooking the runwys and as we are both aviation nuts it was great.

    My wife and I have a favourite hotel we stay in in BCN to escape from M-i-L and they usually give us a penthouse suite for the price of a normal room.

    Otherwise, never really too bothered about it.


    Wow, that room certainly isn’t for those afraid of heights!

    : would the lack of an espresso machine in a suite be a dealbreaker for you?

    For a suite, in general yes, it is a deal breaker. Exceptions exist notably where finding an espresso is a miracle (Scandinavia for instance) or uncommon (USA). But in Europe and Asia, I would expect an espresso machine in a suite.


    Suites at most 5 star Asia Pacific hotels are real good with lots of space, large baths with separate shower facilities.

    For me the main attraction of a suite is a good size work table where I can work (and eat at the same time, if desired) without feeling restricted.

    The second attraction is that I don’t have to relax or watch TV only at bedroom.

    The third item for me is additional water closet or wash basin at some suit where I can shave and brush.


    For me…

    Clearly a larger space and a second, perhaps a third room is very desirable. A separate dining area, with a nice table and service entrance, along with mood lighting and built in speakers, could turn a heavy days business, into a “Barry White evening”, of course with the right company. Bathrooms with spa baths and large showers, such as the Westin in Berlin can also bring relaxation and enjoyment.

    I like suites to have large windows to let as much natural day light in as possible and generally reject suites that have small windows, not allowing much natural light.

    In hotels where I stay for more than 5 days at a time, rather than a “suite” – I prefer a room positioned close to the executive lounge. In BKK, I am one of the hotels few guests that decline a large suite in favour of my favourite standard room, which is bang opposite the exec lounge. My room + the exec lounge, then gives me the biggest suite in the hotel. accompanied with food, wine and staff and the company of other guests – but no spa.. 🙂


    I often hold meetings in hotels, and prefer the privacy of a suite in which to hold them.
    So for me it’s essential the suite can be divided with a closing door. I don’t want guests looking into my bedroom, especially if housekeeping hasn’t got round to cleaning it when I have a very early morning meeting.

    I also want a seperate bathroom. Toilet and washbasin is fine, just so long as guests do not have to come and use my bathroom. I remember staying at the Lanesborough in London once, where I had three meetings but only the one bathroom. On each occasion my guests nicked some of the toiletries, and the last one to leave took the whole lot! I was quite embarrassed having to ask housekeeping each time to come back and replenish them!


    There are times when you want the bedroom and living area to be very distinct in a suite.

    In Montreal years ago, can’t remember which hotel, I had a colleague come to my suite for a very early conference call.

    Room service arrived with coffee, croissants, etc, and the server, whilst placing the tray on the dining room table, said “Good morning gentlemen, I trust you slept well”.

    We had both slept well, just not on the same floor of the hotel………..


    If traveling on my own I seldom upgrade to a suite unless what is on offer is particularly attractive and an absolute bargain but I do where reasonably affordable upgrade to a club room. However sometimes for business I need a suite large enough to hold meeting. Then I look for a 5 star centrally located property preferably with an outdoor area and a view.

    I have a couple of recent suite experiences to share two for which I paid and one that was an upgrade to a better suite..

    The upgrade.
    I have been staying at the Bangkok Peninsula a couple of times a year ever since it opened often with my wife and sometimes with one of my sons.
    It is a very nice property on the river that offers a good selection of restaurants, a good gym, tennis courts nice grounds and one of the best swimming pools/lounging areas in Asia.
    We always take a one bedroom suite that can often be had for around B12000 inc breakfast and as the hotel knows us well they always come up with one of the nicer ones on a high floor.
    recently I and eldest son decided to have a ‘boys’ weekend prior to him getting married a couple of weeks later.
    We booked to arrive on Friday evening and late checkout on the following Monday.
    The weekend started disastrously as the plane was over two hours late leaving HK due to congestion at Bangkok airport and we did not arrive at the hotel until 1 am.
    The night duty manager was new to me but greeted us nicely as the Penn always do. She showed us to the suite and it was immediately apparent that it was probably the worst room in the hotel. damp smell, stained carpets broken and scratched furniture broken sofa etc. All very un Peninsula. (I later learned that the hotel was undergoing a soft renovation and some rooms were unavailable)
    Clearly we were not going to stay in this suite and were fairly forceful but pleasant in making that clear to the (clearly inexperienced) Manager who unfortunately then turned rather hostile shouting there were no other rooms available and they would ‘fix’ this room in the morning. Eventually another room was offered but it was for many reasons not acceptable as it was in the same ‘damp smelling’ corridor that I suspect had been closed for a while due to the renovation.
    No other room was offered and I advised the manager that we would leave and while she was in the room called the Mandarin Oriental on the other side of the river who fortunately being the low season had a suite available (at double the cost) and I arranged for them to send a car to collect us in 30 minutes.
    This caused immediate consternation and the manager said that she would immediately contact the resident manager.
    He arrived newly showered and suited in under 15 minutes, took charge hand asked us to follow him to a room that he was sure that we would like. It turned out to be the presidential suite 1
    Top floor and vast with 2 ensuite bedrooms ,full kitchen, dinning room for 20, beautiful lounge with Thai antique furniture and original paintings, large fully equipped study and a huge wrap around outdoor area with trees, plunge pool sun beds dining area and a 250 degree view. We took the room. The manager took care of the Mandarin. Our light supper was not charged and a bottle of wine arrived the next morning from the GM.
    A great save by the RM as otherwise we would never have returned to one of our best loved hotels..

    Pullman Auckland
    We have business in Auckland but our NZ office is in Christchurch. Often we need meetings involving up to 10 people.
    The Pullman (formally the Hyatt) has a newer wing that was built as self- contained apartments, With full kitchens and a good size balcony. They are not lavish but the large rooms comfortable and well done. For a cost including a very substaintal breakfast of around NZ360.00 this is are a good option.

    Cordis Auckland suite ( a Langham hotel)
    Sometimes we use this hotel as the offer a range of suites that are newly renovated are comfortable and very well appointed. The larger suite that I had last year was about 1400sq feet and a had a dining/ meeting table that would seat 8 or more. Views are good and the large ‘club’ that is offered free with the suites is lavish offering excellent food and wines and a good breakfast. The evening cocktails are for 3 hours and the food offering is very substantial. Good gym.
    From memory the normal size suites are about NZ$ 400.00 and perhaps a little less at times.
    A very pleasant property centrally located and adjacent to a large park.

    The Manila Peninsula is a favorite, has been recently renovated and offers great weekend ‘Suite deals’ that include limo transfers, late check out, breakfast, afternoon tea and 3 hour evening cocktails with a substantial food offering.
    The views are not great but the grand old dame is and the package is often offered at Hong Kong $2800 a night.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    ……A wad of ex-company expenses cash left there by a wasteful, posturing director or another greedy somebody……..
    ………………..and then, said directors or greedy somebody’s expenses cash in hand, I go outside, buy food, and distribute it to the half dead and dying human beings on the street who are there through the imposition of austerity by ‘Non’ fair minded middle of the road governments!

    …..Oh Yes! I also look for the free chocolate on the pillow!……


    As a now “Titanium” member of Bonavoy I am used to many upgrades in hotels across Asia, but especially in the Le Meridien in KL, where I seem to be on their “good boy” list and get the Presidential Suite almost every time I stay there, this is a huge room with dining table for 15 to comfortably sit around and kitchen and staff quarters and an amazing bathroom, really special for lil ol me!!!

    For me its also the service one gets, and I know fully the service that Martyn gets at the Westin in BKK, I prefer the suites on offer there but is the welcome from the Executive team, the same in Westin Jakarta, Singapore, etc

    The only other hotel I tend to stay in is the Shangri La in Manila as they continue to build Bonavoy hotels there, and the service and rooms in this property are excellent as well as the service!

    So a suite itself is not everything its the service and as cwoodward states above the level of detail that makes me return to hotels in the first place

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