Let’s price out a trip to the Amalfi Coast, operating under the assumption that you and your significant other are long due for a lavish vacation.
In this hypothetical, you’ll fly out of New York. Round-trip flights from JFK to da Vinci for a week in August go for around $600, which isn’t too bad. You might fly directly into Naples, which saves you two hours of travel down the coast, but that’ll cost $900, at the very least. You could hire a car, though that would cost at least another $330 … and essentially cancel out your Rome decision.
Your best bet will be to take Trenitalia to Naples. It’ll cost about $27 round-trip, and from Naples you can easily access Sorrento, Positano or Amalfi, via train, bus, ferry or rental car. (NB: If you opt for the last mode of transport, be prepared for some treacherous ocean bluff roads.)
After a combination of close calls and on-the-go translations, you and your better half reach the Amalfi Coast in one piece. You wanted lavish, so you’re staying at Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa, a 5-star resort in Conca dei Marini. It’s a beautiful place, with tiered gardens that smell of rosemary and lemon, and for days you laze around in the infinity pools and suck down bronze-drawn pasta lathered in the best virgin olive oil you’ve ever tasted.
The vacation’s over too soon, and when the inevitable checking account balance reckoning arrives, you’ll be laughing at all the cogent consideration you put into flights and transportation. A night at the Monastero is $669, pretty typical for rates on the Amalfi Coast. Add up all the meals, the day you ferried out to Capri, the one night you raided the mini bar … and this trip ballooned past $4,000, before even factoring in your return flight. Now, maybe that’s chump change for you. Or maybe the sum makes you uncomfortable, but it was worth it to experience one week of life in a 5-star hotel.
The thing is, though, you don’t have to settle for just one week in a 5-star hotel. According to a recent study conducted by travel site Asher & Lyric, the Amalfi Coast is one of the least cost-effective 5-star hotel destinations in the entire world. Using TripAdvisor as a resource, the site averaged out weeknight rates of vacation regions’ “top five 5-star hotels” all across the world, selecting a night in each of the four seasons. The results yielded a cumulative ranking of 5-star hotel affordability.
The worst of them, right up there with the Amalfi Coast, includes St. Moritz, Aspen, the Cayman Islands, St. Bart’s and Bora Bora. The through-line there, aside from them all costing over $950 a night, is undeniable brand recognition in the arena of luxury. Every name there is damn near synonymous with “5-star hotel.” And you better believe the international hospitality companies know it.
A thoughtful reading of Asher & Lyric’s list, then, offers insight into how to stay in a 5-star hotel on the other side of the planet, without blowing the whole bonus in one sweep. If you have a spot you’re determined to visit, and you have the means, we’re not going to stop you. But we’d encourage you to stray off the golden brick road next time around and consider regions that can offer lavishness at a discount. If you play your cards right here, you could possibly angle out an extra luxury vacation each year, or afford to spend more on a flight to visit somewhere out of the way.
Below, we’ve included five vacation-worthy regions from the study, all of which feature highly manageable highly rates on their 5-star hotels. We’ve paired a hotel with each for easy booking. Find your beach, find a week later this year, and don’t feel bad about tearing into the minibar. You’ve already saved a good $3,000, it’s ok to have an extra drink … or 50.
Seasonal average: $171/night
Where you’re staying: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Nusa Dua
Seasonal average: $231/night
Where you’re staying: Hotel de Rome
Seasonal average: $208/night
Where you’re staying: Alila Diwa Goa
Seasonal average: $291/night
Where you’re staying: Portobay Liberdade
Seasonal average: $267/night
Where you’re staying:The Fullerton Hotel
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