How much is that hotel room?

May 18, 2011

UK hotels are too expensive, says a travel guide to Great Britain that came out last week. A hotel survey agrees.

In Lonely Planet’s new UK guide, lead author David Else writes: “Public transport, admission fees, restaurants and hotel rooms all tend to be expensive compared with their equivalents in many other European countries.”

Though laced with some rather iffy value judgements (Glasgow is a “byword for chic”), the guide is not far wrong on hotel rates, according to the latest issue of the Hotel Price Index*.

Billed as an “in-depth retrospective look at the movements in global hotel process across the globe”, the Index finds that travellers can enjoy five-star luxury for GBP100 or under in nine major world cities – half what it costs in London.

The best deals can be had in Warsaw, with top-of-the-range accommodation costing an average of just GBP75 a night, followed by Budapest, Lisbon, Tallinn, Santiago, Jakarta, Buenos Aires and Guangzhou.

In comparison, GBP100 bought a three-star room in London and only one star in New York. The average five-star rate in the UK capital was GBP212 and GBP400 in NYC. In Europe, Geneva was the most expensive for luxury accommodation with an average nightly room rate of GBP300.

Of course, hotels in cities which see high tourist demand, like New York and Paris, can and will charge more than those that don’t (Guangzhou, anyone?), but the Index does reveal that average prices fell in destinations popular with both leisure and business travellers, including Venice (down 3%), Dubai (down 1%), Tokyo (down 3%) and Dublin (down 7%).

In another Index, this one from the hotel price comparison website trivago, the European hotel industry as a whole was seen to have risen in overnight rates this month, with the average cost of a standard double room reaching GBP117, 9% more than in April (GBP107). This is the highest European average since October 2008.

Considering that London’s rates, which rose by 2% in 2010 according to, are still at recession-reduced levels last seen six years ago, it seems that travel guides and their readers are going to have a lot more to whine about over the coming months.

But all is not lost for prospective hotel patrons. As’s Alison Couper points out, “By shopping around and being flexible, savvy travellers can find top quality accommodation at great prices… Simple things like staying a few tube stops out from the centre of Paris can also significantly lower the cost of a stay.”

World’s most expensive cities for five-star hotels in 2010 (

1.   New York
2.   Geneva
3.   Tokyo
4.   Paris
5.   Los Angeles
6.   San Francisco
7.   Cape Town
8.   Nice
9.   Jerusalem
10.  Venice

* The HPI is based on bookings made on, and prices shown are those actually paid by customers rather than advertised rates. The HPI uses a weighted average based on the number of rooms sold in each of the markets that operates in.


Hotels that are expensive generally boast of a reputable brand name, and I find that sometimes the lesser known names and cheaper hotels do actually surpass the service provided by them. I have on many occasions experienced the staff going the extra mile for us, and when at the world class hotels, received cold treatment.

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