When it comes to consistently offering the very best luxury hotel experience, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts can do no wrong in our readers’ eyes because for the third time running, the hotel brand has been chosen in Recommend’s Readers’ Choice Awards as the Best Resort/Hotel Chain for Luxury, hands down.
“Knowing that travel agents are comfortable in recommending Four Seasons to their clients means a lot to us,” says Susan Helstab, executive v.p., marketing, Four Seasons. “It says they certainly trust we will deliver the experience they had hoped for their clients and that they have confidence every time they recommend Four Seasons to know that their clients are happy with that experience.”
And what an experience a stay at a Four Seasons is. From a customized 3-hour winter expedition to view moose, bison, elk and eagles in their natural habitats at the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole in Wyoming, to the annual decadent, all-you-can-eat Chocolate Buffet at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, the hotel company knows how to add a unique touch to each and every Four Seasons property. This is no cookie-cutter hotel stay.
“Every Four Seasons hotel looks and feels different. And that sense of local flavor and authenticity comes to life in the very specific design and decor of the property and the nature of all the recreational activities, the gardens, what have you,” points out Helstab. “The noodle bar in Bali, for example [the Warung Mie restaurant at the Four Seasons Bali at Jimabaran Bay]—if we created that noodle bar in other hotels around the world, it wouldn’t feel the way it does in Southeast Asia, particularly in Bali. It really is about local flavors, about certain amenities.” At the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, for example, guests can expect to see the staff sporting their traditional Polynesian tattoos—the 1-year-old resort, incidentally, was named the World’s Best Spa in the Best of the Best Awards by Virtuoso. Meanwhile, and harking back to the brand’s unique aspect, the 1916 Belle Epoque mansion in which the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires resides is a nod to that Latin American city’s well-known architectural gems.
Complementing that unique aspect, however, is a consistency of service which agents and guests have come to expect of each and every Four Seasons resort. In fact, since the hotel brand has only ever operated in the luxury segment of the marketplace and it’s the only thing they’ve ever done in the history of the company, “we believe we understand the evolving needs of that guest better than any other hotel company, better than any other hotel brand. Agents know that even if it’s a Four Seasons hotel they’ve never sent their client to in the past, they know with confidence the experience will be characterized by…service that is delivered very reliably to their clients,” Helstab stresses.
“Our guests have always seen the value in what it is that we provide and they’ve always been prepared to pay a premium for that value. And we know we are doing this right because our guest satisfaction scores this year are higher than they’ve been in the past,” she says contentedly. “Our guests are more likely to recommend the Four Seasons to a friend or colleague than they were a year ago.”
This might, in part, be due to Four Seasons’ philosophy of not acquiescing to the rampant slashed rates and wage wars taking place in the current hotel landscape—a definite plus for agents, as well. In fact, because the travel agent, according to Helstab, is a significant business channel for the hotel company, they believe it is essential their rates are presented consistently through all of their channels. “We are very supportive of the travel agents; we make sure they have access to rates consistently, our best rates, our best offers. They don’t need to worry that if they quote one of our rates to their clients, their client will be able to find something better for themselves,” she adds affirmatively.
keep your eyes on… 2010 will welcome an array of properties into the Four Seasons fold, but even before 2009 comes to a close, the Four Seasons Beirut will make its debut in Lebanon’s capital. It will offer 230 guestrooms and suites, all with terraces and all affording sweeping views of the Mediterranean, the city of Beirut and the surrounding mountains. A highlight of the hotel is the 26th floor glass-enclosed pool, which—come nighttime—will be transformed into a chic urban cocktail and tapas lounge. Then come 2010, it’s four property openings that span the globe—in Hangzhou, China, Vail, Denver and Marrakech. True luxury has no limits.