In the last few years, Turkey has embarked on a building spree of 5-star all-inclusive hotels, sold at budget prices, over the internet and through travel agents. Appealing mostly to British, Bulgarian, Georgian and Russian clientele, they are scattered all over the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.
Admittedly, they do offer value for money with unlimited food and drink, mostly available around the clock, therefore explaining the popularity. In my days as a holiday rep, I worked in a few of them and in the years after, also stayed overnight in a few.
Aside from the bland food choices offered in the dining hall, the décor, and design of most of them are stunning. They are modern and comfortable, and also offer daytime and evening entertainment, so you need never leave the hotel if rest and relaxation are what you are after.
So, does the concept of staying in a 5-star all-inclusive hotel, for incredibly cheap prices, mean luxury travel in Turkey, is suddenly the mainstream norm?
Luxury Travel in Turkey: Star Ratings and Prices
Most travel writers and industry experts agree luxury standards differ between countries. What constitutes as 3-star in another country, might gain a 5-star rating in Turkey and vice versa. This is because there isn’t a worldwide system for grading luxury travel. Each country has their own standards and set criteria.
Most people worldwide, also no longer view luxury as synonymous with the price, especially after much-publicized scandals revealed underage kids in sweatshops in third world countries were making luxury products sold by famous, brand names.
It is About the Personalised Experience
Frederic Jutant from Splendia, a company who specialises in luxury hotels in Istanbul, says in the travel industry, the luxury factor filters down to the experience. People don’t want to pay top-notch prices and be treated like they are irrelevant.
They don’t want to be herded in and out of doors, as just one of the masses.
Most Turkish hotels renowned for luxury all offer personalised experiences. While they do have impressive décor and design, the gourmet food, sea views or spa amenities are not what has earned them their reputation.
Some hotels offer a private massage upon arrival so you can de-stress after your journey.
Some decorate each room in distinctly unique styles, so the stay feels personalised.
Others have staff on hand to tailor-make tours according to what you want to see and expect.
Others offer private dining.
All of them make you feel like your money is well spent. They find out what you want as a person rather than a customer.
Turkish hotels are actually at an advantage because hospitality is ingrained in their culture. For centuries, Turks have been welcoming strangers and treating them like friends. The moment, they start acting like corporate companies with blanket customer service techniques, is when they can no longer class themselves as luxury.
The problem with all-inclusive budget hotels is that cost cutting must be dribbled down and accounted for somewhere. This frequently results in the lack of one-to-one service.
So, while the 5-star all-inclusive hotels are offering decent accommodation at competitive prices, many people do not class them as luxury travel in Turkey, because the personalised one to one service just isn’t there.
Frederic finished by saying…
Most hospitality professionals across the world mutually agree, the term “luxury travel” is overused. The industry, trends and people have moved on from the spend, spend, spend nature of the last few decades to a demand for personalised experiences, or as the National Geographic puts it, “luxury is something of emotional value”.