By Davey Wavey

Pardon the sensationalist headline, but I actually don’t hate anything. There’s enough hate in the world—and I don’t intend to contribute more to it through today’s blog post. Having said that, luxury traveling can be great—but it’s not as great as many people think. Like anything else, there are pros and cons.

Let’s start with the pros.

When traveling in Thailand, I was fortunate enough to stay at a number of Four Seasons properties. From the Four Seasons in Bangkok to Chang Mai to Golden Triangle, the hotels all offered uniquely magnificent experiences. From the carefully selected flower arrangements to breathtaking architecture to world-class dining, every detail was given thought and consideration.

Moreover, despite being in Southeast Asia, the staff was fluent in English. Whether it was getting my clothes laundered, ordering lunch or calling a taxi, communicating with the hotel’s employees was a non-issue. This made traveling Thailand much easier, and a lot less stressful.

Beyond language, luxury accommodations are very western. With the exception of the electric outlets and the views from my windows, the various hotel rooms in which I stayed could have been anywhere in the United States. From the beds and linens to the bathroom, everything was both comfortable and familiar.

Which leads me into the cons.

You might as well stay home. Who wants to go to Thailand only to feel like you’re staying at a nice hotel in New York City? Having a Thai sculpture in your lobby and a few indigenous dishes on the menu isn’t enough to give me a taste of the local flavor. With everything so western, I felt like the entire trip was within my comfort zone—and therefore lacked some of the magic you get from the shock and chaos of experiencing an unfamiliar culture.

Moreover, don’t expect to make a lot of fun new friends at the Four Seasons. The atmosphere is stuffy and I found the guests to be unapproachable or unfriendly.  Caught up in their own self-importance, many of the guests exude an unwelcoming air of importance. This would be a stark contrast to hostels, for example, wherein there is often a warm sense of community and companionship. Not so when traveling luxury.

While luxury accommodations may be aesthetically pleasing and comfortable, they take some of the fun and excitement out of traveling. I felt like I visited Thailand without actually visiting Thailand. Of course, for the less adventurous travelers, this might be a good thing. But if I’m going to sit on a plane for 16 hours, I want to make my trip worthwhile.

In the comments below, let me know what you think. Do you prefer staying at luxury hotel properties—or are you willing to infuse your trip with a little more adventure?

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