The Most Worthless Business Travel Article I’ve Read in a While

Here are a few phrases you won’t hear in our home:

  • Honey, next time we’re in Capri visiting our manufacturing plant can we get stay at that hotel where the bathrooms overlook the Faraglioni rocks?
  • Those circular soaking tubs at the Amanfayun Spa in Hangzhou, China were awesome, and I’m glad the client took us there.
  • Thank goodness they had clay tennis courts at my hotel in Marrakech, because cement courts would have been way too hot when Bob and I played between meetings.

This snarky intro is reflective of my reaction to an article in the latest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek.  The article, The Hotel Amenities Arms Race, describes amenities at various hotels across the globe with the kicker:  “Properties old and new are getting creative to lure business travelers.”

The Pool at the Qaryat Al Beri Hotel in Abu Dhabi

At first blush, it sounds interesting.  I have an international job, and I like to travel.  We love reading the articles, for example, in American Express’ Departures, even though we might never be able to go to some of those places.  But the article completely misses the mark by providing incredibly useless information about locations that don’t really attract their share of “business travelers.”

The article cites amenities in places which global travelers frequent, such as London, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney and Paris.  Sounds good.  But it also includes hotels in Hangzhou, Marrakech, Majorca, Capri, and Kathmandu.  These are certainly very interesting places, but are not prime business locations.

The article cites amenities such as the best points program (Starwood), business center (Park Hyatt Sydney), room service (Chambers Hotel, Manhattan), and gym (La Mamounia in Marrech) — things in which a business traveler is interested.  But, the “amenities” designed to “lure” the business traveler also include a spa, bathroom, wine list, sporting venue, and golf trip.  Just how is the Meydan Hotel in Dubai “luring” me there because it has a rooftop pool that allows me to swim and watch horse racing at the same time?

It’s possible people like Larry Ellison or Richard Branson would be “lured” to these places, but even they probably focus on business when they travel and certainly choose locations based on business, not based on amenities.

The Punta Tragara on Capri: Will Your Company Cover $2,300 per Night For This View?

The article, of course, doesn’t list prices.  No worries.  I looked a few of them up for you.  If you are like me, they exceed your company’s hotel expense policy maximums by quite a bit:

  • $2,300 per night at the Punta Tragara in Capri to get the same view shown at right.
  • $714 per night including breakfast at La Residencia on Majorca, where, according to the article, you can ride a donkey through a forest to have a picnic of homemade foods.
  • $580 per night for a basic room at the Amanfayun Resort in Hangzhou, where, apparently, the spa is to-die-for.
  • $510 per night for a basic room at the La Mamoudia in Marrakech.
  • $231 per night for a basic room at the Qaryat Al Beri in Abu Dabi, where you get a temperature-controlled, saltwater infinity pool (that’s the photo towards the top of this post).

So, in summary, thanks to Bloomberg Businessweek, I know about some intriguing amenities (that few have time for on business trips) at hotels (that my company won’t and shouldn’t pay for) in specific cities (many of which almost no one travels to for business).

Please don’t say “you’re welcome.”

The Hotel Amenities Arms Race

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