The Upgrade

Don't Sleep on Hotels' Club-Level Lounges — Here's Why They're So Worth the Upgrade!

PART 18: One Mile at a Time blogger Ben Schlappig makes excellent use of bottomless free food.

Hello again from blogger Ben Schlappig, the full-time traveler behind One Mile at a Time, and the guy who introduced you to my uber-luxury travel lifestyle all made possible by using miles and points. In our series with Jet Set, we're going around the world in 21 days... all in five-star luxury, and booked at the very last minute.

If you're not up to speed, check out my previous stop — where I scored one of my most amazing hotel suite upgrades in history... and that's saying a lot!

But that's far from the only great thing about my hotel — and I'm going to tell you about another awesome aspect of the hotel I enjoyed on the 12th day of my worldwide journey.

Many people don’t realize this, but most major hotels have club lounges. A club lounge is a private space that typically serves breakfast, snacks throughout the day, and cocktails in the evening, and it’s restricted to eligible guests. Furthermore, often there are special club rooms, which are often larger, and have better amenities.

Typically, eligible guests include those who paid for access, and also elite members in a hotel loyalty program.

Having access to these lounges is one of the most valuable perks of hotel elite status, in my opinion. For example, as an SPG Platinum member, I always get access to club lounges at Starwood properties, regardless of the type of rate I book.

As with most other things, the quality of club lounges can vary significantly depending on the brand of hotel you’re staying at, and also depending on what part of the world you’re in. Some club lounges serve full breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and cordials, while either club lounges just have a continental breakfast and light, cold snacks in the evening.

Well, the Grosvenor House in Dubai has one of the best club lounges of any Starwood property in the world. The club lounge is called Level 5, and it’s open 24 hours a day.

The Grosvenor House in Dubai

Not only is the lounge a beautiful and large space physically, but its offerings are really impressive. There’s a huge breakfast buffet with all kinds of hot and cold items, an egg station, and more.

What really sets this lounge apart is the service it offers during the day, though. While some club lounges don’t really offer food during the day, this lounge has a full lunch and afternoon tea service. The same is true at dinner, with the addition of an extensive selection of cocktails.

The beautiful Level 5 lounge at the Grosvenor House

Assuming you have access to the lounge, everything on offer is complimentary. That’s a great value, given how much money you can save with free meals. Now, of course you don’t want to have all your meals in the hotel since you’d be missing out on the local area, but it’s nice to at least have the option to have breakfast there, and grab a snack anytime during the day when hungry.

However, my love of club lounges goes beyond the access to free food and drinks. Given that I spend most of my time in hotels, I don’t really have a formal office from which to work. As comfortable as it is to work from a hotel bed, it’s not a great way to maximize productivity. Between jet lag and my general travel exhaustion, it almost inevitably leads to napping.

Level 5: the perfect place for work with a side of sustenance

As a result, over the years I’ve learned to do everything I can to avoid working from my hotel room. Instead I try to find a coffee shop, or even sit in a hotel lobby. When a hotel has a club lounge, that’s an ideal place from which to work. It’s quiet, has fast and free Wi-Fi, and has free coffee — which helps keep me awake! When I’m staying at a hotel, it’s not unusual for me to spend half of my time in the club lounge working.

If you’ve never visited a club lounge before, I’d recommend finding out how much the premium is on your next hotel stay. The additional cost for a club room can vary significantly depending on the type of hotel, and typically ranges from somewhere around $20 to $200 per day.

Bottomless fuel... no extra charge.

The ideal way to access hotel club lounges, however, is through having elite status with a hotel loyalty program. You can earn status by spending a certain number of nights per year with a hotel group (with many hotel loyalty programs the requirement is around 50 nights). However, there are also ways to get hotel elite status through credit cards, which is a great way to get a fast track to that status. For example, there are credit cards that get you both Hilton Gold status and Marriott Gold status, both of which will get you club lounge access at many of their brands.

Stay tuned for more of my adventures and insider tips and tricks!

FOLLOW MY JOURNEY:

This is one of the most amazing hotel suite upgrades I ever got... and that's saying a lot!

Here's what makes a Middle East vacation so unique.

Is this the most incredible all-inclusive hotel in the Middle East?

Tour one of the world's best first-class airport lounges.

This is what it's like to fly inside one of the fanciest cabins in commercial air travel: an apartment in the sky.

Come with me on my flight filled with caviar, designer pajamas, and luxury gifts.

I support my boyfriend's first-class travel life (and in return he lets me pull stunts like this).

See how I booked a $12,000 flight for nearly free.

See Bali's littler-known party side — including a hangover brunch (with a DJ) to end them all!

Glimpse the five-star life I love (and buy with miles!) in Bali.

Here's why I call Bali the ultimate place to recharge.

Check out my epic layover in the world's best airport on the way to Bali.

Read up on my Hello Kitty-themed flight to get this far...

 

And the Hello Kitty airport experience to match!

And here's where it all began at LAX.

Here's why you need access to hotels' club lounges:

Ben Schlappig, the blogger behind One Mile at a Time, experiences about $1 million worth of travel every year using miles and points — and covers about 400,000 miles annually this way. Ben has teamed up with Bravo’s Jet Set for a series called The Upgrade, in which he shows you how you — yes, you! — can score real-world-ready strategies for upping your travel game. Come along for the adventure!

Jet Set is Bravo's launch pad for the most extravagant, luxurious, and unforgettable travel experiences. Ready for takeoff? Then Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates.

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