With the dollar continuing to remain weak against foreign currencies, not to mention the high price of hotels and travel in general, is a luxurious vacation stay a pipe dream for most travelers? Not if you gang up with your favorite traveling companions and do it as a group.
"Looking at our leisure market, we often find clients looking for a suite deal," says Keith Battaglia, director of sales and marketing for Long Island's Glen Cove Mansion Hotel and Coference Center (the cushy "Gold Coast" manse used as exteriors in both film versions of "Sabrina.")
"Basically, some people prefer to buy a suite that has a pull-out sofa bed in the parlor, versus getting 2 rooms." According to Battaglia, they do this to save money and to get the upgraded furnishings and amenities of a suite.
"From a rate standpoint, a client can save significantly based on time of year," Battaglia explains that rates vary through the year. However, for the savvy traveler who knows to ask the right questions, a suite provides a nicer setting, plenty of room for their family and an excellent value.
Although some US properties charge per customer, most European and many foreign hotels charge per room. As a result, a giant suite with multiple bedrooms and butler service can actually be within the means of a group of travelers who split the bill.
Here are some other (admittedly over the top) ways to live the suite life on your next vacation:
Principe di Savoia, Milan
The Presidential Suite
Size: 5,382 square feet; 3 bedrooms
View: Rooftops of Milan
Why It's Wow: A private, 1076-square-foot, Pompeii-style spa with a large swimming pool, frescoed walls, vaulted ceiling, whirlpool, sauna and Turkish bath. The mosaic pool, marble floor and torchieres in wrought-iron and blown glass are inspired by ancient Roman baths. The cashmere sheets aren't bad either.
The Dorchester, London
The Oliver Messel Suite
Size: 893 square feet, 2 bedrooms
View: Fit for a queen (or king) views across the Mayfair district, from the east-facing private terrace
Why It's Wow: Decorated by celebrated stage designer and socially connected bon vivant, Oliver Messel in 1953, on an unlimited budget, the rooms range from understated English country elegance to unabashed theatrical rococo. Decorative touches include hand-painted silk-lined walls, gilded moldings and a bed festooned with dramatic swags and topped with golden acorn finials.
The Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows, Beverly Hills
Presidential Bungalow (No. 5)
Size: 2,500 square feet, with a 600-square-foot patio and 4 bedrooms
Why It's Wow: An exclusive high-wattage movie-star clientele, plus a private swimming pool and Jacuzzi.
The Residence, Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos
Size: 3,446 square feet, 11 bedrooms
View: A secluded bay and private beach
Why It's Wow: The compound, owned by Bruce Willis, comprises 2 3-bedroom villas and a 5-bedroom Main House, the second floor of which features a 1,000-square-foot master bedroom, study, master bath with dressing area and walk-in closets, steam room and telescope area. The Residence also has a private swimming pool and around-the-clock butler service.
COMO Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri, Bali
The Royal Suite
Size: 3,315 square feet, 2 bedrooms
View: Mount Batu Karu, in central Bali
Why It's Wow: Built into a jungle clearing and overlooking the Ayung River, the Royal Suite features 2 master suites, a Jacuzzi, private infinity pool, living room and dining room. Guests can also take over the entire Umabona (House of Earth) Residence. It includes 2 additional suites, a pool, living room and dining room with a wood-fired pizza oven.
Grand Hyatt, Tokyo
Size: 2,799 square feet, 2 bedrooms
View: The lights of the Ginza and the rooftops of Tokyo
Why It's Wow: The suite is the only 1 in pricey Tokyo with its own private outdoor heated swimming pool and a Japanese Zen garden. Its 2 bedrooms encompass the entire 21st floor.