10 Surprising Things About Five-Star Luxury Hotels

But then, in the span of two weeks, I stayed in three five-star luxury hotels. And I was blown away by what these hotels offer, if you can afford it.

The author on the balcony of The Little Nell hotel in Aspen, Colorado.

Monica Humphries / Insider

But that changed this fall. After canceling a trip to South Africa, my friend and I redirected to Banff, Canada. With a hefty travel fund saved up, we decided to splurge on a room at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, a five-star hotel on the shores of Lake Louise. It cost us around $500 a night and was by far the most expensive room I’ve ever booked for a single night.

Two weeks later I was in Aspen, Colorado for work, where I spent $848 for a night in Little Nell and $700 for a bedroom The St. Regis Aspen Complex, two of Aspen’s famous upscale hotels. The insider paid for these hotels in accordance with our reporting standards.

I felt like a celebrity throughout the three stays. My friend and I eagerly bought prosecco to celebrate the swanky Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and in Aspen I felt like I fit in with the city’s wealthy vacationers every time I told someone I Was staying at the Little Nell.

While high-end hotels aren’t likely to make my itinerary – or my budget – for every trip (okay, most), I’ll certainly never look at accommodations the same way again. If you’ve ever flown first class and had to make the long trip back as a coach next time, you’ll understand what I mean.

Here are the things I found most surprising about the first-time swapping of cheap motels for five-star luxury hotels.