As far as experiences go, it’s hard to beat the luxurious time I spent at the Mt Kenya Safari Club – upgrading to the Honeymoon Suite, with stunning views of Mt Kenya and enjoying the generosity of services . The heated outdoor pool was exceptional and the garden was full of dancing white peacocks. I will never forget this vacation!
To be honest, affording a luxury vacation is very rare for the common man. Often, it is the choice between a hearty meal and a day trip to a tourist spot, the time of a night in an upscale hotel. There is a gap – you go for affordable hotels and guesthouses, rather than wanting to experience luxury hotels, even if it’s for an hour or two. This gap is filled by A Fine Hour.
Luxury services by the hour
It sounds wrong, but the intention is very pure – A Fine Hour is the brain child of founders Catherine Gale and Richard Pinder, who are two former advertising directors from London. What they bring to the table with this service is the ability for you to experience an element of luxury in a five star hotel, without having to pay an arm and a leg for it.
For example, your flight from Singapore landed in London at 7:00 a.m., and check-in to your Airbnb doesn’t take place until 2:00 p.m., and you’ve got a few hours to kill. Imagine being able to relax in the swimming pool of a Marriott or a Four Seasons, take a good hot shower and take advantage of some services like the hammam. All this without even checking in at the hotel, and paying only a nominal fee. Some hotels even offer their meeting rooms, making it accessible to business travelers.
Luxury equipment only
Another good example is that you could live in a large hotel, with luxury amenities, while you checked into a budget hotel for the week. Taking advantage of the swanky gym facilities or restricted dining areas that are typically reserved for hotel guests can be a steal. For hotels too, it is a win-win situation, they can add revenue without disrupting bookings or by a time slot so that the hotel can easily adapt.
The whole A Fine Hour package is very tempting and is currently available at select hotels in London, Florence and Milan. I think this platform can spread quickly to regions like Southeast Asia, to cities like Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. A budget traveler like me can well imagine spending an hour or two by the infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands.