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THE SUITE LIFE
THE SUITE LIFE
Why an upgrade to a hotel suite is becoming ever more attractive for the frequent business traveller
MICHAEL ALLEN
Why shell out for a spacious suite when you stay at a hotel, rather than just staying in a more budget-friendly standard guestroom? Different travellers have different reasons, but the consensus among frequent business travellers is that a standard room often does not quite provide everything you need to smoothly and seamlessly conduct your business when on a trip.

Indeed, trying to conduct your business in too small a room can sometimes lead to embarrassing misunderstandings, as experienced by Business Traveller Forum user Nick Inkster – a UK-based retiree who worked in the hospitality business in CEO roles – during a Canadian hotel stay around the turn of the millennium.

“In Montreal years ago – can’t remember which hotel – I had a colleague come to my suite for a very early conference call. Room service arrived with coffee, croissants, etc, and the server, whilst placing the tray on the dining room table, said ‘Good morning, gentlemen, I trust you slept well’. We had both slept well, just not on the same floor of the hotel!”

Such cheek-reddening incidents aside, the Business Traveller readership seems to broadly agree that if you can get a suite for a decent price – or upgrade to one using points from a loyalty programme – it’s often worth it.

“Would I upgrade to one? That would depend entirely on the premium I have to pay and my requirements on that trip – whether I need to invite people into my room or hold meetings, etc. However, if the cost is only marginal, I would not think twice,” says Ahmad Attaur Rehman, a BT Forum user and barrister who lives in Islamabad.

ALL SHAPES AND SIZES

Not all suites are created equal. The so-called Grand Suite at Oootopia Kai Tak, a co-living property in famously space-constrained Hong Kong, clocks in at just under 14.5 sqm – much smaller than the average standard hotel room. So suites come in all shapes and sizes, from the ultraluxurious to the minimalist and practical. Price points of course tend to correlate to the level of luxury you can expect.

Indisputably at the ultra-luxury end is the newly refurbished Raffles Hotel in Singapore, an iconic property first opened in 1887 that’s probably most famous for creating the Singapore Sling cocktail. It’s an all-suite property with nine categories of suite, and six of the 115 suites have been designated as Residence Suites exclusively for long-stay guests. The hotel says these guests tend to be CEOs and ambassadors in need of a swanky residence when relocating to the Lion City.

“We are an all-suite hotel and all our suites have the same setup of having their own parlour-slash-living room, followed by the bedroom and bathroom. As soon as you go in, you have your parlour that you can actually make private by closing all the doors and windows into the bedroom – and that space is big enough to host a meeting for three to four people very comfortably,” says hotel manager Chadi Chemaly. “All our suites have the shared veranda, which is also a great space. All through the hotel, you have small corners and spaces of which many are exclusively for residents.”

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January 2020