Eileen Callahan of Champagne Travels Luxury Travel Website at The Ritz Paris France7 Luxury Hotel Must-Haves

When you stay at luxury hotels as much as I do, you learn what to look for when booking to be sure your vacation is spent in peak relaxation mode. There are certain amenities that are not optional for me—after all, what’s a luxury vacation without champagne in a lavish lounge?

If you’ve ever wondered how I decide where to stay when there are so many amazing hotels to choose from, let me share with you my top seven must-haves when selecting a luxury hotel.

Champagne Travels Website at The Ritz Paris France with Eileen Callahan

The Ritz Paris

Stylish Bar

You know me—the first thing on this list has to be the hotel bar and lounge! Nothing says luxury vacation like relaxing with a martini or a glass of Dom in the opulent ambiance that only a good hotel bar can offer. Classy, stylish, and chic: the perfect lounge makes you feel like you want to spend a whole evening there. Comfortable couches and chairs are vital, and knowledgeable bartenders and a curated cocktail menu are the pièce de résistance. Since I know I’ll be spending a lot of time here, this must-have comes first and foremost when I’m picking the perfect hotel.

Eileen Callahan of Champagne Travels at The Berkeley London England

The Blue Bar at The Berkeley London

Fitness Center

If I’m going to be spending my vacation sipping refined cocktails and feasting on delectable cuisine, I want to be sure I get some time on the treadmill in, too! State-of-the-art equipment in a spacious locale? I’m in! If it has a pool, even better. Amenities like fruit and juice for a post-workout refreshment are a nice addition that differentiate your run-of-the-mill hotel gym from a luxury fitness center. (A great spa is also hugely important, but that deserves its own article, coming soon…)

Eileen Callahan of Champagne Travels website Luxury Travel

JW Marriott Singapore South Beach

Knowledgeable Concierge

Of course, the hotel isn’t the only place I spend my vacation. Strolling through the city, checking out the sights and attractions, and experiencing all my destination has to offer are just as much a part of the perfect vacation as lounging in the hotel room is. It can be hard to keep up-to-date on the latest goings-on in every city I visit, though, and that’s where the concierge comes in.

The Berkeley, London

I always ask about the best new restaurants and bars that I should be sure to visit, and my friends at the concierge desk make sure I have a table there waiting for me. When I was staying at Grosvenor House, a luxury collection hotel in Dubai, my concierge got me VIP reservations to enjoy a glass of champagne at the exclusive At.mosphere bar on the 122nd floor at Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. One of the reasons I love luxury hotels is for perks like these, so it’s crucial that my concierge knows what he/she’s doing!

Champagne Travels Website Eileen Callahan Luxury Travel Writer at Montage Resorts Laguna Beach California

Montage Laguna Beach California

Fine Dining

After I’ve worked up an appetite from an evening spent lounging at the hotel bar or walking through town, a delicious meal is in order. When I don’t want to leave the comfort of my lodging to trek to another part of town to dine, I love to stay in and enjoy the fare at the hotel. Classy but not pretentious is my style—I look for hotels with enticing cuisine in a high-end atmosphere for the perfect evening. Studio Restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach is one of my favorite spots, for its delicious food and great ambiance with a uniquely Californian vibe. A good garden terrace for afternoon cocktails or high tea (with champagne, of course) is also a big plus. I don’t need a Michelin star, but refined cuisine, especially if it features the local fare of the country I’m visiting, is a must!

Eileen Callahan of Champagne Travels Luxury Travel Website at Montage Resorts Laguna Beach California

Studio Montage Laguna Beach California

Luxurious Linens

One of the best parts of vacation is getting to lounge in bed without any worries or responsibilities on my mind. But if I’m going to be spending a lot of time in bed, the sheets and linens should be top-quality. (Frette linens are my favorite.) Many luxury hotels have even started offering pillow menus, giving guests the option to choose the perfect pillow for them. Super-soft down, hypoallergenic, or memory foam are some of the choices, so everyone is sure to find their ideal match. Personally, I love when I can select a pillow that gives me some extra neck support. Lounging in bed is so much better when your head feels like it’s resting on a cloud!

Eileen Callahan of Champagne Travels Luxury Travel Website

Hotel Splendide Royal Paris

Exclusive Amenities

As soon as I arrive to my room, to the closet I go! It’s not a vacation unless I can luxuriate in a comfy robe, with slippers to match. I love arriving to my room to see a marvelous bathtub with specialty bath salts waiting for me. Other amenities like bluetooth speakers, complimentary snacks, in-room Nespresso, and high-end toiletries are what set the best luxury hotels apart from the crowd. It’s the little things!

Eileen Callahan of Champagne Travels at the St. Regis Macao China

St. Regis Macao

Champagne Travels Eileen Callahan Luxury Travel Website

Hot off the Press

I’m a subscriber to all the best hotel and travel newsletters, and I love to keep tabs on what hotels are opening around the world. I love Conde Nast Traveller, Travel & Leisure, and Departures, American Express’ travel magazine, to keep me in the know. If a hotel has been featured recently, to the top of my list it goes! I can confidently choose the perfect hotel for my stay when I’ve read up on it and already know what I want to order at the bar. But, I do like to be spontaneous sometimes: for example, on my recent trip to Ibiza, I stayed at the lovely Cubanito Ibiza Suites simply because I thought it seemed like a fun spot (and I was right!).

Eileen Callahan of Champagne Travels in Ibiza Spain

Whether you’re like me and require a top-notch bar to make your luxury hotel stay perfect, or you’d rather spend your stay getting pampered at the spa, I think we can agree that it’s the little things that set a superb luxury hotel apart from the crowd. I can’t wait for my next stay, and if it has these must-haves, I know it will be a perfect trip.

Eileen Callahan of Champagne Travels at Grovsner House Dubai

Grosvenor House Dubai