Cheapest cities for 5-star hotels: 101 Global destinations by price

Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi HDRAre you a budget traveler who has wondered where in the world you’d actually be able to afford a 5-star hotel room? You are not alone. Those of us who prefer to (or must) sleep cheap can easily get tired of tiny rooms with few frills, and we dream of what it would be like to be staying in that swanky 5-star with the perfect location.

Well, wonder no more, because we’ve checked prices in 101 of the most popular tourist cities and destinations around the world to find the cheapest 5-star hotel rates. There are some encouraging results, but of course it’s a complicated situation.

You can’t get a room at the Four Seasons (city name) or the InterContinental (city name) for a budget price anywhere in the world, unfortunately. But you can actually find luxurious hotels at affordable rates in different cities, especially if you go in the low season. As you’ll see below, the cheapest 5-star resorts in the world can be found in Phuket, as long as you go outside of the December through March high season, but even then they are good value.

No international standard for “5-star”

Carlton Hotel CannesIt must be said now that only parts of Europe are actively attempting to standardize the definition of hotel stars, and any international standard is still a long way off. In general, it’s the hotels themselves that pick the star rating, and there’s certainly a wide range that claim to be 5 stars.

The good news on this subject is that thanks to the new prominence of guest reviews (AKA TripAdvisor), it’s much harder for hotels to profit by grossly misrepresenting their facilities. We’ve clearly seen expectations play a huge part in post-stay ratings by guests, so any hotel that racks up a large number of 1-star ‘THIS IS NOT A 5-STAR HOTEL!!!1′ reviews, won’t be able to carry on like that for long, and they were excluded from the data below as well.

How we made this list of 5-star hotel prices

With different high, shoulder, and low seasons around the world, it’s impossible to rank all cities on one list that works the whole year round, so to compromise we checked prices for one night – Tuesday, September 25, 2012 – for all of the cities below using the metasearch site kayak.com. A weeknight in late September, checked more than 4 months in advance, should represent the ‘shoulder season’ in almost every city on the planet, and won’t include any special last-minute deals. (For Munich, a late October date was used.)

For many cities there was one or more self-reported 5-star hotels that were cheapest that also have an unusually low average on TripAdvisor average scores, so these were thrown out and the cheapest 5-star hotel with at least 4 (out of 5) TripAdvisor guest stars was used instead.

The price ranges below represent:

  • Hotels reporting 5-stars in systems used by Kayak.com
  • Hotels with a minimum 4 out of 5 in TripAdvisor guest ratings
  • The quoted price including all taxes and fees
  • ‘Airport’ hotels were also excluded from the ranges

Cheapest cities for 5-star hotels in the world

Prices in US dollars as of mid May, 2012 for late September stays

(Cheapest 5-star room – Cheapest room at most expensive 5-star – city – # of hotels)

  1. $56 – $874 – Phuket, Thailand (53)
  2. $67 – $166 – Goa, India (19)
  3. $68 – $407 – Bangkok, Thailand (60)
  4. $68 – $749 – Siem Reap, Cambodia (16)
  5. $71 – $368 – Macau, China (35)
  6. $74 – $856 – Beijing, China (118)
  7. $77 – $2,103 – Marrakech, Morocco (120)
  8. $78 – $248 – Fez, Morocco (24)
  9. $78 – $383 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (35)
  10. $82 – $546 – Shanghai, China (105)
  11. $82 – $553 – Chiang Mai, Thailand (16)
  12. $84 – $291 – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (18)
  13. $84 – $308 – Cairo, Egypt (35)
  14. $86 – $308 – Luang Prabang, Laos (5)
  15. $90 – $198 – Hanoi, Vietnam (13)
  16. $91 – $402 – Budapest, Hungary (23)
  17. $91 - $504 – Quito, Ecuador (6)
  18. $92 – $1,130 – Istanbul, Turkey (78)
  19. $94 – $302 – Mumbai, India (31)
  20. $98 – $209 – Sofia, Bulgaria (9)
  21. $99 – $337 – Krakow, Poland (10)
  22. $99 – $896 – Las Vegas, USA (14)
  23. $101 – $605 – Cape Town, South Africa (60)
  24. $102 – $402 – Athens, Greece (35)
  25. $102 – $1,271 Dubai, United Arab Emirates (99)
  26. $105 – $458 – Auckland, New Zealand (21)
  27. $107 – $372 – Taipei, Taiwan (26)
  28. $110 – $353 – Riga, Latvia (9)
  29. $111 – $198 – Bucharest, Romania (13)
  30. $111 – $531 – Barcelona, Spain (33)
  31. $111 – $551 – Mexico City, Mexico (17)
  32. $118 – $416 – Delhi, India (31)
  33. $119 – $125 – La Paz, Bolivia (5)
  34. $126 – $368 – Warsaw, Poland (12)
  35. $128 – $836 – Kuta, Bali, Indonesia (105)
  36. $130 – $341 – Berlin, Germany (29)
  37. $130 – $375 – Santiago, Chile (9)
  38. $133 – $319 – Lisbon, Portugal (26)
  39. $135 – $545 – Lima, Peru (9)
  40. $137 – $1,236 – Florence, Italy (24)
  41. $140 – $275 – Manila, Philippines (18)
  42. $142 – $221 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia (4)
  43. $142 – $632 – Buenos Aires, Argentina (30)
  44. $144 – $915 – Prague, Czech Republic (43)
  45. $145 – $350 – Kathmandu, Nepal (8)
  46. $150 – $210 – Vientiane, Laos (2)
  47. $157 – $1,010 – Melbourne, Australia (31)
  48. $159 – $282 – Amman, Jordan (15)
  49. $163 – $754 – Sydney, Australia (31)
  50. $166 – $231 – Bratislava, Slovakia (5)
  51. $167 – $273 – Tallinn, Estonia (6)
  52. $168 – $877 – Vienna, Austria (23)
  53. $170 – $307 – Belgrade, Serbia (6)
  54. $172 – $325 – Hamburg, Germany (16)
  55. $173 – $407 – Beirut, Lebanon (26)
  56. $174 – $194 – Zagreb, Croatia (3)
  57. $174 – $458 – Dubrovnik, Croatia (15)
  58. $174 – $944 – Hong Kong, China (35)
  59. $175 – $539 – Seoul, South Korea (26)
  60. $178 – $2,187 – London, England (91)
  61. $183 – $203 – Montevideo, Uruguay (2)
  62. $185 – $1,056 – Miami Beach, USA (16)
  63. $186 – $430 – Helsinki, Finland (4)
  64. $186 – $472 – Edinburgh, Scotland (23)
  65. $187 – $275 – Panama City, Panama (6)
  66. $187 – $538 – Madrid, Spain (26)
  67. $189 – $1,030 – Milan, Italy (19)
  68. $194 – $500 – St. Petersburg, Russia (13)
  69. $200 – $455 – Dublin, Ireland (12)
  70. $200 – $1,149 – Venice, Italy (17)
  71. $203 – $361 – Caracas, Venezuela (6)
  72. $203 – $453 – Brussels, Belgium (16)
  73. $211 – $668 – Tokyo, Japan (24)
  74. $215 – $470 – Tel Aviv, Israel (9)
  75. $217 – $293 - Luxembourg City, Luxembourg (4)
  76. $220 – $607 – Munich, Germany (12)
  77. $226 – $1,814 – Singapore, Singapore (40)
  78. $228 – $305 – New Orleans, USA (3)
  79. $231 – $393 – Montreal, Canada (3)
  80. $233 – $508 – Nice, France (12)
  81. $236 – $443 – Vancouver, Canada (7)
  82. $240 – $592 – Cancun, Mexico (15)
  83. $241 – $650 – Amsterdam, Netherlands (18)
  84. $243 – $419 – Cartagena, Colombia (10)
  85. $245 – $425 – Naples, Italy (6)
  86. $250 – $402 – Copenhagen, Denmark (5)
  87. $262 – $635 – Los Angeles, USA (15)
  88. $285 – $470 – Stockholm, Sweden (10)
  89. $292 – $1,108 – Moscow, Russia (23)
  90. $293 – $806 – Zurich, Switzerland (12)
  91. $321 – $540 – Oslo, Norway (3)
  92. $333 – $738 – Rome, Italy (34)
  93. $343 – $427 – Kiev, Ukraine (5)
  94. $345 – $1,204 Paris, France (25)
  95. $349 – $515 – Honolulu, USA (4)
  96. $423 – $731 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (7)
  97. $443 – $562 – Washington DC, USA (11)
  98. $453 – $570 – Toronto, Canada (4)
  99. $473 – $601 – Chicago, USA (5)
  100. $485 – $1,486 – New York City, USA (26)
  101. $511 – $927 – San Francisco, USA (5)

Interesting observations on the above list

Most of the cheapest destinations above are in “low season” in late September, so those rates might be only available for short periods of time, and will certainly be much higher in high season.

India in particular, is known for lower hotel standards than are found in most of Asia, so even a “5-star” hotel with good guest reviews in Goa would probably have to call itself 4-stars or even 3-stars most anywhere else, at least those on the bottom of the price range.

The best bargains of all might be in the gambling destinations, with Las Vegas (at US$99) far cheaper than any other US city on the list, and Macau (at US$71) near the very top. It’s obvious that casino hotels are confident that they can make up revenue in other ways, so non-gamblers (and winners!) benefit.

On average, US hotels are similar prices to European hotels, so it’s a bit surprising seeing US cities dominating the pricey end of the 5-star hotel list. In other words, even with no recognized standard, it seems that the self-reporting system in the US works well in keeping undeserving hotels from advertising above their true rank.




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