Thursday, December 4, 2014

Episode 185 -- Hotel Discussion

This week's topic focuses on the arrival of a 5th diamond to Walt Disney World property.  Joined by John Kivus, the discussion focuses on what goes into a 5 diamond resort, our experiences with them elsewhere, the concept of luxury and why Disney doesn't do one themselves.  John also challenges Kip to Friday Night's Alright and we are joined by Russell James Lipton Shuttlesworth.

Download Episode 185

Kivus and Camera


  1. For me, the thing that separates a 5 diamond place from a place that is merely nice is the little unexpected details -- which, incidentally, is sort of the same reason that Disney is at the top of the heap when it comes to theme parks. For example, we stayed at Four Seasons in Maui a few years ago, and if you were sitting out by the pool, every hour or so, someone would come by and offer to spritz you with Evian water and provide little treats -- mini muffins in the morning, ice pops or frozen pineapple in the afternoon -- all gratis. Before staying there, I didn't even know that being spritzed with Evian was a thing, but I'll tell you what, it was an awesome touch. I was constantly surprised at the little things I had never even considered, both in terms of service and appointments, and it all really added to the experience in a way that a larger room or a marble countertop just can't (although it happened to have those things,too).

    About a month and a half after being in Maui at the Four Seasons, we stayed at the Poly. Much though I loved that trip (that was the trip where we bought into DVC and I kicked off my WDW obsession), the Poly paled in comparison to a place like 4S. To borrow from Jules Winfield, they aren't in the same ballpark, the same league, or even the same sport. The regular deluxe hotels at WDW are essentially average hotels draped in a heavy coat of Disney theming, and the result is something that feels much more grand than it is. The DVC villas are a bit of a different animal, but the resorts in which they sit still lack the "wow, I had never even thought of that" quality that a true 5 diamond place offers.

    With all of that said, I'll be interested to see how a 4S does at WDW. A place like that is pretty awesome when you're on an R&R trip, but I know I would miss out on many of the little touches on my average Disney trip, and without those, it's tough to justify that price point for a place that isn't on the monorail loop.

  2. Thanks James! Great comment and I can't wait to get it on the show. The poolside service is something that just wouldn't work at the Yacht and Beach, right? There are lounges every 24 inches and not a ton of CMs there. Staying in Sarasota, we had our chairs set up for us, an umbrella brought over and a pitcher of ice water. Just a different level. Love the " average hotels draped in Disney theming" line.

  3. Yeah, I can't see it working at any of the Disney resorts. There are practical considerations like those that you mentioned, but it just wouldn't "fit" at a Disney place, either. The vibe at typical Disney pool just wouldn't lend itself to that sort of thing, because the children constantly underfoot and beach balls bouncing off of your forehead would sort of take you out of that zen moment. I actually think that Disney does a great job with the service at WDW as a whole, but I just don't see them hiring a fleet of people devoted to spoiling their guests rotten. True 5D places have different goals in mind than the Disney hotels and like I said above, the two are just not comparable.