For guests who do not regularly stay at 5 star hotels there hangs a question: what should you expect and how should you behave when you stay at a 5 star hotel?  Some upmarket hotels in cities such as Singapore are dedicated to business travellers and tend to be rather formal while others are a cross between a business and a tourist hotel. Five star properties in destinations such as Bali are usually resorts and tend to be more laid back. It can be wise to look at the hotel website and TripAdvisor to get an idea of the style and feel of the hotel before you arrive. Use this information, combined with the tips below, to work out how to behave at a 5 star hotel.

What to wear at a 5 star hotel

Arriving at a 5 star hotel is a bit like meeting someone for the first time. You will feel a lot more confident and comfortable if you are dressed appropriately. There is no need to go overboard or buy a whole new wardrobe but opting for smart casual when you arrive a resort hotel, rather than thongs and a t-shirt, and casual business attire for a corporate 5 star hotel is a good rule of thumb.

How to be the perfect 5 star hotel guest

Remember you are a guest of the hotel and should therefore behave appropriately. Make an effort to fit in with the way things are done and always be polite and treat the staff with respect. If you aren’t sure what to do with regard to some things, check the in-room compendium for information or call reception and ask. For example, if jackets are required at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, this will be noted in the compendium which saves you the embarrassment of being turned away.

Tipping at a 5 star hotel

This can be tricky if you are staying somewhere expensive as it can feel as if you should be tipping like a millionaire. If the hotel you are visiting is located somewhere like the USA which has a tipping culture, you should definitely tip. That said, you shouldn’t feel pressured by the 5 star atmosphere to give more than the norm or to tip for something you can normally do yourself, such as opening the door. If you are staying in a country where the standard of living is poor, consider tipping as many of the staff at your 5 star hotel as possible. That couple of dollars will mean a lot more to them than it does to you.

Dining at a 5 star hotel

Dining at a 5 star hotel can be wonderful and intimidating in equal measure, especially if the restaurant is a signature of the hotel or hatted with a celebrity chef at the helm. With many 5-star hotel restaurants, dress standards are high but not normally to the extent of formal attire, apart from some European or uber-stylish restaurants that book out weeks in advance. If you don’t own any designer outfits and end up seated near the kitchen, look on the bright side. At least your meals will be hot as they don’t have far to travel. If you’re not normally a formal fine dining customer, it can be wise to get some tips on 5 star dining etiquette from the internet so you’ll feel more at ease. Also, don’t be embarrassed to ask the staff for more information if you don’t understand the menu. There is many a 5 star dish with an overblown menu description that is little more than steak and potatoes with a fancy sauce.

Fixing a problem at a 5 star hotel

Things can go wrong, even at a 5 star hotel. This can be especially upsetting for travellers who rarely treat themselves to a 5 star stay and are there to celebrate a special occasion. The key to fixing any problem is to keep a cool head. It is always best to be calm, respectful and state clearly what the problem is and how you would like it to be fixed. However, while you are certainly entitled to complain if you are unhappy about something, think carefully about whether you should first. If a 5 star hotel loses your luggage between check-in and your room (yes, it can happen) or there is no electricity in your suite, that is a serious problem. You would be within your rights to complain and request some sort of compensation. But if you are unhappy that your $40 room service burger arrived 10 minutes late?  Not so much, apart from the crazy price of the burger, but that’s clearly marked on the menu.

One final tip for a successful 5 star stay

When visiting a 5 star hotel, it is easy to conjure up images of a lavish property with incredible service where you are the centre of the universe. However, the reason many 5 star hotels fall short for some guests is because their expectations are unrealistic. There is something to be said for “keepin’ it real”, even when you are staying in 5 star splendour.