Above: A pier at Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah, a member of LHW.
Independent luxury hotels, by the very fact of their being individually owned, do not have loyalty programs. But many are represented by marketing groups—Leading Hotels of the World (LHW), Relais & Châteaux, Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) —that have developed reward plans for their customers.
LHW’s Leaders Club and Relais & Châteaux’s Club 5C are the stalwarts in this segment, and they attempt to set their groups apart by keeping in mind who their customers are, offering perks to suit their clientele. That includes “members-only” experiences and access to normally closed-to-the-public areas, such as private tours of wine cellars in Tuscany or exclusive visits to Coco Chanel’s old Paris residences.
Another program of interest is The Club, operated by SLH. This group combines many smaller luxury hotels that have the allure of more personalized service and recognition for guests. Accordingly, there’s no platinum or gold status here—instead, members can advance to elite levels after a certain number of nights that correspond to the letters “SLH” (Special, Loved, and Honored).
The group is marketing its newly enhanced Club to “discerning globe-trotters,” and also offers an increasing number of free nights and room upgrades as paid nights are accrued. There are other perks as well: a recent package at the Arch London included a one-hour cocktail master class in the hotel’s bar. We’ll drink to that. —Gabriel Leigh