Let’s admit it: who doesn’t want to stay in a 5-star hotel? Perhaps the only deterrent from staying in the lap of luxury is its price. Indeed, the average 2018 booking price on Hipmunk for a 5-star hotel in the US clocked in at $431 per night and averaged 2.87 days.
Savvy travelers, however, know that—whether traveling for business or leisure—they can optimize their budget by looking for deals at lavish hotels and resorts in certain locales, where the market’s effect makes luxury travel more attainable.
So which US cities are you more likely to score a deal at a luxury hotel? We dug into our data to find 20 cities where you can find a 5-star hotel at a 3-star price.
|City||Median Booking Price|
|Las Vegas, NV||$250|
|San Antonio, TX||$260|
|Palm Springs, CA||$284|
|New Orleans, LA||$304|
|San Diego, CA||$329|
When to Book
Travelers looking to optimize their hotel budget by staying in a 5-star hotel on the (relative) cheap, should book their accommodations two – four weeks prior to check-in. We found that prices at luxe hotels drop during this window, increases in the weeks leading up to check-in and then rises sharply in the 24-hours before check-in to $409.
Bookings made more than 30 days prior to check-in are even higher, with an average booking price of $442. Whether this is because travelers’ window for planning is longer when staying at pricier hotels or due to hotel pricing fluctuations (or both!), is unknown.
Last-minute travelers hoping to book a 5-star hotel on a 3-star budget are most likely to snag a last-minute deal during Shoulder Season in September, when rates at these luxury properties are the lowest.
What Makes a Hotel 5-Star, Anyway?
Hotel star rating systems, like the one found on Hipmunk*, are widely recognized as the definitive way to ascertain a hotel’s overall quality, yet the rankings can differ greatly from one country and ranking system to another. In the US, for example, there are a number of competing systems, from the American Automobile Association to local councils. But while there’s no international standard that hotels across the world adhere to, stars do pertain to a hotel’s level of service, amenities, cleanliness, location, and price.
According to the Mobil Star lodging criteria, both 4-star and 5-star hotels provide a luxurious environment for their guest. “The differences in the physical environment, particularly the guest rooms, lie in the details. Four-star rooms offer pampering basics such as triple-sheeted beds and live plants. Meanwhile, 5-star rooms offer consistently superlative service in an exceptionally distinctive luxury environment with expanded services. Attention to detail is evident throughout the Hotel/Resort/Inn from the bed linens to staff uniforms.”
Hipmunk makes it easy to filter hotel results by stars: start a search, then on the results page simply choose the number of preferred stars. Your results will automatically refresh.
Methodology: Hipmunk analyzed the average nightly price of its 5-star hotel bookings in the US from Jan 1, 2018 – Dec 31, 2018.
*Hipmunk’s hotel star ranking is provided by our hotel booking partners