Luxury Travel Soars: Why Five-Star Prices Are Hitting Record Highs


A photo of a luxurious hotel room with a view of the city

The travel industry is back in full swing, and with it comes a surge in luxury travel prices that show no signs of slowing down. High-end hotels and exclusive experiences are commanding sky-high rates, even surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

Luxury Hotels: Peak Prices and Beyond

According to the luxury travel company Virtuoso, hotel rates have reached unprecedented peaks in 2023. Average daily rates have increased by an astounding 70% compared to 2019, with some hotels charging up to 85% more than before the pandemic. The trend is expected to continue, with rates projected to rise even further in the coming months.

Trains to the Stars

The price of luxury train travel is also soaring to new heights. Accor’s upcoming La Dolce Vita Orient-Express, set to launch in Italy in 2025, has seen its starting price jump by a staggering 75% in just 16 months. What once cost 2,000 euros is now a hefty 3,500 euros (,776).

Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has also seen a significant increase in rates, with fares climbing from £3,530 in February to £7,060 (,925) in March alone.

Inflation and exclusivity: A Perfect Storm

The rise in luxury travel prices is attributed to a combination of factors, including inflation, rising labor costs, supply chain issues, and debt service rates. However, the unwavering willingness of travelers to pay these inflated prices suggests that the era of affordable five-star holidays may be coming to an end.

Luxury Boom Knows No Bounds

Despite economic concerns, the luxury travel sector remains resilient, as it caters to an elite clientele who place a high value on exclusivity and unique experiences. According to Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group, “Money is almost no object” for these wealthy travelers, who are willing to pay top dollar for luxury hotels and exclusive experiences.

Competition and Savings for the Budget-Conscious

While luxury prices continue to surge, budget travelers can find some solace in the increased competition at the lower and mid-scale sectors. Discount airfares are becoming more common due to increased competition, while budget and midscale hotels are offering more affordable options.

To save money on hotel stays, Harteveldt recommends booking early or waiting until within two weeks of your travel date. Hotels often offer lower rates closer to the check-in date if demand is lower than expected.

Steady Demand for the Luxe Life

Despite rising costs in other sectors, demand for luxury travel remains unabated. Dave Goodger, managing director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Tourism Economics, attributes this to the fact that income and wealth levels, including accumulated savings, remain high for affluent households.

As the luxury travel boom continues, prices for exclusive experiences are expected to remain high. However, for those who can afford it, the world of luxury travel offers a unique and unforgettable way to experience the world.