Featured image: That five-star feeling. Photo: InterContinental Hayman Island Resort, The Whitsundays
Bubbly on arrival, in-room breakfast, late check-out. It’s all music to our holiday-hungry ears (and don’t even get us started on private pools). Because honestly, if you’ve managed to carve out precious downtime for a just-us escape, why not make that mini break feel mega luxe? To help give your next getaway the VIP treatment, we’ve rounded up a few ways to upgrade your holiday from fine to five-star. Pack your good swimmers and let’s go!
1. Dodge the crowds
Need your own space? Consider travelling off-peak to score the best deals and a prime position poolside. If you’re looking to relax, give the more family-orientated hotels a miss in favour of adults-only resorts and boutique hideaways. Or think outside the box and consider a private island or a luxury yacht to ensure you won’t have to share your escape with anyone but your sweetheart.
2. Arrive in style
Your choice of transport can really get those vacay vibes flowing. Or not. Consider a swanky helicopter arrival vs a buzz-killing traffic jam on the freeway. Or gliding up to the marina in a private yacht vs jostling for space on a ferry. Jetting out? Check your points for business class options, take advantage of the airport lounge, or at least book a private car transfer. Some airlines also have a bidding system for flight upgrades — just make an offer of what you’re willing to pay, then cross your fingers!
Find accommodation for your next romantic holiday here…
3. Treat yourselves
Opt for an upgrade on your regular accommodation — whether it’s a bigger room, a better view, or the HG of upgrades: a private pool. Plumping for fancy digs will elevate everything else you do on your romantic holiday. Not planning to leave the room? Even better!
4. Peruse the perks
No squillion-dollar budget? No worries. If you have a few locations in mind, keep an eye on their socials for package deals or opt into their newsletters for first dibs on the deals. You’ll find many a good room upgrade, free breakfast, massage, or day trip here. Just remember to scan the fine print for blackout dates and other T&Cs, especially if you’re paying for a promotion up front.
5. Don’t be shy (but always polite)
Wondering how to score that elusive free upgrade? Consider joining the loyalty program of your airline or hotel (which should give you more leverage) and ask when you book or arrive if there are upgrade options. Even if they don’t grant you the honeymoon suite, some companies may offer a reduced rate for a better seat or room if available. Just remember, a polite request is always going to work better than demanding extras you haven’t paid for. If the answer is no, c’est la vie. An online tip? Use the box for ‘special requests’ or ‘more information’ to flag your special celebration — be it a honeymoon, anniversary, or birthday. You might just get lucky.
6. Add on an experience (or two)
It might be a sunrise balloon ride or a sunset cruise, whatever makes for a memorable moment in your travel playbook. Even a room service breakfast can help a modest escape feel a little more decadent. And those dinner reservations? Book them in advance! Especially if you only have a couple of days away. We love starting our holiday right with a relaxing massage on the first morning – and then doubling down with a second trip to the spa just before checkout.
7. Request a late check-out
9am (or even 10am) can feel very early. So, even if your package doesn’t specify a leisurely sleep-in, there’s no harm in asking to have your check-out extended. Speak to the concierge directly and don’t be afraid to casually flash that loyalty card again. Often if a hotel doesn’t have other guests arriving that day, they’re happy to oblige.
Looking to upgrade your bathing experience? Check out 15 Aussie bathtubs with a view here