Malaysians will be paying more for hotels at these holiday destinations


The Mexican resort town of Cancun is very popular with holidaymakers from the US. — Pixabay

By now you probably don’t need us to tell you that hotel prices have skyrocketed. But just how bad is it out there? The reality is that the answer depends entirely on where you’re looking.

According to hotel market data provider STR, hotel prices increased by around 33% across the United States over the last year, based on national averages from April and May, the most recent months when figures were available.

But individual destinations, both in the US and abroad, paint vastly varying pictures.

To get clarity on how popular leisure markets are faring, we tasked the data scientists at Google to take a closer look at seven leisure markets that epitomise “summer luxury travel”.

At our request, they crunched the numbers for what four- and five-star hotels have been costing, on average, in the first five months of 2022 compared with the same period in 2019.

While those prices don’t reflect peak summer demand, they’re the most accurate way to understand price shifts overall.

We’ve paired those data points with currently posted mid-July rates at our favourite hotels in each destination-assuming rooms were even available – to paint the fullest picture possible.

Like airfares, hotel rates can fluctuate at any moment, sometimes even radically. (A hotel may be charging four times its old rate, but that doesn’t mean people will end up paying that.)

Here are the seven destinations, listed in order of how aggressively their prices have changed, from least to most.

Cancun, Mexico

Average price in 2019: US$219.72/RM965.78

Average price in 2022: $219.87/RM966.44

Price change: 0.07%Despite the increase in year-round demand for Mexico’s biggest resort town, prices have stayed almost exactly the same since 2019. That’s likely because of the sheer quantity of inventory. However, limit this just to the very top end of resorts, and it’s surprising how much rooms are going for in the typically off-season summer months.

For the third week in July, rates at Etereo, a new Auberge resort, were hovering around US$550/RM2,417; Chable Maroma was charging US$592/RM2,602; and Rosewood Mayakoba was the expensive exception, charging US$1,038/RM4,562 – all for standard king rooms.

The Greek Islands

Average price in 2019: US$270.57/RM1,189.29

Average price in 2022: US$318.94/RM1,401.90

Price change: 17.88%Anecdotally, European resort towns have not been hiking prices to nearly the same extent as US ones; Google’s data seems to support that idea. Picking favorites across the various islands is... not easy. Sublime hotels are in no short supply here. But to name just a few examples, Grace Santorini, where almost every room has a private plunge pool facing the caldera, is running at US$1,286/RM5,652.61; Blue Palace Elounda, a Luxury Collection stunner in Crete, was down to one-bedroom suites for US$1,077/RM4,733.95; and Katikies Mykonos had just one double room left at US$1,175/RM5,164.71, according to Expedia.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Average price in 2019: US$514.17/RM2,260.03

Average price in 2022: US$618.38/RM2,718.09

Price change: 20.27%Demand among Americans for Italy has soared, and seemingly nowhere more so than the Amalfi Coast. While price hikes here have stayed moderate, good luck finding availability. If you do, be prepared to shell out extra for whatever room category is left. For the same third week in July, Il San Pietro in Positano was mostly booked; a few weekdays, “prestige” rooms with one king bed were the only ones available, for about US$5,040/RM22,153.32. Monastero Santa Rosa was similarly charging US$4,064/RM17,863.31, albeit for its last terrace suite. Neither Le Sirenuse nor Borgo Santandrea had anything left.

Bodrum, Turkey

Average price in 2019: US$164.92/RM724.91

Average price in 2022: US$218.15/RM958.88

Price change: 32.28%Turkey reopened tourism earlier than most other European countries, making Bodrum an even more popular summertime option than it already was. And prices here have reflected the increased demand. There was nothing available at the Bodrum Edition, one of the Riviera’s more scenic spots. Google pulled up availability at the Mandarin Oriental for US$1,653/RM7,265.76 per night and up, but only via two no-name booking sites. Caressa, a Luxury Collection resort, was the only top-tier option left: Its deluxe king rooms were up to US$1,026/RM4,509.78.

Nantucket, Massachusetts, the US

Average price in 2019: US$673.08/RM2,958.52

Average price in 2022: US$980.37/RM4,309.22

Price change: 45.66%

It’s such a small island that it’ll never really be able to grow in step with its own popularity-making Nantucket one of the places where inflated rates are likely to stick around for the long term. For the same third week in July, White Elephant had Inn Suites fit for families of four for US$1,793/RM7,881.13. The Wauwinet was little different, at US$1,735/RM. The less fancy, four-star Nantucket Hotel & Resort, however, was down to its last two-bedroom suite, costing US$3,534/RM7,626.19.

I’d stay in a smaller queen room at the newer, more boldly designed Life House instead; it’s also a four-star option, but those rooms are currently US$1,007/RM4.426.27.

The Hamptons, New York

Average price in 2019: US$821.24/RM3,609.76

Average price in 2022: US$1,240.17/RM5,451.17

Price change: 51.01%It’s always been hard to sell Hamptons hotels on account of value; renting a house, even an extravagant one, often yields better prices per person. But you can’t argue with the resort amenities of Topping Rose House, with its BMW house car service and excellent spa; it’s sold out that week in July. Gurney’s Montauk, where you stay for the scene, is up to US$1,753/RM7,705.31 for a deluxe ocean-front king (woof!). Disproving my value argument is super-chic Marram Montauk: Its rooms are apparently going for 2019 off-season prices, at US$833/RM3,661.45.

Miami, Florida

Average price in 2019: US$237.41/RM1,043.54

Average price in 2022: US$369.51/RM1,624.18

Price change: 55.64%Is anyone surprised to see Miami take the prize for fastest-growing hotel rates? Ease of access, a dynamite food scene, and a reputation for pre-pandemic normalcy have all fueled the biggest-ever tourism boom to Magic City. It’s also worth noting that hotel prices here only rarely reach the stratospheric highs of many of the other destinations on this list-and those prices top out in December, around Art Basel and the winter holidays, rather than the muggy summer months. That means that as much as prices have climbed, mid-July splurges remain comparably reasonable, with Faena charging US$534/RM2,347.20, the Betsy charging US$417/RM1,832.92, and the Setai at US$717/RM3,151.57 for studio suites. – Bloomberg

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