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Snobby posh hotels

Snobby posh hotels can be blind to good service

I have watched Duck Dynasty a few times. I admit that I admire the hard work and ingenuity the men of the show have for making their business work. They are successful and quite well-off.  But you wouldn’t know this by looking at them.

It’s because they look like mountain men – the Grizzly Adams types. In other words, they look like men and not overly smooth boys that Hollywood and fashion circles have put on pedestals for many years.

Most recently, one of the Duck Dynasty guys, Jase Roberston, was in the news talking about the poor experience he received from a New York City hotel. He was staying at the hotel, and asked a staff member in the lobby where the bathroom was. He was directed to go outside, with the staff member mistaking him for a homeless man.

Truth be told, he does not look what is the acceptable norm for a man – close cropped hair, shaved off beard and smart, casual clothing. He looks like a man who lives in a completely different environment. Luckily, Jase has a good sense of humour and has brushed it off as “facial profiling” in reference to his beard.

However, he’s not the only one have received poor service from a hotel. Imagine me and my husband, dressed casually in jeans and windbreakers with comfortable Keen walking shoes playing tourist in London. Luckily one hotel treated us with complete respect – it was a 4-star hotel (Rubens by the Palace – I’d stay there again and recommend it to anybody). The other one we stayed at during our honeymoon, was a five-star near Green Park station that I will not even name – our experience at this one was far from acceptable when it comes to service. We kept being stopped by doormen and security asking if we were staying at the hotel or if we “knew where we were going.” The one time we dressed up we didn’t get the same treatment.

I understand it’s important for hotels to provide a sense of security, quality and a great experience for their guests. But when they start to treat their own guests with a scrutiny that makes them feel like second-class citizens, these “reputable” hotels lose their luster.

What it comes down to, in my opinion, is the level of fame you have.

For example, if it was equally hobo-looking Johnny Depp walking into that same hotel lobby, asking the staff member directions to the bathroom, I’m sure there would be no issue whatsoever.

See the photo on the left – Johnny looks like a hobo who has put on all his clothing to keep warm. He hasn’t shaven, or probably taken a shower in a while.

Snobby posh hotelsOn the right, you Jase with his beard, baseball hat and sunglasses. Not all that unusual-looking, in my opinion. He could smile a bit more (rarely does in photos).

Unfortunately Jase Roberston does not have the same level of fame as good old Johnny.  The same would not apply if Johnny Depp walked up to the doors of the Ritz in London – they would get the red carpet out for him. Not the same treatment for me and my hubby on our honeymoon, in comfortable touristy fashions.

While I think you should wear comfortable clothes when playing tourist, even if you happen to be staying at a 5 star hotel, to avoid being discriminated against due to your fashion choices, here are my travel tips when staying at a “posh” hotel:

  • Shoes matter. Slipping into a pair of stylish walking shoes over comfortable hiking shoes can make a big difference in creating an illusion that you are moneyed and worth the pleasant attitude when walking into a hotel.
  • Avoid carrying a small camera bag for your DSLR that looks like a camera bag. You may be coming across as a paparazzi, even though they have huge lenses and you are merely taking photos as a tourist around town. Men and women can purchase messenger/hand bags that look stylish but carry your camera comfortably. Check out Epiphanie Bags, or Kelly Moore.
  • Have a loud(er) conversation with your partner just before entering the hotel and mention going to your room to rest/change/order room service.. whatever. Chances are the security doormen will hear you and acknowledge you as a guest rather than an interloper.
  • If you are guy with a beard – trim it! And don’t wear a baseball hat. If you must wear something to protect your noggin, wear something stylish like a paperboy hat or a fedora. What you’d normally wear for a hike is not what you wear to a fancy hotel.

It’s a shame that the hospitality industry is in some cases treating non-famous guests who decide to dress comfortably or according to their own sense of style in such a disgraceful way. Yet, YOU as a guest can do these things to make your stay – even at snobby posh hotels – more pleasant.  Or just stay at boutique luxury hotels that are known to be more accommodating to all, no matter their fashion or style choices.

Tell us about your awful experiences staying at snobby posh hotels. This is an opportunity to vent!





  1. Oh oh … when I’m traveling, I want to be comfy so could look like a homeless person :)

    • Me too Teena! I think with North American hotels, it’s not as bad as in Europe though. We can get away with the hobo look as long as we have a credit card in our hands!

  2. Hey,

    Some great tips but, I don’t think this should be necessary. Regardless of how much money I have, I have enough to stay here. I’ve booked my room and paid for it.

    It’s not their job to scrutinize my clothing choices… (I’m sure they would really have fun with my husband),
    We have stayed and will continue stay at 5 stars in the future and although they occasionally give Bob a touch of side-eye (probably because he looks like a “Biker”), no one has dared to approach him. lol Probably for the best.

    • Christine, I agree with you 100%. They shouldn’t be necessary. Until all luxury hotels understand that even the middle / upper-middle classes can splurge on a night at their hotel – but they may not necessarily dress the part of the uber-rich – we have to find ways of getting around the “side-eye’ and the commentary. Some of the best hotels in the world have a policy of treating everybody who comes through their doors as honoured guests. These are the ones that I will whole-heartedly support and recommend. But in the meantime, we have to deal with the crap we get as best we can.

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