Cities with the Most Expensive Hotels

June 2, 2014
Laura Joszt

After the cost of airfare, a hotel is probably the most expensive part of a vacation. In some of the most popular tourist destinations, accommodations are incredibly expensive.

After the cost of airfare, a hotel is probably the most expensive part of a vacation. Depending on the type of accommodation and the city, these costs can run hundreds of dollars a night.

Bloomberg recently ranked global cities based on the average cost of hotels for 2 adults in a room. The rankings and average cost were determined regardless of star ratings for hotels; however, Bloomberg also looked at the average cost of 5-star hotels versus 3-star hotels. These figures were only available if at least 10 5-star and 50 3-star hotels were available in the city.

A 5-star hotel is typically one with significant amenities, such as gourmet dining, luxury spas, signatore golf courses, oversized bathrooms, and children’s day camps. Meanwhile, a 3-star hotel usually offers an on-site restaurant, bar and baggage assistance, and shower/tub combinations in the bathroom.

Only 2 countries have multiple cities in the top 10. The top 10 entries are mostly spread across of the entire world, with 2 cities in the Middle East, 2 in North America, 4 in Europe, and 2 in Asia.

Although Paris is often cited as one of the most popular destinations in the world, and one of the most expensive, the city just missed out on the top 10.

Bloomberg based its rankings on information from its own organization, Expedia.com, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations. Bloomberg determined the average daily price of a hotel based on 2 time periods: August 1 to August 10, 2014; and February 1 to February 10, 2015.

10. New York, United States

Average hotel: $233

Local currency: US Dollar

Cost in local currency: $233

5-star average cost: $366

3-star average cost: $210

Times Square

New York is always one of the most visited cities in the world, though visitor growth rate isn’t increasing as quickly as some other cities and countries, according to the 2013 MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. MasterCard reported in 2013 that overnight visitor spending in New York was $18.6 billion.

8. Singapore, Singapore

Average hotel: $235

Local currency: Singapore Dollar

Cost in local currency: SGD 298

5-star average cost: $338

3-star average cost: $141

The Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay. Tee_Eric/Flickr

Hotels aren’t the only thing expensive in Singapore. The city-state is actually the most expensive city in the world with its cost of living index at 130 (New York = 100). Just a decade ago Singapore was ranked 18 on the list of most expensive cities, but during that time its currency has appreciated 40%.

According to the 2014 report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, Singapore has seen a proliferation of expensive malls and boutiques and has become a destination for the world’s wealthy.

8. London, England

Average hotel: $235

Local currency: British Pound

Cost in local currency: GBP 138

5-star average cost: $349

3-star average cost: $146

Regent Street

London (along with cities like Paris and New York) are always among the most popular travel destinations. However, the strength of the pound sterling makes London, and other locations in the United Kingdom, very expensive to visit.

7. Edinburgh, Scotland

Average hotel: $241

Local currency: British Pound

Cost in local currency: GBP 142

5-star average cost: $342

3-star average cost: $187

View of Edinburgh from Calton Hill. Photo by Oliver Bonjoch.

The strength of the pound sterling makes Scotland expensive. Like most of the United Kingdom, and the prior entry in the list, Edinburgh is not easy on the wallet when it comes to accommodations, food, and transportation. Plus, the country has plenty of old castles

6. Hong Kong, China

Average hotel: $242

Local currency: Hong Kong Dollar

Cost in local currency: HKD 1,872

5-star average cost: $418

3-star average cost: $132

Hong Kong skyline

Last year, in the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, Hong Kong was one of the top 10 destinations. The city received 8.7 million international overnight visitors and the overall overnight visitor spend was $6.3 billion.

5. Miami, United States

Average hotel: $245

Local currency: US Dollar

Cost in local currency: $245

5-star average cost: NA

3-star average cost: $194

Downtown Miami. Photo by Marc Averette.

Miami is one of the most expensive cities in the US, with little affordable housing for its residents, or for its visitors, apparently. There are, however, affordable beachfront hotels, even in Miami’s hot South Beach, according to Oyster.com

4. Zurich, Switzerland

Average hotel: $250

Local currency: Swiss Franc

Cost in local currency: CHF 218

5-star average cost: NA

3-star average cost: $220

Rennweg Street in the old town of Zurich. Photo by Roland Zh

With one of the best qualities of life in the world and strong economic activity, Zurich is just overall very expensive. Being a resident and living there full time sure is pricey—the city was named the fourth most expensive city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit, up 3 spots from the previous year.

3. Kuwait City, Kuwait

Average hotel: $253

Local currency: Kuwaiti Dinar

Cost in local currency: KWD 71

5-star average cost: NA

3-star average cost: $177

Kuwait City. Mohammad Alatar/Flickr

In 2013, the World Economic Forum named Kuwait City one of the least tourist-friendly countries in its report on global tourism travel competitiveness. The country only ranked 101 on the overall index for tourism competitiveness. Factors that contributed to the “friendliness” of a country included customer orientation, openness to foreign visitors, and local stateholder involvement.

2. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Average hotel: $273

Local currency: UAE Dirham

Cost in local currency: AED 1,001

5-star average cost: $304

3-star average cost: NA

Marina at night. Photo by Imre Solt.

In 2013, tourist arrivals increased by 10.9%, according to the report, making it the number one destination for the region. Overnight visitor spending was $10.4 billion

1. Geneva, Switzerland

Average hotel: $308

Local currency: Swiss Franc

Cost in local currency: CHF 269

5-star average cost: $614

3-star average cost: NA

Geneva and Lake Geneva.

Geneva is the only city with a hotel cost average that broke the $300 mark. The city’s hotels are also 5 times more expensive than Hanoi, Vietnam, the last city in the World Hotel Index, which costs an average of $62 for a hotel room.

Recreational activities in Geneva, and most of Europe, are very expensive, according to the report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, which named Geneva the sixth most expensive city in the world.