Globetrotter Charlotte Shields works as an architectural designer and project leader. The London-based Jamaican prefers to travel in luxury. Never one to shy away from treating herself, Shields considers staying in luxe accommodations a form of self-care. It is a benefit to her mind and mental health.

“I’m at a point now in my life where I like to travel not only to see the culture and experience a different way of life, but to also experience relaxation and the soft life,” she said. “I love being able to take time out for self care. For me, … it’s something we all deserve!”

As an avid supporter of Black women enjoying luxury travel, Shields began helping other women create what she calls their “boujee lifestyle.” 

“We are our biggest investment, so I believe it’s important for Black women to invest in ourselves to experience luxury travel,” she said. “Being exposed to luxury travel opens your mind to a different way of life and exposes you to what’s possible. For me, it’s so important to experience the life you may strive for. Luxury travel is giving everything! It’s giving soft life, worthy and deserving!”

Some of Shields’ most memorable luxury stays to date have been Five Jumeirah Village in Dubai, Esperos Village Blue & Spa in Rhodes and Sunborn 5-Star Yacht Hotel in Gibraltar

Five Jumeirah Village

This posh hotel offers everything from brunch to relaxation. Shields stayed in the Sky Villa, which features a private pool, floor-to-ceiling windows and a bathtub with magnificent views of Dubai.

“The service on arrival is the best, bags taken and delivered to your room,” she said. “The views from the Sky Villa are breathtaking to wake up to. The hotel even has its own private club and you get exclusive access to its sister hotel on the Palm, as an added bonus.”

Esperos Village Blue & Spa

Located on the beautiful Greek island of Rhodes, this hotel offers private pools overlooking the coastline and panoramic views over breakfast. Private transportation service takes guests to its private beach and beach bar. 

“The food is delicious and the staff are just the best, making you feel so welcome!” Shields said. “The hotel itself has two pools, one of which is heated and has a jacuzzi. Bali beds and sun loungers surround the pool areas with live jazz in the evenings. There’s so much to experience in the hotel itself.”

Sunborn 5-Star Yacht Hotel 

Upon arriving at the world’s first 5-star super-yacht hotel, guests are greeted with champagne. Well-appointed, high-tech rooms feature remote-controlled curtains that can be raised with the tap of a button to allow you to take in the stunning views of the bay.

“The staff is exceptional and the yacht offers a spa on board and an exquisite dining hall serving the most delicious food and cocktails with flavors I could only imagine in a drink!” Shields said.

Luxury for Less

While hotel stays like these normally will run you a pretty penny, they don’t necessarily have to. There are a number of ways Shields is able to book luxury stays for a fraction of the price. Here are some of her top tips for booking luxe for less.

Travel during the off season

Hotel rates soar during peak season. Without being tied to any particular season, Shields is able to book accommodations at lower prices.

Be flexible

Having flexibility regarding your available travel days can make a big difference in rates.

“Being able to travel on a Tuesday in comparison to just weekends can mean a difference of hundreds price wise,” Shields explained. “Typically the weekends are the most expensive times to travel. If you can avoid this, you’re on to a winner!”

Travel with others and share costs

Traveling with at least one other person or in a group allows you to split the cost. When you do this, you don’t have to bear the burden alone.

“Dividing the cost between you and a travel buddy or a group will certainly lower the price much more than if you were traveling solo,” Shields said.

Become a travel insider

Shields has been a part of the travel industry since 2019. As a travel insider with The Travel Culture, she has access to exclusive rates plus the benefits of saving and earning on everything that she books.

“Having access to speak with hotels and suppliers directly to book travel has been an absolute gamechanger,” she said. “It also means I’m traveling like a VIP and can get added extras for being in the industry. For example, when I went to Dubai, I stayed at three hotels and using my travel credentials I saved £1,247. For Rhodes, I had a private pool suite, half board, private transfers and saved £660. The hotel also upgraded us to a panoramic view at breakfast and gave me a complimentary four-course meal.”