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What is The Kiwi Collection?
By Juliana Shallcross
Typically, we don't go crazy over "collections" of otherwise unaffiliated hotels as membership for these groups are often bought and there's not much scrutiny about whether the hotel is living up to its promises.
But when we were introduced to the Kiwi Collection, we were turned on by the idea that not only are these hotels not allowed to buy membership in, they can be removed instantly from the group once the Kiwi Collection sees the hotel not performing to its standards.
The Kiwi Collection, despite its name, is based in Vancouver with offices in Sydney and London (Kiwi was chosen as the name because it means the same thing in every language.) The collection describes its luxury collection of hotels as "created by consumers for consumers." The staff at Kiwi are constantly traveling the world, adding and removing hotels from their list.
Kiwi's reviewers do not pay for their rooms but they've developed a rigorous scoring system, which you can see here. Currently, the collection has over 2,100 hotels in 127 countries (most of these are luxury and design hotels) which is to put it simply, a hell of a lot.
But Kiwi maintains that each hotel has been "personally reviewed and vetted" before they extend an invite for the hotel to join their collection. Similarly, the hotel can be dropped if reviewers notice a downturn in service or accommodations.
In casually perusing the hotel listings which feature large photos of the hotels' rooms and public space, we were a little dismayed to see some predictable options on the list especially in the U.S. but we were enticed by the collection's international offerings. There were quite a few hotels abroad that we hadn't heard of and are now interested in seeking out.
Of course, to be financially viable, Kiwi has a booking component to its site, meaning you can learn about the hotel on Kiwi and then book your hotel stay straight from there. However for consumers and would-be hotel guests, browsing Kiwi's hotel collection, reviews and deals is completely free. No membership needed.
Kiwi's hotels also have a Kiwi Advantage meaning guests will get something when they arrive at the hotel just because they booked through Kiwi. Sometimes this is a complimentary room upgrade if available, other times it's a small welcome amenity.
Kiwi also has another elite membership level for Visa Signature cardholders featuring 701 hotel in 88 countries (and growing). For these special cardholders, when they book a hotel on Kiwi they get not only the best available room rate, but an automatic upgrade if available, complimentary breakfast, 3pm check-out, $25 food or beverage voucher and free in-room internet or valet parking.
Considering that all of those things are a la carte at luxury hotels, this is the best reason to give Kiwi a try when booking your next hotel (provided that you are a Visa Signature cardholder, of course.)
As for comparison shopping, we tried the Huntely Hotel in Santa Monica on Kiwi for the weekend of July 16 and found a deluxe city view room for $345 a night. On the hotel's website, the rate for that weekend was also $345. On Expedia, the rate was again, $345. Kiwi does promise the best room available whereas Expedia does not. Kiwi also promises a welcome amenity, something Expedia nor the hotel does not.
For a little extra attention, Kiwi would make sense. And as they say at Kiwi, "If it isn