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Cities Skylines: Hotels & Retreats DLC – Review

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With Cities Skylines 2 on the horizon, Hotels & Retreats marks the final expansion for the eight-year-old Cities Syklines. With new Hotels, Retreats and tourism related expansion gives you a variety of options for providing more for your tourists in the hope of expanding the appeal of your cities.

To start off it’s worth revisiting the release of Cities Skylines: Remastered earlier this year, at launch we were told that not all pre-released DLC would be available for the new build created solely for Xbox Series consoles, but the developers did a fantastic job (after a few launch day bugs) of making sure all but a few of the most recent packs where available in the new release.

The reason for mentioning this is, if you own the Cities Skylines: Remastered version, you’ll be disappointed to hear that at the moment, Hotels and Retreats isn’t yet available for the the remastered version.

I can fully appreciate the difficulty in getting many years of DLC ready for a new update, and I commend Paradox Interactive and Colossal Order for making sure so much was playable at launch, but a new expansion, months later, marking the final main DLC of a massive game, really should have been ready to launch on both versions, so it’s utterly disappointing that I had to reinstall the original, after spending months enjoying the Remastered release.

So, while the userbase will be a little split, I’m sure it won’t be long before Hotels and Retreats is available to the wider audience, which is great news, because I feel this is a fantastic addition to the Cities Skylines Roster.
The main headline of the expansion are the hotels, with a total of 15 hotels, ranging from 1-5 stars which represent the overall quality of the hotel you’re investing in.

Unlocked pretty early once you reach a tiny town, you’ll find hotels work alongside the new tourist types, with some hotels better serving certain areas of tourism. There are options to modify hotel a little to customise your brand, which like the airport/airline DLC, gives you enough options to add a personal touch, but not enough to lose yourself in what’s ultimately just a cosmetic addition.

Like the University campus and parks, you won’t have the full selection from the start, initially you’ll be limited to 1* hotels, and you’ll have to build your tourism rating and popularity before unlocking more.
Placement of these early hotels is key, so if you want to place a business hotel, you’ll want to make sure it’s in more of a city centre location with offices nearby, whereas the Nature hotels will perform far better away from any major pollution, with sights and elevation much more likely to please the hotels visitors and a unique building nearby providing a massive boost in that hotel’s popularity.

Unlike University campus and airports, this new content is less about improving one large campus or airport, and instead you’re working on building the hotel brand as a whole with multiple locations throughout your city.

I full appreciate the split approach, as building a single hotel complex, and improving that, would be pretty bland compared to a airport, university or theme park, but starting your hotel chain off small, and working up to the best hotels is a rewarding expeirence.

Early on it doesn’t quite feel perfectly balances, as you’re likely to need multiple of each of the 3 starter hotels, before you’re hitting enough of the requirements in order to unlock 2 star hotels. Thankfully, each hotel has it’s own needs and fulfilling these bars, will allow you to increase the hotels overall popularity and earn more money.

You can also select prices of the hotels with the default always in the middle, you’ll want to lower these prices a little at the start, and then slowly raise them as the hotel becomes more popular, with the higher 3, 4 and 5 star hotels, capable of extracting far more money from your visitors.

Graphically, there’s not much to complain about, each of the hotels feels pretty unique with a great range of styles which suit there star rating. The 5-star hotels also have the option to launch events, such as press conferences, which just adds a little extra for achieving those best 3 hotels.

One criticism could be that only one hotel has any variations, the City hotel has a few different appearances, but I would have liked to see this feature for at least one hotel in each star-rating, especially 1 and 2* where you’re much more likely to need more of the same hotel style in order to reach the progression goals.

Finally a quick look at the overall value, there’s always a lot of content thrown in to these large expansions, and Hotels & Retreats isn’t any different, following on in the footsteps of Industries, University’s, and Airports, Hotels provide a much more compelling addition than just content for a new mechanics (like some of the very early DLC), it actually provides a new direction for you to concentrate on, and the micro-management of your hotel chain is every bit as rewarding as those airports and parks we’ve created beforehand.

So for me, because these main recent expansions each offer a slightly new area to concentrate on, their overall desire will appeal more to those who find that specific area more interesting, Airports and Parklife had a fairly wide appeal, while some would argue Campus and Industries (while both very good in their own right) didn’t quite have the same mass appeal.
I’d put Hotels towards the top of that list, as like Parklife, tourism is a massive part of any major city, and one that most of us have thought about when expanding our creations.

As mentioned at the top of the review, it’s dissapointing the content wasn’t available on the Remastered version at launch, but we’re here to judge on the DLC pack, which works very well on the core Xbox One edition (and will no doubt be just as good on Cities Skylines Remastered)

If you’re reading this review to see whether it’s worth buying, the answer is yes, Cities Skylines: Hotels and Retreats is a great addition, with more than enough to appeal to a wide audience, let’s just hope it doesn’t take eight years to bring similar content to Cities Skylines 2.

Cities Skylines: Hotels & Retreats Expansion – DLC

Review by Lee Palmer



If you’re reading this review to see whether it’s worth buying, the answer is yes, Cities Skylines: Hotels and Retreats is a great addition, with more than enough to appeal to a wide audience