Expensive is relative. In London a suite at a top hotel is probably 10 x the price or more of one in Bali. I have negotiated in places in SE Asia, maybe 4* but not in 5*, but I am sure it is possible. Use hotwire and various websites for deals.
On any given trip one can have a bad stay at a hotel. Regardless if one has stayed at a location before or the hotel costs thousands of dollars a night, things can and do wrong. The biggest problem is when those things that go wrong are not dealt with satisfactorily. This is why choosing a hotel that is well managed is important and can make all the difference in a stay.
Well managed does just mean expensive. Yes, a big expensive building, fancy brand name, and many amenities does not mean that the hotel will be well-managed. What is not well-known outside of the industry is that hotel management has a very high churn rate. Also, that hotels change hands frequently.
Tips to a Good Hotel Stay
Many times finding a good hotel to stay at is not easy. Essentially one is arriving cold with no information and only hoping they are making a good choice. A bit of advice can go a long way to help one choose a good hotel to stay with.