$28,000 a night – Hotels race to attract super rich clientele
In most hotels, luxury is measured by the thread count of the linens (minimum 400, please) or the brand of the bathroom toiletries. But for those at the highest end of the market, where the only restraint on consumption is how conspicuous they want to be, a race to the top has broken out, with hotels outdoing one another to serve this tiny, if highly visible, niche.
Take the Jewel Suite by Martin Katz at the New York Palace, one of two recently opened specialty suites. The three-story, 5,000-square-foot space ? a sort of penthouse Versailles ? itself resembles a jewel box, albeit one with its own private elevator and views of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings.
It?s hard to imagine Louis XIV being left wanting. The floor in the entryway on the 53rd floor is glittering black marble arranged in a sunburst pattern, while a 20-foot crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling. The living room sofa is a brilliant sapphire blue and a tufted ivory chaise has a pearlescent sheen. Two floors up, in a second living room next to a vast private terrace, the wet bar (one of two in the suite) and half-bath are swathed in a sparkling wall covering, and an angular lavender sofa calls to mind an amethyst crystal. Iridescent tiles lining the private rooftop hot tub give the impression of sinking into a giant opal.
And then there are the jewels themselves: More than a million dollars of the jewelry designer?s work is displayed in five museum-like cases in the entryway, and a boudoir area in the master suite has lighting and floor-to-ceiling mirrors designed specifically for jewelry showings.
Such grandeur ? or excess, depending on your point of view ? is all there for the taking, starting at $25,000 a night.
?There is a very narrow market who want nothing less,? said Scott Berman, the United States hospitality and leisure practice leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers. ?Price is not an issue. We?re talking about the jet set of the jet sets ? high-net-worth individuals, generally foreign travelers in the U.S. who are accustomed to opulence.?
?It?s bragging rights,? said Pam Danziger, president of the luxury marketing firm Unity Marketing and author of ?Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury,” published in 2011.
?I think this is just a matter of other brands trying to play catch-up to that. They don?t want to be the only hotel on the block that doesn?t have this super, super high-end offering.?
In New York, the race to capture the highest end of the market continues. In November, the Mandarin Oriental, New York, opened a 3,300-square-foot suite that includes floor-to-ceiling windows and a dining room that seats 10; its rate is $28,000 a night. (This suite, as well as the Jewel Suite, was designed by a firm recently bought by HOK.) The Loews Regency Hotel in New York reopened last week after a yearlong, $100 million renovation, and six one-of-a-kind suites will open in April. (Rates haven?t been set yet.)
?We want to present an image that?s commensurate with the new product,? said Jonathan Tisch, chairman of Loews Hotels. ?By doing six different designs, we can create a sense of luxury in six different ways.?
?We?ve seen more and more boutique hotels and the bigger-name hotels making suites that are one-off,? said Kris Fuchs, principal at Suite New York, a furniture showroom involved in the Regency?s suite renovation. ?I think it makes it extra special that you?re in a room no one else in the hotel has.?
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