The 16th annual International Luxury Travel Market, ILTM, took place, as always, in Cannes, Monday-Thursday, December 4-7, 2017. As always every top luxury hotel, worldwide, seemed to be there – the gal just did not have time to talk to all 1,670 exhibitors, let alone the 1,662 hosted buyers (travel advisors), for whom a clever computer managed to schedule a total of 66,292 appointments.
There was lots of hot news. On Tuesday morning AccorHotels’ Sébastien Bazin flew in to announce, with Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah, a stunning Raffles project on Dubai’s Palm – PALM360, to be the Palm’s highest building (853 feet), a 125-room hotel tower and a separate residences tower, the two joined, at 558 feet high, by a 508-foot over-air swimming pool.
Monday was the Forum, when ILTM’s Alison Gilmore presented the ILTM Mary Gostelow Award to Virtuoso’s Matthew Upchurch (see above). There were five outstanding 15-minute presentations, culminating in Chris Kutarna, author of Age of Discovery, comparing today’s uncertainty to the Renaissance, when the period 1450-1550 marked the end of the mediaeval and the start of the new world. Kutana later told me that he personally sees luxury’s biggest evolution becoming exclusivity and privacy • Also yesterday, YouGov released data specifically for ILTM: among many findings, after talking to 3,610 luxury travellers in 14 regions worldwide, from the Americas east to Australasia, a staggering 82% said privacy has never been more important to them than it is today – this even extends to those close around (69% of ultra-wealthy Americans downplay their worth even to immediate family members).
But what is privacy, in travel terms? Is it a 300-acre, 1885-vintage cattle ranch, amid nature at 8,900 ft ASL and surrounded by 14,000-ft forested Colorado peaks (if so, head for Dunton Hot Springs, GM Michael Moody – it’s one of over-550 members of Relais & Chateaux) • Is privacy a power-house of politicos, away from media, real or fake (if so, The Hay-Adams, Washington DC, GM Hans Bruland, is nearest hotel to The White House, try its Off The Record bar) • Other power breakfasts? Try New York’s Loews Regency, new MD John Maibach; in Paris, it’s Plaza-Athenée, MD François Delahaye; in Sydney, Park Hyatt, (Graf) Marc von Arnim; Moscow, Baltschug Kempinski, Oliver Eller; St Petersburg, Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, Sjefke Jansen, and Frankfurt, Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof, new GM, Spiridon Sarantopoulos.
Kimpton De Witt (GM Mike Robinson), next to Amsterdam’s rail station, is a quirky-fun conversion with such local memorabilia as Delft-china spoons for bedrooms’ Magimix espressos – Sammy DeMarco, who heads the wood-fire restaurant, has relocated from New York • At Le Bristol, Paris, GM Luca Allegri has complemented his La Prairie spa with a Vermont-based Tara Harper range – art-addicts rejoice that the 18th century hotel, built for Madame de Pompadour, is sideways-on to gallery-blessed rue Matignon • COMO The Treasury is next to Perth’s 1880s St George’s Cathedral, and its futuristic library designed, like the hotel – a conversion of historic buildings – by Kerry Hill: the spa’s in the one-time treasury (there’s a craft beer hall, rooftop fine dining, and signature Como Suite, 1,300 sq ft, faces Swan River, GM Anneke Brown) • At InterContinental Marseille, GM Madelijn Vervoord, forward-facing rooms in the converted 18th century Hôtel Dieu look straight down to the old port – Marseille has stunning new culture and retail, easy TGV to Paris and Riviera (try Lionel Levy’s unique deconstructed bouillabaisse) • A conservatory with real fire and roll-back glass roof means you can ‘dine outside’, even in mid-winter, at The Lowell, New York’s Marjorelle (don’t miss Christian Delouvrier’s cheese soufflé – flowers by manager Charles Masson): hotel GM Heiko Kuenstl also oversees a new lobby with added library rooms. NOW SEE A FORUM VIDEO, BELOW