Luxury Hotels


And so continues the diary of an already-exhausted ILTM-er, one of an estimated-6,000 luxury travel professionals here in Cannes.   It’s a fab place to be, by the way – the town’s campaign is 12/12, stressing this is a round-the-year destination. Already, boosted by growth in the medical sector, 2024 has 72 major conventions planned, up 2023’s 64. The re-opening of Palm Beach, May 2024, will see a mouthful of new restaurants, including Zuma, and entertainment ideas (but no beds) added to the inventory.

ILTM started officially Monday 4th December but frolicking started the previous, Sunday, night.  There were two must-go invitation-only events. HOTEL MARTINEZ hosted media, who included all the big names.Eight minutes’ walk away, rooftop in a rented apartment along rue d’Antibes, Chrissie Lincoln and The Set Collection threw its usual don’t miss event. See the image above, courtesy Catherine Heald, Remote Lands.

The newest member of The Set Collection, Nick Downing, GM of Bangkok’s THE SIAM, explained how his owning family has river-set land in Chiang Mei for a second resort. OPPOSITE HOUSE in Beijing has a Harrods-themed penthouse, one bedroom. It sounds as if BACCARAT HOTEL New York will see its next sibling in Rome (a transformation of THE MAJESTIC. HOTEL). CRILLON Paris is still recovering from a five-day buyout for an American wedding, yet another Jack Ezon organisational triumph – daddy of the bride is something to do with cars, in Texas. Petar Krstic explained Ultima Collection, which recently joined The Set Collection. James McBride, whose NIHI SUMBA is not part of the Collection, said residences there are selling fast – to happy guests. John Reed brought along Mrs Reed. Jan Tibaldi, any day now opening ONE&ONLY ZABEEL Dubai, had left his other half at home as she’s about to launch her new company. Yann Gillet, formerly GM of the Martinez, has just opened One&Only’s first property in Greece. Co-hosts at this gorgeous event appeared to be not only Set Collection’s Chrissie Lincoln but also man of the world’s taste Marcel Thoma, who defected from the Collection to head much of The Americas for MOHG, based at MANDARIN ORIENTAL NEW YORK.

As all those who were in Cannes yesterday can attest, it didn’t rain. It POURED and it was cold. Long coats and umbrellas scurried along the Corniche to the Palais des Festivals for the opening Forum. ILTM Portfolio Director Alison Gilmore welcomed everyone and introduced two of the best ILTM speakers ever, covering geopolitical risks (overall depressing) and Gen-Z (overall overwhelming) and after a somewhat noisy official drinks people scattered. The lucky went on to Perowne International’s seated dinner at Plage Goeland, where Julia Perowne summed up the year that is and the year that will be with not a single wasted word. Oh if only she would enter politics….  Yes, James McBride was there, as were Neil Jacobs and Sharan Pasricha and those who run BORGO SANT’ANDREA, BRENNER’S PARK, THE CAMBRIDGE ARMS,THE LANESBOROUGH, you name it. The best.

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Luxury Hotels


To Cannes, the day before the official opening of ILTM. This is the annual time of the year when the 6,000-odd (take out the word ‘odd’ – Ed.) gather on the French Riviera to discuss, plot and do business, and network, anything to do with the global world of luxury travel.

Every plane from feeder markets in Europe and beyond is packed.  BA’s flight from Heathrow leaving 1010 had many of the great and good of the UK industry plus many who had transferred in London from The Americas.  Girlahead was offered a lift from Nice by the MD of THE ARIZONA BILTMORE, WALDORF ASTORIA and when she was dropped off at THE MARTINEZ, part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection, there were not only a handful of Damien Hirst sculptures to greet but also the hotel’s MD, Michel Cottray.

Some hotel operators are real stars and he is certainly one. To come in and be on duty on a Sunday afternoon is beyond any call of duty.  See him, above, posing with a D Hirst, part of the personal collection of the hotel’s Qatari owner. He hand-writes welcome cards in real ink, and tonight he’s hosting a party for select ILTM friends.

The 409-room hotel, right on the Croisette, is also a star, as it has been for 94 years.  It sparkles. Now, security doors operate on eveery floor so only those staying in, say, #331 can access the third floor – or the first floor, for fitness. #331, by the way, is a dream. From the circular sitting room lead off a six-seat dining room and, in another direction, the bedroom. Colouring is champagne and pale yellow and gold. Look down, over the French balconies, at the party-place that is the Martinez beach, and out to sea.

Today is the lull before the productive storm that is ILTM.  Some stories are already getting out. Tiffany Dowd, the social media queen for luxury travel, has brokered a documentary on the life of A&K founder Geoffrey Kent – she’s co-producing it with Kent and with the concept’s Director Ben Mezrich, brains behind The Social Network, 21,  Dumb Money and HBO hit Billions. Good for Tiffany…..

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Luxury Hotels


If the Sybaritic Single ever had to present the world’s ghastliest airport hotel award, it would undoubtedly go to Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu. It makes Malé airport hotel feel exquisite.
Endless dimly lit corridors, well-intentioned yet disoriented staff with very mediocre English, stuffy no-view room without a single basic floral but with a leaking plastic shower head, sterile mini-bar, Japanese-only sockets and an inoperable iron – the Sybaritic Single can tolerate many things in life as long as his hairdryer works. It didn’t.
Aware of the different voltage in Japan, the Sybaritic Single had thoughtfully written to the hotel a few days prior to his arrival requesting a proper power transformer (100V to 220V). He had even attached a photograph, taken ages ago at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, of what exactly he was looking for.
The device was promptly delivered to his room, however it was for American appliances rather than EU/UK. Another call, another transformer – this time twice the size and supposedly working well. Sadly, three minutes of the hairdryer on full power completely burnt the second transformer. The Sybaritic Single decided he shouldn’t bother requesting yet another device – he felt the staff was traumatized enough already.
Already running behind schedule and fuming like Mount Fuji, the Sybaritic Single gave up any hope of getting his bouffant right, put on one of the “emergency” berets by Stephen Jones and hurried to the busy terminal downstairs to catch his next flight.
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