Luxury Hotels


So, ILTM finished Thursday night last week and what happened then? On the Friday Girlahead flew commercial to London. The Business lounge at Nice airport was full of drama (though it missed the excitement of previous years when Farhad Heydari, he who could light up a soaked piece of paper, was also about to fly). Never mind, the lounge occupant included Ralph Radtke, who heard at that moment that renovation works back at CIRAGAN PALACE KEMPINSKI in Istanbul had had a small fire that was all over social media. Once onboard British Airways, Girlahead was next to a fascinating Everest traveller, Alex Uddin (Tide&Vine) – hear him, coming up, on MARY GOSTELOW’S INNER CIRCLE.

Meanwhile, Mariano Tribelhorn had arranged an Haute Aviation flight, above, direct Cannes to Gstaad. ALPINA GSTAAD, led by two creatives, GM Tim Weiland and sartorial Tribelhorn, hosted an alpine weekend for osh Alexander, Pro Travel New York: Jonny Drubel and Jesse Katz, Pro Travel Los Angeles; Patty Ehinger, Local Foreigner New York; Anna Gilbert, Travel 6 Degrees, Nashville TN; Christina Middleton, Smartflyer New York; Diane Sherer, Beyond Traveled LA, and Lauren Shook, Trip Me New York.

What a weekend these guys had, with three days’ immersion in the culture of The Alpina Gstaad. There were sp treatments by Swiss luxury sustainable brand Dr Burgener with Dr Pauline Burgener herself. At So they ate Michelin with Martin Göschel, which ended with a desert tasting by Switzerland’s pastry chef of 2023. On the eating and drinking front, there was also a whisky tasting in The Alpina Gstaad’s new Japanese whisky bar, followed by Karaoke in The Alpina Gstaad’s own screening room. Not surprising they also somehow find time for skiing and après-ski to get immersion of the charming town of Gstaad – and Alpina Grand GM Tim Weiland was at all the on-the-ground happenings except for the karoake.

Interestingly, one of the ongoing happenings of ILTM was the word-of-mouth ripple, ever extending outwards, of the effect of Chase’s subtle sponsorship of all drinks, any drinks, in the bar of MAJESTIC BARRIERE, the ‘it’ bar for top hoteliers throughout the week. This subtle marketing was arranged by Chase’s VP Brand Integration and Experiental Marketing Jami Kirk. Good for her. It might have cost Chase €100,000 but look at the word-of-mouth positive returns. (Contrast this with, at the same time, Visa taking over Hudson Yards’ outlets in New York, which appears to have been Walmartised in publicity and the VIP lounge was heavy in wannabes rather than made-its.)

Talking of New York, AMAN NEW YORK finally has a replacement GM, one Olivier Lordonnais, whose extensive multi-centred bases over the last 18 months include two New York private members clubs. This will be really used in overseeing and developing the hotel’s own club. This announcement was given after-ILTM, which just shows that this world-leading luxury event is prior anticipation, actual happening, and after reflection – and continuation to the next ILTM.