Luxury Hotels

COPENHAGEN – 5

The thing about Private Luxury Events PLE is that who knows whom is not private. Everybody knows that PLE boss Christy Kuplic knows Jonathan Betesh, above, a personal advisor to lawyers and family offices. But then he knows everyone and everyone knows Christy and you all, if entering into the mood of lururiating, sit with whomever whenever.

Girlahead had the great joy at the final dinner to sit next to her long-time friend, Norwegian Adventures’ Jan Sortland, who between toasts sorted her out on the Norwegian Royal Family (the King and Queen, both 89, are still avid hikers). Opposite were two fascinating buyers, Ultré MD Blane Kieng from Beijing and Likha Travel MD Hervé de Sait Victor, based in The Peninsula Manila.

During the entire show, by the way, Girlahead had had a lifetime’s introduction to villas. In Greece, from AquaLiving’s Federico Arduino. In Croatia, from savvy Sandra Moskun, owner of Villas Borghetto. In Koh Samui, villas at Samujana will be even more popular once White Lotus 3, shooting now, is released early 2025.

There were exciting expansion plans. Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, said Kristin Viktorsdottir, is expanding, including building its second retreat literally inside a mountain. Not surprisingly, the Nordics popped up everywhere, throughout the entire show.

She heard about products that were new to her. Antwerp doesn’t only have diamonds but paintings, an art school – and several new hotels. Bodrum’s Lujo hotel – luxury + joy – calls its concierges Joy Advisors, and some rooms have ceiling-high dance poles. In Bulgaria, the Ivanov family’s Vaya riverside resort has 200 staff for 36 villas.

And concepts continually hit an emotional spot. &beyond’s COO Ryan Powell said $125 of every bed night supports 75 communities, sponsoring medical, education, and mall businesses, particularly those run by women. &beyond’s owned by Mark and Tara Getty and the Enthoven family, who own 5,000 South African artworks and Nando’s. As well  as its 29 lodges in Africa there’s a six cabin ship in the Galapagos, a new tented camp in Bhutan and in 2026 it’ll be sailing the Amazon. In Kenya, there’s a new JW Marriott Masai Mara.

Italy was everywhere.  The Pinault family, via Kering, have shopping malls in Florence and San Remo. The Fabri family’s Starhotels expect business in 2024 to be 15% up on 2023. The Borromeo family own masses of islands in Lake Maggiore – one has an 1870-vintage hotel where Princess Caroline of Monaco has a favourite suite. Egnazia Ospitalita Italiana is a new collection, said Paola Martellotta – it’s now got Andrea Filippi as CCO. Grand Hotel et de Milan’s the hotel for your clients, said Anastasia Volkova.

Be adventurous, think Swiss mountains, urged Grand Hotel Engelberg GM Adreas Magnus – who has a most impressive hotel newspaper. Think central Manhattan, urged Conrad New York Midtown’s Raluca Ionescu. Or what about Portugal, perhaps with Octant Hotels. When it comes to Spain, or rather Catalonia, IHG waved a big flag for its InterCon and Kimpton Vividora, both in Barcelona. Want a flight? Try Finland’s Euroflite, said Mikko Keso – or UK-based Air Partner, said Harriet Parker. Rolzo can do airport transfers globally, you choose the car (CEO Tom Ripert started the company four years ago).

Gosh, looking back it was not so much exhausting but exhilarating. Some managed literally to keeo their heads above water. Luxury Action’s Sergio Costa said he worked Villa Copenhagen’s gym before six every morning but he was certainly spied swimming 30 minutes later in the outside pool, fortunately heated.  See below.