Luxury Hotels

ILTM, the magnet for luxury hoteliers, opens in Cannes

Sébastien Bazin, Ali Rashid Lootah

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.

.. looking at their forthcoming Raffles Dubai

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.

Rivetting speaker Chris Kutarna

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).

Forum emcee Chris Hollins, James Wyndham (Australia’s One&Only Wolgan Valley)

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.

Sébastien Drezet and Accor’s Carina Martin, Pascal Visintainer

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