Luxury Hotels

Sybaritic Single and the World Economic Forum

January has always been a “beyond busy” month for the Sybaritic Single. Palace hotels in Paris or not-so-luxury establishments in the Swiss Alps were his usual habitats.

For years, he attended the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, above, and getting a room at Grandhotel Belvédère, where the upper 1% of the world’s Who’s Who stays, seemed an almost-impossible task. Other places were equally tough to book. There was an unspoken rule where hoteliers could charge up to 20% on top of high season. In reality, the “unspoken rule” often went unobserved: a 15 sq.m. room at the spartan Hotel Derby for the three nights of the conference was advertised for €7,484 last year; the same period the following week costed €237 – an absurd reduction of almost 97%. Other than the dates, the only discernible difference between the offerings was that the former included breakfast.

Having survived a few days of working breakfasts, sleepy plenaries, lunches, breakouts, cocktails, dinners and nightcaps, the Sybaritic Single usually took a train to St. Moritz to recover at Badrutt’s Palace: its fondue paired gloriously with rosé Champagne.

After almost a decade of Davos, the Sybaritic Single decided he was done with the forum and swapped Schwab for Dior. Paris Fashion Week was similarly hectic yet much more lavish, especially the hotels: through the years, he stayed at George V (“too provincial and moyen-orient”), Plaza Athénée (“best breakfast and afterparty bar”) or, when stars aligned perfectly, at The Ritz (“can live and die there”). Party-hopping was a pleasantly exhausting affair full of buzz and glamour.

This year, for the second time in history, WEF postponed its annual meeting to May and moved it to Singapore (its hoteliers must be over the moon), while the fashion week has gone all-digital. Great maisons still send out fancy invitations and host small local gatherings for clients and journalists to watch shows on large screens. The catch is that everyone is suddenly front-row at these events – and that alone took away half of the fashion week drama, apart from backstage access and Champagne-filled suites at luxury hotels.