The Sybaritic Single is a light traveller who prefers to fly with only his hand luggage. He remembers which luxury hotels provide high quality bathroom amenities so that he can leave his own shampoo and conditioner at home. Unfortunately, there are very few such places.
From his experience, Four Seasons Moscow and its sister in St. Petersburg provide some of the best quality products. In the Russian capital, the wide selection is all Roberto Cavalli (see above) – and who would have thought that Cavalli was so good in bathroom amenities! The selection even includes bath foam infused with one of the couturier’s most seductive perfumes.
The Lion Palace in St. Petersburg followed a more timeless route with the entire range being sourced from Santa Maria Novella, a noble Florentine house dating back to 1612 and considered one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. The brown bottles, designed to look antique, might not be as user-friendly as the Cavalli tubes, but the quality of the products is simply impeccable with the results comparable to the finest hair salons.
There are also many hotels which go for a brand name rather than the actual product quality. Hermès manufactures incredible leather accessories, but is it really good in making shampoos? After a few trials, the Sybaritic Single never touched it again. The same is almost always true when hoteliers prefer to source local artisan bathroom amenities. While hand soaps are hard to get wrong, hand lotions often leave greasy marks instead of hydrating. The local communities might manufacture great olive oil, but do they indeed possess the latest skincare production technology?
However, there is one separate category of hotel toiletries which the Sybaritic Single finds the most annoying. On one of the recent trips, he discovered what he thought was an incredible shampoo and a great conditioner, presented in no-brand bottles. During the three days that he spent at the hotel, he could not be happier since his hair needed minimal styling and still looked great. Towards the end of his stay, he made a promise to return to the hotel just for the amazing hair products. This was also a rare occasion when he actually packed some extra shampoo in his trunk.
A bad surprise followed on day four. Suddenly, his once perfect hair turned absolutely flat and lifeless. Clueless, he decided to go through the shampoo’s ingredients and could not believe his eyes – the no-brand ‘Made in China’ product was laden with all types of silicone. Banned from top quality shampoos, the silicone made the hair glossy after just one use, but when used for longer it effectively suffocated and affected the scalp. It took almost a week to recover the damage. Was this an intentional trick of the hotel, similar to some establishments which hang skinny mirrors in their gyms or remove body scales from the rooms, or was it plain housekeeper arrogance? The Sybaritic Single does not know but prefers to stay at luxury hotels which do understand their bathroom amenities.