Luxury Hotels

Sybaritic Single has harsh words for so-called ‘luxury’ providers

Sybaritic Single pulled up to Bulgari Resort Dubai and put a three-ply mask on. Despite the +48C heat, he had to wear this annoying piece of protection to be allowed into the luxury hotel where a strict limit on the number of guests had been set, high bar chairs and printed menus removed, service protocols adjusted. Nothing like the glamorous BC [before corona] era with its high-octane pomp and glossy magazines.

The Wuhan flu caused far more trouble to luxury than 9/11 had. Silly “who-restricts-it-more” regulations coupled with the WHO incompetency and corporate greed suffocated luxury. Couture houses like Dior and Chanel unveiled next season’s collections online. Sybaritic Single’s favourite fashion maison presented just half the number of looks compared to last season’s. He selected four outfits, rang his buyer in Paris just to be informed that none of those looks were considered “commercial” the next day after the show and, therefore, would actually never be produced. Why bother showing them?

Glitzy airlines like Emirates took away Champagne from their first class flyers in the lounges, offering instead beer and some cheap liquor (now, laments Sybaritic Single, he has to take his own equipment, see above). Air France Salon La Première and its Alain Ducasse kitchen at Paris CDG, the Sybaritic Single’s favourite place on earth, remains closed indefinitely. Aeroflot is still champagning, serving Ayala Brut Majeur, though in paper cups and at an arm’s length. Famous place de la Madeleine caterer, Fauchon filed for bankruptcy and is now going into receivership. Major luxury hotel brands are disoriented with closing and re-opening their hotels just to shut down again, some for good.

While the truly rich are jet-setting in private jets between private villas, the not-so-rich are waiting for the A380s (if ever) and safe hotel suites with proper amenities to come back.

The once flamboyant luxury industry is shaking and it might take its players much longer to strike the right balance between the post-COVID-19 anxiety and the true art of hospitality. Who thought the billion-dollar industry was so much more fragile than a red crystal Champagne flûte? At least, the latter is easily replaceable.