The Sybaritic Single truly believes in the art of great scenography. Every detail, including light, matters at a luxury hotel.
The Greek etymology of “photography” means to “write with light”, making hotel lighting particularly important as it allows social media addicts capture immaculate moments.
Great hotels learn the art of light if not from Studio Harcourt then from luxury retail. Pictures taken at Hermès, Dior or Prada stores rarely require any retouching – everything is in perfect accord in the symphony of spotlights and even clients look slimmer and taller in the mirrors selfies. The first hotels which mastered the art of light were Aman resorts. Thoughtfully placed spotlights, hidden LEDs and abundance of natural light make every scene there perfect, be it in a suite, in the lobby or inside the spa.
However, it wasn’t until 2015 when Baccarat Hotel opened in New York followed by Cheval Blanc Paris in 2021 – the two temples of all things luxury set a new standard of scenography in top-tier hospitality. Every corner and every surface is carefully considered, nothing is too dark, inarticulate or blurry – a stark contrast to places like Hôtel Costes in Paris or Hôtel Métropole in Monte-Carlo (good luck trying to snap a remotely decent picture there – everything would require a bright flash, tons of filters and heavy retouching).
In an attempt to attract a younger, well-heeled crowd, the 2014 face-lift of Hôtel Plaza Athénée particularly saw the installation of clever lighting to make its public spaces feel brighter with fewer light-blocking curtains and, therefore, much more instagrammable. The result? A decade later, the hotel is one of the most photographed globally, leaving its fierce rival Four Seasons Hotel George V far behind – despite all the Leatham florals.
Tonight, the Sybaritic Single is ringing in the new year enveloped in perfect aesthetics of his all-time favourite Chedi Muscat. Known for its own art of dramatic lighting, glowing reflections and warm flames of the fire pits, it’s a place adored by many celebrity photographers and grand connoisseurs of exquisite style. Unfiltered brilliance.