Luxury Hotels

Sybaritic Single’s maxi thoughts on luxury hotels’ mini-bars

Aman at the Summer Palace

While many believe that mini-bars have become archaic, similar to in-room telephones and fax machines, the Sybaritic Single strongly disagrees. Every time he checks into a luxury hotel, he immediately opens the small fridge to see how creative the general manager is – and he always remembers the 1974 Hilton Hong Kong, where the mini-bar concept was invented.

The top three prizes go to Baccarat Hotel New York with its all-Ladurée selection, Hôtel Plaza Athénée Paris for the full-size selection of everything in its top suites, and, also in the City of Light, to Fauchon l’Hôtel (above) for its über-customised maxi-bar. Having paid thousands of dollars for a stay, the Sybaritic Single does not mind paying a bit more to enjoy top-quality, artisanal in-room refreshments. After all, this is a micro-retail therapy right in the room. Even if it comes in the form of a scented candle from a mini-bar at an EDITION hotel.
He got even more excited when he recently stayed at The Chedi Muscat and Aman at Summer Palace, Beijing, as both these luxury hotels were proud to declare all-complimentary mini-bars. The eventual disappointment was beyond words. The scarce selection at the two establishments looked both stingy and appalling. Sugary fizzy drinks, unhealthy juices from concentrate, some water and local beer. Who might get tempted by such offering, even “with compliments”? Is this something one would expect from a, supposedly, a top luxury hotel? The Sybaritic Single found such insulting generosity awfully short-sighted.
Sitting in the parlour of his Palm Court Suite at Raffles Singapore, he opened a pack of caviar-flavoured crisps, poured a glass of Alain Milliat juice (both complimentary, from the hotel’s steamer trunk-style mini-bar) as he waited for the bottle of Billecart-Salmon Champagne to get properly chilled on ice (all alcoholic drinks come at a price, which is perfectly fine). For him, this was a great example of a partially complimentary mini-bar with a curated selection of products that was an example of proper luxury. Even if the crisps tasted too fishy.