Luxury Hotels

World’s best, apparently – old traditions

Girlahead certainly had a stellar experience when last at The Leela Palace in Delhi – then, her hosts were company President Rajiv Kaul, on left above, and GM Louis Sailer, but both have since moved on. GIRLAHEAD WILL NEVER SAY ANYTHING IS ‘THE BEST’ – who is she to preach?  But Travel+Leisure magazine does. Its latest rankings of WORLD’S BEST HOTEL BRANDS is topped by The Leela. After, in descending order, come Capella, Red Carnation, Oetker, Oberoi, Six Senses, One&Only, Taj, Auberge and Raffles. Note ONLY TWO OF THE BIG GROUPS ARE INCLUDED and why so much India?

Several other groups must be annoyed to see Raffles and Taj there, and Oetker. WHO WILL JOIN THE LIST IN FUTURE?   Watch Rosewood. Its many developments already include a conversion of London’s Niemeyer-designed US Embassy. Also, Rosewood will manage an 180-room hotel in the Pelli-designed 61-floor tower in San Francisco’s Transbay district, scheduled to open 2026.

Hotel developers move on, and so too does social etiquette – sometimes. Years ago society English matrons put their 18-year old daughters through ‘coming out’, THE DEBUTANTE RITE OF PASSAGE. No, it’s not dead as a dodo. Jennie Hallam-Peel and Patricia Woodall own the London Season Academy and they still organise Queen Charlotte’s Ball events. Partnering with Harrods, eligible daughters of rich parents, now more like to be from Abidjan or Astana than Abingdon, pay to have them momentarily dressed in a white Harrods frou-frou ballgown, and long white gloves, to curtsey to a big cake. Opportunity for a hotel to rise up the awareness stake?

Another hotel opportunity is to GET EVEN CLOSER TO NEW YORK’S MET GALA, which finally took place again last night, Monday 13th September. This year’s chairmen included Billie Eilish and yesterday’s tennis queen Naomi Osaka (well, TOP SPOT NOW GOES TO EMMA RADACANU for obvious reasons – and Emma, by the way, looked the born fashionista in a black and white gown at last night’s Gala, and many have already seen the cover of current UK Vogue, where Scott Trindle’s memorable image shows her in sneakers, work-out socks and a black frou-frou bit-of-a-dress). Instagram was main Met Gala 2021 sponsor and, great news, VIRGIL ABLOH of Off-White was a lead celebrity. Now we want Off-White hotels, please.  Off-White is part of the LVMH stable so perhaps the Arnault family could put its thinking caps on?

LVMH already owns two hotel brands, Belmond and Cheval Blanc. LISTEN TO CHRISTIAN BOYENS, OVERSEER OF LE CHEVAL BLANC PARIS, here: