Sunday, August 25, 2013

WSJ: "The World's Most Luxurious Hotel Suites"

Take a moment to read this highly revealing article in Saturday's Journal, "The World's Most Luxurious Hotel Suites". The most expensive suite mentioned is a $40,000/night room at the Four Seasons Hotel New York that apparently cost $50 million to build out. [Assuming you could book that thing three days a week at that rate, $6.24 million in annual revenue.]

People seem to forget the important cyclical implications of these expressions of opulence. It's funny, the author of the WSJ piece almost makes the connection,

"Though these suites may be new, the idea of uber-special hotel spaces is not [...] Many of the country's most famous hotels—the Waldorf Astoria, the Plaza, the San Francisco Fairmont—were built in the Gilded Age, another era of super-wealth."
Yet does not follow that thread any further!

But even more than that are the moral implications of these exorbitantly expensive rooms. The article acknowledges that they are "people who don't pay their own bills," but it is obvious when you think about it that most of the customers are going to be petty dictators or people who are in a position to squander the mineral wealth that is really the inheritance of an entire nation of people.

Why does the WSJ gush over the opulence rather than asking the two obvious questions, how can anyone afford these rooms and what are the cyclical implications of that clientele walking around with so much money and confidence?


Taylor Conant said...

These are the kind of professional managers you want serving as stewards of scarce capital over long periods of time:

"I don't want to say we're doing it for press, but I'm not embarrassed to say it is for bragging rights," Mr. Chase said.

And these are the kinds of "producers" you want owning the natural resource wealth of the world over that same long haul:

(A third suite, which a Saudi prince spent $12 million refurbishing for a six-month stay some years back, will remain in all its gilt-and-brocade glory.)

A truly visionary, grand-scheme kinda group, that is.

CP said...

I'll bet someday the Saudis will be poor, no one will remember why, and we'll have to give them "aid".

Taylor Conant said...

You mean the US military maneuvering all over the Middle East to protect their oil monopoly in exchange for some "black liquidity" isn't aid enough?

CP said...

"saudi squander": 2.36 million results

Managed by the Ministry of Finance's "Office of Decisions and Rules," which acts like a kind of welfare office for Saudi royalty, the royal stipends in the mid-1990s ran from about $800 a month for "the lowliest member of the most remote branch of the family" to $200,000-$270,000 a month for one of the surviving sons of Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia.

CP said...

Pink Elephant reopened this summer in East Hampton offering Methuselah (six-liter) bottles of Dom Pérignon for $30,000. It is not just a novelty; the club’s co-owner David Sarner said Pink Elephant had sold “a few” this season, and many more “trains” of smaller Dom Pérignon bottles for as much as $8,000. “It was a bit lean for a couple of years in the Hamptons,” Mr. Sarner said in an interview, acknowledging that the term is relative. “There’s this at least perception that we’re doing a lot better than perhaps we were, so people are freer to spend money because they’re being psychologically conditioned with the highs in the market.”

CP said...

"But most of all, he credits the Federal Reserve for the economic stimulus, which he said has helped the wealthy most of all."