Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Very Best Fly Fishing Guide

Despite subzero temps, I made it downtown today to tour a new hotel. A familiar brand for the wealthy, and I will say that it has some astonishing views of the Chicago River, parts of Michigan Avenue, Lake Michigan and other spots. The property is in the midst of getting ready for its soft opening next week, and in one suite I was treated to the sight of a bed stacked with about 500 towels.

Later, I was doing further research on the hotel market, and I came across the following, part of a recent column by the astute Laurence Geller, head of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, about the tastes of the "super-affluent" (his term). While I started off expecting a stereotypical description of the rich, the super-affluent are his company's demographic, and I think he's being fairly accurate about a subset of that demographic.

My italics added: "When it comes to vacations then flying first class isn’t that special anymore so private planes are used," Geller writes. "Aboard are not only the adults, but also the kids and the nannies and even the pets! The entire vacation experience is customized and personalized well in advance, from the pillows, to the personal trainer and, of course, yoga instructor, that very unique cuvee of champagne that is wanted in the suite, to the very best fly fishing guide... customization, personalization, exclusivity and only the best will do for this breed of consumers."

"Only the best will do?" Mostly meaning name-brand items acknowledged as the best because of their reputation, buttressed by high prices. People obsessive over such things, and some plan their vacations around them. Others, even more pathetically, dream in vain of them. How is it that wealth is often used to narrow experience, rather than broaden it?


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