The World's Most Expensive Hotel Rooms 2003
This year, the Atlantis has been bumped to third place by two suites--the Imperial Suite at Geneva's President Wilson Hotel, selling for $33,243 per night, and, in second place, the Royal Suite at Athens' Grand Resort Lagonissi, which has a price tag of $25,639.
One explanation for the difference is currency changes. The dollar is weaker against the euro than it was a year ago. Moreover, some of the hotels on our list have even raised their prices. Last year the Imperial Suite was selling for SFr 40,000 (compared with SFr 45,000 now), and the Belle Étoile Suite in Paris' Hotel Meurice has raised its price from €8,400 to €10,000 ($9,000 to $10,700) a night, recession be damned.
What exactly does one get for that kind of price tag? Service and space are the most obvious answers. Many of the suites on our list come with such perks as a fleet of Bentleys, a private pool and hot and cold running butlers and maids.
But just as important, if not more, is security. The people who can afford to stay in the best suites are often heads of state, billionaires or celebrities who are justified in the need to protect themselves. That can typically translate into bulletproof glass, closed-circuit video cameras, private elevators and other safety features.
A few sharp-eyed readers may notice that some suites, such as a $12,000 penthouse suite at the Ritz Carlton Central Park South in New York City, are not mentioned. This is not an oversight. Since Manhattan hotel rooms could have easily dominated the list, we instead chose the most expensive hotel room in a particular region, with $10,000 being our minimum requirement. For this reason, hotels in many areas (such as the Far East) are not represented on our list, as none broke the $10,000-a-night barrier.
But even the aforementioned heads of state, etc., are not always paying the full rate. Hotel spokespeople say many of the people who book these suites are able to arrange for discounts, depending on the duration of their stay. In Las Vegas, for example, the hotels frequently provide their best accommodations for their highest rollers, either gratis or deeply discounted. Additionally, many of these suites are booked as locations for film shoots or corporate events.
If a corporation isn't picking up the tab for one of those hotel rooms, there is a way to rationalize in it, at least in New York City. The priciest hotel suite in Manhattan--the $15,000 Presidential Suite in the Plaza Hotel--has a cheaper price per square foot than the average residential apartment. The 7,802-square-foot suite averages $1.92 per square foot, while the average price per square foot for a Manhattan apartment is $697.90, according to the Corcoran Group, a residential real estate company. Not only is it cheaper to stay in the Plaza, but no board approval is required. Even better, you get full turndown service and 24-hour room service.
Click here for a slide show with the 2003 list of the most expensive hotel rooms in the world.
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