Imagine resting your head after a long day of meetings on a
1,000-thread-count cotton pillowcase while watching your
favorite movie on a 42-inch LCD TV fitted with a Bose audio
system, or just enjoying the view of Japans Imperial
Palace Gardens with Mount Fuji in the distance. Guests willing
to pay top dollar about $19,590, plus service and tax,
per night can do just that in the 2,896-square-foot
Presidential Suite at the Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo.
Such comforts help the Shangri-La win the top spot in the
Worlds Best Hotels, Institutional
Investors annual ranking of the top 100 hotels on
the planet. The establishments luxurious suites and prime
setting are noteworthy, but they are far from unique in an
industry that keeps raising the bar.
Ritzy rooms and restaurants used to be enough to lure guests
to the worlds leading hotels. Today, however, the
überwealthy are demanding unique travel experiences,
personalized attention and out-of-this-world accommodations.
And they are willing to pay just about anything for them.
Affluent business and leisure travelers are driving the
recovery of the hotel industry, says Scott Berman, U.S.
hospitality and leisure practice leader at
PricewaterhouseCoopers in Miami. Growing demand for
high-quality accommodations has driven a rise of 5 to 10
percent in U.S. room rates in the past year, he adds.
Corporate groups, who left top hotels for dead in
2009, have returned, Berman says. Now they like to
show off and hold events in luxury properties, many of which
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To keep up with the superrich Joneses, luxury hotels and
resorts have to provide guests with enduring memories,
preferably the kind that can easily be shared on social media.
Whether guests are traveling for business or pleasure, they are
posting pictures and stories for friends, family, colleagues
and the general public, says Edwina Kluender, director of
communications at the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco, which
ranks No. 11.