The Stonehage Group’s annual SALLI survey—the most influential audit of the spending habits of London’s ultra-high-net-worth individuals— centers around a selection of 50 items analogous to the items used for the Consumer Price Index (like beluga caviar and foie gras, Cohiba Siglo V cigars, a white gold Patek Philippe men’s Calatrava, NetJets’ 25-hour card and Brunel first class chauffeur service). The typical SALLI high spender also has an international lifestyle, with Riviera summers based at Hotel Byblos in St. Tropez and wintertime skiing at Chalet Les Quatre Frères in Verbier. In between, there is a stay at the Tides Zihuatanejo, Mexico. When in Paris, Four Seasons Hotel George V is a top choice, while in New York, the Hôtel Plaza Athénée is another prime pick.
The latter hotel has, of course, an A-list clientele. A couple of months ago fashion supremo Jil Sander was spotted patiently waiting to talk to the concierge, and she greeted long-time hotel general manager Bernard Lackner as an old friend—which he is, to so many. Lackner was en route to lunch at his favorite restaurant, Le Bilboquet, the ultimate in insider dining. There is no name on the door and reservations are not allowed. The only people for whom owner Philippe Delgrange can automatically find a table, anytime, are Ron Perelman—and Bernard Lackner.
Anthony Costa, general manager of the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong, is another powerful GM. At a private dinner in the hotel’s yoga studio (temporarily dressed up to resemble a Versailles salon) his guests included the chairman of Shanghai Tang, Raphael le Masne de Chermont (and his wife Marie, a travel editor), as well as Harry Connick, Jr. (and his agent Ann Marie Wilkins). Not long afterwards, Connick, Jr. appeared as one of the “fans” in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s striking print ad campaign. The magic of contacts!
Among the Group’s many other celeb fans is pianist Hélène Grimaud. When not on tour, she hangs out in Weggis, on the northern bank of Lake Lucerne. If she has a couple of hours, she likes to rent one of the six spa cottages at Park Hotel Weggis. Guests can take these elite accommodations for a minimum of a few hours and enjoy massages, freshwater whirlpools and a Japanese garden.