New blockbuster TV drama exposes the shocking antics of pampered guests
We all know money can’t buy love. But my goodness, it can make you rude, lonely, unhappy, hateful, self-centered – and totally unenviable.
And in case we need to remind you how poor the rich can be, it’s just a matter of tuning in to the latest must-see TV series, The White Lotus.
This six-part show is now the most talked-about show, with a feel-good factor generated entirely by the gruesomeness of its over-privileged characters, for whom spending £20,000 a night for an ocean-view suite in Hawaii is like ordering an extra one. shot in their morning coffee.
Just in case we need to remind you how poor the rich can be, it’s just a matter of tuning in to the latest must-watch TV series, The White Lotus.
They are so terrible that you don’t want to miss an excruciating minute. And while people haven’t been able to travel freely for the past 18 months, this HBO comedy drama — launched here on Sky Atlantic — makes the case for you to think you might be better off at home with the cat on your lap rather than being surrounded by this. plot.
A group of entitled Americans arrive at their five-star hotel — actually the Four Seasons on the island of Maui — to be greeted by gay Australian general manager and recovering addict, Armond.
Think Basil Fawlty, but funnier and better dressed, smiling at guests on one side of his mouth and contemptuously on the other.
They include the Mossbacher family (four of them, plus a friend of one of the teens); Shane and Rachel, on a disastrous honeymoon; and the middle aged Tanya who now needs a massage on arrival even though there are no slots until the next day.
Alexandra Daddario (pictured) stars as Rachel in the HBO show
This poses a problem for Armond and his team, who have strict instructions to fulfill every guest’s request. But that’s what should happen in five star hotels around the world.
“When people pay thousands of pounds a night, they expect to get exactly what they want, when they want it. And the smallest mistake can become a big problem,” says a former general manager (GM) of a luxury hotel in the Caribbean.
Consider the case of the American who went on vacation in St. Lucia with his wife and mistress, not knowing the other was there.
Fortunately, the grounds were large enough to keep the women in separate villas while the guest raced between each room on resort buggies.
This six-part show is now the most talked-about show, with a feel-good factor generated entirely by the gruesomeness of its over-privileged characters, for whom spending £20,000 a night for an ocean-view suite in Hawaii is like ordering an extra one. shot in their morning coffee?
“The staff were fully instructed to do everything in their power to ensure there were no chance encounters,” said the hotel GM, who does not wish to be identified.
Meticulous itineraries of spa treatments, fitness activities and experiences were put together for each lady so that the gentleman could manage his time and his own.
One lady would be sunbathing on the main beach, the other would be tucked away on the more private stretch of sand on the other side of the property. A personal time manager was appointed to remind the gentleman which lady to see and where to meet her. By the end of the holiday, the man was a wreck and the staff were exhausted.
But the requirements must be met. At Dukes hotel, off St James’s Street in London, a regular New York guest stays in The Duke of Clarence Suite, which starts at £1,249 per night. He is known to the staff as a SAG (Special Attention Guest) – and for good reason.
Alcohol is taken from his minibar and replaced by prune juice and Mars bars.
Paradise lost: Sydney Sweeney plays the daughter of the Mossbachers
There should be a glass bowl of kiwi and dragon fruit on the table, plus pomegranate in a separate container.
He needs a bowl of Jelly Babies, BBQ-flavored chips and, as a cigar smoker, an ashtray placed at a certain corner of the balcony table. Another Dukes guest insists that all TVs be removed from his suite, just sparkling water in the minibar, and if there are magazines or leaflets on display… well, that should not be thought of.
A GM friend of mine would rather forget the dude who, she says, “holds the record of the most demanding person I’ve ever had the misfortune with.”
Even before her arrival, this woman called daily to outline her expectations and specify her wishes.
Hotel shows you need to check out
Crossroads (1964-1988 and 2001-2003): Set in a motel in the Birmingham area, this soap opera was the favorite show of Mary, wife of Labor Prime Minister Harold Wilson. It starred Noele Gordon as friendly but brusque owner Meg, with Jane Rossington as her daughter Jill. Victoria Wood lovingly sent his wobbly sets and wooden dialogue into Acorn Antiques.
Fawlty Towers (1975-1979): One of the most beloved sitcoms of all time, and still being repeated on BBC1, despite controversies over its gleeful lack of political correctness, this comedy set in a Torquay hotel was inspired when John Cleese (right) and his Monty Python friends stayed in a coastal B&B with an eccentric, irascible owner.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011): Based on a novel by Deborah Moggach, this film starred a series of national treasures — including Maggie Smith, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, and Bill Nighy — as retired Britons settling into a hotel in Jaipur, India. A sequel followed in 2015, as well as a series of BBC1 reality shows starring such celebrities as Miriam Margolyes and Bill Oddie.
Hotel Babylon (2006-2009): Tamzin Outhwaite plays the general manager of a five-star hotel in London, where its staff handle everything from bailiffs to terrorists. Max Beesley is the ambitious receptionist and Dexter Fletcher plays the stuffed janitor. The fourth series ended on a cliffhanger and fans were furious when it was canceled.
The Night Manager (2016): John Le Carre’s novel became a spectacular one-off series starring Hugh Laurie as arms dealer Dicky Roper and Tom Hollander as his hateful fixer. Their crime gang is infiltrated by a former special forces soldier, Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston), who works as a night manager at a Cairo hotel.
There would be a bowl of Smarties, but only blue, a bottle of Dom Perignon that opened no more than ten seconds before she stepped into the door of her villa, specific toys and free gifts for her toddler, truffles made from a specific exotic cocoa bean from South America, and the villa’s pool had to be set to a certain temperature – she brought her own thermometer to check.’
I know first hand how easy it is to be pampered. After my second marriage, I took my wife on a five-star trip to India, followed by a few days at a Maldives resort with suites over the water. In each hotel we were given a chilled towel to wipe our eyebrows, which turned into a lengthy ceremony.
Embarrassingly, I complained to a hotel in Agra where we were staying to see the Taj Mahal that the towel I was given was too cold. “I can’t believe you said that,” my aggrieved wife said later.
But those are the nasty side effects of injecting yourself with too much luxury.
And what happens when you’ve saved up for years to stay in an absurdly expensive hotel and find yourself trying to avoid an annoying family like the Mossbachers? Paradise quickly becomes hell, but with more comfortable beds. Our stay in the Maldives coincided with that of four couples who were so loud, seedy and drunk at the restaurant every night that we were afraid to show up for dinner.
Instead we crawled into our room and ordered room service – even more expensive.
I feel sorry for the GM of a hotel on a private island in the Seychelles who was told by a guest, who hated the food, that she wanted cans of sweetcorn. In the Seychelles, there was nothing of the kind she wanted. She wasn’t happy. Threatening behavior ensued before the GM managed to fly out of Dubai in a crate of gear.
This strikes a chord with a GM friend who was in charge of a hotel in Paris. He often saw his role as a peacemaker.
‘One day a regular guest booked a top suite for him and his mistress. While they were eating, his suspicious wife appeared at the front desk and asked for a key to the suite after showing her passport – as is customary,” he said.
The woman waited in the room until they returned in the early hours, after which she started screaming and throwing things, waking guests up and causing a pandemonium. “I finally managed to persuade the woman to come to my office where I tried to calm her down. By the end of the evening I felt more like a therapist than a hotel manager.’
At The White Lotus, staff must make guests feel like ‘the hotel’s specially chosen baby child’. But we know there’s no comfort to babies if they don’t get what they want – especially if they don’t know what they want. In fact, even if you have all the money in the world, you should take yourself on an expensive vacation.
“Luxury is the enemy of observation,” says travel writer Paul Theroux. “A precious indulgence that spoils and infantilizes you and prevents you from knowing the world.” The money-no-object guests of the White Lotus certainly bear witness to that.