Linda Aslanian is about to lead a visitor through the most expensive hotel room in the nation. But before she does, there's something they must do.
"I'm afraid we'll have to take off our shoes," says Aslanian, slipping off her heels in the luscious foyer of the Four Seasons New York's new Ty Warner Penthouse.
Like just about every other floor covering in the sprawling, 4,300-square-foot showplace, which opens this month, the foyer floor is so spectacularly expensive — so astoundingly rare — that no mere mortal is allowed to cross it unprotected. A stash of booties is kept on hand.
"This is the last batch from the last quarry," says Aslanian, who oversaw the project, proudly showing off the perfectly book-matched, amber-striated travertine marble. "We started with more than double this amount just so we could select the very best."
Welcome to the Brave New World of lodging for the super-rich. Billionaire Ty Warner, who owns the New York luxury haven, has spent a mind-boggling $50 million creating this single suite. Covering the hotel's entire 52nd floor, with views in all four directions, it took six years to complete.
Crazy, you say? Perhaps not as crazy as the price that Warner is charging: $30,000 per night.
That's right, $30,000.
While a few casinos upgrade high rollers to posh suites with "official" rates about that level, never before has a hotel actually charged customers such a high daily sum — at least not in the USA.
Brian Honan, the hotel's director of marketing, says they won't be discounting the room and you can't get it through an upgrade.
"Nobody pays for those high-rollers suites," he says. "Here, they will."
The suite is just the latest in an explosion of $15,000-a-night-and-up crash pads at top city hotels worldwide — an arms race of sorts that just in the past six months has seen the opening of a $22,000 complex in Tokyo and a $19,600 suite in Moscow (both at Ritz-Carltons). In October, the Palms casino in Las Vegas unveiled the $40,000-a-night Hugh Hefner Sky Villa, a Playboy-themed extravagance expected to be doled out (free) to the highest-of-high rollers. A decade ago, it was rare to find a hotel suite costing more than $10,000.
Honan says there is a small but growing number of super-wealthy globetrotters willing to pay such lofty sums. Indeed, perhaps more than most people realize.
"Twenty years ago, the Forbes 400 list was mostly multimillionaires with a few billionaires," he says. "Now it's the opposite — mostly billionaires with a few multimillionaires."
Of course, at $30,000 a night, everything has to be perfect.
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