Daily Mail, 20th January 2022, Ailbhe Macmahon
- Episode two of The World’s Most Luxurious Holidays on More4 sheds light on three exclusive hotels
- It visits Palazzo Fiuggi, a ‘luxurious medi-spa’, and the celebrity haunt Villa One at One & Only Palmilla
- A butler at Royal Mansour’s Grand Riad reveals that there are hidden underground passageways for the staff
Diet plans from Michelin-starred chefs, secret underground tunnels and a roster of A-list guests.
The second episode of The World’s Most Luxurious Holidays on More4 goes through the keyhole of more staggeringly expensive rooms at some of the most exclusive hotels on the planet.
And it takes us behind the scenes to reveal how staff keep the richest and most discerning guests in the world happy.
The curtains open in Marrakesh, at Royal Mansour’s Grand Riad, which costs £35,000 a night. The 26,000-sq-ft (2,415-sq-m) property features four bedrooms – each with ensuite bathrooms – two pools, a cinema, a gym and a central lobby with a roof that can open to the skies at the push of a button.
It takes one day for a dedicated housekeeping team to prepare the Grand Riad for guests, we learn. The butler gives the camera crew a guided tour of the property and reveals he’s not allowed to touch the curtains, for fear of damaging them. He confides to the cameras that royalty, presidents and celebrities have stayed in the Grand Riad in the past – but refuses to name any of them.
He then leads the cameras to a secret underground network of passageways, where the hotel staff are seen sewing, cooking and washing laundry. One even glides past on a scooter. These hidden tunnels help to ‘create the illusion of invisible service’.
The pursuit of perfect service doesn’t end here – the cameras show an ‘etiquette consultant’ lecturing new employees.
When Grand Riad guests decide to venture out of the property, they can head to Royal Mansour’s boutique for a spot of shopping. The hotel’s general manager tells the cameras that renowned fashion designers have collaborated with the resort to create special collections – he holds up one John Galliano-designed garment that costs £14,000.
Guests can also be driven by Bentley to the bazaar, or can enjoy a’ silent’ night under the stars in a specially set up ‘luxury’ camp.
Next, the cameras fly to Mexico, where they drop into Villa One at One & Only Palmilla. The villa, which costs up to £110,000 per week, is a haven for A-listers – Jennifer Aniston, Rihanna and Cameron Diaz are rumoured to have stayed there in the past, the narrator tells us.
The hotel goes to extra lengths to ensure that the guests enjoy the utmost privacy, we’re told – and even collaborates with the navy to ensure that no paparazzi photograph the guests from the shore.
There are four bedrooms, secluded pools and terraces, and a spa for private treatment, and the villa is serviced round the clock by 12 private staff. This team does thorough research on guests before their arrival – the butler reveals that he often flies special types of water and wine in from overseas to suit his guests’ preferences.
He shows the cameras a pitching base he had built for one guest who liked to practice baseball every day.
How do non-baseball-playing guests spend their time? There’s an onsite church, an indoor-outdoor spa where a couples’ massage costs £900, and an in-house Mayan healer who can perform ‘ancient healing’ regimes on the beach. They can also hit the waves with the hotel’s resident pro surfer.
When they’ve built up an appetite they can visit one of the four restaurants, including two run by celeb chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
But the guests of Villa One don’t need to leave their villa – special food delivery trucks will bring whatever meal they’d like to their door. And for those with a sweet tooth, there’s a team of 18 pastry chefs whipping up sweet treats. We see chefs preparing a cactus ‘pinata’, filling a shell of chocolate with confectionary and decorating it by hand. It will be left in Villa One for the guests to crack open upon their arrival.
Finally, the camera crew travels to Fiuggi in central Italy, home to Palazzo Fiuggi, a ‘luxurious state of the art medi-spa’. Staff guide the cameras around the retreat, which was formerly the home of the King and Queen of Italy. It has 102 rooms including three VIP suites – the most expensive of which is £5,000 a night.
Here, the goal is to ‘lengthen the lives’ of guests through bespoke wellness programmes – the most expensive of which is the ‘Life Rewind Package’, which costs £40,000 per person.
The exclusive programme, we learn, blends cutting edge spa treatments, dietary advice from a Michelin-starred chef and a medical assessment. The narrator informs us that treatments include weight loss, detox and anti-ageing programmes as well as cryotherapy, which uses extreme cold to reduce pain and inflammation.
Once guests have undergone treatments in the 6,000-sq-ft (557-sq-m) holistic spa – which features six pools filled with local water with ‘healing properties’ – they undergo a thorough health check. The professor who does the health check then consults with chef Heinz Beck, and together they prepare a tailor-made menu for the guests.
One such meal we see Beck service is called ‘optimal weight’. Another guest is seen dining on cauliflower ‘in 20 different flavours’ – and says it’s the best meal she’s had in years.