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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The silly world of Claridge's

A programme on BBC Two took us into the hallowed portals of posh London hotel Claridge's last night, "for the first time ever!"

In this old-fashioned, fusty looking place rooms cost around six thousand pounds a night.

The guests are the uber rich:  Arab royalty, little known US designers and popstars  ("Mr The Edge" has lost any edge now we know this is where he holes up).

No guest's request is ever refused. It's as if the abundance of money has rendered common sense and good manners redundant.

Some of these rich guests demand for their room, nay suite, to be redecorated! At their own expense, of course. It reverts back to beige blandness afterwards  (the uber rich are not very tasteful - look at the Trumps, the Ecclestones). One imagines an Arab princess stamping her foot like Veruccae Salt and demanding a new carpet for her stay.

Talking of Arab princesses, Claridges' staff were hard at work transforming a whole floor into an Arabian palace. They weren't sure when the retinue was arriving: the guests were too busy flitting around on planes and no-one had the decency to lock down on an actul date  (how suburban!). In fact it was possible they could cancel. But in this fiercely competitive world, Claridge's just has to grin and bear it in case the spoilt family went somewhere else. So bedrooms were turned into banqueting halls and kitchens, and two rooms were set aside just for the shopping.

The rich guests sometimes stuff safes or carrier bags with wads of cash, we were breathlessly told. And leave it behind! Hmm, I would be a bit suspicious of that. The late Michael Jackson carried cash because he was in such debt that anything paid into his bank account would have gone straight to creditors.

Does all this money buy you happiness? Well, no-one does much work, it would seem, and they spend their time flitting from one gilded cage to another. Paris today, London tomorrow. The only one who seemed content was Sammy the dog, whose Botox'd owner told us that he liked coming to Claridge's where he has his own bowl and basket. The concierge was probably less happy when she gave him what looked like a coin for the privilege of walking Sammy.

This hushed and hallowed world seemed very vacuous and silly. These people can teach us nothing about humility and good manners. They should take a leaf out of the book of Bill and Melinda Gates, who have dedicated their lives post-Microsoft to spending their fortune on good causes. They travel a lot too but it's not to race tracks or fashion shows. They travel to places where women are forced to give birth to children one after the other because their corrupt governments don't spend on women's health or contraception.

I suspect we would not find Mr and Mrs Gates arguing about their carpet being the wrong colour or needing a room set aside for atrocities purchased in the Egyptian room of Harrod's.

1 comment:

Anne @ The Frump Factor said...

I so wish I could make a pithy comment, but I find that I'm too disgusted. The inequalities of poverty and excess in our world are hard to stomach.