Adding a couple of easy chairs and calling a hotel room a suite was never going to satisfy an elite travelling set used to boundary-pushing and elevated luxury hotels. Welcome to the supersuite.
As with supermodels and superyachts, the prefix isn’t a measure of size so much as it is of opulence and fame. Your supersuite fittings need to be supplied by the most in-demand designers, architects and artists. Your target market will be on the well-known side, too – locatable in the celeb columns, society pages and business magazine profile pages. That means they sometimes come with private access – via a private lift rather than the back stairs – or the ability to transform into a hyper-connected conference room or TV studio.
The Langham, London
London was an early supersuite adopter, reflecting the jet stream of private wealth that’s been rushing through the city this century. After the first supersuite wave (The Berkeley, Hotel Café Royal, the Corinthia and the Rosewood) comes the hotel that first set a new bar for luxury when it opened in 1865: The Langham.
The hotel’s new Sterling Suite is 4,843 square feet of marble, antiques, Murano glass, acclaimed chinoiserie and important rugs. The second bedroom is bigger than most master bedrooms; and the master bedroom has its own sitting room – a suite within a suite, if you like. A couple and their kids could stay for days and not bump into each other.
But the point of the Sterling is also to socialise. We attended an intimate gathering of 20 people there, and it could comfortably have hosted twice that. The drawing room comes with a white piano which, together with art deco-ish side tables and mirrors, looks as if it’s just waiting for Noel Coward or Ivor Novello to wander in and tinkle the ivories.
London wasn’t always so welcoming to the super-luxe crowd. In 1980, The Langham’s landlord – the BBC – applied to turn it into offices. Thankfully it was saved and in 1995 passed into the hands of the current owners, Hong Kong’s Great Eagle Holdings. Sometimes it takes outsiders to appreciate what you have. langhamhotels.com/london
The Mark, New York
‘Boldly lavish’, says The Mark’s website. So secret is the penthouse suite atop this Madison Avenue hotel that it isn’t even advertised on the website. The boutique hotel, sumptuously created by French designer Jacques Grange and known on Instagram for its zebra-striped lobby floor, is right on the lip of Central Park and New York’s most elegant neighbourhood. At more than 12,000 square feet, The Mark’s penthouse is the largest suite in the US. Over two floors there are five bedrooms, a vast living room that can be transformed into a grand ballroom and eyepopping views of the city from the 2,500-square-foot terrace. themarkhotel.com
The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo
There are plenty of superlatives at The Ritz-Carlton’s Tokyo property. It’s housed in the city’s highest tower (the hotel begins on level 45); among its restaurants is the Michelin-starred French-meets-Japanese Azure 45; and its signature Ritz-Carlton Suite is (probably) the most expensive in all of Tokyo. On level 53, the 3,300-square-foot suite has panoramic views over entertainment district Roppongi, the Tokyo SkyTree and into the Imperial Palace garden – plus a high-spec telescope to enjoy them through. The one thing that does come for free is the blockbuster view of Mount Fuji. ritzcarlton.com/tokyo
Suffixing anything with ‘house’ has been a great marketing quirk so far (Soho House and Swire Hotels’ House Collective are cases in point). So it is with Beijing House at the Rosewood Beijing, the signature suite of the property, which overlooks Rem Koolhaas’ trouser legs-like CCTV Headquarters. The 1,905-square-foot suite has the usual souped-up accoutrements: entrance foyer, separate kitchen, floor-to-ceiling windows; while local touches like chinoiserie paintings on the walls lend it a touch of 1920s glamour. There’s automatic access to the Manor Club, a private club open only to the hotel’s most upscale guests, which means afternoon tea, evening cocktails and a butler service. The Rosewood is the ‘it’ Beijing hotel right now. rosewoodhotels.com/beijing