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Check in with Ivo Weyel

He enjoys two things most: traveling and being pampered. Ivo knows better than anyone where to book a room or suite. Text: Ivo Weyel
Online editor: Fleur de Jong


It has been going on for some time now that hotels and B&Bs are no longer enough for just a night's sleep. The new magic word is 'experience', or 'experience', in the sense of a unique experience, an added value to satisfy the increasingly spoiled guest. An example of this is sleeping in someone else's bed. Of course, that is by definition the case if you are going to stay somewhere, but this means the bed of a celebrity. In the suite where Madonna laid her head to rest, Elizabeth Taylor honeymooned with Richard Burton (and drank two bottles of vodka a day, one for him, one for her), where Churchill sat painting the view, or where John Belushi boxed. The latest addition to this series is Nelson Mandela's bed, in the house in Johannesburg that he bought after his release. The house was once going to become a museum, but that became too expensive and was not profitable. It has now become a boutique hotel, where much is still in its original location, supplemented with new furniture and more modern comfort. Who also stayed is Xoliswa Ndoyiya, Nelson's private chef. Room 9 ('President') was his personal bedroom and number 5 ('Nel', Mandela's nickname in prison) is full of personal memorabilia, such as letters he wrote to his children from Robben Island. This Sanctuary Mandela, as it is called, not without some dramatic sense of canonization, is not necessarily luxurious (the mattress is nothing to write home about) or beautifully located (in an expensive residential area) or great food and drink (so Don't complain if you don't like Ndoyiya's stew, because it's mwoah), but that doesn't detract from this kind of experience; After all, the current definition of new luxury is no longer expensive items par excellence or a butler per room, but the once in a lifetime experience. A guided visit to the nearby Mandela Museum is included in the room rate.

Sanctuarymandela.comPhoto: Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design


Another hotel experience: the hotel boat. Okay, we already have the ss Rotterdam, a former Holland America Line ship that now serves as a hotel, as well as the cruise ship Sunborn that is docked in London's harbour. And the Ritz-Carlton chain has its own, extremely luxurious ship on which to celebrate holidays. But all that is surpassed by the Aman hotel group which recently announced its Project Sama (Sanskrit for 'tranquility'), being the construction of an unprecedented luxury yacht of 183 meters with just 50 terrace suites. It won't go into service until 2025, but it will undoubtedly be possible to register for it from next year (enthusiasm is already enormous). The soothing Aman atmosphere that everyone knows from the hotels is reflected in a real Japanese Zen garden on board plus a kind of Beach Club that provides direct access to the water from the aft of the ship, no longer by gangway or springboard, but just paddling straight ahead. The only thing that disturbs the peace are the helicopters that regularly land on the two helipads to deliver one guest after another. A special detail is that the ship is designed by the Dutch company Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design, the boat design agency of designer Sander Sinot. Aman was once the first to introduce the so-called hotel villas, as stand-alone hotel suites, which was later adopted by almost all luxury hotels and has now become a kind of commonplace in the most opulent resorts. It won't be long before the next big hotel name comes up with its own barge. Aman's example is always worth following.
Aman.comPhoto: RJR Photography


You always have boss above boss. Hotels are falling over each other to generate media attention and do so at the highest (read: most expensive) level, for example by shouting from the rooftops that they have the most expensive suite in the world. The highest bid now hovers around €4,3 per night, for the Damien Hirst-designed Empathy Suite – empathy with what, with whom? – at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, with the understanding that a minimum stay of two nights is required. You can also stay for free (it is Vegas after all), but then you have to gamble for at least a million. The two-story suite of more than eight hundred square meters is full of original artwork by Damien Hirst. Doesn't really make you happy either. Next year a new hotel will open in Vegas that has clearly had enough of all the competing against each other and is simply betting at the highest level. The name is still a secret (it is part of the Resorts World chain), but the prices are already being trumpeted: the construction cost 1.500 billion dollars, the entry price for the smallest room is 300.000 dollars and there is already a premium -book discount deal of $180.000 for two nights in the most beautiful suite. And really, I would do it if I were you, because anyone who doesn't get this deal will soon have to pay $XNUMX a night. Hmm. Perhaps the adage that experience is the new luxury is not entirely correct after all?
Rwlasvegas.comPhoto: Palms Casino Resort


The spring issue of MASTERS celebrates regained freedom after two years of corona. The value of this is underlined by developments in eastern Europe, where the freedom of an entire people is at stake. We live in a new reality, but we can make plans again, go out for dinner, meet people. The world is turning again! Only: which way? Time for new bridges, new initiatives. What this edition of MASTERS offers inspiration for.