Secret rooms only connoisseurs know to book

Villa de France, the villa at the Cheval Blanc hotel, rarely appears on booking apps, so few people know about its existence.

Many rooms at a number of accommodation establishments around the world are intentionally hidden, with the common being that they do not or rarely appear on booking applications or hotel websites. People only know of its existence when a few connoisseurs make reservations, post photos on their personal pages. To book or inquire about room rates, guests can only call the front desk directly.

Villa de France is a five-room villa belonging to the Cheval Blanc hotel in St Barts, a French-speaking island in the Caribbean. The suites are described as "secluded yet palatial, nestled discreetly within the resort and nearly undetectable upon visit". It is hardly advertised on the net.

A corner at Villa de France in Cheval Blanc. Photo: Cheval Blanc

Many people, after learning about the existence of Villa de France, tried to "rummage" the web to find out. What they do know is that this place has its own spa in the villa and two infinity pools. Even when calling to book a room, visitors are not sure if they can book this 30,000 euro-a-night villa or if it has already been occupied.

Christelle Hilpron, general manager of Cheval Blanc in St Barts, explains the villa's reasons for secrecy "want the place to be completely private". The villa has a private chef, dining table for 10, private gym and spa and direct access to Flamands beach. Isolation helps tenants avoid having to contact other guests in the resort.

The Newt Hotel in Somerset, England is home to a collection of rooms richly decorated with Georgian antiques (17th century), crackling wood fireplaces and oversized bathtubs. The hotel's most exclusive place is the Gate Lodge, a two-bedroom cottage that has been quietly added to the 405-hectare site since 2022. The house has plenty of amenities to cater to guests, but its secrecy. is the new attraction. This $2,600-a-night accommodation is rarely mentioned on the hotel website. Guests can only book a room by calling the hotline number and very few people know about this place.

The Newt Hotel in Somerset. Photo: SCMP

Jack Ezon, founder of travel agency Embark Beyond, says the rooms are attractive because they are "virtually unknown". They are even more special when they appear in a time when everything is photographed and re-posted online. Being anonymous is considered "something irresistible", even if you are not a celebrity and need to hide from the paparazzi, still want to book this room.

"More and more customers want something special," says Ezon. Many affluent visitors today are interested in places that are "never heard of" or "never posted online".

The Broadmoor, a resort with picturesque surroundings in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA is the next name on the list of hotels with secret rooms. Cloud Camp is the name of a group of rooms located on the top of a mountain with 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape, about 20 minutes by car from Broadmoor's main building. This place starts at almost $1,200 a night and can be reserved almost exclusively by phone.

Andy Hogg, a high-end safari tour provider in Zambia, will convert two old full-sized containers into a residence with en suite bathrooms, large living areas with large windows by 2022. Container houses are located at the entrance. of South Luangwa National Park is a private destination. Andy says not promoting the new property has allowed his team to "refine service delivery, test how guests use the space, and continue to innovate"

Unpublishing the rooms isn't always the best strategy, though. Mandarin Oriental located in New York, USA has a luxurious room of 280 m2 that has not been mentioned for a long time. Since appearing on the hotel's website, the number of bookings for this room has increased by 31% compared to 2019. Danielle Choi, marketing and commercial director of the hotel said that most of the bookings are booked by guests calling directly. next.

Inside the room named Suite 5,000 of Mandarin Oriental, which was rarely mentioned by the hotel on its website before. Photo: Mandarin Oriental

Communicating directly with the hotel to make a reservation, without going through a third party, is loved by Amanda Zaslow, owner of a mansion in the town of Saugerties. There is no room where the guest manager can book without calling or emailing directly. She even deliberately let guests think the website was not working, forcing them to contact them directly. "A lot of guests think it's great that they have to work a little harder to find us. Contacting us directly also gives us the opportunity to create more impressive stays for our guests," she said. .

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