If you have the cash, buyouts provide vacation dreams
If you have the cash, buyouts provide vacation dreams
24 AUGUST 2020 7:26 AM

Luxury hotels look to fuel revenue with exclusivity and private air travel, and the U.K.’s restaurant scheme seems to be working.

Missing travel and have a spare $14,000 that’s burning a hole in your pocket?

If so, the ideal for you might be a trip organized and undoubtedly socially distanced by Montage Deer Valley in Park City, Utah, which includes private air travel, ground transportation and excursions for up to six people to various geological wonders accompanied by an informed guide and great restaurants.

For you and five of your friends, that’ll be £2,333.33 each ($3,083.64). CNBC in mid-2019 said the U.S. traveler on average spent $1,979 on his/her vacation, so we are not talking a vast difference, especially if one is prepared to pay a little extra for assurances of cleanliness, hygiene and making sure the hoi polloi keep their distance.

As I am deep within the dreaming stage of travel—remember when hoteliers would talk at length at conventions on the “five stages of travel,” the dreaming, the planning, the buying, the doing and the sharing? Just about I can—I wondered what other places are offering such stupendous packages.

And why should they not? Jobs, properties and firms are at stake here, and revenue is needed.

Supposedly, private air travel is a must, for what is the point of being alone in a hotel if to get there you had to share a flight with 300 others?

Thailand-based Minor Hotels via its luxury Anantara brand even has a website option where guests can process a request for proposal to buyout one of its five Maldives Islands hotels.

And that is a destination where small planes always take vacationers from the international airport in Malé, so that provision will not be a headache for anyone there.

Aman Resorts—I imagine the price is eye-watering to most—has its own private jet, and that can take you from your home to anywhere. Yes, there might be other guests, but I am sure your room is a very nice place to spend a week, and with limited rooms anyway, the chances of meeting anyone if you did not want to is low.

I rather like its Flavor of the Valleys package to its Amankora resort in Bhutan, where the latest COVID-19 statistics state there have been no deaths due to coronavirus, that is, if anyone can believe any country’s statistics on this.

And this requirement for social distancing is why the humble British self-catering cottage has been doing very well this summer, so perhaps there is not always the need to remortgage the mansion.

UK eat-out scheme
The August-long “Eat out to help out” scheme in which restaurants, including those at hotels, can offer meals at 50% off (up to £10 ($13) per person, alcohol not included) is close to ending.

It seems it has been a success, and I wonder if it will be extended. Or similar revenue streams being subjected to the same plan?

Talk has been that bums on seats have increased on Mondays through Wednesdays, the days on which the scheme applies, but decreased at other times, although the glorious weather in the country and the absence of air conditioning in houses here probably has seen diners literally need to go out on weekends, too.

According to the BBC last week by the end of the second week of August, 35 million meals had been served, which is approximately 50% of all Brits.

The government makes up the 50% difference to restauranteurs, and there is a £500 million ($655 million) fund for it all.

Of course, math fans, those 35 million meals have already cost the government £350 million ($458 million), so if the scheme retains its popularity (the week in which I write has seen some rain go through, and most diners still, I think, prefer to sit outdoors if possible) then the government—or the taxpayer—will be in the hole by approximately £200 million ($262 million).

That is on the assumption that a starter and a main would add up to a cost of £20 ($26.20), thus permitting the maximum £10 (£13.10) to be deducted from each bill.

That adds up, I believe, to maybe burgers for six at one of the hotels above, but I might be wrong in my calculations.

Email Terence Baker or find him on Twitter.

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