Oh, you photograph for Vague? Well do come in!…. Let me take your jacket sir. Have a seat. May I get you something from the bar?
Oh the power of a name, the weight of a word, the influence of a brand.
Credit crunch, pah! A hotel-cum-club – beautiful homage to old-style excess – opened in full resplendent glory in St James’ last week – with wall paper so thick it pads the (not vast) walls, lifts bedecked in black snakeskin and decked terraces with walkways lit by candles and flanked by roses.
And who to celebrate the opening? Scores of tatterdemalion-like journalists who realised as soon as arriving that this was rather more than your average bar opening. No junkets here. It was a privilege, for one thing, to sample the heady delights of Dieter Muller’s gastronomy and quite another to be allowed run of the £15-per-cocktail bar.
I have to wonder, though, whether paying customers will ever grace its 3-michelin-starred Chef’s tables? Will the £2,000 plus-per-night suites ever be gold-dust? And will the soft ‘shwit’ of cigar-end-cutters ever be heard on the terraces? Probably, but certainly not when Her Majesty’s Press Corps are around and probably not when any Brits are around.
This inner sanctom of cerebrally ostentatious luxury will become – and remain for some time – the playpen of the ten Russian billionaires and 1000 Russian millionaires who currently reside in the UK.
And as gentlemanly as the wonderful staff are, surely any Concierge worth his salt in West London these days must be able to flatter and preen in Russian?