World of luxury branding turns to diamonds

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Luxury hotels, department stores and restaurants are always pushing the limits of grandeur to impress their customers. And what could make a hotel or restaurant look more lavish than a drink or suite package that comes with a real diamond?

What is the marketing advantage of these extravagant package deals? “People of extraordinary wealth want a story you can tell, or an experience you can share on social media,” says Allen Adamson, a branding expert and chairman of Landor Associates. “The world of luxury branding is quickly becoming a world of ‘can you top this?’”

While a business traveller at a hotel or restaurant may feel comfortable just having a nice meal or night’s sleep, those travelling and dining for leisure often feel a desire to extend the moment through Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. Storytelling about experiences, for the past decade or so, has become as important as the experience itself.

“Buying a diamond is an extravagant purchase to begin with,” notes Mr Adamson. “So receiving the diamond as part of a hotel or dining package makes for an impressive social media post and a unique story.” Not to mention all the coverage a hotel will get in the media when it announces such an absurd amenity. In New York, for example, the Algonquin Hotel’s Blue Bar began offering a beverage “on the Rock” a decade ago. Few people have ever sipped one, but according to marketing manager Nicholas Sciammarella, it’s a “gift that keeps on giving.”

“We sold one a month ago, and gave the exclusive to the Daily News,” Mr Sciammarella says. A gentleman from Texas allowed the paper to document his experience in the paper’s gossip column. The drink has also secured the hotel national television and international newspaper coverage. “It’s always something that’s coming back in the media,” explains Mr Sciammarella.

In a way, every time a customer buys a diamond-augmented experience, it’s almost like they’re buying a free ad for the hotel.

The New York Palace Hotel, for example, has teamed with the jewellery designer Martin Katz to create the Jewel Suite, a two-storey, 5000 square feet penthouse that costs $25,000 a night and houses up to six guests.


Tell me more about the Jewel Suite.

Along with more standard luxury amenities (a private rooftop terrace, sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline), the Jewel Suite comes with a complimentary Diamond Microband Ring, valued at $2,500, that the guest can customise in a private meeting with Martin Katz himself.

What sorts of customers does this jewel-studded hotel room attract?

“The Jewel Suite by Martin Katz has played host to celebrity clientele, both for personal stays and when in New York City to promote professional projects,” says the hotel managing director John Tolbert. The hotel also rents out the Jewel Suite to publications such as Vogue and celebrities like Oprah Winfrey for photo shoots and interviews.

Any other diamond experiences of note?

The Trump SoHo hotel-condominium may seem like just another $450 million instalment in the Trump real estate empire, but one of the hotel’s spa features is the Diamond Dust Body Treatment.

What does that involve?

A rubdown with rare diamond-dust infused beauty oils. The spa’s menu says the treatment offers a “balancing of the chakras by applying luminous mud combined with diamond dust using magnetic tools to remove toxins in your body”.

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