OMG: Private Island Hotel Charging $9K Per Night Joins Marriott

Filed Under: Hotels, Marriott

There are luxury hotels, and then there’s North Island, Seychelles.

What is North Island, Seychelles?

North Island is a resort on a private island in the Seychelles, and it has just 11 rooms spread across the island’s nearly 500 acres. It’s just 30 kilometers from Mahe (the main island in the Seychelles), and this island is home to all kinds of endangered species.

Here’s a video about the hotel:

This is by far the most luxurious private island resort in Africa, and arguably one of the most luxurious private island resorts in the world. It’s priced accordingly, and then some — it’s easily one of the most expensive hotels in the world.

Rates here are 6,433EUR per night for the standard rooms (also known as “Presidential Villas”), and that doesn’t include the 21% tax and service charge.

So based on the current conversion rate, a stay here will cost you $8,839 per night. In fairness, each villa is almost 5,000 square feet.

Well, an announcement has just been made about North Island that I find… shocking?

North Island Seychelles is joining Marriott

North Island Seychelles will be joining Marriott as a Luxury Collection property, with an anticipated transition in December 2019. WHAT?!?!?

North Island’s Managing Director, Bruce Simpson, had the following to say about this:

“We are delighted to join the exclusive collection of properties under The Luxury Collection. North Island is the perfect fit for a brand that stands for such exclusive luxury, while recognising the importance of sustainable development, and we look forward to building on the position of the island as one of the world’s most aspirational private-island destinations.”

I’m really confused:

  • Generally speaking I don’t think of Luxury Collection as actually being that luxurious; rather I think of it mostly as a collection of hotels that don’t want to spend the money to renovate, so go for the “classic” design that Luxury Collection is known for
  • There are a lot of hotels where a loyalty program can impact whether or not a guest chooses to stay there; but does that really apply to a hotel that’s almost $10,000 per night? Are George Clooney and Prince William really closet points collectors (well, George Clooney outside of his Ryan Bingham role in “Up In The Air”)?

Will North Island participate in Marriott Bonvoy?

I’ll be very curious to see to what extent this hotel participates in Marriott Bonvoy. On one hand, all Luxury Collection hotels fully participate in Marriott Bonvoy, meaning you can earn and redeem points at all properties.

At the same time, I can’t imagine this hotel will be bookable at standard award rates. 10 of the 11 rooms here are “standard” rooms, and there’s simply no way they’ll be bookable per Marriott’s standard award chart. I mean, it could be nice, but that’s just implausible.

Marriott does manage some hotels that don’t participate in their loyalty program, like Ritz-Carlton Reserve and BVLGARI. So my guess would be that they’re going for something like that here, though that’s also why the Luxury Collection branding confuses me.

My guess is that they’ll offer some sort of redemptions here, just to create buzz. No, not a standard room for 85,000 points per night, or anything, but rather I could see them offering awards for a million points per night, or something crazy like that. I doubt it would be valuable for members, but they’d be smart to at least create the buzz and illusion of being able to redeem points at North Island.

North Island’s ASMALLWORLD connection

What’s interesting is that this announcement coincides with ASMALLWORLD taking over management of the hotel. For those of you who have no clue what that is, I think Wikipedia describes it pretty well:

ASMALLWORLD is an exclusive, paid-subscription social network, which relaunched in spring 2013 as a private international travel and social club, with a peer-recommended and verified user base capped membership at 250,000 people. Described as “Myspace for millionaires” and “The secret social network for the elite”, the site was founded in 2004 by Erik Wachtmeister and was one of the first social networks at that time.

This organization is controversial as heck, and at one point Harvey Weinstein was the majority shareholder.

To me this makes it even more confusing. So an organization that’s all about exclusivity and membership and excluding others wants the hotel to become more mainstream?

ASMALLWORLD’s CEO, Jan Luescher, explains this as follows

“We are very excited to launch the ASmallWorld Hotel Collection with such a world-renowned hotel as North Island. This first step towards building our very own luxury hotel collection will allow us to offer our travel-savvy members a unique destination, while at the same time increasing the occupancy rate and the profitability of the property.”

So I guess they think this will increase occupancy and profitability, though the whole thing is still really weird to me.

Bottom line

One of the world’s most exclusive hotels is joining Marriott as a Luxury Collection property. That’s absolutely awesome, though at a price tag of almost $10,000 per night, I’m very curious to see how this all plays out.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, if I were ever in a position to spend $10,000 per night I’d sure love to earn points for it, but… but… I just don’t get it!

(Tip of the hat to Miramar)

Comments
  1. Agree with your main assessments here. I don’t consider Luxury Collection a top-of-the-line brand and the clientele at this sort of ultra exclusive resort doesn’t seem like the type to be points or loyalty sensitive.

  2. It obviously looks amazing, and I like a bit of space as much as the next guy, but 5,000 square PER VILLA??? That’s crazy. Even with having things like dining spaces private, there is absolutely no reason to have that kind of space. I guess if you are paying those kinds of rates you expect something that big?

  3. If you time a couple of stays there around one of Marriott’s megabonus promotions, you might be able to earn yourself a free category 4 award night to use elsewhere

  4. North Island is the best place I have ever stayed at: the villas are top-notch of course, but it’s the phenomenal beauty of the island and the incredible beaches that really set it apart (I made a Youtube clip with impressions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsKMDqMRV8A). IMHO, it makes no sense that they are joining a hotel brand and Marriott’s The Luxury Collection is a weird choice.

  5. I am starting to think Doug Parker is secretly at the helm of Marriott. Because nothing they do makes sense. Bonvoy already has a mess of hotels that just don’t fit properly, don’t play by the rules, and are out of touch with what used to be a solid list of brands with fairly uniform expectations.

    I mean, if they offered this as some pie in the sky award redemption, which they never will, ok. It could be a fun aspiration for collectors (No doubt they will charge the sneaky redemption deposit). If not its like some of the crazy products Neiman Marcus used to offer in their Christmas Catalog for tens of thousands of dollars. It was good show but I highly doubt anyone actually ordered it.

  6. This coverage is why they did it. And to ensure they get the most attention possible over the longest time, they leave the most obvious questions unanswered at this early stage. The fact that we’re all rising to the bait must be very satisfying to them.

    Oneday we’ll learn what the catch is

  7. @ken – yes, that’s where they went for their honeymoon. My wife and I wanted to stay at North Island, coincidentally at the time the Prince and Princess were there.

    North Island was (and apparently still is, but I don’t know if that will change with this new announcement) owned by — or at least associated with — Wilderness Safaris, which has some of the best safari camps in Africa…though nothing else at North Island’s level of opulence. We discovered it on W-S’s website, and until we saw the prices, we thought it would be the perfect place to end our trip to Rwanda and Botswana. The fact that it was in Wilderness Safari’s portfolio did open our eyes to the idea of staying in The Seychelles for a little R&R at the end of that trip, and we wound up at the wonderful Maia, where the food is brilliant, the views are stunning, and every room is a villa with its own butler and a private pool. Maybe not North Island luxury, but still not bad 😉

    If North Island is joining Bonvoy, my happy little heart is hoping that other truly luxury properties, like Maia or the Amans or even some of the better safari camps, might join too. If that became the case, and if they were bookable on points, I could see myself staying and redeeming exclusively with Marriott for the rest of my points-accruing life.

    Maybe this is just the latest shot in a war that began with Marriott beating out Hyatt for SPG, Hyatt then acquiring Two Roads and associating with SLH, IHG picking up Regent, etc. For people who care about staying at unique properties in interesting places, we could be on our way toward a golden age in travel.

  8. Not to be pedantic, Ben, but 1mm points = 333k real points. At 1.8c per = $6k, meaning you’re saving yourself over 30% per night. That would be a solid deal.

  9. I’ve stayed there before. The “public” pool is absolutely stunning. The private butler can’t be beat. I had the best service anywhere hands down…. better than any Amans. Sunset is absolutely stunning on the island especially after rain. Finishes of the villas are top notch. Food can be quite good if you demand the chef be on top of his game (he worked at Test Kitchen before). With that said, my preference would be the Brando over the North Island because of the water condition. I also prefer the over water bungalow layout at Cheval Blanc Randheli than North Island’s.

  10. IDK why you are confused Lucky. You just wrote an article about the hotel and linked out to their site and content. So they are already getting FREE media from the announcement. This is a small hotel on a remote island. They need additional avenues to get the word out. It’s not like a typical destination that you know about, they need additional exposure for people to even know what North Island even is before considering a stay there. They did this for marketing purposes and it seems like they are already getting a ton of coverage.

  11. The two brands that don’t participate in Bonvoy, Bulgari and Ritz-Carlton Reserve, are Marriott-managed. Luxury Collection properties are not Marriott-managed, which you point out by naming the new management company.

  12. Just think, as a Platinum member with the double points promotion you could stay one night and earn enough points to stay 28 nights at the Fairfield Inn Knoxville!

  13. “…the most luxurious private island resort in Africa,…”

    The irony of so much wealth so clise to so much poverty.

  14. @John what’s your point, are you anymore of an asehole for driving your $200k car past people earning $2 a day or $100 a day. I think not, and if anything North island is adding jobs for locals.

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