Is This The World’s Most Expensive Hotel Soap?

I get excited about the little things in life. And by little things I mean $31 bars of soap. Not because I actually want to use them or are convinced they’re much better than Dollar Store soap, but rather just because they’re $31 bars of soap. What’s not over the top and ridiculous about that? That’s sort of the soap equivalent of afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab.

I’ve written in the past about my favorite hotel toiletries, though I think they’re all put to shame by the selection at Le Parker Meridien in Palm Springs, where I’m staying this weekend.

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The hotel itself is gorgeous. I love the quirky design of the rooms, and the grounds of the entire hotel are so relaxing and well maintained. It’s just a great place to get away for the weekend, especially if you’re coming from LA.

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My only complaint perhaps is that service is spotty at best, which is hardly surprising. Based on my check-in experience it really seems like they’re only reluctantly part of SPG, which I suppose makes sense given their history.

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Possibly the coolest part of this property is the selection of mismatched toiletries available in all guest rooms. The Parker has BVLGARI, Molton Brown, L’Occitane, Penhaligon’s, and Hermes!

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That Hermes soap alone retails for $31 per bar at Bloomingdale’s.

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On a two night stay in a room with two showers, that’s $124 of bar soap alone!

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Now of course I don’t value the soap at anywhere close to retail. But there’s still something funny to me about a hotel with $99+ rates in summer probably offering that amount (at retail) in toiletries every day in a standard guest room. I’d certainly never use that soap, but it’ll make a cute gift for some of the more brand-conscious people in my life.

I’m sure The Parker doesn’t pay anywhere close to retail for the soap, but presumably they’re not getting it for 50 cents a bar either. So it’s pretty impressive that they’ve kept around such an awesome toiletry collection, given how much cost cutting is going on at hotels. Guests must really appreciate it.

What do you make of a hotel offering such an over the top toiletry selection — is it awesome, or would you rather see hotels spend money in other ways?

Comments

  1. That bar soap is so fabulous. I don’t even like the smell of it, but using it is so luxurious I feel like I have died and goed to heaven. When you’re at the Parker, you’re in Mr. Parker’s house; when you go to Mr. Parker’s house, you get washed up real good. When my man and I come to the hotel we create a bubble bath out of the soap and just soak in the luxury. No reason to leave the room, except to show off our fresh, glistening Bulgari / Hermes shining skins by the pool. Mr. Lucky you are right that we guests sure do love it. Go be spoilt in that tub! Xo

  2. Sofitel uses Hermes toiletries exclusively. Tho in more mini versions than the bar of soap you show. Next time you are in Berlin I highly recommend you stay at the Sofitel Ku’Damn it’s my go to hotel in Berlin.

  3. I have stayed at the Ritz in Paris several times so there’s my bonofides. Based on what I have seen about this hotel I am not impressed.Trip Advisor lists it as ParkerPalm Springs (formerly Le Meridien) I don’t care about the soap I care about service ,about how I am treated by the employees.Having said that I trust your reviews . I have read enough of your blog to know your writing style.The reviews on TA are predominantly good.Frankly,I am confused as to whether the hotel is any good. But your checkin comment got my attention. That is the first time a property has an opportunity to impress a guest. A bad impression will linger.I am curious to read your review Ben.

  4. They seem to have the same attitude about SPG as the Parker Meridien in NYC.

    As for the toiletries, I bet they are all closeouts or discontinued styles, given the mismatching that they are doing.

    Certainly looks like a hotel that is more style of substance. You can’t make up for poor service with bling.

  5. Reading your blog for a while now it’s interesting to see just how aspirational you are. I guess that’s a function of youth.

  6. Stayed there last year and I was also struck by the mismatched toiletries. And I also liked them. Although the bathroom could use an update.

    Anyway, that pool you pictured in the back is fantastic. And the falafel at the cafe right there isn’t half bad.

  7. Those Hermes soaps are gold. Last time I saw them in my travels was when flying TK F at their tiny lounge at IST (when it existed). Might be worth a trip down to the desert to shamelessly heist the housekeeping cart.

    -JRL

  8. @Lucky
    Are you sure these are not the 1.7 oz bars? The ones on Bloomingdale’s are the big 5.3 oz ones.
    Anyway, I cannot stand their orange smell and whenever I find them in Sofitels – I ask for L’Occitane instead. 🙂

  9. I get the same bar of soap when staying in a Club room in the Sheraton CDG, and they also give you a mini eau de cologne from the same Hermes series (perfect for carry-on toiletries).

  10. The Le Méridien Munich used to have the same Soap back in 2006 in their suites. I was staying in that hotel for ~8 months for business, and upgrades to suites for an SPG Platinum were 90% success (keep in mind that in 2006 the World Cup was hosted in Germany so at that time there definitely were no suite upgrades happening 🙂 ). I ended up selling quite a few of those Soaps on eBay 🙂
    On top of that: Every now and then you got the Eau de Cologne as well..

  11. “…it’ll make a cute gift for some of the more brand conscious people in my life.”

    More brand conscious than YOU, Ben? That’s hard to believe!

  12. If you think that would make you giddy, you should try and obtain the toiletries of Kit Kemp’s “Rik Rak” only available in her Firmdale hotels in London/NYC. It isn’t sold anywhere expect her own shop in London, making it priceless (with a wink;)

  13. I’ m glad you are enjoying your stay, but as a gay man who lived in LA for five years, Palm Springs never held any interest for me. If I want to relax, I’d just go to Santa Monica’s beaches, not drive 2 hours in the middle of the dessert.

  14. Nice indeed but as another poster said, why the mismatching brands? These are probably overstock items. What’s the batch code (the numbers printed on the bottom of the soap and for the bulgari)? I can tell you the year they were produced.

  15. @lucky, if you like L’Occitane as well, try the Westin tokyo. They literally put out the biggest spread of them in the bathroom I’ve ever seen. Between the different soaps etc around 20 bottles a day! Ironically they only use L’Occitane in some rooms and regular Westin amenities in some rooms. I’m guessing platinum vs non? Or maybe suite vs standard room?

  16. Quirky design, indeed. I’m convinced Jonathan Adler found half the furnishings at the consignment shops across the street. But it all works. BTW, do you remember the short-lived reality show about the Parker a few years ago? It was not very flattering and completely forgettable except for the hot mess who rode the hotel bike around the property delivering room service. He was pretty funny.

  17. Regarding the TV show: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0898248/

    Further, may I suggest you check out the La Quinta Resort & Spa? Off season when you combine it with the Chase LHRCollection benefits (used to be Amex FHR but they seem to have pulled out of that) you can get a room with a decent upgrade, your meals and on property credit such that it’s basically a free stay. The grounds, including the 40 (yes, FOURTY) swimming pools are beautifully maintained and you can have as much privacy as you wish depending on the room type you select.

  18. So I guess my next house guests will be extremely impressed because I have those bar soaps in my collection of soaps brought home from trips that I put out in my guest bathrooms. And, I don’t even know what hotel I picked them up in but I know it was a U.S.hotel because I haven’t been out of the country in several years. Never thought to sell on eBay – No. Telling how much money I have sitting in a drawer waiting to be used!

  19. I got the same soap at the Le Meridien Paris-Montparnasse back in 2004. Matching cologne too.

  20. On Tripadvisor they are listed as just Parker (previously Le Meridien), seems they could be on the way out of SPG and not very happy with SPG guests.

  21. @ Tony — Except they’ve had the same mismatched collection for years, so I think it’s intentional. I think the idea is to be quirky, which sums up the hotel on the whole.

  22. @ Joe — For what it’s worth I actually found the drive to be really relaxing and enjoyable. Amazing how many windmills there are, and the landscape was gorgeous.

  23. @ Super VC10 — Hah, believe it or not aside from airlines and hotels, I’m incredibly NOT brand conscious.

  24. Whenever I stay at Sofitel Abu Dhabi, I get that HERMES toiletries. Indeed… gosh, smell heavenly. What slightly annoys me is that they provides LANVAN(?) brand to room guests and those HERMES products (Eau d’orange Verte) only for suite guests. So I had to insist sometimes or if I am lucky enough to encounter a nice housekeeping person, I get some extras. lol.

  25. Haven’t all those toiletries appeared in SQ F amenity kits at some point? Maybe the hotel got them at a discount when SQ swapped them out for something else.

  26. That toiletry selection is great though it doesn’t seem to match the hotel decor and atmosphere. They seem better suited to a glitzy top-end hotel. So what would go with this hotel? Pacifica, maybe? (Great brand, but I don’t know if they make hotel products.)

  27. @ Bling — Hah, some of them certainly have, though don’t ever remember Hermes in Singapore first.

  28. Until just a few years ago, the extra-fabulous amenities were only available during high season. During the summer when rates were sub-$100, the hotel would swap out the amenities for Peter Thomas Roth.

    And while the amenities are still the best ever, the Parker used to throw a L’Occitane soap (on top of the Hermes) as well as Peter Thomas Roth sunscreen, which was a bonus. So I guess they’ve “cut back.” 😉

  29. Full bars of Le Labo Bergamote soap go for $45, though they only have mini versions at place like Park Hyatt Sydney.

  30. Not brand conscious? Really? You own an Apple MacBook Air and an iPhone? Those 2 are far more expensive than competing products.

  31. During my stay at Park Hyatt Milano, I was given Laura Tonatto soaps(retails at €25ish/piece), and I’d say its awesome and better than anything I have ever used.

  32. @ JohnB — And they’re very simple to use and work extremely well together. That’s a function of me working on them 16 hours a day, and not a function of who the products are produced by.

  33. First thing that comes to mind: book that hotel at the cheapest rate you can, grab as many toiletries as you can, and resell them to make a few quick bucks. (I dunno about the resale market for soap bars but if they go for $31 there must be a way to get something out of them). LOL at the soap literally costing more than the hotel room.

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