No one likes feeling like a second class citizen — particularly people worth many, many millions of dollars. But that’s exactly what’s happening at the Hualalai Four Seasons Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii.
In addition to a $1,000-a-night hotel, the resort also has residences that are owned by both the rich, and the very, very, very, very rich. The problem is that those who are simply rich like to rent out their properties to make some extra income, or lend them to friends and families. Because these renters like to use the amenities, however, this means that the much richer residents and the guests of the hotels have been feeling inconvenienced and crowded (to give you some idea, the amenities at this hotel include: two golf courses (with “comfort stations” that offer candy and bourbon), seven restaurants, five swimming pools, a lagoon for snorkeling with 4,000 fish, a spa, chilled towels at the pool, sunglasses cleaning and something called an “Evian spritz service”).
So to make those super rich people happy, the Hualalai started limiting what amenities rental guests could and could not use — and they also started charging them an “unaccompanied guest fee” of about $150 per person per day for an adult to use the pool or any of the hotel’s facilities.
“I don’t want to exaggerate,” one such guest who was faced with these charges told Bloomberg, “but it really is an apartheid experience.”
In other words, the millionaires without unlimited resources do not like that billionaires who own property on Hualalai (such as Ken Griffin, Howard Schultz and Charles Schwab) are bossing them around. Obviously, there is a lawsuit pending.
“We’re smart, we’re mature, we run hedge funds,” says one of the condo owners. “And then Dell and this group are telling us what to do. And it goes against the grain of who we are. We’re so big and so wealthy, and we’re still working with that little contract.”
On the other hand, as the heiress to the Wrigley gum fortune put it, she and her billionaire friends have to put up with a lot too: “It had gotten more and more abusive,” she told Bloomberg, adding that the guest fees have made it easier for her to get all the appointments she wants at the pool, restaurant and spa. “This place isn’t right for everybody and doesn’t need to be all things to all people.”