In the words of Black America, “You gon’ learn today.”
Traveler, writer, entrepreneur and social media influencer (and friend) Jessica Nabongo shared with her Instagram followers her recent experience with a manager at the Four Seasons Nevis, in the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis. I’ll let you catch up on the IG thread here and Jessica’s Medium article on the issue here, but in short, the Four Seasons Nevis manager she was in communication with took one look at the demographic of Jessica’s followers, and without any further information on income, spending habits, etc., decided that they/we only “aspire” to luxury travel and basically don’t actually live it.
And a firestorm ensued.
Personally, I have been invited to stay at several Four Seasons properties globally with no issues at all. In fact, one of my best stays was at Four Seasons Punta Mita. So, while I don’t believe this is a Four Seasons brand wide belief or issue, it does speak to the bias of this one particular manager.
Now, while Four Seasons and any other company in operation certainly has the right to deny anyone a comp or discounted stay for a variety of reasons, including them just not feeling like it that day, what they don’t reserve the right to do is assume that a mostly Black demographic has no money to spend, especially since time and time again research has proven that not only do African-Americans set the trends, we spend on them too. Many have assumed that Jessica is suffering from bruised ego syndrome over feeling entitled to a free stay. But as someone who has to fight, even with our own publications and platforms, daily to prove that people of color do and want more than images and articles on budget travel, I can assure you I feel our frustrations.
I personally have spoken to PR reps and hotel managers who straight up don’t think we travel luxe and have told me they don’t even consider our publications or influencers in their press or marketing strategies. Hell, as I mentioned, I have to fight our own publications, or find ways to cleverly disguise mentions of luxury in articles I write because they too believe we only respond to stories on hostels and how to travel on the cheap. I’m often told to wrap mentions of luxury in stories about how to get it on discounts and deals, instead of writing straight up articles on luxury travel. Said publications will show you articles on Beyonce’s $10,000 boots instead because that makes more sense, but I digress.
While I didn’t create Hotel Whisperer to showcase Black luxury travel, I did create it so that the hotel industry, luxury travel in general, publications, and other travelers out there, could see my adventures and realize that people of color, Black people, belong and are in luxury travel spaces too. And fortunately, I’m not alone! These eight travelers are right there with me and their jealousy inducing Instagram accounts prove to Four Seasons Nevis, and anyone else that missed the memo, that Black people do more than simply aspire to the finer things in life…we live it.
Nate Chambers – @mrvagaabond
From spa days at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai to tea with Mr. Oberoi himself in India, Nate’s daily journey through luxe will definitely make you think you’ve been living life all wrong.
Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon – @jetsetsarah
This Caribbean Queen shows followers the best island luxe from Anguilla to Bora Bora, and always with a drink and a smile.
Travis Levius – @misterlevius
This London based writer and photographer scours the world for the most drool worth luxury properties. Even I’ve added a few of his jaunts to my bucket list!
Coco – @cocogoneglobal
If you’re dying to know what carefree luxe looks like, Coco will make sure you catch a glimpse while she ATV rides in the deserts of Dubai and enjoys wine filled picnics along the crystal clear waters of Switzerland.
Eric Hardiman – @luxurytax
Eric’s IG handle couldn’t be more fitting, because he is definitely paying the price to live life this good. His luxe adventures would even make Diddy jealous.
Crystal – @crissyluv_
Not only does Crystal’s IG feed drip with luxury, but she’s serving body and bae goals too. Her travels are so hot, even Insider Travel couldn’t help but feature her.
Brian – @whereintheworldisb
While at first glance his good looks and smile draw you in, it’s his love of luxe that really makes you take notice. Brian uses his photography skills to show a side of luxury travel that will have you ready to find him anywhere.
Danielle Pointdujour – @hotelwhisperer
Oh, you didn’t think I was going to have a list of luxury travelers to follow without including myself did you? My IG is full of luxury hotels you will definitely want to add to your luxe wishlist, so if you aren’t following already…get on it!