Americans are spending more money than ever on vacations

Summer fun just got a lot more expensive.

As destination after destination reopens to foreign visitors, travel starved tourists are splashing out record amounts of cash on luxury hotel suites, the best bottles of champagne and other pricey perks.

In Miami, at any given time dozens of Rolls Royce’s line the drive of the 98-room Acqualina Resort & Residences. But now, the hotel’s marketing director Mauro Pinho said that his well-heeled guests are spending even more.

“[This summer] it’s not unusual to see a bill of $250,000 for a month’s stay. which was not at all the case pre-COVID,” said Pinho, who noted that the average cost of an room has risen from $700 to $1,200 due to demand and that stays of two to four weeks have become common.

Yoga instructor Therese Civitello, 55, and her financial analyst husband Paul, 61, of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, are one of the couples burning cash this summer in Miami.

Several times a year, prior to the pandemic, they would spend up to a week in an entry-level room at Acqualina. This year, with a year’s worth of extra savings, the couple splurged on a suite and started blowing through $205 per bottle of Veuve Clicquot Rose champagne.

“After being stuck at home for so long, we’re ready to treat ourselves,” she said. “It’s a place we love so much, so why not do it there and make it that much nicer?”

A photo of the couplein front of the resort.
It’s not hard to drop $10K in under a week — just ask the Civitellos who did just that at Miami’s Acqualina.
Therese Civitello

Upstate, at a former Rockefeller estate in the Adirondacks, a new 85-acre resort dubbed the Point has also seen demand — and, in turn, rates — balloon.

Average rates at the 11-room resort are typically $2,400 to $2,700 a night, but general manager Joe Maiurano said that he doesn’t have a room available room until late October or early November. The priciest room, the $4,200 a night boathouse suite, is sold out until the second week of November.

Sales of top-shelf wines such as the California cult classic Screaming Eagle, around $3,000 a bottle, and Domaine Romanee-Conti, between $2,500 and $5,000 a bottle, have increased significantly, Maiurano added, as have requests for caviar and specialty cuts of meat such as Wagyu beef.

An interior shot of the Point resort.
The new, colorfully rustic (and priced) Point resort in the Adirondacks.
The Point

“Our guests want the highest category of room available and are buying expensive wine, longer massages and booking private guiding and fishing excursions,” he said. “A two-night stay this summer is running between $13,000 to $18,000, a 30% jump from past years.”

But these downright risqué room rates are scaring off determined travelers.

An exterior shot of Chateau du Sureau.
Rooms at the Yosemite-neighboring Chateau du Sureau in Central California start at $1,000 a night.
Chateau du Sureau

Chateau du Sureau, a Relais & Chateaux hotel near Yosemite National Park, in Oakhurst, Calif., where rooms average close to $1,000 a night, is so busy with bookings that owner Jonathan Rosenson said that he needed to add a second reservationist.

At the tony New England hotspot Ocean House, in Watch Hill, RI, average daily rates are $2,100, and the property is booked through August. General manager Antonia Korosec said his wait list is growing longer every day.

 “We have a lot of repeat guests, but instead of coming once a year like they usually do, they’re booking three or four different stays,” she said.

Matthew Gordon and family at the Ocean House in Rhode Island.
Matthew Gordon, seen here with his family at Rhode Island’s Ocean House, changed things up this summer and stayed at its sister property, Watch Hill, for $2,000 a night.
Matthew Gordon

Matthew Gordon, 57, an entrepreneur from Greenwich, Conn., has been an Ocean House regular for 10 years. But on his visit for the July 4 holiday, he opted to stay at the resort’s seasonal sister property Watch Hill Inn in the Lily Pulitzer suite for around $2,000 a night. The one-bedroom accommodation is outfitted in the bright coastal décor that the eponymous brand is famous for.

We have been cooped up and are ready to break free by spending more than we have.

Entrepreneur Matthew Gordon

“We have been cooped up and are ready to break free by spending more than we have,” said Gordon.

Luxury travel companies also report a no-holds-barred mentality among their clients.

Rob Karp, the founder of Miles Ahead, a bespoke hospitality business based in New York, said that he is booking twice as much business as he did prior to the pandemic — $2 million a month, compared with $1 million.

“My clients want everything to be extra special,” he said. “That could mean a suite instead of a junior suite or a helicopter tour. We have one client who wants a yacht on disposal during their stay in Santorini which costs $100,000 for the week.”

Another one of Karp’s clients recently left for a five-week $250,000 trip to Capri, Lake Como and St. Tropez.

An interior of a room at Amanzoe.
Before even spending $3,000 on a bed at Amanzoe, Sam took a $3,000 whirlybird over to the resort.

And then there’s Sam, 24, who wants to be identified only by his first name and works in finance. The Manhattan resident recently returned from a European jaunt to Italy and Greece that Karp planned.

The entire trip was upscale, but the more than $3,000 a night he spent on a stay at Amanzoe, an Aman resort on the Peloponnese, stands out as particularly extravagant. The room spanned more than 2,200 square feet and had a private pool.

Sam also dropped nearly $3,000 to reach the property by helicopter from Athens.

“I would probably have paid $1,000 max a night on a hotel before this trip,” said Sam.

Not being able to travel gave me a new perspective that it’s absolutely worth spending my discretionary money on.”