Food & Drink

Here’s a first look at Ritz-Carlton’s presidential suite and $78,000 drinks trolley

Getting tired of watching all that cash flash in “Crazy Rich Asians”? How about a little tour right here in Charlotte?

I stopped by the Ritz Carlton on Friday for a preview of the new, custom-built Asprey drinks trolley, currently making a stop on its national tour until Sept. 20.

Can we interest you in a drink from a very pricey drinks trolley? You can experience it on Tuesday evenings at the Ritz-Carlton until Sept. 20. Kathleen Purvis

The price is certainly eye-catching: Custom-built by Asprey, the London-based luxury goods firm, the cart itself cost $36,800, according to Ciara Hurley Stewart, Asprey’s head of retail marketing and partnerships. It takes four months to make in the company’s workshop, located on London’s tony New Bond Street.

Established in 1781, Asprey specializes in crafts like gold, silver and leather (they make crowns and other regal accoutrements for international royal families).

Some parts of the process: The round circle with the “A” was cut using water jets, then all the other pieces were made by hand. Everything is made with brass, topped with three layers of silver plate. It’s polished in a second process, she said: “Silver craftsmen cannot polish.” Not in London, anyway.

Ciara Hurley-Stewart of Asprey popped over from London to see the debut of the drinks trolley in Charlotte. Kathleen Purvis

The wheels are specially chosen to handle the weight, and the whole thing has a special finish to prevent it from tarnishing. No getting on your knees to shine it up.

Once the cart is finished, it’s outfitted with Asprey’s crystal glasses (hand-etched in the Octopus pattern), crystal ice bucket and a custom cocktail shaker (they specialize in whimsical shapes, like rockets, race cars and airplanes).

drinks asprey.jpg
Fully outfitted with Asprey decanters, shakers and hand-etched glassware, the drinks trolley is $78,840 “all-in.” Courtesy of Asprey

Fully outfitted: $78,840. There are three in the world right now: One is in Europe, one is making the rounds of U.S. locations of Ritz-Carlton, and one will debut in Tokyo in October.

Until Sept. 20, you can go to Hidden Wine at the Ritz from 4-8 p.m. Tuesdays for cocktail demonstrations and drink-and-food pairings with Ryan Nolen, the Ritz’ new creative director of beverage operations (yes, Bob Peters’ replacement behind the bar at the Punch Room).

If you want a private drink experience, you can get that in the Ritz’ newly refurbished Presidential Suite. Starting at $2,500 a night (although it can be $3,500 or more, depending on what you need), you can have the trolley rolled in for your own cocktail hour.

Jessica Swannie, communications manager of the Ritz, took me through for a look at the suite, which is just awaiting finishing touches, like a little more art and another flatscreen TV (I counted four there already, including one hidden in the mirror in the bathroom).

A few things to notice: Carpets designed by Alexander Julian, a living room and half-bath in the front, a separate dining room, a kitchen with a wine cooler and full-size refrigerator, your own fitness room, a second sitting room off the bedroom, a king-size bed (only one?), and a luxe master bath with soaking tub and two full vanities. (If you spend that much on a hotel room, you need a lot of vanity, apparently.)

Toiletries? Asprey. But of course.

Kathleen Purvis; 704--358-5236.