Remember those old vending machines in a motel in a dark hallway? Most hotels around the world usually have a vending machine in the hallway. 99% of those vending machines we’ve all seen, are filled with soft drinks and others with snacks in them. Not that special. At the Ritz-Carlton in Florida they think differently about that and they like to have a quality machine. The result: a vending machine filled with Moët & Chandon champagne.
The Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida, recently reopened after a two-year renovation following massive water damage from Hurricane Irma (2017). Now we know from the Ritz-Carlton that they are focused on maintaining every detail at a certain level, but this adjustment after the reopening was not for everyone to see. In the lobby, set amongst columns of hydrangea bouquets, is the holy grail of vending machines: a gold-rimmed 1,000-plus-pound Moët & Chandon dispenser filled with Imperial Brut and Imperial Rosé vintages in 200ml bottles (which measures out to just a little more than a single pour).
Two types of Moët & Chandon can be found in the machine: Imperial Brut and Imperial Rose. Both varieties are closely watched by a sommelier who makes sure the bottles maintain their ideal temperature, and a special mechanism inside ensures a soft landing for each bottle so you get that perfect ‘cork pop’ without spilling. Another cool touch: Guests must purchase special gold coins at the hotel reception for $25 each (ID required) to redeem at the vending machine.
It’s a welcome addition to the standard lobby experience, but with any luck it might also be a trend we’ll be seeing more of in hotels around the world. The legend of the modern bubbly dispenser began in 2013 at the Selfridges department store in London. Introduced by Moët & Chandon for the holiday season, it held 320 mini-bottles of Champagne. A few years later, it turned up at London’s All Bar One in Leicester Square; then, in 2016, the trend made its way Stateside to the Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, which added one of the machines to an unassuming corner of its own lobby (the hotel, which was known for all kinds of cool amenities, has since been reflagged as a Waldorf Astoria).