Updated: Jan 5
No, this post is not about central banks, although the high inflation and rising interest rates that have been in the news are certainly amongst the reasons the rates for our lodgings are sharply higher for 2023. Yes, everything, from power to poolside furniture is more expensive than it was 12 months ago, and the increases seem likely to persist. But there are other factors driving Poggiosole's new rates. For the benefit of guests that know us from past years and may be suffering from sticker shock, here are a couple:
Raising the bar: Since our "post-covid" renovation in early 2021, our standards of comfort, equipment, cleanliness and care for guests have moved up significantly. Beyond the numerous refinements listed on the website, this year we've added a new saltwater chlorinator, new poolside furniture and parasols, 15 exterior lighting fixtures, a property-wide nebulising system to beat back mosquitos, new all-electric gardening equipment, and, coming soon, a motorised front gate and security cameras. Our larger lodging Le Rose added a bathroom at the start of this year. Over 250 new plants and 3 new fruit trees plus a new liner, plumbing, LED lighting and skimmers for our swimming pool will be installed by the start of our 2023 season. Play structures for our youngest guests are planned for 2024. CAPEX on this scale is amortised over twenty years or more, but the impact on our rates is there.
Water scarcity: This summer, for the first time since 2003, we paid for multiple water deliveries to our underground cisterns. The water in our cisterns is normally sourced from one of two wells, and used nightly to irrigate and fortnightly to top up our pool, which, in warmer months, evaporates around 150 liters a day into the air. The hotter and dryer the summer, the less water our wells provide and the more we need to irrigate and top up the pool. Heading into 2022 we hadn't budgeted for the cost of water deliveries, and it isn't clear to what degree we'll need to hire water trucks in 2023 and beyond. But with extreme weather becoming more common, and regulations forbidding the use of municipal water to irrigate and fill pools in the dry season, we can't assume that a summer of water trucks will be a 20-year event going forward.
Bottom line, Poggiosole has gotten (about 25%) pricier, and consequently more exclusive. I have mixed feelings about this. There's the concern that legacy clients, whose visits we especially look forward to, will stop coming. There's the prospect of becoming a "luxury resort" (our listing on Plum Guide went live in late 2022) and the perfectionism that brings. There's the possibility that young families, in particular, will look elsewhere, leaving only DINKs and the comfortably retired. Historically, other than our particular appeal to German, Dutch, and Belgian guests, we've gotten a pretty broad cross-section of folks, and have liked it that way. But, if quality is to remain our priority and inflation is what it is, we have little choice but to keep calm and see how it all plays out in 2023.
Postscript, December 29: We've just learned of a proposal to raise the annual revenue threshold for applying VAT. There's thereby a high likelihood we won't have to start charging 10% VAT until 2024. In response we've adjusted our 2023 rates downwards about 10% (and edited the above text, removing "taxes" from the list of factors driving our price hike). Some good news to bring in the new year 🥳