How much is enough?

Posted: June 26, 2009 in Uncategorized

I went to lunch at the Saxon a couple of weeks ago. It’s a little boutique hotel inbetween Hyde Park and Sandton and certainly creates the impression of refined excellence as you walk through the magnificently crafted entrance. The staff are professional and attentive, ready to go the extra mile ( I had my car valet parked for me) and everything is set out to make you feel as though you are experiencing something special. At rates of up to R25,000 per night, I guess it should be.


Thing is, I struggled to immerse myself in the moment. For some reason all I could think of was that R25,000 and the fact that it used to be the price of an RDP house not too many years ago. One night for one person, a lifetime’s accommodation for another man’s family. It’s not the hotel that made me question it all (it exists only because of our demand), it’s us and the issue of what we are willing to spend on ourselves to enjoy that comfort – nay, luxury. Where does one draw the line?

I’m lost even as I write this, because I can’t find any absolute reference point. If I berate someone for spending so much or even more on accommodation, how can I avoid asking hard questions of myself as I type this on an entertainment device that could feed a World Vision child for almost three years? Where do we draw the line at what we spend our money on?

You could argue, I suppose, that the rich can spend the money on themselves if they’re giving generously at the same time. But then all I can think of is the story of the widow giving her two coins, all she had, as opposed to the rich man who gave much, but out of his plenty. She was the one He praised, not the rich man. Is it about proportionate giving, or giving everything regardless? I know Christ set the bar higher than that which we could achieve on our own, but it’s obviously something one should aspire to.

I suppose at the end of the day it’s impossible to set a line in the sand, less because there isn’t one and more because people need to understand why it’s there first. It just struck me as I walked into that fine establishment how often I see it as something to aspire to rather than something to inspire questions. As always, asking them honestly is the first step. Perhaps my first step is to walk away from the R8,000 to R25,000 per night. What do you think yours is?

  1. Grant says:

    This raises very good questions. And living in the Middle East – where lavish extravagance is the norm more than the exception – and non-logical decisions are often made on money or fashion. a casein point – I have seen a number of Porsche Cayenne SUV’s on the roads – many more than I can even think of counting. They are commonplace. No major beef with that in an affluent region of the world. BUT…. many of them have low profile tyres and mags thereby negating them from ever going off road?????!!!!

    And there are rafts of luxury hotels that would make the Saxon pale. The emirates Palace, Burj Al Arab; Shangri La; Atlantis – and the list continues. where R25000 will buy you a decent meal – not even a fancy room.

    And this pure excess does not lead to any conciense – but in my opinion – a mere craving and feeding frenzy for MORE. Humans are never satisfied and in many ways it is just another vice and a slippery slope down (or up as it may be) to an unsustaibale and wasteful extreme to please some hedonitic or self gratifying ego.

  2. veethree says:

    Thanks – very interesting information. I have often wondered what it’s like over there so it’s good to hear it from the horses’ mouth.

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