Well, this TreeHugger has knocked Claridges off the list of hotels in London where we will stay. And not because rooms start at a thousand bucks a night; it's the water. In an era when everyone should be concerned about their carbon footprint, Claridges has unveiled a "water list" with thirty brands, the most expensive being "420 Volcanic", shipped from New Zealand and selling for £50 a litre, or as Andrew Gilligan of the Evening Standard notes, "a mere five million per cent markup over Chateau Thames Tap."
Claridges' Renaud Gregoire tells the Evening Standard that "water is becoming like wine. Every guest has an opinion, and asks for a particular brand."
Gilligan calls this a "High watermark of decadence" and notes "In blind tests carried out by a newspaper, one supposed expert described his glass of water as having a "fresh, sweet, lemony aroma." It was, in fact, tap water from a Birmingham public toilet. If you put a bottle of tap in the fridge for 24 hours, you, too, can savour the taste of Badoit."
Thirty years ago, it was unheard of to buy water in a British supermarket, and almost unheard of in a restaurant. Now it's an incredibly damaging, two-billion-litre a year industry consuming untold quantities of plastic, packaging, and fuel for the lorries which truck it to the supermarkets.
It's the ultimate example of unnecessary consumption, something we didn't even know we wanted until the marketing men sold it to us. It's a sign of decline in our public realm: the £1.20 bottles of Evian where there used to be drinking fountains.
The opinion of this "guest" is that anyone who orders bottled water shows themselves to be a very particular brand of idiot." ::Evening Standard