What could be nicer than watching poor, rich people backstab, plot and get ripped off? Watch rich and miserable people stab in the back, plot and get ripped off in a beautiful resort that you could never otherwise afford to see, of course.
Season two of Mike White’s auteur anthology White Lotus ended on Monday, and like a 1%er who can never be happy no matter how much I take and consume, I’m already ready for season three. . In the spirit of competing to host the White Lotus, like it was the olympics, I would humbly suggest an Australian destination. So I rated five possible candidates based on whether a suitably six-star set existed (sorry Qualia, you were banned from the competition after Ticket to Paradise); narrative and thematic potential; and which characters would work best in the setting.
You’re welcome, Mike White, call me anytime. Please. Call me.
The great coral barrier
The premise: Touted as barefoot luxury and a chance to reconnect with nature (in one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, no less); The islands of the Great Barrier Reef attract flops and droppers, as well as water sports enthusiasts.
The station : While you can find four-figure accommodation per night dotted along the length of the Great Barrier Reef, only the island of Orpheus has built-in allusions to mermaids, death by snakebite and a trip to the hells. The undisputed winner of the White Lotus.
What could go wrong? To begin with, it is the country of the crocodile. Then there are deadly jellyfish, dangerous rips and the ever-present risk of dive sabotage.
Cinematic reminder: The age of legal maturity
Recurring characters: Arguably Season 2’s MVP, the luminous Daphne (Meghann Fahy) could still move this diving trip to the Maldives (ideally with a bunch of backstabbing sorority sisters); but I would love to see Murray Bartlett return to his native soil as Armand’s identical twin brother.
Relevance: At first glance, this might be the most obvious choice for an Australian White Lotus, but ultimately it would be too visually and thematically similar to the season’s island paradise. 4/10
The premise: Fabulous products, a moody yet beautiful natural environment, and the ability to get cozy in your freestanding tub by a roaring fireplace; it’s a holiday for middle-aged brides and intellectual types.
The station : Saffire Freycinet, with a possible off-site visit to Mona, just to feast.
Recurring characters: I can see Sydney Sweeney’s wildly bitchy Olivia pulling off all those season one book cues and checking in for a long stint to write her first novel.
mood: It’s Tasmania. It’s dark, it’s cruel, its story is haunting – it’s obviously gothic horror, with Sweeney as our last scared girl.
Relevance: A cold, somber destination isn’t what an international audience would expect from an Australian vacation, which could be a very white Lotus exercise in thwarted expectations. There is also good erotic potential in couples who feed on oysters straight from the sea. 7/10
The premise: Rugged and stunning, Australia’s far northwest is as remote as it gets. It’s your chance to prove yourself against a wild and unforgiving landscape, with five-course meals every night and a private pool, of course.
The station : Baz Luhrmann’s most famous filming location in Australia, El Questro Homestead is the only game in town. And at over $3,000 per person, per night, that’s right in that White Lotus sweet spot.
Recurring characters: What better place for the Bernie Madoff firm of Cameron (Theo James), the Dark Triad Sharks, to hold their annual retreat? Maybe there’s even a big fish mining tycoon who happens to be staying at the same time.
Key themes: extractive capitalism; petro-masculinity.
Cinematic reminder: A visit to the nearest pub thousands of miles away has great Wake in Fright energy.
Relevance: It would be a stark departure from the first two seasons, offering plenty of opportunities for jaw-dropping cinematography and a backcountry Western vibe, as well as the sheer, agoraphobic terror of true isolation. In other words, a tantalizing change of tone: 8/10.
The premise: Australia’s wellness capital has already made a name for itself globally for being too Instagrammable a magnet for celebrities.
The station : Hotels that cost over a thousand dollars a night are surprisingly rare in the rivers north, but luckily Gaia Retreat (co-founded by the late Olivia Newton-John) is here to save the day.
Recurring characters: Byron Bay is the perfect destination to harvest the seeds that Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya has sown. Here we see Belinda (Natasha Rothwell) in full flight, leading the retirement she’s always dreamed of. When new Greg (Jon Gries) shows up to deal with a pesky cancer recurrence, is there any chance she’ll uncover the dark secret behind his fortune? Chris Hemsworth stars as himself.
mood: The Nine Perfect Strangers we wanted but didn’t get, with an Agatha Christie twist.
Major themes: Mortality and the limits of morality
Relevance: Viewers of Mike White’s criminally underrated Enlightened will already be aware of what this man can do with a destination like Byron Bay. Add to that the very real economic issues facing the area and you have a perfect situation from top to bottom, but the mansion is a yoga shambala. 10/10.
The premise: White Lotus has never been filmed in a city before. Could Australia’s Capital of Culture be the first?
The station : Melbourne has had a few grand luxury hotel openings of late and although the closest you can get to White Lotus prices is a winery stay out of town at the very trendy Jackalope on the Mornington Peninsula , but their focus on art and wine seems a little too niche for the world that White Lotus has built. Instead, the “premium” “resort-style” setting we’ve come to expect could be found at the brand new Marriott, where the infinity pool lined with white loungers offers views of… Melbourne’s stunning Docklands.
Moment of outrage: If you thought season two’s character dining choices were infuriating…
…wait to see season three guests sipping cups of American-style drip coffee for breakfast at the hotel buffet every morning.
Recurring characters: Albi is still reconnecting with its Italian roots at Carlton, while Portia stalks the graffiti-lined alleyways in her attempts to make it a personal-style TikToker, on the world’s most unromantic honeymoon.