Like with Oncidium 'Sharry Baby,' Aechmea 'Del Mar' is one of those plants I've heard about but not actually been able to view in person until very recently. I bought one (we only had three to begin with, and I know already that the price isn't going to go down any), so now I get to find out what it's like to live with.
The draw is of course the flower.
There aren't a lot of tropical plants suitable for growing indoors that have flowers anything like this. Plus, it's actually a lot cooler in person: the dark cobalt blue and bright white are pretty striking.
On the other hand, the foliage is disappointingly plain, as bromeliads go:
And then there are the spines. I was not warned about the spines. I'm accustomed to bromeliads occasionally being a little prickly, but this is actually pretty aggressively unpleasant. Had I known, would I have bought the plant anyway? Oh hell yeah. But I might have, you know, hesitated a little bit first, or something.
Still, if it's as easy to grow as the other bromeliads I've got (and we seem to be accumulating them in a big hurry: the spreadsheet tells me I've got 32 now: 5 Aechmea, 1 Alcantarea, 3 Cryptanthus, 9 Guzmania, 5 Neoregelia, 1 Tillandsia, 8 Vriesea), and if it offsets as easily as the others, then I suppose it'll be worth it. We'll find out. Even if it's not easy and doesn't offset, it's surely worth some money to have something like this hanging around the apartment for a few months. I've spent more money for less benefit before.