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FEBRUARY 2019 - Digital



E x p e r i e n c e T h e Di f f e r e n c e w w w. u p s c a l e l i v i n g m a g . c o m


Evan Antin, Doctor Do-A Lot A practicing veterinarian at Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital near Los Angeles who is passionate for all small and exotic endangered species around the world


Celebrity & Artist Peter Andre 25 Years in Showbiz - It’s “Insania”


Awaka Cierra An exceptional Beauty & Celebrity Make-up Artist


Maison Corthay Bespoke Men Shoes Handmade Parisian Craftsmanship


Vegan Fashion Fashion Meets Activism in Four-Day Experimental Tribute to Animals


Jacquet Dorz’s watch Newest Butterfly Automation Collection

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Catriona Gray Miss Universe Catriona Gray taking things one small step at a time


Staffan & Monique Tollgard The Language of Design

ART 27

Top Auction Houses Current Auctions at Bonhams, Aspire Auctions, Christie’s online and Supreme Auctions.


Chelsea Nassib Corners the Digital Art Market with Tappan


Adler Spa Wellness Under The Tuscan Sun

TRAVEL 50 The Lodge at Feline Fields Northwest Kalahari, Africa 55 Romantic Island Destinations Bawah Reserve, Indonesia Casa Angelina, Amalfi Coast, Italy Azura Quilalea, Mozambique Goldeneye, Oracabessa Bay, Jamaica Grand Resort Lagonissi, Greece LUX* Le Morne, Mauritius MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa, Seychelles Milaidhoo Island, Maldives Soneva Kiri, Thailand Song SAA, Cambodia Tagomago, Spain The Brando, French Polynesia Time + Tide, Madagascar VOMO Island, Fiji

RESTAURANT 85 A Fancy Fork in the Road Porrón & Piña Restaurant Artisan Wests Hartford Restaurant 90 Momo Restaurant An Asian-fusion restaurant

WINES + SPIRITS 92 Top Luxury Spirits

Photos by Diana Ragland. Groomer: Lindsey Bergfalk

64 Le Meridien Thimpu A Unique Destination 68 Grootbos Private Nature Reserve Gansbaai, South Africa 74 What’s New! - Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa, California - Hotel Principe Di Savoia, Milan, Italy - The Jackal & Hide Khwai Private Reserve, Botswana

cover Q+A with Evan Antin, take a look inside this gorgeous veterinarian every-day life.

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Alina Cabral


Natalie King


Karen Comin Lisa Marie Valentino


Suzanne Luccie


Heléne Ramackers



Daniella Ichi Deve Sanford Anthony Demarco

Rich Murowski 630-980-6570 | 630-202-1912



Crystal Noyes, Diane Cassidy, Louisa Coy, Sophia Z. Lewin Heléne Ramackers, Jarone Ashkenazi, Dellvin Roshon, Lizette Mendez, Angela Sara West, Yvonne York, Jyoti Balani, Karen Holly Berliner, Raj Gill


Michelle Tarkalson


Michael Vincent, Shane Tarkalson


Sébastien Moisan


Louisa Anderson


Julianne Altmore


Anthony Leyva Jacklyn Dana

SALES & ADVERTISING RICH MUROWSKI (Chicago Office) 630-9806570 office, 630-202-1912 mobile CRYSTAL NOYES (New York Office) 661-441-5221 mobile

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Evan with Mopane, the rescue baby elephant at Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre in South Africa.

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EVAN ANTIN Doctor Do-A Lot By Heléne Ramackers Photographs courtesy of Evan Antin

When he’s not flitting the globe doing his bit for animal conservation, Dr Evan Antin is a practicing veterinarian at Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital near Los Angeles. With a large social media following, he keeps fans abreast of his humane work whilst raising awareness for endangered species around the world. EVAN, TELL US ABOUT YOUR FORMATIVE YEARS. I grew up in Overland Park, Kansas and had a creek in my backyard as a young boy. Every day, weather permitting, I would go flip rocks looking for snakes, frogs or cool insects. I have been passionate about wildlife and working with animals for as long as I can remember and now I do pretty much the same thing, but in exotic corners of the world instead of my backyard. That being said, any time I go visit friends and family in Kansas, I always make time to stroll my favorite creeks to find snapping turtles and snakes. WHEN DID YOU FORAY INTO THE WORLD OF BECOMING A WILDLIFE VETERINARIAN FOR SMALL AND EXOTIC CREATURES? I always knew animals would be a big part of my life, but it wasn’t until college that I realized the veterinary profession was the one for me. I was taking science courses, realizing how much I actually loved to learn, and always had an appreciation for medicine and everything clicked pretty quickly that this 11 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019


was where I belong. Once the decision was made, I never looked back and given that I love working with exotics and wildlife, I made sure to get as much hands-on experience with them and take every elective I could with them during vet school. YOU CAME TO TANZANIA IN 2007 TO STUDY WILDLIFE CONSERVATION AND ECOLOGY. WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE FOR YOU? Eye opening. The people and the culture gave me every bit as much and more than the animals regarding new perspectives in my life. I was 22 at the time and had never been to a developing country. No joke, I still appreciate the fact that I have safe drinking water and warm water in my home every single day. Sounds silly because most Americans have that but trust me, it’s not something to take for granted. That’s just the start of it too.  And seeing some of our planets’ most iconic wildlife was everything to me. Coming face to face with hippos, elephants, crocodiles and some of my favorite animals was my underlying motivation for going.  NCARSIS, THE ELEPHANT FROM TANZANIA, HAD A PROFOUND EFFECT ON YOUR LIFE. She sure did. Spending time with a wild animal (technically wild, although she was a bit habituated to being around people) was crazy and magical. I wasn’t feeding her or giving her any other motivation to spend time with me every day that I stayed in the Ndarakwe Reserve where she lived. She was curious about me and enjoyed my company. She is probably not aware that I enjoyed hers much, much more. Making a connection with a sub-adult member of the largest land animal was indescribable. Elephants can be extremely dangerous, but I can tell you from personal experience they can also be incredibly gentle and sweet. They are remarkably emotional creatures and seeing this first hand was very influential for a young vet-to-be.  LET’S RUN THROUGH YOUR BUCKET LIST EXPERIENCES AND START WITH TREKKING WITH GORILLAS IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK IN RWANDA. Hiking with Gorillas in Rwanda was epic to say the least. A silverback literally walked right up to me and laid down belly-up (a real sign of total comfort), an arm’s length away from me! He and his little gorilla family were so anthropomorphic it’s not even funny. If you don’t see how humans are related to apes after an experience like that then I don’t know what to tell you lol.  12 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019

WHAT OTHER INCREDIBLE WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS HAVE YOU HAD THAT HAVE BEEN UNFORGETTABLE? I’ve got quite the list, so I’ll try to keep it short. I’m extremely blessed with the opportunities that I’ve had over the years and always tried to make the most of them when I had just enough time and money to do so. I have been to seven continents and visited over 40 countries now, seeking out and working with wildlife. My favorites are: - Swimming and scuba diving with tiger sharks at Tiger beach, Bahamas last Fall. I’ve always loved sharks, so getting to dive with and even touch these massive, misunderstood predatory fish was everything. They actually don’t view people as food and once you’re submerged, it’s obvious that you’re not a desirable meal. However, they are very curious and swim right up to you. Literally, I was gently pushing Tiger Shark noses away from my head and it was the best thing EVER! - Working with the rhino in South Africa in 2017 and 2018. This iconic species is disappearing and getting to help them was extremely rewarding as a vet. - Seeing wild orangutans in Borneo - another disappearing species. They’re remarkably anthropomorphic, making them so relatable to us. - Taking a road trip in Western Australia for three weeks. I was 21 and literally lived in my rental car, ate canned food every day, and explored the outback. This was the first time I had ever travelled alone, and it was seriously epic. I learned a lot about myself too and that I could in fact travel solo and be quite content with it as well. -Catching my first cobra on Komodo Island, Indonesia in 2013. These were spitting cobras too which made it a little more exciting. Cobras have been one of my favorite animals since I knew what animals were. My goal is to see a king cobra in the wild one day ... - Working with crocodilians (crocodiles, alligators, caimans, gharials, etc). My other favorite group of animals and I’ve been lucky to work with them all over the world. I actually just saw my first wild Gharial in Nepal last month! - Visiting the Pantanal, Brazil in 2011 - tons of wildlife, the Pantanal is a massive wetland in the middle of Brazil. - Seeing loads of amazing sub Saharan African wildlife while visiting the Okavango Delta in 2007.

YOU HAVE BEEN TO SOUTH AFRICA A NUMBER OF TIMES. DURING YOUR LAST VISIT, YOU PARTOOK IN A C.S.I. OPERATION IN KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, ASSISTING WITH COMBATING ILLEGAL RHINO POACHING. YOU ARE PASSIONATE AND VOCAL ABOUT PUTTING A STOP TO THE ILLEGAL TRADE IN RHINO HORN. The rhino is such an iconic African wildlife representative. We’re losing five to eight rhino a day in Africa and 80% of Africa’s rhino are in South Africa. Many people don’t realize the poaching crisis that goes on every day. It is a legitimate war. Several thousand anti-poaching rangers have lost their lives in firefights with poachers. And the first step to making a change is bringing awareness. I’m fortunate to have a decent following on social media and that affords me to reach out to the public. If people don’t know there’s a problem to begin with then how can they help?




Top Left: Evan with the Gorillas in Rwanda. Bottom Left: In Cรณrdoba. Top Right: Posing with a Cheetah. Bottom Right: Evan working out

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WHY SHOULD ONE NOT FEED WILDLIFE? We don’t want wild animals being dependent on people for food or even associating people with food. That makes wild animals more bold and this can be extremely dangerous for people. We also don’t want them to become dependent on us when they should be finding their food in the wild. They are a part of the ecosystem and food chain where they’re native and we don’t want to disrupt that. And certain foods may not be safe for wildlife as well. THAT SLENDER LORIS IN SRI LANKA THOUGH, WHAT A CUTIE! Indeed! Sad to see them in the illegal pet trade so often but you can see why. They’re painfully adorable. But trust me, they are not good pets and should not be kept in most captive situations. 

Evan Antin with a white rhino calf

ELEPHANTS SEEM TO BE A FAVORITE – YOU HAVE MET SOME SPECIAL ONES IN VARIOUS CORNERS OF THE WORLD – NAMAL IN SRI LANKA, BUPA IN KENYA, LUNDI OF THE CAMP JABULANI HERD IN SOUTH AFRICA AND MOPANE AT HOEDSPRUIT ENDANGERED SPECIES CENTRE IN SOUTH AFRICA. Yes! I love working with elies! They have big bodies and even bigger personalities. They’re one of those species you have to be extra respectful with because they are wild animals. A very subtle movement from a 10,000 lb animal can easily be the end of me. I don’t want to jinx myself, but overall I’ve gotten along quite well with elephants and they generally seem to like me. And oh my goodness, little Mopane with his big tough-guy act, he’s the cutest darn thing. He loves to bully me and push me around. He would never admit it, but I know he likes being my buddy. I could quite literally spend all day everyday just playing, getting bullied and pushed around by that 1 year old, 500 lb elie baby. And that little trunk of his! WHAT IT IS LIKE TO TRIM AN ELEPHANT’S TOENAILS? In many ways the most challenging nail trim I have ever done. Just a slight flick of their wrist sends me flying so my proprioception is on high alert. Every second I’m working and trimming I’m thinking about where my body is, where my feet are, where I can move to get out of the way of a swinging foot/leg. You have to be a ninja to trim elephant nails! YOU HAVE HAD YOUR FAIR SHARE OF RHINO INTERACTIONS – BEING ROLLED OVER BY MICKEY THE ORPHANED BLACK RHINO AND 14 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019

AT THE RHINO PRIDE FOUNDATION IN SOUTH AFRICA. IT MUST BE AN INTENSE EXPERIENCE TO SPEND TIME AMONGST SUCH CRITICALLY ENDANGERED SPECIES. I don’t know what it is about African megafauna wanting to bully me, haha. Mickey stole my heart. That little munchkin was so playful, vocal and perfect. He is a southern black rhino and there are so few of them left in the wild, maybe a couple thousand. The interactions I had with him were unforgettable and extremely special. Getting to play with a baby version of such a critically endangered animal tugs at your heart strings even more, too. That was certainly a special experience and I’m so thankful for it. YOU HAVE ASSISTED IN HORN TRIMMING A RHINO. Yes, always a thrill too, especially if it’s wild rhino. Better protecting them from poachers is extremely rewarding and watching them wake up from the sedation after the trim and knowing they’re less likely to get poached feeds my soul. There’s been some new advancements with protecting the rhino and we may actually be able to inject the horn with toxins. It hasn’t worked in the past, but some conservationists are starting to have luck with it! WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE LIKE IN THE PHILIPPINES WORKING WITH WILD ANIMALS? Some of my favorites! The Philippine crocodile is THE most endangered croc in the world, with less than 200 left in the wild. As youknow, crocs are my favorite and getting to help these guys medically and participate in their conservation research was a dream come true!

I CAN’T FOR THAT MOUNTAIN LION CUB! MISSES ROBINSON! Such a trouble maker! If she was much bigger when I met her, she would’ve ripped me to shreds, lol. I DON’T THINK ANYONE UNDERSTANDS YOUR FASCINATION WITH SNAKES, LET ALONE THE VENOMOUS ONES! To be honest, I can’t say I fully understand it either. From a practical standpoint, why would one be so interested in something so deadly!? But I find them absolutely stunning - vipers, cobras, all of them. The venom, nature’s deadly toxins, is also fascinating to me. Evolution has fine-tuned these specialized adaptations and created something so gnarly, I think it’s so cool. And I also think part of my love for snakes comes from sympathy for them. They’re highly misunderstood around the world and in my experience, most cultures fear snakes, don’t like them, and kill them indiscriminately. It breaks my heart because they’re special animals too and also play a valuable role in the ecosystem they’re native to. It’s interesting to note that snakes are more afraid of us than we are them. They want to avoid interactions with us every bit as most people do them. This goes for most wildlife but something I want to make clear about snakes.  ARE THERE ANY ANIMALS THAT SCARE YOU? I would say no. But, I have the healthiest respect for primates especially. They can be quite unpredictable, and I’ve heard the gnarliest horror stories from vets and caretakers getting injured by primates, especially greater apes. Like the kind of stuff that would give people nightmares; arms getting ripped off clean, face


getting eaten, genitals ripped off, bones broken, nasty stuff. I would say chimps specifically are the scariest.

from a breeder or pet shop. There are tons of great reptiles, guinea pigs, bunnies, etc. that need homes too.



Well maybe for some people, but I was heavily involved in the ingredients and formulas for the products. I’m very selective with any brand I work with and even more so with my personal product line.  Each product has features that make it unique and beneficial for your pet dogs from the veterinary perspective too. And I’m proud to say almost all the ingredients are natural, produced at solar powered facilities and 100% cruelty free.  YOU HAVE SOME ADORABLE RESCUE PETS AT HOME. YOU FIRST GOT WILLY, THEN HENRY AND LASTLY BLUE. I love my special little gentlemen to bits! I rescued Henry and Willy at the Boulder Humane Society when I was living there, and Blue was found in the attic of my fiancé’s mom’s house! Nathalie found him, and it was love at first sight for her. He was a singleton from a street cat in the neighborhood and fortunately she was spayed shortly after we found little Blue.  Everyone gets along great and Willy has been the best influence for young Blue. Blue had no social skills since he didn’t have littermates and that’s really not ideal, because the first 6 weeks is a critical period for those interactions with siblings and has a massive influence on a cat’s social interactions. The same goes for dogs and most mammals.  DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE ‘ADOPT DON’T SHOP’ PHILOSOPHY? There are so many amazing adoptable pets out there that need homes and sadly so many sweet souls are euthanized simply because they haven’t been adopted. I don’t see how you couldn’t have an adopt-don’t-shop mentality. Many of my patients are pure breeds from breeders and I love working with those kiddos too. And I don’t look down on the breeders or those pet owners, but I personally will never acquire a pet in that fashion. The same goes for many exotics! For anyone interested in finding an exotic pet, definitely look into your local exotic pet rescue if there is one before buying

Lol, yes. I’ve been passionate about weight lifting and fitness since I was 13 years old and I’ve been training on/off since then. Other than animals, it’s my longest lived hobby! I grew up idolizing Arnold Schwarzenegger, not just because of his physique but because this guy would set a goal and do everything in his power to attain it. I thought that was so cool and realized there’s no reason I can’t do the same. I use the same mindset to get where I am today. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a lot of good fortune and I’m very thankful for my blessings and opportunities, but it’s not all luck. It took a lot of hard work, dedication and sacrifices to get where I am today.

working on wildlife around the world, and promoting my Happy Pet brand!  Instagram:

YOU TRAVELED TO GRANADA, SPAIN LAST YEAR AND SEEMED TO REALLY ENJOY THE ARCHITECTURE. WHICH OTHER LEISURE DESTINATIONS HAVE BEEN A FAVORITE AND WHY? Southern Spain, aka Andalusia, was gorgeous, and we visited Seville and Córdoba too. My other favorite destination in recent years was Turkey. The historical structures there were mind-blowing, like carved out cave dwellings that dated 2,000-5,000 B.C. I love middle eastern and Mediterranean food too. If you go to Turkey, you must definitely visit Capadocchia, trust me. YOU’VE JUST BEEN TO PERU SHOOTING ANOTHER INSERT FOR ANIMAL PLANET. Yes! My first time in Peru but my fourth time in the Amazon rainforest. The jungle there is epic and full of super neat wildlife. We also visited the South to see Machu Picchu and work with llamas, bears and condors.  EXCITING PROJECTS ON THE HORIZON? This is by far the most exciting news I can share – I’ve been dreaming and seriously working towards having a TV show on a network like Animal Planet where I can share wildlife conservation and veterinary medicine around the world ever since I was 21 years old. ‘Evan Goes Wild’ premieres on Animal Planet on Sunday 24 February at 9pm ET/PT. You’ll see me in four different continents working with my favorite animals in this first season and hopefully many more to come!

Top: Evan Antin assisting with horn trimming a Southern white rhino in South Africa. Middle: Trimming an Asiatic elephant hoof in Nepal. Bottom: With a Philippine crocodile.

I also thoroughly enjoy being a practicing vet at Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital near LA,

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An Exceptional Beauty & Celebrity Make-Up Artist



ake up artist, Awaka Ciera, has captured the attention of publications around the world including Glamour Mexico, Vogue Italy and GQ Mexico amongst others. Ms. Ciera's tireless work ethic assisting other lead artists on major productions including Coca Cola and Pink by Victoria's Secret to Tommy Hilfiger, and Victoria Beckham has paid off, affording her the opportunity to land her own clients including Pantene and Olay. In addition, Ciera's work has appeared in the shots of legendary award winning photographers Marc Baptiste and Mike Ruiz.

“Visualize your highest self, then start showing up as her” Based in both New York and Miami, Ciera's specialities lie in her attention to detail, including flawless skin care, face-sculpturing eyebrows and natural looks that pair perfectly with all skin tones, complexions and facial structures. Awaka plans to continue to establishing grace and confidence in her 18 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019

clients, create memorable beauty and make her mark in the beauty industry worldwide. Awaka has put together a list of five easy ways to look your very best using makeup and skincare: 1. If you are looking to have that glow, a glow that shines effortlessly, than use Drunk Elephant’s “Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil” as a base moisturizer. 2. Cats eyes are sensual, sexy and favorable to most eye shapes, if not all. To achieve the best cat eye look, you will first put shadow on the lid-use a nude color closet to your skin tone or slightly lighter (this spotlight is all about the cat eye, so we don’t want to focus on colored eyeshadow). Applying the shadow will also work as a primer base for the liner giving it a smooth surface to hold on to. STILA’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is a favorite because the pen is easy to use, the color is rich, it dries fast and is long wearing. 3. Falsies! False eye lashes are stunning! The major part in completing this Valentine’s look is to accentuate the entire eye area. False lashes

will give prominence to any eye shape making every blink charming and flirtatious. My favorite voluminous natural go-to lashes are Ardell Wispies. 4. Red lips! Like the cat eye, red lips too are sensual and sexy. The woman behind the red lips is fearless, upbeat and flirtatious. My favorite red lips to wear to fee confident and gorgeous is Giorgio Armani’s Ecstasy Lacquer in color 402 red-to-go, Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick in Color 01 Always Red, and Stila Stay All Day liquid lipstick in Color Beso. 5. The finishing touch to this look, you should use the Drunk Elephant Virgin Murula Luxury Facial Oil. Add 2/3 drops of oil on your fingertips and dab on your cheeck bones for a natural face blow.  (NOTE THAT THIS LOOK TAKES INTO ACCOUNT THAT BOTH YOUR FOUNDATION AND EYEBROWS HAVE BEEN APPLIED)


Moisturizer: Embryolisse Lait-creme concentre 24 hour miracle cream. Foundation: FACE Atelier ultra foundation PRO. Lips and Cheeks: Smashbox L.A. blendable Lip and Cheek color. Brows: Charlotte Tilbury legendary brows eyebrow yet. Mascara: YSL Mascara vinyl couture. | Photo courtesy of Awaka Ciera

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Moisturizer: Embryolisse Lait-creme concentre 24 hour miracle cream. Foundation: Graftobian Warm HD Glamour Creme Foundation. Lips: MAC Lipstick. Eyes: Stay all day waterproof liquid eyeliner, YSL Mascara vinyl couture. Blush:

Chanel Joues contraste. Contour/Bronzer:Nars bronzing powder. Eyebrows: Anastasia Beverly Hills | Photo courtesy of

Awaka Ciera


Moisturizer: Embryolisse Lait-creme concentre 24 hour miracle cream. Foundation: Marc Jacobs beauty genius gel. Brows: Charlotte Tilbury legendary brows eyebrow gel. Mascara: YSL Mascara vinyl couture. Eyeshadow: Charlotte Tilbury stars in your eyes palette. Blush: Chanel Joues contraste. Lip: STILA beso | Photo courtesy of Awaka Ciera

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In the early 1730s in France, Pierre Jaquet-Droz studied under the tutelage of older relatives from the Brandt-dit-Grieurin, Sandoz and Robert families, which unbeknownst to him would be the start of a luxury watch empire. Although he started as a clockmaker, his precise engineering and sophisticated craftsmanship led him create three distinct automata including The Writer (made of 6000 pieces), The Musician (2500 pieces), and  The Draughtsman  (2000 pieces). Widely considered to be some of the finest examples of human mechanical problem solving, this passion led him to fall in love with and further enhance his passion of watchmaking movements.

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or nearly three centuries, Jaquet Droz watches have mastered excellence and constantly renewed creativity making use of their craftsmen’s mastery of painting, enameling, sculpted and engraved ornamentation and use of minerals. Made for those who demand an intricate automation showcasing old-world aesthetics with modern functionality, these luxury watches come in eight collections. They recently revealed a new tropical bird automata minute-repeater wristwatch, and a one-of-a-kind minute-repeater pocket watch, along with unveiling two new versions (only eight pieces each) of its Charming Bird automata timepieces. The Loving Butterfly combines beautiful watch with intricate windup toy made of 18-karat gold and precious materials. Through the press of a button at the top of the crown, the watch comes to life and shows off Jaquet Droz master mechanical wizardry and artwork. The beat of the butterfly’s wings, which is located in the center of the watch just under the dial, leads to the chariot which

is behind it to start ‘turning’ with the illusion created by the combination of fixed and mobile spokes. During this 90-second time-frame, the butterfly flutters its wings a remarkable 300 times and provides a one-of-a-kind backdrop. Comprised of forty hand-engraved parts in white or red gold to the trees, only 0.2 millimeters thick, bring the watchmaking expertise to innovative art-form. These fine gold lines contrast with the dial in onyx or Polynesian black mother-of-pearl, making for a striking scene every time. The watch itself is 43 mm in diameter and features a rolled-edge hand-made alligator leather strap and with 1.80 carats of invisibly set, baguette-cut diamonds. As a limited edition, each version only has 28 pieces ever produced, it is accompanied with a certificate of authenticity signed by the craftsmen of Jaquet Droz. 



Chelsea Nassib’s digital art gallery Tappan is to real estate and digital art what digital art is to form and medium: an explosion of collaborative creativity that makes the world of art accessible while not sacrificing entrepreneurship’s bottom line. Having the distinction of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 2018 feather in her cap, Nassib’s Tappan has wide resonance.


he vision for this bespoke men’s shoe brand began in 1979 when Pierre Corthay began his apprenticeship with the Compagnon du Devoir, a medieval guild of craftsmen who only accept the most talented apprentices around France to learn their trade. In 1990 at the young age of 27, Pierre opened his own atelier – opening the Maison

Corthay Bespoke Workshop, Rue Volney in Paris – Booming business and accolades soon to follow marking Pierre as one of (or potentially the) best bootmaker in the world. In 2003, he was awarded the distinction Talents du Luxe et de l’élégance and then in 2009 praised with the distinction Maitre d’Art from the French Ministre de la Culture. This distinction

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granted by the French Culture Ministry only for the best of French craftsmen, becoming the only men’s boot-maker to have received this award. From the bespoke atelier at No. 1 Rue Volney, Paris, Maison Corthay ventured on a new development thanks to CEO Xavier de Royere in 2010 and a few years later expanded their international presence to London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing. Playing with materials, techniques, colors and shapes, these shoes mold around the foot, by adjusting to the various pressure points and the muscular density of each individual client. Each Bespoke shoe is 100% handmade in Paris, Place Vendôme fand takes 200 steps which are inclusive of 50 hours of skilled handwork go into producing these masterpieces. While the shoes are handmade in Paris, each store has its own craftsmen, hand finishing the shoes. Core to the company’s ethos are shoes that assume a real French identity, “The French chic” throw character and personality in its style, lines and colors. Corthay fulfills that need of quality and style, always with liability using time-honed techniques with a touch of innovation and creativity. Corthay is Relaxed Parisian style; which means chic and elegant when required producing an exceptional quality product, with attention to detail and listening to the customer. The interaction between the bootmaker and his client gave birth to a unique fit with the perfect balance between classical elegance, style and creativity. This bespoke process is unique to Maison Corthay and it starts with the traditional tools which are used in all stages of design and finishing of the shoes. The bespoke process starts with the craftsman speaking to the client to decipher his desires for the shoe they want. The measurement process is the first step in creating bespoke shoes as the client is requested to place their feet on sketch book, a pen is held at ninety degrees, an outline of the foot is drawn. The pen is angled at forty- five degrees and the arch is traced. A measuring tape is produced, and three or four traditional measurements are taken: around the ball of the foot, around the waist, around the instep and a measurement from around the heel and ending at the instep. Ensuring the perfect fit, the foot is analyzed during multiple appointments taking into account a number of factors including: flat or is there a high arch, fleshy, etc. Next comes the sole, which ensures that the shoes will be totally fitted to the feet of each

customer. Sculpted by hand in Charm wood by their craftsmen in the Parisian workshop, a pair of wooden lasts are created, specific to each individual client. Simple tools are used to create these sculptures: rasps, files, knives and sandpaper to create are an abstract representation of the client’s feet. The process of turning two dimensional materials into a three-dimensional product starts with the pattern which is made by designing the model directly on the wooden forms. The design is then replicated on craft paper and cut out to represent all the intricate details that go into a shoe pattern and then laid on leather and cut (by hand) with a knife from select second-choice hides. This pattern is a prototype which will soon be used to create the first trial fitting validated by the customer and then drafted and cut from only the best leather in the world, supplied by traditional French tanneries in the Limousin area produced in France. Even with perfectly cut patterns, the assembly process is delicate and is interrupted intermittently by the stitching of the various parts on a sewing machine, often referred to as closing. Often regarded as the most difficult process to master in the bespoke craft, the proper making of a shoe can take a craftsman years and years to achieve. Before the final pair of shoes are made, a trial pair - an extremely simplified version of the final shoes, made with a leather upper and internals, but typically finished with a cork sole and heel – are created. Checking the fit one last time before creating the final pair are essential for a true fit as it takes an incredible amount of skills a precision to make the final product. Using their cutting, skiving, lasting, sewing, and finishing skills – along with almost entirely natural materials: leather, yeast paste, and linen thread – their shoes strong where it must be, in the heel and toe, but flexible where required, in the area of the joint. The finishing of the shoe is done with the use of antique irons heated over alcohol lamps, a bit of dye and wax for the edges. After drying for at least two weeks on the lasts, the shoes are taken off the lasts and ready to be fitted for bespoke shoe trees. Experimentation is at the heart of the maison from Lie deVin, Vieux Bois or Aubergine, each patina is unique because of the brush strokes made by our craftsmen while the base leather of the shoe upper will be colored with a unique mix of alcohol dyes and waxes. A glacage is the final step, giving the shoe the final touch, revealing a glossy shine, bringing a true piece of art to life. 

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VEGAN FASHION Fashion Meets Activism in Four-Day Experimental Tribute to Animals | BY LIZETTE MENDEZ


egan Fashion Week is dedicated to elevating ethical fashion globally and this week, this four-day event designed to empower conscious brands and humans with an elevated platform for achievement, inspiration, and discovery. A tribute to the animals and an ode to the end of animal exploitation in all forms, Vegan Fashion Week is produced and curated by French creative director and animal rights advocate, Emmanuelle Rienda and merges fashion and activism wtih a deeply conscious twist. The four-day event took place at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and California Market Center in Downtown LA. Ahead of the event for New York Fashion Week, Vegan Fashion Week invited like-minded designs and activists including Dr. Martens, Matea Benedette, Noemie Devime, Altiir, Bayem, Ecopel, Enda, New Rock, Mink Shoes, Mistohn, Sarah Regensburger, Chloe Trujillo, Vegan Club, WastedLA, Arsayo and many others. "I created a collective runway with curated designer pieces fro macross the glove to show vegan alternatives that are ethical, sustainable and elevated," says Vegan Fashion Week creator, Emmanuelle Rienda. "We showcased Piñatex@ pinneaple leather, apple leather, ecofriendly faux fur by Ecopel, faux wool, cork exotic skins and more." 26 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019

In attendance at the California Market Center were notable vegan enthusiasts including Moby, Mena Suvari and Harley Quinn Smith among press, and the VIP ticket holders. Upon arrival, attendees were treated to culinary innovations by French Naturaw Chef MarieSophie L, plant-based, vegan cocktails from Cafe Gratitude with FAIR. Spirits and a musical performance by harpist Naomi Greene prior to the runway show. “After a very successful launch, I am already planning the next vegan fashion week in one of the biggest fashion destinations of the world,” says Rienda. “I am on a mission to challenge the fashion industry at its roots until cruelty-free is the norm.” 


Vegan Makeup: Kat Von D Beauty Vegan Hair Products: Giovanni Cosmetics Vegan Model Agency: Margaux The Agency Key Makeup Artis: Charlotte Prevel Key Hair Stylist: YUYU Yudelka Gonzales Hair Light Designer: Emmanuelle Pedron Creative Director: Emmanuelle Rienda -----------------------------------------------------------


CURRENT AUCTIONS Beautiful Pieces from Top Auction Houses

The fiery desert sunsets and majestic mountains of Mesa, Arizona provide the ideal ambience for luxury and warm hospitality. This is where you will find Quenton Court, resting on over a 2-acre oasis filled with the opulent artistry of Mediterranean French Cathedral architecture, scenic vistas and affluent comforts. LUXURY NO-RESERVE AUCTION: 03.14.19 |

| BY LIZETTE MENDEZ Photos courtesy of each Auction House

1939 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A. Formerly the property of His Majesty King Hussein bin Talal, former King of Jordan. Chassis no. 408386. Estimate: $1,900,000 = $2,600,000. Les Grandes Marques Du Monde Au Grand Palais - February 7, 2019 -

Amethyst and Diamond Earrings. Each designed as an amethyst framed by diamonds with a detachable amethyst and diamond drop. Estimate: $3,000 $5,000. www.onlineonly.christies. com | February 6-14, 2019

Clyde J. Singer (American, 1908-1999) “On a Bus”. Oil on canvasboard, signed near the lower left and dated ‘50, signed titled and dated verso, framed in a deep silver toned frame overall 20”x24”. $800/1,200 |

Gibeon Meteorite, Natural Sculpture from Outer Space. Iron, fine octahedrite Gibeon, Great Nama Land, Namibia. Estimated: $20,000 - $30,000 Feb 6-14, 2019

Ludwig Deutsch (Austrian, 18551935) Respect. 19th Century European, Victorian and British Impressionist Art. $320,000 $450,000. February 20, 2019

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Miss Universe

CATRIONA GRAY One Small Step At a Time By Heléne Ramackers Photograph courtesy of Miss Universe/ Michael Stewart


atriona Gray, or Cat as she is affectionately known, lives by the maxim that her father taught her – One Small Step at a Time. Clinching the title of Miss Universe 2018, this tall, dark-haired beauty spoke exclusively to Upscale Living magazine about the absolute joy she experienced when she heard her name being called out as the winner of this prestigious contest.


crowned and one of the thoughts that went through my mind was that I should have worn waterproof mascara (she laughs). Fortunately, I could control my emotions and just savor the moment. I couldn’t stop smiling! YOUR COUNTRY MUST BE SO PROUD OF YOU. WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS?

Thank you! I look up to all my fellow contestants who have won Miss Universe before me. One of my predecessors Miss Philippines, Rachel Peters, was a huge inspiration to me. I also had a team of people that prepared and supported me to take on the role of Miss Universe.

They have been so incredibly supportive and I’m so grateful to have such a strong following not only in my country, but all over the world.



As an only child, I loved the outdoors. My favorite childhood memories involve climbing trees and just being in nature.

Living in New York City really is a dream come true. When I wake up in the morning, I get to look out over Central Park. I have brought a few special things with me from the Philippines, to make the apartment feel more like home.

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU MOVE TO THE PHILIPPINES? It was always a fascination for me to see more of the world, to explore different countries and cultures. Since I have family ties in the Philippines; my Mom is a Filipino, it seemed like the logical choice to start off there after I finished my schooling in Australia. WHAT IS YOUR FITNESS AND BEAUTY ROUTINE? I absolutely love Pilates, especially the elongation technique. It has a very calming effect on my body. I additionally try to exercise at least three times a week. As for my beauty routine, I believe a woman should never to go to bed wearing make-up. My mom has always encouraged me to choose natural products; my go-to for removing my makeup is coconut oil.

It is such an honor having this platform as Miss Universe to create awareness about different causes close to my heart, whether it is education or being an advocate for HIV/ AIDS. It is important to break down the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS by being tested. I work with an organization in the Philippines called Young Focus and they provide access to quality education for underprivileged children. Education really is the cornerstone of a promising future.

WHAT WERE YOUR IMMEDIATE THOUGHTS WHEN YOU HEARD YOUR NAME BEING CALLED AS THE NEW MISS UNIVERSE 2018? Hearing my name announced as the new Miss Universe was one of the happiest moments of my life. I was in a total dream state when I got


I also want to use my musical background to bring as much joy to people as it has brought me. I released my first original track called ‘We’re In This Together’. I love making music with a bit of a roar in it! It would be so much fun to hold a benefit concert during my reign as Miss Universe to give back to those less fortunate.

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Going Native:



Chelsea Nassib’s digital art gallery Tappan is to real estate and digital art what digital art is to form and medium: an explosion of collaborative creativity that makes the world of art accessible while not sacrificing entrepreneurship’s bottom line. Having the distinction of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 2018 feather in her cap, Nassib’s Tappan has wide resonance.


appan is a native digital art gallery and e-commerce platform currently revolutionizing art consumption among millennial dealers, collectors, and curators. From partnerships and high-profile procurements to a groundbreaking Residency Program in which artists like Los-Angeles based Helen Rebekah Garber and über chic Paris duo Martinet+|Texereau swap domiciles, creatives are empowered to craft experiences where organic, truly democratic art-making is the key driver. The residency program was founded in 2016 and offers Tappan artists the opportunity to apply for one to threemonth terms at Tappan Studios. It allows artists to tell their stories in a three-dimensional way that encourages more exploration by the collector than a traditional gallery space. Keen on business, Nassib found an excellent point of entry into the market. “After graduating with my BFA degree,” she says, “I found a real gap in the gallery system. I started Tappan to support young artists like myself while

giving collectors more approachable access to emerging talent. We built a website to sell limited edition prints, unsure if the online art buying model was viable. We learned pretty fast.” When asked if there were differences in the taste among millennial collectors versus that of “traditional” collectors, Nassib aptly responded. “Tastes differ from person to person, but I find that unless they are investment driven, both seek authenticity and a personal connection to the work they acquire.” Take, for example, the work of LAbased artist, Helen Rebekah Garber. Garber’s work

revolves around themes in feminist ideology vis-à-vis social perceptions around nurturing, spirituality, science, and medicine. You might say that Utopian societies are kind of her thing. Garber uses art as a vehicle for investigating the relationship between science, mythology, and mysticism...often drawing inspiration from the connections, parallels, and intersections between them. She also creates an aesthetic through the

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use of symmetry based on mathematical relationships and sacred geometry, pattern and weaving, representational imagery, and the linguistics of ancient civilizations, to create truly wonderful works of art. As more and more galleries go online, one wonders how stakeholders will continue to use non‐traditional means of buying and selling art to reach the masses. Nissab seems to have solved that riddle for now, carving her own space out in the online art trade. And while traditionally less tech-savvy, small and medium-sized businesses are adjusting to not only the changes in the economy but the way collectors consume art in said economy. The road ahead for the online art trade isn’t exactly clear. There have been a few hiccups. But Tappan seems to have forged a path that collectors and investors alike seem to have taken note of.


“We’re proud to be a pioneer in this space. It’s been exciting to reach new audiences that we might not have been able to with just brick and mortar space. This year is going to be an exciting year for Tappan. We hope to build upon what we’re doing well has been, and that continues to be our mantra.”  32 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019


In Partnership with




Tickets on sale here




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STAFFAN & MONIQUE TOLLGARD The Language of Design By Heléne Ramackers Photographs courtesy of Staffan & Monique Tollgard

Assimilating a Swedish and South African background, adaption is key. Staffan and Monique Tollgard have merged two opposing cultures not only in marriage, but in a celebratory fusion of partnership in an architectural interior design service.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELVES. We are partners in life as well as in design. I was born in Sweden while Monique grew up in South Africa. We met in our twenties in our previous lives on a London film set – Monique was the actress and I was the First AD on a low budget feature film. We joke that while those careers didn’t last, our marriage goes from strength to strength. After we refurbished our first house together, I started thinking seriously about a career change, and took a year sabbatical to study at the Inchbald. Monique jumped ship from making documentaries a couple of years later and joined the company. That was nearly fifteen years ago. DID YOU HAVE AN INFLUENCE IN YOUR YOUTH THAT SHAPED YOUR CAREER PATH? Staffan: Interestingly it was my mother’s poor dinner party presentation that first allowed me to make inroads into the interior design of our own home. I also remember from around the age of 11 asking her not to buy me any more clothes as I knew exactly what I wanted to buy. I can see that I have a strong strand of my father’s engineering DNA in my approach to problem-solving and in my preference for functional sculpture. Monique: My father always talked about the importance of finding a path with a heart. He was convinced that a career was important only if it contained meaning and could make a difference. My mother was, and is, a consummate home-maker. That

role has been so problematic for women over the past few decades, but in my work as an interior designer I am increasingly convinced that it is not just design that makes a house a home; it is the people that spend time in the home that make it a haven. My mother’s home is always filled with fresh flowers, always immaculate and yet effortlessly warm and welcoming. YOU HAVE A BACKGROUND IN FEATURE FILM AND DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION. HAS THAT STOOD YOU IN GOOD STEAD DOING WHAT YOU DO TODAY AS AN ARCHITECTURAL INTERIOR DESIGN SERVICE? Monique: A love of story-telling is the common thread between these two careers. As a maker of documentaries, I had to assimilate then sift through a vast amount of information, finally distilling it into one clear story. Being a producer of any creative endeavour, you are responsible for bringing together specialists and then bringing the project in on time and on budget … so the two careers certainly share a lot in common. We tend to use the language of film-making when we discuss a project because of our shared interest and past life in film: we will talk about the hero piece of a room, or the story that our clients want to tell about themselves through the choices we are making. We say that we use the language of design to tell our clients’ stories. YOU STARTED YOUR FIRM STAFFAN TOLLGARD DESIGN GROUP NEARLY FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. WHAT AND

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WHO INSPIRES YOU? Staffan and I are hoarders of inspiration and information. We are constantly on the look-out for new as well as tried and tested answers to the questions of living our projects throw at us. It can be a little irritating when we go to new places (hotels, restaurants, friends’ homes … ) and pull everything to pieces to see how good things have worked, and why something hasn’t. For our projects, our clients are a key source of inspiration, as well as the architecture they have chosen to express their identity through and the setting they have chosen. We’ve been lucky enough to have worked in different cultures and have tried to make the most of vernacular traditions, craft and materials. So often, we need to look to the past for answers, especially when it comes to protecting homes from the elements. Technology has a huge role to play, but there are certain traditional answers that we just shouldn’t ignore. IT’S QUITE UNIQUE TO HAVE AN ARCHITECTURAL INTERIOR DESIGN SERVICE; USUALLY IT’S ONE OR THE OTHER. HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO ‘MARRY’ THE TWO CONCEPTS SUCCESSFULLY? A really successful project integrates architecture and interiors, considering function, layout, materials, furniture, lighting and all the technical gubbins that make everything possible. We love to collaborate with architects as well, where they are responsible for the interior architecture and we are responsible for the softer side of things. But fundamentally, we are inquisitive and obsessive by nature, so by offering a nearly 360-degree service for the inside of our client’s projects, we can ensure that no details escape the red thread we are weaving. WHAT ARE / HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN YOUR CAREER? Staffan: For me, it has been running a growing company while giving the design projects the creative energy they demand and deserve. Opening a showroom in 2013 was a further challenge: most people are running away from bricks and mortar commerce, but we decided to dive in and invest in a place where people can come and talk to us about great design that we have curated from around the world. IMPORTANT LESSONS ALONG THE WAY? We read a beautiful quote recently that has resonated strongly: Just because it’s not perfect doesn’t mean it’s not great. The pursuit of perfection is a torturous path. Understanding that every project has its challenges, constraints and compromises has been difficult, but it’s one that we have grasped. There isn’t just one 36 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019

right answer in design, so one person’s perfect is another’s so-so.


Kindness is a simple and effective mantra that we try to live by. We have learnt that treating people well at every stage of the design and construction process is a lot more effective than toy-out-of-pram throwing. Everyone is human and will make mistakes. The trick is learning how to fix them and make different ones next time. We’ve also learnt that every project is not right for every design practice. The design journey and relationship between client and designer is intense and personal, and understanding at the outset that you have shared values, design DNA and mutual respect is fundamental for a successful project.

Staffan: I think the open-plan kitchen / living / dining has to be the best place in the house. We clad the doors of the kitchen using De Castelli bronze panels and, because of a great back-kitchen, we manage to keep the front of house looking vaguely presentable at most times. The living room and dining area looks out onto the terrace and garden beyond, and with the doors open, it feels like you are right in the garden. We chose a fantastic Skantherm wood-burning fireplace for the living room – it’s both an architectural focal point as well as a really great heat source during the winter. Proper functional sculpture. The kids do their homework on the dining table, Monique plays guitar with our youngest son around the fire … or the kids run shrieking round the island trying to kill each other. It’s a real family living space.

THE FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB? Monique: I love the transformative element of our work. In documentary making terms, it’s the before and after montage … although it seems to take a lot longer in this industry than it does on TV. Being able to change how people live in a space, and in so doing, increase their enjoyment of life is a real privilege. Over the past decade, we have become really interested in the nitty gritty of family life and how wellconsidered, functional and nurturing spaces can enhance a family’s time together. Staffan: When a project or product finally takes shape, it has the fulfilling quality of finishing a jigsaw puzzle. The sense of having understood and answered a question of living – perhaps even before your client has articulated it – is immensely satisfying. WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING AT THE HELM OF AN ARCHITECTURAL INTERIOR DESIGN SERVICE? No two days are the same. It is an extremely interesting, multi-faceted job. It’s impossible to get bored of it. AND THE WORST? It can become incredibly stressful and with so many aspects to numerous projects, it is easy to become overwhelmed. IS YOUR HOME / ARE YOUR HOMES AS STUNNING AS THOSE OF YOUR CLIENTS? I’M THINKING OF THE OLD PROVERB OF THE SHOEMAKER’S CHILDREN THAT HAVE NO SHOES …. HOPEFULLY THAT’S NOT THE CASE WITH YOUR ABODE. It has taken time. And it’s not perfect. Often our home is a transitioning area for pieces of furniture left over from the showroom, so it’s certainly a work in progress. But it is our haven and it makes us happy every time we open the door to go in.

WHAT KEY PIECES IN YOUR HOME CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT? Monique: We have a growing collection of stone sculpture that means a lot to us. My grandparents started the collection when we got married by giving us a sculpture that came from an exhibition of Shona artists in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town. Made from leopard stone, it’s a beautiful piece with strong memories and emotional value. Since then, we have added to the collection and housed it in a metal and glass cabinet from Porro. A pair of Jade book ends joined after we went as a family to New Zealand, and most recently, a Jade inukshuk from Canada came back with us to commemorate our 15th wedding anniversary. We imagine that the inukshuk and the leopard-head sculpture tell each other tales of faraway lands when the lights in the house go out. DO YOU HAVE DIFFERENT TASTE IN INTERIOR DESIGN FROM ONE ANOTHER AND HOW DO YOU NEGOTIATE / SOLVE THAT AMICABLY? Monique: Our individual approaches to design stem from our relative strengths: my background in English Literature and then documentary marking (and general wordsmithery) sees me analyze my way into a design direction. For Staffan, it’s a much more visceral, visual and creative approach, underpinned by an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of furniture. The two approaches tend to be important at different times of the design journey, so we rarely have to battle each other for our view to take precedence. TALK US THROUGH A TIMELESS INTERIOR DESIGN STYLE. Staffan: We often wonder which of our interiors will stand the test of time. When I


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think about timeless interiors, I immediately picture heirloom pieces that have gone through generations: beautifully crafted, functional sculptures that continue to answer questions of living for different people in different times. Materials that are truthful to themselves, and suitable or native to the architectural setting fortifies a timeless interior. Think of a Swedish summer house with a pale pine floor or a Portuguese villa with cool slabs of limestone that stay cool in the summer … the fundamental ingredients of a timeless interior are the key to a home that will endure. WHAT IS THE RED THREAD?

design or reproductions and vintage. DO YOU BELIEVE IN REPURPOSING DATED PIECES OR SHOULD ONE JUST SHOP FOR NEW ONES? Good design lasts, so definitely reuse and refurbish if you have some good pieces. The drawback of living in a time when furniture is astonishingly well-priced can lead to throwaway design (like throwaway fashion). We prefer our clients to buy once, so will advise them to wait for better pieces in a Phase II project, than buy pieces that we all know won’t stand the test of time. YOU HAVE DONE SOME EXQUISITE INTERIORS. DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITES?

The Red Thread is a northern European expression that describes the guiding principle of creative endeavour, whether it be a piece of art, literature or music. It’s the design DNA that we strive to find and then express in each project. Within the client, architecture and environment are clues to a distinctive and powerful narrative: a unique red thread that we use to tell a new story using the language of design.

That’s like choosing your favorite child. Impossible. So many have been so satisfying to work on, all in different ways. It’s particularly rewarding when a favorite client asks us back to update a project, or work on something in a different location with them.



Accessories are the final – and I would say vital – layer of the interior design process. After a design journey that might have lasted a number of years, it’s all too easy to run out of steam (and indeed budget) for this last leg of the race, which is why we have now started putting money and time aside at the outset to allow for this stage of the project to have the proper time and energy it deserves. Accessories are a catch-all term that too easily demotes the pieces around us that give us joy. Too many and a house can feel cluttered and overwhelming. Too few and a house feels like it lacks a soul.

We do decline projects when we can see that there isn’t going to be a good understanding between us and a client. We’ve done enough projects now to know that while we don’t have a house style, we have strongly held design values, and if we can see that those values aren’t shared, it’s better to decline at the outset.

IS THERE A RIGHT AND WRONG WHEN IT COMES TO DECORATING? PLEASE EXPLAIN. I’m tempted to say that there are many rights and many wrongs when it comes to decorating. If a design journey starts with function, and clearly sets out to answer the questions of living asked by the residents of the space, then the answers are one sort of right. Design is immensely personal, and if it satisfies the criteria of the residents, and gives them joy, then it’s the right answer. We don’t have to like the answer for it to be the right one for our clients. Wrong answers are usually those that ignore function, budget, climate, the environment and the clear voice of the client.

IS IT CHALLENGING TO RUN A BUSINESS AS HUSBAND AND WIFE … WHEN DO YOU SWITCH OFF OR CLOSE THE PROVERBIAL OFFICE DOOR WHEN YOU GO HOME? OR IS IT GOOD TO HAVE A SOUNDING BOARD? There are some couples who run businesses and never bring their work home. We do not live by this rule! Our company was set up on the strong belief that creative collaboration, both within our design practice and with our clients, brings the best out in everybody. So, depending on the project, both Monique and I will contribute according to our strengths and its requirements. We’ve certainly found it hard to switch off from work at home, and it has taken us a good number of years to even get close to doing it. Overall, it is a fantastic thing to run something together with someone you trust and love more than anyone else.



There has never been a time when it has been easier to search for and find good quality, affordable design. Both for contemporary

Traveling to Jordan for work, and North Canada for pleasure (skiing) have left indelible

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marks. The former made us grateful that work could take us there. The latter gave us a reason to work harder so that we can go back! WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN? We share a love of skiing, travel, movies and eating. Monique has started playing the guitar and secretly wishes she had been in a band when a band would still have her. Last year, we took our boys on a trip around New Zealand in a camper van. Mostly fun, and sure to be repeated. ANY EXCITING PLANS ON THE HORIZON? Staffan is going to focus on the product design division this year, which he is really excited about. There are some projects that we have been working on for several years that will finally be completed in 2019, and some interesting ones starting in the UK and a little beyond. A rebrand is also shimmering on the near horizon, so watch this space.




Staffan & Monique Tollgard interior designs: Top Left: Knightsbridge Splendor. Top Right: Notting Hill Paradise. Bottom Left & right: Technicolor Kensington.

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25 Years in Showbiz - It’s “Insania” By ANGELA SARA WEST Photographs courtesy of Peter Andre

From opening for Madonna and moonwalking in Michael Jackson’s famous footsteps, to waltzing his way into our living rooms in ‘Strictly’ and conquering his fears in the ‘Celebrity Jungle’, this pop star-turned-presenter has been making waves in the music and entertainment business for an impressive quarter of a century.


lobal singing sensation and star of the stage, Peter Andre, talks exclusively to Angela Sara West about his 25th anniversary tour, his new capsule collection of luxury handmade beds for HOS Home, and how he’s making a new name for himself in Hollywood. He’s entered The Guinness Book of Records, supported Bobby Brown, written songs with the late, great Robin Gibb, graced the ‘Strictly’ dance floor and entertained us in the ‘Celebrity Jungle’. With 25 years in showbiz under his belt, plus a plethora of projects in the pipeline, this irrepressible star is just hot off the stage from a retro 90s tour, following filming for a new movie role in LA and launching a new interiors range. And now, pop sensation Peter Andre’s set to celebrate with a very special anniversary tour, taking him on the road again! NEW FACES - BIG BREAK Born in England but raised in Australia from the age of six, Peter discovered his passion for music at an early age, with Michael Jackson his biggest inspiration growing up. “I’ve loved music ever since I was young, but I have to tell you, my parents didn’t want me to go into music, so when I went into the business, they were petrified! They were thinking of all the common pitfalls, but I wanted to show that, if you are honest as a performer, it can be OK.” And that ensuing career in the industry has worked out as a whole lot more than okay... it’s been a total triumph. Let’s face it, not

many people can claim to have owned a mansion that previously belonged to Tom Cruise!! Alongside his singing success, Peter’s become a popular TV personality and is now finding fame as an actor, too. But how did it all begin for this international icon? Peter first rose to fame as a singer during the ‘90s, after his big break at sweet 16, when his 1990 appearance on the Australian TV talent show ‘New Faces’ resulted in a recording contract. Following success in his adopted Oz, the pop star sang his way into the limelight in the UK. After moving to London, Peter forged a successful music career in Europe with his much-loved single ‘Mysterious Girl’, which enjoyed 18 weeks in the UK charts in 1996, peaking at No.2 and making the Top 10 in 13 countries worldwide. Follow-up singles ‘Flava’ and ‘I Feel You’ (also from the chart-topping album ‘Natural’) both hit the No.1 spot in the singles chart and Peter went on to become the sixth best-selling artist of the decade in the UK. SUPPORTING MADONNA Opening for the Material Girl’s Girlie Show World Tour stadium tours 25 years ago also put him on his path to superstardom. “I mean, it was Madonna! The biggest pop star in the world… it totally blew my mind… Walking out onto that massive stage and seeing everyone in the stadium in front of me was just incredible.” Peter went on to become an internationallyacclaimed music star, touring with his own

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shows all over the world and winning countless accolades along the way. Having clocked up three No.1 singles, a No.1 album and 10 Top 5 singles in the UK alone, he’s also clinched two platinum and three gold albums, along with numerous gongs, including a prestigious World Music Award and no fewer than three ARIAs (Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards). STRICTLY DANCE FLOOR MOVES & JUNGLE LIFE 42 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019

Following four further Top 10 singles, the ‘90s pop pin-up took some time out, but came back with a bang after his break from the public eye, finding fame again when he entered ITV’s hit jungle-based show ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here? in 2004, where he wrote the song ‘Insania’ and gave fans a daily dose of those impressive abs. Along with reality shows a-go-go, there have been small-screen appearances aplenty, including presenting gigs galore on shows such as ‘60-Minute Makeover’, showbusiness

reporter jobs on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ and cookery slots on ‘Lorraine’. Peter’s also a sought-after host for prestigious events, such as OK! magazine’s Beauty Awards, while the in-demand personality recently entertained fans with his ‘An Evening With Peter Andre ‘My Life Story’’ talks and Q&As at his speaking events, interspersed with the odd acoustic song or two.   Gracing our screens to show off his enviable dance moves on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, and going back Down Under to take on


its original release, seeing Peter enter the Guinness Book of Records as the only singer to have the same song hit the top of the UK charts three times! 90S NOSTALGIA… A couple of years ago, the record-breaking pop star was cruising’n’crooning on board P&O’s flagship cruise ship, Britannia, with Ant and Dec and an eight-piece swing/jazz band, Ashley Roberts, Stephen Mulhern. James Nesbitt and Katherine Jenkins. 2018 saw Peter perform at festivals alongside artists such as Ronan Keating, Midge Ure, Right Said Fred and The Cheeky Girls, as well as headlining arenas around the UK at the Stepback! 90s Concerts, featuring B*Witched, Blazin’ Squad, East 17, 5ive and S Club, among other 90s bands. The nostalgic gigs saw him headline at Wembley Arena again for the first time in over 20 years. “They were great shows to do… really fun,” he says. The 90s was a golden era for pop music and the decade’s much-idolised music is currently enjoying a welcomed revival. “I think people really just love pop nostalgia. It can take one song just to take you back to a great place, time or memory in your life.” KING OF POP Last year, Peter also performed several Michael Jackson hits to rave reviews at Thriller Live’s special gala night. As a huge fan of the King of Pop, how was Pop Prince Peter’s experience of the ‘thrilling’ night? “Can I just say, it was one of the biggest honours of my life! I am a massive fan of Michael Jackson and to go out on stage and sing some of his songs was just incredible. It was to celebrate 4,000 performances of Thriller Live in aid of The Prince’s Trust – I was so proud to be a part of that.” LA LA LAND… AN OFFICIAL HOLLYWOOD ACTOR!

jungle challenges as a contestant on ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here?’ were both big learning curves for the celebrated singer. “’Strictly’ and ‘I’m a Celebrity…’ are two shows that are completely poles apart, but where you learn different things about yourself. Let’s just say that both shows taught me a lot!” Shortly after leaving the jungle, the 2004 re-release of ‘Mysterious Girl’ went straight to the top of the UK charts, eight years after

From the small screen to the silver screen, the singing star is now officially a movie star, having landed a leading part in ‘The Inheritance’, directed by British director James Hickox and recently filmed in LA. Putting his all into his new-found craft, hardworking Peter took online acting lessons from Al Pacino and is unrecognizable in his new movie role. “Although it was very full-on, I can honestly say shooting was an incredible experience. It was intense and very dark, and becoming the character took months of preparing. Thankfully, it paid off.” Another big-screen part, which left his kids especially impressed, entailed voicing the

character of a mischievous rally car in the latest ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ film. “It was a real honour to be voicing the character of Ace in the new movie, and it was such a buzz for me to be doing my first worldwide movie voice-over for something that I grew up on and loved as a child and that my kids now love, too. All the kids also love the new film and, secretly, I think they were quite proud of me doing it!” BACK ON THE ROAD…. CELEBRATING 25 YEARS IN SHOWBIZ! He once performed three shows in two countries in one day - phew!! And, as a music and entertainment business stalwart, he’s showing no signs of slowing down… February and March 2019 see the recordbreaking Aussie Brit back on stage to mark his impressive quarter-century milestone in showbiz. “My ‘Celebrating 25 Years’ tour will see me performing at 25 venues around the country. I’m so excited to celebrate with everyone who has followed me over the years!” Showcasing his musical journey through the years, he’ll perform his best-loved hits from his early years right up to his most recent tracks. “It really is going to be a great show, with lots of the old classics as well as some of my more recent stuff, plus a few surprises thrown in along the way! I hope everybody loves it…” Kicking off in Aberdeen, the tour takes in many of the UK’s other big cities, before winding up in London’s O2 and The Brighton Centre. Meet-and-greet packages are available for superfans to get up-close-andpersonal with Peter, who always enjoys giving back to his fans.   On first entering the industry, did he ever think he would be so staggeringly successful that he would still be recording and performing today? “When I started out, I was so determined to make it because singing and performing was all I wanted to do. But if you had told me that I would still be around in 25 years’ time, I don’t think I would have been able to answer that, honestly.”  GO… GREASE LIGHTNIN’! This summer, he’s set to star as Teen Angel in Grease the Musical. “’Grease’ is such an iconic film isn’t it?!! And after ’Thriller Live’, I’ve got a real taste for musical theatre, so it’s nice to dabble a little in that world. It’s a great new door to open for me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t commit to the whole tour, so I won’t be performing on every date, but it’s gonna be fun!”

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MAKEOVER MAN WITH A PASSION FOR FASHION With a flair for design, Peter’s created several fragrances in the past plus a fashion collection, not forgetting that if you’re after a makeover, Peter’s your man! He ventured into the world of interior design through his work presenting ITV’s ‘60 Minute Makeover’ and never passes up an opportunity to showcase his creative side. “I love presenting ‘60 Minute Makeover’ and the stories from the families that deserve the makeover and seeing the transformation. It’s such a great show to do, I really love the opportunity to change people’s lives. I do love fashion, too. I’ve really been getting into my fitted suits over the last few months…”. IN BED WITH ANDRE! Fancy spending the night in Peter’s bed? Well, now you can!! With many strings to his everexpanding bow, he recently launched his new interiors collection A. By Andre, with luxury furniture retailer HOS Home, kicking off with bespoke, luxury handmade beds. How did the collaboration with HOS Home come about? “It was an 18-month idea turned into reality. When my wife, Emily, and I bought our house it was a new build, a complete blank canvas,” he explains. “When I was looking at bespoke furniture it was so outrageously expensive. That’s when I got in touch with Dan and Layla Chapman of HOS Home. They helped to transform our bedrooms very reasonably – in fact, if you saw me on Michael McIntyre’s ‘Big Show’ on TV recently, you would have seen the bed they made for us on that.” “Since being involved in property and developing my portfolio, I’ve realized the importance of finding the right furniture that looks amazing, is built to last and is affordable. My passion for this really ignited in trying to find the right designs for my own home and embark on designing a range of my own. So, the progression was a natural one and, in terms of the idea behind the brand and designs themselves, we wanted to create a selection of luxury, bespoke beds at an affordable price. We’ve designed four beds, with different tastes in mind to appeal to everyone.” BEAUTIFUL, BRITISH-MADE BEDS The brand’s mission is to place itself at the forefront of luxury homeware and style with a range of customisable beds handcrafted by British manufacturers, using traditional upholstery methods, with materials sourced from in and around the UK. “A. By Andre is focused on creating modern, luxury furniture designs that represent glamour, sophistication and joy,” Peter explains. “The ethos of 44 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019

affordable luxury, choice and making a home feel special is ingrained in the brand’s DNA. The beds are bespoke, handmade and, more importantly, British made. All manufacturing takes place in the UK, at our dedicated factory.” Wearing his new designer hat, Peter enjoys being very hands-on and having lots of creative input. “Absolutely – I don’t just put my name to anything… This is something that was really important to me, so to have the input was essential, otherwise I wouldn’t do it. I’m incredibly passionate about home and family, and being able to have had such a creative input in this project and see the ideas come to life has been a fantastic experience. I loved everything, from looking at the design, to choosing fabrics and color.” From single to super-king, along with size, shoppers can select smooth or crushed velvet and choose from an impressive palette of colors. His favorite design in his stunning range? “I think, for me, it has to be The Mayfair... it’s a real touch of luxury.” Screaming style, the celeb-love HOS Home brand boasts bountiful big-name fans, including Amanda Holden and Brian McFadden. Have any famous faces snapped up one of Peter’s luxurious beds? “I’m having lots of conversations with many people who are interested – the feedback has been amazing. But I tell you now, I wish I was taking one on tour with me when I travel around the UK on my ‘Celebrating 25 Years’ tour!” Designer Peter says he has much more in store for the brand. “This is only the start! Currently, we only design and manufacture the beds, not mattresses. For now, we are concentrating on the beds. But who knows what the future holds!” FAMILY LIFE Peter’s family has a long history of working in the housing and architecture industries. “You’re right! I wanted to start this new venture following my family history in architecture and designer homes. My dad was one of the first to build luxury designer homes on the Gold Coast, and my brother, Michael, worked for one of the biggest architect and interior design companies in Australia. My dad wanted me to go into this business, but obviously I wanted to go into music. It must run in our blood... it’s just taken 25 years to get the ideas together!” In 2010, along came Emily… The pair met after Emily’s doctor dad treated Peter’s kidney stones. The loved-up couple wed in 2015 and have two young children, Amelia and Theo. And it looks like Junior and Princess, from his first marriage, will be following in Peter’s musical and acting footsteps; they both made Peter proud as punch on attaining their drama

scholarship recently. “I am so proud of Junior and Princess. They both passed the LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) exams and got a distinction!” With a wife and four children, plus such a diverse portfolio, family man Peter has a lot on his plate, but somehow manages to juggle all his projects to strike a happy work/life balance to ensure quality time with Emily and the kids. Of Greek-Cypriot descent, when it’s time for a break from A&R, the keen chef heads to his home in Cyprus with his family for some much-needed R&R and to indulge in the Greek gastronomy. The proudest moments of his career so far? “I’ve had so many, I don’t think I could possibly choose… I’ve been extremely lucky that I’ve had so many opportunities in my career, from singing to TV presenting and even acting now. As for the most rewarding aspect of what he does, he says he’s grateful for the opportunities that have been offered. “It’s just been amazing that I’ve had so many doors opening and I’ve been lucky enough to give new things a try!”



ips from a top pop star! Peter has advice plenty for readers thinking about going into the music business:

that be YouTube or Spotify.

· The music business is not the same place that it was when I first started in the industry, but if you’ve got talent, then you need to find different ways to be spotted now.

And his interior design tips?

· It’s not so much about the record companies and sending them your music, but getting noticed now in different ways, whether

Finally, never give up on your dreams – that’s what life is all about!

My top three tips are: - Don’t be afraid of color or to experiment - you can be a bit more daring and be surprised by what you use. - Go with your instincts – if it feels right, then do it. - Sometimes, less is more,

which I know sounds a weird thing to say when I’ve said don’t be afraid to experiment, but have an idea of how you want a room to look. Start with the colour, then once you’ve put that in place it’s like a blank canvas and you can add as you go along! FACTS: A. by Andre is available at To see Peter Andre on his Celebrating 25 Years tour, visit for ticket details.

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WELLNESS UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN BY YVONE YORKE Photographs courtesy of Yvonne Yorke

The Tuscan countryside in Italy evoke bucolic images of golden rolling hills dotted with pointed cypress trees, centuries-old villages, vibrant fields of poppies and sunflowers, and vineyards ripe with Sangiovese grapes. As renowned as the region is for its wines, I have come for the waters. Since Etruscan times, Tuscan spa towns have attracted those seeking the healing and rejuvenating benefits of its natural hot springs and thermal waters.


he Adler Thermae Resort & Spa is a short stroll from the medieval spa village of Bagno Vignoni - an UNESCO World Heritage Cultural site in the San Quirico Val d’Orcia region, 30 miles south of Siena. Opened in 2004, this five-star retreat redefines the art of wellness with its naturally-heated indoor and outdoor thermal pools, and a comprehensive spa program of Tuscan and global treatments dedicated to physical well-being and inner tranquility. The thermal waters at the Adler Thermae are rich with bicarbonate, sulphur and volcanic minerals providing an array of health benefits such as improving circulation, boosting metabolism, and strengthening the immune system.

GUESTROOMS Designed as a Tuscan villa on the exterior, the 90 modern and upscale guestrooms at the Adler Thermae are spacious, and look out onto the gardens and outdoor thermal pools with panoramic views of ancient abbeys atop picturesque hills beyond. The two room types – double superior for 2-3 people, and family suite for 3 to 4 people (children over 4 years old are welcome) – are both outfitted with rich wood paneling and furnishings, floor to ceiling windows that bathe the room with natural light, private terraces or balconies, bio air-conditioning with temperature and humidity individually adjustable, and a sitting area. The

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bathroom in earth tones features a marble bathtub, huge walk-in-showers with rainfall showerheads and bespoke bath toiletries made from local grapes and honey. There is free Wi-Fi and satellite TV although my favorite thing to watch from the room was the steam coming off the pool in the early morning as the sun rises over the horizon in an amber glow. THERMAL POOLS & SPA Mineral-laden water from nearby Bagno Vignoni comes out of the ground at 122°F (50°C) and cooled to 98°F (37°C) for the resort’s indoor and outdoor thermal pools. Spread across the manicured lawns are pools with various temperatures and strength of jets, waterfalls, a freshwater swimming pool with underwater hydro bikes, a children’s pool, and a Wild River channel with a flowing current feature. Guests have unlimited complimentary access to the thermal circuit which includes salt and herbs-infused steam rooms to relax the muscles and purify the skin, a Grotto steam bath and relaxation cave, an outdoor Watsu pool, a Finnish bio-sauna over the resort’s travertine lake, a “Panoramica” forest sauna with a view of the Tuscan hills, and cold plunge pools to regulate your body temperature. At an extra cost, there is a Rasul bath with curative mud, or you can float in calming stillness at the therapeutic Grotta Salina – a shallow warm water pool filled with Dead Sea salts and flanked by a bronze pair of mythical griffons. There relaxation area has two stories with lounge chairs overlooking the lake and waterbeds for napping. The resort’s extensive menu of spa and beauty treatments incorporate the latest in wellness technology with modern western medicine, Asian healing disciplines such as Ayurveda and Adler’s own bi-cosmetics line for both men and women. In the past few years, as more men are interesting in coming for the curative powers of the thermal waters, the resort offers anti-aging and detox programs tailored specifically for their male clientele. The Adler Medical has a team of doctors trained in laboratory and aesthetic medicine as well as homeopathy, herbal medicine and nutrition. Guests can arrange for a medical consultation and check-ups, have a food intolerance test and blood analysis at the inhouse laboratory. As befitting a spa retreat in Tuscany’s wine growing region, the Adler Thermae features signature vinotherapy treatments incorporating red Brunello wine. My favorite is the Dionysus-worthy, Brunello Ritual where couples soak by side-by-side in 48 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019

wine-infused, whirlpool baths followed by massages with grape seed oil before lounging on a waterbed for two while indulging in wine and eating the region’s cheeses. Their newest exclusive treatment is the Water Sensation Massage Therapy in thermal water that combines Ayurveda with Asian massage techniques. Performed in the hotel’s 96°F pool surrounded by foliage for privacy, guests wear floatation weights to help them stay near the water’s surface as their bodies are gently guided and stretched by a therapist. The emphasis is on the head, neck, shoulders, spine and hips and one devotee likens the experience to “water ballet combined with yoga elements”. The treatment is also available in a couples’ session. DINING The courtyard dining room at the Adler Thermae is built around a large olive tree with an open retractable roof and arched windows overlooking lush gardens. During the day, bring your sunglasses, and in the evening, the room is romantically lit up with candlelight as the stars above sparkle in the Tuscan sky. The resort’s inclusive half-board program includes breakfast and dinner with an extensive breakfast buffet spread with an egg station for made-to-order omelets, warm pastries (yes, cake for breakfast!), multiple loaves of fresh-baked organic breads including gluten-free, local charcuterie, freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, yogurts, cereals, a huge selection of fresh fruit and local honeys. A light lunch is available at extra cost in the dining room or at the cozy Osteria in the park. For dinner, the cuisine by Chef Gaetano Vaccaro features light Mediterranean dishes as well gourmet Tuscan specialties incorporating organic herbs and produce sourced from local farms Start with the scrumptious antipasto buffet with charcuterie meats, cheeses, canapés and salads before selecting à la carte courses such as the regional Pici pasta or the classic Chianina beef Fiorentina. The wait staff is attentive and the kitchen can cater to a variety of dietary requirements. Save room for the extensive offerings at the dessert buffet especially the delectable chocolate fountain which beckons me every evening. For the health and waistline conscious, guests can opt for the Adler Balance menu consisting low-calorie selections. Pair your meal with bio-dynamic Sangiovese wines from the resort’s Tenuta Sanoner Winery which opened in September 2016. With 30 hectares consisting of vineyards and olive trees built on the Bagno Vignoni

hillside, the winery currently produces a 2015 Rosé which is 100% Sangiovese with strawberry flavors, a 2015 Aetos Rosé Sparkling made up mostly of Sangiovese with a bit of Chardonnay and Triebbiano added, and the 2014 Rosso which is 100% Sangiovese that is aged 12 months in both new French oak barrels and stainless steel barrels. ACTIVITIES & EXCURSIONS To work off all those delicious calories, the fitness facilities are well-equipped with a gym studio and outdoor sportsground, and classes range from Nordic walking to pilates, hydro biking, yoga (both in studio and in water), TRX resistance training, Tai Chi, and many more. You can also enjoy a personalized fitness program with a personal trainer, and there is a full-day kids program. Check out the Hotel Adler daily newsletter at breakfast which outlines all of the day’s activities and classes. For hiking and biking enthusiasts, there are guided tours or GPS self-guided treks of various lengths to discover the scenic countryside. You can venture through 280 miles of sign-posted hiking trails, or cycle through over 600 miles of bike tracks past olive groves, vineyards and Benedictine monasteries. The resort has complimentary mountain bikes and e-bikes, with race bikes available to rent. Horseback riding can also be arranged. Guided hikes in San Quirico d’Orcia are offered several times a week stopping at a winery and an organic cheese farm where you can sample the excellent local Percorino cheese. Well worth an excursion are Pienza, Montepulciano and Montalcino in and around Val d’Orcia. The Adler Thermae has mini vans and chauffeured cars for visits to these medieval hilltop towns. Pienza is the largest of the three villages and filled with 15th-century stone buildings such as the summer residence of Pope Pius II, and boutiques selling local handicrafts and Tuscan leather goods, wine and cheese shops. During the summer months, there are evening music concerts in the Duomo di Pienza. Montalcino is well-known for its Brunello wine and there are numerous wineries surrounding the town to sample the vintages at their source. Montepulciano, with its clock tower and Renaissance palazzos, has appeared in numerous films and TV dramas such The Medicis: Masters of Florence, The Twilight Saga - New Moon, Under the Tuscan Sun and The English Patient. Bagno Vignoni is the closest village and a short walk away from the Adler Thermae Resort & Spa. In the past, Bagno Vignoni was a resting and healing point for Christian


pilgrims traveling the Via Francigena on their way to Rome. Past illustrious visitors have included St. Catherine of Siena and Lorenzo the Magnificent. Instead of a traditional town square, there is a rectangular hot springs pool which is the original source of thermal water from a subterranean aquifer. You can’t swim there but you can enjoy a drink or a gelato at the numerous cafes that surround the pool. Then head back to the Adler Thermae Resort & Spa for another blissful day of healing, relaxation and wellness under the Tuscan sun. Adler Thermae Resort & Spa Strada di Bagno Vignoni 1 53027 San Quirico d’Orcia Tuscany, Italy Tel: +39 0577 889 000 Fax: +39 0577 889 999 Rates start at €198 per person, per night, including half-board. Access to the thermal circuit, pools, fitness area and classes is complimentary. Spa treatments cost extra. Depending on the time of the year, a 3 or 4 night minimum stay may apply. For more information: 

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By Heléne Ramackers Photographs courtesy of Alwyn Petersen, Janaina Matarazzo and by Heléne Ramackers

In the midst of a desolate landscape, The Lodge at Feline Fields rises like a fortress of vivifying life, metamorphosing the harsh habitat into an oasis of vibrancy.


t is 23:09 at night. I’m suddenly jolted awake by an overwhelming slurping sound, followed by a very loud guzzling noise. My daughter, who is able to sleep through the most horrific thunderstorms, doesn’t even stir. Was it a dream? I pad quietly across the wooden floor, aiming for the part of our suite where I can see towards the pool. It is pitch dark and as I attempt to zip open the tent flap, I hear the same sound. I realize this is not a dream. I try to find a light switch, but fumble in the dark until I reach the zipper. I stick my head out far enough to judge what could be making this bizarre swish. At the end of our pool, I can see the outline of three enormous grey shapes, quenching their thirst. We had been told that the elephants would be drinking from our pool at some stage due to the scarcity of water in the area. They had been to every single pool at The Lodge, except ours. Urban legend, I was starting to believe. Until now. On our last night.

Let me start at the beginning. When I first set foot in Africa, I made a promise that one day, I will bring my daughter along to experience the magic it has to offer. Finally, with meticulous planning, we are on our way to Cape Town International Airport to board our direct Airlink flight to Maun International Airport in Botswana. The airport bus delivers us right next to the Airlink Avro RJ85, gleaming in the sunlight. With a marked increase in the capacity of travelers to Botswana, Airlink has expanded its reach into Maun from 4 June 2018 by means of a larger aircraft, the 83-seater Avro RJ85, thus replacing the smaller Embraers to supply the demand for more visitors to Maun. Seated next to the window, we soon wave Cape Town adieu, but not before being flown over the iconic Table Mountain and Robben Island. Two hours and 30 minutes later, the caption announces our descent into Maun and the sprawling landscape stretches as far as the eye can see. My daughter takes in everything as she steps off the plane – the sweltering heat, the friendly customs

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and immigration official and the unexpected sign-board from Helicopter Horizons with our name on it! We are going by helicopter, and I’m not sure who’s more thrilled! Helicopter Horizons pilot Sam Brady meets us at the green Robinson R44 Raven II. With our luggage loaded and a safety briefing completed, I turn to my daughter to ask her where she would like to sit. “Front seat please,” she replies. With only four passengers, including the captain, every seat has an incredible view. Much to my daughter’s delight, Sam announces that she is his ‘co-pilot’ for the flight, explaining the inner workings of the helicopter. Fifty minutes later, we land at the Feline Fields airstrip, welcomed by our guide Oyapo Gotshajwang with a cool towel and refreshing homemade gingerbeer. We are shown to our magnificent pool suite, which is what owners Raphaël del Sarte and Marjan Blom call home when they have the opportunity to visit the Kalahari. When Paris-born Raphaël and Dutch-born Marjan put their collective financial and events organization backgrounds on the back burner, a love for traveling was sparked and having visited some of the most beautiful places on earth, they garnered inspiration for The Lodge at Feline Fields along the way. “We initially didn’t conceptualize a lodge, but rather wanted to do something meaningful with the money we had at that moment, envisioning a conservation or community project in Africa”, Marjan recalls. After seeing the film Out of Africa a few dozen times, the couple dreamt of Africa, but their path didn’t lead them here straight away. “Our searches took us through Argentina, South Africa, India and Namibia and eventually, we ended up in Botswana. We immediately fell 52 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019

in love with the dusty, quiet country”, says Marjan. Having visited a few safari lodges in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Raphaël and Marjan wanted to create something unique and different, scouting places off the beaten track, essentially opening up the ‘forgotten’ places in Botswana, which also have a lot to offer. Their search lead them to the Kalahari, where the remoteness and pristine area particularly resonated with them. “There is no-one here, only the Bushmen and the astonishing nature, changing with the seasons.” It is evident that the owners took every single aspect of luxury into account when constructing The Lodge at Feline Fields. Think an elevated King size four-poster bed with the softest bedding, draped in mosquito netting, a ceiling fan for those hot summer days, a lounge area with a daybed sofa and coffee table, an enormous bathroom with a free-standing bath and shower where you can enjoy the vistas over the Kalahari from every vantage point. That’s not all. There is an upstairs deck where you can lounge around and if you want to, sleep out here at night taking in the nocturnal sights and sounds of the Kalahari. And then there is the very large swimming pool, perfect for respite from the heat, or to slake an elephant’s thirst. After a restful afternoon, we walk back to the main area to enjoy our dinner. We are escorted by Oyapo as there could be leopards or hyenas lurking in the darkness. With the expert culinary skills of chef Paulina Tjetjoo, we dine on freshly baked rolls, perfectly prepared beef fillet with potato bake, broccoli and carrots and conclude our meal with fresh fruit salad, all attentively served by Pedzani Kaisara.

The Bushmen experience is insightful, and we are shown how they hunt, forage for food and how they find water. We attend their trance dance in the evening which is an indigenous ritual practiced where the women and children sit around the fire while the healers dance. Time at leisure is imperative at The Lodge at Feline Fields and should you wish to do nothing at all but relax, this is the place to do that. If you want to get active, you can enjoy horse riding, play tennis, go to the gym or swim lengths in the lap pool at the main area. The project started from scratch, Marjan remembers, combined with a bit of ignorance and a touch of madness. With the design acumen of architect and interior designer, Alwyn Petersen, Raphaël and Marjan were struck by his professionalism and creativity. “Alwyn blew us away with his presentation and he had just the right amount of craziness to see this project through,” Marjan laughs. “We met him when our kids were still young, and they liked him straight away, which is always a good sign.”


Q&A WITH THE LODGE AT FELINE FIELDS ARCHITECT AND INTERIOR DESIGNER, ALWYN PETERSEN Alwyn, what is your design philosophy? While designing requires an abundance of analytical thinking, there can be no intellectual approach to design, our experience of life is not academic, it is visceral, as Frank Lloyd Wright said: “A great architect is not made by way of a brain nearly so much as he is made by way of a cultivated, enriched heart”. I am also entertained by Salvador Dali’s naturally surreal take on architecture, he famously said “Architecture should be soft and furry.” What was the brief given by your client? To strive to create buildings and experiences that meet the needs of intended audience. Address the guests’ needs, pain points, behaviors and expectations. Comfort is the ultimate luxury. Use an organic approach with a modern slant. Quality, quality, quality. What challenges did you face with the Feline Fields project and how did you overcome them? This project’s remote location, and also the extremely aggressive environment presented dizzying challenges in the construction phase. We overcame them all and laughed till tears rolled down our cheeks. But as Marjan remarked from her little dome tent under an acacia tree one evening: “This is like building the pyramids all over again.”

HOW TO GET THERE Airlink is a privately owned airline business. The Regional Feeder Airline offers a wide network of regional and domestic flights within southern Africa and operates as a franchisee to SAA Route Specific Information: Direct scheduled flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town to Maun, Botswana. Connectivity: Through our alliance with SAA travelers can connect conveniently with SAA, their Partner airlines and other carriers throughout Southern Africa and the world. Frequent Flyer Programme: Airlink is a member of South African Airways (SAA) Loyalty programme -Voyager. Website: Flight Bookings:  online, booking agent or SAA Central Reservations  +27 11 978 1111. TRAVEL TIPS: - Malaria precautions are required for travel to Botswana; speak to your healthcare practitioner about prophylactics. - Visas are required for travel to Botswana. - Botswana’s currency is the Pula. US Dollars, MasterCard and Visa are accepted as means of payment.

You’ve built a wonderful rapport with the owners of Feline Fields. How did you manage to incorporate and merge your taste in design and furnishings as well as theirs in a respectful way? So easy. When I went for our first meeting with no idea whom I’ll be meeting with, I spotted them across the room immediately and knew I could work with them. Their understated elegance stood out, and is pervasive in the design of the project today. And Marjan’s kindness, evident once we started talking, eased the project’s gestation all along too. What issues or considerations are important to you in a building project? Respect the site, and act on all of its suggestions. It’s an architect’s best friend. How important is it to be green / sustainable in your designs? How can you in this day and age not be mindful of that? You are also responsible for the wonderful interiors at Feline Fields. Talk us through your choices of furnishings etc? Marjan helped a lot with this, she once dragged a pair of fold-up chairs she found somewhere, airplane to airplane, all the way from Moscow to Maun. I guess the Charles Rennie Mackintosh dining furniture is a good example of the interiors being consistent with the design brief – by definition modern, executed with restraint and economy of means, the organic open-pore staining of the natural wood. Or look at the Eames Pallisander chair in the library – have you ever seen something as quintessentially modern, while still organic? The cowhide one in the bar is even soft and furry! Dali would approve. Thank you to Rebecca Thomas, Sarah Maxwell and Hannah Sharratt from The Dovetail Agency for our Feline Fields and helicopter arrangements. A big thank you to Marjan and Raphaël for allowing us into your home and to the inimitable Alwyn, thank you for your wonderful company and munificent sense of humor. Views expressed are the author’s own. 53 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019


Fresh out of ideas for that promised romantic getaway? No more skulking away from planning the trip of your dreams; Upscale Living Magazine has hand-picked the most romantic island destinations in the world. All you have to do is pick one!



For couples looking to really spoil their other half for an unforgettable romantic island getaway, look no further than the newly discovered, untouched Bawah Reserve in the Anambas Islands, Indonesia. Accessible only by seaplane, Bawah Reserve is an off-the-beaten track group of six tropical islands surrounded by the sparkling South China Sea in the Riau Archipelago between Malaysia and Borneo. Offering the ultimate picture-perfect escape, the stunning eco-resort combines high-end design with sustainability, adventure and a ‘back-to-nature’ concept. Couples looking to disconnect and discover island living, can stay in one of the 35 private villas and choose between indoor/outdoor tented beach suites or overwater bungalows. For those preferring an active getaway as opposed to a leisurely one, daily activities are arranged by a dedicated host and include paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing and boat trips as well as star gazing, bird watching and hiking a range of different nature trails through the surrounding jungle.


Perched on the high cliffs of Italy’s Amalfi Coast, Casa Angelina offers a sublime mix of modern minimalism on the Mediterranean, with elegant simplicity and first-rate food at its core. The 40-room boutique hotel serves as an airy refuge where guests can relive the neglected utopia of long, drawn-out days and splendid, lingering evenings. With a design ethos of understated chic and subtle details, everything at Casa Angelina is as immaculate as the sea views enjoyed from each and every room. The white-onwhite palette accentuates the contemporary artworks on display inside with added emphasis on the Mediterranean hues and sky blues outside. Comfort is essential, from the pillowy white Etro cotton sheets dressing your bed, right down to the carefully prepared cuisine enjoyed at Un Piano Nel Cielo Restaurant with unsurpassed views across the waters to Positano and the Isle of Capri.

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AZURA QUILALEA PRIVATE ISLAND Quirimbas Archipelago,Mozambique

as ever a destination in the world to be marooned, Azura Quilalea Private Island is the place to be. The tropical climate of the pristine Quirimbas Archipelago ensures that the island is blissfully balmy all year round and the temperature of the water is warm enough to warrant an array of activities, from snorkeling to diving off the immaculate house reef to going scuba diving. The Villas are designed with spaciousness and luxury in mind, guaranteeing the utmost in privacy and tranquility. Modern conveniences abound, whilst maintaining a light footprint, with the guest at the helm. Treading softly and being eco-conscious, guests favor the option to rather leave their villa doors open to let in the welcoming island breeze. Stepping outside on to your own private beach, the only disturbance you may encounter is a hermit crab, finding its burrow along the powdery which sand.


Tucked behind a private gate with no sign, couples at Jamaica’s GoldenEye will feel as though they’re on their own private island. For decades, GoldenEye played host to the glitterati and literati – writers, musicians and heads of state. Today, the hotel is owned by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, who made Bob Marley and U2 household names. You know you’re in the company of greatness when you’ve learnt that Sting wrote his hit song and the theme song to the GoldenEye film ‘Every Breath You Take’ while staying here. In addition to Fleming’s five-bedroom villa, GoldenEye offers a collection of cottages, some which open directly onto the sand or lagoon. Couples can enjoy private cocktails at Firefly, the former hilltop home of the famous English playwright, Noel Coward. Rumored to be Captain Morgan’s look out, Firefly offers one of the best views of the sunset over the Caribbean.

57 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019 www.upscalelivingmag.co57



Esteemed guests seeking to live their holiday dreams to the fullest are welcome to stay at the Dream Villa at Grand Resort Lagonissi to awake to the lavish side of living and enjoy a romantic getaway beyond their expectations. Evoking an ambiance of blissful romance and unpretentious refinement, the villa features a beautifully appointed master bedroom with an adjustable glass ceiling, remote controlled mattresses, a lavish living room with chic décor, extensive closet space, a large dressing area, a fireplace, a home cinema and designer’s furnishings. The Dream Vila is completed with a fully equipped kitchenette, a business center, a private parking area and a full marble bathroom with glass shower or steam bath cabin, a fully equipped gym area, a mini TV set and luxury toiletries. To further enhance the holistic holiday experience, the villa offers a wooden terrace with an expansive lounge area with a lush garden and a marvelous hydra massage heated pool.


On the sunset side of Mauritius, LUX* Le Morne is positioned at the very edge of the Indian Ocean and sheltered from trade winds by the craggy Le Morne Peninsula. This luxury, isolated retreat is set within delightfully landscaped gardens, with four pools, a spa and a selection of restaurants and bars, offering guests plentiful opportunities to sample delicious New and Old World wines and a variety of islandinspired dishes. Situated on the quieter fringes of the island, LUX* Le Morne enchants with its magnificent beach and sunset views, secluded seating areas and elegant, romantic ambience, making is a favorite destination for honeymooners. LUX* Le Morne is located within the natural habitat of wild dolphins, and guests can watch them swim or even take to the water alongside them. With pleasant surprises at every turn, you’ll get the sense that anything really is possible here.

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The magic of MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa awaits in your very own private peninsula in the Seychelles, an Indian Ocean jewel located on the lush green island of MahĂŠ on a beach called Anse Louis, where transparent turquoise sea and untouched sand meets your gaze. Perched amongst the granite rocks and perfumed foliage that are unique Seychelles, are 30 private villas, each with sweeping views. The 30 secluded villas of MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa are each imbued with a characteristic calm ambience, and each offers a unique vantage point towards the ocean. Guests can choose between the MAIA Signature Villas, dotted along the MAIA peninsula or Ocean Panoramic Villas, situated on a hillcrest. You can be assured of the best of everything as your choice comes complete with a personalized and intuitive service of a dedicated butler. Experience further excellence with the defined philosophy of Whatever, Wherever, Whenever dining and experiences that go Beyond All inclusive.


Milaidhoo Island Maldives offers reinvented luxury and spacious outdoor living epitomizing the true contemporary Maldives, with understated and sophisticated luxury, this 5-star boutique resort spans 13 acres with its design and concept that is proudly rooted in Maldivian culture. Set in Baa Atoll’s beautiful UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, this secluded, spectacular island retreat is accessible by seaplane from Maldives International Airport. Stylish, intimate and natural, guests know they truly belong at Milaidhoo Island Maldives, where seclusion and luxury meet. The villas instantly make you feel at home and whether you opt to stay in any of the four accommodation choices, each is spacious and filled with light, outdoor living being one of the best parts of a stay here. Your villa opens up 180-degrees to allow the natural beauty of the Maldives inside. Indoors all around you are striking Maldivian elements, art pieces and contemporary custom-made furnishings thoughtfully designed for your absolute comfort.

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SONEVA KIRI Koh Kood, Thailand

Award-winning luxury resort Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood, just one hour by private plane south-east of Bangkok. It offers an unrivalled combination of luxury, an integral environmental approach, authentic Thai experiences, mouth-watering organic food, encircled by lush, tropical rainforest and white sand beaches. Soneva Kiri Resort comprises of 34 vast pool villas on beach level, hillsides or cliff tops, all overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. Available to rent or purchase, all have incredibly chic furnishings, personal electric buggies and impeccable service courtesy of Mr / Mrs Friday private butlers. Highlights include the open-air Cinema Paradiso, a home-made chocolate and ice-cream parlor, a high-tech observatory, a manta ray shaped children’s Den and the spectacular Treetop Dining Pod. Soneva Kiri is surrounded by untamed jungle and local fishermen going about their business, Koh Kood is an unspoiled island far beyond Thailand’s tourist trail.

song saa private island koh rong archipelago, cambodia

Song Saa Private Island is a heaven of sustainable luxury, nestled in the undiscovered beauty of Cambodia’s Koh Rong Archipelago. With unique cuisine and stunning sunset views of the Gulf of Thailand, and an array of spa and wellness treatments, Song Saa offers the ultimate indulgence for mind, body and soul. Best of all, their commitment to environmental and community programs means you’ll be treading lightly on this special piece of paradise. Harmony, sustainability and barefoot luxury are the core principles that underprint the design of Song Saa which include energy efficient thatched roofing, sandstone reclaimed from the Villa foundation, recycled timber from disused fishing boats, furniture made from driftwood collected from local beaches and coves, and floors made from timbers salvaged from old factories, warehouses and demolition yards around Cambodia and Thailand. This is complemented by bespoke handcrafted furniture made by local artisans.

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The private island of Tagomago is one of the most exclusive and intimate hideaways in the Mediterranean. Located off the North coast of Ibiza, the island is accessed by private speedboat or helicopter and is the only private island available to rent in Ibiza. Tagomago offers guests a unique private destination experience with one sensational fivebedroom villa, designed to the highest standards, located in the center of the island. The perfect base for a long weekend or longer stay in Ibiza, the 148-acre island is surrounded by clear turquoise waters and is a home to a private villa and historic lighthouse dating back to 1909. The island was originally owned by German royalty and following an extensive renovation in 2014, now offers the perfect getaway for groups of friends or families seeking the utmost privacy and complete luxury in one of the Mediterranean’s most idyllic and in demand locations.


American actor and film director Marlon Brando wanted to share the legendary beauty of Tetiaroa Private Island and his desire to preserve this breathtakingly beautiful site is evident in The Brando. The resort was inspired by this vision of creating a venture of sustainable development. With innovative technologies and a commitment to conservation, The Brando provides a self-sustaining luxury environment for resort guests and scientific research. Self-sufficient, far from the world, surrounded by a halo of white sand, the resort’s 35 villas all have a private swimming pool opening onto a jade-colored lagoon. In every room, broad picture windows offer sublime view of the tropical vegetation. A paradisiacal sense of space. Basking under the traditional roofs of woven pandanus leaves, sunlight filtering through the shutters while the trade winds flow gently across the wood floors. Here, at The Brando, the sense of the eternal is perhaps the island’s most precious treasure, an Eden outside of time.

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Time + Tide Miavana offers an escape to a remote island sanctuary in the Indian Ocean, located at the ends of the Earth; somewhere between paradise, a fairytale, and a dream. Taking six years to develop, on a virgin private island, the resort caters for the modern-day explorer; guests looking for an adventure playground where our experts will recommend water and land activities, wildlife experiences, helicopter adventures, underpinned by the uniqueness of Madagascar.  It is quite reasonable to be planning magical dives on unexplored reefs, fishing trips from the beach, from other islands or from boat, wakeboard and waterski at sunrise, kitesurf safaris and adventure caving through the mountains with helicopters in pursuit. In addition, there is a fascinating arm to the organization in the Time + Tide Foundation – the most recent project being our successful lemur translocation, where the population has increased with the birth of three new lemur pups in October 2018.


VOMO is a majestic luxury private island resort set on one of the most stunning islands in the Fiji group, boasting long white sand beaches, surrounded by pristine waters, ideal for snorkeling safaris, outstanding PADI diving, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming. This expansive 255-acre island is just 15 minutes by helicopter from Nadi International Airport or just over one hour by boat from Denarau Marina.  VOMO is home to just 28 chic newly refurbished airconditioned villas and 4 stunning three- or four-bedroom air-conditioned private residences, exuding natural glamour and relaxed refinement with outstanding Fijian hospitality and 5-star cuisine. Enjoy sunset cocktails at the iconic Rocks Bar overlooking the tiny island of Vomo Lai Lai, where civilization is just a radio call away, before dining at one of two exceptional restaurants dishing up an eclectic gourmet selection with Pan Asian and European influences on daily changing menus. VOMO takes bespoke luxury island holidays to a new level, where the service is always personal.

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“Flying at a Different Level� MACK AIR is a fixed-wing charter company operating from Maun International Airport in northern Botswana.

Our services include: Game lodge and camp transfers for tourists | | Medical evacuations as and when needed | Private and business charter | Scenic flights over the Okavango Delta | Supply runs to and from game lodges



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By JYOTI BALANI Photographs courtesy of Le Meridien Thimpu

After a fabulous time in Paro, I was driven to Thimpu city which is about an hour away from Paro. The drive from Paro to Thimpu is gorgeous with superb sights of the river flowing, snowcapped mountains, stunning scenery with rice paddies cascading down magnificent mountains, the pristine river that flows through the main towns of Paro and Thimphu and unique twostory houses with brightly painted window designs. Bhutan also known as the ‘Land of Dragons’ is a Buddhist Kingdom located in the Himalayas and is not only known for its spectacular monasteries and natural beauty but also for it’s ‘Gross National Happiness’. This makes Bhutan not only a unique destination to explore beauty and spirituality but also a place one can slow down and contemplate about life’s priorities.


himphu, the capital city of Bhutan is the nerve centre of all political, economic, social and cultural activities in the country. With a population of just over 100,000, Thimphu is the largest city and one of the most important tourist destinations in the country. It is an hour away from the Paro International Airport and connected by road from all parts of the country. Le Meridien Thimpu is set in a central location with the city’s various attractions just a few minutes away. Those who enjoy visiting Buddhist shrines can go to the Memorial Chorten, the Changangkha and Phajoding monasteries. This dynamic city is a good mix of temples, markets, cafés, mountain passes and monuments.

Deepraj Mukherjee, General Manager Le Meridien Thimpu said, “Centrally located in the heart of Thimphu City, the capital of this magnificent Himalayan Kingdom, our hotel is at a walking distance from all the cultural points in the city and local shopping alleys. Le Meridien Thimpu is a modern hotel with traditional Bhutanese touches and architecture. We also have the highest room inventory in the country with the largest Ball Room and the hotel is popular owing to it’s various food and beverage offerings.” Le Meridien Thimphu has a beautifully designed lobby where one can spend hours just admiring the unique design. I had an immensely pleasant

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interaction with Digvijay Singh, Director of Sales, Le Meridien Thimpu and Drukair Royal Bhutan Airline’s Assistant Marketing Officer Tenzin Tsheltrim during which he told me about the concept of Drukair Holidays. The hotel’s 78 guest rooms are thoughtfully planned and include nine expansive top-floor suites that incorporate different cultural reference points. The signature LM BED, High Speed Internet Access and dramatic views of the Eastern Himalayas or city of Thimphu ensure that every guest has a fantastic experience in the hotel. It was a delight to be hosted in the Royal Suite which is a combination of modern design with traditional elements. As I entered the suite, the sight of welcome amenities was a pleasant one. I had lunch with Pema Denkar, the hotel’s Marketing & Communication Specialist in the Pan Asian restaurant called Sese Shamu. In the evening I went to experience Explore Spa for a relaxing massage. One of the largest spas in the city, the Explore Spa at Le Meridien Thimphu is just the perfect place to explore intriguing traditions, transformative therapies and holistic experiences. The spa is a great combination of iconic mountain and city views, soft music of tingsha bells used in Tibetan Buddhist prayer rituals and a space that energizes guests. After a relaxing spa treatment, I decided to visit Latest Recipe for dinner and was delightfully surprised to see a romantic dinner set up in the alfresco area of Latest Recipe. Sous Chef Anoop Trivedi created a Bhutanese platter for me and introduced me to the local Bhutanese buttered tea and the local rice wine. During my stay the talented Chef also created a delicious elaborate Indian thaali for me at lunch. The hotel organized for me to visit and eat at a local restaurant called the Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant to get a taste of the authentic Bhutanese food. I visited Latitude 27 for a drink in the evening; this venue is a café retreat by day and chic lounge bar by night. Le Méridien Thimphu features the versatile Tsho Khang Grand Ballroom, the largest in any hotel in Bhutan at 382sqm along with a smaller meeting room. The hotel also features a dedicated driveway, the only one of its kind, direct to the ballroom and perfect for a grand entrance for any social occasion. While in Thimpu, those who enjoy sightseeing must visit the Buddha Dordenma, a massive bronze statue of the Buddha. The Buddha Dordenma is an iconic monument complex in Thimphu on a mountainside overlooking the city of Thimphu. Visible from any part of the city, the statue is situated amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of Sherab Wangchuck, the thirteenth Desi Druk, who ruled the country from 1744 to 1763. It is one of the largest Buddha Rupas (or statues) in the world, at a height of 169 feet. From the base of the statue, tourists and locals alike enjoy sweeping views of the city nestled in the valley below. The monument complex is part of a greater whole, and also includes the Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park, a 943 acre forest preserve inaugurated in 2011 to preserve the forests surrounding the statue. 66 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019

Another locale worth visiting while in Thimpu is the Dochula Pass located approximately 25 kilometers from the capital city of Thimphu. Dochula Pass is located 3150 metres above sea-level along the highway to the Punakha Dzongkhag. The Pass overlooks the northern-eastern territories of Bhutan and on a clear day offers views of the northern mountain ranges bordering the Tibetan plateau. In 2003, the Queen Mother of the 05th King of Bhutan approved the construction of 108 chortens, to honor the Bhutanese soldiers who were killed in the fight to expel a rogue group of rebels. While on my way back to India, I traveled by Drukair Royal Bhutan Airlines and experienced their superb business class facilities. Drukair Royal Bhutan Airlines - the national airline of the Kingdom of Bhutan operates a modest scheduled flight network within
the South Asian region from its headquarters in Paro, a picturesque valley in western Bhutan. Everything from the seats to the service to the food was superior in quality and I had a fabulous time on the two hour flight to Delhi. Drukair operates direct flights from Kolkata and Delhi to Paro International Airport and began operations on February 11, 1983, from Paro, a picturesque valley in western Bhutan, a 65 km drive away from the capital, Thimphu. At that time, Paro had a little airstrip servicing helicopter operations. Drukair began humbly with an 18seat Dornier 228-200 that made its historic touch down at Paro airport on January 14, 1983, to the chant of inauguration prayers, cymbals, conches, with maroon-clad monks blessing the occasion and the plane. The first link was Kolkata, followed by six destinations in South Asia, including Bangkok.




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By Heléne Ramackers Photographs courtesy of Grootbos Private Reserve and by Heléne Ramackers

Deep in the heart of Cape Town’s Floral Kingdom lies the incredibly pristine Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. With wraparound views and the most delicious cuisine, this is nature in the lap of luxury. Dedication to luxury, progressive and sustainable tourism makes Grootbos Private Nature Reserve a force to be reckoned with. When the Lutzeyer family first laid eyes on a small farm nestled in the fynbos and fronted by Walker Bay in 1991, they set the wheels in motion to initialize something that is so extraordinary today that it attracts visitors from all over the world. Our arrival on a beautiful Saturday afternoon is met by guide Kelly Loubser who welcomes us in the Grootbos car park. The two-hour drive from Cape Town has left us famished and we are delighted to discover that we have made it in time for lunch. We are ushered through to the veranda by waitress Thandeka where a table for three has been set up. My husband and I order the delicious calamari and fries while our daughter opts for the chicken pops with French fries. Dessert is the melt-in-yourmouth homemade vanilla ice cream for our daughter and I. My husband settles for a frothy cappuccino in the midst of being challenged to a game of

chess by our daughter. She walks away as the champion. After lunch, Kelly shows us to our impressive accommodation for the next two nights, a twobedroom Garden Lodge luxury suite, perfect for families or friends traveling together. The adjoining freestanding suites are set amidst an ancient Milkwood forest and the particular tree outside our bedroom window is reminiscent of a Van Gogh masterpiece. We decide to luxuriate in our exquisite accommodation, foregoing some of the activities on offer; horse riding, fatbiking down the sand dunes and a historical cave tour and instead, enjoy what is at our fingertips – tranquility immersed in the most serene setting. An afternoon spent sitting on our private veranda overlooking Walker Bay is just what we all needed and too soon, it is dinner time. The restaurant at Garden Lodge is beautifully illuminated and the menu is perfectly created to suit every palate. A unique and special footnote on the menu states that ‘if you’d like to taste more than the usual number of

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courses, please ask your waitron for taster-size portions of all your selected dishes’. With the freshest and most organically sourced ingredients, each meal is masterfully crafted. We are all offered amuse-bouche of cauliflower panna cotta with beetroot aioli, followed by a palate cleanser of orange sorbet by waitron team Ziyanda and Dickson. I order the pan-fried prawns main course as a starter portion and my husband tries the crispy duck leg. For main course, my husband and I both decide on the grilled beef fillet with peppercorn sauce while our daughter chooses her favorite – pizza! Why I order dessert is a good question, but I simply cannot resist the ‘passionate about chocolate’ conclusion to my meal – itakuja mousse, azelia aero, passion fruit inspiration ganache & passion fruit ice cream. After dinner, we take a leisurely stroll back to our suite. Structured from stone, thatch and timber, the inviting interiors are reflective of international trends, combined with African warmth. Our anticipatory excursion the following morning makes us turn in early, but not before enjoying a cleansing shower with the Grootbos Just Pure fynbos shower products. The elevated bed is covered in the softest white cotton bedding and the 100% down duvet ensures that slumber comes easily. Kelly meets us in reception after our delicious breakfast to drive us to Dyer Island Cruises in Gansbaai. Marine guide, Jax Bath, presents an introduction and safety briefing, after which we depart with the rest of the group to board the vessel Dreamcatcher in search of the Marine Big 72 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2019

Five. First up, we pass the Marine Dynamics boat where people are shark cage diving, spotting a few copper sharks coming in for a feed. Our next sighting can only be described as a once-in-a-lifetime viewing – a southern right whale half-brindle mom with her brindle calf. The captain turns off the boat’s engines, and mom and baby playfully approach, leaving us all breathless with wonder. On our way to Geyser Rock, where a large colony of seals reside, a juvenile penguin is swimming alongside the boat. Back on terra firma, we depart to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary where injured, oiled or distressed penguins and birds are cared for. These cute critters have a great chance of being reintroduced back into the wild where they belong. The fresh sea air has taken its toll and as we head back to Grootbos, we realize that a delicious lunch will be waiting for us. Just like the well-thought-out activities, superb accommodation, delectable food, jaw-dropping views and miniscule attention to detail, you can expect the 5-star way of life at Grootbos. Views expressed are the author’s own. Thank you to Gillian Gernetzky from Nicky Arthur PR for arranging our stay and for Grootbos Private Nature Reserve for hosting us.


WHAT’S NEW “Bringing you the finest places around the world is what we love to do here at Upscale Living magazine. In keeping with this tradition, we are focusing on introducing you to new kids on the block or accommodation establishments with a relooked lease on life. Grab your travel diary as you want to get to these places as soon as possible!”


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Following a multi-milliondollar renovation, Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa has been infused with an innovative approach to wellness and design, creating the perfect destination for travelers seeking to maintain their health and well-being while on vacation. Overlooking Sausalito’s boat-filled harbor on Richardson’s Bay, this Victorian inspired hotel offers peace and serenity. With a newly designed lobby, an inspiring space was created that encourages guests to lounge longer, even those with business needs now have ample space. Led by California-based integrated design studio SALT + BONES, they drew inspiration from the sea, including the materials of luxury yachts, incorporating standout pieces comprised 76 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2018

of sand and salt. This is evident in The Ridge Table and Drift Mirror, both designed by Fernando Mastrangelo. This is the second renovation for Casa Madrona in the last seven years, which focused on the newly constructed modern lobby with a 20-foot stone wall and co-working space, the spa with three bright treatment rooms, a dedicated Wellness courtyard with a 62-inch television featuring FitnessOn-Demand workouts, and nine dedicated Wellness Guest Rooms, with tech forward amenities. General Manager of the property, Carmen Cruz, wanted to go beyond traditional physical fitness and nutrition and with a personal passion for holistic health, she achieved this when planning the Casa

Wellness Experience. “My vision was to embrace the constant evolution of our hotel and to speak to the essence of our brand: creativity, innovation, uniqueness and impeccable service. At Casa, we are always looking to redefine the ultimate luxury experience.” Casa Madrona will give guests a glance into the future by introducing a sleep fitness program leveraging innovative technology and personal biometrics through the use of Eight Sleep Smart Bed. Guests will be able to achieve maximum performance on their most fundamental wellbeing need, sleep, their peak energy levels and performance will be restored. https://www.casamadrona. com



Dorchester Collection’s Milanese property, Hotel Principe di Savoia, has renovated the hotel’s event spaces, creating a wonderful transformation, complete with state-of the-art technology. The banqueting rooms at Hotel Principe di Savoia have been redesigned with new fabrics, colors and technology, all the while maintaining the timeless elegance for which the hotel is renowned. Milanese interior design studio, Architetture & Interni, oversaw the project. With lighter curtains and removal of the wooden paneling, the event spaces have been transformed with increased natural light shining into the rooms. The restoration combined light creams, beiges and golds to create a magical space ideal for corporate, leisure and social events.

Having welcomed a variety of glamorous events – including celebrity birthday parties where the hosts arrived by horse-drawn carriage, high profile charity dinners and beautifully decorated ceremonies – the new event spaces at Hotel Principe di Savoia will continue to showcase the inspired creativity of the hotel’s team. Studio Architetture & Interni is a Milan based architect and interior design studio with over 15 years of experience in luxury business. The design company covers all property construction, ranging from hotels, private apartments and villas to restaurants, lounges, showrooms and exclusive boutiques. With roots in Italy, the company understands the true value of Italian handcraft, and partners with a variety

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of companies who produce exceptional items for interiors. Each project is unique, tailor-made, and Studio AI follow the production process from start to finish, ensuring the best result for the client every time. Dorchester Collection is a portfolio of the world’s foremost luxury hotels in Europe and the US, each of which reflects the distinctive culture of its destination. By applying its unrivalled experience and capability in owning and operating some of the greatest individual hotels, the company’s mission is to develop an impeccable group of the finest landmark hotels.



Open to all wildlife enthusiasts, The Jackal & Hide, previously known as Pangolin Khwai Camp, will combine animal sightings and offer photographic safaris for professional and amateur photographers alike. A resident photo guide is also able to be booked on request.

Apart from the incredible sightings here, Khwai Private Reserve is one of the most well-managed private concessions in the area with very few people and vehicles around. A true wilderness experience is part and parcel of a safari at The Jackal & Hide.

Situated in the pristine 500,000 acres of wilderness that is Khwai Private Reserve in the Greater Okavango Delta region, it is home to some of the most famous and iconic game-viewing areas on the African continent.

The most impressive wildlife spectacle in Khwai Private Reserve showcases characters that inhabit the wetlands and rivers – hippos and crocodiles. On dry land, the favored big cats lurk along treelines and sometimes make a dash right through camp.

Vast floodplains and sprawling grasslands meet patches of forested enclaves, and through it all runs an intricate network of channels with lily-filled waterways, making the landscape as unique as the Delta in which it lies. 78 Upscale Living Magazine | FEBRUARY 2018

Add to that sable, roan, impala and kudu dotting the grasslands alongside giraffe and zebra, while an abundance of elephant and buffalo graze to their heart’s content.

The birdlife is a twitcher’s dream, imagine giant eagles and the colorful display of the lilac breasted roller. For those guests fortunate enough to see jackals, African wild dogs, serval cats, honey badgers and the elusive pangolin, there will be a few ticks off the bucket list. With only 8 Meru-style tents, guests can expect a relaxed and carefree atmosphere. Each room offers a cozy retreat from the elements with large King-sized beds, writing desks, cool ensuite bathrooms and private verandahs. https://naturalselection. travel/camps/the-jackal-hide/


ANYWHERE & EVERYWHERE w w w. up s c a l el i v i n g m a g . c o m 786.760.9133




A FANCY FORK in the ROAD Upscale Living Magazine Wines, Dines and Slumbers in Hartford Connecticut



Hartford resident Mark Twain once said about his town: “Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see, this is the chief … You do not know what beauty is if you have not been here.” For these featured chefs and their restaurants, both housed in fabulous boutique hotels, the beauty is indeed found here in the abundance of local color and ingredients and of course, on their menus....

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pened in the spring of 2018, this signature Spanish style dining spot is located in the Goodwin Hotel. Helmed by celebrity Chef Tyler Anderson and his loyal professional team, Restaurant Porrón brings local fare to a globally-inspired menu which features a Ham Bar and a Wine Tasting Room making for an authentic Spanish dining experience, while maintaining the traditions of New England. The Ham Bar features an assortment of ham with such tasty choices as Ibérico de Bellota (Spain), Benton’s Smoked Ham (Kentucky) and Coppa (Italy) among others. Skewer of octopus, pickled peppers and onion, smoked duck legs with a sherry glaze and spiced yogurt introduces exotic flavors and for a heartier appetite, a full sized course such as the delicious grilled quail with chimichurri hits the spot. The Wine Tasting Room boasts an Iberian-style tiled floor with ceiling-high shelving wines

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from around the world. Together, the Ham Bar, the Wine Room and extensive and creative Tapas-style menu all lend to sharing, tasting and relaxing making for not just a delicious meal but a dining destination experience. The professional servers and their team enhance your dining pleasure with great suggestions offered, never insisted.

are able to meander from the bar to the dining room, and back again should they desire, enjoying the Spanish-style tapas from Restaurant Porrón just down the hall. Bar Director Tim Cabral has developed an extensive list of classic, modern and Spanish-inspired drinks.


For the quelling of your daytime sweet tooth, Pastry Chef Kristin Eddy has designed an artisan donut menu. Hotel guests and passers-by can stop in for some coffee and a sweet treat as they relax in the circular “library” nook of the restaurant.

This craft cocktail bar pays homage to the iconic history of the Goodwin building starting with the library, which gives a deliberate nod to the publishing hub that the city of Hartford once was to the craft-cocktail menu with its classic twist, at the same time updated by the fun gin-and-tonic selection and other classics, many of the ingredients from local purveyors. Piña which is Spanish for pineapple was a symbol of hospitality in colonial America. Visitors



CELEBRITY CHEF TYLER ANDERSON Nationally renowned Chef Tyler Anderson has been nominated for The Best Chef Northeast


award from The James Beard Foundation for the past five years. A former TOP CHEF contestant from Season 15 of Bravo’s hit show; he has also appeared on several Food Network shows. Chef was just 16 years old when he discovered his affinity with food preparation in restaurant kitchens. Each experience helped him develop his culinary skills, his palate and his seasoned signature style. Anderson is embracing what many poo pooed – appreciating the magic in maintaining Hartford’s character in the name of revitalization. His concepts and menus are fresh and unique while he manages to maintain tradition. When asked what his favorite spice is, he responds “fennel pollen”. I believe that this says it all!

THE GOODWIN HOTEL: The Goodwin was originally developed in 1881, as an upscale apartment building and later converted to a hotel hosting prestigious guests such as J.P. Morgan, who resided at the hotel during visits to his hometown. Today it is touted as an iconic Hartford landmark, with a vibrant urban feel while staying true to elements of its heritage and tradition. The Goodwin is a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel in Hartford, known for its impeccable attention to detail. Its downtown location puts visitors in the heart of Hartford’s very best in shopping, dining, art and culture. 85 Upscale Living Magazine |




Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer


his sublime dining spot located in the Delamar West Hartford hotel captures you visually, even before you have a bite to eat from its menu, with its distinctly rich atmosphere---both easy on the eyes and over the top loaded with history. ARTISAN West Hartford pays tribute to Hartford, expressed through thoughtfully curated decor such as the hallway leading to its dining space, lined with authentic red planks reminiscent of the region’s tobacco farms of yesterday. Add to this a larger than life mural of flowering tobacco fields with not a detail missed, along with a charming countrychic vibe featuring a colorful and fragrant garden/outdoor dining space. Enter the garden and take in the whimsical décor such as Mason jar pendant lights and natural willow branch hanging lanterns strung from the trees, making for a truly enchanting feel of a secluded sanctuary. Breathe in the fresh scent of the restaurant’s herb garden as it mingles with the aroma of

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tasty dishes served; take in the sound of relaxed conversation, along with strains of soft music playing. Enter the main dining room and view the striking hand painted fig mural along the back wall, along with a dark wooden bookcase holding a collection of eighteenth-century Swedish books, brass and glassware. Notice the two-story ceilings, light wide-plank pine flooring and Gustavian furniture, all lending an inviting feel. The pewter Parisian bar top surrounded by 9,000 hand-laid bricks in a herringbone design tie everything together with finesse. Sofas and chairs grouped for casual conversation around the handcrafted traditional Swedish farmhouse tile fireplace create great appeal.

....AND OH, THE CUISINE... The New England-inspired menu is continuously changing and influenced by the four


seasons in capturing New England together with the French heritage of its own Chef Kieffer. For example, the signature Artisan Seafood Chowder is loaded with tasty oysters, clams and shrimp served with freshly baked fennel crackers as opposed to the typical clams and potatoes standard versions. Those little touches here and there give beloved traditional dishes a nip and tuck via unique interpretation, maintaining that which we as diners have come to expect, but taking it notches above the ordinary. Another popular choice on the menu is their signature prime hangar steak served with watercress, shallot sauce and a generous pile of crispy pommes frites in classic bistro mode, but again with a signature twist. Desserts such as their lemon olive oil cake with Maine blueberry compote or perhaps a collection of local artisanal cheese with a perfectly paired glass of wine conclude the meal beautifully.


CHIC AND UNIQUE: For those looking for a more intimate space, the Private Dining Room at Artisan (often referred to as the “Copper Room”), features custom copper string chandeliers suspended from a gold-leaf patina barreled ceiling. Keeping with the 18th century theme throughout Artisan, a Gustavian dining table, grand armoire and roomy chairs with farmhouse upholstery enhance the vibe. An intricate plastering technique that dates back to Roman times adorns the walls. What a memorable dinner party could be had here.

EXECUTIVE CHEF, FREDERIC KIEFFER When you chat with Chef Frederic, you get an immediate sense of his passion and drive, that drives him way beyond his love for food, farming, creating and cooking. Kieffer shares his life history with me, meaningful and impressive from a very young age to the present; and we linger deliberately when we touch upon something of significance and passion. Kieffer grew up in France and attended culinary school there in the late 1980s; first visiting America when he participated in a culinary exchange program with Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Following this, Kieffer

began working in Greenwich, ultimately spending over a decade in restaurants both there and in New York City. He humbly mentions that he was one of three chefs involved in the 1996 reopening of Windows on the World after the first bombing of the World Trade Center. (The restaurant would ultimately be taken down during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001). Chef describes getting” there” Windows of the World) each morning, looking out of those famous windows and spending his mornings “peeking out above the clouds”. This is who he is in essence—the passion and the great losses that followed. As a distinguished chef, he gets to express this through cooking, dining and teaching his staff. “Passion is expressed through making things your own” he explains. He offers the example of his Yankee Pot Roast, steeped in New England tradition as well it should be but instead of using typical cuts of beef, he uses tender beef cheeks. “I remain true to the idea of the classics but with my own approach. As a chef, your dishes need to have a story behind them or they’re just standard versions of the same thing.” Kieffer sources fresh, sustainably grown local ingredients, and is dedicated to highlighting Connecticut-grown produce in his menu. For him Farm-to-Fork isn’t a trend or a

business model; it’s a lifestyle for him and his family.

ABOUT THE DELAMAR WEST HARTFORD: Situated in the heart of the Blue Back Square neighborhood, DELAMAR West Hartford is the area’s newest boutique luxury hotel. Styled with a contemporary take on traditional elegance, this six-floor mid-rise with 114 rooms and suites, features an open plan lobby resplendent with marble, big windows overlooking the lawn, professional displayed artwork, a beautiful piano in the lobby accompanied by a spiraling seat made with 2,500 quarter coins which lends great character. All guests visiting here toast with a complimentary welcome glass of champagne at check in enjoy a lovely breakfast buffet spread; can take advantage of a courtesy vehicle within a 5-mile radius as well as valet parking. With high-speed internet access, access to their fitness center with Peloton bikes, a class at The Yoga Shop and complimentary admission to the New Britain Museum of American Art. The spa invites all to relax and rejuvenate. Not a trick missed.

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Armand De Brignac, Brut Gold en Magnum The first release from Armand de Brignac, the Brut Gold and the most iconic cuvée in the range. Rich with the old world traditions of champagne blending, it is comprised of a trio of vintages from someof the most lauded terroirs in the region, resulting in a prestige cuvée that expresses vibrant fresh fruit character, and layers of complexity. Peach, apricot and red berry aromas are followed by crystalized citrus, orange blossom and hints of brioche. The palate is rich with cherries, exotic fruits and a touch of lemon, vanilla and honey. $750

Kensington Dry Gin A unique gin that is hand-crafted in a 6ft x 4ft shed in Kensington London, there is nothing processed about this gin (not even plumbed water). With a unique process in place, an exceptional Gin has been created that is distinctively balanced, gently spiced, which is warm on the palate and offers a smooth and darjeeling tea finish.45% ABV 70cl. What is in it: Botanicals Darjeeling tea, Bourbon Vanilla pod, Nutmeg and cardamom, Orange and Lemon Peel and fresh thyme. RRP: $63 (https://duckandcrutch.

Henriot Cuvee 38 Magnum 150cl In 2015, the champagne house HENRIOT unveiled one of their greatest creations, Cuvée 38. This cuvée encapsulates the spirit of the Maison, that has passed through the hands of the same family since 1808. This wine is the result of an exceptional project. Its blending process is both complex and unique – 100% chardonnay and 100% grands crus, and available in Magnum bottle size only, and the production is limited to 1000 magnums per year. $684

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The Dalmore King Alexander III whisky Each bottle of The Dalmore is adorned with the iconic Royal 12-pointed stag; a legendary emblem which was gifted to Colin of Kintail, Chief of the Clan Mackenzie in 1263, after he courageously saved the life of King Alexander III from a charging stag. Descendants of the Clan Mackenzie were chosen to take over The Dalmore distillery in 1867, and this outstanding single malt honours their pioneering spirit and brave creativity. €277

Collagin This is the ultimate skin boosting alcoholic beverage on the market. Collagin includes marine collagen proven to hydrate your skin alongside botanicals that have an anti-ageing quality like witch hazel, green tea and grapefruit. This sumptuously smooth and impeccably fragrant Collagin with added collagen is a rich blend of 11 different botanicals and a mix of orange, juniper and earthy liquorice flavours, its unlike any other gin on the market. $44


Morus LXIV Gin Billed as the “World’s Most Valuable Gin, this ultra-premium spirit is produced in very limited quantities. Distilled from the leaves of a single, ancient Mulberry tree (Morus Nigra), a single batch of this magnificent cask-strength (64% ABV) gin takes more than two years to produce. Hand-made porcelain jars are embossed and polished to a diamond Matt finish in distinctive crisp white are perfectly paired with an elegant porcelain stirrup cup. The full flavour is released when a little water is added. A first splash adds aromatic notes to the woody sweetness. A further splash and the intense juniper flavour comes to the fore. 3cl Morus LXIV: $252 | Deluxe edition: $5,058

Tomatin, 50 Year old single malt whisky Distilled on the 24th November 1967, this highly anticipated single malt has just recently been released. The delicious, deep-honey coloured whiskey is sure to be a hit amongst connoisseurs with its explosion of flavours, taking drinkers on a journey for all their senses: Aromas of freshly felled oak in an orchard of apples, pears and plums can be expected. Bursts of exotic tropical fruits and dried apricots, sweetened with flavours of vanilla toffee, crème caramel and flame raisins. Spice and fruits balance perfectly, providing a luxurious and velvety finish. $12,647



AEN Cask No 2 – Despina The most precious METAXA blends have always been selected by the Masters and kept in the cellars of the House in oak casks. These few, treasured casks, known as “The Family of Original Casks”, are part of the House’s legacy. To honour the House’s legacy in 2018, the Metaxa Master has released special decanters of his most precious elixir - AEN Cask No 2 – Despina. Inside are rare blends that Nature has offered, Man has selected and Time has perfected, celebrating the essence of the heart of Metaxa in its purest form. $2,150

Dom Perignon. Vintage 2009 Distinguished by its depth of flavour and aromatic persistence, the 2009 captures the unique qualities of the year in which it was born while staying true to Dom Pérignon’s signature characteristics. Winemakers had to overcome many obstacles and take risks on their way to encouraging the chardonnay and pinot noir grapes of the 2009 harvest to reach their fullest expression. A harsh winter was followed by a mild and rainy spring, and inclement weather in July raised fears for the grapes’ health. A perfect August, however, helped the fruits to emerge magnificently mature and healthy. $177

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urostar have included a new direct train service from London St Pancras to Amsterdam, making it easily accessible for day trips, or long weekends. You can be in Amsterdam in just a little under four hours. A newly furbished first class departure lounge with its award winning bar, makes the start to the journey as easy and as luxurious as possible. On-board meals are created by Michelinstarred Chef Raymond Blanc OBE, ensuring that you will not arrive in Amsterdam hungry. It was a delectable way to kick-start our Foodie inspired long weekend. Amsterdam is trying to change its stereotypical image of being famous for its red light district, and renowned restaurateurs are bringing a cutting edge to Amsterdam’s culinary scene to make sure that happens. A massive draw to the city is the MOMO restaurant, the brainchild of creative Israeli entrepreneurs Yossi Eliyahoo and Liran Wizman who have been instrumental in changing the conversation for over a decade. Yossi and Liran are the dynamic duo behind the Entourage Group, a collection of high end restaurants which were first launched in Amsterdam in 2008. MOMO, the Asian fusion restaurant, was the first of the group to be to have its inaugural debut, and MOMO Amsterdam is the flagship restaurant. Located in Fashion & Museum district,

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MOMO attracts a cosmopolitan, fashionable crowd and there is a real buzz about the venue. This Asian-fusion restaurant is well established thanks to its ten year history and is the go-to venue for international and local tastemakers. Baranowitz and Kronenberg Architects were engaged to create a distinctive unique interior. The talking point being the 360 degree bar around which all the hive activity takes place. Another focal point is the open plan kitchen which enables you to watch the busy chefs at work. Be ready to share as the ethos at MOMO is all about sharing. Traditionally Asian culture encourages sharing, ordering individual dishes is generally frowned upon. MOMO’s extensive menus reflect this sharing culture in a fine dining restaurant. Head chef is the renowned, Indian born, Hariprasad Shetty, fondly referred to as Hari, he combines his love of Asian food with a western twist. His signature Salmon Aburi nigiri sushi with tomato seeds is an outstanding dish. Hari, previously head chef of Nobu on London’s Park Lane designed a menu which includes classics with a modern twist and also dishes unique to MOMO. Peru also has a presence on the menu, and Hari serves up his take on ceviche and tiradito ceviche which is a Central and South


American speciality. Seafood is marinated in lime and lemon juice with olive oil and spices and served as an appetizer. Tiradito is the younger brother of ceviche, and shows more distinctively the influence that Japanese chefs have had on Peru’s seafood cuisine. Considering he was Head Chef at Nobu this makes sense as it was Chef Nobu Matsuhisa who first pioneered the combination of Japanese dishes with Peruvian ingredients. And of course a firm MOMO favourite, sushi and sashimi has a presence on the menu. In Japanese cuisine, sushi is vinegared rice, and usually topped with other ingredients, including fish, various meats and vegetables. Sashimi is a Japanese delicacy primarily consisting of raw seafood sliced. The Lobster and mango roll with creamy wasabi, perfectly summed up Hari’s vision of an Asian Japanese fusion. This 70 cover restaurant with its lively vibrant bar is in its tenth year and is going from strength to strength. As is the partnership of Yossi and Liran who are fast tracking their vision to global domination, in a sleek and sophisticated style, bringing a new take to the fine dining scene.

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FEBRUARY 2018 Upscale Living Magazine - Digital  

February issue of Upscale Living Magazine brings you inside tips on the best romantic island destinations, beauty routines to follow on a da...

FEBRUARY 2018 Upscale Living Magazine - Digital  

February issue of Upscale Living Magazine brings you inside tips on the best romantic island destinations, beauty routines to follow on a da...