24 HOURS IN ZURICH
Indulge in Switzerland's cultural capital
UP IN SMOKE
Luxurious homes from home
London’s new secret spots
Bernie’s Swiss investment
Exploring the artistic hub of northern Paris
VIP: POLO GOES COLD The St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow
Billionaires, boats and beaches in carefree Santa Barbara
Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche
Voyages of a lifetime
MERCEDES-BENZ The new C250 Coupé Sport
TWO PRIVATE ISLANDS , ONE PREMIER DE STINATION, THE MALDIV ES
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On the cover 46 The American Riviera
Tucked away on the coast of California, Santa Barbara is a laid-back pleasureseeker’s dream
58 Waiting to inhale
London’s cigar lounges haven’t disappeared, they’ve gone al fresco
66 Springtime in Paris Getting to know Paris’ newest creative and cultural hub
72 Zurich: 24 Hours
Make the most out of a short visit to Switzerland’s business capital
46 Soak up the cool California vibe in sunny Santa Barbara
Contents March 2013
81 In the news 26 Retrospective 2013 Sony World Photography Awards 28 Europe Fendi and Lagerfeld to restore Rome’s Trevi Fountain 30 Middle East & Africa Kuwait’s first luxury resort is opening soon 34 Asia & Oceania Private jet travel services arrive in Bhutan 38 Americas Savannah set to boom in the American Deep South 40 Debut Hot hotels, chic boutiques and exclusive new resorts 42 Interview Clovis Taittinger talks family business and travel
Inside 74 Diary Out and about this month? Don’t miss these events 76 Spend it Private jets in Monaco, fine dining in Paris and much more 81 Suite dreams Sofitel Abu Dhabi brings French style to the UAE 83 Review Bastien Gonzalez’s award-winning foot and hand treatment 84 Profile Bernie Ecclestone and his secret Swiss hotel investment 88 On the road Sometimes we’d rather keep our feet on the ground 90 Ignition Elegance and fun in Mercedes-Benz’s C 250 Sport Coupé 95 Grapevine News, gossip and insider tips from the hotel world 96 VIP Behind the scenes at the St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow 98 Connoisseur Three of the best luxury hotels in Buenos Aires dotwnews.com
Letter from the Editor THERE ARE A HANDFUL OF PLACES IN THE world that have made me seriously think about putting down roots. They tend to be places where I feel at home the moment I arrive, where the people are happy and friendly, where the food is good, and the weather is conducive to a healthy outdoor lifestyle for a significant portion of the year. Buenos Aires is one such place. It’s a city that buzzes with excitement day and night, where each neighbourhood is charged with a different character that reveals itself further each time you visit. In the United States, wealthy Americans have a lot of places to choose from – bustling commercial cities like Washington, LA and New York, creative capitals like New Orleans and Seattle, or isolated hamlets in Montana or Colorado. But above all others, America’s elite choose the Californian coast to build their mansions, and the most discerning of them all eschew the big cities for smaller coastal enclaves, none more so than Santa Barbara. The Southern Californian town and its neighbour Montecito are a magnet for the wealthy elite, with business tycoons such as Ty Warner owning impressive property portfolios and sprawling estates. Considering it is home to one of the largest concentrations of billionaires in the US, it’s surprising how laid-back life in Santa Barbara can be, as our contributor Robert La Bua finds out in his story ‘American Riviera’ on page 46. It’s funny how different places call out to certain groups of people – there must be something about Santa Barbara that calls out to the rich and famous in the same way that the little-known Parisian district of Belleville calls out to artists and creative types from all over France and beyond. The northern enclave has grown over the last decade from a forgotten corner to one of the French capital’s most exciting creative hubs, its streets now lined with edgy galleries, artist’s studios and boutiques selling their wares. Our man in Europe Andy Round teamed up with awardwinning photographer Ezequiel Scagnetti to capture the soul of what looks set to become a notable part of any Parisian travel itinerary. Read the story on page 66. Everyone likes to find a place they identify with to call their home, or at least one of their homes. Also in this issue we have an exclusive piece on Formula 1 mogul Bernie Ecclestone, in which he discusses his littleknown Swiss hotel property. In the village of Gstaad, Hotel Olden is a small and relatively obscure property among some of its more illustrious neighbours, but an exclusive hideaway nevertheless, and one that Ecclestone says he would love to take with him everywhere he travels. Read Christian Sylt’s profile on page 84.
California sun Santa Barbara is an exclusive enclave on California’s sunny Pacific coast.
Also in this issue we uncover the latest trend to sweep the London hotel scene and reveal the four best COSAS – comfortable outdoor smoking areas – in the city (page 58), spend 24 exhilarating hours in Zurich (page 72), chat with French champagne heir Clovis Taittinger (page 42) and go behind the scenes at the St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow in our new VIP section (page 96). Enjoy. .
Joe Mortimer Senior Editor email@example.com
Contributors Caroline Eden
Caroline Eden is a travel and lifestyle journalist specialising in Asia, luxury and spas. She is also on the judging panel for the Asia Spa Awards, the author of Hedonist’s Guide to Mumbai and a regular contributor to Conde Nast Traveller, Elle, Asian Art Newspaper and Asia Spa. Caroline recenly took a break from Asia to visit London and explore the latest hotel trend; New York has its rooftop bars, Paris has its cafés and now, London has its COSAS – that’s comfortable outdoor smoking areas. Caroline rounds up the finest places for a sophisticated smoke on page 58.
Andy Round works between the Middle East and Europe and somehow finds the time to look after three children as well as writing for several international publications. Andy has worked as the editor of a daily newspaper in Malta, run a portfolio of magazines in Dubai and got lost looking for gorillas in Rwanda. He is currently travelling around Europe seeking out creative hubs, architectural gems and fashion capitals. In this issue we feature the first in a three-part series focusing on Europe’s creative capitals, starting with Paris’ northern district of Belleville, on page 66.
March 2013, Issue 81 Publisher Anna Zhukov firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Editor Joe Mortimer email@example.com Deputy Editor Caitlin Cheadle firstname.lastname@example.org Editor-at-Large Andy Round email@example.com Contributing Editor Mary Gostelow Sales Manager Andrea Tsiachtsiri firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director Kris Karacinski email@example.com Multimedia Graphics Manager Haitham El Shazly firstname.lastname@example.org United Kingdom Sales Representative David Hammond email@example.com Circulation department firstname.lastname@example.org Cover image Dusk in Santa Barbara – Getty
Born in Argentina, photographer Ezequiel Scagnetti began his career in the wilds of Patagonia in 1994. He settled in Brussels in 2002, where he now works with photo agencies including Reuters and Belga Picture. For the last decade he has covered everything from travel to current affairs in far-flung destinations all over the world. For this issue, Ezequiel worked with Andy Round (above) to photograph some of the artists and other creatives that call Bellevile, Paris, their home. Admire some of his photographs from the assignment on page 66.
Christian Sylt has been writing about travel since 2002, when he covered the topic for the UK newspaper The Business. He now works freelance for the Telegraph and Guardian newspapers, and writes regular travel features for the Independent and the Scotsman. Christian’s other great passion is motor racing. He recently caught up with F1 mogul Bernie Ecclestone, who spoke candidly for the first time about his little-known Swiss hotel investment and his fondness for creature comforts when he travels. Read the profile piece on page 84.
International Commercial Representations Destinations of the World News’ network of international advertising sales and editorial representatives are based in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America. Destinations of the World News is published monthly by WNN Limited and distributed globally to the world’s premier airport lounges, our subscriber network and a select number of five-star hotels in the UAE. The title Destinations of the World News is a registered trademark and the publisher reserves all rights. All material in Destinations of the World News is compiled from sources believed to be reliable and articles reflect the personal opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the publisher. Destinations of the World News is not responsible for omissions or errors that result from misrepresentation of information to the publisher. Advertisers assume all liability for their advertising content. All rights of the owner and the producer of this conceptual development and artwork design are reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be imitated, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of WNN Limited. Principal Offices WNN Limited, Reuters Building 1, Office 106, Dubai Media City, PO Box 500661, Dubai, UAE Tel +971 4 3910680 Fax +971 4 3910688 WNN limited, 31 Archbishop Kyprianou Street, 3036, PO Box 51234, zip 3503, Limassol, Cyprus To subscribe to Destinations of the World News at an annual rate of $99 visit the website at www.dotwnews.com and hit SUBSCRIBE. Images used in Destinations of the World News are provided by Gallo Images/Getty Images/Corbis/iStockphoto/ Photolibrary unless stated otherwise. DOTW News is printed by J G Cassoulides & Sons Ltd, Nicosia, Cyprus and Al Nisr Publishing, Dubai, UAE
UNRIVALLED LUXURY EXCLUSIVE ADDRESS
Situated in the heart of London, Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living offers an unrivalled level of luxury and service at an exclusive Park Lane address. Experience the best of London life through our dedicated concierge team, indulge with Spa Illuminata At Home treatments or enjoy 24 hour room service in the privacy of your suite. Starting from 45sqm, our suites are amongst the largest in London, with many offering views of Hyde Park. For more information email stayGHA@jumeirah.com, call +44 (0)20 7518 4444 or visit jumeirah.com/GHA.
hotographer Florian Breuer managed to capture this beautiful 240-degree view of the Milky Way galaxy, with Namibia’s Quiver Tree Forest in the foreground. The Milky Way’s Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (irregular dwarf galaxies which orbit it) are visible on the left, while the central bulge of the galaxy contrasts with the glow of light pollution from the nearby town of Keetmanshoop. The Magellanic Clouds were first mentioned in 964 AD by Persian astronomer Al Sufi, in his Book of Fixed Stars, and later by Italian explorers Peter Martyr d’Anghiera and Andrea Corsali, at the end of the 15th Century. They have been noted from ancient times in Sri Lanka as Maha Mera Paruwathaya, meaning ‘the great mountain’, and Adams Peak in central Sri Lanka remains one of the best places in the world to view them. The image was shortlisted for the ‘Open’ category in the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards. The work of the other shortlisted photographers will be on display at Somerset House, London, from 26 April – 12 May as part of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition. www.worldphoto.org
Photo: Florian-Breuer, South Africa, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards
Fendi funds Trevi Fountain facelift WHEN Rome’s Trevi Fountain was built in the 18th Century, the best architects and artists were chosen to create what is now one of the city’s most iconic attractions. It is no surprise then that 250 years later, one of the world’ most prominent designers has been selected to oversee the EUR 2.2 million (US $2.9 m) restoration of the historic fountain. Karl Lagerfeld, artistic director of Italian luxury design house Fendi, will oversee the 20-month restoration, which will see the fountain
cleaned and waterproofed while new water pumps and electric systems are installed. “I think it’s a great idea and a great project. This fountain is a symbol of Rome like the Colosseum and St Peter’s and I am happy that we can all help,” said Lagerfeld. Authorities in Rome had to carry out emergency repair work on the fountain last year at a cost of EUR 320,000 (US $422,000) which revealed the need for extensive renovations to preserve the monument.
Following an appeal from the mayor’s office, Fendi volunteered to fund the restoration. The work is the first of many preservation ventures financialy supported by the company’s ‘Fendi for Fountains’ project, which will see Fendi help restore and preserve historical fountains across the Eternal City. “I believe that in this moment in time it is essential for Italy, and Rome in particular, to promote a positive message of reconstruction, renewal, and restoration, capable of reaching far beyond its borders, as a strong sign of change,” said Fendi chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari. Although the work will cause some disruption, only a third of the fountain will be covered by scaffolding at any time, so visitors will still be able to throw coins into the fountain. The Trevi Fountain is the second Rome landmark to receive vital funding from the private sector in recent months, following luxury brand Tod’s pledge of EUR 25 m ($33.2 m) to restore the Colosseum.
The latest in luxury travel Van Cleef & Arpels was founded in 1906 by Alfred Van Cleef and his fatherin-law, Salomon Arpels. Now part of the massive Richemont empire, Van Cleef & Arpels is prepared to share some of the secrets of the jewellery world, with jewellery classes in its Place Vendôme store in central Paris. www.lecolevancleefarpels.com
Big plans for Costa Smeralda THE Italian island of Sardinia is due for a major tourism boost over the next decade as investors reveal plans for four new luxury hotels on the Costa Smeralda. Investment and real estate company Qatar Holdings plans to build a 150-room Harrods Hotel, a 200room luxury family hotel, a 90-room hotel in Pevero and
a 75-room hotel in Razza de Juncu on the island, as well as a water park and tourism academy, part of a US $1.34 billion investment. Qatar Holding, which bought the British brand Harrods for $2.3 billion in 2010, is investing heavily in the island. Last year, the company bought Sardinian luxury hotel firm Smeralda
Holding, a deal in which it also acquired four existing hotels, a golf course, a marina and undeveloped land. The new developments will increase the number of hotel rooms on the island from 400 to 900. Qatar Holding also plans to open Harrods-branded hotels in London, New York, Paris and Kuala Lumpur.
Also in France, why not cycle with professionals around a typical circuit of the Tour de France? Groups of around 200 participants are split into four pelotons, each accompanied by lead vehicles with mechanics and necessary supplies. At the end of each day, which is probably around 110 km (in the real race they do at least 150 km) there is a welcoming committee and much needed massages. www.thealpinechallenge.com Amsterdam is a buzz of culture right now. On April 14, the Rijksmuseum re-opens after a decade-long modernisation project that is reputed to have cost EUR 375 million (US $501 million). It is anticipated that visitor numbers will soar from one million a year, before its closure, to five million (www.rijksmuseum.nl). The newest hip hotel in town is Andaz Amsterdam, a conversion of the Prinsengract Public Library. www.amsterdam.prinsengracht. andaz.hyatt.com For those passing through London Heathrow’s Terminal Five, a new giftwrapping and personalisation service is ideal. Your duty-free purchases are wrapped, with hand-written notes, free of charge. www.heathrowairport.com
AMSTERDAM’S Van Gogh Museum will reopen on May 1 with a commemorative exhibition to celebrate the life of the 19th Century artist. Van Gogh at work will feature 200 works of art by Van Gogh and his contemporaries, chosen to demonstrate his unprecedented rise to fame and the influence he had on other painters of the period. Curated as part of an eight-year research project into Van Gogh’s working methods, the pieces on display come from the Van Gogh Museum’s own collection and several works of art on loan from other galleries. www.vangoghmuseum.nl
In New York, The Barclay Bar, at InterContinental New York Barclay, offers 45 different organic liquors and beers, certified by the Green Bar Collective (www.greenbar.biz). For each bottle the hotel buys, a tree is planted in a Central American rainforest. www.ichotelsgroup.com MARY GOSTELOW
Middle East & Africa
Jumeirah celebrates the past in Kuwait
“The theme of water is celebrated throughout the hotel, with several streams, fountains, pools and other water features woven into its design” KUWAIT’S original beach resort was a haven for locals and expats when it opened in the oil-rich state almost 40 years ago. But while the original Messilah Beach Hotel has long gone, a new luxury resort being developed on the site of the old hotel promises to celebrate the spirit of the iconic property. Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa will combine traditional architectural elements with a contemporary finish when it opens, with Mashrabiya-style bay windows on the outside of the main building and palm trees lining the poolside.
The theme of water is celebrated throughout the hotel, with streams, fountains, pools and other water features woven into its design and Jumeirah’s signature Talise spa, which means beautiful waters. “Kuwait’s new landmark will bring with it an exciting set of new experiences interlaced with heritage and history,” said general manager Mark Griffiths. The resort will feature 307 rooms and suites, 80 serviced apartments and 12 chalets, as well as six restaurants and lounges. This will be Jumeirah’s first Gulf resort outside the UAE. www.jumeirah.com
Let us lend an air of luxury to your business meetings. Let us find a translator fluent in both Arabic and your business. Let us show your guests genuine Arabian hospitality. Let us remind you that true success is always by design.
Experience the new level of luxury with Club Level accommodations. Enjoy access to Club Lounge for up to two guests with a dedicated concierge team, culinary presentation throughout the day, dedicated chef de cuisine, complimentary wireless Internet access, and complimentary two-hour usage of a meeting room. For reservations, call The Ritz-Carlton, Doha at +974-4484-8000 or visit us at ritzcarlton.com/doha.
Terms and conditions apply. ÂŠ 2013 The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.
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The Ritz-Carlton Dubai unveils new wing ONE of Dubai’s earliest luxury beachfront resorts, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai has opened its new wing, introducing 148 new rooms and suites and some other exciting additions. La Baie Lounge is a poolside space with day beds, wooden decking and a swim-up bar adjacent to one of the hotel’s new swimming pools, while the new Blue Jade restaurant serves Far Eastern cuisine. A new Club Lounge provides a comfortable space for Club guests to relax or meet with business associates in casual surroundings, and a Club Concierge team can help with any bookings or travel arrangements guests might require. There’s also a new Ritz-Carlton Spa with nine treatment rooms and three couples’ rooms with private terraces, plus a hammam, relaxation lounges, indoor hot and cold plunge pools and an outdoor lap pool. www.ritzcarlton.com
Fly Platinum class Emirates Airline has introduced a new tier in its Skywards loyalty programme for its most exclusive members. Platinum status, which supersedes the existing Gold status as the premium tier, offers some impressive benefits for well-travelled Emirates customers who have earned more than 150,000 Skywards miles. Members who earn the coveted status will enjoy First Class check-in and access to Emirates’ First Class lounges in Dubai accompanied by a guest, as well as the airline’s other lounges around the world. They also receive an additional 20 kg of luggage allowance regardless of their class of travel. Emirates has also introduced a Gold “Partner’ card, allowing family members to claim the benefits of Gold Skywards membership, even when travelling separately from the Platinum card holder. Existing Gold members will be automatically upgraded as of April 1. www.skywards.com
Rhino relocation in Botswana Luxury travel firm &Beyond has relocated six white rhino from its Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa to its resort in Botswana’s Okavango Delta as part of the company’s extensive conservation work. South Africa has a major problem with rhino poaching, but neighbouring Botswana offers a more secure environment for the creatures, with a security framework upheld in part by the military. “South Africa lost well over 600 rhino to illegal poaching last year alone, and Botswana currently has an excellent security system to protect the species. Translocations are fundamental to secure the ongoing survival of rhino for future generations,” said Les Carlisle, conservation manager for &Beyond. Game scouts from Botswana are currently undergoing training in tracking and rhino behaviour at &Beyond’s Phinda reserve. The six rhino are due to be released into the wild in April after veterinarians have ensured that they have recovered form the long journey. www.andbeyond.com
Every moment unveils a
Tales of rich Arabian traditions at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara Surrounded by the vast expanse of dunes and a heritage of centuries inherent to the Liwa Desert, delve into the glorious past of Arabia. Discover a fine blend of contemporary luxuries and a touch of royal opulence. Embark on a voyage of the creation of over a thousand unforgettable moments, cherished and shared for a lifetime. Design your Arabian adventure now at anantara.com Call +971 (0)2 656 1399 or email email@example.com
United Arab Emirates
Asia & & Oceania Oceania
Philippe Starck launches The Stairs in Bali THE STAIRS VILLA HOTEL (rendering below) is a brand-new hotel concept by Philippe Starck, set to break ground this year in the Petitenget neighbourhood of Seminyak, Bali. The property will feature 12 limited-edition villas inside a private village, each with floor to ceiling ‘glass skin’ walls by artist JonOne. Guests will enjoy the service of a private concierge, private yoga instructor and gym coach, romantic in-villa dining options, and private spa with holistic therapies. Public spaces include a cafe and patisserie, restaurant, bar and lounge, boutique shops and library. www.thestairsbali.com
“Guests will enjoy the service of a private concierge, private yoga instructor and gym coach, and romantic in-villa dining” 34
Private Jet travel to Bhutan now available Chapman Freeborn Airchartering has partnered with Drukair Royal Bhutan Airlines, the only airline operating to and from the Kingdom of Bhutan, to bring travellers the option to fly in and out of the country by private jet. Shailendra Seth, director of Chapman Freeborn India, said: “Drukair and Chapman Freeborn are both niche organisations and this synergy between the two will enhance opportunities to boost luxury travel to the Kingdom of Bhutan.” www.chapman-freeborn.com
Luxury tented camp to open in Myanmar The shores of the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar will become a little more luxurious this April, when Apple Tree Group opens a luxury tented camp in the centre of historic Bagan. The camp will feature 85 air-conditioned rooms in three classes of accommodation, from 72 sq m deluxe tented room to 261 sq m courtyard suites. The lodge’s principal restaurant, the Tiffin Box, will serve Burmese and western cuisine, and there will also be a spa and 20-metre pool on site. www.appletree-asia.com
Gourmet at sea Siversea luxury cruises will be running its exclusive Relais & Chateaux L’Ecole des Chefs cooking school at sea on 14 voyages throughout 2013. Acclaimed culinary trainer David Bilsland, a former instructor at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in London, will provide passengers with a special culinary curriculum, including hands-on instruction and events, completely free of extra charge. www.silversea.com
Deep South revival: Savannah, Georgia
The charming, leafy streets of Savannah
THE riverside town of Savannah, in Georgia, USA, attracts millions of visitors each year, most of whom come to see its Historic District. But its leafy streets and colonial charm are now attracting the attention of hotel owners, too. Orlando-based Richard Kessler, who converted the 1888 Fox & Weeks’ funeral parlour into The Mansion on Forsyth Park (above) – now part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection – has bought Georgia Power’s fouracre Plant Riverside site, which will be anchored by a new-build hotel.
The Mansion at Forsythe Park
Also in Savannah, the San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Resorts has bought the privately owned Mulberry Inn, which dates back to the early 18th Century. During its lifetime, this building has served as livery stables, a cotton warehouse and a Coca-Cola bottling plant. It was converted into a 145room hotel in 1982, and until now it has been flagged as a Holiday Inn. The hotel will open as a Kimpton after an eight-month renovation that will see the rooms and public areas revamped. www.kimptonhotels.com
“Kimpton Hotels & Resorts has bought the privately owned Mulberry Inn, which dates back to the early 18th Century”
W South Beach removes ‘Guevara’ artwork THE W South Beach in Miami was forced to take down a piece of art inspired by the image of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara after it upset some in the city’s Cuban community. The work, by British artist Gavin Turk, was actually an image of Turk’s own face, depicted with a beard, beret and revolutionary garb. According to reports, the hotel made the decision to remove the artwork after receiving angry phone calls and messages through social media. Many Cuban exiles living in the US left their country to flee Guevara’s communist movement. www.wsouthbeach.com
Own a Warhol
Following the successful Andy Warhol at Christie’s live auctions in New York, which raised US $17 million for the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts last year, collectors around the world can log in and bid online from a selection of Warhol’s paintings, drawings and photographs, until March 5. Proceeds will benefit the Warhol Foundation’s grantmaking programmes, which support artists and non-profit arts organisations. www.christies.com/warhol
Baggage delivery with United Airlines United Airlines has teamed up with BagsVIP to offer passengers the option to have their luggage delivered directly to their final destinations (homes, offices or hotels) and skip baggage claim upon arrival. The service will initially be available to customers departing from any airport in the USA and arriving in Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles and Orlando, with plans to expand the service to more than 190 domestic airports in the coming months. www.united.com
DEBUT Hot hotels | chic boutiques | exclusive resorts
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Located in Casablanca’s central business district near the Hassan II Mosque, the Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche is a modern addition to the ancient surroundings of the city. The hotel’s standout feature is its Penthouse villa, with private access and a 120 sq m terrace with outdoor Jacuzzi, a fireplace, plus a butler and private chef. Culinary choices include l’Arabesque restaurant, combining Moroccan and French cuisines, and L’Atelier d’Orient, serving traditional Moroccan dishes. www.sofitel.com
Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche
Situated at the Southern tip of Covent Garden in the Marconi House, the original London home of the BBC, ME London is the first UK hotel project designed inside and out by Foster + Partners, with 157 guest rooms including 16 suites and an ultra-luxurious two-storey penthouse. Its chic rooftop bar, Radio, has panoramic views of the city, and NYC-bred STK restaurant will open its London outpost in the hotel. Guests will be taken care of by a dedicated ‘Aura Manager’, whose job it is to know London back to front and ensure the best stay possible. www.melondonuk.com
ME London Nestled in the mountains of the Western Ghats and spread across 320 acres within the 3,500-acre private Shillim Estate, the ecologically designed allvilla resort has one of the largest wine cellars in India, and one of the largest spa facilities in Asia, offering more than 150 treatments. Villas are set amid rice fields, bamboo plantations and forests, and feature private balconies and valley or forest views. Guests can indulge in acupressure, naturopathy, acupuncture, ayurveda, reiki, Fire Healing, Tai Chi, Watsu, Meditation and Yoga. www.hilton.com
Western Ghats, India
Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa
Part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection of resorts, the newly built Vana Belle is located 80 kilometres from Thailand’s southern coast in Koh Samui, with 80 pool suites and villas tucked away in the white sand cove of Chaweng Noi Beach. Vana Spa offers a comprehensive menu of locally-inspired experiences and signature treatments. Guests can hike through rainforests and waterfalls surrounding the property, or participate in guided explorations of natural treasures such as Big Buddha, the Hin Ta – Hin Yai rock formations or elephant trekking through the jungle. www.starwoodhotels.com
Koh Samui, Thailand
Set within lush gardens and water features, the resort pays tribute to the local culture with indigenous guest experiences such as tea picking in the nearby tea plantations, boat trips along the Luosuo River, and elephant spotting in Wild Elephant Valley. A signature Anantara Spa tailors Asian wellness treatments to guests’ needs, and several Dining by Design and in-villa dining experiences such as hotpot dinners and barbecues will allow guests to sample local culinary delights in special settings. www.anantara.com.
Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa
A man of good taste The Taittinger family bought their company back from Starwood Capital Group in 2006, reinstating one of France’s oldest family-owned champagne houses. Scion Clovis Taittinger knows a thing or two about passion Interview: Caitlin Cheadle
alk about the dream job. As deputy export director for Champagne Taittinger, Clovis Taittinger, 34, travels the world developing and maintaining relationships with grape growers, and serving as the face of the brand in the process. I first encountered Clovis at a special Taittinger-hosted tasting dinner at Dubai’s Desert Palm Resort & Spa, where he engaged the audience throughout the four-course meal, carefully explaining the flavours and the reasons behind each pairing. It was apparent from the way he spoke of the champagnes and his interaction with the guests that he is a man who is passionate about what he does, and passionate about his namesake. But it wasn’t always his plan to end up in the family business. After earning a masters degree in history from the Paris-Sorbonne University, Clovis embarked on a career in banking before managing his own real estate and hotel business. It wasn’t until 2007, after his father, Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger, president of Champagne Taittinger, bought the family company back from global investment firm Starwood Capital Group that Clovis joined the Taittinger brand. It seems he’s found his calling. Here, he speaks to Destinations of the World News about integrity, passion and expanding the mind through travel. You seem to have a great passion for what you do. Is that something that developed over time? That is a difficult question to answer. I don’t think I was wildly passionate about champagne itself when I was young – I think that came later, when my father and I bought back the company and we faced huge challenges. Sometimes the more difficult a situation is, the more passion there is. Passion is necessary, otherwise you’ll never get to where you want to be. How did you acquire the company back after it was sold to Starwood Capital Group in 2005? Buying the company back was and still is a tricky operation. We were previously a large
family managing a large family empire, so to speak, in France. After a couple of generations, we all decided, for various reasons, to sell our group. The buyer was Starwood Capital, a respected US investment fund. They soon put the champagne brand up for sale again and [in May 2006] we were the highest bidder among the 60 offers. That is passion. Taittinger is one of the few remaining family-owned champagne houses. Why was this so important to you? To me, it was important to keep it this way
because it is our life, our blood and our roots. Sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in, not just for yourself but for all the employees and partners that have been working with you. You previously owned a real estate and hotel business. This surely helped your current field of work? I loved it. I still follow the industry closely. If you are curious and have a gift for observation, you learn quickly. Hard work and a good sense of people and service will always get you far.
Photo: Erol Gurian
It has been said that global warming has been favourable to the champagne industry. Is this true? It is very hard to measure the real consequences, but all in all I believe that we should pay attention to the environment and modify our way of living to fight or reduce the impact of our behaviour on the climate and on nature in general. It is not a question of personal interests and the impact on the vineyards, but a question of international interest and life in general. You travel frequently for work. How do you get the most from a short trip? When you travel, I believe you shouldn’t prepare too much. Instead you should have your eyes wide open, so you can be surprised by the atmosphere around you. Where would you like to visit again? Mexico. I particularly liked the capital – I felt great vibes there. You grew up in Reims in the northeast of France. What should visitors to Reims be sure to see? A perfect day in Reims begins at the cathedral, as it is the crown jewel of the city. Next, move on to the Palais du Tau, the most beautiful museum in the city. As champagne holds a certain place in the heart of visitors, I strongly recommend going to the Roman cellars of some of the champagne houses such
as Taittinger. With 2,000 years of history, it is quite stunning. At the end of the day, you can indulge in a few glasses of champagne. Where should one dine when visiting Paris? The proper question is not where should we dine but with whom. Paris is the city of love, and therefore wherever you eat, the important thing is to be with the person you want to be with. What kinds of cuisines are you most fond of for champagne pairing? I love Asian cuisine, from Japanese to Indian. It is very delicate, tasty, unique – and it matches perfectly with champagne. What piece of advice would you give to young entrepreneurs? Be hungry and creative. When you are not travelling for work, what do you like to do? Read books and watch films with my kids in my arms. Is it difficult to maintain a work/life balance with a family and kids when you travel so frequently? Yes and no. It’s not a question of whether or not you see your wife and kids every day that determines whether it works or not. It is a question of quality, not quantity. I believe it is
“Sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in, not just for yourself but for all the employees and partners that have been working with you” important for kids to see parents working, as it teaches them that life is a fight and nothing should be taken for granted. What are some of life’s simple pleasures for you? A trip to the cinema with my wife and kids, followed by dinner. Do you love what you do for a living? I try to put the best of me into what I do and get the best out of it. I never calculate or think about me – you have to shine every day. For you, and more importantly for others. n
THE NEW SCENT FOR MEN
Santa Barbara Explore
The American Riviera Santa Barbara is the paragon of the carefree Southern Californian lifestyle WORDS: Robert La Bua
un, sand, sea and stars – both in the sky and on the red carpet; this image of Los Angeles occupies an unassailable position in the minds of travellers undeterred by the intrusion of traffic, smog, and other unpleasant realities into their California dreaming. Frequently, first-time visitors to the City Of Angels are taken aback when confronted by the real deal. Those in the know, however, leave the cars of LA behind and head to a place where California fantasies come to life, where the south-facing beach has sunshine all day long, where justpicked fruit and vegetables are enjoyed with gusto, and where strangers say hello just to be friendly. They travel north to Santa Barbara, where palm trees sway in the breeze by day and lovers of the excellent local Santa Ynez wine do the same by night. While ‘American Riviera’ may seem a somewhat presumptuous title, Santa Barbara’s agreeable climate, abundant sunshine, and mountain meets sea landscapes give it merit. Its relaxed yet chic vibe and exclusive residential areas, home to some of the world’s wealthiest people, complete the picture. After a few days getting to know the area, it’s easy to understand why people who can live anywhere in the world would choose to live here. Where money goes, the arts follow. Santa Barbara offers a rich and varied cultural landscape to complement the mountains and the ocean. One of the foremost art museums in California, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is a focus for temporary exhibits that are on a par with its exceptional permanent collection in terms of quality. The performing arts are particularly well respected in Santa Barbara, where a busy calendar of events pleases concertgoers and theatre fans alike. The Arlington Theatre especially is well worth the cost of a movie ticket; one of those gorgeous old cinema palaces from the early twentieth century that now hosts a variety of events. The Arlington is itself an attraction, with its evocative interior and starry ceiling replicating an open-air piazza, a setting reminiscent of the Italian classic Cinema Paradiso. Though Southern California’s car culture has long been lionised as the quintessence of American existence, Santa Barbara is one place where a car is not an absolute necessity. With its museums, shopping, restaurants, and a general good mood, the city’s downtown area offers everything one needs for a satisfactory holiday within reasonable walking distance.
Views of downtown from the balcony of the soon to open El Encanto by Orient-Express Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Santa Barbara Explore
The red rooftops of Old Santa Barbara
Even nature makes its presence known; the beautiful Santa Ynez Mountains are in full view from almost any vantage point. Santa Barbaraâ€™s car-free initiative actively encourages visitors and residents to leave their automobiles in the driveway and enjoy the city by other means, of which there are many. An electric shuttle follows the most visited routes, though bicycling and walking around the compact downtown area are just as easy. In a place where valet parking is the norm, there is even valet parking for bicycles. The most care-free way to see Santa Barbara, though, is on a Segway, and what a beautiful place to try one for the first time. Segway Of Santa Barbara is located just off the beach and offers a variety of tours taking in the major sights around town. The company also offers deluxe electric bikes for rent; a car-free resident of Santa Barbara, general manager Mike Wiggins uses one as his principal means of transport. In a place with more than 300 days of sunshine per year, Segways do make an appealing option for getting around.
Downtown Santa Barbara and the distant Santa Ynez Mountains
Stearnâ€™s Wharf, pictured against a golden California sunset
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Neighbouring Montecito is home to Four Seasons The Biltmore
Santa Barbara Explore
“A veritable land of plenty, California has long enjoyed the fruits of the earth as well as its vegetables, meats, and poultry” If a motor vehicle is an absolute necessity, at least leave the driving to someone else. How about some fun in a Jeep limousine? Dee Elias of DeeTours offers customised tours in her one of a kind stretch Wrangler. Dee is not shy, so expect a vivacious and detailed commentary of anything and everything about the Santa Barbara area. A veritable land of plenty, California has long enjoyed the fruits of the earth as well as its vegetables, meats, and poultry. Not surprisingly, locals are extremely sophisticated with regard to their food; only the highest quality is accepted. From the busy farmers’ markets to the delightfully named charcuterie C’est Cheese, the chocolate shop CaliBressan, and Spoon, where the effervescent Erin Casey scoops the best gelato and sorbet this side of Venice, Santa Barbarans revel in their culinary bounty. Where to enjoy the best of the best? Try Bouchon, a superb example of Santa Barbara style where the finest locally sourced ingredients are combined into tasty dishes served in a casually luxurious ambience.
The freshest of meats, produce, and cheeses are well matched by a vast cellar of California wines, a focus of this establishment as it is at the Sjerven family’s other restaurant, Wine Cask, only a few blocks away. In addition to its open-kitchen dining area, Bouchon also has a private dining room; the Cork Room is extremely popular for small corporate groups and exclusive family celebrations. This month sees Santa Barbara celebrating the long-awaited reopening of the legendary El Encanto resort, for years shuttered and abandoned, a sad vestige of its glory days as the city’s premier hotel. Happily for discerning travellers, the graceful El Encanto once again provides a discreet retreat above Santa Barbara at its lofty hillside location. The prestigious Orient-Express group acquired the property in 2004 and more than US $100 million later, the company is ready to unveil the latest jewel in its collection of beautiful hotels – although El Encanto is not technically a hotel at all, but rather a sprawling collection of 92 private suites and bungalows.
Fine dine Stylish Bouchon serves up locally-sourced fare in a casual setting Pacific bounty Fresh local produce is used in Bouchon’s creative menus
Private bungalows dot the grounds at El Encanto
While ‘American Riviera’ may seem presumptuous, Santa Barbara’s agreeable climate, abundant sunshine, and mountain meets sea landscapes give it merit” In neighbouring Montecito, on the other side of the legendary Bellosguardo estate, owned by recently deceased eccentric doll collector and Flintstones aficionado Huguette Clark, the elegance of the Santa Barbara area can be enjoyed without ever leaving the hotel. Four Seasons The Biltmore, a 1927 gem located right on the oceanfront at Butterfly Beach, makes a strong case for simply staying put. With a variety of services and activities to complement the fine dining and sumptuous accommodation, which includes private cottages dotting the verdant grounds, guests at The Biltmore are well looked after in every respect. In keeping with the spirit of the Riviera, there is even a casino here, La Pacifica – not a gambling casino, but rather, in the original sense of the word, a pleasure pavilion associated with a palazzo. The excellent Tydes restaurant is named after the hotel’s owner, Ty Warner, who lives in a palatial compound just down the road from The Biltmore.
Ocean views from Four Seasons The Biltmore
Dusk outside the photogenic Santa Barbara Mission
Santa Barbara Explore
Ganna Walska’s incredible plant collection at Lotusland
Ty Warner’s prestigious Sandpiper’s Golf Course
Not far away, Warner’s other resort, San Ysidro Ranch has wowed high profile guests for a century. The ranch house was the setting for the wedding of Vivien Leigh and Sir Laurence Olivier in 1940, and chosen by John and Jackie Kennedy for their honeymooon. As well as its star-studded guest book, San Ysidro is also affiliated with some of the area’s best golf courses, including the Sandpiper Golf Club, Montecito Country Club and Rancho San Marcos Golf Course, which are all owned by the billionaire toy tycoon. Despite a desire to linger, it would be a shame to miss out on all that little Montecito offers. Adjacent to Santa Barbara, Montecito has its own set of attractions well worth a visit, although most people come here to get away from a full agenda. Four Seasons The Biltmore offers guests complimentary use of bicycles to enjoy the beachfront cycling path, or to venture elsewhere around town, perhaps to Montecito Market for lunch at the Pierre Lafond Wine
Bistro in Montecito’s ultra-exclusive but unpretentious Upper Village, which seems more like a town centre in remote Idaho or Montana than a village so close to Los Angeles. One Montecito sight not to be missed is Lotusland, the former estate of Ganna Walska, a Polish opera singer who tirelessly dedicated the second half of her life to the plant kingdom after dedicating the first half to working her way through six husbands. The 15-hectare estate is home to a vast collection of plants impressive in both size and variety that together create a sublime private world of botanical brilliance. At just 150 kilometres north of Los Angeles International Airport, it takes less than two hours to reach Santa Barbara by car if all goes well along California’s famous Pacific Coast Highway. It’s fitting that the scenic coastal drive north along one of the most picturesque roads in the world leads to the American Riviera, the jewel in California’s sunny crown. n
THEGOLDENBOOK Four Seasons The Biltmore Tel: +1 805 969 2261
El Encanto by Orient-Express Tel: +1 805 845 5800
San Ysidro Ranch Tel: +1 805 565 1700
London Cosas Indulge
inHALe W a i t i n g
When London’s smoking ban was instilled in 2007, cigar connoisseurs were left in the cold. But now, the city is in the throes of a ‘COSA’ – comfortable outdoor smoking area – revolution. Here are four of the best WORDS: Caroline Eden
COGNAC AND CIGAR GARDEN, DUKES Popular with local hedge-funders as well as tourists – the latter drawn by the legend that it was here that Bond author Ian Fleming coined the famous “shaken, not stirred” instruction – DUKES is one of London’s best bars. Its eminence is also linked to celebrated martini magician and barman Alessandro Palazzi. Dressed in his pristine white tuxedo, Palazzi can be found most nights wheeling over his spirit-laden trolley to just a handful of tables. He’ll then rinse out a frosty glass with some house-made vermouth, which is hurled onto the carpet for a dash of drama, before adding gin and a twist of Amalfi Coast lemon, completing the best martini money can buy. Afterwards, it’s common practice for guests to retreat to the quiet garden, just off the hotel’s drawing room, for a peaceful puff on a Hoya or Cohiba. With heaters, candles, a hand-made drinks cabinet and seating for just 20 people, the space has the feel of a cosy city sanctuary. A sophisticated smoke at DUKES cigar garden, under the billowing white canopy, cognac in hand, is just the sort of luxury that is very hard to leave behind – no wonder then, that this has become one of London’s most popular evening spots. www.dukeshotel.com 60
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CIGAR LOUNGE AND TERRACE, THE WELLESLEY A GBP 36 million (US $56 million) refurbishment and smart design by Fox Linton has turned the former 1920s townhouse at 11 Knightsbridge into The Wellesley hotel – a celebration of luxury and art deco glamour. The smart al-fresco Cigar Lounge and Terrace has quickly become the hottest spot to head to for a top-shelf nightcap and a couple of treats from the recession-be-damned cigar list. If it’s a special occasion, smokers might choose one of the limited edition cigars rolled by none other than Norma Fernández, Castro’s torcedora (roller) or even an eye-wateringly expensive Cohiba Behike at GBP 3,000 ($4,695). With one of the largest collections of cigars sold on a stick-by-stick basis and allegedly the UK’s biggest bespoke humidor – which comes complete with a marble map of Cuba embossed into its floor – there’s plenty to choose from. The smaller humidors themselves are works of art: look out for the 40-unit box from Parisian company Elie Bleu, made from manta ray skin, mother of pearl, sycamore, cedar and ox bone. A stone’s throw from the terrace and the humidor is the cognac-walled Crystal Bar, where the friendly and knowledgeable staff, under the watchful eye of Giuseppe Ruo, make your experience that much better. www.thewellesley.co.uk
CIGAR ROOM, THE MAY FAIR The Cigar Room, with its hanging chairs, blankets and sultry décor (above right), is a seductive space. It is also one of London’s most laid-back and convivial COSAS, where enthusiasts are spoilt for choice with a wide range of hand-rolled cigars from Montecristo and Partagas to Trinidad, Bolivar, Hoyo de Monterrey, Cohiba and Santa Damiana. The cocktail menu eschews typical offerings in favour of more decadent treats – try a Rococo Chocolate Martini with Belvedere vodka, rococo chocolate and Mozart dark chocolate liqueur, or a Smoky Martini with Belvedere vodka stirred with Blonde Lillet and Lagavulin 16. Or, for something simple but indulgent, opt for a Chateau de Gaube 1962 Armagnac. Expert staff are on-hand to advise on drinks pairings and to prepare and light cigars. Try to visit at the weekends when there’s live music, or book in for one of the monthly cigar and spirit master-classes. Extra points too here for the clever use of stainless steel mesh on the walls, which allows the room to breathe properly. www.themayfairhotel.co.uk
“The most exciting combination on offer is the ‘Havana Connection’, which mixes Havana Club 15-year-old rum, 10-year-old Laphroaig Whisky, fresh lime Juice, tobacco liqueur and sugar syrup, and is matched with a Ramon Allones Specially Selected cigar” THE GARDEN ROOM, THE LANESBOROUGH From the moment you walk through the glass doors to The Garden Room at The Lanesborough, you are indulged as a friend by both expert cigar sommelier Neil Millington and Italian bar manager Davide Guidi. Both connoisseurs, the pair have recently crafted a new cocktail and cigar pairing menu which takes the joys of puffing and sipping to a new level. Perhaps the most exciting combination on offer is the ‘Havana Connection’, which mixes Havana Club 15-year-old rum, 10-year-old Laphroaig Whisky, fresh lime Juice, tobacco liqueur and sugar syrup, and is matched with a Ramon Allones Specially Selected cigar. Millington, who has written books on some of his favourites sticks, will happily extend his knowledge or give a brief tour of the hotel’s expansive walk-in humidor, which houses an impressive collection of Cuban and pre-Castro cigars. If cocktails aren’t to your taste, there’s also the Cognac collection, some of which date back to 1770. Quiet attention to detail resonates throughout this small but lavish room, with all guests receiving exceptionally high levels of personal service. www.lanesborough.com 64
Cipriani at The Istanbul EDITION is almost an exact duplicate of the original Harry’s Bar in Venice. This fashionable restaurant offers the classic Harry’s Bar menu; a mixture of unique Cipriani specialties and classic Italian favorites. Whether they are regular guests with their own tables or first time visitors, all guests are welcomed with warmth and enthusiasm in Cipriani at The Istanbul EDITION.
Located at The Istanbul EDITION’s Mezzanine Floor, the Drawing Room and a series of flexible meeting studios can accommodate a boardroom conference or more intimate business gatherings. Three individual meeting studios can be combined to create a larger, formal business venue. Additionally, our spacious yet intimate Screening Room is ideal for movie presentations and private screenings.
n urban jewel, The Istanbul EDITION is an exclusive hotel in the heart of one of the world’s most vibrant cities at the nexus of Europe and Asia. A thirteen-story tower with 77 guest rooms and a magnificent, full-floor Presidential Suite, The Istanbul EDITION serves as a sophisticated hub providing multiple venues for relaxing and entertaining including a three-story spa by ESPA, Cipriani restaurant, Gold Bar, Drawing Room and Screening Room, meeting studios, business center, special event space and the world renowned Billionaire nightclub.
Designed in collaboration with Gabellini Sheppard Associates to an exceptional standard of modern luxury, every aspect of The Istanbul EDITION is treated as an experience of the highest quality and understated elegance. Drawing on Ottoman traditions of extraordinary craftsmanship and an emphasis on comfort and wellbeing, the hotel reflects the best of Turkish culture in a thoroughly contemporary context. In a color palate of bronze and silver-gold, with extensive use of light and dark woods, the interior transitions seamlessly from public to private spaces in a sleek, harmonious environment with a warmly intimate atmosphere.
An extraordinary, 20,000 square foot, threefloor ESPA offers The Istanbul EDITION’s guests an unparalleled spa experience. A comprehensive menu of beauty and health treatments is offered in the multiple treatment rooms, which include a VIP suite decorated with patterned leather floors and smoky walls where couples can unwind in the oversize bathtub, steam shower and unique relaxation bed suspended from the ceiling. A stunning pool and a state-of-the-art fitness center completes this extraordinary experience.
Approached from the lobby, Gold Bar transports guests to an exotic, sequestered world. A cozy dark-wood interior is backed by a luminescent, twenty-foot aquarium whose tropical fish provide a dreamscape of relaxation in this intimate meeting space. The bar adjoins a comfortable seating area of deep, low sofas around a central table, inspired by the traditional Turkish tearoom.
The world-renowned Billionaire nightclub, located in the heart of The Istanbul EDITION, is one of Europe’s most exclusive clubs. The stylish atmosphere and top quality music attract the biggest names in the world of fashion, entertainment and business. Billionaire Istanbul’s layout features different levels, with see-through VIP areas offering spectacular views of the dance floor. With a décor that blends a sleek style with opulent and luxurious details, it offers its exclusive clientele the outstanding service, music and ambience that are Billionaire’s signature.
E U RO P E ’S H OT S P OTS FO R
The Parisian district of Belleville is at the cutting edge of the French capital’s artistic movement and a hipster heaven for the new creative class WORDS: Andy Round PHOTOS: Ezequiel Scagnetti
urope has always been irresistible to shoppers, but beyond the big brands and famous streets of some of the world’s most famous cities are lesserknown districts that are inspiring a new generation of creativity. In this new section, Destinations of the World News takes a closer look at some of the neighbourhoods that are inspiring a new European cultural renaissance – from art and design to fashion and furniture. We take a look at different destinations with one common thread: each city is perfect for discovering Europe’s freshest creative talent. The first neighbourhood we expore is Belleville, a northern district of Paris that is quickly becoming the heart of the French capital’s daring art scene.
(Clockwise from top left) Open canvas Artists express themselves publicly and privately in Belleville Going green CitĂŠ de la Mode et du Design: a creative hub on the River Seine Urban portrait Street art by "Fred le Chevalier" in Belleville Modern art Work on display at the Biennale de Belleville in 2012
Words to live by Inspiration from New York at Centre Commercial boutique
ART WITH SOUL Wild and wonderful things come to life in the Belleville home of Laurent Debraux. Wobbly stools sway on knives instead of legs, steel branches writhe robotically and black iron filings transform into wriggling caterpillars at the flick of a magnetic switch. The birthplace of these kinetic creations is Laurent’s workshop, where skeletons of machinery lie among the carcasses of clocks and endless bric-a-brac. “I like to take things apart. Give them new life,” he says of his sculptures. “I can’t paint, I can’t draw, but I can make people smile.” Just as the Christianshavn district attracted a new generation of artists in Copenhagen and Vilnius’ Užupis neighbourhood developed a soul as bohemian as Barcelona’s Gràcia Barrio, Belleville’s spacious buildings are perfect for artists like Laurent. In a hidden Belleville courtyard workshop, Catherine Arnaud hacks 300 kg of alabaster into fragile tendrils that appear as light as sea coral in complete creative comfort. Next door, Suzel Galia chips, drills, hacks and polishes a stone’s colours into the organic shapes that have sculpted her own international reputation. “I can make a lot of noise here in peace,” she laughs.
Industrial revolution Laurent Debraux creates art from machinery and other bric-a-brac
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(Above) Lighten up Artist Philippe Barnier set up shop in Belleville 20 years ago because of its countryside feel and affordable rent (Opposite page) Blooming talent Artistic flower arrangements at the Biennale de Belleville in September 2012
REVOLUTIONARY PAST According to Loïs Pommier, coordinator for the organisation Ateliers D’Artistes De Belleville, this influx of new creatives is the latest chapter in Belleville’s history of low-income tenants and revolutionary past. Ateliers D’Artistes De Belleville was set up in 1990 to support independent artists through tours, events and campaigns to protect their creative spaces from development. Stroll around with Loïs and he will reveal Bellville’s hidden lanes, changing street art and fiercely individual architecture. In other words, the perfect place for creativity to thrive. “In 1990 there were 100 artists here, now there are 300,” he says. Annual open-door events by Ateliers D’Artistes De Belleville, where the public can visit artists in their studios, now attract up to 15,000 visitors every year and have inspired similar events from Benin to Brazil. Those opening their doors include painter Philippe Barnier and Catalan charcoal artist Carlos Lopez, who arrived in Belleville 20 years ago. “Why Bellevile? The rents were affordable and I liked the countryside feel of the park and lanes,” he says. Accessories designer Hélène Eber-Specher spent time in Tokyo and made her first bag from a kimono. Belleville is now home to her. “I love the village feel here. It doesn’t feel like Paris.”
TALES FROM THE RIVERBANK “Only 20 have been made and they sell for US $12,000 each,” says designer Yiqing Yin (left), revealing a dramatic fur coat, its micro-pleated layers cut into a striking sculpture. “I like to take traditional skills and give them a contemporary twist,” she says. Yin is one of the creative tenants working in Paris’ coolest new venue, Cité de la Mode et du Design (City of Fashion and Design). Built on a former industrial wasteland on the banks of the Seine river, close to Gare d’Austerlitz, the complex provides studio space to emerging and established designers. It also offers space for fashion shows, and pop-up exhibitions, and is home to Paris’ famous Institut Francais de La Mode (French Institute of Fashion), open-air rooftop hipster hangout Wanderlust and boutiques that include Magasin 1 and Magasin 3, which showcase new design talent and established favourites.
HOT FAVOURITES Belleville may change its style as fast as its street art, but there are plenty of independent creatives nearby worth discovering. Centre Commercial offers vintage furniture, art and ethicallysourced fashions at 2 Rue de Marseille, while four doors away Medecine Douce crafts jewellery that combines gems with non-traditional materials. www.centrecommercial.cc Inspired by South of France summers and bright 1930s imagery, Chichi Paris is an elegant new accessories brand created by the dynamic design duo of Tristan Lahoz and AnneLine Desrousseaux. www.chichis.fr Fashion and food are served up in equally generous portions at Carmen Rogasta’s chic and cheerful atelier/bistro at 8 Rue de la Grange. www.carmenragosta.com
FABRIC PARROT In the shop of couturier Stéphanie Coudert, there is a caged fabric parrot opposite a dress that looks like a yeti on the run from Lady Gaga’s costume department. It’s made from hair extensions and was created by Coudert for French singer Barbara Carlotti. “If I had a place in the west of the city it would be cramped and I would have to focus on being commercial,” she says. “I don’t want the weight of commerce on my shoulders; I want creative focus. Also, as a child I spent time in Iran and Iraq and I love the immigrant dialects that add personality to Belleville.” Indeed, immigration gives Belleville its distinctive character. Home to Greeks, Jews and Armenians, followed by Africans, its large Chinatown is a vibrant testimony to the district’s latest arrivals. “I think the character of Belleville is always changing, but its sense of community is an important constant,” says Angénic Agnero, founder of walking tour company Paris Par Rues Méconnues. It’s a sentiment repeated by every visitor. “I was the sort of baby that wore designer clothes and my parents used to tell me not to come to Belleville because it was edgy,” grins 25-year-old Capucine Piot, founder of über popular beauty blog babillages.net and a former online editor for French Vogue. “But I come for street style,” she says. “Hipsters here might sometimes adapt fashions that seem unbelievable at first, but that look will have taken a long time to get right. Sometimes I can’t believe the styles I see. Then months later it’s everywhere.” One trend that’s gaining momentum is the Biennale de Belleville. “Since 2010 our aim has been to showcase international and local talent,” says curator Patrice Joly. “We’ve put the district on the international creative map. The Biennale in Venice cost EUR 10 million (US $13 m), but we did this for EUR 50,000 ($65,300). Belleville might not have a lot of money, but we have a lot of passion.” www.readyforeurope.eu
NIGHT & DAY Haute horlogerie, precious crystals and indulgent confectionary are crammed into 24 hours in Switzerland’s financial capital
Words: Anna Zhukov
12.00 Arrive at Zurich International Airport, where you’ll be welcomed by a hotel concierge and whisked away in a black Mercedes to Beethovenstrasse 21. Zurich’s discerning residents have a deep-rooted respect for the “Made in Switzerland” stamp of approval, allowing only a handful of international hotel and restaurant chains to open in the city, the Park Hyatt Zurich being one of them (zurich. park.hyatt.com; +41 43 883 1234). With its contemporary art deco style in the heart of the business district, just a few minutes’ walk from the historic central city and Lake Zurich, it is a perfect base for exploring. 12.30 Take a seat in the lobby of the Park Hyatt Zurich, with its green bamboo trees and plenty of natural light. Bright art installations, warm pastel hues, lots of wood, and a cosy fireplace make this spot a favourite rendezvous for those who live in the city. 13.00 Have a signature Bloody Mary finished with
celery and spices in the lobby, then take a stroll through the cobblestone streets that lead to the Altstadt, or Old Town, with its medieval buildings and the spires of Gothic churches. The city is nestled around tranquil Lake Zurich, which magically carries the sound of the bells of Europe’s largest clock face in the tower of the church of St. Peter. Lake Zurich and the Limmat river that feeds it do not freeze during winter, so take some time to watch the graceful white swans and the picturesque embankments. Reach the world famous Bahnhofstrasse with its art stores, fashion boutiques and horology houses, and stop by the Breguet Maison de Haute Horlogerie to admire the best of Swiss watch making, then set out for the Chanel store. 15.00 Cross the Limmat and continue to the Niederdorf neighbourhood, where hip art stores, street artists and music performers, trendy nightlife and numerous bars and restaurants line the streets. Zurich is home to the world’s largest techno party, Street Parade, which attracts nearly a
million people to the shores of Lake Zurich every August (www.streetparade.ch). 16.00 Stop by Brassiere Louis on vibrant Niederdorfstrasse to warm up with the town’s best Moules Frites. Authentic hot sautéed Atlantic Mussels are an indulgent treat whatever the weather, but especially in sub-zero temperatures. Enjoy a glass of Swiss prosecco and a conversation with Christian Kramer Jr., who runs the restaurant and represents the centuries-old dynasty of restaurateurs from Zurich (www.brasserie-louis.ch; +41 44 250 76 80). 18.00 On the way back to the hotel, pass by Café Sprüngli, Zurich’s legendary confectioner since 1836. Try a few sweets, but resist the temptation to splurge. The best time and place to buy signature specialties such as Truffes du Jour and the delicate Luxemburgerli macaroons is at Zurich Duty Free on your way home (www.spruengli.ch; +41 44 224 46 46).
Park Hyatt Zurich
20.00 If you’re craving Japanese food, head over to Sala of Tokyo. It’s located outside the Old City, but the authentic cuisine makes it well worth the trip. The Michelin Guide-listed restaurant’s rustic ambience, vintage setting and antique art pieces make you feel you as though you are in Japan. The restaurant has been run by the same Japanese family for the last 30 years, and includes on its menu an incredible selection of traditional delicacies such as uni, o-toro and sukiyaki that you prepare yourself, while the Japanese chefs showcase the magic of ceremonial kaisekiryori cuisine (www.sala-of-tokyo.ch; +41 44 271 52 90).
08.30 Take your breakfast in the Lobby Lounge of the hotel before setting out to enjoy your final morning in Zurich. 10.00 Pop into the Crystal Art Gallery at Park Hyatt Zurich (www.crystalart.ch) one of the many well-kept secrets of Beethovenstrasse. Here you will find rare collections of art objects, precious metal nuggets, crafted giant stones, crystals from the Swiss Alps, and minerals and fossils from deposits worldwide. You might decide to buy a fossil from the age of the dinosaurs, or perhaps a 55 million year old fish from South America.
23.00 Walk down Beethovenstrasse on your way back to the hotel where, in spite of cold temperatures, there are queues to the clubs that line the street. Palavrion Bar, located opposite Park Hyatt, is packed with happy crowds of young (and the young at heart) partying the night away (www.palavrion.ch; +41 44 286 54 54).
11.00 Check out, hop into your chauffeured hotel car and be on your way. You’ll have some last-minute shopping to do at Zurich International Airport, which is consistently voted one of the world’s best airports (www.zurich-airport.com). Peruse the designer boutiques before a stop at the Duty Free to pick up some Swiss delicacies from Sprüngli. n
STAY Park Hyatt Zurich Tel: +41 43 883 1234 zurich.park.hyatt.com
The Dolder Grand Tel: +41 44 456 60 00 www.thedoldergrand.com Sprüngli
DIARY 03.13 British Polo Day/ Dubai World Cup March 29/30 Dubai, UAE
British Polo Day returns this year, with a VIP guestlist taking over the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club on Friday, March 29. Beginning with a rousing game of camel polo, guests mingle over champagne before a prize-giving ceremony and fashion show, followed by a VIP afterparty. The following day is the Dubai World Cup, dubbed “the world’s richest horse race”, with seven races held over a single day for a total pot of US $21.25 million. Held at Meydan Racecourse, which has a seating capacity of 60,000, this is a chance to don your finest gladrags and watch some of the most exciting horse racing in the world. www.dubairacingclub.com
The Armory Show
March 7-10 New York, USA
Taking place on Piers 92 and 94 in central Manhattan, the Armory Show has become one of the most significant art events in New York. Showcasing the most important contemporary artworks of the 20th and 21st centuries, the event brings together a selection of works from the world’s leading galleries, with an impressive line-up of arts events and exhibitions going on throughout the city during Armory Arts Week. www.thearmoryshow.com
BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival
March 25-31 Nanny Cay, British Virgin Islands
Your chance for a week of sunny Caribbean weather, world-class racing and endless parties, this is a sailor’s dream. Starting at Nanny Cay, the Sailing Festival races up the Sir Frances Drake Channel to the Bitter End Yacht Club. The races culminate with the regatta from April 2-4, a prime time to watch spectacular sailing by day and party the night away. www.bvispringregatta.org
Rallye du Maroc Classique
Photo: Andrew Watkins (Dubai Racing Club)
March 16-23 Casablanca, Morocco
A rare combination of stunning natural landscapes, high-adrenaline races and luxury living, this rally begins in Casablanca, passing through the High Atlas and Middle Atlas mountains and major Moroccan cities of Agadir, Erfoud, and Ouarzazate, before it ends in Marrakech with a gala dinner and prizegiving ceremony. Along the way drivers and guests stay in the finest hotels, with dinners and other events taking place at venues such as the Essaouira Sofitel and La Mamounia. www.rallye-maroc-classic.com
March 15-19 Valencia, Spain
Dedicated to St Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters, this annual festival originates from the springtime tradition of burning waste from woodworkersâ€™ workshops. These days, papier mache figures of celebrities, politicians and fantastical characters are paraded through the streets and burned at bonfires on the final day of the festival. Celebrations last a whole week, so put your party hat on. www.fallasfromvalencia.com
Spend it How about a private jet to the Monaco Grand Prix? Your own villa in the Maldives? Or one of Paris’ top suites? Go on...spend it
Ultimate Monaco Grand Prix Formula 1 fans looking for the ultimate once-ina-lifetime indulgence need look no further – this is it. You and eight friends will board a private jet in Dubai and fly to Nice, before transferring to Monaco and your vantage point for the duration of the Monaco Grand Prix (May 23-26), the Ermanno Palace. For the next two days, you will enjoy the best views in the city from the penthouse’s famous terrace, where F1 teams wine and dine sponsors and VIPs. A complimentary champagne bar on your terrace will be available from 8am until 6pm, as well as five-star catering all day long. The package also guarantees that an “F1 celebrity” will drop in at your party. You’ll have your own TV screens showing the race and your dedicated coordinators will be on hand to provide you with your official race programme and earplugs, and to ensure all your needs are met. When it’s all over, enjoy the private jet flight back to Dubai and start planning for next year. From: book now (subject to availability). Cost: US $14,000 per person (excluding accommodation) based on eight people. Book: email@example.com www.quintessentiallyaviation.com
Travel to Monaco by private jet
Four nights in paradise
*All prices are subject to change. Please contact the listed companies for further information.
Park Hyatt Paris Vendome
The combination of Indian hospitality and Indian Ocean setting makes Taj Exotica one of the most sought-after hideaways in the idyllic Maldives. The 64 luxurious villas sit at the edge of one of the archipelago’s largest lagoons, with clear tropical waters providing a playground for fish and visitors alike, and the Jiwa Grande Spa offering authentic Indian therapies including Ayurvedic treatments to promote inner balance and harmony. Book three nights before the end of March and you’ll be invited to enjoy the fourth night courtesy of the house, as well as complimentary speedboat transfers from Male and a romantic dinner for two at The Deep End, an over-water restaurant with open-sided walls. From: now until March 31. Cost: from US $3,710 for four nights including complimentary speedboat transfers and one complimentary dinner. Book: firstname.lastname@example.org www.tajhotels.com
Park Hyatt Paris Vendome
Location is everything in Paris, and few hotels enjoy a better one than Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, situated just steps away from the magnificent Place Vendome and the jewellery shops and boutiques of Rue Saint-Honoré. Guests staying in one of the five signature suites can opt for a salubrious Suite Experience package, which promises a collection of indulgent treats. You’ll be met from the aircraft and whisked through the airport to the waiting limo. After your VIP check-in, meet with executive chef Jean-Francois Rouquette to discuss your personalised dinner at Pur restaurant, which will be prepared with seasonal ingredients of your choosing and paired with a different wine for each course. The next day choose one massage and one other treatment from the spa menu and enjoy a pampering in a couples’ treatment room before retreating to your suite to enjoy a bottle of bubbly. Magnifique. From: now. Price: starting from EUR 5,360 (US$7,070) for two nights in the Diplomatic Suite. Book: email@example.com www.paris.vendome.hyatt.com
Romantic escape with Rotana Perched on the east coast of the UAE, overlooking the blue waters of the Indian Ocean, Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa is the perfect location for a romantic beach escape. The jewel of Al Aqah Beach is set against the backdrop of the Hajar Mountains, which loom behind the hotel and create a feeling of intimate isolation. Check into your suite and soak in the atmosphere, then enjoy a romantic candle-lit dinner on the beach, accompanied by the lapping of waves and the soft ocean breeze. Breakfast will be served in your room the following morning, so you can enjoy the luxury of a leisurely morning before setting off on a snorkelling trip around Snoopy Island and its surrounding coral reefs. In the afternoon, you and your loved one can enjoy a 60-minute rejuvenating spa experience in the private Serenity Suite at Zen spa. From: now. Cost: from AED 1,700 (US $423) per night excluding 10 percent service charge and 10 percent municipality fee). Book: firstname.lastname@example.org www.rotana.com
Golden Era in Istanbul Few cities in the world have as much character as Istanbul, and few hotels are steeped in as much character as Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah, the grand dame of the ancient city. Perched on a hillside overlooking the Golden Horn and the minarets of the mosques across the water in Sultanahmet, Pera Palace is Istanbulâ€™s original luxury hotel, opened in 1892 to provide first-rate accommodation for passengers travelling on the Orient Express from Britain. Check into one of the hotelâ€™s rooms of glamorous themed suites for three nights before March 31 and you can enjoy the fourth night free, giving you more time to explore the nearby attractions. Check out the Ernest Hemingway Suite or the Pierre Loti Suite to capture the glamour of the golden era, when every journey was an adventure. From: now until March 31. Cost: suites start from approximately EUR 280 (US $36) per night. Book three nights and get the fourth night free. Book: email@example.com www.jumeirah.com
the new fragrance for men
The right conference, in the right market, at the right time. Christian Nader, Shaza Hotels
TURKEY & NEIGHBOURS HOTEL INVESTMENT CONFERENCE
29-30 MAY 2013 The Marmara Taksim Istanbul, Turkey
IGNITING INNOVATION AND GROWTH
The Turkey & Neighbours Hotel Investment Conference (CATHIC) 2013 will take place 29-30 May at the Marmara Taksim, Istanbul. The full conference programme has now been released and will bring together over 65 local and global leaders to discover how to succeed in the Turkish hotel investment industry. Turkey’s strong economic growth in the last few years has led the country to become one of the fastest-growing tourism markets in the world. Attending CATHIC 2013 will provide you with the perfect opportunity to make valuable contacts, discover the latest trends and identify new business opportunities. CATHIC 2013 programme highlights include: New Investors at the forefront of driving the industry forward, a frank talk with the personalities investing and developing in the hotel sector; Global, European and Regional update. How is Turkey impacted by a slowdown globally and in Europe. What is still driving Turkey? What is the outlook for Turkey? Hard talk with the investors already in regional cities; Followed by a discussion with the hotel operators. Download the programme now www.cathic.com
CATHIC 2013 SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS
CATHIC 2013 SPEAKERS INCLUDE:
President & CEO Wyndham Hotel Group
President & CEO The Rezidor Hotel Group
CEO Continental Europe Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels & Hospitality Group
OUR PUBLICATIONS Martin Kandrac
Managing Director Blackstone
President Servotel Corporation
REGISTER TODAY TO SAVE US$600 AT: www.cathic.com
THE EVENT FOR STAKEHOLDERS INVOLVED IN HOTEL INVESTMENT IN CENTRAL ASIA AND TURKEY
STER REGI RE BEFO IL PR 5th A SAVE AND
Chic in the city The Imperial Suite at Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche has more than a hint of French charm, says Caitlin Cheadle
he lobby of the Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche, located in the towers of the sea-facing Capital Plaza Complex that borders the city’s business district, is full of Western and Arab businessmen when we enter on a Wednesday afternoon. My travel companion, who is visiting from Canada and who may have seen that Sex and the City film more than once, has been waiting with bated breath, and she is not disappointed. “It’s so fancy!” she exclaims as she stares up at the ornate glasswork baubles dangling from the ceiling. After check-in we are ushered to the lifts, discreetly located to the left of the lobby (there is also a separate set of lifts outside the hotel for restaurant guests), and taken to Imperial Suite 3001 on the 30th floor. In contrast to many UAE hotels, which tend to stick to an Arabic-themed design, Sofitel Abu Dhabi’s décor is more chic Parisian apartment than hotel. Not surprising that French abstract artist Pierre Soulages was the inspiration behind it. The suite is in a neutral palette of cream, taupe, white, black and silver, with magenta calla lily arrangements throughout the sitting room and bathrooms. The view, looking out over the Corniche, gets another thumbs-up from my friend, who proceeds to pull back all the drapes, filling the suite with natural light. Everything is modern without feeling clinical. Floors are carpeted, sofas and chairs softly upholstered, a king-size bed is piled high with fluffy pillows, and abstract artworks and damask lampshades add some extra quirk. There are two flat-screen Samsung TVs, one in the living room and one in the bedroom, and guests can borrow DVDs from a library at no cost. The master bathroom, carved from polished marble, is the stuff of apartment-remodelling fantasies. A bathtub set within a slab of black granite has a waterproof flat-screen TV at its foot, with waterproof remote control. Beside it is an enormous rain-shower with a ledge for sitting. There is also an en-suite bathroom next to the living room should you be entertaining guests. A kitchen/pantry is located next to the dining area, with a Nespresso machine and a fridge stocked with fresh juices, as well as full sets of cutlery and a stove. Here, your private butler or caterers can arrange a meal. The service throughout the hotel is accommodating, friendly and eager to please (a little too eager at times, but well-intentioned nevertheless). I am most impressed with the helpful staff at the 36th-floor Club Millesime, which all suite guests have access to. The lounge
Imperial Suite living room
serves breakfast every morning, plus coffee, tea, and an assortment of snacks and canapes throughout the day. A complimentary wine tasting is also held from 5.30pm – 7.30pm daily. We arrive just as the breakfast buffet is being cleared away, but we are quickly offered a basket of fresh pastries from the in-house pastry chef, before we are asked how we’d like our eggs. Visitors’ brochures are brought out for us as we enjoy one last coffee, and we’re off to the rooftop pool. Exploring Abu Dhabi will have to wait. n
The important bit What: Imperial Suite 3001 Where: Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche, Corniche Road East, Capital Plaza Complex, PO Box 44966, Abu Dhabi Price: AED 10,000 (US$2,722) per night + 10% service charge and 6% tourism fee. Contact: H7507@sofitel.com www.sofitel.com dotwnews.com dotwnews.comDecember March 2013 2011
Book Before 16 feBruary 2013 and save $400
www.arabianconference.com held under the Patronage of
Jointly organised by: HH SHeikH AHmed Bin SAeed Al mAktoum Chairman, Dubai airports President, Dubai Department for Civil aviation Chairman and CeO, emirates
Best foot forward Bastien Gonzalez’s remarkable foot and hand treatments are a no-nonsense approach to male grooming, says Joe Mortimer
tudio manager Clément Kergreis looked at me like I was an imbecile when I asked him about the objective of Bastien Gonzalez’s award-winning treatments. “To have beautiful feet and hands, of course,” he said flatly. I was at the Pedi:Mani:Cure studio at the ShuiQi Spa in Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm, trying out the ‘Bastien’s Duo’, the crème de la crème of ‘Foot Virtuoso’ Bastien Gonzalez’s treatments. During the 75-minute session, two therapists set upon your extremities with a series of tools including diamond-encrusted drill bits (three) and chamois leather (the same as you use to polish your car) with the aim of making them more presentable to the civilised world. The products used in the treatment are based on natural ingredients and essential oils designed to promote both well-being and beauty. The final result is not just cosmetic, but medicinal too, I’m told. The finish achieves such a high level of shine that customers are encouraged to leave their nails unpolished.
Unlike other manicure and pedicure treatments, the thought of which still makes some men uncomfortable, the Bastien Gonzalez technique is water free, and therefore dispenses with the need for ceremonial elements such as foot baths. There are no petal-strewn bowls of jasmine scented water here – only a reclining dentist’s chair and a tray of serious looking tools. Bastien Gonzalez (right) counts many men among his faithful customers, mostly businessmen who want to look presentable at meetings, but also an increasing number of chaps that simply care about the health of their hands and feet. At least that’s what Clément tells me as he changes the drill bit over. Meanwhile, the second therapist is working away at my hands, trimming, shaping and polishing the nails on each, being extremely careful not to remove too much nail. Unlike other manicure procedures, Bastien Gonzalez therapists avoid trimming the cuticles, which reduces the nail’s natural protection. When the nails have been taken care of and thoroughly buffed, the lights are dimmed and I’m encouraged to lay back and relax as the therapists perform a 15-minute synchronised massage of my feet, legs, hands and arms. The procedure is carried out fully clothed, so when it’s all over, you can slip your shoes back on and walk right out. The entire experience is free of pomp and ceremony, reiterating the fact that it is as much a medical procedure as a cosmetic one. I discover the downside to the treatment two weeks later, when I notice that as the nails grow back, the untreated nail emerging is visibly duller than the polished nail, and a different texture. The only way to remedy it, I gather, is to go back for another treatment. For anyone whose grooming routine involves a manicure every couple of weeks, this is not a problem, but if you are more of an occasional groomer – special occasions only – it might seem like a bit of an inconvenience. Then again, perhaps that’s a small price to pay for the two weeks of confident hand-shaking that I was able to enjoy immediately after the treatment. Who knows, I might even go back for another. n
The important bit What: Bastien Gonzalez Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio Where: ShuiQi Spa, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, UAE Cost: from AED 720 (US $196) for the 75 minute treatment. www.bastiengonzalez.com
KEEPS HIS HOTEL ON POLE P O S I T I O N
Bernie Ecclestone is renowned as the man in the driving seat of Formula One, but few people are aware that he is also a proud hotel owner
Photo: Brazil, 1979
Words: Christian Sylt
“Normally I stay in the same hotels and they give me the same rooms, so I know where I am. It is not like an adventure as it was in the early years”
s the boss of Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone has travelled the world. Races take place in 19 countries every year and Ecclestone travels to almost all of them. The 82-year-old has been running F1 for nearly 40 years and has amassed an estimated US $4 billion fortune, so when he travels, he does it in style. Private planes and presidential suites are usually the order of the day, but when it came to buying a hotel, his choice was far from obvious. Instead of taking over a glitzy wellknown grande dame favoured by celebrities, Ecclestone and his business partner Marco Piccinini bought the small Hotel Olden in the picturesque ski resort of Gstaad. The Olden started life as the Pinte Inn in 1690. In 1895 it was the victim of a huge fire in Gstaad; a total of eight houses burned down and only four were rebuilt in stone. The Olden was one of them. Following reconstruction, it continued to be operated as an inn and was purchased in 1924 by the Müllener family. The hotel first became famous for having an in-house family orchestra, since Hedi and Nelli, the two daughters of the hotel’s owner Marie Müllener, were gifted yodellers. In 1952 the Olden was sold again, this time to
Fausto Donizetti, who significantly elevated the reputation of its restaurants, a reputation that stands to this day. When Ecclestone and Piccinini took over they completely renovated the rooms, restaurants and kitchen. It was long overdue: “It was a hotel that needed saving. I got involved with it because I had been going there for a long time, and it was up for sale. It was a spontaneous purchase,” says Ecclestone. Piccinini was a useful business partner. The Italian ran Ferrari’s F1 team in the 1980s and from 1998 until 2009 he was a board member of Société des Bains de Mer (SBM), the Euronext-listed management company that runs hotels and casinos in Monaco, including the renowned Hôtel de Paris and Hôtel Hermitage. In contrast, the Olden is a much more homely hotel that wouldn’t look at all out of place on a picture postcard of Gstaad. Its roof is in the classic Swiss chalet A-frame style, while window boxes brimming with brightly coloured flowers adorn its façade. Its interior is furnished with wood, of course, and the only thing missing is a cuckoo clock. With just 16 rooms the Olden is a David among Goliaths: the Gstaad Palace and the Grand Hotel Bellevue, which both have more rooms and a spa, as well as the recently opened The Alpina, Gstaad.
“During the war I used to go into the bakery, buy the limited amount of cakes on offer and take them to school in a case. I sold them in the break-time”
“We draw people to our hotel because it is more or less in the middle of town and has been there for 108 years, so it has got a decent history. It has got probably the best restaurant around and is a warm, cosy hotel,” says Ecclestone. A cosy hotel may seem to be out of place in the turbocharged world of F1, but in fact it perfectly fits Ecclestone’s personality. Although he is a billionaire, he doesn’t lead a typical tycoon lifestyle. Son of a Suffolk trawlerman, Ecclestone epitomises the rags to riches tale. “I’ve always been a bit of a dealer. During the war I used to go into the bakery, buy the limited amount of cakes on offer and take them to school in a case. I sold them in the breaktime,” he recalls. Leaving school at 16, Ecclestone established one of the UK’s biggest car dealerships while dabbling in professional driving. In 1958 he entered two F1 races, but gave up on this career when he failed to qualify on both occasions. At that time, F1 races ran as ad hoc, almost amateur events. Each team made separate deals with the event promoters,
and television coverage was sporadic since races could be cancelled at the last minute if there were not enough cars to fill the grid. Ecclestone bought the Brabham team and although he won two championships with it, he had his eye on a bigger prize. Ecclestone realised that F1 could generate significant income from television stations if its coverage was consistent. This would benefit the sport overall, so he decided to focus his efforts on taking control of F1 instead of Brabham. “I had a choice to make,” he says. “Do I look after my team and let Formula One splutter on in a very amateur way, or do I look after Formula One? I really couldn’t do both properly.” He convinced the teams to sign a contract committing them to race and took it to TV companies who could then guarantee coverage. His company Formula One Promotions and Administration (FOPA) negotiated the deals and took a share of the proceeds, with the remainder going to the teams and F1’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). The rest, as they say, is history.
Unlike other billionaires, Ecclestone doesn’t have an army of bodyguards, and he hardly has any personal retinue at all. Until he was mugged in 2010, he rarely even used a chauffeur. Despite his age, he still works from 9am to 6pm five days a week, and even lives above the shop. Ecclestone’s pad in London is a modest penthouse above his office, which faces the famous Hyde Park. True to his workingclass origins, he has bottles of milk delivered to his doorstep every day. Holidays are infrequent and he says that when he travels on business, he looks for familiarity. “I don’t like staying in hotels but I have to,” he says. “The alternative isn’t so good. Normally I stay in the same hotels and they give me the same rooms, so I know where I am. It is not like an adventure as it was in the early years.” Ironically, despite F1 being one of the world’s most cutting-edge sports, Ecclestone is not overly tech savvy. For example, he keeps the telephone numbers of his closest business contacts printed on a list taped to the back of his mobile phone rather than in a digital address book. In a nod to one of his favourite films, Ecclestone had his ring tone
changed to Ennio Morricone’s famous theme tune to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. With this in mind, it is perhaps easy to see how the Olden fits into Ecclestone’s life, and he certainly has a soft spot for it: “I’d like to take that hotel wherever I go to stay in,” he says. “I don’t have any favourite hotels particularly, but all the hotels in Asia are good. It is hard to find a bad hotel there.” When Ecclestone visits the Olden he is often seen taking care of little details such as straightening up the picture frames hanging on the walls. One regular visitor to the hotel says that “attention to detail, typical for all of Bernie’s enterprises, can be felt in every corner of the hotel. There is a deeplyrooted, authentic atmosphere about the hotel and also about the food.” Ecclestone says he isn’t looking at adding to his hotel collection and is not personally involved with the management of the Olden. It probably isn’t enough to keep him occupied. “Hotels are very straightforward compared to F1. In the end it is all down to turnover and how efficiently you run the place.” It is a formula he has honed down to a fine art. n
Olden Gstaad What: 3780 Gstaad, Switzerland Tel: +41 33 748 49 50 Price: from CHF 580 (US $640) for a double room in low season Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org www.hotelolden.ch
ON THE ROAD
Engine: 3.8-litre V8 Power: 530 bhp Torque: 710 Nm 0-100kph: 4.7 secs Top speed: 307 kph Origin: Italy Cost: AED 525,000 (US $143,000)
Maserati’s new Quattroporte is a nobleman among vehicles; a stately executive saloon with all the hallmarks of superior Italian design, combined with Maserati’s talent for auto engineering. The new Quattroporte is bigger and more powerful than any of its predecessors, and has muscled its way in as the new flagship of the marque’s model range.
“The new Maserati Quattroporte is a high-performance sports luxury sedan that reinterprets the design features of classic Maseratis in a contemporary design language. Its style was born out of the guiding design principles of Maserati: harmony of shapes, dynamism of lines, and Italian elegance” Lorenzo Ramaciotti, head of Maserati Design Center
ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE S Engine: 6.0-litre AM11 V12 Power: 550 bhp (at 6,750 rpm) Torque: 620 Nm 0-100kph: 4.9 secs Top speed: 306 kph CO2: 332 g/km Origin: UK Cost: from US $199,950
The great British carmaker celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, and it seems that while Aston Martinâ€™s cars keep getting more powerful, they also get better-looking with each new generation. The Rapide S features a huge grille that beams at you from all angles, and an aerodynamic body that hints at its sporting prowess while retaining the air of a luxury sports saloon. But itâ€™s the new AM11 naturally aspirated 6.0-litre V12 engine that will make the difference between the Rapide S and its predecessors.
FOREVER YOUNG The Mercedes-Benz C 250 Coupé Sport is an elegant small-engine car with a rebellious streak, says Joe Mortimer MERCEDES-BENZ has developed its top-end vehicles in partnership with specialist engineering firm AMG for decades – a partnership that has seen the creation of some of the company’s most impressive (and expensive) high-performance cars and cemented its sporting legacy. But the German carmaker has now launched its own ‘Sport’ range to fill the gap between its standard models and the highperformance (and high-priced) AMG range. Confused? I was, too. The result is a 100 percent Mercedes-Benz-built car and engine, but without the AMG badge or price tag. The Sport model is currently only available on certain ranges, starting with the C-Class collection, but it is being rolled out across the whole fleet in coming years. The C 250 Coupé Sport is among the first to be introduced, and it’s a great way to showcase what Mercedes-Benz hopes to do with the brand. 90
It’s a beautiful car – the classic C-Class exterior is adorned with several features unique to the sport model, including two-tone black and silver alloy wheels, and the AMG Plus sport package enhances the athletic appearance. With a top speed of only 240 kph, the C 250 is by no means the fastest car in the Mercedes stable, but that’s not bad for a 1.8-litre engine that generates a respectable 204 bhp. Despite its significant heft (it weighs just over two tonnes), the Coupé is swift and agile. It is easy to forget where you are when you are behind the wheel – the cosy interior and nimble handling makes it feel more like you’re driving a hot hatchback than an executive saloon. Gear changes in Sports mode can be bumpy, but the rest of the drive is incredibly smooth. The Electronic Stability Program (ESP) keeps the car horizontal, and speed-sensitive steering makes it feel feather-light when coming into corners.
The interior lacks the bells and whistles of some of the company’s premium models (there’s no rearview parking camera or specialist sound system for starters) but even the standard package creates a luxurious and intuitive environment. Sports seats and steering wheel give it a racing feel, and several touches unique to the Sport model – including red stitching on the black leather seating and red seatbelts – set it apart from other C-Class varieties. The entertainment console features Bluetooth connectivity, a slot for SD cards, built-in DVD player and a bundle of cables to connect to media devices, and the navigation system is state-of-the-art. The C 250 Sport Coupé is a fun, playful car with bags of personality and all the elegance and style of a sophisticated executive saloon. If you’re looking for great performance in a small-engine car, without the AMG price tag, you couldn’t do much better. ■
NUTS & BOLTS Engine: 1.8-litre BlueEfficiency Power: 204 bhp Torque: 625 Nm 0-100kph: 7.2 secs Top speed: 240 kph Fuel consumption: 6.5-7 l/100 km CO2: 152-163 g/km Cost: starting from US $51,000. This model $55,870.
WE MEAN BUSINESS Hilton Cyprus is the only five-star hotel in Nicosia, the premium business address and a home away from home for business travellers looking for five-star luxury during their stay.
For conferences, the hotel can accommodate groups of up to 720 guests in up to 1,900 sqm of function space, while smaller meeting rooms are perfect for corporate meetings and presentations.
Located next to the business district and just half an hour away from Larnaca International Airport by car, Hilton Cyprus is perfectly situated for your convenience whether you are staying for a couple of nights or a whole week. All 294 guests rooms have their own private balcony with fantastic views over the city and a bright and airy space within. High-speed internet access is available in all rooms.
The Hiltonia Health Club is an oasis of calm, with a fitness centre, indoor swimming pool, four tennis courts, squash courts and a spa area with steam bath, Jacuzzi, sauna and a beauty centre offering a selection of indulgent treatments.
Guests staying in one of our 76 Executive Rooms or 19 suites enjoy additional benefits including access to the Executive Lounge, with complimentary breakfast and beverages.
Whatever the purpose of your visit, make sure you take the time to soak up some Cypriot sun and enjoy the Mediterranean climate at our outdoor swimming pool.
Hilton Cyprus â€“ come and stay with us.
The Executive Lounge is your home away from home, with breakfast served in the morning and hot and cold drinks, canapĂŠs and cocktails available throughout the day. Satellite TV and a range of international newspapers and magazines keep you connected to the outside world, and the Business Centre can help with any secretarial requirements you have during your stay.
Hilton Cyprus Archbishop Makarios III Avenue, Nicosia, 1516, Cyprus n Tel: +357 22 377 777 n www.cyprus.hilton.com
DINING The Fontana Restaurant Our all-day dining restaurants serves a delicious mixture of international cuisine from all around the world from 6:00am until 11:00pm every day. Choose from the international buffet or the a la carte menu and make sure you join us for the Hilton Breakfast.
Paddock Bar A favourite among Nicosia’s elite, the Paddock Bar’s live music, convivial atmosphere and impressive cocktail list keeps it full most evenings. The perfect place to unwind after a day of meetings, the bar is open daily from 4:30om until 1:00am
The Lobby Lounge Hilton Cyprus’s lobby lounge is a meeting place for Nicosia’s business leaders and socialites, where deals are made and parties planned over aromatic coffees and a selection of snacks and light meals throughout the day. Afternoon tea is a must for anyone visiting during the week.
Pergola Grill and Bar Casual pool bar by day and a la carte restaurant by night, the Pergola Grill and Bar serves some of the best steaks in Cyprus as well as a selection of grilled seafood and other dishes. The poolside atmosphere makes Pergola the perfect place for a romantic evening meal or a sophisticated business dinner.
On the grapevine
Contributing editor Mary Gostelow rounds up the latest news, gossip and insider tips from the world of luxury hospitality Sleep with Nobu in Vegas
Nobu Hotel Las Vegas opened on February 4 in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The 183-room hotel, run by general manager Gigi Vega, was designed by David Rockwell, the man behind Nobu restaurants. Bathrooms have teak fittings and bathing stools, and black umi tiles. Celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa oversees all culinary aspects, which means breakfast menus that include green tea waffles, and his version of bagel and lox, namely salmon sashimi on crispy rice bagel. www.nobucaesarspalace.com
St. John Hotel sold in London The 16-room St. John Hotel replaced Manzi’s seafood restaurant off London’s Leicester Square in 2010. Sadly the owners, former architect and chef Fergus Henderson and his business partner Trevor Gulliver, succumbed to the financial crisis. The hotel has now been bought by Singapore-based Loh Lik Peng. His Unlisted Collection already includes The Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai and Hotel 1929, Singapore. www.unlistedcollection.com
So Singapore gets Lagerfeld touch The 135-room Sofitel So Singapore, opening in July, is being created by co-owner Bobby Hiranandani, 25, son of property tycoon Asok Kuma Hiranandani. With an emblem designed by Karl Lagerfeld, the Lau Pa Satarea hotel is a conversion of the TAS Building, which dates back to 1927. All Sofitel So hotels have a touch of designer flair; Kenzo Takada helped with Sofitel So Mauritius and Christian Lacroix worked on Sofitel So Bangkok. www.sofitel.com
Asian hospitality on the Bosphorus Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul opens in May in a former tobacco factory, 10 metres from the Bosphorus. More than half of the 200 rooms have waterway views; the most popular will be the 3,700 sq ft, two-bedroom presidential suite, and five rooms on the fifth floor, all with private terraces. André Fu has designed the restaurants, offering Chinese in Shang Palace, and international in IST-TOO. There is also a 75-foot indoor pool. www.shangri-la.com dotwnews.com
St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow Tom Hudson, co-founder of British Polo Day, gives us an insiderâ€™s guide to the St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow
THE EVENT The St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow takes place every year over four days at the end of January. More than 15,000 spectators attend as well as some of the worldâ€™s top polo players. British cavalry officers first played polo there in 1899 when they marked out a field in St. Moritz-Bad, but the modern incarnation has been played on the frozen Lake St. Moritz since 1985.
ARRIVAL Fly into Kloten Airport in Zurich and it’s three hours by train to St. Moritz. The views are amazing as you wind slowly up through the mountains.
ATMOSPHERE The backdrop of the mountains is absolutely stunning. There’s a great carnival-like atmosphere as everyone descends onto the frozen lake for the matches.
DINE There are so many swanky restaurants in St. Moritz, but the best place to eat is up the mountain – the traditional ‘rösti’ [fried potato pancake] and a big sausage does the trick!
AFTER DARK Dracula’s Ghost Rider’s Club is the number-one spot, more commonly known as ‘Dracs’. It’s a private members club with a strict rule of no filming or photography inside its vaults. Established in 1974, it is located in the Kulm Hotel. Members have their own engraved goblets.
RUB SHOULDERS WITH Michael Schumacher was there, as well as Nacho Figueres, the polo player and Ralph Lauren model.
“You can’t go to St. Moritz without attempting the Cresta Run”
STAY We had an amazing gala dinner at the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains (below), which is the social hub for the whole weekend.
MUST-DO You can’t go to St. Moritz without attempting the Cresta Run – it’s an icy trough that you toboggan down, face-first at more than 50 mph. It is approximately three-quarters of a mile long with a drop of over 500 feet – and it definitely separates the men from the boys!
Connoisseur An insider’s guide to the most luxurious hotels in the world
Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt
I Mary Gostelow
Luxury travel connoisseur
n the Argentinian capital, stay central, within walking distance of culture, restaurants and shops. These hotels are either on, or near, the iconic Avenida Alvear, and the elegant Patio Bullrich centre, where affluent locals gather all day long for social coffee drinking. The hotels can arrange tango lessons, and trips to the Mendoza wine-growing area. The polo season, from August through December, offers even more reason for being in beautiful Buenos Aires. Alvear Palace Hotel, a member of Leading Hotels of the World and part of Best of Patagonia, is the 1932-vintage queen of Buenos Aires, yet this 11-floor hotel is immaculately up-to-date, and magnificent in every respect. From marbled public areas to the conservatory Winter Garden’s breakfast buffet, this is one of the world’s best independent hotels. GM Olga Petroni is like a storybook mother who knows what today’s travellers want: thanks to owner David Sutton, there is now an amazing five-room spa (you do not realize you are walking to a neighbouring building) and 16 additional rooftop suites are planned. As of now, there are 191 rooms, and corner suite 504, with a rounded salon, gives the best views along Avenida Alvear and its Ayacudo cross-street. This is the rare kind of hotel where, as well as hotel-logo Post-Its, you get really luxurious guest stationery, embossed in gold and black. www.alvearpalace.com Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, a few blocks east along Avenida Alvear, is a conversion of the 1934 palace built for the Duhau family.
Ingeniously, a brand new 17-floor tower, one block lower on Posadas, is linked to the palace by a subterranean art gallery walkway taking you past sculptures and the 142-room hotel’s working flower shop. The terraced garden between the buildings is popular at all hours with locals, again drinking coffee, talking and enjoying the greenery (the whole hotel complex is flanked by gigantic, 300-year old Gomero trees in the Palacio Maguire yard to one side, and trees in the Nunciature Vatican Embassy to the other). It is difficult to choose between palacio bedrooms, say 203, or staying in the tower, say 602, just as long as you have a view of the hotel’s garden, landscaped by the designer of the city’s botanical garden. Children love playing out here, by the way: they chase doves drinking from the garden’s shallow decorative pools. Restaurants – including Duhau Restaurant and Vinoteca, and the tower’s allday Italian Giola – spill out onto terraces. There is a serious indoor pool, where the ceiling colour changes with the hour. Antonio Alvarez is general manager. www.buenosaires.park.hyatt.com Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires is owned by flamboyant polo-loving entrepreneur Ali Albwardy, proprietor of, among other things, Dubai’s Desert Palm Resort & Spa and its polo fields. Here in Buenos Aires he has just spent a considerable sum on completely re-vamping the ground floor. An Alejandro Moy painting of galloping horses embellishes the front desk wall. Now there is the Pony Line Bar, with leather-strapped ceiling and travelling-trunk coffee tables, and a two-floor Elena restaurant, with assertive wrought-iron metal structures (Elena Peña was the new bride for whom Felix de Alzaga Unzue built the original mansion here in 1920, says general manager Selley-Morales. Now the mansion hosts events and, across the gardens with the outside pool, an 11-floor tower holds the 165 bedrooms. Room 1105 offers a fine view back to the mansion. www.fourseasons.com Alvear Palace Hotel
THE ESSENCE OF MALDIVES. THE SOUL OF SERENITY.
Lagoon Villas at Jumeirah Vittaveli
Beach Villas at Jumeirah Vittaveli
Be spoiled for choice with two exceptional island resorts in the Indian Ocean. Escape to the enchantingly sublime Jumeirah Dhevanafushi, a secret hideaway on the southern end of the rich Maldivian landscape. Or stimulate your senses at Jumeirah Vittaveli, perfect for an indulgent stay with family and friends. Whichever you choose, the experience will be unique and magically unforgettable.
Ocean Revives at Jumeirah Dhevanafushi