VO LUM E FI V E | I S S U E F O U R | FR EE
The Fa La La La La Issue Christmas dining, travel and treats: let the festivities beginâ€¦
Savour the very best of fine Filipino cuisine in London
“Nestled amongst the pomp and circumstance of Kensington High Street, Romulo Café is a neighbourhood restaurant that you’ll want to become a regular at” Foodism
343 Kensington High Street, W8 6NW. Call us on 0203 141 6390 romulocafe.co.uk
PHOTO COURTESY OF DUNALASTAIR HOTEL SUITES
Welcome to the latest issue of Kensington and Chelsea Review. Filled with art, auction, culture and luxury, Kensington and Chelsea Review is the magazine for the rather discerning resident of the Royal Borough.
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Tis’ the season, and we’ve decided to indulge ourselves silly over the festive period, whether by booking a winter-sun break somewhere glorious (Thailand, the Dominican Republic, Colorado), getting merrily sloshed on Sussex wines and premium indie spirits (see our guide within) or dining to a button-popping point at some of the best restaurants in the Royal Borough and beyond. And, when we haven’t been gorging ourselves silly, we’ve been musing on art, pampering ourselves, and escaping the city to sit by a cosy fire in a charming West Country hideaway. And, we hopped on the Caledonian Sleeper for a jaunt to Edinburgh and the Highlands, in readiness for Hogmanay. Plus we took a very special journey to one of the USA’s chillier parts… We hope your December is equally joyous. Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!
THE KENSINGTON & CHELSEA TEAM
MO T ORING EDITO R Lisa Curtiss O FFICE M ANAGER Lee Marrero S A LES M ANAGER Joseph McConville CO NTRIBUTORS Kate Weir, Sid Rhagava, Andrew Coles, Tani Burns, Sarah Rodrigues, Sara Darling, Sarah Lavigne, James Massoud, Becca Willans, and Lisa Curtiss.
All material in Kensington and Chelsea Review is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system without prior permission of the publishers. Colour transparencies and photographs submitted for publication are sent at the owners’ risk and while every care is taken, neither the publisher nor their agents accept liability for loss or damage however caused. The publishers can accept no liability whatsoeverof nature arising out of nor in connection with the contents of this publication. Opinions expressed within the articles are not necessarily those of Kensington and Chelsea Review and any issues arising therefore should be taken up directly with the contributor.
Art & Culture
What to direct your eyes towards and contemplate this season.
Christmas gifts for the discerning borough resident. We run hot and cold this issue as we take in snowy panoramas and chase the sun to far-flung beaches.
All you can eat caviar and lobster? We brave Adam Handling’s heavily indulgent Sunday lunch. And get our teeth into more ‘sod the diet’ dishes.
A little seasonal spoiling.
Luxury wheels to get behind in December.
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READ ALL ABOUT IT A rundown of news, from the worlds of art and culture (plus the items that intrigue us), all handpicked for the Royal Borough resident. S AI NT NI C K FL I C KS The Royal Albert Hall’s Christmas season, with an evening of the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra playing classic Christmas film scores, will be presented by none other than celluloid connoisseur and critic Mark Kermode. There will be songs from It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, Home Alone, A Nightmare Before Christmas, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, plus a few surprises. Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall will run from 3–31 December. www.royalalberthall.com
MA R C’ OF EXCELLENCE We do love chocolatier extraordinaire Pierre Marcolini; his Christmas collection has magical, imaginative edibles, such as ‘trees’ made of giant white-chocolate bells (£129), giant snow-globe advent calendars (£49) and a gorgeous Christmas cake topped with an abstract gingerbread village. Too good to eat, but also, too good not to. https://eu.marcolini.com/en
URBAN T R EEH O U SE Treehouses never fail to elicit a childish sense of glee in us. Growing up in London, with no garden, we never actually had one, but now a new hotel is going to make our tree-dwelling dreams come true. Treehouse London opened in Marylebone in October; it’s eco-conscious with a ‘robust composting and recycling programme’; cultured, with poetry slams, book clubs and horticultural tours; and stylish, with a ‘wild and woody’ look. Plus, it has a fine Mexican eatery and bar with 360-degree views – tree-mendous. www.treehousehotels.com
T R U LY TH E O N E&O N LY Rwanda’s tourism boom continues apace, with the arrival of One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, a luxurious retreat that opened in November. Set in the foothills of the Virunga volcano range, it’s just five minutes from Volcanoes National Park, a prominent gorilla sanctuary, so you’ll have a front-row seat to wild antics. There will be 21 chic jungle havens, fine organic dining, foraged cocktails, traditional drum performances and a spa with a trio of locally inspired signature treatments. And, alongside gorilla-spying, you can learn about Rwandan culture, visit a coffee plantation, or learn traditional crafts. www.oneandonlyresorts.com/gorillas-nest
IMAGE: JULIE EDWARDS
IN THE FRAM E Boutique optical practice Auerbach & Steele stock glasses that will truly make you look, with face-enhancing frames for all occasions (for kids, too). So, we’re thrilled that they’re opening a new store on the King’s Road. The space has been designed in collaboration with architect Angela Drinkall, and with three state-of-the-art consulting rooms and a glass-walled lab where you can watch your specs being made, it’s one to watch – through some extremely glamorous lenses, of course. www.auerbach-steele.com
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H E’ S C O MI N G TO TO WN Hamley’s Santa Claus meet-and-greets are legendary – and they’re back until Christmas Eve. Best suited for 2–8 year olds, a ticket gets each child a 40-minute session, where they’ll learn elf dance moves and songs, and play festive games, to earn them a place at the North Pole. Then they’ll meet the big guy himself, before leaving with an elf certificate; goodie bag with a bear, exclusive book and Xmas decoration; and a smile on their face. www.hamleys.com
B E WOWED AT JAPAN HOUS E Experience mesmerising digital displays and immersive installations that reference Japan’s hyper-modernity and rural traditions in a show by aptly named design studio WOW. The 360-degree motion-graphics of Tokyo Lights Odyssey takes you through a dizzying night in the capital, Poppo examines new ways of creating the handeddown handicrafts of north-eastern Japan and more inviting sights aim to bring about WOW’s mission for positive change. www.japanhouselondon.uk/whats-on/wowcity-lights-and-woodland-shade-digital-artencounters-with-japan
PAT RI CK STA FF AT SER P EN T I N E Artist Patrick Staff presents On Venus at the Serpentine, an installation exploring structural violence, registers of harm and the corrosive effects of acid, blood and hormones. They examine notions of discipline, dissent, labour and the queer identity. Etchings and a new video work look at topics as diverse as media coverage of sex reassignment to industrial farming, continuing Staff’s ongoing examination of the exchange between bodies, ecosystems and institutions, understood from a queer and trans perspective.
C H R I ST MA S AT KEW Kew Gardens truly shines at Christmas with a laser projection lighting up temperate house and a fairy-lit after-dark trail along the treetop walk. See Will o’the Wisps and walk amid glittering vines, then head through the pea-light-illuminated Tunnel of Light and frolic in the Fire Garden. In finale, colourful jets will jump across the surface of the Palm House Pond, and there’ll be festive songs from the Holly Bushes. Simply magical and on until 5 January. www.kew.org/kew-gardens/whats-on/ christmas
ON VENUS, PATRICK STAFF, (INSTALLATION VIEW, 8 NOVEMBER 2019 – 9 FEBRUARY 2020, SERPENTINE GALLERIES) © 2019 PHOTO: HUGO GLENNDINNING
B R UNCH AT LAURE NT Hotel Café Royal and Laurent Tourondel have brought New York to London with the launch of a brand new brunch menu with unlimited Bloody Marys or Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Inspired by brunching in New York, where executive chef Laurent Tourondel runs a number of restaurants, including Brasserie Ruhlmann at the Rockefeller Centre, the all-new menu can be enjoyed every Sunday. Guests can expect popular brunch classics as well as new must-try dishes, including truffle-popovers Benedict and scrambled eggs cacio e pepe. https://laurentatcaferoyal.com
X M AS , H O L LY STA R S-ST YL E On 16 December, trouble-flirting stand-up comedian and drag artiste Holly Stars’ has her Time of the Month at the Phoenix Arts Club: a comedy drag cabaret featuring some of the UK scene’s best performers. As shepherd’s watch her frocks by night, Holly will take to the stage with some of London’s favourite queer performers. And, if you’d like a taster, Holly tells stories of her life on Instagram at @hollywstars.
JEFF EDEN, RBG KEW
C A R O L S I N C EN TR A L Beautiful London church, St Martin in the Fields, will hold Festive Family Carols by Candlelight sessions on Saturday 14 and Sunday 22 December (from 4-5pm). The in-house choir will perform favourites, including: Away in a Manger, Once in Royal David’s City and Ding Dong! Merrily on High. To book tickets (from £10), call 020 7766 1100 or email email@example.com. All profits support the church and its work with homeless and vulnerable people across the UK. www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org
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O X FORD STREET LI G HT S UP On 21 November, Oxford Street illuminates the West End, as it celebrates 60 years of lighting up the capital at Christmas. The brand new digital lighting will see 27 LED light curtains draped across the street, which will display dynamic content, while providing energy savings of up to 90 per cent against traditional lighting. In addition, Oxford Street has partnered with Capital XTRA, to bring some of the best homegrown talent to the street for the switch-on evening.
BART S ’ N EW YEA R ’ S B A SH Speakeasy Barts is holding a Chicago-style soirée for Twenties-garbed guys and dolls this New Year’s Eve. With your ticket (£85 for bar tickets, £120 for table tickets) you’ll get a glass of Moët & Chandon Champagne and free-flowing liquor (Belvedere cocktails, beers, wines and house spirits). So, channel your inner gangster or moll – and don’t forget the secret password – and prepare for a spectacular start to 2020. www.barts-london.com/event/barts-newyears-eve-chicago-speakeasy-2
T H E SP Y WH O PA RT I ED Dust off that tux: Maggie’s Club is throwing Octopussy, a Bond-themed bash, for New Year’s Eve. Expect a Belvedere cocktail reception, Moët & Chandon midnight toast, 1980s hits to dance the night away to and, finally, some bacon butties for extra fuel. Tickets are £30 a person, with a minimum spend of £80 a head for tables (and a complimentary Belvedere fish bowl for groups of eight) – dress to impress. www.maggies-club.com/event/new-yearseve-james-bond-octopussy
W E HEART CLARIDG E ’ S London’s premier hotel feels special all year round, but it goes all out at Christmas – especially when it comes to food. Its new festive menu is on top form, with Cornish lobster pithivier, Roasted Cambridge Bronze turkey, tournedos of beef with truffle mousseline and its signature Christmas pudding. Treat yourself. Available until 26 December. www.claridges.co.uk
A CURI OU S C H R I STMA S Stylishly homey Notting Hill stay the Laslett has a special gift for guests staying over Christmas: a curio from fabulous local antiques and oddities boutique Les Couilles Du Chien. The shop has all manner of strange and wonderful things, so you’re guaranteed to be pleased. Plus, you’ll get a complimentary cocktail and the cosiest Xmas nest you could find. Bookable for stays between 15 November and 30 December. www.living-rooms.co.uk/hotel/the-laslett
TH E EN C H A N T ED WO O D L A N D After dark, Syon Park lights up in rainbow hues with a magical illuminated trail that takes you round the ornamental lake and through the historic arboretum. An enchanting evening for all ages, from 15 November to 1 December. www.enchantedwoodland.com
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S HOP S MA RT Smartech, an experience-led concept store, opened its flagship in Selfridges in October. Dubbed ‘The Store of The Future’ by the Financial Times, Smartech brings life to a new era of ground-breaking makers, creators and start-ups. This tech playground has over 80 cutting-edge innovation pieces. Fronted by exclusive robotics, IoT, smart art, FemTech and the latest in Deep Tech, it’s a mind-blowing experience at the iconic department store. www.smartech.buzz
BOOK NOW Based on the celebrated novels by Elena Ferrante, the play My Brilliant Friend is an epic tale. Following a sell-out run at Rose Theatre Kingston, the acclaimed two-part adaptation, by April De Angelis (Jumpy), is reworked for the Olivier stage by Melly Still (Coram Boy). Niamh Cusack and Catherine McCormack also return to the roles they originated in as Lenu and Lila www.nationaltheatre.org.uk
N O NEWS, NO SHOE S Soneva Fushi’s first-ever overwater villas will open by April 2020. The eight new Water Retreats mark the start of a new chapter for this iconic Maldivian resort. Designed to exist in harmony with the idyllic Baa Atoll, the new retreats adhere to Soneva’s sustainability ethos, and its renowned ‘no news, no shoes’ philosophy. They’ve been carefully designed to ensure the utmost privacy, as well as to make the most of the picture-perfect ocean vistas. www.soneva.com/soneva-fushi
M ORE I S H MA U R I T I U S Mauritius’s culinary experiences are a real draw; and Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel offers high-quality authentic cuisine. Recent renovations have brought about new dining experiences. The restaurants truly cater to all; for those who want a romantic treat, the Cove is an intimate dining spot, while XO restaurant is cosy yet sophisticated, and Peninsula Restaurant offers flavours from around the world with their tapas menu. Paradise on a plate, served every way. www.paradisecovehotel.com
C H I C WEEK Go behind the scenes of the London Fashion Week Hub to discover an immersive innovative experience, including designer catwalks; creative installations; the DiscoveryLAB (an experiential space where fashion meets art, technology and music); and a #PositiveFashion Designer Exhibition where the work of progressive designers explores the most compelling stories around sustainability, community and ethics. Sign up and be a part of the celebration of fashion and much more. www.londonfashionweek.com, from 15–16 February. Our readers can get 20 per cent off tickets using the code KCRLFW20. IMAGE: BURBERRY SS20 FOH (GETTY, BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL)
A P HEASANT TIM E WAS HAD The Pheasantry in King’s Road, Chelsea has attracted musicians from the West End and US. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, it held four very special shows from 11–14 November, including Fascinating Aïda, Pete Atkin, Summer Strallen, Nicky Haslam and Liane Carroll who have all previously performed here. Also on show were neverseen-before photographs of the building and artists associated with it. www.pizzaexpress.com
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AN INTERVIEW WITH VANESSA SEWARD W O RDS TANI BURNS .
Vanessa Seward is one inspiring lady. The French designer radiates the kind of chic you know could only result from a singularly intuitive mind, paired with travel-honed class. Born in Argentina, she grew up in London before moving to Paris with her mother at age 12, where she still lives with her daughter and husband, the composer Bertrand Burgalat. After studying at Studio Berçot, Seward worked for nine years as an accessory designer for Chanel and Tom Ford at Yves Saint Laurent before she became second-in-command to Loris Azzaro, and then artistic director of his fashion house, following his death in 2003. In 2011, she joined Jean Touitou at A.P.C. to launch a capsule ready-to-wear collection. Most recently, she has been collaborating with La Redoute on a ready-to-wear collection inspired by French women, such as author Françoise Sagan and Nouvelle Vague actress Françoise Dorléac. Impressive indeed. We managed to pin her down for a few questions about what she does to relax when she gets the chance… Q : A S AN INCREDIB LY BUS Y W ORK I NG W OM AN, WI FE A N D MO T H ER , IT MUST BE DIFFICULT T O F I ND T HE T I M E T O T R U LY R EL A X. WH ER E I S H O ME TO YOU? A : I think I live the same kind of busy life as most working mothers and yes it’s difficult to find moments to relax, but I do as they are essential to me (as a creative person I need them as that’s when my ideas usually pop up). Home is with my husband and daughter, and it’s been Paris for the last 35 years. Q : WHEN IN LONDON, W HE RE ARE Y OUR FAVOU R I T E P L A C ES T O STAY, E AT AND UNWIND? A : The last time we came to London, my husband and I stayed at the Renaissance St Pancras Hotel, to celebrate the launch of Loyalty & Love, a collaboration between Marriott Bonvoy and Rankin. It was such a treat arriving from Paris on the Eurostar and walking straight into to the hotel! The old building is beautiful and lovingly restored. Restaurant-wise, we love classic eateries, like Rules and Scott’s, but we also love to unwind by shopping at places like Fortnum & Mason’s and Hamleys with my daughter, walking around the Portobello Road flea market and going to see the odd musical at the West End. Q : A ND WHEN YOU ARE T RAVE LLI NG AROUND T H E WO R L D F O R WO R K, W H AT DO YOU DO T O RE LAX ? A : When possible, I take a walk to get to know the place I’m in, and pick up some local treats and newspapers to feel more at home. Q : WHERE DO YOU LI K E T O T RAVE L F OR A RE AL H O L I D AY? A : We have a house in the French Pyrenees where we go whenever we can. I also love discovering European cities like Ljubljana. Q : WHEN CHOOSIN G A HOT E L, W HAT ARE T HE MA J O R FA C TO R S? A : Charm and kindness are essential to me. I prefer quality to quantity, hence I appreciate how Marriott Bonvoy make hotel stays stress-free, allowing myself and my family to step into a private bubble of luxury and enjoy precious time together. A hotel stay is special. This idea of escaping from home and spending pampered time together is something only hotels can truly offer. Not to mention that experiencing the magic of a hotel and new destination through your kids’ eyes is truly priceless. Q : A ND FINALLY, WHAT ’ S T HE NE X T DE S T I NAT I O N O N TH E L I ST F O R YO U ? A : I’d like to discover the region around Sils-Maria, in Switzerland, where there seems to be some fascinating historical hotels. Vanessa Seward and Bertrand Burgalat were captured by Rankin for Loyalty & Love, a collaboration with Marriott Bonvoy, the travel programme from Marriott International. For more stories of Loyalty & Love visit www.MarriottLoyaltyandLove.com
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‘IT WAS SUCH A TREAT ARRIVING FROM PARIS ON THE EUROSTAR
AND WALKING STRAIGHT INTO TO
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PORT OF COOL SID RAGHAVA G OE S T O T HE S OU R C E O F P O RT U G A L’ S P R EMI ER T I P P L E.
As an avid Tintin fan in my younger days, I had fond admiration for Senhor Oliviera De Figueira, the travelling salesman from Lisbon. His reassuringly winning smile, as if permanently etched, was a perfect match for his rather portly gait. He exuded an aura much like that of the Buddha, if you like. I was always curious and captivated by the beautifully shaped bottles of wine he had within his smorgasbord of goods. A fascination that continued with the regal red tipple that was abundant in my dad’s wine cabinet. And hence was forged a love for Port – and, by extension, Portugal – which continued through my mid-twenties and thirties. While I’m not a connoisseur by any means, I have been meaning to visit Porto since my teens to delve deeper into that passion. However, as if I’d tempted cruel fate, I never did make it there till now. Lisbon manya-time, the Algarve on a few occasions, but never Porto. Strangely, I’m glad that I let the romance linger as long as I did without actually making the oft-considered journey into the birthplace of Port, my sweet and luscious liquid friend of the last three decades. All my expectations were met and you can be sure there’ll be several trips made back and forth to experience the city’s myriad charms. Porto’s city-centre thoroughly deserves its world-heritage status. Among the architectural highlights of the city, Porto Cathedral is the oldest surviving structure, together with the small Romanesque Church of Cedofeita, plus the old ramparts of the city and a few 15th-century houses. There is the São Bento Train Station – a museum in itself – and the strewn skeletons and skulls within the glazed catacombs of São Francisco Church. There is also Livraria Lello or Lello Bookstore: one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, which served as inspiration for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. You will agree that this cultural extravaganza deserves a fitting touch of luxury when it comes to matters of boarding. Look no further than The Yeatman hotel. If you’ll let me brag for a second – I’ve been to many a five-star hotel and stayed at a few insanely luxurious properties. So, I can confidently say that The Yeatman belongs firmly among the top 10 per cent of those hotels. It’s a marvelous wine and spa property towering above the lodges in the
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beautiful historic district of Vila Nova de Gaia. A hub of the port wine industry, it’s peppered with cellars and wine houses offering tours and tastings. It’s also known for sandy beaches like Praia da Madalena, and the scenic riverside road Cais de Gaia. The Yeatman’s terraced façade, with panoramic views overlooking Porto and the Douro, lends it an esteemed presence – as if it were the city’s most famous and beloved castle perched on the south side of the river. If the Yeatman were a movie, starring roles might go to its worldclass spa, delightfully spacious rooms (be they standard or suites), well-stocked cellars or simply its magnificent visage – a majestic head-turner on the southern banks of the Douro. However, the piéce de resistance could quite easily be the twoMichelin-starred Gastronomic Restaurant. The aim is simple: provide the most satisfying gastronomic experience in the city at one of its most luxurious hotels. Chef Ricardo Costa crafts imaginative cuisine in which the traditional flavours of Portugal are fused effortlessly with varied European and modern influences, to showcase the country’s quality ingredients and ever-changing, diverse regional cuisines. The remarkably experienced sommeliers make sure that the wines from their well-stocked and staggeringly comprehensive cellars complement the food quite to regal effect. Yes, it was just a weekend away, but It was a thoroughly satisfying one, where the anticipation was immense and my expectations sky-high, and Porto did not disappoint. It is a brilliant city, which shines bright and offers a varied itinerary to the traveller, including wine, food, art, culture, football and a whole lot more, effortlessly punching above its weight. If Lisbon is the heart of Portugal, Porto is the northern soul. Classic Collection Holidays (0800 047 1064; www.classic-collection.co.uk) offers holidays with private transfers and flights included to Porto and Douro. Prices start from £1,098 for seven nights at Vintage House hotel, and from £743 and £575 for three nights at the Yeatman and Hotel Infante Sagres respectively. Prices are per person, based on bed and breakfast. Twin and multi-centre holidays can be arranged, too.
‘AND HENCE WAS FORGED A LOVE FOR PORT – AND, BY EXTENSION, PORTUGAL – WHICH CONTINUED
THROUGH MY MID-TWENTIES AND THIRTIES.
WHILE I’M NOT A CONNOISSEUR BY ANY MEANS, I HAVE BEEN MEANING TO VISIT PORTO SINCE MY
TEENS TO DELVE DEEPER INTO THAT PASSION.’
TRAVEL TIPS H O TEL I N FA N TE SA G R ES A modern hotel in the centre of Porto. Ideally located close to a bevy of favourite hotspots. The Vogue Café within the hotel is a city favourite for a stylish and contemporary take on food, wine and cocktails. www.infantesagres.com https://voguecafe.pt TA B ER N A D O S MER C A D O R ES One of the most charming restaurants in the world, I imagine, especially If you like fish prepared the typical Porto/Portuguese way, Don’t miss the local speciality: sea bream encrusted with salt and flamed open with a generous wash of vodka. This petite eatery barely seats 15, so book in advance or be prepared to wait. www.facebook.com/tabernamercadores TH E V I N TA G E H O U SE A bit outside Porto, the Vintage House in Portimao is a five-star luxury hotel overlooking the Douro river. Get there by boat and return by train to experience the magic of the Douro Valley. We suggest a meal in the award-winning Rabelo Restaurant complete with brilliant wine pairings and the most wonderfully shaped decanters. www.vintagehousehotel.com
BEAUTIFUL BRITISH VINEYARDS TO VISIT THIS WINTER TH E GRAPE HARVES T S M AY BE I N, AND VI NE LEAV ES FA L L I N G B U T T H ER E’ S SO MET H I N G SO V ERY MA GIC AL A B O UT VISITING EN GLAND’ S PI CT URE S QUE VI N EYA R D S T H I S TI ME O F YEA R . L I SA C U RTI SS WR A P P ED U P WA R M AND HEADED OF F ON A M I NI M ULT I - COU N TY TA ST I N G A N D C U L I N A RY T O U R .
CH A PEL DOWN, KENT Chapel Down’s picturesque 22 acres of vineyards are located within an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ near the pretty market town of Tenterden. It’s a wine lover’s delight to visit, with guided tours, tutored tastings, vineyard walks, beautiful herb gardens, and highly rated restaurant The Swan. There’s also a shop stocking not only their wonderful wines – including some ‘cellar door’ exclusives – but a host of local produce too. There’s even a wine school there where you can study WSET wine courses. Known as one of the very best winemakers in the UK (who supply Michelin-star-holding restaurants), Chapel Down produces a wide range of world-class still and sparkling wines – the latter created using the same Traditional Method as Champagne. Do treat yourself to a case of Kit’s Coty Blanc de Blancs – a Decanter Gold Medal Award winner – the perfect luxury fizz for the festive season. www.chapeldown.com
GR E YFRIARS, SURR E Y Located on the sunny south-facing chalk slopes of the Hog’s Back at Puttenham, just outside Guildford in Surrey, Greyfriars has been producing wonderful sparkling wines for years, some of which have notched up a number of prestigious awards. The vineyards are predominantly planted with the three classic Champagne varieties; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, plus small plots of Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. Tours and tasting events are available and visitors can often be the first to enjoy some limited-release wines, only available at the vineyard. There’s also a shop where you can buy their excellent wines, including their totally delicious 2015 Cuvée Royal Limited Edition. www.greyfriarsvineyard.co.uk
J E N KYN PLACE, HA M PS HI RE Once this marlstone and greensand land near the village of Bentley was planted with hops, but the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines which thrive here now produce some of the mostawarded sparkling wines in the whole country. This pretty vineyard isn’t open daily to the general public, but does run excellent tours you can book throughout the year. All Jenkyn Place sparkling wines are made using the same Traditional Method as in France’s Champagne region. For this season’s festivities, ordering at least a case each of their recently released and already highly acclaimed first ever Blanc de Blancs (2015), Brut Classic Cuvée 2014 and Rosé 2014 are must-tries. Plus, as an extra special gift, we recommend a magnum of their simply delicious 2009 Rosé or Brut Cuvée of the same year. www.jenkynplace.com
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DE NBIES WINE ESTAT E , S URRE Y Located in rolling countryside in the Surrey Hills, near Dorking, Surrey, Denbies has been producing wine since 1986 – winning multiple gold awards its for sparkling wine production, the first ever gold for an English rosé wine, and most recently, a coveted international gold for Denbies Noble Harvest dessert wine. Visitors can enjoy over seven miles of trails throughout the vineyard, take guided tours, and enjoy tastings. Denbies has its own new hotel too, at the heart of the estate, with lovely views across the vineyards and rolling hills. You can dine here too, in the Gallery and the Vineyard Restaurant located in the hotel’s orangery. If you can, pick up one of the limited run of 500 bottles of their simply superb IEWA 2019 Gold Medal winning Brokes Botrytis Ortega 2016 dessert wine for your festive celebrations. www.denbies.co.uk
THREE CHOIRS, G LOUCE S T E RS HI RE One of England’s oldest vineyards in a lovely swathe of countryside, Three Choirs produces award-winning wines from 12 grape varieties, from well-known reds, such as Pinot Noir, to the less-heard-of varietals of Bacchus, Siegerrebe and Seyval Blanc. The vineyard even has its own luxury lodges tucked in the heart of all the vines – perfect for any romantic winter weekend stay. Here you can spend the day enjoying tastings and tours, and relax in the evening with a delicious dinner at the vineyard’s own brasserie before walking back to the privacy of your own lodge. Try their delectable Classic Cuvée traditionally made sparkling wine, the perfect Christmas party apéritif. www.three-choirs-vineyards.co.uk
S IM PSONS WINE E S TAT E , K E NT Set in a glorious position on the sunny, sheltered slopes of the North Downs of Kent, the Estate’s vineyards thrive on the chalky soils there, so revered for the production of grapes chosen for the world’s most exquisite sparkling and still wines. Tours and a host of special experiences are offered and are definitely worth enjoying – here, you’re in the North Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so there’s plenty to see and do close by, too. A typical visit will begin with a walking tour of The Roman Road vineyard, to learn how the vines are planted, trained, nurtured and harvested, before returning to the state-of-the-art winery, where you will be guided through the entire Traditional Method winemaking process. Of course, no visit would be complete without a very special tasting of their excellent wines in the elegant Glass House Tasting Room. There’s even a ‘Fruit Chute’ helter-skelter guests love. Coming home with a case or two is a must, and all of their wines are so good it’s actually hard to choose – but how about their highly acclaimed Chalklands Classic Cuvée 2016, created from estate-grown chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Delicious. www.simpsonswine.com PAGE 13
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‘‘THROUGHOUT THE SEVEN YEARS HE
SPENT RISING FROM CADET TO CAPTAIN D.F.E PASKE, HE
OFF-DUTY MOMENT TO DEVELOP
FROM DASHING CAVALRY CAPTAIN TO EQUESTRIAN ARTIST WITH A THIRST FOR ADVENTURE R IS I NG STAR FREDDY PAS K E R E C ORDS ‘RACING AROUND T HE W O RLD’ (IM PRESSI ONS OF T HE IN TERNATIONAL HORS E ) F OR HI S D EC EM BER EXHIBIT I ON
W O RDS THEO WOO DHAM - S M I T H
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From 4–21 December, 2019, 40 new paintings will be shown at Osborne Studio Gallery, Belgravia) As a growing boy Freddy Paske always had his paints and crayons at the ready. An outstanding gift was recognised when he won a major art scholarship to Harrow School in 1999. Following academic and art studies at Oxford Brookes and Leeds University, and a year at Sandhurst (2009) young Freddy decided to ‘go for a soldier’. He served in the Light Dragoons historic cavalry regiment (motto ‘It Flourishes Forever’) for seven years, including deployment in Afghanistan. The first regiment of Light Dragoons was formed in 1759, and were celebrated for being ‘in the thick of it’; they had three regiments at Waterloo in 1815; were at the forefront of the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854; and they were first on the beaches in Normandy in 1944. Throughout the seven years he spent rising from officer cadet to Captain D. F. E Paske (in 2012), he snatched every off-duty moment to develop his art, taking his easel ‘en plein air’ to capture the reality of 21st-century army life. His new career as a professional artist began in 2015 after a sell-out 2014 show of sketches from Afghanistan. He worked with the Household Cavalry, Tattersalls Auctioneers and The Jockey Club to create a body of work celebrating The British Horse, and held exhibitions in London, Salisbury, Hampshire and Knoxville, USA. This forthcoming show, his second at London’s leading equestrian gallery, was inspired by horse racing in offbeat locations, informed by three ‘key trips’ over two years: in Spain, Dubai and Switzerland. Freddy Paske paintings are distinguished by bold composition and brilliant colours. He employs a wide variety of techniques, constantly innovating and experimenting, saying: ‘I have tried to develop a unique style for each location around the world.’ Geoffrey Hughes, director of Osborne Studio Gallery, invited Freddy Paske to capture Beach Racing at Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Andalusia Spain, and the noble traditions of horsemanship at the PAGE 10 Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Jerez. Freddy describes his recollections with breathless enthusiasm. He says, ‘On
the beach the light was fantastic: Spanish sun on the coast, the unique sight of horses silhouetted against the sea. At the Royal School I was mesmerised by this magnificent grey horse being exercised. The colours in his coat were spectacular. The sun played a huge part in teasing out the most wonderful colours. It’s something you can’t find elsewhere. I was influenced by the Joaquín Sorolla exhibition (the Spanish artist known as ‘The Master of Light’), which started at London’s National Gallery at about the time I began to create my Spanish series. He was a guest at the White Turf of St Moritz: an astonishing spectacle of racing on ice, established in 1907, which enthralls more than 35,000 visitors from around the world each February. Freddy describes the scene: ‘The race track is built on a frozen lake, and the horses run on the packed snow on top. These days they ultrasound the track after every race to ensure the snow is hard enough to support the horses. Freddy says, ‘I was lucky enough to be given a private tour of the stables before the event. It’s a serious lap of luxury – almost as nice as my hotel. The horses have central heating, to ensure they stay warm in the below zero temperatures.’ ‘The bright Alpine light was incredible and allowed me to capture race horses in a completely different way. Most notable was the flying lumps of snow and the reflected light off the snowy track.’ He was invited to Meydan Racecourse for the Dubai World Cup. ‘Again I was after a light change here. Due to the heat, much of the racing is conducted in the evening. This meant a variety of electric lights were used, which cast a fascinating backdrop for the racing. I was dazzled by the scene, which was bursting with pomp and splendour, a multiplicity of electric light effects which I had never seen before.’ There will be more than 40 paintings in the exhibition, with prices ranging from £1,000 to £15,000. Freddy’s own words express the character of his art ‘I love urgency in an image’. His pictures are vital, frisky and joyful. The creative process includes sketchbooks, cameras and iPads to capture the moment, which he then uses to make the final paintings in my Hampshire studio.
TAKING IT EASY AT ONE LOVE FESTIVAL S A R AH LAVIGNE WAT CHE S RE GG AE LE GE NDS AT T H E SU P ER -C H I L L H O P FA R M FESTI VA L
The sky has turned the typical grey shade of a British music festival by the time I arrive at Hop Farm; it’s cloud-ridden and bears the constant threat of rain. But, even if the weather is only intermittently cheerful, One Love Festival’s music, colours and vibes are all pure sunshine. One Love Festival feels totally laid-back from the moment you set foot in the arena. Across the field, reggae, ska and dub fans of all ages and from all walks of life skank and bobble from side to side in front of their favourite bands and DJs. Amid them, groups of friends chill out on the sun-scorched grass, cups of cider in hand, and parents keep relaxed eyes on their children, who have recruited passers-by to play in their improvised football teams. In the Rasta Village, topical issues are weaved into the lyrics of traditional Rastafari songs, while youngsters play board-games and exotic food simmers on stoves. It’s early evening and the air is filled with the aroma of curried goat and Ital stew, cutting through the other, ahem, plant-based scents conventionally associated with reggae. In the background, rolling bass lines, reverberating vocals and offbeat guitar licks resonate from stages and tents, so after a browsing stalls selling holistic and hemp wares, and ethical clothing, it’s time for some music. On the One Love stage, a roster of reggae, dancehall and dub legends, hailing from the UK and Jamaica, perform much-loved classics and test out recent material. The pure Roots of Reggae veterans Misty in Roots, the unique dancehall of King Yellowman, the brassy melodies of legendary trombonist Vin Gordon and the suave charisma of Errol Dunkley transports dedicated crowds straight to downtown Kingston. But for me, it’s Benjamin Zephaniah and the Revolutionary Minds who stole the show with their evocative synths, inspiring rhymes and the soulful vocals of candid and talented Amy True. Meanwhile, on the Kaya stage, dozens of lesser known and unsigned acts add a more experimental flavour, from the reggae, funk and rock fusion of Mangoseed (who alternate distorted guitars and powerful vocals with more traditional sounds), to the electronic beats of duo Ink Project (who use theirs for a more abstract sound), or the upbeat ska of Skata Tones whose highenergy tunes and fun stage presence deserved a bigger audience. Established and emerging DJs take over the Dub Shack, where festival crowds bust a move to chilled-out dub – some of them still feasting from bowls of curried goat. A few steps away, Drum ‘n’ Bass spills out of the ‘bunker’, where the most hardcore party animals will dance till the early hours. Although this year’s festival theme is ‘Hops and Hemp’, the message which truly came through, from artists and the audience alike, was one of love and unity. With its ultra-laidback vibes and lack of redtape, One Love is a festival to ease yourself into and take as it comes. But whether you’re a reggae fan or not, its mellow grooves will get you skanking away and leave you wanting more. www.onelovefestival.co.uk
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CREDIT: JAVIER PRIETO RUIZ
GOLDEN AGE SA R A H R O D R I G U ES V I SI T S TH E WO R KSH OPS O F I C O N I C ED I N B U R G H -B A SED FI N E J EWE L L E R H A MI LT O N & I N C H ES
Scotland has always been steeped in lore and legend; Celtic myth swirls around its craggy mountains and imbues its rugged landscapes with a gothic wildness. Say, the story of how the thistle came to be its national emblem (legend has it that Scots warriors were woken from their slumbers and saved when advancing murderous Norsemen stepped on the plant and screamed); the giantess Cailleach Bheur, who is said to have created the land’s many lochs, waterways and peaks; or murderous Macbeth, the haunting, watery Kelpies and notoriously shy Loch Ness Monster… It’s a land that sings with folkloric significance. If there’s gold in them hills, it seems all the more surprising that these rich seams haven’t been widely discovered before: the most magical, metaphysical and precious of substances, one imagines that it would always have been used to craft regal crowns, spellweaving harps, protective amulets and such. In fact, people have long panned for gold in Scotland. Mary, Queen of Scots, wore gold jewellery and in Victorian times there was even a mini gold-rush, with occasional nuggets so sufficiently chunky that happy prospectors were able to live off the proceeds for a couple of years. More recently, in an area near Tyndrum, in the Grampian Highlands, gold is now being commercially mined for the first time in the country’s history. Edinburgh-based Hamilton & Inches is the only fine jeweller in the world to have access to this pure and precious metal, which claims Single Mine Origin and is refined without coming into contact with any other gold. For now, it has been crafted into a 30-piece collection, drawing on Scotland’s rich past for inspiration, with some of the pieces incorporating the host rock – perhaps an acknowledgement of how the gold remains so deeply rooted in the very land that has shaped it. The collection will be added to as more gold comes through from the mine and each piece – like the initial run of 30 and commissions currently being undertaken – will be meticulously made by craftsmen who occupy the warren of workshops above Hamilton & Inches’ central Edinburgh showroom, housed within a five-storey Georgian townhouse on George Street.The rarity of the gold and the mythical landscape it’s mined from aside, it’s here that the true magic takes place. Master silversmiths, polishers, jewellers and engravers, some of whom have been with the company for decades, stand hunched over workbenches, surrounded by instruments, many of which are over 100 years old. It’s astonishing to think that such solid tools (and, looking around the workshop, hands) can shape pieces with such delicacy and grace. Hamilton & Inches has held the Royal Warrant for more than 120 years of the company’s 153-year history. Now listed as Silversmiths and Clock Specialists to Her Majesty the Queen (HRH herself visited the showroom for its 150th anniversary in 2016) it’s unsurprising that one of their timekeeping creations, the Balmoral Clock, has itself become the stuff of modern legend. An imposing Gothic tower juts from the city’s Balmoral Hotel, looking down upon Edinburgh with four clock faces, each one 13 feet in diameter. This clock, designed by William Hamilton Beattie in the latter years of the 19th century, has run three minutes fast since 1902, to allow passengers in Waverley Station, over which it looms, time to dash for their trains. Wound by hand until the 1970s, the clock has kept time just once a year since its inception: on New Year’s Eve (or Hogmanay, as it’s called in Scotland). With new CEO, Victoria Houghton at the Hamilton & Inches helm (she’s the first woman to have held the role in the company’s history) there are plans to modernise the George Street showroom, retaining the building’s historical features. Plans to continue building on existing partnerships with the likes of Cumbria Crystal, Patek Philippe and Rolex, as well as to introduce further contemporary ranges, crafted in those spellbindingly fascinating workshops upstairs, are also underway. Like Scottish Gold itself, Hamilton & Inches is a brand deeply rooted in Scottish history, wearing its heritage proudly and casting a brilliant gleam into the future. www.hamiltonandinches.com PAGE179 PAGE
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MOVING TO MARS HIGHLIGHTS The Design Museum is offering visitors the chance to visit the red planet without having to leave London in a multi-sensory exhibition for all ages: Moving to Mars. Explore the designs that could make the journey to Mars possible and allow mankind to, not only survive, but thrive once they get there. Here are the top exhibits not to miss:
MA RS HABITAT BY HAS S E LL, I N PART NE RS HI P WI TH EN G INEERS ECKERS LE Y O’ CALLAGHAN ( E OC) Step inside a full-scale Mars habitat for the first time. Designed by London-based international design firm Hassell as part of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge. With a focus on living conditions and astronauts’ wellbeing, this interactive exhibit will invite visitors to experience what a home might look like on Mars. THE EXOM ARS ROS ALI ND F RANK LI N ROVE R, CO URTESY OF ESA, T HE E UROPE AN S PACE AG EN C Y Discover a full-scale model of the ExoMars rover, which will travel to Mars in 2020. The ExoMars programme is a joint endeavour between ESA and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos. The programme’s primary goal is to address the question of whether life has ever existed on Mars; its first mission launched in March 2016. MA P OF M ARS BY GI OVANNI S CHI APARE LLI Examine the first Mars map. Director of the Brera Observatory in Milan, Giovanni Schiaparelli created the first detailed map of Mars in 1877. Schiaparelli identified darker and lighter features of the map as seas and continents, and described the appearance of ‘canali’ (‘channels’ in Italian) on Mars. These Martian ‘canali’ were famously mistranslated into English as ‘canals’, leading to the misconception that there might be life on Mars.
SS2 0 ‘ N EW H O R I ZO N S’ C O L L EC TI O N B Y R Æ B UR N Explore Martian fashion created by responsible design company RÆBURN. The SS20 ‘New Horizons’ collection is inspired by the adaptive reuse approach on Mars – recycling scarce materials into new items. Christopher Raeburn’s collection uses lightweight insulating material designed by NASA for space exploration and engineered for temperature regulation on earth, in space and on the red planet. MA R S H A B I TAT D ESI G N ED B Y FO ST ER + PA RT N E R S See the Mars 3D printed habitat designed by Foster + Partners, which will be showcased through a series of architectural models showing how the habitat is constructed. Discover a model of the finished habitat, a large sandpit filled with simulant Mars regolith with a 3D printed dome and a series of small robots to show how they would move around on the Martian surface. ‘ O N MA R S T O D AY’ MU LT I SEN SO RY EXP ER I EN CE Today, we know more about Mars than at any time in history. Freezing temperatures, unbreathable air, solar and cosmic radiation all make for a very inhospitable environment. Take your first step onto the red planet and see what Mars looks like today in a new multisensory experience with the ‘On Mars Today’ installation, including smell, sound and surface.
ND X- 1 M ARS SUIT BY G ARY L. HARRI S AND DR D E L E ON Be the first to see the NDX-1 spacesuit, the very first spacesuit designed for Mars. A unique design challenge, Gary L. Harris and Dr de Leon, engineers at the University of North Dakota, have designed a spacesuit that adapts the human body to the planet’s extreme environment, while also being flexible enough that astronauts can explore and excavate the Martian surface.
MI SSI O N : D ESI G N FO R MA R S FA MI LY T R A I L Getting to Mars and surviving there is the ultimate design challenge – what will you design for Mars? Mission: Design for Mars invites kids to imagine the future on Mars by completing briefs set by experts, including astronaut Tim Peake. Look out for the special Moving to Mars symbol to follow the trail and share your work at the end of the exhibition.
HY DROPONIC FAR M I NG K I T S BY GROW S TACK Learn about what farming will look like on Mars. One of the major difficulties in colonising Mars is the fact that there is no form of life and very little water on the planet. Farming on Mars will rely entirely on materials brought from Earth; with almost no atmosphere and little nutrients in the soil, humans will almost certainly rely on hydroponic farming.
Moving to Mars is open until 23 February at the Design Museum, High Street Kensington.
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VO LUM E FI V E | I S S U E F O U R | FR EE
The Gift Guide 2019 Dear Santa, here’s what we would like this year…
KIDS D I N O SKI KI D S’ A D V EN T U R E WEA R £185 for a ski suit | www.dinoskiwear.com SEB R A , C R O C H ET P U L L -A L O N G P O L A R B EA R £40 | www.nubie.co.uk P L AYB R U SH SMA RT £29.99 | www.playbrush.com
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HOME DIP TYQUE LIM ITED- E DI T I ON W I NT E R COLLE CT I O N CA NDLES (LUCKY FLOW E RS , PROT E CT I VE PI NE, B L IS SFUL AM BER) £53 each | www.diptyqueparis.com CU MBRIA CRYSTAL Fine-cut crystal is making a comeback, thanks to Downton Abbey, which starred Cumbria Crystal. Crafted by the UK’s last producer of hand-blown, hand-cut, 24 per cent lead crystal, a selection of glasses and decanters – some topped by silver-mounted pheasants available, from £70 for a port glass or whisky tumbler www.hamiltonandinches.com A D ONATION TO BO OK T RUS T From £10 | www.booktrust.org.uk/xmas V O LT, KENSINGTON S T E P- T HROUG H E LE CT RI C B I CYCLE £1,459 | www.voltbikes.co.uk DIA MOND JEWELRY: 700 Y E ARS OF GLORY AND GL A MOUR BY DIANA S CARI S BRI CK £49.95 | www.thamesandhudson.com HE N RY POOLE & CO: F I RS T TAI LOR OF S AVI LE R O W B Y J AM ES SHERWO OD AND ANDY BARNHAM £35 | www.thamesandhudson.com
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MISC. B O L I N WEB B , X1 R A ZO R I N C O O P ER R ED £100 | www.bolinwebb.com D ED P O P P H O N E C A SES £20 | www.dedpoplondon.com B R I G G S & R I L EY, R H A P SO D Y SU I TC A SE C O L L E C TION From £129 John Lewis - www.johnlewis.com Harrods - www.harrods.com www.briggs-riley.com O R B I T SO U N D O N E P 7 0 WV 2 SP EA KER A N D SOU N D B AR £399 | www.orbitsound.com V EN TU R ER MA R I N ER , 1 0 P R O 1 0 ”, 2 -I N -1 TA B L E T WI T H KEYB O A R D £139.99 | JD Williams www.jdwilliams.co.uk MI C R O SU SP EN SI O N SC O O TER B R O N ZE £199.95 | www.micro-scooters.co.uk
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BEAUTY *A D AM , COCONUT A ND CI T RUS M UDD £9 | www.adamgroomingatelier.com N O B LE ISLE, HEAVENLY HAM PE R Sourced exclusively from Great British producers, certified vegan and cruelty free, Noble Isle’s Christmas gift sets include this hamper, with five travel-sized bath and shower gels £25 | www.nobleisle.com E S PA, PRECIOUS MOM E NT S COLLE CT I ON From £12 | www.espaskincare.com ATKINSONS 1 79 9, T HE OT HE R S I DE OF OUD PE R F U ME £165 for 100ml Eau de Parfum | Available exclusively at Selfridges www.selfridges.com O NE OCEAN BEAUT Y, BLUE LI GHT PROT E CT I ON A N D H Y D RATION M IST £46 for 100ml | www.net-a-porter.com - www.oneoceanbeauty.com FO R EO, LUNA M INI 3 DE E P- CLE ANS I NG S K I NCA R E B R U SH £119 | Harrods, Selfridges, SpaceNK and Cult Beauty www.foreo.com
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BEAUTY T H A MEEN , R O YA L SA P P H I R E EA U D E PA R F U M £195 for 50ml | www.thameenfragrance.com B EE YÜ , H YD R ATI N G D AY C R ÈME A N D I N T EN S IVE N I G H T C R ÈME £76 each | www.beeyuskincare.co.uk L I TTL E SO A P C O MPA N Y N ATU R A L S C O L L EC TION £2.50 for 100g | www.littlesoapcompany.co.uk KYŪ SH I , T H E P O WER O F TEN FA C E O I L £39 for 30ml, £21 for 10ml | www.kyushi.co.uk F L O R I S, V ERT FO U G ÈR E ( U N I SEX EA U D E PA RFU M ) £120 for 100ml | www.florislondon.com A N AT O MĒ, L O N D O N A P O TH EC A RY TR AV EL SE T OF ESSEN T I A L O I L S £90 | www.anatome.co
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FASHION TO A ST ICELANDIC FAI R I S LE Y OK E S W E ATER £185 | www.toa.st S A LVATORE FERRAGAM O, R EFRACTED- HEEL MARY J ANE From £535 | www.ferragamo.com I S S EY M IYAKE, BAO BAO PRI S M B I -TEXTURE TOTE From £620 | www.selfridges.com MU L O SLIPPERS Designed in London and handmade in Portugal, MULO slippers are lined with luxurious shearling. Available in various colours, £145 | www. muloshoes.com HIL L & ELLIS, BRAD LE Y BAG £200 | www.hillandellis.com THO MAS PINK, BESPOK E S HI RT S The initial set-up fee is £100, then prices vary depending on material. www.thomaspink.com B O S T ON & STEWILL Limited-Edition Tourer Watch (in Midnight Blue and Silver or Grey and Orange) £649.99 | www.bostonandstewill.com R O TARY WATCHES From £150 | www.rotarywatches.com THE TRAVELWRAP COM PANY 100 per cent Cashmere TravelWraps £209 for Ottoman Eagle | £269 for The Herringbone Hawk | £197 for Blue Heron www.thetravelwrapcompany.com
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CHRISTMAS FOOD TH E C I N C O J O TA S TA N GR AM B OX A colourful box themed around an ancient Chinese board game: tangram, a sevenpiece puzzle. The set has two 100 per cent Ibérico ham packs; two x 80g 100 per cent Ibérico loin; two x 80g 100 per cent Ibérico presa, a wooden tangram board, six bamboo tongs and two napkins. £149 | www.cincojotas.co.uk POILÂNE Gingerbread Men (£3 each) Reindeer Cookies (£4.80 | pack of eight) www.poilane.com D O I SY & D A M’ S G R EATE S T H ITS £9 | www.doisyanddam.com KO N D I TO R C U R LY WHIR LY B R O WN I ES £40 for a gift box of 12 www.konditor.co.uk D O N A L D R U SSEL L This supplier to royalty, one of the UK’s leading craft butcheries, are offering our readers 20% off an order of £50 or more, just use the code KCR20 when booking (next-day delivery available until 23 December) Beef Wellington (£30) Scottish Smoked Salmon with Malt Whisky (£6.75) www.donaldrussell.com MC G U I G A N WI N ES, B I N 9 0 0 0 SEMI L L O N £14 | www.mcguiganwines.com.au G L EN MO R AY 2 1 -YEA R - OL D P O RT WO O D F I N I SH £145 for 70cl (46.3% abv) www.whiskyshop.com P R ESTAT C H O C O L ATE S Rose & Violet Crèmes (£21.50 for 235g), Ginger Hunks (£17.50), Pink Popping Prosecco Mini Truffles Lantern Bauble (£12) www.prestat.co.uk
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CHRISTMAS DRINKS WHAT THE KCR ARE DRINKING THIS CHRISTMAS A FESTIVE GUIDE TO GETTING SMASHED. WE’VE TRIED AND TESTED THE TIPPLES THAT WE’D LIKE TO PUT UNDER THE TREE (OR THOSE THAT MIGHT PUT US UNDER THE TREE…)
D I P L OM ÁTICO RESE RVA E X CLUS I VA The moreish rum has partnered with chocolatier Paul A Young for a limited-edition gift set. The ultimate expression of the Diplomático, Orange and Chocolate serve, the drink’s coffee and cacao notes perfectly match the Venezuelan chocolate-orange segments £49.95 | www.thewhiskyexchange.com
SA C R ED , B O TTL E-A G ED N EG R O N I The classic Negroni remixed using the very best all-natural English ingredients. Sacred’s classic gin, rosehip cup and English spiced vermouth combine into a smashing sipper, the ideal gift for cocktaillovers. £29.95 | www.sacredgin.com
R E D BREAST 1 2- YEAR OLD W HI S K E Y The most-awarded single-pot still whiskey in the world, matured in bourbon- and Oloroso-sherry-seasoned barrels. A smooth drink with spicy, fruity and toasted notes £44.95 a bottle | www.thewhiskyexchange.com
EA ST L O N D O N L I Q U O R C O MPA N Y, D EMER A R A R U M Upgrade your daiquiri with this fruity, caramelly rum, made with molasses from Demerara sugar grown in Guyana, then micro-distilled in the world’s only surviving two-column wooden Coffey still. £23.50 | www.eastlondonliquorcompany.com
W O O DFORD RESERVE , DI S T I LLE R' S S E LE CT KE N T UCKY STRAIGHT BOURBON A rich and full-bodied bourbon with over 200 flavour notes, which comes in a charming limited-edition bottle depicting the historic Woodford Reserve Distillery in winter £32 | www.tesco.com
N YET I MB ER , C L A SSI C C U V EE MU LT I -V I N TA G E Effervescently English, with gentle bubbles and a golden hue, we love this wine that’s been aged in Nyetimber’s cellars for a minimum of three years. With aromas of honey, almond, pastry and baked apple, it’s one to toast. £36.99, available from Waitrose & Partners www.waitrose.com
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CRYSTAL HEAD VO DK A The vodka in the badass skull-shaped bottle is really as pure as they come. Made from peaches and cream corn, blended four times with water from Newfoundland, it’s distilled through semi-precious crystals. From £62.99 for 700ml | www.crystalheadvodka.com 150TH ANNIVERSARY LI M I T E D- E DI T I ON M OË T I MPÉRIAL BLANC Well this calls for Champagne – Moët & Chandon are celebrating their 150th anniversary with a special get-it-before-it’s -gone bottle for Christmas, with a new logo. £50 for 75cl | www.harveynichols.com and www.clos19.com
SI L EN T P O O L G I N Full-bodied and fresh, with depth, clarity and punch-packing flavour, this gin is made from 24 botanicals. It’s rich and clean with lavender, chamomile, citrus and kaffir lime notes, enhanced by local honey. £37 | www.silentpooldistillers.com L O C H L O MO N D 1 2 -YEA R O L D WH I SKY Matured in three cask types (bourbon, refill and re-charred) this single malt has notes of green apple, ripe pear and lemon, and it has flavours of fruit, vanilla and biscuit, plus a gentle wood-smoke finish. £36.95 | www.lochlomondwhiskies.com
SI P SMI T H L EMO N -D R I ZZL E G I N Inspired by citrus gins from the early 1900’s, Sipsmith take their classic London Dry Gin and layer on sweet, sun-dried lemon peel, HIGHLAND BOUND ARY, BI RCH AND E LDE RF LO WER lemon verbena and vapour-infused fresh lemons. Ideal for a zesty Distilled in Perthshire, Highland Boundary is a new Scottish spirit which is flavoured with ethically hand-foraged botanicals, and distilled G&T. on the founders’ farm. It can be enjoyed neat or in a cocktail, and it’s £25 | www.sipsmith.com vegan, too. £29 | www.highlandboundary.com
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Offering the very best of luxury men’s lifestyle, sportswear & designer labels at sale-rail prices 365 days of the year.
Khaki Surfer is a cleverly conceived menswear site, where some of the UK’s premier independent stores sell historical one-offs or small quantities from premium labels, such as Hugo Boss, Paul Smith, Paul & Shark, Armani, Etro, Gant, Ralph Lauren, Eton and more. The site is the brainchild of Daniel Cutler, whose CV includes stints with Gant, as UK marketing director, plus spells as a distribution partner for Robert Graham and UK agent for Strellson and Eden Park. The site is proving popular among those travelling for work and leisure. ‘Whether you’re headed somewhere hot or cold we’re the ideal destination before you leave,’ comments Cutler. ‘You can put together a complete designer wardrobe for a one-week stay for under £200 which is simply amazing!’ ‘We spent over a year putting Khaki Surfer together; we talked to retailers, and developed our own fully integrated system for processing, listing and managing stock, taking orders and shipping to customers’, says Cutler. ‘Now, at any one time we’re holding around 7,000 items across just about every category you can imagine: jackets, coats, shirts, knitwear, jeans, sports casual and accessories. A lot of noise is generated through social media, with savvy shoppers regularly scouring the stock to unearth some truly astounding reductions and very occasionally examples of extreme designer/buyer enthusiasm, the successful sales of which confirm that there is indeed a market for everything in fashion.’ ‘Having worked on both sides of the menswear industry, it became apparent that the increasing demands of prestige brands were severely impeding the ability of independent retailers to sustain
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profitably. The imposition for higher minimums, tighter payments and ever-expanding distribution, were all contributing to the increasing problems around unsold stock. Khaki Surfer provides a discreet safety-net for branded products that have rotated through the retail life-cycle and are languishing in stockrooms, depreciating by the day until they can be resurrected on a sale rail, presented to the same audience that rejected them a season or two previously. Those garments represent latent profit and cash-flow, which – given the current state of retail – is very attractive.’ Khaki Surfer adds around 300 new products to its website every week, all catalogued to make it easy for consumers to shop, edit and select by category, size or style. With up to 70 per cent off original prices, it seems to have struck a chord with British men. Since launching in 2018, Khaki Surfer now works with more than 20 indie retailers across the UK and has begun to take on US accounts, growing their customer base at a rate of 20 per cent each month. They’ve had requests for womenswear too, but there’s still plenty of potential for developing their menswear offerings. ‘I’ve worked for over 20 years with the majority of independents who are now using Khaki Surfer to dispose of surplus stock, so there is a keen sense of trust involved. Just for a change, online retail and bricks and mortar shops are partnering to great success’, says Cutler, and it seems he and his team have created an effective resource, which will benefit the UK’s increasingly style-conscious male consumer. See www.khakisurfer.com for more details.
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SOHO’S CROWNING GLORY SID RAGHAVA GE T S T RE AT E D LI K E A K I N G AT H O T EL C A FÉ R O YA L .
‘Europe’s most famous meeting place for celebrities’. That is how the New York Herald Tribune once described Hotel Café Royal, proudly branded the living room of London. Daniel Nicols founded his small café/restaurant in an old oilcloth warehouse behind Regent Street. The Parisian-style meeting place has now become one of the capital’s most luxurious hotels: Edward VIII and George VI often had lunch together here, as did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, American artist James McNeill Whistler, and the scholarly poet A.E. Housman to name a few others. In fact, that living room moniker sticks because a glance through the past reveals it is indeed true. David Bowie bade farewell to his alter ego Ziggy Stardust here following the latter’s final manifestation at the Hammersmith Odeon on 3 July, 1973. Cat Stevens, Spike Milligan, Ringo Starr, Mick Jagger, Keith Moon, Lou Reed and several other musical legends attended. Ziggy’s Cocktail Bar on the first floor is a reminder of that glorious association. In fact, Hotel Café Royal is a history lesson on its own, a vibrant celebration of the UK and London’s royal, literary and artistic connections. From the mysterious ‘N’ symbols etched across the hotel’s premises to the immaculate afternoon tea served at the Oscar Wilde Lounge and on to the delectable fare at Laurent, Hotel Café Royal delivers a lesson in high-end luxury few other hotels can dare to match in the capital. An iconic hotel with perhaps the most iconic location, it seems to gaze majestically across the city’s most famous junction. With its close proximity to Oxford Circus, Mayfair and Bond Street, the property features 160 contemporary guestrooms, including 54 suites and seven signature suites which all are incredibly luxurious and have a refreshing stamp of uniqueness. Quite appropriately, Floris, the luxury London perfumier with an equally steeped history provides toiletries, and Bang & Olufsen have supplied the entertainment systems. Resplendent marble bathrooms are standard and soft drinks and snacks are included in the minibars for Junior Suites and above. Extraordinary views are in abundance from most of the top suites, which also include private butlers and large dining rooms.
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There are delectable food and wine options galore and only one place to start: the legendary Oscar Wilde Lounge, formerly The Grill Room, which serves immaculate Afternoon Tea. The space’s Louis XVI-style decor has been renewed and embellished and it was appropriately awarded the Best Traditional Afternoon Tea in the 2017 Afternoon Tea Awards. A live pianist occasionally graces this exquisite spot too, as if it needed any further enhancement of the salubrious ambience. Cakes & Bubbles is another gastronomic revelation: Albert Adrià (brother of the famous El Bulli head chef Ferran Adrià and holder of four Michelin stars in Barcelona) opened this, his first permanent venture outside Spain, after an initial 50-day residency. It is a dessert and champagne experience which opened last year in November. It shows why he is revered as one of the finest pastry chefs in the world. The aforementioned Ziggy’s Cocktail Bar offers a modern take on classic cocktails inspired by Bowie’s music. Head to the first floor and soak in the Starman’s legacy. Finally, no visit to Hotel Café Royal would be complete without a glorious meal at Laurent Grill and Sushi Bar. Expect the finest steak and fish from the parrilla grill alongside inventive sushi from Laurent Tourondel. The American chef weaves New York classics, such as truffle-popover Benedict and crispy salt-beef steamed buns, with a touch of East Asian elegance via pork kimchi fried rice and sashimi. The exquisite lobster roll and practically anything from the sushi bar is revelation – premium fare, intricately infused with the most refined flavours by experts from Japan, in all its ritualistic glory. Sam Heathcote, the head sommelier from Australia will make sure that those heavenly bites are paired with the finest tipples from across the world, too. Laurent shines just like every nook and corner at Hotel Café Royal, which is indeed still very much the heaving, breathing living room of London. Hotel Café Royal, 68 Regent Street , London, W1B 4DY UK +44 (0)207 406 3333, www.hotelcaferoyal.com
‘DAVID BOWIE BADE
FAREWELL TO HIS ALTER
EGO ZIGGY STARDUST HERE FOLLOWING THE LATTER’S FINAL MANIFESTATION
AT THE HAMMERSMITH ODEON ON 3 JULY, 1973.’
A KASHA WELLNES S CE NT RE @ CAF E ROYAL Mind and body take centre stage at Akasha, Hotel Café Royal’s ultra-premium spa experience. The holistic Wellbeing Centre is an unmissable spot, which features a state-of-the-art-gym and large lap pool (yes, right in the middle of London) within a subterranean sauna, hammam, steam room and a wide range of spa treatments. It was voted England’s Best Hotel Spa in the 2017 World Spa Awards. It is the first and only spa in the UK to offer holistic-energy healing treatment Bone Setting, by Tai Chi masters Andy and Duran Mack, the only practitioners of its kind in Europe. Father Andy began his healing journey at the age of 15, exploring energy healing while also training in western boxing. His son, Duran, has been immersed in the practice since birth. Learning from root teacher Adam Mizner at his school Heaven Man Earth, both have spent years living in Thailand – from temples to caves and cities alike - where they practiced meditation, qigong, taiji and healing with some of the world’s leading spiritual guides. Bone Setting realigns the physical body, with a short session of just 20 minutes, the perfect lunchtime respite for the stressed or time-poor. Improvements in health, posture, joints and mental-clarity can be felt after a single treatment, while a series of three is recommended for longer-term results. The therapy restores emotional balance, and dissolves anxiety, leaving the receiver relaxed and stress-free. For more information: www.hotelcaferoyal.com/wellness
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‘THE HOTEL’S BEEN MAJORLY REVAMPED TO GIVE IT
AN UPDATE THAT LENDS IT A MODERNITY THAT
IMPRESSES BEYOND BOUNDS.’
THE ROYAL LANCASTER LONDON A R EGAL STAY FOR S I D RAGHAVA.
The simple joys of being in the Royal Borough are innumerable. Perhaps a walk in Hyde Park before a cultural pit stop at the Serpentine Gallery or a walk down Portobello Road leading to the foodie offerings and some eccentric boutiques down its perpendicular sister street of Golborne. It’s a joy that a lot of residents take for granted, but it’s inspirational and exciting that quite often, simply turning a corner results in a face-to-face with some legendary institutions, stupendous venues and quirky neighbourhoods known throughout London, if not the rest of the world, all neatly packed within the smallest borough of them all in square acreage. Towering high above its surroundings, right on the (middle) eastern edge of Kensington and Chelsea, is the landmark sight of Royal Lancaster London. A landmark mostly because it seems to magically jut out from the surfeit of low-level buildings as if it were admiring the particularly pretty bits of Hyde Park with its stratospheric gaze. Inside the Royal Lancaster is an equally impressive array of sights and sounds. The hotel’s been majorly revamped to give it a rather stark update that lends it a modernity that impresses beyond bounds. The result is a smarter and ultimately much more luxurious offering which retains the Royal Lancaster’s mystique and further enhances the magic of this iconic hotel. Oxford Circus, Notting Hill and Hyde Park in its immediate vicinity, there seems to be no end to the metaphoric rise and rise of this London icon. Royal Lancaster London completed an £85 million refurbishment in 2017 and the results are outstanding. Gone is the somewhat dated, carpeted ambience, giving way to a sleeker and much more sophisticated look all around this rather huge property. The rooms have been updated to fully exploit the capacious building and luxury abounds all around, easily taking things a notch or two above its former incarnation. There is a sharpness to the decor that was
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missing in the past: marble floors dominate and smart ceiling and wall fixtures combine with contemporary furniture and furnishings to give a modern, well-textured look. The other focal point of the hotel, apart from the obvious superiority of its excellent location and the gorgeous views afforded from its eighteen floors, are the food and drink offerings. Most importantly, the award-winning restaurant Nipa Thai, one of the most authentic Siamese restaurants in London, is still alive and kicking, armed with an all-female kitchen staff. It recently featured dishes themed around and inspired by a beautiful poem written by King Rama II and is a must-go for every guest at the hotel. Since this is the Christmas edition, we have to talk about the Festive Afternoon Tea which is looking evermore promising since the appointment of Scott Villacora, an ex-Fortnum & Mason man, as the hotel’s new Executive Pastry Chef. And if Thai food or tea and crumpets are not on your mind, there is always the festive menu at Island Grill, the hotel’s award-winning sustainable restaurant. Highlights include the immaculately roasted longhorn sirloin and the luxurious mint-chocolate baked Alaska. The rest of the food and drink gang includes the artisanal Hyde Cafe, The Park restaurant on the first floor, which serves one of the capital’s most elaborate breakfasts and the stylish Park Lounge Bar. All in all, Royal Lancaster London’s new avatar is a revelation. This is a top-class luxury hotel which keeps getting better while the views of Hyde Park, stretching all the way to the City of London and Canary Wharf, from its spacious rooms retain that same, unbeatable romance. Extraordinarily, all this luxury comes at an affordable cost, too – and that’s what makes it one of our favourite hotels in London. Royal Lancaster London, Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY, tel: 020 7551 6000, www.royallancaster.com
CH RISTM AS AFTERNOON T E A AT ROYAL LANC A STER Aforementioned wizard Scott Villacora joins a talented team which includes Luigi Vergura, the hotel’s experienced Tea Sommelier, who carefully selects the range of teas to perfectly match the menu and is expertly placed to recommend the perfect blend for guests, offering a truly special Afternoon Tea experience. Priced at £39 a person, or £45-£49 a person, including a glass of Champagne or Rosé Champagne, this Afternoon Tea is guaranteed to add some extra sparkle this festive season. NE W YEAR SPECIAL Countdown to New Year 2020 with a fabulous stay in a beautifully designed guestroom and toast to new beginnings in style. From £559 a room, guests will receive a bottle of chilled Champagne on arrival or delivered at 11.30pm to toast in the New Year, a buffet breakfast, a surprise amenity and Paddington Bear for the children, plus a 1pm late check-out. This package is available on 31 December 2019 only. Guests can upgrade to a luxury suite for far-reaching city views to witness the famous London fireworks and toast in the new decade in style. For an extra special New Year’s Eve, enjoy an evening of fine dining in Park Restaurant. Arrive to a glass of Champagne and amuse-bouches, followed by an indulgent four-course menu with a live jazz trio from 8pm. Afterwards, continue the festivities at Park Lounge Bar where a DJ and carefullycrafted cocktail menu awaits. WINTER WONDERL AND With rooms starting at £259 a night, the Winter Wonderland package enables you to experience a luxurious stay with guaranteed early check-in at midday and late check-out at 3pm, a delicious buffet breakfast, a surprise festive gift on arrival, and fluffy Paddington Bear for the little ones. The package is available from 21 November 2019 to 5 January 2020. For the ultimate family getaway, the interconnecting rooms are perfect for a spacious stay. Enjoy 50% off the second bedroom when booked at the same time. PAGE 35
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S EA SONED SKIERS AND CRAF T- BE E R E NT HUS I A STS SH O U L D SET TH EIR SIGHTS ON COLORADO T HI S W I NT E R. J A MES MA SSO U D TR AVELS TO THE A M E RI CAN W E S T AND S T RI K ES G O L D O N EI TH ER S I DE OF THE ROCKI E S .
When you think of skiing down snow-capped mountains in Colorado, usually Aspen comes to mind. While specialist luxury-skiholiday providers such as the Oxford Ski Company (oxfordski.com) offer resorts and chalets across the state, there’s one town that’s yet to be untapped by European visitors: Steamboat Springs. Moving Mountains – a family-owned company offering luxury vacation homes – is looking to extend its impressive portfolio to places such as Beaver Creek and Vail (where the Oxford Ski Company runs trips), but Steamboat Springs is the state’s best-kept secret. Husband and wife team, Robin and Heather Craigen met while working together on a luxury yacht charter in the Caribbean – a far cry from the sub-zero conditions they’ve acclimatised to these days. When they decided on setting up a family base together on land, they decided upon Steamboat because of the town’s strong community and family-welcoming feel: both of which are definitely felt upon visiting. TH E WOW FACTOR Brits have taken holidays in the European Alps since the 60s, the resorts’ glamour and exclusivity luring them back every winter; yet, for the Craigens (Robin is British), this concept was alien to the US. There is a skiing culture in the States, so why couldn’t it also be luxurious? Hence why Moving Mountains has been going successfully since 1998. High-end luxury without pretension, high-end but not stuffy: Moving Mountains’ laidback approach and good-natured spirit has seen them enjoy loyal repeat customers for years. From linen of the highest quality to flatscreen TVs, every property is decked out with the best to help visitors settle into their home-from-home. A VIP catered package has been set up to limit stress, whether that’s keeping the fridge stocked or the services of a private chef for custom gourmet meals. In addition to the sensational 80-plus properties, Moving Mountains turns up the wow factor with a heated pool, hot tubs, a sociable lounge area, equally impressive bar area, games room for adults (and another for kids next door) and a free shuttle service. Steamboat Springs is located just over three hours drive away from Denver International Airport or 35 minutes’ drive away from a smaller domestic airport called Yampa Valley; to experience their residences for yourselves, contact Hayes & Jarvis (www.hayesandjarvis.co.uk) who can organise your travel arrangements for you. B IKE S, BEERS AND BANDS If Steamboat Springs provides the chill factor (in both senses of the word), then Fort Collins brings the fun. The city is a three-hour drive away from Steamboat on the other side of the Rocky Mountain National Park (90 minutes from Denver International Airport), there are three things that really encapsulate time spent here: craft beer, great food and live Music. It’s home to over 20 craft-beer breweries, including the USA’s fourth largest, New Belgium Brewing Co, which is well worth a visit. The Old Town in general offers
a buzzing collection of bars and pubs in addition, as well as fantastic places to eat; I highly r ecommend trying a bison steak in Ginger and Baker’s historic, gorgeously renovated mill. Alongside rustically cool nightlife, the Old Town’s historic district is also home to picture-perfect buildings from the 1800s, now housing thrift stores and indie boutiques; a stone’s throw away sits the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery for a cultural fix, while a 20-minute Uber ride west is Horsetooth Reservoir at the city limits, which provides swimming spots and hikes. Right in the heart of it all is the Elizabeth Hotel: a music-themed boutique stay that, much like Moving Mountains, has excelled in providing easygoing luxury. Room names reflect Fort Collins’ loves: bikes, beers and bands. Each of the 164 rooms comes with its own record player and collection of vinyl, while opposite the reception area there’s a music library where you can actually hire out musical equipment and more records. Furthermore, the Magic Rat on the ground floor hosts live bands and singers pretty much every night, while up on the roof is a charming jazz bar called Sunset Lounge – a relaxing spot for a cocktail and charcuterie board. The Elizabeth Hotel’s staff are exceptionally friendly, chatty and helpful, which is a pretty accurate description of the people of Colorado in general, and its innate passions are aligned with the community. Speaking of which, very much like Steamboat Springs, the community is at the very heart of it all; the hotel’s in-house Emporium Kitchen & Wine Market is described as a ‘community gathering space’. And, as an outsider, it’s not only a lovely sentiment to see, it also truly makes you feel very welcome. Find out more on each area from the Colorado Tourism Office (colorado.com), Steamboat Springs Chamber (steamboatchamber. com) and Visit Fort Collins (visitftcollins.com). Hayes & Jarvis (01293 762456, www.hayesandjarvis.co.uk) is offering a five-night holiday to Denver from £999 a person. The offer includes five nights at the four-star Hyatt Place Denver Cherry Creek, on a room only basis. This price includes return international flights from London Heathrow with United Airlines. Based on 2020 departures. Ring to book. Moving Mountains: www.movingmountains.com The Elizabeth Hotel: www.theelizabethcolorado.com
‘THE ELIZABETH HOTEL’S STAFF ARE
EXCEPTIONALLY FRIENDLY, CHATTY AND
HELPFUL, WHICH IS A PRETTY ACCURATE
DESCRIPTION OF THE PEOPLE OF COLORADO IN GENERAL, AND ITS INNATE PASSIONS ARE ALIGNED WITH THE COMMUNITY.’
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The Elizabeth Hotel Fort Collins Bowerbird
ALASKA IS CALLING A B O ARD THE HOLLAND AM E RI CA LI NE CRUI S E SH I P N I EUW AM STERDAM, ANDRE W COLE S DI S COVER S TH E ALASKAN WILDE RNE S S I S E X ACT LY W HAT H E’ D C O ME IN SEARCH OF.
‘Here, have another beer,’ instructed the rough but effervescently charming man as he cracked another can of Rainier and thrust it in my hand. ‘And why don’t y’all stay for supper? We got plenty!’ Dean had the appearance of a Goldrush-era miner and his friendly warmth already made him feel like a beloved uncle, but I’d only just met him one can of beer ago. I was walking the backstreets of Skagway, Alaska, and had stopped by to ask if I could take a picture of his ’65 Chevy truck. It sat at the open door to his garage, among a million unfinished projects of old motorbikes and boats and a rusty 44-gallon drum that had ‘the end is near, so drink beer’ carved into its flank. Inside the haphazardly arranged garage was a couch and a table surrounded by Dean’s family, who had gathered to celebrate his mother’s birthday. The oily space was full of warmth and laughter and I could see myself settling in for the night with this most unlikely tribe of new friends. But Holland America Line’s cruise ship, Nieuw Amsterdam, was due to set sail in a half hour and I was already running late. I’m sure this wasn’t quite the shore experience that Holland America Line have planned for guests of their seven-night roundtrip cruise through Alaska’s famous Inside Passage, but mass tourism is yet to fully penetrate the wilderness here, so such unique encounters shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. There are more hiking trails than roads in Alaska, and large parts of the state are inaccessible because people, too, are scarce. But ships like the Nieuw Amsterdam today act as trailheads – they can reach places that cars and trains can’t, and they’re your portal to a true Alaskan adventure. Our adventure on board had properly kicked off when we docked the previous day in the Alaskan capital of Juneau, after just over a day at sea since leaving Vancouver. Alaska has just 230 towns, yet 400 public airports, and one in 70 Alaskans holds a pilot’s license. Its remoteness and abundance of water make seaplane the ideal mode of transport, and on a Holland America Line organised excursion I flew up front in a fourseater 1953 De Havilland Beaver to Chichagof Island on a bearwatching expedition. The trip is half an hour by air, but impossible by road. We take off from Juneau International Airport on a stretch of water running parallel to the tarmac runway, and after just a few minutes we spot the termination of the main highway with an abrupt cul-de-sac in a forest. Juneau and Honolulu are the only ‘island’ American capitals, where the only way in or out is by sea or air. It’s a beautiful day for flying, and we cruise low and slow enough to make out individual trees in the forests, inaccessible beaches and the v-shaped wake of a lone fishing trawler. Pilot Samantha is quick to point out that a day this sunny is a statistical anomaly in Juneau – it rains for 230 days of the year, and it’s cloudy for most of the rest. Already wearing gumboots from take-off, we land at the mouth of a remote stream and step directly from plane to water, trekking a mile to a waterfall where wild grizzly bears are known to hunt for salmon. Chichagof Island has the densest concentration of bears per square mile of anywhere in the world, and guide Chris points to a tree that has recently been used as a bear back-scratcher. There’s hair stuck 7ft up the trunk, and it causes a quiet moment of reflection among our group as so-called ‘bearanoia’ sets in.
TO A TREE THAT HAS RECENTLY BEEN
USED AS A BEAR BACKSCRATCHER. THERE’S
HAIR STUCK 7FT UP THE TRUNK, AND IT CAUSES A QUIET MOMENT OF
REFLECTION AMONG OUR GROUP AS SO-CALLED
We observe jumping salmon and a pair of bald eagles arguing at the very top of a pine tree but the bears have no appetite today, it seems, and we see none. But it strangely doesn’t dampen our
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‘OUR GUIDE POINTS
‘BEARANOIA’ SETS IN.’ PAGE 38
spirits – just spending time in this wilderness is rejuvenating. We are retrieved and fly back to Juneau in time to catch the final minutes of a majestic sunset. Dining that night in one of Nieuw Amsterdam’s four headline restaurants, the Pinnacle Grill, feels slightly surreal. An hour or two earlier I was somewhere truly remote, a place requiring days of expedition to reach just a few decades ago. And then, after a hot shower, I was ordering dry-aged Delmonico steak with lobster and choosing the right wine to accompany it. We don’t need to leave the ship the following day, for we are one of only two permitted ships a day to traverse the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Glacier Bay National Park. Famed naturalist John Muir travelled to Glacier Bay in 1879 and labelled it ‘unspeakably pure and sublime’, and as I stand on the ship’s bow sipping a flat white, I have no objections to his call. We’ve again struck it lucky with cloudless skies and bright sunlight. Mountains tower above, encircling us in the smaller bays we venture down, making even our gargantuan vessel feel diminutive by comparison. They are sharp and craggy, and appear from a distance as if a dark-brown velvet has been draped over a candelabra. Their valleys are covered in snow, and we pause at several glaciers which flow to the shore, occasionally calving fresh icebergs with a deep cracking rumble followed by a splash. A full-size coastal brown bear swims right past the bow of the ship, something the captain has never seen before, and from my stateroom’s balcony I spot an otter sunbathing on a floating iceberg. We see the effects of climate change first hand when the onboard Park Ranger points out a glacier that once reached the shore just a few decades ago, but has now retreated 400 feet inland. It seems ‘moving at glacial pace’ is not the insult it once was. Over the days we’ve spotted abundant pods of breaching orcas, but ranger Nicole tells us that populations are down 40 per cent in the past five years alone. Surprisingly, she supports the cruise ship industry, telling us that it’s only when people see the beauty themselves and understand the damage being done that they’ll act. It certainly gives me pause for reflection. Jazzed on the wonders of nature, we kick up our heels that night as the ship sails us to the commercial fishing port of Ketchikan, famous for its repeat appearances in the television show Deadliest Catch. We’re substantially more comfortable than those famous fishermen, however. Holland America Line claim to have the best live music at sea, and after walking Deck Two’s ‘Music Walk’, I’d agree. There are three venues, each with a distinct style: the Lincoln Center Stage is home to an orchestral quartet and the Billboard piano bar punches out singalong favourites all night long, but its BB King’s Blues Club where we settle. The vocalist, channelling the spirit of Aretha Franklin, is as powerful and soulful as the greats, and the band’s passion makes sense when I start talking to trumpeter Brandon over a few whiskeys in the bar. He’s no jaded cruise ship musician – he was finishing a
set in a blues club in Memphis just six months ago when a talent scout for Holland America Line handed him a card. He can’t quite believe his luck. The Nieuw Amsterdam delivers all you would expect from a premium cruise. The food is good and abundant and you can upgrade to a choice of truly outstanding dining experiences for a very reasonable cost (and you should). There are pools and spas, you can get a massage or a pedicure and you can work out in the gym. You can lie in and then spend six hours reading a book in a private cabana, and nobody judges if you order a cocktail at 10am. You can attend shows and educational lectures, you can get a room-service burger at 2am if you wish and by about day three you begin to lose track of time. I initially scoffed at the mats in the lifts which are changed daily, but on Tuesday I honestly thought it was Wednesday and the mat corrected my error. Of course, I expected the ship to be luxurious; what I didn’t expect was the honesty of the Alaskan towns we visited, and how easy it was to find the wilderness I’d come in search of. Sure, the immediate blocks around the cruise ports are commercial, as they always are. A carefully selected shore excursion can help, but you don’t need to walk very far to find a true version of remote rural Alaska. When you land in Skagway, look for a blue ’65 Chevy truck and ask for Dean. Tell him Andrew from London sent you. And, you’ll see what I mean. Andrew was hosted by Holland America Line; for more information, visit www.hollandamerica.com. All images were taken by Andrew Coles.
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S T Y L I S H N E W C A S I N O , B A R & R E S TA U R A N T Step inside to experience a setting that goes above and beyond every expectation
The Queensbury Room
The Kensington Floor
Bar & Restaurant
Forty Five Kensington 45 Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2EF +44 (0)20 7589 4041 www.fortyfivekensington.co.uk
‘BUCKINGHAM PALACE LIES CLOSE BY AND BROWN’S SERVICE
SURELY MATCHES THAT PROVIDED TO HER MAJ.’
PAST MASTER: BROWN’S HOTEL S ID RAGHAVA HOLE S UP I N LONDON’ S M OS T H I STO R I C STAY.
Just being inside Brown’s Hotel is a joy: the fabulous fragrance that wafts through its exquisitely dressed halls, the sense of history (after all, Queen Victoria, Teddy Roosevelt and Evelyn Waugh have stayed here - as did Rudyard Kipling, who wrote the Jungle Book here and now has a suite named for him), the anticipation of being royally spoilt. This was the first hotel in London when it opened in 1837, and it was the site of the first successful telephone call (to whom, we’re not sure) and you can still see the phone Alexander Graham Bell used today. To stay here is to immerse yourself in London’s past; and you can have a natter with the in-house historian if you want to go deep. Buckingham Palace lies close by and Brown’s service surely matches that provided to Her Maj. From check-in desk to restaurant to bar, the impeccably turned-out crew are unfailingly charming and uphold a manner fitting for such a storied institution. We’ve arrived at a significant time too: this year marks the 125th anniversary of the Jungle Book. R O OM S AND SUIT E S But first, to the bedroom. The array of rooms and suites retain an upper-class air, with fine fabrics and fittings, judiciously picked artworks and vintage tchotchkes, but despite their heritage, they feel fresh for today’s residents – all thanks to hotel-stylist extraordinaire Olga Polizzi (part of the Rocco Forte clan). Alongside her pick of English wallpapers and handcrafted artefacts, there are welcoming touches, such as a minibar that can be stocked with healthful Rocco Forte Nourish snacks, or children’s treats, and the option to use the hotel’s chauffeured Bentley Mulsanne – yes, really. The Kipling Suite is the hero room: vast, with vintage features, bold prints and an Italian Arabescato-marble bathroom, there are also animal statues aplenty (and a copy of the book, of course).
DINING Michelin-acclaimed chef Adam Byatt has taken over from Heinz Beck to helm Charlie’s – named after Lord Forte – an eatery championing best-of-British, with genteel service. The wood-lined dining room with a border mural of tropical foliage (another Polizzi winner) makes a romantic setting for dishes such as courgette flowers with truffle honey; terrine of partridge, pear and pistachio; roasted Yorkshire grouse with blackberries, and a mix of comfort puddings and French pâtisserie (malted caramel ice-cream, crème caramel with Sauternes-soaked raisins). It’s classic cookery pulled off with aplomb (and the cocktail list is almost as long as Kipling’s classic). For Christmas there’s Blackwell Farm turkey and Essex goose to be had. A variety of afternoon teas – all daintily inventive (think, mini saltbeef bagels, Waldorf salad vol-au-vents, bourbon-vanilla madeleines and the like) in a tea room so charming that Queen Victoria visited often. Occasionally someone takes to the grand piano to tinkle the ivories, too. The Dove Grey Donovan Bar is named after photographer Terrance Donovan, whose iconic Sixties prints hang throughout – try to secure the naughty corner, where the models have fewer clothes. The cocktail list is an agony of choice, crafted by Salvatore Calabrese, who perfected the Dry Martini recipe, no less. WEL L N ESS A subterranean spa offers treatments using the Irene Forte Skincare range (using ingredients grown at Forte’s Sicilian Verdura Resort) Treatments include age-defying facials using stone from Mount Etna, sea-salt body scrubs, restorative rituals, gent’s grooming and even seasonal rituals such as pumpkin-spiced manicure. Spoiling is built into Brown’s foundations, and the number of A-list names and royals attached to it continues to grow. It manages to bring its past present and meet the needs of the modern traveller to a tee – long may it stand.
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SOME PIG KATE WEIR GOES ‘W HE E , W HE E , W HE E ’ ON CHE C KI N G I N T O B R I L L I A N T B O U TI Q U E STAY TH E P I G N EA R B ATH .
Contrary to the sarcastic idiom, I’ve found some pigs who really do fly… Yes, master hotelier Robin Hutson (former owner of the Hotel Du Vin group) has seen phenomenal success with the Pig hotels, a group of stays in British beauty spots with refined rustic style and an impressive commitment to dining locally (around 80 per cent of the kitchen’s menu is sourced within 25km of the hotel, if not harvested from the back garden). The original piggy was built in the New Forest, followed by outposts in Hampshire, Dorset, Combe and Kent (with Cornwall’s The Pig at Harlyn Bay due in 2020 and The Pig in Sussex Downs coming in 2021). I’ve come to their Somerset stay, The Pig Near Bath (a 20-minute drive from the Regency-darling city), to see what all the squealing is about. With chock-a-block bookings for months at a time (it would be a cracker for Christmas, but you’d need to secure a room in summertime); a fiercely loyal fanbase and glowing reports from anyone who’s been (or equally, envious waxing from those who haven’t). We have an extremely comfortable journey to the West Country, plied with snack boxes and copious cups of tea in the cushioning seats of Great Western Railway’s First-Class cabin (a journey of around 90 minutes). This little Pig has the luxury of acres of land – allowing for a flourishing kitchen garden and space for a deer park and working farm. We spy majestic antlered stags on the approach, and then the equally charming main house comes into view, where two stone porkers stand sentry by the door. You enter past rows of Hunter wellies, arriving in a delightfully creaky hallway furnished with squashy well-sat-in sofas, filled bookshelves and a grand piano with inviting sheets of music on top. This little piggy already feels very much like home… TH E STAY All Pig hotels have been furnished by the aesthetically talented Judy Hutson (Robin’s wife). She’s erred away from try-hard country hipness for a more classic rustic look: taxidermied fish and birds hang on the walls, all sofas and armchairs are sink-into soft, rugs are worn yet chic. There’s a luxe-yet-lived-in feel throughout. Sprigs of herbs or garden cuttings in earthenware pots adorn nearly every table. Our bedroom has a vast wooden pencil-post bed, freestanding bath tub and heirloom trinkets. Light streams in through lace curtains – it’s an ideal country bolthole. We’re told that singleuse plastics have been removed to make the space more ecofriendly (fine by us) but there are still little indulgences to be had. For example, the extremely generous minibar-cum-larder, with soft and hard drinks – a few local – and intriguing gourmet snacks: Portlebay popcorn, Mr Filbert’s rosemary almonds, Brown Bag crisps… TH E FOOD Food is truly at the heart of the Pig’s ethos. On a tour of the vast kitchen gardens we’re shown a wall of spreadsheets: the result of an annual meeting of Pig gardeners, rigorously planning the years’ produce. It’s in abundant supply: there are greenhouses where chillis have been enticed to grow, mushrooms blooming off grow bags in a dedicated cabin, mint growing wild with varietals, runs of
STAGS ON THE APPROACH, AND
THEN THE EQUALLY CHARMING
MAIN HOUSE COMES INTO VIEW, STAND SENTRY BY THE DOOR.’
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WH AT T O D O WH I L E YO U ’ R E T H ER E Wandering around the farm and grounds will take up a good chunk of your day – watch as the deer majestically gallop over the fields, pet the pigs, cluck at the chickens, and watch out for the bees in the apiary. There’s a small spa if you’re very committed to downtime, or you could just pick up a book or board game and settle in the library – it really does feel like your own home. In a handsomely wood-panelled room, a huge snooker table makes for a more challenging game. To ease our struggle, the bartender brings us a new cocktail he’s working on to try and then a couple bottles of potent local cider. Ask at reception and they’ll hand out maps for country rambles – one that takes you past a nearby fishing pond and riding school, one that takes you into the local village of Compton, where there’s a welcoming inn. But, this is a restorative hideaway, ideal for quiet meditation and communing with nature. Yes, it’s a verdant lure for work-weary Londoners, but its roots are firmly dug into the ground. The staff work hard and passionately, yet remain impeccably polite and warm, the garden and kitchen and bar work in a seamless tangent, driven by the changing seasons, and the only disturbance the rooms endure is the distant screech of an owl seeking prey. It’s all rather dreamy – and this little Pig fan truly feels like she’s come home. Our writer stayed as a guest of The Pig Near Bath. See www. thepighotel.com/near-bath for more information and to book.
‘WE SPY MAJESTIC ANTLERED
WHERE TWO STONE PORKERS
berry hedges, herb beds, an orchard, vegetable patches supporting everything from cavolo nero to purple sprouts. Polytunnels protect promising green shoots; contented chickens and quail lay eggs and a drove of plump and pink oinkers are marked out for meat (potbellied pets Lola and Truffle have been spared the abattoir) – there are abundant veggie dishes to choose from if that’s a little too real for you… The most joyous thing about dining and drinking here is a pervading sense of authenticity; barkeeps make their own spirits and liqueurs using spoils from the grounds and they encourage you to open the bottles for a whiff (I’m cautioned off the kale vodka, but the grapefruit and mint vodka is delicious). At breakfast there are freshly laid eggs and baked breads, apricots stewed with rosemary, raspberries with vanilla and a menu of hot dishes (the full-English is a paean to local produce). Tiers of cakes are laid out if you get peckish (we spied fig cake with orange buttercream and lemon with vanilla icing, but it changes daily) And we didn’t take lunch at the hotel, choosing instead to graze on the hotel’s nibbly bits: flavourful pork crackling with apple sauce, fish balls, a rich roe dip with crackers. It’s just as well that we don’t pig out too much, because dinner is of Herculean proportions. Fall-apart lamb belly comes with a fruity glaze, cauliflower and cheese tart has just the right kick of sharpness. The fillet steak is pliant and exactly done, while my Tomahawk pork chop is a beast of a thing that’s trying to escape the plate. Even the waitress looks somewhat rattled by this monster – the meat is delicious and tender, but I fall at the seventh mouthful and the rest is put in the fridge (if I want to take it home). Dessert is an impossibility afterwards, but I do make room for some excellent local cheese. There’s a sense of pride in the cooking that’s embedded deeper than the turnips and squashes – and justly so.
Travel was supported by Great Western Railway. On 15 December GWR will introduce the biggest timetable change since 1976, bringing faster, more frequent services. Around three quarters of journey times will be different as new services are added and old ones changed for the better. Please note: trains will arrive and depart at different times. There will be more trains and seats but train times may differ. Trains won’t always stop at the stations they do today. Journeys will be faster, but new services won’t always stop at the places frequent travellers might be used to. You can create your own personalised timetable to download and keep: https://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/pockettimetable/search.
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A GLASS ACT KATE WEIR stops off in Edinburgh for a night in The Glasshouse, Autograph Collection before hitting the Highlands
IMAGE: THE GLASSHOUSE
On average, it rains on around 191 days a year in Edinburgh. Dour weather is soaked into the country’s psyche, many shops along the Royal Mile and Princes Street have cannily stocked up on umbrellas, and tourists know to steel themselves for the worst. So, when I saw that glamorous stay the Glasshouse’s headline act was a two-acre rooftop garden, with real lawns, trees, shrubs and such, I thought they were either insane or immensely confident. But, hope springs even more eternally than water from the sky and it turns out the latter was true.YTL and Marriott Autograph Collection stay have pulled off quite the feat with this secret garden where you can gaze out over to Calton Hill or admire the striking collection of sculptures. And, while the locals may believe that a wee bit of rain won’t hurt you, the addition of rooftop domes in 2020, for spa treatments, whisky tastings and more, will be a thrill for the damp-averse. TH E HOTEL From the outside, the Glasshouse bears the city’s signature Gothic grandeur, the 170-year-old Lady Glenorchy Church’s façade still stands with the heavily glazed modern hotel sprawling out behind it. Within this smart city stay, there are 77 polished, modern rooms, a lounge with teal-velvet blue sofas arranged invitingly around a fire pit to warm, and caged cabinets emitting the amber glow of 160 whiskies – some very rare and recently joined by YTL’s very own whisky. The hotel has taken inspiration from the church’s philanthropic namesake, who used her piety to aid the homeless – continuing this work, the hotel has ties with Crisis. Staff are unfailingly polite throughout our stay, brimming with enthusiasm about everything from the hotel’s unique artworks to the best way to travel around the city. They offer tablet squares, arrange for us to check in extra early and elevate our stay where possible. ROOMS Window walls in rooms and suites frame spectacular city views; some also have private terraces or direct access to the rooftop garden, so you get even more of an eyeful. Our Macallan Suite is a highly polished modern pad with a wood screen separating the bedroom and living area. A Smart TV swivels between both, so you can watch from the comfort of the super-king size, the bathroom has heated floors (bliss!) and a minibar has a few drams. Most rooms have direct access to the garden too, and – perhaps not a necessity in Auld Reekie, but popular with international guests – rooms are air-conditioned, too. The hero rooms are the Lady Glenorchy corner suites (named for Willielma Campbell, who first constructed the church façade), which are the most glamorous, with a living room, vast bathroom and wraparound terrace with a head-turning dualaspect of Calton Hill. But, even the entry level Signature Rooms are ideal for city-breakers, and those staying in the whisky-reffing suites such as ours will find an according welcome dram. D I NING From the full-Scottish breakfast in the view-blessed Brasserie, to the Snug’s afternoon tea (1pm–4pm) and all-day menu (12 noon–11pm), the best of Scottish producers are showcased. We dine very well on a generous platter of local seafood and smoked fish, followed by a hearty venison stew, certainly the thing for the drizzly day we’ve arrived on. When it comes to drink, grain is certainly the smart pick in the Snug – well, it does go perfectly with the warming fire and curl-up-in armchairs. There’s a Whisky Map to chart and the barkeeps know their stuff – but, if aqua vitae isn’t to your taste, they’ll muddle up a bespoke cocktail for you. W H AT TO DO The hotel is ideally placed for exploring: in-between the Old and New Towns and it’s a short stroll from Waverley Station. Climb Calton Hill to see the unused Scottish Parliament and unfinished war
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monument; start at Edinburgh Castle and work your way down the historic Royal Mile to Holyrood House; see the Botanic Garden; wander the city’s National and Portrait Galleries; and shop – Princes Street’s high-street faves, Victoria Street’s indie stores and George Street’s well-heeled boutiques are all worth exploring. After pounding the pavements, o’er hill and by bar, why not spend some time in the hotel’s private green patch and revel in a truly individual spot, come rain or shine. Our writer stayed as a guest of the Glasshouse, Autograph Collection hotel, 2 Greenside Place, Edinburgh EH1 3AA. For more information or to book visit: www.theglasshousehotel.co.uk
GETTING TO THE HI GHLANDS From Edinburgh, you can catch a train to Glasgow Queen Street and then hop on the direct service to Oban, which will stop at Rannoch, a journey of just under four hours.
NATURAL HIGHS AT DUNALASTAIR HOTEL SUITES The Highlands are in their full flush of autumnal beauty: greenery gives way to shades of chartreuse, vermillion and auburn, lochs glitter, mountain tops are speckled with snow. We zip through the Trossachs on our way to the wee yet charming village of Rannoch, eyes agog as spectacular natural vistas zip past us. When we arrive at the station, monarch stags have gathered by the ‘Perth and Kinross’ sign and signs of civilisation soon give way to more of the unadulterated great outdoors. Our driver Andy – a friendly, knowledgeable chap from Highland Travel, with a thirst for local history – proves an indispensable resource: for example, we’d had a vague plan to circumnavigate the loch on foot, until we learn it’s about 15km long and a little too deep for casual wild swimming. Disasters averted. Set between the Cairngorms and the western whisky isles, this is a somewhat overlooked corner of the Highlands; but, who hasn’t fantasised about escaping to an untouched beauty spot, to befriend its fauna and meditate on life? So, here we are at Dunalastair Hotel Suites to see why one would pick this part of Perthshire. The hotel is a relatively recent development in Rannoch, one of just two in the area (plus a few loch-side timeshares). It’s the more modern, where a few traditional touches (a flash of handsome tweed, antler chandelier, stained-glass windows) rub elbows with chic velvets, grey and cream decor in rooms, monochrome artwork, tactile fabrics and high-spec fixtures. Our suite is more of an apartment, with a separate bedroom and small dining area; our kitchenette has a microwave, fridge and other useful kit; the lounge has a large Smart TV and a Google Home device (which, to my amusement, refuses to recognise my voice until I try a rubbish Scottish accent); and the bathroom has a sizeable glass-walled shower. Views extend to the loch and the rolling verdure beyond. Impressively, the stay also has a large decked courtyard, ideal for weddings or gatherings, and the hotel can direct you to horse riding or point you in the direction of hiking routes. This is somewhere you could hole up in for a week. But, nature calls (so to speak) and our driver has arrived to take us on a bespoke tour into the wild. Our tour starts with an auspicious aspect of the loch (as seen from one of the time share’s panoramic balconies). It’s a beauty: deep and sparkling and always changing. ‘It’s a different view every day.’ Andy tells us, and one can only imagine the wonderland in winter. Around this body of water, from which a sunken fort pokes its turret, Rannoch’s community flows. From then, our morning is spent chasing scenes of equal loveliness. We stop to see the Outlander film set, see the point of the ‘first determination of Newton’s universal gravitational constant’, and hear tales of the area’s mad bastards and warring tribes of old. Amid the peace and stillness, where guinea fowl strut, deer skip and streams babble, it’s hard to believe this was once a hotbed of beheadings, Jacobite battles and pillaging. We take to a magic stone circle with dowsing sticks, sceptical until they start spinning around like something possessed, even pointing to us as our names are called. There’s a yew tree that’s grown since before the stone age, rocks that naturally look like frogs, horses paddocks and other timorous beasties. And, Andy has a story for each stop. Now, it would be rude to visit the Highlands and not toast its fair face with a drop of the strong stuff. So, next up it’s off to Aberfeldy distillery (also home to Dewar’s blended whisky) for a tour of its impressively vast and sustainable operation, and a peep at JK Rowling’s estate, just across the road. To follow, we prop up the bar at Pitlochry’s Blair Athol distillery, where we clock up the drams recommended by the friendly staff and leave with a 16-year-old Lagavulin and 12-year Royal Lochnagar. We’re a little too late to visit the well-renowned Edradour distillery, but, well, by this time we’re also quite merry. Back at the hotel, we’ve worked up an appetite. The large and elegantly dressed lounge and Edina’s restaurant are on the first
floor – the latter was once the village pub, and in the former we start with – ahem – more local drams (oh dear). Then follows a meal that showcases the well-stocked larder of the Highlands: rich smoked salmon, game pie with locally acquired rabbit, venison and duck, flavourful tender lamb, ice-cream churned within spoon-reaching distance. On our last night, ‘tired’ from our whirlwind distillery tour, we order room-service burgers, each filled with excellent Scottish beef and cheddar. Breakfasts include full Scottishes with haggis and black pudding and a selection of dense yet delicious rolls, packed with slabs of Lorne sausage, a tattie scone and egg, and the like. Staff will pack picnic lunches for your day trips, too. Because it’s likely you’ll use the hotel as a base from which to spend the day breathing in some very fresh air. Look closely and you’ll see stories woven into the fabric of the landscape; settle in a hilly copse and you can watch the view subtly shift as eagles soar overhead; and talk to the locals and you’ll find the good-natured joviality (with some light ribbing) that the Scots do so well. Our writer was hosted by Dunalastair Hotel Suites, 1 The Square, Kinloch Rannoch, Pitlochry PH16 5PW. To book or for more information visit: www.dunalastairhotel.com. Bespoke tours and transfers were provided by Highland Travel: www.highland-travel.co.uk
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GETTING TO SCOTLAND IN STYLE W E RIDE THE NEW AND I M PROVE D CALE DONI A N S L E EPER TRAIN. We love the romance of an overnight train ride. All the more when it ends in one of our favourite cities, so we were immensely excited for our journey to Edinburgh on the Caledonian Sleeper – especially since the carriages have had a thorough renovation since our last trip up. It’s a fabulous way to head north, and there’s something very special about waking up to see Edinburgh’s Gothic scenery slide into view. You can travel with kids, pets, an oversized bag, if you wish (although you may not want to go too big in the Club Twin cabins); and, you can down drams and dine on haggis, neeps and tatties, venison charcuterie, hand-crafted pies and Scottish cheeses in the Ian Smith-designed Club Car – or you can order it to your room with the handy call button. And, when you wake to see the lowlands’ wilds rushing past, you can choose a bacon butty, porridge and fruit (or take a full-Scottish in the dining car) with your wake-up call. We travelled up in a Club Twin Room. I haven’t slept in bunkbeds since I was a kid, so it’s a fun novelty, and with Glencraft mattresses, they were both very comfortable. Our moving cloister is well-considered: there’s an ensuite bathroom with a shower, a small kit of toiletries, charging points and temperature control. There are also cabins with double beds, if you’d like that wee bit more elbow room. The new carriages are befitting of this Golden Age-style trip, with handsome tweeds and subtle tartan, a retro-chic orange and buff-hued colour scheme, and curvaceously contoured seats. It’s cosy and convenient and makes the journey itself something of an event. Plus, now you can board earlier to acclimatise to your lodgings (or hang out in the Virgin Trains First-Class Lounge, if you wish). Nose around, make yourself at home, then order up a few Balvenie minis or perhaps one of Mac & Wild’s exclusive bottled cocktails – you’re on your way.
IMAGE: KYLE HUFF FOR PHLCVB
For more information, to buy tickets or see timetables, visit here: www.sleeper.scot
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‘‘I WAS WELCOMED NOT ONLY BY THE MOST COSSETING STAFF I
HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED, BUT THE OPULENT INTERIORS OF
THE BARON REYLOF RESIDENCE, TOO, WHICH STRIKES THE
PERFECT BALANCE BETWEEN
OLD-SCHOOL ELEGANCE AND INVITING HOMINESS.’’
A FESTIVE GETAWAY IN GHENT B ECCA WILLANS E NJ OY S A S POI LI NG S TAY AT P I L L O WS G R A N D H O TEL R EYL O F. Whether you’re seeking some end-of-year calm, somewhere to hand select Christmas gifts for your beloved, or simply inspiration for a new city to explore: the Pillows Grand Hotel Reylof in Ghent caters for all. I headed for the Belgian beauty spot to achieve all three aims – a fitting quest as the dark, early winter nights set in. As soon as I arrived at Pillows Grand Hotel Reylof, I was welcomed not only by the most cosseting staff I have ever encountered, but the opulent interiors of the Baron Reylof residence, too, which strikes the perfect balance between old-school elegance and inviting hominess. The hotel is set in an 18th-century mansion, once the home of the Baron Olivier de Reylof, now restored to its former glory, with a beautiful spiral staircase and many great architectural details of its period. Plus, it’s been expanded to accommodate 157 well-furnished rooms, and given a smart, modern Continental look. Unfortunately, the day I arrived was blustery and rainy; frankly, my generously sized and extremely comfortable bed was almost too cosy to leave. However, I persevered and made it as far as ‘the Living’, a space in the hotel evocative of the Baron’s undemanding lifestyle, including sitting rooms, a library and bar. I relaxed there while deciding how to spend my time and eventually borrowed an umbrella to make the short walk to the cosy bars nearby to while away the afternoon. The following day offered glorious, crisp sunshine and I used the opportunity to visit the medieval castle Gravensteen and to collect some chocolates from Marijn Coertjens (well, when in Belgium), an award-winning chocolatier close by. In the afternoon I enjoyed a seasonal massage treatment at the hotel spa, which is housed in the Baron’s former coach house, set apart from the hotel by a courtyard garden. The therapist welcomed me to a cosy room offering views out to the autumn leaves in the garden below and up to the original rafters of the building. My treatment involved a enzymatic body
scrub followed by a moisturising massage. My therapist explained that currently they use Sothys products to offer guests the highest quality experience. The treatment left my skin feeling silky smooth and smelling of roses, and in this pampered and preened state, it felt like a waste to use the gym facilities – perhaps I should have tried that before…For anyone wanting to work up a sweat, though, you’ll have all you need for an invigorating work-out. Overall, despite the hotel’s size, the sauna, infra-red cabin and wellness pool were blissfully calm and quiet. By evening, I’d spent enough time wandering the cobbled streets, so I was relieved to hear that a six-course tasting menu in Ghent’s best-rated restaurant (according to TripAdvisor) awaited me. The LOF restaurant is the most decadent dining option of several in the hotel; the menu is inspired by Michelin-recognised Chef Ron Blaauw and created by Chef Jasper Maatman. The excellent service provided by the staff throughout the hotel was perhaps best exemplified here. Each course was introduced by a very well-informed waiter, and paired with a just-right wine; the fantastic service and excellently crafted dishes made this an unforgettable experience. I left Ghent feeling well rested, like I’d had the privilege to stay in the home of a rather wealthy and accommodating friend. If you want to catch the city at its most festive, take note that the Christmas market opens on 6 December, so I’d recommend booking your room in Pillows Grand Hotel Reylof – and a table at LOF restaurant – now. Our writer was hosted by Pillows Grand Hotel Reylof, 36 Hoogstraat, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. For more information or to book visit: www. pillowshotels.com/ghent
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Bangkok is an exotic, sprawling, urban playground. It’s hectic, noisy and scented with the aromas from street-food stalls and burning joss sticks, and you’ll spy intricate art and architecture wherever you look. Where else could you feed hunks of bread to catfish from the side of a canal boat floating through the city? Bangkok’s like nowhere else and can be a sensory overload for first-time visitors, so we’ve outlined what to see, do and try. It’s recognisable for its ornate shrines which you’ll see a lot of. They can be extravagant, lavishly gilded with elaborate sculptural reliefs, but they’re often insignificant, notable only by the intricate garlands of flowers that adorn them. Each style, colour and type of flora bears a unique significance and believers place them in the temples for good luck and protection or simply as a token of gratitude. Also expect temples, tuk tuks and locals wearing face masks in this on-the-go city. Main roads are clogged with traffic in the commercial district, and luxury limos cruise alongside full-to-thebrim buses, and throngs of bicycles and mopeds. Windy roads separate the city from the Chao Phraya River and children, dogs, cats and families hang out beside the canals. The historic Rattanakosin royal district, is home to the opulent Grand Palace. It’s a must-see spot, home to the world-renowned Wat Pho Temple with its enormous reclining Buddha. Temple aficionados should also head to the opposite shore to see the Wat Arun Temple, with its steep steps and Khmer-style spire. This district bustles with tourists, but luckily, most are unfamiliar with the intimate
boutique hotel Aurum the River Place: a stay with royal connections, tucked away in the Old Town. It’s a blissful respite from the chaotic streets, and its terrace is the perfect place to watch the sunset and the frenetic goings-on along the Chao Phraya. Bangkok is actually made up of 50 districts, each with wildly different characteristics; When you move away from the modern skyscrapers, swanky hotels and glistening shopping malls, visitors will notice a stark contrast, especially in Chinatown where the traditional Thai lifestyle is still evident and street stalls sell exotic flowers and various insect grubs to snack on. You won’t know if you like them until you try… The best way to see the ‘Venice of the East’ is to take a tour with a local. Spice Roads tours offer an eco-friendly way of seeing the city: a knowledgeable native guide will take a small group of cyclists to hidden hotspots. It’s well worth steeling yourself, strapping on a helmet and biting the bullet to glide Bangkok’s backstreets, stopping for photos and insider anecdotes at lesserknown landmarks for a truly off-the-beaten-track experience. The tour takes in both sides of the river, the famous flower market and many avenues that a tourist would never find on their own. It culminates with a trip on a canal boat, where you see a diverse range of shanty houses alongside very upmarket properties as you cruise by. And, here’s where you can feed fish from the side of the boat. Bangkok’s Chinatown is an assault to the senses and should not be missed for an authentic taste of Thailand. The cultures blend
A FIRST-TIMERS’ GUIDE TO BANGKOK SA R A D A R L I N G MA P S O U T B A N G KO K’ S B EST B ITS F O R T H E U N I N I TI AT ED
seamlessly, and Chinese and Thai locals flock to the area after sunset to enjoy street food and the colourful characters who make Bangkok what it is. Equally popular, by day, is the one-kilometre strip adjacent to Charoen Krung Road, which attracts savvy shoppers to its jumble of narrow lanes with stalls and shops peddling gold, silk sarongs, Chinese artefacts, homewares and an abundance of dried food. The Sampeng Lane Market should not missed for an authentic shopping spree. It feels friendly, even if it’s hectic; you’ll be propelled through a whirl of steady-flowing pedestrian traffic, fresh produce, colourful fabrics, mopeds, raised voices and pungent aromas – you’ll likely find more dried grubs here, too. The best time to visit is during festival time or Chinese New Year to join in the non-stop action till long after bedtime. Bangkok is famous for its shopping; a visit to one of the many night markets is a must. Patpong Night Market is a vital part of the city, situated in the notorious nightlife district. It can be notorious for knock-offs and fakes, so be warned, but if something does catch your eye, you can practice your haggling skills here. Vendors sell a dazzling array of designer copies – of varying quality – they’re much cheaper than the originals, but could come with hidden costs as authorities are cracking down on fake goods, so shop wisely. More confident shoppers should try the mammoth Chatuchak Weekend Market. It’s famous for being the largest market in Asia, covering 140,000 sq m. It’s open Saturday and Sunday, from 9am to 6pm, You will never have time to see all the stalls in one go, but
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
“THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE, STREET VENDORS, FOOD CULTURE, FAST
PACE AND ZIPPY BTS SKY TRAIN MAKE
THIS CITY HIGHLY ADDICTIVE.”
expect locally designed dresses and T-shirts, antiques, crockery, jewellery, phone cases and more, with a few hidden treasures – it’s best just to get lost in the maze. Most stalls don’t take cards, so be sure to stop at an ATM beforehand and stock up on baht (this also acts as a useful landmark). On each occasion I’ve visited Bangkok I’ve had a different experience, and it feels less and less intimidating, as the hustle and bustle, street vendors food culture, fast pace and zippy BTS Sky Train make this city highly addictive. It’s always moving and never the same; locals rush about like ants, often three or four abreast on a motorbike or crammed into tuk tuk buses; saffron-robe-clad monks roam serenely as tourists congregate around temples: there is no place like it. And, it lives up to its hype, but you can also enjoy the peace and tranquility of temple gardens, enjoy a relaxing (or rejeuvenating) Thai massage, and you’ll get a real taste for Thai cuisine’s hot, sweet and spicy flavourings: a return trip will definitely be on the cards. Sara was a guest of five-star Sukhothai hotel www.sukhothai.com/ bangkok/en, which is centrally located and close to the Saladaeng BTS Skytrain, which is a great way to explore the city. Spice Roads tours: www.spiceroads.com Aurum the River Place: www.aurum-bangkok.com
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
When you’re craving five-star treatment and want a truly indulgent holiday, the Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar in the Dominican Republic is a luxury retreat that guarantees sun, sea and superlative cocktails. Bordering Haiti, the Dominican Republic is the second-largest island in the Caribbean and one of its most geographically diverse countries, with mountains, vast swathes of untouched land, ancient colonial architecture, and seemingly endless beaches, where visitors come to enjoy the year-round tropical climate. The Punta Cana region is situated on the easternmost tip, with a coastline lapped by both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s here you’ll find the exclusive Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar hotel, part of the Bahia Principe group, who take pride in choosing offthe-beaten-path locations for their properties. This unassuming, allinclusive resort grants direct access to the beach (also known as the Coconut Coast), which has 32km of sand and crystal-clear waters. Spacious grounds allow for plentiful greenery; the main hotel consists of low-rise, two-storey buildings, contemporary in style, and designed to complement the surroundings. All ground-floor properties have swim-up pools and secluded terraces, while upstairs apartments have spacious suntrap balconies. Each suite is decorated in modern neutral tones, and guests have air-conditioning, a ceiling fan, bathrobes and slippers, tea- and coffee-making facilities, a safety-deposit box and free WiFi, along with a giant bed, pillow menu and nightly turndown service. You even get your own personal butler. Every aspect of enjoyment is catered for, from the friendly staff who’ll remember your name and favourite drink, to the multitude of golf buggies on standby to whisk guests around the site. However, the white-sand beach and rows of palm trees are just footsteps away, and the private bay is a hub of activity for guests. Rows of sunbeds, complete with fresh towels and coconut-tree shades await: perfect for a day of lounging, swimming and sipping cocktails. Nighttime activities change weekly, and range from pool parties and live music to cabaret shows and silent discos. Download the hotel’s easy to use app for the most up-to-date information (this also enables you to reserve seats at the restaurants and book treatments at the Bahia Spa, which uses locally sourced aloe vera and coconut, as well as 100 per cent pure native cocoa). The all-inclusive package offers access to the restaurants and bars in all five neighbouring hotels in the wider Grand Bahia Principe complex, so you can enjoy a different style of cuisine each day. From à la carte Italian to Mongolian barbecue in the beachside diner, the restaurants have top chefs from around the globe, as well as an extensive buffet which changes daily.
THE CHARMS OF THE COCONUT COAST
To book an all-inclusive stay at Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar visit: www.bahia-principe.com/en/resorts-in-dominican-republic/resortambar
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
SA R A D A R L I N G F I N D S TH E I D EA L SP O T F O R YO U R N EXT C A R I B B EA N B R EA K.
“K WEST IS THE
SECRET THAT EVEN BUSH INHABITANTS
SEEM UNAWARE OF.
THIS CHARMING AND We live in a city which stretches far and wide. The outer reaches are constantly being redefined while the inner core throbs away like an ever-expanding nucleus. One of my favourite places in London, much like Camden, will always be Shepherd’s Bush. This ‘little London’, with its cornucopia of markets, shops and institutions, is a village full of interesting delights of the gastronomic and cultural kind. Lying just outside Zone 1, west of Kensington and South of Kensal, Shepherd’s Bush is ideally located for both the tourist and enthusiast. It is next door to Kensington and Chelsea, very close to Marble Arch and Central London and in close proximity to Richmond on the western front. One of the biggest shopping markets in Europe, Westfield, is right around the corner. In general, there is a more relaxed feel to this part of the capital and this is exactly why somewhere like K West Hotel & Spa is an absolutely excellent idea. Located on Richmond Road, within the old headquarters of BBC Kensington House, K West is the secret that even Bush inhabitants seem unaware of. This charming and convenient hotel and spa is the perfect weekend getaway spot for rejuvenating a tired body and mind. K West Hotel & Spa resides inside a modernist block in a quiet corner of Shepherd’s Bush (West Kensington officially, since the postcode is W14). It has a subterranean presence as well, meaning that the ground-level entrance is actually the third floor, which houses the Studio Kitchen and Bar: the hotel’s breakfast and dining area, bar and reception in one. In general, the style and decor is clever, contemporary and uncomplicated, which extends to its rooms which – although very comfortable – are not needlessly gimmicky or glam. That does not mean that the living spaces aren’t stylish and cosy – they most definitely are and the bathrooms are spacious. The former BBC connection means there is a strong influence from the world of music; it shows in the decor throughout the hotel: in murals, paintings and pieces made in homage to several rock and roll stars a lot of whom having actually recorded or performed within the original premises. The Spa is the Yin to the Yang, a placid wonderland, which has steam, sauna and sanarium rooms, as well as a small but relaxing hydrotherapy pool, plus a ‘Snow Paradise’ room filled with icy snow. To top it all off, there’s also a well-equipped gym. Going back to K West’s BBC connection and its ties to music, David Bowie and Bob Marley have both performed in the past and so has Amy Winehouse. Neighbouring Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Bush Hall and the iconic Hammersmith Apollo seem to echo the musical heritage of the area in general. K West is also a proud participating venue of Bushstock, an indie music festival showcasing a selection of up-and-coming artists across multiple venues in the area. The festival is focused on giving a platform to exciting new music. Recent editions have featured sets from the likes of Lucy Rose, The Big Moon and George Ezra. K West does what it says on the tin. It is a pretty hotel with a rather interesting musical story behind it and a spa that has an aura of a welcoming retreat among the hustle and bustle of life in London. Its location, almost hidden away amid the dust and smoke of Shepherd’s Bush, is the reason this oasis still remains quite a secret.
AND SPA IS THE PERFECT
WEEKEND GETAWAY SPOT FOR REJUVENATING A
TIRED BODY AND MIND.”
K WEST HOTEL & SPA
SI D R H A G AVA G O ES K WEST FO R SO ME R ‘ N ’ R
K West Hotel & Spa, Richmond Way, London W14 0AX, tel: +44(0)20 8008 6600. Visit www.k-west.co.uk for more info.
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
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DINING POLPO CHELSEA 81 Duke of York Square, SW3 4LY WORDS: KATE WEIR Polpo’s Chelsea branch, situated in upmarket Duke of York Square, close to the Saatchi, proves surprisingly hard to enter – perhaps we pre-gamed with a little too much gusto, but we finally find the entrance after trying no less than three doors. Our efforts are wellrewarded with an ever-so-pleasant waitress (who remains so until we stumble back out again), a lively bar and a sociable space of exposed brick, vintage Venetian trappings and cosy tables – ours, a corner booth, being the cosiest. Polpo has become either famous or infamous for its Venetian bàcaro-inspired, small-plates sharing concept, depending on how proprietorial you get about your food. But, amid all the elbow jostling and keeneyed plate-guarding, founder Russell Norman has hit on a winning idea for group outings and intimate date nights. For the uninitiated, the brown-paper menu features cicchetti to nibble on, various styles of bruschetta, fish and meat dishes and pizzettes – all of which can mix-and-match. To start we pick from each section: delightfully porky ‘nduja arancini, bruschetta topped with crab, celeriac, apples and capers (a generously heaped, favourite
CLAUDE BOSI AT BIBENDUM Michelin House 81 Fulham Road, SW3 6RD
WORDS: SUE SAUNDERS Bibendum! A wonderful word, conjuring
up, as it has done for over 100 years, the larger-than-life Michelin Man, whose amazing architectural temple stands proudly and to great visual advantage at the junction of Fulham Road and Sloane Avenue. So thought Terence Conran back in the 80s, after admiring the fabulously decorated building, with its head-turning stained glass, mosaics and tiling, elevating the UK headquarters and tyre depot of the Michelin Tyre Company Ltd to what (when it was built in 1911) must have been the apotheosis of a bright and breezy branch of Art Deco. When they moved out in 1987, Conran wasted no time in seizing the property, and make his vision become an aesthetically and gastronomically satisfying reality. Back in those glory days, when the kitchen was ruled by Simon Hopkinson, the excellent food, stripped of fussiness, drew well-heeled locals and celebrities. The great Elizabeth David declared their lemon tart the best she’d ever tasted; a typical table might bring together Alec Guinness, Arnold Bennett and Lauren Bacall; and every evening about 100 covers expected, and got, absolutely everything Hopkins had to give. But, one evening something snapped, the strain became too much, and he could give no more. After Hopkinson left in the mid-90s, something indefinable vanished with him, and the buzz of Bibendum’s heyday began to fizzle out. Add to that a less than buoyant economy, and the knock-on effect of ‘lights-
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
dish for me) and a parma ham and asparagus pizzette, where the asparagus is replaced by broccoli because it’s in season (a thoughtful consideration). We wash these down with Polpo bellinis, made well with proper peach purée and then a bottle of Italian white, charmingly served in an upcycled tin of tomatoes. For mains we order the crab and chilli linguine – heartily sprinkled with delicate meat, if a little light on heat – and sausage and egg bucatini: a delightfully messy-to-eat affair with hunks of fennel-infused meat. For dessert, we opt to share a tiramisu; turns out those small plates add up and we’re feeling rather full already. It arrives with a second pot – the panna cotta with blackberries (another seasonal update) that the chef insists we try. And it’s just as well he did, as both are delicious: the tiramisu indulgent, the panna cotta sweet and creamy with a well-balanced tartness. It’s testament to Polpo’s enduring appeal that we’ve managed a politely democratic meal here, passing mouthfuls over to try and splitting dishes evenly – and we happily do the same with the check, which clocks in at a very reasonable amount. We exit with less kerfuffle than we enter, but should you have any problems finding the way in – there’s a pretty courtyard to sit in, too. Another winning idea.
out London’ (where loyal regulars that keep a restaurant afloat, move away, depressed by being surrounded by empty buildings bought by foreign property investors), and you can see that any ambitious restaurateur has a challenge on his hands. But, in 2017 Sir Terence decided that where his beloved Bibendum was concerned, nothing less than a total clean sweep of a renovation would do, and a fantastic new head chef. Enter Claude Bosi, bright-eyed, bushytailed, 40-something – and already basking in the glow of a Michelin star. One thing that had rankled Conran was that for all the popularity and reputation Bibendum had enjoyed over three decades, it had never managed to win Michelin stars itself, despite – ironically – being situated in the original Michelin building. Bosi remembers picking up a Michelin guide when he first came to London, liking the look of Bibendum, but thinking ‘Wow! You have to be pretty desperate for a Michelin star to call your restaurant that!’ He didn’t know the history of this special place, but now he is a glorious part of it, having justified the faith put in his legendary skill and flair, and the responsibility laid on his shoulders, by garnering the establishment not one, but two of the coveted stars, a mere few months into the year of his arrival – a phenomenal achievement. How, you wonder? Well, all I can say is that I urge you to experience the stratospheric level of substance and service for yourself. Everything we sampled there had the flavoursome multiple layers and depths of a consummate work of art. That said, there were some incredible eats on the tasting menu we were treated to, which I am loathe to describe fully, in case I ought to be adding a spoiler alert. Suffice to say that a spoon is not always PAGE 54
a spoon, and what could be a boiled egg is like nothing any earthly chicken ever laid. The entire experience is intensely pleasurable, and I mean to return one lunchtime, to bathe in the room’s jewelled light. That lovely word, ‘Bibendum’ – what does it actually mean? It originates from the Michelin Man’s slogan, as he holds up a glass full of nuts and bolts and other road hazards, that prove no problem to Michelin tyres, which would simply, smoothly ‘drink them up’. Nunc Est Bibendum – Latin for ‘Now is the time to drink!’ – is the splendid exhortation you will find beneath your feet in the mosaic on the floor of the historic reception area. Don’t just wait for an occasion to celebrate with your loved ones at this unique restaurant – heed the motto and embrace the now. Cheers.
BOB BOB RICARD
1 Upper St James St, W1F 9DF
WORDS: SARAH RODRIGUES ‘How many times do you think they’ll let us
press the button before they boot us out?’ whispers my companion, as we shuck off the darkening Soho streets and enter the luscious opulence of Bob Bob Ricard. Since the restaurant purports to serve more champagne than any other restaurant in the UK, and the button she’s referring is infamously labelled ‘Press for Champagne,’ my hope is that the answer to her question is ‘endlessly.’ Such a level of decadence is easy to believe amid these sumptuous interiors. Swarms of birds are frozen, mid-murmuration, on the wallpaper and antiqued mirror panels on the ceiling pick up the gleam of gold and brass fittings, casting a flattering light over the moody sensuality of dark wood, deepblue leather, swirling marble and Art Deco tiles. With its curved, intimate booths (such a welcome change from central London’s ad nauseam communal dining tables) it calls to mind the glorious era of rail travel: the clink of glasses, the tinkle of piano music and elegantly moustachioed waiters deftly navigating the narrow, travelling aisles of the Orient Express. Murder notwithstanding. Murder may well be on the agenda, actually, when I learn that the lobster macaroni and cheese on which my heart is set cannot be made in a gluten-free incarnation. I content myself with savagely jabbing the champagne
button, and swiftly downing one of the two crystal-cut flutes that are summoned. There’s enough variety on the menu to comfort me though; indeed, comfort food, albeit with a side order of luxury, is what Bob Bob Ricard does best. It’s British basics twisted with Russian extravagance, the unexpected marriage of a barrow boy and a Tsarina, a greasy golden spoon. If they served fried eggs, they’d be Fabergé fried eggs. Amuse-bouches of oysters and caviar are slurped back with perfectly chilled (-18 °C) vodka shots before we move on to starters lobster, crab and shrimp pelemi served with glistening salmon roe and swimming in broth for my companion; a mound of hand-picked crab topped with chilli and a mousse-like avocado for me, finished with a sharp tomato and basil consommé, exuberantly poured at the table. Mains include an array of pies, Pavé steak, plaice goujons and roast cod - plus, of course, the lusted-after lobster mac’n’cheese. Hearty and seemingly simple, it’s the extravagant flourishes that maketh the menu – the addition of champagne to a chicken and mushroom pie, a side (or two) of truffle fries, a beetroot and ruby port purée elevating a simple roast cod. My friend’s chicken Kiev comes on a lavish mound of parsley-root pureé, oozing with garlic and parsley butter; my sole, with a lobster and champagne velouté, looks less indulgent but causes no fewer eye rolls of the ecstatic sort: it’s light yet rich, creamy yet flaky, delicate yet filling.
As full as we are, the four or five depressions of the champagne button we’ve managed so far have lubricated our greed, as much as anything else, so dessert is most definitely on the cards. A Crѐme Brûlée is flambéed to a blazing confection at the table, its crisp top shell yielding to a toothsome unctuousness when cracked. It’s heavenly; completely unnecessary, but heavenly nonetheless. It’s understandable, given the fin de siѐcle glamour of the surroundings, that people would think Bob Bob Ricard is best saved for a celebratory meal or special occasion, but I disagree. Life is for living, champagne buttons are for pressing and decadence is for diving right into. There’s enough bland misery afoot elsewhere to deny yourself the BBR experience – why wait for a reason?
ADAM HANDLING CHELSEA Belmond Cadogan Hotel 75 Sloane Street, SW1X 9SG
WORDS: KATE WEIR
How many lobsters do you think you could eat in two hours? How many spoonfuls of caviar? Slices of charcuterie? And could you squeeze in a few cakes at the end? We tested the limit of our indulgence at Adam Handling’s frankly Bacchanalian all-you-can-eat Sunday lunch. Arrive at Adam Handling Chelsea, at the Belmond Cadogan Hotel hungry, or for best results fast for a few days before your booking – this is a lunch that requires logistics and artful planning: knowing which station to hit first, balancing density by quantity and making hard compromises where needed. For £75 a head (plus an extra £25 each for the Classic drinks pairing, which we found very generous), you’re unleashed on a kingly buffet, before choosing one main meal then ransacking tiers of dainty desserts. It sounds simple enough, but before you accept this challenge, you must understand what an evil genius Adam Handling is. He’s loaded up the buffet with hampers full of lobster rolls, precision-cut sandwiches (chicken with tarragon and tomato jam, roast beef with horseradish cream), a smoked salmon counter with no less than six kinds (gravlax, Glenfiddichand Hendrick’s gin-cured, beetroot-infused, hot and honied), charcuterie platters with the finest of Italian deli meats and a large bowlful of caviar with house-made blinis. If you make it past round one, there’s the seafood: boxes filled with oysters from Colchester, Maldon and the like; trays of half lobsters; glasses teeming with fat bay prawns;
delicate pre-prepped crab claws… And then there’s the salad counter where you can regain some health points. At the table, waiters deliver warm pillows of bread with chicken-fat butter, truffled cheese doughnuts and other tidbits, as well as the lunch’s signature drink: a muddle of blueberries, champagne and a croissant liqueur made using the leftovers from the hotel’s breakfast. But wait – there’s more. This is the point when you thud heavily back into your chair and order a main dish: pork belly; beef Wellington; haddock, chilli and leek gratin; or yeast-roasted cauliflower. We plump for the first two, a meaty, powerfully mushroomy beef Wellington with fluffy pastry and a tender-allover pork belly with crackling. Clotted-cream mash (yes, you heard right), ‘millionaire’ chips (the compressed, crispy roast potatoes that are all the rage at the moment) and spring greens come on the side. The end is in sight – we struggle over to the platforms of pâtisserie, still undefeated. We leave no piece untried: the lemon and thyme pyramid, praline and chocolate opera, mandarin and ricotta shortbread and strawberry and green tea gâteau. Now, we can hibernate for the winter before returning for brunch in the spring. This is a delightfully gluttonous gorge, where you could easily make your money back in a few platefuls (especially if you’re fond of caviar). There’s a chance that Adam Handling is trying to kill us all – but, honestly, we love him all the more for it.
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
DARBY’S 3 Viaduct Gardens Nine Elms, SW11 7AY WORDS: KATE WEIR To sit on the terrace at Darby’s is a surreal experience. In the foreground there’s a reflecting pond prettied up by greenery and bridged by stepping stones; beyond, musclebulked guards saunter around the perimeter of the recently relocated American embassy, packing the kind of firearms that make you want to slowly raise your hands, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. But, don’t let this deterrent deter you – in Darby’s, founder and chef Robin Gill (with head chef Dean Parker) has succeeded in creating a menu of greatest hits, upmarket comfort food made using ingredients of exquisite provenance, many house made, butchered or grown and we’d happily go – even to Battersea – to get our greedy mitts on his creations. This is a personal project for the Irish chef – whose previous hits include eateries Sorella and the Dairy. It’s named after his father, a trumpet-playing jazz musician who toured clubs in NYC and Chicago. As such, cultures clash with aplomb: there’s an American-style oyster bar serving Connemara’s finest (you can get half-a-dozen oysters with a pint of proper Guinness, Tuesdays to Saturdays, 5pm–7pm, for just a tenner) and thick slabs of beef hewn from Irish Dexter cattle. Dishes are wantonly indulgent, but refined enough that you don’t feel too gluttonous as you pile the table with plates. Salmon from East London’s Secret Smokehouse is served on brown-butter waffles, with cultured cream and a little pot of caviar to dollop on top; a punch-packing chicken-liver mousse is thickly spread over rugged slices of house sourdough with truffle jam; Baron Bigod cheese is truffled – if you’re not waddling over Vauxhall Bridge afterwards, you haven’t done Darby’s right… My main, a chunky cut of Highland shortrib meat arrives with a comically oversized pickle and beef-fat potatoes, perfectly crisped all over. Justly proud of his veg offerings, Robin sends out a simple salad of tomato slices, basil and capers. He’s worked in Italian kitchens previously and sung the praises of the chefs’ harmonious relationship with the land – these beefy, flavourful fruits and piquant capers brilliantly demonstrate his Continental learnings. A small snag in an otherwise faultless meal is that staff aren’t always as diligent as the fearsome guards across the way. It can be a common teething issue for nascent restaurants and doesn’t prove a problem until dessert, when I gleefully pour espresso over my malted-barley affogato only to realise I have no spoon, then helplessly watch it turn soupier as I try to catch someone’s attention. Luckily cutlery arrives before it’s too late. Regardless, Darby’s has won me over. On the way to the bathroom, you’ll see carcasses strung up in the butchers, somewhere there’s an apiary and various fertile gardens, and I still go into reveries over the food. Soon a sky pool will hover 115ft above the restaurant, open only to residents of surrounding luxury flats, but who needs such pie-in-the-sky follies, when you can get in on the ground floor for a top meal.
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A Q&A WITH ROBIN GILL We quizzed Darby’s founder and chef Robin Gill about where to find the best ingredients, his Christmas traditions and which other chefs he admires. HO W DID YOU FIR S T BE COM E I NT E RE S T E D I N COOKING? I was always cooking at home when I was younger as we had a farm in Cork. My brother worked there curing hams, so I was constantly surrounded by vegetables, which had a big impact on me. I think it became something more serious for me mostly through failures and not sticking with one thing. I did music, acting and dance, so when I had to go to university, I needed to make a choice about what to do for a career and my father suggested cooking – I haven’t looked back! WH ICH CHEF WOU LD Y OU M OS T LI K E T O HAVE C O O K FO R YOU ON YOU R DAY OF F ? Shaun Searley of Quality Chop House. WH AT’S THE SECRE T T O RUNNI NG A HARM ON I O U S K I TCHEN? Music – all sorts of music to be honest. It depends on the mood, but I would say disco in the evening and some jazz in the daytime. HO W DO YOU TRY AND RUN A S US TAI NABLE R ESTAURANT? You think about working with a product from start to finish: buying whole animals, working closely with farms and taking the best produce they have at that time as opposed to flying ingredients in from abroad. It’s important to use every part of a vegetable as you would an animal. WH AT ARE THE BI G G E S T CHALLE NG E S I N FI NDING TOP- QUALI T Y PRODUCE F OR A LOND O N R ESTAURANT? Finding the right people and building the right relationships with purveyors. We cut out the middle-man and buy direct from producers. It’s the key to finding the best people and building that trust. Y O U WORK WITH I NDE PE NDE NT S UPPLI E RS – WH I C H HAVE YOU BEEN MOS T I M PRE S S E D W I T H? The Bean Family where we get our fish, and Neal’s Yard for cheese. I love the small independent producers they represent; in particular, Fen Farm for their Baron Bigod cheese. The late Mary Holbrook, who was an excellent cheesemaker, Secret Smokehouse for salmon and Farmer Tom Jones where we buy all livestock.
WH AT ’ S YO U R B EST P I EC E O F A D V I C E FO R FL ED G L I N G C H EFS? Don’t take a senior role too early, it’s good to experience a few different kitchens and wait before taking that step up. You need to learn the rules before you can break them. Also at the start of your career, you don’t need that level of stress – just enjoy life! WH AT ’ S B EEN YO U R B I G G EST T R I U MP H I N R UN N IN G A R ESTA U R A N T ? Watching team members grow; I love seeing people I met at one stage in their career go off to do something exciting or running a restaurant in our group. Their creativity is inspiring. WH AT C H A N G ES, I F A N Y, WO U L D YO U L I KE TO S E E TO L O N D O N ’ S R ESTA U R A N T SC EN E? Business rates. Don’t get me wrong, I do think the scene is amazing, but I’d like to change the challenges restaurateurs face with landlords and business rates. WH AT ’ S YO U R T YP I C A L C H R I STMA S D I N N ER AT H O ME? Last year we had venison – a big pie and whole roast saddle with Jerusalem artichokes, brussel sprouts and bacon, spiced red cabbage with apple, and a celeriac and potato gratin. And, we always have Guinness soda bread with smoked salmon in the morning with a glass of bubbles. I F YO U WER E I N A N I N D U L G EN T MO O D WH AT D IS H WO U L D YO U MA KE F O R YO U R SEL F ? I love a really quick carbonara, a really good one with dried porcini. MI N C E P I E, C H R I ST MA S C A KE O R YU L E L O G : WH IC H I S YO U R FAV O U R I TE A N D WH Y? Mince pie. I love a mince pie. You can’t beat the depth of flavour: it’s not too sweet, slightly savoury and just reminds me of Christmas. WH AT G I FT A R E YO U H O P I N G T O F I N D U N D ER TH E TR EE TH I S YEA R ? Not sure – I could do with a new wallet.
WH ICH PIECE OF K I T CHE N K I T COULD Y OU NO T L IV E WITHOUT? My temperature probe. We do a lot of cooking over fire, so when trying to perfectly cook a larger cut of meat or fish it’s very useful.
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JOURNEY AT CHELSEA FUNHOUSE 459 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW10 0LR WORDS: KATE WEIR There’s a chance that you’ve caught wind of a new distraction in London. We had a lot of bubbly fun pressing Bob Bob Ricard’s much Instagrammed button (see our review in this issue), but when we heard that the new Chelsea Funhouse’s Journey restaurant had a unicorn that vomits champagne, well, we were down there in two shakes of a mythical beast’s tail. This would surely be the culmination of all my Lisa Frank-loving, Last Unicorn-watching, My Little Pony-playing desires – and, I would get champagne to boot. Now, I don’t want to rain glitter on anyone’s parade…Journey’s drink-spewing unicorn is indeed real; perhaps a little too real. This trophy mount, tinted pink and trussed up with a rainbow-light horn, long pink mane and slightly soul-boring glowing eyes – looked like the guard of an ancient lair, or as if it had stumbled in from an acid-rave bender. But, somehow, it’s naively uncanny creepiness made it more endearing. I could relate: I too have pink hair and throw up champagne from time to time. There’s more to Journey than under-the-weather unicorns, though: a novel menu has four different tasting, um, journeys through different regions and eras. We set course for the Silk Road and Castilla, but there’s also the Raj route’s oysters, Punjabi-spiced mussels and shitake rolls, or the Eastern Bloc’s beetroot mousse, mushroom dumplings and lamb with barley. Each journey (priced at £60 a head) has four courses and four different cocktails, and, impressively, there are vegetarian and vegan takes on all menus, too. My gourmet ramble through the former Spanish Empire included Peruvian bream and salmon ceviche with avocado and lime, washed down with a jalapeño-spiked Pisco; Mexican tilapia and ox-cheek tacos with mango salsa and a potent margarita; Spanish seabass and chorizo with saffron aioli, plus a sherry-slugged sangria; and for dessert, a Filipino coconut rice-pudding with lime sorbet that was a little heavy on crunch. My friend’s vegetarian caravan down the Silk Road stopped for a salad of beansprouts, avocado and radish, with a thimbleful of jasmine-infused champagne; almond-sprinkled curried cauliflower soup with a rose and lychee Martini; a turret of aubergine with couscous, pomegranate and lemon with a complementary cobbler to drink; and a grilled peach with lemon sorbet and ginger crumb, toasted with strawberry limoncello. Dish and drink pairings were variably successful,
but overall it’s an intriguing concept that might encourage you to try something new and diminishes the agony of choice. Fresh from its launch, Journey may be a little all over the place at the moment, but the former World’s End Distillery looks damn good with coloured hoop lights, graffiti murals and a fairy-lit tree in the centre of the room, and the upstairs bar is an intimate date-night space to abscond to later. Brace yourself for the unicorn, give yourself over to the fantasy and immerse yourself in a transportive evening here.
FANCY CRAB 92 Wigmore St, Marylebone, W1U 3RD WORDS: KATE WEIR The Red King Crab is a spindly aquatic bastard, who can reach up to six foot when laid out at full length and could definitely take you in a fight. Procuring them from Alaska’s icy waters is so dangerous that it’s been profiled on the show Deadliest Catch; however, they’re also prized for their delicious thigh meat, so we’re sitting in Fancy Crab’s quirkily dressed dining room on Wigmore Street waiting to get stuck into thismonstrous crustacean. Around us are murals of pin-up girls riding crab claws, wiry spirals of lampshades and vintage portraiture embellished with – you guessed it. It’s a little offbeat if on-brand; but, we’re here to conquer the creature from the deep, which – the waiter explains – can only be harvested from September to December, when a valiant crew spend three days hauling the adult males of the species in, cooking them in seawater and freezing them so they arrive at the table in peak condition. This heroism makes you that bit more grateful for what you’re about to eat; if crab is your aim (the clue’s in the name, really), order a leg and a claw (£18 per 100g, minimum order 400g) or the whole beast on a platter (£99 per kg), either barbecued, or served on ice with dipping sauces. Whether for patrons’ benefit or to keep their glossy restaurant free of crab viscera, claws and such are served prêt à manger – so you needn’t crunch and mine away with a culinary toolkit. Our meal gets off to a great start, with generously filled king crab bon-bons, well-seasoned squid and an excellent scallop ceviche with truffle sauce – an unlikely yet delicious flavour pairing. The Grand Platter of seafood we order (£85) is the third largest on the menu, and we’re told it’s big enough for two, maybe three, people. There’s a tempting array of edibles arranged atop a stand: half a lobster, a couple of fat tiger prawns
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and langoustines, an octopus leg and a seabed of mussels and clams; however, we’re still a little hungry afterwards and nary a crab claw has crawled onto our plate. A rookie error and one we’ll try not to repeat on our next go. To finish, a zesty, deconstructed lemon-meringue tart and panna cotta washed down with two colourful coupes of fruity cocktails. We may not be willing to risk life and limb in the Arctic Ocean for a crab meal, but we’d happily shell out for one here.
MISTLETOE READY: OUR CHRISTMAS BEAUTY GUIDE...
THE BEST NEW AESTHETIC BEAUTY TREATMENTS
W ITH THE PARTY S E AS ON I N F ULL S W I NG, W E A L L WA N T T O L O O K A ND FEEL OUR BEST. T HE RE ARE A HOS T OF G R EAT A ESTH ET I C ‘TW EAKM ENTS’ TO CHOOS E F ROM – W E ’ VE CUR ATED A FEW O F O U R FAV OURITES, ALL O F W HI CH TAK E J US T A S I NG L E TR EATMEN T TO WO R K A ND REQUIRE NO W E E K S OF RE COVE RY, LE AVI N G YO U PA RT Y P ER FEC T IN A JIFFY.
FO R A YOUTHFUL FACE One of the latest solutions for sagging, wrinkles and excess fat is Profound RF. Known as the ‘non-surgical face lift’, this is an injectable radiofrequency treatment where fine needles are inserted and charged with radiofrequency energy, which heats the skin for a few seconds to stimulate skin repairs. This tightens, smooths, hydrates and melts fat. Clinical trials confirmed Profound RF delivered as much as a third of the result of a surgical facelift – minus, of course, all the associated discomfort and downtime. It’s reported that 100 per cent of patients enjoyed significant improvements after just a single treatment. This is available at the Dr Tatiana Clinic (www.drtatiana.co.uk). FO R THOSE WHO ARE NOT 100 PE R CE NT HAPP Y W ITH THE SHAPE O F T HE I R NOS E , but fear a traditional surgical rhinoplasty (or ‘nose job’), fillers can now be used to reduce the appearance of a pronounced bridge bump, and lift an aging downturned tip. The effect is immediate, can be quite striking and can make a significant difference to someone’s profile and confidence. There’s also no downtime and minimal discomfort during the procedure. It’s widely available throughout London, including Harley Street’s The Private Clinic (www.theprivateclinic.co.uk).
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F O R B EA U T I F U L EYES Tear-trough treatments can remove the dark shadows under our eyes and really freshen the complexion. Highly acclaimed surgeon Olivier Branford is an absolute master at this, expertly using Juvaderm filler to gently and near painlessly deposit tiny amounts to plump out the area and banish dark circles immediately. The effect lasts for between six and 12 months. This treatment is available from a host of top aesthetic clinics including the Cadogan Clinic (www.cadoganclinic.com) where you can book in with Mr Branford. If you are one of the many who suffer from dry eyes and blepharitis, Elizabeth Hawkes, consultant ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeon, performs the revolutionary BlephEx® treatment – also at the Cadogan Clinic. This new medical procedure removes biofilm from the eyelashes and eyelids quickly and painlessly. BlephEx® can be performed twice a year to help keep your eyes white and your lashes clean.
SKINCARE & BEAUTY WINTER SPECIAL BE AUT Y E DI T OR LISA C U RT I SS P I C KS H ER FAV O U R I TE SEA SO N A L F R A G R A N C E AND S K I NCARE T RE AT S TO G I V E TO SO MEO N E SP EC I A L ( O R YO U R SEL F ) .
COLLAGEN FROM THE PROS
Proto-col is a British brand offering a range of highly acclaimed beauty supplements, skincare and nutrition products. Now a firm favourite of many top beauty influencers, their collagen collection includes highly effective facial serums and creams, cleansers and exfoliators, plus collagen shots and capsules and gorgeous mineral make-up. They offer a great range of nutritional items, too, including the multi-award-winning ‘Green Magic’ superfood fusion. Our favourites include the Collagen Facial Serum at £39.95, the fine-line-blasting The Lift XL at £29.95, Collagen Cordial original berry flavour at £59.95 and Collagen Shots at £34.95 | www.proto-col.com
SENSAI SOFT SKIN
Some of the most luxurious and effective moisturisers we’ve tried come from the brand SENSAI. Their new Absolute Silk Cream and Fluid range contains their trademarked Koishimaru Silk Royal, which has been discovered to promote the production of anti-ageing hyaluronic acid – known to refine and perfect the complexion to unveil what the Japanese call ‘Kinuhada’ (flawlessly silky skin). Easily absorbed, beautifully scented and super moisturising: these are such a treat for tired and dry skin. £145 each, exclusive to Harrods | www.harrods.com.
Calming, restorative and naturally effective, the Orange & Neroli facial oil from Kyushi is 100 per cent natural and vegan, and combines the skin-nourishing plant-based oils of jojoba and squalane, with the powerful aromatherapy benefits of sweet orange, bergamot and neroli essential oils. This energising, daily facial oil works to maintain, support and restore beautiful glowing skin, while putting a spring in your morning step. The brand recommends a calming Japanese-inspired ritual. Pause for a few moments twice a day, place three drops of the Kyushi oil into your hands, rub them together and cup over your nose and mouth. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths, feeling the stomach rise and fall, the lungs ﬁlling then emptying completely as you oxygenate your body. Then, apply the oil to your face, neck and chest to experience topical and aromatherapy benefits in unison. £39 for 30ml | www.kyushi.co.uk
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If you love your skincare products to be as close to nature as can be, Norfolk Natural Skin Care has a wonderful range of vegan and crueltyfree items. Highlights include a long-lasting unisex Natural Deodorant, which is completely free from aluminium and parabens and available in four scents. It comes in a bottle made with recycled materials too for £14.50. There’s also a Hydrating Face Wash (£19), which is intensely hydrating, gently cleansing and perfect sensitive skin. It’s made with botanical extracts, is non-toxic and comes in a choice of sea-salt, rose, lime and fig fragrances. www.norfolknaturalliving.com
BRAMLEY BODY & BATH
Indulge with this luxurious scented collection for bath, body and home. Inspired by the therapeutic properties of plants and made in the British countryside, each of the products has a bespoke set of ingredients, chosen for their remarkable properties and compelling scents. We particularly loved the bath and shower oils and body lotion with juniper, sweet orange and bergamot essential oils. www.bramleyproducts.co.uk
Another firm favourite is the Herbal Essentials range, which uses active plant botanicals in combination with pure Himalayan spring water, which – the brand states – is clinically proven to benefit skin health. All products are cruelty-free and most are vegan, and we also love the recyclable packaging, free from microbeads. Try the excellent AHA Night Cream, Foaming Face Wash with zingy ginger and the Illuminating Mask for radiant skin. www.herbal-essentials.com
This famous Swiss brand has launched a new skincare range called Nutri Elixir. We highly recommend the Anti-Age Nutrition Essential Serum, Absolute Night Balm and Absolute Cream, which are all easily absorbed and provide long-lasting comfort. They contain a patented pro-lipid booster to restructure the cutaneous barrier proven to transform the quality of the skin. www.mavala.com
SOS SUPER SERUM
Made in Britain, this incredibly versatile serum is hailed as the solution to even the most sensitive skin and can be used on babies and children (over one month) and adults. SOS Serum can reduce itching caused by eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis; support the withdrawal of steroid creams, treat and soothe bites, plant and insect stings and minor burns, hydrate wind-chapped and sun-damaged skin; and quickly and effectively manage allergic flare-ups. And, it only has 12 ingredients; is free of parabens, SLS, mineral oil or fragrance; is 100 per cent vegan and cruelty-free. www.sosserum.co.uk
MY LITTLE HERO SERUM
Containing 98 per cent certified organic ingredients. VOYA’s iconic facial serum is vegan, cruelty-free and packed with antioxidants, offering nourishment to improve radiance and brighten dull skin. It’s lovely to use and gives a healthy glow as well as helping diminish the signs of aging and protecting from environmental damage. £54 www.voya.ie
The new Bi-Phase serums from Skin Chemist are wonderful to use. Super nourishing, they combine the gentleness of water with powerful active ingredients to quench and soothe irritated, dull and uneven skin. The range comprises PURE Collagen 5%, PURE Hyaluronic 2% and PURE Caviar 5% serums, suitable for all skin types. £29.90 each www.skinchemists.com
We love Water Soothe Facial Oil £30 from all natural skincare and spa brand is a calming and soothing facial treatment with an expert blend of plant and essential oils to deeply hydrate, reduce sensitivity and prevent early signs of ageing. The gently fragranced product has a blend of 14 nourishing plant and essential oils, including rose damask and chamomile, to help restore the skin’s barrier function and protect from environmental damage. www.elementalherbology.com
Acclaimed Swiss aesthetic manufacturer Teoxane’s latest product 3D Lip is formulated to plump, nourish and hydrate lips in-between clinic treatments. The product contains microspheres of collagen and hyaluronic acid for instant hydration and long-lasting plumping. Concentrated levels of ceramide 2 and matrikine complex smooth lines while hydrating for an anti-ageing effect, while shea butter nourishes lips for softness. 3D Lip has been proven to create an immediate, visible boost to lip volume by instantly increasing the hyaluronic acid levels. www.teoxaneshop.co.uk
LOOK GOOD FEEL BETTER
We’re loving the Look Good Feel Better range. Not only is it PETAaccredited, cruelty-free and vegan, but a percentage of the proceeds from sales goes towards a global cancer charity. Their luxury brush set, made with super-soft and hypoallergenic taklon bristles, is a must have, making applying and blending make-up like a pro easy. The set contains four brushes to apply, blend, highlight and contour. www.lookgoodfeelbetter.co.uk
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ROOM TO READ CHANGING LIVES ONE BOOK AT A TIME: A Q&A WITH ROOM TO READ CEO DR GEETHA MURALI MEET DR. GEETHA MURALI, CEO OF ROOM TO READ, A LEADING GLOBAL CHARITY TRANSFORMING THE LIVES OF MILLIONS OF CHILDREN IN LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES BY FOCUSING ON LITERACY AND GENDER EQUALITY IN EDUCATION.
WHAT IS ROOM TO READ’S MISSION?
At Room to Read, we believe many world problems can be addressed through one solution: education. Knowing how to read makes people safer, healthier and more self-sufficient – yet over 750 million people (two thirds women and girls) are illiterate. Room to Read works with local communities, partner organisations and governments to develop literacy skills among primary school children and helps girls to complete secondary school teaching them the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond. Since our founding in 2000, Room to Read has helped 16.8 million children across, over 37,000 communities, in 16 countries.
WHAT ABOUT ROOM TO READ RESONATES WITH YOU PERSONALLY?
I came from a family where child marriage was common – my grandmothers were married at a very young age. As a 13-year old, my mother faced immense pressure to get married. She refused and instead enlisted in the Indian army to train as a nurse, forging a new path for herself. Thanks to my mother’s fortitude and perseverance, I had endless opportunities tolearn, explore, and become whoever I wanted to be. Creating meaningful, lasting change is far from immediate; it takes persistence and determination, child after child, generation after generation. Room to Read has proven that our mission and our approach is not just about short-term gains – it is about longterm solutions.
HOW HAS LONDON’S PHILANTHROPIC COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTED TO ROOM TO READ’S GROWTH?
Our work is possible because of the generosity of our committed network of investors and supporters in London and beyond. In 2018, over £4.4 million was raised in the UK, which allowed us to help more than 125,000 children. Room to Read believes in the power of partnerships. We partner with corporate foundations and organisations aligned with our mission and committed to philanthropy, such as BSI, Capco, Credit Suisse, CMS, Goldman Sachs, PIMCO and Swarovski. We also have an active network of volunteers and schools that fundraise for us and raise awareness of our work. Our UK regional board is comprised of CEOs, sector leaders and influencers who give us strategic guidance and help to accelerate our impact. Our supporters are committed to transformational giving, and are drawn to Room to Read’s efficiency, transparency and results. Children in Room to Read’s Literacy Programme read two-to-three times faster than their peers in nonRoom to Read programme schools. Every year we raise significant funds through galas in London, Zurich, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore and Tokyo. In London, our signature event is a Wine Tasting Dinner curated by Jancis Robinson, MW and hosted by Financial Times Group CEO and Room to Read Global Board Chair, John Ridding. Last year’s event raised £2.25 million to provide more than 64,000 children access to a quality education.
“IT ’S DEFINITELY NOT YOUR STANDARD IN-AND-OUT SALON, BUT A COMPLETELY BESPOKE, PERSONALISED EXPERIENCE FROM AN UTTERLY CHARMING EXPERT.”
SKIN-DEEP SALVATION WITH CHELSÉE LEWIS TANI BURNS PUTS HER FACE IN THE CARE OF THERAPIST-TO-THESTARS CHELSÉE LEWIS FOR SPARKLINGLY FESTIVE SKIN.
Having a facial treatment is a luxury both in time and spend. But, for those who give any particular care to their youthful visage and general wellbeing, it’s a nobrainer. Given the opportunity to indulge in a little skin treat, I visited award-winning facialist Chelsée Lewis at her oasis of a salon in Mayfair. Her name is whispered among the beauty elite, and she’s worked with the likes of Stella McCartney, Gwyneth Paltrow, Suki Waterhouse and Erin O’Connor, likely for the Zen-like pampering she provides, but ultimately for the results. And, well, if it’s good enough for them… I booked myself in for Le Visage, her famous signature facial, a deep-cleansing treatment with a micro-peel that helps to speed up skin renewal, even skin tone and soften lines and wrinkles. The exact serums and masks used were tailored to what she saw on my skin on the day – faced with a Londoner-in-thethroes-of-winter visage, she fed it with everything in her arsenal to fight against the plagues of dryness and pollution. ‘The pollution in London is so high, it’s something we are always having to battle with. On top of this, there’s the powerful blue light that we just can’t get away from in our TVs, laptops and mobile phones – it is stronger than UVA and UVB rays, so I would advise going hands-free as much as possible. The skin can tell us so much, even which ear you usually hold your mobile phone to.’ – Chelseé Lewis. Award-winning facialist There’s nothing I love more than an hour’s shut-eye for a massage, and – lucky me – Le Visage also includes Chelseé’s specialist facial massage, which is her key step to detoxifying and bringing oxygen and nutrients to the skin, while draining toxins and puffiness. This
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covers the face, neck, shoulders and arms – right down to the fingers – and the massage is aimed at pressure points alongside the photo-drainage massage, catering for overall wellbeing and bringing about a bright new complexion. After the treatment, I was able to speak with Chelseé about her tailored recommendations for me, both in terms of follow-up treatments (I’ll be looking at the Collagen Mask treatment, just £70) and general lifestyle (water, green juices, moisturising – keep feeding the skin!). It’s definitely not your standard in-andout salon, but a completely bespoke, personalised experience from an utterly charming expert. Returning to ‘the real world’ I felt, brighter, lighter and more confident – even completely bare-faced – and perhaps a little more respectful of the skin I was born into. (Le Visage is available for £130 for a 75-minute treatment.) Chelsée’s latest treatment, which you can book now, is the 3D HIFU, a non-surgical facelift treatment using high-intensity focussed Ultrasound to lift and tighten loose or sagging skin on the neck and face. The science? The 3D HIFU treatment focuses energy to stimulate the deep-support layers of the skin without causing damage to the skin surface. The treatment stimulates the growth of new collagen, resulting in a lifted, firmer and toned appearance of the skin. Basically, we’re talking about a safe, non-invasive alternative to surgery, backed by surgeons. Walk out into Mayfair, fantastically fresh-faced, without any downtime at all. Sounds like a dream. Prices from £995. For a full list of all treatment available at Chelseé Lewis, visit www.chelseelewis.co.uk
XTRA SPECIAL VOLVO XC90S On sale now, the 2020 model XC90 is guaranteed to be the car of choice for busy families needing space, versatility, safety and refinement – all with a luxury look and feel. Volvo’s much admired flagship SUV is now better than ever, boasting a super-efficient new mild-hybrid diesel powertrain, host of spec enhancements and fresh styling. The new engine combines Volvo’s established 2.0-litre 235hp diesel engine with a 48-volt battery, a KERS kinetic energy recovery system and an integrated starter generator – in simple terms, the system improves fuel economy and produces lower NOx emissions than the outgoing D5 XC90 it replaces. The already slick auto transmission gets an upgrade too, and the car’s acceleration from a standstill is sharper, thanks to a greater torque capacity in the lower gears. Appearance-wise, there’s a bold new grille and lower-frontbumper designs, the air intakes have a fresh look and new alloy wheel designs have been introduced. All XC90 versions also now come with integrated roof rails and dual integrated exhaust
tailpipes as standard. Our favourites – the R-Design models have been given an even more purposeful look with a new black high-gloss finish for the exterior trim, including the doormirror casings, window frames and roof rails, and attractive new interior colours. Tech- and feature-rich already, it’s hard to imagine what Volvo could add that would possibly be needed, but little touches, like two new USB ports in the cabins as standard, power adjustment for the front passenger-seat for Momentum models, and a purpose-designed bag to store the recharging cable for the T8 Twin Engine versions will be appreciated. The new XC90 range is available in Momentum, R-Design and Inscription versions – each also comes in a more highly specified ‘Pro’ form. There are four powertrains: the new 235hp B5 mild-hybrid diesel; 250hp T5 and 310hp T6 petrols; and the 390hp T8 Twin Engine petrol-electric plug-in hybrid. Every XC90 comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
Guildhall Christmas Market in partnership with SoftBank Investment Advisers
Food Drink Gifts Art Jewellery Home Garden Clothes Celebrity book signings Fashion show redcross.org.uk/guildhall #GuildhallMarket
Mon 25 November 5.30pm - 9pm Tue 26 November 10.30am - 8pm EC2V 7HH St Paulâ€™s 5 mins Moorgate 7 mins Bank 5 mins
GUILDHALL CHRISTMAS MARKET IN PARTNERSHIP WITH SOFTBANK INVESTMENT ADVISERS On the 25 and 26 November the Guildhall will be transformed into a paradise for fashion-forward types. On Monday you can browse for vintage and sustainable fashion at our Wardrobe of Kindness. Items have been kindly donated by maker of covetable sustainable bags, Kmana Concept, and eco-conscious brand Kindom (we’re fans of their ‘Gender-free’ collection), alongside some of the best party dresses from the award-winning Kensington and Chelsea British Red Cross shop. So you’ll be all kitted out for the festive season in Earth-kind style. Tuesday sees the beautiful Livery Hall at the Guildhall become our Fashion Hall. Run by London Fashion Week-accredited producer Becky Mullins, there will be fabulous stalls stocked with beautiful and unique clothes. There will be a programme of talks, too – we have speakers throughout the day, covering all aspects of well-being, including nutrition, skincare and reiki. At 6pm the Fashion Hall will see exciting designers take to the catwalk in our live fashion show. Those showcasing their latest work include Camellia Couture, Green + Pink and Lacry Couture, and models will be walking down the catwalk to the tunes of DJ Estelle Rubio. Included in over 100 stalls there will also be top food options from the Cheese and Pie Man and authentic Italian produce from the Red Beetle. On Monday evening you can come and get a cookery book signed by famed food critic William Sitwell – and you could be in with a chance of eating with him at his Supper Club if you enter our fabulous live auction. On Tuesday you can treat yourself to a festive luncheon or Champagne afternoon tea. Both will be served in the beautiful Medieaval crypt, so you feel truly spoilt as you enjoy delicious food served by Clink Events. If you fancy something a little lighter then visit the Café in the Crypt or one of the food stalls in the Guildhall Yard. Don’t forget to check out our silent auction at www.jumblebee. co.uk/guildhallauction2019. Holidays, tickets to the Royal Opera House and a box at Ascot could be won, and there are wonderful prizes for gourmands, including a private dining experience at Mosimann’s, afternoon tea at the Shard, and lunch at the beautiful Painter’s Hall. The event raises vital funds for the work of the British Red Cross. More details and tickets are available at www.redcross.org.uk/guildhall PAGE 69
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BEST PERFORMANCE CARS OF THE YEAR CITY LIVING DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN’T OWN AND ENJOY A SPORTSCAR OR TWO. OUR MOTORING EDITOR LISA CURTISS SHARES HER TOP PICKS OF THE SOME OF THIS YEAR’S BEST OFFERINGS, ALL PERFECT FOR HEADING OUT OF TOWN AND ONTO THE OPEN ROAD FOR SOME EXHILARATING DRIVING FUN. RENAULT MÉGANE HATCH R.S. TROPHY-R
NISSAN GT-R 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
NEW MINI JOHN COOPER WORKS GP
HONDA CIVIC TYPE R
Absolutely no apologies here for having this cracker at the top of the list. It offers simply the best fun to be had on the road, any road, and yes this includes ‘The Ring’ and Spa Francorchamps circuit, where in £72,140 Nürburgring Record Pack guise it has broken all the best front-wheel drive lap times, with Renault Sport test driver Laurent Hurgon at the helm. A masterclass in dynamic handling and blistering performance, it’s more than capable of trouncing rivals three times its price. Just 32 of the total 500 models made will be coming to the UK and will no doubt be snapped up super fast.
Motor-racing fans were the first to get a glimpse of this much-awaited model back in the summer, when it was completing set-up runs on the legendary Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit as part of its series development process. Just 3,000 will be made and will no doubt be snapped up as soon as they’re available, for its sleek design and raw, go-cart-like, track-honed performance.
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Just 50 of these super-special GT-R’s will be made, and a mere 18 of these will reach the UK, making them one of the most rare and coveted sports cars of the year. Bold and aggressively handsome, there’s nothing subtle about this model. The R34 Nissan GT-R’s hallowed bayside blue with white racing-stripes is guaranteed to catch the eye of every performance car aficionado you pass by.
Still notching up awards, this hot hatch remains the firm favourite of many performance-car lovers. Probably the most OTT of all in terms of looks, it certainly isn’t for shy and retiring types, and every inch, every spoiler, shouts that it’s fast and fun.
NEW LEXUS LC LIMITED EDITION COUPE
CATERHAM 458 CSR
ALL-NEW FORD FOCUS ST
Sleek, stylish and luxurious throughout, this version of Lexus’ flagship coupe comes in an exclusive new terrane khaki exterior finish, which really showcases the car’s seductive lines. A set of 21-inch forged alloy wheels with a two-tone finish adds to the effect. The interior is equally striking thanks to a number of special features, including artfully contrasting leathers for the trim and seats and special scuff plates. As you’d expect from a Lexus, there’s a host of top-quality state-of-the-art technology on board, from a colour head-up display to a power plant: the world’s first self-charging multi-stage hybrid system, delivering excellent performance.
Breaking boundaries as the first pure electric British hypercar, the Evija made its debut earlier this year to global acclaim. Able to reach from 0-62mph in an astonishing three seconds, this the world’s most powerful series production car with a power output of 2,000 – and it can travel for 250 miles on electric alone. Just 130 will be produced in Norwich, the company’s historic home.
The most powerful EU Caterham Seven to date has been launched, and it’s capable of accelerating from 0-62 mph in a blistering 3.9 seconds, racing on to a top speed of 225 kmh. Small but mighty, weighing in at just 580kg, the 485 CSR delivers an eye-watering 409 ps per-tonne, almost the same as a Lamborghini Huracan or a Ferrari 599.
More power and faster acceleration than ever before, this Ford is on fire. Inspired by its siblings the Ford GT supercar, F‑150 Raptor pick-up and Ford Mustang, it’s designed to give that thrilling punch-back-in-theseat feeling when you hit the gas. Cornering ability has been improved too, thanks to the adoption of Ford’s first electronic limited-slip differential for a front-wheel drive model.
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LONDON PHOTO PORTFOLIOS FASHION, TALENT & PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO KENSINGTON GARDENS SQUARE PHONE: +44 (0) 2074 594 072 INSTAGRAM: @BREZNANIKOVA.PHOTOGRAPHY
WWW.BREZ NANI K OVA . P HOT OGR A P HY
ZUZANA BREZNANIKOVA’S STORY-TELLING PHOTOGRAPHS
To capture the essence of beauty, luxury and authenticity is an art form, an art form that photography continues to manifest. A photographer who is able to not only capture this essence but to also recreate it through their lens is an exciting discovery. Perhaps we could say that Zuzana Breznanikova is a discovery, although her work has been hiding in plain sight for many years. London-based fashion and celebrity portrait photographer Zuzana has developed a unique aesthetic with a cinematic feel that resonates with industry critics and makes her a highly sought-after photography professional. Her gift stems from her early experiences with photography: she started it as a hobby when her dad gave her a camera at the age of 13. She knew instantly that it was something she wanted to do, it was her calling and when she gets behind the camera she is in a creative flow that makes her almost forget time and space. She likes to be able to manipulate lighting to create different moods to suit a subject and to photograph people, which is why she moved to portraiture and creative fashion photography.
‘I BELIEVE PORTRAITURE TO BE A STUDY OF A PROFOUND DEPTH; THE SUBJECT ’S PERSONAL STORY AS SEEN THROUGH THE EYE OF THE PHOTOGRAPHER. STORYTELLING THROUGH THE USE OF LIGHT AND COMPOSITION, CAPTURING THE ESSENCE OF A PERSON.’ – Zuzana Breznanikova Her unique aesthetics and ability to capture the essence of a person has made her one of the most in-demand portrait photographers in London. She has photographed for luxury publications around the world. as well as luxury brands, such as Harrods, as well as international high-net-worth and high-profile individuals, including royalty. Zuzana specializes in fashion and portrait photography; each image she creates brings to the forefront her ability to see subjects through her lens not simply as a photo subject, but as part of an image which tells a story, whether it’s a tale of romance, passion, opulence or freedom. There is also a sense of escapism which Zuzana captures so well with her photography, her images take those who view them on a journey beyond the lens. While her London-based photography studio is located in the cosmopolitan and affluent area of Notting Hill, Zuzana is available for commissions worldwide for location shooting. Whether someone is looking for a stand-out celebrity portrait photographer or wishes to elevate their fashion brand with a high-end editorial or commercial photoshoot, Zuzana has the experience, knowledge and creativity to not only get the job done but give her clients the gift of artistic expression through luxurious photographic imagery. To view and purchase Zuzana’s work please visit Saatchi Art www.saatchiart.com/zuzanab To commission a portrait sitting with Zuzana email: firstname.lastname@example.org PAGE 73
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SUPER CUPRA HAILED BY MANY TO BE THE MOST STYLISH SPORTS ESTATE AROUND, SEAT’S LEON ESTATE CUPRA IS A MASTERCLASS IN INNOVATIVE EXTERIOR DESIGN, COUPLED WITH KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF PERFORMANCE.
Only 150 of these special edition models are available in the UK and if a 4.9 0-62mph sprint isn’t quite fast enough for you, we recommend adding the ABT tuning-pack option, which will drop it down to an even more impressive 4.5 seconds. With high specifications as standard, this great looking model comes with quad exhaust, Brembo brakes, bucket seats, KESSY and a panoramic sunroof. Gorgeous copper accents and carbon-fibre detailing add to the premium external appeal, and the upgraded models will feature ABT detailing on the rear badge. Out on the road this car is a dynamic pleasure to drive thanks to its highly tuned, turbocharged, direct-injection petrol engine linked to a seven-speed DSG auto box, advanced 4Drive drive system and special chassis set-up. Eye catching to a fault – especially given it’s an estate – the combination of black with copper accents is tasteful and unique.
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The bold use of carbon fibre to maximise the car’s performance and aesthetics adds to the appeal. Copper logos and badges also emphasise the model’s credentials, with the same tone used on its exclusive 19” alloy rims with copper-hub caps, which frame the front Brembo brakes. Slip inside the spacious, light and airy cabin and you’ll first notice illuminated aluminium plaques and all the copper accents which continue inside on the climate control vents, central console, logo on the steering wheel and on the stitching of the bucket seats. All gadgetry and displays are easy to access and use. Rearview cameras are handy, and thanks to the integration of the latest connectivity suite, drivers can link their mobile devices to the car and benefit from selected apps and increased functionality too. A great looking, dynamic driving estate.
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The Fa La La La La issue. Including festive ideas for food and wine, travel and our glorious and rather popular annual Christmas gift guid...
Published on Dec 1, 2019
The Fa La La La La issue. Including festive ideas for food and wine, travel and our glorious and rather popular annual Christmas gift guid...