“In victory, you deserve Champagne; in defeat, you need it.” ~ Napoléon Bonaparte
Ready to add a new skill to your list of perfectly impressive party tricks? The St. Regis New York has just announced that guests can learn the art of champagne sabrage with a private lesson in the hotel’s exquisite Astor Court. Take a 30-minute masterclass to learn how to open a champagne bottle with a saber, an explosive and theatrical way to enjoy a little bubbly.
The experience is $350 and includes 1 bottle of Veuve Clicquot, and canapés — a truly luxurious experience at one of the most iconic hotels in New York City.
For reservations, call: (212) 753-4500 | Two East 55th Street, at Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
In a few weeks I’ll be heading to one of the chicest hotels to open in Shanghai, The Middle House, located in the bustling Jing’an District of Shanghai and the city’s trendy Nanjing West Road. The hotel is the newest addition to Swire Hotels’ renowned The House Collective, featuring 111 luxuriously designed guest rooms from 50 to 100 sqm and 102 luxurious serviced residences. Italian designer and architect Piero Lissoni brings his signature mix of bold lines and clean silhouettes into every detail.
The design is inspired by Shanghai’s heritage of craftsmanship and culture, combining minimalist style with classical Shanghainese elements. Throughout the property, guests will find cultural touches and artwork inspired by Shanghai.
The Middle House also offers three gourmet restaurants and bars including theiconic Café Gray Deluxe, popular with visitors to The Upper House in Hong Kong, and now a sister location at The Middle House.
Frasca is the new Italian restaurant with Chef Stefano Pace at the helm who also ran the two Michelin star restaurant Gusto in Rome and founded one of Shanghai’s all-time favorite restaurants, D.O.C Gastronomia Italian.
Sui Tang Li will open soon as the Chinese restaurant with a name meaning happy, free and relaxed. Chef Tony Ye, who has more than 20 years’ experience, delivers the best of artisan Dim Sum and has curated a menu of creative and contemporary dishes influenced by Shanghainese, Sichuan and Cantonese regional cuisines.
The Middle House also offers guests a hidden haven of relaxation at Mi Xun Spa | The Lab Shop featuring an indoor heated swimming pool, 24-hour gym, group yoga and The Lap shop.
Follow me on Instagram as I visit the House Collective in June at@LuxeTiffany.
It’s always exciting to see luxury hotels collaborate with fashion designers, so it caught my attention when I heard that Hotel Esencia and Jason Wu have joined forces to launch an exclusive capsule clothing collection inspired by the designer’s love of this boutique Mexican hotel.
You’ll find beautiful cotton florals and stripes in the 11 piece collection featuring very feminine tops, skirts and dresses. A special “bird of paradise” print was derived from the hotel’s colorful landscape and scenery. Each piece is perfect for both the city and beach.
Available now, the “Jason Wu x Hotel Esencia” collection will be carried luxury stores including Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Norstrom, and globally on Net-a-Porter and select specialty stores. You can also find the collection in Hotel Esencia’s own stylish boutique, Retrobottega.
Hotel Esencia is located on a stunning stretch of Mexico’s Caribbean coast owned by Kevin Wendle, an entrepreneur and art collector who has owned the hotel since 2014. The property was originally built as a private hideaway fro an Italian duchess on the Riviera Maya. Jason Wu was married on the property in 2016.
It was exciting to be featured in the latest issue of Modern Luxury Boston Common magazine in a fun feature about what “four dashing Bostonians who make living life and looking fabulous” do make looking good appear seamless. Is it envy or awe? The “Center of Attraction” article also featured Olympian, Nastia Liukin, George Foreman III, founder of EverybodyFights, David M. Handy, CEO of David M. Handy Events.
I had the opportunity to share a few of my favorite products that I use to stay looking fresh and healthy. After all, extensive travels can take its toll, and everybody needs a little help!
Here a few of my secrets. Read the full feature here.
It was all about elegance and style when I spent a beautiful evening as a guest of the Ferragamo Family, Castiglion del Bosco and Il Borro on my most recent visit to Florence, Italy. We were invited to the famous Palazzo Feroni, the headquarters of the private offices of the Ferragamo family, where we were escorted upstairs into a breathtaking setting brimming with frescos and art worthy of a small museum.
It’s not very often (if ever) that the Ferragamo family so generously opens up private offices for an event, but this was for a very special group of luxury travel professionals here in Florence for the prestigious DUCO Travel Summit.
I met the ever-gracious Salvatore Ferragamo, the grandson of the luxury brand’s founder, Salvatore Ferragamo and his lovely sister Vittoria, as well as the lively Ferruccio Ferragamo, the Chairman of Ferragamo and Leonardo Ferragamo, Director of Salvatore Ferragamo SpA, Ferragamo Finanziaria and Executive Vice President of the Fondazione Ferragamo.
It was so much fun spending some time with Salvatore who I learned has a love for sailing and a passion for wine. He also oversees the winemaking at Il Borro.
The exquisite reception was followed by a remarkable dinner at Caffè dell’Oro, an exquisite Italian bistro at Portrait Firenze located directly on the Arno River where I had the pleasure of sitting next to Valeriano Antonioli, the CEO of the Lungarno Collection.
Just when you thought London’s most iconic private members’ club, The Arts Club, couldn’t get any more innovative and cool, the exclusive club is partnering to open London’s finest medical gym in late 2018, Lanserhof at The Arts Club. Members will have direct access to Lanserhof’s award-winning team of doctors and health professionals from all over Europe right across the street in the Dover Street Market building. Led by Sheila McCann, formerly of Chiva-Som International Health Resort in Hua Hin, Thailand, she brings over 35 years of her life to the spa and wellness sector to the Lanserhof.
As part of the program that will be available at Lanserhof at The Arts Club, members will
have access to high-end diagnostics and medical facilities as well as an ultra-luxe gym, fitness studios, consulting rooms for zeroing in on personalized treatments, treatment rooms for sports and other injuries, healthy menus and access to popular cryotherapy treatment chambers.
Now members can brush off the guilt of indulging in the Arts Club’s delectable cuisine and creative cocktails knowing they can renew themselves just steps away. Sign me up!
There’s nothing more inspiring than hearing Geoffrey Kent‘s annual list of Where to Go Next. As the founder, chairman and CEO of luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent (A&K), he is the ultimate adventure traveler. I have had the privilege of traveling with him on the A&K private jet around the world a few years back with a highlight being the opportunity to go on a safari with him in Kenya where he founded his company back in 1962. He has seen and done it all, so for 2018, from Botswana where Prince Harry first went with Geoffrey when he was a boy, to the beautiful scenery of Switzerland, here’s where Mr. Kent recommends to go next!
Why Go: Botswana holds a special place in the hearts of newly-engaged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, as the place they fell in love. In fact, Prince Harry calls it his “second home” and actively works to support rhino conservation.
How to Go: The Okavango Delta offers some of the most exciting game viewing in Africa, including a growing rhino population with support from A&K Philanthropy. Go in search of these rhino on Botswana Safari in Style (10 days from $7,495) or follow in the footsteps of the royal couple and sleep under the stars at Sanctuary Baines Camp on Tailor Made Botswana: Life in the Delta.
GK Travel Tip: “I took Prince Harry on his first safari to Botswana when he was 13, and it is rewarding to see how important it’s become to him. I can think of no better place to share with someone you want to spend the rest of your life with.”
Why Go: For almost 300 years, Cordoba was one of the most important cities in Europe and the Islamic world. Visit the 10th century Mezquita, a cathedral and former great mosque with a breathtaking Moorish-influenced interior unlike anything else in Spain.
How to Go: Discover this city from a local perspective when travelling with an A&K Resident Tour Director® and local guides on Spain: Seven Cities (10 days from $5,695) or for a more in-depth understanding of Moorish culture, Wings Over Spain & Morocco (12 days from $27,995).
GK Travel Tip: “One of Spain’s oldest cities, Cordoba is best experienced on foot. Wander its narrow, flower-lined streets, then step inside the Mezquita to gape at the colorful arches and intricate details found inside.”
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Why Go: Wadi Rum is familiar to filmgoers as the stand-in for Mars in The Martian, Jedha in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and soon to make an appearance in Disney’s live-action Aladdin. But it’s also home to T.E. Lawrence, known as “Lawrence of Arabia.” 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great Arab Revolt he led.
GK Travel Tip: “Active travelers will enjoy the Pedal to Petra experience that allows you to bike from Wadi Rum to Petra, while benefitting a local bike shop enterprise supported by A&K Philanthropy.”
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Why Go: Northern Ireland is drawing new interest from travelers as Belfast has grown into a vibrant cosmopolitan city with a developing culinary scene that remains true to the culture and heritage of the region.
How to Go: Explore Belfast with a local expert who shares insights into the turbulent history of Northern Ireland. Visit the interactive Titanic Museum. Scotland & Ireland: Stories & Legends (12 days from $6,495) includes the newly-renovated Culloden Estate & Spa, originally built as an official palace for the Bishops of Down.
GK Travel Tip: “No trip to Belfast would be complete without a drive out to the Giant’s Causeway along the Antrim Coast Road, one of Europe’s most scenic drives.”
Why Go: Interest in Russia has exploded this year with the decline in the value of the Ruble. It has piqued the interest of American travellers intent on discovering for themselves what it has to offer.
How to Go: New for 2018, A&K has introduced a luxury exploration of St. Petersburg & Moscow, featuring Four Seasons hotels, insight from local guides and insider access throughout on Imperial Russia (9 days from $8,795)
GK Travel Tip: “Visiting St. Petersburg was a highlight for many guests on our recent Private Jet journey, especially private access to the Hermitage and Fabergé museums, so we built a new luxury journey around these experiences.”
South Island, New Zealand
Why Go: New Zealand is blessed with perhaps the world’s largest concentration of stunning natural wonders, offering a pristine environment for outdoor enthusiasts.
GK Travel Tip: “I always consider the South Island the jewel of New Zealand. It’s difficult to overstate its beauty – and how much it has to offer — from world-class wineries and indigenous art, to an abundance of thrilling adventures.”
Why Go: in 2018, Switzerland will celebrate 170 years since its confederation. Known for its turquoise waters and towering mountains, it has a storied history (as well as world-class chocolate).
How to Go: Combine the beautiful Swiss Alps with the glories of the Italian Lake District on Switzerland & the Italian Lakes (11 days from $8,495) or plan an adventure for the entire family on Family Switzerland (8 days from $7,495), featuring James Bond Mountain, chocolate tastings, and jaw-dropping nature on hikes and raft trips.
GK Travel Tip: “Breathtaking views are everywhere you look, but one of the most spectacular experiences is on the way to Zermatt. Dine on the famous Glacier Express as you traverse the majestic scenery.”
Why Go: There are few places on earth where you can have such close-up experiences with wildlife, including the mating dances of blue-footed boobies and the displays of magnificent frigate birds. Each island has its own distinctive character and your naturalist guide will point out how plants and animals adapt to the unique conditions.
GK Travel Tip: “I like to be active when I’m on vacation and enjoy any chance to snorkel with sea lions and turtles. You also have the rare opportunity to see marine iguanas feeding underwater.”
Why Go: Egypt has seen a strong resurgence of international visitors this year. The Grand Egyptian Museum on the Giza Plateau is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2018. It will feature more than 50,000 ancient artifacts, most which have never been seen by the public before.
With its plush velvets, gilded mirrors, sumptuous silks hanging from the walls, and beautiful antique furniture, I felt like I’ve was stepping into La Belle Epoque the moment I arrived to La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa. It was everything I would imagine staying in one of the most exclusive homes in Paris would be like. Having been to Paris many times staying in much larger palace hotels, I knew that I was staying in a hidden gem that you must experience on your next stay in Paris. Discreet in its location just off the Champs Elysees between Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and Avenue Montaigne in the heart of the 8th arrondissement in Paris, Michel Reybier has created a ultra-luxurious private mansion style hotel, discreet in service and every inch glamorous. With its 26 rooms and 14 suites, it’s the epitome of Parisian chic, but as Nicolas, the Les Clefs d’Or head concierge says, “This is a place not for sleeping, but for dreaming.” Each of the rooms and suites has a personal butler ready to cater to your every whim, from unpacking your suitcase to delivering the perfect room service meal from Le Gabriel. Ultra-luxurious bathrooms in Carrara and Turquin blue marble are spacious and bright. I found myself having the most indulgent lunch at the 2-Michelin Star Le Gabriel restaurant featuring classic French cuisine with a Japanese flair. Of note, the restaurant offers expedited service for business lunches (Michelin-starred dining doesn’t have to mean a three hour meal.) After a day of strolling Paris, there was nothing lovelier than relaxing to Executive Chef Jérôme Banctel’s second restaurant, La Pagode de Cos for Afternoon Tea and the most delectable French pastries. On the first Thursday of every month, you can enjoy an exclusive wine tasting evening here as well.While this may be a boutique hotel, there were many beautiful areas to gather in the hotel from the stylish bar to the spectacular library. The Spa is an indoor oasis in the lower level of the hotel. I spent several hours by the 52 foot (16-meter) indoor pool – it was hard to believe such a spectacular pool lie underneath this boutique hotel. I felt like I was hidden away, yet here I was, in the heart of Paris. La Réserve Paris spa offers Nescens-Swiss anti-aging science cosmeceutical products and boasts the latest in tailored therapies from Jet Lag Recovery treatments to anti-aging corrective treatments. Simply blissful.So the next time you are in Paris and would like to experience true Parisian luxury with a boutique style, those in the know stay at La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa.
“This year’s Best of the Best winners are truly renowned properties. They constantly redefine modern luxury by proactively reimagining the guest experience and inspiring others within our own industry to think bigger,” said Albert Herrera, senior VP of Global Product Partnerships for Virtuoso.
The 2017 Virtuoso Best of the Best categories and winners are:
Hotel of the Year: Palazzo Seneca, Norcia, Italy
Giving Back: “The Bianconi family doesn’t just own a lovely hotel. They are beautiful people indeed, who care for others less fortunate, love the land where they were born, and take good care of this land.” – Julia Kostina, Renshaw Travel, a Virtuoso Agency
Best Achievement in Design: Six Senses Douro Valley, Lamego, Portugal
Unwind with Wine: “What sets this resort apart is that it retains the charm and beauty of a large country manor set among rolling hills and vineyards. There’s a prevailing sense of quiet, calm and relaxation as soon as you enter.” – Linda Zelisko, Travel Experts, a Virtuoso Agency
Best Dining Experience: La Terrazza – Hotel Eden Rome, Rome, Italy
Buon Appetito: “Have you ever eaten pasta surrounded by vapored dry ice? It is simply the most innovative dish I have ever seen.” – Jonathan Phillips, Camelback Odyssey Travel, a Virtuoso Agency
Best Bar: Bar Hemingway – Ritz Paris, Paris, France
Time Travel: “Walking into Bar Hemingway is like stepping back in time. Head bartender Colin Field is a book of stories. You can sit back, listen and just imagine.” – Liora Manilof, Forest Travel Agency, a Virtuoso Agency
Best Family Program: The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Naples, Florida, U.S.
Educational Experiences: “They have great options for families to visit local museums, bird sanctuaries, and a special program with a local artisan who leads their glass blowing classes. They really go out of their way to make the experiences as engaging as possible for the kids.” – Nick Cutrone, Vista Travel Consultants, a Virtuoso Agency
Best Wellness Program: Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
Healthy Inspiration: “The combination of four areas – physical, emotional, spiritual, and medical – is very unique in the wellness community. Most spas will cover a couple of the areas. Canyon Ranch can do it all. It has a wider range of options for the consumer than any other spa and the quality is outstanding!” – Peggy Purtell, Travel Experts, a Virtuoso Agency
Best Virtuoso Experience: Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
A Singular Stay: “From the moment you arrive in the Sanctuary Lounge and make a wish by throwing a little stone in the cenote, you know you are in a special place. Everything in the hotel is an experience so that makes it unique.” – Areli Guzman, Viajes Terranova, a Virtuoso Agency
Best Virtuoso Newcomer: Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, New York, New York, U.S.
Dramatic Entry: “The large wrought iron front doors give a luxurious first impression. But the standout feature is the beautiful spiral staircase and long hanging cascading sculpture on the ground level.” – Sylvia Betesh Lebovitch, Ovation Vacations, a Virtuoso Agency
Sustainable Tourism Leadership: Cavallo Point – the Lodge at Golden Gate, Sausalito, California, U.S.
Nature by the Bay: “Sustainable tourism can sometimes lead to unexpected opportunities. It’s a tale of tourism helping transform swords into plowshares.”- Costas Christ, Global Strategist, Sustainability, Virtuoso, of the former military base now transformed into an urban eco-resort
Best Virtuoso Hotel Ambassador: Kees Hogetoorn – Grand Hotel Amsterdam, an Accor Hotel
Host with a Heart: “I knew nothing about his hotel prior to meeting Kees and he truly allowed the property to come to life. His passion and enthusiasm is unmatched.” – Jessica Renshaw, Renshaw Travel, a Virtuoso Agency
Hotelier of the Year: Susanne Hatje – Mandarin Oriental, New York, New York, New York, U.S.
Goes the Extra Mile: “There is a peace of mind when I send clients her way because I know they will be taken care of by her amazing team that lead by her example. She makes every client stay memorable. She has an incredible vibrant and energetic personality, always engaging with guests.” – Miriam Omphroy, Forest Travel Agency, a Virtuoso Agency
If haute couture had a hotel in Paris, it would be the legendary Hôtel Plaza Athénée. Here’s five reasons why elegance and charm reign at this exquisite Dorchester Collection hotel.
Set within the heart of fashion scene on the renowned avenue Montaigne, Hôtel Plaza Athénée is French luxury at its finest. With some of the most jaw-dropping views of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the term “picture window”. Rooms and suites are dripping in Louis XVI-inspired décor, luxurious bespoke linens, Italian marble bathrooms, antique furnishings and sitting areas that will make you feel like you’re part of the French monarchy. The four-bedroom Royal Suite, at 4,843 square feet, makes it the largest suite in Paris. A fun little secret: you’ll find Christian Louboutin inspired red-soled slippers in the closet.
The Plaza Athénée hotel in Paris has five restaurants and bars for every culinary mood, but my personal favorite is the 3-Michelin starred Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée which has been named the 13th World’s Best Restaurant by the “The World’s 50 Best”. It was one of the most exquisite dining experiences of my life not to mention, the dining room designed by Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku is drop-dead gorgeous complete with glitzy deconstructed chandeliers and 3-D printed side tables. Don’t expect to find any meat on this menu. The inspiration is based on the fish-vegetables-cereals trilogy, but you’ll never leave hungry. While the meal itself is like theater on a place, portions are perfectly sized. I’m still thinking about the smoked artichokes eaten with tiny long silver forks.
If you adore Dior like I do, imagine an entire spa dedicated to this fashion brand. Hôtel Plaza Athénée has a long-established relationship with fashion designer Christian Dior. Back in 1947, the designer chose Avenue Montaigne as the site for his boutique so it would be near the hotel and its chic international clientele. He even named his collection after the hotel. The relationship continued with the opening of the Dior Institut, a luxury spa, in 2008 at Hôtel Plaza Athénée – the first of its kind not only in Paris, but in a hotel as well. Guests benefit from personalized consultations and customized treatments. They’ll even test your skin for firmness based on your age and make recommendations. I left feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, and grateful my mom has encouraged me to wear sunscreen since I was a teen. The Spa Director made a sincere recommendation of which exact product was right for me with a designer price tag to match.
With its iconic red window awnings, this recently renovated hotel always seems ready for its close-up, so it’s no surprise that Hôtel Plaza Athénée is one of Hollywood’s favorite backdrops when filming in the City of Light. The hotel has been featured in “The Devil Wears Prada,” starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway as well as “Something’s Gotta Give,” starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. “The Plaza Fait Son Cinema” is a collection of movies that were also filmed at the hotel. A long list of celebrities have considered this hotel their home away from home in Paris Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy, Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp. It may very well be one of the most Instagrammed hotels in Paris, too!
You might think that a hotel this posh might feel a bit stuffy, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The service is unobtrusive and crisply refined, and the staff are welcoming and approachable. No request is too big or too small. For me, luxury is in the details and genuine service is one detail a luxury hotel cannot miss. Hôtel Plaza Athénée definitely hits the mark! Thank you to the entire hotel team for a lovely stay.