Mary Gostelow is known worldwide for her unique insight into worthwhile luxury overnights, at city-centre superlatives through to safari ultra-tents, and here, exclusively for Enness Global, she shares personal thoughts, [email protected].
Is silver a sign of style? The 8th Earl Cadogan – Eton and the British army – wore a silver toothpick in the breast pocket of his Savile Row suit and, as preamble to after-dinner at a pal’s Chelsea apartment, while the ladies ‘retired’ out came the Cadogan silver. Switch to another style leader, Sir Winston Churchill, who famously said his tastes were simple, and the best. He was a Pol Roger fan, and the Epernay-based company currently suggests Pol Roger Winston Churchill 2012 together with a limited edition Champagne tankard, in 18th century style, by another Royal Warrant holder, glass blower John Jenkins.
Pair silver, and Champagne tankard. I have a silver tankard, marked CT1961 for the year of the opening of London’s 18-floor Carlton Tower Hotel, when a launch party saw a thousand discerning guests demolish 423 bottles of Champagne plus, it is recorded, 144 bottles of gin. Today, the knowledgeable await the hotel’s re-birth, this coming Monday, 26th July, as Carlton Tower, a Jumeirah hotel – MD is suave Aaron Kaupp. It has 186 keys, and the premium 167sq m Royal Suite can be extended to three bedrooms or the entire tenth floor. Whatever, ask for a south-facing room to look down at Cadogan Gardens, which gives free entry to hotel guests for picnics, walks, tennis or jogging – you also have a hotel-guest pass to the rooftop Peak Club, essential hangout for Chelsea fashionistas.
The hotel’s eatertainment opened 21st July. That day, Marco Calenzo’s best-sellers at Al Mare included tuna with black truffles, and, at breakfast Thursday, hotel-branded CTJ French toast (no take-aways or home deliveries, you need to call in and eat onsite). And Champagne? Well, you have Pol Roger, and 29 alternative brands. And then perhaps head out, turn right, five minutes to Sloane Street. Take a Santander-branded pick-up bike or walk. Frankly, in under ten minutes up and down Sloane Street, from Sloane Square, to the south up to Harvey Nichols to the north, you have 68 stores, alphabetically from Alberta Ferretti through to Yves Delorme, via such other luxury brands as Salvatore Ferragamo and Tiffany. Harrods, also, is only a proverbial hop, skip and a jump away – why not ask about toothpicks from their Sheffield-based bespoke silver partner, Ron Carr?
Four Seasons Hampshire easily handled 27 helicopter movements in one day during Goodwood’s Festival of Speed earlier this July - but, says GM Andrew Harrison, the 580-acre property can cope with anything, as it has done since the late 11th century days of the Domesday Book. He is, admittedly, more used, however to single-aircraft helicopter movements, say bringing spa customers or new overnight arrivals saving time through a mere ten-minute hop from Farnborough Airport’s Norman Foster-designed private jet terminal.
My favourite Four Seasons Hampshire overnight would be in #4007, the Royal Suite - Martin Brudnizki design, 2,420 sq ft, two-bedrooms. Reserve as far ahead as you can as all 133 rooms and suites seem, currently, to be full of happy families, staycationers and WFW, Work-From-Wherevers. You can even chair a multi-million global excom meeting, perhaps, while gently cruising in the 70-foot Four Seasons boat on the Basingstoke Canal, half a mile across the fields from the main Georgian house, a brick and stone affair.
Away from WFW, fish for trout in the Tundry Ponds, dug in 1810 and confusingly named after the Russian word for treeless (in the last decade, over 7,000 trees have been planted here). Perfect equestrian and archery skills, play croquet and tennis. Cycle, run or walk. Utilize, indoors, two Olympic-sized pools, one themed for kids’ entertainment. Lift-and-reform, at least facially, with a Spa one-hour Inhibit treatment. Meditate on Wild Carrot’s terrace, and dine local, say beer-battered fish and chips with crushed peas, followed by Eton mess, its meringue drowning in Hampshire strawberries and oodles of whipped cream.
Toast life in Exton Park Blanc de Blancs 2011, from Southampton, or bespoke-label Hazy Hog Cider, from Hogs Back Breweries in Surrey. Look around, 360 degrees, taking in the house and what looks like, thanks to many acres of re-wilding, a game park.
If you chopper away, incidentally, look down over that re-wilding, a ‘safari land’ currently hosting lifesize animal bronzes loaned from Farnborough Sculpture Park and ongoing home also, in reality, to newly-returned nesting skylarks, barn owls and Purple Emperors.
How about a ‘soup’ that is not for drinking? At Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Singapore, savvy spa-addicts may opt for La Mer Miracle Broth facial, a 90-minute treatment to empower skin renewal. While this is going on a live cellist plays.
Ritz-Carlton Millenia is a one-off. It’s a 32-floor sculpture, soaring up past a giant hemispherical hole at third floor to let evil fly through and away. Inside, look left or right to Dale Chihuly glass sculptures on lobby walls. There are in all 4,200 pieces of modern art here: think David Hockney and Frank Stella.
The 32nd floor Ritz-Carlton Club lounge has supplies to do your own art, perhaps while sipping Roederer Rosé, or trying the eight-bottle oenothèque. Downstairs, there’s Japanese Wagyu at Michelin-starred Summer Pavilion – or retro-1960s sensations at Republic, or, at Colony, Asian cuisine from seven kitchens.
This is a 608-room hotel and I recommend any Club room, ideally front-facing – my favourites are end suites numbers -16 and -26. There is also the two-bedroom, 218 sq m Ritz-Carlton Suite, with dining, or meeting, seats for a dozen. Think big, here, at Ritz-Carlton Millenia. The GM Peter Mainguy sets that tone. He has at least a dozen motorbikes, vintage fire trucks and other one-off vehicles for his rare times off.
Does yoga invigorate or inspire dozing? Six Senses Spa at The Alpina Gstaad offers Yoga Nidra Sleep programmes. Take a short session or sign on for three days, which includes two hours of biorhythm treatment. At any time, anyone can benefit from invigorating Nepalese crystals lining the spa’s salt room, or swim, indoors in a 25-metre infinity pool or outside, in a 14.5-metre pool heated year-round thanks to output energy of wood-chip heating from a Saanen community plant.
This is a notably thoughtful chalet-like hotel, with 80% of its pine and oak walls reclaimed. There is additionally Alpine fir, say lining the walls of Megu, which Gault Millau says is Switzerland’s top Asian restaurant – designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance has also incorporated antique kimonos, and slatted wood partitions inspired by Kyoto temples. To accompany a Grand Master-level sake list, try Tetsujiro Ogata’s tuna tataki with truffle soy sauce, or go for the seven-course Omakase menu. Or, alternatively, eat elsewhere in this hotel for all-senses: haute cuisine in Sommet, Swiss-comfort in Stübli or, say, a to-go picnic with Saanenland cold cuts and cheese and Alpina’s own-baked bread. Do not overlook the 1,700-bottle wine cellar, or the cigar hangout.
The 56-room hotel is absolutely right for today’s luxury-lifestyle, offering quality, plus privacy and space – in fact it was opened in 2012 by Swiss entrepreneurs Michel Bach and Jean-Claude Mimran. Drive there, perhaps, to evoke a smile, in a BMW 2022 Alpina B8, and you head directly down, to a subterranean, unseen, arrival. Get most space in, say, the 400 sq m #501 Panorama Suite duplex: you have a private spa, and the third bedroom is up 18 steps, truly in the roof’s peak.
There is luxury for kids, at the so-alpine Tree House Club. There is luxury for all, in nature. The gardens are Jean Mus design. Eschew the main Technogym to e-Bike the nearby alps. Luxury in arts and culture. Book the private screening room for that favourite movie. Gosh, all this is so exhausting…
I would have to tell GM Tim Weilland that I do not need sleep yoga after all!
Normandy-born Catherine Pégard, political journalist and author of Versailles: From Louis XIV to Jeff Koons, Assouline, is highly-active head of the Château’s events committee and general fund-raising. She hosted a Pommery-bubbled Les Lalanne opening reception, on Saturday 3rd July 2021, on the terrace of Trianon Palace Versailles, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, partner hotel for such special Château happenings.
Art lovers walked ten minutes through the grounds to this gorgeous hotel, which Financière Immobilière Bordelaise’s Michel Ohayon bought as part of a collection of unique icon hotels that also includes Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. Trianon Palace, built 1910 by René Sergent, designer as well of Hotel Plaza Athénée in central Paris, under half an hour away, was planning venue for the Treaty of Versailles, which Georges Clemenceau subsequently signed in 1019 in the main Château.
I have made several visits to Trianon Palace and I definitely recommend booking for the main, 100-room, block rather than the separate 90-key block. My favourite space is #602, one of the rooftop’s turret rooms. I love 360-degree views from the room’s private terrace, big enough for dining for four: the vista pans round from the Chateau’s formal gardens to pastures with lots of – real – sheep. Down on the ground floor, Gordon Ramsay’s mullti-course set menus in his Michelin two-star eponymous restaurant are a big draw with locals, by the way, so do book ahead. A final memory? Eschewing the elevator for 187 steps up from ground level to #602, to supplement workouts in the gym.
No need for Lupin lovers to try to book Park Hyatt Paris-Vêndome’s suite 813 – it does not exist. With the style that is associated throughout with French heart-throb Omar Sy, playing Maurice Leblanc’s fictional gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, one of the current streamed episodes, written by George Kay and François Uzan, is largely based at the 156-key hotel.
The discreet entrance of this seven-floor triangular building, at 5 rue de la Paix, leading north from Place de Vendôme, belies its stunning interiors. Once home of couturier Jeanne Paquin, it is still a living gallery of fashion in the form of art and events. American designer Ed Tuttle – who did ‘monumental’ for the inside of Park Hyatt Milano – has here gone for shades of coffee-cream. Add the literally hundreds of Parisienne Roseline Granet’s tiny flying-angel gold sculptures that form, say, closet handles in bedrooms, plus wall art chosen by the cultural attaché to the US embassy and you understand how global this hotel is. The so-Italian GM, Claudio Ceccherelli. for instance, seasonally turns the 1891-vintage building’s central courtyard into, perhaps, an alpine hut, complete with gluwein and raclette.
I like courtyard-facing rooms, say #221, which I shared with eight of those little angels – choose the second floor duplex Impériale Suite if you want most space (230 sq metre). Lupin’s son, by the way, was held by kidnappers up on the ‘eighth floor’ while daddy, disguised as a kitchen steward, evaded the police back of house among storage trolleys. Were he to return, I am sure Lupin would do as I am wont, breakfast and lunch under the windowed ceiling of Sens. Dining could be abalones from Plouguerneau at Michelin-starred Pur’ - Jean-François Rouquette, or perhaps English-style fish and chips in front of a log fire. And before checking out, I would buy some 5 rue de la Paix perfume, which New York-based sense specialist Christophe Laudamiel, President of the Academy of Perfumery and Aromatics, blended to show just how many stories Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme has to share.
Learn to cook and preserve seaweed and rock samphire and more after a foraging day at Dromoland Castle, Co. Clare. Typically Irish story-teller, forager guide Oonagh O’Dwyer, starts a typical class with a land-based walk exploring such edibles as elderflower, generally associated with cordial but it also makes a divine sabayon, say with strawberries. There is also St John’s Wort, used in skincare by The Organic Pharmacy (it also promotes positivity). If the weather allows, there is then a picnic in a wildflower meadow, after which you head for beaches, five minutes away, to harvest anew. As well as samphire, increasingly popular, often imported from Israel, on upmarket fish counters worldwide, you find flat-fern seaweeds. Look for pepper dulse, ‘truffle of the sea’, a gastronomic gem that tastes simultaneously aromatic, garlicky and lobster-like, with powerful unami. All foraged trophies are then cooked, and tasted, back at Dromoland.
Dromoland Castle, which is 16 minutes’ drive from Shannon airport, has a helicopter pad. The building, which goes back to 1543, sits in 410-acres of rolling parkland in a total estate over five times that. There are 98 rooms. Some, perhaps tempted by its circular jacuzzi, opt for the two-floor Thomond Suite, in a tower that offers a Lough Dromoland view.
I follow President George W Bush, a visitor in 2005, in liking that same view, from suite #309, named for an 11th century king of Ireland, Brian Boroimhe – it comes with one large freestanding tub, a two-person shower, and a magnificent four-post bed. Stir yourself up, for activity, say studying Dromoland history through portraits hung, it seems, on every available wall. Be a bit more physical, in the pool or fitness centre, or on the Ron Kirby and JB Carr 18-hole, par 72, 6,845 yard golf course. Add clay pigeon shooting, archery, fishing, riding, and driving a pony and trap.
The ever-creative Mark Nolan, MD and part-owner of Dromoland Castle, is industry-leading in offering traditional local experiences. He introduced me to a young cheese maker, Swiss-trained to produce superb cows-milk rounds from her father’s dairy herd. I also learned, from a really old bagpipe maker-player, what produces the most pure sounds.
Harking back to the so-called Olden Days can be just the ticket for today and tomorrow says Joseph Chong, GM of The Peninsula Hong Kong.
He enthuses about his lobby’s tableside cooking, which includes Crêpes Suzette, a glitterati favourite since 1898. The idea of flambéeing thin crêpes bound with a sauce of butter, sweet citrus juice and zest, plus Curaçao or Grand Marnier is unsubstantiated but some credit Paris actress Suzanne Reichenberg, at Comédie Française in 1897. Her role required eating a crêpe on stage – flambéed to attract attention.
Be that as it may, tradition, plus taste, is what is relevant here. The Peninsula Hong Kong has set the local benchmark since it opened, with 210 rooms, in 1928. It dominated Kowloon, on the mainland side of Victoria Harbour. In those days you simply looked over a boat-studded busy waterway and across to Hong Kong Island’s Central district, reached by Star Ferry. Today, for best views you need higher-floor rooms in the 28-floor tower added to the main hotel in 1994.
My favourite suites are in the -07 and -15 series, all 85 sq m: typically, #2407, the Peacock Suite, looks out over the now-built up Kowloon waterfront with the egg-shaped Hong Kong Space Museum and across to the architects’ dream that is skyscrapers of Central. Ideally, I would start an evening with The Peninsula Champagne, watching, from my room, the 8pm nightly laser show that momentarily turns Central into a multi-coloured light show. Next, having thoroughly enjoyed Albin Gobil’s Duck Wellington at Michelin-starred Gaddi’s (1953 vintage) I would opt for a casual supper in the hotel’s original lobby.
With two metre-high waving palms around the base of opulent columns rising two floors to an equally-gilded ceiling, and live-music from a mezzanine balcony, the lobby oozes Roaring Twenties. Whereas there are always lines for its world-famous Afternoon Tea, evenings are calm luxury. Start with a Cobb Salad, with chicken, bacon and, admittedly a 2021 addition, avocado, and you are ready for those crêpes.
Sleep lessons must surely have even more effect when you are snoozing in the ultimate Italian palace. What is even more enticing is that at Forte Village’s Palazzo Fiuggi is 35 minutes’ from Rome’s private jet airport, Ciampino, and ten minutes from Frosinone railway station.
Palazzo sleep lessons are overseen by Harvard Medical School’s Dr Paolo Cassano: just reading about infrared transcranial photobiomodulation and measuring biorhythms to read brain and a multitude of other systems seems soporific. Over at least three nights - the minimum stay at Palazzo Fiuggi – even those who have never experienced a second of insomnia will undoubtedly sleep better.
Fiuggi is the historical home of the Forte family, and it was Charles, later Lord, Forte, who built the Palazzo, in 1913: a year later, King Vittorio Emanuele III commandeered it as his summer residence. Today the 102-room Palazzo, fortunately open year-round, is majority-owned by Alliance Group’s President Musa Bazhaev, also the controlling shareholder of Forte Village Resort outside Cagliari – Lorenzo Giannuzzi, CEO of both properties, also has equity. Hotel GM is Ciro Verrocchi and Sardinia’s Sandro Sergi is designer. The 135sq m Royal Suite has Murano chandeliers and a 145sq m terrace, but, also on the first floor, there’s a 160sq m terrace with the 110sq m Presidential Suite.
All food is overseen by Heinz Beck, the first to gain three Michelin stars for a hotel restaurant in Italy - La Pergola, literally atop Rome Cavalieri Waldorf. Here, in Fiuggi, his proven 1,240-calorie weight-loss diet might start with a breakfast of juice, egg-white omelette with wholemeal toast and strawberry marmalade, and finish with a three-course dinner including hay-cooked chicken with mushrooms and parsnip. No, no alcohol or caffeine. Yes to Benedictine-inspired herbal teas.
No time for boredom. There’s a medical lab associated with Rome’s University Of Tomorrow, Tor Vergata. The spa has Dr Barbara Sturm prod, indoor fitness goes for that Italian leader, Technogym. Swim, inside or out in a variety of thalasso and other pools. Cycle and hike or hike the Palazzo’s eight-hectare estate. Take another nap.
How about Riedel flutes from a 300cl (double magnum) Krug Grande Cuvée 168ème Edition, 600 metres ASL in a private Krug lounge at The Dolder Grand Resort, looking down over Swiss meadows to Zürichsee? Add a Royal Release Robusto, 2012 edition, from the Davidoff cigar menu: for service, there’s a push-button ‘Champagne’ bell.
Dolder started 1899 as a kurhaus. Outside, think sports, year round. Inside, it’s wellness, plus 350 original artworks, Dali, Miro and Warhol plus a brown corrugated card, ‘Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan stole all my stuff’.
Norman Foster added identical curlique wings, and of the 173 bedrooms, Karajan’s favourite was the 400sq m Maestro Suite, topping the central tower. I love the 230sq m two-bedroom Carezza Suite., wrap-round all-wall windows, private sauna, handy for the spa.
Heading down there, pass multi-colour mobiles by Switzerland’s ‘Alexander Calder’, Jean Tinguely, and ‘his equally idiosyncratic French wife, Niki de Saint Phalle. The spa is total calm. Buy a themed day, or à la carte, 30-minutes’ Dr Burgener algae drainage or Swiss salt crystal scrub. Detoxed, plunge into the 25-metre curvilinear indoor pool, which appears, correctly, to extend to the outside. Even in the Pantone 11-0602 Snow White of winter, daytime sun gives facial glows.
Hotel GM Markus Grenelli considers food one of life’s greatest art forms. Two-star Michelin from Hanseatic wunderkid Heiko Nieder is, currently, complemented by new-look Japanese from Osaka-born Yoshizumi Nagaya, from Dusseldorf’s Nagaya, also Michelin starred. Choose lightly-roasted wagyu sashimi with yuzu, and sautéed Canadian black cod with saikyo-miso. Try a Sakura cherry blossom cocktail, with Hanami Dry Gin - or go for Krug Clos du Mesnil, Push that bell for a refill.
Rosewood Sand Hill resort, outside Menlo Park CA, is activity heaven. It may not have the most expensive car ever built in the USA – the 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS600, coming in at $161,550 – but, thanks to creative the networker, Philip Meyer, MD of this 131-room resort, you can take a free trial drive of various others in current Mercedes range.
And cyclists are not forgotten. Try the wind tunnel at Specialized global headquarters, only 30 minutes away (Meyer, whose own favourite steed is a shiny-white Colnago, will also lead local rides, perhaps around nearby Stanford University, the hotel’s owner). For more-sedate calorie burn, join 9 a.m. yoga classes, outside every Saturday and Sunday, and, inside and air-conditioned, the Technogym is 24/7.
I like balancing all this with spa pampering, perhaps a French-Japanese EviDenS de Beauté facial, really popular with local fashionistas. Actually, the entire 26-acre resort feels like a PMC, private members’ club: Rosewood Sand Hill Lifestyle Club is, indeed, the hub of Silicon Valley’s Who’s Who.
Time to think of the sleep experience. Private Villas go up to 3,000sq m but I loved #1307, a 800 sq m Rosewood Executive Suite, upstairs in a two-floor west-facing block. Just before sunset, I headed down 26 steps straight to the lovely, 25m-long pool. Summer-long, poolside food is Hawaiian, overseen by San Francisco’s LihoLiho Yacht Club’s celebrity chef, Ravi Kapur. Pair tuna poke, furikake rice, avocado, and spicy aioli with a perfectly chilled Chardonnay, say a 2017 Flowers Moon Select Sonoma Coast (Meyer thinks of everything and there’s a pop-up Flowers Winery wine-tasting station, a few metres away in well-tended floribunda nook).
Yoga, or an origami lesson looking over a sky-high glass platform named for Diana Princess of Wales’ visit in 1986?
Endless memories of Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, in Oman’s Al Hajar mountains, 2,000 metres ASL. After a zigzag tree-free climb, arrive at this five-year old, timeless-look fort, for macho+pampering. Mountain biking and rotating climbing walls allow displays of prowess. A pomegranate scrub in the spa, and 12 niche varieties in dinner’s salt menu, nourish the inner self. The prestige of the 115 rooms is the 700 sq m, three-bedroom Royal Mountain Suite but I really warmed to the more-modest 188 sq m room 4, which came with an empty sketch book and coloured pencils, plus a significant private pool.
Think romance, including proposals, and culture, say curated local soukh market visits. Kids, four years up, lap up such activities as camel rides.
GM Rami Farhat, https://www.anantara.com/en/jabal-akhdar/
The Cartier Queen’s Cup, running through 27th June 2021 at Windsor Great Park, is the most important challenge organised by Guards Polo Club. Cup sponsors include Cartier, Champagne Laurent-Perrier and Mosimann’s Club.
Based at Windsor Great Park, Guards Polo Club manages polo operations at all 14 polo fields in the immediate vicinity. Two of these polo fields are on the 97-hectare (240-acre) adjacent estate that is the Dorchester Collection’s idyllic English-countryside resort, Coworth Park. At the main house and surrounding cottages, all total-71 rooms come with copper bathtubs and heated bathroom floors, open fireplaces, and some have terraces and private gardens. Cool.
I loved 67sq m Junior Suite #31, up 53 oak stairs in the main house, which dates back to 1776. Curtain-free four-poster with wrought-iron bird headboard. Fun. Mitchell and Peach farm-produced toiletries. Seven minutes’ walk to the serious spa, living roof, 18 -metre pool, Scottish-seaweed ishga products, or Carol Joy cucumber. Aromatherapy Associates Mindful Moments.
For sharing with family and friends, all ages, the 206 sq m North Lodge is perfect. Gated, playful garden, three bedrooms, butler, and chef to star in the Miele kitchen arena. Wherever - main house gourmet dining or, say, a sticky short-rib burger out on The Barn terrace, Netherend Farm butter, Coworth Park preserves - you know ‘the boss’, the favourite-girl-next-door GM Zoe Jenkins, is contemporary foodie. Happiness, too, from inside walls hung with equestrian art, and, outside, grounds dotted with bronze sculptures. And country pursuits, including biking and hiking, and polo.
In Morocco, Royal Mansour Marrakech will, by the end of 2021, have six extraordinary private dining tables. Hotel MD Jean-Claude Messant, passionate about dining and ambience from small-boy days in Normandy, today cannot stop enthusing about one-off tables-for-eight, all to be booked ahead in the kitchen garden, or in the wine cellar or in The Nest, raised treetop-high.
Owned by King Mohammed VI, it was he who led a three-acre extension to the already peaceful gardens. Now, thanks to planning, the addition of five feet of topsoil and quick-growing trees, private dining is complemented by public-welcome access. A herb and vegetable garden supplies all Royal Mansour’s restaurants, mostly overseen by Yannick Alléno. A glass-walled Atelier d’Artiste offers curated classes for you-do-it, art through to photography and pottery, with occasional artists in residence. Atelier is also part of all-round wellness retreats launching this September: Messant has, by the way, added Dr. Burgener Switzerland, Intraceuticals and Subtle Energies to his spa’s brands.
All 53 Royal Mansour suites are in three-floor riad buildings, looking more mediaeval than 2010-vintage. Forsake sky-high Louboutins for Yeezy Boost 700 sneakers. Typically, at suite #43, total inside 1,750 sq ft, it’s 33 steps from stained-glass window living room up to bedroom (Balenciaga alarm clock). Add 26 steps to emerge in the bright Morocco sun to your private rooftop. Privacy and calm in a seemingly-vertical space. At ground-level, wend between other riad buildings en route to spa or Technogym, pool, Atelier or rest of the gardens. Pair those sneakers with 100% Capri-style flowing white, topped by a raffia Helen Kaminski Provence 10. Order yet another Riedel flute of Moët before the sun calls it a day.