Travel

Villa Kennedy

As Obama’s tenure withers to a dismal conclusion, his popularity, both locally and globally, lower than the protruding pot-belly of a portly dachsund, I find my mind wandering to the day of his inauguration. Out of the fire and brimstone of the Bush era had emerged a glimmer of hope, a fragment of sanity in a chaotic globe, beaming with all of the optimism of a cherub, but with the steely determination of a man that had conquered adversity and was ready to show the rest of the world how it’s done. He represented everything that was good in a changing world, and finally gave the United States a leader…

45 Park Lane – W1

It isn’t very often that a hotel launches in central London and makes such a Conrad Black-sized dent in the hotel hierarchy. 45 Park Lane opened its doors to the usual pomp and ceremony in September 2011. It collected its awards, welcomed its establishment and glitterati clients, and promptly sat down with a cocktail whilst its fans rallied around clapping and fawning uncontrollably. It is most definitely the heir apparent to the top of the London hotel scene. I have been a quiet fan of 45 Park Lane for sometime now. I have coveted her art deco lines and enviable location like a lion stalking a Cartier encrusted gazelle dragging…

Summer Lodge

I am continually dumfounded by people’s lack of appreciation for history. It can be forgiven of the ill-educated, but surely not anyone with a basic appreciation for England and her peerage system. Irrespective of your political alignment, we would not be the nation we are today without a fair dose of dukes, earls and barons. Henry Thomas Fox-Strangways was the 2nd Earl of Ilchester, a British peer and Member of Parliament in the 18th century. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, he held office for six years, gained the rank of Captain before his passing in 1802, and was succeeded by no less than nine children. I think we…

Queen of the Cotswolds

As I hopped into the Austin Healy 3000, to drive to the Cotswolds on a sunny Friday afternoon, I didn’t really know what to expect – except for the faint waft of Farrow & Ball paint and more limestone than you can shake a stick at. I followed Smith, our motoring editor, up in his XK140, weaving our way through the rush hour traffic, as if we were holding a special classic car pass. Either that or the five o’clock commuters were too fearful of the insurance bill to fix the classics we were driving that day. As we headed up the M5, on our way to Painswick Court (known…

Chateau de Bagnols

Is there anything more splendid than spending a night in a chateau? Of course, I am accustomed to penthouses, apartments, villas and the like, but nothing has the quite the same feel as a chateau. I first encountered this mainstay of the French countryside whilst visiting the Comte and Comtesse de Vanssay in the Loire valley. How wonderful it was to wake up in such a grand building every day, and to become part of that building’s history. The Chateau de Bagnols was built, or at least started, between 1217 and 1222 by Guichard d’Oingt. He built the main defensive fortress with three round towers linked by curtain walls with…

Heesen Sirocco

If you are a regular reader of The Review, you may have noticed that we are somewhat lacking in the nautical editorial department. Now, this is nothing to do with our interest in all things sea bound – very much the opposite. It’s because we have always strived to genuinely review the best and brightest for you, accepting no substitutes along the way, and no doubt ruffling some feathers. But that’s our job and we work tirelessly at it, so your moisturised debutant hands don’t have to. No doubt your father slaved away at the Fortune 500 company he inherited, so that you could go to Harrow and Oxford, and…

The Baymen

The Baymen is a new luxury jungle retreat being built in the Cayo district of the Belizean rainforest. Ever wished that you could get away from the drudgery of everyday life, whilst relaxing in the wilds and not having to worry about your money? Well, funny you should say that. Pack your machete and Louboutins, folks, were going to the jungle. The development is a combination of all-out luxury, with a romantic, old-age pioneering feel. This is carried throughout, with the individual wooden lodges being named after the glorious explorers of old, such as Shackleton and Livingston. The romance of four-poster beds shrouded in mosquito nets, along with open verandas…

Villa Sandryon

The resort town, or commune, of Antibes is probably best known as one of high society’s original summer retreats. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Picasso, Marlene Dietrich, and Scott Fitzgerald were all enamoured by the Jewel of the Cote d’Azur, located half way between Nice and Cannes. In the 1930s, the Antibes region and, more specifically, Juan-Les-Pins was regarded as a bolthole for the international jet-set, casinos, nightclubs and white beaches stretching out as far as your monocle could see. Some 80 years later, and whilst the former lodgings of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Chateau la Croe, has like many regency buildings, fallen to the Oligarch, Juan-Les-Pans…

Le Richemond

Located across from the Square des Alpes, Le Richemond sits in pride of place on the banks of Lake Geneva. We arrived on a quiet Saturday evening, sat-nav fully deployed in the DB9. If, like me, Geneva is a mere stop-off destination before heading for the alps, it really should be given the respect it deserves. Now, I cannot work out if we arrived slightly off centre in regards to which side of the road we should be on, or if we went down a one-way street. Either way, anyone coming face-to-face with an Aston Martin DB9 tends to give way, especially in Geneva. It turns out we needn’t have…

Margi – Athens

I love Athens . The modern capital of the ancient world, it’s become a little schizophrenic in its old age, as modernity keeps pulling away from its past. It’s a living, breathing museum that is a capital of the country. But if it’s not the heat or the incessant traffic in the main streets fraying nerves, it’s the throngs of tourists around the archaeology sites. So, if the city gets a bit too much, why not do what people have done for thousands of years: head to the sea and the Athens Riviera. From the road outside, they’ve done a pretty good job of making it look just like any…

San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge

For over 25 years, Georgia and Stefano Barbini typified the world of fashion and haute couture design. Both owners of their respective fashion houses, they embarked upon an ambitious project to lovingly restore a sixteenth century farmhouse they found in the now Italian, but former Austrian, region of South Tyrol. The exact name is San Lorenzo di Sebato. When Stefano and Georgia came upon the 42 acres of pristine woods and meadows that was to become San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge, there was little ‘lodge’ to speak of. The property had been formally owned by the local clergy and was used as a battue hunting lodge. Stefano tells us that the…

Nizuc Hotel & Spa

Let’s set the tone for our first day in Cancun. The Nizuc Resort & Spa was originally designed as a Cancun hideaway for Mexico’s president, so there are two elements that are guaranteed: style and privacy. Basically, the Mexican equivalent of Chequers – minus the rain and Buckinghamshire countryside. The resort is located on Punta Nizuc, a short 15-minute drive from the airport, but still a decent distance away from Cancun City, which I affectionately refer to as the battle zone. The hotel sits on 29 acres between a lagoon and has a protective mangrove forest And of course, a beautifully kept private beach. When we arrived somewhat jetlagged on…

Bedford Lodge Spa & Hotel

Riding the jam-packed Jubilee Line on a Monday morning with passengers grimacing at each other in silent solidarity, I decided I needed a break. Not just a break from work, but a break from the city. A mid-morning trawl of the internet brought up the Bedford Lodge Spa and Hotel, an eighteenth-century hunting lodge that had been converted into a hotel in the 1940s. The Hotel is in Newmarket, about an hour and a half from London. Far enough away to feel like you’re out of the city, but not so far that you spend the majority of your weekend in a car. Bedford Lodge is set in 3 acres…

Hotel Rosa Alpina

Having skied most of Europe over the past five years, some places twice, it was time that the team headed to pastures pinker. The Hotel Rosa Alpina resides in San Cassiano in the Dolomites, the epitome of Italian charm. If Peter Sarstedt’s ‘Jet Set’ needs a new bolt hole, San Moritz is out, San Cassiano is in. The small town of San Cassiano is located at the foot of Mount Lavarela. With a population of under 1000 people, it is a welcome change from the hedonistic attitude and footfall of its more meretricious cousins. We shan’t name names. San Casiano is more of a sybaritic escape for the great, the…

The Viceroy Riviera Maya

Having landed in Mexico on our journey back from Belize, the expectation level for our last night was fairly restrained. The Viceroy Riviera Maya was our least-researched resort. I couldn’t tell the team what the accommodation would be like or what to expect in terms of scenery. This is not down to a David Brent-sized lack of professionalism, but more a case of wanting the last night of our trip to have an air of surprise to it. Usually these trips are confirmed, agreed, signed in triplicate, embossed, sent for the royal seal, buried in soft peat for three months, unearthed and filed away somewhere. This trip was no different;…

Decadence in Dubrovnik

Croatia’s fairytale city, Dubrovnik is every bit as enchanting as Paris or Venice. Indeed, the city has slowly become a go-to destination for the au courant, as well as the rich and famous.  Our editor, Laith Al-Kaisy, took a seven-day tour of the city to see how the post-war mindset and investment has helped cultivate some of the most indulgent experiences in Europe Dubrovnik Palace Straight ahead, beyond the French doors and over the balcony, the edge of Dubrovnik gently falls into the Adriatic Ocean. It’s too dark to actually see, but it’s there. You can hear the water playfully slap the brusque, arid rocks that peg the land’s end….

Alentejo

Alentejo is a region that remains unspoiled by other tourists: sparsely populated and baking hot, it is a place that invites you to savour relaxing in spa hotels and on boats, eating Alentejo’s distinct bread dipped in locally produced olive oil from traditional pottery dishes, and drinking the plentiful variety of developing wines. Relax, eat, drink; the building blocks of a perfect break. Any landscape that achieves nearly three thousand hours of sunlight every year is an impressive alternative to the steel grey sky of the United Kingdom. And the rolling hills of Alentejo are spread liberally with vines, olive trees and cork oak woodland. The rivers, lakes and beaches…

Spa Illuminata, London, W1K

It’s usually around the end of February, after several months of cold, rain and wind that my skin just gives up. No matter how many creams and potions I apply, nothing can alleviate the dry dullness that’s become synonymous with these winter months. I needed an intervention. Spa Illuminata, located just off Park Lane, is a tall Victorian building that looks like a high-end corner shop. If it wasn’t for the large gold lettering, I would have walked straight past. Once inside, it was obviously nothing of the sort. The decor gives the illusion of high ceilings being held up by Roman-esque pillars; the floor and fixtures are all marble…

Art of Flight

On my first ski trip, what seems like millennia ago, my friends insisted that we watch Art of Flight. It was a right of passage they said. Sure there were plenty of other cult boarding films out there. But art of flight was really pushing the boundaries. You try carrying five 4K cameras weighing in at 60 pounds a piece into back country. The staff at The Review are always interested in alternative investment opportunities and film is one that is sure to be with us for a long time to come. Cinematography is an art form, one of the last few vestiges that has a trade craft. Taking that…

Ninh Van Bay

Having already visited a Six Senses resort, Zighy Bay in Oman, I thought I had an idea of what to expect from Ninh Van Bay in Vietnam. Boy, was I wrong. Located on the exquisite Vietnamese coast, Ninh Van Bay is a stunning beach property overlooking the South China Sea, tucked above the ashen-sanded beach. Not many resorts can boast this kind of paradisiacal luxury. Ninh Bay is made up of numerous private pool villas and, in keeping with the Six Senses aesthetic, is built to complement the natural environment around it, designed either on the beach, over the water, or into the impressive rock formations. We stayed in one…