Travel

Jumeirah

When you park your marque in the Jumeirah Carlton Tower’s underground bunker, you pass Phantom nestled next to Ferrari, tucked in beside Aston. It might as well be a private car club. In hindsight, we probably should have let the concierge park our pool car though. However, at the time, a white Ferrari FF was arriving with the usual pomp and ceremony from a well-honed door staff. This is Kensington at its most seductive. The gold gilt and mahogany lobby is refined and unassuming, the staff polite and courteous, with personality too. This makes a change from the usual robotic gofers you find at many London hotels. Having checked in,…

‘Nam Flashback

Watching the sunset over the summit of the Victory Monument in Dien Bien Phu, where hoards of Vietnamese people perform their daily exercises, I can reflect upon a country about which I understood so little before I began my journey through it. A country steeped in culture and tradition, but mired by conflict and tragedy. Vietnam is a country where one can go from fine, sandy beaches to mountainous ranges and grass-tipped archipelagos. From the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, where motorbikes adorn even the pavements, to the serenity of Hoi An, where one can take an evening stroll across a lantern-lit riverside and eat fresh seafood…

The Lancaster Hotel

Do you remember 1966? Can you tell me one thing that happened that year that doesn’t involve words, football or Germany? Labour won the election, that’s about all I can remember and I wasn’t even born. I’m pretty sure my mother was still an infant. That’s less a comment about how young I am, you understand, and more about how young my dear mother was when she brought me into this world. Words by Peter J Robinson It is also the year that TP Bennett Architects completed an eighteen-story office block opposite Hyde Park. There is nothing that makes English Heritage want to attach a blue plaque more than precast…

A Mouthful of Madrid

I’d been to the Spanish capital before. It was the summer I graduated, I was twenty-one and me and my group of gal pals tagged it on the end of a honey rum-swigging, cheap, paella-munching trip to music festival Benicassim. Madrid was essentially the last stop on a ten-day blow out before we all went back to our parents’ houses with decent degrees but without jobs. Naturally, the city didn’t hold the most brilliant of memories for me. Amy McNichol tells you where to spend your euros in the Spanish capital Six years on and with meaningful employment, I was back. My word, how differently I felt this time around. Myself and…

Italian Downtime

There has to be a bucket list written by the gods somewhere, listing the world’s ultimate holiday destinations. If such an ethereal summation of Earth’s most breathtaking places does exist, then surely Italy’s midriff would feature highly. Tuscany, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, gave way to Chianti, Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and many more. Sensing that my status as a functioning alcoholic might come into question, I suggest we move on. Tuscany would indeed be our first destination in central Italy. VILLA IRIS Having little experience with luxury villa holidays, I tend to stay ski-centric, so enlisted the help of the Abercrombie & Kent team. You’d be hard pressed…

Premier Alpine Centre

I would imagine that, having skied for a number of years now, I wouldn’t need any tuition. But I’d be very wrong. When we arrived in Nendaz, we had already called and arranged tutelage from Patrick at the Premier Alpine Centre. Patrick is a professional ski and télémark instructor with 15 years of experience. Undoubtedly highly qualified, it’s only when you see Patrick ski that his expertise becomes apparent. Having grown up living and breathing the Alpine mountains, Patrick certainly knew his way around. We met on the first day in Chamonix, a decent two-hour drive from Nendaz. With snow melting fast, it felt like I was continually throwing a…

Chez Cliché

I have stayed at many hotels and I can count on both hands the amount of times I have needed to call on the small army that are responsible for running the various establishments. Do I order room service? No, the smart traveller heads out to eat anything but the anaesthetised hotel food. Of course, the humble steak sandwich and the standard caesar salad are hard to bugger up. When you spend in excess of £350 on a hotel room for a night, you’re likely to only use the bedroom. Unless, of course, you’re on business, in which case, you’re likely to sit staring at a laptop. If, however, you’re looking…

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens

When our editor in-chief wrote “Reviewing top end hotels is a pox of the profession” earlier this year, he was right. My perception of what an exceptional hotel is has changed dramatically over the past five years. I used to be pleased when the check-in desk ork knew my name. Now I expect a fanfare on entrance and an en-suite with sinks overflowing with Chanel, whilst a suitably tailored gentleman complements me emphatically about my Aspinal luggage. Life has changed in many ways. Life in Knightsbridge, however, hasn’t changed much since serfdom. In a quiet corner of South Kensington you will find No. 11 Cadogan Gardens, built in the 19th…

Bangkok: A Culinary Mecca

From street stalls to hipster bars, from single plate meals to exquisite sharing menus, Bangkok will thrill your palate. Former Bangkok dweller Amy McNichol finds out where to dine. Mmm, Thai food! Delicious, right? What could be better than dunking a fistful full of prawn crackers into a polystyrene tub of acidic orange gloop and shovelling them into your trap while they fizz? For mains, it’s a vat of watery, green curry and a brick of tooth-decayingly sweet coconut rice that has been packed in to, and moulded by, its plastic takeaway box. As it flops out onto the plate and smashes like a poorly made sand castle, remember, Thai…

Mountain Exposure – Zermatt

I don’t know where to start. It creeps up on me. I could be placating my way through a board meeting, or having drinks with friends, and then I just lose all interest. The situation, whatever it is, completely ceases to amaze me. Life just loses its colour. I try to reassure myself, whilst hopelessly attempting to coax the addiction monkey off my shoulder and back into its bloody cage. I just can’t get enough powder. Before we go any further, and I get a call from my mother (probably to enquire into the quality, rather than express concern) I want to make it clear that I’m talking about snow….

Gansevoort New York

The Gansevoort Hotel’s new Park Avenue location is, in simplest terms, stunning. A sublime combination of the Hotel Group’s standard five-star service combined with a chic boutique interior. Just when you have mastered the layout, there’s another sultry speakeasy-style bar lurking in the shadows. We take a tour with Hotel Manager Suzi DeAngelis. The luxury hotels of Manhattan have long been a staple of the skyline. With the Plaza, Oriental and Four Seasons deeply imbedded in the luxury traveller’s zeitgeist, one might assume the big players have little to contend with. But they would be very, very wrong. Many hotels spring up in Manhattan offering, boutique chic and pop-up experiences,…

A Night of Unreality

Laith Al-Kaisy on the search for salvation. Reviewing high-end hotels is a curse, a pox of the profession. I don’t know how I will ever stay in a crap hotel again. In fact, if it comes to it, you’ll probably find me hanging from one of the fixtures or overdosed in the bathtub with a note reading ‘They only had prosecco’. I recently stayed at a four-star in Bristol, which really has no business marketing itself as such. The easy assumption to make is that promises were made, money was passed, and trousers were dropped—a bit like the average customer’s stay. It was awful. A couple of weeks later, I…

The Goring

When you say ‘family run hotel’ in anything other than an RP or cut glass accent, one conjures up images of a portly house-wife serving highly questionable shepherds pie from a guest house in Dursley. Perish the thought my well-healed well to do’s. Deep in the heart of royal London is the last family built and run hotel in the city. In 1910 otto Richard Goring opened the ho- tel that was to become the darling of The Queen Mother. now under the tutelage of Jeremy Goring, the hotel has earned itself the commercial license to print money that is, a Royal Warrant. ‘God Bless You Ma-am’. It’s locality to…

Chamonix

Victor, the world’s first marketplace for empty leg private jet travel, is partnering with Shangri-La Paris to offer the ultimate luxury experience this Christmas season. Travel by private jet from London to Le Bourget – straight into the heart of Paris avoiding airport queues and hassle. Based on a two-night minimum stay, the Ultimate Noël en Famille Christmas package is designed to make the most of a holiday spent in Paris.

The Flying Palace

When Iqbal Wahhab OBE stepped down as director of the Cinnamon Club, the London restaurant brigade knew it was a move to pastures greener.

Andermatt – Summer in the mountains

It’s bittersweet, really. On the one hand, the weather is always going to be much more agreeable than here in Blighty. Their green and luscious meadows are filled with Swiss chocolate and beer, and you can slip in and out of your banker’s office in Geneva en route. On the other hand, there is no snow. Well, not none – there is some at the top, up by the pointy bit of the mountain, but you can’t really ski on it. Not just because it is wildly dangerous, but also because it is frowned upon by the authority-obliging Swiss. No matter how hard I try, I stare up at the…