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Paris’ luxury Gold Rush chalet was another Park Hyatt success

Anne Bouvier has, for the past five years,  been designing summer, and winter, chalets for the inner courtyard of Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme.  Her latest triumph, which closed 15th February 2020, was a winter chalet themed for the Gold Rush.

The chalet, set a metre above the ground, was deliberately furnished with mix-match.  Happy guests devoured raclette Montagnarde (with Saint Nicklaus cheese), Champagne, cider, hot chocolate and frozen tarts.

Now what will be the theme this coming Summer?

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Food & Wine Hot News hot news Lifestyle Luxury Hotels Travel

What is ‘luxury perfected’? RSSC’s Jason Montague explains

Regent Seven Seas Cruises CEO, Jason Montague, sailing from Rome to Barcelona, described points of difference on the company’s just-launched Seven Seas Splendor.

“We wanted to ensure we continued to raise the bar and that’s why we tagged her as luxury perfected,” Montague said.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) has invested heavily in Seven Seas Splendor and that of sister ship Seven Seas Explorer, to the tune of almost $1 billion. That figure is on top of RSSC’s $150+ million upgrade of its three original ships – Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Voyager. The investment was made to ensure the company has “the most luxurious fleet on the oceans today,” he said.

Montague referred to the new ship as a “work of art, from bow to stern”, and it’s hard to argue with him; a 300-piece, US$5 million collection of art and sculptures has been scattered throughout the vessel. (The dragon shown above is at the entrance to Pacific Rim restaurant.)

Seven Seas Splendor has been given the look and feel of a luxurious apartment or home. As part of the process of “perfecting luxury”, Montague said, his team spending hours in replica suites of Seven Seas Explorer to identify opportunities to improve and enhance the suites for Splendor. “We changed the Penthouse closet space and added about 50% more, but the suites are slimmer. We looked at every single outlet, every single plug, every single light and how they were positioned throughout the suite, just to make sure we were perfecting all those small details.”

Other enhancements were made in the Constellation Theater, where a row of seats was removed. It means slightly less seating that what is offered aboard Explorer, but improves sight lines throughout the venue. The Coffee Connection alcove has also been repositioned and now offers an alfresco seating option.

“But it’s not just the ship, it’s the overall experience,” Montague said. Serene Spa & Wellness facility. Debuting first on Seven Seas Splendor, the venue, for instance, offers restorative treatments and activities to soothe the body and mind. They will also offer an off-ship experience and shore excursion program.

“There are also 65 new free shore excursions as part of our Europe collection that Splendor will kick off this season. We’ve also launched our Go Local Tours which immerses our guests in what it is like to live like a local in the different places we visit,” he said. “We’re always trying to innovate and give our guests more in-depth experiences in the ports we go. That’s why we offer multiple free excursions in any port that we visit. Overall, across all the destinations that we go to, there are over 2,000+ free shore excursions. So immersing guests into a destination is a key component.” As a further enhancement on land, some of RSSC’s shore excursions also have an option to use a smart guide app. The tech enables guests to use their own mobile phone and headsets to listen to the tour guides.

RSSC has also ramped up the number of classes available in its Culinary Arts Kitchen which debuted on board Explorer a few years ago. Guests on Seven Seas Splendor will have 16 new classes to select from.

While Regent Seven Seas Cruises has ploughed hundreds of millions of dollars into its new and existing fleet, Montague says it is the team onboard which are crucial to the business. “Staff are the key for the Regent experience. They truly are the heart and soul of our brand. And this ship is indicative of the rest of the staff across our fleet. “We have great leadership throughout and teamwork, and the smiles that you see. They are truly what makes the Regent experience so special,” the CEO remarked.

This article first appeared in

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Luxury Hotels

Simply Sunday – taking Valentine’s to a new height


Flowers everywhere…

San Valentino was celebrated with gusto at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. For this luxury hotel, it was an occasion, sorry THE occasion, to dress up, in a big way (it was amazing that the whole of the 16-floor building was not wrapped up and tied in a big scarlet bow). Outside the main entrance, on South Doheny, the lifesize Marilyn Monroe sculpture by J. Seward Johnson is a year-round fixture. Go inside, and immediately floral artists Jeff Leatham’s creativity comes into play.

There is a Leatham-classic, a scarlet polar bear formed of coloured glass panels, lifesize and strategically lit, of course, with a six-foot high red heart behind. Walk round to the elevators and every scarlet flower in the book must have been culled to fill the myriad – 17, in fact – of tall vases, each for one type of flower. Walk on through several interconnecting bars to the main restaurant, Culina, and look out, through all-wall windows, to a small courtyard. There stood a transparent hemispherical dome, lit with fairy lights – see the image above. There were two throne-like chairs inside. Welcome to our kissing tent, said someone,

Burrata, with edible decoration

Culina was set-menu, San Valentino, that night, which is actually highly appropriate because Stalentine, patron saint of love and, separately, leprosy, was Italian, a 3rd century doctor who became a priest. He would surely have approved of this meal on 14th February. Culina chef Luca Moriconi had prepared compulsory Benvenuto, oyster with beef tartare, and Dolce, and, as if sandwiched in between, choices of Antipasti, Primi and Secondi. I had an Apulian burrata on a plate that looked as if its squash blossoms decoration had been painted, rather than stuck, on – the paired wine for this was Falanghina San Salvatore Campania 2017. Next came a hearty brown creation, cacao pappardelle with cubes of wild boar and toasted pinenuts (its wine was Chianti Classico Le Regge Toscana 2016).

The dessert

This was followed by melanzane, deliberately-charred cuts of eggplant hidden under a salad of green beans and watercress: its potable partner was Palistorte Super Tuscan 2016, Lucca. Even this non-dessert taker had to exclaim at pâtissier Christopher Ford’s dessert: a picture of red heart filled with raspberry mousse wrapped around a chocolate core, with a side scoop of crème fraîche ice cream.

Even the connecting dining rooms were memorable

Most of the elegant females in the packed dining rooms sported, regardless of age, somethinged. Every size-zero summer frock with floribunda patterns must have been taken out of the closet for tonight. Everyone was entering into the spirt of San Valentino which, said hotel GM Michael Newcombe, was part of the hotel’s week-long Love, Art and Flowers festival, itself part of Los Angeles’ art Frieze. Frankly I thought San Valentino’s only sub-superlative was the art side. Four-foot high bold oils, blocks of orange and green hues by a Swede called Camilla Engström, did not exactly complement the San Valentino colour scheme, but then everything else was so perfect.

I tiptoed up to suite 1518 and, having eschewed night turndown, spent 20 minutes removing the thousands of fresh rose petals, all red, that had been carefully formed into a massive heart reaching right across the width of the King Size Sobel Westex linens. Oh what a memorable evening.

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