Luxury Hotels


A classic hotel that brings itself up to date while all the time maintaining ongoing standards has the right business formula – at least in Girlahead’s personal ratings.  HOTEL BAUR AU LAC in Zurich fits that formula, with perfection.

Take the current temporary arrival. While a new front office is being installed, you walk in either through a stage-set white gauze tunnel from the carpark or, from Talstrasse, past a full-colour all-wall photo of what the new entrance will permanently look like, from next month. And who would think that the pop-up front desk is merely that, a fill in? Jérémie Lammy and his team of concierges are as impressive as ever, as are all the customer-facing women (immaculate grooming and couture suits with Ferragamo-type silk lapel corsages).

Fine, that is all tradition, but what is new in this 1844-vintage 125-room beauty?  For a start, today’s chairman and owner, Andrea Kracht, is seamlessly handing the hotel’s reins over to daughter Marquita. And today, Friday 1st July 2022, the Kracht’s detail-oriented and passionate GM Wilhelm Luxem (see photo above), in one fell swoop, bows out, ushering in a new reign under GM Christian von Rechenberg, already a well-integrated leader of The Bauer team.

Other new features includes a redone covered terrace, popular for outdoor breakfasts through to late-night supper (and check afternoon tea time, with not a seat free and the majority choosing ice cold Ch Valentines 2020 Rosé over hot Assam or whatever). The Baur already has a year-round Brudnizki-designed art gallery and this is complemented by Summer’s annual Art in The Park sculpture exhibition, chosen by Andrea Kracht’s wife Gigi with the help of the Baur’s neighbour, Hauser & Wirth. The 20th show features large bronzes by sculptor Camille Henrot, 43, born in Paris and now commuting between New York and Berlin (her pieces, she says, highlight desire, frustration, fear of death, and exhaustion).

 Girlahead’s only desire at Baur au Lac was to have more time – it takes so long even crossing a road in Zurich as pedestrian lights are numerous and rigidly followed. But, whatever, do join the e-scooterers and prams progressing round the lake, and cross a single road to check Hauser & Wirth’s own summer exhibition, pairing Giacometti with Picasso. And after dining on Laurent Eperon  beetroot and buttermilk followed by Swiss veal forerib with fermented pepper, with – from 2019 world champion sommelier Marc Alment’s list – Dezaley Chemin de Terre 2018 Grand Cru, it was 27 carpetted stairs up to Suite 114.

What bliss it was, to open French Windows in the morning to watch life awake lake-side. Back down at the conservatory-like Pavilion, flowers inside and greenery outside, colour was put atop crispest white linens thanks to berries and ginger juice from the buffet, and the knife to cut the spelt health loaf was Laguiole. When you only go for the best some things never need to change.

See Room 114, below:

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Luxury Hotels


Well it’s arts and crafts and the so-called ‘silly season’ in capital and other cities around the world. London is a good example. It is Wimbledon, possibly the last bastion of must-wear whiy rete. It is an event in which the UK should bask in pride – sadly, Brits of all ages let the side down yesterday. Emma Raducanu, at 19, has far better manners than the crowd, who presumably had tanked up on Pimms (£10.50 a glass) and ten strawberries and lots of cream (£2.50. Emma, clad in about £60,000 of jerwellery, behaved impeccably, smiling and waving as she left the court. But the crowd had, throughout, clapped and cheered every mistake her opponent Caroline Garcia and yet despite that Garcia won.

Today, with both Andy Murray and Emma of the scene, thank goodness Wimbledon can share attention with other events. Masterpiece art fair, sponsored by tmghe Royal Bank of Canada, starts today and runs through to 6th July. And don’t forget the National Gallery’s Raphael exhibition, which closes 31st July, sponsor Credit Suisse.

Girlahead also enjoys all art forms from yesteryear that are not only culturally significant but make you smile. See HOTEL CAFÉ ROYAL LONDON’s Garcons de Café, above. It’s instantly recognisable as an Aubrey Beardsley. Poor Beardsley, he only lived 1872-1898 – he died of TB in the COSMOPOLITAN HOTEL, Menton – but during that short time he left a legacy of black ink drawings featuring the grotesque, the decadent, and sometime the erotic. Apparently he himself was a bit of a dandy, immaculately turned out in dove grey suits with yellow gloves, and did he really have grass-green hair?

We do know he was only truly happy in three places, the casino in Dieppe and, in England, Brighton’s Royal Pavilion and the Domino Room at what was then the no-beds 1865-vintage Café Royal, London. He would have networked at Café Royal with Oscar Wilde and other habitués and he might have watched boxing. (When treasures of Café Royal were sold by Bonham’s in a 2009 sale prior to the transformation into a hotel, the historical ring realised £456, a surprisingly low sum until you consider few have space to dump a ring in a parlour.)

Today, Café Royal Hotel, owned by the Alrov family’s The Set Connection, has 160 rooms – Girlahead recommends #323 for stupendous views of Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street. Piero Lissoni’s design of the main floor reception is spectacular, spacious and grandly stylish – the conciergerie is a walk-through gallery of carefully displayed historic and current hotel bits and pieces. GM Guillaume Marly, a one-time French marine, shows typical French savoir-faire – orange-yellow bicycles with baskets of flowers adorn the Veuve Clicquot terrace that spills out to Glasshouse Street. Baby pink dominates the decorations inviting passers-by to Cake & Bubbles, the Regent Street patisserie by Albert Adrià – and a bijou fine-dining temple by Alex Dilling opens September.

Meanwhile, Girlahead also recommends breakfast’s avo mash on sourdough (the butter’s England’s best, Netherend Farm). Next visit will definitely include spa time. It is worth noting, too, that book a Signature Suite and you have an Aston Martin, Ferrari or your choice of several marques. Throughout your stay.

Let’s hear from Jean-Luc Naret, head of The Set Collection:

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Luxury Hotels


Singapore could be said to be vying with Dubai when it comes to world significance – some would say New York is out of the competition now that civilians can carry guns, London is being torn apart by suicidal and inept politics, Paris the same, and Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai are still pandemic prisoners. Dubai, admittedly, has the world’s most recognisable hotel, Jumeirah’s BURJ AL ARAB – but how about Singapore’s standing-comb MARINA BAY SANDS, above?

Now, with business aviation throughout the whole of Asia Pacific witnessing phenomenal growth, Jetex and Bombardier celebrate the opening of the leading private jet facilities in Singapore and Asia. Girlahead’s partner Jetex, headquartered in Dubai, is more and more the global leader in executive aviation. Canada’s Bombardier is one of the leaders in world-class business jets,. The two are, by officially inaugurating their facility at Singapore’s Seletar International Airport, introducing what the pair say is a new world-class facility. This is needed to cope with expectation that customers prefer larger jets with longer ranges (the region’s business jet market is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 2.5% between 2022 and 2026).

Singapore is a flagship destination for Jetex. As well as modern and luxurious private facilities, Jetex – Bombardier’s exclusive worldwide collaborator – brings concierge and ultra-personalisations. Travellers can curate trips down to the smallest detail. What is more Seletar Airport, 19.7 kms from Marina Bay Sands, has 1,836-metre runway that can accommodate larger private jets without payload restrictions. Part of Seletar Aerospace Park, set up by the Government in 2006, its private jet airport has full aircraft services and support. Expect a private drop-off area, a lounge area and other personalized services.

The FBO cooperation was announced by Adel Mardini, Founder and CEO of Jetex.  We are pleased to unveil Jetex Singapore, the leading FBO service provider in Asia Pacific at Seletar Airport, together with our strategic collaborator, Bombardier. The two brands are established leaders in private aviation and we look forward to strengthening this relationship across more locations in Asia as well as globally, as we bring a brand-newseamless travel experience,” he said. On behalf of Bombardier,  Jean-Christophe Gallagher, Executive Vice President, Service and Support, and Corporate Strategy, said Jetex shares Bombardier’s commitment and passion in delivering an exceptional customer service on every level.”

The pair celebrated the grand opening with a welcome to delegates to the Corporate Jet Investor Asia conference. Also there ware  business and government leaders of Singapore and Canada (Singapore is Jetex’sfourth destination in Asia-Pacific after Tokyo – Haneda and Narita –  and Osaka).

Girlahead says more than a big ‘well done’. This partnership highlights the success of cooperation in new travel as well as the value of thoughtful excellence.

Now listen to Jetex’s Adel Mardini, here:

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