Luxury Hotels


We all love rooftop pools – indeed, hotels could be judged by their size and views.  If that were the case, probably MARINA BAY SANDS in Singapore would win, but Bangkok has a good runner-up.  See above.

HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL BANGKOK has just re-opened after top-to-toe re-do. It opened in 1968 and was Le Royal Méridien before reflagging in 2003. Now the 37-floor beauty, owned by Khun Chalermbhan Srivikorn’s President Hotel +Tower Co., Ltd, has more potential than ever.

It’s got a great location, directly adjacent to the BTS Chidlom Skytrain, and easy walking to main lifestyle shopping as well as major business addresses. It’s got lots of rooms (381, to be precise) and a great club lounge.

Interestingly the seven food and drink offerings include Bangkok’s first Californian restaurant, sensibly called SoCal – it also brings that favourite from the hotel’s original opening, Fireplace Grill and Bar.  It all goes to show, says Girlahead, that New works better when there’s at least a hint of Old.

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Luxury Hotels


Every arrival needs to be an eye-opening pleasure.  What IS that art behind front desk?  See the image above, a collage, unmistakably of Nelson Mandela, at THE SAXON in Johannesburg.

INTERCONTINENTAL CHICAGO has real-time wall-to-wall videocam of The Windy City.  See what the traffic and the weather are like outside.  At WALDORF ASTORIA LAS VEGAS the arrival is ‘blinded’ by strong Nevada sun streaming in through ceiling-high windows behind front desk (at PARK HYATT VIENNA the sun streams in behind the arrival so it is the agents, rather than the arrivals, who perhaps cannot see).

Interestingly, while some hotels rotate their artworks around public areas, and possibly even guestrooms, nobody seems to change what hangs behind front desk. Could Girlahead initiate a new trend? Just a thought.

Meanwhile, what will we find behind front desks of future hotels? Since Peter Marino is designing the interiors of THE PENINSULA LONDON, will there be elements of the black leathers this talented guy wears – or perhaps some gold, for the chains that are also part of macho bikers’ gear?

In Pittsburgh, THE JOINERY HOTEK has had its lobby re-imagined by GrizForm Design Architects. There the show is pared-back minimalism, sending a message  to encourage guests to connect with one another. 

The summing-up is that no front desk and its surrounding lobby should exactly mimic any other (after all there’s only one Nelson Mandela, worldwide).


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Luxury Hotels


The Sybaritic Single crossed the Seine towards Rue de l’Université and stopped at the cerulean blue corner of Petrossian. Since Fauchon choked on its own foie gras back in 2020 and shut down its flagship at Place de La Madeleine, he resorted to the caviar icon of France for his groceries whenever in Paris.

It was the Petrossians who urged the Ritz to offer caviar in the hotel restaurant, overseen by the legendary chef Auguste Escoffier. Though sceptical at first, the Ritz’s gambit paid off and soon caviar was a hit among an elite international clientele, helping caviar’s ascent as the ultimate symbol of luxury.

And though Petrossian has been going through turbulent times recently facing fierce competition from new caviar suppliers in China and the Middle East, its old-world charm, family ownership and signature style kept it flourishing.
Upon entering the boutique, he is warmly greeted by Cécile, Armen Petrossian’s gracious and elegantly attired wife, who presides over the 10 modest tables and the staff, many of whom have been with the family for over three decades. Having the privilege to meet the lady of the house herself is a very rare luxury these days, comparable to being hosted by a descendant of César Ritz at the Ritz Paris (if he had one) or dressed by a grandson of Christian Dior (sadly, there are none either) at Avenue Montaigne.
After choosing his caviar creations (liquid caviar, dried caviar as well as caviar infused with truffle), the Sybaritic Single enjoys sipping champagne and observing the buzz. Never too busy, the boutique attracts well-heeled Parisian connoisseurs who come to buy their favourite osetra, sevruga, and beluga, creamy tarama, salmon, truffle foie gras and an array of traditional Russian dishes. Everyone seems to know everyone, which creates a truly special boutique atmosphere, so uncommon in the modern times.
Careful that the Sybaritic Single doesn’t get too high on the bubbles, Cécile offers him a plate of smoked salmon slivers followed by a generous piece of fruitcake with a mischievous wink – the most caring and cheerful host and an example of truly luxurious hospitality. A little caviar does go a long way.
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