Luxury Hotels

Paris – Napa Valley – Israel

Samaritaine de Luxe store  on Boulevard des Capucines, Paris, operated as a department store from 1917 until 1981.  Now, under GM Jean-Paul Dantil, it opens (above) as the 149-room Kimpton St-Honoré, Paris. Today’s architect and interior designer is Charles Zana.

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Next time in Napa Valley, Girlahead wants to visit the 80-hectare Donum winery, in Sonoma. It was bought in 2011, sight unseen, by Danish fashion entrepreneur Allan Warburg because his brother Carsten Warburg imports the label’s Pinot Noir to Copenhagen. Allan Warburg and his Beijing-born wife, Mei, live in Hong Kong and as prominent art collectors of course they have put some pieces on to the Donum landscape. Many of the sculptures at Donum have reflective surfaces that make them virtually vanish into the environment. Love Me, a metal heart by Richard Hudson, and Zhan Wang’s Artificial Rock, if comparing to pinot noir, similarly show propensity to reflect back the particularities of a wine’s finished bottle.  Donum’s winemaker, Dan Fishman, certainly says wine captures the energy he sees in top-level art: the Zhan Wang piece—an imprint in stainless steel of a traditional Chinese scholar’s rock—makes him think of the stoniness that characterises the taste of chardonnay that Donum also grows, in Russian River.

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Israel has a general election on 23rd March 2021. Today, the country’s lifeline Ben-Gurion International Airport is mysteriously closed, ostensibly to stop flights from New York and elsewhere in COVID hotspots in the USA bringing back yet more virus strains. This means thousands of Israelis are stranded in Dubai, The Maldives, South Africa and elsewhere, at their own cost. Rumour has it that the airport will re-open a week or so before the election, which will boost the voting power of Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud.

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Have you listened to Auberge CEO Craig Reid yet?  If not, hear him here:

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Luxury Hotels

Sardinia – Anguilla

The Queen’s Gambit has been viewed by over 62 million people, making it Netflix’s biggest scripted limited series to date. Girlahead is thrilled that this has led to a flurry of hotels’ chess packages, led by Kimptons in the USA. In Italy, ForteVillage Resort, in Sardinia, holds chess masterclasses throughout July and August 2020. These Chess Academy classes, specially for this beautiful resort, are led by Russian Chess Legend Anatoly Karpov, World Champion from when he was 23 in 1975 (he retained the title for ten years). At ForteVillage he will teach the moves that defeated his rivals and helped achieve his star status.

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Now to Anguilla, where the entire CuisinArt Resort & Spa is now owned by Olympus Ventures, the family investment office of Dick Schulze, founder of Best Buy.  Schulze, who has Simon Fricker as new CuisinArt GM, says he is going to make this the best resort in the entire Caribbean. He has big plans, which include arranging private jet transport from the USA – he already owns Best Jets International and he is apparently buying four Embraers specifically for CuisinArt.  Girlahead expects CuisinArt’s wine lists, by the way, to be heavy on Fantesca labels as one of Schulze’s ten children, Susan Schulze Hoff, owns that winery, on Spring Mountain Road high above St Helena CA, in Napa Valley.

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Napa will soon see its third Auberge Collection resort, Stanly Ranch.  Listen, now, to Auberge CEO, Craig Reid, below, on the company’s differentiation (go to https://anchor.fm/gostelow and pickup previous episodes from the library)

 

 

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Luxury Hotels

Sybaritic Single says a library is today’s infinity pool

Literature and having the time to read are one of the greatest joys for the Sybaritic Single. Every morning, he spends an hour in bed reading and on some evenings he escapes to a luxury hotel that is thoughtful enough to invest in a collection of good books. The library is the new infinity pool and more hotels begin to offer vast libraries, reading rooms and “book butlers” that are tailor-made for bibliophiles.
The Sybaritic Single’s favourite libraries are almost always at Aman hotels where there is everything from Dior couture albums to books on local arts, culture and local poetry. Yet the most stunning collection he has ever discovered was at The Betsy South Beach, home to more than 10,000 books. The hotel is owned by Jonathan Plutzik, son of a Pulitzer Prize finalist, who is behind the serious approach to literature which ranges from offering writers complimentary stays to presenting poems to guests after spa treatments.
In our perilous times, private aviation is no longer luxury but a necessity and a way to leave it all behind. VistaJet commissioned Heywood Hills, a Royal Warrant bookshop in Mayfair, to curate a library for all tastes and time frames for each of its aircraft. Today, it flies the largest library in the air, a collection of literature from authors of the past and present.
A petite library at Mandarin Oriental Jumeira in Dubai is the Sybaritic Single’s latest discovery and delight. Hidden in a quiet corner of the lobby, it is the place where he enjoys Singapore Slings (which remind him of the Writers’ Bar at Raffles Hotel Singapore) as he leafs through each of the 133 books – not too many for a voracious reader but good enough for a “tsundoku” – from some classical literature to whimsical travel stories and serious albums on art of the Far East – all picked personally by Werner Anzinger, the hotel’s general manager. Indeed, books and luxury hotels are hard-bound drugs on which one can never overdose.
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