Luxury Hotels


Sometimes DRIVING CAN BE JUST TOO MUCH. Much of Bath’s city centre, for example, is one way traffic and, anyway, trains run direct, at least every half hour from London Paddington. It takes 80 minutes to Bath.

Now to be honest, staying in a 500-year medical establishment is not everyone’s glass of ale but the three-bedroom TOWNHOUSE at YTL-owned and managed The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel is sensational.  YTL also manages the city’s UNESCO-recognized thermae baths: YTL’s offices, today, were once the leper hospital, five minutes’ walk away from the baths, and Townhouse was the doctor’s house, adjacent to the hospital. THE MAIN HOTEL WAS ALSO ONCE A HOSPITAL, and later, a school. The hotel’s 99 Champalimaud-designed bedrooms are sleek cool, taupe and champagne. Hotel GM is Irish globalist Marc Mac Closkey.

Girlahead loves the STANDALONE TOWNHOUSE – warning, since earlier Elizabethans did not have elevators, make sure everyone can manage 31 stairs to the master bedroom (collage above), or a further 20 to the other two bedrooms, a feat that fortunately negates heading to the hotel’s well-equipped 24/7 Technogym. Townhouse’s remarkably well-equipped kitchen comes with DeLonghi, Neff and Sabatier, and a powder-pink Smeg: a bottle of Billicart Salmon supplements Bombay Sapphire and Glenlivet 1924, all included. There is a Jane Austen library, hardback of course, in the formal withdrawing room.  THE MASTER BEDROOM IS A DREAM OF PALEST TEAL AND SILVER, with a jewelled over-bed canopy, a crystal chandelier and a metal-lined rolltop bathtub that is, rare for its ilk, quite easy to get in and out of.

Throughout Townhouse, indeed, the word ‘bath’ comes continually to mind.  Admire framed Victorian etchings of different styles of Doulton’s Improved Hooded Baths.  ASK ABOUT INCIDENTALS ASSOCIATED WITH BATH, say Bath Chaps, well-bried lower jowls, originally from Gloucester black-spot pigs. Think Bath Oliver biscuits, concocted by physician William Oliver around 1750. For best sugar-topped Bath Buns, head today for Sally Lunn’s, three minutes away. Bath Chairs are sensibly off-menu, especially with the cobbles here around town.

Recommendations? Admire tourist sights and retail brands that honestly combine London’s Bond Street with Borough Market. Revel in the hotel’s thermal pools – they have swimgear if you have left the Vilebrequins behind – and back at Townhouse, get more exercise by climbing those stairs, yet again, while changing for The Ivy Bath Brasserie’s fish and chips. Sensibly, with so much foodie fare immediately around, the hotel has no main-meal restaurant, but, also sensibly, it has a darned good bar.

And for a day-trip, ask Magical Marc to arrange transport to The Newt, under an hour away: explore England’s best 21st century gardens and some of the estate’s 800-total acres.  And do listen, here, to The Newt’s Co-Owner and overall Designer Karen Roos:

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Luxury Hotels

Simply Sunday, simply stylish

Simplicity and style are natural bedfellows. That’s the main message at CARLTON TOWER, Jumeirah’s main London hotel. The multi – like MULTI – million makeover has come up with hundreds of story-telling touchpoints.  Thank you Jumeirah CEO José Silva and your GM here, Aaron Kaupp. Here are some of the myriad of memories: ICE CUBES in your welcome cocktail at Al-Mare might have your initials on them! Al-Mare’s home-made olive oil bread is so addictive you may wish you had not ordered any ‘proper dishes’ (even the home-made pasta with pecorino and truffles); your dressing table has the Dyson hairdryer fitted into its own little bed, slots inside the table-top; as well as ten times the number of USBs and sockets (European, UK and US) that even Girlahead might need, there’s a bedside STAND TO HANG YOUR ROLEXES ON – and talking of bedside, see, image above, the bedroom slippers in all suites.  THESE ARE MARILYN MONROE EXOTICA rather than the industry-norm, flat soles with some kind of cheap upper. And luxury goes beyond 100%: slippers have their own LEATHER SHOE BOXES, stored under the bedside table.  Box is colour-match to slippers, which are SAME COLOUR AS HANGING ROBES (two sizes, clearly labelled, and specially designed by RKF, whose partnerships range from Velaa to Raffles, Accor to Versace).

Slippers must be comfy, which is one of many reasons that fashionistas and influencers are SAYING NO TO STILETTOS and SAYING YES TO YEEZIES. Wow, Girlahead started wearing sneakers and nothing back a good three years ago and they are taking over her life. Others feel the same. THINK OF STOCKX, the stock exchange of today’s street culture. It formed as such in 2016, with founding CEO Josh Luber, founding Greg Schwartz and FINANCIAL BACKING FROM DAN GILBERT, multi-billionaire owner of several basketball and other sports teams. Now Gilbert is 60. which shows street culture is for all ages. Other names in the StockX ensemble range from Eminem to Michael Dupouy, whose book All Gone is called the encyclopedia of street culture.  Yes, come to StockX for gear generally. One of its brands is Off-White, which is LVMH: when it comes to trading bags, belts and so on, StockX works with Dior and Louis Vuitton. Luxury today is blending big-name brands with niche, say Colette, started by Sarah Andelman.

And, talking of, or about LVMH, hear Christian Boyens here:

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Luxury Hotels

Food, food, glorious food

Kacchi Haldi Gobhi ki Subzi, above, is a Royal Rajasthani dish that apparently is also A HEALTH BOOSTER. Thank goodness for Puneet Chhatwal, boss of Taj parent IHCL: he has not only introduced, to Taj, INNERGISE, food that energisers one’s insides, but he has appointed a business-like head of food and drink, Akshay Tripathi, who spent years with Four Seasons.  Tripathi explained to Girlahead how INNERGISE has adapted Rajasthan’s heritage dish, full of turmeric and other spices, to new-look, above. Vegetable and turmeric curry in is held between sheets of phyllo baked with clarified butter, turmeric powder, and Ajwain (Carom, Caraway, Bishop’s weed), and a swirl of spiced balsamic reduction complements slight bitterness of raw turmeric. Both trad and new need 55 minutes’ total preparation: food costs are about the same – and contemporary is 20% lower calorie, per portion. GO FOR THE NEW, urges Girlahead (and, for the record, its selling price is 600Rps, but the traditional, which does serve two, is 950Rps, be it for you alone or you with a pal). This dish will be launched at the two Chambers Clubs in Taj’s Mumbai hotels next month.

Cura, just inside the front door of Four Seasons Lisbon The Ritz SEEMS LIKE A CLUB. Locals come into the 22-seat casual eating spot to see and be seen and to order such Pedro Oena Bastos dishes as grilled lettuce hearts with pollen, sunflower seeds and orange blossom (no, that’s not enough for a growing girl, go on to TAGLIATELLE WITH OSCIETRA). This is a hotel with A FINE AND LONG LOCAL TRADITION FOR ITS FOOD. Current GM Guillheme Costa continues to consider locals as did such predecessors as Portuguese-globalist José Silva • YESTERDAY GIRLAHEAD LUNCHED OFF HOME-MADE RIGATONI, with truffle – Marco Colenzo at Al-Mare, London. This is the neighbourhood restaurant on the ground floor of Carlton Tower, London. Yes, IT IS JUMEIRAH – whose CEO is José Silva, who still famously stresses the importance of emotion to food (listen to him on Podcast, below). Like so many local Chelsea-ite locals also relishing REAL ITALIAN FOOD WITH LOVE, Girlahead smiled throughout her Al-Mare lunch: the menu opens with a Salvatore Quasimodo quote ‘an echo of memory, like this dark murmur of the sea’.

Talking of the ocean, the two-year old Steigenberger Alsik Hotel & Spa in Sønderborg, South Jutland, overlooks The Alssund Strait, which links the Als Fjord with the Outer Flensburg Firth: its Syttende Restaurant, on the 17th floor, has just garnered A MICHELIN STAR for Jesper Koch, 47. But where are his fish dishes?  Best-sellers, Girlahead is told, are Strawberry & Batak pepper; Jerusalem artichoke & finger lime, and Kefir & pine. Is Jesper Koch short of ingredients, or careful of his time or is he on a diet?


In these days of shortage of chefs, DIVERT ATTENTION TO DECOR so at least customers have something to read, listen to or look at while wondering if whoever is left in the kitchen has flown to Perigord to find a pig to find a truffle.  Not all restaurants can see quite a lot of Denmark from their windows, as is possible from Amazónico restaurants seem to do just that, although it does look, sometimes, as if the ceiling decorations might fall down at any moment.  AMAZONICO DUBAI, designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán, has a 250-kg chandelier composed of 22 living plants. Is it true Turkish entrepreneur Dogus has taken a stake in the Amazonico brand?

And finally, here comes José Silva:

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