Luxury Hotels

More food

A pair of truffle-coated arancini planted, as it were, in a flower box (see above) was Girlahead’s introduction to the culinary imagination of young Roman Matteo D’Elia.  He’s just started as chef of Il Pompero, a corner restaurant that is surely going to be the regular pop-in place not only for Italian diplomats but all Belgravia’s Italian-loving foodies.  Continue on, to a beef tartare framed in a flower-bedecked circle of pastry, and a side salad, and perhaps Prosecco to complete the Verdi feel, though fortunately this is a music-free zone so conversation flows. Il Pompero also happens to be the all-day restaurant for that arts-boutique The Hari, the hotel that is currently displaying futuristic screen prints by its two artists-in-residence.

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Noise, however, IS in. Hottest buzzword on the St Bart’s and St-Tropez scene is eatertainment, sharing dishes, sharing designer rosé, all blasted by noise. Take the third floor rooftop Strawberry Moon poolside restaurant at Pharrell Williams’ 266-room Goodtime Hotel, Miami Beach. Pick at babaganoush and perhaps a 16oz Kansas City bone-in-strip, drink a bottle of Whispering Angel. You can’t hear a word because of the two DJs.  Apparently Strawberry Moon has had so many noise violations the Miami Beach Planning Board meets 28th September to consider revoking its licence, but until then, the crowds come, and come and come again.

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Anthony Bourdain’s name is, and will be, forever synonymous with the popularism of food. Now Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville has a new Bourdain documentary Roadrunner, which reviewers say reveals something almost innocent and sweet. This was a man totally unaware of what the next two decades would bring him and it was striking to watch Bourdain crack the smile of a mischievous teen as he learns he’ll be a New York Times bestselling author for his swashbuckling memoir. There’s a moment where he chuckles with delight—and slight disbelief—that a hotel put a bottle of wine and fruit basket in his room to welcome his arrival.  See the trailer, below.

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Luxury Hotels

London – Paris – New England

Natural influencers – not the ones who are paid – just want to hang out at The Corinthia London, says its GM Thomas Kochs. If your friends, be they top footballers, Netflix or media stars, choose to meet or stay there, you want to be with them. Add in fashion, and food. The usual, but unusually-usual (for London) megastar Tom Kerridge dishes are complemented summer long by outdoor dining.  See The Garden, above. Be My Zest lemoncello, Bandiera olive oil.  Order Glass House, Sado gin, Noilly Prat, lemon thyme, tonic – or go for Sacha Lichine’s creation, Whispering Angel 2020.  Shaved Italian courgette salad, Oven-roasted veal chop haloed with salsa verde, Lemon sorbet, a gigantic Amalfi lemon to-go.

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Top Tripadvisor hotel in Paris is Fauchon, named for authentic influencer Auguste Fauchon, from Calvados (when he arrived in the City of Light in 1880, aged 24, he started as a street vendor). His followers today include younger millennials, especially Americans, who would rather pay £397 for a room at Fauchon Paris this Sunday than the £900-up the ‘classic palaces’ charge.  Fauchon is also F, for Fashionista, plus GLAM. Brand advisor Bernard Lambert tells Girlahead this stands for  Gourmet, Location, Attention, Mesdames (female-centric) and he wants ten hotels worldwide by 2026.

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It’s all very well thinking females, but do not forget pooches. It costs £3,000 to buy a cockapoo on the legit market but that is only the start. You need designer collars before taking the animal to dog-friendly hotels.  Thinking of New England? Girlahead’s researches suggest Lamb and Lion Inn, Barnstable, MA; Seaport Hotel, Boston Harbor, MA, and Four Columns Inn, Newfane, VT. So now we have women and dogs taken care off. Men and kids are still on the agenda.

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Listen, now, to Eric Danziger on this week’s podcast

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Luxury Hotels

London – Jakarta – St Michael’s MD

Mayfair Townhouse in London is a big surprise.  Girlahead called by and was welcomed by Federico Campi, GM of the 170-room hotel, left above, seen with his boss, Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels.  Seen also is a lifesize Swarvoski diamond, one of over 500 whimsical artworks.  As they say, a simple name tells you where and what this new-look luxury hotel is, and balance that with such one-offs as this bird, and a lifesize portrait of Byron working on a tablet.  So, why IS this new-look luxury?  There’s a more-than-first-class 24/7 fitness studio, with a pair of Technogym interactive bikes that meant Girlahead was able to ‘cycle’ Cappadocia at dusk. Other memorable highlights are no restaurant, here, but a sexy bar that serves food – and 22 sensational rooftop-loft single bedrooms, Queen-sized beds, Farrow & Ball painted eves, an overall cosy and unisex appeal. See the video below

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No-one should assume that a new restaurant ‘promises to be a new culinary destination’. Who promises whom?  There is no room for arrogance in luxury hospitality.  Girlahead came across this in London this week, with one forthcoming opening assuming it will be the best. Be that as it may, let us ditch PR-speak – we can blame egocentric hype on ‘PR people’ rather than operating hoteliers.  When it comes to new restaurant, Girlahead salutes The Langham Jakarta for choosing to work with London-based Tom Aikens as he is actually a thoroughly nice guy. He will open Tom’s on the  62nd floor of the hotel.

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The Inn at Perry Cabin, just under two hours’ drive from Washington DC, only goes up, at most, to three floors. Down at ground level, however, watch for many innovations, including what sounds like a food truck.  All will be revealed next week (good, Girlahead loves the occasional surprise).  Watch this space.

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And now, back to The Mayfair Townhouse

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