Luxury Hotels

Gstaad – London

The very name ‘mountain stress release’ would, suggests Girlahead, draw high-spending customers to a new hotel brand. MOUNTAIN is up-there: as The Status Seekers, the brilliant 1959 tome by Lance Packard, said, houses at the top of any slope invariably cost more than those lower down. STRESS: well, who wants that? RELEASE: great, get away from whatever. In fact ‘mountain stress release’ is a Six Senses’ concept running at The Alpina Grand, Gstaad, when it opens 2nd July, through to 15th September. Hotel GM is Tim Weiland, ex-Aman, and he must have a similarly-style-aware owner in Marcel Bach. Anyway, whenever you start it, the  five-day ‘mountain stress release’ programme includes wellness and stress consulting, and meditation, both chakra and walking –  how do you both meditate and walk?  Expect green caviar facials, and pilates, tai chi and yoga, plus hormone therapy,  and sound healing sessions. And, as refreshment, listen to Six Senses’ CEO Neil Jacobs, below.

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Some suppliers, hotels and cruise lines, over-kill when telling hoped-for buyers what is going on. The Beaumont, London, is networking very cleverly prior to its planned 1st September re-opening launch – not too many communications and every one that is sent out is personalised and worthwhile.  Hotel MD Duncan Palmer, of course, is a dapper pro and somehow is the perfect webinar foil when The Beaumont persuades such catches as Elliot Higgins, CEO of Bellingcat investigative media to appear on behalf of the hotel.  Yes, Duncan Palmer is right on the ball when it comes to marketing, via personal style – weekday commute by Continental Bentley, switching to Porsche at weekends. This reminds me of Peter French, who weekdays in Dubai has a closet of seven suits, seven pairs of equally-immaculate shoes, rotate each day to keep’em going longer. Personalities are one of the many reasons contributing to luxury differentiation.

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Finally, today, let us close with a re-listen of Six Senses’ CEO, Neil Jacobs – his style, by the way, includes maxi-cycling around his home base, Singapore, and mini-acceptance of that totally-banned word ‘old’.  Think Adrian Zecha, whose newest hotel developments should be released within three days, and think Ratan Tata and oh, so many others, and, down a generation, think Paul Jones at LUX Collective – and Neil Jacobs:

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Luxury Hotels

latte Sand Hill Rosewood

This episode of Girlahead picks up from a regular weekly article in LATTE, Signature Media’s luxury briefing for travel advisors in Australasia*.  Here, read about Rosewood Sand Hill in California:

‘Keen cyclists will jump at the opportunity to experience the wind tunnel at Specialized global headquarters, only 30 minutes from the 131-key Rosewood Sand Hill resort outside Menlo Park CA. Hotel MD Philip Meyer, whose own favourite steed is a shiny-white Colnago, will also lead local rides, perhaps around nearby Stanford University, owner of this hotel.  Yes, some areas around the 16-acre resort complex are hilly, but Meyer confirms that he does have electric bikes on hand. He also has a variety of new Mercedes, AMG Cabriolet, AMG Coupe, GLS SUV you can try out, for free, while staying here.

‘We do not want anyone to be bored’, Philip Meyer told me on arrival. There was no chance of that. You can stay on property, and join communal yoga classes, outside on the sunset lawn, every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.  If it is too hot in that lovely fresh air, escape the heat, and head indoors to the 24/7 Technogym – ideal for those flying in from Asia (flights typically arrive early morning at San Francisco International Airport, under half an hour’s drive via US-101). Personally I would pair any post-flight activity with anti-jetlag pampering in the resort’s spa. I would be tempted to try a French-Japanese EviDenS de Beauté facial, which apparently is really popular with Menlo Park-area fashionistas.

Actually the entire campus of this resort feels like a private members’ club.  There is, indeed, an actual local network. Philip Meyer never mentions any names but he points out that the Who’s Who of Silicon Valley success stories are among the locals who belong to the Rosewood Sand Hill Lifestyle Club, and the number is growing as California emerges from the pandemic.

Time to think of the sleep experience. Private Villas range from 550 to 3,000sq m in size.  I actually found #1307, a 800 sq m Rosewood Executive Suite, upstairs in a two-floor west-facing block, really convenient for getting to various places (by the way the toiletries are one of my favourites,  Estée Lauder’s Le Labo). I spent the afternoon writing, inside in the cool. Just before sunset I forced myself to leave my temporary home and headed down 26 steps straight to the lovely pool, which is a generous 25-metres long.

Pool-side food is inspired by a San Francisco-based celebrity chef, Ravi Kapur, mastermind of that city’s LihoLiho Yacht Club. Temporarily forget wellness in favour of tuna poke with line-caught tuna, furikake rice, avocado, radish, spicy aioli and radish sprouts; a yacht burger with topped with pineapple, bacon and kimchi – and a fried chicken sandwich with avocado ranch dressing. I would pair this with a perfectly chilled Chardonnay, say a 2017 Flowers Moon Select Sonoma Coast, from the pop-up al fresco wine-tasting garden, a few metres away in a nook between well-tended floribunda: currently featured are wines from Flowers Winery, just outside Healdsburg.

The resort’s newly-appointed executive chef Robert Sulatycky  is also a partner in Mithra Winery – switching to my usual tipple, a red, I would try Mithra’s 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder. Robert Sulatycky is one super-nice guy as well as a super-smart culinarian: he is also into food-tech via a company called iQKitchen. For years he played a lead role in Canada’s team in the Olympics of the stove, the Bocuse d’Or – in 1999 he was awarded meat chef of the world. Now, he coaches Team USA for Bocuse d’Or and other leading culinary events.

If wellness today is all-rounded, Rosewood Sand Hill is the ideal environment. Thanks to the so many elements, it provides great activity, fabulous food and conversations with Silicon Valley super-brains. Wow.

(*see another LATTE article, by Mary Gostelow, next Monday)

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Luxury Hotels

Simply Sunday – amazing arrivals

Simply Sunday takes a theme rather than providing a potpourri of short stories.  Today, says Girlahead, Let’s think first impressions.  In Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, you can paraglide down 2,000 feet to Six Senses Zighy Bay (Girlahead was strapped to the back of a professional). In Gstaad she once arrived in a sidecar, see above. The Swiss do do fascinating arrives. In St Moritz, Randolins Hotel operates an adjacent 1924-vintage observatory as a somewhat unusual suite: to reach the Observatory you need to climb a ladder (once up in your ensuite dome-shaped abode, you have full utilities, including free WiFi, and you feel at one with the stars). Want boat arrivals? Girlahead suggests Four Seasons Golden Triangle in Northern Thailand, or a multitude of resorts in The Maldives. say One&Only Reethi Rah.

As business gurus have always been so keen to point out, first impressions really count. How can we imprint this message in the entire world of luxury hotel-keeping?

When Girlahead first met Dino Michael, Hilton’s luxury specialist, she was immediate struck by what was a genuine welcome, eyes directly looking at her.  This guy is approachable.  Listen to him on Podcast, below:

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