There is nothing a serious girl likes more than talking with guys (and girls) who know their subject, exhibit their passion and are fun, into the bargain. Of course it helps if they are also interesting as well as interested.
Take one 24-hour session in Macau this week. It started with dinner with Bede Barry, who runs the Grand Lapa hotel (once the Mandarin Oriental). We ate Thai, in Naam Thai, overlooking ‘the resort’, probably Macau’s only gorgeous-garden park area.
Honestly, this is the hotel that best illustrates ‘old Macao’. It may not look anything special outside, and frankly I wish owner Stanley Ho would spend some money painting up the interior, but he should keep all the original 1984 woodwork and tiles.
Bede Barry, who comes from a small ski area near the Australian capital, Canberra, has some of the most friendly staff imaginable. One concierge said he remembered me from my last visit, which was last century (did the girl misbehave or does he simply have a photographic memory?).
To the gym when it opens at 6.30 am and it is already heaving with ultra-fit local club members, and after a quick workout I plunge into its Hawaii-type scenic pool, with a bit of a beach and lots of overhanging rocks.
Then Larry (from Grand Lapa) drove me along to the new Mandarin Oriental, a swish, sleek beauty of a hotel next to an incredible shopping mall – Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Marc Jacobs make a gal feel right at home – and the mighty MGM.
I entered the breakfast room, which is the Vida Rica restaurant designed by Japan’s best, namely SPIN, through an ‘escort’ of ceiling-high silver ‘palm trees’. Here the boss is Martin Schnider, from Lucerne. We drank our coffee and looked out towards Nam Van Lake, the Macau Tower and Taipa Island.
And that, Taipa Island, is where I went for lunch. I was booked with Altira Macau boss, Michael French, the cufflink collector from New Mexico, but we ran into his colleagues Paul Kwok Sai Kit, GM of the nearby Grand Hyatt Macau, and his assistant Claudio Salgado.
So we all got into the picture together and then Michael and I headed for Aurora, for a fabulous Italian Last Supper – sorry lunch – before I was off again….