Luxury Hotels

London – Santa Barbara – Geneva

The Pan Pacific London – the  Singapore-based Group’s first property in Europe, opened this Wednesday. Girlahead cannot wait to see the 237-key beauty designed by Yabu Pushelberg. Food, not surprisingly, is inspired by Singapore: there’s a Straits Kitchen restaurant, an Orchid Lounge, and Ginger Lily bar (see its Champagne mule, above).  GM Anne Golden is enthusing, too, about the hotel’s wellness, with a significant indoor pool and K-beauty, as in Korean.

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Also  in London, Claridge’s opens up its kitchen as live theatre-dining, L’Epicerie. Led by the hotel’s culinary name Martyn Nail, expect the 14-seat in-kitchen table to put on live performances of private dining, masterclasses, wine dinners and interactive feasts (some will be accompanied by fashionistas’ favourite current drink, rosé, in this case from Chateau La Coste, a sibling to Claridge’s). All meals will are served on plates  designed by ‘spider sculptor’ Louise Bourgeois.  Claridge’s Masterclasses – a perennial favourite – will cover everything from afternoon tea cakes, to secrets of the iconic Lobster Wellington, Claridge’s signature cocktails and canapés.

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And now to as far west as mainland USA will easily allow, the Pacific. Right on its shores is Santa Barbara’s 121-key Hotel Californian, Santa Barbara. This has just been bought by the fledgling Foley Entertainment Group FEG, led by Chairman Bill Foley and CEO Randy Morton, one-time Four Seasons veteran and later President of the mighty Bellagio in Las Vegas. He it is who will oversee complementing Hotel Californian’s Blackbird restaurant with a Foley Food & Wine Society tasting bar, opening shortly.  Great idea, says Girlahead.

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So much happening on the food scene right now.  Girlahead finishes today with applause for Oetker Collection’s just-opened Geneva masterpiece, The Woodward. Why the applause? L’Atelier Robuchon Chef Olivier Jean has spent TWO YEARS sourcing the perfect products, including vegetables from Cortois, or from Gaia, and Pata Negra ham from the Alcala brothers. The Rochon-designed restaurant salutes nature in many forms: you dine within two glass-walled verandas overlooking the lake and surrounding Alps. (Duarte Bon De Souza is GM of the  26-suite hotel, built 1901 and for many years a bank – best room, the 303sq m Royal Suite,  can be accessed  by a private elevator.)

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Timo Gruenert is the details-obsessed visionary leading Oetker Collection up to the top of the luxury ladder. Hear him here: