Luxury Hotels


Claudia Kozma Kaplan was one of our favourite people in the whole wide world when she headed communications for Leading Hotels of the World. Then she left, went to Kate Spade and stopped communicating.  Goodness only knows where she went. And, thank goodness, she has returned to this lovely planet, to work with, and promote, Yann Nury.  She’s with him, above. He is launching a Culinary Camp with a focus on open-flame cooking and, be sure, with CKK by his side everyone of relevant importance will hear about it.

Those who frequent the Windy City deserve to hear about VIRGIN HOTELS CHICAGO, on North Wabash.  There’s a ground floor indoor-out Miss Ricky’s Diner, with lots of Virgin-red in the decor  (OK, the ‘out’ is not much use when that breeze is howling) and, on the 15th floor, Cerise has superb views over The Loop and Millennium Park.  Yes, there is a terrace but it is being covered over enough, says GM Josh Schaeffer, that you can be out there year-round (though hold on to your Martini). Girlahead actually dined-Diner, flat iron steak with chimichurri and thick fries, and caramelized Brussels, and Decoy 2017 Pinot Noir. Interestingly exactly the same menu – food, that is – is offered at breakfast, with the addition of vanilla bean voghurt parfait.  Boy was that good, especially with lightly-toasted artisanal sourdough and Bonne Maman strawberry. The butter let it down. Why DO Americans insist on using mini tubs of ‘whipped’ something rather than sachets, or paper wraps, of such satisfactory names as Beurre d’Isigny or Netherend Farm?

But, as the name behind MARY GOSTELOW’S BREAKFAST CLUB – see – the weak point of the whipped butter was eradicated ten times over by Virgin Hotels Chicago’s coffee policy. It came in big mugs, the favour was fab and it cost only $4. You can add shots of various liqueurs, including Baileys Irish Cream, for $6. What a wow.

Another wow opens this coming Thursday, 6th October, at THE PENINSULA HONG KONG. Felix, the Philippe Starck-designed avant garde restaurant atop the hotel’s 28-floor tower, hosts, for two monhs, a spectacular. Its Nights at Studio 54 spectacular is Scottish writer-director Richard Crawford’s modern take on the original club, founded by former Syracuse room-mates Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager that that club, on what had been CBS’  Theatre 54 soundstage in Manhattan. From 1977-1980, attracted every name in the celeb book.

This time around, the celebs are actors, part of Crawford’s The Secret Theatre – he’s Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Studio Lab in Williamsburg NY and he’s made a serious name for introducing immersive theatre both in Hong Kong and Singapore.

At The Peninsula’s ‘Studio 54’ perhaps start with an Old Figgy, Ezra Brooks 99 Bourbon with Fig Leaf Sake. Contine to memory-lane dining. Boston lobster Caesar, Beef steak with Delmonico gratin, Tiramisu with hazelnut-flavoured Frangelico, espresso icecream and chocolate sparkles. Intermittently, Secret Theatre performs.

It’s worth buying VIP tickets. As well as The Peninsula’s own-label Champagne on arrival and freeflow during dinner, there are invitations to ‘Freddy Mercury’s birthday party’ in an adjacent secret room.

Now listen to this week’s podcast: