Luxury Hotels

The Lanesborough – US Daycations – Franschhoek – Singapore-Hong Kong

The Lanesborough’s location, on the immediate west of Hyde Park Corner (a misnomer as it is actually a circle) was right at the heart of the city when it was first constructed in 1733. The 93-room hotel, part of Oetker Collection, is still ‘the centre’. Girlahead last overnighted in #201, an L-shaped Junior Suite with sensual Garnier-Thiebaut bedlinens and no less than three half-bottles of Champagne, including Krug, in the private bar. When the hotel re-opens 29th October, 2020, GM Marco Novella and his team have devised a  Staycation Package that not only includes room upgrade with full breakfast, extended arrival-departure times, a (full) bottle of Moët and chocolate truffles, and, to work’em off, a wellness day, with hour-long couple’s massage – or, if you want to inhale calories, a three-course candlelit dinner for a two with another glass of Moët.  What is  particularly valuable, however, is free carparking, if the slots are not already taken by Maseratis and the like: carparking in central London, particularly around the Hyde Park area, is prohibitively expensive.

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Following on Staycations, you have also heard, of course, of generic Vacations, even Schoolcations….  now meet the newest variant.  A Daycation is the solution, says New York-based visionary Jack Ezon, brains behind Embark Beyond, for those yearning to explore but hesitant to spend the night away from home.    In partnership with Tradewinds Aviation,  he has just launched Daycations with a focus on fall foliage in the North East of the USA (rates start at $4,850 for up to eight people).  You get a private jet for the day and a full experience in the destination. Think a hike in the beautiful Berkshires followed by a picnic curated by Daniel Boulud’s new Blantyre outpost with BMW x7 to explore locally or a more active experience hosted by Miraval that’s topped off with a sumptuous spa treatment.   Other Daycations include a culinary experience pairing the winelands of Charlottesville and the acclaimed Pippin Hill with the newest three-star Mechlin restaurant in America (the Inn at Little Washington). Expect many more itineraries to follow.

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Talking of winelands, in South Africa Analjit Singh, founder of Leeu Collection, says lockdown in Franschhoek provided an opportunity to see his hotels with afresh: his Collection includes, in Franschhoek, the 23-room Leeu Estates, the 12-room Leeu House and tthe 32-room Le Quartier Français, all overseen by area GM Armand Stemmett. Singh reckons he has now, overall,  pinpointed the very best places to create dedicated outdoor seating, landscaping and picnic/dining al fresco areas (beside the river and in the Bokkie Garden). In addition he has signed Healing Earth as his spa partner. Two helipads have been built at Leeu Estates for fast, secluded transfers from Cape Town, and the Singh empire also includes the Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines Tasting Studio and the restaurant Le Petite Colombe will open earlier, on 6th November, for day visitors.

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Would there were more travel bubbles opening up.  It looks, fortunately, as if a safe corridor will be established between Singapore and Hong Kong, which means cognocenti longing for a change will be able to swop views of Victoria Harbour from the top of Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong for looking across at Marina Bay Sands’ rooftop mega-pool from the 32nd floor club lounge of Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, and vice versa.

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Now up, the latest issue of MARY GOSTELOW GIRLAHEAD PODCAST, starring Shangri-La’s Oliver Bonke.  Pick it up now, on your favourite streaming channel or via https://anchor.fm/gostelow