Last Saturday, 4th July 2020, London’s Berkeley Hotel opened The Garden at The Berkeley (see above), an intimate and informal Mediterranean-style alfresco restaurant on Wilton Place with views of neighbouring St Paul’s church. Lit with lanterns, festoon lights and candles, this outdoor dining spot is lined with olive trees and lavender, reminiscent of the balmy nights of European escapes. The daily-changing menu intentionally offers an antidote to lockdown living. For perfect summertime dining, be welcomed with warm sourdough with confit garlic and charred vine tomatoes – go on, say, to giant charred prawns; T-bone steak with smoked shallot butter and chimichurri; grilled sardines with lemon and rock salt; and roast cauliflower with smoked almond purée – all cooked outside on Green Egg barbeques. The terrace is laid with socially-distanced tables for two to six people.
The drinks list includes garden pitchers – ‘The Berkeley Cup’ is a blend of rum, Pimm’s, cassis and ginger beer finished with cucumber and strawberries; whilst ‘Peach Wine’ is a delicious mix of rosé, peach and elderflower liqueur with lime. The Garden is overlooked by The Berkeley Bar’s intimate terrace, serving classic cocktails and fine wines.
In the UK, by the way, VAT is going down from its standard 25% to a mere 5% for food, drink, hospitality. This will make everything from that ultimate luxury, fish and chips, through to a Presidential Suite at a top hotel more affordable. Unfortunately nearly all top London hotels are still closed but The Berkeley, fortunately, is already open. It does have residential suites but the top ‘listed’ accommodation for tonight is a Grand Terrace Suite, John Heah design, listed at £2,940.
Salvatore Pisani, GM of luxury boutique hotel Splendid Venice, is – writes Almont Global Director Richard Barnes – newly-elected President of the tourism and services section of Confindustria Venezia Metropolitan Area of Venice and Rovigo. Elected by the Section Assembly at the headquarters of the Association, in Marghera, he succeeds François Droulers, now Vice President.
The pandemic, according to the Pisani, has been an opportunity to realign and rethink the concept of tourist destination. He says the city’s way of handling tourists will have to change: “We will be working to elevate the quality of future tourism. We firmly aim to overturn former problems of over-tourism by concentrating on quality rather than quantity. We need to rethink the concept of this destination, looking at new trends and categories. We will work with all institutions and associations in order to make sure that when tourism comes back, it happens in a positive manner, based on culture, art, fashion, entertainment, food and wine. Together with the team, we will do everything possible not only to relaunch high-quality tourism, but also to extend the duration of stay throughout the Metropolitan Area of Venice and Rovigo. We will work assiduously with institutions and associations to host large events, with particular attention to culture, fashion, art, entertainment, and food and wine. We will remain true to our values and return stronger than before.”