When Girlahead overnighted in Longyearbyen, capital of Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, it was one of the area’s 100-plus days of 24/7 darkness a year, but fortunately not having to venture outside meant there was no chance of running into the 3,000 or more polar bears who are reputed to roam freely here. Interestingly, Longyearbyen’s 2,400 human population have a globally-respected weekly newspaper, Svalbardposten, edited by the astute Hilde Røsvik, whose thoughts are read avidly, on paper by some locals and online by policy makers in Oslo and, worldwide, by many concerned with geopolitics within the Arctic Circle. It looks as if the best Longyearbyen hotel today is Svalbard Hotell, whose three buildings offer everything from fully-equipped long-stay apartments through to family and single-double rooms, plus one Polar Bear Suite, which reminds Girlahead of her so-happy stay in the Antarctica Suite of Friôrik Pálsson’s absolutely lovely Hotel Ranga in the heart of Iceland – there is a taxidermist’s treasure, a polar bear, in the hotel’s lobby (and there are also make-you-laugh stools, from Italy, in the bar, as shown above).
The Collection Morozov at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris has postponed a Russian show, orginally set to open in February 2021, until the end of June 2021. The theme is French and Russian works gathered in the early 20th century by two Moscow patrons and collections, Mikhaïl and Ivan Morozov. Among the many other happenings in Paris in 2021 is the opening of the 149-room Kimpton St Honoré Paris on Boulevard des Capucines. Operating as the Samaritaine de Luxe store from 1917 to 1981, it has been converted by designer Charles Zana and wellness includes an indoor swimming pool and spa: the original 103-year old elevator rises to a rooftop terrace with café. Hotel GM is Jean-Paul Dantil.
Finally, let us start-the-week at that City of Lights, Paris. First, if you can do see a brilliant teledocumentary based on firefighters, including a young woman on her first serious assignment, at the tragic Notre Dame Cathedral a year ago. Now listen, perhaps again, to one of France’s best-known hoteliers, COO of The Dorchester Collection, François Delahaye, below.