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Luxury time with girlfriends

Photographed by Nina Gardiner, at 798 Dashanzi, Beijing)

Everyone needs a girlfriend (photographed by Nina Gardiner, at 798 Dashanzi, Beijing)

A gal needs girlfriends, such a support in even the most exciting international travelling life. Holly Valance says, do not interrupt when girls are together (‘I’ll just be sitting down having dinner with girlfriends or something and people come up and ruin the dinner’).

I have no idea who Holly Valance is except she is the exceptionally goodlooking trophy Girl Friend, capitalized, of Nick Candy, one of the two beady-eyed brothers who have put up One Knightsbridge, the magnificent glass-and-steel building to replace London’s Bowater House.

Transport in Havana, November 2011, by Nina Gardiner

Transport in Havana, November 2011 (thank you Nina!)

So, I was supposed to be meeting one of MY girlfriends, Nina Gardiner, at Brown’s Hotel, London, but her car tyre burst.  She sent along in her stead a fascinating entrepreneur, Penny Brown, who has set up B+B, luxury hotels, but with no restaurant or gym, merely lush bedrooms with free WiFi and national telephone calls, a breakfast room with full English breakfast included, and a 24-hour lounge with real coffee and mineral water, all on the house.

Nina also sent me some photos, of cars she had seen in Cuba last week, and artworks in Beijing shortly before. Another girlfriend cancelled, with a back operation as excuse, so I filled in that time by inspecting my new Rimowa wheelie suitcase, a fabulous Porsche Design to replace my trusty travel companion of the last few years.

Edmund, concierge at Brown's Hotel, London, brings out the box containing my new Porsche Design Rimowa suitcase

Edmund, concierge at Brown's Hotel, London, brings out the box containing my new Porsche Design Rimowa suitcase

The new one, called Edmund after the Brown’s Hotel concierge who unpacked it, will feature heavily in this column.

And then it was time for lunch, at The Ivy Club with Tanya Rose, the female-Leonardo whose ideas and creative thoughts rush without end.  Her company, Mason Rose, makes sure top hotels get known to the right people, be they bankers or in the social set.

Gwyneth Paltrow is the kind of girlfriend anyone, everyone, needs

Gwyneth Paltrow is the kind of girlfriend anyone, everyone, needs

When re-opening La Mamounia in Marrakech, Tanya called on her own girlfriends for support – the star, she recalls, was Gwyneth Paltrow who chatted for ages, in their own languages, to the French, Italian and Spanish media, while Jennifer Aniston went off and sat, rather sadly, all by herself.

I love Tanya’s book, Travel Secrets; My Favourite Luxury Hotels and Hidden Gems from Around the World.  She shares thoughts too from some of her other girlfriends, say Tamara Mellon OBE, the boss of Jimmy Choo (STOP PRESS, it has just been announced that Tamara Mellon, currently Chief Creative Officer, and CEO Joshua Schulman, will step down from Labelux-owned Jimmy Choo early 2012).

Not surprisingly, Tamara raves about Peninsula Beverly Hills – she stays there for the Oscars and so on as she is renowned for having started the idea of taking stacks of satin shoes and dyeing and decorating them at the last moment, when stars decide (or their dressers decide) what they are going to wear. Tamara, and other fashion names of the calibre of Anya Hindmarch, turn to Tanya for advice.

The multi-facetted loveable Tanya Rose

Now Tanya, I said, as we both munched The Ivy Club’s deliciously healthy chopped salad with deliciously decadent sides of French fries (hold the salt), WHEN are you going to do a television series? This gal, and all the girlfriends, need you.  Mad Men, and Sex and the City, time to give way to Tanya, Truthfully?