Luxury Hotels


Andrew Stembridge, as CEO of Iconic Luxury Hotels, an enviable portfolio, and Girlahead met up with him at CLIVEDEN, half an hour west of Heathrow. This amazing 376-acre estate, bordering the River Thames, belongs to the National Trust, and Girlahead believes that the Duke of Buckingham, whose land it was back in 1660, would be thrilled to see how it looks today. The house, built in 1850, is now a 42-room hotel, leased to and run by Iconic Luxury Hotels. Some of the house’s extensive outbuilding have today been expanded as one of the best modern ‘wellness facilities’ around.

There are indoor and outdoor pools, the latter accompanied by two really-hot hottubs. Oh how sybaritic, lazing outside in the steaming water and looking at original 19th century stone walls around you, blue sky overhead…. Andrew Stembridge, over dinner, was talking about emotion in the luxury hospitality space. This is why Cliveden’s club is so relevant. Only members, and hotel guests, can use these facilities and and the Technogym, and pay for spa treatments.

The six-room spa, with separate studio, has a booked-out schedule for both CBD and sound-therapy treatments. Girlahead, as a hotel guest, was able to have a divine 60-minute CBD-oil massage, from a company called Otto, which was accompanied, as a soporific duet, by a timed sound track. But as we know Girlahead does nothing by halves and she also went for for sound-therapy, which requires lying on a duvet on the floor – see video, below. The practitioner had a concert-percussionist’s array of bowls, various sizes, crystal and hand-beaten Tibetan metal: she used percussionist-type sticks to create amazing and resonating sounds. And yes, the result was a clear mind and feeling good.

Sometimes emotional wellness comes from harking back to the past. Writer Paul Theroux, scion of today’s creative dynast, recently joined a gathering in Yamasaka, just north of Montreal, of no less than 30 different families descended from Antoine Theroux who, aged 20, arrived there from Toulouse in 1693. One of the highlights of Paul Theroux’s trip to Quebec this time was staying at FAIRMONT QUEEN ELIZABETH, with a scones-and-sandwiches tea at the nearby RITZ-CARLTON MONTREAL, the city’s other historic luxury hotel owned and superbly run by the Torriani family. At Ritz-Carlton, the presence of the family of ducks who live, all summer long, in a wood house in the middle of the hotel garden’s pond is arguably the top memory that many guests retain (even though Daniel Boulud’s food is a strong contender).

Emotional reaction. The 222-room FOUR SEASONS HOTEL MINNEAPOLIS, opening in June, is already being called a beacon of warmth and light, from the street-level lobby, to the sunny pool deck and versatile spaces for hosting business and social events (designer throughout is AvroKO). Street front-dining is orchestrated by local culinarian Gavin Kaysen, and hotel GM is Florian Riedel.

Keep up and keep smiling, this Sunday. Simple. Now see a short sound-therapy video below: