Luxury Hotels


Here’s an interesting fact – OK, ‘curiosity killed the cat’ said one’s grandmother but curiosity makes for more worthwhile travel, both from the viewpoint of travellers and hoteliers like.

The last year of the last century saw two near-identical books published. One was Le musica del silenzio, The Music of Silence, the autobiography of Andrea Bocelli later, 2017, made into a Michael Radford movie. The other 1999 tome was Rose Tremain’s Music & Silence, which is one of those books that has a life-lasting effect on the reader (it tells the story of an English lutenist at the court of King Christian IV in 17th century Denmark – he had to be on duty at all times, ready to play at any moment from his subterranean cubby-hole, from which dulcet tones wafted up through grilles in the floor above).

Music and memories.  Music and memorable experiences. The Raffles Suite at RAFFLES ISTANBUL  has a grand piano – above, see hotel boss Andrew Steele deliberating between Debussy and  Dvorák: he’s obviously mindful that not long ago Lady Gaga was staying here when in Istanbul for a concert. This is a beautiful piano, a K. Kawai, named for Koichi Kawaii, born in Hamamatsu in 1886, he was apprenticed to a watchmaker and builder of reed organs and that started him on a lifetime of continuous learning.  He was among leads introducing the piano to Japan, and he founded his eponymous company in 1927. Still based in Hamamatsu, it is now a public company with just under 3,000 making and selling pianos worldwide, but key personnel are two of Kawaii-san’s descendants Shigeru Kawaii and Hirotaka Kawaii.

There used to be a grand piano in HOTEL DE LA VILLE Rome in its Intercon days – has it survived the hotel’s re-birth as Rocco Forte? There’s a modern piano in the glorious two-floor Presidential Suite of BVLGARI HOTEL PARIS.  Not far away at ROYAL MONCEAU RAFFLES there are guitars, ready to play, in suites – there are also shelves of books all in anonymous white dust-jackets but one never did know what designer Philippe Starck would do next.

Wherever, and whatever, live music, or the possibility of it, helps other touchpoints of hotels become more lasting memories.  At Raffles Istanbul, for instance, the minutiae of Abdullah bin Hussein’s lunch menu stand out. An elaborate Turkish mezze was followed, simply, by a whole skinned eggplant, tempura-ed. Clever and memorable.