José Silva, above, is CEO of Dubai-based Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts. This is an unusual luxury hotelier, says Girlahead, in that he is so into food, serious food from haute cuisine to casual comfort food, that he could be said to be a restaurateur who also runs properties with beds. His next big lodging event, by the way, is the re-opening of Jumeirah Carlton Tower, London, under GM Aaron Kaupp, who is also cares passionately about things that are edible – and potable (it was Mr K who introduced Girlahead to Monkey 47 gin, though now her favourite is Altitude, distilled in Chamonix from botanicals off the slopes of nearby Mont Blanc).
Using ingredients that are local, or offering something that is right for local customers, helps sell any product. At The Plaza, Fairmont’s New York flagship, for instance, room guests who come from fairly close by often bring their dogs, and return, similarly accompanied, again and again. Hotel GM George Cozonis tells Girlahead that this was arguably the first Manhattan hotel to welcome pooches: today, two of any size are allowed per room and as well as canine-special foods there is a collection of doggie clothes and accessories in various sizes. For their owners, by the way, some of the luxury hotel’s suites are temporarily being turned into private dining salons.
Adrian Zecha appears to be a totally-ageless creator – having created Aman before some of us were even thought of let alone born, now he is one of the key players in the fledgling Azumi, modern-ryokan, brand. The launch will be the 22-room Azumi Setoda, on the site of a 19th century home of a shipping and salt-farming company on Ikuchijima Island, in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. Special selling points include all bedrooms have private gardens, interior designer is Shiro Miura, a specialist in element-balancing sukiya architectural style, and, too, there is a yabune, communal bathhouse. Zecha’s partners here are his long-time colleague Rumitomo Hayase and, also, entrepreneur Yuta Oka.
Finally, back to José Silva. If you missed the current Mary Gostelow Girlahead Podcast, hear it here, below – or hear it again, and again (it is only 15 minutes long).