Luxury Hotels


Forget Stephen Jones and all the other to-notch milliners – even Lilian Frank, milliner who MADE Melbourne. Nothing beats a shock-resistant padded titfer like the one the Chief Consultant is wearing above.   The image was taken a couple of days ago at CIRAGAN PALACE KEMPINSKI, ISTANBUL. The city’s doyenne is having a re-design, by on-site boss Ralph Radtke and a local Ottoman art specialist who is conveniently also an interior designer. The first new-look rooms will be back in the system May, or at least before UEFA sweeps into town early June.

What does a ‘re-design’ look like? Recycling of heritage furnishings, like octagonal coffee tables, dark wood inset with mother-of-pearl, and glorious crystal chandeliers. These will pair beautifully with new pressure-pad door locks, masses more sockets and, of course, USB ports. New, too, are some walls’ broad vertical stripes, a reminder of Ottoman tents (as Radtke says, stay at Ciragan Palace and you know you are in Istanbul rather than, say, his own hometown, Berlin).

Last time Girlahead was privileged to have a hard hat was at THE CARLTON, CANNES, now re-opening as Regent. That is a complete, and pretty costly, renovation, with new rooms and residences and a pool added, and Tristan Auer interiors that maximise space, with a je ne sais quoi of pale pink Murano chandeliers that mimic upside down flamingos. That one, in all, will have taken three years.

Goodness knows how long the original WALDORF ASTORIA will take before re-opening. As its MD, Michael Hoffmann closed the hotel. He went on to THE INN AT PERRY CABIN near Washington DC and after five years there he starts at THE ARIZONA BILTMORE, coincidentally a Waldorf Astoria, in a few weeks’ time.

How fortunate some hotels are that can re-do without closing. London’s THE DORCHESTER managed with external shrouds to shield work from passers by, while CLARIDGE’S merely dug down, far down, to add five subterranean floors. That must have been hard hat heaven.