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Posts by Departures Dispatch

France: LVMH's "Journées Particulières"

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The luxury conglomerate LVMH, which includes fashion houses Christian Dior Couture, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy Couture and Emilio Pucci and lifestyle brands such as Guerlain, Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, just announced that on October 15 and 16 it will allow guests to enter 25 of its traditionally off-limits ateliers in Europe. (Most are in and around Paris, but there are also locations in Spain, Italy and the UK.) The two-day event, called "Les Journées Particulières," will grant visitors access to workshops, vineyards, private mansions, family homes and boutiques and will show glimpses of the extraordinary craftsmanship behind making a Dior gown, a Pucci scarf or a bottle of Krug. It's also an ode to architecture and history: The jewelry and watchmaker Chaumet will open its Grand Salon on Place Vendôme, whose 18th–century, Neoclassical interior was designed by François-Joseph Bélanger and where the company's archive of sketches and ornaments will be on display. Most events will be open to the public, but some require advance reservations. lesjourneesparticulieres.com.

Photo Courtesy LVMH

Marrakech: Four Seasons Hotel Opening

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A stone's throw from the Merena Gardens and the famous Medina, the Four Seasons Hotel Marrakech opened June 16 on 40 acres of lush gardens. It's a modern take on traditional Moorish architecture, with riads creating a series of courtyards, arcades and walkways. The 141 rooms start at 450 square feet and are outfitted with exotic but soothing hues, handcrafted Moroccan woodwork, zellige tiling, marble bathrooms and a furnished terrace or balcony (views of the Atlas Mountains can be seen from the third and fourth floors). The suites and separate pavilions are impressive, especially the private four-bedroom, 3,765-square-foot Royal Villa, which is well suited for private entertaining with its expansive terrace and dining room for 12. There are three restaurants on the property (Provençal, Moroccan-fusion and a traditional grill) with two more to open soon, two pools and tennis courts, and the Blu Spa, a 15-room facility offering a traditional hammam experience. Introductory room rates from $475 with a $75 spa credit through September 30, at 1 Blvd. de la Menara; 800-819-5053; fourseasons.com/marrakech.

Photo Courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

National: 35° Premium Aged Steaks

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Summer grilling season is upon us, and this year foodies nationwide can have meats previously reserved for steak havens like Cut, Spago and Ruth's Chris delivered to their door, thanks to California-based purveyors 35° Premium Aged Steaks (the name refers to the optimum temperature for aging beef). The idea started when two friends, both working in the meat industry, realized that the top-tier steaks they served to their friends—courtesy of their businesses—at barbecues were not available at retail level or by Internet order. Now they send out custom cuts of New York strip, filet mignon, porterhouse, and rib eye in addition to pork rib chops, Colorado lamb racks and T-bones in vacuum-packaged containers that allow the meat to ship unfrozen, thereby preserving flavor and tenderness. When refrigerated, the boneless cuts have a shelf life of 14 days, while bone-in varieties keep for ten. The goods come in assortments ranging from a one-week sampler pack for couples to the "Game Day," which consists of ten 16-ounce rib eyes and sirloins. Be sure to check the 35° website for cooking tips, "Meat 101" and the Adam's Rib grilling blog. For more information, call 800-355-3535 or visit 35degreessteaks.com.

Photo Jon Edwards

New York: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center

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On June 17, the Film Society of Lincoln Center will cut the ribbon on the brand-new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, a 17,500-square-foot venue that will house two screening theaters, an amphitheater and a café on Lincoln Center's redeveloped campus in New York. Designed by David Rockwell and Rockwell Group, the street-level and underground spot makes use of what was once underutilized office space and a parking garage. The entrance is marked by a bright-orange, crystalline-shaped vestibule on 65th Street, the façade of which is flanked by glass walls imprinted with the thousand movie titles screened by the Film Society. The 144-seat Francesca Beale Theater has acoustically absorptive wall panels evoking the look of 1920s Italian opera house curtains, while the more intimate Howard Gilman Theater has 87 bench-style seats and modern-chic blackened wood and resin pilasters framing the screen. Both have cushioned stadium seating, unobstructed sightlines and wide aisles for maximum comfort. The site also has a less formal amphitheater that will host art installations and seminars, and a 152-inch Panasonic plasma screen that's the world's largest to date. The inaugural film will be Andrew Rossi's Page One: Inside the New York Times, a fly-on-the-wall documentary that chronicles the Gray Lady's media desk and the print giant's role in an increasingly digital world. The center will also host the New York Film Festival in late September. On W. 65th St. between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave.; 212-875-5601; filmlinc.com.

Photo dBox/Rockwell Group

Shelter Island: Introducing La Maison Blanche

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A stone's throw from the Hamptons' glamorous party spots, La Maison Blanche, an eight-room, pet-friendly boutique hotel, has opened on quieter Shelter Island, between the north and south forks of Long Island. With its muted beach-chic interior, library lounge, complimentary bicycle use, pétanque court and tranquil garden, the spot is already proving to be a welcome respite for the city-weary. Foodies are talking about La Maison Blanche's in-house bakery, where fresh bread, muffins and croissants are made daily, and its new bistro, helmed by executive chef Charles Le Tous. A veteran of Bistro Vendôme and L'Absinthe in Manhattan as well as Michelin star-rated brasseries in the Alps, Corsica and Paris, the French chef is creating European-inspired dishes; on the brunch menu are a croque madame and eggs ecossaise, while a seared branzino and steak frites—with a choice of bleu, béarnaise, shallot and au poivre sauces—are served at dinner. (One diner said the moules marinières were better than the mussels she'd had in Paris the day before.) Bon appétit! Rooms start at $225; 11 Stearns Point Rd.; 631-749-1633; maisonblanchehotel.com.

Photo Rick Lew

Washington, D.C.: Double Opening at The Phillips Collection

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Two of the biggest names in abstract art, Wassily Kandinsky and Frank Stella, will have openings at Washington, D.C.'s Phillips Collection on June 11. Kandinsky and the Harmony of Silence is an in-depth study of the Russian painter's famous 1913 Painting with White Border, which will be on view alongside 11 of his preparatory studies in oil, watercolor, ink and pencil. Using infrared technology and chemical analyses, specialists found that this series sheds light on Kandinsky's creative process. Also in the gallery is the first museum presentation of Frank Stella's sonata-inspired work. Titled Stella Sounds: The Scarlatti K Series, the exhibit features eight sculptures evoking the melodies and rhythms of 18th-century Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti and 20th-century American musicologist Ralph Kirkpatrick. The wall-mounted pieces echo Kandinsky's brightly colored abstract themes but with a 21st-century fabrication process involving lightweight white resin, industrial automotive paint and steel tubing. On view through September 4 at 1600 21st St. NW; 202-387-2151; phillipscollection.org.

Photo © 2011 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photograph © 2011 Bruce White

Online: Assouline's Coca-Cola

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There's no denying the ice-cold Coke's place in pop culture history, and to celebrate the brand's 125th anniversary, luxury publishing house Assouline has released Coca-Cola, a tome containing 170 advertisements, photographs and artworks from the company's visual archives. It's a fascinating look at the beverage's place in the American zeitgeist, from once being promoted as a refreshing sports drink for athletic ladies in the early 20th century to supermodel Naomi Campbell using the soda cans as hair rollers decades later. Andy Warhol's Pop art, "Mean" Joe Greene, JFK, Evel Knievel and many polar bears make appearances. In addition to the clothbound trade edition, there is an exclusive limited-edition version (only 1,250 will be made and sold for $650) with a hardbound cover and color plates in a linen clamshell. To accompany the book, Assouline has also launched an app with interactive animations of vintage ads, Super Bowl spots and the memorable "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" commercial. $65 at Assouline boutiques worldwide and assouline.com.

Photo Courtesy ASSOULINE/Coke

Worldwide: Ducati Monster 1100EVO

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Four months after making a buzzy debut at the New York International Motorcycle Show, the Ducati Monster 1100EVO has landed in dealerships worldwide. At 373 pounds, this model is breaking Ducati records as the first bike to reach 100 air-cooled horsepower. Supported by a Desmodue Evoluzione engine and 76 foot-pounds of torque, it gives the best power-to-weight ratio in the Monster line's history. The new design takes comfort and safety into account more than ever with higher handlebars, a re-imagined seat, and a new Ducati Safety Pack, in which high-performance traction control and automatic braking systems work conjointly. Those who don't yet know how to operate a bike might do well with a few private lessons with VIP motorcycle instructor Christine Firehock, who heads up the KickSTART Motorcycle Training Series and taught Ralph Lauren how to ride. Ducati Monster 1100EVO from $11,995; ducatiusa.com. Driving lessons from $180 per lesson; ckskickstart.com.

Photo Courtesy Ducati

Venice: The 54th International Art Biennale

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The Venice Biennale is called the Olympics of art for a reason: it happens every two years, the focus is on exhibition and celebration rather than commerce, and participants from all over the world are invited to create a "pavilion" of art to represent their country. On June 4, the exhibition kicks off when a record-breaking 89 nations will uncover their pieces housed within the city's Giardini and Arsenale pavilions. The U.S. pavilion, named "Gloria" referring to the glory of god and the glory of military battles, features six new works by artistic duo Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, including an overturned 60-ton army tank that now functions as a treadmill. Countries participating for the first time will be Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, and Andorra, while Iraq, India, and Congo are a few of the countries returning after extended absences. In the main space is "ILLUMInations," the special exhibition by this year's curator, Switzerland's Bice Curiger, who amassed works by 83 international artists that highlight the endeavors of a globalized world. Also, iPhone users should download Christie's free Biennale app, which visitors can use to locate specific pavilions and get suggestions of stops to make along one's way through the city. On view through November 27; . labiennale.org.

Photo Courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

New York and Chicago: Above 6 and NoMI

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Hotels aren't just for sleeping, as two recent openings are showing. On May 16, Thompson hotels cut the ribbon on Above 6, a terrace lounge on top of its 6 Columbus location. Thompson's third open-air hideaway in New York, the space exudes the downtown vibe of the brand's SoHo and the Lower East Side outposts while giving guests views of Central Park. Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill has created a summer cocktail menu (try the Hummingbird, a concoction of Avinyó Cava, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, club soda and Yama Momo) and curated a special selection of sakes and wines especially for the venue. In Chicago, the Park Hyatt will unveil its new seventh floor on June 3, showcasing four elements (restaurant, spa, garden and lounge) from its new lifestyle brand, NoMI (for North Michigan, the avenue on which the hotel sits). The 125-seat NoMI Kitchen will be overseen by chef Ryan LaRoche, who has partnered with local farmers and purveyors to produce the high-quality ingredient-driven dishes he's become known for. And NoMI Spa will be the exclusive Chicago spa to offer the Hydrafacial (an ultra-firming skin treatment previously performed only in doctors' offices). Above 6 at 6 Columbus Circle; 212-204-3000; thompsonhotels.com. Park Hyatt Chicago at 800 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-335-1234; parkchicago.hyatt.com.

Photo Courtesy Thompson Hotels

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