If neighborhoods could talk, New York’s Greenwich Village would have plenty to say. And thanks to the new book Greenwich Village Stories: A Collection of Memories (Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation in collaboration with Rizzoli International Publications; $30), readers get to hear its tales (almost) straight from the source—namely 66 notable residents, who themselves figure into their home turf’s mystique as much as the jazz clubs, restaurants and residences do.
In celebration of the book, several of the contributors will hold readings in the coming weeks. John Leguizamo kicks things off at Strand Bookstore on April 10 (7 P.M.; 828 Broadway; strandbooks.com), and Doonan joins performance artist Penny Arcade, Isaac Mizrahi, Parker Posey and others at Symphony Space on April 23 (7:30 P.M.; 2537 Broadway; symphonyspace.org). Greenwich Village Stories: A Collection of Memories is available March 25 at bookstores everywhere; gvshp.org.
Vineyards are the unquestionable stars of Napa Valley, but a new program at Meadowood gives a way to enjoy maximum wellness along with the wine. Healthiest Year Yet, a two-night stay allowing you to train—and recover—while savoring all the area has to offer, fosters healthy habits while acknowledging the ever-growing desire for sophisticated wellness options at hotels and resorts.
“Wellness and fitness are such great complements for travelers who are trying to create a more well-balanced visit to the Napa Valley,” says Kerry Brackett, Meadowood's health spa manager. “We strive to present inspiring and energizing experiences that send our guests home with a renewed sense of vigor.”
Things start off with a 90-minute fitness assessment and personal-training options. There is unlimited access to classes (yoga, cardio, Zumba, TRX suspension training), sports (golf, swimming, tennis, croquet) and instructors. And a custom Eco-Fitness session takes full advantage of the resort’s 250 acres, guiding you through workouts that could include uphill sprints, a jog on the four and a half miles of hiking trails, push-ups and planks on the golf course and strength training by the pool.
Of course, all facets of the resort are available. The spa offers a variety of treatments that can also be done privately in-room; the dining options, including the Grill and the elegant Michelin three-star Restaurant at Meadowood, are not to be missed. The package is clearly balanced, aiming to leave you feeling strong, relaxed and satisfied.
“Our goal,” says Brackett, “is to be a place of rejuvenation for both the mind and body.” Rates start at $1,800 a couple; 900 Meadowood Ln.; 855-625-7546; meadowood.com.
Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica takes on an Italian air as it pairs up with Le Sirenuse (sirenuse.it), the idyllic hotel located in Positano, Italy, for a week of food and style. The culinary collaboration, involving Le Sirenuse Michelin-starred chef Matteo Temperini and Shutters executive chef Sven Mede, features dishes—served at the hotel’s One Pico restaurant (pictured above)—that not only impress but illustrate how the two escapes complement each other effortlessly.
“What is so wonderful is to see the importance given to the ingredients in both cuisines,” says Le Sirenuse owner Antonio Sersale. “Both the Californian cuisine and the Neapolitan are healthy, genuine, simple and always very tasteful.”
Dishes by chef Temperini, such as lombata di vitello (roasted veal cutlet with capers, baby onions and anchovy juice) and tortelli con Genovese di manzo agerolino alle spezie (tortellini topped with black truffles and Parmesan fondue), mix with contributions from Mede like grilled Georges Bank swordfish with crispy polenta, cipollini onions, black olives and blood oranges. Fittingly, the Amalfi Coast inspires the wines.
The experience doesn’t end with dinner. A pop-up shop in Shutters, organized by Carla Sersale, co-owner of Le Sirenuse and creator of its popular boutique, Emporio Le Sirenuse, offers a well-edited selection of items including totes, scarves, swim trunks, glassware and the hotel’s Eau d’Italie bath collection.
“[This] is an opportunity to experience a bit of the paradise that is Le Sirenuse,” says Shutters on the Beach general manager Gregory Day, “including its food, wines and the other pleasures of life on the Amalfi Coast.” Through February 26; 1 Pico Blvd.; 310-458-0300; shuttersonthebeach.com.
One of the top tailors Down Under is bringing his expertise stateside for the first time. Patrick Johnson of Australia-based P.Johnson Tailors (29 Thomas St., Melbourne; 61-4/8820-7240; 46 Liverpool St., Sydney; 61-2/9966-7548) will host trunk shows in New York February 17 to February 19 at The Towers at the New York Palace Hotel (455 Madison Ave.).
Known for impeccable fit and sharp details, Johnson’s suits (from $1,100) pair artisanal techniques (sewing and pressing by hand) with modern technical upgrades (proprietary pattern-making software) that result in garments with both character and precision. (P.Johnson will return for follow-up fittings every seven weeks.) It is an approach that the tailor is eager to share.
“It’ll be great to see our existing clients, but we’re also keen to show U.S. men who we are and what we do,” says Johnson (pictured above), who champions a “reduction and refinement of the wardrobe.” “We want them to see that a simple, clean and fresh approach to dressing makes it easier to have an effective look.”
The annual Tibet House benefit concert at Carnegie Hall is a music-filled affair looked forward to by both fans and the artists who take the stage alike. This year’s installment (March 11), which, as always, supports the work of the nonprofit, is no exception.
“Every year we are very fortunate to have the finest performers, from legendary artists to the most exciting emerging musicians,” says event artistic director Philip Glass (pictured above), an original Tibet House founder. “Collaborations are always part of the concert, and every year I'm amazed at the chemistry the evening produces.”
This year’s lineup, which promises more than a few sparks, includes Iggy Pop; Patti Smith & Her Band; Matt Berninger, Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner of The National; American composer Nico Muhly; and Tibetan folk singer Techung. And performance poet Mike Garry will pair up with British composer Joe Duddell on a musical version of Saint Anthony, a poem by Garry about Anthony H. Wilson, the late owner of the now defunct British indie record label Factory Records. The new rendition is inspired by the song "Your Silent Face" by New Order, which was one of the bands Wilson signed; New Order's Bernard Sumner will help perform the work.
An organization with a sole mission to preserve Tibetan culture, Tibet House began in 1987 as a direct request from the Dalai Lama. Headquartered in New York, it continues to garner support, celebrity (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard and Chuck Close are this year’s honorary chairs) and otherwise—proving a good cause never goes out of style.
“The Tibetan culture is a priceless treasure,” says Glass, “and one worth saving.” Tickets for the show and the dinner reception start at $500; 881 Seventh Ave.; 212-807-0563; boomset.com.
Taking a breath might seem like the simplest thing in the world to do, but according to Dr. Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist and breathing expert, 98 percent of us do it wrong—a statistic she is determined to change with her comprehensive Breathe classes at the private West Village gym Willspace.
“Breathing is the single most important thing you do,” says Vranich, who has finessed the inhalations and exhalations of everyone from convicts to corporate types. “Oxygen is cell fuel. People are running on fumes, then wondering why they are so fatigued.”
The drills are intense and specific, concentrating on two-part belly breaths that work the body’s midsection. (Shallow breathers tend to inhale from their upper body, forgetting about the underused diaphragm and surrounding core muscles.) While active meditation is included—and the studio is dim and comfortable—the work is serious. During our session, Vranich (pictured above, left) didn't allow us to lose focus during the surprisingly fatiguing drills, prompting us to power through as we would any challenging exercise routine.
The influx of oxygen might leave you a bit tingly (some people cry in response, others laugh), but by the end of the class we were more cognizant of what our lungs were doing and breathing effortlessly—freer, looser. Vranich has seen enhanced breathing improve anxiety, sleep, GI issues, energy levels and athletic performance. And while a certain amount of discipline is needed to change old habits, much of the transformation has to do with simply knowing your body—and that is as basic as it gets.
“It’s not about finding another doctor, another medication or just living with discomfort,” she says. “I want people to feel empowered and delighted that they can heal.” Call for class schedules; 254 W. Tenth St.; 212-929-1800; willspace.com.
Enjoying a choice bottle of wine is a treat. Enjoying a choice bottle of wine with the winemaker who produced it takes the experience to new heights, and Asiate restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental New York is doing just that with its exclusive series of monthly wine dinners (through June), which showcase the vinous handiwork of highly regarded wineries from around the world.
“We host many of the dinners in the restaurant’s private dining room, which creates an intimate, almost one-on-one experience,” says Annie Turso, Mandarin Oriental New York’s wine director and sommelier at Asiate. “Each of the wineries selected represents the heart and soul of the region it is from.”
Rare, intriguing vintages delight guests (there are just 15 seats for each dinner) at the 35th-floor restaurant overlooking Central Park. The winemakers essentially host the affairs, working closely with Asiate chef de cuisine Angie Berry to conceptualize multicourse menus that team perfectly with their wines.
In December guests dined with His Royal Highness Prince Robert of Luxembourg, enjoying particularly rare whites and reds from Château Haut-Brion. Château Palmer from the Margaux region of Bordeaux takes the stage this month (January 27), followed by Pio Cesare from Piedmont, Italy (February 17), and Champagne Louis Roederer (March 17).
Throughout the run, whether getting to know the “Vins de Garde” (wines meant for aging) produced by Domaine Alain Burguet of Gevrey-Chambertin, France (April 14); learning about the Staglin Family Vineyard from Rutherford, California, in the Napa Valley (May 12); or chatting with the heirs of Domaines Schlumberger founder Nicolas Schlumberger, who own grand cru vineyards in Alsace that date back to the ancient Roman era (June 16), the access is unparalleled. Dinners begin at 6:30 P.M., prices vary; 80 Columbus Cir.; 212-805-8809; mandarinoriental.com.
With a combined 695 years of experience between them, Beretta, the oldest industrial company in the world, and Brooks Brothers, one of the country’s most iconic clothing brands, has collaborated on outerwear that is as hardy as it is stylish.
The fall line features two designs: the Cordura ($700) and the Wax Jacket ($400, pictured above), both lined with Brooks Brothers' signature tartan and sporting technical Beretta elements that come in handy whether you’re in the field or in the city.
Look for fleece-lined handwarmer pockets, a hat tucked into an inner pocket and hands-free shoulder straps (so you can slip out of the jacket without it falling on the ground) on the Cordura; brave the conditions in the waterproof, windproof Wax Jacket, complete with rainproof inner cuffs, front-bellow pockets and a specially designed clean-feeling waxed-cotton fabric. Can’t get enough of the looks? The two brands are planning another collection for spring. beretta.com; brooksbrothers.com.
Ellerman House, one of South Africa’s preeminent boutique hotels (the recent Africa issue of DEPARTURES gave it a nod), has much to offer its guests. But one major highlight has finally been put on proper display.
“Up to now we’ve been committed to sharing five things: our location, our gardens, true South African hospitality, cuisine and art,” says Lindsy Marais, sales and marketing manager. “The one aspect that was missing was showing and sharing our incredible South African wine collection.”
The collection—7,500 bottles strong—is now part of an all-encompassing wine destination comprised of a gallery tasting room and the brand-new three-bedroom Villa Two (from $4,100), the second villa on the property.
Amid the cutting-edge architecture and design, guests will find a Champagne cellar, a maturation center and a wine library. An interactive app can help with navigation, and there’s even a brandy tasting lounge for those interested in the more spirited side of wine.
But the focus is on the natural aspects of the surrounding land and the use of similarly organic materials. A spiraling, carbon-fiber wine rack (designed by industrial designer Brian Steinhobel) is a riff on a corkscrew, curving more than 19 feet in length with a capacity to hold 1,500 bottles. The South African–granite floors (polished for a raw-yet-refined look) are inset with copper strips in a design inspired by Fibonacci’s golden-ratio theory. A wall of soil samples, culled from a hundred farms and arranged in rammed-earth formations within copper frames, stands as a map of the area's terroir.
“It was a massive collaboration between artists, artisans and materials,” says Marais. “The brief to the design team was to come up with something that has never been done before, and they managed to do just that.” 180 Kloof Rd., Bantry Bay; 27-21/430-3200; ellerman.co.za.
Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World (Portfolio Hardcover), by writer and DEPARTURES contributor Mark Ellwood, examines the desire for a discount from every angle with humor and in-depth reporting. We chatted with him about the strategy—and the science—behind the almighty deal. amazon.com; mark-ellwood.com.
Q: What surprised you the most as you put the book together? A: Finding out that we are genetically pre-programmed to respond to discounts and deals—that a chemical in our brain urges us to act when we see a sale sign. It’s a hormone I nicknamed “buyagra.”
Q: Seems fitting! Is it the same everywhere? A: In the 18 months I spent researching the book I traveled around the world, from Japan to Turkey to Australia to the UK, and I was staggered by the shift in buying attitudes across the world. Put simply, developed nations, which were once so discountphobic, are embracing their inner haggler, while China, India and others are discarding their discount mindset.
Q: How will bargain mania continue to affect luxury goods? A: In the 1990s the luxury market boomed, as high-end marques became household names. It’s a situation that combines profit and pitfalls: Expanding in response helped juice these labels’ bank balances, but it also risked tarnishing their cachet. I suspect that luxury will cleave in half, where a customer can decide if he or she is cheap or choosy. Everyday items from a core collection might be produced at large volume and potentially discounted at season’s end; a few ultra-select, truly limited-edition pieces will be custom created—their scarcity driving the retail price skyward.
Q: What does it mean for travelers? A: The retail Rubicon that the travel industry will likely be the first to cross is what’s euphemistically dubbed “personalized pricing.” This is a tweak on dynamic pricing that uses more than just market data to decide cost for a certain customer: It factors in that customer’s history, loyalty and spending power. If you consistently book a last-minute business-class fare, for example, it telegraphs to an airline that price isn't a deciding factor for your purchase, so that firm can charge you more. It will make browsing and booking anonymously ever more important. Even now, when it comes to travel I only use an incognito Google Chrome browser window—a price prophylactic.
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