luxury blog


A Second Life for a French Manor House

A Second Life for a French Manor House
Courtesy of The Chateau de Thil

Given its legendary châteaux and spectacular countryside, Bordeaux—unlike Alsace, Burgundy and Champagne—has never had an official route des vins. That will change in the fall, thanks in large part to the popularity of Les Sources de Caudalie (, a boutique hotel, Vinothérapie Spa and epicurean destination in the region. Added to its offerings this summer is Château le Thil, an 18th-century manor house and vineyard that has found new life as a bed-and-breakfast.

The Cathiard family—in particular sisters Mathilde Thomas and Alice Tourbier—is behind the enterprise. Located just opposite the clan’s grand cru estate of Le Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Les Sources de Caudalie is named for the cult Caudalie beauty brand that is based on grape-seed extracts. Locals call the family, simply, “les Caudalies.”

Château le Thil, located roughly a mile from Les Sources de Caudalie, was built in 1737. The Comtesse de Clary (Josephine Bonaparte’s sister-in-law) renovated it in the mid-1800s; the royal connection remained intact for the next several generations. “Two-hundred years ago, Smith Haut Lafitte and Le Thil belonged to the same family,” says Tourbier, adding that the manor endured as a favorite summer retreat for various branches of nobility descended from Queen Victoria a century ago. “We’ve brought them into a family circle again.”

Freshly renovated, Château le Thil opens onto three spacious salons housing eight rooms and one suite. (An additional room, a suite with a private terrace, and a swimming pool will follow shortly.) Tourbier teamed with her mother for the decor, which varies from room to room, but the overall feel is rustic antique chic: Chantilly chandeliers, imposing wooden wardrobes, trunks, tables and chairs furnish spaces decked with dove-gray walls enlivened by colorful fabrics.

Motifs range from classic toile de Jouy and grape clusters in the Rouge Merlot suite (No. 2) to a lush landscape in the colonial Retour des Indes room (No. 7) to a mustard-hued Pierre Frey tribal print in the Lascaux & Co. room (No. 5). All bathrooms have twin sinks, clawfoot tubs and showers. And because all accommodations are in the front of the building, each offers views of rolling greenery, ponds and the oak-lined allée royale that leads back to Le Château Smith Haut Lafitte and Les Sources de Caudalie. Rates start at $325 (rooms), $520 (suite); Chemin de Smith Hait Lafitte; 33-5/57-83-83-83;

Food at Fish & Game Restaurant

Food at Fish & Game Restaurant
Nick Wood Photo / Michael Davis Architects and Interiors

With the opening of Fish & Game in Hudson, New York, chef Zak Pelaccio became neighbors with many of the producers he has sourced ingredients from for decades while cooking in other kitchens. After stints at Daniel and The French Laundry, Pelaccio opened the now closed Chickenbone Café in 2003 in the then unhip south Williamsburg area of Brooklyn. Next he started his Fatty Crew restaurant empire (Fatty Crab, Fatty ’Cue, Pig and Khao) in Manhattan, establishing his celebrity chef credentials.

Now, with Fish & Game, Pelaccio and his wife and co-chef Jori Jayne Emde, are seeing the fruition of a longtime dream to create a four-season restaurant based almost entirely on locally sourced and produced ingredients. Although country in location and casual in ambiance (wearing jeans is not a problem), Fish & Game is not your typical laid-back, farm-to-table establishment.

In what was a former blacksmith building, the restaurant—designed by Michael Davis Architects + Interiors—pays homage to Hudson’s red-light gambling past with burgundy velvet printed wall coverings that contrast with fireplaces in the bar area and the dining room. The tables and bar were built and designed by Brooklyn-based woodworker Peter Heilman.

Menu items change daily, dependent upon the fare growing in the Pelaccio-Emde garden and what is gathered from area producers. Preservation, fermentation and pickling are key to managing the eatery’s no-waste, whole-animal culinary commitment. Guest can choose from a seven-course prix fixe menu (vegetarian or omnivore) or an à la carte bar menu.

Although some items may seem over-constructed and complicated at first glance, preparations are actually anything but. Recent dishes included semolina dumplings with baby kale, amaranth and rhubarb chutney; a Vermont rice bowl contained smoked pork belly, leek kimchi and pea shoots. A salad, called an “assortment of leaves,” was dressed with barrel-aged trout fish sauce and borage vinegar. Dessert left an impression: pound cake soaked in eggs, chocolate and cream, lightly baked and served with strawberry sorbet and strawberry syrup. 13 S. Third St.; 518-822-1500;

Napa Valley Festival del Sole

Napa Valley Festival del Sole
Vi Bottaro

Combining wine, food, wellness and once-in-a-lifetime cultural experiences into a single, well-rounded package, Napa Valley Festival del Sole (July 12–21) is one of those events that seems to have it all. In its eighth season, it is the sole time each year when such a conglomerate gathers at various locations in the area.

“Every summer Napa Valley Festival del Sole showcases the brightest stars and rising talent in the worlds of music, dance and theater blended with Napa Valley’s exceptional wines and cuisine,” says festival cofounder and director Richard Walker.

With more than 60 performances and events and 100 participating wineries, the festival kicks off with a headlining show by Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, who will hit the stage at a castle at vineyard Castello di Amorosa (pictured here). (Single tickets are sold out, but a multi-day VIP pass [$650 to $7,500] is still an option for admission.)

Other highlights include a Deco-style gala (July 14) at the grand Meadowood Napa Valley resort, the Yoga in the Vineyard series (July 14 and 21) at the Entre Nous estate and winery in Oakville and a Dance Gala (July 19) featuring the Russian National Orchestra backing dancers from Ballet San Jose, San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. And one of the most popular performances, 24 Hour Plays (July 20), stars the likes of Alfre Woodard, Allison Janney and Chazz Palminteri, who are tasked with creating four ten-minute plays—from germination to final performance—over the course of one day.

Luckily, you and the roughly 10,000 festival attendees have ten full days to enjoy everything the gathering has to offer. 888-337-6272;

The Ultimate Anti-Aging Advice

The Ultimate Anti-Aging Advice
Courtesy of KCM Publishing

When Manhattan plastic surgeon Gerald Imber published the first version of his book The Youth Corridor: Your Guide to Timeless Beauty in 1997, his approach turned heads and, no doubt, improved skin. Now, he has introduced a video-enhanced e-book version of his manifesto—focused on prevention, maintenance and correction—complete with new material and 14 video clips that essentially bring the doctor to you.

“The format was a result of my desire to make the book more personal and relevant, like a consultation,” says Imber. “In fact, it addresses subjects as I do, face to face.”

An informative, interesting read no matter your relationship with anti-aging strategies, the book is like a self-help manual for one’s face, proving surgery alone isn’t always the answer to looking younger. Imber delves into diet (enjoy antioxidant-rich foods), exercise (consider swapping running, which can cause facial skin to lose elasticity over time, for lower-impact workouts) and the foundations of a solid skincare routine (from cleanser and moisturizer to vitamin C serums [we wrote about his Boost 2.0 serum last year] and alpha-hydroxy acids).

The advice is bound to make you re-think some of your habits and, if knowledge is indeed power, walk away armed with the tools to help maintain natural beauty for as long as possible. “The point is for the reader to understand what they can do for themselves,” he says, “and what we can do for them.” Available for iPad and iPhone at;

Monte Carlo Welcomes the Campana Brothers

Monte Carlo Welcomes the Campana Brothers
Fernando Laszlo

Two of the world’s most provocative designers are contributing their talents to a major celebration in Monte Carlo. Marking the 150th anniversary of the legendary Casino de Monte-Carlo—one of the principality’s most recognized landmarks—the exhibit “Dangerous Luxury” (July 6–20) will present a world preview of works by Brazilian designers and brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana.

Known for using recycled and unusual materials to create pieces with personality and irresistible texture—a chair made of stuffed animals; the well-known Favela chair made of pieces of recycled wood—the Campana brothers display a quirky, technical creativity. Shown at the casino’s Sporting d’Hiver, the exhibit originated in Paris at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and was extended especially for Monte Carlo, complete with new works.

The furnishings meld natural fibers from central Brazil with Art Deco–inspired European influences. Jewelry (called “forbidden jewels”) will be on view, blending bronze, gold and gems as well as pop items (toothbrushes, alligators) and more traditional motifs. And guests will also be able to view a series of sketches on loan from the artists, which will help to illuminate the siblings’ creative process even more.

"The name 'Dangerous Luxury' is ironic," says Humberto. "What is luxury today? It is mixing gold and diamonds with a very natural straw, a very banal material, to create another object. I think this is the key message of the exhibition. People need to have eyes to see hidden things, so we try to point out situations that are hidden and highlight them." July 6–20; Place du Casino, Sporting d’Hiver;

Browsing the Brimfield Antique Show

Browsing the Brimfield Antique Show
Courtesy Gael Towey

From July 9 to 14, more than 6,000 antiques dealers will descend on the quiet New England town of Brimfield, Massachusetts, for the Brimfield Antique Show—one of the world’s largest open-air flea markets. Antiques dealers and collectors are an interesting lot (how many 19th-century bundt-cake pans does one really need?), but this is where the talent behind Ralph Lauren Home—and probably your favorite interior designers—comes to find singular pieces and inspiration, whether it’s a year for vintage industrial or Mad Men modern.

The show, made up of some 21 individually owned and operated fields, extends for a mile along either side of Route 20. Warehouse dealers drive in from all over the country to load up semi trucks, paying cash for birdcages, blown glass, mercury glass, Gustavian chairs, tables, consoles, floor lamps, textiles and other finds. Mary-Kate Olsen has been known to visit the fair to buy jewelry.

It is as much a trade show as a flea market, which means the pickers are professional (tip: get there early) and bargaining is common (open the negotiations by asking if the dealer would be willing to go lower). It also means that the apparent trends at Brimfield—like transferware platters, hurricane lamps or Deco credenzas—will probably show up in stores and shelter magazines later in the year, so a good eye can put you ahead of the curve.

Now in its 54th year, Brimfield happens three times annually (May, July and September). Eighteen of this round’s fields will open on July 9, with a few more following later in the week. The larger public usually swoops in over the weekend, after many of the pros have come and gone. July 9–14; Rte. 20, Brimfield, Massachusetts;

The Capella Pedregal Food & Wine Festival

The Capella Pedregal Food & Wine Festival
Capella Pedregal

With its sumptuous beachfront suites, palatial spa and 24-acre property accessible only by a private tunnel from Cabo San Lucas, the Capella Pedregal resort hardly needs a special event to lure in visitors. But its second annual Food & Wine Festival (July 10–14), a decadent culinary occasion limited to just 120 guests, is sure to impress.

The celebration of Baja cuisine features cooking demonstrations by some of the most notable chefs in the west, including Tim Hollingsworth, current chef de cuisine at the French Laundry in Napa; Kent Rathbun of Abacus in Dallas; and Yvan Mucharraz, Capella Pedregal’s new executive chef, who hails from Mexico City’s Tezka. Local vintner and master sommelier Humberto Falcon of Mariatinto winery will orchestrate daily tastings of wines from Baja’s Guadalupe Valley, which has a growing climate similar to that found in Napa and Sonoma.

According to Marco Bustamante, food and beverage director at the resort, the festival’s small size gives guests unparalleled access to the culinary stars. Each cooking demonstration—highlighting locally sourced produce like Baja-farmed organic pork, mangoes and line-caught fish—will have just 60 to 70 attendees. The opening-night wine reception, tequila seminar and after-party make for easy mingling.

The main draws, however, are likely the two evening meals: One is a barbecue beach party at the resort’s Beach Club, with chefs cooking on open grills and a team of mixologists serving Baja-themed cocktails, and the other is a grand five-course dinner prepared by the chefs and complete with dancing.

Given all the planned indulgences, Bustamante has only vague advice for guests worried about their waistlines. “There’s an excellent fitness center here,” he says. “So if you really want to be virtuous and head there between seminars, you can.” Good luck with that. Festival rates start at $3,820 (including accommodations, airport transfers and meals); Camino Del Mar 1; 52-624/163-4300;

Verdura at Masterpiece London

Verdura at Masterpiece London
Courtesy of Verdura

During the summer, when London’s art and cultural calendar is at its height, the city buzzes with excitement. And the highlight of this year’s season may well be Masterpiece London (June 27 through July 3), now in its fourth year and quickly gaining a reputation as one of the most multifaceted art, antiques and design festivals around. “It’s a true collectors’ fair,” says CEO Nazy Vassegh. “It’s everything from antiques to contemporary art.”

Indeed, this year’s fair will feature works as varied as Puzzle Portrait, a 1978 painting by Roy Lichtenstein that was purchased directly from the artist in 1983, and a white Carrara marble statue of Bacchus by 17th-century Italian sculptor Domenico Pieratti.

But art isn’t the only thing for sale and for show. Verdura, the iconic American jewelry company, is exhibiting at the fair for the third year. “Fulco di Verdura lived in the U.K. upon his retirement,” notes brand chairman Ward Landrigan. “We are bringing Verdura back home.”

To celebrate its New York Style collection, the original Maltese cuffs that Verdura designed for Coco Chanel will be on display in conjunction with on-sale vintage pieces, such as a 38-carat diamond bracelet ($385,000); a sapphire-and-emerald brooch ($169,500); and a Ceylon sapphire, emerald and diamond ring ($325,000). South Grounds, The Royal Hospital Chelsea; 44-20/7499-7470;

GrillHampton Fires Up

GrillHampton Fires Up
Courtesy of Estia's Little Kitchen

If fans of grilling thought outdoor cooking couldn’t get much better, GrillHampton is about to elevate it. The inaugural event, held July 12 (8 P.M.) at Sayre Park in Bridgehampton, puts a competitive spin on cooking with fire. Hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian, chef and partner of The Lambs Club and The National, the celebration involves two teams—one from New York, one from the East End—of accomplished local chefs. Vying for two awards, from the official judges and from the (lucky) crowd, the likes of Elizabeth Karmel (Hill Country in New York), Chris Santos (Stanton Social in New York) and Colin Ambrose (Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor) will square off.

“I can say that these chefs will be creative while still sticking to the classics,” says Zakarian. “There will be great steaks, burgers and ribs, but think deconstructed steaks from Delmonico’s of Southampton and dressed-up burgers like the French-onion-soup burger from chef Paul Denamiel.”

GrillHampton takes place the night before Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, a popular event featuring more than 40 restaurants from the Hamptons showing off their culinary prowess. But for that one Friday night, it will be all about the undeniable allure of the grill.

“It’s man versus nature,” says Zakarian. “It’s just in us, and it allows you to feel formidable!” Tickets, $115; Sayre Park, 156 Snake Hollow Rd., Bridgehampton;

Summer Hair Must-Do

Summer Hair Must-Do
Courtesy of Julien Farel

Whatever the reports of climate change across the globe, high humidity remains a major force to reckon with when it comes to having smooth hair. Numerous treatments, from Brazilian blowouts to Japanese straightening, have dominated the market with some scary consequences. “If not done correctly, Japanese straightening can break hair that’s damaged,” says Rudy Peña, a hair-treatment specialist at the Julien Farel Salon in Manhattan. “The formula is so strong, it strips out all the vitamins and protein that strengthen and protect hair.” And Brazilian treatments have faced controversy over their use of formaldehyde.

Hair that is color-treated, over-processed and damaged from frequent blowouts loses body and luster, becoming uncontrollably frizzy when humidity hits its high point. The solution, according to Peña, is the Zero Frizz Quickie, a new treatment developed exclusively at the salon using Julien Farel’s own line of JF Zero Frizz products. Depending on hair’s length and thickness, the entire process can take no more than 45 minutes. (The treatment is currently available at the salon’s New York locations and will be offered at the Miami and Cabo San Lucas outposts later this year.)

I was heading to Miami Beach for the weekend and decided to give it a true road test. Peña began with a shampoo to make sure my hair was extra clean. He then towel-dried it and massaged the treatment—a mix of JF Zero Frizz Restore and keratin protein—into my scalp at the sink. He blow-dried my hair thoroughly and flat-ironed it to seal the product into each strand’s cortex. We returned to the sink for another application of a deep mask and finished with a final blowout and style.

My hair is naturally curly and wavy, and I don’t really like it stick straight, so I was concerned that some body would be lost, but that wasn’t the case. The treatment made blow-drying easier, and though I still needed to use a smoothing product, I definitely noticed a change in my hair’s texture. The best part? My blowout survived four days in 100 percent humidity and didn’t fall flat or frizz.

The Zero Frizz Quickie lasted almost three months, making the $200 investment a real bargain. (Peña said it would last about two months, but I found using the JF Zero Frizz shampoo and conditioner helped extend the results.) As a final test, I returned to Miami six months after having the treatment and found the frizz had returned and a blowout was useless; my hair fell flat and was unmanageable. I had to retreat to my old system of swimming in the ocean and keeping the saltwater in my hair for as long as possible—not the most aromatic styling process. 605 Madison Ave.; 212-888-8988; 400 Fifth Ave., 4th fl.; 212-613-8720;

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