Editor’s Letter | Jan./Feb. 2013

Mary Hilliard

Are you as sick and tired of lists as we are? Those endless unedited, uncurated, uninteresting lineups of whos, whats and whens? That’s what we thought, which is why THE DEPARTURES 100, GIVE OR TAKE A FEW, was envisioned and devised to be something completely different. For one thing, there’s so much wonderful information and valuable source material we come across that we could never accommodate in a mere seven issues a year, so we decided this might be a good opportunity to open up our pages to shorter takes on many different people, places and things—all of which we believe in strongly. Take, for example, Sophy Roberts’s eye-opening, mind-popping introduction to OMAN, as well as general manager Omer Acar, whom we dub the New Prince of the Eighth, as in the Parisian arrondissement. Acar oversees the stylish, newish Le Royal Monceau, designed by Philippe Starck. Like DEPARTURES itself, this special 36-page section covers everything from architecture (how about that Liyuan Library in Huairou, China?) and design (we love the new $1,900 table lamp from Artemide) to food (whether it be the return of Wolfgang Puck to the canyons of Beverly Hills or Romans’ favorite pizza joint) and drink. If you don’t know Dovima Paris, be forewarned: Jane Pendry runs the chicest little boutique of gently priced everyday couture anywhere. And who would have guessed the best little spa/hammam in America is at the Glenmere estate in Chester, New York, some 60 minutes from Manhattan? Or that the Shangri-La, opening in June, will have the best rooms with a view in all of London? And don’t get us started on the Hoshinoya ryokan or the newly refreshed Su Casa hacienda at the just-opening Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico. The list—rather, the carefully curated recommendations—just keeps on going.

Remember When Flying Used to Be Fun?

Last week a friend told me he was flying to Australia with the family. I asked which airline. He didn’t know, “but I can tell you this: I won’t spend the money on first class, that’s for sure.” I shook my head. This guy has enough bucks to buy his own airline, and he’s not flying first. “Don’t want to spoil the kids into thinking it’s first class or nothing,” he said. Fair enough, but they’re old enough to fly coach by themselves, 15 rows back. This guy and his wife don’t know what they’re missing if they opt not to fly Qantas business or first. In an age when very little seems special, including most VIP lounges, Qantas, which I flew for this issue’s “An Australia Vacation,” is one of the few airlines that really make a difference. And the Marc Newson–designed lounge in Melbourne is one of the most beautiful anywhere. Qantas gets my vote for the DEPARTURES 100…or 101. qantas.com.au.