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June 20, 2012
By Ingrid Skjong | Hotel

The Montauk Beach House Opens in the Hamptons
Chris Foster

The town of Montauk—perched on the southeastern tip of Long Island in the Hamptons—has seen a string of casually chic hotels over the last few years. This summer it welcomes The Montauk Beach House, the brainchild of owners Chris Jones and Larry Siedlick, whose hotel and private beach club underwent a $7 million renovation before its debut this month.

The 33 airy guest rooms are steeped in natural light, luxe bedding and an array of amenities. Find Belgian linen drapes, whitewashed oak floors and headboards made from 14-foot-wide reclaimed barn wood in the Whitewater Lofts. Moonlight Suites look out over two swimming pools and have lofty 14-foot ceilings, claw-foot tubs and cast iron beds, and each Whitewater Garden room opens to a 200-square-foot private outdoor garden.

“When guests come to our house, we want them to experience Montauk with a sense of style and surprising delights,” says Jones. “We’re a rather splendid place to stay the night. We’re also an elegant way to spend the day and evening.”

No. 50, the hotel’s private beach and pool club, adds another layer to the experience here (seasonal memberships, $1,100; membership@thembh.com ). Members enjoy comforts such as 120 cabana beds, two pools, a location steps from the beach and a pop-up boutique of women’s wear label Minnie Rose. It also offers access to special services and lineups of curated events that include everything from fashion shows to music performances. But the best part? The Beach House is open through November 1, so the fun needn’t stop after Labor Day. Rooms, from $300; 55 S. Elmwood Ave.; 631-668-2112; thembh.com.

May 15, 2012
By Marnie Hanel | Hotel

The Beverly Hills Hotel Centennial
Courtesy “The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows - The First 100 Years” by Robert S. Anderson, Official Historian for The Beverly Hills Hotel, publication date May 2012.

This week marks the centennial of The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows. To celebrate the occasion, Robert S. Anderson, the hotel’s official historian, is releasing a 396-page biography of the hotel titled The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows: The First 100 Years ($100). Anderson is the great-grandson of the hotel’s original owner, Margaret Anderson, and his unique perspective results in a stunning compendium of images and anecdotes.

The history of The Beverly Hills Hotel is the history of Beverly Hills itself. The resort opened in 1912; the city was founded in 1914. “Beverly Hills was built around the hotel,” says Anderson. “Only about 75 people lived on property and they needed 550 inhabitants to become a city, so [railroad magnate] Henry Huntington had his railroad crew camp out.” In 1926, Will Rogers was named the city’s honorary mayor, and the comedian cheekily accepted his new position on the front lawn of the hotel. “During his inauguration, Rogers said that Beverly Hills would do well because there are two swimming pools to every Bible,” says Anderson. “That comment got him thousands of letters addressed to ‘Will Rogers, Beverly Hills.’ That embarrassed the government into giving us our own post office.” 

Anderson’s book captures other moments, too. Marlene Dietrich smokes a cigarette in the Polo Lounge. Marilyn Monroe reclines in a swimsuit on the lawn. Faye Dunaway poses poolside with her Oscar for Network (1976). If Old Hollywood had a clubhouse, the “Pink Palace” would be it—and that was true even before it was painted pink. (Designer Paul Williams, creator of the hotel’s iconic logo, introduced the color in 1948.) The transformation of Beverly Hills from barren desert to lush Xanadu is a running theme in the book, and Anderson’s favorite image out of the 540 he curated captures that metamorphosis. “It’s a photograph looking west,” he says. “Where the swimming pool is today, there’s a tennis court. The landscape is bare and the grounds are filled with scrub brush. You can see the ocean.” BeverlyHillsCollection.com.

April 18, 2012
By Jordan Kisner | Hotel

Rosewood San Miguel de Allende Opens
Courtesy Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

San Miguel de Allende is less than 200 miles from Mexico City, but it feels worlds away. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its gorgeous historic architecture, the city has long been a hub for artists and writers—Diego Rivera worked there in the 1950s. Though a favorite destination for American expatriates, San Miguel de Allende is still a relatively undiscovered tourist destination—a fact that’s bound to change now that Rosewood has opened the city’s first five-star resort. The resort features beautifully appointed suites (book the Parroquia for the best private views of the city), multiple restaurants and a world-class spa with treatments like Thermal Waters Wellness, where guests soak in San Miguel’s natural thermal pools and then receive a scrub using local lavender. Guests who want a deeper experience of the city’s heritage can take classes at the famed Instituto de Allende, or opt for a workshop with a local artisan in his studio. Afterwards, sip tequila from the nearby Casa Dragones at the rooftop tapas bar or, better yet, let the resort arrange a special trip to the Casa for an exclusive tasting. rosewoodhotels.com/en/sanmigueldeallende

April 13, 2012
By Departures Dispatch | Lifestyle, Hotel, Beauty

Rose 31 at the Gramercy Park Hotel
Photo courtesy Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

We discovered Le Labo Fragrances, a New York–based perfumer that is known for its creative collection of handmade scents, at the Gramercy Park Hotel, which burns its Cade 26 candles in the lobby. The scent was so intoxicating, we bought some to burn in the office. So when bottles of Le Labo shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion—in the floral yet woodsy Rose 31, a perfect unisex scent—appeared in rooms at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, California, we had another great reason to check in. fairmont.com.

April 11, 2012
By Marnie Hanel | Hotel

Thierry Despont on 45 Park Lane’s Penthouse Suite
Niall Clutton / Courtesy 45 Park Lane Hotel

Perched on the roof and featuring a grand, wraparound balcony, the 1,830-square-foot one-bedroom penthouse at 45 Park Lane (which opened last fall) offers panoramic views of Hyde Park as well as postcard monuments such as the London Eye. As London’s grand season kicks off—the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is just around the corner—Departures asked architect-designer Thierry Despont to weigh in on his inspiration for the exquisite penthouse.

How does the design of 45 Park Lane interact with its venerable sister property, The Dorchester?
From the start, we were keen on designing a building that would be iconic yet contemporary, that would blend into its surroundings and, at the same time, announce its presence as the new landmark on Park Lane. The horizontal metal fins we designed for the façade accentuate the dynamic shape of the building and respond to the gentle, inward curve of The Dorchester. Another important design element, inspired by flowing curtains, is the exterior art panels, which is a monumental sculpture that has been approved by the Westminster Council as an art piece. The council was so intent on highlighting them, they encouraged more exterior lighting.

There’s also remarkable art within the penthouse.
Most of the art throughout was specifically commissioned for 45 Park Lane. The penthouse suite displays work by Sir Peter Blake depicting a modern interpretation of Rotten Row—the historic see-and-be-seen avenue in Hyde Park. The collection highlights British artists, celebrities and London views.

What influenced the palette of the penthouse suite? The textiles?
The views of Hyde Park, the sun filtering in during the morning and the blue skies. There’s a contemporary timelessness. [I chose] natural materials such as marble, cerused mahogany, suede, leather and silk velvet, trying to keep things clean yet sumptuous rather than overwhelming with patterns.

Which signature Thierry Despont design elements will our travelers recognize?
Luxurious fabrics, ultra-comfortable custom-made furniture, well-appointed dressing areas and breathtaking bathrooms.

How would you describe your overarching vision for the penthouse?
It’s a gorgeous hotel space that doesn’t feel like a hotel.

www.45parklane.com; from $10,429 per night

January 12, 2012
By Departures Dispatch | Travel, Hotel

Le Sirenuse
Photo by Steve Wrubel

There are those who say Le Sirenuse, on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, is the chicest hotel in the world—no small thanks to Carla and Antonio Sersale, whose family has run the place for 60 years. In October, Antonio celebrated his 50th and Carla did what any la-dolce-vita-loving wife would do: She threw a party. The dress was festive with a tinge of Orient—and so it was, on everyone from Carla

and Antonio

to their two sons, Aldo and Francesco

, and the rest of the cast of 300 family, friends, and regulars at the hotel, which opens its doors once again on April 1.

November 29, 2011
By Deborah Frank | Hotel, Beauty

When we were invited last summer to meet French hairstylist John Nollet in
his newly opened salon at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, we expected to see a large, busy space with assistants bustling, blow-dryers
whirring and scissors snipping. Instead, the concierge escorted us to Suite
101, with its nondescript door, around the corner from the elevators. It was
hard not to notice that Nollet’s atelier is perfectly located for quick
and discreet arrivals and departures by his French celebrity clientele, like
singer Vanessa Paradis and La Vie en Rose’s Marion Cotillard.
Inside, the small yet chicly decorated room with gold walls has French doors
that open onto a long terrace overlooking the hotel’s garden courtyard.
In 2009, the Park Hyatt hired Nollet to bring his styling services to 11 of
its properties around the world. From Tokyo to Buenos Aires to London, he appeared
at guests’ doors with his elaborate, custom-built Louis Vuitton trunk
containing the tools of his trade to cut and color their coifs. The yearlong
tour was such a success that the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme invited Nollet
to permanently set up his Hair Room Service by John Nollet in its hotel. Guests can still arrange appointments in their rooms, but the
privacy and charm of the personal service with Nollet in Suite 101 is a Parisian
pas de deux worth experiencing. From $950 a session; paris.vendome.hyatt.com.

September 22, 2011
By Joshua David Stein | Restaurants, Hotel, New York

201109-blog-travel-notesjpg
John DeLucie. Photo by Mark Abrahams

Chef John DeLucie moves to all things old New York with Crown (24 E. 81st St.; 646-539-4880), his new clubby restaurant opening in September, the follow-up to The Lion and The Waverly Inn.

When The Penisula opens in Paris in 2013 (peninsula.com), the hotel, in the 16th Arrondissement, will boast the city’s first haute-Chinese restaurant, helmed by the Hong Kong–based company’s own chef.

Over in Marrakech, the long-awaited Mandarin Oriental will be transmogrified into a Taj Palace Marrakech (tajhotels.com) in October.

And if you’re going to San Francisco, book a bespoke tour with Carried Away (carriedawaysf.com), whose itineraries offer everything from dim sum spots to a circuit of the hottest galleries.

September 22, 2011
By Joshua David Stein | Arts + Culture, Hotel

Britain's Living Architecture program
Balancing Barn. Photo by MVRDV, The Balancing Barn 2010/ © Living Architecture

Among the winners of the Royal Institute of British Architects 2011 RIBA Awards are a few brilliant buildings one can actually sleep in. The cantilevered Balancing Barn (rooms, from $40, above), in Suffolk, and the Shingle House (rooms, from $35), a small barn-like structure on the scenic Dungeness beach in Kent, are part of the Living Architecture program, which offers design-savvy travelers cutting-edge shelters. living-architecture.co.uk.

September 22, 2011
By Joshua David Stein | Hotel

Paris's New Mandarin Oriental
Photo courtesy of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

In French, the word hôtel may be masculine, but the new Mandarin Oriental, which opened in late June and is the chain’s first in Paris, pays homage to the eternal feminine. In the heart of the First Arrondissement, the property’s 99 rooms and 39 suites were designed by Sybille de Margerie as spacious yet intimate boudoirs, complete with Man Ray’s The Kiss rendered in crimson velvet on the walls and on the headboards. Each room overlooks either an indoor garden or the bustling Rue St.-Honoré. But to stay en chambre is a mistake: Chef Thierry Marx serves what he calls “techno-emotional” cuisine—calf’s sweetbread spaghetti and soy risotto, for example—at his virginally white restaurant Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx, while the spa, all pearls and pinks, offers the Mandarin’s signature treatments like the Guerlain Orchidée Impériale facials. Rooms start at $1,095; 33-1/70-98-78-88; mandarinoriental.com.

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