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July 18, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Shopping

Harrods Comes to Heathrow
Harrods

Chef-driven restaurants, in-terminal spas, quality shopping and blue-chip architecture and design are just a few of the ways airports have stepped up their game to become more than bland boxes of limbo—or, even worse, interminable entrapment.

Heathrow’s Terminal 2 in London has just upped the ante with the Harrods Fine Watch Room, which is curated by the iconic store’s fine-watch buying team and features more than 30 brands, including Montblanc, Longines, Rado, Baume & Mercier, Tag Heuer, Zenith, Maurice Lacroix, Frédérique Constant, Omega, Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, Chanel, Hublot, Chopard and Tudor (launching in September).

Though it may be the first time Harrods has taken its timepiece department outside its Knightsbridge flagship, it has managed to translate all the key components of the experience to the 1,700-square-foot airport space. Outfitted with leather furniture, crystal chandeliers and limestone-mosaic, black-granite and gold-metallic details, it is an excellent way to help get you where you’re going on time—and in style. 44-20/8976-7755; heathrowairport.com.

July 18, 2014
By Ingrid Skjong | Fitness

Six Senses Launches Yoga Programs Worldwide
Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

While it might seem as though everyone is in a yoga class at this point, doing it and truly feeling connected to it are two very different things. Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, which recently launched yogic programs at its properties worldwide, prefers the latter approach.

“We wanted to be able to deliver not only general yoga but targeted programs, as yoga has so much more depth to it,” says Anna Bjurstam, vice president of spa and wellness.

Offered at Six Senses properties including Zighy Bay in Oman and at its spas in hotels like Soneva Fushi in the Maldives and Puntacana Resort & Club in the Dominican Republic, the lineups are geared toward all levels. Mark Sands, area director for Asia and formerly with the Ayurveda resort Ananda in the Himalayas, created the program, pulling in yoga expert Dorelal Singh, Six Senses corporate yoga teacher, for further development. Instructors must have a solid background in hatha yoga and are rigorously assessed to assure high performance.

Yoga’s benefits—from improving mood to lowering stress to upping brain function—are kept top of mind. Discover Yoga is for the newbie, focusing on private sessions that illustrate basic principles and how to engage the body in a variety of poses. Hatha instruction is built around an easy flow of asanas (postures), and Yogic Detox speaks to the experienced yogi.

Going a step further, and piggybacking on the relaxation and calm that yoga can bring, Yogic Sleep (expected to launch later this year) will introduce guests to nidra, a practice that puts the body on the road to a deeply meditative state. Combined with breathing techniques and spa treatments, its goal is to improve sleep. We have a feeling the benefits won’t stop there. sixsenses.com.

July 15, 2014
By Frank Vizard | Automobiles

Test-Drive: A Mercedes-Benz Debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Our visit to this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, held in late June in England, was a bit like going on a date only to discover that you prefer the unavailable sibling more. Mercedes-Benz used the occasion—Goodwood is a posh automotive garden party on the massive estate of Lord March in Chichester, West Sussex, a few hours drive south of London—to debut its 2015 CLS 63 AMG 4matic Coupe, which will be priced north of $154,000.

The main event is a race that is unusual by American standards: Instead of competing on an oval circuit, vehicles of varying stripes—Formula 1 racers, expensive supercars, Mini Coopers, motorcycles—speed up a squiggly, one-and-a-half-mile hill road. The fastest time (generally under a minute) wins. The race isn’t without its hazards, as Olympic-cycling-gold-medalist-turned-driver Sir Chris Hoy discovered when he crashed a Nissan GT-R Nismo through four hay barriers, emerging unharmed from a total wreck.

Our drive was less harrowing but exciting nonetheless. The 4matic Coupe has a revised front end highlighted by a new grille and front bumper with larger air intakes. The car also has a number of technical improvements, led by LED headlights with a longer reach and the ability to make minute lighting adjustments as traffic and circumstances warrant.

Roads around London make a strong argument for autonomous driving (or self driving), as major highways like the A3 are clogged with traffic and lesser roads are assigned speed limits of 30 miles per hour or less and are so narrow it’s not uncommon to get stuck behind a bicycle. We departed the city’s highly recommendable Rosewood Hotel (252 High Holborn; 44-20/7781-8888; rosewoodhotels.com) and managed to find a few spots on the way to Goodwood where we could let the horses out, so to speak.

The CLS Coupe is an excellent car, and a new 9-speed transmission, married to a 577 horsepower V-8 engine, performs admirably. But our eyes wandered toward a sexy shape we hadn’t seen before: the CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake, sister of the CLS Coupe, which was also on hand for testing. “Shooting brake” is simply a more romantic term for what Americans call a wagon. AMG, the performance arm of Mercedes-Benz, elevates it to 585 horsepower of V-8 muscle-car strength in an all-wheel-drive vehicle featuring a large cargo area with teak flooring.

It’s as beautiful inside as it is out. It roared. It purred. It seduced us so thoroughly we didn’t even ask about the price. It also broke our hearts. The Shooting Brake will not be coming to America; the Germans believe that Americans aren’t interested in high-performance wagons. They’re right, but it’s so wrong. mercedes-benz.com.

July 15, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Hotels

A New Way to Stay at The Inn at Little Washington
Gordon Beall

The Inn at Little Washington, which opened in 1978 in Washington, Virginia, a 90-minute drive outside of D.C., was never conceived of as solely a cozy place to stay. Under the direction of chef and proprietor Patrick O’Connell, the 23-acre campus of gardens, greenhouses and well-appointed rooms was assembled with pieces of history restored—made all the more charming, of course, by a modern approach to luxury.

In his latest contribution to the area’s decades-long beautification process, O’Connell has opened the Parsonage—a six-bedroom, 6,000-square-foot Victorian home refurbished inside and out to its 1850s-era origins, with help from London designer Joyce Conwy Evans.

“With each restoration and renovation, our goal is to make it look like nothing happened,” O’Connell explains. “We let the house and the architecture dictate the feel.”

The result? A whimsical interpretation of the past in the form of one charming abode, complete with individually decorated guest rooms with working fireplaces and Bulgari amenities; a tiled Victorian conservatory inspired by French country homes and Moorish influences; a wide, luxurious porch; and a garden dotted with centuries-old trees. Access to the inn’s famous tea service and culinary creations is just a request away.

“More than anything we’ve done, I think this casts a spell of incredible tranquility because it’s a self-contained little universe,” says O’Connell. And with plenty more land (ten acres)—and clever ideas—left to explore, no doubt the Parsonage won’t be his latest way to step back in time for long. Rooms start at $575; 309 Middle St.; 540-675-3800; theinnatlittlewashington.com.

July 14, 2014
By Ingrid Skjong | Museums

Atlanta Unveils the National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Photo courtesy of Albert Vecerka & Rockwell Group

Sometimes there is no denying a good idea. In 2005, now late civil rights icon Evelyn Lowery told then mayor of Atlanta Shirley Franklin that the city needed a civil rights museum. Politician and activist Andrew Young came next with the same suggestion. Nine years later, after generous gifts from local entities (a substantial land donation from Coca-Cola) and mounting excitement, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights opened its doors on June 23.

Using the American civil rights movement as a framework, the 42,000-square-foot museum weaves a compelling, immersive experience aimed at bringing an integral point in history to life. “This is really created for generations that didn’t live through the civil rights movement,” says Judith Service Montier, the center’s vice president of marketing. “To help those individuals understand history in a way that inspires them and empowers them to create a more just and human future.”

Thanks to an unorthodox design team—including Tony award–winning theater director George C. Wolfe, curator of the center’s “Rolls Down Like Water: The American Civil Rights Movement” gallery; architect Philip Freelon (in partnership with architecture/interior-design firm HOK), who co-created the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, D.C.; and exhibition designer David Rockwell—storytelling and a sense of place play key roles. In one exhibit, visitors can sit at an authentic lunch counter and hear equally genuine audio of racially fueled taunts and jeers. In another, a mock-up of a Freedom Riders bus is covered with photographs of the diverse people who went on the road throughout the South for equality. A rotating selection of pieces from the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection brings a familiar face into clearer focus.

The Human Rights Gallery takes things a step further, illustrating the global struggle for parity and acceptance. And while the hope is to pull in as many as 400,000 visitors a year, the ultimate mission goes beyond tourism statistics, putting an American movement at the heart of a decidedly global goal. “You see that it created a vocabulary that is used around the world in other human-rights struggles,” says Service Montier. “You’ll see this throughout the exhibits, [like] the women in Saudi Arabia that are fighting for the right to drive calling themselves freedom drivers.” 100 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd.; 678-999-8990; civilandhumanrights.org.

July 08, 2014
By Ingrid Skjong | Arts + Culture

Folk Art Takes Over Santa Fe
© Jim Arndt

The only one of its kind in the world, the International Folk Art Market—held on storied Museum Hill in Santa Fe (July 11–13), surrounded by views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains—is a riot of color, craft and, perhaps most importantly, opportunity. This year upwards of 150 artists from 60 countries will converge on the art-centric Southwestern city, drawing in nearly 25,000 visitors to peruse carvings, ceramics, glasswork, jewelry, sculpture, textiles, basketry and more.

“I always find something new that I have never heard of,” says Keith Recker, a member of the market’s board of directors. “Last year it was cotton ikats from East Timor that knocked me flat. The year before it was the entrancing indigo fabrics of Malian designer Aboubakar Fofana.”

This year look out for the largest group (13) of Haitian artists ever to assemble to display work in the United States, sharing pieces that incorporate elements of voodoo, politics, family life, social challenges and the island’s natural beauty. But the expertly juried show goes beyond showcasing items. During the past decade (this month marks its 11th anniversary), 90 percent of its $19 million in sales has gone to its artists, who often contribute to their home communities by building structures like schools, houses, health clinics and clean-water wells.

While an appearance at the market can earn a participant a year’s living or more, and it works with entities like the Clinton Global Initiative, UNESCO and the Aspen Institute to further its mission, the core of the event centers on the stories of its artists—reminders of just how rich the genre really is.

“Every piece of folk art I’ve ever seen carries the touch of its makers,” says Recker. “There’s an intimacy in each piece, an embedded narrative of tradition and time, of talent and determination.” 505-992-7600; folkartalliance.org.

July 08, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Destinations

A High-Tech Way to Dive Deep at Laucala Island
Courtesy of Tony Wu

Exploration and technology have always gone hand in hand, advancements in one catalyzing breakthroughs in the other. But rarely does the layperson, early adopter or otherwise, get to take the latest piece of high-tech equipment for a spin.

Laucala Island, however—a private island resort in Fiji—just became the first hotel to give guests access to a Hawkes Ocean Technologies DeepFlight Super Falcon (deepflight.com), a two-person submarine that takes deep-diving to the next level.

“The DeepFlight Super Falcon is a fundamentally new type of manned underwater vehicle that is a combination of submarine and high-performance aircraft,” explains Laucala Island general manager Andrew Thomson. “Its proprietary, patented winged design enables unprecedented speed, range and agility, transforming the two-dimensional elevator experience of conventional submersible designs into an exhilarating underwater flight.” (It is also, he adds, the only submarine designed to “do barrel rolls with dolphins.”)

From within the two-seater (trips, from $2,000 per hour), which is manned by a trained pilot, guests have 360-degree views of all the marine life that thrives around the resort’s clear South Pacific waters, including colorful reefs, sharks, tropical fish (coral trout, angelfish, octopus) and more. The Great White Wall, one of Fiji’s most legendary dive sites, lies just 40 minutes away. Rooms start at $4,200; 679/888-0077; laucala.com.

July 08, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Hotels

Mandarin Oriental Opens in Bodrum
Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Bodrum

Earlier this month, Mandarin Oriental opened the doors to its newest property, set on a 148-acre expanse in the up-and-coming waterfront village of Göltürkbükü in Bodrum, Turkey. The location marks the group’s first European resort (its city hotels reside in Paris, London, Geneva, Barcelona, Prague and Munich) and comes complete with all the trappings one might expect—and then some.

The hotel’s 109 guest rooms are the largest in the area, each with its own sun deck, balcony or terrace; others include private gardens and infinity plunge pools. Designed by award-winning Italian designer Antonio Citterio to embrace the lush surroundings and take full advantage of panoramic views of the Aegean Sea, the rooms are outfitted with large skylights or inner courtyards, custom furnishings in natural stones, teak and dark woods, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

The rest of the property, which is flanked by ancient olive groves and pine trees, is dedicated to two private beaches, an aquatic center, outdoor pools, ten dining options and a roughly 9,000-square-foot spa with five treatment rooms, three beauty rooms, a VIP suite, a couple’s suite, two outdoor cabanas and a marbled hammam. Other on-site highlights include water sports and tours by air (helicopter) and by sea (Turkish gullet).

And while the charming village of Göltürkbükü (stone properties with bougainvillea, narrow streets, waterside restaurants) is only a five-minute drive away—where gets can enjoy olive pressing, glassblowing and pottery making—we imagine it’ll be hard to muster the desire to go anywhere else. Cennet Koyu, Çomça Mevkii, 314, Sokak No. 10, Göltürkbükü Mahallesi; 90-252/311-1888; mandarinoriental.com.

July 07, 2014
By Ingrid Skjong | Events

Focused Tour of Collectible Design in Paris Artecase
Courtesy of La Musée des Arts Decoratifs

Collectible design and the inspirations of a fashion icon take center stage on September 12 in Paris with a daylong tour and an exploration of aesthetics hosted by collecting advisory Artecase.

“Each element of the day is fascinating,” says Susan Boullier of Artecase. “But when experienced together as components of our guided theme, Collectible Design in Paris Inspired by Jeanne Lanvin, participants will have an exceptional and coherent experience.”

The theme grew out of Artecase’s focus on thoughtful acquisition and coincides with Lanvin’s 125th anniversary this year. The first part of the day will focus on early-20th-century design, with a visit to the Biennale des Antiquaires (September 11–21) at the Grand Palais; the second will move into contemporary design at galleries like Kreo Galerie (a self-described “design laboratory”) in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

In a day filled with highlights, one that particularly stands out is a private tour of the Jeanne Lanvin rooms at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (pictured above), showcasing how the fashion icon’s personal style came through in her design decisions. The day will end with a VIP Champagne reception at the flagship Lanvin store on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and a viewing of the current couture collection.

While getting a dose of designer fashion is a chic way of bringing the day’s concepts around, gaining an understanding of the evolution of the collectible-design market is the ultimate goal. “Our aim in conceiving this very tailored program,” says Artecase's Elizabeth Chase, “is to give guests access to top design, people and experiences in Paris in order to inspire curiosity and interest in design objects.” To book a spot on the tour, call 33-6/47-25-09-66 or e-mail contact@arte-case.com; arte-case.com.

July 02, 2014
By Ingrid Skjong | Fitness

Learning Your Fitness Age at Canyon Ranch
Courtesy of Canyon Ranch

Age might be nothing but a number, but when it comes to where you stand fitness-wise it can be a powerful indicator of the work that needs to be done. The Determine Your Fitness Age program, developed by exercise physiologists at wellness resort Canyon Ranch, does just that—in motivating (though still humbling) fashion.

Based in part on Canyon Ranch founder Mel Zuckerman’s wake-up call with a similar test nearly 40 years ago (then 49, he received a fitness age of 75), the new assessment, which launched in June, puts participants through a five-part circuit. Each element is weighted according to its contribution to total conditioning: aerobic fitness performed on a rowing machine (30 percent), body composition determined by skin-fold measurements (20 percent), upper-body strength via a bench press (15 percent), lower-body strength via a vertical jump (15 percent) and balance (20 percent).

The results are compared with a range of averages and voilà: a physiological age is revealed, both overall and for each of the five categories. “There’s no real hard-and-fast science out there for this type of thing,” says Mike Siemens, an exercise physiologist at Canyon Ranch’s Tucson location. “But this is just our professional knowledge combined with an educated attempt to estimate how these different areas impact fitness age.”

The results are eye-opening for better or worse (we came in ten years younger than our actual age, which was a nice surprise) and allow you to retool your workouts to address neglected areas. Ideally executed over two days, with 50 minutes of testing and health history done on day one and analysis and exercise prescription discussed on day two, the offering allows for plenty of quality gym time with trainers who help recalibrate goals, whether, based on your results, you need to incorporate interval training with prescribed heart rates or more intense strength training. “It’s proving,” says Siemens, “to be a great motivator and discussion starter for how we spend our exercise time.”

Currently available at the resort’s outposts in Tucson (600 E. Rockcliff Rd.; 520-749-9000) and Lenox, Massachusetts (165 Kemble St.; 413-637-4100), the program might also prove to be utterly irresistible to those eager to turn back the clock—and perform better for it. Rates start at $370 for two 50-minute consultations; canyonranch.com.

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