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April 2015

Travel News

Adine Fichot Marion

Every month, the PLUME VOYAGE Travel News Flash team keeps you up to date with all the luxury resorts, charming hotels and the world of modern travel. After discovering an exhibition at the Mamounia, the Airelles in Courchevel, the Seychelle’s Four Seasons, before heading for Lille, Tuscany and Istanbul and checking out the latest Taj hotel in Dubai and Paola Navone’s design style at a hotel in Phuket…Here is a cleverly devised pocket guide from Michelin, a quirky Parisian hotel, luxurious suites in Barcelona and finally the high-anticipated Cures Marines Trouville hotel. Now, has that given you travel inspiration?

  • Michelin: 7 cities in your pocket

    A key player on the travel scene for over 100 years, Michelin knows how to adapt! After 105 green guides, 9 patrimony guides and 13 Open Air guides…celebrate the arrival of a brand new pocket collection designed for shorter trips. It aptly combines two of Michelin’s areas of expertise: maps and content. With its super practical format, you only need take a quick glance at your guide: almost the size of a smartphone, its folding maps give you the essentials of each area: shopping, restaurants, tourist spots, bars…Each site is classed according to its level of interest: 1 star: interesting, 2 stars: worth a look, and 3 stars: worth the trip. And there are 7 outstanding destinations: Rome, New York, London, Venice, Barcelona, Paris and Marseille have made the cut so far… and we can’t wait for the next one! A.F.-M.

  • The Maison Souquet: 1900s charm

    Jacques Garcia was inspired by the former function of the establishment – a brothel (!) – in devising its warm and luxurious décor. On the ground floor, several small salons lead onto a winter garden, where one can admire several portraits of elegantly undressed women! The 14 bedrooms, 6 junior suites and two apartments bear the names of famous courtesans: Liane de Pougy, La Païva…and each is completely different to the next, all representing sophistication and breath-taking luxury! Influenced in turn by the Empire, Napoleon III, Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Art Deco styles, you can count up to 120 different materials. Which is our favourite? Number 403, a junior suite covered in mauve with mirrors on the slants surrounding the bedhead and the Belle Otéro, inspired by Napoleon III, which is adorned in green and outlined in black. The bar is reminiscent of a cosy library with a monumental fireplace, piano, books and games, where guests are served tea, black truffle hot chocolate or an aperitif. But the highlight has to be the Salon d’eau: the starry-ceiling spa with its hammam and a 10m swimming pool… A.F.-M.

  • Cures Marines Trouville: a successful renaissance!

    With 103 bedrooms, including 6 suites, the 5-star M Gallery collection hotel opened in mid-April and benefits from a superb location on the edge of one of the most beautiful beaches in Normandy. Entrusted to designer/architect Jean-Philippe Nuel, who also recently successfully renovated the Molitor and 5 Codet in Paris, the revamping of this hotel deserves a special mention! Even just stepping into the vast lobby, you get the full measure of its originality. First of all with the giant bathing cabins turned into left luggage, and then into the bar, which opens up to the outside, we love the mix of brick facades, the farandole of wire chandeliers and the long Napoleon III style bar…Large photographs from 1900s evoke the period of “discovery” of sea swimming/salt-water baths enthrone the corridors and several communal spaces. And you can find even more in the restaurant, even some on the ceiling! The bedrooms are dominated by subtle shades of white and grey, accentuated by hints of blue as a reflection of the maritime surroundings. They are adorned with fascinating frescos reconstructed to mirror certain decorative elements found in the original building. In a very designer fashion, some bathrooms are open-plan, although you can adapt the space to preserve a level of intimacy/privacy. As for the enormous thalasso and spa areas, these offer numerous treatments rooms and two pools… A.F.-M.

  • The Mandarin in Barcelona: pure luxury

    Majestically situated on the Passeig de Gracia, the city’s main junction, the Mandarin Barcelona has not aged at all, after its opening five years ago…This beacon of Catalan hospitality flaunts the vociferously elegant design of Patricia Urquiola. The designer favours an avant-garde style that does not exclude certain references to oriental tradition, but carefully reinvents them! New suites embody extreme sophistication: dark chestnut wooden floors, large bay windows, glances of Gaudi mosaics and a butler for all your little cares and desires. From the junior suites, which cover a surface area of 55m2 to the top suites boasting 124m2, each space is adaptable and the majority offer a balcony or terrace. The bathrooms turn into private spas, with products from Aqua di Parma. For gourmet food, head for Moments (2 Michelin-stars) managed by chef Carme Ruscalleda. Holding 7 stars spread throughout her different restaurants, she is the most highly decorated chef in the world. After dark, head upstairs to the rooftop: with its long swimming pool, this is the coolest bar in Barcelona… A.F.-M.

  • Eclectic Bags: super chic masculinity!

    Since 2011, éclectic re-values artisanal heritage with its clever materials. After a tailor master, the brand has recently associated itself with a master tanner. The founding guidelines of this practical collection: elegance naturally, but also sobriety. Its Travel Bags and Duffel Bags, designed in a studio in Tuscany, are assembled by-hand in a traditional way, with certain styles even benefit from hand-made interfacing. In fact, their refined design is the must-have masculine accessory for all globe-trotters. Note: the leather handles that interlace the bag decide the texture of these technical materials: Cordura, Airnet, Technowool. The cherry on top (of the bag): bright zips in exclusive galvanised titanium. A. F.-M.

  • Taj Dubai: Princely luxury

    That is all that Duba is missing! Taj, the prestigious Indian hotel group, has just inaugurated a “mini palace” comprising of 296 bedrooms, of which 256 are Taj Club Rooms, 16 Junior Suites and 15 luxury suites, with sublime views over the Burj Khalifa district of the famous Dubai mall. The bedrooms are all fully equipped with the latest technology, cleverly mixing contemporary design with glimpses of local culture. We love the privilege club reserved for members and its different restaurants. At Tesoro, taste a Peruvian cuisine; at Kui’s al fresco, make the most of the panoramic view over Burj Khalifa; at the Eloquent Elephant, bask in a gastro pub atmosphere and taste tapas. The Byzantium Lounge, with its Art deco style is perfect for snacking, Afternoon Tea and cocktails in the evening. Finally, Bombay Brasserie, the Taj’s renowned Indian restaurant, overlooks the Burj Khalifa district. The Jiva Spa offers a range of treatments created specifically for the location and inspired by traditional Indian therapies that relax and regenerate your skin. A. F.-M.

  • Coquillade Village: an expanding hotel

    A beautiful start to the 2015 season, the Coquillade Village, the 5-star member of Relais and Châteaux, nestled in the heart of a vineyard spanning 42 hectares in le Luberon, opens a new hamlet. So, the hotel is enriched with an additional 35 bedrooms and suites, decked out in a contemporary, warming style tinged with a provincial spirit and a 1500m2 spa christened Coquillade Spa & Energie. The treatments on offer are mostly oriented around health and nature. The hotel also has three distinct dining spaces at its disposal where you may bump into Chef Christophe Renaud and talented pastry-chef René Solon. And so, guests can relish all of their hearts’ desires at gastronomic restaurant Le Gourmet, or at the Bistrot, which offers provincial specialities and sets itself up amongst the grapevines, and at Il Ristorante, the poolside Italian for simpler dishes. Know this: the establishment, which rests highly respectful of nature, was handed Ecolabel status in 2012. A. F.-M.

  • Design: Point Yamu in Phuket

    This 5-star hotel, tenth jewel in the Como group crown, boasts 27 villas with private pools, all with views over the sea, 79 bedrooms and suites. Having opened a year and a half ago, it overhangs the Phang Nga bay, which was made famous by the James Bond film “The Man With the Golden Gun” on the island of Phuket. Designer Paola Navone has decked out the entire hotel in palette of blues, from turquoise to marine to sky and cobalt, as a tribute to the Adaman Sea. And this colour even dominates in the bedrooms and bathrooms…plus, there are two restaurants: the non-stop Thai and an Italian, where blue in all its glory rules the decoration: suspensions, wooden beams, tables that employ the islands hand-made techniques. It extends the length of a panoramic terrace where you can taste delicious and healthy cuisine. In the 6 spa rooms, therapies and treatments are inspired by Asian traditions. Finally, an immense swimming pool, a private beach and boat excursions allow guests to discover the superb hidden coves make a stay at Point Yamu a utopian retreat! A. F.-M.

  • The Clarance: brand-new hotel in Lille!

    In the heart of old Lille, the Clarance is the city’s latest prestigious address. This 5-star boutique hotel is located in a former particular hotel built in 1736. As dreamed up by Aurélie Vernesse, it now boasts 19 bedrooms and suites, which offer a beautiful blend of ancient architecture and modern décor. And so, each boudoir presents its own personal identity, as the designer expertly preserved the ceilings, wood fittings and contemporary parquet floors and as they cross the threshold, guests are greeted by Baudelaire poetry. In a sophisticated, refined atmosphere, the personalised reception is accentuated by high-end service. At the helm in the kitchen is none other than Nicolas Pourcheresse. As Jura’s Michelin-starred chef, he creates new menus every week, favouring local products and scenting his recipes with aromatic herbs grown in their own vegetable garden. This is a simple and elegant cuisine that can be enjoyed in the garden on long sunny days… A.FM

  • Castel Monaestro: a utopian retreat

    Just 23km from Siena and an hour’s drive from Florence Airport, the 5-star Castel Monaestro, which is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World group, takes over an entire medieval village, which has been completely restored, all-the-while maintaining the same image, in 2009! It is near impossible to imagine a more historically-charged hotel…it is even in the lobby: from contemporary pieces that bring a vital touch of design to the cutting edge pieces on the old stone walls. The 74 bedrooms, which are all entirely different, are spread out amongst the various buildings. Their common denominator? Each offers a pared-down décor across an enormous surface area and a superb view over the Tuscan countryside. Ambra 22, one of the junior suites dominating the piazetta is our firm favourite, with its little alcove above the bedroom, like an attic! Swimming pools have been installed like expansive liquid steps, positioned one of top of the other, inviting you to laze about after agapes in the Cantina situated in the immense arched cellars or outside on the terrace overlooking the village square. A.FM

  • St Regis: Cool Istanbul

    Part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the highly anticipated St. Regis Istanbul has recently opened in the elegant Nisantasi district, above Parc Maçka, surrounded by chic boutiques and art galleries. Now each of the 118 bedrooms and suites benefit from a breath-taking panoramic view over the Bosphore. The main attraction has to be the Bentley Suite with its sophisticated design, the second in the world after the brand’s flagship Bentley Suite in New York. Conceived by Turkish architect Emre Arolat, the St. Regis Istanbul embodies a modern interpretation of contemporary art, such as the spectacular Lasvit chandelier that enthrones the central lobby. On the rooftop resides the ultra designer Spago restaurant, headed up by Wolfgang Puck. Inspired by his travels, this chef prioritises a creative menu that changes with the seasons. We love the “Louis” cocktail of blue crab and lobster, embellished with a spiced tomato-horseradish, grilled pork chops with aioli and harissa, accompanied by grilled aubergines…But this is no excuse to forget to take a look at the St. Regis Brasserie which, with its open kitchen and outdoor terrace is reminiscent of a Parisian café and the Petit O Bar. As for the Iridium spa with its seven treatment rooms, this offers personalised treatments, which respond to the desires of each guest in an idyllic setting. It also includes an indoor pool and fitness centre. A.FM

  • Lebanon’s unknown architectural treasure

    Few people know about it and even fewer Lebanese even realise that they have an architectural treasure of its calibre within their borders! The project, which was founded in 1962 but never completed, is situated in Tripoli in Lebanon, having been designed by Oscar Niemeyer, one of the most famous architects of 20th century, most famous for the construction of the Brasilia. Why was it left unfinished? Civil war froze the site in its incomplete state. It is for this reason that the “Suspended Spaces” collective, consisting of 23 artist and 19 researchers, contemplates numerous questions, including: what can now be done with architectural heritage? These insights, the attention that we have brought to these places, the works that have been carried out in connection with the site, are portrayed throughout a new, recently amended book, simply entitled “Suspended Spaces inachever la modernité” (ed. Beaux Arts de Paris en librairie). We commend the initiative of the Lebanese tourist office who, aware of the importance of this place, fully supports the project. A.FM

  • Marrakesh: art meets the Mamounia

    A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, this celebrated resort opens its door to French artist Julien Marinetti from 11th April until 30th September 2015. This event deserves recognition, seeing as it is the first time a French artist has been in residence here. This exhibition unites 60 extremely different works, from monumental artwork to small sculptures in bronze paint, his material of preference, which he uses to produces animal sculptures. He is known for having created “Doggy John”, a sculpture of a French bulldog, mixing painting and sculpting. A tireless and curious voyager, this artist is constantly travelling with his work. Welcomed everywhere that he goes, he loves to find new places where he can experiment with his art. And Marrakesh is his next stop, although it is hardly surprising when you get to know the colours, animation and story of the city. This is a perfect opportunity to discover the famous buffet, one of the best ever tasted, served on the Pavilion of the pool and of course the fabulous gardens of this mythical spot, through which have walked all the greats of this world… A.FM

  • Venice: a hotel with a view

    Be one of the first to discover the JW Marriott Hotel in Venice. Situated in the heart of a 16-hectare property, on the private island Isola delle Rose, it is due to be officially opened on 24th June. This extremely modern establishment comprises of 250 bedrooms, designed by architect bureau MatteoThun & Partners, which recalls the elegance and patrimony of the host island. The various renovated buildings that make up the hotel have preserved their identity and offer a range of views. There are five different kinds of accommodation: the hotel itself, which opened at the end of March, with 191 bedrooms with enormous bay windows an balconies overlooking the garden, and the end of April heralds the inauguration of the Residenza and its 12 suites benefitting from a spectacular view over the lagoon and the Uliveto with 26 bedrooms. But the centrepiece has to be the Maisonnette, which houses 20 suites with patios and private gardens, even pools. Add to that a 1750m2 spa, a rooftop pool, 4 restaurants serving gastro Italian Dopolavoro and 5 bars. Two schools – one dedicated to cookery, the other to wine -, workshops where you can learn the art of designing Venetian masques and Murano glass complete the array of service on offer at the unusual place where one can take a private boat, reaching Saint-Marc Square in just fifteen minutes. A.FM

  • Les Airelles: a fairy-tale palace

    It’s time to head to Courchevel and make the most of the last snow of the season. And why not also take the chance to check out the Airelles, the fabulous five-star establishment that has been bestowed numerous prizes and awards: firstly, it is one of the 9 luxury hotels in France and it has recently been voted the best mountain hotel in the world by Russian readers of Conde Nast Traveller! Situated in the magnificent Jardin Alpin area, it has moulded itself into a real-life fairy tale castle: with a painted façade, wooden balcony and little turrets. In terms of skiing, you could not imagine anything better: it offers ski-in,-ski-out access to the pistes of the 3 Valleys region, the largest ski area in Europe. Your stay unfolds a cossetted atmosphere, interrupted by a procession of 180 collaborators in Tyrolien dress and, between catching lifts, various festivities. You have the choice of the new Italian restaurant Cala di Volpe for Les Airelles, which is completely decked out in wood, and Pierre Gagnaire’s gastronomic 2-Michelin star restaurant…and don’t miss out on the 650m2 spa adorned in light wood, creating a very Alpine look! This paradise also has a pool with waterfalls, showers and a snow grotto, not to mention the spa and hammam. A.FM

  • Seychelles: Four Seasons Paradise

    Suspended between the sea and the sky on a hillside, this sumptuous resort is located on the Petite Anse Bay, 18km from the capital of Mahé. It boasts 67 villas and suites, 27 of which are private residences. Villas and suites are suspended on stilts, nestled in the heart of a genuine jungle of coconut and mango trees and jackfruit plants…These offer a private overflowing pool, a windowed bathroom, offering you a constant glimpse of the beautiful Indian Ocean. The décor gives prominence to Creole influences: high thatch ceilings, teak floors and pools made of natural wood and bricks. In terms of dining, you could go for Zez, the main restaurant, perched at the top of the hill and offering simple cuisine comprising of fish and fresh ingredients or Kannel down on the beach that, beyond offering you snacks throughout the day, has a menu bursting with Creole dishes including fish curry. And the final highlight of the place: the spa and its sublime view. It consists of 5 pavilions where you may find 5 double cabins and three singles. Divers will be in their element here, as the hotel owns its own centre within the reach of superb diving areas such as Takamaka bay and its granites structures are just a stone’s throw away. A.FM

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