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August 2015

Travel News

Adine Fichot Marion

Every month, the PLUME VOYAGE Travel News team keeps you up to date with all the luxury resorts, charming hotels and the world of modern travel. To continue our discoveries this month of August, after the Toscane in Pellicano, Bath and the latest gem in the Leading Hotels of the World crown, a stopover at the Bains d’Arguin in Arcachon, we hop aboard the Eurostar to discover the Lanesborough, the newest addition to the Oetker collection, before slipping over to La Côte for the Cannes yachting festival, an exhibition in Saint-Tropez and dinner at Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris. Has that give you travel inspiration?

  • Cannes: Yachting Festival

    It is the first boat show in Europe. An unmissable event for every sailing amateur and socialite. It will take place between 8th and 13th September and spans from one end of the Croisette to the other, welcoming over 500 boats, a hundred of which have never been seen before! This year, look out for an astonishing event: the Festival Sup Night, a night-time stand-up paddle race spanning 100km over 15 hours (from Friday 11th until Saturday 12th September) temps the more sporty amongst us! Last, although by no means least, another demonstration takes place: an elegant competition during which spectators can admire a fleet made up of traditional old boats and more recent ones, all lead by well-dressed/good-looking crews… A.F.-M.

  • London: the latest jewel in the Oetker crown

    Former residence of the Viscount of Lanesborough at the end of the 18th century, this building is one of the most emblematic Regence style monuments in London. Benefiting from a sublime location dominating Hyde Park Corner, just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace and Knightsbridge’s cult addresses, including Harrods, the Lanesborough has just undergone a total facelift. Despite two years of renovations, led by late designer Alfredo Pinto, the hotel has maintained its typical traditional identity…the 93 bedrooms include 43 suites, such as the Royal Suite, which comprises of seven rooms, there are reception areas, the Libarray Bar, where a pianist plays everyday, surrounded by richly brocaded fabrics, delicate wallpaper, family portraits, old furniture, thick carpets and deep-set armchairs…the must: have high tea in the little salon with its walls decorated with deceptive draped fabrics, with an entrance reserved for the royal family! Eric Fréchon, triple-starred chef from the Bristol in Paris since 1999, has named his sous-chef, 32-year-old Florian Favario, as chief executive. At Céleste, the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, surmounted by an astonishing glass dome, we relish a cosy atmosphere that remains loyal to the Regence style, with a special mention going to the Blue Wedgwood frieze that runs around the room. The kitchen takes inspiration from the French savoir-faire, highlighting the country’s best products. Amongst its signature dishes, there are several standouts: the “green zebra” tomato tartar, roasted Selle, rice with braised courgettes as well as white and yellow fish, verbena and red currants…And visit the Garden Room, where you can smoke a token cigar. A.F.-M.

  • Monaco: new decor and name for the Louis XV

    Globally recognised, the legendary Hôtel de Paris benefits from an exceptional location, perched on the rocks of Monte-Carlo, while being one of the showpieces in the Riviera. It exudes only glamour, a certain holiday art de vivre and…gastronomy. Alain Ducasse has a particular fondness for the Louis XV: it is here that he earned his 3-stars aged only 33. The restaurant reopened last April renamed Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris and benefitting from a makeover managed by Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku. This project was dreamed up in order to transform this mythical place into a modern palace, as well as to establish a link between its new menu and this fantastical place. “Everything is brand new…the décor and the menu. Beneath it all, nothing has changed…the Riviera continues to be a source of inspiration for my cooking. In short, the story continues, and it is more beautiful that ever,” emphasises Alain Ducasse. The organisation of the space is more rigorous and yet warming. The masterpiece is the office, elevated in the centre of the room that takes centre stage at the front of the room, and yet is hidden from other diners. The lighting is an exceptional feat made up of 800 glass pieces assembled by hand. As for the furniture, it is mostly wood, light leather, chrome and polished stainless steel. On the menu is locally sourced fish, herbs and vegetables from the back garden, culminating in an entirely new menu. Devised by chef Dominique Lory and Alain Ducasse, it asserts its own modernity and youth: certain of the Louis XV’s traditional in-house dishes remain on the menu, coupled with new signature dishes.

  • Saint-Tropez: « Lartigue, father and son » exhibition

    At the Château de la Messardière, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, revolving around the theme “Saint-Tropez Today”, the “Lartigue, Father and Son” exhibition mixes photographs by Jacques-Henri Lartigue and pictorial works by Dany Lartigue. Perched at the top of a hill, for many years the chateau has been a rendezvous for lovers of elegant places and lively crowds that constantly invade this little Varois village! This magnificent Tropezien hotspot, classified as a luxury resort since June 2012, offers 57 suites and 60 bedrooms, all benefiting from a terrace or private garden, allowing guests to drink in sublime panoramic views. The Château de la Messardière has always been a favourite port of call for artists and General Manager Alexandre Durand-Viel maintains this tradition by organising major exhibitions. These pieces by Jacques-Henri Lartigue and his son Dany, two celebrated 20th artists, will take centre stage the Château from 28th August and 31st October. A.F.-M.

  • L’Hermione in Bordeaux

    She berthed on 20th August and sets sail on 26th…Derived from/As part of her great American voyage lasting over four months, the legendary frigate returns to the French coast and is currently anchored in the Port de la Lune. A multitude of festivities celebrate her return: Burdigala cruises, the Bordeaux River Cruise, the Marco Polo and a village is open throughout the duration of its stopover, with dance parties that liven up the quays every day! The best bit has to be discovering the inside of the vessel, with chances for a daily visit. Take note: the “Cheese and Wine” nights that offer tastings of wines and cheeses on board, in partnership with the Interprofessional Wine Counsel of Bordeaux. On Wednesday 26th, the Hermione returns to her home port of Rochefort. Ships such as the Sardane, Burdigala and Marco Polo will follow the departure of this majestic sailboat.
    A. F.-M.
    programmation : http://bit.ly/1VZ3Aat

  • The Residence Maldives: a Clarin’s Spa

    Located in the south of the Maldives archipelago, in the Gaafu Alifu atoll in Falhumaafushi, the hotel comprises of 94 villas, marrying traditional Maldivian architecture and a contemporary style. We love the important high ceilings and bay windows that make every villa spacious and luxury. Situated on the sea front or on stilts, guests can live with their feet in the water and dive into the translucent turquoise waters from their terrace. Even the laidback need not worry: a golf buggy service is available to transport you round the island! The Clarin’s spa offers six treatment pavilions on stilts overlooking the azure waters: the dream! Starting this summer, thanks to a new programme entitled Energy Movement, a range of special activities are available to guests: meditation, yoga and health and fitness. And from 31st March 2016, for every minimum 3-night stay, come and make the most of a special offer: 1135E per night for two people includes full boarding plus a daily spa treatment and a daily activity from the exclusive Energy Movement programme.
    A. F.-M.

  • The Laslett in London

    Having only just opened (in the past few days) the Laslett is the only 5-star hotel in Notting Hill! Perfectly located just a stone’s throw from Notting Hill Gate station and bus links, it has taken over 5 Victorian houses in a large, calm road. The immense lobby, with its superb flooring and original mouldings, occupies the ground floor of the 5 houses. It is divided into various intimate spaces: a dining hall, a library, a bar, small salon corners with display cases filled with various things for sale…On arrival, you will notice two things: the cabinet to the left of the door that contains a pair of (restored) shoes dating back to the 1900s, which were found beneath the floorboards in one of the houses: it was custom to bury a pair of shoes at home for good luck! And then at the reception counter, there is no computer visible – just a charming welcome! The 51 bedrooms and suites offer the same vibe, with boards and cabinets covering one wall and works by artists, which are all so different, much like the books posed above the bedhead, accentuating the “family home” style. Our favourites: number 46 overlooking the road with a separate living room and number 19 at the back with an enormous bathroom. These two are decked out in recycled tube tiles…London’s own! And there is a small menu in the Henderson bar where you can recuperate. Created by Sally Clarke, the menu offers – as does the restaurant – an institution from Kensington Church Street, with super and sophisticated healthy, organic eating. And finally, don’t forget that Stella McCartney lives in one of the opposite houses – SO chic! A. F.-M.

  • A holistic retreat in the Es Saadi

    From now on, book a room at the EsSaadi in Marrakesh, a historic hotel in the red city, for a holistic and unique experience: from 7th to 10th October take part in a yoga and well-being retreat to fully revitalise yourself, tone your body, refresh your spirit, inhale deeply and enjoy its humour – what a programme! But also take the chance to discover the Es Saadi’s slowfood cuisine and live through a totally unique experience at the Palace Wellness spa. Rates: at the Palace: for one person: 1250E. For two: 2080 E. In the hotel, for one person: 1110E. For two: 1830. These packages include: accommodation in a suite at the Palace or a superior room at the hotel, including meals (options for vegetarians), unlimited water and detoxifying juice, 3 yoga lessons a day (Body Enhance and Ashtanga Yoga), a ceremonial hammam wrap and signature massage at the Palace spa, free access to the Palace spa’s Oriental Thermae and a hydrotherapy course at the spa.
    A. F.-M.

  • Bourgogne: sleeping in an attic

    A stone’s throw from the vines of Chablis and Champagne, this delightful building with its family-house feel houses a 4-star hotel and a member of the Châteaux Hôtels Collection. More than twelve years of renovations were required to give this place its current appearance. It offers 25 unique bedrooms and suites, ranging from classic to prestigious rooms, all decked out in sophisticated white. We confess our weakness for the latter: enormous, stretching 50m2 and lodged in a 17th-century attic, traditionally furnished but with a modern touch. The upstairs bedroom has maintained its nooks and apparently original framework, while also boasting a video-projector. As for the bathroom, this comprises of two footed bathtubs resting head-to-head – highly amusing! And in a modern spirit, an Italian shower. In the gourmet restaurant, chef Takashi Kinoshita – having opened a culinary school in Japan – has worked notably on Elysée-style cuisine. An addition to the list of luxuries is a 300m2 Nuxe Spa and lovely swimming pool. A. F.-M. www.chateaudecourban.com

  • Bath: a historic hotel in the town centre

    Having opened in springtime 2014, the magnificent Gainsborough Bath Spa hotel – member of the Leading Hotels of the World group – has taken over 3 historic homes built in 1800! Perfectly located in the heart of the town and just 100m from the legendary Roman baths that solidified the town’s reputation, it boasts 99 bedrooms and suites. The latter sport a cosy décor with elegant shades of pastel and taupe, whilst benefitting from very high windows. In the Gainsborough restaurant, with its designer décor and high tables, we love the contemporary no-nonsense cuisine and admire works by artists who have studied at the Bath School of art and design. The spa spans two floors, comprising of 11 treatment rooms including a double, 2 ‘tatami’ rooms dedicated to Oriental-inspired therapies. A. F.-M.

  • At the top of this medieval provincial village in Castillon-du-Gard, located between Nîmes and Avignon, on the doorstep of les Alphilles, a stone’s throw from the famous Pont du Gard, the Vieux Castillon – 4-star member of the Hôtels et Préférence group, comprises of traditional buildings. Now owner of H8 collection, which also manages others in the Hauts de Loire area, including le Mas de la Fouque and Hotel Mont Blanc, this establishment reopened in June after spectacular renovations. The hotel now boasts 33 contemporary style bedrooms and suites, sporting shades of white, beige and orange, while straight and sophisticated stone furniture brings an edge of modern elegance. We love its swimming pool, which is apparently suspended in mid-air, its garrigue, vines and wonderful view that can be admired from the terrace. Chef Christophe Ducros’ cheerful cuisine with provincial aromas will delight even the most blasé tastebuds. A. F.-M.

  • Arcachon: the Arguin Baths

    Just 100m from one of the most beautiful beaches around, Les Bains d’Arguin – 4-star member of the Thalazur group, has been totally done up over the winter. It reopened its door in April in the middle of a pine forest, a zen environment just a stone’s throw from the Arcachon chaos! The Moha bureau of architects, who took up the challenge, chose to highlight its ‘water spirit’. Thus, the lobby is decked out in greeny-blue and grey while wood dominates in the Sterne bar, whose name refers to the Sterne sandwich, a species thatnests on the banks of the Arguin. The sober elegance of the 94 bedrooms (91 of which have balconies) marries well with pastel tones. Chef Frédéric Monceyron, former colleague of Anne-Sophie Pic, favours clean cooking in which local products take the lion’s share: Joël Dupuch oysters, Atlantic and south-west salads…His aim? To be one of the best restaurants in Arcachon – and he’s off to a good start! At the thalasso, treatments include seaweed wraps, seawater moulds and cleansing treatments…a brand-new swimming pool is promised for 2016. A. F.-M.

  • Air Seychelles: direct flights

    Good news for all Seychelles lovers who can’t wait to get there: direct flights are now available between Paris Charles de Gaulle and the Seychelles. Catch a connection on an Airbus A330-200 and the company expands its offers by increasing its flights to Mumai and Mauritius. Business class passengers can take advantage of special privileges; access to Air Seychelles lounges in every airport, priority boarding and disembarking, leather chair-beds in top-quality materials with 82 inches between every seat. And these, which recline 180° follow a 2-2-2 configuration, making room for more seats. A private space surrounding each seat gives an extra special touch. A.F-M.

  • Tuscany: Happy Birthday Il Pellicano!

    Having opened in June 1965, the Pellicano is the fruit of a romantic tale: that of British army pilot Michael Graham and rich American heiress Patsy Daszel. After much research, they succumbed to the charm of this wild Tuscan hideaway. Seeing as they first met on Pelican Point in California, where more natural to establish their Il Pellicano home! Friends of this charismatic couple included none other than Charlie Chaplin, Henry Fonda, Gianni Agnelli, plus numerous members of European royal families…all before the Scio family bought the Pellicano in 1979. In the main building overlooking the sea, this prestigious member of Leading Hotels of the World boasts 35 different bedrooms and 15 suites, plus 6 cottages of various sizes scattered throughout the gardens. Amongst its other assets, we advocate the double-starred La Cantina restaurant, which is managed by Anotnio Guida, former chef at Pierre Gagnaire, or the more simple Pelligrill serving divine Tuscan specialties, an infinity pool, spa and a developed beach amongst the rock, which is accessed via a lift and a delightful boutique…Il Pellicano: better than a hotel – its an “art de vivre”. A.F-M.

  • Gordes: La Bastide Revisited

    More than 150 partners have opened up on this legendary site in past months. This sublime 16th century building erected upon the Gordes ramparts dating back to the Middle Ages has adopted a completely new look. The renovation of this member of the Lov Hotel Collection and Leading Hotels of the World now boasts forty bedrooms and suites, three restaurants, four swimming pools, a 800m2 spa, magnificent gardens, steeped gardens and seven terraces: one of which is considered the most beautiful in Europe no less! An interesting fact: to preserve its fabulous panoramic view over the valley, a giant tunnel has been carved into the rocks and filed with archways and libraries. Through these passages, guests can move from one building to another and even walk around in their dressing gowns to the Sisley spa. Interior designer and architect Christophe Tollemer has based the décor on that of a family home. Each piece of furniture and object, from the lights to the carpets and even mirrors, marble sculptures and candlesticks was sourced from all around France or Italy. In the bedrooms, we especially loved the Indian sheets, typical regional cloth and toile de Jouy that adorn the walls and armchairs. The best bit? The Pèir restaurant managed by Pierre Gagnaire and dominated by his no-nonsense cuisine. A.F-M.

  • Ethihad: the refined way to fly

    From the 1st August, the brand-new B787-9 with its First Suites, Business Studios and Economy Smart Seats raise the bar on flights between Abu Dhabi and Singapore. This new schedule offers an elevated level of luxury and comfort. Thus, Ethihad Airways becomes synonymous with luxury travel in this class of business with the launch of daily flights on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The plane transports 235 people: eight in first class, 28 in business and 199 in economy. It offers unrivalled in-flight entertainment and connectivity in commercial aviation. First-class passengers benefit from private suites, a minibar and 24-inch TV screen and central seats can be put together to make up a double bed! In business, check out the new Business Studios, each with direct access to the aisles, totally flat beds stretching 204cm and an 18-inch touch-screen TV with anti-noise headphones. Finally, for economy passengers, the Economy Smart Seat revolutionises travel with an ergonomic headrest, 32-inches of space between seats that recline 6 inches. And the good news: flight schedules towards Singapore are “synchronised” with flights to Europe, meaning a better connection in Abu Dhabi. A. F-M. www.etihad.com

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