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. To conclude this month of March, take a seat at the Grill at the Dorchester, experience an exceptional moment at the Minimes convent and the Mas de Pierre and spin the perfect love in Saint Bart’s. Also take the chance to discover the Hoxton hotel in London, the Hôtel Yndo in Bordeaux, Club Med’s 5 Trident villas in the Maldives and a new generation carry-on bag, an Art Déco hotel in Miami, the two-Michelin star Sources de Caudalie restaurant, the Domaine de Mainville with its family-home feel and the latest jewel in the Sofitel crown: the Faubourg and its restaurant managed by Yannick Alléno. And come aboard with the most prestigious airlines, and their prestigious business class cabins. Now has that given you inspiration to travel?
After several months of renovations with Bruno Moinard at the helm, the new Grill finally opened last November. A special mention goes at once to the 1930s décor: a coffered ceiling, walls adorned with incredible narrow revolving mirrors, which are gold at night and silver during the day. We loved the shelves that cover certain walls, in a curiosity cabinet style, which house bronze kitchen utensils and collections of old glassware… a display of rare elegance. Lyonnais chef Christophe Marleix proposes a menu on which you may come across, as the name of the restaurant may suggest, several grilled dishes: Scottish salmon, chicken, Angus beef, and other sophisticated creations such as black-truffle and poultry juice risotto and the unforgettable signature dish of lobster chowder, and soft-boiled egg with spinach and truffles. And let’s not forget the reinvented lemon tart: this meringue stuffed with lemon curd alone make a visit worthwhile! This is a wonderful chance to (re)discover the legendary palace that is already extremely proud of its 3-star restaurant (the only one in England to be receive such an honour) simply named Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester…
It wasn’t even that old: having been inaugurated in 2004, this five-star hotel has already had an important facelift! Several seriously designer touches have also been introduced here and there: the interior courtyard has been recovered by a magnificent wooden structure formerly developed by the partners of the Tour de France and the space is punctuated with warmly coloured armchairs. 7 of the 46 rooms has been entirely revised in colour schemes that vary from one to the next: blue, lavender, taupe, red…the renovation of others is predicted in the coming weeks. As for the restaurant, from the gastronomic le Cloître or the Pesquier bistro, they have all been expanded and reworked in a very different décor. And for those fancy it, may take a table in the large space especially created to bring diners into the kitchen of chef Jérôme Roy. And the cherry on top: the 700m2 Occitaine spa, which has also been redecorated, sporting a palette of yellow, brown and white shades. The five cabins (two of which are doubles) have transformed into genuine cocoons in which dominating wooden features bring a hint of warmth. A hammam and sauna come to complete the offerings of the spa.
As a member of the prestigious Relais and Châteaux chain, the Mas de Pierre, which opened in May 2005, is nestled in the heart of a park planted with century-old olive groves, fig trees, citrus fruits and a thousand-and-one sweet-smelling provincial plants and a orchid greenhouse. Comprising of seven farmhouses a stone’s throw from Saint Paul of Vence, this five-star hotel boasts 48 rooms, which were added to last year when La Bastide de Fleurs devised six elegant suites with a private pool installed in one former stone-farmhouse. Here, guests make the most of made-to-measure service, with a butler, tailor-made playlist, catering service and even a pillow menu! At the elegant Table de Pierre restaurant, chef Emmanuel Lehrer opts for Mediterranean cuisine: Niçoise petits farcis with seasonal vegetables, Saint-Jacques scallops marinated in citrus fruit, watercress velouté, shoulder of lamb with candied Menton lemons, which is a recipe he has followed since his early beginnings, and let’s not forget the superb Sunday brunch! Finally, all the herbs and vegetables come from their own garden!
Uniting the luxury of a five-star suite with the romantic intimacy of a private villa, the BelAmour villa first opened last December, offering a true treasure to couples everywhere! Indeed, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac did not put a foot wrong: he painted a fresco, following the theme: ‘Love in Saint Bart’s’. Created just for two, this is larger than a traditional suite and more luxurious than most villas of its size. And the cherry on top: it boasts a spectacular view, situated on the side of a hill, overlooking the Caribbean sea, the Bay of St Jean and giving a glimpse of Saint Martin and Anguill in the distance. This contemporary décor makes room for stones from Bali and wood. A superb swimming-pool laps at the façade of the villa, running alongside the living room, study and bedroom. Finally, stewardship is ensured by the legendary Eden Rock hotel, who also guarantees five-stars and the lucky residents of the villa have constant access to every service imaginable: a private beach, 24/7 concierge service…the dream for honeymooners!
Having opened in September, this hotel is the latest ‘nugget’ that we have unearthed in London. Ideally located just a two-minute walk from Holborn station, 5 minutes from the British Museum, and near shopping havens Oxford Street and Regent Street, it boasts a super contemporary design, with hints of the 1950s! On the ground floor, the vast lobby is filled with deep sofas and brick walls, which also give character to the reading room: this spot offers various newspapers, as well as the perfect meeting place or after work drink. Slightly more hidden are the bar and restaurant, the latter of which sports a slightly industrial look and serves classic food: fish and chips, burgers, prawn cocktail…delicious and inexpensive: a winner in London! Special mention goes to the detox juice. Finally, a superb nail bar stretches the rest of the space…the 174 bedrooms are divided into several categories, from the ‘Shoebox’ (12m2) to the most spacious ‘Roomy’ rooms, at around 40m2. And the décor has been well thought through, particularly the hideaway study and the bathrooms with its black and white tiles. Other highlights: the hotel offers an hour of free phone calls within the United Kingdom, but also to the United States and several European countries, plus it has its own bicycle rent shop.
Installed within the very elegant 19th century hotel in the heart of the city centre, but with a delightful courtyard garden, the Yndo hotel, which opened last October, risks impressing even the most blasé jetsetters! This 5-star hotel, which pushes the limits of sophistication, boasts 12 entirely different bedrooms and suites. The owner, Agnès-Guiot Du Doignon, designed up each room through dedicated bargain-hunt but also through her extensive knowledge of the most emblematic pieces of contemporary creations. From Damien Langlois-Meurinne to the Campana brothers, and even Tom Dixon, Hubert Le Gall, Patricia Urquoila: they are all there! Although there is no restaurant, the hotel offers room service and a delightful breakfast complete with homemade jam! And the cherry on top: every bedroom is equipped with an iPad for, naturally, ordering room service but also for finding the best place in the city, selected especially for guests. Finally, you can even purchase particular little deco pieces: vases, lights and candles that adorn the hotel.
Paradise exists: we’ve seen it! Just 40 minutes by boat from Malé airport in the Maldives, Club Med has recently opened its Finolhu villas. 52 villas have been built on an island covering 5-hectares, keeping in line with the strictest environmental codes. Whether they are situated on the beach or perched on stilts overlooking the lagoon, each of them comprises of multiple rooms, including a private terrace and pool, stretching from 151m2 up to 168m2…not bad, right? Every villa benefits from the service of a private butler and room service for breakfast and snacks, etc. The island also houses an enormous restaurant, an immense pool, an open-air cinema…and, if you grow tired of snorkelling, diving lessons, yoga, the 4-cubicle ILA spa, then a 5-minute boat ride takes you to Kani Village, stamped with four and five tridents!
Well-spotted by us, the latest creation carry-on bag is designed by Fabbrica Pelletterie in Milan, a fashion house that embodies the best of Italian talent, aesthetics and expertise. This hybrid polycarbonate bag is simultaneously feather-light and solid. It has been christened the ‘Kame’, the Japanese word for tortoise because it resembles this particular animal with its extremely resistant exterior! Super easy to use, it can be opened from the top in even the smallest of spaces. This carry-on bag comes in one size only, in a range of four different colours: blue, orange, green and grey.
In the city’s historic centre, the Metropolitan has established itself in a 1939 art deco building. Behind the entirely white façade, each of the 74 bedrooms designed by Paola Navone offers an extremely contemporary ambiance. Several of these benefit from a super view over the ocean, particularly the corner-bedrooms, which are simply magnificent. We love the deco detail of this hotel, such as the rattan-flanked mirror walls in the dining room. The Traymore restaurant menu offers the best of Florida cuisine, especially its seafood. In the wellness area on the 8th floor, overlooking the deep blue sea, there are four treatment booths. These treatments are inspired by Asiatic techniques relieving all our tensions, including the detoxing fruit juices served at bar by the spa pool, equipped with hydrotherapeutic jets, located on the hotel roof: feel on top of the world!
At the Sources de Caudalie, a five-star hotel situated in the middle of vineyards that we simply adore, everything is going very well! After last summer’s inauguration of 12 magnificent suites, a tapas bar and restaurant and ‘le Rouge’ delicatessen, plus the sublime swimming pool housed in an enormous glasshouse, it is now chef Nicolas Masse who has just been awarded a second Michelin-star at his Grand-Vigne restaurant. The Guide Rouge has rewarded the hard graft and talent of this chef who has managed the hotel kitchens for six years. His menu gives promote local products. The selection of fish comes from the Atlantic coast, caviar from Aquitaine, beef from Bazas, black pudding from the Basque country, tuna from Saint-Jean-de-Luz…So, between snails from Loupiac de la Réole, Gironde caviar and quails eggs and fresh sole from Arcachon…choosing from the menu won’t be easy!
Having opened last summer in a 100-hectare park at the foot of Baux de Provence, the Domaine de Manville, a former sheepfold/sheep farm, has been transformed into a five-star hotel with the appeal of a family home! We just love the large orangery, which houses the reception, the red-red dining room and cosy library…30 bedrooms and suites are decked out in natural materials: stone walls, brick clad in wood and woven bulrush mats, which open onto an interior courtyard dotted with plane trees and a vast swimming pool. The Domaine also comprises of 9 designer houses of 220m2, plus a Clinica Pitanguy spa consisting of 5 treatment rooms, an “Ecofriendly Golf course”, which is the first of its kind in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and two restaurants that take you to paradise…
This is a welcome breath of fresh air for Parisian hotels! The Sofitel le Faubourg, which opened at the beginning of March, has just undergone a facelift under the direction of Dider Gomez. This five-star hotel comprises of 147 bedrooms, 36 of which are suites, enviably located just a stone’s throw from the elegant boutiques of Faubourg Saint Honoré and Place de la Concorde. It goes without saying that the spirit of fashion and Parisian luxury is deeply embedded in these bedrooms, which boast moulding, marble, leather and even extra-large Hermès vanity products in the suites…Essentially, the décor creates a perfect blend of 18th century elegance and contemporary design. Amongst its countless advantages, we would include the terraces overlooking the pavement, the interior courtyard with its secret-garden feel, tea time in the cosy library and the Stay restaurant, managed by triple-star chef Yannick Alléno! His cuisine takes its inspiration directly from his travels: poultry red curry, monkfish tagine, green basmati rice, almost like a risotto…
Aboard their Boeing 777, Air France has developed an absolutely perfect new business class: hurray! From now on, there will be just 4 bulkhead/front-row seats, so that each traveller has aisle access. And, on the sides/wings, you can get the best of both worlds seated next to the window and the aisle! Every seat has the look of a soft cocoon, where travellers have their own space and can place/arrange their things in a built-in mini-cupboard decorated in red. So sit back and browse the vast selection of films that you can watch on your 16-inch screen (41cm). And relaxing is not a problem: reclining 180 degrees on a 1.96m ‘bed’, beneath a cosy blanket, your head on an extra large down, feather pillow, you can lower the aisle-side armrest and sleep amongst the clouds! Those occupying the middle seats can make the most of the detachable partition between the two armchairs that you can lower or raise for a more (or less) intimate setting! We adore the generously decorated vanity bags filled with Clarins products. And the cherry on top: in-flight meals by Régis Marcon, Michel Roth, Joël Robuchon and Guy Martin.
Voted the best airline in Europe for four years running, no doubt Turkish Airlines has the wind in its sails. Serving 108 countries, it is the 4th largest airline in the world in terms of its network: with 263 international destinations! In business class, travellers can make the most of a “made-to-measure/bespoke” service. Aboard A330, A340 and B777 flights, seats recline 180 degrees and, when unfolding, measure 188cm, equipped with an energy socket allowing you to recharge you laptops, mobiles etc. This business class offers the best food service in the world: as if there is a chef on board these long-haul flights! And you have an impossible choice to make with a menu offering a range of international cuisine: 7 starters, 3 mains and one of many desserts, all served on china plates! And the lounge in Istanbul is one of a kind: covering 5900m2, it boasts a golf simulator, a play area for children and even a billiard table! Plus, there are professional masseurs on tap.
This airline boasts the titles of “Best Airline in the Middle East” for the eighth year running, Best Business Class and Best Business Class Lounge. There is something to be proud of…and be sure to choose the A380: its business class has established a real 5-star service. Its 1-2-1 configuration offers direct access to the aisle for all passengers: perfect for moving around without disturbing anyone! Fully reclining seats transform into beds in the sky, measuring 2m long and 76cm wide, plus a 43cm screen. And the cherry on the cake: every seat is equipped with a power socket for charging laptops and electronic devices, allowing you to stay connected via Wifi or SMS: even at altitude, there is no peace! Finally, in terms of relaxation, there is a sky-lounge situated between business and economy on the upper deck, with a curved bar and plush leather sofas…the Al Mourjan lounge, which has recently opened its doors the International Hamad (HIA) Airport in Doha, offers a 10000m space fully lit by naturally light. It is all in the detail on board Qatar…
The Airline has added an 8th weekly flight linking Paris and Seoul from May onwards. This daily connection (apart from the second Saturday flight) is carried out on board which the whole of the upper deck is dedicated to business class, Korean is the first company to try out/adopt this configuration. Christened “Prestige class”, this cabin sports 94 chair-beds. Opting to make its in-flight service a priority, the menu is composed of Korean and Western dishes. In terms of gastronomy, Korean Air has always been avant-gardist, cooking up the best French and Korean cuisine. In order to give passengers a chance to discover Korean delicacies, try out the “Bibimbap”, a typical Korean rice-based dish mixed with a mixture of vegetables. In terms of drinks, the airline boasts 42 different wines 11 countries and has been recognised numerous times for its wine cellar and selection on board. And Laurent Perrier Champagne greets First and Business class passengers on all flights from Seoul to America, Europe, South East Asia and Oceania. And lastly, business class travellers may make the most of lounges at the front and rear of the cabin: such a treat!