Read Lisa Richards’ review of the Morgans Hotel Group’s new London hostelry, the riverside Mondrian Sea Containers, commissioned for Civilian. Click here.
From intimate five-star luxury hotels with impeccable service, to brash, brassy behemoths resembling Vegas-on-Sea. From standard-bearing luxury chain hotels, to boutique boltholes with impressive price tags, we’ve scoured Miami looking for the best hotels, shops, restaurants and service. Our city guide is coming soon. In the meantime, read our review of the Townhouse Hotel, a hip hangout for fashion models and A-list wannabes who’d rather splash their cash in the city’s achingly hip bars and boutiques than on a bed for the night. Read Liz Hatton’s review here.
What makes a great hotel? Polished service? High-end amenities? Marble-clad bathrooms? A Michelin-starred eatery in its bowels? Super-cool clientele? Location? Technologically-enhanced rooms?
From a gastropub-with-rooms serving some of London’s finest fodder, to five-star behemoths with hotels all around the world, Resource and friends round up London’s top 12 properties.
Read our round-up and our full reviews here.
“The Soho restaurant is beautiful – as it has to be in this part of town. Low-lit, dark wood, great lighting and sumptuous. It’s just a few doors down from the Groucho club and across the road from Dean Street Townhouse, so it has to be aesthetically pleasing to attract Soho’s media crowd. And that it does. Soho doesn’t care what day of the week it is, so on a Wednesday night in early Spring the place was jammed to the rafters with ironic haircuts, boys (and some girls) in their buttoned-all-the-way-up check shirts, and more pairs of brogues than a branch of Church’s.”
Lisa Richards reviews the Four Seasons’ luxurious Docklands outpost.
“Just a few days before, Justin Bieber had been sleeping on this very bed. And we could certainly see why A-listers opt for this place: secure parking down in the bowels of the building, so lying-in-wait Paparazzi and hoards of screaming girls can be avoided; discreet super-professional staff that can point you in the direction of the private lift; the ability to escape by speedboat from the banks of the Thames below…”
Liz Hatton spends three days and two nights in Orlando’s most luxurious hotel, The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes. From alligator spotting on golf courses, to some of the best fine dining she’s ever experienced, the hotel packed more of a wow factor than the nearby theme parks. “The Ritz-Carlton folk make staying at a Ritz-Carlton really very easy indeed.”
Read her review in full here.
Rachel Seed’s review of the luxury boutique outpost The Bingham is now live, and part of our Top 12 London Hotels feature. Sitting beautifully on the banks of the Thames, it’s the perfect spot to escape the madness of the city without ever leaving the Tube network. Pack something divine so you can dress for dinner and indulge in the Modern British cooking of Shay Cooper. Read the review in full here, and while you’re at it, go and have a look at our Top 12 London Hotels. Agree? Disagree? Think we’re bonkers? Then drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel Seed heads out east for a truly authentic taste of contemporary Spanish cooking, courtesy of Executive Chef Nacho Manzano and his team at Ibérica Canary Wharf. Read the review in full here.
Will Beckett and Huw Gott, those clever chaps behind London’s favourite steakhouse, Hawksmoor, have been busy boys. Not content with three restaurants and the recent launch of their cookery book, Hawksmoor at Home (all proceeds generously donated to Action Against Hunger), they are adding a new venue to their growing empire. The new 60-cover bar below the newly-revamped restaurant in Spitalfields is due to open late February and will be once again designed by interior architects, Macaulay Sinclair. Though food is still is the “testing” stage (we did offer our services) we have been given a sneak preview of the menu: finger licking chicken wings and short ribs, fried oyster rolls, chilli cheese and onion rings. We particularly like the sound of the ‘Hawksmoor hot dog’. All washed down, of course, with their already-legendary cocktails.
2012 Wish List #1: Ian Schrager’s Public Hotel, Chicago is a must-visit for us this year. And rather than visiting this spectacular soaring city during its icy winter months (both of our previous visits to the city have seen us brave sub-zero temperatures in order to patronise its excellent restaurants, boutiques and art galleries), this time we’ll be heading there during its balmy summer, to make the most of the beautiful Gold Coast on the shores of Lake Michigan.
And where better to base ourselves than a Schrager hotel? The legendary hotelier has won over the critics with his masterful reworking of one of Chicago’s classics, the Ambassador East, home of the celebrity hangout The Pump Room. Rather than a collaborative effort and bringing in an über-designer, Schrager’s worked his own magic on the place. But this isn’t decadent, frivolous luxe: this is Schrager’s attempt at no-frills. We think austerity chic would be a better descriptive as the design details are just beautiful. Despite its price point, with rooms from just $130 a night, which in a city of this size is remarkable (there’s even going to be a $1 sale for rooms), the in-room and lobby amenities are excellent, Jean-Georges Vongerichten is at the stove (where he serves his signature dessert of salted caramel ice cream sundae with candied peanuts, caramel popcorn, chocolate sauce and cream for just $7) and Schrager insists the service will be more Four Seasons than budget hotel. Better still, it’s pet-friendly.
PUBLIC Chicago, 1301 North State Parkway, Chicago, IL 60610
Tel: +1 312 787 3700, www.publichotels.com
Whether you’re travelling for business or leisure, if your time is money and you have more pressing engagements than spending hours on the net looking for the restaurants and hot hang-outs that London’s coolest locals favour, then Bon Vivant has the answer. Already an established and respected concierge and lifestyle management company offering high-end service to its elite members, the team behind the brand are now offering an ad hoc service to individuals visiting the capital, ensuring that your trip is a memorable one – for all the right reasons. Whether you’re after the perfect London hotel, a table at the city’s hottest restaurant or want to see its finest sights, Bon Vivant’s concierge services are on-hand to help. The new service offers unlimited access to your own personal concierge for the duration of your stay, offering you insider information and local knowledge just a phonecall away. With an enviable little black book of contacts, the team will be able to secure the hottest theatre tickets, tables at restaurants with month-long waiting lists, as well as entry to the coolest clubs. Other benefits include room upgrades at luxury and boutique hotels, priority reservations and even complimentary drinks.
Emyr Thomas is the man behind this emerging travel brand, and as we always do when we get our hands on an expert in their field, we decided to grill him.
Emyr, as a travel professional, what are you fail-safe packing tips?
Pre-planning is always important: if you know you’re going to have too much luggage (I usually do!), remember to pay for extra bags or weight in advance as it’s much better value and saves unnecessary hassle at the airport.
If you’re travelling for business and saving time is critical, make sure you only take the essentials with you in your carry-on luggage and that you have your travel documents stored together – keep them in the same place every time you travel, so you’ll know exactly where they are every time.
Do you have a favourite airline?
I usually fly Virgin or BA, particularly as I love premium economy (see below).
Economy or business?
I’m a big fan of premium economy – the extra legroom and the smaller cabin with fewer people are invaluable and you can fly in comfort without breaking the bank. I really wish they would offer more premium economy seats on planes though.
However, if you’re travelling very long distances, you can’t beat the feeling of reclining all the way to flat!
Which destinations are on your hot list for 2012?
South America will become an increasingly popular destination, combining food and wine experiences in Argentina with activity based holidays in the Patagonia region, for example. Brazil will also start to feature more heavily in the run-up to the major sporting events over the next few years.
Personally, I’m looking forward to exploring the South of France – I haven’t been for a few years and I’m long overdue a return visit. There are so many quaint villages and truly stunning hotels with great food and service.
Favourite city in the world?
Although New York and Paris are strong contenders, my heart will always belong to London. It’s dynamic, vibrant, exhilarating and truly beautiful. I love standing on Waterloo Bridge with such magical views either side. It also has the hottest restaurant scene in the world at the moment, which is fantastic for us Londoners.
There are a few contenders. The best service I have ever experienced was at the Hotel Bel Air In Los Angeles – the staff were incredibly attentive and the service was discreet and seamless. The hotel is in a beautiful setting with a great pool and it’s a lovely antidote to the frenzy of LA – it has recently had a refurbishment and I can’t wait to see how it has been transformed.
The Connaught is my favourite hotel in London – it’s cosy, welcoming and utterly glamorous at the same time, and its Coburg Bar is one of my favourite bars in London – there’s nowhere better for a martini.
But my favourite hotel is Eden Rock in St Bart’s as the setting is just idyllic – the turquoise sea, the white sand and the glorious weather. The hotel, like the island, is the perfect blend of barefoot luxury with a splash of glamour!
Best travel gadget?
My iPhone and iPad are both prized travel possessions – there are so many apps to help improve the whole travel process: Kayak to help you find the right flights, TripIt to store all your travel confirmations in one place and the ability to check live departures and arrivals is invaluable.
Sell us a membership to Bon Vivant in one sentence…
We can help with any travel, lifestyle or leisure need that you don’t have the time, inclination or expertise to do yourself – your own personal concierge will be on hand to help at all times, you’ll be offered our insider knowledge and expertise and you’ll regain control of your time so that you can make the most of your life and free time.
For further information visit their website at: www.bonvivant.co.uk. You can also subscribe to their luxury lifestyle blog, fortnightly here, follow them on Twitter, or like them on Facebook.
Ditch the mouse ears, turn your back on the wet and wild theme parks and instead, when in Orlando, seek out the city’s foodie pioneers. Our city guide to Orlando is coming soon. In the meantime, get your mouth around Rachel Seed’s review of the all-American gastropub The Ravenous Pig: “A more perfect example of a neighbourhood restaurant I challenge you to find anywhere in the world….” Read her review in full here.
We love a pop-up restaurant here at Resource. And we get particularly excited when it involves a damn good curry and our two favourite cities in the world. Vivek Singh, executive chef of the beautiful Westminster restaurant The Cinnamon Club is taking his stock pans and staff to New York in the new year for a Manhattan pop-up. They’ll be causing a stir for Manhattan foodies when they’ll be cooking alongside the celebrated British chef David Hart (formerly of Soho House and Claridges) at his restaurant, Desmond’s, on the Upper East Side.
Like The Cinnamon Club, Desmond’s is a firm favourite with well-heeled society types and serious foodies, and the restaurant (above) will act as the perfect backdrop to Vivek’s modern Indian cuisine. Dishes include seared breast of Long Island duck with Hyderabadi-style sesame and tamarind sauce and an eight-ounce steak of US beef with slow-cooked onion sauce and stir-fried morels, all served from Desmond’s open-plan kitchen beneath its stunning arched dome ceiling.
Catch the NY/LON pop-up between 7th and 11th February 2012. See you there – and make ours a Cinnamon Bellini.
Booking enquiries: +1 212 207 4949 / email@example.com
Desmond’s Restaurant, 153 E60th Street, New York
Nuno Mundes and The Loft Project’s street food event in Dalston is our foodie event of the year. The Long Table is a gathering on cold December nights of some of the capital’s most exciting chefs from renowned eateries such as Hawksmoor, St John Bread and Wine, Moro and Roganic. Read our full review here, and be sure to attend The Long Table’s swan song this Friday 16th December.
With winter taking its grip on the Capital, we’re looking for beautiful places in which to warm our bones. One of our favourite venues for a hot drink on a dark night is The Cinnamon Club – a stunning restaurant set in the old Westminster library famed for its contemporary Indian cooking. But it’s not just the food that’s been currying favour with connoisseurs of food and drink. Head mixologist Salvatore D’amico’s fiery new drinks menu has been causing something of a stir. New cocktails include Don’t Mess With Naga, which combines tequila, caramel liquor (wow), lime juice, green pear syrup and Naga Bitter (an outrageous muddling of eight-year-old Bourbon and Naga chillies, which are the world’s hottest). Decide on how daring you’re feeling and watch as your barman administers the chilli essence drop by drop. Another favourite of ours – if you’re buying – is the Golden Brown, mixed from Martell VS, apricot shrub, lilly liquor, a splash of Cynar and topped off with a gold leaf. The Glorius Day, served in a wonderfully retro pewter mug, is another winner on the menu (pictured above). Better still, you can wash these concoctions down with some of Executive Chef Vivek Singh’s bar snacks – small and large plates perfect for sharing and soaking up the expertly mixed booze.
The Cinnamon Club, The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BU
Tel: 020 7222 2555
Make like a Shoreditch hipster and head over to 123 Bethnal Green Road for the Disappearing Dining Club’s latest residency, Too Much Is Never Enough. 123 Bethnal Green Road is a fashion and objét concept store, housed in a beautiful Grade II-listed Victorian building – the perfect location for this dining adventure. Each floor delivers a different course of dinner, starting with a Grey Goose Le Fizz cocktail on the ground floor. On second, home of menswear (this is beginning to sound like an episode of Are You Being Served?), the setting evokes that of a darkly-lit East End boys club, and it’s here you’ll be partaking in first-course canapés washed down with gin and rum punches served in giant cut-glass bowls and bone china cups.
Main courses will be served on the first floor, usually the home to ladieswear. Dinner, a warm and hearty, wintery, slow-cooked stew will be served in these boudoir-like surroundings. Head to the Bunker Café for decadent puds and shots of rum, and then dance your dinner off to the sounds of resident DJs. Make a real night of it and bag yourself a Christmas gift or three – diners receive 10% discount off their purchases on the night.
Spaces are limited to just 60 diners per night. Open until 22nd December 2011.
www.disappearingdiningclub.co.uk/toomuchisneverenough / 123bethnalgreenroad.tumblr.com
Volupté, a decadent burlesque cabaret club in the heart of the City, is back with a subversive and cheeky take on the quintessential afternoon tea – with a twist, obviously. Voluptéa is now being served on Saturdays and Sundays, and we can’t think of a saucier way to spend a winter weekend afternoon. Expect gin-soaked concoctions served whilst you watch burlesque beauties and quality cabaret acts take to the stage. If you can take your eyes off the performers for one moment, expect to be treated to fine tea, finger sandwiches, and scones laden with jam and clotted cream, as well as a cool take on confectionery by Lorna Green from Buttercup.
Book in advance for £42 per person including entry, a table for the afternoon, entertainment and tea service. Bar opens at 1.30pm and the show starts at 3pm.
Volupté, 9 Norwich Street, London, EC4A 1EJ
One of London’s most lauded eateries is being given a new lease of life after an impressive half-a-century on the city’s restaurant scene. Legendary designer Martin Brudnizki has overseen an extensive refurbishment of The Rib Room, which will boast a glamorous destination cocktail bar, two private dining rooms, a unique cigar terrace (some of our team are already champing at the bit) come its reopening in October. The elegant restaurant provides the perfect backdrop to Michelin-starred chef Ian Rudge’s modern British menu.
The new menu will showcase a selection of modern British dishes including buttered native lobster tail with caramelised baby fennel, braised gem hearts and pear cider; and a caper crusted rack of Launceston lamb, neck curry and shallot compote with Jerusalem artichoke purée. Traditionalists, however, needn’t worry: classic Rib Room favourites such as the Aberdeen Angus rib of beef and its prawn cocktail still grace the menu.
Dragging this institution into the 21st century, we love that the wine list will be presented on an iPad, featuring tasting notes from sommelier Louise Gordon. Diners can filter their selection by year, price, producer, grape, region and style, before linking through to uncover the back story of their chosen wine.
Located in the heart of Knightsbridge, and historically frequented by a diverse mix of famous faces that have included Hollywood stars, politicians, supermodels and royalty, the re-opening next month is sure to be one of the most anticipated of 2011.
Ground Floor, Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Cadogan Place, London, SW1X 9PY.
Tel: +44 20 7235 1234