Seductively Stylish Ett Hem!

Ett HemBOUTIQUE LUXURY IN STOCKHOLM

I made my way to Stockholm after ILTM in Cannes with my only intention to see the latest luxury boutique hotel that’s on everyone’s lips – the gorgeous Ett Hem. I’d comfortably describe it as a boutique hotel with soul – and that’s hard to do these days! This is the new bench mark for designer stays. And while the hotel did not disappoint – in fact it could be the highlight of my year, what I found in Stockholm was so much more. I look good in Nordic style!

Ett Hem   Envelope yourself in stylish sophistication here at Ett Hem, with interiors by Ilse Crawford, it’s like checking into a very chic friend’s home – think dove grey walls, parquet flooring and of course some very savvy Swedish design at every turn. Help yourself to a drink at the honour bar – order up some farm-to-table goodness from the kitchen (at any time) and settle into the Glass House – one of Ett Hem’s prettiest dining destinations. Nothing is off-limits here, ask and you shall receive, all in such understated style – I found it hard to leave.

Ett Hem Bedroom I adored this hotel, it’s overwhelming sense of style and place is unmatched in this hotel realm. Get here quick and make sure you add Sweden and Stockholm to the very top of your 2015 travel wish list.

INSIDER INTEL

  • Eat meatballs at Riche – the Stockholm brasserie institution serving up classic Swedish meatballs to see and be scene of Stockholm.
  • Shop designer Swedish style at Svenskt Tenn – and stop by for tea in their Te Salong
  • Dine at Town House Nosh & Chow with Ralph Lauren – esque  interiors by Spanish designer Lazaro Rosa-Violan. Attracts a handsome, hot and hip crowd.
  • Pick up your favourite BYREDO fragrance from cult Swedish perfumer Ben Gorham – try Baudelaire
  • Swing by Acne Studios and add to your all navy collection with a few key pieces. This is de rigueur Swedish “must have” style
  • Yes the city is expensive (so is Sydney!) but suck it up and move on, style comes at a price!

Contact me today and lets start planning your Swedish designer stay!

My Home in Rome!

JK Place RomaJ.K. PLACE ROMA

Ok, here I’m serving up one of my favourite hotels ever. You’ve heard me recommend JK Place Capri and the original JK Place in Florence before, well now their latest property JK Place Roma might just take the title of most glamorous city hotel .. Ever!

JK Place RomaStylish 50’s interiors with a handsome twist by Michele Bonan help this glam city-slicker rise above the rest in Rome. Beds you never want to climb out of and a complimentary mini bar also help to win this boy over!

Rome has its beautiful classic hotels of course, but if contemporary chic is your scene, reside at JK Place Roma. It is officially my “Home in Rome” where I check-in and don’t move, though if you are in need an instant shopping fix, Via Condotti is right round the corner and you’ll never have to stray far from home to experience everything the Eternal City has to offer.

JK Place Roma

Book with me to receive exclusive luxury amenities such as upgrade on arrival, lunch or dinner in the hotel restaurant (best burgers in Rome by the way!), breakfast daily and late check-out /early check-in.

HOT TIP – Book yourself in for a shave around at the new Acqua di Parma Boutique on arrival and clean up Italian style with master barber Pierpaolo, contact me for all the details.

J.K. Place Roma!

One of my most anticipated check-ins of 2014 will be JK Place Roma in Rome.

Isn’t it chic?

Italy is big on my agenda this year and my Summer itinerary will include a stay at Portrait Firenze in Florence (where I am a brand ambassador!), then I move onto Rome and Capri where I will check-in to JK Place Capri and Punta Tragara.

Oh and of course I will be making time to motor across to Positano and a chic stay at Le Sirenuse …one of my favourite hotels of all time.

Stay tuned … it’s time to bring back some old-fashioned travel glamour, all starting in Rome and JK Place Roma!

@Photos courtesy of JK Place Roma

JK Roma 2 JK Roma 3 JK Roma 4 JK Roma 5 JK Roma 7 JK Roma 8 JK Roma 9

It’s a Firmdale Christmas!

Craig Markham and Brent Wallace at Chiswick Restaurant

Craig Markham and Brent Wallace at Chiswick Restaurant

Firmdale Hotels celebrates in Sydney

Craig Markham, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Firmdale Hotels London & New York (and my good friend!) jetted into Sydney this week for his annual round of glamorous industry and Sydney social events… Here’s what happened!

A perfect Firmdale setting, Chiswick Restaurant

A perfect Firmdale setting, Chiswick Restaurant

Monday –

Chiswick Restaurant was the setting for Mondays’ lunch where the who’s who of Sydney luxury travel joined Craig and Narell Devine (Narell is Director of Sales at Crosby Street Hotel in New York) for a breezy lunch at the gorgeous Chiswick Restaurant in Woollahra… they were all there, some old friends like Bev Cohen (Bev actually booked my travel many years ago!) and new friends like hotel aficionado David Goldman, and it’s always great to catch up with Danny Calahan too but I’m sorry … Carol Morgan from Voyage Affaires in Auckland wins the award this year!! Carol jetted in from Auckland just for the Firmdale lunch and then promptly jetted back when the festivities ended!

That’s glamorous.

Craig Markham, Carol Morgan and Brent Wallace at Chiswick Restaurant

Craig Markham, Carol Morgan and Brent Wallace at Chiswick Restaurant

This year's Firmdale Christmas card - The Kit Kemp Entrance for Decorex 2013

This year’s Firmdale Christmas card – The Kit Kemp Entrance for Decorex 2013

Craig Markham , Narell Devine and Brent Wallace at Chiswick Restaurant

Craig Markham , Narell Devine and Brent Wallace at Chiswick Restaurant

The table is set! Chiswick Restaurant

The table is set! Chiswick Restaurant

Later that night Thomas Hamel and George Massar opened their very chic apartment in the city for drinks, where we caught up with Cameron Kimber, Melissa Penfold and chic LA funsters Adam Campbell (who is “Hairdresser to the stars” in LA) and his charming partner Mikey who were town for some fun in Sydney and some serious hair styling!

Tuesday-

Craig moved further up George Street to QT Sydney Hotel this year to host his annual Travel Agent Industry Christmas Cocktail party. We all agreed that this party signals the start of the holidays and we sipped in style while talking travel and the room was a-buzz about the latest Firmdale opening, the Ham Yard Hotel in London next May.

We then headed to Gowings Bar & Grill for a late dinner (and one of the best veal schnitzels I have ever eaten).

Brent with Craig Markham at QT Hotels

Brent with Craig Markham at QT Hotels

My Fairflights / Riche Luxury Travel team at the Firmdale Cocktail Party

My Fairflights / Riche Luxury Travel team at the Firmdale Cocktail Party

Wednesday-

Sharyn Storrier Lynham hosted her annual drinks soiree for Craig this year at her gorgeous bijou store EDIT in Queen Street Woollahra on wednesday night. This party is for Sydney’s who’s who, many of whom have been a friend of Craig’s for years and are also true devotees of his Firmdale properties.

EDIT - Woollahra

EDIT – Woollahra

At the party I ran into the fab Susie Westwood from Brandman PR in Sydney, (Susie and I lunched earlier in the week at Intermezzo along with her husband Andrew), Annette Zubani (Nettie Z … guest Food blogger here at Where’s Brent Been?, together we are launching our “Mexico Riche” tours in 2014), Lee Tulloch (aka Mrs Amos of Mr & Mrs Amos – and creator one of the best travel blogs around), Howard Steeves (handsome stylist about town and also guest blogger right here at Where’s Brent Been?) and his partner Simon Cary.

Great mate, photographer Stephen Ward and his beautiful partner Holly Blake (both of whom are in demand fashion photographers) swung by, as did Thomas Hamel and George Massar both looking extremely dapper on their way to dinner. Oh… and I finally got a chance to catch up with the gorgeous Jenny Garber, who got to tell me all about her new inART bespoke art tours in Sydney, (I’ll be joining one in February so stay tuned).

I did say it was a who’s who!

Brent with Craig Markham - Firmdale Hotels

Brent with Craig Markham – Firmdale Hotels

EDIT - Woollahra

EDIT – Woollahra

EDIT - Woollahra

EDIT – Woollahra

For those that don’t know, Sharyn designs the most beautiful fabrics and her store EDIT is one of the most colourful and inspiring spaces I have seen in ages, I just loved it. Pop in and pick up a last-minute Christmas gift for yourself.

I have my eye on an indigo cushion I don’t think I can live without!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Luxury Lakeside Lodging!

Matakauri Lodge

Matakauri Lodge

MATAKAURI LODGE

New Zealand lodge luxury doesn’t come much better than this, Matakauri Lodge right near Queenstown comes from some very impressive hospitality pedigree. The owners created the legendary Kauri Cliffs (read about my recent stay here) and their latest escape Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay (this one is next on my “to visit” list!).

Matakauri Lodge

Matakauri Lodge

Arriving from The Spire, it took approximately ten minutes to reach Matakauri Lodge, it’s so close you could easily base your stay here in pampered luxury and experience all the delights of cosmopolitan Queenstown and its surrounds without any fuss. The lodge can arrange everything of course, a chopper to Milford Sound?? … you got it!

CHECK IN

Private, contemporary-chic rules here where stunning (and private) suites painted dark grey with white trim float along the coastline, each one affording jaw dropping mountain views across Lake Wakatipu. Styled by acclaimed interior designer Virginia Fisher, every suite delivers comfortable and luxururious interiors with splashes of colour taken from the surrounding landscape. The bathrooms are swoon worthy… open up those windows and soak in one of the most stunning views a bathroom of any resort in the world could have… the piece de resistance!

Matakauri Lodge

Matakauri Lodge

EAT IN

Food of course was outstanding, (degustation anyone??) it’s Relais & Chateaux affiliated (as are their sister properties) so it’s the best of the best with a six course tasting menu for dinner as standard fare in these luxury surrounds with stellar hospitality to match. Your rate includes breakfast and dinner … and please dine on the breathtaking terrace if the weather allows, we did.

Of course they can also rustle up something delicious for lunch if you find yourself luxury-lodge bound when not out experiencing all that Queenstown has to offer.

Matakauri Lodge

Matakauri Lodge

Don’t be afraid of the weather in Queenstown, this stunning (and can I say hip?) city sizzles year round, we even got to lounge by the fabulous infinity pool in early November (it had snowed the week before!). Next to the pool you have a fully equipped gym and two luxury treatment rooms for those obligatory daily massages… it’s that sort of place.

Matakauri Lodge

Matakauri Lodge

A special thanks to Stephen McAteer who’s enthusiastic passion for the lodge and his guests made the Matakauri experience ultra special, and to Jay Robertson who organised my stunning stay.

Why not combine all three lodges, Kauri Cliffs, Cape Kidnappers and Matakauri Lodge for the ultimate New Zealand lodge experience?

Book your very own stay at Matakauri Lodge with me and enjoy the following exclusive benefits:

  • Upgrade on arrival subject to availability
  • $100 USD Spa Services credit
  • Early check-in / check-out subject to availability

Contact me to book right NOW!

CONDESA df – Mexico City!

Condesa df Entrance

CONDESA df Entrance

CONDESAdf

So we finally made it … to Mexico City and directly to the gorgeous CONDESA df (part of the very fabulous Grupo Habita hotel group who are making waves throughout Mexico and now New York City). I had always wanted to check-in to this design star, comfortably positioned in the chic suburb of Condesa. Nettie Z and I dropped the bags and headed straight upstairs to the rooftop terrace overlooking the leafy streets of Condesa and enjoyed some world-class sushi and the obligatory Tamarindo Margarita! Ole!

Tamarindo Margarita!

Tamarindo Margarita!

While Mexico City certainly has its fair share of fab hotels, CONDESA df ticks all the boxes … it’s French neoclassical facade hides a fab interior with a simple aesthetic I know you’ll love… all very cool. It’s the perfect location with chic and comfortable rooms and a ground floor restaurant serving delicious food day and night. We also loved the rooftop terrace El Patio serving Jap – Mex fare which comes with a  DJ spinning sultry sounds, the whole experience guaranteed to calm the most demanding jet-setter. Exemplary service combined with warm hospitality from the entire CONDESA df team make this the perfect choice to lay your designer head in Mexico City.

Balcony Room - Condesa df

Balcony Room – CONDESA df

Concierge were also brilliant pointing us in the right direction of all the hot local restaurants … we loved the latest Giacovanni Trattoria conveniently located in Condesa, an easy ten minute walk from the hotel. Best lunch was at Contramar which is also situated close by, and the fab Rosetta where the glitterati head for local celebrity chef Elena Reygadas’s Italian fare… which I dare say is the best in Mexico City?  We dined here with my friend, the fabulous Alvaro Valeriani who is the Director of Sales & Marketing – Latin America and Caribbean for Hyatt Hotels Latin America – so guess where I am going next … Costa Rica and the brand new Andaz Papagayo! (Andaz Papagayo opens December 2013)

I loved Mexico city … it has a very chic and sophisticated feel … and was the perfect end to my Mexican adventure!

CONDESA df is a winner, and will be a preferred hotel in our upcoming Mexico Riche exclusive itineraries. Join us on our next adventure, we guarantee it will be fun!

Hotel Bo – San Christobal de las Casas

Hotel Bo

Hotel Bo

HOTEL BO – San Christobal de Las Casas

So the sexy new travel review site Triptease got the scoop from me with this one. Here is my original review of Hotel Bo, just with more photos … enjoy!

I can see why this sexy gem made the CN Traveler Hot List 2013… The ultra cool interiors of this “hot right now” design hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas have everyone talking.

Hotel Bo

Hotel Bo

Situated on a traditional cobbled street in the centre of this stunning colonial town, the buildings’ traditional exterior leads you into a contemporary space and slap bang into the middle of the bar. It is here of course you will relax nightly with your de rigueur pre-dinner Margarita under chic oversized fabric lampshades.

Simple contemporary buildings towards the back of the property house the modern and comfortable guest rooms where the interior aesthetics are calm and the sleek bathrooms with their spacious chocolate brown wooden counters have plenty of room to keep the beauty products at bay (it’s Etro bath products here!). An utterly perfect and private courtyard with reflective pools just outside your door seal the deal with this one.

Church in San Christobal

Church in San Christobal

I didn’t venture out to eat while in town instead, instead choosing to dine in-house at LUM restaurant… and why not? It’s a beautiful space serving equally inspiring authentic Mexican food (my first Tortilla Soup – more on this from Nettie Z soon), and the best part… its only a short walk back to your room. Perfecto!

Hotel Bo is the perfect designer retreat on your very own Mayan pyramid circuit as the ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque are a mere two hours away. Don’t miss them!

Contact me to help plan your very own Mexican adventure.

 

A Weekend Away!

Brent in Flinders , Mornington Peninsula

Brent in Main Ridge , Mornington Peninsula

Happy Easter all!

I trust you enjoyed the break as much as I did. Friday I jumped in the car and made an impromptu road trip to Victoria and one of my favourite destinations in Australia, (if not the world!) Main Ridge on The Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.

In ten hours we had sped through Gundagai and the beautiful Riverina region of NSW then down across the border at Albury… skirting around Melbourne and onto the natural beauty that is The Mornington Peninsula.

I am incredibly fortunate to stay in chic style with my dear friend Stephen Akehurst who designs the most fabulous houses on the Peninsula (if not Australia!)… think Hampton’s chic meets Italian lake villa. He is in demand and his houses are known among the Peninsula set as some of the most beautifully designed in the area. Stephen designs homes of great style… I can attest to this as I have been visiting and staying with him for years …. and now with freshly styled interiors by his partner Adrian Cannata, their own home is an utterly fabulous, private country retreat.

Just one hour from the centre of Melbourne proper the Mornington Peninsula is the perfect day trip or overnight / weekend destination where days are spent rolling around the Peninsula enjoying the tastes and flavours of this popular wine region… here is where I ate this time around and you should too!

Merricks General Store

Merricks General Store

MERRICKS GENERAL STORE

This original General Store is now the cellar door for Elgee Park, Baillieu & Quealy wines, and houses their Bistro where classic country fare in generous portions is served along with some of the best wines of the region. I had the fish of the day… after starting with the sweetest figs stuffed with gorgonzola and wrapped in prosciutto. All washed down with the delicious Baillieu Pinot Noir. A true highlight.

Merricks General Store, 3460 Frankston-Flinders Rd, Merricks VIC 3916

Lunch Merricks General Store

Lunch Merricks General Store

Lunch Merricks General Store

Lunch Merricks General Store

YABBY LAKE

The bistro here at the Yabby Lake cellar door is causing tongues to wag in the area also. Situated in Tuerong, it has a magnificent hillside location to enjoy a fab lunch… teamed of course with a crisp glass of their award-winning Chardonnay. Filled with a smart-looking “in the know” crowd – this place is well worth a visit. I had the Vietnamese Chicken salad with a glass of the Yabby Lake Pinot Gris.

Yabby Lake Vineyard Cellar Door, 86 -112 Tuerong Road, Tuerong. Off Old Moorooduc Road

Red Claw range from Yabby Lake Vineyard

Red Claw range from Yabby Lake Vineyard

Do also check out Red Hill Epicurean in Red Hill, it’s the new local gourmet icon where you can taste cheeses, wines, coffee… and have lunch in The Shed, a huge stylish open planned space with its original industrial feel stylishly reinvented. The extensive and well thought out Italian menu easily satisfies and the buzzing scene keeps the head whirling. Also the cheese room is one of the best I have seen. Take home some delicious local olive oil which is available too.

Red Hill Epicurean, 165 Shoreham, Red Hill South

The Shed, Red Hill Epicurean

The Shed, Red Hill Epicurean

The Shed, Red Hill Epicurean

The Shed, Red Hill Epicurean

And now for my most fabulous find…  the country kitchen Johnny Ripe in Red Hill. Here, Sydney-siders Michelle and Adam have restored an old barn into a beautiful farmhouse kitchen on their stunning three acre-property. They grow apples on the property and cook the most delicious cakes and pies Friday – Sunday. This is real paddock to plate stuff that country dreams are made of using high quality ingredients mostly grown on site (yes even their chooks’ eggs go into the cakes!). The menu changes on a seasonal basis, depending on what is growing in the orchard or vegetable patch (they also grow their own figs, tomato’s and rhubarb among other things). DON’T MISS THIS ONE!

Johnny Ripe, 100 Barkers Road, Main Ridge, Victoria. 3937

A Weekend in Provence!

La Bastide de Marie

La Bastide de Marie

LA BASTIDE DE MARIE

Thinking back to 2003 – it was July in the Luberon, South of France … we had Thomas Hamel to lunch and we all thought we had found the most exquisite hideaway ever. It still exists and it’s better than ever. It’s called La Bastide de Marie and it is perfectly nestled in fifty-seven acres of picture perfect vineyards near Menerbes.

It is such a special place , I remember the hotel recommended a restaurant nearby (I forget the name – I should have started blogging then!) that was superb and we ate outside in the garden at a table under the wisteria next to Goldie Hawn. She looked fabulous and smoked all the way through dinner… so French and so chic!

At La Bastide de Marie the dinners in the evening are magical, you sit and have aperitifs in the garden and the (gorgeous) waiters all dressed in white with starched linen aprons come sit with you and help you decide on what you are having for dinner.

The food, is of course as fabulous as the guest house’s interiors. This is the real deal , a true French Provincial experience.

Contact me directly to book.

A Stylish London Stay!

Bulgari Hotel London

Bulgari Hotel London

BULGARI HOTEL LONDON

December really was a blur, it was filled with a number of hot new luxury hotel experiences and next stop on my Europe adventure was the brand new and ultra fabulous Bulgari Hotel London. This temple of design located in the prestigious neighbourhood of Knightsbridge ticks all the boxes and left me feeling all that more… glamorous. That’s just the way its done here in the world of Bulgari… all enveloping luxury at its best.

Milan meets London… and style matters, big time!

A warm welcome from the GM - Blugari Hotel London

A warm welcome from the GM – Bulgari Hotel London

FITTING ROOMS

As a fashion name hotel it truly delivers, all things that are true of the Bulgari brand are true of the hotel… style, detail, opulence and it’s here you can live, breathe & sleep the Bulgari way ….. so dress up and check-in!

From the moment I arrived I was swept up in a world of glamour and escorted by my butler Chloe to my Knightsbridge Suite, which at first glance looked like it had been set up for a visiting rock star – this couldn’t be for me could it?? So much room to whirl around in… I opened the chilled Moet (a generous welcome amenity from Sylvain the GM) and then promptly ate the plate of Macaroons placed beside the champagne (I clocked these on my way through the lobby). I then had just enough time to luxuriate in my opulent Bulgari bathroom before meeting a friend in the lobby for some serious people watching… (yes I spotted bodyguards!). Oh and about the bathrooms, these are seriously beautiful with fabulous lighting and a well stocked collection of exclusive Bulgari bath products (of course!). Oh why did this stay have to be for just ONE night!?!

Pool at Bulgari Hotel London

Pool at Bulgari Hotel London

STAY & PLAY

Don’t miss the stunning Bulgari Spa, set over two entire floors comprising a 25 metre swimming pool, vitality pool, thermal experiences and of course, chic his and hers relaxation rooms. I didn’t get a chance to use the gym but it looked top-notch! You will check in and never want to leave and why would you?… It’s exactly what I did!

Next day I had the breakfast of champions delivered to my room… before freshening up for my Swissair flight to Zürich and onto my chill out spa weekend at The Dolder Grand…

Call me to reserve you very own stay now and experience Bulgari Hotel London for yourself!

Many thanks to my good friends at Bulgari, Jenny Lebihain and Nick Sievewright for helping make my stay utterly flawless. I will be back.