The Ritz, Prestige for 120 years

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In June 2016, after 4 years of renovation, the magnificent Hôtel Ritz at Vendôme Square in Paris reopens its doors – the interior remains full of splendour, charm and the illustrious history of the Ritz! Opened on the first of June 1898, the Ritz came together through the audaciousness and influence of the Swiss gentleman César Ritz… the man who introduced, almost invented, the new art of chic hospitality and fine cuisine. Indeed, the Ritz oozes French refinement while also securing long-lasting foundations and milestones. Invaluable furniture, decorations, lighting through fabulous diamond chandeliers – from its opening, the Ritz has counted highly distinguished guests among its clientele… the Rothschild, the countess of Pourtales, Galouste Gulbenkian, the arch-duke Michel in exile from Russia, Anna Goud, Boni of Castellane. 

In 120 years, the Ritz attracted many high profile clients; overcome by its service, restaurant and its impressively beautiful suites. And when we examine the history of Paris, it is often the Ritz which is observed at the centre of the city! Soothed by the magic of its muffled décor, Cole Porter could spend hour after hour seated at the piano – it is said that he composed Begin the Beguine at this exact spot. King Alphonse XIII of Spain sampled Dom Pérignon alongside cognac and strawberries in the fine surroundings of the Ritz. Coco Chanel spent the last 40 years of her life there.

“When I dream of an afternoon in paradise, it always takes place in the Ritz Hotel in Paris” wrote Ernest Hemmingway many years ago. He celebrated the liberation of 1944 in the bar which is now named after him. And the walls of the Ritz now have so many more stories to tell. “The Ritz kept its style, simultaneously luxurious and intimate. It is a palace and a fantasy, a hotel which is known across the world and undoubtedly a trendsetter” remarks Stéphane Aubert, the manager associated with Artcurial for sales “There was… the Ritz Paris” which was held last April. We roamed around the grounds as is done in a palace in French taste – we travelled across time, transported by the magnificence of a place of dreams, always there to protect the treasure of the past century! 

 

The “Magic Top” Yule Log at the Shangri-La Hotel

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The holidays are fast approaching, and with them come Christmastime treats aplenty. The Shangri-La Hotel has announced its newest production with head pastry chef Michaël Bartocetti – the idea: bring out an exquisite iced dessert. This is a yule log, but a yule log that takes on the shape and motions of a top. As fun as it is tasty, this object inspires and regales the senses. Once in movement, the yule log is sure to cause a stir – this Magic Top is a nod to traditional Christmas ornaments and is sure to dress the most beautiful holiday tables with elegance.

The Magic Top reveals a number of superimposed layers. Head pastry chef Michaël Bartocetti imagined it as a game of flavors and textures that mixes the softness of a Papau/New Guinea Madong chocolate mousse, the crunchiness of a hazelnut praline, and a creamy gianduja with a gingerbread cookie. The treat is perched on a hazelnut crunch with sea salt covered by a delicate layer of Caribbean 66% chocolate. By digging into his childhood memories, the Shangri-La’s head pastry chef brings the world one of the most coveted desserts of the holidays.

This time, once the upper part of the yule log has been devoured, eaters will be getting a special surprise. Its base, imagined as a delicious refined mix of dried fruits and nuts, is able to be shared. This work of tasting art will be available at the restaurant La Bauhinia from December 5 to the 25, 2017. A lucky few will be able to taste it with sheer delight.

Flocons de Sel Hotel, Mégève

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Megève looks out over a breathtaking landscape. This village is tucked in the Savoie, in the Mont Blanc range at the heart of the Alps. Here, there is a building that has preserved all the charm that made this village renowned for being one of the most beautiful ski stations in the world. The setting is indeed ideal for Flocons de Sel hotel. Luxury and comfort are the key words here, in this building that’s ideal for lovers of winter sports – right next to some of the Alps’ most beautiful skiable domains, you can’t get any better than this when it comes to hitting the slopes.

But what can be found inside Flocons de Sel is luxury and authenticity, alongside the toned-down comfort of nine rooms, suites, and private chalets. The hotel’s spa is delightful in and of itself: a cocoon of well-being with an indoor pool, sauna, and outdoor Nordic bath, it offers a sweeping view of the mountains. In the heights of Megève, you’re sure to be swept off your feet. Nothing can compare to the restaurant though, the only one in the region to have received three Michelin stars.

Flocons de Sel’s restaurant is a pure homage to the mountains. It’s also an unforgettable culinary journey, composed around very personal dishes and regional products that are cooked with creativity like none other. The chef is Emmanuel Renaut, owner of the sublime hotel along with his wife Kristine, turning it into a nook as simple as it is distinguished. On Sunday, March 5th, Emmanuel Renaut brought together fellow chefs Yannick Alléno and René Meilleur, all of them old friends, to share their talent and creativity during an impromptu evening. A menu entitled “À la découverte des Flocons de Sel” came out of this collaboration; it’s a nine-star collaboration at that, since each of these chefs, guided by their art of offering an interpretation of mountainous cuisine, is triple starred. This simple pleasure could only be anchored in the timelessness of Savoyard conviviality.

Anne-Sophie Pic’s Blue Lobster

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In 1973, Anne-Sophie Pic was worried, demanding, and constantly seeking the best when the death of her father, chef Jacques Pic, left her running the kitchens. This fragility of a self-taught artist has allowed her to endlessly reevaluate herself. The meeting of her husband also proved to be a fortuitous one: at his side, Anne-Sophie Pic imagined her eponymous restaurant as a timeless, intimate, and cozy bubble that would open up to the gardens. “A gourmet restaurant has to tell a true story, the story of a place, of a dish, of a chef,” once said Anne-Sophie Pic. That’s why the space is organized around a crystal chandelier that separates the room into three separate spaces, each illuminated in turn by huge windows. But Pic’s touch resides in her choice of quality products: from Emerald coast shells to Velay sweetbread, her culinary ecstasy comes together around blue lobster, berries, and celery. “I created the berry lobster 10 years ago and it quickly became our signature dish. Back then, I imagined uniting the tartness of woodland strawberry, raspberry, and blackcurrant with the spiciness of pepper and the vivacity of celery.”

Three stars in the Michelin Guide later, Anne-Sophie Pic is now offering a reinterpretation of this borderline iconic lobster. A tasteful translation of her culinary evolution, it’s the result of a minute work with sauces. The chef is seeking ever more harmony, down to the very last note of the sauces. Stripped of butter and oil to concoct something closer to nature, Anne-Sophie Pic takes interest in the vivacity and quintessence of each taste. For this lobster, she imagined a berry dashi. Dashi is a broth of kombu algae and dried shavings of bonito, the base of Japanese cuisine. On the plate, the lobster rests on a bed of fresh red fruits, beets accompanied by chutney, and berry dashi. The taste experience mixes the smoky taste of the dashi and the tart flavor of the fruits, taken to the next level by the sourness of the barberry… It’s an explosion of flavor that plays with bitterness, tartness, and smokiness. This is a precious platter, but Anne-Sophie Pic also joins the cohort of great chefs that have embarked on off-label cuisine, like Paul Bocuse or Sébastien Bras. With her Daily Pic, the chef brings the idea of a “gourmet cafeteria” to Valence, France with a prime location at 3 Place Championnet.

The Louis Vuitton Store, a Symbolic Display

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“Stores will become museums” – this premonition comes from the Nostradamus of art and pop culture, Andy Warhol. When you see the marvel that is the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs-Elysées, it’s obvious that he wasn’t too far off. London, New York, Jakarta, Hong Kong, and a number of others… while the trunkmaker is eminently present on the four corners of the planet with 346 stores, it’s in Paris, the label’s home turf, that the whole world can truly behold their multiple talents. Louis Vuitton is a special brand, over a hundred years old and always where you least expect them. With a limitless and trans-disciplinary creativity, Louis Vuitton set up shop at 101 Avenue des Champs-Elysées – with a massive renovation in 2005. The result is just as impressive: a cathedral of Vuitton, spread out over 1,800 m2. Eric Carlson and Peter Morino built a 4-level space on a single floor, made of soft ramps and a sharp game of mirrors that literally turns clients’ heads. Every weekend, a long queue of curious clientele from around the world forms in front of the store’s front doors – in a twist of historical irony, it ends up in front of the store’s 1914 location at 70 Avenue des Champs-Elysées.

But the 101 flagship is by no means stuck in the past. Offering everything from leathergoods to jewelry, ready-to-wear, Vuitton stationery, and a book store, the space is conceived with avant-garde architecture that offers an almost unlimited line of products. Louis Vuitton’s ties with the art world have never seemed as strong as they are today. Art is completely anchored in the architecture of this shop of wonders: Olafur Eliasson and his ‘Loss of Senses’ elevator, James Turell and his modular and bright sculptures, Tim White-Sobieski and his spectacular 20-meter “mobile stairway” with vast fiber optic panels… Everything seems to be in perfect harmony with the Vuitton universe within which the Monogram, sometimes a logo and sometimes a canvas, occupies the place of honor. The trunk becomes an architectural fabric here changing along with the desires of the day.

At 101 Avenue des Champs-Elysées, you can sit at the Bag Bar, or see an exhibit in the cultural expression space. “This house on the Champs-Elysées is a pole of attraction,” observed ex-president Yves Carcelle. “Louis Vuitton has always been located at the height of creation. This house is still at the head of fashion more than a century later thanks to a valuation of our heritage while we continue to anticipate coming trends,” highlights Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton’s current president/director general. It’s true that there is no store quite like this one: a flagship that’s overflowing with creativity, offering much more than just a place to get your hands on Nicolas Ghesquière’s latest pieces, it delivers an experience that’s completely out of the ordinary.

Petrossian Beluga Caviar

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There are some products that simply saying the name can evoke spooky sensations. Petrossian has that power. As a designer of haute couture, Armen Petrossian had become a master in the art of caviar. The worthy son of a grocer, he made the gamble to bet on a sturgeon breeding.

The iconic product of the maison Petrossian; there is an elegance of caviar that beluga would like to address. In the family of the large sturgeons, it is distinguished by its unsuspected qualities to the general public; it is the most noble in the caviar market. Calmly delivering a fantasy, the beluga caviar is at the forefront of luxury. A true legend, the caviar has yet to leave anyone indifferent. It delivers a buttery taste, with iodine extracts, but the aftertaste fades almost instantly. The bitterness of the salt layer brings a real sophistication and a great delight for the taste buds. It is an ancient tradition to accompany vodka, but the champagne is not outdone… to best receive this offer of precious sturgeon eggs.

Currently, Armen Petrossian, director of the house, is launching a new formula on order only. The last box, called the “Terrible Ivan”, a nod to the tsar, contains 10kg of the famous caviar. He admits some provocation in this new product but provides clearly that everyone “should always have caviar on itself.”

Hennessy Impérial Sets Up Shop at the Bristol in Paris

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2015: Hennessy celebrated its 250th anniversary. Hennessy’s sublimeness resides in a heritage of eight generations that have succeeded one another at the head of this Cognac-based manufacturer through two families: the Hennessys and the Filliouxs, present on five continents. The brand has never ceased to pass down the best of itself. Symbol of the height of the art of selection at Hennessy, Paradis Impérial is at the forefront of this unique craftsmanship. The master blender has selected the finest eaux de vie with uncanny precision. No surprise then to see that today, this same master blender is setting up shop in the Precision Gallery at the Bristol in Paris.

From now until March 31, 2018, Hennessy is teaming up with the Bristol in Paris to imagine and create a tasting salon with “precision” as the anchoring concept. One of their most important  shared values crowns Hennessy Paradis Impérial, a blend with the manufacturer’s most rare composition yet. Hennessy’s tasting committee paid special attention to this cognac’s unique refinement, yielded from an assembly of eaux de vie from the 19th and 20th centuries.

In the Precision Gallery at the Bristol in Paris, an encounter between this beverage and various dishes is being celebrating, with Hennessy Paradis Impérial and the rigorous cuisine of Eric Frechon. His encounter with Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, Hennessy’s master blender, led to the creation of six recipes illustrating the tasting marvels involved in each one’s craft. This is an immersive experience – an experience like none other based on perfection and the most accomplished work when it comes to understanding the affinities between taste and flavors.

The Beverly Hills Hotel

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The Beverly Hills Hotel has been illuminating, housing, and enflaming all of Hollywood for over a century. It was imagined like a palace; an oversized architecture of 5,000 m² initiated by Elmer Grey in 1911, with surroundings of tropical gardens and exotic flowers – creations from landscaper Wilbur David Cook… The hotel would soon attract aesthetes the world over. Affectionately nicknamed the “Pink Palace” (a reference to its pink and green color scheme), the town of Beverly Hills literally saw its high society migrate into this fortress of colored walls. Also housed inside it was Al Christie’s first Hollywood studio. The Beverly Hills Hotel is a myth that has seen the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Sharon Stone, and Brad Pitt housed beneath its roof.

The hotel’s power of attraction hasn’t budged over the years. Elizabeth Taylor stayed in one of their bungalows while her father held the reigns of the Pink Palace’s art gallery. In the 40s, thanks to Will Roger and Spencer Tracy, who played polo and liked to fete their victories at the hotel’s restaurant, the name “The Polo Lounge” became preferred to that of “El Jardin Restaurant”. It’s within this same restaurant that a major revolution took place: Marlene Dietrich frequented it back in the day and changed the norms of the era when she made an appearance wearing pants – a dress code that was previously off limits to women. The swimming pool and the Cabana Club entered into legend after serving as the setting for a scene between Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall in the 1956 Vincente Minnelli film “Designing Woman”. At the end of the decade, the hotel became definitively sacred when Marilyn Monroe and Yves Montand stayed there during the filming of “Let’s Make Love”. The Eagles would even choose a photo of the Beverly Hills Hotel for their 1976 album “Hotel California”…

The Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme: A Bastion Of Sensuality

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Willed by Louis XIV, designed by Mansart and Boffrand, the place Vendôme would soon see an explosion in fashion and luxury houses setting up shop there. At 5 rue de la Paix, there once existed the couture house of Monsieur and Madame Paquin, founded by Jeanne Beckers and Isidore Jacobs who’s immense renown made the venture a success. It was in the midst of a congregation of five Haussman-style buildings that the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme was first conceived in 2002, to reunite with its cosmopolitan and buzz-worthy traditions.The first hotel to open in Paris for over fifty years, it was with little fanfare that it began boasting airy and inspired spaces, stripped down behind a classy façade. Sober, adorned with medallions, the palace’s façade houses a carriage entrance complete with two gracious caryatids sculpted into the stone. The exterior is typical of the opulent architecture of the Second Empire, within which a fluid, refined, and warm contemporary vibe is established by American architect Ed Tuttle. He was entrusted with the building’s layout and decoration and, from the legacy of Louis XVI-esque elegance straight through to art deco, composed an enchanting morsel of contemporary Parisian chic. A number of très French references and proportions use and reuse the traditional lines and materials that make up all the charm of Paris: Parisian stone, bronze, mahogany, and rich, carefully selected fabrics come together around a soothing and radiant color palette. The hotel of choice for guests from the four corners of the Earth, this establishment maintains the legacy of palaces from days gone by: the cult of incognito. An implicit and open concept rendezvous is sure to be had amidst white flowers and red flames.

With cosmopolitan events, glamorous soirées, and charity galas de rigueur for such a venue, the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme never fails to rise to the occasion. Through the conceptual highlighting of a unique collection of contemporary art, seven paintings by Ed Paschke along with works from Irmgard Sigg and Llyn Foukes to name but a few welcome the clientele. On the handles of the doors to the rooms and suites are signature bronze sculptures by Roseline Granet that can be appreciated with the sense of touch just as much as that of sight. The corridors that stretch out in endless paths of silk carpet runner vivify the senses with their sophistication. The sensuality of it is undeniable. Thought up as a private residence rather than a temporary place of passage, this palace avoids the classic and sometimes intimidating protocol inherent to 5-star establishments. In total, 153 rooms and 43 suites make for a voluptuous and unforgettable dream come true. The entire building is oriented towards pleasure and the awakening of the senses. A starred restaurant, Le Pur’ , was expertly put together by the extremely creative Chef Jean-François Rouquette. A second restaurant, Les Orchidées, a bar, a spa with sauna, a Turkish bath, a jacuzzi, and a gym… The final note to this singular sensory experience is a seductive olfaction from Blaise Mautin. Composed around Russian leather, powdered patchouli, and Florida oranges, the palace’s indescribable scent inebriates you from the second you penetrate this bastion of sensuality.

The Armani Hotel In Milan

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After a first luxury hotel opened in Dubai in 2010, the Italian couturier is lending his style to the Milanese hospitality industry; 16,500 square meters where luxury, minimalism, and hedonism come together. It’s in Milan’s Golden Triangle, just a hop skip and a jump away from Via della Spiga and Via Montenapoleone that the Armani Hotel Milano set up shop. Like a sign of destiny, the structure is shaped like an A when seen from above.This hotel incarnates everything that Giorgio Armani would expect from an ideal home: an intimate place where you can both live in silence and host guests in an environment that exhales visual harmony.

“I think of contemporary architect Tadao Ando and his sense of purity, of designer-architect Mies van der Rohe, who was head of the Bauhaus school in the 30s, of Le Corbusier, who knew before anyone else how to find the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality, or Art deco decorator Jean-Michel Frank, for his creations that are perfectly simple but created using precious materials.” The grand masters of contemporary architecture: this is Giorgio’s inspiration. But the artist still doesn’t forget to infuse his own aesthetic vision into the mix.

That’s why comfort and elegance can be found right down to the tiniest details of his fashion creations. “Like everything he does, Armani never goes overboard. The lines are simple and the innovation is hidden: the shower stall is, for instance, equipped with a two-sided mirror that allows you to see without being seen… It’s an art! The restaurant and the Bamboo Bar also benefit from all of Armani’s creativity and inspiration: the luminescent white-onyx checkered floor contrasts with the lacquered wood, while the black marble provides the base for a soothing neoclassical decor. But it’s at night that the onyx, lit up from the inside, takes on a new meaning within a space with a fabulously high ceiling. Fitted with mirrored glass on the outside,  the extension seems to melt into the Milanese sky; it’s quite simply magical.