New & Noteworthy, June 2015


New Era on Cap Ferrat

Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat Few grand hotels are quite as grand as the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat. Built in 1908 and now listed as a French national monument, it is surrounded by 17 acres of lavender and citrus trees at the tip of a pine-scented peninsula seven miles east of Nice. Gustave Eiffel designed the lobby and rotunda; Pierre-Yves Rochon presided over the comprehensive renovation in 2009. History, grandeur, a celebrity clientele, a Michelin-starred restaurant, an exceptional spa, even a funicular down to a private stretch of Mediterranean waterfront: The Cap-Ferrat has them all. The only frequent criticism has been that the service is a little formal, not quite as spontaneously friendly as one might wish. Now this is likely to change. In May, Four Seasons took over management of the property. Henceforth, North American hospitality can be expected to augment Gallic elegance and flair.

Ireland by Luxury Train

One of two dining cars on the Belmond Grand Hibernian - © JPA Design LondonBelmond — formerly Orient-Express — is adding to its extensive train portfolio, which already includes the famous Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and the Eastern & Oriental Express in Southeast Asia. Modeled on the Belmond Royal Scotsman, the new Belmond Grand Hibernian will enter service in August 2016. The train will comprise 20 en suite cabins (for a maximum of 40 passengers) decorated with a combination of contemporary and traditional Irish designs. Two dining cars will offer authentic Irish cuisine, including smoked fish and artisanal cheeses. Waterford crystal and Irish tweed will further enhance the sense of place. Planned journeys range from two to six nights. The six-night “Grand Tour of Ireland” will follow an itinerary beginning and ending in Dublin, visiting Cork, Killarney, Galway, Westport, Portrush (for the Giant’s Causeway) and Belfast.

London Classic Reopens

Drawing of the newly renovated Great Hall at The Lanesborough - © Alberto PintoOverlooking Hyde Park Corner and convenient to both Belgravia and Knightsbridge, The Lanesborough has always enjoyed one of the best locations in London. The grand Regency building was constructed as a hospital in 1827. After a lengthy conversion, it opened as a Rosewood hotel in 1991; 10 years later, it became a St. Regis. Now, after a two-year renovation, it has reopened as part of the Oetker portfolio, an impressive collection of properties that includes Le Bristol in Paris, Brenners Park in Baden-Baden and the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes. The grand interior has been completely redesigned, following plans drawn up by the late Alberto Pinto. Reservations are being accepted from July 1. With Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley having recently been acquired by Qatar Holding, London’s grand hotel scene seems to be evolving at considerable speed.

St. Regis Comes to Venice

Acquerello Restaurant at The St. Regis Venice San Clemente PalaceThe 15-acre Isola di San Clemente lies in the Venetian lagoon between Giudecca and the Lido, 10 minutes by boat from San Marco. Traditionally, it was known as the “Gateway to Venice,” where the doge would greet distinguished foreign visitors aboard the Bucentaur, his ceremonial barge. Over the centuries, the island has been home to crusaders, soldiers, monks and the insane. The grand monastery buildings were converted into a hotel in 2003. When I last visited, around five years ago, the property had obvious potential, but seemed chilly and a little down-at-the-heels. It was acquired by new owners in 2013 and has now reopened as The St. Regis Venice San Clemente Palace. I suspect that the Hotel Cipriani may face some unexpectedly stiff competition. Incidentally, the island’s restored 15th-century Church of San Clemente must be one of the more glamorous places in the world to get married.

Collection Updates

The updated Central & South America book of the Harper Collection will be available on our website in JuneJune brings two more of my personal guides: Mexico & Caribbean and Central & South America. Updates feature our latest discoveries, regional notebooks, touring maps, restaurants and, of course, my recommended hotels. The Harper Collection books are now available for individual purchase here. They are also mailed bi-monthly to Premier subscribers. To upgrade your subscription, contact [email protected].

Treasures of India by Private Jet

The Taj Mahal is one of many stops on the 14-day Harper Journey by private jet in India starting Oct. 21 - © Ashwin/Shutterstock.comOur Travel Office is 
now accepting reservations for this remarkable Harper Journey, set for October 21-
November 3. The 14-day itinerary is an introduction to some of the most famous sights in India, including the Taj Mahal. Participants will also attend exclusive events. To learn more, contact Erica Doose at (800) 375-4685, or [email protected].

By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.