TagsCatherine Feliciano-Chon, Destinations, Dorchester Collection, doyoucatchon, F&B, Hospitality & Travel, Hotel Plaza Athénée, Hotels, Industry Trends, travel, World Expo 2015
(Photo credit: Hotel Plaza Athénée)
As we’re planning our travel schedule ahead with a view of openings, exhibitions, and shows we won’t want to miss this year, we realized our top destinations aren’t really all that exotic or far flung. So while others may be beating down the door to Cuba, Faroe Islands, Namibia, Patagonia, Northern Sri Lanka and other off-the-beaten track destinations (Myanmar is oh-so-last year!), topping our list are Paris, London, New York and Milan. Yes, rather ho-hum familiar places that would have jaded jetsetters and fashionistas yawning. But, these cities continue to offer more punch in hotel, dining, art and design that even as 48-hour pit stops, give you a shot of adrenaline that’s hard to match. Here’s why. Paris
Following last year’s Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Picasso Museum, check out the controversial Jean Nouvel-designed Paris concert hall (Philharmonie de Paris). In hotels, the re-opening of the stately Plaza Athénée sets the bar high for the Ritz’s re-opening this year. If ‘boutique’ is more your cup of tea, La Reserve, housed in the former residence of Pierre Cardin, and Maison Souqeut in Montmarte will open. In gastronomic circles, the excitement is coming from the maestros who are breaking French food from the shackles of tradition: Alain Ducasse’s fish-vegetable & cereal menu at the Plaza Athénée, and Yannick Alleno, fresh off the heels of being named chef of 2015 by Gault and Millau, who’s stirring things up at Pavilion Ledoyen, and Pascal Barbot at L’ Astrance.
No trip to Paris is complete without trawling the streets so head to Le Rue Jeune (the young street) in Marais and see how Cedric Naudon’s vision of a gastronomic village is shaping up. Buying over 25 shops, he’s assembled a list of design heavyweights to bring back the butchers, bakers, florists and fishmongers that once populated Le Marais, but in an entirely new way — Tom Dixon’s designing the grocery and fishmonger, Jasper Morrison, a tapas bar; Ingo Maurer, the speakeasy; Paula Navone, a Korean street food concept; and Jaime Hayon, a Japanese club.
London (Photo credit: The Dorchester, London)
We just can’t get enough of London with its heady offering of museum exhibits, theater shows and new restaurants. Watch Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet at the Barbican, if you managed to snag a ticket. It sold out a year before. Speaking of Shakespeare, it’s the 400th anniversary of his death, so expect a slew of Bardfest book launches and events. We’re also looking out for Man and Superman with Ralph Fiennes at Lyttelton.
While the hotel scene is still basking the glory of the recent openings of Rosewood London, Chiltern Firehouse, and Shangri-La, new restaurants show no signs of abating. Check out the newly revamped Grill at The Dorchester. The makeover – only its third since opening in 1931 – by interior architect Bruno Moinard (Christie’s New York, Hermès Paris) is a beauty. Food by Alain Ducasse protégé Christophe Marleix is equally impressive.
On your foodie trail, London is a petri dish of cross-culture culinary experimentation. Make sure to hit Basque chef Inaki Aizpitarte’s first outpost, Le Chabanais; three-Michelin-star chef David Muñoz’s (of DiverXO in Madrid) street food-inspired spin-off StreetXO; Alan Yau’s “Chinese gastro-pub” Duck & Rice; and celebrity chef Judy Joo’s Korean small plates restaurant, JinJuu.
New York (Photo credit: Timothy Schenck)
Springtime in New York is all about art. Visit the Whitney Museum in its new location by the High Line the Costume Institute’s Chinese Whispers exhibition at the Met, and the Frieze Contemporary Art Fair, all taking place in May. The boutique hotel scene will be equally exciting with the opening of the iconic Knickerbocker in Times Square, SLS, and the Beekman, each making a design statement.
Food-wise, Mexican chef Enrique Olvera of Pujol fame opened his first New York restaurant, Cosme. Danny Bowein’s Mission Chinese Foodhas re-opened and has been given the redemptive nod. If you’ve yet to snag a seat at Momofuku Ko, their new, larger location in the East Village should be more accommodating. Famed Japanese chef Masayoshi Takayama, the man behind sushi mecca Masa, has opened a slightly less expensive and less formal eatery on the Upper East Side called Kappo Masa, adjacent to the Gagosian Gallery. If you’ve yet to eat at wacky Jewish ramen chef Ivan Orkin’s original Tokyo location, visit him at Ivan Ramen.
Milan (Photo credit: Milan World Expo)
If you’ll only visit one city out of the four, it must be Milan. There’s Salone in mid- April, followed by World Expo dedicated to the future of food in May. These two high octane events alone are enough to hold you captive because it’s showcasing the world in one destination. But there’s also the much anticipated opening of Mandarin Oriental designed by Antonio Citterio with acclaimed chef Antonio Guida, of Il Pellicano fame, helming the hotel’s dining. Topping the list of hot restaurants, Carlo e Camilla in Segheria by Michelin starred chef Carlo Cracco serves up a cool design the city is famous for in a dramatic vintage-industrial setting.
Speaking of design, a ‘must’ is Nilufar, with the best edited gallery, hands down. Swoon over limited edition pieces from Vicenzo di Cotiis’ Progetto Domestico, as well as classic pieces from Gio Ponti and Alvar Aalto. Another favourite is Rosanna Orlandi whose unerring eye for everything from china plates vases, lampshades to cutting-edge homewares, is just spot on.
If you still haven’t satiated your art and culture fix, take side trips to Venice for the Art Biennale kicking off in May and Verona for the Operaseason in June.
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