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So here's the thing about what makes a world class restaurant for me. Sure, the food has got to be good - this place confidently ticks that box but without the pretension which so usually accompanies it. Next, the people running it and working there have got to be passionate about what they do - tick. And finally, if you have a space which has character, that's terrific too. This place is worth 100 'good' restaurants in London or New York, everything just works. The service is as superb as the food. About an hour's drive from Barcelona.
Officially the world's third largest urban park (behind the Bosque de la Primavera in Mexico and the Serra da Cantareira in Brazil's São Paulo). However, it's not a single, continuous area running between Signal Hill in the north, to Cape Point in the south. Much of this is punctuated by roads and homes - not to mention mountains. While Table Mountain itself is a huge draw for tourists, my favourite section is at its southernmost tip, also known as the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Just be careful of those baboons - no joking, they can be seriously vicious.
Sorry, but despite all of the excitement I just can't give it five stars. The food is great and continuing the inventiveness of executive chef Nuno Mendes (ex the now-closed Michelin-starred Viajante in east London). But whatever the dishes, I just couldn't quite get to grips with the people (and I don't mean the wonderful table service either). Fashionistas are like an awful contagion which thankfully is easily treated by something more fashionable opening elsewhere and then those awful people move on. André Balazs has certainly achieved max PR buzz by getting the beautiful people to descend on the place ahead of his hotel at the same site, and of the same name, opening. Thankfully most parasites are treatable and I wish this place bon chance as the food and service are terrific.
This place hasn't even fully opened yet and it's white hot. André Balazs (Chateau Marmont, The Mercer in NY, Standard Hotels) plants his flag in London town with this 26-suite hotel occupying a Grade II listed 19th Century building in Marylebone. If you like your chic a bit less starchy than Claridges or The Dorchester, and with fewer net curtains than the Sanderson, then you'll be making a beeline here. Keep your eyes peeled for a fuller review, post opening. For now, this is the hottest dinner table in town with chef Nuno Mendes having defected from his (now closed) Michelin-starred restaurant. Let's see if it lives up the hype.
Often mentioned in the same breath as established luminaries of the capital's restaurant scene such as Biko, Pujol and Maxximo Bistro. Personally I don't yet think Jaso is quite as elevated as to be pretender to the crown of any of those three, nevertheless its Mexican fusion menu with a strong Asian accent can be impressive. My preference is for the terrace over the main dining room, which I tend to find attracts a crowd more intent on rubber necking than focusing on the food.
The northern HQ of the British Broadcasting Corporation and now home to its production departments for children's, sport, new media and R&D. The broadcaster's flagship breakfast news show also gets made here.
With just five suites occupying a 19th Century mansion which formerly belonged to the Hermès family, this Montmartre hideaway is the last word in chic. Despite the setting the decor of the suites is contemporary, with each suite tantalisingly different in style. My favourite is the Vitrine, which despite being a little on the small side could easily be imagined as the setting for French heads of state having a secret tryst with a mistress. The gorgeous garden is also a popular spot with Parisian media and fashion cognoscenti - a terrific setting for an early evening glass of wine when the weather is pleasant.
Pass me the sick bag. Awful saccharine place.
OK, so I know it's fun for kids but I utterly loathed this place, not least for the cynical admission prices. I took my nephew off for a day out here and it was just queues everywhere - "oh you didn't buy the extra queue fast track pass" came the response from one disinterested worker there. Yet another ploy to extract yet more money out of visitors. The only amusing moment was when I asked for a seniors ticket for my mother (who is fiercely proud of looking youthful) only for the ticket kiosk agent to shout over the tannoy: "How old are you?" If I never have to visit here again in my lifetime, that will be too soon.
Yet another reason why the German capital has become such an exciting centre for contemporary art. The building - the last surviving above-the-ground bunker in Berlin - has a dark history having variously been built by the Nazis using forced labour, subsequently where the Red Army incarcerated prisoners-of-war and as recently as the 1990s venue for the world's 'hardest' fetish parties. In its latest iteration comes its cultural rehabilitation, as the home of Polish-born advertising entrepreneur Christian Boros's collection: currently about 600 works.
The 80 display rooms, covering 3,000 square metres over five floors were opened in 2008, following extensive work by leading architects Jens Casper and Petra Petersson. The roof of the building was reserved as the penthouse home of Boros, where he lives with his wife and business partner Karen Lohmann. An extraordinary space for some unsurpringly melancholic works of art.
If you can forgive this being the watering hole of choice for @NYdigerati (look out for the pointy beards and comedy glasses). However, it's some of the rooms I want to rave about. I get fed up with the claustrophobic size of so many Manhattan hotel rooms: so small you often have to climb over the bed to cross from one side to the other, or turn sideways in the small space which has been generously provided. Not so the loft rooms at the Ace: 700 sq feet with a proper bathroom and a freestanding bath. The Smeg fridges are a nice touch too. Ask for one of the suites with the view of the Empire State.
Feels a bit odd to give this five stars = 'loved it' but this is a truly powerful piece of architecture. Haunting and sombre.
Not before time Singapore Airlines has finally given its first class lounge in Sydney a much needed facelift. Despite having a superb in-the-air product, its outstation lounges have begun looking tired. This new concept is being rolled out across all major outstations over a five year period from 2013, with the new lounge product promised for London and Hong Kong sometime in 2014. During my brief visit the first class section was blissfully empty and there's clearly been a boost to staff training, with service now more attentive than merely waving you into the section you're entitled to use. A pleasant enough space, but less of the wow factor of the Qantas first class lounge at the same airport.
A Manhattan landmark and one of my favourite destinations for when I'm feeling like a really naughty treat. I check in to the Fitzgerald Suite on the 18th floor, shut my eyes and pretend it's the age of the flappers. So, to be fair, the decor isn't the original roaring 20's interior - it was made over by costume designer Catherine Martin, and very theatrical it is too.
If Marie Antoinette hadn't lost her head and were to find herself in SoHo, she'd naturally gravitate towards this second Manhattan branch of the Parisian master confectioners and declare: "Let them eat macaroons!" There were lines down the sidewalk on opening day at this tea salon (which also offers a full-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner). Time to re-mortgage your home and go bananas on these sweet treats. Very decadent.