The jet-setting hotel designer is never ruffled on the road.
“I am the most compact packer,” says Grace Leo, founder and CEO of GLA Hotels. Leo is ever on the move, overseeing projects in such far-flung destinations as Caracas, Venezuela, and Jakarta, Indonesia. Her travel style is globally sourced (case in point: the monogrammed Lorenza Bellora canvas tote she purchased in a shop at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome). She recently relocated to Manhattan to supervise the $30 million renovation of Millennium Hotels & Resorts’ One UN New York(1 United Nations Plaza;$$$), but Paris is her true home. “I search for antiques at the Marché Paul Bert on Sundays. One good piece can inspire an entire project.”
At the Hotel Bel-Air in Beverly Hills, head bartender Allen Allam will teach you secrets of the Japanese hard-shake method for mixing bespoke cocktails. During an hour-long class in the lustrous bar lounge, learn the recipe for such signature drinks as Dragon's Fire and Monroe's Passion, a potent fusion of ginger juice, fresh passion fruit puree, Thai chili syrup and Barcardi 151 rum. (Actress Marilyn Monroe was a regular at the Bel-Air.) Other tricks of the bar trade are also revealed. Allam demonstrates techniques for stirring and garnish cutting, as well as how to employ essential barware like slow-frozen Clinebell ice, stainless steel muddlers and gold-plated strainers. Beverage director Rob Harpest provides colorful cocktail history commentary as Allam pours. Afterwards, slip into one of the lounge's banquettes under larger-than-life celebrity portraits to further your liquid research. From $100 per person, minimum six per class, 14-day advance reservation required.
Stylish? Yes. Expensive? No. These four island finds have charm to spare.
Harbour Island, Bahamas Ocean View Club: The eclectic nine-room inn faces a beautiful pink-sand beach. Inside, there are colorful paintings by Bahamian folk artist Amos Ferguson and breezy rooms with whimsical touches (trumpet lamps; polka-dot couches). $$
Martinique Plein Soleil(pictured): The accent is on Creole French in this tasteful collection of villas facing Thalemont Bay. An open-air restaurant serves spicy crab farci and local fruits marinated in mint; the 16 soft-white bedrooms have linen-draped chaise longues worthy of Empress Josephine, Napoleon’s wife—and a Martinique native. $$
If you’ve stayed at a Firmdale Hotel, such as London’s recently reopened Dorset Square($$), you know that the group’s design director and co-owner has an affinity for patterns and embroidery. Kemp—who just completed a new collection for Chelsea Textiles and a book, A Living Space (Rizzoli)—reveals her inspirations on the road.
Biarritz, France: “The shop Mimi’s Corner (33-6/19-13-31-31) is owned by an eccentric Outsider artist who vandalizes pictures; I bought four of Queen Elizabeth II for the Crosby Street Hotel. Staying at Hotel du Palais($$$$) is like being on the bridge of the Titanic, with sweeping views of the Atlantic.”
The Rhode Island town that conjures up Gilded Age mansions and yacht clubs is getting an injection of youthful energy thanks to the Attwater, a reinvention of a fusty old inn. Designer Rachel Reider put a colorful twist on the 1910 building, splashing the 12 rooms in nautical blues, lobster reds, and driftwood grays. Add in-room iPads and a café serving house-made Oreos, and you have the makings of a modern coastal retreat. It’s not your great-grandfather’s Newport. 22 Liberty St.$$
Just before she kicked off the Philip Treacy show wearing a hot pink burka, Lady Gaga turned to the models backstage and slyly asked, "Any tips?" And then out came the pop diva to sing the praises of this designer's unique vision as hyper-tall women in wearable art bounced through the Gothic hall at the Royal Courts of Justice in London during Fashion Week.
Bossa nova diva Bebel Gilberto loves Caipirinha cocktails, sexy Narciso Rodriguez gowns, and remote Brazilian beaches. Born in Manhattan and raised in Rio, the singer-songwriter frequently bops between the two. This Saturday, July 21, she headlines a free concert 3-7 p.m.on Central Park's SummerStage to kick off Brasil Summerfest, a week-long festival celebrating the newest generation of Latin American musicians. Gilberto, who contributed a track to Red Hot + Rio, will perform favorites like Bob Marley’s “The Sun is Shining."
Gilberto tells T+L where she cools off during summer tour breaks:
In his new concert film Neil Young Journeys, released today, June 29, director Jonathan Demme trails the iconic Canadian songwriter as he drives a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria from his hometown of Omemee to a solo performance at Massey Hall in Toronto. Composer of such ballads as "Long May You Run" and "Coupe de Ville," Young has dual passions for vintage cars and musical instruments, including a 1953 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop nicknamed "Old Black," which is featured in the film's intimate onstage footage. Between sets, Young muses about his childhood in Ontario, In-N-Out burgers, and the true pleasure of a road trip. Fiddling with the radio dial on the dashboard, he remarks: "I can tell if I like (a song) by listening in a car."
Travel + Leisure asked Demme to compose a play list of his favorite Young tunes for our own rockin' journeys:
Can't get a reservation at Noma until 2020? This summer, you have two other ways to work up an appetite for chef Rene Redzepi's wildly inventive New Nordic cooking, which just topped the Restaurant magazine's World's 50 Best Restaurants list for a third consecutive year. On July 1-2, the second annual MAD Symposium (Copenhagen, $350) addresses "Appetite" as its theme; along with Redzepi, expect tasteful thinking from other culinary wild men like Wylie Dufresne, Fergus Henderson and Ferran Adria. Then Redzepi moves his team to London for "A Taste of Noma" pop-up at Claridge's Hotel in Mayfair. (Five courses, $320, July 28-Aug. 6). To pre-register for reservations, click here now. First come, first serve!
Shane Mitchell is Travel + Leisure's special correspondent.
As chairman and CEO of a global hotel empire, J. W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr. knows hospitality. He tells T+L what it’s like to be the ultimate repeat guest, his favorite room-service snack, and more.
Q: What was your first job? A: I used to make hot-fudge ice cream cakes at my parents’ Hot Shoppes restaurant in Salt Lake City. The trick was to leave a little indent for the whipped cream and cherry on top.
Q: How can we welcome more foreign travelers to the United States? A: Regulations regarding visas need to be fixed. Travel is an important economic engine, and a stay at a hotel is an export.