Growing up, Ralph Lauren recalls, his family did not really have the means to buy a car. But that was a world, a lifetime and a storied empire ago.
This week, the crème de la crème of the designer’s car collection—roughly a third of the total—bows in the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs, a final highlight in a year marked by the opening of the designer’s flagship and restaurant on the boulevard Saint Germain and his reception of the Legion d’Honneur from President Sarkozy.
The Art of the Automobile: Masterpieces from the Ralph Lauren Collection is a variation on the successful Boston car event five years ago. A showcase of 17 exceptional cars that marked the history of auto-making for their design and technical prowess, it opens with the mysterious and stunning 1938 Bugatti Atlantic, one of only a handful ever created. There follows the massive 1929 Bentley Blower painted with the Union Jack; a separate enclave to the right houses the most modern icon in the exhibit, an orange 1996 McLaren F1 LM supercar.
While big, lavish nuptials hold limited charm for me (I eloped, and recommend it for its romance and intimacy), plenty of people are mad for all things wedding, and especially all things William and Kate. Even Dunkin Donuts, friend of the common man, is offering a heart-shaped tribute to the royal couple.
If you’re looking to celebrate the Royal Wedding with something more decadent than a doughnut, we’ve gathered some hotel package options.
Put down that SkyMall, Bertram. Male passengers traveling Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic flights can indulge in something a little fancier than bed-side pet ramps or peephole spy cameras: The airline is offering custom shoe fittings from haute Finnish shoemaker the Left Shoe Company. Devote 20 minutes pre- or post-flight to having your foot scanned by a 3D digital scanner in the Clubhouse-the Virgin Atlantic lounge-at Heathrow and choose a style. Four weeks later, a courier will deliver your bespoke kicks. The soles are inscribed with your name, and if you choose, your Virgin Atlantic flight number and destination. The available shoe styles start at €225 ($310 at today's exchange rate), and roundtrip Upper Class fare on Virgin Atlantic runs around $10,000.
Won't taking your shoes off at the security line feel slightly less humbling when they're custom-fitted and inscribed with your name?
Ann Shields is Online Senior Editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo: Courtesy of the Left Shoe Company.
NPR | If you've ever dreamed of spending the night at the Palace of Versailles, you might get your chance. A building at France's cherished cultural landmark will soon be turned into a luxury hotel.
Hundreds of shivering tourists line up across an immense cobbled courtyard to visit Versailles.
Home to the French monarchy since Louis XIV, Versailles is a monument to royal grandeur. Soon, the palace may also become known for its five-star hotel. (Photo by Lyndsey Matthews)
London's iconic Savoy Hotel greets its first guests this Sunday following a nearly three-year renovation. The $350 million top-to-bottom restoration took months longer than originally planned, but that's what happens when you stage what the hotel calls "the most ambitious restoration in British history." And from the pictures I've seen, it looks like it was worth the wait.
A paperback copy of Catcher in the Rye. A black sequin miniskirt by Haute Hippie. A retro Ouija board. A black-on-black Range Rover for the day. Your portrait shot by renowned photographer Ben Watts...
The newest lobby fixture in Manhattan's Hudson Hotel is your one-stop shop for all of the above. Semi-Automatic, a glowing green, touch-screen vending machine that opened for business last week, stocks
a revolving selection of stylishly curated items broken down into five categories: Basics, Media, Fashion, Beauty, and GoFish.
For the most part, the exclusive Ocean Reef Club on Key Largo, 50 miles south of Miami, is off-limits to you and me--unless we've been invited or we're prospective members. But things open up to non-members during the annual Vintage Weekend, December 2-5, when hundreds of antique cars, planes, and yachts go on display. The Vintage Weekend package costs $1,440 double and includes three nights lodging at the Inn, road rally and lunch at the infamous Alabama Jack's roadhouse, a Concours d'Elegance (that's an automobile beauty pageant) and luncheon on Saturday, inspection of antique planes at the club's private airport, cocktail party, dinner reception, and more. In years past the event has sold out as early as October.
Last year, my kids invited one friend each over for a slumber party. I walked them to Economy Candy with exactly $7.50 to spend on “refreshments” for the evening, ordered a pizza, and let them stay up late for the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. By all accounts, the party was a wild success. One kid got sick from washing down Sour Patch candies with milk (Who would have guessed there was anything as natural as citrus powder in candy?) and one kid fell off the sofa laughing, both of which events have provided fodder for a million jokes. I share this party-planning success story not because I see myself as the next Colin Cowie, but to illustrate that it doesn’t take a lot to excite most kids.
That said, the Plaza Hotel has a Live Like Eloise slumber party package for up to six children that costs upwards of $3,700.
Wall Street Journal | LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is checking into the hotel business. The world's largest luxury-goods company, home to brands such as the Louis Vuitton fashion house and champagne maker Veuve Clicquot, said Thursday it will develop resorts using the name of its Bordeaux winery, Cheval Blanc. The company tested the concept with a first location that opened in the French ski resort Courchevel in 2006. Two more hotels are scheduled to join the new chain by 2012 in Oman and Egypt, the company said.
The project is "a natural extension of activities in luxury hospitality with Cheval Blanc," LVMH said in a statement.
Like many top hotel operators, LVMH is limiting its exposure to the volatile hotel industry. It won't own the real estate or finance construction, but will instead run the resorts under management contract, a similar model to other high-end chains such as The Ritz-Carlton. The new LVMH Hotel Management business has six employees.
Is luxury a dirty word? That’s the question T+L Publisher JP Kyrillos just posed to the audience and an expert panel that includes:
Javier Barrera, EVP of Grupo Posadas
Erik Blachford, Chairman and CEO of Butterfield & Robinson
Marcus Samuelsson, Chef/Owner of Aquavit
Lisa Sun, Associate Principal of McKinsey & Company
The response was an unequivocal “no.” But, says Sun, it’s important for companies to communicate the value and authenticity behind the word. Companies like American Girl and The North Face have built premium products but have achieved success by creating a sense of value behind the products.
Samuelsson added that a new sense of luxury will come out of this downturn. People, he says, are getting back to the value of time—time spent together and the experiences they share.
And, says Blachford, that’s exactly what companies like his are trying to do—deliver value even if it comes with a high price tag.
JP also posed the following questions to the audience and asked them to indicate their answers by holding up either a green (“yes”) or red (“no”) index card:
- Do you believe in advertising in a recession? Green cards went up all around.
- How about discounting in a recession? A mix of green and red.
- Is the economy on a rebound? Lots of green, but a few reds.
- And is Twitter here to stay? Most people said no.
And as he closed the presentation, he asked, “Did everyone have fun today?” A sea of green cards filled the air.