Tuscany still has its secrets and the small hill city of Pontremoli seems to exist only as a whisper. An hours drive from either Parma or La Spezia, Pontremoli (which translates as “Trembling Bridge”) is one of the most beautiful outposts of the vast and splendorous Massa-Carrara region.
Category Archives: Travel
Gentrystyle always enjoys the New York Magazine’s five point escape plan, and having just completed this trip to the Italy, we urge you to take a well earned break…
Where to Stay?
Experience total isolation at Vigilius Mountain Resort (from $412), a carbon-neutral, mountaintop hotel accessible only by cable car. Sustainable-architecture star Matteo Thun designed the 41 minimalist larch-and-slate rooms and eschewed TVs for terraces with panoramic views. Borrow a mountain bike from the lobby and take the nearby trails through the Dolomites.
Thun also created Pergola Residence (from $248), which melds into its surroundings with a heather-covered roof and patios camouflaged by pergola. The twelve rooms each have a state-of-the-art kitchen and are steps from the center of the picture-perfect village of Lagundo. Reconnect with civilization at the full-service Steigenberger (from $205), in the city of Merano. The hotel boasts its own spa, indoor-outdoor pools, whirlpool, sauna, in addition to an underground tunnel to the adjoining Thermal Baths. Book a suite for a balcony view of the surrounding mountains. Continue reading
One of the great pleasures of LA life is driving around looking at the fabulous houses which were part of the Case Study House programme, after World War II. A far cry from the hideous McMansions that are a plague upon canyons from east to west, many of these sleek, elegant, modest homes are modernist masterpieces.
We all like a world class ski resort. Bonnie Tsui in the New York Times recently highlighted one of our favourite resorts ‘Zermatt’.
“It’s a real challenge nowadays to find an exciting ski-town, but Zermatt is something of a revelation, boasting the highest verticals in Europe.
Horse-drawn carriages and brandy-bearing St. Bernards may still roam Zermatt, but this resort town of 5,500 people has lately schussed its way into a modern era of solar-electric ski buses and expansive, high-tech snowmaking. During a visit earlier this winter, I hit pretty much every color-coded highlight on the ski map, thanks to the new lifts and runs that have made possible easy connections between sprawling ski areas. Sleek glass buildings are beginning to alter the traditional chalet landscape of the village. And modern Swiss efficiency has done away with what was once Zermatt’s biggest disadvantage: the resort now uses an electronic ski pass system that allows skiers to zip through checkpoints at every on-mountain gondola, chairlift, train and underground funicular, making crowds virtually nil (except at the aforementioned après-ski spots).
Hand-made in Shropshire, these tasteful leather washbags offer a touch of period style whether you are continent hopping or having a break in the country. Matt Fothergill specialises in bespoke leather work and the attention to detail and respect for the craft is clear, having studied as a saddler at Cordwainers College London. All Fothergill’s products are of the finest quality, simple but striking. If you have been searching for the ultimate in leather travel accessories look no further. Vintage in essence but contemporary in style, the washbag is an essential part of any gentleman’s coterie of accessories. The washbag carries with it the caché of classic trans-european journeys: picture Marcello Mastrioanni smouldering in his night-train cabin, reaching into his washbag, splashing on some cologne, and where else would you expect Jean-Paul Belmondo keep his comb and cigarettes? Check out the Murdock range of Fothergill Washbags and begin to appreciate the particularly dynamic luxuries of this beguiling accessory.
1. Where to Stay
At the Floatel Diamond Princess (from £150), a fifties Norwegian mail boat moored near the edge of the Schipperskwartier (red-light district), you can party efficiently. The 42 refurbished cabins are wired, but you can meet the neighbors in the piano bar or the captain’s lounge turned library. Ask for a room toward the front of the ship; there’s a nightclub in the stern.
At the sixteenth-century Hotel Prinse (from £160) in the Stadswaag district, find a tranquil courtyard garden and a modern, light-filled lobby strewn with mod Fabiaan Van Severen furniture. In the Chris Mestdagh suite, find furniture, linens, and towels from one of Belgium’s leading designers.
The best views of Antwerp’s Gothic, UNESCO-listed Cathedral of Our Lady are from the upper floors of the Hotel ‘t Sandt (from £120) in the Oude Stad neighborhood. The Cathedral Penthouse Suite has a light-drenched room, an antique armoire, a Jacuzzi tub, a private terrace, and a giant distressed wooden cog leftover from the 30-suite hotel’s days as a soap factory.
2. Where to Eat
Since Cowley Manor launched as a chic country house hotel and spa, it has been Gentrystyle’s preferred detox getaway. As we all know, there are two trends in recent years that we all ought to be wary of – the rise of pseudo-fashionable boutique hotels the world over and the return of the chintzy country house hotel. Too often, boutique hotels disappoint with bad soft furnishings, and country house hotels disappoint with bad food and too many old people. Happily, Cowley Manor, outside Cheltenham, has hardly put a foot wrong in reinventing the English country house for the 21st century – its bespoke soft furnishings are impeccable, its guests still have a spring in their step.
Cowley Manor has a varied history. The picturesque church which sits adjacent to the main house has been there since the 13th century, and while the original manor house was established there in 1695, it was eventually pulled down. The current house dates from 1860, overseen by the architect George Somers Clarke. (A bit of London trivia: Somers Clarke isn’t nearly as well known as many other Continue reading