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Fontsanta Thermal Spa & Wellness – Mallorca

Hotels, restaurants, farms, and cultural events are part of the business of this group that seeks local heritage as its trademark.

Tower of Canyamel Group

fontsantahotel @torredecanyamel

Respect to the land, culture, and traditions- these are the foundations that drive the family group Torre de Canyamel. Under the command of the descendants of the Font del Olors clan, the organization owns properties from cattle ranching to hotels and restaurants in the region of Mallorca, Spain. The hotels of the group stand out for their identity since they do not belong to a large network but rather to a family with deep roots in the region. This characteristic can be found both in the care for the ingredients used in their kitchens and in the selection of the meats used in the dishes from the farms of the group, as well as in the concern with the preservation of the local culture, present in all their enterprises.

However, each hotel has its unique features, which make them different from the others. Can Simoneta boast restored buildings of about 140 years and a splendid view of the north coast of the Island. Being high up on a hillside, it offers a horizon of multiple landscapes and access to the private beach via a beautiful staircase. A very special place where you can see the touch of history and even have a feeling of getting to another era. FontSanta is in the southern part of Mallorca and offers a more rural landscape. As a Spa hotel, it seeks to bring tranquility and relaxation, providing moments of reflection and self-care. Silence is present in various environments, decorated with sculptures, drawings, and paintings by contemporary artists. The works seem to dialogue with the place and adorn every corner of the main house, which has been the residence of the family for three generations. It is essential to spend hours relaxing in thermal baths. Finishing the experience in Mallorca, Pleta de Mar, the newest hotel in the Torre de Canyamel group, is just 200 meters from Can Simoneta. Luxurious and modern, we can say this is the most exuberant of the three experiences. In an immense terrain, it unites the tranquility of the field with the dazzling look of the ocean. It has a golf course and a cellar to give envy to the most demanding winemakers. All this deserves a visit to this little corner of Spain.

Photos: Courtesy Fontsanta

L´horizon – Palm Springs

An unconventional marriage between Hollywood’s golden era glamor and laid-back desert casualness gives new life to this 1950s gem located just minutes from downtown palm springs no less grandeur.

California Dreaming @lhorizonpalmsprings

Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable , and Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon all stayed at L’Horizon long before it opened to the public. That’s because this Palm Springs gem was originally designed in 1952 by renowned architect William F. Cody as a private family retreat for the television producer, oil tycoon, and legendary hotel owner Jack Wrather and his wife, Hollywood actress Bonita “Bunny” Granville. 

At the time, Wrather, who produced both “The Lone Ranger” and “Lassie”, built the Disneyland hotel and opened the Queen Mary and the Spruce Goose, commissioning the residence as a relaxing getaway for his Hollywood friends. Now, the property maintains the feeling of Hollywood’s golden age at the same time as it has been redeveloped as a luxury resort. Responsible for the multi-million dollar refresh is renowned designer Steve Hermann, known as the design guru for the Hollywood elite, celebrities, and foreign royalty. Nestled within three acres of gorgeous manicured desert grounds, it offers the perfect boutique hotel experience to the most demanding of guests.

A rather startling mountain backdrop frames this midcentury architectural jewel set in hip South Palm Springs, first of the region to be a part of the Leading Hotels of the World, to have a Michelin star chef heading its restaurant and to represent the new Steve Hermann Hotels – from the designer to the houses of everyone from Christina Aguilera to Vera Wang to the Saudi Royal Family. Located in Deepwell, a residential neighborhood close to the former hideaway homes of celebrities like Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and Kirk Douglas, the hotel is only a short drive to downtown and not far from the thermal wonders of Desert Hot Springs and Joshua Tree National Park. 

Here, only 25 upscale bungalows, each different from one another, anticipate fortuitous guests. While some provide a private zero edge pool and patio with furniture, as well as floor to ceiling glass windows, others uncover a full-length rain forest shower overlooking a private terrarium filled with cacti. In some way or another, though, all provide a feeling of immediate connection to the surrounding environment. A blend of vintage and modern, the rooms feature exposed wood post and beam ceilings, wide plank flooring, chevron curtains, Italian furniture, marble bathrooms, espresso machines, and Apple TVs, as well as special attention to lighting, with products by Brendan Ravenhill, Bert Frank, Buster and Punch, and Forbes and Lomax. 

Le Labo bath amenities and Frette robes, slippers and 600 thread count sheets are provided in every room. The insider tip for Marilyn Monroe fans is to go for the Fireplace Junior Suite Bungalow no. 10, where she used to stay in the 1950s. The accommodation features an indoor copper-clad fireplace for cool nights and an outdoor shower where, allegedly, she used to shower al-fresco under the desert stars. The pinnacle of luxury at L’Horizon, however, lies within The Residence, once home to original owner Jack Wrather. With over 2000 square feet, it boasts a secluded yard with full sized pool and wet bar, a preeminent sunken seating area, and breathtaking, unobstructed mountain views. While Steve Hermann didn’t alter the footprint much, he added an open-air spa and an alfresco restaurant that make all the difference to the property. 

Decorated with fountains, fire pits, and Lindsey Adelman chandeliers (and sporting an enjoyable 26-foot long live edge walnut communal table, perfect for large groups), restaurant SO•PA lies in a “secret garden”, shaded by trees and illuminated by flickering candlelight after the sun sets, where once were the badminton courts for Mr. Wrather. The kitchen is administered by chef Chris Anderson, known for reinventing the entire menu and wine pairings at Moto, a cutting-edge molecular gastronomy restaurant in Chicago, for which he earned its second Michelin star. In the Californian venue, some of the front-runners are the wagyu tartare with wild sturgeon caviar and the poached lobster with Dungeness crab ravioli and avocado mousse. 

To top it off, indulgent treats include the french toast ice cream with brioche chips and the strawberry shortcake with bruléed tomatoes and basil gel. The Pool Cabanas and Patio are the idyllic locations to unwind with a prosecco or a lavender gin fizz in hand while overlooking the mountainous views. Veiled behind leafy ficus trees, the courtyard looks and feels like a desert sanctuary, where sleepy guests swing slowly in hammocks or lounge by the infinity pool – where much appreciated complimentary poolside massages for foot and back round off the ultimate relaxing experience.

 Other small unexpected luxuries appear every so often, such as a welcome glass of champagne and a personalized brass plaque on each door. The relaxation continues (and culminates) at the spa, where white canvas cabanas, private outdoor showers, and a fresh juice bar set the tone for some nourishing pampering. The lemongrass mimosa scrub and the espresso mud wrap, with volcanic pumice and black salt clay, are some of the top procedures. Any massage can be enhanced with a revitalizing wild lime scalp treatment or an energizing peppermint balm foot therapy, while facials can have valuable additions such as a Vitamin C15 serum, that helps guard skin against free radicals, or a 15% Glycolic Peel, that combines acids derived from sugarcane with soothing aloe vera to re-texturize the skin. For the athletic types, the resort offers scheduling assistance for 24-hour personal fitness trainers and guided walking and hiking trails, as well as expert yoga training. 

Photos: Courtesy L´Horizon Hotel

Irene & Lydia Rocco Forte

Rocco Forte sisters begin to print their skills and visions in the family business, bringing new airs to the family’s chain of hotels.

Like father, like daughters

roccofortehotels @ireneforte lavitaforte

“Our philosophy is to create something that looks authentic and has the essence of the city or place it is in. So in each location, we use local artists and design influences and an individuality that harks back to their location”

In the Rocco Forte family, there is always room for one – or two more. And that holds true for both the backstages and the properties that are under the spotlight. The hotel chain team has long been honored by the sisters Irene and Lydia Rocco Forte, who have taken over key areas of the family business after practically lapping the talent for the hospitality they carry in their vein. While Lydia is in charge of the group’s Food & Beverage department, Irene takes care of the projects and spas – all set according to the aptitude and competence of each, without any family pressure, including the father, who always left them free to make their own decisions.

Although they have different interests and responsibilities, the sisters are looking forward to the launch of the two new Rocco Forte hotels, which open next year – one in Rome and one in Shanghai. With these new properties, the clan’s portfolio reaches 12 hotel units, a number that should grow with the family.

How was your experience growing up living in different hotels?
IF & LF: We never lived in hotels, however, we always spent holidays in different hotels. Whether it was one of our hotels or someone else’s, we were always analyzing every little detail. Hotels were also always part of family meal conversations. Every school holiday was spent working in different hotel departments too. Therefore, they’ve been a huge part of my upbringing and there was certainly no escape!

And how was growing up in London? Would you ever live somewhere else? Do you think to live in the city defined your lifestyle somehow? 
IF: I went to boarding school from the age of 11-18 and then went to university in Oxford until the age of 23, so it wasn’t until I graduated that I got to truly experience living in London. I absolutely love London. There is always so much going on, whether a gallery opening, new exhibition, new fitness class to try, a new restaurant, etc…Given that I travel weekly for work, I would definitely be open to living somewhere else in Europe. However, I do love coming back to London after work trips.

How do you define your lifestyle? 
IF: I absolutely love to travel. I try and do one big trip a year in a new destination. Last year, I explored the south of India; I went to an Ashram and then traveled across the state of Tamil Nadu. The year before I went camping in the Himalayas in search of snow leopards. Whenever I get the chance, I also love to explore new cities. Given that I also travel weekly for work, when I’m home, I like to keep a low profile. I’m a bit of a fitness fanatic, I have my go-to facialist and then I tend to eat well and work long hours in the office. Of course, I love seeing exhibitions, trying new restaurants and anything that’s new and exciting in London.

“I’ve always admired my father. He has always been a living example to me that success is not just a matter of course but something that you have to work hard for. He’s certainly inspired me to really work hard and love what I do”

What is your favorite hotspot in London? And in NY?
LF: Soho has fun and often extremely good restaurants with niche and unique concepts that are always worth trying. Kitty Fisher’s in Shepherd’s Market is one of my favorites because the food is wonderful and the setting is cozy. Ruth Rodgers of The River Cafe has a remarkable culinary vision, offering authentic and high-quality Italian food, in a clean, beautiful space, which somehow has remained contemporary since the 1980s.
IF: Dinings in Marleybone because it has the most amazing Japanese food in London. Gymkhana for its classic Indian dishes, located in Mayfair right next to Brown’s. I love Mazi for Greek food in Notting Hill as well as Chucs in Notting Hill for brunch on the weekend.

What are the difficulties of working with hospitality?
LF: This business is all about people – you have to understand your customers but also be able to get the best out of the teams that you work with. Our teams of people are the front line of communication to the guest and unless they believe in something it will never be executed correctly or communicated properly to our guests. We are lucky to work in an industry that is multifaceted and exciting. This does also mean, however, that we also need to be up to date with trends. We are constantly updating and renewing our restaurants, ensuring that we have the best offerings.
IF: The hotel industry is booming, with new high-quality hotels constantly opening. This means that today’s high-end traveler is spoilt for choice and thus looking for things that really make a hotel stand out and that suit their personal preferences. With this in mind, luxury hotels need to be able to cater for all guest needs and to do so well, whether a family, a health-conscious guest, a culture vulture, etc.

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned from your parents and grandparents?
LF: From both my grandmothers, my grandfather, and my mother – eat good food! Life’s too short to eat badly and even shorter if you don’t eat well.
IF: My mother has always taught us to be generous and empathetic.

What are you most passionate about? 
LF: I have always been passionate about cooking and nice restaurants. After all, we have an Italian background and grew up with good food. It is a focus, even in my free time.
IF: Being determined and focused has been easy. I love and am passionate about what I do (perhaps because it is in my DNA). I believe that my passion for ‘wellness’ stemmed from my father. He’s a keen sportsman and always dedicated a lot of time to sport, whether training for a triathlon, iron man or simply perfecting his golfing swing. This has stuck with me throughout my life and as a result, I love constantly trying, testing, reading anything regarding wellness. I’ve also been incredibly fortunate as I have eight spas to play with, learn from and test things at Rocco Forte Hotels.

Who is your biggest inspiration? 
LF: Our father. The best advice he gave me was to learn the business from the ground upwards and know the details since hospitality is all in the details. Then, from his example, work hard and focus on what you are doing. He always reminds me to constantly continue to push for things that you want to change – otherwise, they simply don’t happen. Suggesting a direction to our teams or setting up a new project is completely useless without the follow-through.
IF: I’ve always admired my father. He has always been a living example to me that success is not just a matter of course but something that you have to work hard for. He’s certainly inspired me to really work hard and love what I do.

Did you always want to work in the family business? 
LF: We grew up with the business, dinnertime conversation, etc. but my father was very clever never to pressure us into going into the business. When I finished university I knew I wanted to work in restaurants, so I became a waitress because I was passionate about the business. But probably, somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that if I wanted to go into the family business it would be a good path as no one was focusing on F&B at the time.
IF: Hotels have always been the topic of conversation at family gatherings, but our father never pressured us. He told us to study something unrelated to hospitality and this is why we both went to Oxford University. When I graduated, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and thus my father told me to do a 6-month development program at Brown’s Hotel where I went through all the departments. Thereafter, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so my father cleverly asked me to come and work in the central office part-time on a ‘project’. I haven’t left since (and it’s 6 years later!).

If you had to say a big asset of each property, which one would be?
IF & LF: Our philosophy is to maintain the sense of individuality that each of our hotels’ locations has. Our aunt, Olga Polizzi’s philosophy is to create something that looks authentic and has the essence of the city or place it is in. So in each location, we use local artists and design influences and an individuality that harks back to their location. Each hotel, restaurant, and spa reflects its location but is supported by a uniform group-wide concept and service philosophy. So for example, whilst each of our spas has unique qualities, the Rocco Forte Spas brand-wide concept and service standards run through all of them.

What is each one of you exactly responsible for in the Rocco Forte Hotels? 
LF: I am the Group Director of Food and Beverage for Rocco Forte Hotels. At the moment, we have two new openings in 2019 – Shanghai & Rome, so I’ve been preoccupied with the development of new concepts, which is fun. Sometimes I develop them in-house with the help of my aunt, Olga Polizzi who does all of our interior design and our Director of Food, Fulvio Pierangelini – who is an incredible chef – one of Italy’s greats. Other times I find the right partners to bring in – such as recently opening Brasserie Prince at The Balmoral with legendary chefs and restaurateurs, Alain Roux and his father Michel Roux, O.B.E.
IF: I am the Group Project & Spa Director for Rocco Forte Hotels. As part of my role, I oversee elements of learning and development for the hotels, so training and developing our teams to ensure that we deliver the best quality service to our guests. I also oversee the group’s wellness offering. Wellness is so important- so many people are overstressed and over-connected and thus looking for wellness in their lives. As a business, we want to give individuals wellness tips and tools and also allow individuals to continue their healthy routines.

What dish do you like the most in each hotel? 
LF: My favorite dish is Pappa al Pomodoro by Fulvio Pierangelini – a typical Tuscan, peasant’s dish (stale bread & tomato) made into something more delicate and refined by using it as a filling for Fulvio’s paper-thin ravioli. We serve it in Irene Firenze in the Hotel Savoy in Florence and it really encapsulates our concept there – traditional Tuscan fare but done in a lighter, more feminine way.
IF: I am quite health conscious and nowadays I feel like there are many more people like me who want to be healthy when on holiday or a work trip which was the inspiration behind the creation of Rocco Forte Nourish where we have brought delicious, healthy options to our restaurants and bars. At breakfast in each of our hotels, guests will find the Nourish Corner, with specially selected healthy options, including sugar-free almond and soya milk, quinoa, hummus, crudités, and gluten-free goodies. Our Nourish menus in our outlets have been specially curated by nutritionists or healthy food gurus with our chefs. Our dishes are delicious, despite being gluten, meat, sugar, and dairy-free. It’s not a diet – it’s about eating nourishing food that’s extremely tasty. We also offer a healthy in-room bar option for guests so that they can guilt-free snacks in the room.

What is your favorite Rocco Forte hotel?  
LF & IF: While we can’t name one hotel that is our favorite (we love them all!) Our resort in Sicily, Verdura, is a very special place. It’s wonderful because there is so much to experience there. Either you can completely relax and enjoy the beach and spa, or you can go on hikes in the mountains and play golf and tennis.

Because of your age, do you have any plans to change something at Rocco Forte Hotels or modernize it somehow?
LF: My sister and I are both so young, so hopefully we bring a youthful perspective to the business. We’re more in line with new trends, have time to research what’s going on around us, and our social media savvy. Food and beverage is an area that really allows me to bring in new ideas and a younger perspective. I’ve also pushed to market our F&B outlets separately to the hotels. Traditionally, hoteliers have seen the F&B component as a guest service rather than an offering for locals. Also, because we are young and happy to try new things, travel and eat in unusual places, this gives me new ideas that my father might not necessarily have come across.
IF: In my role, I have worked on a range of different initiatives that have been implemented across the group. As part of my learning and development hat, I launched the map of my Future. This is a learning, development and communications app for employees in hospitality, which was launched at Rocco Forte Hotels in August 2016. I am particularly passionate about it as it will help our industry immensely with retaining people and developing careers, and it is particularly relevant for the millennial generation. Also created with millennials in mind, I launched our wellness concept. Which I’m now developing even further. We want guests to find wellness at every touchpoint in our hotels, whether in the spas, in the restaurants or even in the room. We want guests to be able to continue existing healthy routines and to take home great new habits. We want them to leave us looking, feeling and being better. New trends are constantly developing – we can’t just sit still and you can only stay on top of it by being interested in fitness and healthy living.

What are the next steps for each one of you and for the business?
IF: Other than new openings and developing our wellness concept further, after three years in development, I will be launching my own skincare line this autumn, Irene Forte Skincare – the first luxury and sustainable skincare brand formulated in Italy, which I will be revealing more on very soon!
LF: With two exciting hotel openings next year in Rome and Shanghai, I am focusing on developing unique food and beverage concepts tailored to each city. Hotel De La Ville will be the opening of 2019 in Rome and will feature a rooftop bar with 360-degree views of Rome. The Westbound Hotel in Shanghai will have three restaurants, a tea lounge and a cocktail bar that will have a variety of cuisines.

Photos: Courtesy Irene and Lydia Rocco

The Maidstone Hotel

Art, architecture, design, and refinement. Hamptons is already known for carrying all these concepts, but in the last decade, the region has had an eclectic and peculiar new place: The Maidstone Hotel.

A Piece of Sweden in the Hamptons

themaidstone @themaidstonehotel

After ten years of success, The Maidstone Hotel, the Hamptons’ most exclusive boutique hotel, has become synonymous with an unaffected refinement. When we think of Swedish design, a certain image comes to mind: neutral tones, standardized furniture, and absolutely zero mixings of colors. The Maidstone Hotel exists to show that Sweden has much more to offer from a decorative standpoint than we may have previously imagined.

Jenny Ljungberg and Jonathan Baker have handpicked all of the furnishings and colors featured in the hotel. The eclectic locale is equal parts quirky and extravagant and contains 19 individually designed rooms, with three independent cottages, all serving as a backdrop for innumerable events and a parade of high style.

Known in Hollywood for his cinematic productions, Baker is what one might call a multi-tasker. From his work in film to the development of a line of aromatherapy products, wherever the entrepreneur goes, success follows in his wake. The demand for a hotel began in 2008 when the couple began looking at spaces to open a business in New York. Their search would lead them to find a property for sale that would eventually become the Maidstone.

Constructed more than 150 years ago, the houses are on top of foundations that date back to the 17th century. In the 1920s, the space functioned as an inn called The Maidstone Arms, closed years ago. After purchasing the hotel, Baker and Ljungberg turned the space into a coveted destination in East Hampton. Searching for discrete refinement, celebrities like Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, James Franco, and Will Smith, set up dinners on the property.

When the Maidstone was built, the principal objective was to make a hotel that had the feel of a home – literally, since the couple spends so much of their time on the property, dividing their time between houses in New York and Los Angeles. Known as the Maidstone House, their lodgings are connected to the hotel and the individual cottages.

Another location, called The Residence, was created as a space for yoga retreats, conferences, and poker nights. Baker’s idea was to transplant the glamor of Hollywood to the Hamptons. Judging from the numerous celebrities who regularly visit, one can safely say that he has succeeded.

The Swede Carl Waldekranz, the founder of the e-commerce platform Tictail, is a frequent guest of the Maidstone. Waldekranz proposed putting products from all over the world on the property (valued at $22 million USD), with a majority of the goods coming from Sweden.

The first time he visited the hotel, this businessman with roots in New York noted that he and Baker had more in common than he’d imagined. From this visit sprang the desire to create a store with all the Swiss products that are featured in the hotel. Now, just outside the entrance to The Maidstone, you can purchase curated Tictail products such as backpacks, raincoats, sandals and eco-friendly lotions.

A preoccupation with nature is one of the hotel’s founding premises. Electric car chargers, recycling, and towel changes only when necessary are some of the steps the hotel has taken to go green. Over the last decade, the owners have developed employee training that stresses ecological conservation. Plastic bottles have given way to glass bottles, and a system of water filtration was instituted in addition to replacing common cleaning products for organic ones.

To avoid food-waste, the hotel restaurant only serves slow food portions. Led by head chef Ron Phillip, the restaurant has two menus: one for seafood, and one more traditional menu that serves barbecue and other snacks. In addition to the organic food, all of the food and drink is bought from local providers. Like all good appreciators of the arts, the Baker couple spares no effort in finding artworks that connect with the local spirit. On the walls of the hotel, works are exhibited for a period of up to six months, at which point they are swapped out for other pieces.

The hotel most frequently exhibits lesser-known European artists, but it has an impressive permanent collection that features works from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. To lend the space a personal touch, collections from the couple themselves are scattered throughout the premises.

The Maidstone’s list of amenities is extensive and includes the Jonathan Baker 1962 line, created by the entrepreneur himself. This line of organic oils comprises the hotel’s signature scent. Each oil has 11 different components like lavender, rose, lemongrass, and more, and sell for $100. If you want to try one out before you take it home, you can request some samples.

The opportunity to hire a beach guide is another highlight of the Maidstone experience. The service includes a champagne picnic on the beach and the installation of chairs and a parasol. The children can enjoy eight types of games, including ping pong, cornhole, and a massive Jenga set. From infants to adults, no one will want to miss out on this paradise in East Hampton.

Photos: Courtesy The Maidstone Hotel