Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mumbai

The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower








The Reality...



After four visits to the Indian Embassy in London (to get my visa) and four other shots in both my arms, seven malaria pills and a ten-hour flight, I finally got to India.

I always heard this place would be an extreme between rich and poor, I also knew it probably wouldn’t be my cup of tea. But I made it anyway and I think I can now say that I know the world, much better.

I got to Mumbai around 2:00pm and from the moment I stepped out of the airport, into the taxi, I was in constant disbelief!

So far I have been in India for five nights and the only thing I can think of to describe this city is - MESS! One good example of it – When I asked the taxi driver if these beggars, who I was seeing them everywhere, where really hungry or just trying to get some cash out of the tourists, he told me that these people are actually in a organized group.
The grown up’s are actually not hungry but the children are. Many couples have one baby after the other just to make life easier by carrying them around and touch peoples hearts and wallets.

It is shocking to know that here you can find some of the richest families in the world and yet, at the same time, the poorest. It is impossible to go anywhere without having a beggar asking you for help. The moment you step out of a hotel (even a five star one) you are woken up with a dramatic reality check.

Being positive and looking at the flipside to this all, is that Mumbai has a great nightlife, amazing hotels and even better nearby beaches. It is also a fact that India, together with Brazil, Russia and China is the fastest growing economy in the world. Hard to believe!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Virgin Atlantic - The Lounge




Virgin Atlantic's vision is to create an airline that people love to fly, and they add to that that they want to have some fun doing it. The business class lounge at London Heathrow is a perfect example of just how they are bringing this vision to life.
The airline was created by Richard Branson, and now part owned by Singapore Airlines. It s based out of the UK, and seems to be adding more and more routes every year.

I have never been in an airport lounge quite like it.
I used to think that their old lounge was something pretty amazing, but this one leaves you literally breathless. The lounge opened a few months back and is open to people flying Upper Class or who have a Frequent Flyer Gold card.


Upper Class is what they call their premium cabin as they do not have a First Class but offer a kind of hybrid First/ Business. I say hybrid as they price it the same as business class fares of their competition but throw so much more in.



The sort of extras that they throw in for the fare includes: a limo that collects you and takes you to the airport (which in the UK checks you in and had a drive through check-in so you never have to queue), the amazing Clubhouse at Heathrow, seats on the plane that are lie flat and are the largest in the business, a sit down bar and also free massages en route!



But the feature of this posting is the lounge at Heathrow. Posted below are a pile of photos of the place to show how stunning it is. It takes your breath away when you walk in for three reasons: (1) as it is so huge, (2) it looks incredible, like a 1970s inspired fantasy of an airport and (3) the glittering array of free services and features.



The services and features include (and remember you pay nothing extra for any of them):

Cowshed spa with massages, wet shave etc
Bumble & Bumble hair salon
Shoe shine service
Brassiere restaurant
Deli
Menu and drinks service at all seating areas (I had delicious organic scrambled eggs and Scottish salmon)
Cocktail bar
Pool table
Monster multi screen cinema
Internet café and library, although there are laptops with free internet access dotted all over the place for you to use
Play area with games
Business Center
Outside viewing area, to watch the planes taking off

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Ritz - Lisbon








What are people saying about the Ritz...
aSmallworld.net readers:

Perfect Pilates studio with an outstanding teacher, great Spa, friendly staff.
Olga
Great service. Varanda restaurant definitely worth dining at.
Pedro

Amazing hotel and restaurant... very luxurious rooms and friendly staff
Turan

GRAND. One of the best 10 hotels in the world.
Manuel

Great breakfast buffet. The rooms are old and the entire building is crumbling
Cristina

Best service, best views and amazing refurbished rooms... Definitely the top hotel in Lisbon!
Pedro

The Spa is fantastic and so was the service!! Loved it!
Daniel

Best breakfast, incredible spa... superb organiztion and the most confortable bed... my rate is a 10!
Jose Manuel

Great for lunch
Marta

Best hotel for business in Europe. Best Hotel buffet I ever tried (both breakfast and lunch). No comparison to Hotel da Lapa, the Ritz is much much better.
Pedro



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Me

Pedro Caldeira - Updated

Lanesborough Hotel




Lanesborough Hotel

Harvey Nichols





Spring/Summer 08 Key Trends

Put away your reservations and your boring old grey suits, because this season is all about bright colour, and lots of it. Red, green, blue, you name it, it's en-vogue. If sport's more your thing, then Olympic-inspired styles from Dries Van Noten's judo tops to DSquared2's racing driver jumpsuits, are also going to be key players. For a smarter tailored feel, choose one of the Summer's reworked and very modern blazers. Here's the full details...

Friday, April 11, 2008

A kithaus

Four Seasons - The Ship




The Four Seasons will launch a residential ocean liner from London with spa and concierge service, among others. Residences starting at $3.8 million. Sales began recently, and the ship is scheduled to begin service in 2010.CONTACT (877) 507-3393 or www.oceanresidences.com.

The Four Seasons — a 719-foot, 13-deck ship operated by the hotel company that will be filled entirely with residences — will begin construction next spring in Helsinki, Finland. Its 112 residences are described as nothing like standard cruise ship cabins. The one- to four-bedroom units, sold in whole ownership, will range from 800 to more than 7,000 square feet and will have full-length windows, walk-in closets, terraces and full-size kitchens. Each residence will be credited $12,000 a year for food, drinks and spa services. Amenities, other than the spa, will include a fitness center, a pool, a shopping promenade, four restaurants, a specialty food market, a wine cellar, a business center, putting greens and a driving range. Sailboats and motorized water scooters will be launched from the ship’s marina area, which will also be used for diving trips and shuttles to shore. Round-the-clock concierge service will be available to help arrange on-shore activities, and in-room dining will be offered. Plans call for the ship initially to follow a two-year fixed itinerary that will take it to Antarctica, the Amazon and the 2012 Olympics in London. During that time, it is expected that the ship will spend an average of 250 days a year in port.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Philippe Starck



Philippe Starck Wants You to be More Sexy

Internationally renowned lifestyle designer Philippe Starck has a dream to "make a place where people are more awesome, are more sexy, are more smart, more sparkling... " and he announced today a global partnership for a new ultra-luxury hotel brand, Starck Hotels, that he says will make people fall in love all over again.

Philippe Starck is the world's leading lifestyle designer with a self described 'tribe' of millions who covet his every concept, whether it is for a computer mouse, chair or hotel. It was Starck who redefined what a hotel could be nearly two decades ago and who now, in partnering with Geneva based F6, can finally realize his life long dream to infuse a luxury hotel with what he calls the "beauty of intelligence."

Starck said he is granting F6 an exclusive Master License Agreement (MLA) to develop, market and operate the brand with Starck providing all design and conceptual support. Starck Hotels will be a subsidiary of F6; formed to launch the brand, work with Starck to develop a new template for an ultra-luxury hotel and identify prime locations to work with partners towards the development of up to 35 hotels in prime locations around the world in the next five years.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Geneva



Have a lunch in Old town (La Demi Lune for snacks, tapas or main plate or Le Mortimer for nice bistro) and then have a walk. Begin around old town and finish along the lake.

La perle du Lac is more for business lunch and a bit out of the center and L'Entrecôte is well know for its unique plate "entrecôte" but you have to queue if you arrive after 12:00 as there are no reservations!



Going back to The Hotel Richemond after fifteen years was a disappointment!
Recently renovated, they transformed what was a beautiful, elegant and chic hotel, into a bad taste and pretentious one. Shame! The Four Seasons is a much better option for hotel fans!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Verbier






Restaurants:
Au vieux verbier
Toro Negro
Hôtel & Restaurant Le Chalet d'Adrien
Alpage

Hotels:
Hotel Nevai
Hotel Montpelier
Le Chalet d'Adrien

Nightclubs:
The Farm Club
CocoClub

Ivanka Trump

The Ace of Diamonds



"The first fashion show I attended was Valentino in Paris when I was six or seven," says the exceptionally poised Ivanka Trump, who sits across from me in her spacious Trump Tower corner office with a mega view, wearing Prada culottes, Asprey loafers, and a casual knit top. Her office walls are adorned with articles about herself and her family. "As long as I can remember I've always appreciated the finer things—whether they be jewelry or architecture." It is evident that if anyone has a keen eye for aesthetics it should be Ivanka, who undoubtedly learned about fashion and jewelry from her mother Ivana Trump. She says, "from a young age, I was exposed to a really amazing collection of fine jewelry, and I took my love of that from her."

Now 26 and very much a confident woman in her own right, Ivanka has just launched a diamond jewelry line that bears her name and is housed in a feminine, boudoir-inspired shop on Madison Avenue in New York. The line, which seeks to reinvent older Hollywood glamour by offering modern day interpretations of collections from the 1920s to the 1960s, includes engagement rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. A delicate diamond oval, accented with coral detail, is the signifying emblem of the collection and is discreetly designed into each style. Her favourite piece from the collection is a pair of diamond briolette tassel earrings.

Already bullish about the success of her line, the Wharton grad has high hopes for the future, with plans to open shops in Las Vegas and Japan. All the while, she continues her rapid ascension in her father Donald Trump's empire: She was recently named director of the Trump Gaming Company, serves as the vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, and is a boardroom advisor on The Apprentice.


Ivanka is not just beautiful; she is decidedly sexy—and not shy about it. Case in point, her recent story in Harper's Bazaar in which she appears on a construction site as a "Drill Sergeant" in Dior by Galliano heels, and a low cut Eres bathing suit. What's more—in the photo, she's pumping a drill. "I think you walk a thin line," says Ivanka. "The Harper's Bazaar [piece] was certainly the furthest I've ever crossed it in terms of what I would consider appropriate but I have to think about the fact that I'm 26 years old. There is a time and a place to do that type of stuff and have a little fun and laugh about the duality of the young girl/business individual. I'm much more self confident in my abilities and skills now so I don't think that stuff undermines me."

To me, Ivanka demonstrates the qualities a post-feminist icon—feminine and powerful while visibly dominating a man's world. Not scared by the F word, she takes my observation as a compliment and remembers how hard it was for her mother's generation to break into "the club." She also laments how "80s powersuits with big shoulder pads" made women appear masculine. Today, Ivanka tells me that she would have no qualms about showing up to the office in a pink suit.

When she's not busy being a Trump, I see glimmers of the softer, private Ivanka. In recalling a time when she felt true embarrassment, she shares an amusing story of her first day at boarding school when her wrap skirt fell off. "I walked half way across campus before realizing my skirt was half a mile back – that was awkward." Describing herself as "pretty mellow," she enjoys spending time with school pals she's known her whole life, watching cheesy 80s movies and eating mozzarella sticks. Of her personal convictions she's passionate, and speaks freely of her disdain for the Iraq war. "A great social injustice is that we are in Iraq – I spend a lot of my time thinking about that."

When asked what Ivanka would change about herself, she confesses, "I'd probably take more time to reflect—it's easy to get consumed with everything that's going on." And then, without missing a beat, she was off to a board meeting.


I can't help but wonder how she does it all, and what her average day entails. "There is no typical day. I don't think I'd be as excited about what I do in life if there were." She does, however, admit that she doesn't sleep much and works long hours, often with periods of lengthy travel. On weekends, she comes into the office to attend to "non time-sensitive initiatives."

It's clear that Ivanka is a hard worker. About those who have judged for her being spoiled, she says, "I think that I used the prejudgment or condescension of others to motivate me to push myself harder to do more. It made me more defiantly ambitious, if you will. I expect a lot from myself but there is something extremely motivating about knowing that people are underestimating you."

On the flip side, being born a Trump does have its privileges. "I never really wanted for much growing up. I didn't have to worry if I could afford to attend the college I was accepted to, or if I had a roof over my head. These are things we should not take lightly."