IM ON MY WAY yet again this
week, but wanted to write you some notes before stepping onto the
jetway. First Im headed to Heathrow via Chicago, total travel
time just over 13 hours. I plan to hit the ground running in London,
and Ill be based in Paris all of August. The
Medinge Group meets in Lisbon on September 1, and I look forward
to some colourful dialogue with my fellow think-tankers and our
special guests at that event.
But first, some notes from my last trip. London always
has great art, old and new, to offer. But contemporary art can be
frustrating or exhilarating depending on whos making it, and
more importantly where you see it. The venue becomes increasingly
a part of the theatre these days, and immense and impersonal spaces
like Gagosian often speak more about the ego and power of the dealer
than the art contained therein.
I always like to check out Riflemaker in Soho London,
since the eccentric space and eclectic art are consistently worth
a look either for beauty or provocation or both. This is a gallery
to follow, with a finger on the pulse of compelling new art. Tot
Taylor and Virginia Damtsa are the directors. We saw works by the
incredible Stuart Pearson Wright, who makes John Currin look lightweight
like Fragonard. Francesca Lowe’s huge, incisive canvases will
be up September through November, another mesmerizing vision worth
79 Beak Street, London W1F 9SU
44 20 7439-0000
Open weekdays 10 a.m.6 p.m.; Saturday 126 p.m.
Years ago I first met Rafaella Baruzzo when she was
with Rococco, a Kings Road chocolatier of extreme quality. Rafaella’s
since moved on to launch her own incredible line of bespoke chocolates
rendered in the Italian style, fatto a mano. In Ma,y I attended
a Covent Garden launch tasting of her summer 2011 collection, dazzled
by the fresh basil ganache, and the strawberrybalsamic truffle
she designed. In addition to her retail line, this true superstar
of chocolate, creates limited edition delicacies for the Italian
consulate, among others.
Finding her work is like digging for gold. Low production
means fewer retail venues. Chocoholics are advised to visit Baruzzo’s
website before embarking to London, to make certain you find the
clever London vendors selling this superb line.
I intercepted a rumour about two new ventures by the
irrepressible Giuseppe Mascoli. Giuseppe, who created the successful
Franco Manca pizza parlours, has plans to open a new restaurant
located in a container down in Brixton, serving hamburgers and BBQ.
He promises only the finest quality filet mignon, Angus beef, and
Kobe mince, and three flavors of sauces inspired by the American
West. It will be called Bukowski.
Ironically, I also learned that he plans a new poetry
magazine called Spanner, with a focus on anarchist and new
deconstructionist verse. Giuseppe likes fireworks, so this ought
to be an explosive launch. Stay tuned.
I MANAGED to get a look at two more
Heritage properties in Lisboa in May. Just off the Avenida da Liberdade,
Hotel Britânia turns out to be a hidden gem luxury grade property.
Housed in a beautifully restored historic déco building,
the landmark hotel has 33 light and airy north-facing rooms, including
two terrace suites on the newly-added sixth floor. Though tourists
favour the property, it’s an optimal upscale hotel for business,
with an upmarket €200 in the off-season. There’s a discreet
elegance to the arched entryway, and a profusion of heritage architectural
details preserved in the lobbyreception area, old drawings,
a vintage barber shop, original furniture and frescoes, and display
cases of antique tableware and place settings. While there is neither
gym nor restaurant, there’s free wifi throughout, 24-hour
reception, top amenities, and a cosy business centre just off the
classic bar area. Room 65 has a double terrace.
Best of all, breakfast is served from 7 A.M.
to noon, an incredibly civilized detail only a four-star would know
to include. A very friendly and professional team at work here.
Rua Rodrigues Sampaio, 17
1150 278 Lisboa
Telephone 351 21 315-50-16
Heritage’s Av Janelas Verdes, located next door
to Lisboa’s National Ancient Art Museum, is a super find,
offering excellent value and, to my taste, great ambience, the best
of hospitality, in a brilliant location.
Art hounds will adore the two-minute walk to the extraordinary
museum, with its jaw-dropping collection. Your correspondent had
Bosch’s Temptation of St Anthony all to himself for
example, as well as audiences with Rembrandt, Durer, Goya, Velasquez,
and other world-class names. There are endless cases of decorative
arts, and a visit to those galleries is suggested before you start
buying any pottery in Lisboa.
The hotel has only 29 rooms, in an old and new wing,
and it’s been discovered by top publications, so it frequently
appears in the 100 best lists. Caters mostly to tourists who stay
an average of two nights.
There’s a wonderful library with a view of the
river Tagus, a terrace, honour bar, and a relaxed pace to the place,
which is set outside the city centre, away from the hustle-bustle.
This quirky heritage hotel retains all the feeling of an 18th-century
palace, and it has 24-hour room service with all natural food and
sense of history reflected in the dishes prepared.
You are advised to restrain yourself and try to eat
only two pastel de nata, the traditional Lisboan pastry, despite
the corrupting urgings of Palmira, the gracious governante.
At rates starting at €200 per night you can’t
go wrong. I can think of no greater pleasure than a leisurely fresh-squeezed
orange juice out on the patio, or a wee dram of port on one of the
double balconies in room 23. Room 28, in the new wing, has a king
bed, river view, and a marble bath. When you reserve, you can request
one of the six spaces in the hotel’s private parking garage.
I like this property because it has lots of history which recollects
Portugal’s glorious past and its love of tradition shows in
the hospitality and attention to detail present. Remember that the
Museum next door is closed on Monday, so reserve accordingly.
Av Janelas Verdes
Rua das Janelas Verdes, 47
Telephone 351 21 396-81-43
Last year my good friend Luca Magni and his partners
set up a dream business called Sailing the Web, a superior concept
which assists lovers of the sea to find contentment in a multitude
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or sell or buy a yacht.
The company’s latest product offering, themed
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Mediterranean with luxury yachts, chefs and customized itineraries.
Gourmands and nophiles take note. This highly
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Chartering one of Sailing the Web’s Gourmet Cruises
vessels means first-class vessels; a private chef at your service
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Sailing the Web
Stanley Moss is travel editor of Lucire.
Stuart Pearson Wright portraits.
Francesca Lowes huge painting.
Rafaellas amazing ganaches, fata al manos.
Rafaella shows her Italian flag box created for the Italian consulate.
Vintage barer shop exhibit at Britânia.
Britânias bar area with parquet floor.
Cosy fireplace in library, with terrace windows overlooking the
river Tagus, Janelas Verdes.
Pastel da nate and espresso served on patio at Janelas Verdes.