If you haven’t already, it’s time to start your holiday shopping. What’s that, you say? Not feeling it this year? We’ve got just the remedy for those who need to find wonderful holiday gifts but have no desire to hit the mall, the avenue or the Internet. Why not do your holiday shopping in Italy this year? In case you think starting your holiday shopping in October is a nutty idea, let’s look at some facts. According to the National Retail Federation, in 2016 U.S. consumers reported that they began shopping for the holiday season at the following times: 41.4% during the month of November; 12.2% before September, 6.5% in September and 21.9% in October. See? Some people may already be done!
If money were no object, how would you choose to see the world? Would you do it “all in one go” on the luxury trip of a lifetime? Or would you spread it out over several years and multiple journeys, so that you could absorb and appreciate everything that you experienced? Would you travel with strangers? With just one other person? Or with 50 of your closest friends? It’s a champagne dilemma. And one that the uber-rich are increasingly faced with. Taking a Grand Tour of the civilized world was a cherished ritual of the wealthy in the 19th century – the trips lasted for months, sometimes years, and were an important facet of becoming a sophisticated adult in high society. Fast forward to today, when such a trip can be completed in a matter of days if you have the right budget. New York, London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Jaipur, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Sydney – if you’ve got a couple of weeks and lot of stamina, you can check all of these destinations and more …
The best luxury hotels and resorts in the world, in the most incredible locations. That’s how people who have visited them describe Aman properties. That is, if you can get someone to talk about them – Aman is still a bit of an insider secret. The hotels do not advertise, they have no loyalty program, and rates average $1,400 per night for a basic room (they can climb to $50,000 per night.) We’d traveled the world extensively for years, but we had never heard the Aman name until we started hanging around truly wealthy people a few years ago. Up until that point, we had fancied ourselves knowledgeable luxury travelers, well-versed in the nuances of the Four Seasons, the Ritz, the St. Regis, and the iconic grand dame hotels in major cities around the world. We thought we were totally in on whatever insider luxury hotel secrets there might be. We were wrong.
Sometimes you just need to get out of town. Denizens of the glittering cities of the world are occasionally overcome by occupational and residential hazards – including stress, fatigue, disappointment, overstimulation, ennui, excessive heat, or some combination of all of these, leading to an undeniable longing for fresh air, natural beauty and wide-open spaces. It happens to everyone, whether they’ll admit it or not, especially in the summer. The countryside starts calling. And the only cure is to just pack your bags and go.
Now that the fabled Hôtel de Crillon has reopened on the Place de la Concorde after a 4-year renovation, where does it rank in the pantheon of luxury hotels in Paris? We asked our Dandelion Chandelier Paris Bureau Chief to weigh in on what the opening means for those who are planning a trip to the City of Light and curious to learn where the chic insiders from France and other cosmopolitan places are staying right now. Here’s our report.