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WORD OF MOUTH

Can't Miss Travel Tips for 2010

TS-four-seasons-beirut.jpg
The new Four Seasons in Beirut has 230 terraces

by Ondine Cohane

Is it really already nearing the end of January? Time to think about some can't-miss hotels, exhibitions and goings-on for 2010:

* The Irving Penn exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in London starting February 18th. Penn passed away in October, and the retrospective pays homage to one of the most unparalleled photographers in history. Expect shots of notables from Truman Capote to Pablo Picasso.

* The new Four Seasons Beirut, which just opened its doors last week. I have had a bee in my bonnet about visiting Beirut for some time, and the debut of both the Four Seasons and the stylish Le Gray makes a sojourn even more tempting. Look for special weekend and opening offers.

* The opening of Eataly in New York City. There is still no official opening date for this behemoth, but expect the Manhattan outpost of this huge Italian gourmet market to give Whole Foods a real run for its money. Co-owner Joe Bastianich tells me that late spring seems the likely debut.

Continue reading "Can't Miss Travel Tips for 2010" »

WORD OF MOUTH

Retail Therapy in Paris

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Colette on Rue Saint Honoré
Photo: karl_hab / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


by Ondine Cohane

I didn't get to make my annual Paris expedition last year due to travels elsewhere and I really missed it especially for the killer shopping opportunities (among my favorite stops are Vanessa Bruno for dresses, Paul and Joe for chic separates and suits, Sabbia Rosa on the Rue des Saint-Peres for suitably silky lingerie, Christian Louboutin, natch, for the red-soled wonders, and Colette, that temple of all things cool).

Now there are two more stops to add to the pilgrimage: one of the city's coolest boutique owners, Maria Luisa Poumaillou, who has one of the sharpest eyes in fashion (she was an early champion of John Galliano and Alexander McQueen) has just opened second outpost, a stand alone store in the newly renovated Printemps department store. What's cool about this new boutique is that in addition to her glamorous handpicked selection from designers like L'Wren Scott and Roland Mouret, she is also coming up with her own first capsule collection which is sure to be a hit with the fashion set.

And then there is Merci, the new hot shop from the owners behind the children's brand Bonpoint for people looking for a deal on designer threads who also want to feel socially conscious--basically the way the concept works is that designers and collectors give some of their wares for free, then the store sells the clothes for less than retail prices, and the proceeds go to underprivileged children in Madagascar. Think Burberry, Chanel, YSL etc at a about 30-40 percent off their original price tag.  It's a shopping trip you can feel good about. Now I just have to figure out when to make the next trip.

WORD OF MOUTH

Goodbye 2009: Ondine's Favorite Travel Discoveries

by Ondine Cohane

Before looking ahead to the most anticipated destinations and openings of 2010, it is time to say goodbye to 2009 and ten of my favorite discoveries of the year:

* The rocky island of Giglio off the Tuscan coast. The clarity and the beauty of the sea here makes up for the parts of Italy's mainland, which have been marred by excessive development.

* Cartagena and the wonderful boutique hotel Agua. Next time I want to check out Tcherassi Hotel + Spa, the brand new property by Colombia's most famous fashion designer.

* Minetta Tavern. There were a number of excellent New York restaurants that opened in 2009, but my favorite had to be this restoration of a West Village classic by Keith McNally. The man has a golden touch and this reinvention has to be his most successful venture yet. I still dream of the potato sides.

Continue reading "Goodbye 2009: Ondine's Favorite Travel Discoveries" »


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