Happy birthday to us! LUXE turns a sweet 16 this November and in honour of the occasion, we asked the team of LUXE lovelies to share 16 of their all-time favourite places from across the guides. Follow their recommendations in one of 30 guides from the complete collection.
1. Upper House, Hong Kong
Glam, spacious and wired-up, this Andre Fu-designed temple of urban Zen boasts cosmo vistas from every luxurious, taupe-toned room, including the awesome bathrooms complete with show-pony limestone tubs. When you manage to drag yourself out, chef Kunz’s morsels await at Café Gray Deluxe, or take cocktails at Café Gray Bar or on clipped-chic The Lawn. Gym and yoga too.
Chosen by LUXE lovely Simon for its urban serenity, effortless service and interesting community.
2. Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
Despite the silly foyer, this Phraya-side matriarch gives good bed, and of course, exemplary service. The vibrant, silky rooms and duplexes, sumptuous spa, starry Le Normandie, sexy China House and jazzy Bamboo Bar will keep you snug, while breakfast on the riverside terrace is one of life’s great joys. LUXE lovely Liz says: The Oriental takes me back to when I was the LUXE Bangkok resident editor and it’s a mainstay of the Bangkok guide. It’s not the prettiest of hotels, but its river situ and superb service make it an enduring favourite.
3. Locanda Verde, New York
This rockin’ taverna is another bright spot in DeNiro’s growing nabe empire, cranking up the cool vibes with prime courtyard tables and family-style Sunday night porchetta. Be warned, however, the biggest mistake you can make is not saving room for dessert.
LUXE lovely Jane says: One of my all-time favourite steak tartares.
4. Espaço Lisboa, Macau
Wood-panelled, whitewashed Coloane charmer for cockle-warming casseroles and steaks the Portuguese way. Let the waiters walk you through the wine list and be sure to leave room for the trad Macanese ‘sawdust’ dessert – which tastes better than it sounds.
Chosen by LUXE lovely Daniele: It’s an authentic Portuguese restaurant serving great seafood and wines. Small and cosy, it’s perfect for a relaxing lunch.
5. Blue Mosque, Istanbul
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque or Blue Mosque is not actually blue, at least not on the outside, but lined with over 20,000 Iznik tiles. A visit involves a fair bit of faff including bagging your shoes, covering your legs and shoulders (you are provided with wraps and bags) and while it’s worth a look, it could definitely do with a quick whip around with the Shake n’ Vac.
LUXE lovely Melvina says: It’s touristy and busy but beautiful.
6. Bamboo Bar Hotel Armani, Milan
As taut, taupe n’ gleaming as the man himself, Hotel Armani’s A-list enticements include minimalist chambers, comp. minibars, sunken tubs and own-brand amenities, plus trad Italian eats, potent cocktails and a tricked-out spa. Pre- or post-dinner, rub (tanned) shoulders with the fashion set in Bamboo Bar.
Chosen by LUXE lovely Giulia: The rooftop Bamboo Bar is uber elegant – all shiny marble interior with onyx and other refined materials – with amazing views across Milan.
7. The Grounds of Alexandria, Sydney
Old Four’N Twenty pie factory turned verdant caff, with a wholesome menu starring homegrown veg and house-baked bread. High-tech NASA coffee rig and research facility roasts and brews latte champions, while a lush kitchen garden blooms with edible everything from flowers and herbs to plants that are picked, pickled, and stuffed in sarnies and salads.
LUXE lovely Tyla says: When you are at The Grounds you feel like you are transported to another world filled with flora and fauna, it’s just stunning. It doesn’t hurt that the food and drinks are amazing too.
8. Gazi, Melbourne
George Calombaris’ Hellenic street eats under a wow terracotta pot installation. Can’t decide? Let the team choose for you with a 7- or 10-dish ‘Doing It Greek Style’ sharing menu with your pick of souva. Wrapped, grilled n’ roasted magnificence – opa!
Chosen by LUXE lovely Happy: Love the vibe and food.
9. Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles
Oh, but do the staff have stories at this infamous fantasy castle hideaway amid the Sunset madness! The coffee tables in these timeless pads have seen more lines than the Chorus Line. Spend the extra for retro-modern cottages and suites, lunch on the garden terrace and sip in the lounge, or at Bar Marmont.
LUXE lovely Jane says: If those walls could talk (I kind of think they do).
10. Palm Court at The Hassler, Rome
Hidden hotel imbiber tucked between ancient stone walls, surrounded by lush n’ lovely greenery for warm summer hangs accompanied by tinkling ivories.
Chosen by LUXE lovely Liz: It’s like stepping onto a movie set, the luminous turquoise bar is pure 30s Hollywood.
11. Attica, Melbourne
Don’t let the suburban locale fool you – Ben Shewry’s award-winning, mod Oz, eight-course tasting menus are visionary. And the updated smokey monochrome fitout only sharpens this unmissable epicurean experience. Wine-paired and veggie-friendly options available.
Chosen by LUXE lovely Simon: Food innovation, Aussie non-pretension, a stayer in the fickle Melbourne food scene.
12. FOC, Singapore
Frock up like an Almodóvar extra and you’ll fit right in at this bold n’ quirksome saloon serving Nandu Jabany’s cracking Catalan. Coveted counter seats ensure front-row vantage of all the steamy action.
LUXE lovely Daniele says: I probably had one of the best dinners I’ve ever had in Singapore at FOC. The seafood and paella were amazing, it’s a lively location with good vibes.
13. Manly Scenic Walk, Sydney
This 3-hour walk is fabulous. Pack a picnic as there are lots of charming harbourside spots to dally in. Have your taxi go over Spit Bridge and stop straight away in the lay-by on the left. Look back to the bridge and on the right is a sign reading ‘Manly via Clontarf Reserve’. Zip down the steps and under the bridge to Clontarf Beach, then simply follow the signs and off you trot. When you get to Manly, trundle round to the ferry wharf, then it’s worth a wander onto Fairy Bower and the delightful Shelly Beach – home to The Boathouse– before chugging back to town on the ferry.
LUXE lovely Tyla says: One of the most breathtaking walks I have ever done – it takes you past secluded beaches and has stunning ocean views with glimmers of the city in the distance. It’s worth the schlep to avoid the other busy tourist walks.
14. Mekong Quilts, Hanoi
The motherlode of soft furnishings. Shop for cotton patchwork quilts for all the fam plus pillowcases, table runners, placemats, crib bedding and decorative trimmings in traditional or contemporary patterns and hues, hand-crafted by women in rural communities. Better yet, devise your very own.
Chosen by LUXE lovely Melvina: Lovely handicrafts and it’s a social enterprise; products are made by local people.
15. Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo
In spring, this central and spacious park is bloomin’ beautiful, but she also impresses in autumn with fiery foliage crowning the momijiyama (maple mountain). Whatever time of year you’re here, you can go shutterbug at the Kyu Goryotei Pavilion, then take a gander around the greenhouse before you throw down a rug and lunch on the vast lawns.
LUXE lovely Happy says: A peaceful and well-managed garden with a variety of flower blossoms in different seasons – especially love the ginkgo corridor in autumn.
16. Il 4cento, Milan
Stylistas kick up their Zanottis on the rustic deck or cosy lounge for bites before and DJ after. The lunch menu is as taut and toned as the clientele; dinner serves a wholesome list of veg, vegan, meat and fish options.
Chosen by LUXE lovely Giulia: It’s very evocative with vintage Chesterfield armchairs, designer lamps and a splendid garden decorated with cushions, low tables and stools.
Love these LUXE picks? Why not shop the whole collection?