INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL Phnom Penh
By Philip Sinsheimer
Photos: Cesare Zucca
Cesare had planned it all and planned it well. We arrived in Cambodia’s capital and enjoyed a 2-night stay at the Intercontinental a magnificent venue that isn’t in the touristic epicenter of Phnom Penh which would be close to the river, close to the Royal Palace, but actually it is rather central taking the city in its full scope. There are good things about staying at a hotel that is NOT particularly meant for tourists and that ISN’T in the touristic hub of town.
For one thing, your fellow hotel guests do not resemble your neighbors back home! That is a change right there that you will not get from checking in the most popular touristic TripAdvisor foreign based venues. Grandiose lobby, courteous check-in, impeccable service and comfortable room with all amenities. Not to mention, a 24 hours business center a well equipped Spa, and a surprising swimming pool with ‘elephant fountains’
What else do you want?
A good meal, well, that we had, check, check!
THE BREAKFAST FEAST
The breakfast experience was outstanding, even after having experienced some of the most lavish spreads in Southeast Asia in the previous weeks. Outstanding by the luxury of the ingredients used or the diversity of the offerings? That’s not the point. The striking element was actually constraint. Less can be more. It is an asset to know just how many things one can get right and serve at its best of freshness.
Talking of freshness and quality of service, I think the best thing was this open bar of fruit and vegetables that you could choose before seeing them juiced before your eyes. Yes, we had seen at other breakfast buffets a whole variety of fresh fruit juices, but what is more luxurious than “made to order”? I had become shortly before our long trip a quasi-addict of fresh ginger juice. Not a tea, but fresh ginger extraction with just enough water not to choke in public.
Well, to my surprise, my request for a full glass of ginger juice was met with no surprised eyebrow meaning “are you sure? You must be out of your mind!”, but with a smile and a reassuring “yes, Sir, of course! I will bring that to your table in a couple of minutes”.
Real class is treating a client’s unusual demands appear as total normal.
Our second noteworthy experience was the dinner we had at Xiang Palace the hotel’s gourmet Chinese restaurant.
Besides the comfort and poise of the room, pleasure came from the expertise showcased by the chef in what are two of the most testing and iconic elements of Cantonese gastronomy.
The feast began with a trio of masterly prepared dim sum bites with a medal of honor to the delicacy of the sea scallop one for the exquisite freshness of both the filling and the wrapping.
Then we got to taste perfectly roasted meats with a winning trio of duck, chicken and crispy pork.
Having the pleasure of tasting true foreign cuisine is in itself a sign that Phnom Penh Intercontinental has become also a world class cosmopolitan culinary destination.
WELCOME TO PALAZZINA GRASSI , VENICE
the “so hidden-nearly impossible to find- celebrities filled”
exclusive hotel designed by Philippe Starck in Venice
Reach San Samuele Piazza and then venture yourself into a small calle street. You won’t find a hotel sign, just look for the bull!. That’s the entrance to a hidden paradise.
At Palazzina G everything is costumized, from a confidential check-in while sipping a drink, to your choice of pillows,to exquisite meals prepared a vista (under your eyes) by Chef Luigi Frascetta in a restaurant surroundedby columns and different designer chairs.
The trendiest five-star hotel on the Venetian scene will once more be the lagoon’s hotspot, combining the refined atmosphere of contemporary cinema with DJ sets by the hippest artists,
Palazzina G is hosting the most exclusive parties and after-dinner events at Bungalow 8, m
Check the web www.palazzinag.com
LOOKING FOR ‘A ROOM WITH A VIEW’? HERE 7 SPECTACULAR DESTINATIONS
Stay at “LA TORRETTA” Cinque Terre, Ligury
by Cesare Zucca
A gentle yet accurate reception, bottles of Italian prosecco and Cuban rum welcome you in one of the ten gorgeous sunny rooms that harmoniously mix a combination of antique and contemporary pieces.
Most of them have balcony overlooking the vineyards to one side and the blue Mediterranean to the other. At breakfast time, the “buongiorno” , is a real “good morning” thanks to Gabriele’s Mamma who prepares the most delicious torte salate (salted cakes with fresh vegetables) and the succulent torta di riso ( a rice cake traditionally cooked every year con August 10th, but available here every morning! ). All this goodies enhance a generous breakfast with local cheeses, meats, home-made patisserie, fresh squeeze oranges.
Enjoy one ( or more…) glass of wine offered at your arrival or served at the sunset aperitivo time in the terrace that boasts a spectacular views of the stunning Bay.
Superbly located in the centre of the wonderfully picturesque village of Manarola a once-in-a-lifetime ultimate destination in beautiful Cinque Terre, Ligury, Ital. Reservation a must. Here the link
3 ‘Nobel’ days in Oslo
Stay at the Grand Hotel
by Cesare Zucca
The Nobel Peace Prize 2014 has been awarded to Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai and Indian children right’s campaigner Kailash Satyarthi.
Malala rose to fame after Taliban militants shot her at close range in the head for speaking out against the Islamic extremists and demanding education for girls.
Satyarthi has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the exploitation of children for financial gain.
Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said the joint prize was symbolic because it was important for “a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.
Highlights of the 3 days event include:
Save the Children’s Peace Prize Party [in Norwegian] outside the Nobel Peace Center.
Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo City Hall.
Torchlight parade and The Nobel Banquet at the Grand Hotel
Oslo 9,10,11 of December 2014
Great time to visit Oslo, celebrate PEACE, enjoy the magnificent Grand Hotel a superb symbol of a first-class hospitality with tradition, atmosphere and style.
3 HOTELS ROOF TOPS you don’t want to miss
by Cesare Zucca
Let’s go straight to the point.
You want service, design, comfort and an amazing view.
Get that on-top-f-the-world good feeling with a dose of ecological benefits at Istambul Witt Hotel’s permaculture garden, hang above hubbub at Barcelona Grand Hotel Central’s drool-worthy rooftop, and soak-up from Oslo THE THIEF’s work-of-art waterfront terrace.
Just opened this summer in the neighborhood of Cihangir, the Rooftop Permaculture Garden, designed by Aybike Zengin and Deniz Ucok, caps off the timeless luxury of the18-room Witt Istanbul Hotel. A lofty place to relax, cozy sitting areas are ensconced by lush greenery and infused by the aromatics of flowers and edible herbs. Created with the recognition that societies far-and-wide face joint challenges of food security and climate change, this garden is a sustainable agriculture model of community-involved vermicomposting and micro-green cultivation practices. Take in a moment of urban escapism along with views of Turkey’s Bosphorus, Topkapi Palace, and Galata Tower. www.designhotels.com/witt-istanbul
With its panoramic rooftop deck, the 147-room Grand Hotel Central offers a discreet and luxurious hideaway high above Barcelona’s fashionable El Born district. Unobstructed city skyline views extend beyond the infinity pool, best taken in from the poolside perch of the floor level sunbeds. Dine on gourmet dishes of beef carpaccio and chilled gazpacho at the soaring Skybar. Post dinner drinks are paired with classic cocktails, DJ-curated beats and the local flair for which Barcelona is renowned. www.designhotels.com/grand-hotel-central
As Oslo’s first waterfront hotel, THE THIEF and its 116 rooms overlook the canals of Tjuvholmen and Oslofjord. A 360-degree panoramic view from the rooftop terrace is the hotel’s crowning highlight. Rub shoulders with the hip Oslovian set at the weekly rooftop-bar sessions where intimate performances range from chilled-out acoustic sets to up-tempo DJ electronica. THE THIEF BAR also hosts the year-round THIEF MUSIC UNPLUGGED showcase, presenting the works of today’s musicians, and introducing the stars of tomorrow. From sipping sundowners during the summer months to seeing in the New Year in THE THIEF’s inimitable style, the rooftop remains Oslo’s hottest spot whatever the weather. www.designhotels.com/the-thief
Discovering beautiful Poland
by Cesare Zucca
TUCKED BETWEEN HISTORIC FACADES ON A TREE-LINED ROAD IN MEXICO CITY’S TRENDY CONDESA NEIGHBORHOOD,
THE HOTEL CONDESA DF FUSES THE SPIRIT OF ITS BOHEMIAN SURROUNDINGS WITH A PLAYFULLY SIMPLE AESTHETIC DESIGN.
HOUSED IN A 1928 BUILDING IN THE FRENCH NEOCLASSICAL STYLE
BOUTIQUE HOTEL CASA ANGELINA, AMALFI COAST
by Cesare Zucca
A contemporary interpretation of the Italian Riviera; an innovative, intimate retreat of 43 guestrooms. Although just a few minutes’ drive from the destination village of Positano, Casa Angelina’s fishing village location immerses guests in an off-the-radar authenticity that occupies a prime spot on the Amalfi coast. Resting high up on the cliffs, the converted fishermen’s homes look to the future with an immaculately minimalist design complimented by exquisite Murano glass sculptures. Aperitivi are served at the on-trend Marrakech Bar, and the rooftop gourmet restaurant—Un Piano nel Cielo—offers sweeping views of the Gulf of Salerno. Guests are also encouraged to make use of the restorative spa and exclusive access to Casa Angelina´s own beach, La Gavitella, to fully appreciate la bella vita. designhotels.com/casa-angelina