From quirky ice-cream and Jermyn Street shirts to beautiful necklaces and iconic watches, Hetty Chidwick reports from the front line of luxury.
Dreaming of the mountains, but no time for an Alpine escape? Make for Le Chalet, the new restaurant at the top of Selfridges, instead. A twinkling, tree-lined walkway leads to a cosy, wood-panelled restaurant, with rugs on the chairs if you feel a chill. There’s raclette on offer for traditionalists, but the highlight of the menu is the hot ‘Choctails’, including a blend of hazelnut and almond liqueur. Anyone for a nightcap? (020–7318 3287; www.q-grill.co.uk/selfridges)
The final weekend of Christmas shopping is just days away, but it’s not too late to snap up a last-minute present for someone who appreciates the finer things in life—specifically, a beautiful timepiece. From December 19, London’s New Bond Street will be home to IWC Schaffhausen’s first standalone British store. Keep an eye out for the Portofino Midsize collection, its newest launch, from £4,150 (020– 3618 3900; www.iwc.com)
Putting together a playlist on iTunes can be a real chore, but not if Cone does it for you. Aether’s new ‘thinking speaker’ learns your musical likes and dislikes over time (you twist the dial once to skip a song and give it a bigger spin to change genre), then plays similar songs. Best of all? The longer you listen, the cleverer its recommendations get. £349.99 from Selfridges (0800 123 400; www.selfridges.com)
The party season is in full swing and you can never have enough pretty accessories to refresh an outfit. The handmade Caro clutch, £295 from British luxury brand Thomas Lyte, is such a showstopper that no one will notice you’re wearing that little black dress for the third time this month (020–7751 8844; www.thomaslyte.com)
On a recent trip to pearl heaven (Mikimoto on New Bond Street), one necklace stopped me in my tracks. The Opal Couture features tumbling water opals, South Sea Baroque pearls and pavé diamonds set in 18-carat white gold. Price on application (020–7399 9860; www.mikimoto.co.uk)
Everyone’s talking about… Quirky ice creams
Lushice alcoholic sorbets make the perfect dinner-party palate-cleanser. £4.99, Ocado (www.ocado.com)
Oppo healthy ice cream Natural ingredients and fewer calories per scoop than an apple. £5.49 at selected branches of Waitrose (www.waitrose.com)
Purbeck Dorset Blue Vinny cheese ice cream. An intriguing addition to the cheeseboard—good with fruit (01929 480090; www.purbeckicecream.co.uk)
For a getaway with a difference, book a Treehouse suite at Chewton Glen, the truly luxurious country-house hotel and spa in the New Forest. With underfloor heating and flatscreen televisions, it’s a world away from the splintery ones we camped out in as children. Order a dinner hamper and some films, then relax in the outdoor hot-tub—everything will appear magically through a hatch in the door. You can even enjoy a spa treatment in situ, so really, there’s no reason to leave. Suites from £750 per night (01425 282212; www.chewtonglen.com)
Country shirts fit for the city are elusive creatures. Enter Jermyn Street’s Harvie & Hudson and William Evans, who have collaborated on a collection of cotton shirts that will appeal to town and country mice alike. £65 each (020–7493 0415; www.williamevans.com)
Emma Hughes spends a week with the team working frantically to get them ready. Will they pull it off in
Chanel is poised to open five new stores in London's prestigious Burlington Arcade.
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Country Life reviews Le Grand Joux, a luxury chalet and spa in Portes du Soleil.