From restaurants and hotels to beautiful accessories and jewellery, Hetty Chidwick reports from the front line of luxury.
The UK has beaten off Asian markets to come out on top in Knight Frank’s Big Spenders Index, compiled as part of The Wealth Report released earlier this month, which revealed that £8 billion is spent on luxury goods each year. Jewellery was one of the most popular products—with pearls rocketing
in value due to a lack in new supply and strong demand from the Arabian Gulf, where the world’s first pearls were originally sourced.
There is also great demand for ‘fancy colour diamonds’—such as this pink diamond marquise ring (above), price on application, Boodles (020–3435 4400; www.boodles.com)—which are far rarer than their white counterparts and have increased in value by 167% since 2005.
New fashion label TROY was established by Lucia and Rosie Ruck Keene to fill a gap in the market for clothes that can work in both city and country. Modelled on the sisters’ own lifestyles, each elegant—yet practical—item has been made in Britain. TROY has also collaborated with world- famous leather expert Swaine Adeney Brigg to ensure its bag and belt designs are top notch. The Lux Jodhpur (above) suits all riding disciplines, but can be smartened up for an elegant evening look. £185, TROY London (www.troylondon.com)
Heming, London jeweler since 1745, has launched a new Renaissance collection comprising a series of one-off pieces that blend the old with the new. The Suffragette necklace (above) features a diamond bar, thought to date from 1905, alongside an emerald, additional new diamonds and an amethyst. An acronym for the colours used, GWV (green, white and violet) stands for ‘give women votes’—the colours also symbolise the movement’s qualities of hope, purity and dignity respectively. These will be celbrated in a new film, Suffragette, starring Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep, out this September. Suffragette necklace, £6,500, Heming (020–7499 7644; www.hemingjewels.com)
Bibliophiles can now indulge in a specially devised UK trip that follows the footsteps of famous authors. Created by Rocco Forte hotels, the six-night adventure begins at Brown’s Hotel in London, where Kipling wrote The Jungle Book and which inspired Agatha Christie’s At Bertram’s Hotel. Next is Hotel Endsleigh, Devon, a historic house (above) set in 100 acres of Humphry Repton-designed gardens. The final stop is Hotel Tresanton in Cornwall, close to Lamorna Cove—the setting of Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers—and Fowey—home of Daphne du Maurier. Available from April 10 to September 13, from £1,990 per person, the trips also include copies of relevant novels (07733 337182; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cashmirino, a stylish Italian children’s-wear shop in London’s Burlington Arcade, is renowned for its hand-finished garments, which allow children to dress as children. The brand makes high-quality investment pieces that can be handed down through generations. The new spring/summer collection mixes iconic Liberty prints with the finest cashmere, cotton and linen. Cotton dress with embroidered roses from £155 (020–7495 0708; www.cashmirino.com)
For a magical dining experience, look no further than the Andaz hotel in EC2, which has launched Candlelight Evenings on the last Wednesday of every month. The hotel’s Grade II-listed restaurant, 1901—which was formerly a ballroom—is illuminated by 350 candles and faultless service and live music complement a delectable menu. From £58 for two (020–7618 7123; www.andazliverpoolstreet.com)
If you fancy a move down under to Sydney in Australia, this grand five-bedroom Georgian property overlooking Balmoral and Sydney Heads could be yours for a cool AUS$18 million (£9.35 million). Built in 1889, Glenmire—which has been lovingly restored by its current owners—is one of the capital’s grandest old houses. In addition to its elegant façade, the property also boasts intricate cornicing and mosaic detailing inside, as well as all the high-tech conveniences of modern homes. Savills Luxury Residential Sales (00 61 2 8215 8882; www.savills.com.au)
Trevor Pickett’s venerable luxury leather emporium has relocated from its long-time home in Burlington Arcade to a new store just round the corner on Burlington Gardens. Carefully chosen pieces include the finest accessories for men and women, all made in England. Rosie ostrich handbag, from £895 (020–7493 8939; www.pickett.co.uk)
Now that spring is here, what better time to book a decadent weekend away at a glorious new Parisian hotel a baguette’s throw from the Champs-Elysées? Inspired by the artist James Tissot’s depictions of 19th-century bourgeois Paris, La Réserve Paris has an elegant private library, sophisticated bar, restaurant and spa complete with a 52ft swimming pool. Rooms from €750 (£543) a night (00 33 1 58 36 60 00; www.lareserve-paris.com)
Simon de Burton finds himself wishing he owned Mercedes-Benz’s latest 4x4.
What better way to spoil your mother than to take her to one of the capital’s finest hotels for high