Can Bordoy in Palma de Mallorca

It is strange how, as you pass through this portal, the big city suddenly seems to fall off you. The noise is far away, the rush forgotten. And where just a few minutes ago, buses and taxis were shunting in the rush hour traffic and people were strolling in front of the shop windows, there is but wonderful calmness now: in an old city palace at the heart of Palma de Mallorca, in the just one year old luxury hotel Can Bordoy, in a building of the 16th century that was long used as a school.

It has the largest private garden in the old town – secluded, highly walled, with an elongated private pool and an exquisite restaurant. The house in the La Lonja district has style, as does the hotel – and yet nothing here is stiff or wooden. It is like visiting friends who have just bought a city palace in Palma, renovated it and lovingly decorated it with great attention to detail. What a bliss!

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Front row seat with views of natural Sicilian scenery

It fills me with joy when someone not just builds a hotel, but really has a knack for it, even a signature, an eye for it. When someone has intuition for the fact that an excellent establishment is by no means just accommodation, but must stand for an attitude to life. Because the perfect hotel feels good: consciously, subconsciously, through all senses.

The carefully renovated country estate Monaci delle Terre Nere in Sicily, about halfway between Taormina and Catania at the foot of Mount Etna, is exemplary in this respect: a manor house in traditional Sicilian architecture, plus a few outbuildings with a more rugged appearance. Some of the centuries-old room walls made of natural stone are not plastered, almost black in contrast to the snow-white bed linen, the furniture is a combination of old and new, there are delicate touches of contemporary design everywhere. The mixture is perfect, the arrangement ideal. What has emerged within eight years here has become a genuine ‘high-end feel-good hotel’ for me. Read more


L´Apogée Courchevel

This region, with its winter woods, with grandiose ski slopes and great boutiques – it feels like the Côte d’Azur in white, like St. Tropez in the snow! The ski area in Savoy around Courchevel in the French Alps is the most exclusive France has to offer during winter – and it seems as if the beach jet set of the summer relocated and put on skis.

Courchevel is elegant and casual at the same time, it ‘feels’ very different than Austria, Switzerland or Italy – Courchevel is a new, different experience, kind of snow with Oh-là-là. Also, très chic! And a bit extravagant. For me, the number one address at 1,800 meters altitude is L’Apogée Courchevel from the prestigious Oetker Collection. And indeed, half the staff of the Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc of Cap d’Antibes, also part of the Oetker Collection and traditionally closed from November to March, works here over the winter. It feels to me as if all those employees just shipped the Côte’s philosophy of life in large moving boxes into the mountains. Read more


Monaco – with Bono and Prince Albert

This way of life, this mixture of simplicity, security, casual style. That is what really got me into it. I find it cool how Bono from U2 was sitting next to me at the American Bar in the Hotel de Paris. Nobody made a fuss about it, not him, not others, hardly anyone looked, nobody asked for an autograph.

The density of stars, celebrities, the super-rich and the beauties is perfectly normal here. Monaco is a magnet for them – as well as for the others. Meanwhile, a black Lexus with the license plate MC 01 parked in front of the luxury hotel de Paris, which had just been renovated for over 60 million euros: the car of Prince Albert.

One can see at a glance how much wealth this small country harbors – packed into a mere two square kilometers. All this prosperity is lived with a special lightness. That in itself is an experience. Read more


On the road in the vintage car

Only now do I know how good it can feel to drive a car. And how much closer one can experience the landscape, just how much more intense everything can feel when travelling from village to village in a vintage convertible on mountain passes and side roads. In a dark blue 1959 Jaguar convertible for instance, in a Morris MG-A or a Mercedes 190 SL from the fifties, an Austin Healey 3000 or an Alfa Romeo Giulietta from the sixties.

I did not even want to exit the car anymore – and hardly have I ever experienced the border triangle (Austria, Italy, Slovenia) more beautifully than now with the historic convertible. Driving feeling and driving experience simply are completely different than in a modern car: there is something nostalgic to it, there is romance. And above all, it has class! It is not even about the people at the roadside glancing after you, taking pictures with their phones, or even waving.

This is about yourself ­– about this travel feeling, as if time had not only stopped, but turned back.

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