Robb Report Christmas Gift Guide For Him

25 of the finest presents for the men in your life. Or, yourself.

By Terry Christodoulou 26/11/2020

Specific, elevated tastes? We know you and we know you don’t want to smile through another unremarkable gift unwrapping.

And so – introducing the curated, Robb Report selection of gifts.


Technics – SL-1200GR Direct Drive Turntable System

Technics SL 1200GR

Technics has long delivered the gold standard for turntable systems. Here, in the SL-1200GR, the revered brand combines its analogue know-how with leading edge digital technologies. Smoother rotation through the high-precision motor control achieves better, more replicable sound while the aluminium diecast turntable platter pursues rigidity and vibration damping for an indulgent listening experience.



Dior – Oblique Hawaiian Beaded Shirt

Dior Oblique Hawaiian Beaded Shirt

This short-sleeved shirt is cut in silk twill and offers a relaxed silhouette with a convertible collar. The navy fabric is paired with a reinterpreted ‘Dior’ signature seeing a pearl effect. A visible button placket and chest pocket is paired with a straight hem while side vents further its summery appeal.



Technogym Bench

Christmas Gift Guide

A lot of fitness gadgetry and fads claim to be all-inclusive – even though few are. Technogym’s newest addition, the Technogym Bench, brings training back to basics. The bench combines various fitness bands (in three different resistance levels), hexagon dumbbells (totalling 57kgs), weighted knuckles and a training mat, all concealed in an elegant storage solution easily moved out of sight courtesy of attached wheels.


Targa Great Barrier Reef – Ferrari Brisbane 

Targa Great Barrier Reef.

Open to Ferrari owners (hey, we know you’re there) this is an ultimate road experience – one that means belting said Prancing Horse in and around the lush nature that frames Cairns and some impressive Far North Queensland roads. This is closed road racing, an unforgettable three days spent navigating the heady Targa circuit with all aspects (vehicle transfer, meals, luxury accommodation, more) curated and seamlessly delivered by Ferrari Brisbane.

Next year’s race is set for September 3-5;, +61 (0) 7 3853 0125

Hasselblad – 907X

Christmas Gift Guide

This vintage inspired camera not only arrives with plenty of design cred – by virtue of its boxy, retro aesthetic – but also holds plenty of technical capability. The 907X is the Hasselblad’s smallest, lightest medium format camera ever. Boasting a CFV II 50C digital back (which can ingeniously fit almost every V system body going back 60 years) the 50-megapixel CMOS sensor is capable of stunning resolution, exceptional colour and a wide dynamic range of 14 stops.



Aston Martin – AMR-C01 Racing Simulator

Christmas Gift Guide

Short of gifting an actual Aston (and wouldn’t you be the ultimate Santa in doing so), the British marque’s luxurious simulator comes close. Taking first steps into the digital world of simulated driving by partnering with Curv Racing Simulators, the AMR-C01 offers the very best in driving simulation through Assetto Corsa software grafted to the luxury details and finishes such as a carbon-fibre monocoque and the same seating position found in the Valkyrie supercar.

Approx. $104,000;

The Balvenie – 30-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky


Hailing from Speyside in the Scottish Highlands, Balvenie’s expression is one of the lightest and most delicate in the region with little to no peat. The rare and especially fine single malt finds its way into traditional oak whisky casks before being transferred to European oak sherry casks. Expect silky, honeyed notes on the nose with mellow levels of oak and orange peel before arriving at a dark chocolate, plum, marzipan and caramelised pear taste executed on a lingering sweet finish.



Bang & Olufsen – H95 Adaptive ANC Headphones

This stylish set of headphones offers Danish outfit Bang & Olufsen’s expertise in noise-cancelling and sound production. Customised titanium drivers and the brand’s signal processing engine create an unrivalled wireless listening experience while premium materials designed to embrace the ear are made from soft top grain lambskin and ductile memory foam. Aluminium dials provide a tactile interface. Pictured here in the gold tone edition – as part of B&0’s 95-year celebration – drown out the noise this Christmas with a set of these.



William & Son – Poker Set

Up your game with this stylish poker set from Willian & Son. Presented in a sleek leather carry case, the pack allows you to stage your very own Casino Royale and comes with ceramic poker chips – in a range of denominations – dice and two decks of playing cards.  With enough practice you might be able to call Le Chiffre’s bluff, even after a few vesper martinis.



Tiffany & Co. – Paloma’s Groove Ring

Tiffany & Co Robb Report AU

Go for gold this Christmas – 18-carat to be precise – with the Paloma’s Groove Ring from Tiffany & Co. With its wide design, powerful graphic lines and handsome grooves, originally penned by Paloma Picasso, it’s a statement from the famed American jeweller’s dedicated men’s department that won’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.



Chopard – Alpine Eagle XL Chrono

A relative newcomer to the stainless-steel world of sports watches, Chopard’s Alpine Eagle flies high above the pack with a lucent steel and sunburst Aletsch blue dial. It arrives powered by the automatic 03.05-C movement with 60 hours of power reserve and is water-resistant to 100 metres. It currently has four patents pending including a unidirectional gearing system that prevents energy loss, a vertical clutch that ensures accuracy, a flyback chronograph with three pivoting hammers and an ability to compensate for variations in inertia throughout the watch’s lifetime.




BDK – Sel D’argent Eau De Parfum

With top notes of bergamot, grapefruit and salt, this is the perfect fragrance for the holiday period and beyond. The nostalgic fragrance is reminiscent of late afternoon swims with a side of ‘romance’ courtesy of green notes such as galbanum, among others.



Louis Vuitton – Baby Foot Table

Foosball, but not as you know it. The lauded French maison has delivered an elegant spin on the classic game with hand-painted players and cowhide leather-coated handles adorning the piece. Enamel counting coins see the label’s monogram flower while the ‘LV’ logo decorates the side of what is absolutely the most decadent way to play.



Hublot – Big Bang Integral King Gold

The Hublot Big Bang Integral King Gold makes an entrance, which is what you’d expect from a ‘royal’. Satin-finished and polished 18-carat king gold (a fusion of precious metals that results in a warmer tone) forms the watch’s 42mm case and strap. Inside, the Unico 2 calibre – which is visible from the open worked dial – offers a 72-hour power reserve and thanks to technical optimisations, now sits 1.3mm thinner on the wrist. Red indications pop against the matte grey dial while the watch is water resistant to 100-metres.



Berluti Venezia – Letter Holder

Utilising Berluti’s expertise in leather goods, the Italian label – headed by Kris Van Assche – has recently unveiled a range of office accessories. Here to elevate your desk and a re-edition of a Carl Aubock original design comes the Venezia leather letter holder which is folded over a metal plate. Opt for the louder colour in the Sukhna Sunset Purple.



Alexander McQueen – Oversized Sneaker

Robb Report Gift Guide

A pair of white leather sneakers are a staple of the modern man’s wardrobe. And one of the finer examples is the oversized offering from Alexander McQueen – featuring a drop-heel counter in ‘lust red’ with McQueen signature featuring on the tongue and heel counter.



Tom Ford – Grain Leather Shoulder Briefcase

Robb Report AU Gift Guide

Ford’s elegance extends to this slim briefcase. Made in Italy, the briefcase is crafted from 100 per cent grain calf leather and offers myriad compartments and pockets alongside a detachable shoulder strap and oversized zip (in gold-tone no less) for added functionality.



Boston Dynamics – Spot Robotic Dog

Robb Report Gift Guide

Spot, as this robot dog is called, may seem like a fun pet, but this four-legged robot actually earns his paycheck by performing remote duties well beyond fetching Sunday slippers. Using its stereo cameras, Spot can manoeuvre through dynamic work areas, carry payloads up to 13kgs, perform security sweeps and even inspect progress on construction sites—at stretches of up to 90 minutes at a time (its swappable battery pack means Spot can get back on duty ASAP). Good dog.

Approx. 101,800;


Brunello Cucinelli – Calfskin Backpack

No, you won’t look like a preppy schoolboy wearing a backpack, especially with this elevated Brunello Cucinelli calfskin number. The richly textured grained leather – delivered here in ochre – is complemented by two small side magnet pockets, a front zipper and straps that make it the ultimate utility for the man on the go.


Twilight Tour & Degustation Dinner – Penfolds Magill Estate 

An exclusive twilight experience taking in the workings and storied history of the famed Penfolds Magill Estate in Adelaide – a chance to journey through all that makes Penfolds an international symbol for brilliance. A seven course degustation dinner follows at an award-winning restaurant, the meal paired with wine selected by Penfolds’ cellar sommelier.

$560 per person;

Jaques Marie Mage – Molino Square-Frame Acetate and Gold-Tone Sunglasses

Jaques Marie Mage

The curated selection of sunglasses by JMM are crafted in small batches and pass through over 100 hands in a 300-step process to ensure quality of the highest standards. Made in Japan, the acetate ‘Molino’ offers a contemporary silhouette fitted with fold inlays and light blue lenses.

Approx. $878;


Cake – Freeride Kalk& Electric Motorbike

Robb Report Gift Guide

A lightweight, high performance weekday commuter that can easily hold its own on a pock marked trail, the Kalk& means clean, fume-free and fun riding. Weighing only 62kg (plus a 17kg battery), it offers 83km of range, is capable of speeds over 90km/h and recharges from flat to 100 per cent in three hours.

Approx. $19,100;


Gucci – Logo Embossed Perforated Leather Wash Bag

Christmas Gift

Green with envy. Well, that’s what everyone will be when you gift this logo embossed leather wash bag from Gucci. Suited to travel with its ventilating perforations, the bag offers a lined interior, zipped pockets and fastening and a useful side handle.

Approx. $1020;


IWC – Yacht Club Chronograph

Christmas Gift

Let these Swiss masters sail you into Christmas with the Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph. The 44mm stainless steel case houses a silver-plated white enamel dial which is contrasted by a black rubber strap. The in-house flyback chronograph movement offers a 68-hour power reserve and is water resistant to 60 metres so there are no trepidations about taking it out on the water.



Robb Report ANZ – Annual Subscription


Award-winning luxury delivered for the next 12 months – is there anything better? We say no, this the gift that literally keeps on giving with quarterly print and digital issues included, so too exclusive offers, access to Robb Report’s VIP concierge services and more. This is the ultimate subscription.





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The 10 Best Omakase in Sydney

Sydney’s best Japanese chef’s-table dining experiences.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 06/06/2024

In Japan, where food is a cultural art form, omakase stands for traditional Japanese foods made with seasonal ingredients. A good omakase meal, prepared with purity and mindfulness, can make an unforgettable imprint on the culinary memory. Yet in a land defined by seasonal traditions, omakase is a relatively new concept.

Omakase originated in Japan in the 1970s as affluent Japanese began to dine more regularly at first-rate sushi counters. Bowing to the expertise of the sushi master, omakase loosely translates to “I’ll leave it to you.” In a setting where money is no object, letting the chef decide was designed as a chic way to take the awkwardness out of ordering.

In Australia where there’s an abundance of fresh seafood, omakase menus have experienced a recent rise in popularity. Today omakase is any series of small dishes served directly by the chef to the diner. Each part of the meal is presented on beautiful ceramics and lacquer wear, with a great —and somewhat— intimidating reverence for elegant details. It’s a chance to see a chef’s knife skills up close and get a feel for their cooking style.

Omakase menus are based on whatever is freshest at the market and can be influenced by the chef’s mood, expertise, and response to the guest. They can be slowly paced like a ceremony—hushed and reverential—but they can also be rowdy, humorous, and personal.
Here we give you 10 of the best to try in Sydney.

Yoshi’s Omakase at Nobu Crown Sydney

Crown Sydney, Level 2/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo. Open: 12–3 pm, 5:30–9:30 pm Phone: 02 8871 7188 Reservations: F&; $380 per head (including matched wine and sake).

Sushi Oe

16/450 Miller St, Cammeray; Tue – Sat. SMS only 0451 9709 84 E: Phone: 0426 233 984 $230 per head.

Kisuke with Yusuke Morita

50 Llankelly Place, Potts Point; Tuesday – Saturday: 17:30 – 10.45 (closed Sunday/ Monday) $185-200 per head


102/21 Alberta St, Sydney. Lunch, Friday to Saturday 12 -2:00 pm Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday 5:45 pm – 8:1 5pm (closed Sunday & Mondays) P: 0408 866 285                                     E:; $150 – $210


Shop 04 2/58 Little Hay St, Sydney, Lunch: Fri-Sun 12:30 pm. Dinner  Tue-Sun 5:15 pm or 7:45 pm sittings.  Reservation via SMS at 0488 688 252; $220 per head @kuon.omakase


The Darling, Level G, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont. Open dinner Monday to Thursday from 5:45 pm P: 1800 700 700 $300 per head


368 Kent St, Sydney; Open Tue – Wed – Thur: 6 pm Fri & Sat: 5:30 pm P: 02 9262 1580, $220 per head.;

Choji Omakase

Level 2, 228 Victoria Ave, Chatswood —upstairs from Choji Yakiniku. Every Monday to Wednesday at 6.30 pm. One seating per day only. $295 per head.

Gold Class Daruma

The Grace Hotel, Level 1/77 York St, Sydney; 12–2:30 pm, 5:30–9.00 pm Phone: (02) 9262 1190 M: 0424 553 611·$120 – $150 per head


Besuto Omakase, Sydney Place precinct, 3 Underwood Street, Circular Quay. Omakase is available to book for dinner – Tuesday to Saturday. 5:30 pm & 8pm sittings. From $250.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is no soy and wasabi offered during my omakase meal?
Even though sushi and sashimi are being served, the chef is serving each piece of sushi so quickly and directly that the chef is applying the wasabi and soy to the sushi themselves. Watch as they brush the top of the fish with soy and dab a tiny amount of wasabi on the rice, under the fish. You should not need to add extra, and in fact, it can be insulting to the chef to add more. Bathing the bottom of the rice of your sushi in soy sauce is considered bad manners, as it is seen as detracting from the flavour of the fish.

Nobu, Sydney

Can an omakase experience accommodate my dietary needs?
Although there is often little variation once the chef has set the daily menu, some customisation is possible. Advise the restaurant when you book and remind them of allergies or aversions again as you sit down. They will let you know when you book if your allergy is possible for the chef. Japanese menus feature a lot of seafood and dashi so accommodating a no seafood request can be genuinely tricky.

What are the golden rules for chopstick etiquette?
Use your chopstick holder in between eating, rather than putting chopsticks on your plate. Don’t use your chopsticks to gesticulate or point; if offering food to someone to try, never pass food directly from your chopsticks to theirs. Rather place the food onto a small plate and let them pick it up.
Never touch communal or shared food with your chopsticks. The longer, slightly larger chopsticks are like sharing cutlery, never put these in your mouth.

Without a menu, how can I know what I am eating during omakase?
Omakase is often a no-menu situation, and you are expected to try new things. Attending an omakase experience with an open, trusting mind yields the best results.
There are Wagyu and tempura omakase that reflect the chef’s personal predilections and training, but in a standard luxury omakase, the format will include a lot of freshly caught seafood and will usually kick off with a delicate appetiser. This will be followed by a sashimi and sushi course, a savoury egg custard (chawanmushi) with meat and seafood, a cooked or blow-torched market fish, a soup course, and dessert.

Can I talk to the chef during omakase? What is the protocol?
Guests at an omakase experience are welcome to ask questions of the chef; in fact, interacting with the chef is part of the experience. It is considered polite to ask questions or inquire about the food so they can explain.

What is best to pair with omakase  in terms of drinks?
In general, wine and sake are a perfect match for omakase. Aged fish and vinegar have strong umami flavours so depending on which course you enjoy, different wine and sake will pair well. Dry chilled sake is a great choice. Amazing sakes are imported into Australia, so trust the restaurant to advise you and take you on a sake journey at the same time.  If you don’t like sake, drinking chardonnay, a crisp young riesling, or even a dry complex Riesling is also totally acceptable. All three styles help bring out the flavour of the fish. Champagne can also be good. Try a blanc de blancs— 100% chardonnay —for a great way to start the meal. As you progress, remember that sake is good for dishes with a strong taste, such as uni and eel.

Nobu, Sydney

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The Sonos Ace Headphones Are Music to the Ears

The audio giant has (finally) revealed its foray in the personal listening category.

By Josh Bozin 20/06/2024

In the ever competitive market for premium headphones, few brands have captured the hearts (and ears) of audiophiles, professionals and enthusiasts alike. Bowers & Wilkins, Bose, Sony, and even Apple come to mind when debating great audio brands in 2024. Then there’s Sonos.

For over 20 years, the American audio manufacturer has been lauded for its high-end capabilities, particularly in a home setting; Sonos changed the game for the integration of home entertainment. But it had yet to venture into the realm of headphones.

Until now. Earlier this month, the company marked its long-awaited entry into the personal-listening category, with the launch of its highly anticipated Sonos Ace over-ear headphones.

“Fans have asked us for years to bring the Sonos experience to headphones,”says Patrick Spence, CEO of Sonos, “and we knew our first foray into the category needed to champion the type of innovation and sound experience Sonos has become synonymous with.”


On paper, the Sonos Ace is an enticing proposition: a premium over-ear headphone featuring lossless and spatial audio, intuitive Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), and Aware Mode. Most appealing, however, might be its new immersive home theatre offering; the Sonos Ace can pair to compatible Sonos soundbars with just a tap of a button. The new TrueCinema technology, which arrives later this year, will precisely map your entertainment space and then render a complete surround sound system for an unparalleled listening experience.


Retailing at $699, they aren’t exactly cheap, and there more affordable headphones that compete with Sonos in terms of audio output and high-fidelity sound. But where Sonos thrives is in the details. Available in  stealthy black and pure white, the Sonos Ace are sleek and stylish right out of the box. Sure, there is some resemblance to the Apple Air Max Pro—arguably its greatest rival in the over-ear headphone segment—but Sonos has also added its own design touches, and it’s clear the Ace was made to look and feel as good as it sounds.

Its distinctive, slim profile elegantly blends metal accents with a sleek matte finish, and thanks to the use of lightweight, premium materials like memory foam and vegan leather, you get an airy fit that isn’t overbearing, even after extensive use. The design of the Sonos Ace is also intuitive; tactile buttons make controlling the headset a cinch, and pairing with Apple or Android devices is also straightforward. The dedicated Sonos App is also helpful for customising (somewhat) your listening experience, from altering EQ to turning on certain capabilities, like Head Tracking.


It does fall short on a couple of key fronts.  I was expecting more from the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) for over-ear headphones of this price point; there’s no way the ANC as it stands will filter out the sounds of a plane engine, for example. I also found the Sonos Ace has an issue, albeit subtle, with the mid-bass, which can sound muddy and lack punch at times.

But these are small nits. The Sonos Ace only adds to the company’s impressive standing as an unimpeachable innovator in the audio industry.

For more information, visit Sonos.


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Wake Up To World Martini Day 19 June

Cocktail legend Dale de Groff talks Grey Goose, World Martini Day and getting wet.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 18/06/2024

Dale de Groff knows his way around a bar. Back when late nights and heavy drinking were a badge of honour, he presided over one of New York City’s most legendary venues, The Rainbow Room, and is credited with reviving the classic cocktail across Northern America.

To promote World Martini Day on June 19 he’s teamed up with vodka company Grey Goose, for which he has served as a brand ambassador since 1997, to make a winning case for the classic Martini everywhere. He is even lending a hand at the opening of Le Martini bar at Crown Melbourne. 

We asked de Groff about his time serving stars like Michale Douglas, Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood and, of course, how he likes his martini.

Dale for the uninitiated, please describe the Rainbow Room.

In the 1980s Rainbow Room was situated high atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York. Back then, it was just the pinnacle of glamour.

It has stunning views of the city from way up on the 65th floor. Being situated in the same building as NBC Entertainment, still pretty synonymous with late night TV,  it was and still is the home of Saturday Night Live. You can imagine the kinds of people we’d be getting in each week—from celebrities, musicians, even governors, you name it. 

Robb Report ANZ: What was one of your favourite memories from that time?

Dale de Groff: In ‘88 we held the 30th anniversary Grammys afterparty at the Rainbow Room which I’ll never forget. The event took place over multiple floors, but in the bar itself, the three tiers that go up from the dance floor were taken over by the who’s who of the time. I remember roping off a zone just for music legends like Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, and Madonna—who was no stranger to the bar during those times. Not bad for a Wednesday night.

RR: What role do cocktails play in making a good venue truly great?

DD: A venue’s popularity ultimately comes down to the bartender or team behind the bar. How they interact with people, size them up as they walk through the door, talk to them over that three feet of mahogany, I mean, it’s everything.

RR: What’s the trick to becoming a great bartender, one who can easily impress guests, friends and family?

DD: Knowledge behind the craft. Let’s face it, understanding how to create a really high degree of deliciousness is required, but getting deep into how beverages are made is a massive skill in drink making. The research and innovation behind it is just mind-blowing.

RR:What three cocktails should every sophisticate know how to make?

DD: Well, a martini obviously! I personally like mine 50/50—equal parts vodka and vermouth. I used to drink my martinis for the power, but now I prefer a wet martini. Then I think a classic spritz is a must—always effervescent, lower in alcohol, really it’s the preprandial libation. Then thirdly, it’s gotta be an Old Fashioned.

RR: How do you make a solid martini at home?

DD: If I’m making a classic martini at home, I’m adding Grey Goose, vermouth and bitters to a mixing glass with ice, stirring then straining into a chilled glass. Garnished with lemon twist of course.

Le Martini, the world’s first standalone Grey Goose bar, is now open and will welcome guests in time for World Martini Day on 19 June. You can follow:  @LeMartiniBar 

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Can Italy’s Lake Garda Finally Compete With Como—or Will It Become a Victim of Its Own Success?

Crowded, cacophonous Lake Como is overflowing, filling its nearby villages and lakes with new luxury hotels and savvy, in-the-know travellers.

By Jake Emen 17/06/2024

The sun is shining down and your wooden Riva Aquarama boat is slicing through the lake. The crowd is beautiful, well-tanned and they like their spritzes. Sound like Lake Como? Almost. You’re about 150 kilometres southeast on the larger, yet less frequented, Lake Garda.

As the popularity of Lake Como has grown thanks to non-stop celebrity endorsements filtered down via social media, an in-crowd is discovering that Garda offers the same glitzy perks of its neighbour with far fewer headaches.

“Giorgio Clooney is to Como what Tom Hanks is to Garda,” says Katie Parla, author of “Food of the Italian Islands” and a tour leader across Italy. “Sure, Como is beautiful and charming, but Garda is equally talented, and some would say, more versatile and well-rounded.”

Grand Hotel Fasano, which turned 135th anniversary, is welcoming a new crowd.
Grand Hotel Fasano,

Long the preferred destination for Italians and other continental families, the secret of Garda has now well and truly been leaked. Investment is pouring in at Ferrari speeds.

On the hotel front, historic, legendary properties such as Grand Hotel Fasano (from USD$470)—which celebrated its 135th anniversary in 2023— are joined by a flock of newcomers. There is the new family-owned spa hotel Cape of Senses, a Small Luxury Hotels of the World member (from USD$628). Conti Thun (from USD$225) debuted as an on-vineyard wine resort last year. And this spring, Borgo Tre (from USD$640) opened a small collection of luxury apartment suites in a converted 18th-century farmhouse. (If you haven’t noticed already, a stay here is still considerably cheaper than say, Lake Como’s Passalacqua at USD$2,660 a night).

The region’s established properties are doing their best to stay ahead of the new arrivals, too. The mountain-top wellness haven Lefay Resort & Spa (from USD$460) is famous for encouraging its guests to wear their plush robes across the grounds from morning to night, as the saunter from treatment to treatment. It’s just unveiled a new, elevated room category dubbed Sky Suites that will speak to Como expats. These top-floor units are 1,500 square feet and come with a terrace hot tub, a private in-suite sauna and, of course, unimpeded views of the lake, mountains, and valleys beyond.

Lefay Resort & Spa is drawing wellness activists to the region.
Lefay Resorts

But change like this always comes at a cost. Locals and long-time visitors worry that the region’s newfound popularity puts it in danger of losing its distinctive atmosfera. Ironically, even the new guard hotels are concerned.

“We don’t want that, we’re not a mass tourism product,” says Cape of Senses general manager Alina Deutsch of any attempt to clone Como at Garda. “What is luxury today? It’s what people are missing from their lives, and that’s space and time.”

“Locals, like me, really hope that our beautiful destination will remain as authentic as it is now, even if international tourism is booming and new luxury properties are going to continue opening in the next couple of years,” added Alice Lancini, Grand Hotel Fasano’s sales and marketing manager.

But the scene in Lake Garda’s is already shifting. Lancini says that in the last three to four years, U.S. travellers have made the lake hotel the brand’s second strongest market after Germany. “Lake Garda is becoming more popular in the States as it’s much cheaper than Como, less crowded—still, for now—and it’s a completely different experience than Lake Como.”

Parla adds that the 50 kilometre-long Lake Garda has a natural protection from “becoming a Disneyland” overnight: its massive size makes it feel more like a sea than a lake at times.

“Como the town, Bellagio, and all the fancy hotels are beyond overcrowded and have become the playground of influencers generating their FOMO-inducing content,” she says. “I don’t see a way to enjoy the lake if you stick to those two towns, which most do…Lake Garda is so much bigger.”

Its other protection? Garda isn’t a first stop for first timers. After all, would you tell someone to skip the Eiffel Tower on their first trip to Paris, or forgo the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco? Icons are icons and that includes Lake Como.

The new family-owned spa hotel Cape of Senses just opened on Lake Garda.
Cape of Senses

“Lake Como is for romance and honeymoons, and lounging around on a boat and never leaving the confines of a luxury hotel,” adds Parla, noting that other lakes and villages attract a more active, creative and adventurous crowd.

So will Garda ever become Como? Lancini thinks it’s likely, and that’s why you should get there sooner rather than later. “Lake Garda is going to boom as a destination in the next three to five years,” she says. “Now is the time to take advantage and come to this beautiful destination before it becomes too crowded.”

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Kyoto Has the Most Michelin Restaurants per Capita: Report

There are 100 Michelin-starred spots in the Japanese city, serving some 1.5 million people.

By Tori Latham 17/06/2024

The residents of Kyoto, Japan, are positively swimming among Michelin-starred restaurants.

The Japanese city is home to the highest density of eateries ranked by the French tire company, including five three-starred restaurants, according to a new report from website Chef’s Pencil. With 100 Michelin-ranked spots and a population of almost 1.5 million, Kyoto has one restaurant for every 14,637 people.

Coming in a close second is—unsurprisingly—Paris: The city’s 122 Michelin-starred restaurants serve 2.1 million residents, resulting in one spot for every 17,235 people. (Paris also has the second-highest absolute number of Michelin-starred restaurants, behind Tokyo.) Third place may come as a shock: Washington, D.C., has ranked highly, with 25 restaurants for 690,000 residents, or one for every 27,582 people.

Of course, there are some caveats for the Chef’s Pencil report. The website looked only at cities with 500,000 or more residents. And the restaurants had to be located within the city limits, rather than the larger metropolitan area. The Michelin Guide itself often includes eateries in a broader region, so this list may be slightly more abbreviated than the official selection.

To address some of that disparity, Chef’s Pencil has also released a ranking of Michelin density in midsize cities, those with 100,000 to 500,000 residents. At the top of that list is Nara, Japan, which has 23 starred restaurants for a population of just 367,000 (one restaurant for every 15,972 residents). That’s followed by Maastricht, Netherlands (six Michelin-starred restaurants and 120,000 residents, or one restaurant for every 20,038 people), and Geneva, Switzerland (eight starred eateries and a population of 204,000, or one spot for every 25,494 residents).

And while France is the country with the most Michelin-starred establishments, Switzerland actually has the most starred spots per capita. The country’s 134 Michelin-starred restaurants serve a population of almost 9 million, or one for every 66,872 residents. The much smaller Luxembourg, with just 672,500 residents, comes in second for this metric: With 10 Michelin-starred restaurants, there’s one for every 67,250 people.

While many people travel to the areas with the most Michelin-starred restaurants, they may be better served by going to the areas where they’re the densest. Neither Kyoto nor D.C. may be called its respective country’s culinary capital, but both are teeming with Michelin-ranked spots relative to their size.


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