Robb Review: Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT

After testing the high powered model variant we’re still trying to catch our breath.

By Michael Harley 04/08/2021

I’ve never been impressed with high-performance SUVs and crossovers. They promise a sports car’s driving experience without compromising passenger space and utility, yet most are nothing more than a more powerful engine and an upgraded wheel-and-tire package splashed with a handful of obligatory cosmetic enhancements to justify a premium window sticker. While they are unquestionably quicker than standard models, and they may circle a highway onramp a bit faster, their synthetic and ungainly driving dynamics don’t raise my enthusiast pulse a single beat.

Therefore, you can imagine my scepticism when Porsche recently announced its new 2022 Cayenne Turbo GT, a range-topping model promising “phenomenal performance with a high degree of utility.” Here we go, again. Or so I thought.

Porsche followed the reveal with an eye-opening proclamation: The Cayenne Turbo GT had set a new official SUV record of 7:38.9 minutes around Germany’s gruelling Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit. Not only is that time faster than the benchmark Lamborghini Urus SUV, but the new Porsche crossover crossed the track’s finish line tied with the celebrated Ferrari 458 Italia and Lexus LFA sports cars. Okay, hand me the keys.

The Cayenne Turbo GT, which is only available in the sloped-roof coupe body style, is visually differentiated from its standard brethren by its GT-specific front fascia—designed to allow increased air into the engine, radiators and intercoolers—and more aggressive front lip splitter. A contoured carbon fibre roof reduces weight and lowers the centre of gravity, while black fender arches contain the wider track and unique 22-inch GT Design wheels.

At the rear, the upper decklid wing is complemented by side plates in carbon fibre, and the adaptive rear spoiler has been fitted with a sizeable Gurney flap to reduce both drag and lift. To improve exhaust airflow and the vehicle’s soundtrack, Porsche deleted the Cayenne’s centre muffler and swapped the heavy steel system for one crafted in titanium alloy, thus saving about 40 pounds of mass. Set just below the rear bumper is a pair of oval exhaust tips with notched anodized blue liners that mimic the afterburner outlets of a fighter jet.

Driving the 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT.

The Cayenne Turbo GT is only available in the sloped-roof coupe body style. Photo: Courtesy of Porsche AG.

The standard four-place cabin is configured with spirited driving in mind. The eight-way Sport Seats with embossed “Turbo-GT” in the seatbacks are upholstered in leather and Alcantara, and the driver faces a thick, multifunction sport steering wheel with a racy yellow 12 o’clock centre marker. The Turbo GT also introduces the next generation of Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment to the Cayenne lineup, which is now compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

As expected, the Cayenne Turbo GT has been tuned to deliver prodigious amounts of power. Its twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V-8 is shared with the standard Cayenne Turbo model in the most basic sense, but the engine in the Turbo GT has been heavily modified to develop appreciably more power with new pistons, connecting rods, timing chain, torsional dampers and a unique crankshaft.

Power output jumps to 471kW and 850Nm of torque—that’s 67kW and 80Nm more torque than the Turbo Coupe. Porsche’s own conservative numbers claim that the launch from zero to 100km/h takes just 3.3 seconds. Hold the accelerator to the floor and the Turbo GT tops out at 300km/h, making it the quickest and fastest production Cayenne the automaker has ever offered.

Porsche’s multifunction sport steering wheel complements a dash that introduces the next generation of Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment to the Cayenne lineup. Photo: Courtesy of Porsche AG.

To put the power to the ground, Porsche fits the Turbo GT with proper footwear. The wide wheels are wrapped in track-ready Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tires specifically engineered for the mission (with “Treadwear 80” ratings, owners should expect to replace these tires more frequently than the engine’s oil). Alignment settings are aggressively configured for the track to ensure that the sticky contact patches are optimized for lateral grip and stability.

Technology is a noteworthy part of the model variant’s performance equation, so the marque has equipped the vehicle with every active system in its comprehensive arsenal. These include Porsche Active Stability Management (PASM), the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) adaptive roll compensation system, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV+), Power steering Plus and rear-axle steering. And all these components have been specifically calibrated and adapted to raise cornering speeds, increase lateral grip and enhance stability.

The Turbo GT’s V8 engine fires to life with an eager snarl before settling down to a tempered growl. Drive with a lackadaisical right foot and the crossover is docile and well-tempered. But mash the accelerator and passengers had better be hanging on as the powerful Porsche launches like an irate Grizzly.

The engine inside the interior of the 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT.

The twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V-8 makes 471kW and 850Nm of torque. Photo: Courtesy of Porsche AG.

The exhaust note is unquestionably angrier than the standard Turbo model, but the Cayenne’s insulated cabin means the audio track is best enjoyed by those outside the vehicle, as they can hear the twin centre pipes truly roar. (Unlike most other automakers, Porsche does not augment or pipe artificial exhaust notes through the speakers—the combustion melody is completely genuine.)

In the “O” (or normal) configuration, as dialled on the steering wheel-mounted drive mode selector, the Turbo GT is surprisingly unassuming, accommodating and extremely comfortable— despite its race-tuned underpinnings. The standard three-chamber air suspension absorbs pavement cracks, bumps and potholes effortlessly, and the eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission is silky smooth as the Cayenne runs up and down through its gears. Despite some annoying traffic, my 40-minute trek across the Los Angeles Basin was peaceful and relaxing.

A detail of the oval exhaust tips on the 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT.

Dual oval exhaust tips feature notched anodized blue liners that mimic the afterburner outlets of a fighter jet. Photo: Courtesy of Porsche AG.

Spin the dial to “S” (Sport) or “S+” (Sport Plus) to reconfigure the Turbo GT into progressively more aggressive driving modes. In those settings, the vehicle makes dozens of system adjustments, but the most obvious from the driver’s seat is the more pronounced exhaust note, livelier throttle response and fervent transmission. In these modes, however, it’s no surprise that fuel efficiency has left the conversation.

In this configuration, the Cayenne Turbo GT is a take-no-prisoners precision driving instrument that appears to have forgotten that it weighs 2260kg.

High-performance SUVs and crossovers typically exhibit increasing understeer as they reach the limit of their capability, which leaves the driver holding onto a lifeless steering wheel while listening to the outside front tire wail as its rubber tread is scrubbed off by the abrasive pavement. But that doesn’t happen in the Turbo GT.

A detail of the rear spoiler on the 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT.

The adaptive rear spoiler has been fitted with a sizeable Gurney flap to reduce both drag and lift. Photo: Courtesy of Porsche AG.

The vehicle feels perfectly balanced, front to rear, and its aggressive alignment—nearly 1.5 degrees of negative camber—plants the tyres’ contact patches perfectly on the road surface while the sticky rubber adheres tenaciously to the aggregate. During my drive, the vehicle’s performance computers measured cornering forces exceeding 1.2 g laterally in both directions. Those numbers are strong enough to challenge the world’s most capable sports cars.

Powering out of the corners, the Cayenne’s fully variable Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive expertly delivers the horsepower to where it may best be used. There is no loss of traction and not an inch of tyre slippage, just neck-snapping thrust as the four tyres pull the crossover towards the next bend. Those with sensitive derrières will notice how the rear-axle steer and torque vectoring—both assisting automatically—seamlessly work their wizardry to keep the vehicle’s trajectory perfectly on the intended line.

The interior of the 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT.

Embossed with “Turbo-GT” in the seatbacks, the eight-way Sport Seats are upholstered in leather and Alcantara. Photo: Courtesy of Porsche AG.

The Cayenne Turbo GT is taller than all sports cars, which affords a more commanding view of the road, but cornering is perfectly flat thanks to Porsche 4D Chassis Control and the 48-volt electromechanical roll stabilisation. And braking from speed is unproblematic and fade-free as the Turbo GT is fitted with Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) as standard fitment. It stops as well as it goes, which is also very uncharacteristic of a crossover.

My astonishment at the Cayenne Turbo GT’s performance and the enjoyment I was feeling invigorated me enough to make several runs up and down the mountain. By mid-afternoon, I had concluded that the Turbo GT isn’t just faster and more capable than every other crossover on the market, it’s better than most purpose-built sports cars, too.

Driving the 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT.

Porsche claims the new Cayenne Turbo GT can cover zero to 100km/h in 3.3 seconds while on its way to 300km/h. Photo: Courtesy of Porsche AG.

Porsche has priced the Cayenne Turbo GT at just over $180,000, about $50,000 more than the standard Cayenne Turbo Coupe. While there is a significant value proposition at play (many of the expensive options on the Turbo Coupe are standard on the Turbo GT), the additional financial investment elevates the Cayenne Turbo from just being another high-performance crossover to being a bona-fide sports car alternative for a driving enthusiast.

I’ll be the first to point out that the 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT is nonsensical overkill for most consumers, yet there is a niche of discriminating drivers who are pursuing unconditional superiority in terms of impeccable engineering, faultless driving dynamics and record-setting performance. For those discerning few, Porsche has decisively delivered excellence. And I’m finally impressed.

The 2022 Porsche Cayenne GT is now available to order in Australia, with prices starting from $336,100 (excluding on-road costs). Porsche Australia expects local deliveries to commence during the fourth quarter of this year.

porsche.com

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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&B-SYD-Nobu@crownresorts.com.au; $380 per head (including matched wine and sake). Crownsydney.com.au

Sushi Oe

16/450 Miller St, Cammeray; Tue – Sat. SMS only 0451 9709 84 E: jizakana16@gmail.com Phone: 0426 233 984 $230 per head. jizakana.com.au

Kisuke with Yusuke Morita

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

Haco 

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: haco@hacosydney.com.au; $150 – $210 Hacosydney.com.au

Kuon

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

Sokyo 

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

Kuro

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

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. Chojiomakase.com.au

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 booking@goldclassdaruma.com.au·$120 – $150 per head Goldclassdaruma.com.au

Besuto

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. Besuto.com.au

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.”

Sonos

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.

Sonos

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.

Sonos

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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