The 8 Best European Summer Destinations For 2022

The sun is high, the beaches are warm, the weather is balmy, the wine is chilled—what’s not to love about summer in Europe?

By Natasha Dragun 05/04/2022

In the coming months, as winter draws closer expect an exodus of Aussies heading to Europe for warmer climates, longer days and that sense of excitement that only travel can bring. And so, in the rush of last-minute planning for the ultimate European escape, we’ve compiled eight of the best and most luxurious destinations to add to your itinerary. Bon voyage.

Eye Candy In Corsica

Corsica may be part of France but the island is closer to Italy in many ways. Rewind a few centuries and it was under Genoan then Tuscan rule. And it’s almost swimming distance from Sardinia (just 12 kilometres). So upon arrival expect la dolce vita and joie de vivre in equal measure.

The island is surrounded by the Mediterranean but head inland to discover time-forgotten hilltop villages, like Oletta. This part of northern Corsica is home to the U Palazzu Serenu, a 17th-century palace recently restored and relaunched as Aethos Corsica. Nine suites occupy this bijou lodging, each individually designed in an earthy palette so as not to distract from the eye candy outside: sweeping views to the bay of Saint Florent’s powdery beaches.

Aethos emphasises intimate shared spaces, like the restaurant Ceci, where your meal might include Corsican goat’s cheese from a nearby cooperative, or a chilled glass of vermentinu, bottled at a neighbouring biodynamic vineyard. Your concierge can arrange a private tour of several such purveyors, perhaps in advance of a dip in one of the island’s 200 beaches, or a sunset cruise on a luxury yacht.

aethoshotels.com

 

Bond With London

London’s Old War Office has hosted everyone from Winston Churchill (his WWII HQ) to Ian Fleming (inspiring his James Bond series). Arguably the most dramatic of transformations since its 1906 erection is this year’s welcoming of Raffles London at the OWO, set to debut “late” in 2022.

Opening to the public after more than a century, the site’s hotel boasts 120 rooms and suites fashioned by New York-based designer Thierry Despont, supported by historians to preserve details like ornate mosaic floors and architectural mouldings. Several of its 11 restaurants and bars are overseen by Argentinian great Mauro Colagreco, bearing three Michelin stars for his French masterpiece, Mirazur.

raffles.com

 

Fine Drop

From Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Grand Cru to Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru, France’s Burgundy region produces some of the world’s most exclusive (and expensive) wines – the aforementioned exceed approx. $30,000 a bottle.

We’re popping a cork to the Côte-d’Or’s hottest new hotel: COMO Le Montrachet. The property’s outlook is Puligny-Montrachet’s atmospheric village square, its 31 rooms and suites across four historic 18th-century buildings.

The COMO group has often collaborated with Milanese designer Paola Navone, and she has been called upon again to transform Montrachet’s spaces into the calming sanctuaries synonymous with the Singaporean hotel brand. Navone will also fashion the on-site Shambhala Retreat, this first-of-its-kind spa for France. The phased opening spans 2022 and 2023.

comohotels.com

 

Movie-star appeal

You may not have heard of Procida, but you’ve likely seen it on the big screen. This Italian island in the Bay of Naples has played a starring role in films like The Talented Mr Ripley and Il Postino. Think candy-coloured houses along narrow lanes, cafe-lined marinas, and crescent-shaped beaches where you can order an aperitivo.

While it flies under the radar, this year Procida is Italy’s Capital of Culture. The €1m (approx. $1.4m) funding accompanying the accolade has been injected into projects spanning art, urban regeneration and environmental sustainability—in all, 50 schemes involving 240 artists.

Need further motivation? Try San Michele boutique hotel, its 12 individually adorned suites draped toward the Mediterranean. You’re just metres from the water at on-site Il Pescatore restaurant, but your base in the rainbow-hued fishing village of Marina Corricella delivers other restaurants al mare, with specialties like salt-crusted sea bream and immense pizza—Naples is only 40 minutes away, after all.

Be sure to make the most of San Michele’s sister hotel on the island, La Suite, where you can splash about in a black-water pool inspired by the similarly hued beaches nearby.

sanmicheleprocida.com

Hilltop Haven

Spain’s Balearic islands are a string of pearls off the European mainland, shimmering in the Mediterranean sunlight. In 2022, the brightest gleam
comes from Menorca, where coastal coves create 50 shades of green. Kayak, dive, paddleboard … then return to your palatial digs at Es Bec D’Aguila.

This is private living to perfection. The hilltop villa sleeps 28, with sea views for all. It’s ideal for a multigenerational brood—there’s a treehouse, cinema, bunk room, hammocks and play area, not to mention endless pursuits for adults. Think daybeds by the pool, with a bar for cheeky breakfast cocktails.

Beaches lie within 10 kilometres, but you have no need to leave your cocoon. Xisco the farmer turns up every morning with a basket of organic vegetables, herbs, fresh eggs and honey, all grown or produced on Es Bec d’Aguila’s grounds. And a dedicated cook is at your disposal.

Beyond that, there’s boating, yoga, pottery workshops, massages, and your on-call concierge holds the island’s ultimate little black book.

esbecdaguila.com

Swiss Ease

Five decades ago, Henri Chenot envisioned a revolutionary new approach to health. Today, there’s a wellness “method” named after the Catalan-born biologist, psychologist and naturopath. His ultimate vision in Weggis opened just months after Chenot’s passing. But the blissful Chenot Palace Weggis on the banks of Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne honours his holistic healing vision, from novel treatments to its castle-like grounds to its soul-salving alpine outlooks.

Nine worldwide Chenot outlets span Azerbaijan to Athens, Montenegro to Morocco. But Weggis is one of only two “palaces”—a shrine to preventing, rather than curing, ills.

You don’t come here for a short caviar facial—you check in for seven science-driven days for nutritional consultations, a detox diet, mud treatments, collagen assessments and ozone therapy. As if the air wasn’t fresh enough in this part of Europe.

chenotpalaceweggis.com

Enjoy A Royal Welcome

Partridge with white truffles and cepes, squid-ink risotto a la barley topped with XO sauce and hazelnuts … Christophe Pelé’s culinary creations certainly embrace indulgences.

The chef’s degustations at Le Clarence are unabashedly French, featuring rich sauces and rare ingredients but also utilising undersung cuts of meat and
organic vegetables—all from boutique purveyors. The combination won Pelé two Michelin stars months after opening, but
his dining experience supersedes food.

First, the dining room’s antiques: think elaborate chandeliers and original tapestries, all occupying a townhouse that’s steps from Paris’s Champs-Elysées. Then the wine: showcased in the restaurant’s La Cave du Châteaux, a grandiose store stocked by the owner, Domaine Clarence Dillon—the wine dynasty helmed by Luxembourg’s Prince Robert.

le-clarence.paris

Island Idyll

Travellers to Greece dream of cruising up to a Cycladic island, anchoring and swimming ashore to be met by butlers bearing fluffy towels, ushering them to
a lunch appointment. Octopus and ouzo? Raki and saganaki? But the reality is, in most places in the archipelago, your journey is broken by incessant foot traffic. Not on Syros. And certainly not at Villa Fanya.

This five-bedroom beauty boasts its own 16-metre infinity pool and private beach, with ample outdoor dining space—meals are prepared by private chefs and served overlooking the island’s south coast. You may be far from others but you will feel connected: the villa offers a suite of private lessons: ancient philosophy, art, architecture and even Greek epistemology.

thethinkingtraveller.com

This piece is from our new Autumn Issue – on sale now. Get your copy or subscribe here, or stay up to speed with the Robb Report weekly newsletter.

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Escape from the Ordinary

Ponant, the luxury cruise line known for its meticulously planned itineraries and high-end service, ups the ante on their upcoming European Journeys that promise an unrivalled exploration of the Mediterranean.

By Robb Report Team 19/02/2024

Not all cruises are created equally. Ponant, the luxury cruise line known for its meticulously planned itineraries and high-end service, ups the ante on their upcoming European Journeys that promise an unrivalled exploration of the Mediterranean. From the stunning Amalfi Coast to the pristine Greek Islands, the narrow Corinth Canal to the picturesque Dalmatian coast, historic Istanbul and beguiling Malaga, each destination is a unique adventure waiting to be unravelled. With Ponant, these aren’t just locations on a map; they’re experiences that come alive with the intimate knowledge and insight that their expert guides provide.

Ponant’s luxury cruises are renowned for their individuality, with no two journeys the same. This is not by chance. Itineraries are scrupulously designed to ensure that each passenger is left with a feeling of having embarked on a journey unlike any other.

Athens-Venise. Photograph by N.Matheus. ©PONANT

In 2025, their fleet will set sail for a combined 56 departures from March to October, exploring the dreamy locales of Greece and the Greek Islands, Malta, Italy (including Venice and Sicily), Croatia, France, Turkey, Spain and Portugal. These European Journeys offer an intimate encounter with the Mediterranean, its people and culture. As you cruise in luxury, you’ll dive deep into the heart of each destination, exploring historic sites, engaging with locals, sampling scrumptious cuisine and soaking in the vibrant atmospheres.

The company’s small, sustainable ships, which can accommodate from as few as 32 to 264 guests, have the exclusive ability to sail into ports inaccessible to larger cruise liners, affording privileged entry into some of the world’s most treasured alcoves. Picture sailing under London’s iconic Tower Bridge, crossing the Corinth Canal, or disembarking directly onto the sidewalk during ports of call in culturally rich cities like Lisbon, Barcelona, Nice and Venice, among others.

Photo by Tamar Sarkissian. ©PONANT

This singular closeness is further enriched by destination experts who unravel the tapestry of each locale’s history and traditions.

Onboard their luxurious ships, every guest is a VIP and treated to refined service and amenities akin to sailing on a private yacht. Whether at sea or ashore, their destination experts guarantee a fascinating experience, immersing you in the rich cultural and historical diversity of each region.

Indulge in the finest gastronomy at sea, inspired by none other than gastronomic virtuoso and Ponant partner, Alain Ducasse. Each voyage offers an expertly crafted dining experience, from a-la-carte meals with perfectly matched wines by the onboard Sommelier at dinner and lunch, to a French-inspired buffet breakfast, featuring all the favourite pastries, fresh bread and quality produce.

Chef Mickael Legrand. Photograph by NickRains. ©PONANT

For a more intimate discovery, consider Le Ponant, with its 16 high-class staterooms and suites—perfect for private charter—sailing eight exclusive routes between Greece and Croatia, offering guests unparalleled experiences both onboard and ashore. Ponant’s commitment to crafting unforgettable experiences extends beyond itineraries. Aboard their ships, the luxury is in every detail. Unwind in opulent cabins and suites, each offering private balconies and breathtaking views of the azure water and destinations beyond.

Ponant’s upcoming European Journeys are more than just cruises—they’re your passport to a world of cultural immersion, historical exploration, and unrivalled luxury. Don’t miss this opportunity to embark on the voyage of a lifetime: the Mediterranean is calling.

To book European 2025 sailings visit au.ponant.com; call 1300 737 178 (AU) or 0800 767 018 (NZ) or contact your preferred travel agent.

 

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Saint Laurent Just Opened a New Bookstore in Paris. Here’s a Look Inside.

The chic new outpost is located on the city’s arty Left Bank.

By Rachel Cormack 14/02/2024

Saint Laurent is taking over even more of Paris.

The French fashion house, which only just opened an epic new flagship on Champs-Élysées, has launched a chic new bookstore on the Left Bank. Located in the 7th arrondissement, Saint Laurent Babylone is a mecca of art, music, literature, and, of course, fashion.

The new outpost is a tribute to the connection that Yves Saint Laurent and partner Pierre Bergé had to the Rue Babylone, according to Women’s Wear Daily. (In 1970, the pair moved to a 6,500-square-foot duplex on the street.) It is also inspired by the house’s original ready-to-wear boutique, Saint Laurent Rive Guache, which opened in the 6th arrondissement in 1966.

The exposed concrete in contrasted by sleek marble accents. SAINT LAURENT

With a minimalist, art gallery-like aesthetic, the space is anchored by a hefty marble bench and large black shelves. The raw, textured concrete on the walls is juxtaposed by a soft blue and white rug, a wooden Pierre Jeanneret desk, and sleek Donald Judd stools.

The wares within Saint Laurent Babylone are the most important part, of course. Curated by Saint Laurent’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello, the collection includes everything from photos by British artist Rose Finn-Kelcey to books published by Saint Laurent itself. Some tomes on offer are so rare that white gloves are required for handling.

The store also offers an enviable selection of records that are no longer being pressed. Highlights include Sade’s Promise, Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love, and the debut studio album of electronic band Kraftwerk.

Other notable items on the shelves include Leica cameras, chocolates made in collaboration with pastry chef François Daubinet, prints by Juergen Teller, and brass skull sculptures. You’ll also find an assortment of YSL merch, including pens, lighters, and cups.

To top it off, Saint Laurent Babylone will double as an event space, hosting live music sessions, DJ sets, book readings, and author signings over the coming months.

Saint Laurent’s latest endeavor isn’t exactly surprising. With Vaccarello at the helm, the Kering-owned fashion house has entered new cultural realms. Only last year, the label established a film production company and debuted its first movie at Cannes.

The space is fitted with a Pierre Jeanneret desk and Donald Judd stools.
SAINT LAURENT

Perhaps Saint Laurent film reels and movie posters will soon be available at Babylone, too.

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The Best Watches at the Grammys, From Maluma’s Jacob & Co. to Jon Batiste’s Vacheron Constantin

Music’s biggest names sported some outstanding watches on Sunday evening.

By Rachel Mccormack 08/02/2024

Weird yet wonderful watches punctuated this year’s Grammys.

The woman of the moment, Taylor Swift, who made history by winning Album of the Year for an unprecedented fourth time, wore an unconventional Lorraine Schwartz choker watch to the annual awards ceremony on Sunday night. That was just the tip of the horological iceberg, though.

Colombian singer-songwriter Maluma elevated a classic Dolce & Gabbana suit with a dazzling Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon and a pair of custom, diamond-encrusted Bose earbuds, while American musician Jon Batiste topped off a stylish Versace ensemble with a sleek Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon. Not to be outdone, rapper Busta Rhymes busted out a rare Audemars Piguet Royal Oak for the occasion.

There was more understated wrist candy on display, too, such as Jack Antonoff’s Cartier Tank LC and Noah Kahan’s Panerai Luminor Quaranta BiTempo.

For the rest of the best watches we saw on the Grammys 2024 red carpet, read on.

Maluma: Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon

Maluma busted out some truly spectacular bling for this year’s Grammys. The Colombian singer-songwriter paired a classic Dolce & Gabbana suit with a dazzling Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon and a pair of custom, diamond-encrusted Bose earbuds. The sculptural wrist candy sees a four-arm movement floating in front of a breathtaking dial adorned with no less than 257 rubies. For added pizzaz, the lugs of the 18-karat rose-gold case are invisibly set with 80 baguette-cut white diamonds. Limited to just nine examples, the rarity is priced at $1.5 million.

Asake: Hublot Big Bang Essential Grey

Nigerian singer-songwriter Asake may not have won the Grammy for Best African Music Performance for “Amapiano,” but did wear a winning Hublot Big Bang at Sunday’s proceedings. Released in 2023, the Essential Grey model is made purely of titanium for a sleek, uniform feel. The 42 mm timepiece was limited to just 100 pieces and cost $37,000 a pop.

John Legend: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding

Multihyphenate John Legend wore a legendary Audemars Piguet with silky Saint Laurent on Sunday evening. The self-winding Royal Oak in question features a 34 mm black ceramic case, a black grande tapisserie dial, and striking pink gold accents. The watchmaker’s signature is also displayed in gold under the sapphire crystal. The piece will set you back $81,000.

Jon Batiste: Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon

American musician Jon Batiste received four nominations but no wins at this year’s Grammys. The “Butterfly” singer can take solace in the fact that he looked ultra-sharp in Versace and Vacheron Constantin. A tribute to the spirit of travel, the Overseas Tourbillon features a 42.5 mm white-gold case, a bezel set with 60 baguette-cut diamonds, and a blue dial featuring a dazzling tourbillon cage inspired by the Maltese cross. Price upon request, naturally.

Fireboy DML: Cartier Santos

Fireboy DML’s outfit was straight fire on Sunday night. The Nigerian singer paired an MCM wool jacket with a Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet, several iced-out rings, and a sleek Cartier Santos. The timepiece features a steel case, a graduated blue dial with steel sword-shaped hands, and a seven-sided crown with synthetic faceted blue spinel.

Noah Kahan: Panerai Luminor Quaranta BiTempo

Best New Artist nominee Noah Kahan wore one of Panerai’s best new watches to Sunday’s festivities. The Luminor Quaranta BiTempo features a 40 mm polished steel case and a black dial with luminous numerals and hour markers, a date display at 3 o’clock, and a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. The timepiece can be yours for $14,000.

Busta Rhymes: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore

Legendary rapper Busta Rhymes busted out a chic Audemars Piguet for this year’s Grammys. The Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph in question is distinguished by a 42 mm rose-gold case and a matching pink méga tapisserie dial with an outer flange for the tachymeter scale. The face is fitted with three black subdials, large black numerals, and a black date display at 3 o’clock. You can expect to pay around $61,200 for the chronograph on the secondary market.

Jack Antonoff: Cartier Tank Louis Cartier

Producer of the year Jack Antonoff took to the red carpet with a stylish Cartier on his wrist. The Tank Louis Cartier in question appears to be a large 33.7 mm example that features an 18-carat rose-gold case, a silvered dial with black Roman numerals and blued steel hands, a beaded crown set with a sapphire cabochon, and a brown alligator strap. It’ll set you back $19,900.

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This 44-Foot Carbon-Fiber Speedboat Can Rocket to 177 KMPH

The new Mayla GT is available with a range of different powertrains, too.

By Rachel Cormack 03/02/2024

We knew the Mayla GT would be one of the most exciting boats at Boot Düsseldorf, but a deep dive into the specs shows it could be downright revolutionary.

The brainchild of German start-up Mayla, the 44-footer brings you the blistering performance of a speedboat and the luxe amenities of a motor yacht in one neat carbon-fiber package.

Inspired by the go-fast boats of the 1970s and ‘80s, the GT sports an angular, retro-futuristic body and the sleek lines of a rocket ship. Tipping the scales at just 4500 kilograms, the lightweight design features a deep-V hull with twin transversal steps and patented Petestep deflectors that help it slice through the waves with ease. In fact, Mayla says the deflectors decrease energy usage by up to 35 percent while ensuring a more efficient planing.

The range-topping GT can reach 185 kph. MAYLA

The GT is also capable of soaring at breakneck speeds, with the option of a gas, diesel, electric, or hybrid powertrain. The range-topping GTR-R model packs dual gas-powered engines that can churn out 3,100 hp for a top speed of more than 100 knots (185 kph). At the other, more sustainable end of the spectrum, the E-GT is fitted with an electric powertrain that can produce 2,200 horses for a max speed of 50 knots. The hybrid E-GTR pairs that same electric powertrain with a 294 kilowatt diesel engine for a top speed of 60 knots (111 km/h/69 mph). (The GT in the water at Boot sported two entry-level V8s good for 650 hp and a top speed of over 70 knots.)

The GT is suitable for more than just high-speed jaunts, of course. The multipurpose cockpit, which can accommodate up to eight passengers, features a sundeck with sliding loungers, a wet bar and BBQ, and a foldaway dining table for alfresco entertaining. Further toward the stern, a beach club sits atop a garage with an electric transom door.

The garage has an electric transom door. MAYLA

The GT is even fit for overnight stays. Below deck lies a cabin with a double bed, sofa, wardrobe, vanity, and en suite. You can also expect a high-tech entertainment system with TVs and premium audio.

As for price, the GT with the entry-level powertrain will cost between $2.7 million and $2.9, depending on the final configuration. (You can fine-tune the layout, hull color, and interiors, naturally.) Interested buyers can set up a sea trial with Mayla, with test-drives set to begin this spring in Europe.

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Red Centre

First Nations artist Shaun Daniel Allen joins forces with Chopard to create a timepiece inspired by the Australian landscape.

By Horacio Silva 29/01/2024

Shaun Daniel Allen does not look like your typical collaborator on a prestige watch. For one, Shal, as he prefers to be known (“There are many Shauns but only one Shal,” he explains), is more heavily tattooed than your average roadie. His youthful appearance, bad-boy ink and all, belies his 38 years and leads to a disconnect. 

He recounts being recognised on the street recently by a journalist, who, unable to remember his name, shouted out, “Chopard!” “I was with a friend,” Shal says, holding court in his apartment in Sydney’s inner city, “and he’s, like, ‘What the hell? Does that happen to you often?’”

Perhaps because of his body art, he reasons, “People don’t put me and Chopard together.” It’s not hard to understand the confusion, Shal adds; even he was taken aback when Chopard reached out to him about a potential collaboration a little more than a year ago. “When I first went in to see them, I was, like, I don’t know if I’m your guy. I’m not used to being in those rooms and having those conversations.”

He’ll have to adapt quickly to his new reality. Last month Chopard released Shal’s interpretation of the Swiss brand’s storied Alpine Eagle model, which in itself was a redo of the St. Moritz, the first watch creation by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele (now Co-President of Chopard) in the late 1970s. 

Previewed at Sydney’s About Time watch fair in September, to not insignificant interest, and officially known as the Alpine Eagle Sunburnt, the exclusive timepiece—issued in a limited edition of 20—arrives as a stainless steel 41 mm with a 60-hour power reserve and a burnt red dial that brings to mind the searing Outback sun. Its see-through caseback features one of Shal’s artworks painted on sapphire glass.

When the reputable Swiss luxury brand approached Shal, they already had the red dial—a nod to the rich ochre hues of the Australian soil at different times of the day and gradated so that the shades become darker around the edges—locked in as a lure for Australian customers.

Shal was charged with designing an artful caseback and collectible hand-painted sustainable wooden case. After presenting a handful of paintings, each with his signature abstract motifs that pertain to indigenous emblems, tattoos and music, both parties landed on a serpentine image that evoked the coursing of rivers. “I have been painting a lot of water in this last body of work and the image we chose refers to the rivers at home,” he says, alluding to formative years spent at his grandfather’s, just outside of Casino.

It says a lot about Chopard, Shal points out, that they wanted to donate to a charity of his choosing. “Like everything else on this project,” he explains, “they were open to listening and taking new ideas on board and it actually felt like a collaboration, like they weren’t steering me into any corner.”

In another nice touch, a portion of the proceeds from sales of the watch will go to funding programs of the Ngunya Jarjum Aboriginal Corporation—an organisation, established in 1995 by Bundjalung elders, whose work Shal saw firsthand after the 2022 eastern Australia flood disasters ravaged their area. “Seeing Ngunya Jarjum suffer from the floods,” he says, “and knowing how much they do for the community on Bundjalung Country was heartbreaking. I want to see Bundjalung families thriving and supported.”

So what’s it been like for this booster of Australian waterways to be swimming in the luxury end of the pool? “I’ve done a few things with brands,” he offers, referring to the Louis Vuitton project earlier this year at an art gallery in Brisbane, “but nothing on this scale. It’s definitely fancier than I’m used to but I’m not complaining.” Neither are watch aficionados.

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