In 1932, when the impressive Grand Rex Theatre opened its doors in Paris, 80 doormen donned in white gloves and tails greeted guests for a night of glamour and luxury. A night at the theater was an occasion for fine attire, lively socialization, and entertainment. Today, although streaming services have taken technology to the next level and brought the big screen right into our living rooms, the experience is far from the same.
The Open Air Cinema Kamari in Santorini, Greece is a stunning outdoor theater that is surrounded by eucalyptus trees and offers a variety of locally produced wines and ice creams to enjoy alongside movie showings. The owner, Ina Koutroubilis, says, “Our guests tell us that the cinema is like an enchanting secret garden that harks back to the Golden Age of cinema. They come for the whole experience.”
The Oriental Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was constructed with details from Indian, Moorish, Islamic, and Byzantine architectural styles and is known today as Milwaukee’s Historic Movie Palace. Karina Henderson, marketing director of Milwaukee Film, notes, “You can watch a lot of movies on your screen at home, but the experience of going into a magnificent building, sitting in a dark theater, putting away your glowing screens for a couple of hours, and letting yourself be immersed in someone else’s story — that’s an amazing thing in this day and age.”
In a world of commercial-free marathon-watching, a night out at the theater is even more of a luxury than in the past. These otherworldly theaters around the world take entertainment to a higher level.
Open Air Cinema Kamari
Open Air Cinema photo by cinekamari.
The Oriental Theatre
Photo by Jake Hill / milwaukee film.
San Francisco, California
Photo by Charlie Villyard Photography.
Elevated with Flavor
Foreign Cinema in the Mission District of San Francisco, has been a San Francisco Chronicle “Top 100 Restaurant” for 18 consecutive years and is first and foremost a restaurant. Yet the added 35-millimeter films displayed nightly on their outdoor courtyard screen transforms the establishment into an intriguing combination. This pairing of food and film is not a new one, but one that continues to appeal to guests. Gayle Pirie, co-owner/co-chef of Foreign Cinema, explains that at Foreign Cinema, they united culinary and cinematic experiences in an honest way that proved successful.
“At the restaurant, visual media collides in such a way that the aesthetics of the screen flicker easily alongside the vibrancy of the plates,” says Pirie. “This pairing makes sense since the Mission neighborhood, where the restaurant is located, has a rich theatrical past. In the 1950s, it was the city’s hub for movie theaters. In many ways, we’re honoring this legacy while spotlighting the ideals and flavors that have come to define California cuisine.”
Foreign Cinema’s refined menu elevates the experience to an even higher standard. Keeping with seasonal and local ingredients common in California cooking, the restaurant also draws on inspiration from the Middle East and Africa. “Our sesame fried chicken with madras curry and spiced honey is a signature dish we nearly never take off the menu,” says Pirie.
Another example of food and film can be found at the Edible Cinema in London, England, where each guest is supplied with a variety of mystery boxes containing a small tasting menu tailored to specific moments in each film. The element of taste enhances the experience and entertainment without competing for attention.
The Paris Theatre was the last single-screen movie theater in Manhattan. With its history and overall classic atmosphere, many were highly disappointed when the doors closed in August 2019. According to The New York Times, the theater was a favorite among locals and tourists and was known for playing foreign films in their original languages.
Although the venue closed, a surprising new owner has reopened its doors — Netflix. The streaming company will use the theater for Netflix-original movie debuts, special events, and other screenings. The venue is over 70 years old and instantly brings to mind the Golden Age of cinema as it sits across from The Plaza in bustling Manhattan.
The Grand Rex Theatre
Top photo from Picasa.
Bottom photo courtesy The Grand Rex.
The setting of these theaters begins the journey for guests and sets the tone for the afternoon’s entertainment. For the Foreign Cinema, “The long corridor leads to an unexpected oasis, much like the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland, with a climactic courtyard scene illuminated by the flicker of our 35-millimeter projected films and juxtaposed with the roaring hearth centered in the main dining room, all encompassing the warmth of our community of diners,” according to Pirie.
When entering the Open Air Cinema Kamari, “You will find yourself in a lush green garden, surrounded by eucalyptus trees and fragrant night-blooming flowers. We usually play ’50s Jazz music and together with the decoration and lighting design, guests are already enchanted,” says Koutroubilis.
Glitz and Glamour
It was not uncommon for guests to arrive at theaters in sequined ball gowns and tuxedos at the start of cinema and for many years to follow. Although there are more casual options for viewing movies today — such as the living room sofa — the idea of luxury is still a defining component for theaters around the world. According to Henderson, “The grandeur of our building makes any movie into an event,” she says about The Oriental Theatre. “It’s uplifting to be surrounded by the beauty of a gem like the Oriental Theatre, and then sit down and watch an amazing film.”
Similarly, the decadence at The Grand Rex has stood the test of time and continued to draw guests in, only to convince them to return time and time again. Along with the balcony seating and fine finishes, the star-covered ceiling gives the illusion that guests are outside, adding to the glamour of the venue.
There was a sense of community and conversation that stemmed from early theaters when guests would dine, enjoy a film, and then go dancing afterward, making it a whole night of glamourous entertainment and socialization. The theater was a way to experience and learn about far away people and places, which not everyone had the opportunity to enjoy and is still a part of the appeal today. “In 2019, we brought 349 titles from 45 countries over 15 days to our film-loving Festival-goers. It’s truly a community event, and the Oriental Theatre is always busy during the Milwaukee Film Festival,” says Henderson. “Watching a film in a theater is still a special experience that you can’t replicate at home on your TV or tablet.”
Khaliah O. Guillory, Owner of Nap Bar
A new set of businesses aims to help a sleep-deprived society relax and rejuvenate.
Nap bars. Upon hearing about this concept, various images come to mind, from a series of bedrooms with designated time slots for napping, to a pillowy oasis set in the clouds. While some ideas are more fantastical than others, the meaning behind many nap bar businesses and their missions is far more down to earth.
Whether naps are offered as a complimentary service or finely curated in a luxury setting, the importance of sleep has been reinvigorated by companies like these who know that the benefits of napping are nothing to sneeze (or snore) at in today’s world.
In recent years, with the rise of globalization and businesses running 24/7, productivity can and has for some time become a priority. Maria Jose Hernandez of recharj, a meditation studio headquartered in Washington, D.C., says the needs of the human body should take precedence, however.
An avid lover of naps since childhood, Guillory developed her company as a way to keep herself from “taking naps in [her] car.”
Photos courtesy Nap Bar.
“Science has proven that sleep is how you are able to learn, retain memory — all these functions that we need to be productive.”
Many nap bars and sleep-oriented businesses have been developed by busy business professionals and entrepreneurs who found themselves suffering from sleep deprivation or sleep-related issues. For example, Khaliah O. Guillory was working at a Fortune 500 company and struggled with getting restful sleep when she was inspired to open Nap Bar in Houston. An avid lover of naps since childhood, she developed her company as a way to keep herself from “taking naps in [her] car,” and engage other young professionals to rest, relax and feel rejuvenated through a curated, white-glove napping experience.
Top: Zen – Bar à Sieste Weightless Chair and VR.
Photos courtesy Zen – Bar à Sieste
Christophe Chanhsavang and his wife, Virginie, have had similar trials and tribulations. From Virginie’s corporate work hours to Christophe’s long hours of study, he realized from his experience working in the UK, China and Greece how much the concept of wellness was nonexistent in the French society. To avoid taking more naps in the office bathroom, Chanhsavang says they founded Zen – Bar à Sieste in 2011 in Paris and have since approached wellness from a holistic perspective by promoting sleep, nutrition, physical activity and mental health.
Professionals in the wellness industry have noted and continue to highlight the importance of sleep, which in turn has led to research and results into the benefits of napping. Guillory offers facts that have helped fuel the educational aspect of Nap Bar, including a NASA statistic that suggests shorter nap durations are better for reducing the impact of sleep inertia, a physiological state of impairment that affects cognitive and sensory-motor performance.*
Mauricio Villamizar, CEO of Pop & Rest in London, takes these findings a step further, noting how a lack of sleep can ultimately lead to disruptions in workflow. “Sleep deprivation is linked to lower productivity at work and it’s one of the main drivers of absenteeism … in the workplace. If we translate this into working days, we are looking at around 200,000 working days being lost each year in the UK only. In terms of economic consequences, it’s around £40 billion, almost 2 percent of the UK’s GDP,” Villamizar says.
Wellness overall has seen a resurgence in strength from businesses like these, as health has come to be the utmost priority of nations around the world. And just like there are many types of methods of getting and staying well, there are a variety of ways to nap.
Pop & Rest is a London-based wellness startup that connects locals and travelers with sleep and meditation pods, offering clients safe and secure spaces to unwind, rest, and work peacefully. According to Villamizar, customers can visit one of the company’s various locations throughout London and become immersed in a calm environment where the pods are situated.
“Once you are inside, your pod will be like a box that features a single bed, small table, along with accessories to change lights, music and the aroma,” he says, noting that everything is built to ensure the best relaxation experience. The pods are movable and soundproofed, and only require a power supply and WiFi connection to function, an enticing offer for companies looking to purchase these pods for their own offices.
The aforementioned Nap Bar curates a luxury napping experience for customers, which Guillory says is ensured by engaging all five senses. For sight, all of the custom suites are outfitted with mood lighting that is adjustable; for taste, a duo of raw juice shots are offered with rich nutrients and ingredients that aid in relaxing the body pre-nap, and waking it up post-nap; for hearing, exclusive brain waves are curated for each client and played inside suites that increases the release of melatonin in the body by 97 percent; and for smell, an aromatherapy pillow mist infused with lavender is available.
recharj – D.C. meditation room and class.
Photos courtesy recharj
Pop & Rest sleep pod for napping.
Photo courtesy Pop & Rest.
The final sense, of touch, goes a step further, as all suites include an organic, locally sourced mattress, linens and sheets, and each room is painted with toxin-free paint. All of these inclusions are accompanied by a full-service concierge who will guide customers through the experience and help them on their wellness journey
According to Chanhsavang of Zen – Bar à Sieste, wellness is the future of humanity, a future he aims to advance with the Siesta Bar, which combines technological and traditional means of treatment for sleep deprivation. For nap services, customers can choose from a luxurious memory foam retreat, a zero-gravity massage chair or a Shiatsu bed; for aiding in relaxation and overall wellness, complimentary services include massages, virtual-reality meditation and even a fish spa.
As a meditation studio, recharj has been offering premier restorative practices to help clients, which includes the use of power naps. According to Hernandez, during open hours these power nap sessions are curated to be 25 minutes long and offered in large Yogibo chairs, a favorite for many. “A client once described them to me as if you’re laying down in a cloud,” Hernandez says, which only adds to the whole-body experience.
Binaural beats are also incorporated into the nap session, a type of music melody that registers at different frequencies that are meant to relax your body and get it ready for sleep. Overall, the studio aims to bring a sense of relaxation as well as mindfulness through meditation to its clients. “We offer workshops about mindful leadership, mindful communication and mindfulness in general,” Hernandez says, which in turn helps clients learn ways to de-stress and regain focus on whatever tasks lay ahead.
Unlike the typical fad that comes and goes, wellness is rooted in a deep need for comfort and stability. As we write this, we’re in the midst of a public health crisis, and brick and mortar locations may not be open. But there are ways to implement the wisdom of these businesses from your own home. Studios like recharj continue to offer online meditation classes, in an effort to keep a consistent schedule that is based solely on keeping well. And though the future is uncertain, businesses like Pop & Rest, Nap Bar and Zen – Bar à Sieste continue to work and create solutions for customers, from promoting online educational sessions and tips to developing applications, products and services for when businesses are fully up and running.
“Wellness is not just a fashion, but a fundamental trend in our societies,” Chanhsavang asserts. “Hopefully the nap services and related businesses will become a game-changer in the hospitality industry.”
*Source: NASA conducted a study on sleepy military pilots and astronauts and found a 26-minute nap increased productivity by 34 percent and alertness by 54 percent.
Alongside 3D Artist Kurt Wenner, the five-year partnership will launch the cake truck in New York City at the Baccarat Boutique on Madison Avenue, and travel across the country before commencing operation in California. Set to start serving August 2019 in Northern California, the 28-foot multi-functional luxury cake truck will journey throughout California greeting new and existing clients of both brands with a unique cake experience.
“Baccarat is thrilled to be partnering with Lady M on this new and innovative collaboration,” says Jim Shreve, President and CEO of Baccarat North America. “Our partnership reinforces the Baccarat message of enjoying beautiful things every day. We are excited to share delicious cakes on beautiful Baccarat. Everything tastes better on Baccarat.”
From the sidewalk, pedestrians and guests will experience the Kurt Wenner 3D, life-sized rendering of the cake truck that will be affixed to the boutique’s glass façade. Inside, guests will meander through the boutique surrounded by Lady M cakes, capturing the feel of being in an actual Lady M boutique. Within the boutique, guests will be greeted with a glass of champagne as they approach yet another version of the cake truck, where Lady M Mille Crêpes will be served through a functional service window.
The Lady M x Baccarat cake truck is a stunning and luxurious feast for the eyes. On the exterior, Baccarat has mounted two large Tuile de Crystal Chandeliers ($29,100 each) and 1 small Tuile de Crystal ($12,600) that will gracefully hang suspended from two long beams that are collapsible when the food truck is not in service. Four Baccarat Mille Nuits Torch sconces ($2,150 each) will mount on either side of the service windows. During the day, Lady M will provide legendary service to clients who pre-order cakes. During the evening, Lady M and Baccarat will illuminate the night and create an outdoor dining experience for those who want to experience both brands.
“The collaboration with Lady M and Baccarat has allowed me to have an entirely new experience with interactive art. Placing my art on a food truck is a first for me,” says artist Kurt Wenner, who invented 3D Pavement Art in the 1980s. By combining his art with digital printing, Wenner offers stunning, durable, interactive illusions.
This collaboration is the first of its kind, and Lady M Cake Boutique is thrilled and honored to partner with Baccarat. We are excited to expand the concept of the Lady M experience and take our cakes (including a new confection made exclusively for the collaboration), on the road, introducing them to those both new to and familiar with the brand. We look forward to sharing our signature cakes on beautiful crystal, and sharing happiness.
“My 3D illusions are where the language of proportion and innovation meet. I’m so excited about this project as the illusions I have created will be partnered with elegant chandeliers and the world’s finest cakes. The marriage of all three will shift the perception of what is reality,” says Wenner.
The cake truck will start service starting this month in Northern California, and guests are encouraged to tag and follow along with the hashtag #ladymxbaccarat. A microsite tracking the cake truck’s journey throughout California will be live at www.ladym.com/thecaketruck.
All photos courtesy Samantha Nandez / BFA.com
Chalets originated in Switzerland and other alpine regions and are best known for their wooden features, prominent eaves, and convenient proximity to ski slopes. These cozy yet high-end chalets have something for everyone.
The careful decor paired with ultimate comfort is ideal for a secluded vacation among the mountains and nature. The spacious rooms and added details are also perfect for entertaining family or friends.
Photo courtesy of Ultimate Luxury Chalets.
Photo courtesy of Ultimate Luxury Chalets.
Choose a chalet for a romantic getaway, a cozy family gathering, or an exciting stay away from home with friends.
Chalets usually offer stunning views of the mountains and easy access to world-class skiing, but it is becoming more and more common for chalets to include a pool or spa area as well. Whether it’s a hot tub, jacuzzi, infinity pool or other water feature, they are as luxurious as a resort. Outdoor pools and spas are nestled among the finest views, offering a truly serene experience.
Why Choose a Chalet
Chalets are great for entertaining family and friends. The spacious homes allow each guest to have their own privacy while keeping everyone together. The large rooms are perfect for relaxing after a great meal or a long day on the slopes.
Surrounded by mountains, nature, and most likely plenty of snow, chalets are a world away from the hustle and bustle. Whether you’re escaping the city or trying to reconnect with nature, the gorgeous views and surrounding wilderness is sure to impress.
Find Unforgettable Chalets Around the World
Options for chalets are plentiful, but these are the top locations that offer luxury and more.
Les Gets, France
Courchevel Tourisme, France
Photo courtesy of Ultimate Luxury Chalets.
France is a country inexorably bound with ideals of beauty, style and high fashion. From its poetry to its property, the world’s most visited country has a certain je ne sais quoi that draws people in.
Visitors who are charmed by France’s allure may want a more permanent stake in the country than a two-week holiday. Luckily, there are some exceptional properties to choose from. French second homes offer rich pickings to those with a taste for luxury — from palatial Parisian apartments to classic country chateaux.
With so many luxurious properties available, the age-old question of city versus country rears its head once more. A chateau in the heart of the countryside and an apartment in central Paris offer utterly different lifestyles. Thanks to our friends at FrenchEntrée, we are taking a look at the differences between city and country living.
City Living — A Paris Apartment
Paris is a fascinating city, and the Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognised landmarks on the planet. For €18 million, it’s possible to own a stunning apartment on the historic Avenue du Président-Wilson, with views of the Eiffel Tower.
An apartment in Paris is the ideal property for those looking to get the most out of city life. From shopping on the Champs-Élysées to dining in some of the world’s best eateries (Paris is home to 10 restaurants with three Michelin stars and 106 Michelin starred venues in total), a Paris apartment is perfect for a lively life packed with social engagements and glitzy gatherings.
In Paris, there are a range of ultra-fashionable, contemporary apartments that boast superb proximity to some of the capital’s best attractions, from the Museum of Modern Art to the Palais de Tokyo.
Country Living — A Country Chateau
For those who prefer classic grandeur to urban style, a countryside chateau can deliver all the serenity and solitude that country living has to offer. It’s hard to put a price on having the space to relax and breathe, away from the frenetic pace of city life. Although at €14.7 million, this chateau does just that. Less than an hour’s drive from Paris, this property offers all the benefits of the country lifestyle.
With meadows, mature trees and a wealth of flowers and shrubs, a home in the country is a lovely contrast to a home in the bustling city. Whether homebuyers spends their time horseback riding or hosting a beautiful garden party, the options are limitless in the French countryside.
Set in the greenwood countryside of La Vallée de l’Ancoeur, this chateau offers 173 total acres with a 42-acre park.
When it comes to wine, the passion runs deep.
By Samantha Myers
New figures indicate that British and American buyers lead the search when it comes to purchasing vineyards, specifically in France. “Demand for vineyards has never dropped — quite the opposite,” says Annick Dauchy, property business development manager for FrenchEntrée, an online purchasing buying guide for French properties.
“Much of the time, the decision on which area to buy in is led by budget,” says Dauchy. “The quantity of vineyards available in France means that buyers have plenty of choice — there’s a property to suit each buyer’s individual circumstances.”
Vineyards on the market include a range for every buyer from advanced to beginner ready to get a taste of the lifestyle — from a €13 million, 19th-century chateau in Montpellier in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, to a €400,000, seven-bedroom home with a modest plot of vines.
Photos courtesy of FrenchEntrée
Photo courtesy of Patrick Alexander
Famed French chocolatier and culinary wizard, Patrick Roger, has launched his first exclusive wine, “L’Instant de Patrick Roger (2016).” Produced in Trouillas, in the eastern Pyrénées, the wine was harvested alongside four varieties of almonds on a vineyard that has been planted for 20 years. Saved from destruction after purchasing the estate in 2011, today, the vineyard is a stunning plot of land.
From vinification to bottling, every step of production of the wine was done by hand out of respect for the land, due to Roger’s priority in protecting the environment. “We have to save the earth if we want to survive on it,” he says. “We must fall in love with nature, with trees and wines, in order to make the rain come.” L’Instant de Patrick Roger is €69 per bottle or €282 for 6 bottles. www.PatrickRoger.com
Under the careful supervision of his father, Patrick Alexander began drinking wine with his meals at the age of five. “Although mixed with water, it was unmistakably wine and we would discuss the taste and bouquet while my father would explain where and how it was made,” says Alexander. “At the same age, with the warm encouragement of my mother, I began a lifelong love affair with books.”
Surrounded by vineyards from his early 20s on, from Bordeaux, to Piedmont to Santa Cruz, Alexander finally settled in Miami — a location with no vineyards at all. After teaching a wine appreciation course in a bookstore for more than a decade, Alexander said creating a book about wine and books was a natural flow. “Living in a region with no wine — I decided to write about it instead!”
The Booklovers’ Guide to Wine aims to teach an all-encompassing background to wine — what it is, where it’s grown and how it’s made. “Throughout the book, I have quoted extensively from poets, novelists and statesmen as they refer to wine from so many different perspectives,” he says. In a particular chapter, Alexander pairs different wine grapes with different writers; Dickens with Cabernet Sauvignon, Jane Austen with Chardonnay and JRR Tolkien with Albarino.
An interior garden, an indoor rock wall and an 18-person dining room are only a few of the features that make this new, extravagant European property truly unique.
By Alyssa Gautieri
This chalet is the largest newly built chalet in Val d’Isère and it has been specifically designed to be highly unique. “This home is a leading chalet by design and size in a leading French/European resort,” said Julian Walker, the director at Skiingproperty.com.
Embracing the trend of a preference toward greenery, this home has two large terraces and an indoor atrium garden. “Over the recent years, a number of properties throughout the world, include some greenery inside as well as outside,” says Walker.
There is also a 4.5-meter high room, that is built into the rock face, which can be used as an indoor climbing room or a shooting range.
When asked why he feels this property is unique, Walker says the location along with the stunning interior design make this property truly outstanding. “The pictures do more justice than I ever could,” he said.
Other unusual features include a large heated indoor swimming pool, a Turkish bath, sauna, jacuzzi, treatment rooms, an indoor garden with a glass bridge, and a dedicated bar and relaxation area.
The two-level property offers a private lift and 609 square meters of living space. The ground floor is home to six of the seven spacious bedrooms, all of which have their own ensuite bathrooms with his-and-hers sinks.
The home boasts an expansive lounge with a feature fireplace that is connected via a glass bridge to the kitchen, dining and ‘Espace Bar’ area. The dining area comfortably seats 18 people and the ‘Espace Bar’ is a skillfully created area entirely devoted to relaxation and entertainment.
Considered to be one of the most exceptional examples of 18th-century French neoclassical architecture in the world, Chateau du Grand-Lucé is a sumptuous 40,000-square-foot, 16-bedroom, fully restored French chateau. Occupying 80 acres of exquisite gardens and woodlands, the chateau is in the Loire Valley, a region of landscape known for its cultural monuments and great beauty that evokes the sense of a “once-upon-a-time” fairytale.
The chateau is owned by award-winning American designer Timothy Corrigan, who acquired private ownership of the property in 2005 and chronicled its thorough restoration and design process in his 2013 book “An Invitation to Chateau du Grand-Lucé.” Built between 1760 and 1764, Chateau du Grand-Lucé indubitably has a rich and fascinating history, and thus is protected as a French National Landmark.
Former visitors to the chateau include luminaries from the Enlightenment period such as Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot, and, during his time there, Corrigan has shared the space with many friends and family members…
Vineyards thread across the foothills of Alsace, a region nestled in France’s northeast corner between the Vosges Mountains and the Rhine River. Villages with timber-framed houses and brasseries nod tenderly to the region’s agricultural past. They are the hidden pearls of Alsace, each telling its history through gastronomy and savoir faire.
Wingen-sur-Moder is one such gem. On the surface, the tiny hamlet on the Moder River may seem like an unexpected place to find one of France’s most exclusive villa hotels and three-star Michelin chefs, Jean-Georges Klein. But in fact, Wingen-sur-Moder is where René-Jules Lalique established his crystal-making factory and home nearly a century ago. It’s also where Silvio Denz, chairman and CEO of Lalique, found the inspiration to transform the provincial villa into a luxury hotel, food and wine destination while paying homage to the iconic crystal brand.
“I wanted to combine French savoir faire, epitomized by Lalique’s craftsmanship, with French savoir…
Photos courtesy ©Gilles-Pernet and ©Reto Guntli.