Travel

Introducing BMW's iNext


Touch entry, touch seating, touch steering, lights on lights, touch on touch, screens on screens. This is the automobile of the future. Your favorite place on wheels - BMW’s Vision iNext - is a dramatic, awe-inspiring SAV (Sports activity vehicle), synonymous with pioneering spirit built to deconstruct dogmas. The iNext is a divisive innovation that reaches further than expectations can begin to fathom.

To cast an eye upon BMW’s latest creation will only begin to scratch the surface. However, this is the best place to start. The meticulous exterior harmonizes precision design. Every single line is conscious and purposeful. The wheels look as though they have escaped from Area 51 at their own free will, while the interlinked double-kidney grille evokes authority through clearly sculpted form and surfaces. Even the paintwork traveled back in time, the Liquid Greyrose Copper exterior changes in shade and humidity injecting the vehicle with a charismatic flair.

A gentle swipe, where one would imagine a handle to exist, triggers a crisp opening. The world beyond beckons. Every object is designed as if it were a single piece of furniture, reminiscent of your living room. For BMW’s vision, the question was, how to gain time to live. The result is an utterly human car, released from everything. The evocative nude tones marry seamlessly with warm green turquoise micro-fiber, lined with purple jacquard, a traditional method that finds itself a place in the new world.

The grace and splendor of the iNext alone are astounding, yet there is more. Shy technology. Shy tech abolishes physical controls from the entire cabin and replaces them with a gesture control system that is both intuitive and natural. The simple task of outlining a music symbol on the fabric of the rear seat allows passengers to take control of the vehicles audio, yet another step toward an autonomous future.

The iNext will not be an entirely autonomous automobile and will instead promise two driving modes, Boost and Ease. Boost is the human interaction and Ease being the control of the vehicle itself. For now, the real-world driving experience is thin on the ground. Clearly, the truth that we can’t predict the future will not stop us from trying.

www.bmw.com

Travel

The Weinmeister: The Heart of Berlin Mitte

If you are planning a trip to Berlin, you won’t want to miss the raw, energetic street art that overran the Mitte district after the Wall came crumbling down in 1989. Right in the middle of this colorful cultural hub is the Weinmeister hotel, which welcomed the art style that made its neighborhood famous: signature rooms and staircases were “paint bombed” by outstanding graffiti artists such as René Turrek and The Paint Club collective, giving the hotel a chic, modern ambience.

Its proximity to Museum Island and contemporary galleries, such as the C/O Gallery or KW Institute, make it a popular destination for a young creative crowd angling for inspiration. Fashion hunters can flock to the nearby Herckescher Markt to discover the latest German designers, or get their high-end fix at the Friedrichstrasse. And you mustn’t worry about finding your way home once the sun goes down: the Weinmeister’s gleaming metal facade, which has earned it the nickname “the Golden Cage,” makes it impossible to miss.

A five minute walk from Alexanderplatz, the Weinmeister is in the perfect location to explore the best that Berlin has to offer, day or night. But if you are not up for being sucked into the hustle and bustle of the busy city, you can still breathe in the atmosphere while enjoying a glass of champagne on the private rooftop terrace overlooking Berlin’s iconic TV tower.

www.the-weinmeister.com

Travel

Casacau: A Homelike Stay In the Eternal City of Rome

In a 17th century Roman residential building near the Fontana di Trevi, the six unique and luxurious apartments of Casacau have been integrated. Situated in the heart of the eternal city, the historical charm of the house intertwines perfectly with contemporary design. This getaway offers all comforts and services one might expect in the most exclusive hotels in Rome, but with the added touch of a home-like-feeling and more privacy. Each apartement has a different aesthetic atmosphere mixed with its own personality. Vintage-furnishings from the 50s, 60s and 70s blend in with modern comfort and convenience. Some of the rooms are equipped with a Turkish bathroom and one even offers a sauna for that added wellness value. All rooms come complete with a dining space and an open supplied kitchen. Two rooms also feature a balcony, with a view either on the street or the patio.

The hotel is part of the TakeMeRome project by Pino Cau, who has been working in hospitality for thirty years. Aiming to offer guests a carefree stay in Rome, TakeMeRome takes care of all details of their stay. Following this philosophy, Casacau offers its guests the possibility to order fresh groceries if they’re feeling up to the task of cooking. If not, the restaurants Stazione di Posta and EIT can deliver to all rooms upon request. What’s more, at Casacau, there will always be someone available to fullfil guests’ special wishes. The philosphy behind Casacau is to provide a hideaway that makes it easy to discover Rome’s hidden gems while making one feel like staying at a friend’s place, because human relations are seen as the real luxury.

casacau.com

Travel

Burlesque for the Senses

Few cities come close to Berlin’s notoriety — renowned for its progressive art scene and home to internationally-famed nightclubs, the city seems to constantly reel in artists, free thinkers and hipsters from all over the world, creating a buzzing, infectious atmosphere that gives way to a thriving art scene. But something unique and glamorous lies behind the doors of the Berlin Provocateur, the latest gem in hospitality that opened its doors to the public in March 2017.

An other-timely experience that is patiently waiting to be discovered channels the exuberance of Parisian 1920s style, and places creativity and joie de vivre at the forefront. Think of enigmatic songstress édith Piaf and the dandy gentleman that was Oscar Wilde. Where would these legends choose to sojourn, relax and recline should they have been transported to modern day Berlin through some inexplicable twist of fate? With that very concept in mind, Micky Rosen and Alex Urseanu, the Frankfurt visionaries and hoteliers behind Gekko Group, brought to life an oh-so Parisian oasis in the heart of the German capital. Describing the immersive experience that greets guests upon arrival, but also permeates the Provocateur’s modus operandi in its entirety, is no easy feat. Rarely are you able to truly feel transported to an iconic city, let alone a seminal era for the arts and culture.

But the Provocateur and its fifty-eight stunning rooms, bar and restaurant beg to differ — and rightly so, as they give ‘hospitality with a passion’, Gekko Group’s motto,an entirely new meaning. Amsterdam-based designer Saar Zafrir is the creative mastermind behind the hotel’s modern burlesque character. Sensual yet intricate details coupled with warm colours and intriguing textures comprise a beautifully serene ambiance. The journey begins at the lobby, where an elevator from 1912 fulfils its prescribed function, while simultaneously acting as a portal to French je ne sais quoi. What’s more, the guest rooms hold further surprises: at the simple push of a button, guests are given the opportunity to delve further into the reverie of the Parisian past, guided by music and images that are projected on the walls. Unapologetic in its Frenchness, yet somehow contemporary as ever, the Provocateur’s interiors feature luxurious, plush furnishings in warm hues and details that accentuate its glamorous influences. Duc Ngo, one of the most influential figures on Berlin’s flourishing restaurant scene, is responsible for the Golden Phoenix restaurant, where he brings to life his personal vision of fusion cuisine. At the Provocateur bar, arguably the establishment’s beating heart, guests are invited to taste a menu that boasts several creations with clear Franco-Chinese influences and a tastefully provocative burlesque attitude. With its hotel, restaurant, bar and event room, the Provocateur offers all that matters for a stay in Berlin. No sense is left unsatisfied — and that is without even leaving the premises. A case of ‘stay up all night and sleep all day’.

www.provocateur-hotel.com

Travel

A New BVLGARI Resort Opens In Dubai

A coral texture, filtering the sun, creating a decorative motive imbued of a Mediterranean style halfway in between the creation of a goldsmith and a sophisticated natural element. Designed by the Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, the new Bulgari Resort Dubai is a play between the Italian heritage of the maison and the suggestive surrounding landscape.

Exclusively situated on the manmade seahorse shaped island of Jumeira Bay, connected by a 300m bridge to central Dubai, the 1.4 million-square-foot property is a first-of-its-kind development for Bulgari, both in terms of scale and magnitude. With its Mediterranean village charm, the complex features the Resort, joined by six residential buildings of 173 sea-facing apartments, 15 private mansions, a Beach Club, and Bulgari’s first-ever Marina and Yacht Club. The resort includes 101 hotel rooms and suites and 20 hotel villas.

Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Bulgari wished to create a whole new hotel concept. Throughout the Bulgari portfolio this concept is seen in innovations such as the rooms’ square-shaped floor plan to allow windows of natural light; a niche alcove doorway and entry vestibule for privacy and soundproofing from the bedroom. A flow that renders the living experience something more akin to apartment living.

While the Bulgari Hotels & Resorts collection has evolved to include a new location, a Bulgari property is always born of the same Roman spirit. Throughout the property, a repeated use of the custom-design ‘Maglia Pantheon’mesh pattern recalls the ornamentation of the historic Roman Pantheon’s floor, as it is a part of the architectural tradition of Baroque Rome: an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Bulgari. The pattern features intricate bronze lattice-work, as well as Bulgari’s eight-pointed star motif which appeared first as an inlay in the vestibule of Bulgari’s flagship Via dei Condotti boutique.

Recalling a Mediterranean garden, La Limonaia, the hidden ‘lemon garden’ homes the resident array of birds and wildlife. Sculpted as a geometric Italian garden with a birch walkway, La Limonaia recalls an ancient Roman garden. Bulgari’s landscape designers also brought hundreds of trees onto the island, including Australian baobab trees, to establish a natural, verdant setting, a Mediterranean garden in the middle of the sea.

In every Bulgari property guests find a similar design philosophy: clean lines, peerless materials and furnishings, and a welcoming feeling of spaciousness. Iconic Bulgari photographs, often of vintage celebrities dating to the Dolce Vita, are framed above common areas with a nod to BVLGARI’S red-carpet connections. Original jewellery sketches from the Bulgari archives are placed within rooms or in hallways, recalling the 130-years of Roman jewellery design history.

www.bulgarihotels.com

Travel

Le Narcisse Blanc: pure Art de Vivre

Like a bright flower blossoming in the heart of Paris, Le Narcisse Blanc is a contemporary pleasure dome where guests can breathe the magic of the French capital.

Situated between the Eiffel Tower and Les Invalides, this 5-star hotel and spa casts an incredible view to the Seine and the most majestic Parisian buildings from its bohemian terraces. Le Narcisse Blanc offers the proper Art de Vivre feeling through its cozy sitting rooms, luxurious spa with swimming pool, hydrotherapy massage jets and sauna and last but not least its 37 spacious bedrooms and suites in silky champagne tones.

Designed in luxurious and refreshing taste by "Laurent & Laurence", the hotel creates a perfect balance between Art Nouveau and Art Deco that are fused with contemporary elements, serving as an homage to the perfect Parisian lifestyle. Because, in the words of Victor Hugo “Respirez Paris, preserve l’âme”.

www.lenarcisseblanc.com

Travel

A Special Hideaway In the Historic Heart of Rome

In the middle of baroque Roman buildings, emanating the extraordinary presence of history, the exquisite private residence and boutique hotel Le Quattro Dame is located in a traditional palazzo between Piazza Venezia and Largo di Torre Argentina. The name of the residence and its philosophical inspiration comes from the four famous profile paintings, Portrait of a Woman, by Florentine renaissance artist Piero del Pollaiuolo, displayed throughout a few of the rooms. Entering the builiding, one has the choice to either walk up an impressive marble staircase that leads to the second floor, or enter a nostalgic elevator that dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. Muted earthy tones at the reception area have a soothing effect on the visitor, and lounge sofas serving an inviting space to sit and unwind. A gallery of renaissance artworks by selected artists such as Bronzino, Raffaello and Lorenzo Lotto adorn the walls, instilling the space with an independent and authentic vibe. Classical features such as high ceilings, wooden floors and wide windows are fused with modern but timeless interior design.

Only minutes from the Pantheon, Le Quattro Dame houses six different styles of rooms: three deluxe rooms, two junior suites, and a more secluded apartment. All of them are eclectically furnished and decorated in a chic, sophisticated Italian style. From the Sand Suite’s balcony, one can see the spot where Julius Caesar likely passed away. Viabuzzuno and Kartel lamps light up the rooms, Dedar and Sahco provide wooden flooring and curtains for a homey feel, while cosy Meridiani and Flou beds tempt you to lie in for longer. The bathrooms are furnished with glass doors, resin floors and steel accessories by Agape and Gessi. As Le Quattro Dame provides more of a self-contained apartment stay than a traditional hotel, all rooms are equipped with a kitchenette, Nespresso machine, kettle, minibar, glassware and Villeroy & Boch china.

 During the stay, the manager Dori is reachable by phone, and mulitilingual staff members are available daily from 8.30 am to 6.30pm for inquiries about sightseeing, museum visits, tansfers, car hires, table reservations and everything else. Walking in and out of this typical Italian residence, feeling as if it were your own home, makes one blend in with the locals immediately. Le Quattro Dame is the ideal choice when looking for a high quality luxury hideaway with a romantic and stylish twist in the centre of beautiful Rome.

www.lequattrodame.com