Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Artist I Admire: Damian Elwes at Modernism Gallery, San Francisco

Through October 26

Damian Elwes: Artist Studios — From Picasso to Kusama


I recently had the great pleasure to meet the artist Damian Elwes, and to see his vivid and witty and fascinating paintings currently on show at Modernism.

Damian, who for decades has been studying and obsessed with artists’ studios, has painted, imagined, recreated, and vividly depicted artists' studios around the world. He captures them in an almost cinematic style, and depicts major works in the vernacular of the artists. They represent moments of inspiration, but in particular they paint a portrait of the (unseen) artist in full creative frenzy.

In the Modernism show, his collection includes the imagined studios of Willem de Kooning, Paul Gauguin, David Hockney, Ellsworth Kelly, Gustav Klimt, Yayoi Kusama, Roy Lichtenstein, Kerry James Marshall, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Jonas Wood. Two years ago at Modernism, he presented studios of Frida Kahlo, Cy Twombly, Lucien Freud and Richard Diebenkorn, to great acclaim.

The centerpiece and the most impressive piece of the current show is a special installation of the monumental eight-panel painting, ‘Picasso’s Villa La California’. Room-size and full of detail and humor and insight, it is like stepping into Picasso’s world. Immersive. Meticulous. Wonderful. Go now. It is a rare and special experience.


Picasso's studio


“I choose to focus on creativity and on visionary people. For me, the studio is a metaphor. I am able to learn from watching artists making art. Why have I gone to great lengths to make studio paintings and to visit studios all over the world with their untold stories?

Damian Elwes

Instead of going to art school, I spent two years searching for artist studios in Paris. I asked the artists if I could make a watercolor or paintings of their workplaces. Meanwhile, I was able to learn from watching them make art.” — Damian Elwes



Hockney's studio


Damian Elwes: Artist Studio 

Damian, who now lives in Santa Monica, is from a noble lineage of English artists and portrait painters, and started painting when his father asked him to ‘fill in the sky’ of a portrait while the sitter took a break.

But it was not until 1984 when Elwes was living in New York that he was first encouraged and dared and challenged to paint large-scale by Keith Haring. It was at this time that Damian hung out with Haring, a renegade graffiti artist at that time, lived in his studio, and committed paint to walls and canvas and surfaces around New York. His first gallery show in London was a groundbreaking exhibit of the works of Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat at the height of their fame and creativity.


Warhol's studio

Gauguin's studio

Matisse's studio



Artist studios, familiar from the painting studios of his father and his grandfather, became an Elwes obsession.

Soon he was in Paris studying Delacroix and Picasso and every artist who ever painted in Paris. And over the following decades (including a legendary time when he and his family lived in the remote and lovely Colombian rainforest)…Elwes was visiting, photographing, studying and painting them. He looks at ambiance, view from windows, light, ephemera and studies the paintings the artists worked on in these specific studios.

His paintings become a vibrant and evocative dialogue with the artist, and comment on a continuous era of creativity and ideas and evolution of an artist. Soon he was showing in Los Angeles, and among his early clients were Mick Jagger, Al Pacino, Anthony Hopkins, and Pierce Bosnan.

In 2007, after seven years of painting in Colombia, Elwes studied and researched Picasso’s Bateau Lavoir, a time when Picasso was at his most innovative.

“I am fascinated with everything that goes into creating a work of art,” said Elwes. He’s a fervid researched and studies every photograph and paintings and belongings and writing of an artist before embarking on a studio painting.

He has visited and reinvented/ reimagined the Collioure studio of Matisse, as well as Villa La Reve where Matisse lived and painted.

Next on his agenda: Damian Elwes has been invited to work and live for a year in Cy Twombly’s former studio and residence near Rome. I can't wait to see the works he creates there.


DeKooning's studio

Ellsworth Kelly's studio

Roy Lichtenstein's studio



Damian Elwes has now studied and painted the studios of artists ranging from Claude Monet to Roy Lichtenstein and Cindy Sherman and John Baldessari.

Elwes has developed a cult following, in part because the paintings unveil and reveal and recontextualize the artists and their place of work and setting. They capture historically important moments, within a framework that is accurate and architecturally correct. Even the view from the windows is period accurate.

“In historical terms, Elwes’ canvases can be seen as an invaluable contribution to the understanding and investigation and revelation of some of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, “ said gallery owner, Martin Muller. ‘They are immersive and they capture a time, a period, a life, and moments of brilliance and breakthroughs. It’s daring. Elwes does it with great admiration, and often with a dash of wit and humor.”


Joans Wood's studio

Klimt's studio

Kerry Marshall's studio

Yayoi Kusama's studio


Modernism Gallery — The Architecture


Architect statement: AIDLIN DARLING DESIGN

“The design of the new MODERNISM Gallery seeks to honor both the history of the existing structure and the origins of MODERNISM itself.

The new façade of the gallery was inspired by the lithographs of El Lissitsky, one of the first artists to be shown in the thirty-plus year history of the Gallery.

A series of steel frames, planes, and lines are sculpted to create a large street front viewing portal and the primary entry into the gallery.

Within, the design creates a highly intentional and complimentary dialogue between the original structure of board-form concrete walls and wood ceiling members, and the new, crisp, white modern planes that define the walls for displaying art.

The result is intended to create a highly inspirational venue for the viewing of experimental art while pioneering one of San Francisco's up-and-coming art districts.”


— Joshua Aidlin, Principal, Aidlin Darling Design


Frida Kahlo's studio

Cy Twombly's studio

René Magritte's studio


About Modernism Gallery

Founded in 1979, Modernism has since presented more than 375 exhibitions, historical and contemporary, in media ranging from painting to photography, sculpture to performance, by an international roster of artists.


Martin Muller of Modernism



Modernism’s 1982 ground-breaking Andy Warhol exhibition — the first time the Pop artist’s work was shown on the West Coast. The show turned out to precede California’s enthusiasm for Pop art. Only one painting sold, for a minute $20,000.

Martin Muller, who has a broad international following, has mounted for than eighteen retrospectives of the Russian avant-garde.

Historical exhibitions encompass concepts including Dada, Cubism, Surrealism, Vorticism, German Expressionism, and foremost, the Russian Avant-Garde 1910-1930.

The contemporary exhibits feature rotating shows, six to seven weeks in duration, of the nearly 50 gallery artists—including various representational and abstract modes, sociopolitical, and conceptual works—presented at both Modernism and Modernism West, as well as at art fairs in the United States and Europe.

Modernism publishes collectible books, monographs, catalogs, and fine art editions. Martin Muller is noted for his discernment and collections of art and design books, and for his eclectic gallery publications. His art and design book collection, legendary, now includes 30,000 books.


Keith Haring's studio



CONTACTS:

Modernism 
Martin Muller, owner
Danielle Beaulieu, Director

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109 
www.modernisminc.com

Instagram: @modernisminc

Damian Elwes is a British artist who lives and works in Santa Monica. His work has been exhibited in galleries around the world, and he was recently the subject of a retrospective at the Musée en Herbe in Paris.

www.damianelwes.com

Instagram: @damianelwes


Picasso's Bateau Lavoir studio



Thursday, October 10, 2019

Travels with The Style Saloniste: A Splendid Encounter and Interview with San Francisco Designer/Style Store Founder/Design Influencer, Jonathan Rachman

Come with me to discover this avid traveler and hotel connoisseur’s favorite hotels around the world. Learn Jonathan’s insider tips and professional advice and discerning commentary and discovery.

Jonathan is one of the world’s most enthusiastic and constant international travelers. He grew up in Indonesia, and studied hotel management in Switzerland, before living in Paris and London and eventually San Francisco where he currently lives and works. He opened his own style store, J Rachman in San Francisco, and his studio and boutique are destinations for many world travelers.

Among Jonathan’s favorite places to visit: London, Bali, Switzerland, Hawaii, Borobudur and Singapore.

Exclusively on THE STYLE SALONISTE this week: Jonathan’s insider tips, hotel secrets and design insight.




Jonathan Rachman’s Ten Favorite Hotels and Resorts around the World…for design inspiration, escape, style, fun, dining, culture, pampering, and a dash of tradition.



1. CLARIDGE'S | London

STYLE:  The ultimate old-school glamour hotel. Iconic, historic and definitively Art Deco in style, it is still as glam as it has been for decades. A real 'top hat' establishment.

DESIGN:  I go back to the Claridge's for the sentimental memories here, decades in the making. My favorite is the deluxe Junior Suite in the Art Deco style or the studio. For a short stay we choose the Diane Von Furstenberg suite for fun (who doesn't want to be robed in her animal print cozy bathrobe.)

AMBIANCE:  If these walls (or rooms or bar) could talk...from Churchill, to Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn to current Hollywood crowds, I choose the Claridge's bar. A cocktail before dinner or digestive at the Fumoir are not to be skipped. The last time my design client invited me for a drink at the Fumoir I ran into artist in residence David Downtown and his muse Erin before our party. On another stay, Hugh Jackman gallantly insisted to open the bar door for my guests and me. 




Christmas time at Claridge's is heavenly! Every year Claridge's features a custom Christmas tree (think Karl Lagerfeld, Jony Ive, Diane Von Furstenberg.)









PRO TIPS:

>> Mr. Martin Ballard, the Head Concierge will make your wish a reality. Not only is he knowledgeable, resourceful, funny and witty, he was recently made MBE. His experience and service at the hotel over 40 years have made him the Lord of the concierge in my book as well as a familiar face to me and my family who has made our stays extra special. 




>> Book a room with easy access that you can slip away to during an intense party at the hotel; slip away from the back stairwell.
>> Pay attention to every detail, every corner of this iconic hotel. It has given me more ideas in architectural interiors than any book I have read.
>> Mews of Mayfair around the corner has the most decadent Banoffee pie - and it's a fun casual gathering place, especially on a rainy day.
>> Paul Jackson, the General Manager, happens to be a client of J.Rachman. He is the kindest friendliest gentleman who stops by at J.Rachman when he's in San Francisco. He recently selected hand painted top hat glasses exclusively made by Margot Larkin for J.Rachman to bring back to London.





2. THE CONNAUGHT HOTEL | London

STYLE:  It's my favorite style in a hotel. Old-school meets current and contemporary effortlessly. 

DESIGN:  A strong, masculine presence that's not afraid of the feminine world. You can select a modern sleek room or a traditional English suite on the same floor. My favorite are the ones that offers the Mayfair skyline view, a bay window with intricate reflective ceiling plaster work painted in soft Ladurée green. It's like staring at a delicate sumptuous wedding cake as you lay down in the Living Room sofa, and at the separate bedroom is the original closet with gorgeous veneers.

AMBIANCE:  Intimate yet intense glam or casual chic varies depending on which bar or restaurant you patronize. I love the Coburg Bar overlooking Carlos Place for a more casual spot. We love also a jewel box intense personal trolley service and gorgeous crystals at the Connaught Bar. 









PRO TIPS:
>> Dinner at Hélène Darroze for a lingering evening. The menu is fun, the service is immaculate, the food is delicious, and the vintage Armagnac and Cognac collection is pure indulgence.
>> Have a quiet breakfast early morning at Jean-George at the Connaught with the most gorgeous natural light before departure as the last memory you hold on your way to Heathrow.
>> Not many people know that the first Aman spa in Europe is in the lower level of the Connaught. My clients pampered me the first time I met them for a meeting in London after I checked in and a butler informed me that my clients have booked a massage upon arrival before my meeting. The Aman at the Connaught: it truly is a sanctuary. 

>> Silly tips: their slippers (as well as Claridge's) are the best ones I have ever slipped into...beyond plush and you walk on clouds! 

>> You must enjoy your window seat in your Living room with a giant room service table; enjoy the flowers and read the real newspaper, and take your time — simply let your butler know to bring in G & T if it's brunch — I like mine with Oxley; ask for various garnish: lime, lemon and cucumber on the side, and lots of ice!




3. RAFFLES HOTEL | Singapore

STYLE:  The ultimate English Colonial, the Claridge's of the East where classic proper tradition meets current fashion. Gorgeous and recently redesigned and updated very successfully.

DESIGN:  No longer uptight. Au contraire, its architecture, charm and history have entered the next phase, having been recently renovated and elevated by Alexandra Champalimaud and her team.

I am so thrilled that the management has decided to keep all architectural elements, the Long Bar and the Lobby, the Tiffin Room as well as the Bar and Billiard Room (now by Alain Ducasse). This is where tradition is well preserved without feeling stuffy. A strong Colonial presence, which has now been meticulously and delicately brought into the present.

AMBIANCE:  As the Grand Dame of Singapore, Raffles has hosted historical and noted individuals, from Somerset Maugham, Ava Gardner, and Elizabeth Taylor to Pablo Neruda, Lady Di and Queen Elizabeth II and lately it’s the backdrop of Crazy Rich Asians the movie. Beyond all the vanity and status of this hotel, the Raffles is the ultimate discreet sanctuary dripping with old-time luxury.

You can simply check in and never leave, enjoy every amenity from the fine dining, including the latest La Dame de Pic by Anne-Sophie Pic. I love the famed Tiffin Room (yes, it serves Indian food,) and afternoon tea with your aunt (or girlfriends...) or the pool - the ultimate urban sanctuary.












PRO TIPS: 

>> Our favorite suites are the Courtyard Suites or the Personality Suites (named after their previous residents: Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, Somerset Maugham and others.) Besides the generous size of the living room and bath area, note that they face the verdant old trees from past centuries: peaceful, quiet. They offer the longest veranda that I know, perfect for a private breakfast and l'heure de l'apéro
>> In Singapore we zoom to the Atlas Bar, a new art deco wonder that makes every drink and bite taste better because of the ambiance and an amazing selection of gin from around the word and a selection of modern tapas. Dress chic and no sandals for the evening (I carry a pair of shoes in my J.Rachman leather bag and change if I stay longer than cocktail hour.)
>> Discover Ann Siang Hill by getting lost there, stop at any establishment to discover fun trendy hang outs or get a proper hot shave at a gentleman's barber shop, or the best Nani Lemak the way grandma used to make. Linger at roof top bars, and enjoy Singapore’s ultra modern skyline as it collides with colonial style houses.
>> The Metro system is one of the best in the world. Taxi rides are extremely organized and affordable, but ask the locals or any information booth where to catch them properly. Take a quick taxi ride or Metro to Little India and simply explore and get lost - the best way to discover Singapore, and you can feel safe anywhere on this island.
>> Every tourist is hypnotized by the social media's raves for the Marina Bay Sands, the alien space ship looking hotel/shopping mall/mega complex. Go there once, but don't get obsessed. Instead, visit the Fullerton Hotel (inside and out) and walk around along the famous Singapore River.
>> Turn Down Story Card: one of my favorite turn down treats at any hotel: an excerpt or two from a book written by the classics such as Somerset Maugham about the Raffles or the Straits of Malacca, the colonial time...which always makes me want to read more.



>> Yes, yes, do try Singapore Sling where it was created, once, preferable at the Long Bar (the only place you are encouraged to litter your peanut shells on the floor.) It is touristy but go ahead, be part of history and tradition, and don’t forget that Tiger Beer is on draft - as fresh as it gets.
>> Hawker centers: try as much local street food as can. Our favorites!




4. AMANJIWO | Borobudur, Indonesia

STYLE:  A serene temple you can live in with understated yet definitive Javanese roots influence. It is 9th century brought into the current century.

DESIGN:  One of Ed Tuttle's masterpieces inspired by Borobudur. The use of local lime stone and Javanese green tiles, terrazzo floors and domed ceiling with subtle batik patterns and fabrics make this Aman resort seem as if it grows out of the Menoreh Hills

AMBIANCE:   You are surrounded (right in your face) by Borobudur, Mount Merapi and rice padi from sunrise to sunset, entranced by the Javanese Gamelan music and the shadow of puppets and dancers...One of the first Amans that turned me into an Aman junkie.











PRO TIPS:
>> Be sure to position yourself at the veranda of the main restaurant at sunset. For an out of this world (or body) experience, there’s the local jajanan (Javanese market snacks) served by the traditional Javanse Ibu (mother or lady), expertly mixing her Jamu (Javanse herbal drinks) while the Gamelan is playing.
>> Breakfast in your private bale at your private villa; order something different everyday, as many items as you want, but make sure you get the piping hot bubur ayam (chicken porridge) — a delicacy.
>> Lunch at the main pool restaurant and relax on the chaises longues under the giant twin topiary trees, face the rice padi - usually between lunch and sunset.
>> I am not one for guided tours, but I make an exception for the village that surrounds the resort; a hotel guide will drive or walk you through the village to visit a bee farm, a glass noodle restaurant run by a family for generations (still using methods from centuries ago), the real pottery studios where you participate in pottery making, colorful local markets and along the way you will see colorful Joglo style architecture, colorful ethic Chinese doors and walk along the rice padi fields.
>> While Borobudur is one of the seven wonders and is a must to visit, I love visiting the less important and much smaller temples — Candi Pawon is one of my favorites.
>> You can fly to Semarang airport or Jogjakarta. The hotel will pick you up in their SUV supplied with cold towels, multiple local snacks — even finger sandwiches and local fruit juices.





5. TANDJUNGSARI | Bali

STYLE:   Among those who are in the know, before there was any Aman or the term boutique hotel, Tandjung Sari was the original and first one in the world on the island, there since 1962. Founded by Wija Wowo Rants - a visionary, bohemian man - in his private home, it is one of the best kept secrets on the island. To this day, I always feel that butterfly in my stomach as I approach my 'home away from home' on the island...it always feels like home, my family and I’ve built so many unforgettable memories here.

DESIGN:   It is known that Peter Muller, the legendary Australian architect drew his inspiration for many of his projects from Tandjung Sari, but most notably he based the Oberoi and the Amandari designs from this jewel, Tandjung Sari. Intimate, discreet and most notably the old school Bali (Bali at its best, the way it used to be.) Hidden gates, local tropical flowers fence the very private villas, island artifacts at every corner, humbled, hushed luxury - heaven on this island. Each bungalow and villa has its own unique personality, yet a cohesive overall style envelopes the entire complex.

AMBIANCE:  Four to five decades ago, you would, by chance, chat with your fellow guests in the library or by the beach cafe and you would never realize it was the Queen of Denmark, or you may wonder what on earth would Mick and Bianca laugh about in the distance with John, Paul, Ringo and George. Today, my family and I would reunite for the weekend, relatives come and go and this is where we hold forth on the island, sip Arak Madu and build more memories. The first time I met Vicente Wolf was after my 20 hr flight from San Francisco as he greeted me with his friendly smile at the beach facing the majestic Gunung Agung.










PRO TIPS:
>> A must (walk )visit is to Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur Museum; he is our Belgian Paul Gauguin.
>> The open air library is one of my favorite spots not only to read but to nap and to sip some tea...this is where our family gathers and shares some laughter.The restaurant is authentically Indonesian but refined with a touch of western flair. The last time I ate here, the team from Chez Pansies was doing a tasting, and if you happen to be lucky to be there during major local holidays, the feast is fit for a royal family.
>> Be sure to watch or join the local Balinese lessons in the afternoon by the pool or beach. 




6. COMO SHAMBALA ESTATE |  Ubud, Bali

STYLE:  Another level of discreet luxury focusing on retreat and holistic wellness in the hills of Bud, also known as a luxury jungle spa resort. I love the discretion and style of COMO HOTELS and resorts.

DESIGN:  When Cheong Yew Kuan, a Singapore based architect collaborated with interior designer Koichiro Ikebuchi, it is like the perfect marriage of a contemporary and traditional dream.

AMBIANCE:  Each suite and residence resonates certain natural elements as a focus: wind, earth, water, fire. Customized wellness treatments in any style from every corner of the world are within your living space.










PRO TIPS:
>> To try and explore the entire resort will take you ages. But arrange a tour of the Estate, make it part of the adventure. Make a note which suites will be your next stay. You will want to visit again and again.
>> Try wellness treatments including facials or massages, hydro treatment or yoga lessons, or acupuncture and body awareness or diets. One of the best experts in the world will guide and be there with you.
>> Have the longest meal of your life in the Kudus House: this two-century-old house has been transported from Central Java as a restaurant. Ornate delicate carving, candle lit and delectable savories is part of your retreat...I always indulge, I feast without care...
>> The best part of the 'hushed luxury' is just that: Shambhala is hushed, not loud, but understated and discreet. You may run into individuals you may recognize from another world. One unspoken rule is that you don't acknowledge unless you are being acknowledged. It might be your childhood friend or someone you see on a screen or a person who normally wears tiara or crown.






7. THE HALEKULANI | Honolulu, Hawaii

STYLE:  Anther understated island style that is naturally infused with opulence in the hustle and bustle of Waikiki

DESIGN:  The word halekulani means house befitting heaven. Heavenly by location and nature, it is truly a serene escape from the busy Waikiki tourist spots. The design of this hotel is simple with the focal point of the signature blue orchid pool (as well as the famous Kiawe Tree.

AMBIANCE:   Island romance that does not require the expected luau, tiki vibes or loud tourists. Instead, proper evening resort wear is required, noted hula dancers at night, and astute regulars locally and globally love it accordingly. It is the perfect midway between Asian hospitality and American efficiency as well as the staff intuition of when to 'leave you alone' makes this hotel as one of our favorites (and a tapa cloth wall paper with candle lit six course dinner facing the Diamond Head is another reason).











PRO TIPS:
>> Have breakfast in your room, lunch at House Without a Key and cocktails at sunset, a casual dinner at Orchids or splurge at La Mer upstairs, that's our routine. We don’t leave the hotel.
>> L'Aperitif cocktail bar at La Mer offers amazing old-school and new-school cocktails paired with amuse bouche by bartenders who have been there over three decades.
>> Lewer's Lounge: make sure you enjoy the last old school jazz bar. and hope that musician in residence Maggie Herron is performing (and her duet performances with Rocky Holmes are always riveting). Besides being a dear friend, she is an award winning performer who is classically trained but has developed her own signature style. We listen to her weekly at home, even when we are not in the island of Oahu.
>> We love La Mar and admire the effort and aesthetics of the place. It still serves the old school Continental menu and haute cuisine in this part of the world with the freshest ingredients and immaculate service and presentation. One of our favorite spots for fine dining in the world (and before cheese cart became the rage, this place has always had the best selection!)




8. AMAN  TOKYO | Tokyo, Japan

STYLE:  One of the first urban Aman hotels, and it is most impressive. Its location, the financial district of Otemachi of Tokyo is one of the most prestigious addresses and connected to the subway station. Ginza and the bullet train are only steps away.

DESIGN:  Two words: Kerry Hill! One of his last projects and he achieved the Aman's philosophy. It’s discreet, and I admire the harmony in architecture, design, and local culture — on a very high note.

AMBIANCE:   Exclusive is the word that comes to mind. The Aman Tokyo sits on the 6 top floors of Otemachi Tower, an oasis in an urban setting. The lobby is stunningly vast and grand yet subdued and will mesmerize your senses

The indoor pool and spa on two floors dominate my experience in this property (but it is the almost 100 ft high lobby that will make your jaw drop for a while). Urban luxury hotel is at its best at Aman Tokyo and it has raised the bar to a different level. I appreciate various levels of luxury and service, and this is top of the top.













PRO TIPS:
>> I love the Imperial Palace Gardens view that you get when you pay a bit more (and yes, it is worth it)
>> Take your shoes off — not only it is the proper way walking into your own room (we always do no matter where), it is required, but don't you worry, a pair of black slippers await.
>> The restaurants are superb, but you must take your time in enjoying the multi-course a la carte breakfast served like no other. When they opened, to the Amanjunkies' horror, there was no Japanese cuisine in the hotel, but now, let Master Chef Musashi suprise you with his interpretation of Omakase.




9. DOLDER GRAND |  Zurich, Switzerland

STYLE:  I stay at the Dolder Grand for its style and for its nostalgia. The style can be hit and miss as some Swiss hotels typically can be. I admire that it has the drive and the location (on top of a hill); easy access to Zurich station, city below and the forest is just steps away from the property. Oh, that Swiss Spa culture? Yes that's another reason we stay here.

DESIGN:  The one hotel I ignore the design (it is not my favorite), yet there is something about the Swiss collision of traditional and modernism that can be a shock.

AMBIANCE:  Jacques Gros, the Basel native architect set the trad Swiss mood with his design, and it's still preserved by the architecture.













PRO TIPS:
>> Don't get hung up on finding the right or best rooms. Enjoy the magnificent view, the Swiss operation, and Zurich as well as the outdoor.
>> No matter which restaurant you eat at, the food will be excellent, perfectly done, but do sit outside sit at the terrace (it's very Swiss, believe it or not), no matter what season it is: your are on top of the hill in Switzerland. Make your own menu at the Restaurant with Chef Nieder, or let him surprise you, after all he has collected so many awards and stars.
>> Splurge on the four signature suites. Our favorite is the Maestro Suite — an homage to Herbert Van Karajan, enough said.
>> Last but not least: the Spa, the pool and the nude (separate sex) spa are what this hotel is known for. This is a very professional setting, catering to a discerning clientele. Don't expect the Asian Spa ambiance, this is about indulgence.





10. BEAU RIVAGE PALACE |  Lausanne, Switzerland

STYLE:  For me it is the ultimate Swiss hospitality. I am partial, having been educated in the (I think) the best hospitality management school in the world (not bragging, simply stating a fact). 

Its architecture, design, location, and on-point service (at least to my old-school judgment) and memories of my youth always bring me back to this hotel, even for the week end. I make up excuses to my husband why we need to stay there even for a day. It is one of the best hotels in Europe and merits a regular visit from an alumnus of its product (Some of my late teachers have worked at this hotel)

DESIGN:  This time it's three words: Pierre-Yves Rochon. He imprints luxury: George V, Paris, the Savoy in London and a few others iconic hotels.

AMBIANCE:   Being a self proclaimed romantic and nostalgic designer and traveler, this hotel carries all the right notes for my senses: from the interior to the scenery and the scenes. While this part of Lausanne holds so many important events and part of world history but to me this hotel with the view of Lac Leman is a lake of my youth. I spent a lot of time in this hotel for various reasons. It’s the type of Swiss chic style I adore where old tradition, luxury and warmth are honored and preserved.










PRO TIPS:
>> Ignore the pomp and circumstance. It may feel formal when the international head of states or delegations are around — but it is one of the most hospitable hotels at its class.
>> My first Anne-Sophie Pic infatuation happened here. Her cuisine is gorgeous and colorful not only in presentation but taste and layers of flavors. I am excited that she has her first restaurant in Asia at the Raffles!
>> Evian is a boat ride away, and take the quirky cog wheel train then stroll to Rue de Bourg as one of the oldest street in town filled with fashion, cafes and perfect place for people watching.
>> I love the rooms that have glass walled bathrooms so you watch the lake from both the room and the bathroom. Nothing like waking up to the Lac Leman's view from the balcony, have your coffee for hours and day dreaming in your bathrobe, room service all day, go to the spa and never leave.
>> It is an Art nouveau collision with neo baroque in perfect harmony. I love it.


The Halekulani


THE INTERVIEW:

I sat down with Jonathan for an in-depth discussion about secrets to a great stay, how to travel well, and what he learned at Les Roches hotel school.

DDS: Is there a secret to a great stay? 
JR: Know your own preference and communicate that with the hotel or resort you are planning to stay at. Proper hotels have always kept good records of guest's preferences. They used to be written in beautiful log books or on cards...nowadays, with databases and other technology, the fact that I always love extra towels and what newspaper I read in each city or the fact that I like an extra long shoehorn instantly pops the second I call or email the property.


DDS: You’ve been staying at some hotels—Claridge’s and Raffles, for example—for decades.
JR: I recommend building relationships and loyalties with a specific hotel or resort in each location, especially at your favorite destinations. Know who the General Manager is or the key people: the lead concierge, the room division manager, and the housekeeping director. One never knows what one needs during a stay, but if you have the contact of the key people, they can make anything happen for you. Have an "insider" or two for each of your favorite hotels. This person will be your confidant at that property.

Do not hesitate to let each department know your preference or request, contact the right department if necessary. A good reputable hotel will take care of your needs even if you happen to talk to the concierge unrelated to their specific job description. They will communicate those needs with the correct department.


DDS: Yes and being a thoughtful and gracious guest is the perfect way to travel.
JR: Because I am a creature of habit and always stay at the same hotels throughout decades, some of the hotels truly make me feel at home. They always anticipate my needs ahead of time. They know my entire family, what my husband's preferred meal on a Saturday night is, the temperature of his steak, as well as my special gin kept only for me. I make the habit of sending them thank you notes after each stay or even gifts for certain staff or the entire hotel, from the heart.


DDS: What’s your arrival procedure?
JR: Book your dining at hotels or spa treatment so you get the time and treatment you want, not second choice.

Unpack, get settled, and don’t live in a suitcase. Make it your own "home away from home". I bring my own favorite candles and framed pictures of my loved ones.

Fresh flowers are a must in every room that I stay in for a night or a few weeks. Typically the hotels I stay always have flowers in our room or suite. 


Beau Rivage



DDS: What else did you learn at hotel school?
JR: Not all rooms or suites are created equal: even if you are paying the same rate or category, each room location, size, amenities, view and design may vary. Ask your insider his or her preference, or try them by staying overnight or just by a visit to the room or suite. I always prefer a suite that has a separate living room and door for noise and privacy, so I can have guests in the living room without them entering my private room.


DDS: Planning ahead?
JR: Always let your hotel know your estimated time of arrival at the airport or hotel, especially if you will be delayed. You want to make sure they don't give up your preferred room and they know you are not a "no show."

If you want to arrive earlier than the check in time or stay later than the check out time, simply request. Most of the time they will accommodate you. One time I landed a lot earlier than expected at Heathrow, I let my insider know at the Claridge's. Upon arrival they simply ushered me to a suite until mine was ready. The same with late check out; while your room may have been promised to the next guest, they will provide you with another room or a hospitality suite.


DDS: Dining? Room service?
JR: Do not stick with the menu options printed on the room service menu or breakfast card hung on the doorknob. Write or call your preference even if they are not listed or printed. Many times I requested my childhood favorite menu that is no longer part of the menu or they don't serve at the hotel, but they especially make them for me or outsource them from the best purveyors. One time I wanted specific 'jajanan'(snacks usually found in local market) in Java, the way my grandmother and mother used to make. The Amanjiwo went out of their way to make them for me during teatime. The Connaught has gone out of their way to bring me breakfast at the wee hour not specified on the breakfast card, and the Halekulani has made me my favorite cocktail, the Rangpur Gin Fizz from the last decade that's no longer at the House Without a Key menu.


DDS: How to be a thoughtful guest?
JR: A noted reputable hotel will make your stay the way you want it. And as always, you simply have to ask and communicate. Even if they don't have the items you like, they will be more than happy to procure them for you.

Butler service: They will unpack or pack for you, make reservations or request bath amenities as needed. Once I bought a last minute antique sculpture that's delicate prior to departure to Heathrow. The next thing I knew, my butler at the Claridge's had it wrapped, packed in my carry on for my flight, without even being asked.


The Connaught


DDS: Dining?
JR: The experts have worked for centuries to make your meal more enjoyable. Honor the table setting or mise en place; not only does it indicate that you have good table manners, but your dining experience will be much more palatable.

And booking a local popular restaurant that's not in the hotel. Have your favorite concierge book it; they have a relationship with the restaurant.

I like multiple pillows all to myself (yes, more than two) and I am very specific about the firmness and materials, my hotels know a body pillow is a luxury I enjoy and have it ready at turn down.

A 68°F feels different in different climate and geographic locations.

I have a certain private stock that's kept for me at some properties, including my favorite gin, bath amenities or linen spray I love.

Do not hesitate to let each department know your preference or request, contact the right department if necessary. A good reputable hotel will take care of your needs even if you happen to talk to the concierge unrelated to their specific job description. They will communicate those needs with the correct department.

Unpack, get settled, don't live in a suitcase. Make it your own "home away from home". I bring my own favorite candles and framed pictures of my loved ones.

Fresh flowers are a must in every room that I stay in for a night or a few weeks. Typically the hotels I stay always have flowers in our room or suite. The ones that don’t know what I like and they order them for us from a local favorite florist prior to my arrival.



HOTEL NOTES: JONATHAN’S HOTEL FAVORITES

AMANRESORTS   I love all Aman hotels and resorts. I think they are the best for their quiet hushed luxury, their discretion and understated impeccable service. I admire Aman design as well as their consistency. I go to Amanera in the Dominican Republic or Amandari and Amanjiwo in Indonesia, or Amangiri and Amangani in the United States. I know exactly what to expect and they know exactly what I like. COMO is also a quiet and discreet favorite around the world.


AmanTokyo



CREDITS:

All pictures are courtesy of each hotel/resort.



CONTACTS:

JONATHAN RACHMAN DESIGN

J. RACHMAN THE STYLE STORE
ROSE STREET AT MARKET STREET
SAN FRANCISCO 
(opposite the front entrance of Zuni Café)

INSTAGRAM: @j.rachmansf

www.jonathanrachman.com