Category Archives: luxe

Ho! Ho! Ho! Buy Out a Lake Como Villa for Christmas? Why Not?

Why not? Because Mr. Le Budget is not so big!

Ok this is fantasy time. But it is such a fun fantasy that I cannot help but post on it.

Here we go –  with a quote from Percy Shelley about Lake Como

“This lake exceeds any thing I ever beheld in beauty… But the finest scenery is that of the Villa Pliniana,” wrote Percy Bysshe Shelley to his friend and fellow poet Thomas Love Peacock, during a tour of Italy in 1818. The Pliniana remains one of Lake Como’s oldest and most beautiful waterside villas, today run by the nearby Il Sereno luxury hotel, which is as contemporary as Villa Pliniana is historic.

Yes, we are talking about buyout out the Villa Pliniana.

Named after Pliny the Younger, the Roman writer and senator of the first century AD, who grew up on the shores of the lake, Villa Pliniana was built in 1573. By the time Shelley tried to rent it nearly 250 years later, it had fallen into disrepair. “The scene from the colonnade is the most extraordinary, at once, and the most lovely that eye ever beheld,” he wrote, adding that he was “endeavoring to procure” the house, “which was once a magnificent palace and is now half in ruins.”

Not any more!

Image result for Villa Pliniana.

How about this pic?

Image result for Villa Pliniana.

What more?

Shelley may have failed to “procure” the villa, but Robb Report readers can rent out the entire complex for up to 34 guests, arriving via private helipad or boat dock. Il Sereno’s executive chef, Raffaele Lenzi, will conduct private cooking classes, demonstrating the techniques, presentation and recipes that he has honed working in Michelin-starred kitchens.

Wow! I don’t care if I will not actually be there. It is fun just to imagine being there!

Are You Looking for the Perfect Pair of Socks? She Asked

I am not sure why, but over the last few months, I have become obsessed by socks. I find myself checking out the socks other people wear, and thinking about what socks I could and should wear.

I even did a Google search for “luxury socks”. I was surprised to see that there is no shortage of firms that want to sell expensive socks to gentlemen. The most outrageous, or shall we say, most precious, is a product form a German firm called “Falke”.

These socks are selling for $1,188 because they are made of Vicuna (the most expensive fabric in the world). Vicuna fabric is made from the ultra fine hair of the Peruvian Vicuna. The fabric is so expensive and rare to warrant mass production. This explains why only 10 pairs of socks are available for sale.

Image result for Falke Vicuna socks

This young gentleman seems to have the full outfit

Image result for Falke Vicuna socks

I suppose no one dares tell him to remove his foot from the chair cushion.

But Falke is not alone in this market. Here are some other luxury sock brands.

And here are some more “hipster” brands.

You can get some of these for just £10 a pair! The world of socks is a lot bigger than I thought!

My Portuguese Fantasy Luxe Tour Just Got Better!

I posted the other day on an idea for a “grand tour” that would start in Paris, then head south to Bordeaux, then into the Basque Country, and then onward to Portugal.

That is not the end point — but it is one of the most interesting legs of the excursion. I know a bit about Porto and Lisbon. But what about the Portuguese coast?

I have one outstanding location in the Algarve. But is that it? Nope! Today, I bumped into a selection of Portuguese beach hotels. Perfect!

They go into the options list for this amazing excursion.

Wondering where to after Portugal? Onward to Span, to Barcelona and then up into Provence, then back up to Paris. Could this all be managed? We shall see, said the blind man!

A New Luxe Fantasy Adventure: Paris/Bordeaux/Basque Country/Algarve/Barcelona/Provence

This is the next in a series of thinking adventures where I start planning out how to spend a huge amount of time on an excursion. Not just a vacation trip — but an excursion that unwinds slowly through a month or so.

Why do it? First, to experience the people you can meet in these places. Second, to experience what those people do. What they value, and what they offer to the world.

So here we go! Below is a framework that I will flesh out over the next months to make this an excursion for the gods … and goddesses too, of course.

  • We start off in Paris. There we can spend a few days enjoying parts of the city that we love — there is no shortage here
  • We  buy a car and drive south. to  Bordeaux where we get into a bit of the wine culture
  • We drive south from Bordeaux to Biarritz as an entry point to Basque Country
  • We cross the border and spend some time in Basque Country
  • We drive to Porto and then on to Lisbon, making our way to the Algarve
  • In the Algarve, we stay at Casa Mäe as a base and explore
  • Another great hotel – The Farmhouse of the Palms
  • We drive to Seville in Spain and then on to Grenada and then Valencia
  • We end up in Barcelona
  • From Barcelona north into Provence
  • from Provence, drive back to Paris, sell the car and head home

From Rococo to Friuli Wines! A Luxe Adventure Continues!

These days, Rococo, as an artistic style, is not widely in fashion. It is too decorative. Too fussy.  Too theatrical! Too much!

Image result for rococo

Where did it come from? It was the final expression of the Baroque period in western Europe and made its appearance in the early part of the 18th century, first in France. Blame Louis XV!

While we might not be in tune with this style, in Venice back then, rococo was THE thing and  Tiepolo was one of the great masters. Tiepolo was known throughout Europe, and was prolific. Here is an image of a work that he did in Milan

Image result for Tiepolo

And you might be surprised by this tidbit

(The Italian city of) Udine prides itself on the being the second home of the great Venetian painter Tiepolo, who adorned the city with some of his most celebrated work. His instantly recognisable style – fresh, ebullient frescos with an almost trompe-l’œil quality – can be seen in situ at the Palazzo Patriarcale and in the city’s marvellous Romanesque duomo. It’s also worth checking out the nearby Oratorio della Purità to see Tiepolo’s last ever fresco in Italy. Titled Assunta, it’s a vibrant depiction of the Virgin Mary’s ascension into heaven, and is a fitting Italian swansong for this Venetian-born master.

Udine? Yes. Udine. The capital of Friuli, near the Slovene border. There are reasons to linger there. But we may want to take a day trip

Cividale del Friuli is arguably the most beautiful town in Friuli. Founded by Julius Caesar (whose statue now stands outside the town hall), it later saw invasions by the Lombards, rule by Venice, annexation by Austria and finally incorporation into Italy. These days it’s a centre of Friulian culture and has a strong Slovene influence, being just ten kilometres from the border. The Tempietto Lombardo, a unique religious building dating from 760 with some evocative frescos, is the most striking historical site.

Image result for Cividale del Friuli

That is nice. And there is more!

. Just outside the town lies Joe Bastianich’s restaurant Orsone, as well as his family vineyards. Cividale del Friuli is just a 25-minute train ride from Udine.

Image result for Orsone Friuli

So, how can I resist? This has to be an option in my luxury excursion that focuses on Slovenia, and sloshes over into Italy.

What do you think?