Men’s Fashion Director at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus
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"The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice"
Where have you taken your OB shorts on holiday?
I actually take my OB shorts with me on every trip I take. I have a pair that I always keep packed in my carry-on bag, that way I never forget them. Even in the dead of winter, when you may not have swimming on your mind, your hotel might just have a wonderful pool you may not have known about.
With that being said, I spent the most beautiful long weekend in Venice in March. I hadn’t been there in over a decade and I had forgotten how truly magical and special it is there; truly one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
What made it special?
I am a complete Starwood devotee and decided to cash in some points to stay at the incredibly luxurious Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice and I have to say that my room was absolute heaven and really helped make the trip a treat. Very Venetian with deep blue Fortuny silk wallcoverings, a Murano glass chandelier, windows overlooking a small side street… it was the perfect home in this magical city and really set the perfect mood. The hotel is beautifully situated overlooking the Grand Canal across from the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and the view couldn’t be prettier. It was an absolute dream.
How did Venice make you feel?
The entire city makes me feel nostalgic for another time, imagining what Venice might have been like during its reign as a superpower of the seas when I saw the glorious artwork of Canaletto and other artists vividly depicting life there hundreds of years ago. There are many times in my life when I experience the urge to jump into a time capsule just to observe what everything must have been like ages ago, in specific cities, periods, et cetera. I felt that very often here… the past is incredibly, and specifically, palpable in Venice.
I visited Venice in March which is certainly off-season so was able to avoid the crowds I had heard about. It made me sad to think about all of the beauty and wonder in more obscure corners of this city that most don’t make the effort to see. Also, I was there for a day of acqua alta when the water is high and flooding the city. It was quite fascinating to see but made me all too aware of the future of this wonderful city and its continuing struggle to stay above water as the ice caps continue to melt. Sorry to get maudlin!
Do you have a song that sums up this holiday?
I confess that I don’t listen to music while I travel. I prefer to take in all the distinct sounds and noises of each place. It’s all part of the experience.
Did you have any particularly memorable meals?
The many delicious variations of seafood with pasta there are extraordinary! I had some amazing recommendations from friends and lovely dinners at Osteria Alle Testiere and Al Covo, but my most memorable meal was at a little family-owned place on the southern island of Giudecca (home to a beautiful Palladian church) called Altanella. The son waited tables as his dad oversaw the cosy art-filled room. I spent a lazy, overcast afternoon there with the most delicious squid ink pasta and seafood and a glass of wine. No rushing to see more Tintorettos, just relaxing and enjoying. Heaven.
Where’s the best place to take a dip?
The Lido! Who can forget that beach as seen in Death in Venice. I confess that I didn’t make it to the Lido this time around, but I do hear the pool at the Hotel Cipriani across the lagoon hotel is the place to be.
"Belmond Hotel Cipriani Venice"
Any secrets you can share?
My big secret, and I can’t recommend it highly enough, was exploring Venice by following the walks in Venice for Pleasure, an old out-of-print travel guide from the sixties by the English writer J.G. Links. I tried to keep my smartphone away as much as possible and followed the annotated walks in this book. It was an amazing, insightful, and eccentric way to see the city by following the writer’s advice and walking into small obscure churches and buildings to see incredible art and interiors. It was unforgettable. Seeing Carpaccio’s St. George Killing the Dragon in all of its delicate glory in the small and under-visited Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni was a highlight.
Where’s next on your bucket list?
I am excited for an upcoming to Tokyo and Kyoto, two other absolute favourites of mine. And I am desperate to go to Egypt.