Order Up! - The Escapist 2024 - Magazine | Monocle

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We’re at that point in our travel annual – and in the year – when we want to scribble down some plans for the next few months, whether it’s a new business to check out, restaurant to try or suite to savour. So we have put together itineraries to help you catch up on a few key openings that you might have missed and taken first looks at other places, products and projects that are worth being aware of in 2o24. Our rundown takes in kit – from a bag you’ll want to pick up to a camera to capture your travels – but there’s plenty more besides. On our travel wishlist, you’ll find sailboat rides to see the Nile in style, a Bavarian bolthole and a Bangkok corner booth to reserve today. Plus, we suggest places to sun yourself on the Athens Riviera or cool off in solitude in Iceland’s Kerlingarfjöll mountains. Shall we?

the nines, new york
Smarten up your nightlife in Manhattan

“It was magical seeing people going out and celebrating,” says Jon Neidich, founder and ceo of Golden Age Hospitality, whose cocktail and piano bar The Nines has brought some extra sparkle to New York’s Noho neighbourhood. As Manhattan bounced back from the coronavirus pandemic, there was an appetite for somewhere more glamorous than the bars and clubs on offer, complete with a smart dress code. “The Nines was transporting when it opened,” says Neidich. “People wanted to feel taken to a different place and time more than ever. Those who come really make a night of it.”  


The setting includes low-lit rooms with scarlet walls, chandeliers and an animal-print carpet, and only a smart jacket will do for male guests. The mood and music shift throughout the night; a typical evening might start with a solo pianist, followed by another with vocals and, on weekends, finish with a DJ set that ramps up the energy. But no matter what time you arrive, you’ll find the perfect setting for any occasion, whether you’re after a pre-dinner aperitif, a post-dinner dance or a nightcap.

Neidich believes that this kind of space is what’s next for New York’s nightlife scene. “Creating places that give people the chance to experience things in different ways and have a wider range of opportunities appeals to me more than ever,” he says. Cheers to that.

nour el nil, egypt

Explore the Nile in style


The journey from Luxor to Aswan takes about three hours by car. Aboard a traditional dahabiya boat, it takes six days – but that’s the perfect length of time to drift on the river. It’s a trip that has long captured the imagination: 19th-century visitors used the sailboats to explore Egypt’s ancient wonders. But with the advent of the railway, the vessels eventually fell out of use. 


“We have brought them back to the Nile,” says French interior designer Eléonore Kamir. With her Mexican husband, Enrique Cansino, and boat builder Memdouh Sayed Khalifa, she co-founded tour company Nour El Nil more than 20 years ago. The trio operate dahabiyas in seven sizes. “We modelled them on the ones used in the 19th century, though ours don’t have a designated area for a harem,” she says. The boats can hold 24 passengers; their compactness allows them to stop at tombs and temples along the Nile that larger vessels aren’t allowed to visit.

Gliding on the water, you’ll feel the stresses of urban life floating away. Unlike the steam giants, Nour El Nil’s dahabiyas have no nightclubs or swimming pools. Instead, they offer a sense of understated elegance. Meals are served on the deck, allowing guests to socialise. People passing by on the river bring fish and vegetables onboard, so the food served on these boats is among the freshest that you’ll find in Egypt. 

omega seamaster planet ocean 600m
Make time to explore

Whether you’re planning to explore the briny deep or just to sink into a beachside lounger, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m can withstand almost anything. The Swiss-made dials, buckles and bezel are constructed from the watchmaker’s signature material, sand-blasted grade-5 titanium, which has been selected for its lightness and durability.


An industry leader since the First World War, when it supplied the UK’s Royal Flying Corps with watches, Omega has long been celebrated for its time-tested wares. The Seamaster collection is the brand’s longest-running line. Introduced in 1948, it was a mainstay of a certain James Bond since the 1990s. But the Planet Ocean 600m works well for everyday adventures too: with its the changeable strap, it can be adapted to suit situation.

rosewood munich, munich
Book a weekend in this Bavarian bolthole


Munich might be cosmopolitan and wealthy but it doesn’t change quickly. That’s why almost all eyes were on the opening of the Rosewood Munich, the first luxury hotel to launch in the Bavarian capital in 16 years. It’s also the first German outpost of Hong Kong-based Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.

Repurposing existing buildings is a hallmark of Rosewood. Munich-based Hilmer Sattler Architekten Ahlers Albrecht joined together the Bavarian State Bank’s former headquarters, built in 1894, with an adjacent 18th-century residence through a new structure in Munich’s Old Town. Timber panels, marble moulding and oversized fireplaces in Rosewood’s signature suites reinterpret the buildings’ baroque proportions with crisp lines.


“The people are so warm and chic in Munich,” says Tara Bernerd, whose design studio oversaw the interiors. “We wove that osmosis of style into this property.” All 132 rooms and suites have dedicated entrance halls and living areas, as well as white marble bathrooms. Bernerd drew inspiration from Munich’s surrounding countryside, filling the interiors with dark-wood furnishings, textured velvets and tweeds in sapphire blues and emerald greens (the latter hue was borrowed from Bavarian folk costumes).

Already popular with locals is Bar Montez, an atmospheric jazz lounge named after a mistress of Ludwig I of Bavaria, Lola Montez, whose former home is also in Munich. Musicians play in front of a cubist-style stained-glass piece created by family-run workshop Mayer’sche Hofkunstanstalt that depicts the city’s 1920s jazz scene. The cocktails are as excellent as the music. Meanwhile, at Rosewood’s Brasserie Cuvilliés, the well-rounded menu nudges towards Alpine dishes: think hearty bratwursts, obatzda-dipped pretzels and spinach dumplings bedded in lemon emulsion and pecorino shavings.

The hotel is within walking distance of many of the city’s attractions, including Pinakothek der Moderne, the gallery that’s home to Paul Klee’s Bauhaus-era “Scaffolding of a New Building”. Bernerd describes Rosewood Munich as “seductive luxury but approachable”. The same can be said of this city.

Weekend itinerary
Marienplatz is the city’s central square where the Rathaus-Glockenspiel clock displays scenes from Munich’s history. Meanwhile, the famous Englischer Garten has a lively beer garden under the landmark Chinese Tower.

Viktualienmarkt, on the site of a 19th-century farmers’ market, is a pleasant maze of food stalls. Traditional Bavarian eatery Spatenhaus serves crispy schnitzel in a wood-panelled dining hall.

The 18th-century Amalienburg hunting lodge at the Nymphenburg Palace is a rococo vision conjured by François de Cuvilliés, the architect responsible for Rosewood Munich’s original façade.

one&only aesthesis, athens

See the Athens Riviera in the off-season


One&Only Aesthesis consists of 95 bungalows designed by UK studio Muza Lab. “We paid homage to mid-century architecture with high ceilings, woven-leather details and natural accents,” says Muza Lab’s co-founder Inge Moore. Every bungalow has an outside space with a private pool and garden.


Seafront restaurant Ora offers Mediterranean fine dining, while another onsite restaurant hosts residencies for chefs. At the time of writing, it’s headed by Paco Morales of Andalusia’s Noor. The resort has much to offer visitors outside the summer season. “We have partnered with Guerlain on its first spa in Greece,” says general manager Yann Gillet. “We also offer various experiences, including sailing tours and visits to ateliers that make leather sandals. And you get to enjoy the Athens Riviera without the peak-season crowds.”

dear jackie, london
Order a generous serving of unabashed fun

When it comes to hospitality, London has been embracing a full-on, unashamedly fun design vernacular of late. That’s probably bad news for all the minimalists out there but it’s an exciting time for anyone who wants a little more joy in their life – especially the kind that comes with good food, excellent service and tasty drinks. Italian restaurant Dear Jackie has the lot, which is why it has earned a spot on our Wishlist.


It’s housed inside the new 57-room Broadwick Soho hotel, which was designed by Martin Brudnizki (who is also behind the very full-on private members’ club Annabel’s on Berkeley Square). It features a main dining area for lavish dinners, a colourful bar, a private dining room and The Nook, a cosy space for hotel residents and those given the wink. Think pink barstools, Murano lights, richly patterned carpets and walls festooned with specially commissioned plates. There’s plenty to take in.

The hotel is the first outpost of Coterie Hotels, backed by Noel Hayden, who made his fortune from online gaming (the betting kind). His long-time friend Jo Ringestad is its managing director. Indeed, there’s a large cast of friends and collaborators behind this project who clearly still like each other, even after all the stress that they must have gone through to build this opulent, glorious establishment. The restaurant is named after Hayden’s mother and serves Italian cuisine with a kick, alongside some great wines. It’s the kind of place where you’ll have a good time and inevitably stay a little later than you planned to. The future is plush.

highland base, kerlingarfjöll
Make tracks for the mountains


It’s not every day that your hotel warns you not to attempt to get there on your own. Highland Base is in the middle of Kerlingarfjöll, a mountain range bracketed by two glaciers deep in Iceland’s Central Highland. Though it’s just three hours by car from Reykjavík, in winter the drive is best left to a professional in a 4x4 “Super Jeep”.


“Kerlingarfjöll is important in the soul of the Icelandic nation, as many learned to ski on its glaciers,” says Magnús Orri Marínarson Schram, the hotel’s managing director. At the turn of the millennium, receding glaciers forced the ski school there to close. “With Highland Base, we wanted to introduce – or, in some cases, reintroduce – this beautiful destination to local and international travellers.”

Offering rooms, suites and luxury lodges, as well as summer-only cabins and a campsite, it’s run by the team behind Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s famous but often overcrowded turquoise geothermal pool. By contrast, Highland Base is a tranquil, village-like place that’s set in the largest pure wilderness in western Europe. The 46 minimalist rooms by Basalt Architects and Design Group Italia are clad in wood and large windows frame views of hills and craggy ridges. The hotel offers a chance to get off the grid and unplug, and venture into the wilderness – a journey that feels like going back in time (or even out into space) to a place that few people have ever seen.

brady, uk
Invest in some trusty luggage



Angling for a shoulder bag to accompany you on your travels? The Ariel Trout by UK leather specialist Brady is a catch. Its utilitarian silhouette is a mainstay of the company’s outdoorsy range. While the tides of fashion have shifted, the model from 1928 (with two capacious front pockets) has become a classic. Made from durable, waterproof Italian canvas and English bridle leather with brass fittings, it’s an appealing holdall, whether you’re wearing salopettes or wading through a new city.

charmkrung, bangkok
Book a table at chef Jai’s


Curry restaurant Charmgang in Bangkok immediately hit the spot when it opened in late 2019 so the news that the team was cooking up a “Thai tapas bar” had us licking our lips in anticipation. Charmkrung, which opened in December 2023 on nearby Charoen Krung Road, is a 60-cover, sixth-floor hangout where chef Jai’s 22-dish menu is intended to be paired with wine. His snacks, canapés and other small plates hark back to the “cookshops” of 1960s and 1970s Bangkok, when Thai-Chinese chefs used their experience of making European food in hotel kitchens to create new fusion dishes for their own small restaurants.


Charmkrung doesn’t turn tables and there’s good reason to linger until last orders (we have our eye on the corner booth). At about 23.00 every evening, the kitchen starts making a second menu of dishes (for the staff meal but punters can ask to try), such as pork skewers with sticky rice, papaya salad or congee with pork rib: classic Thai street food in a convivial and comfortable setting. A new banker in Bangkok that you’d best book a table at before your next trip.
Charoen Krung Road, Bangkok

le grand mazarin, paris

Get some colour at this bold Paris opening


“We wanted to do something that was out of this world,” says Leslie Kouhana, one of the family members behind Maisons Pariente. Sitting on a king-sized canopy bed in Le Grand Mazarin, the group’s first Parisian hotel, she gestures towards the renaissance-style tapestry above the bed and some pistachio-green bedside tables. Forget muted tones and pared-back aesthetics: here you’ll find patterns that nod to the French baroque and classicism. Leopard-print slipper chairs coexist in unexpected harmony with candy stripe side tables on primary-coloured rugs.



In Boubalé, the hotel’s ground-floor restaurant, it’s time for coffee and croissants. Conceived by Tomer Lanzman and the culinary dream team of Assaf Granit, Dan Yosha and Uri Navon of the jlm Group, the restaurant has a menu that’s not to be missed. Its walls, wooden ceilings and hand-woven doilies beneath glass tabletops evoke a combination of a wintery chalet and a grand café in eastern Europe. In the evening the candlelit dining room comes alive as we savour soft challah bread and platters of spicy condiments, pulled beef or goulash. For dessert, the white-chocolate cheesecake is a must. Get into Le Grand Mazarin’s joyful spirit and treat yourself.

hotel toranomon hills, tokyo
Head for the hills to see Tokyo from a new angle


Part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection, Hotel Toranomon Hills in Tokyo has just opened, with interiors designed by Denmark’s Space Copenhagen and 205 guest rooms. Sitting on top of the new Toranomon Hills Station Tower, it offers commanding views of the city. The hotel also marks the Asian debut of star chef Sergio Herman. In the tower are shops, food outlets and a cultural complex called Tokyo Node. Guests who arrive too early to check in or have a late flight out will appreciate the lounge area with showers, meeting rooms and refreshments. hyatt.com


kokos huis, swartland
Take a slow roadtrip


An hour’s drive north of Cape Town, the town of Riebeek Kasteel sits surrounded by hills in a valley in the Swartland. “It’s close to the city but you feel as though you were in another world here because it’s wild and authentic,” says Prisca Llagostera, the Andorra-born hotelier who opened Kokos Huis in a 200-year-old farm building in 2023. “But it also has a big community of interesting winemakers creating boutique wines.” 


On the road from Cape Town there are many worthwhile stops. Want a long, lazy lunch? Then try farm restaurant Vygie or Mila at Doolhoof. And there’s plenty to do in Riebeek Kasteel itself, most notably tasting chenin blancs at wineries such as AA Badenhorst or Sadie Family Wines. “The cellars are full of personality,” says Llagostera, who fell in love with the region when she first visited. (She also fell in love with a South African winemaker.)

As the hotelier behind L’Ovella Negra in Andorra, Llagostera is no stranger to the hospitality industry. In Riebeek Kasteel she felt that she could offer “something affordable with a bit of style”, a kind of offering that Llagostera felt the town sorely needed. At Kokos Huis, she made a point of keeping original details such as the thick walls, old shutters and terracotta floors, which she updated with locally carved wooden tables, raffia lamps and hand-spun towels. “It has a lot of soul,” she says.

studio daminato, bangkok
Commission an airy Asian pied-à-terre


On bleak winter days when we find ourselves spinning the globe, dreaming of a warm-weather second home, our fingers keep landing on Bangkok. Fun, friendly and open to everyone, it has always been a regular fixture on monocle’s travel itinerary but 2024 could well be the year when we put down some firmer roots. If we do, Italian interior designer Albano Daminato will be one of the first people we call. 


The long-term Asia resident has gone from decking out Aman hotel rooms for Kerry Hill during the Adrian Zecha-era to creating his own take on tropical modernism from a small studio in Bangkok. Clients come to him for peaceful residences that fit the location rather than the latest fashion. “It’s important to me that spaces are calming and cocooning,” says Daminato, who opts for subtle colour palettes and is restrained in his use of materials. Unapologetically hands-on, right down to picking out the cups and cutlery, he prides himself on being a practical designer who agonises over even the back-of-house areas. “Unless we can control the whole space, it’s not a full package of design,” he says.

A typical project can take a few years so Studio Daminato takes on a limited number of commissions. Can’t wait? For a cool $6.5m (€5.2m), a Bangkok pied-à-terre that Daminato designed at the Windshell Naradhiwas building – a timber-panelled “cigar box” inside a brutalist, concrete tower – is ready and waiting. studiodaminato.com

bad gastein, austria
Take the waters in a belle époque town on the up


For decades the Alpine town of Bad Gastein was in a deep slumber. Once celebrated by emperors and empresses for its pristine, restorative waters, the Austrian town’s belle époque buildings began to crumble in the 1980s. About 10 years ago, however, a wave of entrepreneurs began to shake things up. First there were smaller hotels such as Haus Hirt, Hotel Regina and Miramonte, mainly catering to a creative crowd. Then Berlin-based architect Barbara Elwardt opened The Comodo, a former health resort turned alpine retreat, in 2023. “What is happening here feels like a new beginning,” she says.


Fittingly, the town’s historic centre, next to Bad Gastein’s waterfall, has just been restored. Among the buildings that have been reimagined is the Grandhotel Straubinger, built in 1840 and once Bad Gastein’s largest hotel. When its current owner, Munich-based Hirmer Group, commissioned Vienna’s bwm architects to revive it, they found tables still laid and beds still made. The building was renovated alongside the old Badeschloss opposite, adding 148 rooms to the town.

The buildings tell a story of revival. Historic features, such as antique parquet flooring and Lobmeyr chandeliers, have been juxtaposed with modern elements, including an extension with a rooftop infinity pool. With thermal baths, panoramic saunas and a three-storey spa, the new Alpine Swim Club sets the scene for a new beginning.

leica sofort 2
Capture the moments that matter


Founded in Wetzlar in 1849, iconic German camera manufacturer Leica has not lost sight of what younger photographers want: that is, to have a little fun behind the lens and some instant gratification too. Its playful, lightweight Sofort 2 model, released in November 2023, might have a distinctively retro appearance – rounded corners, the option of a bright red, black or white finish – but it also packs a host of nifty digital features. Inside there’s a mini printer that allows it to create instant images; the camera also offers hassle-free connectivity for those who want to publish their images online. Hopefully it’ll inspire you to put down your phone and capture a moment worth remembering.


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