WATCH THE BUTLER - HE DOES IT
With hotels falling over one another to provide ever more esoteric luxury services, Le Richmond Hotel in Geneva has come up with a particularly attractive wheeze for watch fans heading for the land of time keeping. They have appointed a dedicated Watch Butler.
The Watch Butler, Pierre Jacques, is the head of luxury watch boutique, Les Ambassadeurs, located in Geneva’s rue du Rhone. He was previously owner and editor of the industry bible, GMT Magazine, and is an ‘Haute Horlogerie’ specialist. With access to 24 elite luxury brands – mainly Swiss-made – and also to some rare and exceptional collectors’ timepieces, he is well-placed to share his knowledge and expertise with Le Richemond’s guests, either privately at the hotel or on a specially arranged visit by limousine to Les Ambassadeurs.
So he is not quite on tap, or at the ring of a bell, at the hotel. But the service, which is complimentary to guests staying at Le Richemond, is tailor made and starts by providing a list of brands. Most of these are manufactured in or around Geneva, and the Watch Butler is also able to arrange private visits to such exclusive watch names as Vacheron Constantin, Roger Dubuis and Franck Muller.
Guests may request to view any particular timepieces and the Butler can help source rare timepieces. Essentially, can he give expert advice on buying watches, and ensure everything runs like clockwork.
The hotel is offering a special package to tempt dedicated watch buffs. Stay in one of their luxury rooms, then start the day with a glass of champagne and breakfast, before meeting the Butler and visiting Vacheron Constantin, Roger Dubuis or Frank Muller. Then its off to the Patek Phillipe museum, perhaps time for a session in the hotel's elegant spa, before preparing for a gourmet dinner in the hotel's Le Jardin restaurant. It costs £546 and must be booked 48 hours in advance of the guest's arrival.
The 5-star hotel overlooks Lake Geneva, at top, and is part of the Rocco Forte group. www.roccofortecollection.com
ISLAND-HOPPING IN THE CARIBBEAN
Private yachts were once the preserve of the ultra-rich but not any more. Now, for quite a reasonable sum, anyone can have their own life on the ocean waves in luxurious splendour - for a couple of weeks at least.
Miramar Sailing in the Caribbean provides the opportunity to island hop, dropping anchor wherever, the itinery decided by whoever hires their fully crewed vessels.
“Guests have the absolute freedom to choose what each day’s sailing will involve," explains co-founder of the company, Brian Turton. "For example they can start off visiting secluded coves in the morning, before stopping for lunch at one of the most luxurious marinas in the world, and finish the day off at anchor in a picturesque bay enjoying a moonlit dinner – alternatively they can simply sail around the coast relaxing on the bow of their yacht, whilst basking in Caribbean sunshine and gliding through turquoise-blue water.”
The cost for a week of such indulgence is from just £1,520. With tailor-made departures and itineraries, and most meals included, it seems a yachting bargain. Flights to and from Antigua not included. www.miramarsailing.com
TAKE TO THE HILLS FOR HEALTH
Its a long way to go for some peace and quiet but a few days in the Himalayas promises wonderful benefits.
India's ancient Vedic Meditation technique may be studied in a setting of agreeable luxury at Ananda, once the home of the Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal, now a world-class spa. This is where the London Meditation Centre is arranging a follow-up course to its springtime session, to teach Vedic Meditation - the oldest and most researched practice of meditation in the world.
Over a few days, participants will learn 'how to calm the mind and body to achieve profound levels of rest allowing deep-rooted stress and fatigue to be dissolved' Cost of the seven-night course this October, in a deluxe palace room, is from £2,100. www.anandaspa.com