On The Road
Seven Cool Hang-Outs For 2015
Whether you are (or just fancy yourself) an international man of mystery, here are the bars, boîtes and bedrooms that should be on your list
Modern espionage, as practised by the man of style, takes charm, athleticism and a capacity to outwit absolutely everyone around you, in any number of cinematic locations. The same could be said of modern business or modern romance. Stealth assignations require secret addresses, from subterranean cocktail bars to ultra-private hotels with hidden inner sanctums. They also, inexplicably, tend to involve many different types of transport. Be ready to drop everything and fly out to the Alps or the powder slopes of the Far East for a dramatic ski chase. Or dine next to a tropical marina with a jet-set skyline and make your escape via yacht. Finally, a dash of old-school Britishness won’t go amiss – whether you’re carrying out orders in Mayfair or the Caribbean. Discreet, elite, exotic and stylish, here are 2015’s top new destinations fit for a 21st-century super spy, or those who just like jetting around the globe to their own internal Shirley Bassey soundtrack.
La Mar by Gastón Acurio, Miami
This, a collaboration between South American super chef Mr Gastón Acurio and Mandarin Oriental, is a high-end version of the classic Peruvian cebichería (think fresh seafood, simple tiled or cement walls, blackboard menus) with outstanding views of the Miami skyline and Biscayne Bay – flee by super yacht from Brickell Key marina after dining with a double agent. The pair of waterfront terraces seat up to 120 guests, or you can perch for a private chat beneath the Ingo Maurer lamp in the tiny cocktail bar and enjoy fine piscos, tequilas and mezcals.
What to order Ceviche of salmon, shrimp or yellowtail snapper, made to order with leche de tigre, a Peruvian marinade made from fresh fish juices and lime.
Who to know Executive chef Mr Diego Oka and general manager Ms Lady Astacio. mandarinoriental.com
Kasara Niseko Village, Hokkaido
Launched in December, these well-appointed ski-in-ski-out apartments sleep up to six each and offer a restful place to recharge after a high-speed ski chase. Keep villains and their burly henchmen away from the beautifully crafted sliding screens, natural wood and tatami mats. Niseko, which The New York Times has called Japan’s own St Moritz, was discovered by the Australian snowboarding fraternity during the 1990s – visit now before its long season, incredible volumes of light, dry powder and backcountry thrills, go mainstream.
What to order Sip a local single malt in the “tapas pub” inspired by trendy drinking holes in London and Brooklyn, but with a rustic Hokkaido charm.
Who to know CEO Ms Shiau Wee Long and the Austrian-German chef Mr Johann Lafer, who’ll be masterminding the village brasserie. kasara.com/NisekoVillage
Operation Dagger, Singapore
A glass doorway in Chinatown, a dark staircase, that spy-worthy name – yet this isn’t just any secretive speakeasy. You won’t encounter big-name booze brands at Operation Dagger (named after a big gangland cleanup during the 1950s); rather, there’s unusual gastronomic cocktails made with spirits distilled or fermented in-house. The cloud-like ceiling is an installation of more than 6,000 light bulbs, casting a moody light over apothecary-style hand-labelled bottles and black wall tiles.
What to order Mulled wine with black cardamom, vanilla and orange, or the Gomasio, flavoured with sesame, cucumber, ginger and citrus.
Who to know Owners Messrs Luke Whearty and Aki Nishikura, who are also behind the Anglo-chic gastro pub Oxwell & Co. 7 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore
what to wear
Aberdeen Street Social, Hong Kong
Standing for “police married quarters”, PMQ is a pair of lavishly regenerated 1950s buildings in Central, earmarked as studio space for creative businesses, with a sprinkling of retail outlets and restaurants. World-conquering Mr Jason Atherton has collaborated with Singaporean entrepreneur Ms Yenn Wong to open an all-day café and cocktail bar here, plus a restaurant upstairs, where homesick secret agents can pore over classified documents while nursing a Bloody English Bloody Mary and a gingerbread man from the in-house bakery.
What to order Duck breast with pickled pear, date and Earl Grey purée, or pig’s trotter and ham hock with black pudding.
Who to know Sharp-suited bar manager Mr Neil Rivington and executive chef Mr Chris Whitmore. aberdeenstreetsocial.hk
Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France, St-Barthélemy
Located on Baie des Flamands, the nicest beach on the nicest island in the West Indies, this relaxed yet super-luxe hotel with 40 rooms and suites is an ideal place for a stressed-out secret agent to recharge, far from the machinations of MI5 and/ or the CIA. New owner LVMH has brought over British designer Ms Bee Osborn to refresh the décor, added a Guerlain spa and a fitness centre. For extra privacy, take the 400sqm Villa Flamand, with home cinema and direct beach access. Mr Ian Fleming might have approved.
What to order Club sandwich, sole meunière, grilled Scottish salmon.
Who to know GM Ms Christelle Hilpron. stbarthisledefrance.chevalblanc.com
WHAT TO WEAR
Chalet Husky, Val d’Isère
The last word in luxury alpine lairs, Chalet Husky manages to be cosy and quirky, as well as huge (seven bedrooms, 611sqm of floor space) and techy (state-of-the-art lighting, audio and temperature control). The 32sqm swimming pool has an infinity waterfall to a sauna, plus there’s an excellent games room where you can prepare for action-man spy craft by practising archery and laser rifle shooting, and scaling the climbing wall, which ingeniously deploys actual mountain rock.
What to order Anything you feel like, courtesy of your private chef and staff.
Who to know Developer Mr Jean-Charles Covarel, responsible for many of Europe’s most prestigious properties, including a chalet in Val d’Isère for ski legend Mr Jean-Claude Killy. scottdunn.com
WHAT TO WEAR
The Beaumont hotel, London
This handsome Art-Deco landmark was, unbelievably, an Avis Rent-A-Car until Messrs Jeremy King and Chris Corbin – the gentlemen behind glamorous hang-outs Ivy, J Sheekey and The Wolseley – swiped it and turned it into a gracious 73-room hotel. Spies can sidle in here for clandestine conversations in the Colony Grill, discreetly hidden from the street, or, for guests only, the secret-feeling wood-panelled Cub Room.
What to order Cocktails in the American Bar come strictly shaken or stirred, with a focus on bourbons and American whiskies. The Martinez, allegedly the antecedent of 007’s de rigueur Martini, is made with sweet vermouth, gin, maraschino and orange bitters.
Who to know Look out for suave, courteous Mr Jeremy King, a good head taller than everyone else and always impeccable in tailoring. thebeaumont.com