Nothing like doing more than one thing at once, and Anantara Convento di Amalfi Grand Hotel ticks every box imaginable. It’s a 13th century Capuchin convent tucked into the cliffside, the ocean below - go for the 753sq ft Suite Dell’Eremita, all by itself in the resort’s lemon-studded surround. Add, at this time of year, a traditional Christmas market with local goodies. Panettone, ‘smores and hot chocolate and things to buy. Don’t miss a convent tour with German-born Friar Marcus. He also does a pretty amazing Amaro appreciation class.
Every year Claridge’s literally has a one-off designer Christmas tree. Dolce & Gabbana started the tradition nine years ago. This year ‘tis the turn of Louis Vuitton, the company named for the trunk maker appointed as clothes packer to Napoleon III’s wife, the Empress Eugénie in 1854 - coincidentally the year of Claridge’s birth. Fortunately LV today does do a range of coverables other than steamer trunks. With Pharrell Williams on the design team, the LV tree will be memorable.
The 7th Earl of cardigan led the Charge of the Light Brigade but he’s best remember for the fasten-up jackets his guys wore. Today, men’s bests at Bloomindale’s include Paul Smith’s striped sleeves cotton cardigan. For gals, look online at Net-à-Porter. It’s gone cardi crazy (the most obtuse is Brunello Cucinelli’s zipped thing, covered in sequins). By contrast, Loro Piana’s Kalgoorie shows Fair Isle at its best, in cashmere blended with silk. Alternatively, switch to bradigans. Follow Katie Holmes and wear cardigans, cashmere of course, that have built-in bras.
Plan for painting therapy. Art with class at Pylewell, near Lymington and England’s New Forest. It’s childhood home of artist William Roper-Curzon, a Prince’s Trust scholar. He and long-time business partner Amber Guinness host their next Arniano Painting School at Pylewell 14-19 July 2024. Ten participants, from all-over. Tutored watercolour or oil by day. Later, with Amber Guinness’ husband Matthew Bell doing drinks and music, expect memorable conversation and fab cooking (A House Party in Tuscany is her book).
Singita’s the magic name in safaris, thanks to the brand’s creator, Luke Bailes. He inherited family land in South Africa and since 1993 he’s developed 16 projects in four countries, Next up, opening May 2024, is ten-person Singita Milele on 350,000 acres of pristine wilderness in the Grumeti Reserve in northern Tanzania. Fly in via the Sasakwa airstrip. Once there, take the 1,350 square ft Master Suite. Share cinema, gym and spa – and experiences.
Rothko time. Born Markus Rothkowitz in 1903, few other painters’ works are so recognisable as Mark Rothko’s bold blocks of colour. In Paris, The Fondation Louis Vuitton is showing 115 Rothkos through next spring. In Washington DC, there are exhibitions at both The National Gallery of Art and The Phillips Collection. The holy grail is Houston’s somewhat sombre permanent collection at The Rothko Chapel. Stay at The Houstonian Hotel, 17 minutes away (memorabilia-full 680sq ft Suite 271 was where President GHW Bush stayed whenever in town).