Archive - The Luxury Channel

Escape to Kampala

Kampala, Uganda. I am sitting in Sparkles Salon, in the Game Mall, sixty minutes into what I’m told will be a marathon four-hour hair-braiding session. Not your usual tourist activity, perhaps. But this isn’t an obvious tourist city. In fact, most visitors give Kampala a miss and rush instead to see the gorillas and big four (for five, the rhino, you need to go to the zoo). But Kampala should be a compulsory stop, a must-see for anyone who likes food, art and African life. About which, more later...

The Luxury Channel, 10/08/2018

Go to website

Escape to Atmantan

There are some unique boards by the roadside. ‘A fit and healthy you is the best fashion statement you can make,’ reads one sign. Another says, ‘Be transformed — in the land of prana (life energy), there is no app for this.’ Nearby folk wearing kurta pyjamas raise their hands prayerfully in Namaste greetings. This is the Atmantan wellness resort, the name of which is derived from the Sanskrit words for ‘mind’, ‘body’ and ‘soul.’...

The Luxury Channel, 13/07/2018

Go to website

Escape to Gleneagles

If there’s a smart place to take a hound, Gleneagles is it. It hit the headlines in 2005 when it hosted the G8 summit, despite the leaders being minus their pooches. But recently, it has been becoming famous for its excellent hospitality for the four-legged. There’s a rigorous vetting (excuse the pun) procedure prior to my arrival with Poppy, my Boxer. On most counts, she probably shouldn’t be allowed to stay. Show her a fluffy, small, white dog and she thinks: canapé. Oh, and she farts a lot with no compunction about doing so in five-star hotels. And, let’s face it, this all makes me feel nervous...

The Luxury Channel, 08/06/2018

Go to website

Escape to Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort

It’s not often that there’s a resort hotel that boasts an unusual welcome ceremony, a Nature Guru who’s a conservationist with a Masters in Environmental Science, and a great Ayurvedic doctor too. I’ll start with the first: a greeting that involves singing, drumming and three Sinhalese ladies in a lobby. That’s the welcome I get at the Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort. I guess it means, “Hey! You’ve just arrived at a corker of a resort,” or something like that. At any rate, that would be true...

The Luxury Channel, 21/03/2018

Go to website

Kandy Samadhi Centre – for the luxury of tranquillity, beauty and simplicity

It’s almost possible to touch the white clouds that move slowly across the hilltop in front of my terrace. There’s a hammock hanging between vintage wooden pillars and monkeys swinging in trees watching me watching them. Lying there is great too for listening to the orchestra of birds and crickets. Sweet music conducted by tree frogs, with backing vocals from a singing river and wild boar rustling in the bush. There’s a view of the Knuckles Mountains and of paddy fields, bamboos, forests of mango, jack trees and guava. It’s like waking up in Heaven a few years too early...

The Luxury Channel, 07/03/2018

Go to website

Best in London – the people who really matter

Caroline Phillips unearths the people who really matter to the people who really matter. The doctors, practitioners, therapists and service providers who celebrities and folk with their finger truly on the pulse have on speed dial. An alphabetical guide to the country’s leaders in everything from psychotherapy to gut health. From who you should visit for semi-permanent make-up to hair removal. Not to mention the super-facialists and who to choose for acupuncture or to accompany you to buy your clothes...

The Luxury Channel, 13/02/2018

Go to website

24 hours in Colombo

They’re serving afternoon tea on cake stands with fans circling overhead and the Indian Ocean as a backdrop. There’s a lawn for croquet. Beyond this — and framed by 19th century columns and palm trees — there are ladies sashaying in gold and purple saris to watch a wedding on the promenade. The sound of traditional instruments fills the warm air and the sun is setting, a crimson ball in the sky. Who would imagine that this is just steps away from a vehicle-clogged city of dust, concrete and bustle?

The Luxury Channel, 27/01/2018

Go to website

Vaishaly Clinic – the ultimate glow-getter

What links Rachel Weisz, Kirsten Dunst and Sophie Dahl? Oh, and Elle Macpherson, Meg Ryan and Gwyneth Paltrow too. They’re all clients of Vaishaly, the super facialist. She’s also brow sculptor (threader) to the superstars. As if that isn’t enough, she and one of her team of whizzo therapists have just started offering microblading —a form of eyebrow tattooing, about which more later. Plus Vaishaly has recently expanded into the neighbouring building to open a nail bar offering everything you could ever want for the tips of your hands.

The Luxury Channel, 02/08/2017

Go to website

Escape to the Four Seasons in Florence

There are five-star hotels, and then there are the ones that deserve an entire firmament of stars. Places like the Plaza in New York, Claridge’s in London, and the Hôtel Ritz in Paris. I’ve stayed in the gold list of historical hotels from Mumbai’s Taj Mahal to Raffles in Siem Riep and Le Meurice in Paris too. It’s with this context in mind that I say that the Four Seasons in Florence is a real corker. A hotel so good that I’d like to live there, per favore.

The Luxury Channel, 06/06/2017

Go to website

Escape to Amsterdam

A member of staff wearing a long cream apron opens the front door.

‘May I offer you a glass of wine? A seat in front of the fire?’ asks this cheery Dutchman. We sit down for a cup of tea in the achtersalon (drawing room) midst classical busts. There are antique leather armchairs, comfy sofas, burning candles and a roaring log fire. Plus fresh roses, orchids and daffodils. Even hot off a KLM flight with my 21-year old daughter, it’s easy to set about the business of pretending this is our home.

The Luxury Channel, 12/05/2017

Go to website

Gielly Green one-stop boutique salon and spa

It’s like a studio that houses some of the capital’s greatest artists. Think of it as a curated exhibition or art gallery — but instead of artworks for sale, it has some of the world’s best hair maestros and therapists offering their services. These are the sorts of things that are said about Gielly Green, a tip-top boutique salon cum one-stop beauty lounge in Marylebone, London. It has also garnered glowing reviews in magazines like Tatler and Vogue.

The Luxury Channel, 23/03/2017

Go to website

Escape to Ethiopia

Ethiopia, it’s said, is perhaps the most intriguing country in Africa. It’s a place of scale, Biblical beauty, and oodles of historical treasures. It’s a land boasting a colourful, gracious and welcoming people. And somewhere with awesome landscapes, the likes of which are rarely seen outside of good dreams. This is an impressionistic account of its wonders.

The Luxury Channel, 27/01/2017

Go to website

Ethiopian Airlines – flying on cloud 9

Cloud 9. That’s the business class cabin of Ethiopian Airlines. The one in the A350. This is where you want to be when you leave the tarmac to head for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It’s the first Airbus A350 to fly long-haul out of Heathrow. And the first to fly in African skies. Let’s start at the beginning. The airline shares a lounge with United at Heathrow. But if you’re flying from Addis Ababa, they have their own own dedicated space – with bar, children’s area, business centre and even an Ethiopian coffee corner.

The Luxury Channel, 11/10/2016

Go to website

Escape to Fattoria Corleonese

Rolling landscapes, home grown tomatoes and traditional red clay roof tiles. This is Fattoria Corleonese, a gorgeous manor house for holidays in Sicily. It’s in the heart of the country, part of a working farm and in a building that has been in the same family since 1873. It’s set in 92 hectares of beautiful countryside, among cornfields and sheep with clanking bells on their necks. All midst plum trees, cypresses, and ancient walnut trees as far as the eye can see. You’d be hard pushed to find a more pleasant place.

The Luxury Channel, 12/01/2016

Go to website

Escape to Casalnuovo

The sky is streaked pink and purple. There are hills that recede into the distance where the Tyrrhenian Sea twinkles and the magical Aeolian islands stick temptingly out of the water. The villa is surrounded by an organic estate with olive trees, two gamboling dogs and a vegetable garden with sun-blushed tomatoes, beans and squash. Nearby are the Nebrodi mountains with walking trails, lakes, streams and woods.

The Luxury Channel, 12/01/2016

Go to website

Bohème - a secret sanctuary of style

Bohème. Does the very name conjure up thoughts of Puccini’s opera? Well, think again. Because this Bohème is actually one of the loveliest self-catering houses in Somerset. Say the word, ‘Bohème.’ And imagine now a converted sixteenth century former cider mill turned drop-dead stylish, modern-rustic house. Say ‘Bohème’ and imagine instead a place that was also an erstwhile dairy farm and now blends original features with contemporary dash and comfort.

The Luxury Channel, 18/12/2015

Go to website

The cure at Vivamayr Altaussee

The talk en route to the resort is scary. ‘They’ll put us on a diet of 600 calories a day.’ ‘You’ll be given so much Epsom salts you’ll need Pampers.’ Such is the speculation among journalists on the way to the VivaMayr Resort Altaussee, the spanking new wellness and health clinic on the shores of Lake Altaussee in Liezen, Austria.

The Luxury Channel, 05/06/2015

Go to website

Savage beauty

Savage Beauty, a major retrospective of the work of visionary fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen, is a cut above the rest. The exhibition – which originated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York – has been edited and expanded, with 244 items on display. Clothes will always look dull after these.

The Luxury Channel, 17/03/2015

Go to website

Redonda Bay’s Aqua Wellness resort

Aqua Wellness Resort in Redonda Bay, Nicaragua, is for the zen seeker who wants marshmallows on the campfire after her yoga session. Or a pizza night after her papaya body scrub.

The Luxury Channel, 10/03/2015

Go to website

Monaci delle Terre Nere – an earthly paradise in Italy

It’s an earthly paradise. Mt Etna fumes theatrically behind, red molten lava slipping dramatically down its slopes, and the Ionian sea sparkles in front. Welcome to Monaci delle Terre Nere – the boutique hotel that’s pulling all the awards.

The Luxury Channel, 05/03/2015

Go to website

Escape to Morgan’s Rock

Morgan’s Rock really rocks. The Ecolodge is set on one of Nicaragua’s most gobsmackingly gorgeous and deserted, private beaches….a bay of sugar-fine sand and gently lapping Pacific waves. Gallop along the mile-long stretch of beach on horseback – “giddy up Pirata” – or saunter along it to watch sea turtles laying their eggs. The Ecolodge itself comprises 15 wood and thatched bungalows – so eco they’re enough to make anyone weep recycled tears of joy – with simple local furnishings, almond tree floors and the grooviest of upcycled copper taps and shower fittings. There’s no air-conditioning – just the freshest of sea breezes, plus fans and views to beat those in Adam and Eve’s back yard.

The Luxury Channel, 18/02/2015

Go to website

Westernising Japanese food at Kurobuta

‘You’re going to hate Kurobuta,’ my teen children announce cheerily. ‘It’s uncomfortable and noisy.’ Well, naturally, I wanted to prove them wrong – what self-righteous mother wouldn’t? But given the fact that I’m now sitting on something like a park bench, only less comfortable – a wooden, plank-like seat – in a restaurant that is chronically loud, cavernous and unpleasantly dark, it’s going to be difficult to disagree with my teen lifestyle advisors.

The Luxury Channel, 24/11/2014

Go to website

Kokkeriet – a small restaurant with big ambitions

A small restaurant with big ambitions – that’s Kokkeriet according to its website. It claims also to be ‘modern and old-fashioned, innovative and traditional, decadent and minimalist, pretentious as well as humble.’ Well, that’s all bases covered then.

The Luxury Channel, 19/11/2014

Go to website

Dining at UNI

Outside it has the look of a Belgravia hair salon or a candle and scent shop – with its black awning and white façade with lots of glass, and window with a big image of a Japanese face. From the pavement, passers-by don’t really see diners. But inside is UNI – a restaurant serving Japanese and Peruvian fusion food, aka Nikkei cuisine.

The Luxury Channel, 19/11/2014

Go to website

Modica’s La Gazza Ladra

If there were a handful of Michelin restaurants in the Sicilian town of Modica and its immediate environs, that would be impressive. But there are actually two handfuls. Several eateries that are Michelin-rated, plus a couple with two stars, and a duo with one star. That’s just plain greedy when there are entire cities starving for just one Michelin restaurant.

The Luxury Channel, 17/10/2014

Go to website

There’s something special about Sicily

There’s something special about Sicily. As Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman has written, ‘Oranges are more orange in Sicily.’ And as Goethe wrote, ‘The key to Italy is Sicily.’ Whichever way you look at it, this once-rich island, the biggest in the Med, is magical. It’s famed for its Baroque, Byzantine and Corinthian architecture, cliff-top villages, beautiful beaches, stylish hotels and superb cuisine. I experienced first the luxury of tranquillity and life in the slowest of slow lanes in agroturismo Il Vignale (a week in a way-off-the-beaten-track north coast villa), before taking to the road for a further week to round up the best of the rest of places to stay.

The Luxury Channel, 17/10/2014

Go to website

Cliveden - a luxury country house hotel

After years of being so-so, Cliveden – the stateliest of stately home hotels – now deserves a trillion regal curtsies. Prepare ye for a (rare) eulogy – because the hotel’s new leaseholders, the Livingstone brothers, have been making changes with oodles of fairy dust, cash and sophisticated taste, and they have pulled not so much a rabbit out of a hat as a voluptuous grande dame dressed in fashionable finery.

The Luxury Channel, 23/05/2014

Go to website



“Caroline Phillips is a tenacious and skilful writer with a flair for high quality interviewing and a knack for making things work.”

Paul Dacre, Chairman Associated Newspapers

Back to top