L´Apogée Courchevel

This region, with its winter woods, with grandiose ski slopes and great boutiques – it feels like the Côte d’Azur in white, like St. Tropez in the snow! The ski area in Savoy around Courchevel in the French Alps is the most exclusive France has to offer during winter – and it seems as if the beach jet set of the summer relocated and put on skis.

Courchevel is elegant and casual at the same time, it ‘feels’ very different than Austria, Switzerland or Italy – Courchevel is a new, different experience, kind of snow with Oh-là-là. Also, très chic! And a bit extravagant. For me, the number one address at 1,800 meters altitude is L’Apogée Courchevel from the prestigious Oetker Collection. And indeed, half the staff of the Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc of Cap d’Antibes, also part of the Oetker Collection and traditionally closed from November to March, works here over the winter. It feels to me as if all those employees just shipped the Côte’s philosophy of life in large moving boxes into the mountains. Read more

Monaco – with Bono and Prince Albert

This way of life, this mixture of simplicity, security, casual style. That is what really got me into it. I find it cool how Bono from U2 was sitting next to me at the American Bar in the Hotel de Paris. Nobody made a fuss about it, not him, not others, hardly anyone looked, nobody asked for an autograph.

The density of stars, celebrities, the super-rich and the beauties is perfectly normal here. Monaco is a magnet for them – as well as for the others. Meanwhile, a black Lexus with the license plate MC 01 parked in front of the luxury hotel de Paris, which had just been renovated for over 60 million euros: the car of Prince Albert.

One can see at a glance how much wealth this small country harbors – packed into a mere two square kilometers. All this prosperity is lived with a special lightness. That in itself is an experience. Read more

On the road in the vintage car

Only now do I know how good it can feel to drive a car. And how much closer one can experience the landscape, just how much more intense everything can feel when travelling from village to village in a vintage convertible on mountain passes and side roads. In a dark blue 1959 Jaguar convertible for instance, in a Morris MG-A or a Mercedes 190 SL from the fifties, an Austin Healey 3000 or an Alfa Romeo Giulietta from the sixties.

I did not even want to exit the car anymore – and hardly have I ever experienced the border triangle (Austria, Italy, Slovenia) more beautifully than now with the historic convertible. Driving feeling and driving experience simply are completely different than in a modern car: there is something nostalgic to it, there is romance. And above all, it has class! It is not even about the people at the roadside glancing after you, taking pictures with their phones, or even waving.

This is about yourself ­– about this travel feeling, as if time had not only stopped, but turned back.

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Zaya Nurai Island off Abu Dhabi

Aboard a speedboat, passengers pass the private millionaire islands off Abu Dhabi with all their palaces on their way to Zaya Nurai Island. This makes the journey to Zaya Nurai Island an experience in itself! There are a few dozen islands here, the crossing takes just under a quarter of an hour – and it is most beautiful in the airstream on deck. What awaits me is a luxury resort on a private island: spacious, elegant, with private pools, the utmost discretion, with several restaurants, bright sandy beaches. The owners: a local real estate entrepreneur and a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family. Their dream: to make Nurai Island an island with a Maldives look. Read more

Mnemba Island Lodge

It is probably the sum of it all which makes this place in the ocean so unique – Mnemba Island with its lodge, a 20-minute boat ride away from the northeast tip of Zanzibar. It is this magnificent African sky so close to the equator – this feeling on the beach at night of being able to stretch out your arm and pick a star from the sky. They seem close enough to reach. And it is this joy of dining outdoors with no more than 24 other guests with candles and oil lamps all around. There are but twelve huts on the island where everything is provided for, yet they intentionally have this simplistic touch. But of course, there is also the magical daytime experience: the white sand, the turquoise sea, the wonders of the wilderness, the light blue sky. The sum of it all is just extraordinary. So extraordinary that you would not want to leave anytime soon. Read more