Mercedes launches two special edition models of the G-Class in Japan as a tribute to its rich heritage

To celebrate the rich heritage of Mercedes G-Wagen sapping 39 years and pay tribute to the outgoing model, the German automaker has launched two special editions along with three additional exterior colors exclusively for Japan. The Mercedes-Benz G350 d Heritage Edition, as the name suggests, pays homage to the storied past of the legendary G-Class SUV. A special motif signifies the 39-year old heritage of the G-Wagen, which was first introduced in 1979, and the underlying DNA of the 4×4 has largely remained unchanged. The special edition will be available in 5 different colors, specially chosen from paintjobs that were popular in the vehicles four-decade-long history. The car is mechanically identical to the standard G350 d. It is powered by 3.0-liter V6 diesel producing 245 horses. The Heritage Edition will be available for 11.9 million Yen (about US $111,100)

The G550 Designo Magno Edition is a part of the 463 special specification cars built for worldwide sale, with only 55 making their way to the shores of Japan. The exterior wears a special “Designo Magno” platinum matte color along with front grill louver and rear wheel cover ring finished in matte black. The cabin is decked out with Designo black leather seat, Designo piano lacquer wood interior trim and AMG performance steering wheel wrapped in Nappa leather with white stitching. This too is mechanically identical to the standard G550 featuring a 4.0-liter V8 under the hood that sends 421 horsepower to all four wheels. The limited edition is priced at 17.8 million Yen (approx. US $166,000).

Text: Gigi Morelli

 

Montblanc introduces three new watches in the Heritage Chronométrie Collection

Montblanc has added three new watches to the Heritage Chronométrie collection that introduces a fresher, more contemporary design code. The “Chronométrie” in the name of the collection is derived from the French word for “precision,” thus the new watches include solid horological credentials despite their affordable price tags. The latest additions to the collection includes two new interpretations of the patented ExoTourbillon Slim which was launched back in 2016. The first watch in this new collection is the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Perpetual Calendar Sapphire (ref. 118513), which features the same movement as the 2014 perpetual calendar. The 2018 edition comes with a new 40mm stainless steel case with slimmer lugs, a fully polished finishing and new dial design. The perpetual calendar indications are featured on transparent counters that are in a shade of dark-blue color. The watch is priced at EUR 12,700 (roughly $15,000).

Couqley French Bistro in Dubai

Couqley is a rustic French bistro with authentic old school Parisian flair. Outside, the exterior beckons with frosted windows printed with fabulous bistro style red letters. Inside, Couqley boasts a long zinc bar and cool looking replica bistro artefacts. The red chequered table cloths, dark wood hues and the smoke effect mirrors add to the warm bistro charm.

When it comes to the food at Couqley, you could not expect a more generous use of traditional French cuisine ingredients. You can really taste it – the garlic, butter and parsley sauce escargots we have to start are superb. The retro prawn and avocado cocktail is fresh and beautifully dressed.

For mains, we are absolutely bowled over by the steak frites and the rib-eye. The magic of the cuisson of the steak is almost puzzling. The rib-eye really melts like butter and tastes so flavoursome. The frites also have their say: perfect French fries, skinny, slightly crunchy and salted à point. They are everything you need to mop up Couqley’s house sauce – a delicious secret recipe.

Desserts are also a must. The traditional crème brulée and mousse au chocolat, with real chunks of dark rich chocolate, really hold their own.

Even the bread at Couqley deserves a special mention. It is the best French baguette we have ever tasted outside of France. No surprise there – it is shipped from France in its pre-cooked dough and cooked on the premises. It is presented in red napkin chequered baskets, perfectly warm and fluffy – un délice!

You can really sense the influence Alexis Couquelet’s teacher’s chefs Alain Ducasse and Jean Georges has had on this Lebanon-based Frenchman’s cuisine. It is energetic, authentic and tastes divine.

Couqley’s service is 5 stars with attentive, knowledgeable and mostly bilingual French staff. We look forward to returning to sample the signature pain perdu – deliberately left for our next trip as its legendary reputation precedes it already!

Lamborghini has just unveiled its first e-bike and it is stunning

Do you want to buy a Lamborghini and not be guilty of destroying the environment? Well, there’s good news! Italian supercar-maker has introduced its first ever E-Bike collection. Developed in collaboration with Italtechnology, the Lamborghini E-Bike models made its debut at the company’s museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese. The automaker says the E-Bikes are aimed at an exclusive and demanding clientele. Fitted with advanced technology, the bikes have been conceived, designed, and built entirely in Italy.

According, these E-Bikes are the result of over five years of research and feature technological innovation, cutting-edge design, and four international patents. Initially, the new E-Bikes will be available in two versions: an MTB designed for a dynamic lifestyle and outdoor activities, and a version dedicated more to speed for customers who want ultimate performance on the road, with a bike that can quickly reach the maximum speed allowed by current regulations. Lamborghini’s Ad Personam program that’s offered on its supercars will also be available on these bikes, which will give the owners a choice to customize the paint scheme for there E-Bikes.

The first two versions of the Lamborghini E-Bikes will be available online and through selected specialized retailers worldwide starting in May. The prices are yet to be announced.

Text: Gigi Morelli

 

 

 

Richard Mille has launched a new $161,000 Regatta Watch

Swiss luxury watchmaker Richard Mille released a new regatta watch to mark the start of the ninth annual edition of the Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille sailing competition. Called the RM 60-01 Les Voiles de St. Barth 2018 Limited Edition Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta, it is one of the most expensive non-gemstone-studded regatta watches to date and the watchmaker will only make 50 pieces of it. Available only in bright yellow, the regatta watch is powered by the RMAC2 automatic caliber, which is crafted in grade-5 titanium. It offers flyback chronograph functions for timing multiple events, annual calendar with oversize date, running seconds and coordinated universal time (UTC) function, making it an absolute powerhouse of a movement.

To offer is wearers the ability to make navigational calculations and determine current location, the watch features bi-directional rotating outer bezel, along with the inner rings and dial, which displays everything from indication of the four cardinal points and a graduated degree- and 24-hour scale. The RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta 2018 watch will only be sold in the Americas with a price tag of $161,000.

Review: Samenda Caldwell

French chocolate is the Food of Love All Year Round – Not Just at Valentine’s Day

February 14th is here – and for most lovers of all things chocolate – a gift of ‘the best chocolate in the world’ is the only gift worth giving this Valentine’s Day.

Or indeed, for any special occasion. Based in Forcalquier in the Haute Provence region of France, zChocolat once again demonstrates why the French reign supreme on matters of the heart. Featuring a divine assortment of 10 specially crafted chocolates, the 2018 Valentine’s Day Collections includes the most requested recipes from Master Chocolatier Pascal Caffet with special love-inspired extras.

This year’s special edition packaging features either an ornate key design or an embellished heart design. The collection has also incorporated a dramatic nod to love’s foremost flower. Delicate rose petals are hidden beneath the lid of each box add instant romance and drama to each delivery. Like every zChocolat product, items from the Valentine’s Collection can be additionally customised with a personalised message, the recipient’s name engraved on the package, or even a heart-shaped padlock with an individually selected combination.

Of course, it’s the chocolates that steal the show. All-natural ingredients, exotic single-origin cocoas, and an absence of preservatives ensure premium flavours, while zChocolat’s innovative recipes make each product an unforgettable melt-in-your-mouth experience.

Particularly noteworthy are standout gifts such as lavish gold-covered chocolates, an impressive half-pound heart-shaped hazelnut praline, and elegantly coloured chocolate hearts, including a recently re-imagined ginger praline heart covered in smooth white chocolate.

This Valentine’s Day, give your beloved our special limited-edition Valentine’s Day box: the “Jet’aime” zBox 12. The words Je t’aime are engraved on the lid that will arrive beautifully wrapped. Inside are four distinct flavours, including irresistible white chocolate hearts filled with dark chocolate ganache, hazelnut pralines in smooth milk chocolate, luscious caramels coated in rich dark chocolate, and a recently re-imagined ginger praline in seductively silky white chocolate. A particularly elegant way to invite romance this month – and at any time of the year. As the pre-eminent source for fine quality French chocolate, the zChocolat brand has epitomised the expression chic à la française since its inception in 1999. The 2018 Valentine’s Day Collection, along with a wide range of other distinguished chocolate gifts, are available online exclusively at their website at www.zchocolat.com. Happy Valentine’s Day to all chocolate lovers!

 

Caprice at the Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong — A magnifique feast for the senses

Dining at Caprice, the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong’s two-Michelin-starred French fine dining restaurant, is an experience that qualifies as eating of epic sensations.

The Chinoiserie décor itself is in a league of its own. With three massive Czech crystal chandeliers framed by large views overlooking the harbour, leather armchairs and an underlit catwalk-like landing in Yayoi Kusama-yellow from one end of the space to the other, the ambience is vibrant, classy and impactful. The open kitchen even has a curtain of Swarovski crystals perched above the stoves, making you feel like you’re dining within a diamond.

Under the baton of Chef Guillaume Galliot — who was once the youngest sous chef at Singapore’s Raffles Hotel, and formerly at the helm of The Tasting Room by Galliot in Macau, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant — Caprice has maintained its two Michelin star rating since he joined the French institution in 2017. So it follows that when Chef Galliot stopped by our table to say hello and tell us a little bit about himself and his background, we happily gave him free rein over our meal.

“The open kitchen even has a curtain of Swarovski crystals perched above the stoves, making you feel like you’re dining within a diamond.”

The service standards were, of no surprise, exceptional. Each course arrived perfectly timed and accompanied by a phalanx of waiters who simultaneously flourished the cloches open with bright eyes and polite smiles. Throughout lunch, the staff moved swiftly around, brisk walking over at the slightest indication to tend to our every request, query or concern. My warm water cup, for one, never fell below the halfway mark, and we didn’t once lack the appropriate utensil or accoutrement at any point.

For our appetiser, we sampled one of the signatures: a ‘Land and Sea Tartare’ composed of Australian Wagyu beef and Gillardeau oyster, topped with Kristal caviar and a surprisingly large sheet of gold leaf for a visual oomph. Fresh snow peas lent a distinct crunch while a ring of egg confit and parsley drops presented an orange and green ring around the beef. Ooh la la.

“Each course arrived perfectly timed and accompanied by a phalanx of waiters who simultaneously flourished the cloches open with bright eyes and polite smiles.”

The next dish was one of the standouts of the meal. Named ‘L’Œuvre de Mon Voyage à Singapore Le Laksa au Crabe Royal, Œuf Confit et Citron Sudachi’, it roughly translates to ‘The Work of My Journey to Singapore: The Laksa with King Crab, Confit Egg and Sudachi Lime’. The creation was inspired by Chef Galliot’s time in Singapore and blended with classical French flavours — laksa being one of the most iconic local dishes of the city-state.

Served in a crustacean-shaped bowl, the yellow sauce — lighter than the typical orange laksa soup — bore the same, rich flavour. Within, fresh snow crab, lobster, leeks, coriander, chopped hazelnuts and a dusting of grated lime zest came together elegantly to enhance, as opposed to overpower, each ingredient.

The next three plates were equally noteworthy: a creamy Guilvinec turbot in new Caledonia prawn consommé with ginger; Racan pigeon cooked in a cocoa pod with pumpkin purée, salsify, and natural jus; and a glorious beef cheek Parmentier with potato espuma and parmesan cheese, topped off generously with black truffle.

The pigeon in particular, which hails from Chef Galliot’s home region of Loire Valley, was first shown to us in its cocoa pod before being carved up. The presentation was exquisite, the smell sublime. For the final finish, an outrageous topping of truffles went hand-in-hand with the juicy, full-bodied flesh.

All too soon, it was time for dessert but the culinary delights continued. Courtesy of esteemed pastry chef Nicolas Lambert, we enjoyed a pre-dessert yuzu parfait-meringue concoction with basil syphons and lime jelly drops on a crispy polenta that had the lightness of being. The combination of the different textures also contrasted beautifully at first bite, to the last.

Last but not least was a Joe-inspired treat featuring coffee ice cream, walnut tuiles, laddie fingers soaked in coffee syrup and caramel drops that looked too good too eat, but one that I practically inhaled during the conversation. By the time our teas and mignardises arrived, the restaurant had emptied out before we realised.

Judging from this experience, Chef Galliot truly flexes his classically trained French muscle while blending in his own influences from working around the world. His creations are evidently thought-out and intriguing, making the entire affair memorable. Though Caprice lost a Michelin star from three to two after a change in leadership in 2014 — with Chef Galliot maintaining the two-star ranking since he’s come onboard — we predict a triumphant return to its former status sooner than later.

Where: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong
8 Finance St, Central, Hong Kong
Phone: +852 3196 8888

 

These Are The World’s Most Exclusive Hotel Suites – Take a peek inside the world’s most expensive suites

1 – Royal Two Bedroom Suite, The Burj Al-Arab Jumeirah – Dubai

The 780m² Royal Suite has been designed with an opulent colour scheme, sumptuous furnishings and exclusive amenities including a private lift and cinema. Both floors of this exquisite Suite feature sublime uninterrupted views over the Arabian Gulf. For a casual € 15.000 a night this decadent suite could be all yours.

2 – Royal Suite, Hôtel Plaza Athénée – Paris

Gaze at the City of Light from the comfort of a spacious Royal Suite and experience the best five-star hotel in Paris. Lavishly decorated with French Regency furniture, stunning antiques, and touches of silk and damask, the suite speaks to the city’s history and beauty. The view alone is worth its
€ 22.000 a night price tag, from the balconies you’ll enjoy stunning views of avenue Montaigne and the Eiffel Tower.

3 – The Royal Penthouse Corinthia Hotel – London

The ultimate London address for the ultimate price of € 25.000 a night. The two-story suite offers panoramic views over the city. Its total space comes to 465m², which includes 10-seat dining room, a grand staircase leads to two bedrooms with king-size beds and bathrooms as well as two further bedrooms. A private spa suite and hidden den to the butler’s kitchen and walk-in wine cellar.

4 – Two Story Sky Villa, Palms Casino Resort – Las Vegas

The extravagant two-story villa spares no expense. For € 25.000 at weekends and € 15.000 on weekdays, it comes complete with pool, personal glass elevator, massage room, private balcony, media room and dry sauna. With all this and more, the 300m² palace is the ultimate Las Vegas suite

5 – Amanyara Villa, Amanyara – Turks & Caicos

Amanyara – “peaceful place” – shows luxury is best served beachside and poolside. It’s € 25.000 a night villa embodies the Caribbean spirit blending indoor-outdoor living via open-air living spaces, large decks, day beds, outdoor showers, infinity pools, lush landscapes and even private reflecting ponds.

6 – Penthouse Suite, Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez, Cannes – France

At € 30.000 the Penthouse Suite of the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez is situated on the 7th floor, this prestigious 300m² suite offers a bedroom with king bed, living room & dining room and a spacious marble bathroom. The private terrace alone is 270m² boasting stunning views over the Bay of Cannes and the famous Boulevard de la Croisette.

7 – Shahi Mahal Presidential Suite, Raj Palace Hotel, Jaipur – India

If this majestic hotel – a restored ancient royal castle – is good enough for the Maharaja, it’s good enough for you. The opulent Presidential suite glimmers in gold leaf, stucco, ivory, silver, ornate mirrors and furniture, and Italian marble floors. At € 32.000 per night, the 500m² suite has six bedrooms, dining room, theatre, library and kitchen staff over four floors.

8 – Delana Hilltop Estate, Laucala Island – Fiji

The entire island is owned by Red Bull’s billionaire owner and consists of 25 villas, but this is the best. It has panoramic views of the island, free massages, horse rides on the beach all these luxuries and more could be yours for € 38.000 a night (although you need receive an invite first!).

9 – Ty Warner Penthouse, Four Seasons Hotel – New York City

The Ty Warner Penthouse is the highest hotel penthouse suite in New York City. The 400 m² space is a very cool € 42.000 a night. Complete with Panoramic windows and cantilevered glass balconies dub this “a castle in the clouds.” The lavish penthouse took 7 years and € 45 million to build. The room has its own art concierge and also a huge library, even though it only houses three.

10 – Royal Penthouse Suite, Hotel President Wilson – Geneva

At € 65.000 a night, the Royal Penthouse Suite at Geneva’s Hotel President Wilson is the most expensive hotel room in the world. Guests are not left wanting for much: the suite has 12 bedrooms and 12 marble bathrooms, plus a wraparound terrace with views of the Alps that have been said to move a handful of famous musicians to song (there’s a Steinway piano, should the backdrop not be enough).

11 – Owner’s Villa, Cheval Blanc Randheli – Maldives

Those all-important three little words “price on request”, need we say more about the private island and villa. The Owner’s Villa sprawls across its dedicated island and is accessible from a private berth and jetty. This four-bedroom villa is the epitome of exclusive privacy with unique facilities including its own spa, oversized 25-metre long outdoor pool, pristine beaches and exotic gardens.

Story: Gigi Morelli

In a Minute: A. Lange & Sohne’s Lange Zeitwerk Date

WHAT IT IS:

It’s been 10 years since A. Lange & Sohne introduced the Zeitwerk. With the time displayed numerically, it was an unusual addition to the brand’s line-up. What’s more, a constant- force mechanism that “recharged” once per second was needed to regulate the flow of energy from the barrel, given that all three numerals jump at the start of every hour. This year, A. Lange & Sohne has added the Zeitwerk Date to the collection. The date complication, hitherto unseen in the Zeitwerk, has finally made its way to the family, naturally with a twist.

HOW IT LOOKS:

A. Lange & Sohne

A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Date

A. Lange & Sohne

A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Date back.

Visually, the new Zeitwerk Date has the same signatures as its siblings from the collection. The brand’s signature “time bridge” runs horizontally across the middle of the dial, with its two apertures displaying the time using three numeral wheels. Meanwhile, the power-reserve sector and running seconds subdial sit at 12 and six o’clock respectively. The addition is the date display: The date ring is made of glass and features numerals printed in negative, allowing the current date to be highlighted in red. It’s not a typical format, but it keeps the dial from looking overly crowded.

HOW IT WEARS:

The Zeitwerk Date wears large at 44.2mm across and 12.3mm thick, and feels appropriately hefty given its white-gold construction. Unfortunately, this precludes many potential wearers with smaller wrists, and there’s no going around it. To its credit, A. Lange & Sohne has already optimised the timepiece’s wearability with its relatively short lugs – there’s a limit to what can be done without upsetting the watch’s proportions. It is what it is.

MOVEMENT Manual-winding movement with 72-hour power reserve

CASE 44.2mm in white gold

PRICE $128,500

Jaguar introduces F-Pace SVR with 550 horsepower and 176mph top speed

At the Geneva Motor Show last month, Jaguar’s focus was on electric cars as the British automaker launched its very first all-electric, zero emissions car I-Pace. However, it seems the marque hasn’t given up on its petrolhead fans just yet. At the New York Auto Show, Jaguar has launched the high-performance version of its F-Pace SUV, which according to the claimed performance figures is one of the fastest SUVs in the world. Called the F-Pace SVR, the sporty SUV is the work of the carmaker’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) department, which has worked its magic on the brand’s best selling vehicle to turn it into an absolute monster.

Powering the Jaguar F-Pace is a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine that churns out 550 horses and 502 lb-ft of torque. Jaguar claims that the performance-oriented SUV can go from 0-60mph in just 4.1 seconds and hit a top speed of 176mph. to support the added power, SVO has made quite a few changes to the F-Pace that include an ungraded chassis, progressive springs that are 30-percent stiffer at the front and 10-percent at the back, new anti-roll system – that Jaguar says cuts body-roll by 5-percent, and new lightweight forced 21- and 22-inch alloy wheels. Jaguar has also added Variable Valve Active Exhaust System inspired by the F-TYPE, which should make it sound great, as well.

On the inside, the cabin features slimline performance front seats with SVR logos on the headrest and a SVR branded steering wheel with paddle shifters. Four color schemes will be on offer: Red with Jet, Light Oyster with Jet, Siena Tan with Jet, and Jet with Light Oyster stitching. The high-performance variant of the F-Pace will arrive in US dealerships in the summer of 2018, with a mouth-watering starting price of $79,990.

By: Gigi Morelli

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