A supermodel guide to great hotels
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To the sea, and one of Kate Moss’s favourite holiday destinations on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It’s here, 70 miles north of Manzanillo in the state of Jalisco, that Sir James Goldsmith bought a large tract of land in the late ’80s that eventually became the fabulous hotel-resort-spa called Cuixmala.
Run these days by Alix Marcaccini and her husband Goffredo Marcaccini, it sits on 36,000 acres that, thanks to the efforts of Goldsmith pater, are a recognised biosphere reserve. The main house is modelled after the Hagia Sophia, complete with a can’t-miss-it tiled dome.
It’s surrounded by several bungalows and has a vast saltwater pool; three further villas – a bit smaller but similarly endowed (pool, palapas, colourful chic ensuites) – dot the surrounding tropical forest and several kilometres of beach. But the prevailing ethos here seems to be boho of the lower-key variety; guests are as busy shepherding tiny new turtle hatchlings across the sands to the safety of the Pacific, or picking veg at the biodynamic farm, as they are checking each others’ Aquazurras (you might find yourself going barefoot most of the time anyway). cuixmala.com, from $605
When it comes to metropolitan living, Moss has fast favourites. In Paris, it’s The Ritz, which really requires no introduction. Its grandest suites are named after the illustrious guests who called the hotel home as regularly as does Moss: Chanel, Callas, Chopin, Windsor (more than one of those), César Ritz himself.
A full renovation a few years ago brought back a lot of the burnish that the years had faded; its public spaces – among them the Bar Vendôme and the storied Bar Hemingway – have been rebooted without losing any of their fin-de-siècle grandeur, and are as much a locus of Paris social life as ever. In New York, Moss stays at Hotel Barrière Fouquet’s New York, which opened last fall on Greenwich Street two blocks below Canal, in the heart of Tribeca.
The build is new, likewise the staff, but the family has been doing haute hospitality from the eighth arrondissement to St Barth’s, via Cannes and Courchevel, since 1912; and word is they are hitting all their marks here. There are 97 rooms on eight storeys, all designed by Martin Brudnizki’s studios: pretty toiles toe the Gallic line; Crittall-style windows and Hudson River views represent for NYC. Pierre Gagnaire mans the main restaurant, Fouquet’s. In a concession to the prevailing lifestyle proclivities of the clientele and the locals, the other, Par Ici, is mostly vegetarian, and the hotel’s fitness centre is operated by DogPound.
TheLifeCo Retreats have a devout following among west Londoners, and Moss has long been a proselyte of the company’s four-pronged approach to holistic wellness (mind, environment, physical flexibility and activity, and nutrition). The programmes range from chronic disease management to weight loss to applied kinesiology for digestive wellness (there’s microdosing too, but only at Phuket). Moss’s preferred destination for her TheLifeCo fix: Bodrum, where guests can stay for as few as four days or as long as six months. Yoga, meditation, juice detoxes and therapies factor in, along with long guided walks in the countryside. When she’s in LA, a half-day at Beverly Hot Springs – a semi-secret outside the City of Light, where it’s a stalwart among A-listers – is the ticket. The massages and facials (Royal Thai and shiatsu, collagen-boosting and brightening) are straightforward, the results consistently great. And when a proper switch-off is in order, Moss repairs to Gora Kadan Spa, immersed in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, south of Tokyo.
Once a retreat of the royal family, its architecture and offerings nod to tradition (the whisper of sliding doors clad in rice paper is one of the only things breaking the silence; your feet on the tatami mats make no sound) and modernity (you’ll find that western comforts – ensuite bathrooms, the occasional television – are not always on offer on the ryokan circuit). The suites are enormous; some have private saunas, others terraces. Beyond the volcanic springs for which the park is known, Gora Kadan has indoor and outdoor swimming-soaking pools (hot and hotter), and plenty of nature worth exploring. thelifeco.com, from €620 a night with Basic Detox programme; beverlyhotsprings.com, from $80 for a half-hour treatment; gorakadan.com, from about £720