Le Collectionist's source of inspiration Luxury vacation rentals with hotel-like services and a local private concierge.
As we are approaching New Year’s Eve, Le Collectionist, in partnership with Le Chef Français, has dreamt up 5 bespoke experiences in the most beautiful winter destinations.
A few steps away from the legendary Copacabana Beach, Rio’s roofs are setting on fire at the pace of Brazilian music. The night’s heat and the refreshing pool could almost make us forget that we are on the last night of December. Here and there, hundreds of candles are illuminating guests’ happy faces. They are admiring the colorful fireworks reflecting on the sparkling Ocean. Behind this stunning sight, the backdrop is incredible with the Corcovado Mount and Christ the Redeemer, reaching out to a new resolutions’ era.
On this New Year’s Eve dinner, the sweet Thai night seems too good to be true. Your feet dipping into the infinity pool, tasting a high-end champagne and time is coming to celebrate this revival. Succulent meals prepared by local area’s cooks, will transport you in a culinary paradise that only Gods might know. If you are lucky, maybe you will meet one of them in the surrounding temples, such as the Wat Plai Lean one and its sacred lake.
Comfortably curled up next to the fireplace in a luxurious sofa, you are savoring one of the best oysters ever: the Prat-Ar-Coum variety, with a delicious white wine such as an « Entre-deux Mers » or an « Alsatian Riesling ». In the meantime, guests are enjoying original meals specially prepared by the well-known starred-chef Michel Roth. Through the bay window, ice crystals are slowly dying for the last day of the year. During this unique moment, you just take delight in the mountain’s welcoming pleasures, in this impressive luxury chalet.
Do you remember the great sensation to live a unique moment with your loved ones? Isn’t it the best way to finish the year ? Surrounded by luxury and exquisite beauty, December is the perfect period to enjoy Saint-Barths’ pleasures. Its white sandy beaches will replace the snow just for a night and the splendid view on the Caribbean Sea involves its visitors in an exotic world where cold does not exist. Comfortably seated in the outside dining area, time seems to stand still. The most epicurean guests will wait for sunrise, that will contradict the Jacques Chardonne’ s thought: « paradise is only designed for angels ».
In a huge Parisian loft, a delicate music gets itself heard. It seems to be a Chopin’s Nocturne, whom the mystical softness perfectly matches with Eiffel Tower’s night-time spectacle. The truffle’s surprising flavors, especially prepared for you by Thierry Marx, perfumes the room with its heady scent while your guests are sitting down at the table. Suddenly, Marguerite Yourcenar’ s statement « Every moment is last because it is unique » makes perfect sense in this festive prelude.
A plane is flying over the Aegean Sea where is stretched the Cyclades’ archipelago, such confetti from this mythological Empire under an intense sun. According to the legend, by giving birth to the Apollo God around Delos’ sacred rock, the Leto goddess confered this fabulous solar blaze to all these lands. Swept away by the Melten North wind since 2000 years, those volcanic-rock arid islands are for the cradle of several mythical destinies, between translucent sea and cerulean sky.
It is in this insular world, just like Ulysse during his famous trials and tribulations, that Le Collectionist makes his first stopover in Mykonos. As a child born from Gods’ passions, this island is still shivering from the noise made by Giants killed by Heracles, heroic son of Zeus. Meandering through the labyrinth of narrow and tangled Chora’s streets, our traveler is seduced by the incredible story of Manto Mavrogenous, the Mykonos’ heroine during the Greek Independance War. Her bust of stone, as an island’s immortal watchman, protects this wonderful place.
Then, Le Collectionist leaves the Mykonos’ port to reach Santorini, the splendid Minoan city that proudly exposes its legendary beauty. After two hours by boat, the sailing boat dives into the huge crater and suddenly, appears colossal hills with strewn small immaculate white houses. This ancient city-state – also called Thera – welcomes our explorer with a magnificent sunset.
Our fine gourmet ends his day under a prickly pear cactus by tasting the kopanisti (ewe or goat’s cheese) and mezédez appetizers, served with a mineral and syrupy wine named Assyrtiko, born from one of the oldest grape varieties and completely adopted by the most sophisticated sommeliers.
To read: A Collectionist's Odyssey
A hammock is slowly swinging between two slightly inclined palm trees on a long ivory sandy beach and the turquoise sea. Beyond, the lagoon stretches out to the horizon like an invitation to travel while some traditional Thai boats are slowly passing, lost in the swell. The beach is completely desert. A light breeze brings the tropical plants’ fragrances, blending with incense odors. Le Collectionist is in vacation in Koh Samui, the Thailand Gulf’s Island located in the Kra isthmus, also known as the « earthly paradise » since the beginning of the 70’s. It is on Mae Nam Beach and its luxurious vegetation that our aesthete is enjoying his morning sun.
After savoring a delicious grouper with the famous khanom chin meal, our traveller bords with Kyet – a captain, fisherman, diver and cook - to head for the Ang Thong National Park, a natural reserve, 1h30 away by boat from Koh Samui. During this long drift, the Koh Ling Island’s rocky formations unveil their simian’s form while limestone stalagmites emerge from the soil, like ancestral giants. On the horizon, he sees other small islands, scattered here and there.
During a stopover, our explorer takes a path leading to the Utthayan Hill’s peak that offers a stunning sight on the reserve and its 42 elements-sculpted islands. Full of idyllic pictures and memories, Le Collectionist starts to understand the film makers’ vision - such as Danny Boyle with « The Beach » and Guy Hamilton with the James Bond movie « The Man with the Golden Gun » - who chose Thailand and its marvelous lagoons to shoot their famous movies.
During the Loy Krathong celebration, Le Collectionist admires a spectacular lanterns’ release carried away by the wind and sees the traditional krathong (a kind of very small raft decorated with banana leaves, flowers and incense) slowly drift away, and make the wish to come back soon on this island, cleverly nicknamed the « South China Sea’s pearl ».
To read on The Notebook: 'Phang Nga Bay, one of the wonders of the world in Thailand'
The small plane is flying over idyllic islands, brushing past the Tourmente’s hill to finally land at the Gustave III Saint-Jean airport, on the 640-meter landing strip that finished in the cerulean waves. While getting off the plane, we can heard a clear « sa ou fé? » to welcome us, by the “saint-barths. Indeed, when Christophe Colomb arrived on the island in 1493, he decided to name it Saint-Barthelemy, in honor of his brother Bartholomé.
During an enjoyable day on this marvelous island, our Collectionist adventurer decides to take a winding steep road made of lush greenery where are maliciously hidden some green iguanas and earth lizards -also called Zanoli d’ter- with their azure spots on their skin. Once arrived on the « Governor’s beach », he treads upon the white sand and finally, decides to lay down under a sea grape tree bringing an enjoyable shade. Slightly dozing between dream and reality, he hears the far-off voice of Montbars the Exterminator, a famous privateer that is murmuring him the exact location of his hidden treasure. Would it be in this same-named cave situated on a hillside?
Under this intense sun, Le Collectionist plunges in the clear water full of corals and meets with the light and colorful-scaled fishes. As a real proof of a rich colorful life under the sea, these rockfishes teach us an aesthetic lesson: a perfect blend of different patterns and colors, a real source of inspiration for artists. Suddenly, a red-footed tortoise crosses his way, making circles in the water, while a myriad of boxfishes and marine angelfishes are sharing out plankton. Observing this endemic fauna, our aesthete finally understands why Saint-Barths decided to preserve & protect this exceptional environment.
The end of the day naturally takes place under a frangipani tree with some Creole delicacies, and Saint-Barths‘ specialties: stuffed crabs, fish puddings, cod cristophine, or lobster that our fine gourmet is savoring with pleasure while a kingfisher is flying away towards new adventures.
Discover all our marvelous villas in Saint-Barths!
Around 2 millions people are rushing along the Saint-Malo and Pointe du Grouin’s battlements. There is a palpable excitement, and conversations are flowing however all looks are resolutely turned to the open sea. More than 90 sailing boats of different types, monohull and multihull, are ready for the start, such as racehorses. The wind is strongly blowing to remind everybody that it is one of the race’s key element, an authoritarian decision-maker as well as an ally, to coax all along this fabulous journey.
Just behind us, an old man is passionately telling the 1978’s historical transatlantic, the first ‘Route du Rhum’, that was sadly marked by the disappearance at sea of Alain Colas and its Manureva trimaran. After some minutes of contemplation, his acolyte rekindles the repeated conversations about the race, betting on the maxi trimaran Spindrift 2: the most impressive race multihull ever built that will be leaded by Yann Guichard for its first solo outing across the Ocean.
It is 2 P.M and the starting signal is given. The thick mist heralds the many difficulties each navigator will be facing during his solo race until the ultimate goal: Point-a-Pitre. It has already been 4 years since sailing lovers waited for this. Created by Michel Etévenon, the Route du Rhum celebrates its 10th edition and has become one of the most popular sporting events. This solo journey, also called « transatlantic of liberty starts every 4 years from the charming Saint-Malo and goes on 3542 miles to Guadeloupe, where several activities will celebrate this particular event about the rum alcohol that will be as expected the guest of honor.
More than just a challenge, this crossing is also a real adventure where human being finds himself in a private face to face with the Ocean, a continual negotiation with elements and a permanent spectacle, from the fascinating swell to the impromptu visit of indiscreet marine animals. Experience, knowledge and a bit of luck, will be the key factors, if not for victory, for the extraordinary voyage’s achievement.