Jean Luc Amsler: Zurich

«Sassy, rather rebellious, Jean Luc Amsler will always be there where we least expect him.»

Franco-Swiss fashion designer JEAN LUC AMSLER was born in Switzerland in the mid-1960’s. After his studies, he moved to Antwerp and then to Paris, where he started his fashion career in the mid 1980’s. He gained experience by working at renowned houses such as Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Louis Scherrer, Christian Dior and Cartier, just to name a few. By 1992, Jean Luc felt that he had reached the point where he could design for himself, and he started his own eponymous couture brand in Paris.

For us, he shares his insider scoop on the city I live in with us, ZURICH. With the stunning backdrop of the Swiss Alps, the city offers a unique mixture of attractions. Jean Luc’s tips are absolutely great – even I have discovered something I didn’t know about before. Enjoy!

Your favourite city?
ZURICH, because it is my grand father’s city.

Your favourite hotel?
THE DOLDER GRAND, where I presented my first show in 1994.
Kurhausstrasse 65, 8032 Zurich, Phone +41 44 456 60 00

Your favourite restaurant?
KRONENHALLE, I still have great memories there with Gustav Zumsteg in 1995.
Rämistrasse 4, 8001 Zürich, Phone +41 44 262 99 00

Zurich, 1979. Yves Saint Laurent with Gustav Zumsteg’s mother Hulda Zumsteg (left) at Kronenhalle.

(Gustav Zumsteg was the owner of the restaurant Kronenhalle until his death in 2005. Moreover, he had worked his way up from the level of apprentice to chief designer at the traditional silk company Abraham, which he later acquired. Zumsteg collaborated with renowned Parisian fashion houses, such as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, and most of all Yves Saint Laurent, with whom he became very close.)

Your favourite bar or nightclub?
TINA BAR, for its selective cocktail menu and the cosy atmosphere. It’s also in the middle of the old town, a great area to walk around and get lost during the night.
Niederdorfstr. 10, 8001 Zurich, Phone +41  44 250 76 80

Your favourite sightseeing spot?
LINDENHOF HILL, because there you can admire the whole city and also read a book in the park. A quiet spot in the heart of the city.
Lindenhof, 8001 Zurich

(The Lindenhof is a moraine hill and a public square in the historic center of Zurich. It is the site of the Roman and Carolingian era Kaiserpfalz around which the city has historically grown. The hilltop area -including its prehistoric, Roman, and medieval remains – is listed as a Swiss heritage site of national significance.)

Your favourite park?
The BRUNO WEBER PARK. It’s like entering in a fairytale, a mix of art and fantasy.
Zur Weinrebe 3, 8953 Dietikon, Phone +41 44 740 02 71

Your favourite beach ?
COCOA BEACH, the perfect place for a drink when the sun goes down. It’s a little island on the roof of the city.
Förrlibuckstrasse 115, 8005 Zurich, Phone +41 43 444 40 50

Your favourite shop?
MARKENTUSSI in Zurich’s North, it is a heaven for vintage clothes and furniture. They carry Chanel, Louboutin… many Parisian brands.
Kornhausstrasse 43, 8037 Zurich, Phone +41 43 557 63 93

Your must-have accessory?
My glasses from VIU, I discovered this new Swiss designed eyewear brand and I love it!
Viu Flaghsip Store Zurich, Grüngasse 4, 8004 Zurich, +41 44 508 79 04

The best soundtrack for this destination?
REQUIEM FOR A DREAM composed by Clint Mansell for the eponymous movie, it represents dream and drama…

Annemarie Schwarzenbach (23 May 1908 – 15 November 1942)

The best book to read while being on vacation there?
LA QUÊTE DU RÉEL by Anne Marie Schwarzenbach, it means the quest of reality.

(Born in Zurich, Annemarie Schwarzenbach was a homosexual Swiss writer, journalist, photographer and traveler. Her father, Alfred, was a wealthy businessman in the silk industry. From an early age she began to dress and act like a boy, a behaviour not discouraged by her parents, and which she retained all her life. In fact in later life she was often mistaken for a young man.)

Thank you, Jean Luc Amsler, for sharing your insider scoop on Zurich with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Jean Luc Amsler, © Marianne Feilchenfeldt-Breslauer († 2001), © Richard Emler and courtesy of the different locations

Jani Leinonen: Helsinki


The ones who have been following me for some time know that I am a big fan of the work of Finnish artist JANI LEINONEN. The 39 year-old shooting star plays with logos and symbols of the luxury goods industry.


In 2011, he became famous for kidnapping a Ronald McDonald statue from a McDonald’s restaurant in Helsinki and executing it later (for a previous post, click here please) to raise awareness for ethically produced food. Today, Jani shares his favorite spots of his home town with us. HELSINKI, a magical destination that seems to inspire the artist in many ways.


Your favourite city?
, because my friends live there. I think I would move to Siberia if I got my friends to move there. It´s a nice city with a heart beat, too but I think it´s the people and size that makes it.

Hotel Klaus k_Finland

Your favourite hotel?
There are many nice hotels in Helsinki, but HOTEL KLAUS K has these amazing art and suites that have been done by artists or designers.
Bulevardi 2-4, 00120 Helsinki, Phone: +358 20 7704700


Your favourite restaurant?
This is also a tricky question. There is a big restaurant boom in Helsinki right now. New amazing restaurants opening all the time. I cannot just say one. I say three, Finnjävel, BasBas and Favela.

FINNJÄVEL (see photo above) just opened with a crazy concept of making fine dine versions of traditional Finnish dishes. Also all the items in the restaurant, from wine glasses to knives and plates are designed by the Sotamaa siblings and produced by local craftspeople.
Eteläranta 16, 00130 Helsinki, Phone: +358 300 472 341


BASBAS (short for Baskeri ja Basso) has ingredient driven menu with small dishes and an amazing atmosphere.
Tehtaankatu 27-29, 00150 Helsinki, Phone: +358 50 4673400


Third is my local bar FAVELA. Despite it’s politically incorrect name it has the most amazing atmosphere in the city. You can go for a beer or have amazing dinner, or there you might not know which you end up doing because the people will grab you to join them.
Mechelininkatu, 00100 Helsinki, Phone: +358 10 2928090


Your favourite bar or nightclub?
I hardly ever go to clubs nowadays but NAVY JERRY’S usually rocks. There are also a lot pop up clubs in Helsinki nowadays. You just have to know where they pop up.
Hietaniemenkatu 2, 00100 Helsinki, Phone: +358 45 1783868


Your favourite sightseeing spot?
Helsinki’s HIGHEST TOILET is worth checking. It is located in the HOTEL TORNI, which means tower in Finnish. Best view to the city.
Yrjönkatu 26, 00100 Helsinki, Phone: +358 20 1234604


Your favourite beach?
There are so many amazing beaches in Helsinki. Helsinki is a peninsula with tens of islands stuck to it. Some call it Venice of the North. So there are a lot of beaches. My three favourites are Hietsu, Eiranranta and Seurasaari.
The biggest in the city is HIETSU (official name is Hietaniemen rant, see photo above).
Hiekkarannantie 11, Helsinki, Phone: +358 9 310 71431


Right in the city is EIRANRANTA.
Eiranranta, 00150 Helsinki


The nudist beach in SEURASAARI (best architecture).
Seurasaari, Phone: +358 9 310 71493

Your favourite spa/sauna?
There are over 3 million saunas in Finland so this is a tricky question. I love the SAUNA SOCIETY on the island of LAUTTASAARI but there you have to be a member to get in. It has four smoke saunas and three wood heated saunas, right by the sea, about ten minutes from the center.
Vaskiniementie 10, 00200 Helsinki, Phone: +358 50 3724167


Another, new sauna is LÖYLY which just opened to HERNESAARENRANTA. Anyone can go, and it has both smoke and wood heated saunas and you can swim in the sea, so even the demanding ones are satisfied.
Hernesaarenranta 4, 00150 Helsinki, Phone: +358 9 6128 6550


There are also plenty of city saunas without swimming, like ARLA and HARJU.
Ara, Kaarlenkatu 15, 00510 Helsinki, Phone: +358 9 719218
Harju, Harjutorinkatu 1, 00500 Helsinki, Phone: +358 9 7531535


Your favourite piece of art in the city?
There is a nice piece by DENISE ZIEGLER called EPIGRAMS FOR PEDESTRIANS in the City of Helsinki. It is a bit difficult to find because it consists of 8 well lids with very interesting texts and aphorisms.


Your favourite museum?
As I am an artist it varies depending on the exhibitions. Top-3 in Helsinki is National gallery Kiasma, Helsinki Art Museum HAM and The Museum of Natural History.
Mannerheiminaukio 2, 00100 Helsinki, Phone:+358 29 4500501


Aleksanterinkatu 16, 00170 Helsinki, Phone:+358 9 31036630


Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 13, 00100 Helsinki, Phone:+358 29 4128800


Your favourite shop?
Even thought I deal with multinational brands on my art I wish all shops would be small and selling ethical and ecological local products. Now that all commerce is going online. BUYMEONCE.COM really impressed me with the idea to sell only products that have a life-time guarantee.


Your must-have accessory?
and a SHEATH might always come handy for an artist. You never know when you have to start sculpting wood or cut.


The best soundtrack for this destination?
One of my favourite ever Finnish music albums is PALEFACE’S HELSINKI-SHANGRI-LA. It’s a perfect soundtrack as well.


The best book to read while being on vacation there?
‘s «Where Once We Walked» is novel where the main character is Helsinki. It tells an amazing story of the city and its citizens, how they have changed under the rule of first Sweden, then Russia and the independent Finland with civil and other wars and events.

Sandra_Bauknecht_Jani_leinonen_Art_in_the_Park_2016Jani Leinonen with me at the Art in the Park event at Baur au Lac last year.

Thank you, Jani, for sharing your insider scoop on Helsinki with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the different locations, via and
© Sandra Bauknecht

Giorgia Caovilla: Venice

«My shoes are designed from a woman to the women who need to conciliate femininity with everyday life.» – Giorgia Caovilla

The story of GIORGIA CAOVILLA is all about talent and enterprise in the name of Made in Italy. And this is in her genes. Her father is no other than famous footwear designer René Caovilla
icon who took over his father’s Venetian shoemaking business in the 1950s, referencing age-old Italian traditions to create exquisitely opulent footwear. Giorgia joined the family business in 1998 and worked alongside her dad for 11 years, focusing specifically on the development of the International and American markets.

In 2010, her personal turning point came when Giorgia presented O Jour – her own very first high-end accessory solo collection – in New York City. It was the answer to her personal need of creating shoes that would match with her taste and her lifestyle – the lifestyle of a busy working and family woman, who was unwilling to give up femininity and glamour as well as comfort.

Today, she lives in Padua with her husband and their two daughters, surrounded by the greenery of Riviera del Brenta where the best Italian shoe manufacturers have been working for centuries, just a few minutes away by boat from the beautiful waters of Giudecca. For us, she shares her travel tips for VENICE, which is only 30 minutes away from her hometown Padua and which has influenced her all her life. Enjoy!

Your favourite city?
. The thing that I like the most about this city is how the water can change sounds, the light, the smells so you can have a wonderful moment where all the senses are involved.

Your favourite hotel?
HOTEL COLOMBINA, so close to St. Mark Square, where you have an amazing view of «Ponte dei Sospiri», my favourite one. Filippo, the owner is the best host of Venice, I feel like home every time.
Calle del Remedio, 4416, 30100 Venezia, Phone +39 041 277 0525

Your favourite restaurant?
HARRY’S DOLCI facing the Giudecca Canal, wich is a special island where you can have a view of Venice from the outside in a peaceful and relaxed place.
Fondamenta S. Biagio, 773, 30100 Venezia, Phone +39 041 52 24 844

Your favourite Venetian food/dish?
SARDE IN SAOR (sweet and sour sardines), one of the most typical CICCHETTI (small local snacks) in Venice made with fried sardines and onions.

Your favourite bar or nightclub?
For this city… I have to say that a walk around the CALLI (narrow streets in Venice) with a glass of white wine is better than any nightclub!

Your favourite sightseeing spot?
VENICE IN A KAYAK to have a new point of view! Better than the taxi, better than any other thing to see the city from an unexpected angle. Just be prepared to wet yourself a bit!

Your favourite park?
CAMPO SAN VIO, between Accademia’s Bridge and Venier Palace, very close to the Guggenheim Collection. It’s a peaceful spot far from the touristic areas.

Your favourite beach?
LIDO of course, in May/June, when you can meet the real Venetians families on vacation. You can lie down and soak up the sun in one of the HOTEL EXCELSIOR‘s cabanas.
Lungomare Guglielmo Marconi, 41, 30126 Lido VE, Phone: +39 041 526 0201

Your favourite shop?
FORTUNY‘s showroom, where you can see the fabrics that are still being produced at the original factory founded by Mariano Fortuny almost a century ago. It’s one of the oldest factories in Venice, and you can see exactly how they produce the damask.
Giudecca 805, 30133 Venezia, Phone +39 041 528 7697

LUIGI BEVILACQUA. This manufacturer is another place to see, it is led by the Bevilacqua family and carries on one of Venice’s most ancient traditions using original 18th-century looms.
S. Croce 1320, 30135 Venezia, Phone + 39 041 721566

Your must-have accessory to wear in Venice?
A second pair of shoes, some typical VENETIAN SLIPPERS by VIBI VENEZIA, hidden in my bag after a long night walk. High heels are forbidden in Venice!

Your must-have souvenir to take home from Venice?
JESURUM LAMP, an unique piece of art made with handmade gold drawned silk. It’s easy to put in your bag, and it’s worth the travel.
San Marco, Calle delle Ostreghe 2433, 30124 Venice, Phone +39 041 5238969

The best soundtrack for this destination?
JOVANOTTI, alias Lorenzo Cherubini, the perfect mix of romantic songs and funky spirit!

The best book to read while being on vacation there?
by the Russian Nobel Price winner Joseph Brodsky, this essay is one of the most memorable eulogies to this city. While reading this book you can physically feel the city around you.

Thank you, Giorgia, for sharing your insider scoop on Venice with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Giorgia Caovilla and the different locations

Jude Benhalim: Egypt

JUDE BENHALIM is a young, Cairo-based jewelry designer who founded her namesake brand when she was just 17 years old. All it took was one creative design project in high school and Jude jumped into the design world head first with her mother and partner, Rana Al Azm.

«My strategy to set my brand apart from others was to introduce something new to traditional Egyptian jewelry; mixing it with modern art and avant-garde techniques. I maintain the essence of oriental jewelry (by using Arabic calligraphy), combining it with a modern approach (by using abstract geometric shapes and colorful Resin stones). That is what allowed people to appreciate my work; it is a revolutionary take on traditional jewelry making.» – Jude Benhalim

Jude is constantly on the lookout for new ideas to bring to her designs, and is inspired by the women who wear her cutting-edge designs as much as the women who fill her life. Today, she shares with us her travel tips for her home country, EGYPT.

Your favourite city?
ALEXANDRIA. When the city life becomes too busy and stressful, I can escape from the craziness and read a book by the beautiful sea. The beach has always a peaceful atmosphere.

Your favourite hotel?
. It hast the most beautiful scenery, overlooking the sea. It is definitely underrated.
1 Four Seasons Boulevard, El-Salam, Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, South Sinai Governorate
Phone: +20 69 3603555

Your favourite restaurant?
in CAIRO. It has the best Japanese food in town and I love the vibe of the place.
Swan Lake Compound, 1st Settlement, New Cairo, Phone: +20 12 7000 4877

Your favourite Egyptian food?
I like MOLOKHIYA with spicy chicken –  the national dish of Egypt – because its a complete meal with vegetables, carbs and proteins and keeps you energized the whole long day.

Your favourite bar or nightclub?
There are great bars and nightclubs in the NORTH COAST, by the beach. I think my favorite place there is ANDIAMO, a beach bar. Its beautifully designed and is right on the beach.
Hacienda, KM 140, Phone: +20 1005509948

Your favourite sightseeing spot?
The PYRAMIDS, or more importantly the DESERT. I am fascinated by the desert no matter how often I see it, I love to admire its patterned dunes and its smooth and sparkling sand.

Your favourite park?
. It has one of the most beautiful views over Cairo.
Salah Salem St, El-Darb El-Ahmar, Cairo Governorate, Phone: +20 2 25103868

Your favourite beach?
The NORTH COAST BEACHES. The world is known to have the best beaches in Asia and in the Bahamas, but these are not comparable to the beaches on the North Coast of Egypt, as well as the ones in Sinai. So beautiful!  I especifically love SIDI HENEISH, because its calm and not as commercial as the other beaches. It’s a beautiful bay.

Your favourite shop?
, a local market in CAIRO, is my favorite place to shop. It is actually where my silver workshop is located so I visit the souk very often. It is very rich in culture and has the most beautiful architecture that is going back to over hundreds of years. I love the authenticy and vibes of the Khan el-Khalili alleyways.
El-Gamaleya, Qism El-Gamaleya, Cairo Governorate

Your must-have accessory to take when you visit Egypt?
! It is sunny all year round in Egypt.

Your must-have souvenir to take home?
of course. The pyramids are of the Seven Wonders of the World. I think as a tourist, the Pyramids are one of the most breathtaking sites.

The best soundtrack for this destination?
by DALIDA. It perfectly represents the beauty of the city.

The best book to read while being on vacation there?
40 RULES OF LOVE by ELIF SHAFAK. Cairo is very high in spirituality, with beautiful mosques and churches. I think this book is a perfect fit and it is a personal favorite.

Thank you, Jude, for sharing your insider scoop on Egypt with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the different locations, © Jude Benhalim

Jaume Plensa: Spain


Jaume Plensa was born in Spain in 1955, and shares his residence between Paris and Barcelona. Between his first exhibition in his hometown in 1980 and today, he has been living and working in Germany, Belgium, England, France and the US. Also, teaching at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where we celebrated recently his artwork for Ruinart. Today, he shares with us his favorite spots in Spain, his home country.


Your favourite city?
BARCELONA. It is my city where I found home, a place where I could develop my work. It has the perfect size, it is not too big and not to small. It is right in front of the sea which is important for me.


Your favourite hotel?
VILLA REAL in MADRID. I feel at home. I could never separate a place from the people and I love the ones that are working there. They have taken me as a friend. I always stay there when I am in Madrid. It is a very charming place right in front of the congress.
Plaza de las Cortes, 10, 28014 Madrid, Phone: +34 914 20 37 67


Your favourite restaurant?
There is a beautiful restaurant in BARCELONA near my studio that has become like my office where I meet my friends, LA PART DELS ANGELS. The name stands for this little quantity in the wine that evaporates in the barrel, it is the angel’s share. For me, it is such a beautfiul name as I am always working with invisible emotions.
Passeig Bertrand, 27, 08980 Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Barcelona, Phone: +34 936 66 66 44


Your favourite sightseeing spot?
I love the little city of SITGES, little town nearby Barcelona, right in front of the sea. It is the perfect place to spend the afternoon, very picturesque.


Your favourite museum?
The MUSEO DEL PRADO in MADRID because they have something fantastic collection, they have art works from Velázquez, Goya and Hieronymus Bosch, which belong for me to the most important artists of all times.
Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid


Your favourite piece of art?
LAS MENINAS, a 1656 painting in the Museo del Prado in MADRID, by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age. It is the first time in history that somebody had the capacity to paint space, just the emptiness. It is a remarkable piece of art.


Your favourite shop?
L’ILLA DIAGONAL – it is a small commercial center where you can find a little bit of everything.
Avinguda Diagonal, 557, 08029 Barcelona, Phone:+34 934 44 00 00


Your must-have accessory?
When you come to Spain, the best you can bring is an OPEN MIND and to be completely free of prejudices. We are very welcoming, we love to share. It is a great place for conversation.


The best soundtrack for this destination?
FLAMENCO, it is important for my country, a very emotional way to express especially in the South of Spain.


The best book to read while being on vacation there?
DON QUIJOTE by Miguel Cervantes Saavedra. Last year was the Cervantes year as we celebrated 400 years since he died in 1616. It is a key book for Spain, a concept of our history, Cervantes is equivalent to Shakespeare.


Thank you, Jaume Plensa, for sharing your insider scoop on Spain with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the Locations, © Sandra Bauknecht

Edgardo Osorio: Florence


Born in Colombia and raised between Miami and London, EDGARDO OSORIO combines his eye for drop-dead glamour, his passion for modern design and his hand for luxury craftsmanship into desirable footwear. After attending the London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins, he made his first strides in the footwear world within some of the most prestigious luxury brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Sigerson Morrison, René Caovilla, and Roberto Cavalli. In 2011, after working in the industry for 10 years, and at just 25 years old, Edgardo launched his luxury footwear brand AQUAZZURA. Striking the perfect balance between modern design and impeccable craftsmanship, Edgardo creates stylish yet wearable footwear for the modern woman. Today, he shares his insider scoop on the city he is living in with us!


Your favourite city?
FLORENCE – My home. My headquarters are situated in the historical Palazzo Corsini along with the Florentine flagship store (see photo above). Along the Arno River, in the heart of Florence and near the best shoemakers and craftspeople in the world.
Aquazzura Store, Lungarno Corsini, 42, 50123 Florence, Phone: +39 055 291242


Your favourite hotel?
J.K. PLACE FIRENZE – This small boutique hotel is the most stylish address to stay in Florence.
Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 7, 50123 Firenze, Phone: +39 055 2645181


Your favourite restaurant?
BUCA MARIO – Traditional Florentine cuisine in the heart of the historic city centre, housed in a sixteenth-century buca. In Florence, buche were typical cellars situated beneath imposing historic palazzos often owned by aristocratic families. They were used to store salted meats, ham and salamis, and, above all, to house precious wine. Enormous oak vats lined the thick walls, which maintained an ideal temperature. As you make your way down the old entrance stairs of Buca Mario, it is impossible not to step into the past.
Piazza degli Ottaviani, 16r, 50123 Firenze, Phone: +39 055 214179


Your favourite bar or nightclub?
LA TERRAZZO LOUNGE BAR on the rooftop of HOTEL CONTINENTALE – From the rooftop bar you get a magical view of the cathedral and other historic buildings located in Florence.
Vicolo dell’Oro, 6R, 50123 Firenze, Phone: +39 055 27262


Your favourite sightseeing spot?
The VASARI CORRIDOR, a hidden corridor used by the Medici family to get between the Pitti Palace and the Palazzo Vecchio. It is one of the most unique places in Florence, with a one of a kind collection of self-portraits from the 16th century.
Uffizi Gallery, Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze


Your favourite park?
BARDINI GARDENS – It has three sections: a great baroque flight of steps, fringed with irises. It ascends to a belvedere and with expansive views of Florence, an English garden with its Channel of the Dragon and a farming area with almost-medieval hillside terraces planted with olive trees.
Costa S. Giorgio, 2, 50125 Firenze, Phone: +39 055 2006 6206

sala vendita grandangolo

Your favourite shop?
OFFICINA PROFUMA FARMACEUTICA DI SANTA MARIA NOVELLA – It is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world.
Via della Scala, 16, 50123 Firenze, Phone: +39 055 216276


Your must-have accessory?
BORSALINO PANAMA HAT – stylish and iconic.


The best soundtrack for this destination?
Old italian songs
by RAFFAELLA CARRA to put you in a great mood!


The best book to read while being on vacation there?
«SAVING ITALY» by Robert M. Edsel – An unforgettable story of epic thievery and political intrigue, a testament to heroism on behalf of art, culture, and history.


Thank you, Edgardo, for sharing your insider scoop on Florence with us!



LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the different locations, © Edgardo Osorio/Aquazurra and © Sandra Bauknecht

Aerin Lauder: Morocco


For AERIN LAUDER, Founder & Creative Director of the beauty and lifestyle brand AERIN, MOROCCO is a magical destination that inspires her in many ways – a melting pot of cultures and colors, with café-lined streets of Art Nouveau and Deco architecture, and a labyrinthine Moorish medina, its long mesmerized artists, writers, and bohemians. Today she tells us a little bit more about her favorite spots.


Your favourite city?
 – from the palaces and gardens to the legendary bazaars, there’s always something new to explore – it’s full of mystery and splendor. This became the inspiration for my most recent AERIN fragrance, Tangier Vanille.

03_aerin_woa_tangier-vanille_qa_960x500The beautiful Tangier Vanille collection.

Scent is always tied to a memory and all of the ingredients we have chosen for Tangier Vanille, remind me of my travels to Morocco. The scents of spices from everywhere – like vanilla, cinnamon and saffron – fill the air.


Your favourite hotel?
We stayed at the incredibly beautiful FOUR SEASONS RESORT MARRAKECH. It is the perfect balance of familiar and exotic. If you are looking for a little taste of home, you can order American comfort food like fried eggs and bacon, but if you want a traditional Moroccan meal, they offer delicious local dishes. I loved the artfully arranged plates of dates, figs, and nuts.
Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, Avenue de la Ménara, Marrakech
Phone: +212 5243-59200


I’d also love to stay at the PEACOCK PAVILIONS on the outskirts of Marrakech and the chic riad hotel EL FENN.
Peacock Pavilions, km 18 route N9 Marrakech, Marrakech, Douar Ladaam
Phone: +212 5244-84617

El Fenn Hotel, Derb Moulay Abdullah Ben Hezzian, 2, Marrakesh 40000
Phone: +212 5244-41210


Your favourite restaurant?
 restaurant in the La Mamounia. One of the most stunning hotels in the world is La Mamounia, designed by the very talented Jacques Garcia. The hotel is a dazzling example of Moroccan style. To get to their wonderful restaurant Le Marocain, you have to walk through their gardens. The setting is magical, lots of rich colors, low lights, and red velvet. They have the most amazing lamb couscous. The night we were there, local musicians came in and played. My father requested an Arabic lullaby that my grandfather used to love called “Moustafa.
La Mamounia, Avenue Prince Moulay Rachid, Marrakech
Phone: +212 5243-88600


Your perfect escape?
My dream is to stay next at THE ROYAL MANSOUR. King Mohammed VI built it an exquisite example of Moroccan style. The spaces are very decadent, gold leaf ceilings, intricate carved floral motifs, beautiful tiles. The level of detail is extraordinary. Last time I was there, I had lunch there with my father in their garden restaurant La Table. It was lovely, the air smelled like jasmine and orange blossom.
The Royal Mansour, Rue Abou Abbas el sebti،, Marrakesh 40000
Telefon: +212 52980-8080


Your favourite sightseeing spot?
, the son of Diana Vreeland and the former American Ambassador to Morocco, has a fantastic house in Marrakech. The riad boasts 5 acres of gardens and features a wonderful mix of Morroccan, European, and Asian design. The house was the backdrop for a photo shoot I did – it was a very memorable trip.


The cover shoot was shot by Jonathan Becker for Town & Country Magazine. I love those photographs, they really capture a sense of place—I wore an amazing brown and blue Rochas dress that echoed the backdrop of the Moroccan desert and sky.


Your favourite park?
I was blown away and inspired by JARDIN MAJORELLE. I love places with so much history and creativity. The color combinations in this must-see twelve-acre botanical garden are absolutely magical.
Jardin Majorelle, Rue Yves Saint Laurent، Marrakesh 40090
Phone: +212 5243-13047


Your favourite shop?
The SOUKS in Marrakech. They are famous for the incredible array of Moroccan treasures like embroidered tunics, colored glass, jewelry, spices, and ceramics. I found a striking terracotta tagine serving platter that I still wish I had taken home with me. It is on my wishlist for when I return (hopefully soon!).


Your must-have accessory?
The AERIN Brown Rose Weekendericon – I don’t travel anywhere without it. It fits all of my essentials, while still feeling feminine and stylish. Some of my travel essentials include my iPhone which goes everywhere with me, my travel size gold AERIN brush and iconcomb andicon my pink AERIN batik makeup bag.


Your go-to style?
I pack white pants, great tunics, a great pair of flat sandals for all of the walking and a big tote bag.


Beauty essential?
The new AERIN Tangier Vanille body creamicon and rollerball, the AERIN Rose Lip Conditioner
icon always helps my lips stay hydrated and the AERIN bronzer helps me look fresh and sun kissed.

The best book to read while being on vacation there?
Local magazines – I like to pick up local magazines upon arrival and read through for inspiration.


Your best travel tips?
Visit the market, go for a hike in the dessert, go on a camel ride and have an authentic dinner in a tented room drinking mint tea after a day of shopping.

Thank you, Aerin, for sharing your insider scoop on Morocco with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the Locations, © Aerin Lauder, via Town & Country and Vogue, © Frederic Ducout

Freida Pinto: India


Indian actress and Audemars Piguet ambassador FREIDA PINTO who rose to prominence through the 2008 British drama «Slumdog Millionaire» was born and raised in Mumbai. Today she lives in Los Angeles where along with working on her film career, she promotes humanitarian causes and is vocal about women’s empowerment. Calling herself a «global citizen», she is still very proud of her Indian roots, the rich culture, heritage and family values she grew up with. Therefore she was happy to share her travel tips for INDIA with us. Enjoy!


Your favourite city?
UDAIPUR, the city of the lakes, it is in Rajasthan in Northwest India. It is romanticism at its highest level, it is not only romantic, it is about the whole concept of romanticism, color, light, architecture and texture of fabrics.


Your favourite hotel?
UMAID BHAWAN PALACE in Jodhpur which is also a very beautiful city. I have always wanted to do an event there, watever the event might be. I love how it is perched on the top of a cliff and expansive regarding the history behind. All palaces in India that got transferred into hotels have this old world charm that you wouldn’t find in a modern retreat.
Circuit House Rd, Cantt Area, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342006
Phone: +91 291 251 0101


Your favourite restaurant?
in Mumbai. It is a seafood restaurant that serves Mangalorean food.
For example next to J.W.Marriott, Juhu, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400049
Phone: +91 22 6695 5554


Your favorite dish?
My favorite dish is NEER DOSA with the fish curry.


Your favourite sightseeing spot?
CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI TERMINUS, formerly Victoria Terminus, and better known by its abbreviation CST, is a historic railway station in Mumbai and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


I went to college very close by and we shot the last scene of «Slumdog Millionaire» there. So it has a lot of memories for me.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Area, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001


Your favourite beach?
I like the beaches in GOA because I like Goan food which is this beach shack kind of food but to be honest my favourite beaches are outside of India.


Your favourite shop?
AMRAPALI JEWELS. They have beautiful jewelry with locations everywhere in India (for store information, please click here). They even have a shop now in London.


Your must-have souvenir?
SILVER or PRECIOUS GEMSTONES anything in terms of jewelry that you would find only in India or that you would find in other countries but sold at ten times the price.


The best book to read about India?
THE SHADOW LINES by Indian writer Amitav Ghosh as it gives you a piece of history of my country. The novel is set against the backdrop of ancient events like the Swadeshi movement, Second World War, Partition of India and Communal riots of 1963-64 in Dhaka and Calcutta.


Thank you, Freida, for sharing your insider scoop on India with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the Locations, ©Archana’s Kitchen, via Slumdog Millionaire, © AUDEMARS PIGUET, © Sandra Bauknecht

Francis Kurkdjian: Paris


The freshness of an early morning. The sparkle of a grand soiree. I live in the rhythm of this magical, luminous Paris. I love those special moments which have inspired me to create these two perfumes – a fragrance journey into the heart of the City of Lights. ” – Francis Kurkdjian

Accompanying the launch of his two new fragrances dedicated to Paris, Petit Matin and Grand Soir, which will both be available in September 2016, the famous perfumer shared his favorite spots in the French capital with us. (If you are in Zurich, you can find his creations at the newly opened counter at Jelmoli or at Perfumery Osswald. To shop his creations online, click here please.)icon


Your favourite city?
PARIS, because it is Paris. It is my hometown.


Your favourite hotel?
HOTEL LA PROVIDENCE in the 10th arrondissement. A charming small boutique hotel with a great restaurant, good food and a lovely bar.
90, Rue René Boulanger, 75010 Paris, Phone: +33 1 46 34 34 04


Your favourite restaurant?
LA DAME DE PIC by Anne Sophie Pic, who is one of the best chefs in the world and France’s first woman to win three Michelin stars.
20, Rue du Louvre, 75001 Paris, Phone: +33 1 42 60 40 40


Your favourite nightclub?
SILENCIO because I love the decor.
142, Rue Montmarte,  75002 Paris, Phone: +33 1 40 13 12 33


Your favourite sightseeing spot?
The rooftop of the restaurant GEORGES which has the best view over the city.
6th floor, Palais Beaubourg, Place Georges Pompidou, 75000 Paris, Phone: +33 1 44 78 47 99
The view from the PLACE DU TROCADERO with the Eiffel Tower in the back is spectacular, especially at night as well as the PONT ALEXANDRE III (pictured), the beautiful deck arch bridge that spans the Seine. It is so Parisian.


Your favourite park?
I adore the PALAIS ROYAL GARDEN, not a real parc, more a garden between my office and my home. Very French but not too touristy like the Tuileries that are just across.
6 Rue de Montpensier, 75001 Paris, Phone:+33 1 47 03 92 16


Your favourite shop?
. It is more a secret spot, an atelier. It is the place where I get all my leather goods. The owner is so talented.
3 Place du Palais Bourbon, 75007 Paris, Phone: +33 1 45 51 77 87

Scented Card Wallets

Your must-have accessory?
My SCENTED CARD WALLET that is hand made and that can be exclusively found in my Paris store.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian, 5, rue d’Alger, 75001 Paris , Phone: +33 1 42 60 07 07


Your favorite museum?
MUSEUM NISSIM DE CAMONDO. It was owned by a banker, Count de Camondo. I love the spirit of it. It had been a private mansion that was turned into a museum. It houses a spectacular collection of French decorative art from the second half of the 18th century.
63 Rue de Monceau, 75008 Paris, Phone: +33 1 53 89 06 50


Your favourite piece of art?
I like the work of SOPHIE DELAUNAY that you can explore at the Musée d’Art Moderne. Her art is colorful, avantgarde and deconstructed.
11 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, Phone: +33 1 53 67 40 00
ELIAS CRESPIN (pictured) – very contemporary, he does mobiles floating in the air with very centric movements full of electronics. It is to die for.
Galerie Denise René Espace Marais, 22 rue Charlot, 75003 Paris


The best book to read while being on vacation there?
Poetry by GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE. I love his universe. His poem LE PONT MIRABEAU is my favourite. It is about the Seine.


The smell of Paris?
The SUBWAY. When you walk through the streets, you can smell the ventilation. For me, this is very French!

Thank you, Francis, for sharing your insider scoop on Paris with us!
My dear readers, if you like to know more about Francis, I have some great news. An amazing interview will be coming up shortly. So stay tuned please!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the locations, © David Lynch, © Sylvain Leurent and © Sandra Bauknecht

Ba&Sh: Ibiza


Childhood friends Barbara Boccara and Sharon Krief have always shared a passion for fashion and travels. In 2003, they started to implement their vision into developing their own brand: Ba&Sh (the letters of their first names). Their collection is inspired by hippie chic and rock influences and revolves around the idea of the everyday ‘ideal closet’. Their favorite vacation destination? Of course Ibiza – it is known for its bohemian vibe, a way of life that Barbara and Sharon absolutely exude.


Your favourite place on earth?
Barbara & Sharon: IBIZA! For its freedom, its nature and its perfect time. Each location is associated with a memory. For us, Ibiza is happiness!


Your favourite hotel?
Barbara & Sharon: Definitely, the ATZARO hotel!
Why? It’s simple, go to their website. You’ll understand why. Quiet and sublime!
Carretera Sant Joan, km 15, 07800 Santa Eularia des Riu, Eivissa, Phone: +34 971 33 88 38


Your favourite restaurant?
Sharon: Truly, we really have same tastes with Barbara. For both of us, it’s CIPRIANI.
Barbara: This is an italian restaurant with great music and good fresh products. Very hype!
Passeig Joan Carles I, 17, 07800 Eivissa, Phone: +34 971 59 90 50


Your favourite bar or nightclub?
Barbara & Sharon: PACHA IBIZA! Lots of memories there. It’s a classic but once you listen to electro music, enjoy the good atmosphere, you will dance all night long!
Av. 8 d’Agost, 07800 Ibiza, Phone: +34 971 31 36 12


Your favourite sightseeing spot?
Barbara & Sharon: The EXPERIMENTAL BEACH! Crazy sunset there!
Playa des Codolar Salinas, s/n, 07817 Ibiza, Phone: +34 664 33 12 69
Is this your favourite beach?
Barbara: All the beaches are our favorites in Ibiza!
Sharon: Especially with music!


Your favourite shop?
Barbara & Sharon: We often go to SLUIZ for local products. SHANTY within the BLUE MARLIN (see photo above) is the perfect spot for after beach buying. The selection is perfect with many ideas of decoration, clothes, etc…
Sluiz, PM-804, s/n, 07814 Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera, Phone: +34 971 93 12 06
Shanty at Blue Marlin, Cala Jondal, s/n, 07800 Eivissa, Phone: +34 971 07 00 15


Your must-have accessory?
Barbara: My iPAD! Too practical.
Sharon: My iPHONE! There is everything on it!


The best soundtrack for this destination?
Sharon: For sure, SOLOMUN. I love his energy!
Barbara: MARVIN GAYE for me! He really has an incredible voice and a crazy soul.


The best book to read while being on vacation there?
Barbara: BELLE DU SEIGNEUR by Albert Cohen
Sharon: No reading, just partying!

Thank you, Barbara and Sharon, for sharing your insider scoop on Ibiza with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the Locations and © Sandra Bauknecht