This week, I was in London for Fashion Week and treated myself to the legendary Prêt-à-Portea designer afternoon tea experience at the Berkeley Hotel which is inspired by the world of fashion. I had already done it once 6 years ago (for the previous post click here please) and was curious to see the Collins Room after it had undergone renovations.

You might be wondering what is Prèt-à-Portea exactly? It is a menu of couture cakes especially designed for the respective season gets a makeover every six months to reflect the latest catwalk trends, colours and designs. For F/W 2017-18, Head Pastry Chef Mourad Khiat has sent out a brand new collection of exquisite biscuits, bakes and fancies. It takes inspiration from an array of distinguished fashion and accessory designers, and the latest creations shown on the international fashion runways.

A delicate collection of cakes and fancies inspired by the world’s finest designers:

Gucci’s kimono, complete with a charming parasol, transformed into a pomegranate and grenadine bavarois, with cassis and apple compote topped with a crystallised edible flower and a chocolate parasol.

Balenciaga’s effortlessly luxe black-and-white flouncy dress reimagined as a moist chocolate cake, layered with white chocolate Grand Marnier mousse, crunchy ganache and a sexy orange leg.

Gianvito Rossi’s red-heeled boots, recreated as a fennel seed biscuit iced with burgundy red royal icing.

Bottega Veneta’s daring mustard-coloured suit, gracing the cakewalk as an iced speculoos chocolate biscuit.

Anya Hindmarch’s orange leather clutch as a dulce and ginger cake sandwiched within foxy orange chocolate.

Burberry’s sleek white feathered cape, recreated as a tonka bean cheesecake with cinnamon crumble base, covered with glossy white glaze and finished with a curvy white chocolate feather.

Miu Miu’s luxuriously warm coat transformed into a bûche of pistachio crémeux set on hazelnut sable and topped with waved meringue.

Christopher Kane’s ‘LBD’ taken to another level with stunning flowers and transformed into a chocolate moelleux cake with lacte café and Bailey’s cream, finished with sugar flowers.

Dolce & Gabbana’s stand-out dress, now an almond génoise complete with a mango & passion fruit insert and a cocktail caraibe mousse, topped with a rainbow of chocolate disks.

Your tea also includes a flavoursome collection of miniature savoury skewers, taster spoons, elegant canapés and tea sandwiches. To drink, choose from a large selection of loose leaf teas (I personally recommend the Ceylon & Rose tea) from the hotel’s extensive collection and treat yourself to a glass of bubbly like I did. Raise a toast in style!

Prêt-à-Portea is priced at £52.00 per person.
Champagne Prêt-à-Portea, with a glass of Laurent-Perrier, £62.00 per person.
Couture Champagne Prêt-à-Portea, with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé, Bollinger Rosé or Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, £70.00 per person.
A 12.5% discretionary service charge will be added to your bill.

Call: +44 (0)20 7107 8866

There is also a great coffee table (I meant tea table book :-)) that I can recommend: «Prêt-à-Portea: High-Fashion Bakes and Biscuits» was published to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Berkeley’s iconic afternoon tea with 20 recipes and baking techniques from the hotel’s Head Pastry Chef Mourad Khiat. To buy the book, click here please.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht
Runway Photos: Courtesy of the Brands
Photos Cover: Courtesy of the Berkeley Hotel

The Lanesborough Hotel London

My avid readers know how much I love London. Personally speaking, a weekend trip to the British metropole is one of my favorite things to do, as the city offers everything you can dream of, culture, shopping, nightlife, and great restaurants.

Happy me at The Lanesborough wearing Mary Katrantzou .

One of my favorite hotels to stay is THE LANESBOROUGH that belongs to the Oetker Collection. Perfectly positioned between Knightsbridge and Mayfair, just a short walk from Harrods, Harvey Nichols and London’s exclusive Sloane Street, this grand mansion overlooking Hyde Park Corner has undergone an inspired renovation by the famed interior designer Alberto Pinto. The hotel is home to 93 luxurious suites and bedrooms, Michelin-starred Céleste restaurant, the vibrant Library Bar and Garden Room and the magnificent Lanesborough Club & Spa.

About the latter I would like to tell you a lot more as this is one of the many reasons to stay at this hotel! It is a true sanctuary of health and relaxation in the city and was crowned the World’s Best New Hotel Spa 2017 at the World Spa Awards™. This private 1600 m² members’ fitness and health clubs and spa with its divine interior, is offering members and hotel guests access to internationally recognised experts in the fields of fitness, beauty and wellness.

The spa’s hydro pool area

A must for all spa lovers: the steam room and sauna.

Beautifully designed: the ladies’ changing room

A sanctuary of relaxation in the city: the private area for spa members

The so-called «Painting Room» serves for manicures and pedicures.

You can enjoy some of the finest spa therapy treatments with products from much-loved spa and beauty brands ila and La Prairie, as well as the expertise of facial and beauty expert Anastasia Achilleos. Good to know is that for non-members, day passes can also be combined with treatment bookings for access to the exceptional facilities.

The restaurant and bar of the Lanesborough Club & Spa

Moreover, The Lanesborough Club & Spa has its own restaurant, offering all-day healthy dining, developed by Michelin-starred Chefs Eric Frechon and Executive Chef Florian Favario in collaboration with Clean & Lean nutritional guidance from Bodyism founder James Duigan. High-protein snacks, smoothies and juices are available throughout the day, and all personal training sessions will finish with a bespoke blended drink to complement each members’ workout.

The hotel’s exquisite rooms and suites, are all uniquely refurbished with stylish, luxurious interiors and responsive technology seamlessly interwoven, including in-room tablets and powerful WiFi. Each room, not only suites, has a round-the-clock, dedicated butler service so that you can be assured that your needs are well served.

The seven-bedroom Royal Suite is a residence fit for a king, queen or head of state.

If you love food, you will enjoy the hotel’s Michelin-starred Céleste restaurant (see photo below) with its richly decorated dining room in light blue and yellow hues, naturally illuminated during the day by a domed glass roof.

Beautiful ambiance at the Michelin-starred Céleste restaurant

Moreover, I recommend the award-winning afternoon tea service, the seductive Library Bar and for the cigar aficionados among you one of London’s best cigar and Cognac loungesThe Garden Room. You see that THE LANESBOROUGH caters to all tastes…

I love having breakfast in the room… the first thing that makes my day…

One of my favorites in London is tea time which is served at the hotel’s «Withdrawing Room».

I am a big fan and hope that you will enjoy your stay at THE LANESBOROUGH as much as I do!

And if you become a fan, I recommend getting this beautiful Globe Trotter The Lanesborough Suitcase, that is only available at Eden Being.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of The Lanesborough Hotel and © Sandra Bauknecht

My Look: Greetings from Vienna

Greetings from beautiful and very cold Vienna where I spent the last days and attended the famous opera ball. More coming up soon… here you see me strolling through the city in some of my favorite pieces since many seasons on my way to the Sacher hotel for some culinary Austrian treats such as Viennese Schnitzel and the famous Sacher cake.

My look: Belted shearling coatfloral-appliqué striped wool-blend cardiganicon, and scarf, all by Gucci, dress with leather and lace appliquéicon by Saint Laurent, Rockstud leather-trimmed knee boots by Valentinoicon, «Paris Cosmopolite» Pré-fall 2017 Métiers d’Art Gabrielle bag by ChanelT Wire Narrow 18-karat rose gold bracelet by Tiffany & Co, and Tonda 1950 Galaxy by Parmigiani Fleurier.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

Visit Flanders – Visit Antwerp

January blues? Forget those and plan a weekend trip to Antwerp. Last Monday, I was invited by Visitflanders to celebrate the launch of the first direct flight from Zurich to Antwerp. From now on, Flyvlm is heading on a daily basis to the Belgium hot spot. In 48 hours, I explored the city with a population just over 500,000 (of which I know surprisingly many:-)) and fell in love! Would you like to know why? Here you go!

Brussels is Belgium‘s capital, but the second biggest city, Antwerp, is without a doubt the country’s hot spot of cool. Best known for its gigantic seaport, diamond district, beer and being home to the baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, it has a dazzling variety of attractions. And personally speaking one of the most important ones, is fashion! Antwerp’s renowned fashion school, the «Royal Academy of Fine Arts», is the prolific birth place of world-famous designers, of which six became known as «The Antwerp Six».

The Antwerp Six

Under Linda Loppa, who now serves as the dean of Polimoda fashion school, Walter Van Beirendonck, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee graduated between 1980–81. In times where everything was a «little too much», the fashion collective presented a distinct, radical avant-garde vision for fashion that established Antwerp as a notable location for fashion design. The breakthrough occurred in 1986 as the group rented a truck and set out for London Fashion Week with their collections that immediately became a huge success. Within just three days, they found themselves stocked at Barneys, Bergdorf and Liberty of London, and propelled into the media stratosphere, even without Instagram.

Martin Margiela, another Belgian contemporary, was not actually part of the group that showed in London, although he is often mistakenly described as one of the Antwerp Six; he had moved to Paris, initially working for Jean Paul Gaultier. Another Belgium fashion celebrity is Raf Simons, who originally graduated in Industrial Design and Furniture Design from a college in Genk in 1991, when  he got encouraged by Linda Loppa to become a self-trained menswear designer and launched his Raf Simons label in 1995.  He began working as a furniture designer for various galleries, having previously interned at the design studio of Walter Van Beirendonck between 1991-1993. The latter  took him to Paris Fashion Week and that was when Simons first saw a fashion show — Martin Margiela’s all-white show in 1991 — which inspired Simons to turn to fashion design. I love how all of them are related and that it brings it full circle.

With Raf Simons

Despite being a powerful magnet for everyone from fashion moguls to art lovers and diamond dealers, Antwerp also retains an intriguing medieval heart with plenty of café-filled cobbled lanes, a riverside fortress and a truly impressive cathedral. Antwerp in a nutshell? These are the must-sees during your visit.

Hotel Les Nuits
Located on the fourth floor, this little boutique hotel sits on the edge of Antwerp’s Fashion District and is perfectly located in the city. Every room has its own design. The service is extremely friendly and the food is healthy and amazing!
Lange Gasthuisstraat 12, 2000 Antwerp
Phone + 32 03 225 02 04

The Apartment
A home away from home. The luxury Apartment with hotel service at Graanmarkt 13 is designed by Vincent Van Duysen and is a warm and welcoming home in the heart of Antwerp. It is the place where Mario Testing or Tim Burton are staying when they are in town. The top floor used to be the home of the concept store’s (located beneath) founders Tim and Ilse, but is now open for all. The price per night for the full apartment is € 1.300 (it is absolutely worth the money!). You get a spacious loft for up to 6 adults with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, wifi/internet, and breakfast included.
Graanmarkt 13, 2000 Antwerp
Phone +32 3 337 79 91, E-mail 

Café Restaurant Bourla is housed in a majestic building on Graanmarkt, next to the Apartment. Yet the atmosphere is casual, the prices are decent and the Belgium food is amazing. Try their fries and you die! Young and old, businessmen and tourists, shoppers and theatregoers… everyone feels at home here.
Graanmarkt 7, 2000 Antwerp
Phone +32 3 232 16 32, E-mail 

So chic! In an outstanding Antwerp setting in terms of architecture, interior decoration, art and design, lunch or dinner at RAS goes beyond food. It is an unforgettable total experience. The name drives from its location, RAS – Restaurant Aan de Stroom (the Restaurant by the River).
Ernest van Dijckkaai 37, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 234 12 75

Billie’s Bier Kafétaria
This is your first stop when you are looking for a great pub in Antwerp (there are many). From the greatest and unknown Belgian beers to the most obscure beers from around the world, you’ll find everything here! I loved Oude Geuze, a blend of lambic from different years, served in champagne flutes.
Kammenstraat 12, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 226 31 83

Würst Haute Dogs
This is a must when you are in Antwerp. At Würst, Belgian television chef Jeroen Meus serves “haute dogs“, hot dogs like you’ve never tasted them before. I shared a Caesar dog and a Sauerkraut dog which were both absolutely amazing.
Maalderijstraat 5, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 296 18 86

You will go bananas with the magnitude of Belgium designers having their little affordable shops around town. Moreover you can find many high end designer brands in Antwerp and of course, renowned Belgium designers have their flagship stores in the city, too.

Dries van Noten
Personally speaking, a must when you are in town. It’s impossible to untangle the city of Antwerp from the life and work of Dries Van Noten. Unfortunately the shop was closed when I was there last week.
Nationalestraat 16, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 470 25 10

Delvaux is the oldest fine leather luxury goods company in the world, founded in 1829 in Belgium. You can find a great selection of handbags, small leather goods and accessories for women and men.
Komedieplaats 17, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 232 02 47

The moment you enter this multibrand concept store which is across from Hotel Les Nuits, your breath is taken away. Located in a beautifully restored 16th century mansion which served as a bank before, it is a fashion heaven on earth with a great selection of many high end designers. The Verso café is also worth going to.
Lange Gasthuisstraat 9, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 226 92 92

A multi brand hig end fashion store merging directional fashion with fine dining in the heart of Antwerp. Realised by acclaimed Belgian architect Glenn Sestig, the 800 sqm boutique and restaurant delivers bold statements in light, colour and atmosphere.
Nationalestraat 32, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 233 93 90

Essentiel Antwerp
The Belgium fashion brand delivers trendy fashion at affordable prices and has many locations in the city of Antwerp. In Switzerland available at Globus and at Limmatquai 70 in Zurich.
Schuttershofstraat 26, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 213 15 10

The beautifully renovated Shopping Stadsfeestzaal on the Meir is presently a shopping centre housing over fifty shops. Not my favorite for shopping, but worth seeing.
Meir 78, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 202 31 00

Antwerp Central Station
First used in 1905, this station is absolutely impressive and is considered as one the most beautiful train station in the world! Trains arrive on top of each other on three different platforms with two additional underground levels.

Antwerp Zoo
One of the oldest and best-known zoos, it will take you at least half a day to see one of the most diversified animal collections in Europe.

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Plantin-Moretus Museum

Antwerp Museums
Antwerp has numerous museums. Among the best known are the Rubens House, the MAS | Museum aan de Stroom, and the Red Star Line Museum, but there are plenty of others worth seeing: historical houses where you can savour the atmosphere of past times, a fashion museum and several art museums. There is something for everyone, whatever your taste. As I was on a Monday in Antwerp, museums were unfortunately closed. My favorite would have been the MOMU Fashion Museum.

The secret Vlaeykensgang alley dates from 1591 and connects Hoogstraat, Oude Koornmarkt Pelgrimstraat with one another. Walk through the gate at Oude Koornmarkt 16 and you feel as if you have journeyed back in time.

Grote Markt
Grote Markt originally was a forum or square just outside the medieval residential quarter. In 1220 Duke Henry I of Brabant (1165-1235) donated this community land to the city. The name Merckt was used for the first time in 1310.

Cathedral of Our Lady
After 169 years of construction the cathedral of Antwerp finally dominated Antwerp’s skyline in 1521 with a height of 123 metres. It’s the highest Gothic building in the Low Countries.It is an iconic treasury, with an impressive collection of major art works, including a series of paintings by Rubens.

Having the most exclusive sightseeing tour thanks to Tanguy Ottomer.

The Story of Nello & Patrasche
The story of the young boy Nello and his dog Patrasche is famous all over the world and it’s set… in Antwerp! Nello and Patrasche are the main characters in the 1872 novel «A Dog of Flanders» in which the Cathedral of Our Lady and various paintings by Rubens play an important role.
Nello, a poor orphan boy, becomes friends with Patrasche, an abandoned cart dog. They walk to town together every day. They often visit the cathedral, where Nello admires the paintings by Rubens. Due to a series of setbacks, the lives of Nello and Patrasche end in that same cathedral. They die together from hardship. This moving and atypical Christmas story holds a message of pride and unconditional friendship and is very famous in Japan. Artist Batist Vermeulen (‘Tist’) designed a statue of the boy and his dog which you can admire on the Handschoenmarkt, in front of the cathedral.

Den Deugniet
Brussel’s Manneken Pis‘ companion in Antwerp is called Den Deugniet and is a pretty naughty statue that can be found at the corner of the Oudaanand Korte Gasthuisstraat to show his bare bottom to people passing by. It was first placed there in the ’70s by local traders and has since been kidnapped several times! Now the bottom is not gold anymore but you can still rub it for good luck.

I had an amazing 48 hours in Antwerp and I am sure that you can imagine that time flies fast with all the spots you can visit in the Flemish city. I’ll be back, for sure…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht
Photo Antwerp Six via Dazzed Digital

My Look: Beach Culture

From Pucci-wrapped fashionistas to bronzed Tropeziennes, all love the French Riviera for renewal, and amusement at once. An amazing tide of sophisticated influences has defined beach culture in St. Tropez for many years. Transcending time and place, an afternoon spent at Bagatelle Beach Ramatuelle is an afternoon well spent in the South of France. I cannot wait to finally be back for great food, great party and the perfect beach. My favorite swimwear? I love to wear Emilio Pucci‘s polychromatic styles influenced by the Sixties and Seventies. So chic!

My look: Parasol-printed top, matching pareo-style skirt and bikini, all by Emilio Pucci, Rockstud jelly flip flops by ValentinoTonda 1950 Set Clarity watch by Parmigiani Fleuriernecklace by Roberto Cavallisunglasses by Tom Ford, and bum bag from Louis Vuitton‘s S/S 2009 collection.icon

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © David Biedert Photography

My Look: Rooftop Bar

It’s all over town. I have enough of winter and cannot wait for the warm season to come… just a few more month to go during which I have to indulge in memories of days spent in the South of France. Here you see me on the rooftop bar of the Hotel de Paris in St. Tropez during the Asmallworld weekend … heaven on earth.

My look: Rinnaa pointelle trim bandage dress by Hervé LégericonKan I Mini studded leather chain shoulder bag by Fendileather platform pumps by Gucci, long pearl earrings and sunglasses by Chanel.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © David Biedert Photography

My Look: Tulum

The last two weeks I travelled through Yucatán and I have so many impressions to share with you. My final destination was the luxe-hippie beach town of Tulum on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, a place I fell in love with. Beautiful white-sand beaches, active social life, and the laidback lifestyle of a beach town, it is somehow cosmic and natural at once. So the print of the dress and the color of the shoes were a perfect fit. As I am very particular about my clothes, I had promised myself not to bring anything expensive or too fancy. This is the most fashionable I got on this trip and between us it is definitely not Tulum style. As one told me: «Tulum is hippie, golden sandals». There is not one place you can wear high heels and funnily enough, I loved it!

My look: Printed midi dress and green heels, both by Zarabeaded Mexican-style clip earrings by Etro, Possession 18-karat rose gold diamond ring by Piaget, Tonda Métropolitaine watch by Parmigiani Fleurier and quilted bag by Chanel.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

Wanderlust? Upgrade Your Luggage

If some trips are in your horizon, it’s time to finally put aside your old suitcase and invest in some new luggage. Traveling can be stressful enough without having to consider what might happen when a zipper breaks or that tiny hole in the bottom suddenly becomes massive. New luggage that is coordinated and sleek might not upgrade you to first class, but it sure will help you feel like you’re already there. And with these colors, you will never loose your luggage again.

1 Horizon 50 Trolley in Monogram Canvas by Louis Vuitton
2 Leather Trimmed Carry-On Suitcase by Gucci
3 Medium Quilted Nylon Trolley by Moschino
icon4 Majolica-Print Leather Suitcase by Dolce & Gabbana
icon5 Metallic Calfskin Trolley with Gold-Tone Metal by Chanel

«For me, beautiful luggage is synonymous with the golden era of travel; the sophisticated voyage to an exotic destination should be a journey of refinement and elegance.»Charlotte Olympia

My absolute favorite is Charlotte Olympia‘s collaboration of fantastic luggages with a vintage feel with Globe-Trotter, the British brand that specializes in leather travel goods. A globetrotter’s dream collection.


LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the Brandsicon

Merry Christmas 2017

«Christmas trees are the strongest ‘souvenir’ of my happy childhood.» – Karl Lagerfeld

I love Christmas trees and my favorite one (besides my own) can be found at London’s Claridge’s Hotel where in the eighth consecutive year a creative visionary has been invited to reinterpret the tree in their own distinctive style. This December, it is Karl Lagerfeld, one of the fashion world’s most influential creative forces, who created the stunning festive installation, a sixteen foot high inverted tree with silver gilded roots topped with a multi-faceted mirrored star which reflects rays of magical light across the art deco lobby. Reminiscent of a silver stalactite, the tree is hung with traditional silver lametta decorations, silver butter leather feathers and snowflakes handmade by craftsmen in Germany with tree candles giving a warm, inviting glow. Under the centerpiece sit hand sewn white Icelandic sheepskin rugs to reflect a recent snowfall.The famous designer was inspired by his own childhood memories of Christmas.

The Claridge’s Christmas Tree has long been a festive Mayfair landmark, drawing visitors and Londoners alike to marvel at its magnificent and ever-changing design. Scroll down to explore Claridge’s Christmas Tree designs through the years.









Merry Christmas to all of you – may you all sparkle as these beautiful trees with joy, love and laughter.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Claridge’s

Prada Silver Line

Prada presents PRADA SILVER LINE, an itinerant project offering customers the chance to acquire exclusive products – which are chosen for each leg of the journey – and presented inside an original installation.

For the Christmas Holiday, for one month, this imaginary railway station stops for the first time at the Galaxy shopping mall in Macau, hosting a selection of women’s luxury bags and accessories.

In particular, the Prada Cahier bag is reinterpreted in three new styles made of exotic leathers. A different selection of items will be developed for each future city of the itinerant retail space.

The concept is a reconstruction of an ideal train in which the various target is aesthetic themes are combined in a single design. The exterior is a metal shell reminiscent of the American Streamliners of the ’30s and ’50s. The interior features walls cover in floral-patterned red silk brocade to create a luxurious, romantic look. The setting is completed by the iconic black-and-white chequered floor which characterises Prada stores around the world since 1913.

Around and outside the train’s coach, a series of installations including life-size Prada robots and a ticket booth, which serves as a concierge service’s booth, finish off the perfect ambiance.

From January 2018, PRADA SILVER LINE will touch on several cities, including Dubai and later on some of the most important locations in Asia, Europe and the United States.

I am loving it… cannot wait for the PRADA SILVER LINE to hopefully stop in Zurich…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Prada