Be one of the first to sign up to drive Formula 1 cars in Saudi Arabia. Aseel Al-Hamad is establishing Steer to provide cars and bespoke support to travellers interested in touring Saudi Arabia on wheels. (Al-Hamad is KSA’s top female driver, who, on the very day that the ban on women driving was lifted, did highly publicised laps in a Lotus Renault E20 at the start of the 2018 French Grand Prix). Flying in privately? Consider Dubai-based Jetex, which has a significant Singapore operation. (By the way, this is the company that, unusually, is beginning to publicise how many pet dogs and cats it is transporting.)
When it comes to scheduled, Qatar Airways get increasing praise, and not only for the Dior Spa at Doha’s Hamad International Airport. Recent additions include a series of Oh The People You Meet in-flight videos produced by eclectic American Michaela Guzy. One episode is a half-hour discussion with well-known chimpanzee conservationist Jane Goodall in Sierra Leone.
Behind-the-scenes conservation at the Louvre in Paris is partnering with watchmaker Vacheron Constantin on “A Masterpiece on the Wrist” limited series. Take a private tour of galleries not open to the public and, with a Vacheron Constantine specialist, select which drawing—say a 1603 Rubens, The Fight for the Standard (The Battle of Anghiari)—should be adapted for a painted blanc de Limoges enamel watch face.
Caprese is flavour of the month, any month. Arguably the best of an exciting and varied savoury bunch is to be found at Amber by Richard Ekkebus on the seventh floor of The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong. This two-star restaurant, which also has Green Michelin recognition, is dairy-free. Ekkebus fashions “burrata” out of soy milk and serves it garlanded with tiny, multi-coloured tomatoes that are as sweet as to be almost perfumed.
As RR1 members experienced at Culinary Masters at MGM Cotai, Macau, caprese can even be intentionally sweet. Massimo Bottura finished his culinary tour of Italy’s region with a second dessert called Oops! I Forgot the Caprese Salad. What looked like a big scarlet tomato was in fact formed of white chocolate coloured with the juice of red berries. Inside were the berries themselves, infused with mozzarella and tomato sauces and a few drops of basil oil.
In general, ambience and service are just as important as food, says Rainer Becker, who started the Zuma izakaya phenomenon with businessman Arjan Waney back in 2002. That first open-plan restaurant—a stone’s throw from Harrods—is still packed out night after night, despite the fact that some of Takashi Sugimoto’s interior areas look like stage props (and do unadorned wood tables that are not exactly antique say “luxury”?). Be that as it may, Zuma London will be on top for ages. Don’t miss the black cod and prawn gyoza dumplings with pickled cucumber, perhaps with a Zuma Bellini of Campari and Prosecco, apricot and strawberry. Alternatively, order the best spirit in the house—Karuizawa 1979, cask #6177—a mere snip at £15,000 (HK$139,000), only available by the bottle.
There’ll be super sake tastings galore on Silver Whisper’s 11–27 October 2023 sailing from Yokohama to Hong Kong. Before boarding, make the most of Tokyo, only 25 miles from Yokohama. Lost in Translation’s spiritual home, the Park Hyatt Tokyo, will be under renovation soon. Stay at Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills for a fun, youthful, local experience, or Conrad Tokyo to feel serene in a way that is applauded by local aesthetes. And there’s always Aman Tokyo, its lobby like a football field immersed in meditative calm, atop the 38-floor Otemachi Tower in Chiyoda. Once aboard, ports of call include Kobe and Hiroshima, plus, in South Korea, Busan and Incheon, and more.