Three Favourite Places

A good and abundant life must always seek balance so, amidst a plethora of posts upon weighty matters of business, finance and otherwise, this column offers a reminder that such affairs of state should be a means to an end and not an end in themselves.

I shall cast a distinctive, personal eye over people and places that made my heart sing. I shall bring, inter alia, my recommendations of wonderful books you should read, museums you should visit, cities you should explore and friends you should meet.

As founder and host of OFFLINE, I understand implicitly the value of collaboration and engagement. There are few greater pleasures in life. In this column, I shall share with you three of my favourite cities and a venue in each that ticked all the right boxes for me!

New York City – One of the greatest cities of the modern era. It has everything you could wish for. Terrific architecture, cultural pursuits, restaurants, a real sense of scale and energy, ambition and dynamism, raw yet intimate with some fascinating, diverse neighbourhoods.

Venue – The Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel on E76 Street is an institution and rightly so. One of the classiest cocktail bars you will ever enter, attentive service and live jazz complementing the understated plushness and warmth of the establishment.

New York

Amsterdam – This city has everything. Perhaps it is the juxtaposition of the traditional with the avant garde that makes it so compelling but it is a delightful place, full of hidden courtyards, one of a kind boutiques, interesting bookshops and, as it happens, a decent football team.

Venue – Hotel Goudfazant is a dazzling, open plan restaurant, situated at the far end of an industrial estate. Don’t let the location fool you. The food and building are each a marvel. I was taken there by some charming, informed Dutch friends who know about such things.

Cartagena – Situated on the northern coast of Colombia and regarded, by common consent, as the most beautifully preserved colonial city in Latin America. Inner and outer walls from 16th c remain and riding in horse drawn carriages is the perfect antidote to the tropical heat.

Venue – Everywhere. A vibrant, happy place, crumbling and chi chi in equal measure. The warmth of the people, the music, the sense of history all stand out. Can’t also ignore Sofitel Hotel, originally a private mansion, where I enjoyed a very personal encounter with a toucan!

I do hope these brief insights give you a snapshot of the life you might be enjoying as and when you can tear yourself away from the world of commerce. I should be delighted to hear your thoughts and observations. Next up will be a few books you should make time for.

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