Posts Tagged ‘Beaches’


Brand Brazil is good to go

By Tyler Brûlé
Published: August 20 2010 22:16 | Last updated: August 20 2010 22:16
It’s time for a little Fast Lane pre back-to-school, back-to-work quiz to sharpen your faculties for the last third of the year.
1. If you were going to buy a holiday home, would you choose:
a) a spacious beach apartment in Sochi, Russia
b) a Thai-inspired villa on the resort island of Hainan, China
c) a thatched bungalow on a beach in Goa
d) a Marcio Kogan designed bungalow in Trancoso, Brazil?
2. Where would you like to spend your retirement years:
a) Russia?
b) China?
c) India?
d) Brazil?
3.) If you were organising an end of summer cocktail party on your terrace, would you choose:
a) Dacha-style discotheque with a vodka bar?
b) Sweaty Shanghai swing with a dumpling buffet?
c) Kerala trance party with buckets of beer?
d) Breezy bossa nova with a caipirinha bar staffed by Brazilian waiters?
While there’s no scientifically correct answer to any of the questions above, they do form part of my ever-evolving list of metrics for my Bric nation liveability, lifestyle and soft-power index. No matter how I shuffle the deck, Brazil always leads the pack.
After a brief stop in Abu Dhabi and Dubai followed by a 16-hour flight on Emirates I happily touched down in São Paulo last week for a 72-hour visit. The drill in São Paulo is always the same: an early evening arrival at the somewhat tired but perfectly compact Guarulhos airport, a blacked-out (sometimes bullet-proof) Kia sedan into town and a warm welcome at the Fasano Hotel.
I have many favourite hotels around the world, but the Fasano is the one brand that I’d like to see more of while I travel.
On Tuesday evening I pulled up in the driveway and was greeted by a doorman in an elegant suit. While his colleagues attended to my bags I walked into the dimly lit, clubby lobby. In the main lounge area a couple of men in business attire were having a meeting, a lone photographer was sipping a glass of red, a chic young couple (she Italian and he perhaps Swiss) were flipping through the São Paulo dailies and the fireplace was filling the whole space with that wonderful fragrance that can never be captured in a scented candle or room spray.
The cosy-modernist theme is carried through to the Fasano’s guestrooms and I’m often tempted by the low-lighting, warm woods and elegant reading chair to abandon my evening plans and settle in for an early night. The hotel’s rooms are neither too big nor too small and have a purposeful sense of scale that allows you to get on with work for a couple of hours, but never make you feel like you’re trapped.
Much of this has to do with the meticulous planning executed by the hotel’s founder Rogerio Fasano and his architect sparring partner Isay Weinfeld. The former is the man behind one of Brazil’s most respected hospitality powerhouses, and Weinfeld is the man who virtually every Brazilian billionaire wants to commission to build their beach houses and city compounds.
Later this year the Fasano brand will venture beyond Brazil’s borders for the first time when the company opens a resort property outside of Punta del Este in Uruguay. This will signal Brazil launching an international luxury brand to take on the likes of the Four Seasons and Hyatt, and exporting its own style of inn-keeping and design that’s a welcome relief from all of the tired and tested Asian formulas mimicked by many of the big global brands.
The following morning, while enduring the tedious stop-start, stop-start traffic of São Paulo I started doing a mental brand audit of shop fronts. Most of the names around the Fasano are the usual international luxury suspects, and I wondered whether this was a new metric worth adding to my Bric index. How many home-grown, designed and owned brands do I consume in daily life from those four economies? By the time I pulled up at the Cidade Jardim shopping mall a few kilometres away it seemed that Brazil was out in front again. I came up with: Made in Brazil Havaianas flip-flops that are found in my luggage on trips to hot climates, Made in Brazil Embraer aircraft to shuttle me around on short haul journeys, elegant Made in Brazil chairs from Sergio Rodrigues under my bum, and Written, Recorded and Pressed in Brazil tunes by Bebel Gilberto and Barbara Mendes stored on my laptop. I tried very hard to think of Indian, Russian and Chinese brands that I owned or used and I couldn’t think of any – no Russian design brands in my house, no reservations at any Indian hotels and no Lenovo laptop in my bag.
Brazil’s energy companies might be the engine for the country’s economy but it’s the softer elements (music, fashion, hospitality, design) that are going to make brand Brazil that little bit more seductive and sexier than Russia, India and China.
Tyler Brûlé is editor-in-chief of Monocle
More columns at / Columnists / Tyler Brûlé – Brand Brazil is good to go

The MasterLiving Blog


August 15, 2010

Environment and Business Clash in Saint-Tropez

PARIS — Of all the places to part with fistfuls of money in St.-Tropez, few have more cachet than Le Club 55.
Perched on the white stretches of Pampelonne, one of the Côte d’Azur’s most stunning beaches, Le Club offers a private patch of sand where habitués can pay around $255 a day to rent a couple of lounge chairs with an umbrella and enjoy a light lunch — not including wine.
But that traditional St.-Tropez luxury is in danger of being upended there, and at 27 other clubs and restaurants that have catered for decades to famous Côte d’Azur visitors from Brigitte Bardot to Paris Hilton.
The mayor’s office says the establishments pose a threat to the environment. Officials have proposed dismantling existing beach amenities and shrinking the area allotted for private beaches to protect delicate flora and what officials say are dunes worn down by the crush of manicured feet. As a result, despite the August atmosphere of hedonism, an unusual air of rebellion is stirring in St.-Tropez, with businesses contemplating their first ever “strike.”
“It’s completely stupid — everybody thinks so,” said Patrice de Colmont, the owner of Le Club 55 and a leader of the local fight against the government’s plans.
“If we said buildings in Paris couldn’t be above a certain height you wouldn’t cut off the top of the Eiffel Tower,” Mr. de Colmont said. “Well, this is the Eiffel Tower of the French Riviera.”
The mayor is seeking a compromise, but has not backed down. The town hall at Ramatuelle, where Pampelonne is situated, is planning to open its doors, starting Monday, to receive comments from the public.
“We all want to be here for the long term,” said Guy Martin, the chief of staff for Mayor Roland Bruno. “That’s why we need to make sure there’s a sustainable equilibrium between the environment and the community.”
Like much in France, though, the dispute is not so simple. Opponents of the move claim that it is really an effort to clear the way for big, well-connected companies to move in on the local businesses’ turf. Officials respond that the ruckus being raised by Mr. de Colmont and his colleagues is mostly in defense of their own form of crass commercialism.
French law prohibits private development on public beaches. But decades ago, residents built on Pampelonne by obtaining renewable one-year permits that allowed them to offer “public services,” like Jet Ski rentals and lifeguards, if the construction was dismantled when the contract expired.
If applying annually for permits was a nuisance, it at least protected small business owners, since no large company was willing to put up with the risk of losing a substantial investment, said Carole Balligand, the chairwoman of Save Pampelonne, a group that represents the local businesses that are in danger.
From the government’s perspective, however, all the activity stemming from the permits has hastened the erosion of an important dune on Pampelonne filled with rare native plant species. In 1986, the French Parliament passed a law to restore the area. Four years ago it ordered those in the area to strike a better balance between the environment and commercial activity.
Under the government’s plan, the commercial operators would be allowed on 20 percent of the beach rather than 30 percent, meaning their plots would be reduced to 23 from 28. As for the dune, it would be cordoned off to let nature do its work.
Local people are upset at another proposal, to require commercial beach activities to end on Sept. 1 every year — still the high season — rather than sometime in October, and to allow new businesses that build behind the restored dune 10-year operating permits. That, they suspect, is less about protecting the environment than attracting mass vacation companies with deep pockets, like Club Med.
What is more, Mrs. Balligand’s group, after digging up photos from the Allied landing on Pampelonne beach in August 1944, contends that no large dune ever existed. She accuses the government of using environmental arguments as an excuse to bring in bigger businesses.
In summer, about 20,000 people frolic on Pampelonne beach every day. While Paris and Nicky Hilton, Tina Turner, Bono and a constellation of other stars frequent its playground, so have a number of international artists, intellectuals and politicians. Many mix with the coterie of low-key, wealthy local residents whose families were here well before Ms. Bardot put Pampelonne on the map in the 1956 French film “And God Created Woman.”
Before Ms. Bardot, St.-Tropez was more like the Saint-Germain des Prés quarter of 1920s Paris. It was an eclectic beach town that drew few rich people. These days, “the gulf of St.-Tropez is covered with yachts, pretty much all of which are registered in tax havens,” Mr. Martin said.
The prospect of losing those clients and their free-flowing cash has Mr. de Colmont alarmed. His private beach plot is small, but it has been the stuff of legend ever since Ms. Bardot and the director Roger Vadim came during filming to seek food at what was then an outdoor dining table set up by Mr. de Colmont’s father for his family.
Last Thursday, Mr. de Colmont called off his planned one-day strike, he said, after the mayor’s office gathered him and other residents to discuss the matter “more reasonably.” But he is not ruling out a shutdown if the government digs in.
As he presses his fight, Mr. de Colmont will have at least one heavy hitter at his side. “Joan Collins left me a message the other day to ask what she could do to support me,” he said. “She has proposed to come give her point of view” to the mayor.
Such celebrities, of course, attract plenty of gawkers. Mr. de Colmont wants to be sure that the riffraff doesn’t get out of control, scaring the big spenders away. On a recent day, he said, 300 clients paid to use the amenities on Le Club 55’s plot, while only 100 people sat on the larger public beach next to his. “I would prefer,” he said, “not to have Club Med people crowding out those who are already here.”

Environment and Business Clash in Saint-Tropez –


Published 05:29 30.07.10

Latest update 05:29 30.07.10

National Geographic ranks Tel Aviv among world’s top beach cities

‘Call it Miami Beach on the Med. Tel Aviv is the Dionysian counterpart to religious Jerusalem.’

By Zafrir Rinat
Israel news Tel Aviv

They may be hot, crowded and swarming with jellyfish, but Tel Aviv beaches are apparently a world-class asset.
National Geographic yesterday published a list of the world’s 10 best beach cities and rated Tel Aviv alongside Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, Nice (on the French riviera) and Cape Town.
The prestigious magazine’s article says: “Call it Miami Beach on the Med. Tel Aviv is the Dionysian counterpart to religious Jerusalem. In the ‘bubble,’ as it’s known for its inhabitants’ tendency to tune out regional skirmishes, some restaurants, discos, and clubs are open until dawn.
By day, the scene shifts to the city’s promenade and eight miles (13 kilometers) of beach literally steps from town.”

National Geographic ranks Tel Aviv among world’s top beach cities – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

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