10 Corso Como Bows in Shanghai

In 1990, 10 Corso Como opened in Milan, introducing the world to Carla Sozzani’s sense-stimulating living-magazine and paving the way for experiential lifestyle concepts like Colette in Paris and Daikanyama T-Site in Tokyo. 23 years later, 10 Corso Como has arrived in Shanghai, and will bring experiential shopping to Chinese consumers for the first time. Luxury store fronts are ubiquitous in China, but concept stores, which bring commerce and culture together through art, fashion, design and cuisine, like 10 Corso Como, are otherwise almost non-existent.

In each of the five locations, 10 Corso Como is an adventure from the moment you walk in. In Shanghai, the space includes a gallery, café, restaurant, lounge, bookseller and mini department store. The four-floor space is immaculately designed, curated and merchandised, encouraging their signature slow shopping experience, where people can take their time to interact, observe and dine. Given that the import tax in China makes it so few things are affordable to the average consumer – other than the juices, coffee and smoothies in the Illy cafe downstairs – the experience is all the more worthwhile.

Regardless of purchasing power, there is plenty of eye candy to behold. Maybe you want a Stephen Jones fascinator for your next Royal affair, or you need a sequined Ashish sweatshirt, or one of Ferragamo’s iconic shoe creations – they   have it all. Or perhaps you want to furnish your entire home in Fornasetti – it’s possible at 10 Corso Como.

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The fitting rooms are positively palatial, the perfect place to try on Fendi fur, or an Alaia dress, including options from a stunning display of vintage Alaia pieces on the women’s floor. One of the featured items – a knit Alaia dress in Corso Como’s classic black and white dots, retails for about 46,000 RMB (or about $7,500). If that’s not quite in your budget, there are a number of other Corso Como branded items: bookmarks, canvas totes, backpacks, and iPhone cases, for those who want a signature souvenir, but aren’t quite ready to cough up thousands on thousands.

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Sozzani has noted that one of the reasons why she sought to open multiple stores in Asia, the others being in Tokyo and Seoul, is her taste for mixing cultures, and she has successfully given this distinctly Italian brand a Chinese twist in Shanghai. The top floor restaurant looks out to Shanghai’s golden Jing’An temple and Jing’An Park. Though the bulk of the merchandise is mostly from international designers, a number of Chinese books (i.e. On the Edge: Ten Architects from China), artists (Tseng Kwong Chi) and designers (Charles Phillip) are also featured.

10 Corso Como is delight to stroll through, enjoy a coffee, a coffee martini, or a coffee table book. The book collection is unparalleled, and shoppers will be pleasantly surprised by the variety of different books found on each of the four floors.10 Corso Como will certainly give Chinese shoppers and tourists alike a stimulating experience found nowhere else in China.

Shanghai Opening: Mandarin Oriental Pudong

Shanghai continues apace as a center of unabated urban expansion with the opening of the glamorous new Mandarin Oriental Pudong. And as an unapologetic acknowledgment of China’s place as the universe’s most insatiable contemporary art market, the hotel’s 4000 strong (would we kid you?) art collection, as curated by the renowned Art Front Gallery, might inspire a few "gallery-with-rooms" observations. But this is a Mandarin Oriental, after all, so for those with sufficient dosh, its hospitality credentials are pretty much unassailable.

And to be sure, its 362 rooms are swish, stylish and magnificently appointed. But you’ll likely be spending most of your time at its eponymous spa (its got a Kinesis wall and Maya Fit virtual trainers–look it up!), or amidst the dizzying array of epicurean offerings: Dutch star chef Richard Ekkebus’ modern French Fifty 8° Grill, Tony Lu’s chic Chinese eatery Yong Ti Ying, the more casual Zest, the Mandarin Cake Shop for the sweet of tooth, or the Riviera Lounge for a classic high tea in a somewhat futuristic setting. Nightowls can take in the views, the sexy decor and high-profile DJs at Qi Bar. You’ll be a "fan."

[Related: BlackBook Shanghai Guide; Listing for Mandarin Oriental Pudong; More by Ken Scrudato; Follow Ken on Twitter]

Shanghai Opening: Renaissance Shanghai Caohejing

Although its official description as the city’s "New Technology Development Zone" has a vaguely Orwellian ring to it, the Caohejing district of Shanghai is actually a buzzing hub of Asian urban futurism. And the arrival of the gleaming Renaissance Shanghai Caohejing serves to cement that, catering to those looking to work and play.

With 383 rooms reaching high up into the Shanghai sky, its impressive tech credentials are complemented by significant epicurean offerings, including the Smoki Moto pan-Asian restaurant, the more casual, international Cafe BLD, and the unambiguously named The Lounge, with its signature "R" cocktails and a program of live performances by up-and-coming music artists. The luxurious TOUCH SPA proves this place is anything but all business. 

 

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Steal This Bathrobe: The Best Hotel Products to Swipe (& Buy)

You’re wrapped in a plush terry robe, reposing on thousand-thread-count sheets, listening to a custom-programmed iPod on the dock next to your bed, and feeling as though this is nothing more than the lifestyle you deserve. So who could blame you for wanting to take some of the accoutrements of your newfound bliss home from your luxury hotel? These are top three souvenirs we recommend you swipe.

Toiletries: These are always a safe bet, since they’re there for you to use anyway. We love the Remede toiletry kits given out by the St. Regis, the Malin + Goetz soaps used by the Morgans Hotel Group properties (including the Delano in Miami and the Mondrian in Los Angeles) and the exclusive Hermès bath products at all Sofitel locations.

Slippers: Hotels actually get a certain amount of free advertising from branded products escaping the confines of their hotel, and even the non-branded versions still provide travelers with fond memories of their trip. Our favorites come from the amenity-packed Asian hotels, including fuzzy slippers at the Mandarin Oriental’s multiple locations, and the Havianas at the InterContinental Hong Kong.

Personalized Stationery: Once a standard part of luxury hotel service, personalized stationery is a pleasant enough surprise that these days, you might be inspired enough to actually write a letter. While hotel stationery and pens are always fair game, no one can complain about something personalized going home with you, and you can find it at a surprising number of places, including the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, the Trump SoHo in New York , the Stafford London, Chicago’s Talbott, and the New World Shanghai.

That said, not all of us want to steal from our favorite hotels (who wants that on their guest profile?) and hotels have of course developed procedures to address this—many sticky-fingered guests will now find their more outrageous grift charged to their room bill. So why not shop their style the legal way? Many hip hotels have added online shops full of items that either appear on property or embody their style, like these three:

The W Store: W Hotels is happy to sell you everything from the bed you slept in to the music in the air, as well as apparel from brands like John Varvatos and Mara Hoffman. We particularly love their collection of statement jewelry and their eclectic blend of home accessories.

Shutters Beach Style: This Santa Monica hotel is one of a handful that are right on the beach, but the interiors are as striking as the views. Known for its impressive contemporary art collection which belongs to the hotel’s owners, their online store has drawings by Frank Gehry and Ellsworth Kelly, as well as stunning homewares like their signature rug and pewter table accessories.

Shop The Standard: They’re on the cutting edge of urban hotel style, so it’s no wonder that they’d have a quality online presence. The covetable goods include everything from RK Ripper fixed-gear bicycles to limited-edition art prints to the kissing puppy salt-and-pepper shakers on the table at the Standard Grill—so stealable that they’re listed for purchase right on the menu.

Luxe Lofts: Top International Suites

While the domestic options are absolutely of international quality, sometimes staying in extra-special rooms can make a long trip that much more exciting. These incredible suites represent the best the world has to offer in luxury hotel suites.

Paris is truly the home of all things luxury, and there’s no better place from which to explore the city than the Hôtel Plaza Athénée’s Royal Suite. It’s nearly 5,000 square feet of classic grandeur, etched glass in golden Baroque frames, and plush wall-to-wall carpets, with elegant accents and antique furniture. The hotel is famed for its classic white-glove service, as well as its prime location on avenue Montaigne in the 8th arrondissement. From $30,000/night.

Named the best hotel in the world by Conde Nast Traveler, the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai Pudong is also home to one of the most impressive suites in Asia — which, when you consider the villas of the Maldives and the high-rises of Hong Kong, is truly saying something. While the majority of the rooms are done in East-meets-West modern style, the Ritz-Carlton suite is decorated in a more ornate style that recalls the golden age of Shanghai in the 1930s, but with all the modern accents and amenities.

With a reputation for opulence that surpasses any other in modern memory, it’s not surprising that Dubai is on our list. The Burj al Arab is already a record-breaker, and the Royal Suite is the most breathtaking room in the tallest building in the world. Located on the 25th floor, the 8,400-square-foot suite is truly fit for a king, lavishly appointed from the largest details (a rotating four-posted master bed) to the smallest (Hermès bath products) and enhanced with a private elevator, private cinema, and use of a Mercedes, Rolls-Royce, and helicopter. From $16,300/night.

The Sanctuary at Parrot Cay is a getaway within a getaway — the most private paradise imaginable at the COMO property on Turks & Caicos. The renowned Shambhala Retreat spa may sound relaxing, but we’d argue that the Sanctuary’s three-bedroom main house and two four-bedroom guest houses with outdoor showers, Balinese furniture in the Donna Karan-designed rooms, infinity pools, king-size beds, and dedicated chefs and butlers is even more so. All 17,000 plus square feet can be yours (and several of your friends’, for that matter) and you can even make the escape permanent by buying one of the private villas. $36,300/night.

While the luxury tents of today’s glamorous safaris may fulfill your Out of Africa fantasies, it’s the state-of-the-art suite at the One&Only Cape Town that will show you the future of Africa. With a view of both the mountains and the waterfront, the Penthouse Suite’s sleek white décor is an urban oasis, with a dedicated butler and access to coveted amenities, like the elaborate One&Only Spa, located on a private island near the hotel and a private 280-bottle wine cellar stocked with an international array of fine wines and Champagnes.

Top of the World: The Highest Places to Get a Drink

Opened in March 2011, Ozone at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is 118 floors up, overlooking all of Victoria Harbor. They serve pan-Asian tapas and signature cocktails in an exciting, weirdly futuristic setting that takes up most of the floor.

Shanghai is home to two notably elevated hotel bars that compete on a nightly basis for the city’s elite. The Grand Hyatt’s Cloud 9 is on the 87th floor with a 360 degree view of the city; it’s a surprisingly intimate atmosphere for such a dramatic space. The Music Room on the Park Hyatt’s 92nd floor is more of a clublike atmosphere, with live music, DJs, and an extensive cocktail list.

Unsurprisingly, the highest bar in the world is in Dubai, where they do everything just a little bit bigger. At.mosphere is on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, where it’s a destination for visitors seeking an incredible view of the city, as well as locals hosting some very memorable business lunches or a drink in the upscale lounge.

It may not set any records, but The Penthouse at the top of the Hotel ME Madrid is one of the prettiest views of any city, anywhere. Created by Rande and Scott Gerber with their signature laid-back, high-end atmosphere, a private elevator brings you to an elegant rooftop, with plenty of beds for laying back and enjoying the view of the Plaza Santa Ana, as well as the crowd of beautiful people that populate the terrace.

The 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Bangkok Hotel is given over to two elegant, though slightly different, outdoor spaces: the Vertigo restaurant, specializing in seafood and steaks, and the aptly-named Moon Bar, a glittering open-air lounge with a panoramic view of the city.

Monday Wake-Up: Sir Francis Drake Reborn, More Free Cookies in Ft. Wayne

● Visitors to the Bay Area, rejoice: the historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel has reopened after a $30 million renovation. All 416 rooms have been renovated to bring to life the elegance of the 1920s (the hotel originally opened in 1928), and the lobby and 21st-floor Starlight Room have been revitalized as well. The boutique hotel’s location near Union Square has always drawn in locals as well as guests, but new restaurants, bars, and rooms will help ensure the Kimpton-owned hotel’s legacy in coming years. [Travel Weekly]

● Thailand is courting the environmentally conscious, making green protocols integral to planning and carrying out meetings and events. They’ve already certified eight major conference venues and 170 hotels as officially “green,” all in an effort to attract American business, who increasingly cite green efforts as key in their meeting planning. [Travel Daily] ● Sometimes it’s the little things that count — and at Fort Wayne International Airport in Indiana, those things are free, delicious cookies upon arrival. The program started 10 years ago and has just expanded to late-night arrivals, thanks to a self-service stand where travelers arriving after 8:30pm can help themselves. [Overhead Bin] ● The 2011 Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards were announced last week, and while the entire list is worth perusing in the November issue (on stands this week). Highlights include a new top city in the U.S. (Charleston, S.C.) a new top hotel in the U.S. (the Elysian, in Chicago) and a new top hotel in the world: The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong. [Travel Pulse] ● American Express has long been the gold standard for businesses of all sizes, and now their corporate cards have announced new cardholder benefits — free Global Entry membership to speed your way through security, and 10 Go-Go inflight wireless credits per year. [Business Travel News]

Chickens & Monkeys & Bears, Oh My! A-Trak Goes to Asia

At the beginning of June, I went to Asia with my friend Congorock, an Italian DJ on my label Fool’s Gold, for our “Asian Sensation” Tour. I’ve been to Asia a bunch of times before, but this trip was particularly interesting because I went to so many countries back to back—it was like cultural speed-dating. From food and club audiences to hotels and traditional monuments, I got a quick taste of everything.

Musically, it’s changed a lot over the years. Electronic music is taking over like it is in the rest of the world, especially thanks to blogs. So it’s exciting for me to go there and not only promote my own music, but meet the DJs who are playing it. There’s a new generation that’s really keen about all of this, and it feels fresh.

The only place we had any real downtime was Bali, but that worked out great because it’s gorgeous and there’s tons to explore. Still, we tried to capture pictures everywhere we went. Check them out below to see how this continent is seen from a globetrotting DJ’s eyes.

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Bali is the only non-Muslim island in Indonesia. It’s Buddhist, and everywhere we looked there were these offerings to the gods, basically incense and flowers. I even saw one on the roof of a car.

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This is me bathing in the holy springs of Tirta Empul in Bali. The water is really cold, everyone is shivering. I basically looked at what everyone else was doing and did the same: ran some water on my head.

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I went to see a traditional healer in Bali. I haven’t seen the movie Eat, Pray, Love but I guess there’s a similar guy in there, and my host said the one in the movie has since “gone Hollywood”. I’m not even sure what these guys do but I figured there’s no harm in trying. It ended up being essentially a massage.

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This was in a great Thai restaurant in Bali. I wish I kept the name – it was delicious. I didn’t actually taste Indonesian food while I was there.

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I went to visit a temple and they put some rice on my forehead in some sort of traditional ceremony. Then I walked around and someone let me hold their chickens. You can’t really say no to that.

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We went to this monkey park in Bali, which is literally what the name indicates: a park with monkeys. You can buy bananas at the entrance to feed them. They’re not in cages, they’re just everywhere around you. They’re also not very nice, they’ll grab cameras and purses from people. I still love monkeys though.

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This picture was taken close to the springs of Tirta Empul, in Bali. These kids were all taunting each other on the street, and when we asked for a picture, they got really calm.

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These are some rice fields in Bali. Looked like something out of Apocalypse Now.

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The club where I played in Bali was outdoors by the beach and had a swimming pool. One of the most beautiful settings I’ve ever played in. It’s called Potatohead.

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The Petronas Towers are probably the most known landmark in Kuala Lumpur. They were the tallest buildings in the world until just a few years ago. Petronas is an oil company. KL has a big oil industry.

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In Bangkok I played at a spot called Bed Supperclub, which as the name indicates is both a club and a restaurant. For reasons I don’t understand, this bear was at dinner.

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This is a poster for our show in Jakarta. It was my first time there.

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Yes, the Singapore Sling really is from Singapore. I went to the Raffles Hotel upon my arrival to do some shopping (I bought a nice bathing suit there) and realized that their bar is where the famous drink was invented. So I indulged.

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Here I am DJing at Zouk Club in Singapore, one of my favorite clubs in Asia. The sound system is amazing, I heard parts of songs that I never noticed before. image

This is the crowd at Zouk. They were a rowdy bunch.

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I met a Buddhist monk at the Taipei airport. He was nice, very talkative. He asked me if I was on Facebook.

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I did an ad campaign for Tommy Denim and the ads are up in a bunch of countries overseas. It was funny seeing myself on a store in Taipei.

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This is me DJing in Beijing. It looks like my beard fades out but it doesn’t.

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Standing on the DJ table in Beijing. People freak out when I do this and scratch but I swear it’s not difficult at all.

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The club where I played in Shanghai, Bar Rouge, is on a rooftop terrace and has a great view on the city. This picture was taken around 5am after my set. Rainy day.

Photography by Robin Laananen

Shanghai Preview: Andaz Hotel

For those visiting China’s marquee cities, the lodging options are often limited to the glaringly glitzy or blandly business-like. Shanghai has seen a few, shall we say, more sleek newcomers (The Indigo), but Andaz’ first Asian entry could hardly be more exigent.

Following on from the brand’s established aesthetic inclinations, you won’t find big, glittering chandeliers and top-hatted doorman. Instead, its strikingly modern, latticed exterior–said to be inspired by the Tang Lady of the Tang Dynasty–is enhanced with a very 21st Century multicolored LED lighting system which reacts to guests use of blackout shades (what fun!). Its 262 rooms and 45 suites will be of distinctly contemporary elegance, done up with sexy reds, whites, and blacks. And, much as Shanghai has become a nerve-center of free-wheeling high-finance, the Andaz is expecting its guests to also get in lots of play time. There will be two restaurants, a bar, a spa, a pool, and a rooftop lounge.

Located in the buzzing and trendy Xintiandi complex, the Andaz will undoubtedly be Shanghai’s new magnet for the fabulous and fashionable. An Andaz Sanya Sunny Bay is also on the way.