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Every city keeps its secrets close to its heart and those secrets, those special somethings I long to find when traveling somewhere new. If lucky enough those secrets are revealed and I can truly call myself a local.
I was invited to a wonderful lunch at the InterContinental Park Lane here in London to launch its new collection of Insider Experiences. Three of InterContinental’s city hotels, London, Paris and Tel Aviv, are trying to capture that know-it-all familiarity for their guests.
The Insider Experience in London starts on Jermyn Street in St. James. You might just miss it tucked between Royal Warranted cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield and cobbler John Lobb, but there she is Floris (a parfumeur has to be feminine, non?). Opened in 1730 and the first perfume shop in London, Floris still provides both Queen Elizabeth II and The Prince of Wales, that’s Charles, with toilet water. (Above is King George VI’s order page!)
If you stay in the InterContinental’s Royal Suite, you too have a chance to experience the royal treatment. Floris will create a scent that is purely yours and will keep it their records for all time! Ask nicely and I’m sure they will lead you into the back room where there is a mini-museum to everything Floris throughout time. I’ve been a fan of their Lily of the Valley Eau de Toilette for years!
(Ballroom at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand)
Both the InterContinental Paris Le Grand and Ladurée, the trés francais macaroon makers, were open for business 150 years ago. They decided to join forces for the Paris Insider Experience. Guests first visit InterContinental Paris Le Grand’s fabulous Opera Ballroom, a National Heritage Site, and then it’s off to make some macaroons of their own with the head patisserie chef of Ladurée himself. If you tell anyone their secret recipe, it’s the guillotine for you!
(The Pool at the InterContinental Tel Aviv)
Tel Aviv is all about the food. At our lunch, we were fed by famed Israeli chef, Yaron Kestenboum. If we hadn’t been whisked away to our date with Floris, we would have held him hostage in London as our personal chef! David Cohen, General Manager of InterContinental David Tel Aviv said: “Tel Aviv is the world’s smallest Mega city, it is an adventure for the senses and so this was the inspiration for our Insider Experience. Much like the experience in our hotel, Senses of Tel Aviv is tailored to personal preference; it can include a culinary journey of Tel Aviv’s marketplaces or exclusive access to personally curated local design and art collections.” יאם
All these experiences involve the best of what these cities have to offer and I am happy to spread the word!