ith both the start of the Year of the Monkey and Valentine’s Day happening this month, it’s fitting that this issue includes my report on a perfect little getaway spot for families or couples. Furthermore, the resort I visited—the Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, situated on Vietnam’s balmy east coast—used monkeys as its main animal motif. Playful primates inhabit the tract of land that hosts the resort, which inspired the hotel’s designer, the inimitable Bill Bensley, to permeate the property with monkey ornaments and references. Is there a more ideal place to visit this year?
The Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, which was named the World’s Leading Luxury Resort at the World Travel Awards for the second year, recently added a spectacular feather in its culinary cap. Renowned French chef Pierre Gagnaire has taken over the resort’s high-end restaurant, La Maison 1888, and I was lucky enough to be among the first to try his menu. Pierre is lauded the world over for his bold, iconoclastic approach to flavours and ingredients, and has inspired generations of younger chefs to explore unusual combinations and contrasts. But what impressed me most about him, as we sat chatting in the afternoon before his big debut, was how humble he is and how engaged he was with the food he was about to serve. Despite his limited English, he spoke with such passion about a Vietnamese avocado and some shrimp that came from a place near Danang. Read more in Indo Sheen on page 194.
We meet another charismatic Frenchman for our cover story this month—raphael le Masne de Chermont, executive chairman of Hong Kong’s first home-grown luxury brand, Shanghai Tang (p.136). As well as his penchant for mandarin collars and his Gallic charm, Raphael is known for his horsemanship and polo skills. He excitedly revealed that the Hong Kong Polo Association, of which he is a member, is bringing the sport back to Hong Kong after a 30-year hiatus. Matches will be staged during the Longines Hong Kong Masters, the annual equestrian thrill-fest, which takes place from February 19 to 21. I hope to see you there for some horsing around—or should that be monkey business?
— Sean Fitzpatrick Chief Creative Officer