Author: kirthi

A Totally Surprising Green Hotel in London

LAUREN: I get excited about the bright future of a greener hotel industry when I come across places like The Draycott, a hotel that has everything going for it—accolades, location, history, amenities, hospitality, style—yet still makes being eco a priority. Inside the three restored red-brick Edwardian houses tucked away between Kensington and Chelsea’s fashionable Sloane Square, there is nothing obvious about the hotel’s newly launched “Keen to Be Green” initiative to become the greenest boutique property in London.

Draycott Hotel (2)

The classic British charm and old world elegance cherished by proprietor Mantis Group was worked on by interior designer Rupert Lord from 1996 to 1998, and continues to be updated by Nina Campbell since 2012. At check-in, you’ll discover what makes The Draycott a real hidden gem.

Drawing Room 2

From the website to the lobby, the hotel encourages guests to recycle and save energy (turn off lights, TV, faucet, and air-conditioning when not in use), and to explore the city on two wheels, by public transit or walking tour. The concierge has great tips on where to take a traffic-free ride—beginning at the Barclays bike-share docking station (£2 per 24/hrs) a half a block from the hotel—through Kew Gardens, bird-watchers’ paradise London Wetland Centre, and Richmond Park, the largest open space in London, dating back to the 12th century and full of red deer. Or take a self-guided stroll through the quiet back streets of Chelsea, where you can step into the world of Charles Dickens and George Eliot. Whether the hotel books a cycling tour or points you in the right direction, the idea is it can be fun and easy to lighten your carbon footprint on vacation.

Draycott Shaw - Suite

When you enter one of 35 uniquely styled guestrooms, your name written on the door, it’s nice to know that there are LED lights in the antique lamps, the cleaning products used in your immaculate quarters are eco-friendly,and  leftover toiletries are donated to homeless charities. Room service delivers organic local produce too.

Cadogan Gardens

Cadogan Gardens

Before you care to unpack, there’s one little urban adventure that beckons. Walk one minute to Cocomaya for a pastry and coffee, which you’ll take to Cadogan Gardens, nestled against The Draycott. Only local residents and hotel guests are privy to enjoy these paradisal grounds, where it’s easy to pass an afternoon, surrounded by sculptures, trees, tennis courts and roses. But don’t linger too long, there’s a whole city to see and complimentary champagne by the fire at 6:00pm in the drawing room.

The hardest diet and wellness examples

The Carnivore Diet

The Carnivore Diet

Modern science works under the assumption that humans are omnivores — but these dieters disagree. This wild weight loss craze involves eating red meat (and pretty much just red meat) for every meal. The slabs of steak are sometimes slathered in butter or topped with eggs to supplement some nutrition. But other than that, it’s red meat or bust. The carnivore diet grew in popularity in 2018 after endorsement from a few right-wing activists and sprouted a sizable online community through Reddit and Instagram. Who needs vegetables, anyway? According to science, you do. When dietitians were consulted about the healthfulness of this meat-heavy diet, they were more than a bit skeptical.

Colonics and Enemas

Colonics and Enemas

In January of 2018, Gwyneth Paltrow’s company blog posted a raving recommendation to self-perform a coffee enema. They may be taking the title “Goop” too seriously. Coffee enemas, and all other enemas, colonics, and various methods of colon cleansing, are a really bad idea. They are also completely unnecessary — your body can detox all on its own. (More on that later.)

Enemas were first diagnosed as a medical treatment in the 1800s. That’s the same medical era that prescribed swallowing leeches to get rid of a cough and gave narcotics to crying babies. The practice was largely condemned by the American Medical Association in 1919, and more recently, the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology called them “not merely useless but potentially dangerous.” Dangers of enemas include “rectal burning or perforation; infections (including sepsis, which can be life threatening); severe electrolyte imbalances (which have actually killed two people); colitis, and heart failure,” Donnica L. Moore, MD, told The Daily Meal. Flushing your colon in this way could actually kill you. If you fell for this tip, the only thing you really need to flush is your Internet history — and seek your health advice elsewhere.

Appetite-Suppressant Lollipops

Appetite-Suppressant Lollipops

Keep up with the Kardashians all you want, but you might want to steer clear of their diet advice. Earlier in 2018, Kim Kardashian was criticized for advertising her use of Flat Tummy Co. appetite-suppressant lollipops. According to the brand, the candies contain an ingredient that staves off appetite — in other words, it helps you ignore your natural cue that your body needs to eat. These lollipops may or may not work; they’re considered a dietary supplement, and therefore are not actually regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. But you know what definitely works to get rid of hunger? Eating food. And doing that is actually quite healthy, unlike relying on these products to avoid your appetite. Kim Kardashian was bashed online by other celebrities and many health experts for advertising a product that may promote disordered eating. You may want to (lolli) pop these in the trash.

Clean Eating

Clean Eating

The only “clean” eating you need to worry about is making sure you wash your produce. Foods aren’t “clean” or “dirty,” unless you’re choosing between a rinsed tomato and one you pulled fresh off the vine. “What is clean eating?” said registered dietitian Dana Harrison. “Sometimes I like to ask a group of people this question and hear their answers, which end up rarely being the same. Clean eating is a phrase that doesn’t have an exact definition, and I find that each person makes it their own.”

Most advocates of clean eating advocate eliminating processed foods and focusing on whole food ingredients such as vegetables, grains, and meats. And sure, adding lots of nutrient-rich foods to your diet will probably help you feel better, mentally and physically. But eating an Oreo here and there won’t derail your body’s functioning, nor will it taint the cleanliness of your colon — and viewing simple food choices as essentially a high-stakes battle between good and evil is not a very healthy approach.

“The idea behind it is positive,” Harrison says, “but I find it’s become a label that can come with some negative connotations. Clean vs. dirty; I should eat this, I shouldn’t eat that.” Condemning certain foods, such as processed foods, contributes to the idea that you need to eliminate entire food groups from your diet in order to be healthy — which, in turn, could be damaging to your mental health.

The Craziest Diet and Wellness Fads of 2019 List

Every year has its fads. 2001 was the year of head-to-toe denim, frosted lip gloss… and eating low-carb. 2003 brought us fedoras, hoop earrings, and the famous South Beach Diet. Along with fashion and music, food has its fads, too. And while some of these fads focus on the fun and fashionable things people are eating (unicorn bread, anyone?) many of the trends that develop focus on weight loss.

This phenomenon isn’t anything new; strange diet solutions have been a thing since the early 20th century, when being thin started to come into fashion. You would gawk at some of the ridiculous diet trends your parents probably tried. What did 2018 add to the fad diet timeline?

When it comes to weight loss, people are willing to try all kinds of wild tactics, just so long as they’re promised that the tricks are “healthy.” The wellness industry knows this very well — and has come up with some wacky and weird diet solutions this year. A diet that cures depression? A cake made of chia seeds? All they need is the approval of one doctor, an industry-funded study, or a willing celebrity to endorse their trend and voila! People are almost always eager to try for themselves. Until, of course, other doctors and health experts warn them not to.

The results promised by these regimens and products begin at weight loss — but with the rise of body positivity and other movements, the industry has begun to promise so much more. Some of them claim to improve gut health, de-bloat, de-stress, eliminate anxiety, or even balance your hormones. The results certainly sound miraculous. Some of these treatments and products even claim to elongate your life. But the health risks posed by some fads could actually end up doing the opposite. Here are the most popular trends of the year (and a little advice on whether or not you should try them).

Weight Loss Tea

Weight Loss Tea

Teas claiming to help with weight loss have been all the rage on Instagram. Celebrities such as Iggy Azalea and Khloé Kardashian (whose diet is already pretty extreme to begin with) have publicly sworn by them — with the hashtag #ad tacked on the end. But can you really sip the pounds away with flat belly teas? Probably not. Many of these teas are actually just laxatives. Iggy Azalea, for instance, recently advertised a tea made with senna, a laxative substance that (according to the Mayo Clinic) can worsen stomach or bowel problems and interfere with certain medications. The discomfort and side effects probably are not worth the few pounds you probably won’t even lose.

The Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet, or the keto diet for short, claims to turn your body into a “fat burning machine” through extreme restriction of all carbohydrates. It started as a treatment for epilepsy and Parkinson’s; now, it has dieters everywhere eating bacon-stuffed avocados and avoiding pasta like the plague. A fast-track to weight loss that involves eating all the bacon you want? It sounds too good to be true! (So long as you don’t mind breath that smells like nail polish remover.) And advocates of the diet swear by the weight loss and apparent health benefits it delivers.

But is the keto diet really safe? “Despite the current popularity of a keto diet, there is no long-term evidence showing it is effective or safe,” said author, speaker and frequent television guest Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT. Turns out, there are some concerning consequences of eliminating carbs from your diet. And, as registered dietitian and Arivale coach Ginger Hultin explains, “there is a possibility of kidney damage, nutritional deficiencies, and side effects including constipation, dehydration, fatigue, and nausea.”

In addition to the health concerns, the diet may not be sustainable long-term. “The most common frustration I see with people who have attempted the ketogenic diet is yo-yo dieting afterwards,” Dana Harrison, registered dietitian behind Eats 2 Know, said. “If you break the rigid restrictions over time (ex: in social settings or just because), weight regain usually occurs, and it does so quickly. Despite all of this, the ketogenic diet has been researched as a prescribed diet in regards to health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and brain conditions.” If you don’t have those health conditions, though, there’s not a lot of evidence that eating only keto-friendly foods will keep you healthy for long.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a blanket term used to describe diets wherein you are only permitted to eat during predetermined windows of time. Some intermittent fasters don’t eat for entire days. The current version attempted by some Silicon Valley tech gurus involves fasting for multiple days in a row, achieving what they believe is “biohacking.” A few of them told The Guardian that eating this way makes them feel “a mild euphoria” and intense levels of cognitive focus. Others who practice intermittent fasting eat every day, but consume all of their daily calories in four hours. Most iterations are more moderate, instructing adherents to eat during an 8-hour window of the day and fast for the other 16, for example. Kourtney Kardashian reportedly swears by this particular method.

Advocates of the diet claim humans are meant to eat this way, citing some particularly suggestive studies that seem to show that fasting staves off Alzheimer’s and extends lifespan. However, many dietitians express grave concern over the lack of research on side effects. While a lab rat may benefit on a cellular level, these studies fail to account for human reactions to stress and the limitations these diets impose on everyday life. “Intermittent fasting might result in an obsession with food, bingeing behaviors, hunger, feeling low energy, etc.,” explained registered dietitian Jillian Greaves. “Research on intermittent fasting in humans is limited and short in duration.”

Overall, Greaves said that the benefits of the diet don’t appear superior to those of the usual recommendations for healthy eating. “Physiologically we know our bodies work best when they get fuel consistently every 3 to 4 hours,” she said. “This helps with stable blood sugar and energy levels as well as satiety. Everyone is different, but I do not feel there is enough research to recommend fasting at this time.”

Lindsey Coral Harper Checks Into the Beverly Hills Hotel

Interior designer, and HC contributor, Lindsey Coral Harper reports back from the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel:

Fountain Coffee Room

LOVE: Everything about it!! My favorite hidden spot is the diner down stairs… I love an old-school lunch/breakfast counter.


Lindsey’s friends Ashley & Casey at the BH Hotel on their wedding day

DESIGN IDEA TO CRIB: The amazing palm leaf wallpaper, Martinique, available through Hinson. I’ve used the wallpaper before, it looks great in a foyer, a hallway or a powder room.  I used it in a client’s kitchen in Palm Beach and it was just what we needed, super kitsch.

The Beverly Hills HotelThe Beverly Hills Hotel Premier Suite - Bedroom - High ResThe Beverly Hills Hotel

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS: The rooms are really a throw back to Old Hollywood Glamour, they are spacious and the bathrooms practically have their own zip code.  Each room has a well-stocked bar and very comfy bed.  Only in Beverly Hills would each bathroom have a scale so you can weigh yourself…can you say Valley of the Dolls?!

Presidential Bungalow BathroomPresidential Bungalow Private Pool

ROOM TO BOOK: If you’re want to splurge, and want your privacy too go for a Bungalow…. Marilyn Monroe lived in one for years!

Pool _Overall

BHH Swimming Pool


MUST DO: Reserve a cabana! The pool is one of the chicest places, and it just underwent a multi-million dollar renovation for the 100-year Jubilee.  Also, eat lunch outside at the Polo Lounge if you want to see or be seen.

The Lobby of The Beverly Hills Hotel ORDER

INSIDER TIP: This hotel has impeccable service. You also have every amenity available to you. There is a salon downstairs, which is great if you want a blow-out before heading out. They have a La Prairie Spa of course if you want to relax by getting a massage or facial.  Between all the amenities the restaurants indoor and outdoor you are pretty much set. You really could live there!!

LCH portrait by Kelly Stuart. Wedding photo Samuel Lippke Studios. All hotel images courtesy The Beverly Hills Hotel.

Want to stay in the world’s most luxurious villas?

There are luxury villas, and then there are ‘villas’ that crank cosseting up to the max. They have all the extras – especially those you don’t need – up-to-the-minute tech, a dedicated butler and assorted staff, endless distractions… We’ve selected private pads – both family-friendly and posse-ready – where pampering is assured. Floating villages, historic homesteads and juiced-up jungle lodges: read on, and dream on…

SRI LANKA | Ani Villas

Sleeps 30

The extra mile Things look up as soon as the plane lands: a private seaplane or chauffeured car awaits you at arrivals. Your entourage includes a butler, concierge, spa therapists and chef Cyril, who takes requests but has a few tricks under his toque too. He’s a dab hand at breakfasts and barbecues…

Your stay French designer Reda Amalou and AW2 architects have crafted something akin to a tropical Forbidden City. Skip from spa, to pool, to hot tub and try not to envy the kids’ water slide. This stretch of beach is all yours, but less flop-and-drop types can play tennis and shuffleboard or arrange yoga sessions.

Mr & Mrs Smith | the world's most luxurious villas | Ani Villas Sri Lanka

Ani Villas Sri Lanka

To do Learn how to make Sri Lankan curries with chef Cyril. Tennis coaches, and personal trainers are on speed dial. And, more pulse-pumping pursuits are free, too (CrossFit, volleyball, biking), plus some restorative spa treatments. For an extra charge, you can whale watch and visit a tea estate.

For kids Parents, ready your prayer hands: four free hours of entertainment are included each day (for kids aged four and up). They’ll cook simple local dishes, play cricket, football and shuffleboard, and cycle. Your butler can arrange babysitting, too.

Smith Extra A bottle of champagne

INDONESIA | Villa Sungai Bali

Sleeps Six

The extra mile Meet Made (pronounced Mah-day) your personal concierge, on call 24/7 – you’ll miss him when you go. He leads a team of chauffeurs, chefs and spa therapists, and will speed you through arrivals like a rock star. Order meals each day and the chef will pick up ingredients in the market (charged, but with no mark-up); and Made won’t raise an eyebrow if you arrive clinking with duty-free spirits.

Your stay This greenery-swathed jungle eyrie overlooks a river in tranquil Cepaka. It must be booked exclusively, but you’ll want the sunny terraces, veiled four posters and serpentine pool – with underwater speakers – all to yourself anyway. A bespoke citrus-lily scent has also been wafted through your new home’s halls.

Mr & Mrs Smith | the world's most luxurious villas | Villa Sungai, Indonesia

Villa Sungai

To do Made can plot an itinerary before arrival… Leave room for swimming and spa treatments (just US$30 an hour). Your chauffeur’s on command for shopping and nightlife in Seminyak and surrounds. Temples, markets and gold and black beaches beckon, too. Or, meet local artisans, try kechak dancing and horse rides on the beach.

For kids Smalls are spoilt rotten with menus of tempura fish, banana crêpes and more, and custom sarongs. Baby kit runs from formula to wipes, and toys and board games entertain in-house. Babysitters can be booked, and tea parties, local-school visits, hair-braiding, kite-making, gamelan shows, quad biking, even submarine rides can be arranged.

Smith Extra A 60-minute spa treatment for each adult and a 30-minute massage for each child under 15

THAILAND | Samujana Seven-Bedroom Villa Plus

Sleeps 14

The extra mile Your villa manager is a one-man command centre – they’ll see to all wishes. Pick and mix your staff from an array of yoga instructors, personal trainers and even a Muay Thai champion. Private chefs can be hired, too, or work your way through choice-laden menus – from barbecue parties to juice cleanses.

Your stay There’s an air of ‘supervillain with taste’ to this modernist villa: a Hockney-esque structure embedded into a Koh Samui hillside. It’s vast (just shy of 2,000sq m) and has a pool with underwater speakers, gym, cinema and Muay Thai ring. Or, get pummelled in more relaxing style in the private spa or Jacuzzi baths. Bay views are all around and meditation nests sit on suntrap terraces.

Mr & Mrs Smith | the world's most luxurious villas | Samujana Seven-Bedroom Villa Plus, Thailand


To do Refine your serve on the tennis court and take a short sandy walk to the beach. A 43-foot yacht is just one of a fleet you can charter. Beyond your stay, take ATV safaris and waterfall hikes or thrill-seek with bungee jumps, go-karts and Thai-boxing tournaments.

For kids There’s fun aplenty, with a trampoline, table tennis and games room with video and retro arcade games. There’s a basketball court, and wondrous water parks Cocosplash and Pink Elephant are close by. Nannies and babysitters can be booked.

Smith Extra A Thai cooking class with lunch

MALDIVES | Gili Lankanfushi’s Private Residence

Sleeps Eight

The extra mile Your butler ‘Mr Friday’ (you don’t have to call him that), will do your bidding – all you need do is ask… If you feel the urge to explore further, you’ll have use of a boat to reach the main resort and bamboo bikes. Fill the wine cellar with picks from 400 labels, have a private chef shipped across, or summon a spa therapist: you call the shots here…

Your stay This is your very own island, floating 500 metres from the resort: a complex of thatched villas. It’s barefoot, indoor-outdoor luxury, with alfresco dining platforms, swinging day-beds and plunge-pool-size outdoor baths. Indoors, glazed sections of floor let you spy on sealife. And, there’s more: a spa, sauna and steam room, cinema and a waterslide.