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July 3, 2012updated Jul 13, 2016

Confidante: Baku’s Best Hotels


Presidential Suite / Park Hyatt TokyoFour Seasons Hotel BakuNew York, New York – Reported by Mary Gostelow for Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

When will Karl Lagerfeld get into the hotel world properly? The genius behind the Chanel label was involved with the Schlosshotel in Grunewald, Berlin, before it started a three-year stint as a Ritz-Carlton in 1999. He also put his name to the 1902-vintage Villa La Vigié (lookout), the six-suite villa above the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel that can be rented for exclusive use. The white-haired couturier is a man of many talents. He is working with Agusta Westland on their AW 139 twin-turbine helicopters, and he has been a guest editor for the Paris edition of Metro. This September sees the publication of The Little Black Jacket, which he co-wrote with Carine Roitfeld, who was editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris for a decade.

Advance copies of the book were discreetly handed out at a party following a repeat performance of the Paris fashion show that appeared to be staged in a jumbo jet cabin. Karl Lagerfeld and the likes of Amanda Harlech, Vanessa Paradis and Sarah Jessica Parker reportedly stayed at the nearby hotel (Park Hyatt Tokyo), while Vogue editors and dozens of other top media stayed at its sibling, the Grand Hyatt Tokyo.

Mehriban Pashayeva Aliyeva loves hotels, too. She is the First Lady of Azerbaijan, which hosted the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest on May 26— what a marvelous opportunity to showcase the country’s capital, oil-rich Baku, set on the west coast of the Caspian Sea. In readiness for the future (Azerbaijan’s bid for the 2020 Olympics, perhaps?), Baku welcomes some stunning hotels in the next few months.

Opening in August, Fairmont Baku is in one of the three blue-glass, 32-floor flame-shaped towers that rise on a hillside right next to the Parliament building. Equally sensational is the nine-story Beaux Arts-style Four Seasons Hotel Baku, which opened its doors in June. It looks as established as the Old City immediately around it, but the whole building—which has more than a passing resemblance to Four Seasons Gresham Palace in Budapest—is brand new. The client Pasha Group, in which Aliyeva has a keen interest, has invested in gorgeous chandeliers, burnished metal walls in the rooftop restaurant and many other lavish details. Baku is undoubtedly one of the next places to discover—the city’s also just gained a Jumeirah, similar in style to the wave-shaped Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai.

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