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city getaway

September 9, 2016 |Comments

From afar, Milan’s huge landmarks and gothic structures are certainly overwhelmingly magnificent and spell-binding. Take Duomo di Milano for example, there is always some sort of enchantment that comes with its overall beauty, but as you inch closer to scrutinise the finer details, you understand why the grand cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete.


An ancient city centre with soaring buildings and palazzos, it is no wonder Milan is a magnetic point for designers, photographers and artists. In my previous post, I mentioned that our hotel was conveniently located within the city’s fashion and shopping district, and it should come as no surprise that it was none other than the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel Milano that is also within five minutes walk of the Duomo, Teatro alla Scala and the business and financial district. The guest rooms and dining venues are all framed by an unforgettable 15th-century cloistered and landscaped courtyard, and being situated in one of the city’s most historic quarters clearly has its perks – the streets are all photoshoot-worthy at any time of day.


La Veranda Restaurant, Four Seasons Hotel Milano

Besides breakfast every morning, we also had lunch at La Veranda that is an all-day dining room occupying a wide conservatory area overlooking the courtyard garden. The restaurant offers innovative Mediterranean and local cuisine, as well as relaxing summer outdoor seating: all enriched with the flavours of the exquisite dishes of Executive Chef Vito Mollica and Marco Veneruso, the Restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine. My favourite dishes being: scallop carpaccio, culatello, salt codfish and the decadent apricot-stuffed quail.



Apricot-stuffed quail with foie gras and celeriac cream

As they say, a dip a day is always the way, and the hotel’s spa is a warm, welcoming and tranquil space designed in the true Four Seasons spirit by world renowned Spanish designer and architect Patricia Urquiola. We spent a bit of our evenings in the pool and only wished we had allocated more time securing the Spa Suite Room for a special couple treatment and then relaxing by the fireplace.


Apart from their luscious dining and spa, the rooms at Four Seasons Hotel Milano are designed around the original 15th century architecture, blending historic details with timeless Italian design. And the best part? Their Carrera marble bathrooms include heated floors and back-heated, steam-resistant mirrors. We also had a peek at their various suites, including a fashion one that imparted the air of a cosy city apartment, and it’s safe to say that each room’s contemporary art complemented the opulent furnishings just as well.
In truth, Milan was a brief getaway but an unforgettable one at that, especially when boutiques, design stores and galleries are all within a stone’s throw. There are countless things to do in Milan. Wander the charming streets of the Navigli district. Explore the remarkable gothic majesty of the Duomo. Share a gelato. Sip an aperitivo. Take in a breathtaking performance at Teatro alla Scala. Sleep beautifully and wake up refreshed.



September 5, 2016 |Comments


You can imagine how much I’m beaming as we’re finally in Milan! This is my second time in the magnificent city and with my favourite person too, which makes it all the more magical. We took a train from Venice and stopped by our grand hotel – that is located in downtown Milan amidst luxury shopping belts but more on that later – before heading to the oldest shopping mall in the world, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. My other half is always brimming with creative photography ideas and thus we decided to shoot in this arcade with its mosaic marble floors and superb architecture. After my many attempts at standing still for a very long time, we ended up with these stunning shots that will forever be some of my favourites. P.S. Do visit Cioccolati Italiani for a mean chocolate-filled gelato!


oasis in the city

July 28, 2016 |Comments


In collaboration with Four Seasons Hotel Singapore


There are a few places in the world close to my heart, some of them significant because of the close friends I’ve made, and others are far etched in my memory by the intimate flavours of a very, very wonderful meal. Four Seasons Hotel Singapore is one of them, mainly for the reasons that many unexpected friendships have been formed within the building, and that their award-winning restaurants serve up an excellent meal while their fine serene spa boasts a mighty first-class massage, tried and true.


The principle of enjoyment and happiness at award-winning fine-dining restaurant Jiang-Nan Chun.



Signature Peking Duck
Duck is roasted in a customised wood-fired oven, imbuing succulence to the meat and reducing fat beneath the aromatic crispy skin. The xiang le touch extends also to the service as the chef personally carves the duck in front of guests with an exquisite final touch – caviar is served on the side, for an intimate blend with the traditional flavours of the duck.


Even their dim sums showcase the laborious and delectable attention to detail by the chefs. For one, the crispy flaky pastry with black pepper meat takes many hours to make, with seventeen symmetrical layers alternated between water-based and oil-based skin to form a crispy textured pastry that wraps the wood-fired meat within. And perhaps one of my favourites, the steamed barbequed pork bun uses kurobuta pork that is glazed and cooked in the wood-fired oven, and then finally topped with the tangy sweetness of green chilli. To say it was exquisite is an understatement.

Words and Photos: Pale Division and Four Seasons Hotel Singapore