It’s not only bankers that are looking to expand their career options in today’s tough economic times, so too are fashion designers as they move to diversify from a fashion brand into a lifestyle one. And hence, the “Designer Hotel’ is born!

The theory is that leveraging existing customer brand loyalty helps to shorten the ‘ramp up’ time for the properties to be successful, and this must be the mantra from the UAE, as most of these designer hotels have been backed by investors in Dubai.

I have had the chance to stay at the Christian Lacroix Hotel Bellechasse in Paris and the Salvatore Ferragamo Continentale in Florence (I would recommend both), but here are even more cities where you get the chance to sleep with a designer.

Alberta Ferretti – Palazzo Viviani at Castello di Montegridolfo, Italy

Armani Hotel – Dubai & Milan

Bulgari Hotel – Milan & Bali

Christian Lacroix – Paris

Diane Von Furstenberg – Claridge’s, London

Diesel – Uxua Casa, Brazil

Karl Lagerfeld – Berlin Schlosshotel

Louis Vuitton – Cheval Blanc in Courchevel, France

Missoni – Edinburgh, Kuwait

Miss Sixty – Riccione,

Moschino – Maison Moschino

Oscar de la Renta – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Philip Treacy – G Hotel Galway, Ireland

Ralph Lauren – Montego Bay, Jamaica

Salvatore Ferragamo – Hotel Lungarno Florence and the Continentale in Florence, Italy. Portrait Suites in Rome,

Todd Oldham – The Hotel Miami, Florida

Versace – Palazzo Versace Australia & Dubai

And remember, stealing the designer bathrobe is still a no-no!


It was Deepavali in India yesterday and it’s Thanksgiving in the USA next week, but are you getting your fair share of days off work?

Living in Singapore we sit somewhere in the middle when it comes to allocation of public holidays. I also like the reasoning for the holidays as it reflects an international country that embraces different religions and beliefs – 2 x Christian (Christmas, Easter); 2 x Muslim (Hari Raya Puasa, Hari Raya Haji); 2 x Chinese New Year; 1 x Buddist (Vesak); 1 x Hindu (Deepavali) and then NY Day, National Day and Labour Day.

But if you are looking for even more days off you may want to consider living in Columbia or Malaysia who have the most per year with 16 public holidays, closely followed by Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Lebanon and Slovakia with 15 days.

Stay away from Mexico who has the worst at 7 days, and coming in at only 8 days is Serbia, Vietnam, Romania and The Netherlands.

And if you are just looking for an excuse to take a day off here are few of the more creative public holidays that have been granted –

Samoa – Driving Side Switch Days. In 2009 2 days holiday was granted as the country switched from driving on the right to driving on the left.

Australia – Melbourne Cup Day. Where else in the world do you get a day off to watch a horse race!


Christmas decorations are going up earlier each year and the local supermarket is already stacked with Christmas crackers and angel shaped chocolate (not complaints on that one!).

So I thought I would get in early too as we near the festive season, and cover off some of the things you need to consider at work when giving gifts.

Company Policy – please read it before giving or accepting gifts from suppliers, co-workers, customers. There are so many anti-bribery laws in place now, that if you stray from this your Christmas gift may be that you don’t have a job.

Gifts for the Boss – it’s not necessary. A nice card with a note of thanks inside is enough. If you really want to do something than a good suggestion is always a donation to a charity of their choice.

Gifts to Employees – Stay away from anything too personal, or that might offend. And please do not give something with the company logo on it, that is just poor form and insulting! Gift vouchers are always a winner, spa treatments, or half a day off to do Christmas shopping is a nice gesture. And remember, everyone is born equal so make sure the value is the same for everyone.

I will save work Christmas party rules for a another day, as that deserves its own post!