Zanzibar Part 1: Park Hyatt

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Last month I was invited to Zanzibar to discover the new Park Hyatt Hotel. Admittedly I hesitated - the idea of packing my suitcase again after just returning from NYC and Iceland the previous weeks, seemed a little too exhausting, and then there was the 20hrs travel (door to door) for just a couple of nights, but I was sure this was going to be one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips that I couldn't bring myself to turn down. And I was not wrong. After the metro to gare du nord, RER to Charles de Gaulle airport, a 6hr flight to Doha (luckily we got the opportunity to lounge around in the business lounge ordering as many cups of tea/coffee and paninis that would could eat), followed by another 6 hour flight to Zanzibar, we finally emerged from the plane into a wonderful 30 degrees heat. 

It was my first real foray into Africa. I've been on the continent to Morocco and I was born near Dubai, but I'd never visited what in my mind was 'real' Africa. Of course Zanzibar is off the coast of Tanzania and is greener, lusher and more humid than the arid plains of the Africa in my mind, films and photos, but I wasn't complaining! Driving through the rich, green vegetation towards the hotel, I felt immediately smug with my decision, dismissed any impending yawns and couldn't wait to see more.

We arrived at the hotel and were greeted with numerous smiling staff. The hotel is old UNESCO heritage building, with Arab influence that has been beautifully and thoughtfully transformed into a hotel. It's right on the beach too, so when I woke up the next day and opened the curtains to let the sun stream in, I could see the morning light dancing on the water. Heaven. The food, the rooms, the beach were all wonderful and we were treated to a massage in the spa and a water safari, which entailed sailing on a dhow, snorkelling in the turquoise blue sea and lunch on a private island! It might have been just two nights, but I felt like I was there for a week. 

Thanks to Park Hyatt Zanzibar and Qatar Airways for making this trip possible. 


Monday, 7 December 2015

I’m a minimal dresser, you might have noticed – there’s not a lot of colour or pattern that enters my wardrobe (unless it's an accessory, see scarves below!) and I believe in good wardrobe basics and essentials. They’re key to creating good foundations for any outfit. Among them is a well-crafted leather bag - the type of bag that you can match with any look from day, through to evening. When I discovered new Parisian leather brand, RSVP, I could immediately see a sense of symphony between my style and their aesthetic. They ticked the minimal box, the craft box, the ‘no huge visible logo’ box and each bag is numbered (they’re limited editions) so you’ll feel like you’re getting something truly unique! Both founders have experience in the luxury leather industry, so they manufacture the bags in the same factories as the top fashion houses – meaning the leather is of the highest quality. But unlike many of the big luxury fashion houses, the production process is also completely transparent and environmentally friendly – another aspect of the brand that I was so drawn to, as I prefer to be a conscious shopper where possible. They’re part of a new wave of brands that are putting quality and transparency at the top of the list. First they create a prototype – hence the name ‘RSVP’ (it’s like an invitation to buy! Pretty clever right?!), which must reach a certain amount of orders before it’s produced, a bit like print on demand – so they only produce a product when there’s enough demand for it, which is ultimately good for the wallet (as there are no extra hidden costs, such as paying to store products if they don't sell) and the environment. Finished products are then shipped out within three weeks. I chose to shoot their clutch (with detachable strap) in navy – I can see this style becoming a wardrobe staple and the burgundy document holder (also my favourite colour this season), which doubles up as a rather fancy laptop case. 

I'm wearing: Navy Cardigan, Lamaire x Uniqlo - Denim patch shirt, ASOS - black jeans, ASOS - lipstick, 203 Rouge Rock, YSL

When it came to shooting this style story, I couldn’t think of a better place than the newly refurbished Musée Rodin, which is the epitome of classic, yet minimal Parisian elegance – just look at those wooden doors, chequered floors and marble staircase, all crafted from the highest quality of course and essential to any Parisian building (in my opinion!)

I'm wearing: Navy coat, COS (black version here)- Scarf, Sezane
I'm wearing: Navy coast, COS (black version here) - Scarf, J.Crew 
I'm wearing: Coat, COS as before - Scarf, JCrew as before - Maje boots and document holder, RSVP, shop here
This post was created in collaboration with RSVP.

RSVP is also hosting a pop-up shop 40 rue des petits carreaux, Paris 2ème until 15th January! 
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