Celebrating my Birthday in Hong Kong

Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival in Hong Kong

Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival in Hong Kong

After celebrating my birthday at the Louis Vuitton family home last year, I thought it was going to be difficult to top that. However, I had the BEST day ever, starting with a half-day spa package at the famed Peninsula hotel, Mexican dinner and drinks with friends and celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival at the lantern festival in Victoria Park.

Hong Kong: Peninsula Spa

Peninsula Spa

The Peninsula Spa is literally the best spa I’ve ever been to in my entire life. My day went like this: swim in their pool, steam/sauna and relaxation room, 30-minute exfoliation, 90-minute aromatherapy massage and then 3-course meal poolside. Before this session, the best spa I had ever been to was the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas. This blew it out of the water.

Heaven on Earth at the Pool and Relaxation Room

Heaven on Earth at the Pool and Relaxation Room

Since I went earlier in the day, I had the WHOLE PLACE TO MYSELF. No one else in the pool, no one else in the steam, sauna or relaxation room. It was like JACKIE’S PALACE! I truly believe this is the most magical place in the world. If a unicorn and a leprechaun had popped out and starting walking down the halls, I would not have even blinked. That’s how magical it was.

The attention to detail was incredible. My masseuse, Charlie, was very considerate to my needs since I have severe skin allergies and she had a table of about seven different oils, each with a different purpose. The table that I got my treatment on was fully adjustable and heated. When I took a shower to wash off the exfoliation treatment, I stepped outside and the floor and my towel were both heated. I wanted to live there. I told Charlie that this was the best day of my life. She chuckled; I don’t think she realized the seriousness of my statement.

Peninsula Spa Food

My 3-Course Meal Included: Seared Scallops, Steamed Chicken and Pineapple Carpaccio.

The lunch was great because everything was super healthy and light. You choose an appetizer, main course and dessert. The meal came with a fresh fruit juice (I chose watermelon) and coffee/tea. It was the perfect meal because I didn’t want to be too full with my dinner plans in a few hours. On top of that, they surprised me with a candle with my dessert AND gave me a really nice bag as a birthday gift. This weekday half-day spa package is worth every single cent. If you are a HSBC Premier member, you do not have to pay the 10% service charge (huzzah!).

Mexican Feast at Brickhouse

Mexican Feast at Brickhouse

For dinner, my friends met me at one of my favorite restaurants, Brickhouse (20A D’Aguilar Street). Brickhouse is hidden down a dark alleyway just off of Lan Kwai Fong and they serve amazing cocktails and high-end Mexican food. My favorites are the fish tacos, watermelon feta salad and Mexican corn. They don’t take reservations, but I would highly recommend Brickhouse even if you have to wait!

Lantern Festival

Lantern Festival in Victoria Park

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Singapore Finale

View of Singapore from Marina Bay Sands Shops

View of Singapore from Marina Bay Sands Shops

My life has calmed down because I’ve finally finished my MBA program! It has been quite a year and a rewarding one too. Now that I have more free time, I wanted to recap the rest of my Singapore trip that I took a couple of weeks ago.

Mos Burger

Mos Burger

One of the major highlights of the trip was eating at Mos Burger! I love Mos. It’s a wonderful fast food chain from Japan and I’ve never seen it in the U.S. They have these amazing hamburgers that have this tasty chili on top. When you pair it with a fluffy bun, hamburger patty, thick tomato slice, jalapenos and onions, you have one delicious hamburger. They also have these really interesting rice burgers where the “bun” is actually a pan-fried rice patty. I love the whole concept. If I had to choose one though, I’d always go for the classic Mos Burger.

Sri Mariamman Temple

Sri Mariamman Temple right by Chinatown

Singapore's Chinatown

Singapore’s Chinatown

Chinese Chess

Chinese Chess in Action

On one of the nights, my friend and I went to check out Chinatown. We came across the Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, and I was really taken back by the beautiful architecture. We wandered Chinatown, buying knick knacks and feasting on dim sum at one of the local spots.

Louis Vuitton at Marina Bay Sands

Louis Vuitton at Marina Bay Sands

Inside Louis Vuitton

Inside Louis Vuitton

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Switzerland: Lausanne and Audemars Piguet Factory Visit

Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet Manufacturing Factory in Vallée de Joux

Earlier this week, I had a class field trip to Lausanne to visit Audemars Piguet watch manufacturing factory. It was my first time in Switzerland and a very short trip (less than 24 hours), but it was such an honor to actually visit one of the premier watch manufacturers.

Lausanne: View from my Hotel

Lausanne: View from my Hotel

Lausanne: Café de L'Évêché

Lausanne: Café de L’Évêché

My classmates and I had an authentic fondue dinner at Café de L’Évêché. As soon as you stepped into the restaurant, your olfactory senses were overwhelmed with the distinct smell of stinky cheese. Despite the way it smelled, it was delicious (and extremely filling) and so nice to have real fondue with unpasteurized cheese (an impossible feat in the United States). I desperately needed some meat to balance out all the cheese, bread and potatoes. My friend and I split a ribeye steak, which was also perfectly seasoned Florentine style– just salt and pepper. If you only have one night in Lausanne, I would definitely recommend Café de L’Évêché for a reasonably priced dinner.

Audemars Piguet

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Italy: Milan, Florence and Ermenegildo Zegna Factory Visit

Duomo in Milan

Duomo in Milan

March was a busy month in terms of travel. For ESSEC’s MBA in International Luxury Brand Management, we had field trips to Hong Kong, Dubai and now Milan and Florence. It was incredible to visit all of these cities, meet people from different companies, and learn about the luxury industry in different regions. We even got to visit the Zegna textile factory and the Gucci shoe factory. I thought I’d share a few photos from the packed week in Italy.

Il Giardino dei Segreti

Dinner at Il Giardino dei Segreti

Our first night in Milan, we had an amazing meal at Il Giardino dei Segreti. I had tagliata (thin cut rare beef) and spaghetti alla bottarga (spaghetti with fish roe) for the first time. They were both incredible and I would highly recommend the restaurant for an authentic, casual eatery.

Zegna Textile Factory

Zegna Textile Factory

Casa Zegna- Museum

Casa Zegna- Museum

Casa Zegna- Fabric Archive

Casa Zegna- Fabric Archive

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Chanel’s Little Black Jacket Revisited; International Herald Tribune Celebrates 125 Years

Chanel's La Petite Veste Noire

Chanel’s La Petite Veste Noire Exhibit

I’ve become extremely efficient with my time in Paris. Yesterday, not only did I meet up with three different friends separately, but also I visited Chanel’s “La Petite Veste Noire” exhibit at the Grand Palais. Two days before that, I caught the last day of the International Herald Tribune’sEye on the World” exhibit, a photo montage to celebrate the newspaper’s 125th anniversary.

Chanel's Little Black Jacket Exhibit

Why yes, that is Yoko Ono dancing in a top hat (middle).

Karl Lagerfeld

Chanel’s Classic Revisited by Karl Lagerfeld

Chanel Photos

Up Close and Personal With Some of the Photos

After seeing New York fashion editors Instagram and blog about La Petite Veste Noire earlier in the year, I knew I had to see it. The exhibit is small (but free!) with two rooms featuring Karl Lagerfeld’s photos of celebrities wearing a Chanel classic, The Little Black Jacket.  I loved the photography, most of it in black and white, and how Lagerfeld was bringing back old Hollywood-like glamour.

International Herald Tribune's Eye on the World

International Herald Tribune’s Eye on the World Exhibit. Photos of Claude Monet and Paris’ Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore (top right).

International Herald Tribune Turns 125

Gene Kelly in an American from Paris (top left); Franklin D. Roosevelt giving a speech before the 75th Congress (bottom left); Coco Chanel (right)

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Bordeaux: The Amazing Châteaux Race

Château Pichon Longueville Baron

Château Pichon Longueville Baron

The Amazing Châteaux Race may be a bit of an overstatement, but my classmates and I did visit five châteaux in Bordeaux in one day. I would say that’s an impressive feat. But the credit goes all to my classmate, Alex, and our wonderful wine professor, Eric Riewer. Alex was kind enough to work with Eric and arrange an extraordinary trip for 13 ESSEC MBA Luxe students. The five châteaux were: Château Brane-CantenacChâteau Pontet-Canet, Château Pichon Longueville Baron, Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Ducru-Beaucaillou.

Brane Cantenac

Château Brane Cantenac

Château Brane-Cantenac introduced us to their state-of-the-art optical sorting machine. This machine uses cutting-edge technology and lets the user set parameters to sort the grapes. You can sort by weight, color, size and so much more. I’m sure it speeds up the sorting process and leads to a higher quality of grapes. Last year, there were only five châteaux with this kind of technology; this year, there are about 20.

Bucher Vaslin

Don’t let the picture deceive you. This Bucher Vaslin machine will set you back half a million Euros!

They renovated their buildings to make them more sustainable with natural cooling and heating systems, energy-saving air movement and humidity control. I enjoyed the wines at this second growth winery because the tannins in the wine weren’t as harsh and more silky. Château Brane-Cantenac takes pride in their “balanced wines.”

Château Pontet-Canet

Château Pontet-Canet’s underground cellar (top right) dates back to 1865.

Harvest Season

Harvesting and Sorting

Tasting

The statue (far right) is actually for you to spit in.

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