Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

So Far So Good for Soho; Travel Bites

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

So Far So Good for Soho; Travel Bites

Article excerpt


TO LUNCH with Nick Jones, jaunty owner of the rapidly expanding Soho House group of clubs and hotels. Soho House New York has been such a success that the company has new financiers, to allow expansion. Jones tells me he has just appointed Robin Hutson as his new chairman.

Hutson, a canny hotelier, recently sold his Hotel du Vin group to Malmaison.

So what's on the horizon?

"We have a site in Shoreditch to create a cinema, restaurant and club like the Electric on Portobello," says Jones, who is a secret A-Ha fan.

"We have also found a site on Miami's South Beach for a hotel, and in West Hollywood we are planning to build an intimate member's club in a villa on a two-acre plot." There are, too, plans to work with airlines and create a hotel in Las Vegas.

He has also just bought Cecconi's - the restaurant he manages near Savile Row - with the aim of turning it into a relaxed and more affordable all-day brasserie and bar. Ever the family man, he has now launched some baby spa products under Soho House's Cowshed spa range.

Jones, who has just moved into his new Ladbroke Grove home with delectable journalist wife Kirsty Young, is justly full of beans at the moment.

"Are you not expanding a bit too quickly?" I venture. "No," he says. "I am simply responding to demand."

IN PUGLIA last week to film a new cultural travel show for the BBC with Kirsty Wark. Everyone is potty about Puglia this year. The region occupies the stiletto heel of Italy and is rustic, untrampled, and has just elected a gay communist president.

Where to stay? I found the Masseria Torre Coccaro (right) near Savelltri (0039 080 482 93 10) to be peaceful and refined.

See next week's section for our full guide to Puglia, the first of a series on the places to go to this summer


. THE OTHER day, Europcar dropped a car at my home. …

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