A decade ago, the Spanish landscape designer Fernando Caruncho began working on a project that would link the private walled gardens of several aristocratic estates in the Portuguese village of Santar, in the Dão wine region. Now, visitors will have a new way to access the 50-acre parkland: One of the ancestral manor homes within Caruncho’s greenscape has been converted into a small hotel. Formerly known as Casa das Fidalgas and owned by the House of Bragança, who ruled Portugal from 1640 to 1910, when the monarchy was overthrown, Valverde Santar Hotel & Spa served as a residence for the Bragança family until 2019. The Porto-based design firm Atelier Bastir carried out a restoration of the residence, preserving original details — including pitched, wood-paneled ceilings, 18th-century French and Portuguese furniture and bookshelves lined with hundreds of timeworn tomes — while carving out 21 rooms, some with hand-painted ceilings. At the Memórias restaurant, the chef Luís Almeida serves regional specialties such as roasted goat with smoked rice and a buttery cheese-and-citrus pudding, made with ingredients sourced from Santar Vila Jardim’s gardens. Guests can wander through the property’s vast acreage to pick aromatic herbs including lemongrass and chamomile to be used for massages and facials at the hotel’s spa, housed in what was once the estate’s wine cellar. From $490 a night, valverdesantar.com.
Charm Necklaces That Cater to All Moods
The concept of a charm necklace or bracelet can be traced back to ancient times, when early civilizations imbued talismans with spiritual significance. For her latest collection, the Los Angeles-based designer Darya Khonsary — who often references her Persian ancestry in her jewelry line, Darius — looked to the shapes of idols that were uncovered at the site of the Mesopotamian Eye Temple at Tell Brak and dated to the third millennium B.C. Khonsary created pieces including earrings, a ring and a charm that could be strung on a necklace, all made of 18-karat Fairmined gold. The Paris-based designer Fanny Boucher takes a lighthearted approach to charms with her brand Bangla Begum, offering a selection of trinkets with suggested meanings. Among the available trinkets are a frog, symbolizing a French lover, and a chess piece, which plays on the French word “échec” (failure) to celebrate a failed relationship. Timeless Pearly’s Leslie Chetrit launched her brand in 2017 with an array of eclectic pieces, the latest being pendant necklaces variously featuring whimsical mushrooms and a gold-plated Pinocchio, all handmade in her Paris studio. With her three daughters in mind, the former magazine editor Maria Dueñas Jacobs created Super Smalls, a line for children. Her pieces, like a four-leaf-clover necklace featuring a real clover pressed in resin, are meant to be shared among family members.
Atacama, Chile, is known for its dramatic landscapes ranging from arid desert and salt flats to volcanoes and geysers. Our Habitas Atacama, a 51-room hotel slated to open in the northeastern town of San Pedro de Atacama on Sept. 15, hopes to give visitors a thoughtfully designed access point to such surroundings, while also doing its part to preserve them. The owners plan for the entire property to be free of single-use plastic, and food waste will be collected by a local company for composting. The rooms, some with roof terraces or patios, feature tapestries and ceramics created by artisans in the area. Guests can opt to try a sound bath or a temazcal ceremony in a traditional sweat lodge, or can arrange to take part in one of the many guided outdoor excursions, including hiking, biking, paragliding and stargazing. The hotel’s on-site restaurant, Almas, focuses on seasonal produce and wood-fired cooking, with dishes inspired by regional cuisine such as Machas y Rica Rica, which incorporates a type of razor clam native to Chile, and a lamb dish that exhibits clay cooking typical of the region. From $350, ourhabitas.com.
Alex Katz’s New “Autumn” Exhibit in Chicago
After a retrospective featuring work that spanned nearly eight decades at the Guggenheim last year, the artist Alex Katz, 96, would have every reason to sit back and enjoy the accolades. But as a new show that opens at Gray Chicago next month proves, Katz is still driven by a need to create. “What gets me going every morning is knowing I’m going into the studio to paint,” he says. While many of his landscapes have been inspired by Lincolnville, Me., where Katz has spent several months of the year since the 1950s, the 11 new compositions on view (which will be presented alongside a series of 16 new ink portraits on paper) started taking shape on crisp morning walks that Katz took in New York last fall. “I looked up and saw all these colored leaves against a blue sky. They were relatively small trees, and the leaves stood out distinctly,” he recalls. “I felt a sensation of brightness and tried to paint this sensation.” Across enormous canvases (some measuring as wide as 14 feet), he depicts the windblown trees and delicate foliage of the changing season in vibrant golds, greens and reds. Painted in a kinetic, impressionistic style, these panoramic works create an almost immersive experience. “Alex Katz: Autumn” is on view at Gray Chicago from Sept. 8 through Oct. 28, richardgraygallery.com.
A Renovated St. Moritz Landmark
In St. Moritz, Switzerland, the fabled winter sports enclave of the Alps, the landmark La Margna hotel has reopened as the 74-room Grace La Margna after a multiyear restoration. Built in 1906 just above the town’s railway station, the original property referenced Art Nouveau style as well as regional design elements found in the surrounding Engadin Valley, like massive walls and playfully decorated facades. Those exterior details have been maintained along with a number of interior aspects: In the ground-floor living room, the handmade metal chandeliers remain (though they’ve been retrofitted to accommodate LED lights), as does the marble fireplace and wood-paneled walls. At the bar, with its new curved Carrara marble counter and velvet bar stools, the menu features Orma whisky, distilled nearly 11,000 feet above sea level on the nearby Corvatsch mountain. The hotel restaurant, facing Lake St. Moritz, has reopened as the View, with a Mediterranean menu. A bistro, Max Moritz, is expected to open later in the fall; a brasserie is slated for the winter season. And in an entirely new wing, 27 guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows that frame views of the village and the lake. From about $466 a night, gracehotels.com.