The first cabin constructed in Kerlingarfjöll, a mountain range in central Iceland bracketed by two glaciers and threaded with geothermal steam, was completed in 1937 and gave hikers a launchpad from which to wander the otherworldly landscape. Then, in the ’60s, a summer ski school and hostel operated on its slopes. The school is long gone, but the adventuring spirit remains, and now intrepid travelers have a sophisticated new place to stay. The hospitality company Blue Lagoon Family — responsible for the first luxury hotel at Iceland’s famed Blue Lagoon — recently debuted Highland Base, a collection of accommodations that include that original cabin, seven salvaged rustic A-frames, six stand-alone lodges and a hotel with 46 rooms and two suites with their own hot tubs on private terraces. Picture windows in all of the rooms and lodges offer views of the surrounding terrain, which can be explored on foot in the summer and by snowmobile in winter. The hotel, about a three-hour drive from Reykjavík, will be open year round, though in the colder months visitors must hire a professional driver in a four-wheel-drive super jeep to reach the property, thanks to the unpaved highland roads. Once there, guests will find underground passageways connecting the hotel with the restaurant and thermal baths (scheduled to open this winter) to help them stay warm in between expeditions. Rooms from $450 a night, highlandbase.is.
Amaro Made With Plants Foraged in New York City
For his latest act, the chef and artist Gerardo Gonzalez has steeped and brewed New York City into a digestif. At his exhibition Into an Isle, opening on Aug. 23 at the Ace Hotel New York, Gonzalez will present three batches of amaro, an Italian liqueur infused with citrus, spices and a mixture of herbs. Each of Gonzalez’s bottles is made with plants from one of three areas around the city: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, Grand Concourse and Williamsbridge Oval park in the Bronx and a corridor of East Ninth Street in the East Village of Manhattan. Gonzalez biked over 350 miles through the city during the month of July, collecting edible material for his infusions, including arugula, mulberry leaves and wild mugwort. “The whole purpose was to synthesize a flavor based on my experience at each site,” says Gonzalez. Before his residency at the Ace, Gonzalez was the chef of El Rey and Lalito in Manhattan and, most recently, part of the culinary events team at Grand Cayman’s Palm Heights hotel. At the opening reception for the exhibition, attendees will be able to sample each amaro and view Gonzalez’s installation of the three liqueurs, displayed in large Italian glass fermentation bottles perched on podiums alongside examples of the vegetation he used. Gonzalez has also transcribed his bike routes on the walls of the exhibit in pencil. Opening reception Aug. 23, 7 to 9 p.m. at the Ace Hotel New York, acehotel.com.
Last week in Copenhagen, Denmark, members of the fashion crowd were spotted wearing cloudlike dresses, trending trainers and street-sweeping trench coats to see the spring 2024 runway shows from Nordic designers. Copenhagen Fashion Week has distinguished itself from other fashion events around the world by establishing a set of Minimum Sustainability Standards: Among other requirements, 50 percent of the materials from each collection must meet globally recognized sustainability certifications or be made from any of a list of preferred or reused materials; unsold clothing or samples should be preserved; and the sets produced for each show should incur zero waste. The Danish designer Amalie Røge Hove kicked off the shows at the Design Museum with a collection of knitwear from her label A. Roege Hove. Woven in Italy, each garment is created through a process that tries to eliminate all excess fabric, producing only exact quantities. In the Finland room of the Radisson Blu Hotel, the Helsinki-based designer Ervin Latimer presented the latest from his brand Latimmier: reconstructed suits and button-down shirts influenced by queer ballroom culture and made to inspire various expressions of masculinity. “We use as much local material production and dyeing as we can, such as vegetable tanned leathers and naturally dyed silks and cottons,” Latimer says. And another environmentally minded young designer, the Copenhagen-based Nicklas Skovgaard, showcased a series of one-of-a-kind garments, such as a high-neck, broad-shouldered coat made from a brushed wool and mohair textile. “All of the hand-woven fabrications are designed, developed and woven locally in our studio in Østerbro,” Skovgaard says.
Jean Cocteau’s Countryside House, Preserved and Reopened to the Public
Sixty years after the death of the Surrealist French poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau, the house that was his refuge has been saved for good. Cocteau bought the house in the small town of Milly-la-Forêt, 31 miles west of Paris, with his lover, the actor Jean Marais, in 1947. Working with his friend the French interior designer Madeleine Castaing, he decorated it with set pieces from his plays and art by Man Ray, Modigliani, Picasso and Warhol. In his study, the side table and a cork bulletin board were covered with photographs, drawings and various souvenirs, among them a bust of Lord Byron, a signed photograph of Orson Welles as Othello and a drawing of Charles Baudelaire by Manet. The walls were covered in leopard-print fabric. Cocteau spent the last 17 years of his life here, “learning about the magnificent stubbornness of the vegetal kingdom,” as he wrote to a friend, in the gardens he created. After his death in 1963, his adopted son preserved the house and the contents of its rooms as they were. The building was further restored by the foundation of Pierre Bergé, the former president of Yves Saint Laurent, who reopened it to the public in 2010. When Bergé died, the house’s future was in doubt. Ultimately, it was purchased by the Île-de-France Regional Council in 2019. Covid closures and budgetary constraints created further uncertainty about whether it would survive but, following a trial reopening in 2022, it was announced this year that the houses’s seasonal opening and cultural programs would officially be made permanent. Open this year until Oct. 29, 2023, Thursday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., maisonjeancocteau.com.
At a New England Resort, Tree Houses Made From Reclaimed Wood
Twin Farms, the luxury resort set on 300 thickly wooded acres in Barnard, Vt., plans to open eight new tree houses this fall, in time for its 30th anniversary. To access the lofty accommodations — each one sleeps two — guests will traverse a wooden bridge suspended 20 feet in the air. Inside, a neutral palette and oversize windows are meant to direct all attention outdoors. The décor includes dining tables made by local master craftspeople, and decorative objects like bread boards, or wooden bowls from the Vermont-based artist Andrew Pearce, that are seconds — slightly flawed and one-of-a-kind. Those who stay in the tree houses will have access to all of Twin Farms’s activities (which include picnicking, hiking and kayaking) in addition to their own exclusive options: From an Adirondack chair on the deck or a soaking tub next to a window, guests can listen for the 250-odd species of warblers that make their homes in the surrounding woods. From $3,500 a night, all inclusive, twinfarms.com.