Summer is around the corner, which means vacation time is nigh. And those in the market for an extravagant jaunt might want to pick up the latest addition to Assouline’s Hotel Stories series. Written by Francisca Matteoli, the limited-edition tome details Luxury Collection escapes in far-off places such as Santorini, Sevilla, and Venice, and offers personal travel tips from the such stars as Susan Sarandon, Coco Rocha, Emily Mortimer, Stanley Tucci, and more. “We didn’t want to do a banal, boring book about hotels and where to go. You can find that information on Google. We wanted to make people dream,” offered Martine Assouline during a dinner she and her husband, Prosper, hosted at Geoffrey Zakarian’s Lambs Club restaurant at the Chatwal Hotel last night. The occasion, of course, was the release of the book, and the likes of Dree Hemingway, Helena Christensen, and Catherine Malandrino (who, speaking of travel, is just back from a trip to Beijing) all came out to toast it.
Waris Ahluwalia, who contributed a section about India to Hotel Stories, conceded that he never boards a plane without a portable leather backgammon set. “I bring it because the places I go don’t always have power,” he explained. Case in point? His latest adventure—a trip to Kalahari, Africa. “There’s only one way to describe it,” he said before pulling up a BlackBerry snap of him sitting on the ground next to a wild zebra.
Meanwhile, Hemingway, whose favorite destination is Tulum, Mexico, admitted that she always travels with her stuffed rabbit in tow, and Mrs. Assouline explained her habit of wearing giant sunglasses on transatlantic flights. “I hide behind them on the plane so I arrive fresh. They’re good in all circumstances.” Zakarian divulged his own jet-setting must-haves: Ambien, multiple phone chargers, and his wife’s Tata Harper face cream. “If you have cream and phone chargers, what could possibly happen to you?”