Anthea Gerrie

How vodka revived a film-maker's Jewish spirit

By Anthea Gerrie, August 26, 2010

It started as an obsession with his grandmother's romantic teenage years in pre-revolutionary Russia. But it grew into a desire to make good on his great-grandfather's pledge to do right by the village where he lived and prospered.

Documentary-maker Dan Edelstyn has revived the vodka business his family once owned to breathe new life into a down-at-heel Ukrainian village, and at the same time discover his own roots.

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Murano

By Anthea Gerrie, August 19, 2010

The Murano delivers a very particular vision of Marrakesh conceived in Milan - Italian high design in an Arabian nights setting. The result is startling at times, but not altogether unpleasing.      

Rooms are spacious and attractive, the pool is cool in every sense, and the setting - in the tranquil oasis just outside the city centre known as the Palmeraie - a great base for Morocco's fascinating, but hot, dusty and noisy, shopping and entertainment capital.

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Villa Sant'andrea

By Anthea Gerrie, August 12, 2010

What can transform an already very good hotel into a truly great one? If you already have a great location and beautiful rooms, it is people. And the Villa Sant'Andrea has achieved greatness in its first season under excellent new management by Orient Express.

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She was a fitness guru to the stars — but unfit as a mother

By Anthea Gerrie, August 5, 2010

As an exercise guru, she was swinging London’s most famous; the founder of the personal trainer craze with a long list of celebrity clients. But as a mother, Lotte Berk was a disaster, heaping abuse on her only daughter.

Now that daughter has spoken about the woman whose clients — including Zoë Wanamaker, Britt Ekland and Maureen Lipman — regarded as an inspirational, if eccentric, teacher. It has taken her 76 years, but Esther Fairfax has finally written a moving account of life with her famous mother.

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Soho House

By Anthea Gerrie, August 4, 2010

With its lack of handsome lobby, uniformed flunkeys or even a sign over the door, Soho House is the antithesis of Berlin’s imposing five-star hotels. Yet it is a five-star animal, albeit of a different breed.

This is the latest enterprise of the media luvvies’ empire, now owned by Richard Caring, which started as a private club in London. Part of its appeal is that guests become members for the duration of their stay, admitted to the  fabulous 7th-floor bar, lounge and restaurant, and the rooftop pool and bar above.

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How this doctor may stop you getting flu

By Anthea Gerrie, July 28, 2010

She has improved the life of millions of Multiple Sclerois sufferers, and is likely to impact the lives of hundreds of millions more if her flu vaccine proves as effective as early trials suggest.

But what Ruth Arnon wants most is government funding for the clinical research which could take her native land to the very forefront of biotechnology.

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Royal Crescent

By Anthea Gerrie, July 28, 2010

If Bath is, as many assert, a Regency theme park, the Royal Crescent Hotel is its best ride. And one you don't have to queue for if you are staying inside this magnificent row of five Grade I listed houses designed by John Wood the Younger. He is said to have dreamed up the lawn-fronted crescent, which so spectacularly overlooks the city, because its shape had symbolism relevant to his masonic lodge.

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It's no mystery why Christie loved Devon

By Anthea Gerrie, July 28, 2010

You don't need to be a sleuth to figure out why Agatha Christie set so many of her crime novels in Devon. She was born in Torquay, fell in love there more than once and spent the happiest years of her life in a holiday home high above the River Dart with her second husband.

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Even in Berlin, the jewels are in the East

By Anthea Gerrie, July 22, 2010

Can there be a city in the world whose centre has shifted as often as Berlin?  We're not just talking pre- and post-Cold War here… at every one of my three visits since the Wall came down, I've found the hub of all that was happening marching relentlessly eastwards.

Blame it on the rich stock of buildings going for very low rents in the depressed east when this city of two halves was reunited in 1990.  

Artists, designers and all kinds of other creatives felt encouraged to set up in the grim but affordable corners of what was already perceived as a buzzy and happening metropolis.

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Scientists agree, it's time for some D

By Anthea Gerrie, July 22, 2010

If you are heading for Israel this summer, do not clog up the case with extra sunblock. In fact, consider stepping out for half an hour after breakfast or tea wearing only the merest smidge of low-factor protection; it could prove a life-saver.

It is true that UVB rays can burn and age the skin, but they also bestow a gift whose benefits are only now becoming fully appreciated - they enable our body to manufacture and store vitamin D.

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How my dad came to fill a mill with David Hockneys

By Anthea Gerrie, July 15, 2010

All the years Zoe Silver made documentaries with Alan Yentob, she was sitting on the best arts story in Britain. But it was one she could never pitch. "It would have been a conflict of interest," she laughs of her late father's audacious collaboration with David Hockney.

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How to stay cool in the north

By Anthea Gerrie, July 9, 2010

When I lived in the so-called Golden Triangle south of Manchester in the 70s, it was a lot easier to shop for frocks. There was plenty of enviable merchandise then as now, but it was a lot more obvious where to find than it is for shoppers today.

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Ston Easton

By Anthea Gerrie, July 1, 2010

V The trouble with newish country house hotels is that, polished and swagged within an inch of their lives, they spoil us for the real thing. Like Ston Easton Park, a really grand old pile relatively recently converted to a hotel.            Being seriously old, it has a fascinating history — but age brings its problems. So I had to get over the fact Ston Easton has a shabby, discoloured façade compared to the splendid mansions of golden Bath stone a few miles away, and that my vast bedroom smelled faintly musty.

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Yes, really, an undiscovered part of Italy

By Anthea Gerrie, June 24, 2010

When any slice of Italy remains undiscovered by the demonstrably Italiophile British tourist, you have to wonder why.  

And given the beauty and diversity of Basilicata, it can only be down to its history - which is strange and exotic. The Jews who first peddled their wares along the Appian Way in the third century CE are long gone (even from Naples, the nearest major city, which once had a substantial community), as are the stonemasons who worked the quarries before emigrating to build New York's skyscrapers. 

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Grand Hotel Vesuvio

By Anthea Gerrie, June 24, 2010

No-one does old-style glamour like the Italians, and it's particularly true in Naples, the very essence of old-style, baroque, schmaltzy Italy. So it's no surprise to find a wealth of recession-defying silk, marble and silver at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio overlooking Vesuvius, Sorrento and other heart-stopping delights of Naples Bay.

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John Suchet: our carer saved my life

By Anthea Gerrie, June 24, 2010

John Suchet has a tough week ahead, he confesses at the Baker Street block of flats where he grew up and now sits surrounded by boxes. On Tuesday he will close the door on the happiest chapter of his life when he walks out of the home he shared with his beloved wife Bonnie for 25 years. The night before, he has a talk to give at a Jewish Care fundraising dinner.

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Mandarin Oriental

By Anthea Gerrie, June 10, 2010

In a constantly-changing world, London's Mandarin Oriental reassures by appearing to be totally constant. This is, of course, an illusion - even the name of this august old lady of Knightsbridge has changed, and the restaurants and bars have been in constant flux in response to fashion. No more than you'd expect from a hotel with Madonna's seal of approval.

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Intoxicating praise for Israeli vintages

By Anthea Gerrie, June 3, 2010

After more than 20 years of striving for a quality reputation, Israeli wines have come of age with a ringing endorsement from one of Britain's best-known experts.

"These are arguably the finest wines in the Eastern Mediterranean," Times columnist and Master of Wine Tim Atkin told restaurateurs, sommeliers and wine writers who had gathered for the most ambitious tasting Israel's winemakers have ever staged in the UK.

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Hotel of the week: Fairmont Mayakoba

By Anthea Gerrie, May 27, 2010

If anyone could bring a touch of class to an area whose reputation has been damaged by overbuilding and too many package tourists, it's Fairmont. The company which now owns the Savoy, and is overseeing a restoration to its art deco glory days, has shown, in its Mayakoba resort on Mexico's Caribbean coast, that it can also do eco resorts.

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What a Carrie on: Marrakesh just got hotter

By Anthea Gerrie, May 21, 2010

It's no surprise to hear that Sarah Jessica Parker and her co-stars were spotted running riot with their wallets in Marrakesh recently while filming scenes for Sex and the City2. This most exotic of Moroccan cities is one of the great shopping meccas of the world, as well as a great place to dine, to steam in a hammam, to enjoy the local entertainment or to just generally hang out.

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