The last couple of days I’ve showed you the most popular posts on Petite Passport. Posts with the most views. The addresses YOU liked most. And now it’s my time to make a list of MY favorite discoveries of 2012. Places who were on my wish list for months and I finally had the chance to see. Places that made me fall in love with every single detail. The chairs in the restaurant. The clothes on the racks. The perfect mattras. Even the toilet (thank you Mister Starck for the toilets at Ma Cocotte). I feel privileged to travel the world, showing you the most beautiful places and by seeing the amount of visitors raising I love to dream away by the thought that I someday, maybe, can make a living out of it. So thank you for being there, supporting me and travelling to all those fantastic places the world has to offer (and aren’t in a guidebook yet).
BEST FOR ROMANCE
Let’s start in January. The first day of the year my boyfriend surprised me with a stay at Aire de Bardenas. An hotel in the middle of the desert-like nature in Spain. The suite is so romantic because you’ll have your own cube looking out over that nature. In the night you will see thousands of stars and the moon. The best present I have ever received. Thanks guapo!
BEST MENSWEAR STORE
At the end of January I’ve visited Common Kin. A menswear store in The Hague with a pretty cool interior. A couple of months ago a stylish reader of Petite Passport send me a text message that he went there and only bought one item, but he wanted to return soon to buy a new collection. Task completed!
BEST BIRTHDAY LOCATION
In March I turned 30 and celebrated it with my best friends and family with a huge high tea in Villa Augustus Dordrecht. The chairs are all different, there are different lamps hanging everywhere but the atmosphere is so good. The weather was very good that day so we could go outside afterwards to drink some wine and enjoy the sun. And guess what? I’m gonna celebrate New Year’s Eve there as well.
THE MOST ORIGINAL B&B
In March I went to Gent for their Design Month and stayed at Studio Mie. That’s a bed & breakfast in a shipping container on the roof of their house. Uh. What? Hard to explain. Just check my report and you will see. Every tiny little detail is taken care of. From the breakfast in paper bags folded with masking tape to the shower gel bottles. You sleep upstairs and will look out over the city. Lovely!
BEST SERVICE IN A HOTEL EVER
In May I went to New York and stayed at the Nolitan for one night. Service with a smile is invented here. When I read on Tripadvisor that they even drove to Grand Central Station to bring a forgotten iPad to a guest, it was clear: I have to experience that as well. The hotel experience felt so rich because we could rent their bikes, have breakfast in their restaurant and the room was full of goodies, a fantastic view and the NY Times brought to your room in the morning. Also love the stationary (see picture below).
MOST BEAUTIFUL HOTEL ROOM I’VE EVER STAYED IN
During our trip to New York we also went to Hotel Americano and got upgraded to a suite. It was jawdropping beautiful and so, so spacious. The Japanese-like cube we slept in had a mattras I wish I had at home as well. Never slept so good (but that could be the cause of the jetlag as well). There were Aesop amenities in the bathroom and there even was a fire place. You can imagine we wanted to stay in that suite forever, but there was more to discover. Like the rooftop with stunning views over New York. Not to be missed when in New York.
THE BEST POP UP STORE
In June I went to Madrid and by accident I stumbled upon ‘Madrid in Love’. A pop up store so inspiring you saw all the people with iPhones taken pictures. There was a tipi for kids, vintage chairs, tables and much more. And there was a small cafe.
BEST SOUVENIR FROM HELSINKI
Helsinki was World Capital of Design in 2012 and that’s why VisitFinland and Finnair invited me to visit their city. There were a lot of great events, I’ve spotted some cool cafes, but right now I’m still happy with the Marimekko map of Helsinki. You could take it for free in one of their stores and it’s definitely gonna get a place on the wall of my tiny little hotspot-home.
MOST BEAUTIFUL CHURCH I HAVE EVER SEEN
When in Helsinki we got a tour by Mila who worked in the organisation of the World Design Capital. She took us to a newly-built church. And it was stunning. It was completely build out of wood and is definitely worth seeking your moment of silence when you’re in the city.
BEST BEACH CLUB
Flair Magazine send me away to an island I’ve never heard of. Skiathos in Greece. And there I’ve discovered a beach club I wish I had spend all day. With lounge beds overlooking the clear blue ocean. And a fantastic outside restaurant and bar. When you see a place like this on Ibiza it’s packed with ‘people who find themselves very interesting’ in one day, but here you get that peace and quiet atmosphere. Loved it!
BEST CHOCOLATE FONDANT EXPERIENCE
Every year I have to Award a restaurant with their best Chocolate Fondant. That’s my favorite dessert. I couldn’t speak for a couple of minutes because I love to experience the perfect taste of warm chocolate together with cake. This year I’ve ordered one at Luzi Bombon in Madrid and it was delicious!
BEST CONCEPT STORE
In the list of The Most Popular Stores of 2012 are a lot of concept stores, but Do Design isn’t in it. It’s a shame because that was my personal favorite. Beautifully decorated by the owner with a wooden house as a counter. There also is a cafe and you will see the cool Madrid people coming in and out for clothes, interior-items or just a chat. Oh and the fitting rooms are marvelous.
BEST RESTAURANT LOCATION
Radio Royaal in Eindhoven. Wow. I’ve been there last year when they hosted a pop up restaurant during the Design Week and in August when they finally opened the huge doors in this former Philips machine building. A rough location filled with simplistic chairs and you get a hit of a restaurant. Going there this Saturday for dinner. Finally!
I was so proud of showing you the first images of Ma Cocotte in Paris, the latest project of Philippe Starck. He even designed the exterior of the place. The pastel colored chairs touched my heart and the toilet was shining and so beautiful I know this is a winner. Oh, and the location is ofcourse fantastic in the middle of the fleamarket at Saint Ouen.
BEST PLACE TO DRINK COFFEE
Caravan on Exmouth was already a favorite amongst London coffee drinkers, but now they have a slightly bigger venue at King’s Cross. They serve perfect brewed coffee, but also hot chocolate for people like me who don’t drink coffee (but love the interior style of that places very much).
BEST PLACE FOR BREAKFAST
I just love Pizza East on Portobello Road for a quiet breakfast with a newspaper and some magazines. In the UK they love big stuffed breakfasts and in my opinion there isn’t a better start of the day then a baked eggs on toasted bread with tea and orange juice. Maybe topped off with some mushrooms or tomatoes. Mmm.
BEST HOUSE TO RENT FOR THE WEEKEND
I’ve started the year with Gent and I’ve ended it as well. In a perfect design-home in the center of Gent. The interior all comes from Belgian designer Frederic Hooft and other pieces are from i/Object store. Rent the home for the weekend and you can sit in front of the fire place or, in Summer, dine at your own terrace. Splendid.
See you next year with a list filled with new experience. Can’t wait to start collecting them. x Pauline
Tags: aire de bardenas, best of 2012, caravan king's cross, chapel of silence helsinki, common kin, do design madrid, hotel americano new york, luzi bombon madrid, ma cocotte paris, madrid in love, marimekko map, mystique beach club skiathos, pauline egge, pizza east portobello, radio royaal eindhoven, shelter7 gent, studiomie gent, the nolitan new york, villa augustus dordrecht