• What to know

    Ten years ago in LA my friend suggested we have a spray tan. Disaster. We emerged a radioactive shade of orange with particularly concentrated levels of 'tan' on our hands and feet. Never again, I swore, later that night whilst trying to hide my hands when sipping cocktails at the Chateau Marmont.

    However the lure of stepping into a booth milky white and emerging just ten small minutes later a honey brown colour remains undeniably tempting. It's time saving, better for your skin and can happen at any old time of year, rain or shine.

    But it was with orange flashbacks that I went to Harvey Nichols to meet James Read, the tan master (who is entrusted by Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Lara Stone and Rita Ora to bronze their limbs). This week Read has set up The Studio, a smart new area on the department store's 4th Floor, with beach style cabins and a team rigorously trained in his magic tanning tricks.

    With a spray-gun type machine in hand, Read layered mists of his own product which gave an immediate golden glow. His own brand of tan is thankfully less about how brown/orange you can be and more about making the skin look natural and golden. I was impressed.

    The spray tan has come along way since those LA days of being shoved in a booth, told to hold your breath while computerized jets haphazardly hosed you down with lurid liquid. And I'm relieved to report that orange feet and palms are a thing of the past.


  • What to buy

    Sunglasses are a tricky thing to buy; endless trips to endless shops more often than not returning empty handed.

    The difficulty lies with there being so many shapes and sizes out there. It's also so hard to see what you look like in the mirror. And getting advice from a friend - who invariably has different taste - is not much better. You could take a picture on your phone. Or simpler still you could try new brand Westward Leaning.

    I discovered the shades while shopping on Abbot Kinney in Los Angeles. The brand was co-founded by Robert Denning and Karlygash Burkitbayeva, who met as students at Stanford Business School and who both have a passion for sunglasses.

    So the duo spent a long time developing a unisex and universally flattering shape based on the classic Wayfarer. And they really work. There's no need to fiddle around in shops trying different shades on, because Westward Leaning suit nearly everyone. Which means you can buy them online. And equally brilliant is that they come in a natty little scratch-proof case that wraps round the lenses. Super smart sunnies.


  • Where to go

    At some point it became customary to refer to the Peninsula as the grande dame of Hong Kong hotels. It's not hard to see why. She presides over the tip of Kowloon and eyes the towers of Central with a cool, level stare. And, born as she was in 1928, she is indeed advanced of age - conspicuously so in a city that is in thrall to the energy of youth and change and that can often seem to have little interest in the past.

    But in other respects the connotations of grande damerie aren't quite right. The Pen isn't fusty, faded or flagging. Following a £40 million renovation, just completed, she's looking better than ever. In the early stages Sir Michael Kadoorie - whose family has owned and operated the hotel since the beginning - would sit down, one-on-one, with the high rollers who make the Pen their Hong Kong home and show them renderings, plans, fabric swatches, pieces of furniture, suites in the making. What did they think? How about these elegant leather tabs, inspired by vintage travel trunks, instead of knobs on the drawers? Was the combination of antique porcelain and contemporary art working? Did the glossy black doorframes look right with the pale silk curtains and burled mahogany?

    It's this fastidiousness that has enabled the Pen to embrace change without losing her charm. Of course you can still get chauffeured around town in a Peninsula-green Rolls-Royce if that's what you fancy - just don't forget there's a helipad on the roof too. It's easy to get this sort of best-of-both-worlds thing wrong, but the Pen has pulled off a remarkable balancing act. Go and see for yourself and raise a glass (there are nine restaurants and bars where you might do so, plus room service) to one of the great "new" hotels of the world, 85 years young.

    By Steve King

    For reservations and more information, visit www.peninsula.com

    The Peninsula offered all Vanity Fair A-List members the chance to win one night for two people in a Deluxe Suite (valued at HK$9,680), including daily traditional Peninsula breakfast for two people. HK$1,560 hotel credit to be redeemed for dining or Spa privileges or one of the new Peninsula Academy Programmes. And a complimentary bottle of Peninsula Deutz champagne, to accompany either lunch or dinner at Gaddi's, Hong Kong's original fine-dining restaurant, which celebrates its Diamond Jubilee this year. Don't miss out on future offers, sign up to the A-List.