Little black book Ester Crameri is the managing director of the bespoke chocolates company Sprüngli Middle East.
Skiing, shopping and sweet treats
Ester Crameri is the managing director of the bespoke chocolates company Sprüngli Middle East. Being a Swiss alpine girl, naturally one of my favourite places has to be the Swiss mountains and, to be more precise, the valley of the Engadin. It's in the south-east of Switzerland and has a lovely landscape with ink-blue mountain lakes and a continental mountain climate which makes it popular with climbers. It's also influenced by three cultures - the German-speaking majority, the Romansh-speaking population and the nearby Italians.
If you are visiting the famous St. Moritz ski resort, you should definitely visit the Renaissance Bar at the Badrutt's Palace Hotel. Possibly the world's most famous mountain resort, the hotel is a landmark and is over 100 years old (@email:www.badruttspalace.com, Via Serlas 27, St Moritz, Switzerland). If you are staying overnight in St Moritz, I would recommend the beautiful fairy-tale castle Hotel Suvretta House, which has a spectacular view over the lakes and the mountains. It's a sophisticated environment and I constantly return from it refreshed and invigorated (www.suvrettahouse.ch, +41 818 36 36 36, Via Chasellas 1).
I grew up in Zurich and worked there until my move to Dubai. As a city it is a shoppers' paradise. For top designer clothes and accessories, I'd recommend Grieder les Boutiques on the corner of Bahnhofstrasse and Paradeplatz. There's a huge variety of brands from all over the world. Most of the staff are bilingual (as well as superbly dressed!), which is rather unusual in the rest of the world. Zurich is also full of excellent restaurants, but my favourite for Italian cuisine is Bindella in Gassen, just a few steps away from the shopping paradise Bahnhofstreet and Paradeplatz (@email:www.bindella.ch, +41 442 21 25 46). After lunch there I head to a favourite store, the Boutique Laredo, which stocks some gorgeous gifts like stationery, photo albums, picture frames and pens. It's on St Peterstrasse 11.
For coffee and desserts, a visit at Confiserie Sprüngli in Paradeplatz is a must. Linger under the shade of the linden trees in summer and try my favourite - the truffle cake. Confiserie Sprüngli is the oldest confectionery family business in Switzerland, and is famous worldwide for its fresh, handmade pralines and chocolates. When travelling you can also stop at one of the gift shops at the main train station, or at one of their shops at Zurich Kloten airport (@email:www.confiserie sprungli.ch, +41 442 24 46 15).
Every time I visit the South of France, I love to stop at the little hillside village of Mougins for a few nights to visit a unique hotel called the Le Mas Candille. It's a converted 18th-century farmhouse and the sense of informal luxury is unsurpassed. I love their peaceful and tranquil gardens with all the scents of Provence, as well as having dinner at La Pergola. Mougins and its surroundings is also a true golfers' paradise. (@email:www.lemascandille.com, +33 492 28 43 43).
I can't go to the south of France without visiting the fruit and vegetable market in Cannes. In the shade of an open hall you can find the freshest products arranged in the most artistic and colourful way. If you stroll along the rue d'Antibes you'll also find a big variety of shops. When it comes to Dubai - my new home - my favourite place to go to in the evening to enjoy the sunset over the yacht club is The Terrace at the Park Hyatt Dubai. I also really enjoy visiting their architecturally striking restaurant Traiteur, for brasserie-style French food (@email:www.hyatt.com).
My favourite place in Abu Dhabi is at the Hilton Hotel. I cannot miss a visit to the legendary Jazz Bar and Dining which features a fusion menu against a backdrop of fantastic live music (@email:www.hilton.com, 02 681 1900).