Thursday, July 13, 2017

Russian Dressing

Greg Tepper, CEO of Exeter International at the Moscow History Museum, Red Square

 My exclusive interview with Gregory Tepper, the CEO and founder of Exeter International, offering luxury travel, exclusive tours and private access experiences to Russia and Eastern Europe.

JB: Can you tell the readers your background and how you  got into the business of selling luxury travel  to Russia ?

GT: I was born in NYC, but my family moved to Tampa , Florida when I was still young.  I started studying Russian at the age of 16 when I took an intensive Russian language class at my boarding school, 6 days a week. I fell in love with the language and then later the history, culture and people of Russia. And yes, I am fluent in Russian after studying it for 4 years and living in St Petersburg for a year.

 JB: What are some of the significant changes in Russia over the years?

GT: Wow - Russia is not even recognizable from the days when I lived there and when I started my company. Only one Western-standard hotel existed in St Petersburg in 1993 and only two in Moscow - all the rest were Soviet-era horrors with truly inedible food, lumpy beds, surly service and depressing lobbies. Speaking of food, Moscow has become a true foodie destination and it even has a Michelin starred restaurant, White Rabbit in Moscow, which was inconceivable in the 1990’s.

JB: How has our 2016 election impacted tourism to Russia or neighboring countries?

GT: The invasion of Ukraine by Russia caused travel to Russia to plummet from all the Western countries in 2015 by 30%, but travel is up again this year.
We are even seeing bookings to Kiev and other parts of Ukraine for this summer. The election has not had a negative impact at all for travel to Russia.

In front of the Hermitage Museum

 JB: How does the Russian citizen now perceive the American traveler? Any different than before the election? 

GT: Americans are among the more popular tourists in Moscow and St Petersburg. This has as much to do with the  fact that we tip generously and we compare favorably to  tourists in other parts of the world. When tourism from the U.S. was down, Exeter found that many Russians who came into contact with travelers missed the Americans! There is very little anti-American feeling in Moscow and St Petersburg generally.

JB: Do you find that travelers are asking how their trips might be affected with regard to the accusations of Russian involvement in our political system ? 

GT: No.

JB: Are travelers asking if they can meet Edward Snowden?  (ha - I’m really curious, but I may be the only one)! 

GT: You are, indeed, the only one to ask!

JB: There is a US State Travel warning to the Ukraine. Is it dangerous to travel there now?

GT: When I’m asked this, I direct travelers to look at all the countries that are on the US State Travel warning list including, sadly,  much of Europe. Ukraine is and has been completely safe over the past few years for travelers, except in the very far East of the country, near Russia where there are no tourist sites in this region and travelers are unlikely to even want to go there..

JB: Is the media correct in advising the public that the economic situation in Russia is declining or is this "fake news"?

GT: No - things are not easy for the average Russian economically. As a matter of fact, even the rich in Russia are “suffering” a bit. The economy is more affected by the drop in the price of oil from over $100 a barrel to under $50 today and this is the same in all oil-exporting countries. The sanctions have made thing worse for sure, but the price of oil is what is driving the economic malaise in Russia today.

JB: Currently, is the dollar strong or weak in Russia?

GT: A year and a half ago, the Ruble was 30 to a dollar and now it is 57 to a dollar. This is certainly a great time to enjoy Russia when the dollar is getting stronger.

JB:What surprises people most when they travel to Russia? Is there a stereotypical idea about the destination or the average citizen you would like to dispel?

GT: People often have a misconception of Russia before they arrive. Many still expect it to be dangerous and depressing- with bad food! It’s none of those things! Moscow in particular has been remade over the past two years, with new parks, pedestrian streets, wide sidewalks and refurbished museums all over the city. Moscow has never looked better than it does today and it’s stunning. 

 JB: What are some of the more interesting sites in Russia that Exeter goes to?

GT: I love the tiny little village of Plyos on the Volga River. It’s a bit like Colonial Williamsburg- perfectly preserved and in the winter, truly Dr. Zhivago!

JB: Is it safe to travel to Russia now?

GT: Absolutely. Russia is statistically one of the safest destinations in Europe and this includes rates of petty theft, terrorism and crime of any kind.

JB: I can’t let you go without asking:  what’s your ‘must read’ book on Russia ?

GT: Land of the Firebird: the Beauty of Old Russia by Suzanne Massie.

St. Basil's Cathedral

111 South Dakota Avenue | Tampa, Florida 33606
T: 800.633.1008/813.251.5355 | F:

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

BearChat with Colin Peter Field

BearChat with Colin Peter Field, author, mixologist extraordinaire of Hemingway Bar at Hotel Ritz Paris and voted the world’s best bartender by Forbes  and Travel + Leisure magazines.

Talking with the always charming Colin Peter Field


JB: How long have you been head bartender at the Hemingway Bar?

CPF: 22 years.


JB: Hotel Ritz Paris has been closed for renovations since 2012. What have you been up to for the past 4 years?

CPF: I’ve created a program with Air France called, ‘Cocktails in the Sky’ and I present  my signature cocktails to the First and Business Class passengers ; it’s great fun to talk with the travelers and crew on board and an opportunity to see the world. Since I am interested in motivating young bartenders, I am also President of the jury of Meilleur Apprenti de France bartenders.
The graduates of this prestigious school eventually earn a university degree in this noble profession.
I am also constantly traveling since I like to discover and make sure I am utilizing the best, authentic ingredients in my cocktails. I just spent time at a monastery with the Carthusian Monks since they produce the best chartreuse.

JB: When the Ritz opens this month, will there be any noticeable changes or enhancements to the Hemingway Bar?

CPF: The Hemingway is still considered an iconic cocktail bar so we are not veering too far away from tradition, however, I am now introducing the ‘hemburger’, my Parisian version of the American sliders.

JB: I last interviewed you in April 2004 and the star high-end cocktail at the Hemingway Bar was the ‘Ritz Sidecar’ made with Vintage 1830 Champagne cognac. It was 420 Euro then (approx. $500 in 2004) and there were at least 5 sold per week. What is the price now?

CPF: It’s not about the price-what makes the ‘Ritz Sidecar’ so special is it is still made with the Vintage 1830 Champagne cognac! In 1923, Frank Meier, the charismatic bartender at the Ritz, created and introduced this cocktail and the ingredients, the tradition and the passion are in every ‘Ritz Sidecar’ we mix!  Interestingly enough, right before the Ritz closed for the renovation in 2012, a gentleman ordered 6 Ritz Sidecars at 1500 Euro each.  

JB: Over a decade ago, your clients loved the Benderitter named after Brigitte Benderitter, the PR Director of the French Publishing house, De Chene. It was made with champagne, ‘Essence of Ginger’ and garnished with a medallion of kumquat. Which cocktails are most requested? 

CPF: If you get a cocktail named after you then you become immortal so it is an extreme honor. Years ago, two sisters used to come in quite often with their boyfriends. The Bond sisters each wanted a cocktail named after them and it would not have been politically correct to choose one sister over the other so I created a cocktail called, ‘Miss Bonde‘ (added the e to make it plural) to pay tribute to both of them. It is still one of the most popular cocktails and the people that order them are usually confident, independent and have a certain joie de vivre…

JB: In New York, microbreweries are currently a big trend. Since you are a trendsetter in your own right, what current trends most interest you and your team?  What do you expect the next trend to be?

 CPF:  I have always tried to be on the cutting edge. Twenty two years ago, I was serving raspberry vodka. The Hemingway was the first bar in France to use frozen glasses (American bartenders were doing this much longer) and we were actually the first cocktail bar in the world to serve cucumber water to our patrons.  Now, I present my guests with a variety of tomatoes on a silver tray so they can choose which tomatoes go into their ‘Hemingway Bloody Mary’. Instead of celery salt, I use fresh celery and radish.  I have always been using the freshest, most natural ingredients in my garden- to- drink cocktails. I have a few new cocktails that will appear on the new menu when we reopen-I hope you don’t mind if I can’t share them with you, but I want it to be a surprise.   


JB: Many chefs don’t like to deviate from their signature dishes. Where do you draw the line when making changes to our signature cocktails?

CPF: We make people whatever they want because we want the Hemingway to feel like their home. We are also genuine and try to be engaging and sincere. Many times patrons don’t know what they want to drink, but, after speaking with them, we can usually make a cocktail that suits their personality.

JB: What are some of your favorite bars in Paris at the moment?

CPF: I like the bar at the fairly new Maison Souget Hotel opposite the Moulin Rouge. The bar is similar to a boudoir and, Clara, the young, female bartender, is very creative.  I also like to go to the Moonshiner which is in back of a pizzeria. It is a low-key, friendly bar and you can just relax and be yourself.

JB: Do you have any stories about famous people you can share?

CPF:  Many years ago, Sharon Stone was staying at the Ritz and, when she called for a cocktail, I brought it up to her room, but her body guards answered the door. Since I thought I should deliver it to her personally, I told the 2 gentleman that there was a specific procedure to mixing the drink so they had me present it to her. When I walked in, she was standing in the middle of the room all in black. Her beauty was so mesmerizing that I could all but give her the cocktail, bow and leave.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Got those ‘after the holidays, back to reality’ winter blues?



Here’s a Top Ten Travel List guaranteed to lift you out of the doldrums

If you’re a Margaret Mead wannabe, Papua, New Guinea should definitely be tops on your bucket list. With untouched wildlife, a diverse culture and stunning scenery, you might also be the first to discover an indigenous new species of bird. Mountain Travel Sobek has a special April departure where you will experience, first-hand, a unique festival of 8 different clans.  With a live volcano, as the backdrop, the Duk Duk festival cannot be missed.

Picture: Courtesy of David Kirkland

When it comes to travel, ‘boutique’ no longer applies to hotels. With only 74 flat-bed seats in an all business class cabin, La Compagnie flies from New York to Paris and London. In- flight service includes individual Samsung Galaxy Pro tablets, chilled champagne, rare wines and French delicacies, anti-allergenic pillows and a glam crew.  Who said bigger was better?!

Photo-tourism is the newest trend in Africa and beyond.  Wild Eye will guide you from the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania to the bushveld of the Sabi Sands in South Africa to Svalbard, Norway, the white world of the polar bears. You’ll enjoy the moment while Wild Eye records your adventure of a lifetime.   

Standing with the owners of Wild Eye: Gerry van der Walt & Marlon du Toit

National Parks are becoming popular again, but no need to worry about crowds since Capitol Reef National Park is the best kept secret! It’s the least visited of Utah’s National Parks, but one of the best and a photographer’s paradise. Henry Mountains is the last major mountain range to be mapped by the U.S. Government and the world’s largest herd of free-ranging bison can be found here. Utah is for real cowboys!  

Stockholm is oh-so sophisticated, progressive and underrated. Their bakficka or ‘back-pocket’ restaurants are the bistro versions of a more gourmet/fine dining restaurant - same chefs, same owners, similar menus, but a more casual atmosphere and pocketbook friendly. They are usually next door to each other (Speceriet is the back pocket restaurant of Gastrologik), but, as in life, there are exceptions:  the back pocket Erik Bakficka is located in Östermalm with the main restaurant, Gondolen in Södermalm. If you’re a 1-percenter or a millennial foodieStockholm should be on your bucket list!

Picture: Courtesy of Eriks
The Ida Blue Hotel,  situated on the slopes of Mount Ida in Western Turkey, is a beautifully kept secret..until now.  Located in the 4000 year old Adatepe village which dates back to the Greeks and Ottoman Empires, the hotel is comprised of 3 stone houses with a total of 9 rooms that have been lovingly restored to its original splendor.  The gardens have over 120 species of plants and flowers , all the food is suplied by local farmers , the nearby villages are authentic and  untouched and the surrounding mountain and sea make for a truly intoxicating journey. According to ancient mythology, the gods charmed, seduced, tricked, married and betrayed one another in Mount Ida—is that where ’Housewives’ got their inspiration ?!
Ida Blue Hotel


’Luxury’ and ’all-inclusives’ don’t have to be an oxymoron! Family friendly and fabulous, a new Grand Velas Resort will be opening in Los Cabos, Mexico in Fall 2016 near Las Ventanas al Paraiso.  Rumor has it, they are working on a swimmable beach (we all know that swimmable beaches in Cabo are few and far between), but the project is hush hush!!!  This is one brand that doesn’t disappoint!

You can’t go to Peru without visiting Machu Picchu, but, for a truly authentic experience, it doesn’t get better than Lake Titicaca. There are 42  floating islands  where the Uros tribes pre -date Incan civilization and continue to hunt and fish the way they used to. They use totora reed roots to construct their foundations, boats and homes and each tiny island is approximately the size of NYC’s new ’pod’ apartments! For the sheer beauty and luxurious setting, stay at the 18 room Titilaka  which gets my vote as a ’Wonder of the World’ hotel!
I had the pleasure of meeting some of the Uros people

There’s a new frontier in the Wild West and it ain’t in Wyoming!  Jackson Hole is a resort community in China replicating  the American dream—everyone lives in timberframe homes with large back yards (some with year round Christmas trees). Their clubhouse is decorated with Navajo art and wagon-wheel chandeliers and the dress code for Sunday is American casual; flannel shirts, sweatpants and sneakers .Their car of choice is the Buick Excelle, the Volkswagon Jetta and the Ford Focus. Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day  are celebrated and they even have a boy scout , baseball and knitting club or ’dream-gathering’ tribes  as they call it.  If you happen to be in Beijing and you get homesick, Jackson Hole is only 90 minutes away!
Jackson Hole, BEIJING!

I would be remiss if I didn’t include Havana, Cuba on this list. There have been so many articles written about what to see and do, but to get a real sense of what this vibrant city is about, there are neighborhoods and private access experiences one does not read about and these are the things that make Havana so special:  go to Lanchita de Regla and explore the other side of the bay rarely visited and still undiscovered, experience a genuine Santeria ceremony, not only visit a private villa that was built before the Revolution, but stay in one , lunch at one of the best, and local, paladars. Travel is sometimes about not what you know, but who you know!

I'm cruising in Cuba!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Paris 2015


Paris is still in the midst of recovery from the terror attacks.  I have brought together the top General Managers of the most prestigious hotels in Paris to give insight into how the tourism industry has been affected and what security measures were taken.

They were gracious enough to share their candid thoughts, how they are moving forward and what some of their favorite things in Paris are.

Their resilience, grace and hospitality will resonate in years to come.

Following is an excerpt of the responses from the esteemed panel I had the honor to interview:


Didier Le Calvez, Le Bristol Paris (& COO of Oetker Collection)

Franka Holtmann, Le Meurice Paris

Frédéric Picard, La Réserve Paris

Philippe Leboeuf, Mandarin Oriental Paris

Nicolas Béliard, The Peninsula Paris

Christian Boyens, Ritz Paris


JB: What security measures did your hotel take for the guests and staff in the aftermath of the attack?

Didier Le Calvez (DLC):  We have closed all annex doors and left only the main entrance available for guests to come in. All bags were also systematically checked when entering the hotel and the restaurants.

We are quite fortunate to be located next to Place Bauveau and the Élysée Palace, which makes us probably the most secure hotel in Paris. We benefit from all the security procedures in place to protect the road. For this reason, we didn’t put any extravagant security procedures in place.

Nicolas Béliard (NB): The safety of our guests and employees is our utmost priority and the hotel’s management team is taking every possible precaution to ensure their security. Following the attacks, a range of enhanced measures have been put in place including security checks when entering the hotel and around the building.

Philippe Leboeuf (PL):  We already had a demanding security policy, but we needed to take extra measures like backpack searches to all guests and staff coming inside the hotel, add security agents, identifications of all luggage, etc.  

Christian Boyens (CB):  Paris was shaken up by the attacks of November 13th but the culture of the Parisians can't be changed. Today, the bistros and cafes are once again filled and the terraces packed. There is clearly an immediate impact on the hotels and its staff members as many visitors cancelled or delayed their trip into the City of Lights. Security measures are being reviewed and staff properly trained.

Frédéric Picard (FP):  We have increased the level of security by adding additional security guards. Having said that, we are a stone’s throw from the Élysée Palace (our French White house) and, therefore, the area is very well secured. 


JB: How is business now and, moving forward, what are you doing to give clients a comfort level?

PL:  The attacks were a shock and we had immediate cancellations. Paris’s occupancy rate fell by 20 percent on Saturday, November 14 from Friday and an additional 20 percent on Sunday, November 15 the most recent days for which figures were available.
COP 21(Paris Climate Conference) helped us to move forward with a good occupancy rate. This international event has given a very positive sign and showed how Paris was able to welcome an international event and hundreds of statesmen without any security problem.

DLC:  Of course, business has been down since the terrible event for hotels in Paris which amount to a loss of about 25% so far. However, the COP 21 summit that was held this month has been a success in terms of security. Seeing the Head of States from all around the world staying in Paris has sent a very positive message to the entire world. The city is now back on its feet, Parisians are going out and getting back to their daily routine, preparing for the festive season with shopping and night outs in bars and bistros around town.

NB: Business is doing well since Paris hosted the COP 21 conference and the festive season is starting.  We are fortunate to have sophisticated technology and CCTV features and a very well trained team of security officers.


JB: What is the current mood in Paris right now?

Franka Holtmann(FH):  We  still have the energy to fight and to do our utmost to take the best care of those clients who are staying with us in order to make sure they have a memorable visit.  
NB:   Christmas is just around the corner and life goes on. As a matter of fact, you do not really feel anything different; all stores and streets are brightened up with Christmas decorations and lighting and Parisians do their Christmas shopping and prepare to celebrate with their loved ones. Surveillance has been reinforced, but is scarcely perceptible though omnipresent. You can feel that people are enjoying the festive season. You can feel that everyone is full of anticipation and there is a strong sense of community.

CB: Paris is Paris and will also rebound after these most unfortunate incidents. There is a great sense of community among the Parisians to weather the storm.

DLC:  There is definitely a sense of defiance; Parisians are committed to not let themselves get intimidated.  Terror and terrorists are everywhere in the world and can be anywhere. What we notice since the attack is a great sense of nationalism with people buying the French flags more and singing La Marseillaise at any public event and gatherings.  They pride themselves to be the keeper of Western customs and lifestyle.

PL: People are moving forward. The festive season will, hopefully, help people to forget their fears.

FP:  We have to face the challenging time and we all stand up and return to business. Paris is a great city and all efforts from all of us in the hospitality business is to reinforce our position.

JB: What is your favorite thing to do in Paris?

DLC:  I love spending time with my children and strolling around Paris’ gardens. I do think that Paris is a very child-friendly city with many public and open spaces for kids to discover. I like to discover museums and exhibitions that come to the capital and, of course, sitting in a bistro with my family.

NB: The simplest things are often the nicest. I very much like going for a Sunday family walk in Paris enjoying the Seine River and the beautiful Parisian monuments. Going for an early morning run when the city is still sleeping is something I am very much taking delight in, feeling privileged to have Paris to myself.

PL:  A long walk taking in the Tuileries gardens, and the grounds of the Louvre which are a few steps away from the Mandarin Oriental Paris.  I then like to walk along the Seine to Notre Dame and then up the Left Bank and across Pont Alexandre III. Walking along the river is the best way to take in the beauty of Paris. Even if it rains, it is still romantic. Paris is all about romance!

FP:  Going to the Christmas market on the Champs-Élysées, running on the Seine Bank in the evening and enjoying the City of Lights.

CB:  Musée Jacquemart-André (8ieme) is one of the most underrated museum in Paris and one that I enjoy visiting.


JB:  What is one of your favorite restaurants in Paris?

FP:  My favorite restaurant? Difficult to answer because there are plenty of them from bistros to 3 star Michelin. I would recommend the brunch at Mama Shelter with the family because the atmosphere is great and the food is casual, but exactly what you need during family time.

CB: Soma, Septime and Verjus are 3 of my favorites.

NB:  Atelier Vivanda for its traditional French bistro atmosphere.

JB:  Anything new and exciting in the hotel?

DLC: In 2016, we will entirely refurbish the lobby bar, Le Jardin Francais, into a lovely tea room and lounge for the guests to enjoy a peaceful and refined moment with us.  For gastronomy and wine aficionados, Wine Mondays will be held at the 1 Michelin star brasserie 114 Faubourg offering guests the exclusivity to discover a French winemaker recommended by Le Bristol’s head sommelier, Marco Pelletier.

 NB: True to the tradition of the Peninsula Hotels, the team has started working on the celebration of the Chinese New Year in February. This is a rather important event for the hotel and we are working on a lion dance with traditional music and dancers plus a unique menu for our Cantonese restaurant, LiLi.

FP:  We have created with Patrick Roger (the best chocolate maker in France) our Christmas log based on the Christmas baubles at La Réserve Paris.  This coming year, we are going to provide a fantastic calendar of events called ACE  based on Art, Culture and Emotion and  every month we will bring together events based on these 3 elements.

PL: The Cake Shop at the Mandarin Oriental Paris has been redesigned by French artist, Mambo. The new visual identity was revealed last September together with limited-edition pastry boxes, bags and cups created by the artist.  In March 2016, Guerlain will redesign one of our 7 spa suites and we also plan to install a kitchen garden on the roof offering dining experiences.

CB:  As you know, we are taking reservations now at the Ritz Paris for the March 14, 2016 opening.  We will have heated terraces, the first ever Chanel au Ritz Paris Spa, the Ritz Escoffier cooking school with 3 training kitchens  and retractable roofs for our outdoor restaurants.

FH:  Since Le Meurice Paris is very much into the arts, we have taken advantage of the Andy Warhol exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne and created a ‘Pope of Pop’ special pop art menu in honor of this U.S. artist. On the menu is the traditional hamburger with new ‘energy’ and choux pastries in a range of disco colors.

JB:  What Christmas gift would you like to receive?

PL: Books!  I love books (literature, biographies, etc.).

FP: A cruise in Antarctica with my family.

 NB: It would be great to spend more time with my family.

 DLC:  Win the lottery!


To my extraordinary partners, merci beaucoup!


Please contact Jody Bear for exclusive promotions and activities at these iconic hotels.


Vive le France!

Top row: Didier Le Calvez and Steven Bear (co-president of  Bear & Bear Travel), Franka Holtmann and Jody, Frederic Picard and Jody.
Bottom row: Phillipe Leboeuf and Jody, Nicolas Beliard and Jody, Christian Boyens and Jody.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

10 Top Travel Gifts For The Holiday Guaranteed To Knock Your Stockings Off!

These gift ideas are functional, frivolous or fanciful, but all fabulous!!! 

For a mere $197,00 you can have your own aircraft…the 2 seater Icon A5 amphibious plane is so simple, the training program takes just 30 in-air hours to complete. You’ll still need Global Entry, but that’s only $100!

If purchasing your own plane is too pricy, Deakin & Francis sterling silver helicopter cuff links might be more your “speed”!

 For the chocolate gourmand, Patrick Roger is one of the best chocolatiers around. His confections are sinfully delicious, wildly expensive and sold exclusively in Paris. Now that’s a good excuse to hop on a plane…

Instant gratification goes retro…snap a photo on the stylish Polaroid Snap Instant Camera, wait a few secs and, voilà, a tiny print emerges! Everything comes back, but better, sooner or later!

For those who travel light, Donni Charm is the most versatile accessory you can have in your wardrobe—use it as a blanket, wrap, shawl, poncho or scarf. Since a portion of the proceeds go to a charitable cause, no need to feel guilty about making a purchase!

For the wannabe chef, why not give the real deal and send them to a Roman cuisine cooking class---in Rome! An English speaking chef will accompany you to the colorful Campo de Fiori market to select the ingredients for your meal and you’ll whip up a traditional 3 course dinner in a private penthouse with a spectacular view of the city. Mangia!
Contact Bear & Bear for the details.

Some of my favorite fragrances are by Byredo, the cult perfume line based in Stockholm. Their 6 iconic scents are now in a limited-edition holiday box and each glass vial is small enough to get you through airport security without a hitch!
 At last, something for free! Jetlag Genie is a genius of an app that helps your body adjust to new time zones and reduces the effects of jet lag. It works by customizing a plan of action based on your flight info and sleeping patterns. Ambien, your stock just plummeted!
Download from Apple iTunes

I love Tulum and my go-to hotel is Coqui Coqui (I’m sharing all my secrets, but it’s the holidays so I’m in a giving mood). Hartwood Restaurant is a rustic, laid-back shack, but don’t let that fool you…the food is blissful! If you can’t get to the Yucatan, then let it come to you: the New Yorkers that left the Big Apple to open up this acclaimed restaurant just came out with a cookbook that is the perfect holiday gift: Hartwood: Bright, Wild Flavors From the Edge of the Yucatan.

The ‘it’ bag of the season is the ‘Upper House’ leather tote and you can only purchase it from that glam of a hotel, the Upper House in Hong Kong.
The totes are so exclusive that they are not even on display-you would have to know to ask for ‘it’ so it is strictly a word-of-mouth treasure, but, hey, flying to Hong Kong for the holidays and staying at the Upper House with their glorious views, over-sized rooms and dining at their wildly popular restaurant, Café Gray Deluxe, is a top travel gift in my book!
Contact Bear & Bear for the details.

My own personal 'it' tote from Upper House!