And no, this isn’t merely a ruse using the age-old tactic of risqué connotation and celebrity name-dropping just to hook you in, only to find that the story has nothing to do with the headline: the bawdy and beautiful burlesque star Dita Von Teese really is one of our boutique-hotel reviewers – but those of you less familiar with Mr & Mrs Smith‘s working methods might like a little backstory first, to understand how this came to pass.
If you know all about us and our wiley ways, skip down to the asterisks (***) to read Dita’s blography and a snippet from her review of the Viceroy Santa Monica, one of the luxury beach resorts in our Los Angeles hotel collection.
At Mr & Mrs Smith, we’re all about naughty weekends away (or whole weeks, if you’re lucky enough to be able to whisk your lover off for lengthy luxury-hotel love-ins). We make it our business to seek out the finest, freshest and most spoiling of romantic weekend getaways, city luxury stays, coastal hotels, pretty guesthouses, boutique B&Bs and unique self-catering properties around the world.
And since we want to make sure your stay is as sexy and stylish as humanly possible, we not only visit the hotel ourselves, we also send out a real-life couple to anonymously review the hotel and make sure it’s up to scratch. A bit like Ikea’s Doink, only, you know, sentient and human.
But these aren’t just any old Mr & Mrs Smiths – oh no. Our panel of hotel reviewers consists only of people we trust to report back with the candour and honesty you’d expect from your best friend – tastemakers and trendsetters who know their Philippe Starck from their Philips, their Vi-Springs from their Sealy mattresses, and can spot high-thread-count, Egyptian cotton, monogrammed sheets from 50 paces (assuming the bedroom’s 50 paces long).
Each month, we’ll introduce you to one of our secret hotel spies and let you read a snippet of their review. So who better to high-kick things off than the one-woman vintage-style-storm who is Dita Von Teese.
The indisputable queen of burlesque, Dita Von Teese has transcended the scene in which she made her name to adorn the covers of fashion magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. Best known for her provocative shows in which she performs an old-fashioned striptease that culminates with her submerging herself in a giant martini glass, Dita has graced stages all over the world, gaining plaudits for her Forties-inspired look and for evoking a sense of retro glamour that’s adored by both men and women. Briefly married to goth-rock icon Marilyn Manson, she now concentrates her energies on fronting MAC’s Viva Glam campaign, inspiring Wonderbra’s latest vintage-look collection, and on checking out hotels in her home town of LA for Mr & Mrs Smith.
I check into my ocean-view Empire suite. It’s perfect. Each door is painted in a brilliant green, with French hardware in gleaming silver, and there’s enough design ideas here to keep me going for life. I adore the damask wallpaper and smoked mirrored walls, the leaf-green chairs with Chinoiserie details, crystal wall sconces and orchids on the white cocktail table. There’s ample counter space for my beauty products, oodles of closet room and mirrors everywhere. It’s so difficult to find the right space, lighting and mood suitable for getting red-carpet ready, but this is definitely the real deal.
After devoting an hour or so to making myself as glamorous as my surroundings, I head down to dinner in the hotel’s acclaimed Whist restaurant. The lighting is cover-shoot impeccable. My friends are all good-looking girls, but in this sexy and subdued atmosphere they look simply ravishing. We immediately make a pact to use this restaurant as a seduction tool in future. I order an exquisitely perfumed lavender martini from the impressive cocktail menu and sit back to watch the stylish, buzzing crowd. What happens next only ever occurs in the chicest of chic restaurants: the waiter brings me a black napkin because I’m wearing a black dress. I’m absolutely devoted to this place – and the starters haven’t even arrived yet.
Go to the Smith website to read Dita’s full review of Viceroy Santa Monica (designed by another international glamourpuss, Kelly Wearstler), and check back here soon to meet another groover-shaker tastemaker from our panel of travel-savvy people…