Jean-Michel Gathy talks personal taste: Part One

Jean-Michel Gathy designs hotels for the world’s leading luxury groups, including Aman Resorts, One & Only, LVMH’s Cheval Blanc and COMO

Jean-Michel Gathy
Jean-Michel Gathy | Image: Sebastian Böettcher

My personal style signifier is a cashmere sweater from Loro Piana. I have 60 or 70 of them, despite living in Malaysia, a country with 100 per cent humidity. From £585;

Thimphu Lodge, Amankora, Bhutan
Thimphu Lodge, Amankora, Bhutan

The last thing I bought and loved was a painting by Lita Cabellut, a Barcelona-born artist who is inspired by Spanish and Dutch Old Masters and uses a unique variation on the fresco technique. I have eight of her works; at 2m x 2.85m, this one is a major piece – I have no idea where we are going to put it.


And the thing I’m eyeing next is a Tom Ford cashmere jacket in oyster grey. It can be casual or smart, ideal for everyday life. From £2,780;

National Geographic
National Geographic

The best gift I’ve given recently is flowers. Every day that I am travelling I send white lilies and yellow daisies to my wife. We got married in Venice surrounded by them. I always choose a florist close to where she is and ask for something original.

Lotus Arts de Vivre scarab necklace by Rolf von Bueren, £10,940
Lotus Arts de Vivre scarab necklace by Rolf von Bueren, £10,940

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Bhutan. I am drawn to the Himalayas and the Buddhist way of life, and Bhutan is all about beauty and purity; my emotions are sensitised there. My wife and I have been married for 17 years, but we held hands almost continuously for nine days – which was only partly to do with the roads. We stayed at Amankora, a circuit of lodges throughout the kingdom’s central and western valleys. Paro, Thimphu Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang (+9758-272 333;

Dried Tears by Lita Cabellut, €90,000
Dried Tears by Lita Cabellut, €90,000 | Image: © Lita Cabellut

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is knowledge. I am always inspired by what I see when I travel: the countryside, the construction – the local people build from what is available. One learns from the angle they pitch the roofs at, the size of window that works best in the landscape.

Le Pur’ restaurant at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme
Le Pur’ restaurant at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme | Image: Cécil Mathieu

The grooming staples I’m never without are my moisturiser, concentrate and aftershave from La Mer, which my wife introduced me to. All its products are made from sea minerals. Lamarin Men After Shave Balm, €29.50 for 100ml, Hydro Vital 24h Creme, €28 for 50ml, and Wash Gel, €15 for 100ml;


On my bedside table are maps. I love geography, so I study them in bed; it’s weird but calming. And National Geographic. Stanford’s Maps, 12-14 Long Acre, London WC2 (020-7836 1321;

The last meal that truly impressed me was a perfect steak with green-pepper sauce and mushrooms at the Michelin‑starred Le Pur’ restaurant at the Park Hyatt Vendôme in Paris. It was surprising because I rarely eat meat and my favourite food is Japanese. 5 Rue de la Paix, Paris 75002 (+331-5871 1234;

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Rolf von Bueren, who creates the most gorgeous one-off pieces of jewellery for Lotus Arts de Vivre in Bangkok. They are inspired by the culture of the region and handmade by traditional craftsmen in remote villages. They are too extravagant to be worn but are quite exquisite. 41/21 Rama III Road, Chongnonsee, Yannawa (+662-294 1821;

The last music I downloaded was a Tibetan chant. When you listen to something like The Perfect Jewel by the Gyuto Monks Tantric Choir you are transported to something mystical and deeply calming. I also love music by Jacques Brel, who was the most extraordinary poet.

My favourite websites are Google Earth, where I can meander across countries and dream, and Art Net, which I consult regularly to track  

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