As the busy owner of an up-and-coming organic skincare brand, a young bride-to-be was keen to be whisked away with her closest girlfriends on a hedonistic hen in the Mediterranean. She met with her Personal Advisor, Poppy, in the aromatic Chelsea Physic Garden to discuss further, knowing Poppy could be trusted to put together the perfect trip, juxtaposing R&R with some truly unique sensory experiences for her gaggle of girls to enjoy. Poppy was intrigued to hear about the details of her guest’s latest fragrance and skincare range, and it became clear that citrus was a key inspiration and orange blossom was to adorn the bride’s bouquet. Since the nineteenth century, essential oils from the flowers, leaves and skin of oranges and their trees have been used to increase the persistence of fragrances that might be thought to encapsulate the romance and beauty of a place and what better place than Italy, where the husband-to-be had proposed a year ago and the orange blossom or ‘zagara’ harvest is a sight to behold.
Poppy realised she would need to delve deep into her black book of contacts in order to secure the most authentic olfactory experiences as well as pamper the ladies with some indulgent treatments in some of the most exclusive Italian retreats. A week of dreamy dolce vita and a journey for the senses ricco di odori!
Poppy had noted her guest and her girlfriends had met during their Classics degree at university and that they were particularly enamoured with the Romanticism of Goethe. The Italian escape was therefore to begin soaking up the stunning scenery at Lake Garda in Lombardy where the man himself had apparently been rowed across the lake during the summer of 1769. According to his Captain, he had looked back towards the village of Limone on its western shore and commented on the beauty of a terraced hillside garden planted with lemon trees, whose aroma he could detect from across the water.
The ladies eased into their idyllic holiday with two days at the iconic Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda. Poppy ensured that the range of beauty treatments in the internationally acclaimed spa were tailor-made according to each guest’s special requirements and with the stress of the wedding preparations in mind, a sensory massage was an absolute necessity. After the indulgent pampering, the group were treated to an exclusive visit to an authentic Garda lemon house with renowned figure Giuseppe Gandossi, a citrus aficionado and lecturer who brought an abandoned lemon grove back to life and introduced the ladies to genuine perfectly oval Garda lemons which he personally squeezed over their al fresco piatto di risotto amongst his prized trees. The evening was of course washed down with Gandossi’s homemade limoncello which were gifted to the group in exquisite traditional glass bottles.
After a delicious breakfast naturally featuring the naughtiest slice of lemon polenta cake, the ladies were stunned and delighted to be presented with three vintage Italian cars which they drove to Florence, ready for a buzzy couple of nights at the stylish J.K Place hotel, a stone’s throw away from Santa Maria Novella. After an entertaining first evening on the rooftop terrace with a well-known DJ spinning classic Italian tunes from the 1960s, Poppy went on to arrange for the ladies to attend a bespoke perfume masterclass in the tiniest and most authentic laboratory near the Duomo. Responsible for some of the iconic fragrances of Italian fashion houses, octogenarian olfactory maestro Roberto guided them in their individual creations of a particular scent.
Having spent a great deal of time island hopping in Southern Italy, Poppy knew that her guests would fall in love with the volcanic island of Ischia, known for its natural hot springs. Having checked in in style at the Capri Palace hotel, the ladies boarded their private yacht which took them to some of the secret coves of the neighbouring island. After a full day of swimming and sun, the ladies were personally welcomed back at the Capri Palace by Professor Francesco Canonaco, the driving force behind the pioneering Capri Beauty Farm concept. Francesco explained the holistic spa experience emphasising the ground-breaking medical and scientific elements of the treatments they would sample the next day before introducing the group to yoga teacher to the stars, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa whom Poppy had met previously in London and knew would be teaching in Capri that month. For over three decades, Gurmukh’s students in L.A and around the world (Madonna being a devotee) have sought her classes in yoga and meditation and Poppy was keen for the group to experience her unique presence in a very special celebratory yoga practice dedicated to the bride-to-be and the new chapter she would be embarking on with her husband. With their aromatic custom-made gifts exchanged over a citrus inspired meal on the terrace, the group would always associate these scents with memories of this very special holiday. A reunion of lifelong friends.