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Indian Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee on His Favorite Suites, the Meal He Can‘t Forget and Why He Doesn’t Buy Souvenirs

In this new column, the iconic Indian designer takes us around his dazzling new New York boutique—and shares his top travel experiences.

Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee at his New York store BFA/Hannah Turner Harts

Crossing the threshold of the red-brick Romanesque Revival façade on the far reaches of Christopher Street in New York’s West Village feels like a portal to another realm—an opulent, visually arresting world familiar to anyone who’s frequented celebrated Indian designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s atmospheric boutiques across India. Shoppers stroll through stained-oak archways, beneath a seemingly endless cavalcade of chandeliers and across Central Asian kilims to browse the designer’s first-ever ready-to-wear collection, displayed with museum-like reverence amid an assortment of antiques sourced by Mukherjee himself from markets across India, Europe and beyond. Gossamer tulle skirts, hand-embroidered trench coats, glittering statement jewelry and leather bags mingle with 16th-century Mughal paintings, French vitrines and Renaissance mirrors from Italy displayed from the floors to the soaring ceilings.

After years of delays, Mukherjee finally unveiled his West Village jewel box this week, his first boutique outside of India. Between this opening and his monthlong jewelry showcase at Bergdorf Goodman in September, he’s been spending more time than ever in the city. “New York is a city of dreamers,” he says. “If you put your best foot forward, magic can happen.” Days before the store’s official debut, the designer sat down with Robb Report to share some of his fondest travel moments.

The boutique is brimming with antiques, handcrafted clothes and fine jewelry Björn Wallander

Best Travel Ritual

I fly Emirates, and I go to the lounge, take a shower, slip into my pajamas and go straight into my cave and sleep the moment the seatbelt signs are off. I tell them, “Do not disturb.” I get the best sleep, especially when it’s a transatlantic flight from Dubai to New York. I can sleep for 13 hours nonstop—I think it’s the white noise. 

Best Suite(s)

At the Alfonso XIII in Seville. It was absolutely brilliant: It overlooked a garden and had a palm tree in front of it. But a lot of times a beautiful suite is about the quality of sunlight that comes in. I was there in summer, when the south of south of Spain can be gorgeous, and the linens in the morning used to be bathed in golden light. There must have been citrus trees around and there was a heady smell that used to come in.

And another suite that I love—and it’s not just because I did it, but because I think it’s gloriously beautiful—is the Cinema Suite at the Taj 51 Buckingham Gate in London. It’s Sabyasachi. It looks like the store. It feels like home to me, because that’s how I would decorate my own home.

The Cinema Suite at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Sabyasachi

Best Amenity

Piping hot coffee. I think most hotels don’t get their coffee right, by the time the coffee comes to your room, it gets slightly tepid. I like my coffee really hot. I also like hotels that give you fluffy bathrobes. And for me what’s most important in a hotel is good toiletries. It’s such a luxury.

Best View

My penthouse at the Plaza, because it’s got beautiful views of Central Park. In a city with such big high rises, Central Park for me is an oasis. 

A Penthouse suite at New York's Plaza Hotel
A Penthouse suite at New York’s Plaza Hotel The Plaza, A Fairmont Managed Hotel

Best Shopping Experience

The souks of Marrakech. I get anything and everything that catches my eye, from bar of soap, to grilled meat, to dates and figs, to costume jewelry, to mirrors, to furniture, to carpets, to rugs, to textiles, to spices—you name it. It’s not as much about the products as it is about the experience: the smell, the sound, the people, everything.

Best Meal

That’s easy. I had gone on a tiger safari with a friend to Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, and we were staying at the Aman-i-Khas resort. We had barbecued lamb, and it felt like we were in the middle of a forest. Having a beautiful meal by the fireside, on a winter night, when the stars were out and there was a campfire, and the fact that you felt that there could be tigers lurking around and watching you—the sense of danger and thrill and brilliant food. It was a very memorable dinner. 

The firepit at Aman-i-khas in Rajasthan Rhiannon Taylor/Aman Resorts

Best Souvenir

I’m not a souvenir collector—my best souvenirs are my memories. I don’t take photographs, I don’t buy anything. For me, a souvenir is a memory of a great local meal in a beautiful place. I carry my souvenirs inside my mind. 

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