A Hedonist’s Guide to… has always been renowned for its cutthroat approach to city guides. If a hotel isn’t deserving of the five stars adorned to its façade, it won’t make the grade; and if a restaurant doesn’t deliver on its promised Michelin-worthy fare, it can forget a glowing recommendation on our glossy pages. In short, it takes a hell of a lot to impress us – and we’re proud to be the critics that make even the toughest restaurant owner and hotel manager shake in their designer boots. Unfortunately for the hospitality industry, we also review anonymously – meaning they can’t put on a phoney performance for one night only to snag a slot in our beautiful books. We don’t charge places to feature in our guides, either, so you’re guaranteed a review that is objective, accurate and fair. In short, a Hg2 guide is spot-on when it comes to picking the best of the city-based crop.
Style has always been at the forefront of our philosophy, but with dozens of places offering us the world and delivering only disappointment mere aesthetics just don’t cut it any more. That’s not to say that you won’t find drop-dead gorgeous bars, restaurants, shops and hotels gracing the pages of our coveted city guides, but now there’s a stronger filter in place that will regard a neighbourhood’s most popular café just as highly as a restaurant headed up by a world-renowned chef. In an industry where ‘exclusive’ no longer means the riff-raff are kept out and the ra-ras kept in, we’re being tougher than ever when it comes to selecting what goes in and what gets thrown out of our perfectly-sized travel bibles. Like the swankiest clubs, we’re being ruthless when it comes to selecting who gets past the velvet ropes – with the z-list banned and only true superstar celebrities permitted. If a place doesn’t offer style and substance in equal measures, they’re not getting in.
Naturally, hedonistic haunts still catch our discerning eye – we love must-be-seen-in venues more than ever – but now we’re just as interested in places that fly slightly under the radar. In short, Hg2 has grown up without growing old. A place no longer has to smack of luxury to get us through its doors. As well as the venues that attract the in-crowd, we’re interested in the places the locals love, and not just because they spotted Paris Hilton in the corner a few weeks back. Places that are revered for more than their star status – for their service, ambience and overall contribution to a city. Just because somewhere doesn’t roll out the red carpet or have the paparazzi camping outside, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth your custom.