Haute Halloween

Welcome to a special edition of Hungry Socialites by Karte Blanche & Co.

In this Haute Halloween issue, we explore castles, creep-couture and "laboratory" speakeasy voted among the best in the US - but we begin by traveling back to the year 1816 near Lake Geneva in Switzerland where Mary Wollstonecraft (not yet known as Mary Shelley) and Percy Bysshe Shelley along with Claire Clairmont, the English Poet Lord Byron, and Byron's Doctor John Polidori settled in for a holiday at the Villa Diodati. During this time, in what became known across Europe as "The Year Without a Summer" stormy weather kept them indoors, and to pass the time Lord Byron proposed a contest - to each write a horror story. Mary went on to describe a figure of "unnatural life, stitched and in hideous medical creation" - born from a nightmare she experienced at the Villa. Later in 1818, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus was published anonymously in London (Her name would not appear on the cover until a second edition was printed five years later). Mary and Percy also traveled through southern Germany, not far from the centuries-old Frankenstein Castle near the town of Darmstadt, and it is speculated that she had heard the rumors... According to History Channel documentary Decoding the Past: In Search of the Real Frankenstein, — "when, on their way through the dark forests of the Rhine Valley, they likely heard tales of the alchemist Johann Konrad Dippel, rumored to have robbed graves and experimented on corpses at the Frankenstein Castle."
Villa Diodati
“Villa Belle Rive” Manor
Cologny, Switzerland

image by Werner Bayer

The Villa Diodati is a mansion in the village of Cologny near Lake Geneva in Switzerland. It was rented by the English poet George Gordon Byron known as Lord Byron, whom stayed there with his physician John Polidori in the summer of 1816. Mary (Wollstonecraft) Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley were frequent visitors and the group famously spent three days together inside the mansion creating scary stories to tell each other, of which two, became works of the Gothic horror genre: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Vampyre, the first modern vampire story by John Polidori. After Lord Byron's death, the Villa Diodati became a place of pilgrimage for his devotees. Today, Villa Diodati's exterior has changed very little from the19th-century engravings, including the expansive balcony where Byron finished the third canto of his epic poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. The New York Times reported that as of 2011, the Villa Diodati has been split up into "luxury apartments".

Hôtel Beau-Rivage Palace
Lausanne, Switzerland

images courtesy Beau-Rivage Palace

The Beau-Rivage Palace is a historical luxury five-star hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is located in Ouchy, on the shores of Lake Léman. "The walls of this majestic building could tell 1001 stories ... about defining moments in history – such as the signing of pioneering treaties – about artists seeking inspiration, about royal families and famous celebrity guests. The legendary Beau-Rivage Palace guards many secrets." The hotel opened in 1861 constructed in the Art Nouveau and Neo-baroque style. It is registered in the Swiss Inventory of Cultural Property of National and Regional Significance. Today, it attracts international attention with its 2 Michelin-star restaurant Anne-Sophie Pic au Beau-Rivage Palace, has been voted as one of the 10 most luxurious spas in the world and is classed as one of the best hotels in Europe.

Schlosshotel Hugenpoet
Essen, Germany

image courtesy Schlosshotel Hugenpoet

Schlosshotel Hugenpoet, 17th century heirloom castle of Baron von Fürstenberg is still in their family hands with Maximilian Freiherr von Fürstenberg presiding over the 5-star hotel. Surrounded by a moat and located in the middle of "Lower Kettwiger Ruhaue" on the outskirts of the city of Essen, the castle as it stands today is 370+ years old and receives visitors with a traditional welcome in the atmosphere of kings and queens. Restaurant 1831 preserves culinary dining traditions that are rethought, unconventional and extraordinary.

Park Hotel Sonnenhof
Vaduz, Liechtenstein

image courtesy Park Hotel Sonnenhof

Park Hotel Sonnenhof offers a princely view of the Vaduz Castle with all the splendor of the Alps. Through the hotel's glass façades, one can admire the mountain panorama of the Appenzell region, the royal castle, the beautiful garden, "eagle's nest" and neighboring vineyards plus enjoy their modern eco-spa and award-winning The Marée restaurant. Away from the hustle & bustle of town center in the romantic Rhine Valley with all of its castles.

Frankenstein Castle
Burg Frankenstein
Odenwald, Germany

image courtesy mysteriousuniverse.org

The scary stories that have grown up around Frankenstein Castle in the Darmstadt-Dieburg district are as famous as the Halloween festivals that have been held on the castle walls for 44 years. Frankenstein Castle (or in German: Burg Frankenstein) is on a hilltop overlooking the city of Darmstadt. This castle may have been an inspiration for Mary Shelley’s Gothic Novel Frankenstein. There is no proof, only that she traveled to the area prior to writing the novel. Mary's stepmother was the English translator of the Brothers Grimm fairytales, and Mary could have been easily inspired by tales of ruined castles and of mad scientists while traveling. In 1978, American Airmen of the 435th Transportation Squadron started an annual Halloween festival at the castle to became one of the biggest Halloween festivals in Europe.

Dracula Castle

Bran Castle
Village of Brasov, Romania

image courtesy castletourist.com

Bran castle or the castle of Dracula is south of the Transylvanian city of Brasov in Bran - one of the five quaint villages of Brasov overlooking Piatra Craiului national park. Bram Stoker’s mythical Dracula's abode (in the book) does not exist but has been compared to Romania’s most well-known landmark - Bran castle. This historical castle is located in the picturesque Carpathian Mountains, in the heart of Transylvania erected in the 12th century by the former knights of the Teutonic Order. Now a museum, within its walls include a golden casket that holds the heart of Romania’s Queen Marie who once lived there. Bran castle now hosts tours, brunches, gourmet dinners and on Halloween 2022 - a VIP club style party hosted by famous Romanian DJ, Haute Halloween glamorous witches and guided tour by Vlad - The Impaler.

Doyers Street, NYC

Apotheke is a combination speakeasy, European apothecary, pharmacy, laboratory - where the bartenders wear lab coats and often refer to drinks as “prescriptions”. It may be a little difficult to find at first since it’s only denoted by a sign that says “Chemist” (it is also easy to accidentally walk into the bar next door). But once you're in - head over to the bar adorned with old vials recognized by Architectural Digest as one of the “Best Speakeasies in the US". Entrance is permitted at the host’s discretion and sophisticated attire is encouraged. There is also a second location in the NoMad neighborhood of New York City- a cellar speakeasy and soon-to-be-opened penthouse lounge & terrace - plus a location in L.A.'s Historical District.

Hamptons Castle
New York

photo Jam Press/CO Press Office

This medieval-inspired property in New York’s Hamptons has been home to buzz-worthy parties for over 20 years and has caught the extra attention of show fans of the HBO series “House of the Dragon”. Owner, Sir Ivan Wilzig - a music producer, reality television star and philanthropist moved into “the Castle” in 1997. With plenty of dragon statues, furnishings and artwork inspired by the original show “Game of Thrones”, it is said to have 10 themed rooms, two towers, a spa, infinity pool and a fully functional faux drawbridge. Ana Prado, a luxury real estate agent, told Jam Press that the property is not officially for sale, but that the right offer would be considered, noting the offer pricing seems to be in the range of $55M.

nssmag.com article & photos
by Author Kettj Talon

Some Couture inspirations to elevate your Haute Halloween evening ensemble...
PRADA - "female and male versions of their FW19 collection, a personal anatomy of a love story, reworked the themes of fear and love by paying homage to the protagonist of Mary Shelley's novel, transformed into a print with the help of the illustrator Jeanne Dentallante."


"In the fashion world, the term "Frankenstein" indicates a garment made with different fabrics, patterns and cuts sewn together... Sacai's Chitose Abe is considered the designer who defined the contemporary Frankenstein dress"

"Alessandro Michele, explaining the theme behind his Gucci FW18 show (the one with the severed heads), said "we are all Frankenstein of our life"... a series of flesh-colored dresses made up of strips of fabric and visible, almost surgical that bring to mind the SS09 proposal by Rodarte and ...that bustier by Alexander McQueen".

Marianne Faithfull with Warren Ellis

We are excited to announce that we will be expanding our blog into two - after all, two is better than one - with the new launch of KARTE BLANCHE & Co., A Modern Executive Concierge & Lifestyle Service Co. along with a new Karte Blanche Luxury & Lifestyle Blog - travel, arts, culture, style, and exclusive access to our "Scene & Seen" happenings and VIP spotlights. And rebranding of Urban Salt Productions with more music, celebrity interviews, conservation, and all things ocean...Happy, Haute Halloween!