What Successful People Do On Weekends: Irene and Lydia Forte of Rocco Forte Hotels

On their time off, these successful (and stylish) sisters head to the hottest new restaurants, spas and galleries—all in the name of research.

photography by LINDSAY SILBERMAN


When they’re not traveling the world, rubbing elbows with royalty or hosting dinner parties for their friends, Irene and Lydia Forte—the Oxford-educated daughters of British hotelier Sir Rocco Forte—are making their mark on the family business. Irene, Rocco Forte Hotels’ brand manager, oversees the spa and wellness offerings at all 11 properties, while Lydia manages the portfolio’s food and beverage programming. On the weekends, though, they can be found trying out new restaurants, exploring galleries in London’s Chelsea neighborhood (where they both live) and checking in on the family’s properties in Florence, Brussels, and beyond. Here, a glimpse into their weekend routines.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning (on the weekends)?
Irene
: I either go to the gym or take a class. My favorites are Kobox (boxing + squats/pushups), Heartcore (Reformer Pilates or TRX) or Barrecore (ballet + conditioning) class.  

Lydia: I go straight to my kitchen and make a delicious breakfast at home. I like to try new healthy recipes because I eat so much during the week tasting the dishes we create in our hotels for research.

What are your favorite things to do for yourself on the weekends?
Lydia and Irene:
We love to wander around Mayfair for some shopping or to check out an exhibition. We love the Paul Smith store which always has interesting pieces and is the perfect place for gifts—furniture, household items, jewelry, accessories, menswear. Then a pit stop in Aquazzurra to see our dream shoes. Sometimes, we might stop into one of the many galleries in the area or the Royal Academy for an exhibition. The Dairy Art Centre in Bloomsbury is always a great place to go for a free exhibition of talented contemporary artists. If we stay in Chelsea, wandering through the Saturday food market on Duke of York Square, off the King's Road, is always fun, with its delicious cheeses, oysters, jams and street food.

What are the activities or errands on your "must-accomplish list" every weekend?
Irene
: I love catching up on the news, sorting things out for my flat that I didn't get time to do during the week and, of course, catching up with friends and family. I always think it's important to do some spa treatment research, so I tend to test a different treatment in a different spa or clinic on weekends that I'm in London.

Lydia: I like to try one new restaurant or bar from my list which is constantly being updated; cook one new recipe at home (generally for breakfast); read the Sunday papers, the Economist and a variety of foodie magazines and supplements; do one cultural thing with my husband; at least one exercise class or gym session; at least one social event with a group of friends. That goes for whether I'm in London or abroad.

What do you do on Sundays to prepare for the week ahead?
Irene
: We pack! We normally travel first thing Monday morning for work. We also download any reading for our respective flights and sift through emails so we're ready to go on Monday.

Lydia: On Sundays, I also book any restaurants or dining experiences for the weeks ahead, organize recommendations for bars and restaurants, especially for when I'm away traveling for work.

How do you deal when you're away for the weekend?
Irene
: I have my staple work outfits, so I pick a couple of those. I'll also never forget my trainers and gym gear.

Lydia: I plan my outfits when I pack and keep them all matching one base color. In winter that's generally either black, navy or dark brown, so I don't need more than one day bag, one clutch, one coat, one pair of boots and one pair of heels.

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