Last Updated: March 10, 2008: 10:42 AM EDT
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Straight talker

Grant Thatcher, 44, editor, Luxe City Guides

By Clay Chandler, Asia editor

(FORTUNE Magazine) -- For years, Grant Thatcher rattled around Asia gathering wisdom about where to find the perfect martini in Bali, how to buy furniture in Bangkok, or who makes the smartest tweed jackets in Hong Kong. When friends started pestering him for tips, he decided to launch the Luxe City Guides in 2002. Now available for 22 cities in Asia, Europe, and North America (, the Luxe Guide is a three-by-six-inch, 20-panel accordion-pleated guide that will fit in a shirt pocket. "I want them to be sharp, acerbic, cheeky-like a smack in the mouth," says Thatcher, who edits each one himself. We caught up with Thatcher recently in Hong Kong for his always colorful take on travel.

DAYS ON THE ROAD: North of 250.

BEST HONG KONG TAILOR: Y. William Yu. Excellent handmade shirts that can be ready in three days, plus Loro Piano cashmere suiting.

SECRET PARIS HOTEL: I can't stand faceless business hotels. Villa Mazarin is Napoleon III with a twist, and an easy flit 'n' float to all the sights.

TOP MARTINI: My absolute favorite is Naughty Nuri's in Bali. It's a filthy roadside shack, but it's a classic Luxe entry because it serves fantastic martinis the size of buckets.

TIP TO NAVIGATE BALI: A new service [] can streamline you direct from airplane door to your private villa, with a personal "butler" who'll take care of any annoying details like immigration and visas.

DEAL-CLOSING RESTAURANT: Book the ultra-private Krug Room at Hong Kong's newly refurbed Mandarin Oriental.

WHEN IN and are two of the only agencies that can organize a private tour of the Sistine Chapel.

WHAT NOT TO DO IN BEIJING: Avoid the use of public toilets like you would an evening with Steven Seagal.  To top of page

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