T H E R E A L D OW N TOW N A B B E Y
Experience The Difference www.upscalelivingmag.com
10 Christmas at Highclere Castle, The Real Downtown Abbey
28 Big Time, Why for One Week in November, The Horological Universe Sets its Eyes on Dubai
GIFT GUIDE - Holidays
15 Crystallization of Time, Cartier’s First Global Exhibition in Tokyo
30 The Greatest Gift Guide
17 Le Paris Russe de Chanel Jewelry Collection, An Ode to Coco Chanel’s Love Affair
42 Simplicity makes an Impression, Designed by Architect and Designer, Cardin Julien 45 Island Style
20 Maserati’s Quattroporte SQ4 Exudes Refined Performance
22 ULM Ducati Hypermotard
55 The Phoenician Hotel, A Maltese Icon
23 It’s A Wrap! Jane Means, The Gift Wrapper to the Stars
60 All Aboard the Crystal Serenity Cruise
38 Become a Biscuiteer! 50 Adine Roode, Relais & Chateaux Woman of the Year
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TRAVEL 64 Makanyi Private Game Lodge, The Lion Sleeps Tonight
TRAVEL (CONT’D) 68 The Top 10 Instagram-Worthy Properties 80 What’s New! - Namiri Plains, Eastern Serengeti, Tanzania - The Shore Club, Turks & Caicos, Providenciales - Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, De Hoop Reserve, Cape Town 84 Matetsi Victoria Falls, An Oasis of Sophistication SPIRITS 88 Chivas Brother’s Exclusive Speyside Whisky Collection
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Highclere Castle T H E R E A L D OW N TOW N A B B E Y
Lady Carnarvon dresses one of the beautifully decorated trees in preparation for the holiday festivities | NATALIE KING
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In the dramatic dining room a traditional red and green palette looks classic and inviting.
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We jumped in the Land Rover and drove through the English countryside en route to Highclere Castle. Approaching Highclere is everything that you could wish for it to be. The magnificent Cedar trees, over 200 years old, dot the landscape as the Gothic turrets atop the castle, an iconic vision for Downton Abbey fans, come into view. Perhaps because of its expansive landscape there’s a stillness and peace around the Castle. I’m visiting with my husband and we’ve come from a whirlwind few days in London ready to have a moment to pause from the bustle of the city.
a bit surreal in its beauty.
here is such a sense of permanence at Highclere Castle. But how does a Castle stay standing today, when repairs can be a staggering financial setback, and large-scale entertaining for the sake of society is perhaps a thing of the past. A practical question comes to mind, like however do you keep the place warm and the lights on? Walking towards the Castle feels so much like the opening scenes of Downton Abbey that you can almost picture Mr. Carson coming to check in on your arrival. We are greeted instead by the warmth of the Countess of Carnarvon who lives at Highclere Castle with her husband, the 8thEarl of Carnarvon. In decades past, the Castle would support the residents, but it is now the Earl and Countess in charge of supporting the Castle. Lady Carnarvon is someone who rolls up her sleeves and is figuring out how to not only keep the lights on at Highclere Castle but to continually breathe new life into the Castle for an inspiring, thriving future.
As with the times, Lady Carnarvon has an engaging blog that shows glimpses of Highclere to people across the world. She has written books about the past inhabitants of the Castle, including, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey which is a fascinating account of the tenacious and engaging wife of the 5thEarl of Carnarvon, known for his discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Her current book Christmas at Highclere is an a pleasureful look at the rituals of holiday at Highclere Castle. The book documents preparation, decorating, festivities and anecdotes from Christmas to Epiphany. Recipes complete with beautiful imagery include everything from classic roast turkey with all the trimmings and desserts, to a light lemongrass and herb broth. The book reads like an invitation to curl up and find inspiration for your own holidays and traditions. In the spirit of entertaining, the Earl and the Countess of Carnarvon have recently launched Highclere Castle Gin which takes a ‘garden to glass’ approach using botanicals from the gardens of Highclere to create a bespoke flavor. Records from the Castle dating back to 1900 note the many evenings where Gin was enjoyed at dinners and parties. The production of Highclere Gin is one of the many ways that the Castle will be supported for the present and possibly the future.
The dining room is a classically designed space with period furnishings and immense oil paintings. The grand staircase leads to the bedrooms, including the red silk paneled bedroom where the Mr. Pamuk scandal took place. But this is very much a family home, dotted with photos in frames and flowers from the Orangery. A place where Christmas festivities are about to commence into full swing. Being an interior designer, I was so taken with all of the silks and wallcoverings, done with such a skilled hand. When asked how they keep up with repairs, “I have a little black book” Lady Carnarvon said. She has tradespeople for every decorative and structural element of the house from artists and seamstresses to joiners. “We have such skilled people that work at the Castle, and I have a joiner who does amazing work but takes quite a while to finish, and I have another who does amazing work and is quick – and sometimes you just need a door to shut!” she says with a laugh.
In Downton Abbey, the fictional costume drama, the Castle is such a powerful presence that to be walking into the library, seeing the red velvet sofas which hosted many a quip by the Dowager Countess, feels
Christmas preparation begins in November, as themes are discussed, logistics are planned such as how to get an 18ft tall Christmas tree safely into the house, baubles are shined up, recipes are tested and
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Christmas at Highclare by the Countess of Carnarvon features recipes and inspirations for the holidays.
A festive Highclere Castle Gin
tweaked. Lady Carnarvon knows how to throw a party. Her guests often don’t know what they are in for when they arrive to the sound of bagpipes and dancing, of Champagne corks popping and parlor games. The grand piano is played by world renowned musicians one night and well-intended amateurs the next. There is a lightness here among all of the antiquities. Many people that work at Highclere have been here for decades, and some are second generation. Highclere hosts various fundraisers throughout the season as well as a holiday fair. “A stately home makes you more aware that time is so valuable, and so we must do what we can to support each other while we are here” says Lady Carnarvon. At the Castle they are making efforts to use less heat, relying instead on fireplaces. They are farming on a longer rotation in effort to keep the soil nutrient rich. She adds, “We are tenants in this life and it’s very important to be considerate of the past and also make every effort to leave things more beautifully than how we’ve found them”. Outside, a gravel path takes you down to the Monk’s Garden and Orangery brimming with citrus trees, geraniums in herbs to last through
winter. There are 600 acres of land on the estate with various pastures, gardens and woodlands. When a woodland that hadn’t been tended since 1950 needed to be tilled, instead of machinery and manpower, they brought in two pigs, Thelma and Louise, who have successfully tilled the soil. Sheep graze in the pastures and new trees are planted to attract birds. They keep bees, which is integral to the health of the various gardens. We met lovely Hannah who works at Highclere. Lady Carnarvon says that when they are strategizing about an event or mulling around ideas to work out an issue, that they often go on walks which help bring clarity, or even to take a small break to practice Yoga. Historically, women have enjoyed a tête-à-tête on the Castle grounds as a way to break off alone to walk and talk. You get a sense that though the Countess is dedicated to the future of Highclere Castle, that she would have the same outlook on life whether living in a castle or cottage. When asked her favorite room of the Castle she said she loves to climb the steps of the tower, sometime with 13 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
The 8th Earl of Carnarvon Champagne in hand and friends in tow, to look out over the immense beauty of the trees and land. There are many methodical rituals of the house at Highclere Castle. From tending the gardens, to dusting the chandeliers. Many of the windows have immense interior shutters which help protect the antique silk fabrics from disintegration in the sunlight. The evening ritual of closing all of the shutters, done by the housekeeping team and Lady Carnarvon, is a meditation signaling the start of evening and drawing inward. The fireplaces and candles will be lit. Lady Carnarvon is passionate about living within the cycles and rhythms of nature, of the darkness and light, of the ways to look to the past and find inspiration for the future.Â ď ľ
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Crystallization of Time Cartier‘s First Global Exhibition in Tokyo | BY NIYOSHI SHAH
artier was once known as the “Jeweler of the Kings”, the company’s designs and craftmanship in emeralds, rubies, and diamonds are its greatest achievements. “Crystallization of Time”- the Maison’s first global exhibition in three decades offers a showcase of their exquisite jewels displayed alongside historically significant gemstones dating from the early 1900s. This exhibit celebrates both the earth’s formation of precious stones and the masterful Cartier designs that immortalize them. Held at the National Art Center in Tokyo, taking place from now until Dec 16, it allows viewers to experience the essence of the prolific maison’s triumphs since the start of the century. The last exhibition of a similar kind was held in 1989, L’Art de Cartier at Musée du Petit Palais in Paris. It was the start of the institutional fascination of what makes a Cartier creation what it is. This is the first time that the brand’s exclusive creations from the 70’s are being showcased to the public. A feat attempted by very few luxury labels as most of the newer pieces are still in the hands of first- to third-generation private collectors who have generously loaned
them for this show. A true testament to the continuing regard for Cartier’s artistry beyond ornamental art. The showcase displays recent works together with their historic counterparts, with an emphasis on their thematic and stylistic similarities as well as differences across various time periods. Some items date as far back as the turn of the 20th century, while many iconic works are from the Art Deco period. A lot of the pieces seem to defy their age – a tribute to the enduring quality of Cartier’s design language. Some are masterpieces of Cartier innovation in material use, craftsmanship and design, highlighting the maison’s savoir faire through time. Dedicated to educating the visitor on designs from the perspective of the materials and colors used in each individual piece, the showcase highlights metal and stone techniques, artisanal skills, decorative techniques and the Cartier color palette.
diamonds – was a ground-breaking Cartier innovation at the end of the 19th century. It is impressive not only to view various well-preserved stone-carving and marquetry works aged over 100 years old, but also how the maison kept the metiers d’art traditions alive and drove their own artistic paradigms even higher. In 2010, they founded a workshop dedicated to gemstone carving. Four years later, they developed a technique derived from artisanal hardstone marquetry for the delicate work of floral marquetry, using rose petals. One may safely conclude that the pieces highlight artistry at its zenith, no matter the time in which they were made, the craftsmen were as dedicated to their craft as they are today. They pay homage to a world of inspiration — from Japanese gardens to Chinese mother of pearl, tigers, crocodiles, cobras, scarabs, Mayan gold and African ceremonial ornaments — celebrated in timelessness.
The use of platinum – to create lighter and more intricate pieces, as well as to highlight
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Le Paris Russe de Chanel Jewelry Collection An Ode to Coco Chanelâ€˜s Love Affair | BY NIYOSHI SHAH
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compatriots, artists, ballet dancers, and choreographers, who brought the echoes of imperial Russia’s grandeur to Paris after it had lost its charm in the homeland. The most emblematic homage to the Russian Empire can be seen on the Aigle Protecteur, or Eagle Protector, and Aigle Cambon ensemble. The tsarist coat of arms, the double-headed eagle, is manifested in white and yellow gold, quartz, platinum and diamonds.
ome love affairs, however short-lived, possess the power to transcend time and create history. Case in point, Gabrielle Chanel and the legendary Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, the cousin of Czar Nicolas II, who was sent into exile following the murder of Rasputin, the influential mystical advisor to the Russian imperial court. Their yearlong liaison from 1921 to 1922 was brief but intense, and though Coco never set foot in Russia, she counted among her closest friends regaled artists like Stravinsky and Diaghilev and bor-
rowed freely from the imperial court’s artistic lexicon. Chanel even hired Russian nobility to work for her, taking a prince as a private secretary and convincing Dmitri’s sister, the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, to open an embroidery workshop named Kitmir, thus securing an exclusive supply. t was also during those years that Chanel worked with the Czar’s perfumer, Ernest Beaux, to create the now legendary Chanel No.5. This year’s Le Paris Russe De Chanel showcase delves into her age long-obsession with Russia and it’s art, fashion and the culture. The collection builds on Chanel’s encounters and friendships with notable Russian
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Some shapes—like the two-headed eagle on a Baroque mirror in Chanel’s apartment on the Rue Cambon—have found their way into the house’s legacy. A reference to the ornate, gilt mirror in Mademoiselle Chanel’s Paris apartment, this Aigle Protecteur platinum necklace showcases a beautiful symmetry with breathtaking rows of briolette cut diamonds supported by two double-headed diamond eagles, resting over a shield of incredible diamonds. The key highlight of the showcase is a 69-piece opus in two parts, celebrating Russian splendor with allusions to the sun and military orders and, on the other hand, Russian folklore and richly colored fabrics. Chanel signatures such as the camellia and sheaves of wheat (a good luck talisman)
are sprinkled throughout, with gems often rendered in the fairly obscure, vaulted ogive cut. Paris-Russe themes appear side by side in the “Solaire” necklace. Another interesting showcase is the spectacular Sarafane necklace. Hand-decorated borders made from beads of white gold create captivating lines of subtle openwork. Inspired by the intricate embroidery and fine
needlework of Russia, this necklace comes together in a beautiful camellia ornament set, featuring perfectly chick pearls and a mix of pear-shaped, brilliant cut and marquise cut diamonds. Shining bright at its centre, you’ll find a show-stopping 10.18 carat, internally flawless, round diamond. Perfectly placed to accentuate the neck dimple of some lucky wearer. So true the innate Chanel style.
The ‘Le Paris Russe de Chanel’ collection is the continuation of Chanel Joaillerie’s new tradition of creating different and varied interpretations of a chosen subject. A visual marvel in itself this thematic approach helps viewers and luxury connoisseurs fully absorb the true spectacle displayed by the House of Chanel.
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Maseratiâ€˜s Quattroporte SQ4 Exudes Refined Performance
| BY JAKE BRIGHT
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n the high-end auto world, engineering the right combination of plush and performance is a perpetual pursuit. Depending on the car’s class and expectations, the finished product is likely to compromise a bit of one for more of the other.
With the 2019 Quattroporte SQ4, Maserati hit a happy equilibrium. The sport sedan fuses together Zegna designed interiors with a Ferrari power plant. The Gran Lusso version of the SQ4 I drove for a week came with a 424 horsepower twin-turbo V6 delivering 430 foot pounds of torque. The 4100 pound, all-wheel drive car puts power to pavement through an 8 speed automatic transmission and 19 inch wheels wrapped with Pirelli P Zero tires. Drivers can choose passive auto or paddle shifters to accelerate through the gears. The Maserati is teched out with a 8.4 inch touch control infotainment system and a surplus of driver-assistance features: Highway Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, lane departure sensors, and blind spot assist. There are two pre-set performance configurations for the Quattroporte SQ4, controlled from a mid-console dial.
The large Maserati, with a long wheelbase and quattro doors, also allows you to tote your family, friends, and in-laws around in comfort and luxury. With a full passenger load, and the Quattroporte SQ4 set in Normal driving mode, I almost got the sense the car was too plush and even a little underpowered. Switching to Sport mode and paddle shifters—which opens up the Maserati’s 4.8 second 0-60 and 176 mile per hour performance—was a quick remedy for that thought. Those who want their foot connected to big power all the time can opt for the Quattroporte GTS with a 524 horsepower V8. The car’s speed and handing make it a conceivable track day toy—though the larger Maserati would probably be best suited to wide open vs. technical courses. The obvious competitor to Quattroporte is Porsche’s Panamera, with a price range of $87,200 to $116,300 and engine options from 330 to 440 horsepower. If you prefer a luxury Italian sports sedan fused with the best from Zegna and Ferrari, the Maserati Quattroporte SQ4 I drove prices in at $113,680.
Normal mode tames the engine and closes the bypass valves up to 3,000 rpm, for a softer power delivery and signature. Sport mode opens up the valves, for an immediate louder exhaust growl, full power from the Ferrari made twin-turbo V6. Out on the road and about town, the Quattroporte SQ4 has a distinct presence for the driver and those on the outside, when you arrive. Behind the wheel, the Maserati has a feel akin to what it is: a big, powerful, Italian sport-sedan. The Quattroporte SQ4 makes a statement when pulling up to the parking valet, albeit one more refined than flashier, two-door super-cars. 21 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
ULM Ducati Hypermotard | BY JAKE BRIGHT
oon after taking home Ducati’s Hypermotard 950 I was searching for excuses to ride it several times per day.
From supermarket trips to post-office stamp runs — the bike was such a blast I fabricated reasons to rip around on it. Ducati gave the Hypermotard a makeover for 2019, for both the base model ($13,295) and the more expensive SP version ($16,696). To start, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer upgraded the motor, fitting both with a revised 950 Testastretta 11°, which offers a flatter torque curve and 114 horsepower — which is four more than 2018, 939 models. The third-generation Hypermotard also got a functional upgrade with a flare of retro. Ducati brought back the iconic twin-can, under-seat exhaust setup, harkening back to the 90s design of its 916.
The SP got a few more performance perks, such as Ohlin’s suspension and a lot of carbon fiber. To regulate power and handling, the Hypermotoard is dressed with digital performance options. It has pre-set riding modes (Sport, Touring and Urban), ride-bywire throttle, adjustable cornering ABS, and traction and wheelie control. Ducati’s DQS clutchless shifting is standard on the SP and an option on the base model. Altogether, the Hyper’s supermotard DNA — which gives it a more upright riding position and lighter weight — is part of what makes the two-wheeler such a hoot to ride. The Hypermotard feels like a merger of a motocross racer with all the styling and performance attributes of a 114 horsepower Ducati. The motorcycle is agile, quick, and stable laterally in tight and long-radius corners. It cruises well at 60 – 80 mph (or
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faster) on the highway. From a standing and rolling start point, the Ducati gets to threedigits on the speedo in a jiffy. So what were my favorite characteristics of the Hypermotard? The Ducati offers sport bike performance and the ergonomics to ride in a sport-bike position — when desired — without forcing you into that posture all-day. That worked well for me, since I find touring bikes a bit boring and the horse-jockey stance of sport motorcycles a bit uncomfortable. If you happen to pass law enforcement on the bright-red Ducati Hypermotard, go to the upright riding position. It helps with the illusion you’re traveling slower than your actual speed.
Itâ€˜s A Wrap! Jane Means Gift Wrapper to the Stars | BY ANGELA SARA WEST 23 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
Want to wrap like a pro? With Christmas just around the corner, Britain’s gift wrap guru, designer and stylist, Jane Means, talks to Angela Sara West about wrapping for the Queen and Victoria Beckham, working with luxury brands and stores such as Harrods, YSL and Ralph Lauren, plus her tips for taking your wrapping skills to a whole new level. Ever struggled to wrap a bottle, bicycle, guitar, ball or hamper? Struggle no more… help is at hand from professional present perfectionist, Jane Means, who handles those hard-to-wrap gifts with the greatest of ease and makes even the simplest of presents look like a million dollars. Dividing her time between London and Singapore, the designer and superstar wrapper’s been providing luxury gift wrapping services for famous faces, royals, businesses and leading brands, from Chanel to Dior, for over 20 years. Alongside assisting A-list celebrities and luxury businesses, the second-to-none gift stylist also runs gift-wrapping courses, designs her own collections of ribbons, gift wrap, tags and labels which are sold worldwide, and also offers bespoke filming packages, alongside design and consultancy services. FROM FLORAL FOUNDATIONS TO ROYAL WRAPS Jane fell in love with packaging as a child. “I would leave the best-wrapped gifts until last and have always had a keen eye. From a young age, I’ve traveled the world and it’s opened my eyes to wrapping styles and techniques, particularly in Japan. I love how an inexpensive, mundane gift can be transformed into something luxurious with just some paper, ribbon, love and imagination!” Jane trained as a florist and her crafting career kicked off at her kitchen table, where she created custom-made cards and wedding stationery before realizing her true passion, gift wrapping, and began offering exclusive wrapping services for some of the world’s most distinguished enterprises. Having set up her company in 1995, she complemented it with courses after founding her gift wrapping academy, which attracts clients from all over the world. Passionate about business, despite her critics’ doubts that her formula would work, Jane’s sheer determi-
nation, drive and entrepreneurial flair grew her burgeoning business into a hugely-successful global brand. Her phenomenal portfolio now boasts successful services for diverse clients, from high street stalwart WHSmith, supermarket chain Aldi and Arsenal Football Club, to Eurostar, US fashion label Tory Birch, Classic FM, Swedish manufacturer Scania and American Express, along with the prestigious BAFTA film awards and high-end boutiques Jo Malone, Aqua di Parma and Crème de la Mer. She has also trained staff in the Royal Household and at many of the UK’s top stores, like Liberty of London (where she has demonstrated live in its famous windows), and ‘the greatest department store on earth’, Harrods. WRAPPING FOR THE RICH & FAMOUS The princess of presents’ “classic, quirky and understated” style has made her the go-to gift wrapping favorite for THE most discerning of clients. With each undertaking unique and tailored to her client’s specific needs, Jane works with her handpicked qualified team of gift wrapping stylists to transform gifts into creative masterpieces. Highly discreet, they work relentlessly to tight deadlines for celebrities, luxury brands, blue-chip companies, press launches, embassies and royalty. How does it feel to be an adviser for luxury brands and to wrap for famous faces, including Victoria Beckham and The Beatles, for whom she wrapped a 6ft leather rhino?!! “I never dreamed that my hobby would go on to be a global brand! Even after 25 years, I still get a buzz from new challenges. Every day is different and I love my job. I’ve had some incredible work when luxury brands have asked me to design their looks and packaging.” THE QUEEN OF WRAP
THE WORLD WRAPPED UP… Based in London, Jane’s sensational services have taken her all over the world, to Monaco, Switzerland, Singapore, Milan and beyond. Her work as a gift wrapping advisor for French fashion houses and luxury beauty brands sees her regularly stay in Paris. Along with trend forecasting, her prolific travels have been hugely influential in her work, giving her an unique insight into cultures, ideas and new products unavailable in the UK. She says she’s always loved simplicity, understated classics and the unusual, scouring markets overseas for different materials, such as papers, ribbons and decorations. “Travel is undoubtedly my biggest inspiration. The sights and smells of India, the architecture of Iran, and the tropical foliage of the Far East have all given me some great ideas. My father-in-law lives in Japan, which has been my biggest inspiration. It’s where I have seen all the various folding techniques with fabric and learned basic origami.” SUCCESS SECRETS A giant success story in the gift wrapping world, Jane’s inventive wrapping skills are second to none, securing her position at the top of the pack. “To stay in front of competitors, it’s vital that you are a leader, not a follower, and always have something new to offer. Competition is always good, but I have no time for copycats. It’s frustrating when you see your images used on competitors’ websites, and in exactly the same format. However, I have a good legal team and am a spokesperson for ACID (Anti Copying In Design), which is now a good deterrent.” SMALL SCREEN WRAPS & CRAFTY CHRISTMAS COLLABORATIONS
Known as the “Gift Wrap Guru”, there have been numerous highlights in Jane’s career, which has seen commissions from Highgrove House (the family residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall) and even had her wrap for the Queen!
The queen of wrap has collaborated with the UK’s queen of Christmas craft, Kirstie Allsopp, lending her meticulous eye for detail as the Christmas Wrapping Judge on Channel 4 TV’s Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas. “I’ve regularly appeared on The Crafty Beggars too, and Sky Sports just before Christmas.”
“Wrapping a gift for the Queen was in my early days, and since then, I have wrapped for other royals and celebrities. Some of the proudest moments of my career have included designing a look for a well-known French fashion house and seeing the results on a billboard whilst I was in New York. I was jumping with joy and getting some very odd looks from passers-by!”
This genius gift wrapper also presents her own show on Create and Craft TV, and often features in commercials for big-name brands like L’Oréal. “Other TV work generally comes in last minute. I’ve also appeared on The Paul O’ Grady Show on Channel 4, Alex Polizzi’s Christmas Fix seasonal special on BBC Two, and BBC Asia, alongside judging the ‘Gift
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Wrapper of the Year’ final live on ITV’s This Morning and the Richard and Judy show. A regular radio guest on BBC Radio 2, she’s graced the airwaves with presenters Jeremy Vine and Chris Evans. “That appearance with Chris Evans created so much interest in my brand, it caused the website to crash!” She’s also featured on Scala Radio and 5 Live’s Simon Mayo shows, Gulf Radio, Heart and Capital FM, and is a regular guest presenter on BBC Radio Lincolnshire. Jane’s work takes her all over the UK, with deluxe establishments including Didsbury House Hotel in Manchester, luxurious boutique Hotel du Vin in Glasgow, Cox & Cox in Somerset, The Amadeus in London, and England’s greatest Elizabethan mansion Burghley House in Lincolnshire on her agenda over the past few months alone. She’s recently showcased her skills at the Spirit of Christmas Fair at Olympia London, Guildhall Market in aid of the British Red Cross, and the Chelsea Physic Garden’s Christmas Fair, too. TIPS FOR GIFT-WRAPPING PERFECTION Jane ably applies her background in floristry to her creative wrapping work, adding stunning ribbons, embellishments and accessories to her exceptionally beautiful and artistic packaging. “Floristry taught me which colors go with what, and I’m very lucky to just match various colors together and they somehow work!” How can we give a gift a luxury look to turn a plain present into a showstopper? “Embellishments are key. Tie in some fresh foliage, such as holly, ivy, herbs or twigs from your garden. You can also tie in mini baubles. Use good-quality ribbon and elegant embellishments.” To give your gifts a polished look, she says double-sided tape is a must. “Because you don’t have any visible tape. The gift will look clean and professional. It makes a huge difference…” Her favorite techniques, embellishments and materials to use? “I love pleating paper around a box as it’s so easy and transforms the item immediately. Tied in with some fragrant foliage it looks amazing and smells wonderful, too!” LUXURIOUS CREATIONS - PRESENTATION IS KING Passionate about presentation, Jane’s wrapping know-how guarantees gifts give the wow factor. Wrapping presents to perfection with her stunning signature style, she likens gift wrapping to fashion, and says learning a few simple techniques can create luxurious masterpieces. Presentation is everything, after all, and those finishing touches are key to catching the eye. She says embellishments are essential for making presents stand out in a pile. “If you’re doing a pile of presents, it’s nice to place them in size order if they are boxes; tie them all together with a ribbon and tie in an embellishment at the top.” TRICKY SHAPES SUITABLY WRAPPED Awkward shape? No problem! Taking the stress out of gift wrapping, Jane has handy hints and tips and tricks aplenty for tackling that ultimate gift wrapping bugbear… a tricky shape. “Materials can often make all the difference, and paper isn’t always suitable for round or awkward shapes. I always have some cellophane and tissues handy as this moulds around awkward shapes much more easily. Avoid stripes on difficult shapes, as mistakes will be easily visible.” How about a whole pile of problematic-shaped presents? “If they’re all awkward shapes, place them ready-wrapped into a large basket and add a ribbon to the handle.” 26 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
SO SIMPLE BUT OH SO EFFECTIVE! She says the most common mistake people make is using too much paper when wrapping a box. “It’s important to cut the paper down to the correct size. It will then fold in much more easily. Pre-measure your materials beforehand to avoid waste.” Her biggest-ever wrapping challenge? “I love a challenge and my most tricky item was probably a rocking horse, live in front of an audience. I love being put under pressure, so the trickier the item the better!” PERSONALIZATION, PERSONALIZATION, PERSONALIZATION Looking to really ‘wow’ your recipient? Make it personal with your gift-giving! Personalization is a HUGE trend in the Christmas gift-wrapping world. “People are always seeking something different,” Jane explains. “Many companies will print your own wrapping paper and ribbon, but I prefer to think about the recipient and adapt my materials to that particular person. So, if someone loves Italy, for example, I would wrap the item in a map of the country and use red, green and white ribbon.” RIBBONS GALORE FOR GORGEOUS GIFTS! The wrap star says everything she designs has a story, and revealing ribbon as her “biggest addiction”, is justifiably proud of her innovative ribbon cards. “I’ve always loved haberdashery, and especially ribbon. It makes such a difference on gifts when you have a fabric ribbon and I also use it to trim skirts and canvas bags. I introduced the ribbon cards as many people don’t know which rolls to choose, so we decided to put a set of three on the card. These have been really popular, and still sell well after six years.” WONDERFUL WORKSHOPS & MAGICAL MASTERCLASSES Along with offering expert tuition from the best of the best, Britain’s wonder wrapper runs popular gift-wrapping courses at handpicked venues and boutique hotels around the UK, in Singapore and Australia. Any plans to expand the global empire? “I did a course in India last year and have a large following there, so I’m looking to implement them in India now, too.” Looking to learn a skill for life? This is the gift that goes on giving... Take your wrapping skills to a whole new level with fun workshops, private at-home or workplace classes, offering expert tuition.
Whether it’s for a wedding, birthday or tricky-to-wrap Christmas present, a session with Jane will ensure every event is meticulously covered. Learn hands on how to wrap ANY gift and tie the perfect bow at one of Jane’s Christmas workshops. “I will also be doing masterclasses in December at Coworth Park in Ascot, Whatley Manor in the Cotswolds and Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxford.” You can also catch Jane exhibiting and demo’ing at her festive mini masterclass at Holkham Hall in Norfolk, her festive gift wrapping Course at Harrogate’s Hotel du Vin and at The Country Living Magazine Fair there, and you can also meet her at Little Greene’s new showroom in Notting Hill. In the past, she’s also hosted unique festive gift wrapping and calligraphy courses with top calligrapher, Judy Broad, whose impressive client list includes Aspinal and Chanel. IN STORE AT DIOR & POP-UP SHOP IN BELGRAVIA Jane and her talented wrapping team can also be found in luxury London stores, where they will be on hand to help with Christmas wraps. “I’m already booked for Dior, Selfridges and Armani, and I also have a pop-up shop, called All Wrapped Up, in London’s Belgravia. Our Christmas bookings usually come in last minute, so we could be anywhere!” ECO-FRIENDLY FESTIVE GIFT WRAPPING Jane’s recently appeared on ITV London News, showcasing her eco-friendly wrapping and covering eco-friendly tips. “I’ve always been keen to recycle and reuse,” she says. “The craft industry is renowned for upcycling, recycling and using up remnants and off-cuts for a variety of craft projects and, in our own business, we have very little rubbish which ends up in landfill.” Jane’s winter workshops teach you not only how to give your gifts that dazzling finish with a professional touch, but also cover how to recycle and reuse your wrapping materials. She won’t be leaving any waste behind… “We recycle all envelopes, boxes and filling. All of our empty ribbon spools are used for press loans and samples and our offcuts of ribbon and gift wrap are often used in our workshops. It’s great to see that retailers and brands are now putting climate change at the forefront of their products.”
stunning. “The reversible paper is UK made, 100% recyclable and is FSC graded, so they even know what tree it has come from! All of the ink is vegetable based and the printing press is CO2 neutral. As well as our own gift wrap, I’ve designed bespoke collections for Fenwick (helping the charity Crisis), and Fortnum and Mason.” The gift wrapper extraordinaire has plenty of other projects in the pipeline. “I’m always designing new products and will shortly be launching my new collection of embellishments, which is really exciting. I’m also planning another book and am currently liaising with publishers. I plan to do more TV work, too, and will be adding lots more content to my YouTube channel.” Jane is the author of best-selling book, Giftwrapped: Practical and Inventive Ideas for All Occasions and Celebrations, published by Jacqui Small Books, while her DVD, The Art of Gift Wrapping, is positively packed with inspirational ideas, helpful hints and tips for transforming mundane presents into luxury gifts, whatever the shape, size, occasion or budget. Check out her blog for more inspiration. “I’m always looking for collaborations with bloggers and would love to expand on this, especially in the wedding market!” GETTING STICKY WITH IT… Jane will be back on ITV’s This Morning on 18th December, sharing her techniques with viewers and Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, while special plans are under wraps to celebrate National Wrapping Day on 20th December. As the perfect person to present their brand, Jane’s getting stuck into her role as the Ambassador for the sponsors, Scotch Tape. “We’re currently working behind the scenes and will be launching an event before the big day!” Happy wrapping! Instagram: @janemeans Twitter: @janemeans Jane’s blog: janemeansblog.com For further information, visit: www.janemeans. com © Angela Sara West 2019 www.angelasarawest. com
Jane’s beautiful gift wrap has been designed with the environment in mind. Her eco-friendly, plastic-free gift wrap alternatives are beyond 27 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
T I M E P II E C E S
Why for One Week in November, The Horological Universe Sets its Eyes on Dubai | BY BARBARA PALUMBO
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n the world of watches, there are only a handful of events happening periodically that make people sit up and pay attention. Really pay attention. For years, Baselworld was one of those events, but as of late, the fair has fallen flat (largely because the city’s businesses have raised housing, food, and transportation prices to extremes), leaving those who crave horological information yearning for something more; something educational, enlightening, equitable, and yet still entertaining. This year, Dubai Watch Week answered the call of those obsessed with the telling of time in a way many could have never imagined, making themselves a stellar example of how any event of this kind should be organized, and flawlessly executed. Hind Abdul Hamied Seddiqi – Director General of Dubai Watch Week – started working with her team on the 2019 edition almost immediately after DWW 2017. “Dubai Watch Week is a unique educational and cultural platform where watch enthusiasts and industry legends are able to network and exchange ideas. Our key objective is to raise awareness for the beautiful complexity and craftsmanship that characterize horology and watchmaking,” she stated. Adding, “An open-to-all event with free registration and entry, this year’s fourth edition will see forty-two globally renowned speakers, watchmakers, and brands come together, connecting seasoned connoisseurs with master craftsmen and watchmakers, while also giving novice collectors the opportunity to learn more about the remarkable craft of watchmaking, thus inspiring a new generation of watch enthusiasts.” With thirteen hot-topic panels taking place over a four-day period (Thursday through Sunday), which included both industry and non-industry experts, Dubai Watch Week proved again that when it comes to education, they are numero uno in the realm of watch-related events. These “Horology Forum” sessions included titles such as “What Brings You Here?” which featured author Jeffrey Kingston as the moderator, and award-winning actor and watch designer Aldis Hodge as one of four panelists.
Hodge has become somewhat of a staple in the horological community over the last several years, popping up at various industry events and working closely with press and seasoned watchmakers as he cultivates his own watch brand. When asked why this passion of his is so important, even with so many projects going on in his life, Hodge replied, “With regard to horology and horologists, I realize I’m in the company of people who are far more capable
and accomplished than I am, but the reason I’m here is because I started working on this watch design, and I cannot let myself down. I have to prove to myself I can do this, far more than I have to prove it to other people, because this is what I started for me, and so I have to finish it. I honestly don’t really care about selling a watch, I just care about making and completing a watch I designed. If I can do that, I’ll be satisfied.” Other panel topics included “Making the Waitlist” which delved into how reputable retailers carefully control and curate waitlists for highly sought-after timepieces; “Making a Master” which discussed how anyone from watchmakers, to chefs, to journalists become masters in their field; and “Apocalypse II” which highlighted the biggest threat to mechanical watchmaking and the Swiss watch industry since the quartz crisis of the 1970s: the smartwatch. But Dubai Watch Week didn’t simply educate its attendees via the spoken word during Horology Forum, it also brought in world-class watchmakers, craftsmen, and watch designers to teach daily hands-on classes to the attending public. Scottish-born watch designer Fiona Krüger proved that even the most artistically inept individual is capable of creativity via the latest technology, during the classes she taught on site. And the event’s “Creative Hub” offered guests various treats such as an insider’s look at the history of Bulgari’s Serpenti collection, before Bulgari’s Senior Design Director of their watch department, Fabrizio Buonamassa, requested that each attendee draw their own version.
Sometimes when brands focus too much on the female target, they don’t succeed. It’s more a question of continuing to educate women on the value of owning a beautiful, complicated timepiece.” Dubai Watch Week is not only the premier watch event happening in the world now, they also feel they have room to grow, and value any and all opinions about each guest’s experience. After the 2017 edition of the event, they asked attendees to rate the sessions and classes and to send feedback on what they’d like to see at future DWW events. And sure enough, two years later they took a lot of that feedback and implemented it, from better Wi-Fi signals, to more food options, to an easily accessible and spacious press center. The planners of this extraordinary event – from the top down – truly listen, which has been easily proven in the way it is run and through the experience it provides. Listening is the key to all good change in the world. Listening is where learning first begins. The Swiss watch industry should consider taking a page out of the book of the Dubai Watch Week organizers and truly listen, because if they do, hopefully it will be a long, long time before they see an “Apocalypse III.”
While education is a key part of Dubai Watch Week’s five-day fair, it is parallel to the reason why many collectors, retailers, enthusiasts, and members of the press travel from all parts of the earth to be in attendance: the actual watches. And with seven new limited-edition timepieces launched during DWW 2019, watch lovers were not left starved for excitement, including the many female watch enthusiasts in attendance. “We are seeing that a lot of watch brands are starting to advertise their male watches in female titles because they recognize the purchasing power of women,” stated Hind Siddiqi. “They’re not necessarily targeting women; we often see that brands do favor the male audience over female as the purchase split is focused more on men. Generally, though, women have been wearing men’s watches for a long time and we’re seeing that women increasingly prefer them.” When asked if she thought brands were doing a better job of marketing to women, her reply was, “It is a challenge. 29 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
EXCLUSIVE | GIFT GUIDE
The Greatest Gift Guide Stuck for those last-minute gift ideas? Here at Upscale Living magazine, we have compiled the most extraordinary gift selection for you to choose from. | BY HELÉNE RAMACKERS + ALINA CABRAL
EYE LIFT Guinot’s new micro-current eye treatment uses roller electrodes that switch between positive and negative polarity to stimulate the eye muscles, resulting in an instant, non-invasive eyelid lift in just 25 minutes. This, combined with an eye massage and a Vitamin C eye mask, works to reduce puffiness and boost circulation. Lasting about one week per treatment, Eye Lift is the perfect gift for yourself or a friend.
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EXCLUSIVE | GIFT GUIDE
A NEED FOR SPEED
THE ESSENCE OF TIME
The new 275 Series Sport Boats from Yamaha offer an entirely new experience from the number one brand on the water. Starting at the spacious bow and carried throughout, you’ll find thoughtful features from the brand known for marine innovations. Find out more at YAMAHA275BOATS.com.
The highly exclusive MB&F HM9 Flow ‘Road’ Edition timepiece in rose gold is one of only 33 models in the world. MB&F drew inspiration from mid-century modern automotive and aeronautic design for the limited edition timepiece. The dial takes an unconventional position on the side of the timepiece, allowing drivers and pilots who prefer to steer with one hand stationed at the top of a wheel, which makes the unusual HM9 Flow “Road” Edition the perfect luxury gift for motorsports and design enthusiasts.
HOLD ME CLOSE The luxurious Hugo Volpino Isabella Tote is made with the finest leather and exquisite Florentine craftsmanship. Metal studs protect the bottom, with a detachable pouch, zipped closure with two external pockets and a shoulder carry with top strap or with longer adjustable/removable strap. Can also be worn as a crossbody. Available in: Black, Navy, Red, Hunter Green and Orange (Black, Hunter Green and Orange available for pre-order, scheduled to ship mid-September.) Made in Italy
IT’S A WRAP The Baroque Mandala Wool Shawl from Scarflings presents a beautiful take on the sacred wisdom held within the circular mandala pattern. This exquisite piece is a reminder of the mystical relationship between art and life and that everything is connected. This wrap is made of the highest quality 100% Australian Wool. 31 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
EXCLUSIVE | GIFT GUIDE
SOAK IT UP The Simona Clawfoot Soaking Bathtub is an absolutely stunning French Bateau clawfoot tub. It has a high gloss white interior and an umber washed silver leafed exterior. A burnt umber wash was used to age the hand-gilded exterior as it brought out some beautiful golden hues and sublte, soft, shadowy nuances of silver and gold. perigold.com
SWEET TREATS The quest for well-being now involves an unlikely ally: chocolate. A collaboration between La Maison du Chocolat’s master chef Nicolas Cloiseau and Paris-based nutritionist Dr. Thierry Hanh has yielded the French luxury chocolatier’s first wellness collection – Bien Être, which translates to ‘well-being’. Bien Être marks the liberation of chocolate from animal fats and proteins. Introduced in summer 2018, the collection of naturally sweetened, dairy-free and gluten-free fruit ganaches quickly sold out; but it has recently made its way back into U.S. markets, now with a new a snack-sized edition that’s perfect for satisfying an on-the-go sweets craving.
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FABULOUSLY FRAGRANT Take in the scents of Sonoma’s MacArthur Place at home with ‘The MacArthur Place 22’ custom candle by Lola James Harper. Inspired by the property’s six acres of verdant gardens, the fragrance features aromas of poplar wood, matcha green tea and lily. Mirroring the sun-filled space with green trees, white flowers and blonde wood floors, the candle showcases the historical property beautifully.
EXCLUSIVE | GIFT GUIDE
FOREVER YOUNG Founded by top Japanese esthetician, Yuko Nishio, NNNY Skin Care is at the forefront of nano-natural anti-aging skin treatment science. Originally sold exclusively in the Yuko Nishio ‘Nature Sage’ Aromatherapy Salon in Tokyo, Japan, the exclusive, limited collection is now available in the US. All NNNY Skin Care products are fragrancefree, colorant-free, and parabenfree. NNNY Skin Care products use premium botanical extracts to help skin repair, replenish, and rejuvenate its natural state.
TICK TOCK MB&F and L’Epée 1839 partnered The T-Rex Red table clock is the 11th collaboration between MB&F and premier Swiss clockmaker L’Épée 1839. The minimalistic clock dial, crafted of hand-blown Murano glass, is encased in a spherical, skeletonized body of stainless steel, palladium-plated brass, and bronze. This conversation-starting clock and time capsule is also highly collectible, limited to just 100 pieces.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT Gleneagles, the iconic Scottish hotel and sporting estate in rural Perthshire, is delighted to unveil its new range of Christmas alongside its Gleneagles & Co selection of fine food, available at the Retail Arcade whilst up at the hotel and on the online shop – perfect for festive gifting. Gleneagles’ four festive hampers are the ultimate luxury gift for food-lovers, each a treasure trove bringing together a luxurious selection from the Gleneagles & Co food range.
AN AFRICAN FABLE Patrick Mavros, the luxury jeweler and sculpture whose work is inspired by Africa, is proud to introduce the new Nada Collection, which celebrates the rich tradition of African legends and folk lore surrounding Nada, a fabled South African Beauty. Nada is the heroine of an African love story, based on her daring escapade amongst the heroes and villains of ancient Africa. Nada is synonymous with feminine grave and elegance – the root of Mavros’ design inspiration.
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EXCLUSIVE | GIFT GUIDE
SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND
SMOOTH OPERATOR An exceptional ultra premium olive oil which has median of Fruitiness (mF) constantly over 6.0 (intense). From some of the oldest centenarian olive trees of Greece the finest olives are handpicked and pressed with utmost care. Then this ultra-low acidity liquid is being bottled entirely by hand. Available in strictly limited quantities from select-ed upscale gourmet stores and highend hotels.
SKIN RADIANCE AHAVA Gold Mineral Mud Mask combines authentic Dead Sea mud with 24k Gold. This nourishing mask delivers a luxury athome spa experience and ideal makeup prep for luminous, radiant skin. ahava.com
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The Black Diamond Edition ski is finished in gloss black for a dynamic and powerful aesthetic. Again, the distinctive Bentley diamond motif weaves its way across the highly polished ski, seamlessly gliding from a negative to a relief design, adding a textural finish that is rare to find within the ski market. In the Black Diamond edition, the six diamonds are accentuated in a gloss black finish, the sharp surrounding lines are formed using a highly unique pressing process.
EXCLUSIVE | GIFT GUIDE
THE BEST OF ITALY ALWAYS ITALY by Frances Mayes / $35 In this lavishly illustrated and gift-worthy guide, the world’s most beloved expert on la dolce vita takes readers on the ultimate insider’s tour of Italy’s 20 iconic regions, revealing little-known gems, off-thebeaten-path destinations, and one-of-a-kind experiences. In these illuminating pages, Frances Mayes, the author of Under the Tuscan Sun and many other bestsellers, and New York Times travel writer Ondine Cohane reveal an Italy that only the locals know, filled with top destinations and unforgettable travel experiences in every region. Inspiring and utterly unique, this vivid treasury is a must-have for anyone who wants to experience the best of Italy.
DELICATELY DIVINE JCB No. 13 is divine and delicate. Graceful aromas of white oak are surrounded by soft notes of rosewood, sandalwood, and a touch of sweet vanilla. The perfume in a classic glass bottle is $395, and the essence de parfum in Baccarat crystal is $1,995. The only perfume inspired by the world of wine, the JCB Perfume Collection captures the passion of vintner Jean-Charles Boisset, who grew up in Burgundy – and has wineries in France, Napa and Sonoma.
JEWELRY IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA The Messika Glam’Azone collection is an expression of confident femininity written in diamonds. With this gift, she can give the effect of an ethereal stackable with a single 3-row pavé ring in 18 karat rose gold, containing 0.76 total carats of oval and round brilliant cut diamonds.
For the modern woman who prefers easy-wearing jewelry that still makes a big statement, gift the Messika Move Uno 2 Row necklace, featuring 0.31 total carats of round brilliant diamonds set in two strands of 18 karat rose gold.
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EXCLUSIVE | GIFT GUIDE
ALEXANDER WANG SNEAKERS Adidas Originals by Alexander Wang redefines authentic Adidas sportswear by embracing imperfections and the raw aesthetic of the manufacturing process. Inspired by archival Adidas soccer boots, these suede shoes are detailed with industrial factory-inspired graphics and finished with Boost cushioning.
AN ELEGANT HOSTESS GIFT The Mayacamas 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Golden Hill: This small production is emblematic of Mayacamas style, and a look into the past as it was taken from a harvest destroyed by the 2017 fires. Grown on unique composition comprised by volcanic soil and river stone, this wine has savory flavors including berries with a tannic structure. The Mayacamas 2017 Chardonnay: The refreshing aromas of ripe lemon honeysuckle and crushed oyster shell combined with classic Mayacamas acidity highlights this warm vintage.
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CROWNING GLORY Gobi Hat from Tenth Street is the perfect gift for those who love to stand out from the crowd. This beautiful hat is made of 100% wool and comes in two colors.
EXCLUSIVE | GIFT GUIDE
STRAIGHT AND SHINY
The RevAir Reverse-Air Dryer is a multi functional hair tool that dries the hair in the natural direction of the cuticle all while straightening and sealing in shine & softness!
Face Glow is an all-in-one tinted moisturizer, primer, and highlighter infused with semi-precious smithsonite. This beautiful crystal not only opens the mind and encourages a state of relaxation, and awareness, but is also known to protect skin from harmful UVB rays.
THE GIFT OF CHOICE Relais & Châteaux offer specially curated gift boxes, and these new-ly designed ‘presents’ open the door to a world of incredible hospi-tality experiences available globally from the association. Aligning with the brand’s core pillars of sustainability and ethical trade, the “boxes” have been reimagined as chic-fashionable pouches, made entirely from recycled water bottles. Relais & Chateaux partnered with South African artisans from The Joinery to custom design the pouches. Travelers can repurpose the pouch for a travel envelope, passport holder or cosmetic bag – it’s the perfect eco-friendly travel accessory.
WHAT A DISH Make delicious wood-fired dishes in your backyard. This outdoor pizza oven heats up to 900+ degrees in a flash (literally, less than 10 minutes). You’ll have a restaurant-caliber pizza in two minutes and charred veggies and meats in under five. Foodies love this powerhouse. www.thegrommet.com
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Become a Biscuiteer! | BY ANGELA SARA WEST
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Princess Beatrice, Charlotte Olympia and David Beckham are fans, and high-end clients, from Harrods and BMW to Rolex and Dior, can’t get enough of them… Biscuiteers Baking Company creates bespoke, witty and beautifully-decorated handmade biscuits for A-list celebrities, luxury brands and biscuit lovers worldwide. Angela Sara West chats with the company’s co-founder and MD, Harriet Hastings, about the story behind the brand which has won copious awards, including CNN Traveler’s ‘London’s Best Quirky Café’, Sheerluxe’s ‘Online Shopping’, and The Standard’s ‘London’s Best Biscuit Maker’, and indulges in a few of the festive biscuit offerings that Yule absolutely love! Looking for lovingly-made iced biscuits, created in the oldfashioned, non-industrialized way? With a winning mission statement - ‘Why send flowers when you can send Biscuiteers instead?’ – look no further than this ultra-chic and phenomenallysuccessful biscuit making’n’baking company. “My husband, Stevie, and I came up with the idea for Biscuiteers on a weekend away in New York,” explains Harriet Hastings, co-founder and Managing Director at Biscuiteers Baking Company. “We were sure that there were lots of people as passionate about biscuits as we are, and that there was a real opportunity to set up a biscuit gift business online that was completely different from anything else in the market – biscuits that would look as beautiful as they tasted… biscuits that people would want to talk about.” In 2007, Harriet and Stevie launched the business online, and in 2012, opened their very first Biscuit Boutique & Icing Café in London’s Notting Hill, followed by their Northcote Road boutique in 2014. “In the summer of 2019, we also moved into a brand new purpose-built manufacturing space, which unifies our five spaces into one… a landmark moment for Biscuiteers!” FAMOUS BISCUITEERS FANS Over the years, the talented team has baked and decorated bespoke designs for not only numerous luxury brands, but a fair few famous faces, including Princess Beatrice and David Beckham. “We’ve been lucky to have some lovely fans of our brand, and we enjoy creating bespoke designs for luxury brands and clients every day. Our corporate team does a wonderful job of working with the design team in the kitchen to create engaging designs for brands such as Cartier and Karl Lagerfeld. Strictly Come Dancing presenter, Claudia 39 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
PROFILE Winkleman, is another big fan, and came along to our birthday party and biscuit exhibition at the Serpentine Pavilion in 2017 to celebrate 10 years of beautiful biscuits!” There have been copious exciting commissions, including a collaboration with Anya Hindmarch to create a tin of her handbags and a circus tin exclusively for the Conran Shop. “We’ve also designed a limited-edition tin to celebrate Selfridges’ 100th birthday and bespoke biscuits for the launch of Harvey Nichols’ 4th floor. We’ve created bespoke designs for other outstanding brands, such as John Lewis, Mulberry, Boden, Swatch and Burberry, too.” Many of Biscuiteers’ second-to-none icers are actually artists, creating exceptional worksof-art by copying logos and fashion designs. “Our biscuits are also used for press launches, client gifts, iced place names and biscuit card invitations, along with party bags. We do a lot of bespoke work for private parties, weddings, christenings, baby showers and birthday parties. There is nothing more rewarding than creating a tin for a friend’s birthday with all their special things!” The company calls their biscuit ranges ‘collections’. “Because we knew we wanted to launch them seasonally, like fashion collections, and to keep refreshing and developing the range,” says Harriet. “It was important that we found our own style - distinctive designs that would make our biscuits instantly recognizable. Our fashion collections remain among our bestselling lines.” GRAND-SCALE CREATIONS Using the very best natural ingredients, the team undertakes both small and impressive large-scale ‘biscuit architecture’ projects, such as baking and building gigantic biscuit castles. The challenging creations they’re most proud of? “Recreating Waddesdon Manor in gingerbread and icing was one of our favorite and most exciting projects. It was over two meters in size, and took our talented icers 500 hours and 30kg of butter and sugar, 240 eggs and 220kg of icing to make! It was a huge hit with both visitors to the manor and the press, appearing on BBC News and in the international press.” Their ‘biscuit architecture’ projects are always a Biscuiteers highlight. “Other projects include large-scale biscuit structures for clients including Leeds Castle, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Musical and the designer, Charlotte Olympia. “We even created 10 biscuit structures to mark our 10th birthday year, which were displayed at The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. London’s first biscuit exhibition!” This year, they have gone large in the heart of London, collaborating with the capital’s vibrant shopping and entertainment hub,
Covent Garden, renowned for its luxury fashion and beauty stores, as well as award-winning restaurants and theaters. “We’ve created a grand design installation of the world-famous Covent Garden Market. The structure took us over 100 hours to create and weighs in at over 10kg. The installation is supporting our exciting pop-up, which we have in the London location for the duration of Christmas 2019.” FAVORITE FESTIVE DESIGNS Their festive biscuit offerings are lip-smackingly delicious! “It’s so hard to pick a favorite for Christmas as there are designs for every family member,” Harriet explains. “Every Christmas, we send out thousands of our Jolly Gingers, each with their own personality. Santa is my favorite! I also love the intricacy of the advent tin, which accompanies our cloth advent calendar.” This year, the festive Biscuiteers calendar has been designed in partnership with renowned interior designer, Sophie Conran (www. sophieconran.com), daughter of the legendary designer and restaurateur, Sir Terence Conran, and renowned food writer, Caroline Conran, and sister to the world-famous fashion designer Jasper Conran, restaurateurs Tom and Ned, and product designer, Sebastian. “Hand icing 24 individual biscuits to create the ultimate foodie advent calendar is no mean feat!” BANG-ON-TREND BISCUITS Keeping a close eye on color schemes and trends which they anticipate for the year, Harriet says they ensure their biscuits fit perfectly into the festive home whilst still making a statement. “This year, I love our Christmas bauble collection, which is brilliantly impactful and designed for a super-colorful Christmas tree.” Where do the Biscuiteers source inspiration? “Our team seeks inspiration everywhere, and our new designs are a truly collaborative process with all of our team involved. We listen to Biscuiteers’ fans on what they think would make a good biscuit, as well as keeping an eye on what is currently on trend. The beauty of the business being a small one is that we’re able to respond to trends in a much more nimble way than bigger brands can.” MAKE IT PERSONAL! But Biscuiteers biscuits aren’t just for Christmas… From ‘thank you’, ‘get well’ and ‘wedding congratulations’, to ‘birthday’, ‘anniversary’ and ‘new baby’ biscuits, you’ll find truly scrumptious offerings for every occasion. Exciting new launches last year included a cute Paddington collection and a Halloween range. “It features traditional spooky characters, but also a more modern ‘Day of the Dead’ style.” You can even personalize your unique biscuits with your own special message. “We’ve got a
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beautiful range of personalized biscuit tins and letterbox biscuits. Just let us know your personal message and we’ll ice it on your gift in our very best handwriting!” Harriet explains. So, why not make your biscuits extra special with bespoke personalization, before they’re carefully delivered to your door? BOUTIQUE BISCUITS & SCHOOL OF ICING “With its quirky black-and-white façade, Biscuiteers in Notting Hill might be one of the most recognizable shopfronts in London,” says Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Showcasing the much-loved Biscuiteers biscuit, chocolate and cake collections, their beautiful boutiques are not only the place to buy bespoke biscuits and enjoy a delicious afternoon tea with miniature versions of their most-loved cakes, patisseries and famous iced biscuits, they also serve as drop-in icing cafés for icing lessons and icing parties for budding Biscuiteers. What can wannabe Biscuiteers expect from the Christmas workshops? “They are designed to guide eager icers through the creation of some of our most iconic tins. This year, this includes our Nutcracker, Snowman and Winter Wonderland designs, as well as a construction class for our DIY Gingerbread house, all allowing you to take your masterpiece home afterwards. Our boutique teams adore running these classes, and love seeing returning icers, as well as welcoming new icers who are keen to be Biscuiteers!” Tempted to try your hand? Harriet has some top tips for those making their first foray into the wonderful world of icing adventures. “Patience is key! You may not be someone who picks up an icing bag and turns a biscuit into a masterpiece on the first attempt, but with practice comes perfection. It’s all about developing your own style and taking the time to do this.” BUY THE BISCUITEERS BOOK! ‘The Biscuiteers Book of Iced Gifts’ provides easy step-by-step tuition to help you develop your icing skills. “You can learn to ice some of our favorite Christmas biscuits, including edible baubles, hot chocolate toppers and our advent biscuits, too.” Combine this with a class and you’ll soon be icing like a pro! 2019 has been a bumper year for Biscuiteers by the end of the year, they will have shipped over 100,000 biscuit gifts worldwide. What’s in store for the Biscuiteers in 2020? “We’re always listening to customer feedback and requests to develop new designs, so watch this space!” www.biscuiteers.com
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ARCHITECTURE / DESIGN
Simplicity Makes an Impression Designed by Architect & Designer, Cardin Julien | BY ANA MARIA LACOSTA PHOTOS BY OLIVIER BLOUIN
This country home is located in Saint-Donat in the Laurentians. It was built on steep, wooded terrain bordering Lake Archambault. The land, measuring over 1,600m2, features dense vegetation that provides shade and cooling during the summertime.
uilt over 40 years ago by the current contractorâ€™s father, this family chalet required significant renovations to meet the present ownersâ€™ needs, including making it more comfortable for the summer and winter seasons. The clients wanted to preserve its existing charm while creating a modern, up-to-date environment. The addition of outdoor areas for enjoying nature and the creation of spaces to facilitate yearround sporting activities was a top priority. The chalet was expanded northward and westward. To the north, the extension includes a garage, storage spaces for sporting equipment, and a mudroom. To the west, a new three-season space prolongs the amount
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of time the owners can spend outdoors and offers an incredible panorama of the surrounding forest. The two new extensions, which are outfitted with dark wood, mirror and enrich the existing structure. The existing patio, which faces the lake, was extended to connect with the new threeseason space, creating an essential outdoor surface for enjoying some sunshine. The solid wood railing was replaced by a glass wall, giving way to an unobstructed view of the lake and lush vegetation. The western facade was opened up and both the width and height of the kitchen windows were expanded. The main living area is
ARCHITECTURE / DESIGN
now brighter from sun-up to sundown. The original kitchen was reorganized and made to be open-concept. These changes made the space more functional, lending to gathering around a large island that has become a beacon of family time. The materials used in the renovated areas complement the existing design, while still giving off a modern vibe. The original stone fireplace and the wooden beams, ceiling, and walls complement the modern, sleek design of the kitchen, veranda, and entranceway. Only a few decorative elements, such as the stools made with tractor seats, the light fixture designed with a wooden wheel, and some industrial elements were integrated into the decor as a nod to the home’s history. Following its transformation, the chalet now meets the whole family’s needs, no matter the season. This Saint-Donat residence is now in perfect harmony with its history and the nature that surrounds it, becoming a true haven of comfort and warmth.
Technical sheet Location: Lac Archambault à St-Donat, QC, Canada Area: 3,030 s.f. Architect/designer: Cardin Julien Design team: Jean-François Julien, Gabrielle Roberge et Lakmé Gremillet General contractor: Construction David Simard
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ARCHITECTURAL PLANNING J. Armando Leyva 253-653-6815
INTERIORS + ARCHITECTURE
| BY HELÃ‰NE RAMACKERS
It takes exceptional know-how and expertise to design and furnish an island lodge in a far-flung destination. Upscale Living magazine brings you our curated selection of remarkable architecture and interior design, Island Style.
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INTERIORS + ARCHITECTURE
SIM BOON YANG OF ECO-ID
BAWAH RESERVE ELANG ISLAND, RIAU ARCHIPELAGO
Accessible only by private seaplane, Bawah Reserve is an off-thebeaten track group of six tropical islands in the Riau Archipelago, Indonesia, located between Malaysia and Borneo. The stunning eco-friendly reserve combines high-end design with sustainability and a “back-to-nature” concept. Eco-sensitivity was front of mind for architect and designer Sim Boon Yang when he designed Bawah Reserve. He worked with the owners to ensure the resort was constructed around the island’s natural environment, rather than through it. Over the course of five years Bawah was built by hand with villas positioned around large trees; roofs thatched with palm leaves from a neighbouring island; all tented suites and public areas made of bamboo and recycled teak; bath and shower areas made from recycled copper; and the tables and chairs fashioned from flotsam. The resort also features Overwater Bungalows, a rare find in Indonesia, made out of recycled wood. This distinctive design vision has resulted in a resort that feels earthy and organic, yet cool, decadent and spoiling too. In Spring 2020, Bawah Reserve will unveil brand new accommodation, which has also been designed by Sim Boon Yang, on a previously untouched island named ELANG. Perching on the slopes of the island, six sustainably-minded lodges will be created with interiors made from recycled natural materials, bamboo, driftwood and hand-cut stone. Each lodge will boast spacious living areas, private butler service, balconies with sparkling ocean views and private paths leading to hidden rocky coves and into the sea.
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INTERIORS + ARCHITECTURE
Set foot of your own private island in the Seychelles and drink in the infinite, exclusive space where the embrace of lush tropical palms and giant granite peaks dwarf your presence with their drama. North Island has only 11 villas, and your footprints will be the only evidence on the island’s vast, untouched beaches.
SILVIO RECH & LESLEY CARSTENS NORTH ISLAND, SEYCHELLES
The architect and designers’ original philosophy has become the catalyst for island design, with extreme privacy at the fore of conceptualization and maintaining the ethos of being one with nature. In an attempt to restore the island to its pristine state with the removal of alien vegetation, the Noah’s Ark project was created by Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, which also saw the return of seabirds and the preservation of the magpie robin, a small island bird on the brink of extinction, making North Island a role model for island conservation. A “Haute Couture Robinson Crusoe” style was fashioned by Silvio and Lesley, with the wonderful notion of escaping the rat-race and being stranded on a paradisiacal island, where elements of beauty is coated with tactile comfort and soft sheets replace any hardships guests might have endured. Despite being designed 21 years ago, the overall feeling is still fresh, modern and barefoot luxury. Soft, billowing curtains on the wardrobes, French cutlery, colors that pick up on the celadons and pale blues of the sea. Bright coral red accents appear at night in the form of cushions and linen to herald the darkening dusk on North Island.
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INTERIORS + ARCHITECTURE
JAYA IBRAHIM OF JAYA
THE BEACH HOUSE AT THE LEGIAN SEMINYAK, BALI
Thanks to its unparalleled elevated location and sea facing views, The Legian Seminyak, Bali is one of the island’s most iconic and best loved hotels. One of the reasons for its popularity with high-flying guests is its exclusivity factor and direct access and views of Bali’s best beach. Those looking for ultimate privacy and luxury can opt for the hotel’s private villa residence – The Beach House – the largest villa in Bali and one of two with direct beach access. Designed by renowned Indonesian architect Jaya Ibrahim who created chic, locally inspired interiors and exudes rustic charm through the use of Balinese and Indonesian architecture, natural fiber furniture and indigenous artefacts, all framed by walled tropical gardens. Jaya was the son of a Javanese princess and a Sumatran diplomat and spent a lot of his childhood traveling the world with his parents, as well as living with his grandmother, taking in the rich Javanese culture. Jaya created and crafted interiors that possess an understated elegance, which thrills the senses. The Legian Seminyak was one of Jaya’s defining solo projects, leading him on to design some other well-known hotels including The Chedi Muscat, Oman, The Four Seasons Nam Hai Hoi An, the Aman Summer Palace, Beijing and the Shiatzy Chen boutiques in Pairs and across Asia. When describing his own work, Jaya would explain that his vision can be traced back to historic routes, creating what he called a “Contemporary design with a pedigree”. www.jaya.com
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INTERIORS + ARCHITECTURE
Velaa Private Island is the realization of a dream to create a ‘beyond luxury’ ultra-exclusive boutique hideaway. This unique destination was developed to embody the very best of this exceptional archipelago, bathed by azure skies in the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean. The name of this private retreat, an elegant fusion of Maldivian culture with contemporary luxury, means “Turtle Island” in the local language – named after generations of sea turtles that have flocked here to nest and hatch.
PETR KOLAR OF ADR VELAA PRIVATE ISLAND, MALDIVES
The resort design borrows from this theme, with turtle motifs, and the colors and patterns of turtle shell pervading the property. From a broader “bird’s eye view” which greets arrivals by seaplane, the island’s exclusive over-water villas are also constructed to resemble the head of a turtle, with the island forming the body. Velaa Private Island also ensures plenty of room for its marine visitors, with a hatchery and conservation plan in place. Velaa Private Island is just under 20 hectares in size, around half a kilometer in either direction, providing both exclusivity and privacy. Designed by Czech architect Petr Kolar, the overall design concept is contemporary, yet intimate, with Maldivian nuances. Through the essence and experiences on offer, coupled with remarkable architecture and design, Velaa Private Island is truly unique in the Maldives context. Striking a wonderful balance between seclusion and providing a feast for the eyes with a combination of tradition and modern finishes, guests will experience an overwhelming feeling of peace, tranquility and relaxation.
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Adine Roode Relais & ChÂteaux Woman of the Year | BY HELÉNE RAMACKERS
Photos courtesy of Jabulani and Tamlin Wightman; and James Suter from Black Bean Productions 50 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
deep rumble reverberates through the early morning silence. The tiny dwarfed figure standing in the middle of these grey masses is in her element. One of the 3-ton pachyderms inspects her hand in search of a treat. Jabulani wants his ‘boskos’. This is just an ordinary day in the ‘office’ for Relaix & Châteaux Woman of The Year, Adine Roode. Not one to shy away from a bit of dust or dirt, she has her finger firmly on the pulse of everything related to Jabulani, the lodge, the elephants, and the first dedicated elephant orphanage in South Africa, HERD (Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development). Growing up alongside a family whose conservation ethos, generosity and caring knows no bounds, Adine learnt all she knows today from her mother, Lente Roode, who is the founder of HESC (Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre). Cutting her teeth in the field by bottle-feeding orphaned or injured elephants and rhinos, today she is the proud Owner and MD of Jabulani in South Africa’s Limpopo Province. On 18 November 2019 at the Relaix & Châteaux annual congress held in London, Adine was awarded Woman of the Year through being one of the ‘women of heart and intellect, women of spirit and taste’ that the association honors with the esteemed trophy on an annual basis. This accolade is richly deserved by Adine for her years of dedication to saving vulnerable wildlife species, for her excellence and authenticity in the creation of her lodge in South Africa and for her resolute effort to empower, uplift and make the world a better place through travel and hospitality. Sharing the stage with Relais & Châteaux International Director of Member Services, Julia Geffers, along with the Director of Africa & Indian Ocean Delegation, Annie-Claude Bergonzoli, Adine had the following to say when asked by Julia how her passion for animals, and especially elephants started. “The love of wildlife has been in my blood since I was a young girl. My happiest and earliest memories come from family holidays in the Kruger National Park and time spent at my father’s own reserve, the Kapama Private Game Reserve, where he put me to work in ways that inevitably fostered and deepened the bond I have with wild animals today. These early experiences molded me and showed me a world that I wanted to be part of for the rest of my life: the world of conservation.” 51 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
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The Phoenician | BY CHRISTOPHER KANAL PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE PHOENICIAN
Malta’s most revered hotel, that was a favourite of the Queen Elizabeth II, is a spectacular starting point to explore the ancient Maltese capital of Valletta, where history is writ large and small.
n the heart of the ancient city of Valletta is Malta’s finest hotel. The Phoenician stands in front of Valletta’s City Gate, the magnificent 16th-century bastion walls and Triton Fountain. This veritable Grande Dame of a hotel has breathtaking views of the city and harbours. The Phoenician is a gorgeous luxury home-from-home from which to explore this fascinating, engaging and warm city. Within a short walking distance of The Phoenician is Renzo Piano’s City Gate consisting of the Maltese Parliament, an open-air theatre set in the ruins of the old opera house. A few minutes walk beyond and you are in the ancient narrow streets of Valletta, once trod by Crusaders, and the harbour that connects to the luxury Three Cities and Sliema.
Valetta is a trove of history from its immaculately kept churches and chapels to its evocative gardens - Upper Barrakka Gardens - is serene any time of the year and of course the spectacular Valletta Waterfront at the Grand Harbour. Built in the 1930s by the British, The Phoenicia in an institution. Queen Elizabeth II once danced in the ballroom at The Phoenicia. When the Hollywood blockbuster Gladiator was filmed in Malta in 1999, many of the cast, such as the late Oliver Reed and Joaquin Phoenix, stayed here. OLD SCHOOL MEDITERRANEAN HOSPITALITY A lift brought us up several floors. Our double room was at the end of a delicately decorated and nicely lit long corridor. Opening the door led us into the sunshine. The double room was decorated in classic Mediterraneandesign that does not stray from the rest of the hotel - simple white and cream walls with azure blue details and patterns with traditional Maltese tiled floors. The room had a terrace that overlooked the dramatic city and the hills beyond. The bed was roomy and very comfortable with big oversized goose feather pillows. There was an LCD TV and a complimentary mini-bar. The compact en-suite bathroom had a bath and shower with toi-
letries courtesy of The White Company. Two lovely touches were a pillow menu and a personalised hand written weather forecast for the upcoming 24 hours written on a card and left discretely every afternoon. THE PHOENIX RESTAURANT The main lounge and bar area is the delightful Palm Court, a large oval space showcasing classic 1930s design. Blue and White decor matched with tall, majestic emerald coloured plants create a cool, airy Mediterranean atmosphere with a real touch of class. A great place to relax with a newspaper and take afternoon tea as many were on the day we arrived. The Phoenix is the The Phoenician’s fine dining gourmet restaurant. The night we dined an autumnal storm outside added a bit of extra drama and kept the pleasant and relaxed waiters on their toes. Malta has the best weather in the Mediterranean but we were told every October the weather becomes very unsettled for a few weeks. As driving rain and almost gale force winds drove hard against the ornate windows of the The Phoenix, we relaxed with glasses of the local sparking chardonnay, Cassar de Malte. Very agreeable, dry and crisp, we were told by our waiter that Maltese refuse to export it as it is so loved. Wine production in Malta dates back over 2,000 years to the time of the Phoenicians. We chose starters of a vegetarian dish of local Gozo asparagus wrapped in venison ham with smoked mayonnaise and quail eggs and another of tuna carpaccio, melons, ginger and rose vinegar. We were told that the tuna had been caught off the coast earlier this morning. The Asparagus was tasty and left us wanting more. The tuna was fresh and meaty and matched nicely with the sharp vinegar. The mains of local octopus, Nduja (a spreadable salami made from pork shoulder, belly cuts and tripe), samphire and french beans and veal ribeye, ricotta with tonka beans, pistachios with green beans were both delicious and filling and showcased contemporary Maltese cuisine. Both dishes with paired with local wines - The veal was washed down with La Valette, a fine medium-bodied red. 55 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
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Afterwards we headed to the smaller wood panelled bar off the restaurant which felt like a member’s club off t he Mall. Snug a nd elegant with leather furniture and sepia photos of Malta’s illustrious past, it retains an air of exclusivity but refreshingly without the stuffiness. The Phoenician has a relaxed bistro with a terrace that overlooks The Mall serving good quality dishes and snacks at reasonable prices. There is a bar at the bistro run by affable, engaging staff. Breakfast is impressive and will satisfy every palette. The buffet on offer includes ham carved directly from the bone. Th e anchovies and salmon was a treat as were the freshly made omelettes. A DIP IN THE POOL A meandering walk through the seven acres of lush gardens past ornate chess tables brings you to the pool area. A large infinity pool sits beneath the fortifications of V alletta and looks out over Marsamxett Harbour. The view is spectacular with the added bonus that this is the only heated outdoor hotel pool of any hotel in Malta. Friendly pool staff were at hand to serve from the outside cocktail bar. During the golden hour of the hot early evening we were there a fashion shoot was taking place around the pool with the dramatic skyline as a backdrop. The Phoenicia, The Mall, Floriana,Valletta, Malta Tel: +356 21225241 / Web: www.phoenicia.com Superior double room from €200 excluding breakfast.
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All Aboard the
CRYSTAL SERENIT Y | BY REBECCA UNDERWOOD
For those with a burning desire to escape the constant pressures of a demanding lifestyle, a luxurious ocean voyage onboard the Crystal Serenity offers the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate.
ecipient of the Condé Nast Traveller’s Readers Choice Award for ‘World’s Best Cruise Ship’ for 25 years and winner of the ‘World’s Best’ by Travel and Leisure readers for 23 years, Crystal Cruises provides the highest levels of comfort and service and with a maximum of 980 passengers aboard the Crystal Serenity and a staff to guest ratio of 1.5, Crystal Cruises’ acclaimed six star service is guaranteed. My mother and I embarked on the sleek lined Crystal Serenity, sailing from Venice to Barcelona for the 12 night ‘Beyond the Pillars of Hercules’ voyage visiting Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu, Gallipoli, Taormina/Giardini, Sorrento, Rome and Monte Carlo. Formally named by Dame Julie Andrews in Southampton on 03 July 2003, the Crystal Serenity underwent extensive refurbishments in 2018 and now offers new dining options, including open seating, redesigned lounge and entertainment venues and accommodations including the fabulous Crystal Penthouses, which measure 1,368 sq ft and feature sweeping teak verandas and spectacular bathrooms with Jacuzzis, Penthouse Suites, which measure 549 sq ft, also with verandas, and Deluxe Staterooms, which cover 213 sq ft. Boarding procedures are swift and efficient and we were promptly escorted to our stylish Seabreeze Penthouse. Features include a spacious living area and a private veranda with comfortable seating, which is the ideal spot for an afternoon snooze in the sunshine and a pre dining tipple and a nibble on a tasty canape or two whilst admiring the ocean view. The walk-in closets easily accommodated the contents of our bulging suitcases and the spa-like bathroom includes a first class shower with body jets, twin basins, and ample storage for all those essentials. Furnishings include a plump and comfortable sofa and a separate arm chair, luxuriously soft carpeting and ultra comfortable beds swathed in crisp, white linens ensuring a deep slumber. The overall contemporary design and décor instils the ambiance of a tranquil sanctuary and is further enhanced by ‘mood’ lighting. In a short while there was a polite tap on the door and we were thrilled to meet our charming butler, Damian, who swiftly demonstrated the latest technology accessible through our ultra thin 43’’ HD television allowing us to view onboard folios including the Crystal Life Spa and Salon services, daily restaurant menus, the Connoisseur Wine menu, a wide choice of complimentary music, movies and television programs
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and information related to our cruise. Butler services include unpacking and packing, shoeshine service, dinner and shore excursion reservations, Spa appointments and arranging cocktail parties. In- room amenities include a set menu of complimentary wines and spirits, a well stocked fridge with a selection of soft drinks, which are replenished daily, and a Krupp machine with Julius Meinl espresso capsules. We were then introduced to Feli our delightful penthouse attendant who presented us with a pillow menu featuring goose down, Hypo-allergenic and therapeutic options and whilst our butler popped the cork on a chilled bottle of 2015 Charles Heidsieck we relaxed on our veranda. Later we embarked on a leisurely stroll around the ship. The vessel’s length of 250 meters, width of 32.2 meters and 13 decks (9 accessible to passengers) ensures that there is much to explore. As we wandered around we came upon the elegant Palm Court, the ship’s main social venue, where live entertainment includes jazz trios, sopranos and more. We were just in time for afternoon tea and immediately succumbed to the temptations including dainty little sandwiches, scones oozing with fresh cream and fruity jams and pastries galore. Sipping on our piping hot tea, whilst being serenaded by the soothing strains of a talented violinist, we met some of our fellow passengers and the discussions soon centered on entertainment and how to choose which shows, seminars and lectures to attend, and how to fit in all the activities including Mah Jongg, Bridge, fitness classes, putting green, shuffleboard courts, table tennis, golf driving nets and movies shown three times daily in the Hollywood Theatre. Taking along our copy of Reflections (the ship’s daily magazine with information on everything) and our shore excursions menu we made haste for the Lido deck, awash with comfortable sun loungers, parasols, couches and enormous sun chairs with huge cushions. A quick refreshing dip in the Seahorse swimming pool, followed by a long spell in one of the bubbling Jacuzzis and then a spot of pampering in the Crystal Salon and Spa was just the ticket. Treatments focus on hair, face, body and even teeth, manicures and pedicures along with massages, detox treatments and holistic well-being. After quite some deliberation I opted for the 75 minute ELEMIS Aroma Spa Seaweed full body massage, which was simply sublime. For pre dining cocktails, we went to the Crystal Cove, which offers a variety of live musical styles including Richard Pucci who tickles the ivories to an appreciative crowd. Inevitably, we were running late and made our way to the Waterside restaurant, the main dining room, which offers open seating and an absolutely first rate service. I selected the delicious wild mushroom wellington with creamed spinach and roasted purple potatoes and accompanied by the 1989 Chateau Lafite -Rothschild, the flavors were enhanced to another level. The conversations with our fellow diners focused on who had secured reservations for the three speciality restaurants and we were in a dilemma as to whether to dine next at the excellent Chinese venue, Silk, which serves a highly praised Kung Po Chicken or Prego, which presents Italian cuisine and, we were reliably
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informed, the roasted rack of baby lamb with black olive marmalade is perfect with a bottle of Ornellaia 2015 or perhaps Umi Uma where master chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s celebrated ‘Nobu’ style lobster with truffle - yazu sauce is served and just has to be accompanied by the Sauvignon Blanc ‘Asatsuyu’ 2017 and of course the Sushi Bar is not to be missed. We plumped for Churrascaria, the Brazilian steakhouse, with Caipirinhas, tapas and Ceviches on the menu and diners wait in anticipation for the moment when the skilled servers parade through the restaurant with grilled meats held aloft on sword-like skewers, taken directly from the grill, and stop at each table to carve slices. nd for a more intimate dining experience, the Vintage Room, a unique A concept, promotes wine appreciation. The beautifully furnished venue seats a minimum of ten diners for optional dinners featuring vintage wines and champagnes paired with extravagant dishes. I was fortunate to sample a selection of outstanding pairings including the Moet et Chandon, Cuvee Dom Perignon, Brut, Epernay 2009, served with poached lobster tail, Pierre Robert, Fresh Plums and Summer Truffle. For those keen to find a quiet spot, to sink into a comfortable leather armchair and partake in port wines, cognacs and single malt whiskeys and a fine international cigar, the Connoisseur Club is the spot. enues for post dining tipples are aplenty and we enjoyed the relaxing V Avenue Saloon where dark rich woods and comfortable furnishings create the intimacy of a piano bar. We also frequented the luxurious Galaxy Lounge, which presents a variety of entertainment including extrava62 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
gant shows and we were fortunate to see a Broadway Review Production with excerpts from musicals including Rent, the Tony winner for the Best Musical, the wonderful West Side Story and the hilarious musical Something Rotten. Another highlight was the exceptional performance given by musician and comedian Jon Courtenay who was richly rewarded with rapturous applause and standing ovations. After the show we took the opportunity to show off our nifty footwork on the dance floor at the Stardust Club, which also presents intimate performances, recitals and special lectures. And for those keen to disco dance into the early hours, the intimate lounge Pulse is buzzing, and it’s also the place to be for Karaoke fans. One of the more tuneful passengers dedicated his song to the Crystal Serenity and the audience held there glasses aloft and sang along heartily to the Christopher Cross hit ............’Well, it’s not far down to paradise, at least it’s not for me. And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility. Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see. Believe me. Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be. Just a dream and the wind to carry me. And soon I will be free.’ ‘TOP TIP’ For more information on Crystal Serenity’s 2020 itineraries and prices, which include all onboard meals and drinks, port taxes and gratuities, tel:+442073997601 or visit crystalcruises.co.uk
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Makanyi Private Game Lodge The Lion Sleeps Tonight | BY HELÉNE RAMACKERS PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MAKANYI PRIVATE GAME LODGE AND BY HELÉNE RAMACKERS
ituated in the southern sector of South Africa’s premier game viewing area, the Timbavati Game Reserve, Makanyi Private Game Lodge provides the most magnificent accommodation, highlighted by the most phenomenal animal sightings. Some places just get it right, and Makanyi is one of them.
When Jessica Gold dipped her toe in South Africa for the first time in 2013, she surrendered her heart and fell in love. The subject of her adoration was not as one might have imagined but does get her pulse racing every time, she speaks so passionately about it. “The narrative of Makanyi is one of those storybook tales, the only difference is that this one is true,” Jessica tells me with a glisten in her
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eyes over coffee at Makanyi. “I was born and raised in Italy by a British father and an Italian mother. When I was 18, I moved around a lot and lived in nine different countries. For me, home is where the heart is.” Having no plans over the 2013 Easter holidays and with her son, William, visiting his dad in America, a childhood friend got in touch with Jessica and suggested a visit to South Africa.
She immediately agreed and her love affair with South Africa began the moment the plane’s wheels touched the tarmac. “Everyone told me I had to see Cape Town, so we decided to visit the port city for a few days, and it was indeed the most breath-taking destination. We also visited a lion park in Johannesburg and being a tourist, I took some pictures and sent them home to my son and my dad who were amazed and proposed we go back and see it together.” Jessica’s next idea was to go on safari, which she embarked on in May 2013 with William accompanying her, only a month after her initial visit. During this holiday she fell even further in love with the African bush, so much so that she knew this was where she could put into practice her hospitality degree from Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland. “I never really just wanted to have a hotel in Rome or London to apply the skills I learnt while studying, but it dawned on me that here, in South Africa, I could put it to good use should I be able to acquire my own bush lodge. When I visited again on a solo trip in August, I
convinced myself to go outside of my comfort zone and to turn my holiday into a business opportunity. The adage of ‘visiting nice places and then going back to reality’ rang so true that I knew the time was right to turn my dreams into reality.” Once back in London, Jessica began the arduous process of finding the right property as bush lodges don’t come up for sale very often. With the help of a friend, she stumbled upon a private lodge in the Timbavati, and not knowing the area at all, put to good use the contacts she had made during her visits to guide her as to whether or not this was a viable option. They all went to see it together and concurred that this would be the perfect place for Jessica to establish what is now ranked by many as one of the top safari lodges in South Africa. I always feel incredibly privileged visiting different destinations, and a bush lodge is one of the places I can never get enough of. When I hear that a 2-night stay at Makanyi is confirmed, I can hardly contain my excitement as the vastness of the Timbavati is something that is difficult to put into words. I am collected at the gate to the Timbavati Game Reserve in
Makanyi’s own, first of a kind in South Africa, Electric Safari Vehicle, making the game viewing experience a lot more serene and sustainable to the precious bush environment. My home is suite no 4, with all the luxuries you can possibly think of – a heavenly four-poster bed with draped mosquito netting, a large bathroom with tub, shower and double vanities, a lounge area with a fireplace and an outside area with a great view of the watering hole and it’s many wildlife visitors. I’m within short walking distance from the main lodge area where meals are served on the deck while again watching an ever-changing parade of animals’ meander past. Chef Amos perfects every meal at Makanyi with so much flair and the freshest ingredients, the only problem is overindulgence. Who can say no to the most deliciously prepared gourmet beef burgers with French fries, delectable scallops, tender cuts of meat and mouth-watering desserts? Twice daily game drives are part and parcel of staying at Makanyi and guide Alfred and tracker Themba are intent on showcasing the
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myriad of animals that inhabit this part of the Timbavati. We had only just left the property when we spot a male and female giraffe quenching their thirst at the watering hole. If seeing the Big 5 is something you would like to experience, Makanyi offers this and so much more. The sightings my fellow guests and I enjoyed included a young female leopard, the Avoca pride of 19 lions, the Xikukutso male lions, elephants by the dozen, enormous breeding herds of buffalos and not forgetting the plethora of birds, reptiles and insects. The nocturnal sound of lions roaring and finding them the following day is a very special occurrence. As Jessica so eloquently put it, Makanyi’s attraction is not only the animals, it is the exclusivity, the homely feeling, the great service without it being stuffy. I admire her leap of faith in creating this wonderful environment for her and her son, from big city life to having a life in the bush. Her parting words resonate – “It completely resets me. When I’m here,
I take in every sunrise and every sunset. I appreciate it, it grounds me.” As I pack to return home after a wonderful time spent at Makanyi, I relish the heart-warming memories I can share with my family back in Cape Town. After saying my goodbyes, my road transfer takes me from Timbavati through the town of Hoedspruit and delivers me at Hoedspruit Airport where my direct flight back to Cape Town is on Airlink’s glorious Embraer E-Jet. As we taxi for take-off, I see another Airlink E-190 on the runway waiting to offload passengers, filled with safari-goers who will undoubtedly enjoy their time in this special part of the bush. *** Views expressed are the author’s own. Thank you to Julie Hedley from Julie Hedley PR for making my arrangements and to Jessica for allowing me to share a piece of paradise you have created.
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AIRLINK – HOW TO GET THERE Airlink: Airlink is the largest Regional Feeder airline connecting the major cities of southern Africa with the smaller towns, cities and eco-leisure destinations. Airlink is a privately-owned airline with more than 25 years of customer-focused experience and a network of over 55 routes throughout the SADC region and St Helena Island. Route Specific Information: Direct scheduled flights from Cape Town to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Connectivity: Through our alliance with SAA, travelers can connect conveniently, effortlessly and seamlessly, with SAA, their Partner airlines and other carriers throughout Southern Africa and the world. Frequent Flyer Program: Airlink is a member of South African Airways Loyalty program -Voyager. Discover more: www.flyairlink.com Book Direct: https://www.flyairlink.com/destinations/flights-to-victoria-falls
The Top 10 Instagram-Worthy Properties
| BY HELÉNE RAMACKERS
Social media has reshaped the enjoyment travelers get out of visiting a certain place with the added benefit of posting their favorite pics. Upscale Living magazine’s Travel Editor highlights her Top 10 Instagram-worthy properties around the world.
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ATHOLPLACE HOTEL & VILLA, SOUTH AFRICA Contemporary-classic glamor and understated elegance meet at AtholPlace Hotel & Villa, ensuring an unforgettable stay. Situated in Atholl, one of the most beautiful parts of Johannesburg and only a short distance from the commercial center of Sandton, AtholPlace Hotel & Villa is the best spot to be. Guests are invited to enjoy everything this pristine property has on offer, from nine stylish and spacious suites to the comfortably furnished library with a romantic fireplace and the temperature regulated swimming pool surrounded by a large wooden deck.
The gardens surrounding AtholPlace Hotel & Villa are a perfect place to relax and unwind. A drink at the bar is obligatory, even if it’s just coffee. Delicious meals are served at AtholPlace Restaurant with both indoor and outdoor dining options. AtholPlace Hotel offers five superior suites and four deluxe suites. All nine suites have been individually designed, providing a sanctuary of comfort and tranquility. The suites, all with en-suite bathrooms, are extremely spacious, ranging from 45-55 square meters. The Deluxe Suites offer interleading doors, making them ideal for families traveling with children.
Guests have a choice of twin beds (in two of the superior suites and two of the deluxe suites) or king-size beds. Luxurious duck-down duvets and soft, silky cushions contribute to the experience of absolute comfort and luxury. Each suite has large doors opening out onto a private balcony. Situated near the Johannesburg shopping mecca Sandton City, offering world-class shops to suit everyone’s needs and only 40 minutes’ drive from OR Tambo International Airport. You can be assured of refreshingly personal service and attention to detail.
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CONRAD MALDIVES, MALDIVES The newest development at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is The Muraka and the first of its kind in the world. It offers guests the immersive, luxurious experience of living under the sea. This milestone adds to Conrad Maldives Rangali Island’s rich history of firsts – from being the first resort to introduce water villas on stilts to becoming the first resort to introduce an undersea restaurant, Ithaa, 13 years ago. The Muraka is a unique, luxurious two-level residence that comprises an above-sea residence and an undersea level, which is completely immersed in the ocean. This allows guests to enjoy an unobstructed, 180-degree panoramic view of coral and marine life, its natural surroundings.
The above-sea residence features one king bedroom and bathroom, the standout feature being the ocean-facing bathtub, ideal for soaking with a view of the never-ending horizon. What makes the room designs unique is the different uses of acrylic that has been incorporated into one unit. The bedroom is an acrylic tunnel that makes guests feel completely submerged in the sea. The acrylic that forms the living room is curved vertical glass, which lets guests experience the sea wrapping around them. Finally, the bathroom has large vertical windows, giving guests the impression of taking a shower under the stars.
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Envisioned by Crown Company Pvt Ltd, The Muraka is led by Director Ahmed Saleem, who is an architect by trade, the first qualified professionally trained architect in the Maldives. With today’s luxury traveler constantly on the lookout for extraordinary, immersive experiences, The Muraka is a game-changer that is sure to surpass expectations.
GIRAFFE MANOR, KENYA The flagship property within The Safari Collection portfolio, Giraffe Manor was built in 1932 and was modeled on a Scottish hunting lodge. The history of elegant-legged giraffes on its lawns dates back to the 1970s when Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville first adopted an orphaned Rothschild’s giraffe, Daisy. Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley bought the manor in April 2000, and since then, it has become a globally recognized, iconic hotel. Having grown up in the neighborhood, Giraffe Manor has always played a significant role in Tanya Carr-Hartley’s life. As a child, she used to ride through the grounds on horseback and
would occasionally have a cup of tea with Betty before returning home. Tanya recalls that the horses did not like the smell of the giraffe, so it was always a quick one! To own Giraffe Manor was something of a childhood dream for her, and in April 2009, this dream came true when The Safari Collection’s flagship property was added to their portfolio. With an injection of love and passion into this historical manor, Tanya and Mikey have turned this property into one of the most sought-after hotels in the world. While the interiors have
been enhanced and rejuvenated, it was essential to the Carr-Hartley’s that the manor retained the original 1930s character and preserved its colorful and charming history. Located on the outskirts of Nairobi in 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest, Giraffe Manor is one of Nairobi’s most iconic buildings and number one on most travelers Instagram lists, including the herd of 12 resident Rothschild’s giraffe.
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INKATERRA HACIENDA URUBAMBA, PERU Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is a contemporary hacienda-style hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, in-between Cusco and Machu Picchu. Immersed in the countryside in a gorgeous area, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba spans approximately 100 acres surrounded by imposing green mountains. All 12 rooms in the Casa Hacienda feature breathtaking views of the valley and immerse guests in open space, serenity and relaxing solitude. Guests looking for a more intimate experience can book one of the hotel’s 24 stand-alone luxury casitas, each with their own fireplace. Architecture and interiors are inspired
by the area’s cultural history, with colonial furniture, authentic Inca masks, and handcrafted woodwork that add to the hacienda’s local charm. An earth-to-table concept is operated at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba. The hotel has a 10-acre organic plantation which supplies the kitchen with sustainable carbon-free crops such as quinoa, Urubamba giant corn, medicinal herbs, and a variety of potatoes. All crops are farmed with traditional hand tools and oxen, as was done centuries ago. The Inkaterra team can arrange for private
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dinners for couples with candles, cava, or wine, and guests can also take part in interesting on-site excursions such as cooking classes, wine tastings, traditional payment to the earth ceremonies, and coca leaf readings by a local shaman. Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, which is home to some of the finest Inca sites, offering a great start for your visit to Cusco. The Valley’s good weather and beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, folk arts and crafts, and friendly people reflect the authenticity of Peru that travelers come searching for.
JABALI RIDGE, RUAHA NATIONAL PARK, TANZANIA Built entirely from local, sustainable wood, Asilia’s Jabali Ridge is at one with nature. Almost invisible on the horizon, the camp blends seamlessly into the surroundings, blurring the lines between inside and out. Jabali is a sophisticated oasis in a landscape dotted with spiky palm trees and bulbous baobabs. Two large baobab trees, dwarfing all who arrive beneath them, stand sentinel at the entrance to Jabali. Lining the passageway beyond are granite boulders, forming the rim of a spectacular natural ‘bowl’ in which the main area is hidden from view, undetectable until you are almost upon it.
It is this element of surprise, of revealing the unexpected that makes Jabali so special. A short walk takes you to the rim and the magnificent views of the baobab-studded landscape stretching ahead. Throughout the property, granite boulders and vegetation have been used in place of walls, creating an open, natural feel and making each space unique.
Each guest room has been designed to showcase the views over Ruaha from every corner, be it from the bed, the desk, or the bathroom. Every way you turn, nature is evident. Timber, used in the studded wooden doors and the bed, gives an earthy feel to the rooms as well as allowing the structures to blend effortlessly with the environment.
The main areas are predominantly open. Granite boulders form natural partitions and provide privacy, as well as enabling air to flow freely through the spaces. The rim-flow infinity pool and bar offer spectacular views of the park below. 73 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
SAN CAMP KALAHARI, BOTSWANA Imagine a smattering of billowing white tents, shaded by desert palms and surrounded by a thousand acres of shimmering, sparkling nothingness. You’ve just dreamt up San Camp, Natural Selection’s impossibly romantic, seven-bedroom camp on the edge of the Nwetwe Pan in Botswana’s Makgadikgadi. San isn’t a place for frills and fluffiness. The magic is in the minimalism, both at the camp and in the mysterious desert landscape. You can forget the tourist crowds and over-stuffed 4x4s too; it’s just you, the wildlife, and a handful of local San Bushmen, waiting to share their secrets with you.
Iconic in its own right, Nwetwe is home to a myriad of meerkats that pop up from the desert dust, brown hyena hiding in the grass, and the ethereal surroundings and atmosphere that makes San Camp spectacular in simplicity. Disappear into a remote world, a million miles from glowing screens and fruit-themed devices, where the 360-degree panoramas are so vast; you can see the curvature of the earth. The real allure of San Camp is in its unpretentiousness, and this extends to the setting. San sits at the edge of the mysterious Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, overlooking Nwetwe Pan to be precise, in the heart of the Kalahari Desert and adjoining the Makgadikgadi National Park.
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The pans were once a super lake covering most of Botswana, and they shimmer seemingly never-ending to the horizon, interrupted only by scatterings of desert palms and baobabs. The beautiful nothingness brings with it a cathartic sense of silence, and there is truly nowhere on earth like this magical corner of Botswana.
SINA CENTURION PALACE, ITALY Once Palazzo Genovese, today Sina Centurion Palace. A 5-star luxury hotel located on the Grand Canal with stunning views of both the Grand Canal and the traditional Venetian internal garden. The hotel is located at the heart of the Dorsoduro district next to the Basilica of S.Maria Della Salute, Punta Della Dogana, and the famous Guggenheim museum. A unique blend between the ancient building’s gothic façade and the contemporary exclusive bespoke design of the interiors, a contrast in harmony with the district where the hotel is located; the most ancient in Venice and home to contemporary art.
Standout rooms are the ones that face the famed Grand Canal while others look towards the private internal garden. The harmony between the historical architecture and the contemporary interiors deliver an exclusive sense of style that can be found in every room. Such as the unique bathrooms covered in gold leaf as well as each piece of furniture crafted bespoke for this hotel. When it comes to fine dining, Antinoo’s Lounge & Restaurant has a few exclusive outdoor tables in summer on the deck right on the Grand Canal, which need to be reserved in advance for an unforgettable and romantic
dining experience. The Executive chef of Antinoo’s serves cuisine with a contemporary twist, reflecting the setting of the restaurant. Sina Centurion Palace has an international reputation that continues to grow. Since its inauguration, it has hosted exclusive events during the Venice Film Biennale, welcoming personalities like Al Pacino, Shakira, Naomi Watts, Chiara Ferragni, Daniel Radcliffe, James Franco, and Roberto Bolle among others.
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THE CHEDI LUŠTICA BAY, MONTENEGRO At the meeting point between azure seas and rolling mountains, you’ll find The Chedi Luštica Bay Hotel: the best five-star luxury hotel in Montenegro. Set on the waterfront of Montenegro’s Trašte Bay along the Luštica peninsula, within the coastal town of Luštica Bay, The Chedi Luštica Bay welcomes you to unwind amidst authentic, breathable luxury. This contemporary resort hotel offers elegant, light-filled rooms that echo the movement of the Adriatic Sea and the colors of the Mediterranean beyond. It encompasses 111 rooms and suites, two restaurants, two bars, a high-tech conference and business center, a wellness spa with an
indoor pool, a private beach, and a heated outdoor infinity pool. From culinary artistry through to thoughtful technology, facilities are everything you would expect from Montenegro’s most exclusive hotel, brought to life with genuine Montenegrin hospitality and one-stepahead service. Deluxe rooms and suites embody Mediterranean elegance, looking out through floor-toceiling windows onto the dreamy sea of Trašte Bay and mountain views of Montenegro. With sumptuous furnishings, modern technology, and luxurious amenities, rooms are designed to make your stay as effortless as possible.
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Calling upon seasonal Montenegrin ingredients, contemporary menus sing with freshness and flavor. Enjoy a modern take on regional favorites in The Restaurant or creative cuisine at our brasserie-style The Spot. The elegant Lobby Bar offers refreshments and afternoon tea, while The Rok beach bar serves up light bites and cocktails. Stay at The Chedi Luštica Bay in Montenegro and be treated to five-star facilities and a range of luxurious extras, delivered with warm service by the team of highly trained staff.
THE PENTHOUSE AT THE SILO, SOUTH AFRICA The Silo is a stunning 28-room luxury hotel from the acclaimed Royal Portfolio, occupying the top six floors of the historic grain silo building in Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. It also includes a spectacular one-bedroom penthouse. Each room has been individually designed and decorated by the stylish wand of owner Liz Biden. The property boasts the phenomenal Penthouse suite with wrap-around views of the Cape Town skyline and its top sights. The 2,012-squarefoot one-bedroom suite features views of the famed Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Lion’s
Head, and the city below, framed through the hotel’s unique ‘pillowed glass’ windows. The Penthouse also includes a 258-square-foot balcony for even more exposure to the incredible views out over the city from The Silo hotel’s top floor. This extraordinary five-star hotel has set a new standard for luxury Cape Town accommodation. A magical hotel towering above the V&A Waterfront surrounded by the natural wonder of South Africa’s Mother City. The exterior of the building was designed by Heatherwick Studio. From the outside, the greatest visible change to the building’s original
structure is the addition of the ingenious glass windows inserted into the geometry of the hotel floors. These multi-faceted structures glisten like diamonds during the day while at night, the building transforms into a glowing beacon in the Table Bay harbor. The Silo Hotel is a celebration of art, style, architecture, and design. A tribute to timeless glamour and contemporary luxury, offering the highest levels of personalized service synonymous with The Royal Portfolio.
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VICEROY LOS CABOS, MEXICO On the Sea of Cortés in Baja California, at the edge of the horizon, a modern dreamscape promises anything but the predictable. Immerse yourself in the recently fully renovated Viceroy Los Cabos, an architecturally stunning hotel concept by Miguel Angel Aragonés. While the historic Colonial streets of San José del Cabo will call, there are limitless discoveries right here. Lose yourself in the style and amenities that Viceroy is known for, including four restaurants and lounges, a rooftop bar and a spa, and discover what makes this retreat the crowning jewel among Los Cabos luxury resorts. Let intrigue be your guide.
When it comes to accommodation in Los Cabos, it doesn’t get more refined than this. Find yourself in harmony with nature and modernity in your guestroom, designed for indoor/ outdoor living with abundant natural light. The look is minimal and stylish. And the vibe is pure, sun-dappled luxury. Under the warmth of the sun, yet cooled by the ocean breeze, Viceroy Los Cabos offers a transformative experience filled with dramatic contrasts. It’s an oasis in the desert where authentic Mexican flavors and traditions meet modern-day amenities, from scrumptious designer toiletries by ROIL to the nest-like
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structured Nido Cevichería + Bar, Nidito Beach & Poolside Bar, Casero Restaurant, Otro Bar and Cielomar Rooftop. Explore the five pools that stretch out to the open sea and distant horizon, framing the surrounding reflective water features. Guests can cool off at the spectacular infinity-edge pool’s beachfront, relax on the custom-made solid teak lounges or soak up the sun at the serene adult-only rooftop escape.
WHAT’S NEW “Bringing you the finest places around the world is what we love to do here at Upscale Living magazine. In keeping with this tradition, we are focusing on introducing you to new kids on the block or accommodation establishments with a re-looked lease on life. Grab your travel diary as you want to get to these places as soon as possible!”
| BY HELÉNE RAMACKERS
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LEKKERWATER BEACH LODGE THE HOOP RESERVE, CAPE TOWN
Natural Selection’s first South African property is Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, situated in the untouched De Hoop Nature Reserve. The intimate property sits isolated on a six-kilometer stretch of beach in the glorious De Hoop Reserve, east of Cape Town. Just as the whales arrive in the warm Indian Ocean waters, so Natural Selection opened the doors to their newest property earlier in 2019. Each year hundreds of southern right whales migrate from the colder Antarctic Ocean to give birth to their young in the warmer Indian Ocean waters in front of Lekkerwater. The rooms at Lekkerwater are perched on a cliff just meters back from the coastline, affording panoramic views of the ocean ahead and dolphin and whale watching right from the bed. The southern right whales are sea-
sonal visitors, but year-round pods of dolphin play in the waves right outside the lodge. Throughout the lodge, the dramatic views do the talking. Each of the seven rooms has floor to ceiling glass doors that can be opened to let in the coastal breezes. The décor drew its inspiration from the environment and each room has a bespoke piece of art by South African artist Jemima Sargent. The seven paintings depict a species from De Hoop’s wildlife, both on land and out to sea. Each bedroom has its own original painting and nothing on Jemima’s canvases stands still, from the tiny sugarbirds fluttering across the paper, to the swooping oystercatchers, the bobbing seals or the graceful southern right whales. For cooler evenings there is a wood-burn-
ing stove in the room which keeps the bedrooms snug and warm. The main area offers 180-degree views of the coastline with vast, panoramic windows that open up and blur the lines between outside and in. A large communal table dominates the interior space, intended to bring guests together over meals to chat and share stories. The internal courtyard offers a more secluded space for relaxed meals and to unwind by the swimming pool. Where possible, the furnishings were sourced from local suppliers, with towels from the Barrydale Weavers, ‘Love Seats’ made from recycled wine barrels in Plettenberg Bay and mats from a women’s empowerment project, Thandi Collection, in KwaZulu Natal.
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EASTERN SERENGETI, TANZANIA Five years ago, Asilia pioneered safaris into the wild and untouched plains of the Eastern Serengeti. Namiri Plains was a trailblazer, the first camp to venture east of Seronera and half a decade later, Asilia has reopened the property with a luxurious new look. The creative force behind the redesign is the award-winning Caline Williams-Wynn, the most celebrated designer on the safari circuit following her triumphs with Asilia’s Highlands in Ngorongoro and Jabali Ridge in Ruaha National Park. As with all Asilia builds, the camp is constructed in complete harmony with the environment. The main area takes its inspiration directly from the Namiri Plains landscape – the walls are built from the white/grey sedimentary rocks 82 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
formed by millions of years of ash deposits in the eastern Serengeti from the Ngorongoro volcanoes. These are the same rocks that have shaped this region, by limiting tree growth and giving rise to the short grass plains so characteristic of the area. The heart of the main area is The Fossil Bar, which takes its inspiration from the nearby Olduvai Gorge where, in 1959, Mary Leakey made her discovery of the Zinjanthropus boisei, the oldest hominin ever found. The bar is decorated with an ingenious fossil mural created by mixing soil and paint to create impressions and texture. Stretch canvas awnings create the shade, and the bar and lounge are furnished with comfy leather seating and rattan furniture, adding further texture and a natural element. The swimming pool offers welcome relief from the mid-
day heat and the spa offers a range of treatments to soothe tired limbs. The ten guest tents use the same dry-stone walling technique for the main structure. Inside, natural linens and a palette of grey and saffron mimic the colors of the Serengeti with décor accents sourced from local basket weavers in Dar es Salaam. The spacious tents offer either king-size or twin beds, and there is a family room sleeping four. For lazy afternoons there is a spacious verandah with an al-fresco bath on the deck. The camp has been positioned to face north and sits along the Ngare Nanyuki riverbed which is one of the few places in the area with permanent water.
THE SHORE CLUB
TURKS AND CAICOS, PROVIDENCIALES Following a successful first year since its debut in January 2017 as the first and only resort on Long Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos, The Shore Club continues to shine even brighter in the years to follow with the unveiling of four new stunningly appointed stand-alone estate villas in January 2018, each offering unparalleled views of Long Bay’s vibrant turquoise water and endless skies. The property’s villa project reached completion in November 2019, with the unveiling of two final villas. Having completed construction of the entire resort, the villas offer a completely private oceanfront setting framed by a secluded, whitesand beach, with all of the amenities of an exclusive luxury resort including four resort pools, wellness center, three restaurants including
Asian-Peruvian fine dining at SUI-REN, daily breakfast, and water sports such as kayaks and paddleboards. Located on 850 feet of beachfront on Long Bay Beach, each of the 8,800 square foot villas offer total privacy in a relaxed atmosphere of a curated Caribbean experience, while a personal concierge is on-hand for every need. With six bedrooms, five in the main house and one detached, each villa boasts its own heated pool, private courtyard, expansive terraces, spacious guest rooms with large baths and a master suite with enchanting ocean views. Exquisite, hand-crafted tiles and bespoke elements grace the sophisticated villas at this stylish retreat – seemingly in a world of their own, but only steps from the exceptional amenities The Shore Club has to offer.
“Visitors to Turks and Caicos no longer need to choose between staying at a five-star resort or renting a luxurious free-standing private estate. The Villas at The Shore Club offer the best of both,” said Hartling Group’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Karen Whitt. “Villa construction ended at The Shore Club in January 2018 and the property was perfectly poised for an outstanding winter season to welcome new and returning guests alike as we celebrate the success of the resort’s first year. In 2019, the success continued as the final two villas worked their way to completion, totaling six stand-alone luxury villas by the end of this year.”
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Matetsi Victoria Falls An Oasis of Sophistication | BY HELÉNE RAMACKERS Photographs courtesy of Matetsi Victoria Falls and by Heléne Ramackers
rbanites will rejoice when setting foot at the ultra-chic and polished Matetsi Victoria Falls, comprising 123,500 acres of wildlife reserve and nine miles of river frontage. This family-owned property is an oasis of sophistication, coupled with an innate commitment to the natural stretch of surroundings and the animals that frequent it.
At 08:30 on a Monday morning, my daughter and I depart from Cape Town International Airport to Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe on the sleek and stylish Airlink Embraer E190. Airlink’s direct route between these two iconic destinations has become so popular that the 98-seater Embraer ERJ 190 AR with its two seating classes is the perfect mode of transport,
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getting passengers there in only 2 hours and 45 minutes. We are collected at Victoria Falls Airport in an airconditioned vehicle for our 45-minute road transfer to Matetsi Victoria Falls and are warmly welcomed by the staff at the lodge. Camp Manager Leanne shows us to our
impressive suite, with its congruent view of the Zambezi, which will be our 5-star habitation for the next three nights. Our table is set up alongside the river and head chef Shane ensures that our lunch is a delightful indulgence. We feast on the most delicious gourmet burgers with French fries and conclude our meal with a delectable fruit pavlova. Back at our room, we take in the incredible design and architecture that is distinct in each of the 18 rooms at Matetsi Victoria Falls. You have a choice between the Eastern or Western guest area, spread out all along the river for about half a mile, with nine guest suites on either side of a dining area, as well as a the added benefit of a recreation area, featuring a lap pool, gym, spa, library, gift shop and wine cellar. Matetsi Victoria Falls is privately owned and independently run, with the passion of the Gardiner family coming through in all aspects of the guest experience. Driven by their desire to showcase the beauty of their home country, Zimbabwe, the family’s understanding of what works for a luxury safari lodge in a private concession has been met with triumphant accolades from visitors and the industry alike.
Sara Gardiner explains: “When we got involved with the Matetsi Victoria Falls property in 2015, we realized we had to seek out the right architectural designer to let the property become a beacon of refinement whilst keeping our footprint as light as possible. We found the perfect fit – a young female Zimbabwean architecture designer Kerry van Leenhoff who heads up her own firm, Form Studio Design.” Kerry was given creative freedom to design a suitable structure for Matetsi Victoria Falls, with the only guideline that no thatch be used. Fashioning the freedom of time and space for Matetsi Victoria Falls guests is something Kerry achieved and when the Gardiner family saw the renders she drew, they knew she was on the right track. With her concept of Life on the River, she accomplished this with remarkable details, such as hanging mokoros (dug-out canoes) at the entrance to the restaurant. In the suites, 18 individual pieces of art by Zimbabwean artist Helen Teede form a map of Matetsi Private Game Reserve when pieced together. Given free reign as to what she wanted to do, the size of art, the color she would use, what textures, tones, mediums and materials, it turned out perfectly and in great
complement to the interiors done by Kerry. There is so much intricate detail throughout the lodge: the screens in the dining area are woven screens done in the style of basket weaving, while the down lighters are styled as clay pots. In the bathrooms, stone sculpture basins give a nod to the Shona culture, whereas the copper bar (copper is found naturally in Zimbabwe) has ‘petals’, making it look like the scales on a pangolin. “The old lodge was constructed in a very different style,” Sara reminisces. “Essentially, we tried to use as much of the original foundation as possible so that we don’t impact the surrounding environment at all. Many of the columns are original, the footprint is original and so are the fireplaces. What’s wonderful with the way that Kerry designed it, is that she constructed it very much in nature, with an indoor / outdoor space.” Each suite opens up to a riverine view, with floor to ceiling doors letting in loads of natural light. Floors are made of tiny quartz petals, coated with resin and cover not only the bedroom through to the bathroom, but the outdoor spaces as well, creating a unit that feels like one beautiful flowing space. Every suite has
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its own plunge pool, perfect for a cooling dip on those scorching summer days. Our pool received lots of visitors, from birds, to warthog and the cutest bushbuck. “It’s about taking time, sitting on the banks of the Zambezi River,” Sara reiterates, “cooling down in your plunge pool while enjoying the outdoor terrace area. I’ve had a few people mention that the terrace is their favorite place in the world for an afternoon siesta. I absolutely love the bush, but also sitting at one of the dining tables, watching the birds go by or the water monitors come out of the river. We have clawless otters that live in the water and there is an overwhelming feeling of being connected with nature at Matetsi Victoria Falls.” Days at Matetsi Victoria Falls are best spent relaxing in your suite with all the superfluity and space you can possibly imagine, or on the back of a game drive vehicle exploring the vastness of Matetsi Private Game Reserve, which we willingly do. Our guide, Trymore, and tracker Crawford prove to be the perfect combination of knowledge and wit to make a drive loads of fun. We spot lots of giraffes and elephants aplenty on our drives, as well as very large troops of baboons drinking from the fringes of the Zambezi. Impalas and kudus go about their business foraging for seed pods. Late afternoon game drives yield the most spectacular sunsets and the appearance of nocturnal animals – a hyena with three very young cubs, leaving her den-site on the open plains to confuse any would-be scavengers hoping to harm her offspring. On our last morning, we take in the incredible sighting of two lion brothers having a nap in the tall grass. With the close proximity of the Victoria Falls, a visit to Zimbabwe would not be complete without seeing the wonder of ‘The Smoke That Thunders’. Every viewpoint showcases a different angle of the Falls, all of them breathtaking in their own right. Water levels rise and fall seasonally and it’s especially magnificent to see the bare rockface as it has been sculpted by the cascading waters throughout the years. A favorite remains the sight and sound of the water tumbling over the edge to reveal a variety of rainbows. Returning after a day of exploration or simply indulging in the joys of the bush, coming back to Matetsi Victoria Falls has a definitive tranquility about it. Whether it’s the exclusivity, the peace and quiet, or the Matetsi magic Sara speaks of. The Zambezi is good for the soul. Even more so, Matetsi Victoria Falls induces a feeling that is difficult to describe. Whatever it is, it’s worthwhile to soak it all in and believe me when I say, you’ll go away feeling revived and ready to face anything. Until your next visit. *** Views expressed are the author’s own. Thank you to Melissa Dive from Perowne International for arranging our stay and to Sara Gardiner and the staff at Matetsi Victoria Falls for their kind hospitality. 86 | UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2019
Airlink – How to Get There Airlink: Airlink is the largest Regional Feeder airline connecting the major cities of southern Africa with the smaller towns, cities and eco-leisure destinations. Airlink is a privately-owned airline with more than 25 years of customer-focused experience and a network of over 55 routes throughout the SADC region and St Helena Island. Route Specific Information: Direct scheduled flights from Cape Town to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Connectivity: Through our alliance with SAA, travelers can connect conveniently, effortlessly and seamlessly, with SAA, their Partner airlines and other carriers throughout Southern Africa and the world. Frequent Flyer Program: Airlink is a member of South African Airways Loyalty program -Voyager. Discover more: www.flyairlink.com Book Direct: https://www.flyairlink.com/destinations/ flights-to-victoria-falls
Chivas Brothers‘ exclusive
Speyside Whisky Collection | BY JARONE ASHKENAZI
hivas Brothers announced the launch of The Secret Speyside Collection, inclusive of 15 whiskies from four top distilleries. The release is its biggest range of single malts launched to date and features whisky from Caperdonich, Longmorn, Glen Keith and Braes of Glenlivet (Braeval) distilleries.
most elusive distilleries’ varying in age from 18-30 years. With a price range of $100-$900 per bottle, the collection consists of three rare Single Malts from each of Glen Keith, Longmorn and Braes of Glenlivet, together with three peated and three unpeated expressions from Caperdonich.
The quartet of whiskies has been described by Chivas Brothers as ‘four of Speyside’s
Hand-selected to highlight seldom-seen distilleries, this collection encapsulates the
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rare malts and unique histories of each distillery. The collection with be sold as an exclusive from July 2019 to July 2020 before coming to the global markets from summer 2020.
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