t h e l u x u r y m a g a z i n e f o r w o r l d t r av e l e r s
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a letter from the president
Why do you explore? In Texas, we welcome fall and winter with open arms. The changing seasons are a respite from summer’s sweltering heat, allowing us to draw a fresh breath and seek out inspiring new ideas. There are some things that never change though, like our commitment to handcrafting your trip of a lifetime. It’s this commitment to excellence, and your continued support, that earned Ker & Downey the top honor of the #1 Safari Outfitter in the World in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards this year. It’s an honor we don’t take lightly. We extend the same service and commitment to excellence that earned us the award to all corners of our world. Whether you are embarking on an authentic African safari, a tiger safari in India, or the great American safari, when you travel with Ker & Downey, you know you are traveling with the best. In this issue of QUEST Magazine, we are exploring some newer corners of our world, starting with the Destination Guru’s top pick—our home state of Texas. Get to know what the Lone Star State is all about as David Jones shows us that in true Texas fashion, everything really is bigger and the stars at night are actually big and bright. We are also taking a look at Alaska’s Wild Frontier, part of our newly launched North America product, for this issue’s ITINERARY. It’s the perfect all-ages escape into Alaska’s great outdoors. In this issue’s EXPLORATIONS section, writer Ann Abel gets back to the basics in Tanzania’s bush at Kwihala Camp where the focus is on an immersive wildlife experience, while Eric Rosen soaks up life on Zambezi River in Zambia. Kathryn Romeyn chooses a sampling of Australia’s greatest experiences for the ultimate adventure down under. Finally, Elizabeth Frels and Haley Beham prove that sailing the high seas has never been so chic with a roundup of the most intimate luxury cruises from the Mekong to the Italian Mediterranean. As always, Editor in Chief Martine Bury has also curated some incredible products to make your time abroad both chic and comfortable. She also conducted a host of inspiring and in-depth interviews with changemakers and travel icons like Botswana guide and co-owner of Uncharted Africa Safaris Co. Ralph Bousfield in our STYLE section. There’s a whole world waiting to be discovered, and no one allows you to experience it like Ker & Downey. Wherever it is you want to go, Ker & Downey is here to help you get there.
David Marek President
K ER & DOW NEY
let’s connect o n th e web quest.kerdowney.com
e xplor at ion s
62 luxe down under Kathryn Romeyn chooses a sampling of Australia’s greatest experiences for the ultimate adventure.
76 safari simple Ann Abel forgoes the bells and whistles and gets back to bush basics at Tanzania’s Kwihala Camp.
fac e b o o k
8 a-list The Season’s Must-have Experiences
10 arrivals Openings, Revamps and the Latest Travel News
The Guide Insider Secrets of Luxury Travel
style The Art of Jet-Setting
84 in the rough Eric Rosen soaks up the rhythm of life along the great river in Zambia.
96 sail away K&D Picks: The Most Intimate Luxury River Cruises
tw i tt er @QUESTmagKD
e m ai l email@example.com
p h one 800.423.4236 +1.281.371.2500
INSIDE VIEW: "This Etnia Barcelona shoot is a story about the face of South Africa. I looked for somebody I thought had the right look and presence to wear these sunglasses. My favorite image is of the tribal man with the dreadlocks and traditional dress with a commanding presence that matched that of a chieftain. The local people in this part of South Africa were extremely helpful, hospitable and had a great sense of humor. They are very handsome people with a great
sense of style and elegance." - Steve McCurry,
Sunglasses: WLA AFRICA05 BLGD etniabarcelona.com
Fresh Takes on Great Getaways
ON SPEC, pg. 25
Staff spotlight Katy Z. Heerssen Marketing Manager
Kingdom of Ice
114 the itinerary Alaska Adventure: Wild Frontiers
the shot One picture, one moment, one memory by photographer Mark Edward Harris.
A native Houstonian, Katy graduated from the University of Houston in 2005 with a degree in advertising and media production. Before joining Ker & Downey’s marketing team, she traveled to France, Monaco, Italy, and the Caribbean, and has since expanded her travels to Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Tanzania, and Dubai. Katy assumed the role of Marketing Manager in 2013. Outside of the office Katy volunteers with a local animal shelter, Special Pals and also enjoys exploring the outdoors with her family. At the top of your travel bucket list: New Zealand for some wine and wide open spaces!
on the cover: Samburu Woman, Kenya Photo courtesy of Stocksy | Hugh Sitton KER & DOWNEY
contributors B e k a h S tol h a n d s k e Mc N e e l Writer: The Experience
Travel is … worth it.
Bekah Stolhandske McNeel is a native San Antonian whose pursuits have taken her around the world. She earned her MSc in Media and Communication from the London School of Economics. As a freelance writer, Bekah has worked extensively with The Rivard Report, an online news magazine in San Antonio. She writes regularly for Texas Monthly custom publishing, and Ker & Downey's luxury travel blog. You can follow her on social media. @BekahMcneel Instagram @wanderbekah
M ar k Ed wa rd Ha rris
C h r is tia n Loa d e r
Photographer: The Shot
Writer/Photographer: Taking the Plunge
Mark Edward Harris’ assignments have taken him to 90 countries on six continents. His editorial work has appeared in publications such as Vanity Fair, Life, Time, GEO, Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR, Casa Vogue, GQ Thailand, Tatler Russia, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, and The London Sunday Times Travel Magazine as well as all the major photography and in-flight magazines. See his work: MarkEdwardHarris.com @MarkEdwardHarrisPhoto
Christian Loader developed a passion for marine life and diving in 2001 working as a volunteer on a coral reef conservation project with Coral Cay in the Philippines. After visiting Thailand and Indonesia, he ended up teaching dive courses in Borneo and quickly fell in love with the marine life of Sipadan and Mabul. During this period, his focus changed to taking photos and that led to him joining Scubazoo in November 2007. Loader’s underwater photography has seen him score several online awards as well as the cover of Asian Diver magazine. Currently he is the manager of The Digital Centre, the first video and photo center in Manado Sulawesi.
If I could instantly learn a new language, I would learn ... whale song. Understanding it would be pretty useful!
A n n Ab e l
Travel is … the best way to learn.
Writer: Safari Simple
Favorite plane activity: Writing. I find that I'm strangely creative and productive in the air.
Travel writer Ann Abel has written about more than 400 luxury destinations and hotels in 74 countries (and counting). Her work has appeared in Forbes, Departures, Conde Nast Traveler, Robb Report, Afar, National Geographic Traveler, Islands, Hemispheres, Brides, Modern Bride, Luxury SpaFinder, Tablet Hotels, Well + Good, and other publications. In the name of lifestyle journalism, she has gotten a tattoo in Bora Bora, been bitten by a massage therapist, and flown small aircraft above three continents.
Mart ine Bury Editor In Chief/Writer QUEST’s Editor in Chief Martine Bury is a journalist, travel and lifestyle expert and native New Yorker living in Los Angeles. She started her career on staff at Travel & Leisure, and her work has appeared in several publications and websites including Forbestravelguide.com, Vogue, Marie Claire and New York. In this issue, Martine curated and wrote the Style section, as well as a feature on the Ananda in the Himalayas Travel is … constant inspiration. 6
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rya n crosby Writer: The Drink Ryan Crosby is a professional musician based in Los Angeles. As a journalist, Ryan wrote numerous cover stories for 944 magazine interviewing celebrity musicians. It was there that he also got his start writing about food, wine and spirits. His love for travel became the perfect opportunity to delve into the heart of regional culinary cultures.
EDITOR IN CHIEF M artine B ury Co n tr i b u ti n g e d ito rs K AT Y H E E R S S E N david jones david marek Travel is … something I wish everyone could do more. There would be more empathy and love in this world.
Kathryn Ro m e y n Writer: Luxe Down Under Kathryn Romeyn is a writer, editor and curious traveler who calls Los Angeles home when she’s not on the road. She was formerly the executive editor of FOAM magazine, and before that an editor at two Southern California luxury lifestyle magazines. Her writing on beauty and wellness, travel and fashion can now be found in C, Elle Australia, Ultratravel U.S., The Hollywood Reporter's Pret-a-Reporter and Yahoo! Beauty, among other publications.
Favorite plane ride activity: Lately I’ve been obsessed with listening to the podcast, Serial, by This American Life.
Bria n Wolk & C la u de M ora is Writers: Hot Spot Together, Brian Wolk and Claude Morais are the creative force behind the critically acclaimed Wolk Morais fashion label. Their clothing can be spotted on celebrities including Kirsten Dunst, Cate Blanchett, Kate Moss, Rihanna, and Katy Perry. Whether on the road, traversing by train, or high above the skies via Montgolfier, nothing comes in the way of this dynamic duo’s search for creative inspiration.
Co py e di to r L ance elko PUBLISHER S teve M itchem ART DIRECTION & DESIGN AMY WILLIS PHOTO EDITOR L AU R E N M A R E K STAFF WRITERS HALEY BEHAM E lizabeth F rels katy heerssen B ekah stolhandske mcneel CONTRIBUTING WRITERS RYA N C RO S BY E R IC RO S E N CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS M ark edward harris LOGO DESIGN E R IC ROI N E S TA D
Travel is … freedom.
e ric rosen Writer: In The Rough Eric is a food and travel writer who contributes to the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Confidential Magazine, JustLuxe, Frontiers and The Points Guy. He is also the editor-in-chief of Cluster Crush, an insider’s guide to the world of wine from grape to glass.
Beach or mountains? Beach, I can't get enough of coastal destinations.
ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS: Thinkstock | Bartosz Hadyniak; Thinkstock | antonyspencer; Thinkstock | Gualtiero Boffi; Kurland Hotel & Spa; Rosenkavalier Stoyanova C Monika Rittershaus; Thinkstock | Akari Murata; iStock
KER & DOWNEY
a-list T he S eas onâ€™s M ust-h a v e Ex p eri ences
like Marco Polo through the river valleys and mountain passes of Mongoliaâ€™s untamed Khan Khentii, the birthplace of Genghis Khan and the stronghold of his favored grandson, Kublai Khan.
K ER & DOW NEY
By Elizabeth Frels
at the geological wonders of Iceland’s Lake Myvat, considered to be the country’s most beautiful and simultaneously catastrophic site, with its waterfalls, pseudo-craters, underground rivers, and “Dark Cities” of lava pillars and mystical sagas.
the perfect photograph during a spring safari in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley. The birthplace of the walking safari, this premier wildlife sanctuary is teeming with picture-ready zebra, leopard, lion, and elephant every Emerald Season.
to the arias of some of the year’s most sought-after operas from your exclusive seats at the illustrious Salzburg Opera Festival, an annual summer gathering of elegant music aficionados from around the world.
a mallet during a private polo lesson at Kurland Hotel & Spa’s internationally renowned championship polo grounds, a nostalgic South African country estate which plays host to one of the ten best polo matches in the world.
above the treetops of Costa Rica’s most active volcano, Arenal, on an aerial SkyTram journey to its perfectly cylindrical pinnacle—an unavoidable presence in the country’s northern lowlands.
the locally-produced beverages of Japan during a culinary exploration of Kyoto, with a private visit to a sake brewery shop and a special tea ceremony in one of the region’s remote temples.
Open in g s , Revamps a nd th e L a test Tra vel News
THE REVERIE SAIGON, VIETNAM Vietnam’s buzzworthy luxury hotel signals a new era of bold expression and urban design in a country primed for progress. Unveiled to intense acclaim, The Reverie Saigon overtakes a coveted 39-floor Times Square tower in the economic powerhouse of Ho Chi Minh City’s D-1 and secures its slot as a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. With one foot in Asia and the other in Europe, The Reverie radiates an extravagance rarely found outside of Venice, with an excess of marble facades, velvet fabrics and ornate handcrafted furniture from Italy’s finest design houses spread through its opulent 62 suites and 224 rooms.
K ER & DOW NEY
By Elizabeth F re ls & M a rt i n e b ury
THE LANGHAM, SYDNEY Reopened after an
extensive $30 million refurbishment, The Langham is officially showing off its fresh face to jetsetters. The big reveal is a showstopper— an open, art deco-inspired Calacatta marble foyer, an interactive cooking space with freestanding wine libraries and sophisticated high-ceilinged apartments with direct access to the Sydney Harbor. Other notable additions include the Palm Court, an elegant tearoom by day and electrifying jazz lounge by night, as well as the distinguished Chuan Spa with its all-inclusive holistic treatments.
SIX SENSES DOURO VALLEY, PORTUGAL
Photos courtesy of The Reverie Saiagon | The Langham | Six Senses Douro Valley | Angama Mara
Its reputation might be established in the East, but Six Senses has finally unleashed its award-winning luxury in the West with the new Six Senses Douro Valley, so chosen for its far-flung UNESCO beauty and its role as the world’s oldest demarcated wine region. Infused with Portuguese nature and Clodagh style, this 19th-century wine estate caters to the oenophile in all of us with ancient winery tours, nightly charcuterie and cheese pairings in the Wine Library and all of the planting, stomping, and blending activities you could crave. Even the spa menu incorporates the local grapes—a final homage to Douro’s fine wines and inimitable allure.
ANGAMA MARA, KENYA Angama Mara promises
the ultimate Out of Africa experience on the edge of Kenya’s famed Mara Triangle. Helmed by renowned industry leaders Steve and Nicky Fitzgerald—drawn out of retirement for one final splash—Angama’s 30 expansive suites sit suspended seemingly in mid-air on the edge of the Oloololo Escarpment, Africa’s most sought-after parcel of land for its private, unrestricted access and wraparound “forever views” of the Mara below. It is no wonder, then, why Hollywood chose this exact location to film the award-winning movie, capturing its enduring romance and nostalgia.
Africa’s ultimate water-based safari returns to resounding international delight. Nestled deep in the shifting channels of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Belmond Eagle Island Lodge reopens its doors following a ten-month overhaul. But don’t let its new contemporary look fool you. This is a true explorer’s camp, filled with displays of insects, birds nest installations, discoverer’s instruments and endless views across the delta and its teeming wildlife. The lodge’s motorboat and mokoro safaris also come with their fair share of luxury. Private plunge pools and helicopter safaris satisfy any adventurer’s appetite for drama amid the sights and sounds of the bush.
THE ST. REG IS VENICE SAN CLE M ENTE PALACE, Italy Floating in the Venetian Lagoon on its own private island, San Clemente Palace has held court as a regal address since the 12th century. After a meticulous $28 million, yearlong makeover by award-winning designers Hirsch Bedner Associates and GA Design, it reopened under St. Regis management and reinforced its reign as the city’s most exclusive luxury accommodation. From heritage terrazzo floors and Murano light fittings to a fleet of Riva boats and signature St. Regis Butler Service, the details add up to a fashionable island escape in the heart of Europe’s most romantic city.
SUIRAN, A LUXURY COLLECTION HOTEL, KYOTO Japan’s first Starwood Luxury Collection property introduces the brand’s exclusivity to the country’s world-renowned hospitality. Suiran might be joining an ensemble of more than 90 of the world’s most illustrious hotels, but its high-class ryokanstyle accommodation and historic Kyoto setting provide an authentic experience all its own. Occupying part of the grounds of the Tenryuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the intimate 39-room hotel is literally steeped in tradition and has even converted its ancient Hasshoken and Enmei-kaku structures into an onsite café and restaurant. 12
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Photos courtesy of St. Regis Venice San Clemente Palace | Belmond Eagle Island Lodge | Suiran, A Luxury Collection Hotel
BEL MOND EAG LE ISLAND LODG E, BOTSWANA
Photos courtesy of Lazib Inn, Baccarat Hotel | Lizard Island Resort
LAZ IB INN, e gy pt Egypt’s latest oasis resets the barometer for luxury in the desert. The brainchild of Olivier and Nanette Masson, Lazib Inn is a charming eight-suite Fayoum escape decked out in all of the citrine, turquoise, garnet, and sapphire embellishments normally reserved for royalty. Private deep soaking Jacuzzis, spa treatments galore, and gardenplucked cuisine are just the prelude to a truly spoiling stay, the finale being the persistent panoramas across the world’s oldest nature reserve on Lake Qaroun. Whether perched atop an Arabian steed or sailing on a private felucca, Lazib Inn’s guests stand at the gateway to the magical luxury and lore of the Egyptian desert.
BACCARAT HOTEL & RESIDENCES, NEW YORK Known for nearly 250 years as the preferred fine crystal setting to the grand palaces and dignified tables of the world, the legendary French artisans have launched their dazzling flagship, Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York. Designed by Paris-based duo Gilles & Boissier, this 114room crystal palace combines the elegance of its French heritage with the modernism of its midtown Manhattan address, a delicate feat achieved through its soaring silklined salons, priceless Parisian artwork, chic Chevalier restaurant, and lavish custom-made chandeliers and Baccarat crystal pieces woven throughout every space.
LIZ ARD ISLAND RESORT, AUSTRALIA In the spring of 2014, Lizard Island Resort surveyed the wreckage of Cyclone Ita and vowed to rebuild. Now, after a 16-month, $45 million refurbishment, Australia’s northernmost island beach resort has transcended all expectations in its sophistication-meets-shoreline luxury. Everything about the new and improved Lizard Island Resort is anchored in the uninterrupted natural beauty of its setting, an isolated escape flanked by powder white beaches, over 1,000 hectares of national park lands, and the endless coral-filled waters of the Great Barrier Reef. With 40 breezy suites leading directly to the sea, salt water-infused spa treatments and sunset seven-course beachside picnics, the wonders of the reef remain always at your doorstep. KER & DOWNEY
WHAT ’S NOW SOUTH AFRICAN STAYS
THE MARLY BOUTIQUE HOTEL, CAMPS BAY, CAPE TOWN Hollywood style arrives in Cape Town with the Kove Collection’s latest high-glam meets chateau-mod boutique hotel in Camps Bay. Named for one of Louis XIV’s most beloved estates, The Marly does not skimp on elegance with beach chic, ocean-facing interiors to take advantage of the abundant sunshine and gorgeous Twelve Apostles views. This swank atmosphere extends all the way to the poolside terraces and restaurants, especially at UMI, a lively Japanese dining room and lounge which just expanded to include the new UMI Whisky Bar, an 80-seater bar boasting over 100 varieties of whisky from around the world. Ocean-view room at The Marly
Boschenal Estate orchard cottages
LE QUARTIER FRANÇAIS, FRANSCHHOEK South African travelers rejoice! Le Quartier Français living has extended to Cape Town’s eminent V&A Waterfront. The wine estate’s newest selfcatering LQF Waterfront Apartments are the answer to an all-encompassing LQF Western Cape vacation, allowing guests to soak in the majestic views of Table Mountain and the marina in a fully outfitted studio or twobedroom apartment, only to retreat to Franschhoek at a moment’s notice for LQF’s legendary countryside relaxation and award-winning food and wine. While there, feel free to splurge at the Miss Molly Charcuterie Bar, the property’s trendy new, no-reservations spot featuring Neil Jewell’s famed charcuterie, artisan bread and tarts paired with Miss Molly wines.
GO: SOUTH AFRICA AIRWAYS Once again reasserting its place as the continent’s most celebrated airline, South African Airways (SAA) scored a slew of “Best Airline in Africa” awards from both Business Traveler and Skytrax earlier this year. These accolades came at a fitting time, too, as SAA closes out an impressive “Go See Southern Africa” 2015 campaign to underscore the region’s value and to ease the journey of getting there. Elements of the campaign included eliminating the necessity of yellow fever vaccinations and resuming premium nonstop Airbus flights from Johannesburg to New York City, making travel between Africa’s Big Five and the Big Apple that much more effortless. flysaa.com
WHAT ’S NEXT 100 Years of U.S. Nat ional Parks August 2016 marks the Centennial of America’s National Parks Service. The celebration starts early, kicking off a year of special events that promote conservation, recreation and historic preservation at over 400 national parks. From iconic Yosemite to aweinspiring Grand Teton, there is no better time to visit in style. Contact Ker & Downey to curate the perfect parks itinerary. For more information visit findyourpark.com.
K ER & DOW NEY
Photos courtesy of Boschendal Estate | The Marly | National Parks
BOSCHENDAL ESTATE, FRANSCHHOEK Welcoming overnight guests for the first time in 2015, Boschendal— a Franschhoek Valley National Heritage Site and cherished white wine and food destination—has created the ideal excuse for a romantic Winelands getaway with the addition of its stylish farmstay cottages. From the beautifully restored Cape Dutch Werf Cottages to the historic five-bedroom Rhodes Cottage built by Sir Herbert Baker for Cecil John Rhodes, Boschendal has assembled an authentically rural yet luxuriously contemporary collection of bucolic home-awayfrom-homes where guests are able to fully immerse themselves in the pastoral Cape lifestyle of picturesque farm trails, hidden wine cellars and charming verandah dining.
Photos courtesy of Matthew Kenney Six Senses | Lonely Planet | Phaidon | Paul Theroux | Taschen
What ’s New
Living Cu isi ne Makes a Spla sh in Thailand
Innovator and raw food chef Matthew Kenney’s trademarked tag line is “crafting the future of food®.” From being a much talked-about restaurateur to delivering inspirational TEDx talks, the world’s most sought after plantbased chef has built a formidable health conscious lifestyle brand that Coconut cake includes products, at Evason Hua Hin, Six Senses the planet’s first, classically structured raw food culinary academy and several hot eateries— from Maine to Mexico. Many of this visionary’s businesses bear a clever spin on his name and the letters M-A-K-E, which exemplifies everything he does. At the center of it all? Delicious, thoughtful and visually beautiful food. Fit, tan and dressed in black, Kenney is his best spokes model. “This food is the most aesthetically pleasing, great tasting, true gourmet food,” he explains. “The best meals I’ve had,
NOMA in Copenhagen or wherever I’ve traveled, are always pretty similar to ours—retaining the integrity and color of vegetables. We’re really just presenting it as it is. And you feel good after you eat it.” Now he has partnered with Evason Hua Hin, Six Senses’ luxury resort in peaceful Pranburi, Thailand to bring us the newest Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy program offering hands-on, weekend intensive courses in the art of preparing living foods like Raw Pasta & Sauces or Raw Cheese Chocolate & Desserts.
“Our company desires to be a big part of facilitating change so that the chefs and culinary institutions in the world realize there doesn’t have to be such a great degree of separation between health and great food,” says Kenney. On the menu, Chef has made sure that Thailand’s bounty takes center stage. “We use a lot of Thai coconuts, of course,” he says. “I’m really into doing plates that are influenced by local, seasonal produce. That’s a big part of what’s fun about it.” Stateside, Kenney is on a roll. Following the 2015 openings of Plant Food + Wine and Make Out in Los Angeles, and Dátil & Limón in Mérida, Yucatán Mexico—next stop will be the sexier sister, Plant Food + Wine in Miami. (MB)
From a color-splashed jaunt through India’s largest state to a meditation on the fabled American South, our favorite new books offer tons of travel inspiration. (MB)
Southern dispatches, unfiltered, from America’s most acclaimed travel writer Deep South: Four Seasons on the Back Roads by Paul Theroux A magical, photographic journey through Rajhasthan, architecture and interiors to handicrafts and jewels Rajhasthan Style $85 | assouline.com
A history-filled collection of 300 gorgeous maps spanning 5,000 years Map: Exploring the World $60 | phaidon.com
The timely and timeless 50th Anniversary edition of the lensman’s groundbreaking book on Africa Peter Beard: The End of the Game | $100 | taschen.com Andes to Amazon—a tasty exploration of the cuisine of the moment Peru: The Cookbook | $50 phaidon.com
KER & DOWNEY
the guide In s ider S ecrets of L uxury Tra v el
Scubazoo is an award-winning, independent production company world-renowned for their underwater cinematography and photography. This specialized team of passionate wildlife photographers is devoted to filming and photographing natural history as it unfolds in the big blue. Based in the city of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo and in the heart of the ‘Coral Triangle’, they produce high quality programming and publications that inspire people to enjoy, explore and protect the sea. In 1996, Scubazoo’s founders Simon Christopher and Jason Isley left London and began filming the stunning marine life of Sipadan Island in Sabah. Their mission from the start was to capture the immense diversity of life found in the world’s oceans with their underwater imagery, and to bring to the world’s attention the dire need to protect the marine environment for future generations. “We left the ‘rat race’ in London to pursue a new and adventurous career in the warm tropics,” the founders say. Their leap of faith paid off. By Christian Loader / Scubazoo.com 16
K ER & DOW NEY
Take the P lunge Use ScubaZoo’s top 9 tips for stunning underwater images.
Get as close to your subject as possible. Lighting and focusing is easier, resulting in a clearer, sharper, and more colorful image.
After you take each shot, review it carefully, adjust your camera and lighting settings as needed, and repeat. Your results will improve more quickly.
Be very careful not to damage the marine environment. Use good buoyancy skills, and don’t touch any marine life.
Shoot at a slightly upward angle to create more contrast. This creates depth between the subject and the background.
Experiment for more creativity.
When shooting video, keep the camera as steady as possible for 3–5 seconds, and try never to use the zoom.
Make sure you focus sharply on the eye of the subject.
Use a slow-shutter speed to create motion, try different lighting techniques, or try abstract photography, for example.
Also essential—adjust the ‘white balance’ correctly before shooting and after changing depth (unless using a video light).
Use an underwater flash (strobe), especially for macro photography. This restores color, creates contrast, and retains sharpness.
Have fun! Don’t get too caught up or frustrated with the technical aspects of underwater photography or videography–remember to enjoy your dive!
Eye contact is key to an eye-catching image.
"we want to bring to the world's attention the dire need to protect the marine environment for future generations."
Photos courtesy of © scubazoo.com
KER & DOWNEY
T he Destination G uru: I N T H E H E A RT OF T H E LON E S TA R S TAT E From where to go to what’s in store, KER & DOWNEY VP AND intrepid traveler David Jones scouts the globe and answers burning questions for those who live to go there.
D o y o u a r r a n g e t r i p s i n t h e Us ? w h e r e d o y o u s u g g es t we g o f i r s t ? h e n r y b e l f o r d, u n i t e d k i n g d o m
ometimes the most exciting and accessible destinations manifest themselves in your own backyard. Such is currently the case with Ker & Downey and our home state of Texas. For years, we have been laying the groundwork for operations in the United States, meticulously handcrafting itineraries and experiences that effectively impart our signature experiential footprint on this place we call home. We have achieved that goal and now offer our clients a mix of both luxury and adventure in Alaska, California, and the breathtaking National Parks of the Rocky Mountains and the American Southwest. It was especially important for us to incorporate Texas into that mix as well, to have the chance to show you “our” Texas. For these reasons and more, I am so excited to share what we now have in store in the Lone Star State. I have had the joy of living and traveling all over the world, but there is no doubt that my last 11 years in Texas have been among my favorite. Texas encompasses a multifaceted menu of features that go into creating a fruitful and fulfilling lifestyle: cultural vibrancy, delicious food, friendly people, and a certain ease of living that can only be described as wholesomely gratifying. Ker & Downey employees get it, and they come equipped with an arsenal of luxury-infused, uniquely Texan experiences to help you get to the big, charismatic heart of their home state. My idea of a truly once-in-a-lifetime Texas journey pairs modern trendiness with timeless natural beauty, the likes of which can only be found by traveling westward from the capital magnetism of Austin. The Live Music Capital of the World, Austin exists within its own little bubble of trendsetting entertainment, and The Driskill—the city’s most iconic and supposedly most haunted hotel—offers an exclusive downtown address that puts you close to some of my favorite spots like the SoCo food trucks and the renowned 6th Street music halls.
K ER & DOW NEY
Photos courtesy of Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau | Texas Tourism
ust west of Austin, the eclectic buzz of the city is traded in for the rolling Texas Hill Country, a region known for its dance halls, antique saloons, and authentic charm. I can’t visit here without a stop in Dripping Springs for some of Salt Lick’s barbecue feasts or a drive down Highway 290 for tastings at some great little wineries. Don’t miss a sunset on top of Enchanted Rock, whose 425 feet offer a 360-degree glimpse of the epic size and beauty of Texas. Probably the most unexpected surprise Texas has to offer is hidden out west, where the minimalist sculpture of Marfa collides with the mountainous expanse of Big Bend National Park—a meeting of natural and manmade beauty. This is one of the hottest up-and-coming U.S. destinations for its offerings of bygone adventure and unique creativity. You can’t say you have been here without a photo in front of the lone Prada Store sitting amid the desert landscape or a dinosaur fossil souvenir from your hike through Big Bend National Park. This is a place where you can still feel the impressions of pioneers, miners, ranchers, and Native Americans ... where television only exists around a campfire ... and where the stars truly are as big and bright as our famous song suggests.
Photos: Above: Greetings from Austin Mural; Top: The Driskill Hotel in Austin; Top right: The boutique Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa; Right bottom: A chef prepares barbeque
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W E L L N E S S : U LT I M AT E DE S T I N AT ION WOR KOU T S By Mary Bemis
With a focus on fitness, luxury spas are raising the bar for guests who want to stay in shape. From dedicating more space to smart new fitness facilities with top-of-the-line equipment, to creative classes for achieving specific goals, to taking it into the great outdoors—more resort and hotel spas are offering serious fitness programs for guests who place a priority on health and wellness.
Reboot You r R out in e In the ancient port town of Veli Losinj sits the simple and contemporary Vitality Hotel Punta, in Mali Losinj, Croatia. You can’t beat the location: Situated above the sparkling Adriatic Sea, this 45-suite, 244-room hotel was especially designed with health and fitness in mind—all programs are conducted under the watchful eyes of the stellar expert staff. A big plus is the cuisine. Here, one may choose from menus that include vegan, macrobiotic, vegetarian, low-carb, gluten-free, and more. The staff includes a medical doctor and a sports dietician who can help you choose what’s best for you. There’s plenty to keep you fit and healthy: an outdoor Olympic length saltwater pool overlooking the sea; 13 clay tennis courts; a water-skiing school; wakeboarding; an outdoor artificial climbing rock; aerial yoga, Pilates and the like; exercise rooms that are real training facilities staffed by expert trainers (the gym, the PBS Centre of Sports Excellence offers more than 3,000 special Body Techniques and the newest cardio equipment and isotonic machines); and plenty of coastal walking paths and hiking trails. This hotel, that prides itself on its sustainable efforts, is ECARF certified, meaning it is allergy-friendly quality tested. Of special note is the unfussy spa zone that uses natural and organic Croatian skincare lines.
Cy cle Throug h H istory If you love to cycle as much as I do, then put Mallorca’s Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa at the top of your list. Whether you're a weekend cycler or triathlon trainer, the hotel offers the special opportunity to cycle through a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s even a bicycle repair shop on property! Choose from a variety of offerings including one called Peak Performance, designed by triathletes. You’ll really be able to zero in on your fitness goals with the help of the hotel’s able personal trainers. Hop on an excellent road or mountain bike, and choose an outdoor excursion over all kinds of terrain for all levels of rider. Don’t forget to book an exquisite massage afterward in the sumptuous Talise Spa.
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Enhance Y our P hy sic a l Therap y R e g im e Hotel Adler Thermae is a gem in Tuscany fit for serious spa-goers, and to me, it offers the best of everything: a true European thermal bathing experience, a sophisticated spa, amazing wine tastings in the property’s cellar, fantastic Tuscan fare (think lots of local produce), and some excellent options for immersing oneself in nature. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are wonderful new four-to-seven-night programs, including trekking in Tuscany (the most difficult circuit is nearly 26 miles) and hiking tours in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of d’Orcia, as well as a road bike week with professional bikers from April on. Of special note are the Medical Spa and Fitness programs that include physiotherapy and therapeutic treatments overseen by a staff of 40 members and medical doctors. For example, there’s the Harmonizing Backbone Treatment, the Healthy Back program, Hydrokinesiotherapy (a kind of kinetic therapy in a heated pool), and something called Tecar Therapy, meant to stimulate the body’s natural repair mechanisms. And if you’re feeling adventurous, don a pretty headscarf and take yourself out for a spin in one of the hotel’s legendary classic convertibles—Alfa Spider, anyone?
Comb ine F oc use d T ra in in g w ith G r e at A r c h ite c tu r e One of the best urban spa and health retreats to answer the call of the fittest is the new space at Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon. There’s a full 400-meter track located atop the roof of this chic urban property that offers pretty spectacular views over the city and the Tagus River. The new, sophisticated 7,5 00-square-foot fitness center is also located rooftop with floor-to-ceiling windows, top-of-the-line equipment, and a team of the city’s best professionals. Two studios within the center offer Pilates and Resistance Training—and there’s even a room dedicated to physical therapy with all of the best technology in physiotherapy. Within the Ritz Spa, you’ll find an 18-meter indoor pool and lounge area, as well as some of the best spa therapists—some of whom visit from sister Four Seasons located around the globe, bringing a taste of their country and special healing arts with them.
Mary Bemis is a leading spa and wellness expert. She is the founder of InsidersGuidetoSpas.com, enjoys hiking and biking, and believes a good workout is the best cure for jetlag.
By Elizabeth Frels
When it comes to smartwatches, Android and Microsoft might have a manufacturing head start, but Apple’s wearable has a sleek gamechanging edge. First, looks matter when choosing an accessory—even one that’s this utilitarian. Sleek and chic, the Apple Watch has a full suite of customizable aesthetic options. With three types of watches, two wrist-alternating face sizes (38mm and 42mm), six different adjustable bands and 11 timepiece configurations, there is a style to fit any setting and personality. For the fashion-forward traveler, there’s an 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition and a classic Link Bracelet option. A light yet durable anodized aluminum Apple Watch Sport and sweat-resistant Sport Band alternative suits the intrepid adventurer. Specifically designed to work in tandem with the iPhone, models 5 and above, the Apple Watch has a single remarkably compact S1 SiP chip with the latest version of iOS 8, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0, which means you now have the power to seamlessly consult with iCloud or Siri, transfer calls to another device, track your daily fitness activity, receive glanceable updates and text messages and check your weather forecast or calendar. All this from your watch—it basically eliminates the need to obsessively take out and check your iPhone or iPad. Its intuitive interface falls in line with the products in the Apple family, but it has been totally reimagined to suit its small flexible sapphire retinal display. New developments include wrist-raising display activation, unobstructed fluid navigation via the Digital Crown (or dial) and Force Touch electrode technology to distinguish between a tap and a press. 22
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Tech talk aside, here’s what’s in it for people on the go. Pair all of this with Apple’s unparalleled library of travel-friendly apps, and things get interesting. • Boarding a plane for a shopping trip in Barcelona? Store your boarding passes in the Apple Watch’s Passbook app and utilize ApplePay to securely pay for your finds with just a touch of your watch. • Driving along the coast of New Zealand? Fire up your route on your iPhone’s Garmin app and navigate the journey from your Apple Watch via a combination of on-screen map directions and wrist “taps” to signal upcoming turns. • Capturing the perfect wildlife photograph on an African safari? Apple Watch can act as a viewfinder for your iPhone’s camera so you can snap incredible pictures from afar. The basic model of the Apple Watch begins at $349 for the entry-level Sport model, with the exclusive Apple Watch Edition costing up to $17,000 for the luxe 18-karat gold versions. It keeps time to +/- 50 milliseconds and has a battery life of approximately 19 hours, depending on usage.
Elizabeth Frels is Ker & Downey’s in-house travel writer and adventure enthusiast. Based in colorful Colorado, Elizabeth has an unwavering passion for culture, creativity, and cuisine, as well as an ever-evolving love affair with the Rocky Mountains, bike commuting, the local library, game nights, and red wine.
Photo courtesy of Apple
T E C H NOLO G Y: HOW TO USE YOUR APPLE WATCH AS A MINIMALIST TRAVEL TOOL
MORE SPOTS IN AFRICA
As Africaâ€™s leading airline for over 80 years, South African Airways offers the most flights from the U.S. to South Africa, including daily nonstop service from New York-JFK and daily direct service from Washington, DC-Dulles to Johannesburg. Our extensive route network in Africa provides for convenient flights to over 55 destinations throughout the continent. Come experience our legendary award-winning hospitality and see why we have earned a 4-Star rating from Skytrax for 12 consecutive years.
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style T he Art of Jet-Setting
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Curated and written by Martine Bury
Tr ave l Bol dly Look sharp while you’re on the move.
We’re inspired by Memphis revival. All about eye-catching geometric motifs, saturated colors, mixed materials and clean design— the 1980’s modern design movement makes a big impact once more.
On Spec Wild Love in Africa Sunglass Collection In collaboration with the NGO Africa Rising Foundation, launched by Ndaba and Kweku Mandela in 2009, a portion of sales of Etnia Barcelona’s collection of luxe, wildlife inspired lenses benefits development in Africa. Legendary photographer Steve McCurry—who shot the unforgettable image Afghan Girl—brought vivid, visionary style to the campaign. Here, McCurry’s muse is Johannes, a South African painter, expressing himself in living color via accessories that pop and shades cool enough to go anywhere.
Chic, cozy comfort tucks into your carry-on. Kelly Wearstler Fractured Luxe Throw in baby alpaca $495 | kellywearstler.com
For more images from the shoot and eyewear styles, visit etniabarcelona.com
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Fresh florals, warm spices and bubbly notes exude optimism and the sleek, bright bottle packs nicely. Freeworld, An American Oriental 33ml, $165 | regimedesfleurs.com
A waterproof, breathable, streamlined and high-tech must style for the slopes. Bogner Menâ€™s Ski Jacket Cork-T $1,599 | shop-us.bogner.com This color-blocked take-along has attitude. Longchamp Artwalk Cuir Tote Bag $885 | us.longchamp.com
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B l ac k C a r r y- o n
The hallmark of a savvy globetrotter? Efficiency. Bring it all onboard in a forever case thatâ€™s tough and lightweight.
Rimowa Topas Stealth Beauty Case $850 | rimowa.com
Lipault Premium 4-Wheeled 22â€? Carry-On, $259 | lipault-us.com
Tailored & Swift
Victorinox WT Dual-Caster Garment Bag, $480 | swissarmy.com
Briggs & Riley International Carry-on Expandable Wide-Body Spinner $519 | briggs-riley.com
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G ear U p Backpacks aren’t just for school days any more. The 21st century’s “it” accessory is a traveler’s hardest working friend.
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Tanner Goods Wilderness Rucksack in Obsidian | $425 | tannergoods.com
Minaal Carry-on Bag $299 | minaal.com
Lotuff Leather Menâ€™s Backpack in Chestnut | $1,300 | lotuffleather.com
Mansur Gavriel Backpack in Brandy $745 | available at By George 512.472.5951
Balenciaga Classic Traveller Backpack | $1,765 | barneys.com
Osprey Farpoint 40 in Charcoal Grey | $150 ospreypacks.com
Valextra Cortina Backpack $3,740 | valextra.com Valextra, 833 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10021, 646.649.5336
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Quite naturally, Carlos Souza, worldwide brand ambassador for the legendary fashion house Valentino, has turned his passion for travel into an art form. He’s been quoted as saying “In my past life I was the assistant of Marco Polo.” Also CEO and creative director for his jewelry design company Most Wanted Design, Souza is easily a mix of many things—early adopter, family man, social wizard, curator, editor, writer and genuine optimist.
Two 21st century versions of a travel diary, both media give us a peek into his jet-set world of destinations and celebrities—as well as a dose of Souza’s joie de vivre, characterized by an infectious smile and energetic, intuitive approach to any subject. Even in pictures, his warmth and effortless style is evident. You feel like he is your instant friend.
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Photos courtesy of Carlos Souza
His vibrant, visionary collection of Instagram travel images #Carlos’s Places (Assouline 2014) was a hit among the fashion crowd, as his feed on the influential social media platform is an inspiration for anyone with wanderlust. “It is a book of my travels through the year, all registered in my iPhone,” he says. “All that I see that inspires me.”
Tell us something we don’t know about you. I am very punctual. Where is home? Rome, New York City and Rio Home away from home? Home away from home is Hotel Costes in Paris. When did you take to Instagram? I started using Instagram six months after its launch. I do have fun and post a lot of images. It’s very inspiring. But as with Facebook—and I barely see [Facebook] nowadays—I'm sad to see advertising on our pages. I’m ready to move on. Why do you think it’s important to share your travel experiences this way? Again, everything I see inspires me and I hope my postings inspire a few friends. People say they can feel my positive energy through my postings. What is the best thing about your job? The constant travel, and lots of friends to salute, is sometimes tiring. But it’s also very addictive. My professional life follows the way I see the world. It is a wonderful playground, constantly inspiring me with its myriad of choices and offerings of entertainment. Let's have a laugh. How do you define style? It is an innate quality. Many are born with it and many study hard to learn. Style can be tamed and polished with time. How have your interest and insights about travel changed since you first discovered this could be part of your work? When I was young, I always traveled far with my eyes and my mind. The physical aspect came later. The best place to stay? All the Aman resorts with their impeccable style
What is your favorite city in the world and why? Can I choose two? Rome—eternal and beautiful. And Rio—fabulous nature and sexy city.
Your favorite restaurant and signature dish, anywhere? I love Italian food more than anything. Al Moro in Rome has a legendary carbonara called “Spaghetti Al Moro.” Still, as I travel, I love to discover new dishes and plates from the regions I visit. I am a gourmet gourmand. Carlos’s Places is also an amazing travel guide. How do you keep a running document of your favorite restaurants, shops, beaches, etc.? I am always taking notes and getting information from local friends. What is your top survival tip for a long flight? The best thing to do when you get to a city is to hit the gym and drink lots of tea and water. I love waking up early, and I work 24-7 on my cell. There is always a new email from someplace on the globe arriving in my inbox. Even with jet lag, I always stay on top of my office game. I am proud to answer emails often, no later that 5 minutes after receiving it. Plane, train, automobile or bicycle? All of the above plus boats, yachts and sailing. Is there a place you consider to be your muse? Love Istanbul. Love Kyoto. Love St. Petersberg. What is your mantra? I see beauty everywhere. Do you have a favorite treasure from your travels? I have many—a rice bowl from Tokyo, an opium bed from Hong Kong and candlesticks from Kyoto. How do you unwind? At my farm in Brazil, next to Rio, there's no cell or computer reception. It’s just my garden, my pruning and my horses. (mB) KER & DOWNEY
Passion Points Model and mogul Josie Maran brings a global point of view to the beauty industry, and empowers women along the way.
orthern California native Josie Maran’s journey began as a high profile model, jet setting to glamorous locales for photo shoots, magazine covers and campaigns. On a trip to the south of France, she discovered Argan oil and began to research its healing properties—long before it was a beauty ingredient buzzword. Inspired by traditional uses of this wonder oil in Morocco, where Argan trees are grown and the oil is produced, Maran launched Josie Maran Cosmetics in 2007. Following her eco-conscious ethos, the first goal was to develop a skin care and makeup brand that was nontoxic, gentle and organic—but 100 percent effective. The second thing she accomplished was to create a sustainable business model supporting economic advancement for the women’s cooperatives that produce the oil, which requires intricate extraction by hand. As the company grew, it evolved into a formidable advocate for various international causes, from the Natural Defense Council’s Polar Bear SOS Initiative to efforts with More Than Me campaign, which funds education for girls in Liberia and has been a key player in the fight against Ebola in the region. Maran, who was raised by a mother who championed a holistic lifestyle, explains her unique evolution as an entrepreneur. This is something she was born to do.
Our passion for making the world a better and more beautiful place is the fuel that drives me, and everyone at Josie Maran Cosmetics. 32
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Which countries have left the biggest impression on you in terms of the people, the environment and the culture? India is wondrous. I could spend years exploring India and learning from all of the ancient teachings. Where would you like to go next? New Zealand
Photos courtesy of Josie Maran | Thinkstock | Antagain
How did your travels as a model inspire Josie Maran Cosmetics? When I was traveling the world on modeling shoots, I would always ask if they could substitute what they used for healthy, natural cosmetics, and they said no such thing existed. Then I discovered Argan oil, and started creating high-performing, luxurious, healthy formulas based on “The Moroccan Miracle Moisturizer.” I created Josie Maran Cosmetics with its “Luxury with a Conscience” philosophy. Best of all, I proved the doubters wrong. I knew I wanted to create my signature line that was both good for the skin and not detrimental to the environment. How did Moroccan Argan oil come to be the centerpiece of your brand? Argan oil is magic. It comes from the nut of the Argan tree that only grows in the semi-desert region of Morocco. It’s super high in anti-oxidants, vitamin E, phenols, phenolic acid, essential fatty acids, carotene, and squalene. I use it on everything and for everything. We joke that if you’ve got a squeaky door, all it needs is a few drops of Argan oil! It’s perfect for all kinds and all ages of skin and hair. It’s been clinically proven to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, redness and sun damage. It’s in almost every product we make.
What are the best products in your line for women on the go? I always carry my Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oils with me wherever I go. They are perfect because they add a pop of color to both your lips and your cheeks in one travel friendly tube. My Argan Enlightenment Illuminizing Wand makes enlightening easy and hydrating. And my Bear Naked Wipes for easy makeup removing, cleansing and refreshing. Name three products you always have in your carry on. Infinity Creamy Oil, Argan Oil, Protect and Perfect Daily Moisturizer with SPF 47 What inspires you? People that say “yes” to life and take initiative to create something different and beneficial. What is your mantra? “Less is more.” It always reminds me to just keep life simple and to appreciate the details and nuances of what’s right in front of me. (mB)
Why is passion important to Josie Maran Cosmetics and its success? Our passion for making the world a better and more beautiful place is the fuel that drives me, and everyone at the company. It is the instigator for innovation and excellence. What are your favorite destinations? I love Bali, India and Hawaii.
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Bo u s f i e l d We catch up with Botswana’s rock star guide for a quick chat about life and style in the bush.
In safari circles, Ralph Bousfield is the ultimate influencer.
The co-owner of Botswana-based Uncharted Africa Safari Co. is a fifth generation guide, known for his deep-rooted commitment to Africa’s wildlife and ecology, as well as the preservation of the native Bushmen culture in Botswana. His father, legendary crocodile hunter, adventurer and conservationist Jack Bousfield, brought wild imagination and creative vision to safari— a sense of the extraordinary that made a way of life into a lifestyle. After the senior Bousfield’s tragic death in a 1992 plane crash, Ralph spearheaded the building of Jack’s Camp in the Kalahari Desert’s striking Makgadikgadi Pans. The camp has gone on to influence the layered luxe of modern safari lodges—antique Persian rugs, starched white linens and the family’s collection of museum-worthy curios. Together with his partner, designer Caroline Hickman, Bousfield launched a safari-perfect apparel line in 2013, called Hickman & Bousfield. True to its creators, sumptuous but hardwearing natural fabrics distinguish the collection.
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Photos courtesy of Ralph Bousfield | San Camp | David Crookes
Raiph Bousfield on safari
What are some of your most striking early memories of growing up in Botswana? Being out on safari for months on end seeing extraordinary wildlife and wild places, but no people. It was truly a privilege, during the late 1960s and to mid-1970s. The wildebeest migration in the Kalahari where we lived was close to 2 million animals, let alone the springbok, zebra, oryx and hartebeest. How do the culture, topography and wildlife of the country still inspire you today? The people of Botswana hold traditional values yet they are modern and progressive. We are so lucky here. It is an enormous country almost the size of Texas, but with human population of about 2 million people. That leaves enormous places with open spaces for animals, people and one’s imagination to run wild. The wildness is real and the wild areas have always been wild—that is very evident when you visit. How has it changed? Since independence, Botswana has developed in a very positive way with emphasis on good governance, minimal corruption and care for the people and wildlife. With the inevitable organization, many wild areas have in turn become wilder.
If everything has a story, how do your treasured objects at Jack’s Camp and San Camp honor the generations? They honor the generations because they’ve been collected by generations. It’s as simple as that.
Do you have a piece that is particularly special to you? My black snakestone. My father never went anywhere without one. He carried it around his waist in a pouch. And it’s the same pouch I held on to in order to pull him out of the crash.
Do you consider yourself a curator? I guess in a way some people might call me one. I have a bunch of items that have been collected over generations. Some of the pieces have incredible history and a story to them. It may not be a museum for everyone but to my family and me, these are pieces we treasure.
What are your favorite pieces from your line? My favorite piece is my tailored khaki cotton moleskin bush jacket. I can wear it in the Kalahari as well as in the Marrakesh nightclubs. It looks great, but in the bush it’s thick enough where it won’t get caught on thorns.
How did your father influence you and your personal style? My father taught me everything I know. He taught me how to hunt. He raised me in the bush, and taught me so much about the African wilderness. Without him I wouldn’t have such a rich understanding of the safari.
Travelers often go overboard with the idea of safari clothing and over-do it. What do people really need to bring with them?
Speaking of your personal style, it’s amazing. How did you come to love certain fabrics, layered bracelets, cuffs, necklaces and pendants? Some of the fabrics I’ve come to appreciate because they're both practical for the safari, and fashionable. The bracelets, cuffs, necklaces and the pieces I wear are not just for aesthetic appeal—most of them are significant to me. Some of my bracelets are carved with shamanistic symbols.
It’s important to be practical. I’m a supporter of fashion, and I think its great travelers go crazy about dressing the part. But all the extra accessories just to “look good” are unnecessary. It’s important to dress comfortably and to be ready to embrace the adventure. (mB)
Hickman & Bousfeild apparel San Camp Guest Tent
Style seeker Kathryn Romeyn discovers the heart of Bali behind the scenes at the conscientious luxury jewelry label’s verdant island compound.
Many Bali visitors stick to its paradisiacal perimeter, lounging on daybeds with exotic cocktails. Some also take a break from the surf and sand to tour Ubud, the Indonesian island’s cultural heart known for yoga, traditional dance and artisan crafts galore. But, as was stressed to me and I discovered firsthand, my trip to this magical Hindu isle would be incomplete without a visit to the John Hardy compound. And no, loving jewelry is not a prerequisite to delight in the socially and environmentally-friendly label’s beautiful community. The headquarters of the luxury jewelry company (started in 1975 by its Canadian namesake) are a 20-minute drive from Ubud through the brightest green rice paddies I could ever imagine. I heard raucus roosters crowing and birds, lizards and other critters chirping in the breeze welcome me, just beyond giant banyan trees and orange flags (John Hardy’s signature shade of the fiery hue). Immediately I spot the natural elements echoed in the extensive collections of made-by-hand jewels: the Kali (“river” in Balinese) baubles mirror the smooth river-stone path I walk on, and one of the most recognizable motifs, bamboo, shoots up around me. It turns out the brand has planted close to one million bamboo seedlings on Bali since 2007—part of a commitment to reducing the carbon footprint and providing resources for this developing country. 36
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Built to have minimal impact on the land, the showroom resembles a giant ship gracefully floating over fertile rice fields.
Bamboo is the foundation of the two important structures. Built to have minimal impact on the land, the showroom resembles a giant ship gracefully floating over fertile rice fields. Next, there is the glass-sided design studio, which was actually the bait that lured creative director and head designer Guy Bedarida here in 1999. When Hardy flew the Frenchman out in a bid to woo him from Van Cleef & Arpels, “we saw this beautiful building that was about to be destroyed,” Bedarida tells me. “I thought it would be incredible for the design department. John said, ‘Okay, why don’t you accept my offer and this will be your office?’ And in fact that happened.”
Photos courtesy of John Hardy
Of course, the airy structure we’re walking through—very slowly, since I’m completely in awe of the designers' painstaking hand-drawing and painting new creations per French tradition—wasn’t the only incentive. There was the island’s rich art industry. “I thought the intricately handwoven signature chain was something exceptional,” says Bedarida of the label’s now-iconic design. “In my mind the art of the Balinese is an incredible achievement.” Then there’s the singular environment. “What’s magical in this country is the people who are always smiling and always happy,” says Bedarida. “Do not forget, I was coming from New York City and Paris—Bali is really an incredible source of inspiration and happiness.” Beyond making jewelry destined for heirloom
status he was inspired to create an apprenticeship program with a local orphanage for aging-out teens who can’t attend university. “My grandmother always told me, ‘It’s important to learn a skill because someday it could save your life.’” That mantra stuck with him, and now he’s giving young people opportunities they couldn’t have dreamed of. Walking around the production facilities I feel like a kid in a candy store. Every bit of the process is intriguing, from the tools—made from old motorbike rims and customized by the artisans—used to carve the emerald-hued wax molds and the hundreds of tiny pieces being joined with tweezers and a flame to the artisans hammering, braiding or massaging recycled silver and gold. The final glittering products in the woven bamboo–floored showroom are icing on the cake. Idyllic doesn’t begin to describe the lush grounds that house some 650 employees, many of them Indonesian. But it’s the sense of community that truly makes this
place. Everyone sits together in three lunch shifts for a family-style meal prepared by five-star chef Pat Ngurah in an outdoor, electricityfree, wood-burning kitchen. “Every day in Bali is about celebrating and blessing,” I’m told as we walk past gardens, livestock and temples to the long shaded table where visitors are invited to dine alongside management. “It’s a big moment to share our lifestyle with people from all over the world,” explains Bedarida. With that we savor homegrown vegetables, rice, fish cooked in banana leaves and a dessert of cassava (also from these grounds) drizzled with brown sugar syrup. Just like the food, the jewelry is refreshingly local and original, and constantly evolving—watch for woven straw, rosewood and enamel in the newest designs. Even better, what you see is not all you get: The reverse side of many pieces features intricate scenes depicting Bali life. “It’s very important to give something authentic to our customers— something made with love, passion and inspiration and completely by hand,” says Bedarida. “The back grill makes the piece even more special because they have the little secret of what’s going on inside. I think that’s beautiful.” Just like these jewels, I realize John Hardy is even more alluring once you see the inside.
Dot Wide Cuff from by Kathryn Romeyn KER & DOWNEY
WAKE UP WHEN YOU HAVE TO. NOT WHEN YOUR NEIGHBOR DOES. Your sleep should always be as nonstop as your flight. Which is why Delta offers more BusinessElite® flat-bed seats with direct aisle access than any other airline, so your slumber will never be interrupted by an “Excuse me” again. And with Westin Heavenly® In-Flight Bedding, your shut-eye will be as comfortable as it is long. So go ahead and settle in–the only thing that should wake you up is your destination.
EXPERIENCE MAKES FOR A STRONGER TAILWIND.
Discover Se r e ng et i H o us e & Sing ita E xp lore i n s i n g i ta G r u m e t i , Ta n z a n i a
Singita Explore has six spacious guest tents and two large tents for dining and relaxation, allowing for two camps to be operated at the same time depending on the number of guests. As few as two people can book one camp and have complete privacy, while a second camp can be set up elsewhere in the reserve for a separate party. All tents have luxurious, layered interiors, with attention to detail enhancing the sense of generosity and comfort. With a private guide, chef, camp host and camp staff, activities can be arranged on a whim, game drives may be as long (or short) as you choose, and interactive bush walks can be done spontaneously too. For families, the wonder attached to each new discovery in the bush creates precious bonds and priceless memories. A couple of nights under canvas at Singita Explore followed by a few at Serengeti House, maximizes time spent in the reserve for guests wanting exclusive use. Although quite different, what the two experiences have in common is a level of privacy and exclusivity that meets a growing demand amongst global travelers for fluid, flexible schedules that donâ€™t have to be shared with anyone else.
C o n tac t K e r & D ow n e y o r yo u r t r av e l s p e c i a l i s t to i n c lu d e S i n g i ta i n yo u r n e x t c u s to m j o u r n e y. 800.423.4236 |
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flights Fres h Takes on Grea t G eta wa y s
Josh Scott, founder of Moa Beer KER & DOWNEY
lay ov e r:
a ms t e r d a m Food lover Cindy Augustine discovers there is time to explore beyond the canalriddled city known as “Venice of the North”—even on a quick jaunt.
A traveler’s biggest regret about going to Amsterdam shouldn’t be anything that goes on in the Red Light District, but rather not seeing more of the country. Side trips to Rotterdam and The Hague—and other quaint, smaller Dutch villages—are easily within quick driving distance and worth a day spent in each. With its canals and classic Dutch architecture, Amsterdam is a contrast to the modern skyline of Rotterdam and the sophistication and royal inflections found in The Hague. Here are the top spots to check out across the Netherlands.
Photos courtesy of iStock | jeremyreds | Van Gogh Museum | De Kas
EAT & DRINK No trip to the Netherlands is complete without a cheese tasting. Head to the tasting room at Reypenaer for a sampling of the finest fromage under the guidance of a pro. Michelin-starred Chef Ron Blaauw has opened a casual urban eatery, Ron Gastrobar, which highlights the chef’s take on cuisine—high-quality but approachable, no frills but delicious—paired with a solid wine list. It’s an obvious choice for a casual dinner. For a slightly more experiential meal, opt for De Kas, which is housed in a greenhouse and uses organic ingredients grown onsite. Complete with prix-fixe options for lunch and dinner, the nouveau Dutch menu has a Mediterranean slant and the setting is remarkable—as green and forward-thinking as the cuisine itself—and is worth checking out during daylight hours to fully absorb the beautiful space.
SEE While works by Van Gogh and Vermeer attract tourists and art lovers alike to the city, museums showcasing other regional arts shouldn’t be discounted. Start with a canal tour (we recommend the Blue Boat Company) and be sure to explore the Museum of the Canals, which lends insight into why the Amsterdam canals are so unusual and special. Farming the City’s food tour is also an easy way to get a feel for Amsterdam’s culinary offerings, from farmers' markets to futuristic chocolate shops. But art, of course, is a must-do. Van Gogh Museum showcases the best of Vincent and his contemporaries, while the newly renovated (and nearby) Rijksmuseum houses the works of Dutch artists such as Vermeer and Rembrandt, from the Middle Ages to today, and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam exhibits modern art and design. KER & DOW NE Y
The stunning Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam Van Loon suite
STAY Set on Amsterdam’s canal ring at the Herengracht (Gentleman’s canal), the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam is comprised of six historic 17th and 18th century townhouses making up a 93-room hotel that’s just under a year old. With a prime location near shopping and restaurants, the hotel is also a calm respite and features a private garden and rooftops—not to mention a peaceful spa by Guerlain, heated pool and brand-new on-site restaurant, Goldfinch Brasserie, named for the famed Fabritius painting (and subject of a Pulitzer Prize winning novel) and helmed by executive chef Sidney Schutte. If the Waldorf reflects Amsterdam’s history, Hotel Okura represents Japanese luxury, set away from the bustle of the city in a high-rise building (also along a canal). Okura features four notable Michelin starred restaurants, including the excellent traditional Japanese Yamazato, as well as Nagomi Spa & Heath for overall relaxation and spa treatments plus a Turkish steam bath, indoor pool and Jacuzzi. Also look for on-site cooking classes at this East-meets-West designed hotel, situated conveniently near the airport.
Photo courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
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One of the oldest hotels in Rotterdam, The Hilton underwent a major refurbishment in 2013 and was upped a star. Situated in the city center on the Coolsingel overlooking the Hofplein fountain, it’s an ideal stay for business travelers but also tourists who want to be in the heart of Rotterdam. Old Luxor Theatre, which houses cabaret, music and other theater, is right across the street and is the oldest theater in the Netherlands. While most of the city was destroyed during World War II, Luxor was one of the few buildings in the city to go undamaged.
Simply taking in the post-modern architecture of Rotterdam is the best way to soak up some culture and get a feel of the city. Architect and local guide Michiel Groothoff does an excellent job of navigating this port city, the second largest in the Netherlands. Along the way, stop at the still-new Markthal, a housing and food market hall that took five years to build and features shops, restaurants, over 200 apartments and millions of visitors each year. Don’t miss the Kunsthal Museum, a striking glass and steel space housing a rotating collection of modern and older art as well as design, photography and fashion exhibitions.
EAT & DRINK
Michelin-starred chef Erik Van Loo is supervising the on-site restaurant, The Park, situated in the Bilderberg Parkhotel. At once upscale and modern, the menu is as approachable as the chef himself, who is a pretty big deal to foodies in Rotterdam. Look for tasting menus featuring Van Loo’s take on contemporary European cuisine that is as straightforward as it is surprising. It’s worth a stop for non-hotel guests, too.
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Rotterdamn’s vibrant urban scene
Photo courtesy of The Escher Museum | istock | BrasilNut1
THE HAGUE SEE
Culture abounds in many forms in The Hague. Louwman Museum, under a half hour from the city, houses over 250 historic cars in a building designed by Michael Graves. Even non-car lovers will appreciate the impressive collection. Equally eye-catching is the Panorama Mesdag, the largest painting in the Netherlands with a 360-degree painting of a seascape from 1881. The sheer size of it matches the illusional view. No stranger to optical illusions, the work of the great M.C. Escher is on display at the Escher Museum set in a former 18th century palace. Nearby is the stunning and ever-popular Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer at the Mauritshuis gallery. While there, don’t miss The Goldfinch by Dutch painter Carel Fabritius. Tour guide Remco Dorr can be trusted for an insider’s look at the city.
EAT & DRINK
For the best view — quite literally — in the country, opt for drinks at The Penthouse, perched 40 stories above the city atop The Hague Tower, the highest building in Holland. Step out on the veranda and take it in. With a seasonal menu that changes almost daily, Restaurant Basaal offers contemporary Dutch cuisine in a modern yet comfortable setting. This is a favorite among locals and run by a charming couple. PS: the cheese plate is divine.
Designed by French architect Jacques Garcia, Hotel des Indes right in the heart of the city is a history lover’s dream. A former palace operating as a hotel, this luxury accommodation has hosted political figures, royalty and celebrities since opening its doors in 1881. Find updated amenities like a spa, pool and health club but note that tradition still abounds in details like daily high tea, an elegant service that shouldn’t be missed. The hotel is situated within walking distance from shopping, museums and the royal palace.
The Escher Museum
OFF THE BEATEN PATH: If you’ve done it all and want to explore outside the cities, we’ve got a few must-dos.
Somehow chef Jonathan Karpathios’ food outshines the stunning view and tranquil setting of Vork en Mes, located on a pavilion that appears to float on a lake. Farmto-table fresh is the best way to describe Karpathios’ cuisine: a testament to his mission to eat and serve what he can grow. Vork en Mes is slightly off the beaten path but absolutely worth a stop for a meal.
With a hip library, excellent hotel restaurant and built-in gourmet food shop within the lobby of a former armory, Stadshotel Woerden is a 25-room boutique hotel that belongs in any cool city (think Brooklyn or Copenhagen) but just so happens to be situated about halfway between Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
The largest and most opulent castle in the Netherlands, De Haar Castle dates back to the 14th century, was destroyed in the 15th century and was restored and rebuilt in the late 19th century. The Neo-Gothic building and lush grounds are beautiful and impressive at once.
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TRIBAL HOTE L Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, the fashion worldâ€™s much-followed designertastemakers known as Wolk and Morais, balance Granada, Nicaraguaâ€™s old world charm and 21st century luxury at a celebrity escape.
Poolside at the Tribal Hotel 48
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o r n e l i u s Va n d e r b i lt e s ta b l i s h e d t h e f i r s t c o mm e r c i a l r o u t e f o r Am e r i c a n s to t r av e r s e N i c a r a g u a b y r i v e r, l a k e a n d l a n d a s a s a f e r, m o r e e f f i c i e n t pa s s a g e f r o m N e w Y o r k to S a n
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s e v e r a l w e e k s f r o m t h e t r i p. T h e r e ’ s a n e w g o l d r u s h: a r a c e to e s ta b l i s h N i c a r a g u a a s t h e n e x t h ot to u r i s t d e s t i n at i o n. W h e n w e h e a r d J e a n M a r c H o u m a r d, p r o p r i e to r o f t h e l e g e n d a r y I n d o c h i n e a n d A c m e i n NYC, a n d h i s lo n g t i m e c o l l a b o r ato r, I va n C u s s i g h, w e r e o p e n i n g
Photo courtesy of Tribal Hotel
T r i b a l h ot e l i n G r a n a d a, w e f e lt t h e i mm e d i at e u r g e to i n v e s t i g at e. After landing in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital city, we met our driver and headed east one hour to Granada, the nation’s cultural center. Arriving at Tribal Hotel was a magical experience. Like Puck in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, we were transported into another universe, one that was personal and luxurious yet decidedly unpretentious. We quickly understood why Tribal Hotel is becoming the celebrity getaway for Hollywood A-Listers, including Halle Berry, who recently paid a visit to the property. After entering the hotel through wrought-iron gates and mahogany doors, we were treated to the big reveal—the black and white tiled foyer, a vehement testament to Mr. Cussigh’s signature eclectic style, filled with indigenous Nicaraguan smoked pottery, modern Central American art and exquisite customdesigned furniture. The amicable staff escorted us to our suite, which was not only impeccably-decorated, but had all the creature comforts for the discerning first class traveler, including Egyptian linens, an exotic wood writing desk, hand-woven rattan lamps, and a handsome slate bathroom and dressing area worthy of any visiting prince. After settling in, we stepped out onto our private balcony to enjoy perfectly prepared caipirinhas made with the delectable local rum Flora De Cana.
All rooms include a private terrace
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Photos: Top: The colorful Cathedral of Granada; Below: A traditional horse and cart on the streets of Granada; Left: A hot breakfast at the Tribal hotel; Opposite page: Jicaro Island EcoResort restaurant
T h e n e x t m o r n i n g w e w e r e awa k e n e d b y the bright Nicaraguan sunrise and the s o u n d s o f t r o p i c a l b i r d s a n d m o n k e y s. We made our way down to the courtyard, where the beautiful staff styled in white caftans served us a three-course breakfast of tropical fruits, croque madame and locally grown coffee, which rivaled that served in any of the best cafes in Paris. After some pleasant morning confabulation with the other guests about Nicaraguan native Bianca Jagger, we ventured outside the compound and explored the streets of this romantic city. A labyrinth of sights sounds and smells, Granada still maintains its own unique and unspoiled identity. The clip clop of horses and oxen, still a primary form of transportation, harkens back to a time when humans actually relied on each other and animals without the assistance of technology. After a stroll through the colorful Central Market, we ascended a 16th-century spiral staircase to the top of the bell tower of The Iglesia de La Merced, one of the oldest churches in the town. We enjoyed magnificent panoramic views from our perch high above Granada, extending from the shores of Lake Nicaragua to the mountains cloistering the city to the north.
Photo courtesy of Tribal Hotel | iStock | Joel Carillet | Mlenny
That evening, on the recommendation of our host, Ivan, we decided to dine at Granada's finest restaurant, Expressionista. Located in the genteel consulate neighborhood, this former colonial mansion turned eatery is overseen by culinary alchemists Andreas Lazar and Puzsar Zoltan. Their creative and delicious palate abstracts and incorporates flavors of various world cuisines, including those of Asia, Latin America, Germany and France. The breathtaking dining room, open kitchen and lush courtyard offer casual elegance and position this Grenadian restaurant and its pioneer proprietors on the frontier of the neo-Nicaraguan gourmet movement. In the morning, after studio visits with local craft artisans responsible for the decor of Tribal Hotel, we journeyed through the pastel painted streets to the outskirts of town in the direction of El Cemeterio de Granada, the city’s very own Pere La Chaise. Known to be Central America’s oldest and most extravagant burial ground, its sprawling campus filled with grand mausoleums, marble religious sculptures and a small-scale reproduction of Notre Dame de Paris. Promenading through the meticulously manicured paths of these ethereal memorials truly connected us to the spirit and distinctly decorative nature of the city and its people. As the warm sun reached its apex we meandered our way back to Tribal Hotel where we slipped into our bathing suits, snacked on freshly-prepared tapas and enjoyed a dip in the handcrafted tiled pool. In the cool shade of the banana leaves we enjoyed our afternoon lounging on daybeds surrounded by objets d‘art in the outdoor living room and courtyard. Our journey came to a close and we reflected on all we had learned about this wonderful city and people. A land of enchantment, warmth, nature, and beauty, Granada is at a crossroads with the future.
G r a n a d a’ s S w e e t E s c a p e: Jicaro Island
Located on an isleta (a mini-island) in the center of Lake Nicaragua, Jicaro Island Ecolodge is the jewel box of all the eco-resorts in Nicaragua. The brain child of Karen Emmanuel and executed by Architect Mathew Falkiner, this tiny little island 15 minutes from downtown Granada is robust with culture and design. The micro-resort has only nine duplex luxury tree houses with all of the modern amenities including large windows, mosquito netting, luxury bathrooms and custom handmade furniture. If you fantasize about being a settler on a fantasy island, a 24-hour excursion to this beautifully landscaped micro resort with eco-chic cuisine and the beautiful views of Mombacho Volcano is for you.
G e t t i n g T h e r e: Fabulous Flights Delta Air Lines offers the most Latin American destinations nonstop from LAX. Our journey from Los Angeles to Managua was flawless. The first-class voyage began as we sipped Central American coffee (a foreshadowing of what was to come!) under the beautiful rotunda of their LAX Sky Club. After a delightful rest we were picked up at the club and whisked to our plane via Porsche, never stepping foot in the airport, thanks to Delta’s VIP Select service. After ascending the staircase and entering the plane, we had a glass of champagne, enjoyed a steak dinner, watched Delta Studio inflight entertainment and reclined in our enormous seats en route to Nicaragua’s capital, Managua. KER & DOWNEY
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An a nd a in the Himalaya s QUEST’s Editor in Chief Martine Bury checks into the world’s most famous spa.
The majestic Ananda in the Himalayas
A quick flight from Delhi to Dehradun’s relaxed airport delivered me to another world. It was 2pm. The air was clear—distinctly temperate. I must have looked the way I felt. A mustached man dressed in a crisp, white suit and red turban, smiled from ear to ear and greeted me in an assertive whisper. “Do you get carsick?” he asked, loading my bags into the trunk of his car. My usually intrepid self responded no. But he knew better as he carefully wound up the mountain road to Ananda in the Himalayas, telling me stories of the wild animals, which reside in the alpine woodlands flanking our path. The sunlight filtered through the tall tree trunks. I spied a golden langur monkey, perched on a branch, preening his luxurious creamcolored coat, casually watching us with yellow eyes and regal black face. My driver explained that these creatures are considered sacred. He also talked about traffic and the best time of year to spot a wild elephant. He had succeeded in keeping me completely distracted until we pulled up to Ananda in the Himalayas. I’d arrived to the world-famous, Oprah Winfrey sanctioned, luxury retreat withered but intact. 52
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Photos courtesy of Ananda in the Himalayas
wa s travel weary. After a whirlwind tour in India, I found myself over-stimulated by the dizzying colors of streets. The sputtering whiz of tuk-tuks and motorbikes, the heady spice and lavish ritual of Ind ia n cuisine and the exhilarating crush of humanity—which defines everyd ay life here—had taken their toll.
“This is a wellness destination of the highest order, built to reboot the mind and body.” Located in the Himalayan foothills , Ananda Spa at first sight looks like what I imagine to be mythical Shangri-La—manicured gardens, leafy sal trees and aged colonial architecture—so peaceful and expansive. This is a wellness destination of the highest order, built to reboot the mind and body. At the entrance, Mala beads were draped around my neck at reception in the Viceregal Palace. The traditional prayer necklaces you run into throughout South Asia are used by both Hindus and Buddhists in meditation—and believed to calm the mind and the soul. I’ve always been drawn to these necklaces, so I considered us off to a good start. The impressive palace of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal in the state of Uttaranchal is the home of Ananda in the Himalayas. Historically, the illustrious home hosted the likes of Mahatma Ghandi and, most importantly, spiritual leader Ma Anandmayi, for whom the spa is named. Founded by Ashok Khanna in 2001, the spa’s backstory is a combination of mythology, vision and hard work. Khanna wanted to create a world-class holistic destination that stayed true to India’s varied wellness principals and spiritual tradition, which are a way of life. Melding the pillars of Yoga, Ayurveda and Vendanta (life philosophy) was as important as setting the highest standard for luxury. The retreat is fortunately located between Haridwar, which the Hindu mythology cites as the Gateway of the Gods, and Rishikesh (the epicenter of yoga), in the Garhwal region. After settling into my Garden Suite, I changed into crisp, white kurta pajamas—my uniform for the week—and headed to the spa for the Ayurvedic and Wellness Consultation with a certified Ayurvedic doctor. Our conversation was thorough. I divulged my medical history and confessed to my indulgent travel writer’s lifestyle—which is defined by lots of eating, wine drinking, planes, trains, lack of sleep and the stress of deadlines. We came to the conclusion that I had the traveler’s “bug.” My doctor explained that what would follow was a very structured treatment schedule, customized to my current needs and my dosha. By the time I left his tiny office, the entire team at Ananda from the chef and servers at the restaurant to the spa staff and yoga instructors were informed as to whatever I needed and when I needed it. By day two, they even figured out where I liked sitting for my meals. While it’s possible to make individual requests at Ananda, like champagne with dinner, it’s encouraged that you stick to the plan they create for you. Often, the chef checked in with me at meals to see how I was feeling and make adjustments accordingly. I couldn’t remember another time I was so catered to in my life outside of being spoiled by my grandmother as a child.
Photos: Left: A relaxing massage at the Ananda Spa; Right: Symmetrical architecture and lush grounds create a soothing atmosphere
Colorful peacocks inhabit the grounds.
Mornings began with warm lemon and ginger tea (meant to rev the metabolism) delivered to my room. From my balcony, I looked at the mist breaking over Rishikesh, the place where the Beatles got into transcendental meditation. I watched the resident peacock preening in the garden below me while I sipped my hot drink and determined whether I’d walk to yoga class before breakfast. With its hand-painted wild floral motif and brilliant blue, the outdoor Yoga Pavillion’s aged ceiling became my favorite sight to see each day. So I made it there, eventually. A ‘rigorous’ daily spa schedule consisted of multiple treatments in specific order, detoxifying everything. I left some treatments feeling like I’d had quite a workout. After others, I felt loose and blissed out. While there are a number of cutting edge modalities and pampering bodyscrubs, massages and baths on offer, I found the traditional Indian and Tibetan treatments to be beautiful and profound. In a serene treatment room, decked in dark wood and sumptuous linens, the spa therapists would sing a blessing in harmony, and then delicately coax sound from a metal prayer bowl. For Choornaswedana, healing oils were applied followed by a bundle massage with hot herbal poultices meant to rid the body of toxins, boost circulation and relieve pain and stiffness. I’d submitted to Abhyanga back home in the States and on past trips to India at luxury hotels. Aimed at regulating blood pressure and inducing deep relaxation, this ritual of synchronized, “four-handed” oil massage by two Ayurveda therapists was far from watered-down at Ananda. To address my constant, racing thoughts, a warm stream of oil was poured over my forehead. This anti-aging therapy called Shirodhara is intense, rejuvenating and brings clarity to the mind. It also regulates sleep patterns. Each night, I planned to arrange for a therapeutic hot bath in my room after dinner. Instead, it was always lights out. For those who need more action, life at Ananda doesn’t have to be contemplative. My personalized yoga classes and Vedanta lectures were complemented with fitness training and incredible, long treks guided by a naturalist. Because Ananda is the retreat of choice for Delhi’s wellto-do families, I found a sense of connectedness as I watched parents and their teenaged kids lounge by the pool, playing cards and drinking fresh lime sodas. When I needed to plug back into unfiltered India, Ananda had a driver whisk us down to Rishikesh for shopping and taking in the massive local evening ritual, Ganga Aarti, along the banks of the sacred Ganges River. Shoes off and watching the sunset, I marveled at the size of the crowd and depth of spiritual devotion. To get back to our car, we joined the throngs of people crossing a wide bridge on-foot. We disappeared amidst lazy cattle and laughing children in the dark. I emerged, healed and happy. 54
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The brilliant blue outdoor Yoga Pavillion
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Bella Cucina Two top chefs give us a quick primer on Italian regional cooking. By Martine Bury
Italy boasts the world’s most successful, and popular, culinary tradition. Chef Vito Mollica of Il Palagio at Four Seasons Firenze and Chef Mette Williams of Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills’ Culina restaurant share their expert (and very passionate) insights on Italy’s most beloved foods.
What are some of the most famous? Mette Williams: I would say the most recognizable regions are Lombardy for its hearty risottos, braised osso bucco and polenta. It is also a cheese region producing Gorgonzola, Taleggio, Provolone and many others. Another region is Emilia-Romagna, known for Bolognese and Parmigiano Reggiano. Prosciutto di Parma and other cured meats are staples of this regional cuisine. Fresh and dried pastas, porchetta, artichokes and carbonara all hail from Lazio. Tuscany is known for its fine olive oils and Pecorino cheese and the infamous “panzanella” Chef Mette Williams salad is said to be from this area. Campania equals pizza, buffalo mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes. Puglia is a great farming region. There is a lot of production year round so I feel that this area eats more fresh simple cuisine than that of other regions that have harsher weather conditions. Finally I would say Sicily. There is a lot of meat eating on that island. There are also almonds and blood oranges that lend to the cuisine as well. The Sicilians claim to have created the meatball called “polpette.” Is there one thing that unifies Italian cooking? VM: Use of great quality extra virgin olive oil. Where are your favorite Italian dishes from? MW: Lasagne is one of my old favorites. It originated in Naples, Campania. What are the influences on your own cooking? VM: I am originally from the south of Italy and my family moved to Lombardy when I was 6. At home, the cuisine didn’t change. My mum has always cooked her recipes of our region Basilicata, without experiencing new things. I built my cooking skills in northern Italy, so I would say both areas have had a relevant influence in my cuisine philosophy. In Lombardy, I discovered butter cuisine, wine cooking and risotto. Liguria influenced me a lot with its light and well-balanced cuisine with vegetables and first fruits. Tuscany taught me how to cook steaks, legumes, offals and the farmer tastes. Piedmont inspired me with truffle; porcini mushrooms, boiled mixed meat and braised meat. Chef Vito Mollica
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Photos courtesy of Four Seasons | Thinkstock | Michele Alfieri | iStock | tarfullhd
What are the dominant regions when it comes to the Italian foods we know? Vito Mollica: Italian cuisine is not only regional; I’d rather say its origins are domestic. From northern to southern Italy, every region has its own rich variety of products and recipes. Most likely, the regions which have influenced the knowledge of Italian cuisine abroad are those of the mass migrations, that is to say the southern regions with their very tasty cuisines: pizza, sauces, meatballs or pasta with Bolognese sauce. During the second stage, it was the time of the migration of great restaurateurs and chefs who brought abroad more refined cuisines, such as those of Piedmont, Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna.
MW: I tend to identify with the aforementioned regions. Not being Italian myself these are all the foods I grew to love here in the states through my family’s interpretations. What makes Italian food so unique? VM: Each region has its typical ingredients, its historical and geographic influences. For example, Basilicata has a Spanish and Greek influence, whereas other regions have Arabic, Lombardic backgrounds and so on. Moreover, some regions enjoy a microclimate, which is better for certain ingredients that therefore tend to be more used. Also, we need to remember the long coasts of Italy where there are more seafaring cuisines. As a lover of food, what is your favorite region in Italy in terms of eating? MW: I’m a fan of Puglia and EmiliaRomagna. I think of Puglia’s fresh pasta, olive oil and burrata cheese. There is also a lot of seafood in this area. As we travel through Italy, what are must-trys? VM: Veal with tuna sauce from Piedmont; Eggplant parmigiana from Campania; Pesto Genovese from Liguria; Bean soup from Tuscany; Veal Saltimbocca from Rome; Veal ossobuco.
Squid ink pasta with king prawns
try this itinerary
A TASTE OF ITALY Ker & Downey’s quintessential Italy food and wine tour, plating up the finest culinary delights and bottled vintages from Tuscany, Rome, and Sorrento.
| Day 1-3 | V illa S an Paolo
| Day 4-6 | Park Hotel V illa G razioli
S orrento | Day 7-10 | G rand Hotel de la V ille KER & DOWNEY
New Zealand ’s Beer Trails
Ryan Crosby samples Kiwi craft brews off the beaten path.
Photos courtesy of Moa | Emerson’s Brewery
A road less traveled by visitors to New Zealand, a private beer tour has the cache of a well-kept secret, full of interesting characters and gratifying flavor. Along the way, a private driver made it easy for me to appreciate the landscape dotted with sheep stations and too many trees to count. And definitely, having someone else at the wheel helped too. New Zealand is a land unlike most that you will find on the earth. Tremendous mountains surrounding green vistas and beautiful blue bodies of water, with very few people cluttering the place up. But they did have a problem that many countries around the world had until recent times—a boring beer selection. A low alcohol content and conventional lager taste dominated the taste buds of Kiwi drinkers for decades until the micro-brew trend picked up steam. A land that is vast with beautiful vineyards and amazing wineries, from Central Otago to Marlborough, has seen an uptick in brewery tours that rival their grape-y counterparts. The Craft Brewing Capital of New Zealand Some of the first notable micro-breweries started popping up in the sunny seaside town of Nelson. Located on the upper South Island, Nelson is the epicenter of the craft beer movement, both in numbers of breweries and plentiful hop growth. This is the ideal place to dive into beer tourism and follow the Nelson Beer Trail on a private tour to taste some of the finest micro-brews the country has to offer. East of Nelson, Marlborough is an essential stop for beer and wine tourism. Josh Scott in this famous winemaking region founded one of the more popular brands, Moa Beer, in 2003. No slouch in the winemaking department, New Zealand’s fertile vineyards pepper the landscapes of the countryside. Influenced by techniques and flavors from North America (specifically California), and also from Australia and various European countries. Moa has a diverse selection of brews that reflect all of the popular flavors we have grown to love, including the very trendy Cider craze that is finding favor internationally.
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Josh Scott, founder of Moa Beer
One more must-do in the Marlborough region is Renaissance Brewing, which was founded in 2005 by Southern California natives Andy Deuchars and Brian Thiel. Working out of the Grove Mill in the bountiful wine country of Blenheim, the duo quickly made their name with two trophies at the BrewNZ Beer awards, two of their great flavors being the StoneCutter and Elemental Porter. The Blues, Brews and BBQ’s Festival in February is a popular summer event to get a tasting if you want full immersion. Inspiration in Christchurch’s Foodie Hub For those seeking a simpler exploration of the Kiwis' budding beer traditions without all of the driving, grab a seat at a pub that has its own micro-brews on tap. It’s common in New Zealand for pubs to be attached to the brewery, and a perfect way to soak up the local flavor and meet the craftspeople behind it. I was lucky enough to sit with the owner of Pomeroy’s Old Brewery Inn, Steve Pomeroy, in Christchurch, a city that has been rebuilding since a catastrophic series of earthquakes in 2011. Pomeroy’s Pub was designated the best in Canterbury in 2014, and while they serve great food, no doubt one of the main attractions of this neighborhood favorite are the 31 beers they keep on tap, including Pomeroy’s brand lagers and porters as well as Beer Baroness label, which is his daughter’s noteworthy brand. The property
Moa Brewery in Marlborough
"Clearly, beer has become a matter of national pride." features boutique accommodations in the heart of town. Situated next to the pub is the brewery, which once housed the famous Ward’s brewery. The building tells one great rebirth story in this city of new beginnings— as the simple, red brick structure was built out of an old firehouse from the late 1800s. As we smell various hops he uses to make small batches, Pomeroy’s passion for brewing is palpable. Clearly, beer has become a matter of national pride. Frank Zappa famously said, “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline.” I find his sentiment to be true in this case. New Zealand has done a spectacular job with both.
Blaze the Kiwi beer trail on a luxe, personalized tour. Contact kerdowney.com for details.
where to stay Nelson, Abel Tasman: Edenhouse Luxury Lodge 213 Thorpe-Orinoco Rd Ngatimoti 7196, New Zealand Christchurch: The George 50 Park Terrace, Christchurch Central Christchurch 8013, New Zealand Pomeroy’s Old Brewery Inn 292 Kilmore St. Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
side trip If you’ve got the time, explore the South Island’s second largest city and make the pilgrimage to Dunedin on the Otago harbor to sample something really special. Emerson’s Brewery in Dunedin produces a beer that’s heavy in flavor, again also inspired by their brewer Richard Emerson’s influences from overseas. The brand started with the London Porter (a continual fan favorite), combining European malts with the flavor profiles Kiwis favor. After winning a bevy of awards in 2015 at the BrewNZ competition, they are currently building a new brewery to host tastings of one of the finest beers in New Zealand. It’s set to open July 2016. Emerson’s Brewery beer selecion
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R I V E R C R U I S I NG Asia
Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer
Unlike any other ‘cruise’ holidays, Sanctuary Retreats employs only the ﬁnest ﬂoating boutique hotels with a limited number of travellers to create a private, club-like atmosphere. Secluded docks, personalised service, and carefully designed itineraries in each location oﬀer you the ultimate in river cruising. On board, your expectations will be exceeded, whilst outside, there’s a whole new world for you to discover. Explore the most celebrated section of the Yangtze River in China on board Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer or visit some of Southeast Asia’s least-seen temples and villages along the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin Rivers in Myanmar.
Contact your Ker & Downey travel specialist to learn more about these authentic Sanctuary Retreats river cruise journeys in China and Myanmar. 800-423-4236
explorations “ Tra v e l is fat al t o prej u dice, bi gotry a nd na rrow-mind ed ness. ” – Ma rk Twa i n
Photo courtesy of LionKara Pride in the Serengeti | Paul Joynson Hicks Rosenlund KER & DOW NE Y
Poolside at One&Only Hayman Island
Luxe Down Under Kat h r yn Ro m eyn c h o o s es a s am p li ng o f Aust ral ia’s g reat est exper ien ce s fo r t h e ul t im at e ad ven t ure.
We overuse superlatives, reciting words like “awesome” and “amazing” until they are, ironically, meaningless in the face of something actually magnificent. It is during a week visiting three of Australia’s top destinations, overloaded with out-of-thisworld sights, experiences and flavors, that I come to this realization. “Cool” simply doesn’t cut it when you’re sailing the Whitsunday Islands alongside a 180-degree rainbow as the sun sets in a baroque blaze of gold, mandarin and lavender.
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Photos courtesy of Shangri-La Sydney
The Melting Pot Flying into Sydney, I catch my breath as sunlight gleams off the elegant scalloped shells of the famous Opera House and glitters over the sailboat-strewn port leading to the 134-meter-long Harbour Bridge. (The world’s largest steel arch bridge is worth a walk, if not a climb, for adrenaline junkies.) In Sydney you are never far from water. I get closer by checking into Shangri-La in The Rocks, the city’s 18thcentury historic district. I’m confident I have the best
view—a 180-degree aerial panorama from bridge to Opera House—in the entire city from the 35th floor of the sophisticated 565-room hotel. But my spacious blue and silver-hued perch can’t claim the only photo-worthy vista: the hotel’s revamped Horizon Club offers the same top-of-the-world lookout from 30, along with afternoon tea, canapes and bubbly. After a crystal-aided realignment courtesy of Chi, The Spa’s Healing Chakra Treatment, I make it to 36 in time to watch the sky turn a breathtaking shade of orange.
Opposite page: Bayview of Sydney; Right:Coffin bay oyster grilled sea foam; Below: A chef prepares fish
Here at Altitude restaurant, high above the sparkling city, time ceases as leisurely courses stretch on until almost midnight. Each locally sourced plate is impeccably presented, like the black slate that artfully holds delicate kingfish, icy blood orange granite, gazpacho “caviar,” crispy turnip leaves and violet petals. Not one but two desserts, cheese and truffles follow my braised Riverina lamb. Blissfully satiated, I barely make it under the silky sheets of my justfirm-enough king bed. A jam-packed day of sightseeing offsets last night’s indulgence, starting with the peculiar kangaroos, majestic giraffes, sleepy koalas and hilarious monkeys at Taronga Zoo. During a fascinating Opera House tour I anticipate the conclusion to the legend of its construction as I would the climax of a nail-biter. Bubbles at the recently redone Opera Bar and a stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens follow. Later I visit Marque, in hip Surry Hills, for an epic adventure in innovative new Australian fine dining. Owner Mark Best is a gold mine electrician-turned-chef who cut his teeth in France before opening this awardwinning restaurant in 1999. Inside the elegant dining room, the wine-paired nine-course degustation menu begins with a sea urchin and salmon mousse bang. Courses follow highlighting virtually every protein imaginable, from spanner crab with almond gelee, popcorn powder and herring roe—a dish Best credits as the first time he “found his voice”—to crispy fried octopus, bass grouper with dehydrated scallop “scales,” and impeccable seared Wagyu sirloin with gherkins.
Photos courtesy of Marque | QT Sydney
Like Los Angeles, the capital of New South Wales is made of suburbs, each with their own charms. I pop into a hot spot: the 200-suite QT Sydney, a former theater now lined with vintage movie posters, colorful furniture and a gift shop of curiosities. A trip to the award-winning SpaQ for a tarry in the hammam-inspired steam room and a tension-melting Mastery Massage eases my travel weary muscles. There are heaps of luxury designer boutiques, countless cafes and top restaurants just steps down the bustling sidewalk. After a gin cocktail in the QT’s hip streetside Parlour Lane Roasters (order a flat white by day) I’m introduced to Sydney’s beautiful people, food and wine at the brasserie-style Gowings Bar & Grill upstairs. The low-lit dining room is buzzing with conversation and music; chic diners crowd around the glowing metallic bar as I devour beer-steamed prawn cocktail, spit-roasted chicken, black truffle mac and cheese and spicy Tasmanian Pinot Noir.
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The Northern Territory The next day takes me from an ocean-centric city of 4.5 million to a sea of red dirt in the middle of nowhere—460 kilometers from the closest large town, to be exact. I’m literally seeing red as the plane lands and I catch my first glimpse of Uluru, the immense, iconic rock at the heart of Australia’s outback. My eyes stay glued to the ancient Northern Territory landmark—a 348-meter-tall sedimentary sandstone mass surrounded by rusty desert—as I step into the warm breeze. Immediately I’m whisked through the thick heat into a black SUV, A/C cranked up. On the short drive to Longitude 131° I learn that while it’s frequently called Ayers Rock, Uluru is its original name, given by the indigenous Anangu tribe. The inimitable monolith is the focal point here. We pull up to the intimate, all-inclusive Baillie Lodges resort where I’ll be glamping, with heavy emphasis on the “glam” part. Amid red dunes, pristine white peaks mark the 15 recently renovated, beautifully appointed “tents,” main lodge and pool. Over a lovely flower-strewn lunch of beef tatami, chicken with pistachio quinoa and Western Australia rosé, I gaze at the now–rusty orange rock. Later, over canapés and cocktails with the South African guide Nico at Kantju Gorge, I watch a vertical face of Uluru glow bright coral in the setting sun. And at dawn the next morning when I flip a switch and the blackout shade rises, deep aubergine is all I see, as rays of light seep through the clouds in slits creating bluish shadows in its crevices. Of course the tent, clad in vibrant aboriginal artwork, is oriented to face Uluru. Because watching it shift color is the preferred pastime here. The Anangu ask that visitors not climb the ripplingg landmark. And though I hardly touch it, the rock and I get intimate, thanks to comprehensive tour experiences by Longitude’s incredible guides. During outings with Nico and Blythe, I learn that Uluru was formed
underground over hundreds of millions of years, emerging two million ago. Its height only represents 10 percent of its mass (it may reach down another six to seven kilometers). It is part of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site based on natural, aesthetic and cultural beauty—only the second place on the planet to be recognized for the latter. Visible stories painted or drawn into the dirt with a stick reveal that each gash, outcropping and cave has a meaning in the mystical Anangu creation story. I’m also educated on the uniquely-adapted flora and fauna. After a light rain which produces a stunninglywide rainbow en route to the chunky sedimentary domes of sacred Kata Tjuta, I find that Uluru’s massive neighbor has a similarly humbling effect. My second night, an impressive electrical storm begins during the sunset sand-dune walk, and I stubbornly stand in the quickening rain as long as it’s safe to watch the sky melt into fiery splendor and lightning strike down around the rocks. This prevents me from dining under the stars, but it means I witness the desert’s version of fireworks from inside, while sipping a sweet and sour passion fruit gimlet and indulging in exquisite bites of buttery lobster tail and dessert featuring quandongs, a native bush fruit. Overnight I really experience my surroundings, as extreme winds shake my tent and me, while ensconced in the heavenly bed. Still, within minutes, like a baby, the wilds of nature lull me into the deepest of sleeps. Before departing I get my favorite Uluru view yet, at Mutujulu Waterhole. There are lilies clustered on the surface and a vivid reflection in the rippling pool of the textured rock and brilliant blue sky above. Standing there silently feels almost spiritual. I hate leaving this fascinating place, but the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef beckon.
Photos courtesy of Kara Rosenlund
Photos clockwise from top: Longitude 131째; Aboriginal artwork fills the tents; A day exploring Uluru; The cozy interior of the tents.
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â€œVisible stories painted or drawn into the dirt with a stick reveal that each gash, outcropping and cave has a meaning in the mystical Anangu creation story.â€?
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The Great Barrier Reef Just minutes after landing on Hamilton Island, I board the luxury yacht Sun Goddess, a glass of Azahara Pinot Noir bubbly in hand. Less than an hour later we dock at the recently reopened 160-room One&Only Hayman Island, the only destination on the private Whitsundays islands encircled by white sandy beaches and picturesque palm trees. As with the red rock, life here revolves around one thing: water. Mere minutes after entering my airy, spacious suite, I find myself taking a running leap off the wooden deck into the turquoise saltwater of the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest pool. But I’m not here to simply laze around with icy One&Only Coladas, however delicious they are. With seven restaurants (including Aquazure for tasty tapas), two pools, a beachfront full of watersport equipment and boats, a gym and spa, guests can be as busy or as relaxed as they like. Not wanting to miss anything, I dive right in. My first order of business is a life-changing pedicure. Created by Parisian podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez, the waterfree and lacquer-less treatment is more medical than it is indulgent—a drill and scalpel make appearances. But the final result, after a rigorous buffing that I’m fairly certain leaves my therapist Jeremy in a sweat, is absolute magic. My naked tootsies haven’t looked this pristine since the day I was born. Next up: coddling. The Rebalance Ritual treatment involves a therapeutic back massage using steaming poultices of camphor and orange, plus a facial using wild-harvested Amala skincare and scalp massage. Fitting of my postcard-perfect surroundings, sleeping here is a dream—there’s even an extensive pillow menu. (Guests who’ve racked up five stays are awarded their own personal sets of sheets and towels.) It’s the next day, fol-
lowing a punishing early-morning workout session, that I discover rain can be a blessing. If not for overcast skies, I would have flagged in the scorching sun when a speedboat drops me at Langford Island’s long sandbar to snorkel and picnic. I might not have followed one gorgeous iridescent green and cobalt parrotfish as he too explored the undulating reef, taking nibbles of colorful coral as he swam. And without the rain during a sublime evening catamaran cruise I wouldn’t have gotten to swoon over the overwhelmingly-spectacular rainbows and sunset. With a heady post-sail buzz from the glowing sky and champagne, I settle in at Fire, the resort’s fine-dining restaurant. I’m fixated on one thing: the imposing tomahawk steak, which general manager Guenter Gebhard has advised shouldn’t be missed. The tableside fanfare that comes with the some two-and-a-half-pound salt-crusted cut from Sydney’s famed Victor Churchill butcher works, mounting anticipation for the first bite, which appropriately actually melts in my mouth. When it comes time to leave this adventure playground— after squeezing in one last paddleboard session—I get my biggest thrill yet: the ultimate exit courtesy of the resort’s gleaming white helicopter, set to take me over the Great Barrier Reef before the airport. My time in the heli is spent soaring over wonders of the world—Hardy Reef, Hook Reef and finally the must-see Heart Reef—formidable sea life (sharks, stingrays, turtles), and one of the world’s most impressive whitest-sand beaches. I marvel at phenomenal shades of blue I didn’t know existed, frenetically snapping photos and taking mental notes of the soft sands and hypnotic underwater swirls I’ll visit next time. Because without a doubt, this is a place to which I’ll return.
Photos courtesy of The One&Only Hayman Island
The Hayman Family Suite
A private island in the Great Barrier Reef
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EAT & DRI NK IN S Y D N EY In the past, Melbourne claimed Oz’s most talked about food scene, but thanks to a spate of ambitious young chefs leaving legendary kitchens to start their own cool ventures, plus continued innovation at the city’s finest establishments, Sydney is now a gastronome’s paradise.
The exterior of Bar H
With a cool, edgy feel, the intimate Bar H, opened in the fashionable suburb of Surry Hills in 2010 by a husbandwife chef-sommelier team, puts a twist on wine bar cuisine via nods to China, Japan and indigenous Australian ingredients. Part of the joy of dining here is watching the incredibly precise cooking and plating, thus the bar has the best seats in the house. The tasting menu expertly showcases not only gorgeous protein but vegetables as well (you’ll dream of the simple yet mind-blowing tempurafried corn), with interesting pairings ranging from cider to sake to vino, of course.
While much of the food in Sydney is currently Japaneseinfluenced, Cho Cho San in Potts Point is pure Tokyo. The modern white-on-white restaurant—opened last summer—is where diners sip inventive cocktails like the Ryeuchi, which combines Bulleit rye whiskey with yuzu, Luxardo, sour cherry, lemon and ginger, and share plates of fluffy pork steamed buns, savory soyglazed wagyu beef with pickled veggies, crunchy karaage fried chicken with lime, and absolutely fantastic raw kingfish with ginger, soy and cucumber. Careful: it’s addictive. Photos: One of Cho Cho San's exquisite dishes and dining area
Photos left: An elegant dish at The Bridge Room; Right: South African chef/ owner Ross Lusted; Below: a decadent dessert at Cafe Paci; Bottom left: The interior of Sepia
Photos courtesy of Bar H | Cho Cho San | The Bridge Room | Sepia
Thanks in part to his diverse CV and time in Europe and Asia, South African chef/co-owner Ross Lusted has made The Bridge Room one of Sydney’s best eateries since opening in 2011. With a chic, relaxed atmosphere, adventurous wines and flawless service, he turns out artfully-plated dishes (atop ceramics he designed) that are almost too beautiful to eat: grilled calamari with dandelions and pomelo- and watermelon-topped kingfish sashimi among them. Then there are concoctions like the cubes of robata-grilled raw beef with shitake mushrooms and puffed jobs tears, and whipped black sesame with melon and coconut that will have you seriously considering ordering seconds.
Sepia offers perhaps the most exciting culinary adventure around. At this swanky Restaurant of the Year 2015 (Sydney Morning Herald), chef Martin Benn’s degustation menu is a long and extremely rich journey through dishes that surprise and totally wow—think a simultaneously smoky and bright yellowfin tuna sashimi tube filled with jamon Iberico cream along with wasabi and pork cracklings, and something simply called The Pearl which, once shattered with a spoon, reveals a delightfully-crunchy, cool interior of gingerade “snow,” finger lime and raspberry. Even the bread—Japanese milk bread—is memorable. Of course the wine game is spot-on, too. Sommeliers share everything about each pairing, from the history of the Sicilian Marsala grape to the orientation of the sparkling Shiraz’s vineyards in South Australia.
Finnish chef Pasi Petanen and his restaurant-manager partner, Zoltan Magyar, are young guns who set out together after years at Marque. From a gray-toned second floor spot in the hip ‘hood of Darlinghurst, the pair seem to be running for longest pop-up ever with their wildly creative Cafe Paci. Start with a “snack”—dried rainbow trout “floss,” dill and smoked sour cream on crispy rye—then move along to kingfish sashimi with white onions and oyster cream, and delicious Muscovy duck breast with cherries and chewy dried-thenrehydrated beetroot. Desserts pair unexpected elements to stunning results: corn powder with butterflavored cotton candy, carrot sorbet with licorice cake, and pork crackling with chocolate and fennel.
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see australia In Ulti m at e Luxu ry One&Only Hayman Island, located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef presents astonishing natural beauty, restorative peace, indulgence and adventure. Australia’s iconic private island resort is located off the coast of Queensland, nestled at the northernmost point of the Whitsunday archipelago, beyond verdant cliffs reaching into endless sky. Within this private island resort, stylish elegance reflects the harmony of nature with beautifully appointed accommodation set against the backdrop of the Coral Sea. Discover endless opportunities to delight the senses in a place where the beauty of nature inspires each day. Relish in spectacular dining experiences, surrender to a signature Ocean Dreaming Massage, explore private beaches and immerse yourself in captivating underwater adventures. One&Only Hayman Island is a unique destination of discovery set in one of the seven wonders of the natural world—Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Restaurants and bars have rare character, with imaginative cuisines and fantastic vintages from the region and around the world. Worldclass chefs create the perfect ambiance with mouth-watering flavors, from an indulgent Chef’s Table in the heart of the Main Kitchen to laidback grills beside the pool. One&Only Hayman Island offers seven restaurants and bars and cuisine ranges from authentic Italian at Amici, modern Australian in Fire to pan-Asian served in Bamboo. With direct access to the Great Barrier Reef and world-famous Whitehaven Beach, One&Only Hayman Island offers exhilarating helicopter and seaplane tours, diving, snorkeling and fishing adventures are the gateway to the natural riches of the reef. Marvel at the shades of a thousand different shimmering fish—like the yellow tailed fusiliers that brush close enough to touch your eyelids. Water sports include water-skiing, kayaking, catamaran sailing, windsurfing and paddle skiing. One&Only Hayman Island’s KidsOnly club provides children aged four to 11 years old, the opportunity to explore a private island paradise. Activities include fun reef ranger outings, fish feeding, beach games, tennis, evening nature walks. The resort also offers a Teens Club for teenagers 12 to 17 years old with activities including island walks and beach sports. One&Only Spa offers an immersion of total tranquility with indulgent treatments, while wellness facilities include a state-of-the-art One&Only Fitness Centre. The One&Only Spa provides the perfect location for guests to indulge and unwind, with a range of services and treatments designed to relax, rebalance and rejuvenate. Drift away with an indulgent massage treatment, the Ocean Dreaming Massage, the ultimate relaxation experience amid gentle tides and warm tropical breezes. Or enjoy a relaxing Rainforest Massage, set amongst the rainforest immersed in the beauty of nature.
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The resort supports wide-ranging conservation practices that aim to protect Australian flora and fauna, especially endangered species.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is an ultra-luxury conservation-based resort, located 2.5 hours’ drive from Sydney (190kms) in the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains region. Set on 7,000 acres of carbon-neutral conservation and wildlife reserve, the resort combines absolute luxury with a quintessentially Australian bush experience. Recognized as one of the finest hotels in the world, the resort offers a unique blend of seclusion, native wildlife, dramatic natural beauty, conservation and heritage combined with unsurpassed luxury facilities and outstanding food and wine. Occupying just one per cent of the total land area, the resort features 40 elegantly appointed suites reminiscent of the Federation period, each with its own swimming pool, double-sided fireplace and private verandah with stunning views of the valley. A Main Homestead features various dining settings including the magnificent Wolgan Dining Room with panoramic views; The Country Kitchen, a providore-style casual restaurant serving lunch and lighter meals; the Valley Bar & Terrace; a walk-in wine cellar with over 150 carefully selected wines; and the Creekside Room, a private dining area for up to 12 guests. The resort’s food philosophy, based on seasonal, regional and where possible organic produce from within a 100 mile (160km) radius, showcases exceptional Australian fare. The menu changes according to season and various ingredients are incorporated from the resort’s very own kitchen garden. Offering ultimate relaxation is the resort’s Timeless Spa—a sanctuary that offers an extensive range of exquisite treatments designed to revitalize the mind, body and soul. The resort’s unique blend of native wildlife, dramatic landscapes and heritage, can be explored through a range of activities including wildlife safaris, nature walks, heritage tours, mountain biking and horse riding. Guests are also invited to take part in conservation work alongside the resort’s expert field guides. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is committed to providing guests a world of luxury at no cost to the environment, and was the first carbon-neutral hotel in the world. The resort supports wide-ranging conservation practices that aim to protect Australian flora and fauna, especially endangered species. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley was named the Best Hotel in Australia, 2014 and 2013, by TripAdvisor® and was also awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor®, which puts the resort in the top 10% of all hotels in the world based on traveller feedback.
C o n tac t K e r & D ow n e y o r yo u r t r av e l s p e c i a l i s t to i n c lu d e o n e & o n ly i n yo u r n e x t c u s to m j o u r n e y.
Cheetahs in the Koptje Serengeti A mother and baby elephant in Ruaha National Park
Safari Simple A n n A b el fo rg o es t h e b el l s an d w h ist l es an d g et s b ac k t o b us h b as i cs fo r a t r ul y aut h en t ic exper ien c e a t Tan zan ia’s Kw ih al a C am p.
Thirty minutes into my first game drive from Kwihala Camp into Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park, I’ve learned more than I’ve learned on dozens of game drives on six previous trips to East Africa: exactly why certain biological adaptations came about, how long elephants are pregnant, how it is that lions can sleep 20 hours a day, and some new details on that endlessly-amusing topic of mating. My curiosity was stoked, and I began asking questions I’d never before thought to ask.
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â€œwe (guides) are interpreters of nature and translators of the language of tracks and droppings and sounds and other animals looking nervous.â€?
I had known that excellent guiding is something that Asilia Africa, which took over Kwihala last year, prides itself on. But it took getting to the safari operator’s camp to realize how fully they realize that promise. While some other operators emphasize luxurious accommodations or orchestrated experiences like lantern-lit bush dinners or sundowners under the most photogenic baobab tree, Asilia keeps the focus on the wildlife that’s the primary reason most of us go to Africa in the first place. The experience serves up heavy doses of education, without getting into un-fun, eat-your-peas territory. I wasn’t learning in Ruaha because I thought it would be good for me; I was learning because I was with a guide who made it fascinating for me. “The more questions you ask, the more fun we’ll have,” was Pietro Luraschi’s opening line as we set off in the Land Cruiser. Although he’s something of a rock star guide—he trains national park rangers to lead walking safaris during his months off from Asilia, and has been profiled in Italian Vanity Fair—he’s humble about his role. “Guides aren’t these magicians who can find animals anywhere,” he said. “We are interpreters of nature and translators of the language of tracks and droppings and sounds and other animals looking nervous.” It helps that he knows every inch of Ruaha, having spent 6 of his 11 years in Tanzania guiding here.
Photo courtesy of Kwihala Camp | Paul Joynson Hicks
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Photos: Left: Leopards spotted playing in the trees; Right: Elephant sighting on a walking tour
He may not be magician, but he certainly made game drives feel like exciting adventures. When he got a call about a leopard sighting, he tore off like a racecar driver in hot pursuit—it worked, and we saw a young lion carrying his recent kill into a gulley. Other times, he would drive slowly while standing on the side rail of the Land Cruiser, foot on the gas and hands on the wheel, but head outside for better game spotting. And he seemed to know just how close he could get to wildlife, and how to stand down elephants when that became necessary. (More on those later.) This isn’t just about Pietro. He’s one of several freelancers who have been serving as head guide at Kwihala several months of each year, but he’s indicative of the caliber of in-demand guides Asilia hires. Steven Roskelly earned his stripes with the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa, considered one of the most rigorous training programs on the continent. He now teaches there, and has guided privately and professionally from Tanzania to Namibia. Marius Swart grew up in the Kruger National Park region in South Africa and has been guiding for more than 20 years, mostly in lesser-traveled concessions and little-known regions. The year-round second in command, Lorenzo Rossi, is passionate, knowledgeable and personable as well. About those elephants: Pietro estimated we saw 500 of them in one day, some of them quite close-up.
He had to clear parades of them from the road six times that day. (The “What do you call a group of…?” game is as reliably entertaining as esoterica about mating habits, and “parade” is the answer for “elephants.”) We waited patiently while an adolescent female probed around the grille of the Land Cruiser with her trunk, until she started to approach from the sides and Pietro shouted to scare her away. Another time we found ourselves between two small family groups, unable to drive in either direction, and I found myself in my first-ever mock charge. Breathless, I plastered myself against my seat until she stood down—and Pietro pointed out that there were three feet of strong metal between her and us the whole time. Then I regretted not picking up my camera to record video as she’d charged. This wasn’t a fluke. Ruaha, in addition to being the largest national park in Tanzania that no one has heard of, is home to incredible wildlife diversity and density. The park is said to be home to 15,000 elephants, 10% of the world’s lion population, 500 bird species, a sizable number of leopards and one of few sustainable populations of cheetahs in East Africa. Despite that, there are near zero people. There are only six camps, each with a small number of beds, in the park, and none of them are very close to each other. We could drive for hours and see only one or two other vehicles—a big change from the great Land Cruiser migration that regularly takes place in wellknown parks like the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. That emptiness adds to the sense of wildness. And it’s wild, alright: Weather patterns here have resulted in an unusually harsh environment, and animal behavior has evolved accordingly. If the Serengeti is Safari 101—many people’s first stop in East Africa—Ruaha is Safari 401.
Photo courtesy of Kwihala Camp | Paul Joynson Hicks | Eric Frank KER & DOW NE Y
The guest bedroom tent surrounded by the bush
“personally, i like the rusticity—especially the idea that when the camp is taken down, the land will show little evidence of any structures ever having been there. ”
Kwihala Camp is appropriate for its frontier setting. It’s the park and the knowledge that are the greatest draws, not the fine linens and the plunge pools. Guests are well fed, but it’s not the kind of place where “safari” might as well be Swahili for “eating and drinking.” There are no bush dinners (though dinner is outside, down a hill from the mess tent) or destination-sundowners. The guides will generally stop and open some beers or mix a few G&Ts, but they aren’t going to turn away from a great animal sighting to do it. There will be other opportunities to get that perfect baobab-at-sunset photo. As for the camp, Asilia certainly spruced it up after taking it over. Relief manager Michelle Attala, who moves between several Asilia camps and helps curate their excellent boutiques, added aesthetic flourishes like orange and purple cushions in the guest tents and main pavilions. The six tents are plenty spacious, and the beds are comfortable. The overall style, though, is decidedly simple. Kwihala is at the low end of Asilia’s wide spectrum of luxury, a far cry from the company’s upscale flagship Kayari, where the rooms have wood and glass walls, full plumbing and big bathrooms with soaking tubs hidden behind sliding shoji screens. Personally, I like the rusticity—especially the idea that when the camp is taken down, the land will show little evidence of any structures ever having been there. That small footprint speaks to me, even if it means using a bucket shower. (To be sure, Kwihala’s are nice bucket showers: refilled on demand and with a 20-liter capacity—I ran out of body parts to wash before I ran out of water.) For those of us who go to Africa to be observers of nature at its most wild, the point is to be as much as part of it as possible. Asilia’s incarnation of Kwihala Camp gave me the chance to do just that.
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Photo courtesy of Kwihala Camp | Paul Joynson Hicks
Opposite page clockwise from top: Namiri Plains dining area; Cheetah laying in the grass; Guest Tent interior
Rough Fro m a s wan k m o b il e s afar i c am p t o t h e s w ir l o f Vic t o r ia Fal l s, Er ic Ro s en s o ak s up t h e r h yt h m o f l ife al o n g t h e g reat r iver in Z am b ia, A fr ic aâ€™s un d is c overed t reas ure.
Sunlight through the Victoria Falls
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South Luangwa “You will find a whistle on one nightstand for little emergencies, and an air horn on the other for big emergencies,” explains Yaliwe, the young woman giving me the welcoming tour at my safari tent at Chinzombo. This is Norman Carr Safaris’ latest luxury camp in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park.
I have come to Zambia in January: rainy season. But each day seems clearer than the last. The only clues that this is indeed the wet time of year are the rising river levels and the profusion of greenery everywhere, with animals dispersed among new watering holes throughout the park.
Yaliwe giggles and then leads me into the palatial bathroom, complete with rainfall shower and deep soaking tub. I have not moved on yet, though. I can’t help but ask, a little nervously, “What exactly counts as a big emergency?”
Though tracking game is a challenge to my unpracticed eyes, my guide, Abe, spots everything a mile away.
“A hippo on your deck.” She giggles again. I must blanch, because she quickly follows up, “But don’t worry, they cannot get up the stairs!”
That said, each night presents a new cacophony of animals wandering through camp—hippos munching on the lush riverine grass, elephants lumbering through and rubbing up against the trees, baboons chasing one another through the foliage. Snug in my sumptuous bed, an individual cooling system keeping my mosquito-netted domain temperate, I quickly drift off, lulled by the rain-swollen rush of the Luangwa River. A territorial hippo’s bellow rouses me about 15 minutes before my sunrise wake-up call, but I don’t mind. I dress and gingerly tiptoe through a troop of baboons to the camp’s dining area. As my pot of French press coffee steeps, I browse the vintage photos of Norman Carr, the man himself, strolling with the pair of abandoned lion cubs named Big Boy and Little Boy he famously rescued, and trekking through some of Zambia’s more remote landscapes. Chinzombo, though recently built, is actually on one of his original campsites and takes pride of place along the river with a private boat delivering guests to and from the jeep for game drives each day. 86
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We are both spellbound by the sight of an adolescent female leopard elegantly sauntering across the road with a lazy look in our direction. Without warning she hurtles vertically up a tree after some chatty squirrels she thinks would make a tasty mid-morning snack. Safari days are long with two four-hour drives each day. The first is at sunrise with a break for coffee or tea. We get back to camp in time for a light lunch and a siesta, though I usually take the opportunity to work at the rough-hewn wooden explorer-style desk in my tent, an antique-style tripod fan creating a soothing breeze in the shimmering heat. My favorite part of day is when we stop at dusk for sundowners (South African Sauvignon Blanc and leek mini-quiches for me, thank you) along the river. I also look forward to the brief nighttime drive back to camp afterwards, when the animals become more active, and we can spot the odd hyena or mongoose on the way. At one point, we witness what I can only describe as an African standoff: three lionesses and five adolescent cubs debating whether to cross a stream with a crocodile sitting on the opposite bank. The lions decide to take another route in the end and we make our way back to camp for a three-course gourmet dinner.
Previous page: Photos courtesy of iStock | Pal Teravagimov | Donvanstaden
She is right, of course. My tent, like the rest of the camp, is constructed of eco-conscious, low-impact materials, including its expansive deck. Though I’m sure a hippo would enjoy lounging on the sunken sectional or a midafternoon dip in the plunge pool, the stairs mean that it is strictly for human enjoyment.
His manner is earnest and his voice has the sonorous timbre of an opera villain, but he visibly brightens when we spot anything from a stork to a lioness, and it takes on an endearing, childlike glee when he sees a baby elephant trundling along after its mother.
Lion cub relaxing in a tree
Victoria Falls My own route around Zambia was likewise circuitous, but precisely planned. I had arrived a few days earlier in Livingstone after the long flight from New York to Johannesburg on South African Airways. The Taittinger and lie-flat beds in business class made the sixteen hours across the Atlantic seem almost too short. My base there was a lodge called Tongabezi, with newly renovated cottages arranged along the banks of the Zambezi with views across the river to Zimbabwe. I spent my first afternoon over a leisurely lunch of pork satay kebabs with okra relish and admiring the view from my private deck as a rainy afternoon turned into a gloriously fiery, purpleorange sunset. The next morning, I woke up to find some monkey business going on outside my door. Literally. A pack of vervet monkeys were helping themselves to a buffet of seedpods from the nearby trees and taunting each other as they scampered across the deck. Watching them made me smile wider as I anticipated the day ahead. As though arranging for a picture-perfect visit to Victoria Falls just for me, the heavens cleared that morning so that every turn along the path opposite produced another mist-shrouded rainbow. With the high-running river and tumbling over the sheer basalt fault line that marks the Falls’ precipice, it was easy to see how they got their original local name, Mosi-Oa-Tunya, or the “smoke that thunders.” Not as easy, however, was swimming across some of the rapids midstream from Livingstone Island to the Devil’s Pool. Tongabezi has exclusive operating rights to this tiny speck of land where the Scottish missionary Dr. David Livingstone was first paddled in a dugout canoe to see this natural wonder (and christen it after his queen). As luck would have it, I was only just in time to earn my bragging rights since the rock pool at the Falls’ edge closed for the season the next day. After the pulse-pounding adventure of swimming through the stream and clambering over rocks to the pool (a guide at our side at all times to keep us safe and calm), my fellow thrill-seekers and I were treated to a sumptuous multi-course barbecue lunch catered waterside around a huge square table shaded by a tent. On the highway back to the lodge, we passed impala, giraffe and zebra nonchalantly grazing by the side of the road. My guide, Chande, started every animal sighting with a recitation of its life expectancy and gestation period as well as other facts, such as that giraffes only have seven vertebrae and hearts that weigh 60 pounds. If only biology class had been this interesting. 88
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“With the high-running river and tumbling over the sheer basalt fault line that marks the Falls’ precipice, it was easy to see how they got their original local name, Mosi-Oa-Tunya, or the “smoke that thunders.”
Hippos in Victoria Falls
It was just nearing five o’clock when we got back to camp, time for a sunset cruise along the river. I hopped into the boat with two of the other guests, an older British couple that had taken me in—we enjoyed two dinners and a day at the Falls in each other’s company in that sort of classic travel-based friendships that these small camps foster. As we motored between pods of hippos, our boat driver, Felix, pointed to one particularly ornery creature and suggested, “Hippo is opening his mouth. Will you take a picture please, sir?” I will. His next question: “Do you want to see a baby crocodile?” Who would say no to that? The tiny reptile sat perfectly still on a log of driftwood, soaking in the last rays of sun. Then it was our time to relax as the sun began to set, letting the river take us back downstream accompanied by the ring-necked dove’s coo (locals joke that he is singing “work harder, drink lager”). I have just enough time the next morning to visit Tujutane, a school next door to the lodge that was started over 25 years ago by Tongabezi’s owners, Vanessa and Ben Parker. It has grown from a single-room preschool into an entire primary school for kids of all ages. There are after-school clubs, art classes, computer literacy training and more. Each child greets me with a “hello” and a smile bigger than the last, and I myself can’t stop beaming after a class of four-year-olds sings me a rousing rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus.” 90
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Previous page: Photos courtesy of Shutterstock | iStock | 2630ben
We also talked about the upcoming presidential elections, and what the incumbent administration’s policies mean for Zambia’s future. This is a country with tremendous potential and resources both for industry and hospitality. The fact that it has remained relatively unnoticed by the international community (whose focus has been more on neighbors South Africa and Zimbabwe) is both its greatest asset and impediment. But that is a discussion for another time.
Lower Zambezi My final destination is Lower Zambezi National Park. Though the closest to Lusaka (we take a 25-minute chartered flight over the Zambezi Escarpment to a dirt airstrip just outside the park), it is perhaps the most rustic and unspoiled setting I visit. There are just six camps inside the park, and all of them closed for the wet season. I have snuck in just under the wire and am treated to a weekend en famille with owner Jason Mott and his family at the all-weather Potato Bush Camp (raised platforms connect the luxury tents to the main lodge building) and its sister property, Sausage Tree. We are practically the only people in the park except for anti-poaching rangers. The rains have only just recently abated, so we try a short, muddy game drive, spotting zebras, impala and kudu at every turn before deciding to make a dash back to camp for sundowners. Settling into the low-slung rosewood and leather camp chairs Jason designed and commissioned from a Lusaka design store called Nzito (my other favorite décor piece here is the repurposed ungalala outrigger canoe from Tanzania that was converted into bookshelves near the bar), we watch a poppy-red sun setting along the river as the crescent moon and Venus begin to glimmer higher up in the darkening skies. The landscape here is unlike that of anywhere else in Zambia, with sheer red-rock riverbanks fronting the Zambezi (nearly a mile wide at this point) and the towering jungle-green slopes of the Escarpment in the background. We take to the river the next morning, paddling along the bucolic Chifangulu channel past lazy crocodiles and submerged hippos. Indeed,
there are so many at one bend that Charles, my guide and the camp director, calls it “Hippo City.”
The camp boat meets us at the end of our paddle and we speed through the river’s main channel back to camp. A dip in Sausage Tree’s riverfront lap pool is just the refreshment we need before lunch. As I prepare to make my way back to my tent to change for lunch, Mott’s wife Kelly calls after me, “Eric, just keep an eye out as you walk back!” “What for?” I ask, innocently enough.
“If you see some elephants, just stand still until they pass you by,” she advises. Note taken. Armed with my new elephant etiquette, I actually hope to see some but without a pachyderm in sight, I am back at my tent and sink into the cowhide hammock on my private patio (there is also a small plunge pool) for an impromptu nap. A knock at the door some time later alerts me that it is time for a light lunch. On today’s afternoon game drive, we get a bit farther, up into the section of the plains nicknamed “Out of Africa” thanks to their vast stretches of dry earth punctuated here and there by a sausage tree or palm. That is hard to believe, though, with the landscape as verdant as it is at this moment. The other bit of good luck: we only have to winch ourselves out of a mud hole once. What fun, though! The herds of impala and waterbuck are plentiful here and we wait, hoping to spy a lion or leopard out for a pre-dusk prowl. However,
like the rest of the animals, the big cats are dispersed far and wide while the wet season’s watering holes abound, so there are no sightings this afternoon. Eventually, the river’s siren song proves too strong for us and we make our way back just in time to catch one last sunset on the water. When we pull back into the dock, the campfire is already roaring underneath the towering sausage tree. The last daylight fades and the Milky Way comes into focus overhead. As it does, my focus turns back to my time in Zambia. Though my trip is at an end, my passion for the country—its pace, its places, its people and its spirit—has just begun, and I will carry it with me for the rest of my life.
Way to Go: South African Airways offers one daily flight each from New York JFK non-stop to Johannesburg and from Washington Dulles via Dakar. While onboard, travelers can sample South African wines chosen by sommelier Bongi Sodladla and menus by celebrity chefs Reuben Riffel and Benny Masekwameng. Connections in Johannesburg are seamless, so kill some time in the Baobab business class lounge with a made-to-order cappuccino or a refreshing shower.
Gone Glamping T h e Ran c h at Ro c k C reek m akes Big S k y C o un t r y l arg er t h an l ife. By M a r t i n e B u ry
In 1960, John Steinbeck embarked on a road trip across America with his pet poodle. The result was the classic Travels with Charley: In Search of America. Out of all the places he went, Montana’s open skies and epic mountain terrain left an indelible impression. “I’m in love with Montana,” he wrote. “For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”
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The Ranch at Rock Creek
Manley tells his story with crazy charisma and youthful zeal. If you happen to visit the ranch when he is there with his childhood friends or family, he takes time to check in with guests, playing host on this incredible playground of mountains, meadows, trout ponds and wild, rushing waterways. 94
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Photos right: The bar and dining at The Ranch at Rock Creek
Photos courtesy of The Ranch at Rock Creek | Martine Bury
ith a wide expanse that spreads from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains and includes U.S. National Parks such as Yellowstone and Glacier, there is a whole lot to love. For Wall Street investment banker turned luxury guest ranch owner Jim Manley, 6,600 pristine acres of the Treasure Stateâ€™s southwestern region had him smitten at first sight. Obsessed with the TV show Bonanza as a child, the New Jersey native embarked on a 20-year search for the perfect spot that fulfilled his long-but-absolute wish list. The swath of land where heâ€™d hang his ten-gallon hat had to be low altitude, devoid of rattlesnakes and grizzlies, near a ski resort and an old-timey western town. And a river had to run through it. Manley found his muse on the Rocky Mountain range in 2007. The 1900s homestead evolved into The Ranch at Rock Creek, arguably the most luxurious dude ranch in the country. Near the old mining town of Philipsburg, the property is vast, private and laid back. There is no question why celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson to Gwyneth Paltrow escape to this elite hideaway. It is easy to blend in.
Once you arrive, it’s all in. The 29 accommodations range from luxury, wood clad homes with names like Eagle’s Perch, Moose House and (yes) Ponderosa, to cozy rooms in the Granite Lodge or in an authentic 19th Century barn. My humble home on the range is one of four Classic Canvas Cabins, lavish half-tented structures that sit on gurgling Rock Creek’s edge. Each guest is outfitted with a mountain bike to navigate the property, even though transport is always a phone call away.
Hearding cattle in Philipsburg
“Surrounded by snowcapped mountains, it’s a 360-degree view of forever—which sparks the full-hearted, breathless feeling of true romance.”
Waking up with the sun each morning offers me the privileged experience of watching the ranch’s team of horses run from pasture to corral. Even with the jolt of a steaming cup of coffee from the selfserve Blue Canteen, which is open only in the warmer months, it’s hard to determine whether this wild and beautiful sight is real or if I’m still asleep, dreaming.
The lure of the fireplace fails to draw us back to our rooms, and everyone ends up at the Silver Dollar Saloon. Manley’s personal collection of cowboy movie memorabilia lines the walls in this dark bar, complete with a loaded jukebox, leather saddle-topped bar stools and a bowling alley. I’m a fan of the Moscow Mules served here, infused with the house-made ginger beer.
An all-inclusive getaway, The Ranch at Rock Creek offers ample opportunities to eat well. Executive Chef Drage not only prepares an exquisite menu of simple foods like just-caught salmon or cobbler made of freshly picked, local wild huckleberries— but also makes sure meals are the kind of fun befitting the environment. Post-rodeo barbeque at the Blue Canteen is consumed family style at long tables draped in checked tablecloths. On another night, we kick off with roping practice, then cocktails in the Barn followed by a mixed grill of bright vegetables and meats cooked to perfection. Line dancing works off the food we ate, but the evening doesn’t end there.
Whatever the desired outdoor activity, the ranch’s Rod & Gun Club sets you up right. From cowboy boots and hats to sport shooting, archery and fly-fishing gear, you choose the tools of your adventure. In the winter, opportunities abound to ski worldclass slopes, take a snowmobile for a spin or hop on a sleigh ride. I opt for clay shooting, horseback riding and later hit the mountain trail to a stunning viewing spot called Top of the World. Along the way, my hiking partner and I barely speak, taking in the wildflower meadows and the expansive blue skies with watercolor brushstrokes of bright white clouds. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, it’s a 360-degree view of forever—which sparks the full-hearted, breathless feeling of true romance.
Aqu a M ekon g
Sail Away K&D P ic k s : T h e Mo st I n t im at e Luxur y River C r uis es By H a l e y B e h a m & Elizabeth Frels
Todayâ€™s luxury cruises offer stylish, intimate and wholly-unique experiencesâ€”as well as the most memorable itineraries. From the exotic reaches of the Mekong to the hidden coves of the Marlborough Sounds, these are five of our favorites around the globe. Hitting the high waters has never been so chic.
Photos courtesy of Sanctuary Ananda; MV Tarquin; Mekong, Aqua Expeditions; Delfin I
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San c tu ar y A na nd a The rivers of Myanmar Launched in November 2014, Sanctuary Ananda is the newest ship to cruise the rivers of Myanmar. With twelve itineraries ranging from three to eleven days, passengers witness some of the most authentic sites along the shores of the Ayeyarwady River between Bagan and Mandalay and deep into the Chindwin tributary. Custombuilt by local craftsmen specifically for the rivers of Myanmar, the Sanctuary Anandaâ€™s sleek and contemporary vessel boasts the largest entry suites on the river and one impressive 721-square foot Ownerâ€™s Cabin. Daily excursions offer a full immersion in Burmese culture, from seeing artisans at work in local villages, to shopping and walking through the colorful fruit and vegetable markets. As 90 percent of the population follows the Buddhist religion, the landscape is dotted with countless golden temples, stupas and monasteries to explore. Days onboard the ship end with cocktails and evening lectures on the local customs, culture and history of Myanmar.
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M V Ta rquin New Zealand For an authentic exploration of New Zealandâ€™s Marlborough Sounds, a departure on the 65-foot charter MV Tarquin is a must. Owner Chris Godsiff is a former mussel farmer, a previous life that has left him loaded with insider information on the Sounds' primo spots for everything from fresh seafood to the absolute best views. Half-day and full-day charters with the Godsiff family as your host reveal the many bays and beaches brimming with natural beauty and bounties of salmon, oyster, and mussels. Connect with the farmers of the region and take your treasure to the Tarquin's on-board chef for an over-water feast for the ages, matched with New Zealand's finest wines.
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Aqu a M ekong, A qu a E xpe d iti ons The Mekong River between Vietnam & Cambodia The brand new luxury cruise ship from Aqua Expeditions is already making waves in Southeast Asia as the first five-star vessel to travel up and down the Mekong River between Vietnam and Cambodia. The modern ship utilizes natural materials and floor-to-ceiling windows in the 20 generously-sized suites. For dinner, Michelinstarred Chef David Thompson serves up Mekong-influenced cuisine, perfectly paired with wine selected by the staff sommelier. Launching from a private skiff, the boat ventures deep into the riverâ€™s tributaries through flooded forests and stilt villages to uncover the rich life of Indochina. Three-, four- and seven-day journeys explore the vibrant floating markets of Cai Be at the center of Vietnamese culture. Off-boat, guests can visit local craftspeople at work in the traditional silversmith, bronze and silk weaving villages of Cambodia, and be part of a private audience with the monks at Moat Klaâ€™s Buddhist Temple and Long Son Tu Temple.
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D elfin I The Peruvian Amazon The fascinating and diverse ecology of the worldâ€™s largest rainforest and longest river is best experienced aboard a floating luxury boutique hotel, such as the exquisite Delfin I. Marked by understated elegance and deep pride in environmental responsibility, this exclusive cruise ship focuses on intimately educating its guests on the wonders of the river, while enjoying first-class accommodations. Each four- or five-day journey begins in Iquitos, where only eight adventurers set sail at a time, allowing for maximum appreciation of the four spacious deluxe suites constructed of native Peruvian wood, soothing whirlpool en suite baths and traditional Amazonian Creole cuisine. Along the tributaries of northern Peruâ€™s Amazon, the exuberant and dramatic scenery unfolds and invites passengers for treks into the jungle to visit the myriad tropical species. Local villagers make agile guides, accompanying guests on trail walks and ensuring the best animal sightingsâ€”from the fast-moving poison dart frogs to camouflaged, hanging sloths to the hard-to-spot slithering anacondas that make their home in this eclectic ecosystem. KER & DOW NE Y
“One elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory. You have the power to make a difference.” - LI BINGBING, CHINA’S TOP ACTRESS
BE IVORY FREE. TAKE THE PLEDGE. www.wildaid.org
LOGO - BK - FLAT
LOGO - BK - FLAT
e xc l u s i v e i r e l a n d Experience luxury Ireland travel with Ker & Downey on this exclusive eight-day itinerary ripe with private flightseeing tours, behind-the-scenes excursions, golfing outings, luxury accommodations, and select dining reservations throughout Belfast, Dublin, Wicklow County, Galway, and Ireland’s west coast.
SUGGESTE D J O URNE Y AT A G L AN C E
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Ta ke ti m e to ex p l o re two an c i e n t m ar ve l s — th e f am e d G i an t’s Ca us e way an d C ar r i c k- a- Re d e Ro p e B r i d ge. c u l l o d e n e s tat e a n d s pa
wicklow co un ty | Da ys 3- 4 |
G o l f at th e c h am p i o n s h i p D r u i d s G l e n go l f c o u r s e s, an d take a pr i vate h e l i c o p te r to u r ove r D u b l i n . powerscourt hotel
galway | Da ys 5 - 6 |
Ex pe r i e n c e p r i vate ae r i al to u r s o f am az i n g s i te s — th e i c o n i c Cl i f f s o f Mo h e r, G al way Bay, an d th e A ran Is l an d s. glenlo abbey hotel
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En joy a p r i vate b e h i n d - th e - s c e n e s to u r an d tasti n g at th e wo r l d f a mo u s Ol d Jam e s o n D i sti l l e r y. powerscourt hotel
Contact your travel professional or visit us on the web to view this journey at kerdowney.com.
Kingdom of Ice Bekah Mc Neel s c al es t h e im po s in g fro zen fo r m at io n s o f Pat ag o n iaâ€™s L o s Gl ac ier s Nat io n al Par k .
As I stood on the deck of the catamaran gliding across the water in front of the Perito Moreno glacier, I put my camera down. I had already captured twenty of the most stunning snapshots my iPhone will ever hold. And we were only twenty minutes into the expedition. So I took a moment to be still in the presence of the towering wall of ice, which grew more imposing and grand as we sailed among the tiny icebergs recently calved from its terminus. In my awe and anticipation, I am not alone. Patagoniaâ€™s windswept vistas have been inspiring the most intrepid of explorers over the last century. Peaks and lakes juxtaposed with sprawling pampas yield some of the most dramatic landscapes on the planet. They beckon the adventurer in all of us, whether it is to wander or to summit. The crown jewels of this vast and untamed region are the glaciers. From every angle they assert their mass and complexity.
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â€œ... for those whose dream it is to stand on a glacier, the journey leaves plane, car, and boat behind until you are left with only your two feet to carry you onto the ice.â€?
s our boat neared the shelter, the place we would leave behind our food and extra clothing, the excitement began to build among the small group of trekkers. Soon we would be walking among the crags and crevasses now looming large before us. The short hike along the water’s edge reminded me of the varied beauty of Patagonia, a land rich in forests and rivers as it is in the sexier landforms.
Photos courtesy of istock| Polomski | iStock | Onfokus
Once we reached the moraine where we would launch onto the actual glacier, our guide (who up to this point had been chatty and casual), became more serious, reminding us that we were stepping onto foreign terrain. The guides fitted us with crampons, and taught us how to walk without tangling our feet. They warned us not to get complacent, even as we felt that we were getting confident on the ice. When people get cocky and try to be funny on the glacier, they end up on their backsides, or worse. Crevasses pose a particularly sinister threat. If you fall in, each inhaled breath allows you to sink lower and lower into the crack until you are impossibly wedged. With that chilling image in mind, I resolved myself to mindfulness, and proceeded with caution. These last steps were the culmination of a long, multimodal adventure. El Calafate is deep into Patagonia, near the southern tip of South America. The flights and drive times are long, and boats are usually part of the transportation plan as well. And then, for those whose dream it is to stand on a glacier, the journey leaves plane, car, and boat behind until you are left with only your two feet to carry you onto the ice. Our first steps onto the ice were electric. Initially, I could only hear the crunching of the crampons as we deliberately dug for our footing and focused on each step. As we climbed a narrow pass and became more surefooted, people began to make sounds again. Mostly “wow” and “Oh my gosh, look!” Every turn revealed a new tableau that looked like the set of a Hollywood movie about a snow princess. The view was sprinkled with sharp séracs and glowing cerulean crevasses against the pristine white fields of ice. Glaciers are constantly moving as the top layers melt and move forward, loud cracks and rumbles echoing through the ice below. Eventually the top layer moves far enough beyond the base that ice calves off the end. While the ground beneath us felt steady, we could occasionally hear a groan or a crack like the sound of a giant bowling ball hitting Redwood-sized pins.
Later that day we would walk the catwalks facing the glacier, and witness the changes taking place as icebergs calved into the water. The preceding gunshot sounds echo across the Peninsula de Magallenes, and we would whip our heads around waiting for the ice to fall. Now looking down over the lake from atop the very glacier I had photographed an hour earlier, I was ecstatic. The wonderment of the initial steps gave way to a sort of glee from breathing some of the most rarified air in nature. The trek came to a tiny pond of glacial melt, and our guides encouraged us to give it a taste. Those who dared to take off their gloves and plunge their cupped hands into the icy water were richly rewarded with a drink so pure it was almost sweet. On we twisted through the terrain, time slipping by almost without notice. Only after a shaky step over a crevasse did I realize how tired my legs had become. As we rounded what we thought would be the last turn back toward the shelters, the guides detoured us to a little u-shaped valley, where a bar cart stood awaiting our arrival. Everyone took an airchilled tumbler while the guide chiseled some ice from the wall of the glacier. He served up a round of whisky on the rocks, and then served alfajores, the favorite Argentinean treat. It may have been the trek, but I think it was the most delicious alfajor I ate on my entire trip. It really was my privilege to see the glaciers of Los Glaciers National Park. These dynamic landforms are so surprisingly fragile. Thanks to the intense conservation efforts in Patagonia, Perito Moreno and some its neighbors are some of the few glaciers in the world that are actually advancing rather than retreating. To see them is to see an endangered species, thriving in its native habitat. After a toast and a treat, we made our way back to the shelters, and lazily drifted back to the embarkation shelter, where our lunches were waiting. Feeling more reflective than social, I found a comfortable spot on a boulder where I could look back on the glacier while I ate. The severity and serenity of the glaciers is humbling. I felt small, but peaceful and alive. If I ever get to go back to see Perito Moreno, I know that it will be different ice than what I saw on that day. The face of the glacier will look different. The séracs and glacial ponds will be in different places.
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Every trip to Argentina should include a substantial stop in the capital city, distinguished by gorgeous architecture. Aptly, Buenos Aires is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful
palermo Many of the best hotels are located in Palermo, the favored neighborhood of the 21st century. But to truly appreciate this desirable district, a tour through Buenos Aires can echo the evolution of Argentinean wealth. Before you get going, make a stop at the nearby shop of international leather designer Bettina Rizzi. There you can be fitted for a custom leather jacket made out of famously-fine Argentinean leather. The coat can be tailored and delivered to your hotel by the next morning.
Live music at the Faena Hotel + Universe
To get a feel for the city’s trademark vibrance and elegance, follow the history of the aristocracy, letting the distinctive architecture be your guide. Begin with their arrival via the Rio de la Plata and then follow their migration through the city as fortune and misfortune shaped their path.
The aristocracy fled the rough port crowd and headed along the river’s tributaries to San Telmo. Today the narrow cobblestone streets are crowded with artisan shops, like that of renowned silversmith Marcelo Toledo. For a bite to eat, stop in at the casual Bar El Federal where you can taste authentic Argentinean picada, a charcuterie of local meats and cheeses. On Sundays San Telmo hosts a world-famous antique market, and every day you can stop for one of the best espressos in Argentina as you wander through the impressive galería mercado.
Every story begins in La Boca, the wildlycolorful neighborhood at the original arrival port. La Boca quickly became the heart of Buenos Aires nightlife. The tango was born among its streets, and today a stroll down the Caminito is a feast for the eyes and ears as dancers, artists, and street cafes recreate the neighborhood’s bohemian past.
Photos courtesy of Faena Hotel + Universe | Istock | Brainsil | istock | BeautifulLotus
To understand the rise and fall of the neighborhood, visit El Zanjon and explore a network of underground tunnels used to provide water to residents. The well-presevered archeological site is now an exclusive event venue and museum that retains the mystique of its tragic history. It was a plague that drove the upper classes from San Telmo, forcing them the flee these cozy streets. The aristocracy then found a more permanent home in the Recoleta neighborhood. An architectural guide can help you see that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the buildings of the Plaza 25 de Mayo and surrounding streets. Porteños’ love of all things European shows in the anachronistic style of architecture they chose for their commissioned buildings. Italian, art nouveau, and baroque buildings were built throughout the 19th and 20th century, creating a timeless landscape of grand and opulent buildings. The Casa Rosada itself blends three architectural styles for a unique facade. A private tour of the Teatro Colón further reveals the Argentinean de-
votion to world-class design. Walk along the pedestrian street Avenida Florida, once considered the Rodeo Drive of Buenos Aires, to take in the bustling scene with vendors and office workers on their lunch break, the epitome of Buenos Aires’ signature electric, elegant vibe. Nearby, the London Bank building proves that the beautiful city has not ended its love affair with architecture. Clorindo Testa’s brutalist masterpiece moves the city into modernity and, along with the Grand National Bank, demonstrates the cultural contributions of the financial industry. Stroll down the stately Avenida de Mayo, stopping for a coffee at Café Tortoni. The cafe attracts many tourists, true, but it’s a must for those tuned into the artistic and political importance of the city. As the sun sets on Buenos Aires, it is the perfect time to pay a visit to the famous Recoleta Cemetery. Even if paying tribute to Eva Perón is not on your agenda, the mausoleums glowing in the twilight are a stunning tribute to the heroes of Buenos Aires as they rest in eternity. In this city defined by sensuality and elegance, you will certainly work up an appetite. For dinner, enjoy the sizzling Rojo Tango at the Faena hotel, or perhaps visit the hip Puerto Madero neighborhood for some of Buenos Aires’s most popular new restaurants. KER & DOW NE Y
the i tinerary
Day 1: Anchorage
Day 2-4: Iditarod Trail
After settling into the Old World charm of Hotel Captain Cook, visit the home art studios of Jon and Jona Van Zyle to meet and tour the work of two of Alaskaâ€™s leading artists.
Enjoy guided hikes along the famed Iditarod Trail, fly-casting lessons on Finger Lake, and day-long helicopter tours through the expansive Alaska wilderness, soaring above high mountain vistas and deep ocean fjords.
staY: H otel Captain Cook
staY: W i n terlake L odge
Wild Frontiers Ker & Downey’s exclusive Alaska luxury vacation is an all-ages escape into the untouched wonderland along the state’s southern coast. Exhilarating adventure meets unmatched luxury on this journey abounding in private flight-seeing transfers, luxury backcountry accommodations, and unique encounters with Alaska’s great outdoors. con tact your tr avel pr ofessi on al or vi si t us on the web at ker down ey.com
Day 5-6: Kachemak Bay State Park
Day 7-9: Girdwood
Combine high-energy adventure with luxurious seaside serenity amid some of Alaska’s most memorable treasures, whether at the dense rainforests of Kachemak Bay State Park or the anemone-filled tide pools along the shore. Go bear viewing along the Katmai Coast, home to one of the largest concentrations of brown bears in the world.
Succumb to the indulgent grandeur of the state’s largest and most popular ski resort before gliding through Prince William Sound on a private glacier cruise.
staY: Tutka Bay Lodge
staY: A ly eska Resort KER & DOW NE Y
SHOT ONE PICTURE, ONE MOMENT, ONE MEMORY CAPTURED BY PHOTOGRAPHER MARK EDWARD HARRIS.
"The incredible view I had before me of Jigokudani (Hell Valley) from the main bath at the Dai-ichi Takimotokan Hotel in Noboribetsu, Japan is the opening photo for the indoor hot spring section of my book, The Way of the Japanese Bath. There are some 20,000 thermal hot springs located throughout the island-nation, each with its own unique presentation. All are created to bathe not only the body, but perhaps more importantly, the soul. I fell in love with both the hot springs (onsen) of Japan and the rituals and concepts behind it in Beppu on the southern island of Kyushu in the early 1990s. More than two decades later I still find the magical waters an endless source of both visual and visceral pleasure."
Mark Edward Harrisâ€™ editorial work has appeared in publications such as Vanity Fair, Life, Time, GEO, Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR, Vogue, GQ, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, and The London Sunday Times Travel Magazine as well as all the major photography magazines. His commercial clients range from The Gap to Coca-Cola to Mexicana Airlines. His books include Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work, The Way of the Japanese Bath, Wanderlust, North Korea, South Korea, and Inside Iran. North Korea was named Photography Book of the Year at the International Photography Awards. MarkEdwardHarris.com @MarkEdwardHarrisPhoto KER & DOW NE Y
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“Make voyages! Attempt them …there’s nothing else.” – Tennessee Williams
Experiential. L u x u r y. Travel.
Kasbah Tamadot | Morocco
Forget group tours, long lines, or shared experiences; with Ker & Downey, everything is a completely tailored fit and our artist’s signature is threaded throughout. Let us offer you the opportunity for something rare and exotic, an exclusive journey that no one else can duplicate, and a one-of-a-kind adventure filled with the thrill of experience and the luxury of privacy. This is Ker & Downey.
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Published on Dec 8, 2015