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a letter from the president
After a long winter, a getaway is the perfect opportunity to usher in the crisp air and new life of spring. The season is invigorating and ripe for exploring new destinations. Each spring I find myself traveling across the globe—sometimes returning to a favorite destination, other times exploring new ones and seeking out fresh adventures. This year, my lovely wife and I are traveling to India for the first time. It’s a trip that’s sure to open our eyes to the previously unexplored landscapes and culture of the country and provide countless stories upon our return. With this issue of QUEST, we’re exploring uncommon destinations and pushing the boundaries with over-the-top, modern experiences. Ker & Downey’s Vice President David Jones offers an insider’s view beyond the bucket-list items in China with suggestions for excursions off the beaten path. For our cover story, eager adventurer and culinary travel journalist Krista Simmons returns to Australia to explore the lesser-known areas of South and Western Australia with accompanying images from photographer and director Jack Guy, who also shot the cover image for this issue. Take a ride with Martin Lewicki as he feels the thrill and rush of ice driving in Sweden in Maseratis and Porsches. Ker & Downey’s Katy Heerssen recommends five unique experiences throughout Africa, including a private charter over the active volcanoes of the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia. In Heart of Egypt, David Jones and Haley Beham discover the soul of Egypt with fresh ways to see the ancient country. Finally, accomplished luxury expert, Fierce Traveler Scott spins fantasy into reality when he becomes Maharaja for a day while traveling to India’s most soulful and spectacular quarters. We’re constantly seeking out exotic landscapes and uncommon journeys for you, so that you can live a life of adventure, exploring the world with us. Wherever it is you want to go, Ker & Downey is here to help you get there. Join us!
David Marek President
K E R & DOW N E Y
This Season’s Must-have Experiences
50 a walk on australia’s wild side
we b visit quest.kerdowney.com
12 Luxury Boutique Hotels
Openings, Revamps and the Latest Travel News
Avid adventurer Krista Simmons explores the spirit of the region.
Insider Secrets of Luxury Travel
Auto enthusiast Martin Lewicki feels the luxurious rush of ice driving.
style Fashion, Beauty and Profiles Custom-fit for Travelers
When it comes to accommodations in Bahia, Brazil, one thing’s for sure—they don’t have to be big to be full of luxury and modern amenities.
Heart of egypt Two perspectives on two profound journeys reveal new ways to see an ancient land.
flights Fresh Takes on Great Getaways
Top Travel Apps
88 Africa’s most unique
Wo r l d
Ker & Downey Recommends: The 5 Most Unique African Experiences
Maharaja For A Day
the shot on the cover: Sal Salis. Photography by Jack Guy Model: Caris Tivel, CHADWICK MODELS, PERTH, chadwickmodels.com Currently based in New York for 2014, model Caris Tiivel recently won the title of ‘Photographic Model of the Year’ at the 2013 West Australian Fashion Awards. She dominated the Perth modeling scene last year, with credits including Vogue Australia, Glamour Magazine, Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci. Styling by Emily Howlett, emilyhowlett.com.au Wardrobe: White Dress, Billon Dollar Babes from Style Palace. Billon Dollar Babes: billiondollarbabes.com.au | Style Palace: stylepalace.com.au
One picture, one single moment, one memory worth a thousand words
Travel smarter this year with some of our favorite apps for your smartphone.
KE R & DOWN E Y
THE SPRING ISSUE
Krista Simmons Writer: A Walk On Australia’s Wild Side editor M a rti n e B u ry Co nt ributing edi tor s K AT Y H E E R S S E N david jon es david ma r ek L e A n n e M atula PUBLISHERS david ma r ek david jon es ART DIRECTION & DESIGN AMY WILLIS PHOTO EDITOR L AU R E N M A R E K CONTENT WRITERS HALEY BEHAM RYA N C RO S BY S C OT T G OE T Z M AYA VA N DE N B E RG CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jack G u y LOGO DESIGN E R IC ROI N E S TA D
Krista Simmons is an L.A.-based culinary travel journalist and food personality whose passion lies in exploring up-and-coming global food scenes. She has attended culinary school and worked in every part of the industry, from wine making and bartending to farming produce on organic farms. You can catch her critiquing the current season of “Knife Fight” and follow her musings on Twitter @kristasimmons. On your nightstand now: The Street Food issue of Lucky Peach “I geek out about…” Underground food movements, great wine, impeccable design, proper grammar and my Shiba Inu puppy, Bento.
J ac k G uy Photographer: A Walk On Australia’s Wild Side
What’s inspiring you lately? I am always inspired by nature. Life mantra in four words: Time is my competition. (Time is not my enemy, time is my competition).
Jack Guy is an entertainment, fashion and travel photographer and director based in Malibu, California. His work has appeared in numerous international magazines, as well as American Photo and Vanity Fair. His celebrity shoots include an impressive roster of stars such as Julianne Moore, Rachel Weisz, Pierce Brosnan and Steve Carell. A recipient of the prestigious award of Hasselblad Master for his achievements in photography, his travel work benefits from his talents as a certified scuba diver, licensed master skydiver and motorcyclist.
Emily Ho w lett Stylist: A Walk On Australia’s Wild Side
Favorite plane ride activity: I love to get lost in some of my favorite fashion and lifestyle magazines. For me, it is a great time to zone out, listen to some of my favorite music and catch up on reading. Top of my travel bucket list: Everything about Mauritius entices me to visit one day! K ER & DOW N E Y
Emily Howlett began her fashion styling career at the ripe age of 17 when she was headhunted to work as an intern for Perth’s top editorial stylist in 2008. Over the past six years, Emily has worked with a large range of national and international clients including Chanel, ELLE Magazine Australia, Grazia Magazine Australia, The Australian Women’s Weekly Magazine, New Idea Magazine, Channel Nine Australia, Perth Fashion Festival, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival and many more. Emily continues to push creative barriers and just opened her own stunning studio space to further expand and evolve her work.
Cait Opperm an Photographer: The Shot Cait Oppermann is a Brooklyn-based artist and photographer. She graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Photography and a minor in Art History. In 2012, she co-published her first book, “Sea Blues,” which contains photographs taken while backpacking for 70 days throughout Europe, Turkey and Morocco with artist Yael Malka. She is also a co-founder of TGIF Gallery. Her work has recently appeared in publications such as Dwell, Hello Mr., and Wilder Quarterly. On my nightstand: “Leonardo and the Last Supper” by Ross King, “Your Everyday Art World” by Lane Relyea, Keith Haring’s “Journals” and Printed Pages and It’s Nice That magazines Travel bucket list: Tokyo, Mexico City, Buenos Aires
E ri c Rosen
o n t he w eb
Writer: Money: 5 Ways to Stay In Charge; Hot Spot: Park Hyatt Siem Reap
Eric Rosen is an L.A.-based travel expert and writer who specializes in food and wine travel. Eric is constantly on assignment exploring the world in search of the best new travel experiences—from luxury safari lodges in Africa to under-the-radar wineries in New Zealand and secret closed-door restaurants in Buenos Aires to exclusive beach retreats in Mexico. His most recent travels have taken him to the wine regions of Spain and the cities and jungles of Southeast Asia.
facebook facebook.com/ QUESTmagazineKD
t witter @QUESTmagKD Life mantra in four words: Stay curious, be surprised. Favorite plane ride activity: Sipping a pre-departure flute of champagne
Martin L ewicki Writer: Swedish Drift Even as a child, Germany-based Martin Lewicki had the urge for freedom and adventure—the best conditions for a future travel editor. Later on during his sociology studies in Berlin, he discovered the passion for writing. Then it was clear: He had to become an editor. Now, for the past 10 years, he has reported from Berlin on travels, technology and cars for international magazines and newspapers. Always ready for the next adventure, his curiosity is unabated.
“If I could instantly learn a new language, it would be…” Brazilian Portuguese Favorite plane ride activity: I turn off my cell phone and relax.
p hone 800.423.4236 +1.281.371.2500
ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS: Thinkstock | Mihai Blanaru; Frank Camhi; Sara Kramer; Mwiba Lodge; Dormy House; Grace Cafayate; Jumeirah Bilgah Beach; Brenner’s Park-Hotel and Spa; Park Hyatt Istanbul; Four Seasons Bosphorus; Thinkstock | maryTR; L’Aubergo della Regina Isabella; Overboard USA; PhotoJoJo;Bose; Jonny Ruzzo; Ndao Shop; Thinkstock | Phattana; Thinkstock | yes-thats-it; Thinkstock | irina efremova; Thinkstock | mariazuil; David Jones; Tswalu Kalahari; Thinkstock | Aurelie1; Thinkstock | morwa8; Thinkstock | Jupiterimages; Thinkstock | Matejh photography; Azura Benguerra Island
a-list S pr ing â€™s Must-h a v e Ex p eri ences
in the gorgeous, over-water, openair spa pavilions at The Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. For an immersive mind-and-body program, escape into the private herb garden of the Ayurvedic Retreat.
By Katy H eerssen
by helicopter over Borneo’s Maliau Basin, the oldest rainforest in the world and the true Lost World of Borneo, spotting jungle life and viewing spectacular waterfalls from above.
in Patagonia’s newest exclusive escape at Awasi Patagonia, sheltered in ranch-inspired, elevated villas that reveal unbelievable views of native forest, Lake Sarmiento and Torres del Paine.
in Argentina, along with Guillermo Alio and his wife, as they tell their story of love and music with painted footsteps, dancing the tango on canvas in his La Boca studio space.
at the feet of Jesus de Corcovado in Rio de Janiero via the Belmond Copacabana Palace. Chopper up to the monument and enjoy the view while you indulge in a private picnic from the hotel’s gourmet kitchen.
sorghum flour in Rwanda’s Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village— starting with dry sorghum then creating flour in the traditional method.
with an Armani insider at the Armani Hotel Milano—hit the boutique in Via Monte Napoleone or stay in your room and let your custom creations come to you by way of your personal shopper. KE R & DOW N E Y
arrivals Open in g s , Revamp s a nd th e L a test Tra v el News
With a well-considered expansion completed at the end of 2013, Legendary Expeditionsâ€™ Mwiba is a spectacular, new safari escape set against a backdrop bursting with natural wonders. While the sweeping landscape offers incredible game viewing, the guest tents are an inviting confection layered in cream slipcovered furnishings, textured rope poufs, chunky wood and leather accents. Common spaces are decked in rustic style, with zebra hide rugs providing the stage for lavish dinners and cocktails. From the relaxed perspective of the refreshing infinity pool or an alfresco yoga session, guests can soak up views that showcase Mwibaâ€™s clever build into the landscape of lush acacias, ancient coral trees and giant stone boulders.
Mwiba Lodge tanzania
By M artine B ury
Dormy House Hotel, England The epitome of farmhouse chic, the refreshed 17th-century hotel in the captivating Cotswolds brings glamour to the English countryside. After a £10 million renovation, the retreat’s airy House Spa sparkles with a design scheme evoking the area’s natural scenery, from the Vale of Evesham to the Welsh hills. Check in for a dip in the spa’s candlelit infinity pool, a sip-and-polish in the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Nail Bar and a snack in the new glass pavilion.
Grace Cafayate, Ar gentina Grace Hotels makes a grand entrance in the “land of silver” with its first property in Latin America. Perched high in the verdant hills of the Calchaqui Valley on La Estancia de Cafayate, an expansive equestrian, golf and residential estate, the new star of the show is a luxe boutique hotel with 52 rooms and suites, a spa and 20 luxuriously appointed villas designed with rustic, Argentine flair. Lavish in the surroundings via an 18-hole championship golf course, two polo fields, cycling and hiking trails or indulge indoors with a dining menu at Muse by Jonathan Cartwright, Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux.
Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel, Azerbaijan An upscale playground for true jetsetters, Jumeirah’s new resort, flanking the shores of the Caspian Sea, is the ultimate escape. With 14 freestanding, three-bedroom private cottages and 176 sea-facing rooms, Baku’s new hotspot offers a wide range of vacation activities—from hanging out in a series of cool outdoor lounges and beachside cabanas to Talise Spa, where treatments draw from restorative Thai, Balinese and Turkish traditions.
KE R & DOW N E Y
Inn at J oh n O ’Groats, S cotland For a striking vision against the wild, green landscape of Caithness in the north of Scotland, look no further than the towering extension of Norse-style buildings, neatly painted in bright primary colors that have transformed what was originally John O’Groats Hotel. The historic icon built in 1875 has evolved into a modern wonder with spacious and unique, self-catering one-, two- and four-bedroom apartments. Find modern amenities, artisanal décor handmade by local craftsmen and to-die-for views of dramatic cliffs, coastal stacks, forests and ocean. Teeming with wildlife, it’s the perfect place for adventure and to see the Northern Lights.
S AV E T HE DAT E:
Celebrate culture at the best international events.
International Carnival of Victoria, Seychelles: April 25–27
Cannes Film Festival, Côte d ’Azur, France: May 14–25
Bun Bang Fai rain ceremony, aka Rocket Festival, Laos: On full moon in May
El-Kelaâ M ’Gouna Rose Festival, Morroco: Post har vest, mid-May
Art Basel, Hong Kong: May 15–18
Feast of St. Anthony, Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal: June 12–14
Photo courtesy of Little Chem Chem | Thinkstock
Northern Tanzania’s Chem Chem wildlife concession has unveiled Little Chem Chem Camp in Tarangire National Park. Tributes to vintage romance, the five grand tents—each with its own fire pit—are decked in period style, with all modern luxuries. Tucked into almost 40 thousand acres of private wilderness, the camp sits on the banks of Lake Burunge, near an ancient elephant migration corridor shaded with Baobab trees. Guests are treated daily to a memorable African sunrise and the scene of elephants cavorting at their preferred watering hole.
Photos courtesy of Inn at John O’Groats
Little Chem Chem, tanz ania
Photos courtesy of Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa; Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa
what ’s trending One can never have too much of a good thing. Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas raises the bar with a flurry of luxe new locations, from a private island in Mozambique to the foothills of UNESCO World Heritage site Mount Emei in Emeishan, Sichuan, China. An 84-room marvel in wood and glass with expansive riverfront views, Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa is a quick tuk-tuk ride into the heart of Thailand’s second largest city and the legendary Night Bazaar. Designed to resemble Angkor Wat from an aerial view, 39-room Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa offers a stunning boutique stay, with design and water features built in homage to Cambodian women.
Anantara Chiang Mai
Photo courtesy of Dusit Devarana New Delhi; BOA Steakhouse | Claire Thomas
GOOD E AT S Decisions, decisions—Dusit Devarana New Delhi has two sophisticated dining options fit for global palates. For a casually chic, alfresco meal Kiyan dishes inventive international fare, while soon-to-open, Michelin-starred Kai (an outpost of London’s acclaimed Kai Mayfair) will serve haute, modern Chinese in an elegant, air-conditioned tent.
A southern California favorite, BOA Steakhouse takes flight with its first international location in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. In sleek, hip environs, locals and globetrotters get to experience signature flavors of the all-American original in a Halal-certified menu of steaks and classic sides.
KE R & DOWN E Y
With the opening of Amanoi in the lush surroundings of Vietnam’s crystal blue Vinh Hy Bay, Aman addicts get a serene retreat above and beyond the understated splendor they expect from the brand’s cult luxury status. Strategically situated on the edge of Núi Chúa National Park, the resort boasts 31 spacious guest pavilions, five secluded villas, a Central Pavilion designed to resemble a Vietnamese dining hall, the infinity Cliff Pool, Beach Club and breathtaking views for days. The real scene stealer is the 20,000 square foot Aman Spa—featuring five treatment pavilions, a yoga pavilion offering bespoke classes, a Pilates studio, a signature strengthening Holistic Fusion class and an extensive wellness program for those who need a total reboot.
WH AT ’S NEXT Groundbreaking in its documentary vision and populist ethos, the new Marrakech Museum of Photography and Visual Arts showcases photo works through the lens of Moroccan, North African and international artists at its temporary home in the El Badi Palace. The country’s Ministry of Culture has granted the museum a rent-free, five-year lease to stage exhibitions while its future home is designed and built by legendary architect, Sir David Chipperfield. Slated to open in 2016, MMPVA will be the first, large-scale photography museum in North Africa. mmpva.org
Photo courtesy of Marrakech Museum of Photography and Visual Arts
Photos courtesy of Amanoi
D E S T IN AT ION REL AX ATION
A N C IE N T GLORY
Left: The central spiral staircase in the rotunda, Tate Britain - Courtesy Caruso St John and Tate (c) Hélène Binet Above: Courtesy of Tate Britain
The Tate Britain has art lovers abuzz following a thoughtful, six-year renovation by architects du jour Caruso St. John and a much-anticipated reopening last November. It is a brilliant new house for great British masterworks from Hogarth to Hirst, as well as the world’s largest collection of J.M.W. Turner. Impressive new bits include a dazzling spiral staircase below the domed rotunda and a new café overlooking the Thames. On the subject of architecture, the spectacular exhibition Ruin Lust—a trans-historical, sometimes irreverent look at ruins in art—runs through May 18. KE R & DOWN E Y
the guide Ins ider S ec rets of L ux ury Tra v el
C O M O S h a m bh a l a E s t a t e at Beg awan, I NDON E SI A
T he Destination G uru 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.
W e a r e p l a n n i n g a r e t u r n t r i p to Ch i n a a n d a r e lo o k i n g to s e e s o m e t h i n g o ff t h e b e at e n pat h — w e ’ v e d o n e t h e G r e at Wa l l a n d t h e b i g c i t i e s. Wh e r e c a n w e g o ? J. Elliott, Evanston, IL
Images courtesy of Thinkstock
China is one of those destinations that, just by virtue of its size, can be explored on a return visit several times over. Beyond being huge, it’s a country with a history so rich and diverse, there is always plenty to discover aside from the usual big, bucket-list items.
Along the Silk Road are the historic grottoes of Yungang (in Datong) and Longmen (in Luoyang)—both places are UNESCO protected and display some stunning Buddhist cave carvings and beautiful frescoes. The statues number in the thousands, carved directly into the limestone rock and
chance to peek into a life lived simply for generations. The art of calligraphy is very important to the Bouyei, and you can take calligraphy lessons here with a local family. Your teacher might be a teenager or a great-grandmother—almost everyone in the Bouyei community is adept at the written art and eager to share it. The beauty of traveling with Ker & Downey is not only that we can take you to new and exciting places that are left off the radar for the average traveler, but that we know how to weave together the “typical” experiences of a destination in a completely new and exclusive way—making it a unique experience just for you.
You can also consider the village of Pingyao. This town was the ancient financial capital of China and its grid-style city planning exists now, just as it did in its heyday. The architecture of the buildings and the well-preserved city walls are very unique. Qingdao is a coastal city that was a German colony outpost in the 19th century. This city is home to the famous Chinese beer Tsingtao, which is still brewed in the German style to this day. It’s one of the many little bits of Germany that was left here by the early immigrants. The famous images of the rocks emerging from the waters of Guilin have always captivated visitors of China; and while they are breathtaking, I recommend spending the bulk of your time in this region on a detour to Guiyang in the southern province of Guizhou. The mainstream tourists have not yet discovered this tranquil place, and it’s chock full of lovely scenery and cultural diversity. Visits with the Bouyei people give you the
KE R & DOW N E Y
W E L L N E S S : H e a l i ng E l e m e nts This is the season for renewal, and what better way to feel good, enliven the spirit and the senses than with a visit to a spa that embraces the basics. BY Mary Bemis
Bathing rituals are as old as civilization. The Egyptians practiced water therapies, the Greeks introduced cold-water baths, the Persians were busy creating steam and mud baths, the Turks followed with lavish baths built during the Ottoman Empire and in 1326, a curative spring was found in a little town in Belgium. As it turns out, this was the very spring frequented by the Romans before 100 A.D. and named “Sulsu Par Aqua.” Hence the name of the little town: Spa. All ancient cultures recognized and paid homage to these basic elements—water, earth and fire—and spas are where those elements have always come together for healing, for relaxation, for rejuvenation. Here’s a quick list of places where these elements reign to add to your bucket list.
Hydrotherapy is essentially the use of water for enhancing health and wellness. Water therapy comes in many forms including mineral baths, jetted tubs, Swiss showers, Vichy showers and the old-fashioned, high-pressure Scotch hose. Perhaps one of the most quintessential spa towns is Baden-Baden, Germany, which is home to the elegant Brenner’s Park-Hotel and Spa. Founded in 1834, it is one of the first European spas to modernize its facilities successfully and now offers a topnotch experience for today’s spa-goer. Baden-Baden is also home to Friedrichsbad, a public 125-year-old “temple to the art of bathing.”
Native people everywhere had their sacred sweat lodge. They were used for many pur poses from religious and spiritual to purification and ritual. The Mayans had their temazcal, the Russians their banya, the Finnish their sauna, the Turkish their hamam. These are all basically steam or sauna rooms. At their very core is water and fire.
The Turkish hamam is an ode to the steam bath. A beautiful, often ethereal space with ornate mosaics, octagonal pools, domes and fountains—this is where one would come to socialize while being scrubbed with a special black soap, bathed and massaged. The classic hamam is made up of three interconnected rooms of varying heat. The hottest room is home to a large marble slab that’s situated in the center and referred to as the “belly stone.” This is where one lies, relaxing and soaking up the steam and where one is thoroughly scrubbed. There are a plethora of places to experience all the different versions of hamam, but Turkey reigns supreme. For example, the Spa at the Park Hyatt Istanbul offers five in-room spa suites where you may opt for a traditional experience in total privacy. On the menu here: A Turkish Hamam Deluxe package that starts with a traditional hamam ritual, followed by a good scrub and foaming rose massage. It’s wonderful, not only for removing dead skin and buffing to perfection, but a good boost for the circulation, as well. For ultimate luxury, the Spa at Four Seasons Bosphorus offers a 120-minute Private Hammam Moments service, packed with the aroma-therapeutic benefits of traditional attar (essences of rose, pine, sandalwood and lemon). While in the old city, recently renovated Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam—which sits on the site of the ancient public baths of Zeuxippus (100-200 A.D.), between the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, in the area that once housed the Temple of Zeus—offers a once in a lifetime experience.
Photos: Top Left: Turkish bath; Bottom Left: Park Hyatt Istanbul; Right: Four Seasons Bosphorus hammam
KE R & DOW N E Y
Water and earth make mud, and mud—via body wraps, masks and packs—has been applied to the body for eons. The ancient Roman physician Galen wrote about mud treatments for arthritis and rheumatism. A good mud wrap can work wonders, as it has exfoliating, detoxifying and firming properties, among others. For thousands of years, people have flocked to the Dead Sea, famous for its curative mud and waters. This landlocked salt lake between Israel and Jordan is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world. It can actually be called one of the world’s first health resorts, thanks to Herod the Great, who used it as such. My husband, who had hurt his knee climbing the nearby fortress of Masada, was cured in a 45-minute mud wrap, much to his amazement. This area is also a major supplier of salts and minerals for a variety of personal care products. One of my favorite places to meander in the mud is the volcanic island of Ischia, about 20 miles from Naples. It has long been revered for its fantastic volcanic mud and hot springs. One of the island’s nicest hotels is the L’Aubergo della Regina Isabella, where mud is made right on property and used in authentic spa treatments.
Mary Bemis is a leading spa and wellness expert. The founder of InsidersGuidetoSpas.com, and the co-founder of Organic Spa Magazine, she saunas at least three times a week and believes in the benefits of a cold plunge.
T E C H NOLO G Y: Travel Smart
The ultimate tech multitasker is already buzzing in your pocket or purse. By Liam McCabe
Start chopping your packing list down to size, because your map, guidebook, camera, magazine, movie player, pen, paper, flashlight and all-around backup plan are already in your smartphone. With the right plan and accessories, it’s the only gadget you’ll need for any journey.
Pick a Plan
Keep it Safe
If you can’t count on Wi-Fi, activate an international service plan for your smartphone. Ask your carrier if they offer à la carte voice and data blocks or if your phone can accept SIM cards from foreign networks.
When traveling, your phone should have some protection. The one-sizefits-all Overboard Waterproof Phone Case ($28) can keep any phone safe from the elements, though iPhone and Samsung Galaxy owners should grab the sleek, water-resistant Lifeproof Nüüd ($90).
A Different View
No smartphone can replace the power and versatility of a proper camera. But the Photojojo Lens Set ($99) expands its photo repertoire beyond the humble snapshot. The kit includes a telephoto lens to zoom in on faraway sights, two fish-eye optics for dramatic effects, a polarizer for shooting in bright sunlight and a wide-angle glass for expansive landscapes. These stick-ons work on any phone (or tablet), as long as it has a built-in camera.
Dead battery and no outlet nearby? That’s no problem when you can harness the sun. The pocket-sized Poweradd Apollo2 battery pack ($33) juices itself up in sunlight, and stores enough energy to power a phone through a few battery cycles. Silence is Golden
t h e p h otoj oj o l e ns s e t
A great set of noise-cancelling headphones will ease the ear fatigue caused by long flights and loud surroundings. Reviewers agree that the the over-the-ears Bose QuietComfort 15 ($300) are the best you can get. Prefer earbuds? Grab the Bose QuietComfort 20 ($200).
Liam McCabe is a technology journalist living in Boston. His stories about cameras, gadgets and the future of your home have appeared in USA Today, Reviewed.com and more. He’s an avid traveler and aspiring outdoorsman. KE R & DOWN E Y
money: 5 Ways to Stay In Charge Savvy traveler Eric Rosen advises on choosing the right credit card for international travel. illustration by jonny ruzzo
Visas, vaccinations, passport pages—there are plenty of things to consider when planning a trip abroad, but one of the most important is deciding which credit cards to take with you. This decision can save you time, money and a lot of aggravation. Here are five factors you should consider when making your decision.
N o f o r e i g n t r a n sac t i o n f e e s
These annoying fees on transactions processed abroad can add up to about 3 percent of your total purchase price—racking up charges on hotels, restaurants and gifts. Luckily, many banks have done away with these fees on their top travel credit cards, including Chase’s Sapphire Preferred and Capital One’s Venture Rewards card. Purchase protections
That gorgeous piece of porcelain or those new silk dresses you bought won’t do you much good if they arrive shattered in a million pieces or disappear from your luggage. Use a credit card with good purchase protection in place to insure your purchases abroad. For instance, the American Express Platinum card provides coverage of loss or theft for 90 days from the date of purchase when you charge any portion of the price to your card, up to $10,000 for any one incident and up to $50,000 during a calendar year, meaning you’re not on the hook if any thing goes awry.
K ER & DOW N E Y
W i d e a c c e p ta n c e
Travelers might notice many merchants abroad only accept two or even just one kind of card—usually Visa or Mastercard. It’s optimal to have at least two different issuers in your wallet as a back up when traveling.
Bonus spending c at e g o r i e s
In a competitive credit card marketplace, many premium cards offer bonus points when you make purchases in certain categories such as airfare, dining or entertainment. Before traveling, map out the types of purchases you will be making and which card will give you the most points per dollar based on your spending. The Chase Sapphire Preferred, for example, offers two points per dollar on all dining and travel (including things like train tickets, mass transit and taxis in addition to airfare and hotels). EMV S m a r t C h i p s
Though relatively few cards in the U.S. carry these embedded chips, they are far more common abroad. While hotels usually let you use your swipe cards, many merchants (especially in Europe) do not, including some restaurants, stores and public transport systems like the London Tube or Paris Metro. Having a card with a chip can mean the difference between having to pay cash or earning points or miles on your everyday purchases while traveling. Eric Rosen is an LA-based travel expert and writer who specializes in food and wine travel. Eric is constantly on assignment exploring the world in search of the best new travel experiences.
style T he Art of Jet-Setting
KE R & DOW N E Y
Complementing an array of timeless neutrals, basic denim and crisp whites, spring’s indigo hues not only inspire a fresh feel—they also travel well. By Martine Bury
1. Ever-sensible and spacious carryall with an adjustable shoulder strap Large Calfskin Baylee Bag by Chloé in Sea Water, $2,250 | barneys.com 2. Clean design with a vintage feel Tag Heuer Carrera 1887 in Rose Gold, $6,400 | shop-us.tagheuer.com 3. Hip and sensible—from long walks to workouts New Balance® for J. Crew 996 men’s sneakers in Metropolitan Blue, $150 | jcrew.com 4. 18-karat yellow gold with rose cut diamonds and blue sapphire slices that evoke azure seas One-of-a-kind drop earrings by Irene Neuwirth, $10,600 | Barneys New York 5. Rugged, chic and on-trend Men’s Standard-Fit Washed Chambray Shirt by Paul Smith, $195 | paulsmith.co.uk 6. Infused with white grapes grown in the Greek island’s volcanic ash-rich soil Santorini shower gel and body butter by Korres, $20 and $29 | hsn.com
7. A truly unisex scent with hints of fresh lime, angelica and vetiver Rain & Angelica limited edition cologne by Jo Malone London, $120 | nordstrom.com
8. So French, so clean and lightweight 28” 2-wheeled, soft-sided Foldable Packing Case by Lipault Paris in Espresso, $249 | lipault.com 9. Smart, with a hint of jewel-toned modern art Tod’s Leather Square-Detail Ballet Flats, $675 | saksfifthavenue.com 10. Exquisitely adult Drawstring Backpack by The Row in Camel, $3,900 | barneys.com
11. For low-maintenance men, this multitasker gets the job done Facial Fuel Heavy Lifting Anti-Aging Moisturizer by Kiehl’s, $40 | kiehls.com 12. Complete with clever zipper pouch for handy, in-flight storage Travel Pillow by Hästens in Classic Blue, $110 | hastens.com 13. Detail-obsessive with nautical simplicity Nevis One-Piece by Tory Burch, $215 | toryburch.com KE R & DOW N E Y
By Martine B ury
The impeccably stylish Barbara Berger has been called a lot of things—power collector, free spirit and fashion icon. Catching up with her on the heels of the of the release of the book Fashion Jewelry: The Collection of Barbara Berger and a smash exhibition of her sparkling trove of baubles at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design last summer, we realize it wouldn’t be right to put a label on her anyhow. Growing up the daughter of a diamond dealer in New York, Berger developed an expert ability for identifying the exquisite and extravagant in everything around her. Which has made the Mexico City-based muse one of the world’s foremost collectors of fine jewelry, with an over 4,000-piece-strong collection (some dating back to the 1920s) that includes the handiworks of Coco Chanel, Miriam Haskell and Iradj Moini. An admitted flea market addict, she spends one-third of the year traveling the globe, hunting for treasure and discovering emerging talents in the jewelry and artisan worlds.
Tell us one word that describes you. Probably gypsy, as I am a traveling Sagittarius Who inspires you? Michelle Obama, Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Iris Apfel—all women with strength and style Where is home? Mexico City How do you define style? Every woman has her style, the base stays, only the age changes and looks must adapt. Hip huggers, mini skirts and Victorian lace dresses—which I love—do not look good on a woman over 70. Do you have a signature look? Yes, boho chic How do you approach your far-flung adventures? I psych myself and go into a travel mode. I slow down my pace with nothing that disturbs me. I get together my magazines, books and movies in my Air Mac and do mental yoga on the airplane. What is your favorite thing to do when you arrive at new destination? The first thing, even before unpacking, is to walk in the streets. I smell the odors of the restaurants and see the faces of the people in the streets. In other words, I start to feel at home.
Opposite page: Portrait of Barbara Berger © Pablo Esteva. Above: Fashion Jewelry: The Collection of Barbara Berger; Freirich necklace
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You have an incredible jewelry collection. What are some of your favorite pieces? Each designer, of which I have over 80, is special and does unique work. If I could have a favorite designer and piece it would be from Coco Chanel, in her Mughal period. The workmanship and fantasy of a piece are most important to me. Tell us the story of your favorite find or greatest discovery and where you found it. Too difficult—each piece has its story and provenance. Like children, I have no favorites. They would be jealous. What are your favorite cities in the world and why? I suppose Paris and New York. The energy of New York and the beauty of Paris. Where are your favorite street markets? I love the Marché aux Puces in Paris, the Sablon Antiques Market in Brussels and the 25th Street Market in New York. Each city has treasures to be found. Also, I love textiles from indigenous countries. I always go to the folk markets in faraway places.
In your opinion, which country has the greatest fine jewelry tradition? Italy, as I love Buccellati
What is your favorite non-jewelry treasure from your travels? As I have more than one collection, it’s probably a vase that I cherish. It’s Keramis with a matte finish and a type of Congo Belge design. I found this treasure in the Sablon Antiques Market. What is your favorite hotel in the world? The Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes. My husband and I have been going for over 35 years, and it only gets better each time I am there. Where do you like to unwind? I unwind in my home in Mexico City or Careyes, which is between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta. What is the best thing you have ever eaten abroad? I’m not a foodie but do love simple Mexican food. There’s nothing like a quesadilla in the restaurant Dulce Patria in Mexico City. What are your favorite places to shop internationally? Paris and New York. I also can’t live without Dries Van Noten at The Modehuis in Antwerp, Belgium.
Photo credits: Maison Gripoix (circa 1930s). Nettie Rosenstein (circa 1930s–1940s), United States. Rooster dress clip. Colored enamel, rhinestones, silver plated. Signed Nettie Rosenstein. © Pablo Esteva. Roger Jean-Pierre (circa 1950s–1960s), France. Floral brooch. Simulated pearls, rhinestones, gold plated. © Pablo Esteva. Chanel.
Things she won't leave home without
1. Red Tumi Luggage 2. Mac Air 3. By Terry Makeup 4. Biographies of power women 5. Chanel No. 5 Perfume
Counter-clockwise: TUMI Dublin Weekender in Lipstick; Apple MacBook Air; By Terry Cellularose Blush Glacé; Chanel No. 5; Empress of Fashion, A Life of Diana Vreeland, Harper Collins
What is your top fashion tip while traveling? Be comfortable. Don’t wear anything tight or any makeup on long flights. Take off your shoes. And, I always carry my favorite blanket. How do you bring a global feel to entertaining and your home? I entertain with flowers, flowers, flowers all over. It takes about a week to do my tables… I learnt so much from my dear friends Colin Cowie and Nate Berkus. As for flowers, my other muses are Preston Bailey, Zeze and the master Daniel Ost. Tell us about the last picture you took. The last picture was in Careyes, Mexico during the Chinese New Year. As I am a horse in the Chinese Zodiac, this year has special meaning. The most transforming place you have ever visited? My trip to Bagan, Burma by boat Beach, city or countryside? Beach. My favorite place is Careyes on the Mexican coast, I have my home and heart there. There, my passion is fishing from my little Panga called Cookie. Modern life and ancient relics coexist in Bagan, Burma
Are you a spontaneous traveler? Or do you plan ahead? I never plan ahead. A gypsy is always ready to migrate.
Thinkstock | Richard Stamper KE R & DOW N E Y
I n th e Shade Sunglasses are the ultimate travel accessories. Bold to demure, classic to so right now—we pick the season’s standout styles. By Martine Bury
“Bengal” DITA Eyewear by Jeff Solorio and John Juniper $475 | dita.com
“Colline” by Oliver Peoples in Alabaster & Umber Gradient $335 | Oliver Peoples Boutiques
“Gamine” by Barton Perreira in Gold Coast Enamel/Dark Havana with Carnelian Gold Flash Mirror lenses $490 | Barneys New York
Thom Browne Eyewear TB-010 $650 | 100 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013
“Karina” by Jason Wu in Opal $275 | modoshop.com
“Shawford” by Paul Smith $370 | Oliver Peoples Boutiques
Bamboo sunglasses in Middle Gold by Gucci, plated in 24-karat gold $1,195 | Select Solstice Sunglasses nationwide
Marc Jacobs, MJ 506/S $420 | solsticesunglasses.com
“ELLIS” by MOSCOT in Dark Brown $295 | moscot.com
Limited Edition Baguette in SemiPrecious Tiger’s Eye by Fendi $695 | Select Nordstrom stores nationwide
Buffalo Horn Polarized Aviator Sunglasses by Brioni in ‘Brown’ $1,150 | neimanmarcus.com
“Exeter” DITA Eyewear by Jeff Solorio and John Juniper in Grey Smoke Crystal with Antique Silver $700 | ditalegends.com
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Skin Deep Beauty’s best globally-sourced ingredients by martine bury
Even with a refreshing peach and rose scent, there’s nothing soft about Rodial’s ultra-hydrating, anti-inflammatory Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Mask. Which packs a punch to problem skin with dragon’s blood—a bright, red tree resin native to Socotra archipelago off the horn of Africa. $48 | nordstrom.com
Known for healing attributes, multitasking argan oil has been the buzzworthy ingredient of the last decade. The prized argan trees grow specifically in the semi-arid soil of Southwestern Morocco and brace that environment from the forces of desertification. Model, actress, beauty mogul and activist Josie Maran creates luxurious, 100 percent pure arganinfused products with conscience. Her African red rooibos-scented Model Citizen Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter hydrates all day and helps to support the dreams of girls and women in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. $35 | sephora.com A mainstay of luxury hotels and spas, London’s Molton Brown celebrates 30 sweet years of Orange & Bergamot, the company’s signature scent, made from the extracts of blossoms from Seville’s native bitter orange trees. Orange & Bergamot Body Wash, $30 | moltonbrown.com
Harvested from nut-bearing Marula trees, Marula oil is packed with essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Remarkably stable, it’s been used traditionally in Southern Africa, Mozambique and parts of East Africa for medicinal, cosmetic and culinary purposes. A powerhouse of hydration, anti-aging and protection suitable for all skin types, The Leakey Collection Omega Rich Pure Marula Oil is wild harvested and manually cold pressed by rural women in East Africa, providing them with an empowering and sustainable source of income. $78 | shop.marula.com
Made in Hungary, award-winning
Éminence’s Organic Skin Care’s beauty potions are prepared and filled into jars by hand. The Hungarian Herbal Mud Treatment mixes thermal mud with calming willow, energizing paprika and vitamin C-packed ivy—bringing life to dull, tired complexions. $46 | totalbeauty.com
SHOP: The Ndau Collection MARTINE BURY SPENDS TIME WITH ZIMBABWE'S COOLEST ARTISANS
really enjoy the thrill of a treasure hunt. Crossing over Zambiaâ€™s border into Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls, the Ndau jewelry and craft collective provide me with a gleeful discovery and entre into a singular, creative community that is putting Zimbabwe back on the map. A must-do by private plane for those in the know or in search of the splendid, this is the place to be. KE R & DOW N E Y
Even on a quiet day at Elephant’s Walk Shopping and Artist Village, I can hear the awesome rumbling of Victoria Falls and even feel its mist in the breeze. The only comparable force of nature to the falls I encounter is Gail van Jaarsveldt, founder and visionary behind The Ndau Collection and the shopping village. She has a mischievous sparkle in her eye, a wild sense of adventure, an innate sense of design and a solid business acumen—all of which enabled her and her team to create a place for African art and artisans to thrive. Committed to the idea of creating a truly interactive experience for visitors, she launched The Ruoko Project, which provides young, up-and-coming artists with a free space to work and to receive hands-on guidance and mentoring by the Ndau team. Wherever I look, it’s a family affair. Since opening Elephant’s Walk and establishing Ndau in 1998 with Gill Atherstone, she has partnered with her talented daughter, lead designer and co-owner Christie Halsted whose background as an artist keeps the innovation going. Visitors here are welcomed as old friends— the Zimbabwean way—ending up in the artists’ studios or sharing a meal or embarking on an impromptu safari with a stay at van Jaarsveldt’s home. To me, the greatest score isn’t jewels, textiles or sumptuous accessories. It’s the chance to listen to her incredible stories and to meet locals, including an organic farmer who has turned a green thumb into a thriving business for himself on the property, providing fresh food and a living.
When it comes to jewelry in Africa, one-ofa-kind pieces often hold the stories of the one-of-a-kind individuals who create them. The Ndau Collection tells many stories, interweaving the unique narratives of Victoria Fall’s talented artisans, who not only keep jewelry traditions alive, but also breathe new life into each and every work of art. “Each of our sterling silver, bronze or copper beads and fittings are made using the centuries old African lost-wax casting technique, handmade from beginning to end, resulting in a beautifully soft, curvaceous finish to our metal work that gives it the feel of the ages of history it represents,” explains Christie Brookstein, Ndau’s newest partner and senior designer. From their wide collection of beautiful and rare antique African trade beads, semi-precious and precious stones, natural horn and bone, exotic leathers and treasures they find in their travels—the materials are exquisite.
Photos courtesy of Ndau
Completely enthralled with the shops and galleries housing rare, ancient artifacts and contemporary African art, I am so drawn in I can picture living here. A tour through the jewelry studio reveals the pulse of it all, with local craftsmen working on every tiny detail of a necklace, ring or crocodile-skin cuff alongside Halsted, Ndau’s head stone-cutter and silversmith Joe Mutoko and Brookstein, whose proficiency in leather design has taken the project to a new level. In fact, Ndau’s signature has become their popular, sustainable, color-saturated, Crocodile Tail Wrap Double Stud Cuff .
While a day (or many) with The Ndau Collective gives ample opportunities for tourists to give back to Africa, it is Zimbabwe that gives the greater gift, leaving an indelible impression. “For anyone born or living in Africa, it’s true that the lifeblood of the continent beats in our hearts. We’re here through all the crazy times we experience because we are in love with Africa. As we Zimbabweans say, we are constantly ‘making a plan’ just to get through the day, always thinking outside of the norm which makes our designs unique,” says Brookstein. “We also have such a rich heritage—it’s our inspiration. To see a nomadic Tuareg herder making jewelry in exactly the same lost wax method as we do—albeit over a fire, whilst we have a kiln—breeds a feeling of one people, one continent.” To learn more visit www.ndaucollection.com KE R & DOW N E Y
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.
flights Fres h Takes on G rea t G eta wa y s
B oat tri p at phi-phi krabi bea c h i n Th ai l and
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Image courtesy of Thinkstock | Dan-Edwards
Burj Khalifa at sunset
lay o v er: dubai Just a day or two is all you need to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of this bustling metropolis. By Maya Vandenberg
Sights Though Dubai is a relatively young city and has only blossomed to its present-day glory in the past 30 years or so, there is certainly no shortage of things to do and see.
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock| slovegrove
When Burj Khalifa opened in 2010, it superseded the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab as the new icon of Dubai and claimed the title of the world’s tallest building, standing at an impressive and vertigo-inducing 2,717 feet high. It also boasts the world’s highest outdoor observation deck, so head straight to the 124th floor for an awe-inspiring view of the ever-expanding city. After, follow it up with a trip to the Mall of the Emirates to experience a different kind of novelty—the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort. Ski Dubai’s snow park offers ski slopes, bobsled runs and tobogganing hills, but once you’ve had enough of the cold, you can also peruse the 550-plus stores spread over a whopping 2.4 million square feet at this shopper’s paradise. As the only mosque in Dubai open to non-Muslims, the landmark Jumeirah Mosque gives you a glimpse into the religious underpinnings of this modern Islamic society with organized tours held every day except Friday. Meet at the main entrance by 9:45 a.m., and don’t forget your camera as photography is surprisingly allowed, even within the mosque’s hallowed walls.
Photo courtesy of Sahn Eddar
Restaurants Dubai’s culinary scene is as varied as its population, which means you can enjoy everything from traditional Arabic fare to innovative international cuisine.
The City of Gold plays host to an impressive roster of acclaimed global dining brands, including La Petite Maison, Zuma, Nobu and the soon to open Cipriani. On a short trip, a quick immersion into the range of authentic flavors on offer is entirely possible. For a meal with a view, reserve a table at At.Mosphere, the fine dining spot outfitted with Adam Tihany furnishThe colorful lobby at Sahn Eddar ings and wall-to-wall windows located on the 122nd floor of Burj Khalifa. Savor five- or seven-course tasting menus or à la carte options like Atlantic cod with olive and caper quinoa by executive chef Jitan Joshi, who cut his culinary teeth in the kitchens of Michelin-starred London eateries like Outlaw’s at the Capital and Benares. Overlooking the amphitheater at Madinat Jumeirah, Al Makan offers a taste of classic Arabic flavors with a menu that ranges from hummus and labneh to kabab halabi (minced lamb with onion and Lebanese spices) and shish taouk (boiled broad beans with parsley, tomato, olive oil and lemon). Afterwards, enjoy traditional-flavored shisha in the outdoor seating area. Even if you’re not staying at iconic Burj Al Arab, it’s definitely worth a visit, if only to peer up through the kaleidoscopic atrium. However, while you’re there drop by Sahn Eddar (located in the base of the atrium) for afternoon or high tea— where you can sip champagne and nibble on dainty sandwiches and pastries to the tune of a live Arabic band. KE R & DOW N E Y KE R & DOW N E Y
Hotels Luxury accommodations abound in Dubai—including the world’s only seven-star hotel—and a new crop of openings offer both urban retreats and beachside havens.
The luxe 252-room Oberoi, Dubai opened less than a year ago in prime real estate, with direct views of Burj Khalifa. The contemporarily designed spaces feature specially commissioned artwork by renowned Indian artist Mrinmoy Barua, and the hotel’s Pan-Asian restaurant Umai boasts the UAE’s only licensed fugu chef plus a Kung Fu tea master. But the best part is that even if you land in Dubai at an odd hour, the Zen-like eight-room spa is open round the clock, so book yourself an Anti-Stress Recovery ritual to relieve any travel tension, even at 2 a.m.
Top Left: Welcome drink at the Oberoi; Above: Glass-floored overwater villas, swim-up Mai Bar; Lotus Lounge at sunset
Photo courtesy of Oberoi, Dubai and Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa
Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, which debuted last fall, is set on the eastern crescent of manmade Palm Jumeirah Island and is the first hotel in Dubai with glass-floored overwater villas. Inspired by traditional Thai architecture, the 293 rooms and villas gaze over dazzling lagoons, tropical gardens and the serene Arabian Gulf, while five dining outlets serve everything from Mediterranean to Southeast Asian cuisine.
Image courtesy of Thinkstock | Brooklynworks
Falconry in the Desert
Dubai’s towering skyscrapers can make you forget you’re actually in the middle of the desert and that the city rose from humble Bedouin beginnings. However, its cultural offerings prove it’s way more than just glitz and glam.
Find out what early desert life was like with a Platinum Heritage Desert Excursion. You’ll drive through the tranquil Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve in a vintage 1950s Land Rover (or a Mercedes G-wagon), enjoy a falcon demonstration and ride a camel before experiencing an authentic dinner at a secluded Bedouin camp. The traditional markets, or souks as they are more commonly referred, are a must-see while in town. Hop in an abra, an old-style wooden boat, and cross Dubai Creek to land at the Gold Souk with over 300 retailers. Or instead, head to the spice and textile souks, awash in exotic scents and colors, to get a taste of the area’s lively trading scene. KE NE KER R& & DOW DOWN EY Y
Photo courtesy of CafĂŠ Royal Hotel
Hot S pot: Par k Hyat t s ie m r e ap Globetrotter Eric Rosen traveled to ancient Angkor Wat, where one of the world’s hottest new luxury hotels has just opened.
ambodia is a study in contrasts, as anyone who arrives in Siem Reap along a dusty, bumpy street and pulls into the private driveway of the recently opened Park Hyatt Siem Reap can tell you.
The road from the airport is littered with the half-constructed bones of new tourist-bus hotels going up at a break-neck pace. Just a few minutes outside the main town lies a landscape that could be from several centuries ago—a maze of vibrant, green rice paddies connecting tiny villages of dirt-floor huts where electricity and running water are scarce. All that seems a world away from the new Park Hyatt. Formerly the landmark Hotel de la Paix, the assiduously restored Art Deco edifice gleams an almost impossible shade of white in the midday tropical sun, and I am quickly ushered from the noise and exhaust of the outside street into the cool shade of the Living Room lounge for check-in. Sitting upon a plush, dusty-rose velvet chair, ice-cold ginger welcome lemonade in hand, I fill out the requisite information and then am shown up to my room at the end of a corridor on the third (and top) floor. My Park King
room felt spacious thanks to a wall of windows overlooking the resort’s famous free-form pool, which slithers between sunlit and shaded lounging platforms at the heart of the complex. It’s a true retreat. For its first property in Cambodia, Hyatt contracted the services of Bangkok-based Bill Bensley, who is fast becoming Southeast Asia’s luxury hotel designer du jour. True to style, Bensley incorporated the contemporary touches any luxury traveler expects—hardwood floors, crisp white-on-white linens and all-marble bathrooms (and a Nespresso machine!)—with more local, Khmerinspired elements like banyan-shaped sculpted metal headboards that mimic the sculptures of Angkor Wat’s temples, antiqued mirrors and carved wooden furniture with brightly upholstered cushions. The local décor elements get me excited to make a foray into the Angkor national park almost as soon as I arrived. Lending the room a more spacious, if voyeuristic, feel was a peekaboo window with wooden shutters for a privacy screen that separates the bedroom area from the allmarble bathroom with an enormous walk-in shower and separate deep soaking tub as well as his-and-hers vanities.
Photos courtesy of Park Hyatt Siem Reap KE R & DOW N E Y
s welcome a respite from the heat as the room was, I did not come to Siem Reap simply to admire my room. A day trip to the temples for me the following morning included a driver and a knowledgeable guide. But in the meantime, I hired a tuk tuk, made the dusty 20-minute drive into Angkor and hiked up the hill of a medieval temple called Phnom Bakheng to watch the rays of sunset hit Angkor Wat. Afterward, I returned to the hotel to enjoy happy hour in the Living Room, where the refreshing cocktails (try the one with vodka, kefir lime and chili peppers) draw a mixed crowd of local expats and upscale visitors. Guests can dine on a mix of continental classics and Southeast Asian specialties (think niçoise salad and crispy spring rolls) here. For a more formal meal, the hotel’s signature restaurant, The Dining Room, offers a tantalizing mélange of rustic French dishes and traditional Khmer recipes that can only be described as updated Indochine. Start with the salad of prawns, pomelo, roasted coconut, lemon basil and fish sauce before a main course of tender, roasted spring chicken with honey, garlic, tamarind and peanuts, or that most typical of Khmer dishes: amok seafood stew with curry paste, coconut milk and nhor leaves. But man cannot live on fine dining alone, and after a day out in the steamy jungles exploring ancient ruins, it was not sustenance, but succor, that I was seeking, and for that, I found The Spa to be a perfect respite.
The Spa often offers combination specials like the Apsara package, an hour-long full-body massage followed by an hour-long foot massage that is named after the heavenly dancers of Hindu lore that are sculpted into friezes at Angkor Wat. The full-body treatment incorporated invigorating herbal compresses of ginger and lemongrass, while the second hour pampered my feet with trigger-point therapy and a Swedish massage that left me feeling relaxed and reinvigorated. Although it was a bit farther from the temple complexes than some other luxury hotels in the area, the new Park Hyatt’s central location in Siem Reap also made strolling through town for dinner delightful with stops at the Old Market, along the river and on lively Pub Street. That is, when I could bear to leave the hotel at all.
Image courtesy of Thinkstock
It is worth booking as many treatments as you have time for, not only because of value, but also because of quality. With just six individual treatment rooms, your time here is all your own. There are no awkward conversations with naked strangers here. I stopped in at reception, just on the far side of the pool, to fill out my information card and was offered a cup of tea. Within moments, my therapist took me upstairs to my treatment room where I could shower, change and relax in private.
Photos courtesy of Park Hyatt Siem Reap
Man c annot liv e on fine dining alone, and a f ter a day out in t h e stea m y jungles exploring an c ient ruins, it was not sustenan c e, but suc c or, t h at I was seeking, and f or t h at, I found T h e S pa to be a per f e c t respite.
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WINE & SPIRITS
GIN Destinations that inspire the season’s top tipple BY RYAN CROSBY
Hendrick’s Gin arrived on the scene ten years ago with a vibrant twist to the juniper-dominated spirit our grandparents loved. cals they have introduced to the classic formula. These include coriander seed, sweet angelica root and the flavor-binding orris root, which complement the exotic flavor of juniper berry. While innovating to invigorate the spirit, Hendrick’s tips its hat to the past with an old-timey, apothecarystyle bottle. Here, we pair up quintessential cocktails with classic stays.
Photos courtesy of Hendrick’s Gin
Mashed cucumber and pressed rose petal infusions create a distinctive and exciting flavor that caters to modern gin enthusiasts as well as the recent mixology trend in bartending. Emerging to the forefront of the “New American-Style Gin” movement, this Scotland-produced spirit uses a very small batch distillation process to allow more control when infusing the 11 unique botani-
Photos courtesy of Raffles Singapore, The Savoy, Cottar’s 1920’s Safari Camp
1. SINGAPORE SLING
2. CORQUET CLUB COBBLER
3. GIN & TONIC
This turn-of-the-century bombshell was invented at legendary Raffles Singapore by the Hainanese-Chinese bartender, Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon. It was created to appeal to women with its pink color and fruity flavor, but we think the tropical remix using Hendrick’s subdues the sweetness and satisfies the boys, too. Enjoy it at the hotel’s Long Bar.
London’s The Savoy is the celebrated stomping ground of famous celebrities and politicians, from Winston Churchill to Frank Sinatra to Christian Dior. The decadent hotel on the banks of the Thames houses a handful of beautiful watering holes that have stood the test of time, yet are hip enough for the young and modern set. For a memorable drink, access the hotel via yacht from its private pier and order this up from the 80-year-old Savoy Cocktail Book to the sound of live American jazz.
A famous libation, the gin and tonic has a somewhat disputed history with two former colonial powers laying claim to its origin— the English and the Dutch (with England having the edge). It’s ideal for an afternoon, post-game drive refresher or romantic sundowner at family-run Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp. The vintage lodge is the darling of Maasai Mara loyalists and fashionistas, for awesome game viewing and for its Out of Africalike period decor.
45 ml Hendrick’s Gin 10 ml Fino sherr y 15 ml St. Germain Elderflower liqueur 25 ml pineapple juice 30 ml lemon juice 15 ml sugar syrup
50 ml (a little more than a standard shot) Hendrick's Gin 150 ml good tonic water
30 ml Hendrick’s Gin 15 ml cherr y brandy 120 ml pineapple juice 15 ml lime juice 7.5 ml Cointreau 7.5 ml Dom Bénédictine 10 ml grenadine A dash of Angostura Bitters Mix the ingredients. Garnish with a slice of pineapple and cherry.
Combine in a highball glass over ice and garnish with a cucumber slice and, if you like, rosemary sprig.
Mix the ingredients. Garnish with slice of cucumber.
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explorations T here w as n owhere to go but ev ery wh ere, so just keep on rol l ing u nd er th e sta rs. -Ja ck Keroua c
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi, MALDIVES KE R & DOW N E Y
A walk on Australiaâ€™s Wild Side P hotography by Jack G uy
South and Western Australia are two of the countryâ€™s lesser trodden states, where isolation and nature afford not only stunning vistas and incredible sea life, but also some of the most bountiful food and wine the world has to offer. Avid adventurer and fearless food lover Krista Simmons explores the spirit of the region and witnesses its evolution since she lived there years ago.
Clothing Credits: Dress by Zimmerman; Duffle bag by Zulu & Zepher; Hat by Tigerlily; Bracelets by Carly Paiker. Stockists: Brownies Lifestyle Store and Style Palace
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Venus on a moonless night in the outback
t’s midnight in the South Australian outback, and my travel companions and I are bundled up in thick Pendleton blankets. With flashlights and a bottle of jammy Aussie Shiraz in hand, we’re on a mission to do some stargazing. But we needn’t wander too far from our eco-villas at the sheep-stationturned-luxury lodge at Rawnsley Park Station. The night here is inky, isolated and still, illuminated only by planets and galaxies and dozens of shooting stars. We’re nearly 250 miles from Adelaide—the state’s capital of only 1.2 million residents—and there’s not even the slightest threat of light disrupting our view. The skies in Flinders Ranges National Park are so massive you’d swear you’d been dropped into a snow globe and shaken, left to settle amongst the stars.
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The expanse of nature is absolutely dizzying. On a private, scenic flight over Wilpena Pound at sunrise, it’s impossible not to feel minuscule amidst the vastness of red land and wide-open spaces. It’s estimated there are 600 million years of geological history in these mountains, which simmer in bursts of burnt orange. The ochre soil and expanse of landscape are so utterly unfathomable that it’s unbelievable unless you see them from the air. Suddenly your humanness seems tiny amongst all of the punishingly wild, yet endlessly generous elements. I imagine it’s the same thing the first European settlers of this land felt when they came to the South Australian outback in the early 1800s. Most were immigrant pioneers coming from Germany or England in search of a new life and opportunity. After all, South Australia was a non-convict state, so it naturally drew enterprising, entrepreneurial spirits with an inherent love of the land. And it continues to do so to this day. Over at Arkaba Station, a revival 1850s homestead also situated near the Pound, the owners have hopes of returning the land to its natural state by partnering with the Australian
Wildlife Conservancy. So many years of sheep herding in such arid land has pillaged some of the native species and fauna, but they’re hoping to change that with their safari-esque stays and bush walks led by Brendon Bevon, a South African guide, who manages the property with his fiancée Kat Mee. “To me, this country is magnetic. You just want to explore every crack, every crevice, every rock. It’s magnificent,”says Bevon, as he peers out from under his akubra hat at a mother Euro kangaroo nursing her joey. His eye for spotting wildlife is keen, having lead safaris in Africa for decades. As we trundle along in a topless jeep on the rugged South Australian mountainsides covering 60,000 acres of the property, I frantically tick off species on my checklist pamphlet—shingleback lizards, emus, wedge-tailed eagles, wallabies, echidnas and, of course, oodles and oodles of Australia’s signature species, the kangaroo. These rides are an abridged version of Arkaba’s threeday guided bush walks, which not only teach guests about the history of the land and aboriginal culture but also about the native edible plants and foraging.
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We get a taste of that, too. Back at the impeccably refurbished homestead, the chef uses foraged bush tomatoes, piquant quandongs, native pears and acacia pods to make the most upscale bush tucker I’ve ever tasted. To further keep it local, the open bar serves exclusively South Australian wines and beers, mainly from the nearby Barossa and Clare Valleys, producers of world-renowned Shiraz and Rieslings, respectively. It’s difficult to imagine award-winning wine regions as a pit stop, but both of the valleys can serve as such entering and exiting the Flinders and heading back to Adelaide. They, too, are a prime example of South Australian craftsmanship at work. The Louise serves as a luxurious gateway to the Barossa Valley, with their fireplace-adorned rooms, vineyard views and fantastic farm-to-table restaurant Appellation, which showcase their on-site garden’s produce and chef Ryan Edward’s dedication to whole animal butchery. At Linke’s Central Meat Store in the Barossa, Graham Linke keeps up the family tradition of making award-winning German mettwurst that’s been alive at the store since 1938. He stokes the fires in his smokers each night, preparing meats that are the favorite of local chefs like Mark McNamara at The Artisans of Australia tasting room and restaurant, a co-op of seven winemakers whose focus is on small batch and foods that pair well with them. That penchant for provincial ingredients extends down into Adelaide, a once sleepy city that’s now seeing a revival on Leigh and Peel Streets, whose vibrant culinary culture and small cobbled laneways are strikingly resemblant of Melbourne. Some of the highlights include an authentic Basque-style tapas bar called Udaberri Pintxos Y Vino and the ultra stylish cocktail bar The Clever Little Tailor. Not to be missed closer to the CBD is the famous Adelaide Central Market, a giant farmers’ trading post where you’ll find everything from wild game meat to hand-crafted cheeses and rare Ligurian bee honey from South Australia’s Kangaroo Island.
Photos clockwise from top left: Skillogalee Winery Restaurant in the Clare valley; Handpicking vegetables at the Louise; Vineyard; Wine tasting at Hentley Farm; Wine bottle decoration at Hentley Farm KE R & DOWN E Y
Kangaroo Island is located just a quick 30-minute flight south of Adelaide, and is a destination in and of itself. It became Australia's first free settlement with sealers, escaped convicts and runaway sailors calling the island home. It’s a small land mass, just under 100 miles from east to west, but regardless of its size, the best way to get around is via hiring a guide like Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours. (Once you experience a local driver navigate a leather-lined Range Rover through a sheep traffic jam on a back road, you’ll understand why.) Another great way to see KI, as the locals call it, is with Kangaroo Island Helicopters. The rugged coastline is teeming with wildlife. Peering out of the window, the Remarkable Rocks look like a bright orange alien egg dropped out of the sky left to hatch on the cliffs. The Southern Ocean is so clear that sharks are silhouetted below. And flying low into the magnificent Southern Ocean Lodge gives design geeks an up-close-andpersonal view of the architectural stunner’s clean lines and intelligent layout, which is seamlessly integrated into the karri forest it’s built into. Savoring a negroni made with local KIS Spirits gin in the infinity spa at the Lodge, I take in one last sip of the crisp, clean air that comes from being on the nearest point to Antarctica. The journey in this little corner of the planet has come to an end, and we’re off to another lesser-known area, Western Australia.
Photos: Above: Sal Salis
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Southern Ocean Lodge
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Clothing Credits: Dress by Billion Dollar Babes; Necklace by Samanatha Wills. Stockists: Style Palace
Peering out the window as we descend into Exmouth in our puddle jumper from WA’s capitol city of Perth, veins of bright blue water course into the red sand below. There’s no sign of movement or development, but straight from the get-go, it’s apparent this land is alive. It might not be the pulsing hotbed of nightlife that city dwellers seek, but for ocean aficionados and lovers of wide-open spaces, the northwestern part of Australia is the place to be. In fact, every time I speak to a city-dwelling Sydney-sider about my time living in Fremantle, a bohemian neighborhood of Perth, they seem shocked I even made it over for a visit, let alone laid roots there. Which is to say that the capitol of Western Australia—up until recently, due to a mining boom— has been a pretty off-the-map destination. For some that might be a deterrent, but if you’re into ecological wonders and pristine wildlife, then WA is certainly for you, particularly the northern part of the state. Exmouth is perhaps best known for the annual migration of the whale sharks, the slow moving, massive creatures that reach upwards of 40 feet and are the largest known extant fish species. But even once the gentle giants have moved on, the diving and snorkeling off the Ningaloo Reef is some of the best I’ve seen, and that includes the heavily trafficked Great Barrier Reef on the east coast. In addition to the shark’s migration west, there’s a turtle hatching in January, giant manta rays and world-class snorkeling just a few feet off the coast.
“BFG,” as the dive masters call him, has been known to snuggle up with divers. He even tried to give me a kiss, and that is a big mouth.) The Ningaloo Reef has just been granted the designation of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and local businesses are trying to honor the sacred nature of the environment and all it affords. A perfect example of that is Sal Salis, an eco-resort comprised of nine spacious, luxuriously appointed wilderness tents on the sea. Guests are only allowed 20 liters of water per day, which is more than enough to rinse off the sand from the day before lazing in the hammock to watch the sunset with a local Little Creatures pale ale in hand. In the morning, you’ll awaken amongst the sand dunes to the sound of the waves crashing on shore and, perhaps, be greeted by a kangaroo lazing on your porch. Walk along the pristine, pink, pebble-lined beaches for a morning swim, or paddle out for a kayak with one of the property’s knowledgeable guides as your partner.
You don’t have to be PADI certified to get a peek at the underwater aquarium that the region has to offer. Snorkeling at Oyster Stacks and Turquoise Bay, you’ll find coral reef fish like Picasso triggerfish, clownfish, parrotfish, trevally and more. Head out to Navy Pier with Ningaloo Whaleshark N Dive, the only operator allowed access into the site, and you’ll see an incredible wealth of wildlife including wobbegong, nudibranchs, black tip reef sharks, giant schools of barracuda, scorpionfish, puffer fish, eels, nurse sharks and a 600-pound grouper that, for some, might be a little too friendly. (The Photos: Sal Salis
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ou might find yourself joined by sea turtles swimming off the coral shelfâ€”just a few meters offshore. This is what makes the reef so magical. While the Great Barrier Reef is at least 10 miles off the coast of Cairns at its closest point, one can just grab a snorkel and pop their head underwater to witness some of the most magnificent biodiversity the planet has to offer in Ningaloo.
Clothing Credits: Bathing suit by Camilla. Stockists: Style Palace
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Photo: Scuba diving
The distinction by UNESCO is incredibly important because of the mining boom that’s happening in the northern areas. The capitol city of Perth is experiencing a huge boom due to the influx of wealth that is pouring into WA, which is great for the state and for those visiting. I lived in Perth several years ago, and it’s staggering how much has changed. What once was a sleepy town is now bustling with great restaurants, cocktail bars and art galleries. It’s a feast for the senses—and for the belly. Over at the BHP Billiton food court known as the Brookfield Place, you’ll find everything from international hawker-style street food stands to fancy gastropubs and cocktail bars like The Print Hall. Further adding to Perth’s cred is The Richardson Hotel, a gorgeous boutique hotel where Jay-Z and Beyoncé stayed when they were on tour in Australia. It features a top-notch spa, state-of-the-art gym facility and the ultra-swanky Opus Restaurant, which creates culinary alchemy using locally sourced ingredients and wine.
What once was a sleepy town is now bustling with great restaurants, cocktail bars and art galleries. It’s a feast for the senses—and for the belly.
After two weeks of active travel, a glass of pinot noir from Western Australia’s Margaret River, and a luxurious massage with native eucalyptus oil at the hotel’s spa, I feel completely at peace, like I’ve really soaked up the spirit of Australia.
Photos: Opposite Page: Perth; Above: The Richardson Hotel; Left: Playing in the waves courtesy of Tourism Western Australia
Credits: Model: Caris Tiivel, Chadwick Models Styling by Emily Howlett, emilyhowlett.com.au Special thanks to South Australian Tourism Commission, southaustralia.com, Tourism Western Australia, tourism.wa.gov.au and Chadwick Models, Perth, chadwickmodels.com
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Drift Auto enthusiast Martin Lewicki feels the luxurious rush of ice driving in the land of dense frozen forests, the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun.
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weden is so much more than the home of ABBA and IKEA. With near perfect cold-weather sporting conditions, it is also a winter paradise for the modern adventurer. I am not referring to the intrepid skiers who swoop briskly through powdery blankets of snow so near to the Arctic Circle. Or the avid sport fishermen who plunge through cold waters to catch the 37 species of pike, salmon, perch and more that populate Swedish Lapland’s four untamed mountain rivers, plentiful forest rivers and crystalline mountain lakes. I’m talking of adventure worthy of Fleming’s Bond—yes, James Bond—in fast, expensive cars, whizzing over ice. Each year from January to March, a little town in the far north of Sweden plays host to the unique automotive spectacle of Lapland Ice Driving. Adrenaline addicts with gasoline in their blood can drift on a frozen lake in Porsches, Maseratis or Lamborghinis until they get dizzy. Safe, with virtually zero risk—ice driving is literally rally racing at top speed on a frozen lake in the company of world-class drivers. With its clear,
fresh air and awe-inspiring natural landscape, Scandinavia is the ideal place to experience this sporting event. Each day there are four hours of intensive instruction. On Day 1, I am dressed warmly—sitting in a brand new white $150,000 Maserati Gran Turismo. I find myself in the middle of a frozen lake in Arjeplog, only 50 miles away from the Arctic Circle. All I see for miles all around me is a seemingly endless, completely captivating, flat and white frozen landscape. Still, this isn’t the moment to contemplate nature. I turn the ignition key and the Italian V8 engine roars at me angrily, ready for action. Next to me is Hervé, an experienced French racing driver and my capable instructor. Clearly, he has nerves of steel and a stomach like lead—and talent-free, wannabe racers seem to leave him unimpressed. First, we head to the oval training track. To maneuver around this track, the Maserati accelerates in a straight line and then follows the curve of the oval in a controlled drift. This is easier said than done. According to Hervé's instructions
(which I follow to the letter), you want to give the car a short-butdetermined steering impulse in the direction you want to go, so the tail breaks outward. Then you countersteer quickly and keep steady, giving it just the right amount of gas until you leave the curve. The most important rule—always keep your eyes on where you want the vehicle to go. As simple as it sounds, it is not. During the morning drive, I end up lodged in the snow three times and need to be pulled out by a recovery vehicle. There are also countless spins, sometimes too much gas or too little gas, sometimes countersteering too fast and then too slow and, of course, always looking forward—which is intuitively wrong— rather than inside the curve. I do not understand how Hervé's stomach can stand being jolted and spun like this by amateur drivers on a regular basis. Luckily, he tells me this is the norm for him, pointing to another guest, who even as an experienced "drifter," has to be recovered from the snow five times. This gives me hope.
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m I wearing the wrong shoes? Maybe the sunglasses help? Or is the car just too strong? Naturally, I go through a list of excuses as to why I could not accomplish a perfect drift. Only at the end of the first day do I have the feeling that the Maserati is finally doing what I want. It’s a humbling and invigorating shared experience. Those who go on the ice for the first time, initially, have to learn to control the car properly and, ultimately, to keep a $150,000 Maserati in a cool, continuous drift. After an exciting and informative day, I exchange perilous, thrilling experiences with other guests over champagne. Even as I am falling asleep later in my cozy hotel room, I still have the melody of the hammering Maserati V8 in my ear. It is often said a good night’s sleep can greatly improve your memory. Indeed, on Day 2, I admit a kind of small miracle has happened because, somehow, I have internalized everything that I learned the day before. My second vehicle is the brand new Maserati Ghibli III, a sports sedan with all-wheel drive. Achieving drift is slightly different with all-wheel drive cars than with rear-wheel drive, but I am doing everything right. Ready for the next level, I now trust myself enough to go on one of the big circuits for the first time. Replicas modeled after legendary endurance racing courses, these private tracks are shoveled free of snow on the ice lake. With a choice of the Formula One British Silverstone, the French Le Castellet or the German Nürburgring, I opt for the French course. On the long straights, I achieve 120 mph with studded tires. Then I slow down, drift and go further. It’s mind-blowing. I am finally beginning to understand the fascination with this crazy kind of driving so much, I enjoy it. Confident in the Maserati Ghibli, I graduate to the 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 on the training track. It’s a brilliant sports car, as precise as a Swiss watch. After a few practice laps on the oval, I dare to take it on the circuit. This time, it’s the little Nürburgring course. With its many hairpins and narrow curves, it is ideal for the handy Porsche—and tons of fun. I ask my second instructor, ex-rally driver Vincent, to take a lap around the track to show me how a professional does it. Vincent has never driven the new Porsche GT3, but it only takes him a few corners to get a feeling for the car. It feels like being on the most terrific roller coaster ride;
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you know that somehow you will survive, and yet you fear when the car is heading around a curve at 100 mph on ice. This is pure adrenaline. The more you dive into the ice driving experience, the more rewarding it is. Seventy-five percent of all guests who partake in this high-flying sport return and bring their friends, making the pilgrimage in the brief season from January to March, when the ice over the lake reaches an immense 37 inches. In the first season in 2006, only eight adventure-hungry car enthusiasts journeyed here, sharing one mid-class vehicle. Eric Gallardo, former top test driver for General Motors’ European branch and French GT4 Vice Champion, launched Lapland Ice Driving, which now has the largest area of its kind dedicated to this activity. Nine years later, more than 350 guests flock to the area each season with the need for speed, have their pick of 30 exclusive sports cars and take them to the limit on multiple racetracks. A unique thrill, ice driving is the heart of Arjeplog and provides the pulse for this charming 2,000-person town in the Swedish province of Lapland. The idyllic place mutates in winter, becoming the test laboratory of international automotive manufacturers and suppliers. The popular Hotel Silverhatten, where most of the international competitors stay, is full of car talk. As a participant in the Lapland Driving Experience, a guest can join this exclusive club, soaking up the electric atmosphere. Luckily, there is also the option of a welcome time-out at the hotel’s traditional Swedish spa to soothe sore muscles and end the day quietly. I also make sure to take in the breathtaking topography via two experiences not to be missed in Arjeplog. I wind down from ice driving with a ride in a snowmobile. As it is possible to get stuck in the snow with the 350-pound vehicle, I am thankful that the young and strong Swedish instructors from Experience Arjeplog are always nearby to help free the mobile from the snow. After my immersion with lean, mean machines, it’s nice to get back to basics. For those who like things more traditional, I recommend a husky tour through the picturesque winter landscape. Or take to the area ski slopes and—if you have an extra day—you can even manage a road trip to Norway's fjords. Overall, these are perfect conditions for an unforgettable stay.
Photos courtesy of Laponie Ice Driving; Martin Lewicki; Hotel Silverhatten KE R & DOW N E Y
SIDETRIP TO STOCKHOLM
Photos: Thinkstock | Keith Levit; kbros
Even if you are focused on the wild ride of ice driving, the capital of Sweden is an alluring and sophisticated stop in civilization.
SEE With a breathtaking Golden Hall, embellished with mosaics made of 18 million tiles, the venerated City Hall is the venue of the Nobel Prize banquet each year. Next door, the restaurant Stadshus Källaren serves, by request three days in advance only, a choice of the Nobel Prize dinner menus from recent years.
Bell Tower Stockholm
From City Hall, stroll through the picturesque old town of Gamla Stan and stop at the Royal Palace. Completed in 1754, this stunning example of Italian Baroque style is one of Europe’s largest and liveliest castles. A quick stop by boat, the Vasa Museum houses the world’s most well-preserved—and only remaining intact—shipwreck from the 17th century.
Photos: Grand Hôtel
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Photos courtesy of The Grand Hôtel
Built in 1874, The Grand Hôtel is steeped in glamour and history. The stylish interior is classically elegant with a modern touch. Sunday brunch at The Veranda is among the highlights of dining here. Seated in a glassed-in porch overlooking the harbor and the Royal Palace, it’s a joy to linger over the light, maritime-inspired menu— tasting a variety of fish dishes from the traditional Swedish Smörgåsbord.
Photos courtesy of Nosh and Chow
EAT & DRINK With eight Michelin-starred restaurants and a cutting-edge culinary scene, Stockholm is a foodie’s delight. Opened in March 2012, Boqueria deserves its reputation as the spot for a modern interpretation of tapas, blending Spanish passion with cool Swedish style. For edible avante-garde art, head to Esperanto, one of Sweden’s most outstanding restaurants. Serving petite courses of flavor-packed haute cuisine, the goal of Thailand-born and Sweden-raised Chef Sayan Isaksson is to send guests on a sensual journey through global food cultures, plate by aesthetically perfect plate. Stockholm’s hotel scene lends distinction to its nightlife, with a choice of hip stays that also entertain jet-setting clientele after dark. Swinging from dinnertime into a swank spot for a late night bite or drink at the bar, the opulent Nosh and Chow at trendy Berns boutique hotel is the place to be. Mixed with international cuisine, the gorgeous interior design by the Catalan architect Lázaro Rosa Violan creates a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Nosh and Chow
Photos courtesy of Boqueria | Niklas Nyman; Byredo; Stutterheim | Brady Lohr.
Photo courtesy of Boqueria Daniel Hertzell
SHOP As a revered design destination, Stockholm offers distinguished options for every stripe of shopper. For the real treasures, go for uniquely Swedish retailers.
A favorite of the business set, the family-run Hotel Diplomat Stockholm, an iconic Art Nouveau palace, housed only diplomats a few decades ago. Reopened as a hotel 1966, the six-story building boasts 1960s Scandinavian design and the stellar Scandinavian brasserie T/Bar, dishing up market-to-table fare and live music. Unlike most of the city’s fine dining venues, it is open on Sunday evenings.
Since launching onto the world stage of fragrance in 2006, Byredo has become internationally renowned for their perfumes, body products and sleek leather travel cases. Check out the range of scents at the fragrance house’s decidedly minimalist flagship in Stockholm.
Additional reporting by Martine Bury
Interiors buffs seeking true Swedish style need look no further than Carl Malmsten for the furnishings, lighting and textiles of the man considered a father of iconic Swedish design, with its clean-lined, light wood finishes and penchant for simplicity. Opened in 1940, the shop is currently run by his grandson and houses other like-minded brands. You can find the bold, colorful fabrics of Josef Frank and other classic and antique homewares at the exclusive Svenskt Tenn on fashionable Strandvägen Boulevard. For a utilitarian chic memento, pick up a handmade, virtually indestructible rain slicker from Stutterheim. Inspired by the old fishing jacket his grandfather wore on the island Arholma in Stockholm’s archipelago, designer Alexander Stutterheim created a contemporary version of stellar quality, known for signature watertight construction and a modern fit. Raincoat by Stutterheim
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Staff writer Haley Beham and Vice President David Jones break through the news cycle of the day to discover the soul of an immense country that spans from Africa to Asia. Two perspectives on two profound journeys reveal new ways to see an ancient land.
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R i v e r of Dr e ams A cruise on the Nile seamlessly combines luxury with the mystery of glorious, storied ruins. By Haley Beham
With a spirit of adventure and a soul longing to see the world, there isn’t a place I don’t want to experience. Even after the Arab Spring, Egypt is no exception; and so, with a feeling of excitement and curiosity, I happily pack my bags for the eight-day journey through Egypt and down the Nile River. As the gateway to Egyptian civilization, the Nile River is a link to the past, a flowing and vital life-giving source, and the route of Cleopatra’s fabled royal barge. For me, it is where the world of Agatha Christie’s “Death on the Nile” comes to life, and where I truly begin to understand everything I learned about the ancient civilization in school years ago. A cruise along the far-stretching river is not only the best way to see the historic sites of ancient Egypt—renowned as some of the best-preserved archaeological sites in the world, but it is also the most relaxing mode of travel. I board the MS Mayfair that will be my home base for the next four nights in Luxor with my family and Hany, our private Egyptologist who remains with us throughout the journey, guiding us through the temples, interpreting hieroglyphics and recounting their histories. From this luxury vessel, we disembark to experience countless wonders. Walking through the Temple of Karnak’s 50,000 square foot Great Hypostyle Hall is breathtaking, as 134 sandstone columns tower overhead and stretch toward the sky. Our visit to the Temple of Luxor as the sun sets is an equally majestic experience. As the sun goes down, hundreds of lights illuminate the columns and facades, providing a greater contrast for reading the many hieroglyphics carved on the surfaces. To help put it into perspective, these temples are 1,500 years older than the Roman ruins we consider ancient—and over twice as big. Life is peaceful and slow onboard the ship as we sail the iconic waters down to Aswan. The farther south we travel, the hotter the sun grows, and a dip in the
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pool is a welcome respite from the heat. In the afternoons, we take our tea and conversation on the lounge balcony and watch as farmers and water buffalo plow the fields and spy fisherman casting their nets into the river. These small moments count volumes, and give us the opportunity view everyday life. Two local entrepreneurs tie their boat to ours as we make our way down the river. From below, they toss colorful Galabeyas (a long, traditional tunic native to the Nile Valley) up to our balcony and call for us to drop money in the bags provided if we wanted to purchase them. Later that evening we join in the traditional Egyptian party, donning our pink, orange and white Galabeyas and dancing to folk music. Before feasting on gourmet cuisine in the dining room each night, we gather on the sundeck for sundowners as the early evening sun dips below the horizon, turning the sky from a golden hue to a dramatic canvas of vibrant pinks, purples and blues. We watch as feluccas, traditional wooden boats with massive sails, make their way to shore. Every night on the boat presents a new cultural experience. We dance with belly dancers one night, try desperately to keep beat with Nubian drummers the next and watch in amazement as whirling dervishes spin to traditional music without growing dizzy on the final night. Exploring Egypt this way offers a rare opportunity to see the historic sites without great crowds of people surrounding you. We are lucky to spend moments alone in King Tutankhamun’s tomb without anyone around us, soaking up the grandeur of this and other historic sites. The landscape is constantly evolving. Buried treasures are unearthed regularly, meaning there are new things to discover. In a sense, Egypt is a gift that keeps giving back. Seeing everything this fascinating world has to offer with just one cruise down the Nile would be impossible—but that doesn’t mean we didn’t try.
Photos courtesy of Thinkstock | moodboard; xDemiurge; kostman; MS Mayfair
Explor i n g Eg ypt th i s wa y o f fe r s a ra re opportu n i ty to s ee t he hi s t o r i c s i t e s w i t ho u t great c rowds of peopl e s u r ro u n d i n g y o u .
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T h e N e w C l ass ics For the ultimate exploration that satisfies all five senses, discover the treasures along Egypt’s roads less traveled. By David Jones
I start in Alexandria, a stomping ground for ancient Egyptians, Greek, Roman, Jewish and Christian cultures and faiths. “Alex” is so rich in history and culture; it is a sin to pass it by when visiting Egypt. Certified scuba divers can dive into the harbor to view the ruins of ancient Alexandria and the Pharos, the great lighthouses once regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Travelers would journey for months from all over the known world just to catch a glimpse of these colossal structures, which guided seafarers to the center of Egyptian
culture and knowledge. In the era of the pharaohs, vast collections of the world's written wisdom and history was under safe keeping at the grand Library of Alexandria. Unfortunately the structure was destroyed during a Roman invasion, robbing the world of the richness of literature and knowledge in one mindless act. The modern structure was recreated and rebuilt, supported by nations around the world and sparked by the desire of the Egyptian people to restore the reputation of Alexandria as a center of learning by building the great Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, beneath the city, rival the Caracalla catacombs in Rome. There were many cultural and religious influences during Alexandria’s golden years; and the well-heeled wanted to make sure that when their time came, they made it to some heaven—any heaven. So the rich and powerful would adorn their tombs with Egyptian, Roman, Jewish and Christian symbols as a way of covering all their bases for the afterlife, and this interesting combination of religious icons is preserved in the catacombs. Continuing west along the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, I visit the historic battlegrounds of the First and Second Battle of El Alamein lead by Rommel, a German general. Because of his swift and incisive engagement with the enemy, he was one of most respected and feared generals of World War II. This theatre of the Second World War is often overlooked, but was pivotal for the eventual outcome. There are three war memorials and cemeteries here: the joint British and American, the Italian and the German.
Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa
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Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Alexandria San Stefano
Even the most casual historian is aware of the great Egyptian civilization and the incredible architectural wonders left behind. But what about the other Egypt? The Egypt of Alexander the Great. The Egypt of World War II. The Egypt of the Siwan people. These are what I call the secrets of Egypt—the locations and experiences that go beyond the typical wonders of this incredible country.
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock |Konstantin Kalishko
Eco-resort, AdrĂ¨re Amellal 76
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Wanting to go deeper, I drive along the coast until Mersa Matruh, where we head dead south into the great desert and the fabled Siwa Oasis. This is the kind of oasis you'd see in cartoons. Imagine traversing the desert on camel for hundreds of miles and coming upon a green wonderland. Caravans from Africa on their way to the Middle East and Asia would stop here for restores, refreshment and provisions. In fact, the patch of green springing up out of a bunch of brown desert that has been seen for centuries is exactly what I see today. One of the few places left on the planet to experience authentic culture, Siwa is a hidden treasure—kind of like its own oasis of authenticity in a world of contrived cultural experiences. The beautiful Siwan people are actually Berber. They speak a Berber language, Siwi, and maintain a rich cultural identity that has been uninterrupted for generations. The artisanship of silverwork has been passed down from father to son for hundreds of years and Siwan textiles are beautifully stitched and colorful. Here, history lives around every corner. The temple of the oracle of Amun is still intact, the very place where Alexander the Great marched his armies so he could be crowned Pharaoh of Egypt. Facing a large salt lake, the Siwans have been building bricks from the salt and mud combination for years, an architecture style that is on display throughout the town. The “Shali” (or old town) is open to wander through and admire the ruins of the original center, which was partially wiped away by a rare rainstorm in the 1970s. Just across the lake is the unique eco-resort, Adrère Amellal, built by a successful Siwan living in Cairo as a way to maintain and display the great heritage of the Siwan people. Here there is no electricity, but there is hot- and cold-running, pure mineral
water. Focused on organic food, creative and delicious dishes are shared in distinct dining venues—personalized just for me—all over the complex. Exquisite dining options abound, from having lunch in the date palms on the edge of the natural spring pool or by candlelight facing the White Mountain or desert. Prince Charles and Camilla have stayed here, and many of the privileged and famous fly their private jets into Siwa and stay off the grid at Adrère Amellal as a respite from the crazy world they live in daily. A Siwan guide named Abdullah, speaking perfect English, takes me out into the Sahara Desert in a four-wheel drive vehicle to experience the land he calls his home. We also spend time with Mohammed, a Siwan native and one of Adrère Amellal’s excellent ambassadors. I’m lucky enough to meet his family, taste fresh dates he plucks from the top of a palm after scaling it with his bare hands and feet and spend a day hanging out with a new friend.
Siwan resident, Mohammed
This side of Egypt is absent of the betterknown sites, but still heavy on amazing experiences. This is the side of Egypt I like to visit again and again.
KE R & DOW N E Y
Tarkuni boma setup, Tswalu, Kalahari
unique Ker & Downey Recommends: The 5 Most unique African Experiences By Katy Heerssen
nyone whoâ€™s been there can tell you that Africa by itself is an adventure. You expect the unexpected, the exotic, and your journey delivers generously. For fearless explorers who want to push boundaries of the usual on the continent, the following five, matchless experiences are sure to blow your mind.
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TA N Z A N I A T h e E x p e r i e nc e Climbing Kilimanjaro is a popular bucket-list item for all levels of adventurers, but for those who prefer to do things with a touch more panache and exclusivity, climbing Kilimanjaro via the Machame route is what really needs to be the goal. The Kili climb is a multi-day trek, and it’s usually a mad dash of swollen packs of climbers jockeying for position on the mountain’s designated camp sites. The trek is no secret; but when it comes to encountering throngs of hiking groups, the Machame route is definitely the road less traveled. Aside from being less crowded, it’s also much more scenic than alternative routes, passing through areas of Afromontane forest, glacial valleys and alpine desert. The ascent is made via Stella Point, and you descend on a separate trail—instead of simply about-facing on the same path you just traversed. You’ll have a day pack as you are led along the trail, but your tent and other belongings will be completely cared for by porters who scout ahead and stake their claim for the choice views at campsites.
B e st T i m e T o Go Weather conditions tend to be more ideal during the months of January, February and July through October. Travel during these months to experience the very best views.
T h e S tay Acclimate to the area in Arusha, often the first pit stop for Kili climbers, and retreat to the Legendary Lodge just west of town. Colonial elegance shrouded behind the tropical gardens of a working coffee plantation, this haven is an ideal bookend to your once-in-a-lifetime trek.
W ow F actor The service. Arrive after a day of hiking and sightseeing to a private tent that’s already set up and a dinner that has already been prepared for you in a separate dining tent—it’s an exclusivity that is hard to find on the average mountain climb. The trained guides take care of your personal well-being, too, paying close attention for key aspects of altitude sickness, so you can safely play the part of mountain climber. 8 0 courtesy K E R & DOW NEY Photo of Adventure International
Horseback riding in Tswalu Kalahari
SOUTH AFRICA T h e E x p e r i e nc e The Kalahari is where the real wild and rare reigns. Some 80 species of game are found here including all of the Big Five and a treasure trove of plains game and predators. Those in search of the unique and unusual are not disappointed at Tswalu Kalahari, the largest private game reserve in South Africa. Here it’s possible to spot game drive rarities like the aardvark and the honey badger—yes, the same one you saw on YouTube. One of the most coveted checks to tick off your animal spotting list is the pangolin, a shy and mostly nocturnal mammal that’s one part anteater and one part battle tank. This toothless ground dweller relies on its advanced sense of smell and powerful claws to locate and expose tasty larvae and insects inside termite and ant mounds. Its incredibly long and sticky tongue is supported by muscles that run the length of its entire frame; and, at full extension, it can sometimes surpass the three-foot span of its scaly body. The armor the pangolin carries is made of keratin, the same material as human fingernails, offering it superior protection and a uniform Mad Max would appreciate. Since its front legs are adapted for digging and rooting through dirt (as opposed to movement), the pangolin ambles along on its hind legs, leaving an extremely unique set of tracks that help safari-goers locate one who’s on the move. Legends abound regarding the pangolin: a sighting is a sign of prosperity and good fortune, while it is said actively pursuing or capturing these creatures can lead to extreme bad luck. The pangolin appears only when he wishes, and he seems to favor visitors at Tswalu.
B e st t i m e to g o From June through August, the winter climate impacts the availability of food just enough to draw the pangolin (and other usually nocturnal species) out during the day in search of sustenance, meaning getting a glimpse of one of these rare denizens is all the more likely.
T h e S tay Luxury lodges at The Motse at Tswalu Kalahari, pioneered by Nicky and Strilli Oppenheimer of De Beers diamond fame, are a slice of unbelievable exclusivity in the heart of a wild location. Indulgence can be found in the full-service spa, on the menu of gourmet creations and in the contemporary suites fused with inspiring African artworks.
W ow F actor The conservation. Tswalu means “a new beginning” and the aim of the Oppenheimers is just that for the Kalahari. Beyond the exclusivity you’ll find when staying as a guest on over 380 square miles of private lands, you will have a front-row seat to the important work being done by expert researchers. KE R & DOW N E Y
M A DAG A S C A R
K E R & D OW N E Y
T h e E x p e r i e nc e Isolated, rugged and challenging (even for the most hardcore adrenaline junkies), Madagascar is over 226,000 square miles of diverse terrain begging to be explored. The island biomes jump from beach to jungle to desert in a flash, with almost all of the island’s wildlife found nowhere else in the world. One of the well-known symbols of Madagascar is the lemur, an early primate design that continued to thrive on the island. The primary rainforests of the Mantadia National Park are home to 14 different species including one of the largest of all lemurs, the endangered indri. These cuddly primates are absent the typical long lemur tail, grow to over two feet long and are covered in a coat of black and white fluff. Odds are you’ll hear the indri before you see one. This tree dweller with a teddy bear face emits some of the most powerful and haunting calls, gracing any jungle trek with their soundtrack of wails. Of the 13 other species of lemur found in Mantadia, though you may not get to see them all in one pass, your guide will keep a sharp eye out for the tiny gray bamboo lemur, the red-eyed common brown lemur, and the orange-limbed diademed sifaka. At night, the reserve stays alive as nocturnal species come out to play and fill the forest with a rowdy cacophony of chirps and bellows.
B e st T i m e T o Go
T h e S tay
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The rains from January through March can be quite intense and can make navigating the remote regions of the island impossible. April, October and November are the best months for the balance of temperate climes and active animals.
After your jungle explorations in Mantadia, head to the northern coast of the country to take in some beach adventure at Anjajavy. This lowimpact retreat faces the Mozambique Channel and allows you to mix in snorkeling around tsingy coral formations with simply lazing in the sun and sand.
The wildlife. Millions of years of isolation and independent evolution have blessed the island with unbelievably unique diversity. Of all of the world’s species, one in 20 are found only on Madagascar; and excellent guides like Marie, the preferred guide of Conservation International’s Russ Mittermeier, keep you engaged with the wild island life.
REPUBLIC OF T H E
C ONG O T h e E x p e r i e nc e If you want to get to the real wild heart of Africa, you want to head to the Republic of the Congo before the rest of the world finds one of Africa’s best-kept wild secrets. Dense, virtually uninhabited rainforests dominate the north of the country, creating a haven for a myriad of primate species and a true untamed experience for the very adventurous. OdzalaKokoua National Park is the heart of the activity, and it is a pathless wilderness that each new visitor must navigate, creating their own trail between acres of marshy high grasses and lush marantaceae. The only trails you’ll find have been forged by the animals, like a muddy “elephant highway,” so deteriorated when compared to the forest around it that it’s surely been a main lane for potentially hundreds of years’ worth of pachyderms. Sixteen species of primates have claimed this area as theirs including chimpanzees, black-and-white colobus, mangabeys and the incredible western lowland gorilla. These giants differ greatly in personality from their habituated silverback cousins on the trails of Rwanda and Uganda, and they behave much more cautiously, thanks to generations of isolation. Hiking through this uncharted territory is tough, but it’s worth navigating the intense growth of the jungle to stumble upon a clearing called a bai. These saltrich deposits scattered throughout the jungle grow irresistible, mineral-rich foliage that are often a shadowbox of activity with primates, birds and other herbivores all having emerged from their dense cover to mingle for light bites.
K E R & DOW N E Y
B e st t i m e to g o With an equatorial, tropical climate giving little variation to the weather and a constant population of wildlife making their home in its jungles, any time of year is a good time to explore the Congo.
T h e S tay Just six suites comprise Ngaga Camp, all connected by elevated, decked paths, hovering over the thick marantaceae and giving you a great view into the canopy and its activity. The B’Aka Pygmy groups have inspired the architecture of the spaces, each round in design with one wall left open to act as your window into the wild.
W ow F actor The guides. With a sixth sense fixed on the wildlife of the area, guides and researchers know this jungle as a second home, in-tune with the flora, fauna and the subtle signs that yes, there will be activity ahead.
From the vibrant hot spots to the far-flung wilderness, no one knows Africa like Ker & Downey. Our roots started in Africa, and seeing the continent with us remains as enchanting and exclusive today as it was over 40 years ago. Each Ker & Downey journey is completely customized client to client, focusing on unique, experiential moments that no one else can deliver, and that you will keep with you for a lifetime—long after your journey has concluded.
ETHIOPIA T h e E x p e r i e nc e It comes as a surprise to most that the world’s second oldest Christian country is found on the Horn of Africa. The cultural significance and religious history contained within the borders of Ethiopia is becoming a draw for history-minded travelers, and the unforgiving landscape of the region nets visitors some unforgettable eye candy from the air. In a private charter, you can buzz over the active volcanoes of the Danakil Depression, part of the Great Rift Valley system. This amazing natural wonder is one of the most remote spots in the world and remains in constant flux. Geologically, the Dallol Depression is not unlike the geyser basins of stateside Yellowstone, except here, the activity happens at over 150 feet below sea level to form the lowest exposed volcanic vents in the world. Aside from the rush you get soaring above the dangerous and unstable geological area, you’ll get to take in an unbelievable landscape characterized by a rainbow of colors. Over Dallol, the salt deposits stand like pristine snowdrifts next to the vibrant, green pools of briny and acidic hot springs and soil that has been tinted fiery orange. From the air, you might spot the camel caravans that still traverse the inhospitable area to transport salt to the northern regions of Ethiopia.
B e st t i m e to g o Visit from October through March to beat the heat, but try to plan your trip for January 6–7 during Ganna, the Orthodox Christmas celebration. Local residents don crisp, white cotton robes and descend upon the ancient buried churches at Lalibela in an annual pilgrimage, bringing added vibrancy to an already amazing atmosphere.
T h e S tay The aerial adventure begins in Lalibela and ends in Addis Ababa, and retreating to the hilltop confines of the Sheraton Addis, a Luxury Collection Hotel, is the ideal way to close a day of soaring over the region. Dip below the waters of the swimming pools to hear relaxing underwater music before soothing your senses with a massage in the acclaimed Aqva Club.
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Photo courtesy of Sheraton Addis
The view. The active basaltic shield volcano Erta Ale is also part of your flight plan, and you’ll soar over one of only four volcanoes on the planet that has an almost constant lava lake. Locals refer to the bubbling lake as the gateway to Hell—thankfully, your visit keeps you safely above the churning pits and extreme temperatures that rise more than 2,000 feet from below sea level. KE R & DOW N E Y 8 5
experience M A H A R A JA F OR A DAY By s c ot t g o e t z
Our turbans trailed from the 1946 open-air Buick 8 Roadmaster as we made our way up Jodhpurâ€™s Chittar Hill and to the palace gates. There she was, Umaid Bhawan Palace, the worldâ€™s largest private residence, and today, her 28 acres of majestic Indo-deco splendor was mine. Cue: fanfare of pounding drums. Sound the trumpeting Narsingha horns.
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It’s my royal entrance. As we make our way around the drive, an army of Rajasthani guards raises the silk canopy. Before I can “Bravo!” the guards for taking their handlebar mustaches to a literal level, I am ushered up the stairs, showered in a downpour of rose petals, greeted with a red-thumb stamp to the forehead (a holy aarti welcome), draped in tuberoses, presented with champagne in one hand and a chilled, rose-scented towel in the other, and attended by twenty-strong staff, smiling. I’m left high and floating in my head, and only come to when the general manager, who is shaking my hand, squeezes it harder. Then, he says to me—in that does-he-mean-yes-or-does-he-mean-no, only-in-India way—“We … have no plans set for you. Enjoy the hotel.” Cue: Bollywood whoopee cushion and loser horn.
“A Maharaja does anything he wants, sir. You are the king. Behave like the king. Welcome to Umaid Bhawan Palace, Maharaja Scott!”
“But I thought I was going to be Maharaja for a day?” I ask with the hint of a whimper. “A Maharaja does anything he wants, sir. You are the king. Behave like the king. Welcome to Umaid Bhawan Palace, Maharaja Scott!” he answers with a twinkle in his eye. I’ve been longing to return to Umaid Bhawan Palace ever since roses fell from the sky when I entered its hallowed grounds five years ago. They haven’t fallen since, despite my pleas. Yearning to go back to a place is something we all hold onto. Yet, when remembrance crosses into reality, the floodgates of fear open and the rush of pending disappointment crash into the truth of familiarity. The first stay was so incredibly magical. How could I return and not be let down the second time? The answer was to go deeper and capture the essence of Rajasthan. This time I didn’t want to tour to the Maharaja’s palace, I wanted to live in it. I was to become “Maharaja for a Day.” Cue: Ker & Downey staff frantically working behind the scenes.
Photos courtesy of Umaid Bhawan
Maharaja Scott’s day-two To-Do List went something like this:
Returning to the palace was like returning home, but this time, I was king of the castle and Sikander, the royal butler who made my previous stay so memorable, was at the ready to escort me with whitegloved attention to a private wing with a crystal fountain courtyard and a pair of suites flanked by two tigers—as if to guard the utopian world of highness and lifestyle behind royal walls. To the left, The Maharaja Suite: the den of Maharaja Umaid Singh, who reveled in its robust, masculine deco virtue (and where I chose to draft letters of war over jazz and cocktails). To the right, the Maharani Suite: designed for and graced by Umaid Singhs' Maharani. Everything inside is pink, black, chrome, gold and mirror. I mean really pink—pink zebra upholstery, pink drapes, pink sinks, pink bath carved out of one piece of pink marble and a pink terraced balcony that offers spellbinding views of the pink Mehrangarh Fort. What does a Maharaja do when enveloped by such rosy hue? Simple. He sits in his private hair salon and has Sikander teach the fine art of turban tying. (Indeed, the turban was pink.) Nine meters of fabric and endless flowing pink champagne turned this lesson into nine meters of hell. But a Maharaja never shows his weakness. Or at least his butler doesn’t let him. I succumb quickly, enchanted by Sikander’s passion for perfection. In a flash, I’m cloaked in a crisp white kurta as we parade into the halls for a tour of my palace, with the impeccably wound turban trailing ever so effortlessly behind me. Pure awe reveals itself on a heritage walk through this architectural astonishment designed by Edwardian master builder Henry V. Lanchester and built from 1928 to 1943. There is no pretending you are transcending time within these walls. It takes little imagination to conjure the 3,000 builders who used no mortar and instead fixed each sandstone block in place by chisel. Every stair tells another story. From the underground, zodiac-tiled pool to the Rajput turrets striding the colossal Renaissance dome, the 28 acres of history whisper royal tales of dramatic scale. None so grandiose, however, as the tale of the interiors and furniture I hear while sitting under the tusks of an elephant in the Trophy Bar. The ship, carrying his palace full of precious cargo en-route from England, was bombed and sunk during World War II. Astounding. Every piece was lost. As if once wasn’t enough, like a true Maharaja, he built it grand, then did it twice. And so did I.
1. Maharaja Scott declares “a day in the life of the Maharaja” is as long as the Maharaja says it is ... even if it’s two or three o’clock. 2. Breakfast on the lawn. Maharaja entertained by mating royal peacocks and serenaded by a sitar player. ...who is obsessed with The Beatle’s “Norwegian Wood” ... which he plays over and over until Maharaja Scott is done eating his meal. 3. Tour of Maharaja’s Fort. Maharaja Scott photo op with my subjects. ... upon royal elephant. 4. Opium tea ceremony in the Thar Desert. 5. Cancel shopping because of number 4. Replace with nap on terrace swing. 6. Ask royal butler to call the shop vendors to the terrace. 7. Buy Etro blankets and Hermes scarves for a steal. … only to have vendor reveal Bill Murray bought the same ones, too. 8. Try on emeralds Angelina Jolie didn’t snag when she was playing Maharani at the palace. ... while the royal butler pushes you in swing. 9. Request to reenact the royal entrance. ... with only a 15 minute notice. 10. Take over the entire garden and outside palace for a royal dinner feast. ... with umbrellas over Maharaja Scott’s head at all times (even though it’s dark and not raining). ... with royal folk singers and dancers. ... and the guy who plays “Norwegian Wood.” ... during an amazing display of fireworks. ... solely for the enjoyment of Maharaja Scott.
Scott Goetz is a leading luxury and adventure expert. The founder of soon-to-launch FierceTraveler.com, and a contributor to Robb Report and Elite Traveler, he believes in total immersion to a to connect to a destination and its people. “Go big. Go now.” KE R & DOW N E Y
Ortakรถy Boys, Istanbul, Turkey, 2012
SHOT O ne picture , one single moment, one memory captured this issue by photographer C ait O ppermann .
was in the OrtakĂśy section of Istanbul with some local friends after lunch in August of 2012. We were about to leave the open square where this photo was taken, but I wanted to stay and watch these boys dive into the water over and over again. They were rough with each other, splashing and competing to see who could jump the furthest. The tall, older boys won every time. I was worried that theyâ€™d see me shooting them and get irritated, but instead they began jumping only when they knew I was ready to catch them mid-air. At one point, they all gathered together, out of breath. One of the older boys looked directly at me, and I caught him just before he went for another dive.
Cait Oppermann is a Brooklyn-based photographer with a BFA from Pratt Institute.
KE R & DOW N E Y
G AT E W AY
T H E
O RI E N T
Ker & Downey presents a taste of the most memorable and historic sites in the country. Spend 12 days discovering the blend of old and new permeating the nation, from the ancient Great Wall to the grand scale of the Three Gorges Dam. Contact your travel professional or visit us on the web to view this journey at kerdowney.com.
South Africa Travel from Cape Town to the wilds of northern South Africa on this incredible 14-night journey. Guests are welcomed along the way by outstanding luxury properties, offering a city and bush experience that is as unique as it is elegant.
Contact your travel professional or visit us on the web to view this journey at kerdowney.com.
Hereâ€™s to new "I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list." - Susan Sontag
contact your travel professional or visit us on the web at
www. kerdowney. com africa
S outh america
C entral A merica
T he M iddle E ast |
S outh P acific | beyond
Forget group tours, long lines, or shared experiences; with Ker & Downey, everything is a completely tailored fit and our artistâ€™s signature is threaded throughout in all the care taken for every detail. 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.
Spring has sprung and it’s time to plan your 2014 travel. Explore the unexplored in Australia, drift over ice in Sweden, rediscover Egypt’s...
Published on Apr 9, 2014
Spring has sprung and it’s time to plan your 2014 travel. Explore the unexplored in Australia, drift over ice in Sweden, rediscover Egypt’s...