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My Shanghai Tag along with travel reporter and jet-setting foodie Krista Simmons as she explores the City of the Future, with her Kate Spade New York gear.

Krista Simmons is a culinary travel reporter with a passion for exploring world cuisines. A total social media junkie, she works in multimedia, creating video, broadcast, print and online pieces based on her far-flung experiences. Krista’s on the road mantra: “I’m all about inspiring people to eat, travel, and live better—and look good while doing it!” FOLLOW ALONG.


Kate Spade @katespadeny

Krista simmons @kristasimmons

Check out Krista’s food lover’s guide to China in this issue of QUEST. pg.80

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.




a letter from the president

One of our goals at Ker & Downey with QUEST is for the magazine to create a sense of “what’s new” to see or do. Sometimes this concept manifests itself in a country that finally opens up to the world like Georgia or a country that is trying to recreate itself as Egypt is doing right now. Other times it is rediscovering a destination that maybe you’ve visited a number of times, like Italy and France. In this issue, Nell Casey rediscovers Italy the way Ker & Downey loves to offer it, and that is—tailor-made, going the extra mile to find out what’s fresh in Milan and why Lake Como remains a hot spot. In France, Maya Vandenberg offers up “what’s new” along the beautiful French coast. Also in this issue, we explore China with Krista Simmons on a culinary tour of Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai where she offers some unique culinary insights. And Quest’s Editor, Martine Bury, dives deeper into the Maldives in search of one-of-a-kind experiences. Tanzania is one of my favorite Africa destinations for many reasons. Nowhere else in Africa can one get a sense of the immensity of Africa than in Tanzania with its wide open plains highlighted by the Serengeti. Our resident Destination Guru, David Jones, takes you on the “slow safari” concept in Tanzania. THE SHOT for this issue comes from one of my favorite photographers, Beverly Joubert. Beverly and her husband Derek have been devoted conservationists for decades. They also own some beautiful properties in Botswana (Zarafa Camp) and in Kenya (Mara Plains and Mara Toto). Nearly continuous access to these prime wildlife destinations has lead to great careers in photography and filmmaking. We applaud their philanthropy as well. On that note I’d like to share a bit about Ker & Downey’s philanthropic efforts, which I am completely passionate about. We are involved in several initiatives; one is to relocate 100 rhinos from South Africa to Botswana in an attempt to protect them from poaching; and the other is to preserve more land adjoining the Mara Reserve in Kenya. This issue also highlights our efforts in Uganda to fight against the malaria epidemic and how you can help. Please contact us if you’d like to be involved in one or all of these projects.

David Marek President




summer 2014


e xplor at ion s

60 Classic Coast Maya Vandenberg explores France’s alluring Côte d’Azur.


10 a-list

The Season’s Must-have Experiences

12 arrivals Openings, Revamps and the Latest Travel News


Guide Insider Secrets of Luxury Travel

italy: tailor-made Writer Nell Casey takes a trip to fashionable Milan and the enchanting Lake Como.


style The Art of Jet-Setting

80 the secret kitchen Krista Simmons takes a crash course in Chinese regional cuisine.

88 true romance We’ve searched the globe to find our top 10 favorite amorous escapes.


The ocean surrounding the Maldives is a year-round habitat for Whale Sharks. This arresting image of free diver Umberto Pellizari and the gentle giant was taken in the waters near Four Seasons Landaa Giravaaru—a luxury resort and major hub for marine research—by filmmaker and photographer Jason Isley of Scubazoo. Considered one of the world’s all-time best freedivers, Italian Umberto Pelizzari has established world records in all disciplines of freediving.

let’s connect on th e web

fac e b ook QUESTmagazineKD

tw i tt er @QUESTmagKD

e m ai l

p h one 800.423.4236 +1.281.371.2500

flights Fresh Takes on Great Getaways

102 the itinerary The Royal Treatment


the shot on the cover:

Pg. 80

One picture, one moment, one memory by photographer Beverly Joubert.

Staff spotlight Haley Beham Writer: A-List; True Romance; The Itinerary Haley Beham is a Ker & Downey web guru, staff writer and insider with a passion for traveling the world, experiencing new cultures and philanthropy. She went on her first adventure to Africa with Ker & Downey when she was ten years old. Check out her expert roundups on For me, summer means... Trips to the beach, cute sandals and sweet watermelon Two weeks + an unlimited budget – where are you going? A street cafe in Paris with a cappuccino and a really good book

Scubazoo is a Southeast Asia based company specializing in underwater filming and photography. They have just released Maldives: The Underwater Kingdom, a book featuring the region’s rich, captivating world of marine life. ( Courtesy of Four Seasons Maldives





Lesley Mc Kenz i e editor M artine B ury Cont ributing edi to r s K AT Y H E E R S S E N david jones david marek L e A nne M atula PUBL ISHERS david marek david jones ART DIRECTI ON & DESIGN AMY WILLIS PHOTO EDITOR L AU R E N M A R E K CO NTEN T WRITERS HALEY BEHAM CO NTRIBUTING PHOTOGRA PHERS B everly Joubert Dann y S immons LO G O DESIGN E R IC ROI N E S TA D

Photo Credit: John Russo

Writer: Layover: Doha The former Editor-in-Chief of Angeleno, Lesley currently writes about all things lifestyle for publications including Departures, Teen Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, The Hollywood Reporter and Los Angeles magazine. Born in the Scottish highlands, raised in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Oman, and educated in the Swiss Alps, Lesley now finds herself most at home by the beach in Venice, California, where she resides with her two dogs.

For me, summer means... Unplugging and recharging for a week at Burning Man On my nightstand: “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity” by Katherine Boo.

J onny Ruz z o Illustrator: Practical Matters Jonny was born in Rhode Island, and moved to New York City in 2008, where he currently lives and works as an artist. Since graduating in 2012, he has worked for clients such as The New Yorker, Prudential and Stride Gum. Besides drawing and painting, Jonny also enjoys skiing, playing guitar and staying home and snuggling with his dog.

Guilty TV pleasure: A friend recently got me hooked onto a show called Orphan Black. I watched the first two seasons in one weekend. Beach or mountains? Mountains. Definitely mountains.

Feifei Sun Writer: Practical Matters Feifei Sun is a writer and editor based in Atlanta. She is a former editor of TIME, where she oversaw the magazine’s style and design content and worked on special issues like the TIME 100 and Person of the Year. Before that, she was an editorial assistant at Vanity Fair, blogging about photography and fashion. Her writing has also appeared in Real Simple, WebMD and Organic Spa, among other publications. For me, summer means ... Champagne, tan lines, white dresses, red nail polish. Favorite plane ride activity: Sleeping. I’m lucky in that I have a really easy time getting settled on any plane—even if I’m in the middle seat. 8


Dann y Sim m on s Photographer: My Shanghai; The Secret Kitchen Danny is a photographer, videographer and jolly giant. He has his B.A. in International Studies with a minor in Chinese Studies from UC San Diego. He’s a master of many trades—from playing saxophone professionally to pitching in the College World Series in 2009 and 2010. His thirst for international travel and food has led to many fruitful collaborations with his sister, Krista Simmons. For me, summer means … The crack of the bat, rolling waves, sweet watermelon, tanned skin, fresh air, sandals, freeflowing pilsners and new love. If I could instantly learn a new language, I would learn... French

Nel l Ca se y Writer: Italy: Tailor-Made Nell Casey is the editor of the best-selling anthology “Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression” and, more recently, “The Journals of Spalding Gray.” She has written travel pieces for such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Town & Country and more. She lives in Rome, Italy with her husband and two children. Top of travel bucket list ... Istanbul and Cappadocia, Turkey For me summer means ... Chaos and fun.

Ryan Crosby Writer: The Drink Ryan Crosby is a Los Angeles-based freelancer who spends most of his time working as a professional musician, composing pop music for artists as well as music for commercials, TV and film. His second love is journalism, specializing in travel, entertainment and food and drink. This pursuit has taken him to countries as diverse as Norway, Africa, Turkey and China, found him interviewing numerous celebrities and reviewing some of the best restaurants and nightlife venues in the world.

For me, summer means… Going to the beach. I grew up in South Orange County, so the day after school would get out, we were compelled to go to the beach as many days as we could afford. Top of my travel bucket list … Any destination I have never heard of.

ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS: Thinkstock | Russ Dixon; Thinkstock| katritch; Thinkstock | Top Photo Corporation; Thinkstock | crisod; Inkanterra Hacienda Conception; Thinkstock | TANZANIANIMAGES; Palazzo Avino | Roberto Bonardi; Lewa Safari Camp; Taj Mahal Palace and Towers; Vivanta by Taj Coorg; Vivanta by Taj Bekal; Taj Falknuma Palace; One & Only Hayman Island; Portrait Firenze; Four Seasons Hotel Westcliff; Thinkstock | Jason Prince; David Marek; Peninsula Beijing; Thinkstock | master2;Thinkstock | fazon1; Thinkstock| fotozambra; Banyan Tree Al Wadi: Kingston Tree House at Ivory Lodge; Cavas Wine Lodge; Silolona Sojourns, MSV Si Datu Bua; Uma by COMO Punakha; La Sultana Oualidia; One&Only Reethi Rah; Hotel Cala di Volpe; Amangalla; Les Ottomans; Raffles Hotel Singapore

a-list T he S eas on’s Must-h a v e Ex p eri ences


fresh local seafood at Rossellini’s, a Michelin-star restaurant in the beautiful Palazzo Avino hotel in the town of Ravello high above Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

By H a le y B e h a m


with a Masai warrior along the shores of Tanzania’s Lake Manyara early in the morning to experience authentic culture, keep fit and get a feel for local life.


the Langtang Valley, north of Kathmandu, Nepal, and one of the lesser-trodden paths that offers fewer tourists than the Everest and Annapurna regions with equally spectacular views.


with a Mongolian family that lives in the Gobi Desert in their “ger” (yurt), a traditional nomadic dwelling of wood and felt that can be moved easily with the livestock.


sharp-toothed piranhas out of Peru’s Lake Valencia, down river from Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica, and feast on the day’s catch for lunch.



with whale sharks at the Ningaloo Reef off the coast of Western Australia. The gentle giants of the sea are the largest species of fish and can grow up to 60 feet in length.

with Hadzabe tribesmen in northern Tanzania, some of the last fulltime huntergatherers in Africa, and learn how to make a bow and arrow using ancient techniques. KER & DOWNEY


arrivals Open in g s , Revamps a nd th e L a test Tra vel News

Paradise found is a private resort in the heart of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Following a multimillion dollar refresh, One&Only Hayman Island unveils chic accommodations in every detail—from the all-suite Pool Wing complete with direct swim-out access for each room, as well as views of the pristine Coral Sea to an exclusive Beach House, new beach villas and spectacular two- and threebedroom Penthouse Residences (one of which was designed by fashion icon Diane Von Furstenberg). Private cabanas and daybeds are the perfect posts for a day spent enjoying the new Aquazure Pool, On the Rocks Bar and the many dining options. The spa offers renewal for the body and mind with exclusive Amala products and expert-curated treatment programs by health and wellness guru James Duigan. Even with all the gorgeous bells and whistles, the most seductive draw is the location in an un-spoilt part of one of the world’s astonishing natural wonders.

One&Only Hayman Island

By M a rt i n e B u ry

Portrait Firenze, Florence In May, one of Italian fashion’s first families opened the doors to a 34-suite home turned hotel in the city considered the birthplace of Italy’s renowned couture tradition. The Ferragamoowned Lungarno Collection property sits on the banks of the River Arno, with picturesque views of the Florentine hills and Ponte Vecchio. The penthouse floor is clearly the result of impeccable taste and elegance, with views of Renaissance architecture from every window.

Four Sea sons Hotel Westcliff, Johannesburg South Africa’s most soulful city is fast becoming one of the globe’s most exciting capitals for design, fashion, art, technology, business and innovation. On the heels of last fall’s momentous opening of the continent’s first-ever Museum of African Design, Jo’Burg celebrates the arrival of this architectural beauty with 117 guest rooms and suites. While convenient to two airports and the urban center, the eight-acre property offers respite in verdant landscaping across rolling hills and 240-degree views of the city’s greenery from this prime perch. Envisioned as a gallery for culinary art, the hotel’s View restaurant brings drama under the leadership of Chef Dirk Gieselmann, former executive chef of the three Michelin star L’Auberge de l’Ill in France.



Photos courtesy of Inn at Ritz-Carlton | Park Hyatt, Vienna | Babylonstoren


R it z- C a r lton, Ky oto During the 17th-century Edo period, a traveler in Japan likely stayed in a ryokan, or roadside inn. Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto reinterprets the concept of these traditional lodgings with modernity and grace, in the country’s cultural center. The all-out stunner nestled on the banks of the storied Kamogawa River seamlessly blends in with the environment, allowing views of purple- and violet-streaked sunsets against the Higashiyama mountains in the east as well as meticulous, serene Japanese gardens. Off-property, guided excursions—such as strolling the ancient city in a kimono or cycling to visit sacred shrines—allow for a virtual trip back in time.

Park Hyat t, Vienna Ba b ylon s tore n, Ca p e W in e la nd s One of South Africa’s oldest wine estates transports guests to a grounding, bucolic way of life. Lovingly restored by Karen Roos, the working farm with deep roots recently added romantic, whitewashed Room 12—a simply appointed honeymoon suite where guests can focus on each other, while enjoying the property’s unique offerings, from picking their own fruits and veggies to taking wine-making classes.

In the glam Goldenes Quartier, Vienna’s newest, most-fashionable address is a 100-year-old bank building dressed to impress in a classical architecture exterior, in the First District (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The luxurious hotel has 35 suites and 143 luxe guestrooms— and easy access to over 40 museums and haute shopping, including Prada and the famed boutiques of Kohlmarkt. Spacious interiors are a blend of contemporary and traditional design from ornate, imposing wood-clad meeting rooms to The Bank restaurant, in what historically was the cashier’s hall, with its open plan show kitchens serving sustainable fare sourced from local villages.

Photo courtesy Cathay Pacific Airways and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Istanbul

Take Flight The ascent to Cathay Pacific Airways’ sleek The Bridge Lounge at hopping Hong Kong International Airport feels like entering an exclusive nightclub, only to reveal a spacious, light-filled comfort zone. Located on level 5 of the West Concourse, it’s a 2,567-square-meter oasis, offering travelers a place to relax without the stress of a typical airport lounge. Qualifying passengers can nosh on fresh-baked pizzas at The Bakery, clean up in one of nine luxurious shower suites or sip a libation at the Long Bar. The airline also recently launched a new Premium Economy service, offering wider seats, eco-friendly amenity kit, fully loaded StudioCX inflight entertainment system, plus extra dining and storage space.

WHAT ’S NEXT Off t h e B eaten Path: M e rc e de s - B e n z Fa s h ion W e e k London, Paris, Milan and New York come to mind when thinking of influential runway shows. For what's ahead, mark your calendar with these cities on the rise.


Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town in partnership with African Fashion International


Lakmé Fashion Week Mumbai


Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane

10.13–18 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Istanbul




Shu’mata Camp

Shu’mata Camp offers a deep immersion into a quieter side of wild Tanzania. Close to Kenya’s busy Amboseli National Park, it’s a secret hideaway situated at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. Five spacious tents feature Masai artworks and interiors inspired by Hemingway’s African adventures and offer captivating views of Kili and Mount Meru, the unending savannah and abundant wildlife sightings from Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelle to majestic elephants. Just opened in a secluded spot on the lower Zambezi River’s eastern end, Zambia’s Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp sits on the site of legendary Ana Tree Lodge. Perched on timber platforms on the edge of a ridge, the camp’s 11 well-appointed tents are an excellent vantage point to gaze at both the river and Mushika River flood plain, watering hole to a host of amazing animals. Anabezi’s game drives are intimate, with a four-guest maximum. While canoe safaris, night drives and walking safaris in the Kulefu woodlands heighten the experience. Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp

Photos courtesy of Shu’mata Camp | Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp

Cool Camps

Photo courtesy of Singita Serengeti House

Singita Serengeti House, tanzania The undulating topography of 350,000-acre Grumeti Reserves’ Sasakwa Hill provides the foundation for Singita’s super-private, exclusiveuse property built for the ultimate bespoke getaway in northern Tanzania. It comes complete with staff, guide and a personal four-wheel drive vehicle. Everything is customized to the guest’s schedule and preferences from chef made meals, cooking lessons and game drives to tennis, archery practice and mountain biking—or a lazy afternoon by the 82-foot rim-flow lap pool. Awash in neutrals and crisp white, the interiors provide a peace harmonious with the region’s breathtaking surroundings.

Credits: “Epicurean Journeys,” | Thailand: The Cookbook | Epicurean Journeys,

WHAT ’S NOW B ook s for Je t-Setting Food i es

“Thailand: The Cookbook,” by Jean-Pierre Gabriel | $50 Make the world’s most addictive cuisine in your own home.

“Where Chef’s Eat: A Guide to Chefs’ Favourite Restaurants,” by Joe Warwick | $20 The gourmand’s ultimate encyclopedia of over 2,000 restaurant recommendations from 400 top chefs.

“Epicurean Journeys,” by Joshua David Stein | $45 From curry to risotto, an indulgent exploration of cuisine at Luxury Collection’s exotic hotels. KER & DOWNEY


the guide In s ider S ecrets of L uxury Tra v el

One&Only Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA

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 ’ v e b e e n o n s a fa r i i n A f r i c a s e v e r a l t i m e s. O n o u r n e x t t r i p, w e ’ r e lo o k i n g f o r a m o r e u n c o n v e n t i o n a l s a fa r i e x p e r i e n c e t h at s t i l l a l lo w s u s to s e e i n c r e d i b l e wildlife and experience the authentic African bush. W h at d o y o u s u g g e s t ? C . H e r n a d e z, S a n D i e g o, C a l i f.

Photo courtesy of Chem Chem Safari Lodge Nicholas Nerge and Fabia Bausch of Chem Chem Safari Lodge with friends KER & DOWNEY


One of the best things about an African safari is that no two game drives are alike. You never know what you are going to see, and for that reason, it is easy to get caught up in the idea that you have to go on every game drive to get the maximum wildlife experience. It’s a rush to see the Big Five. Owners Nicholas Nerge and Fabia Bausch at Chem Chem Safari Lodge have taken the idea of a traditional safari and turned it on its head, offering, instead, what they call the “slow safari.”

The concept was born out of a deep passion for the African bush. The idea is simple. At its core, it is a chance to experience Africa in its purest and most raw form through the five senses and beyond the confines of a four-wheel drive vehicle. You get out of the vehicle to walk among giraffe and track the wildlife by their tracks and spoor. You slow down for a real sensory experience, using sight, smell and sound to discover something about nature—and maybe even a little something about yourself. Beyond that, it is a completely private, intimate experience, tailored for you to get the most out of your African adventure. While seeing wildlife is a large part of an African safari, at Chem Chem Safari Lodge, it isn’t the only focus. You are encouraged to appreciate your surroundings through a variety of experiences. Game drives are just a portion of your adventure. Watch zebra and giraffe graze in the distance while you laze about in the small bush pool. Or visit a local Masai village before returning to camp to dine underneath the stars. With 4,000 hectares of private wildlife conservancy to explore, you’ll be glad you’re taking a slow approach and pacing yourself. Our lives are busy enough as it is. Why not slow down and take the time to truly experience and appreciate all the African bush has to offer?

Photos courtesy of Chem Chem Safari Lodge



the guide

WELLNESS: A Wor l d Tou r of Spa B ota n ical s The treatment menu of a great spa is essentially a walk-in guidebook to healing botanicals. Here are a few of my favorites that really feature the local plants. by mary bemis


| G ER M A N Y |

A favorite jaunt of mine is the thermal spa town of Bad Wörishofen, the tiny Bavarian village where, beginning in the 1850s, Father Sebastian Kneipp practiced his world-renowned Kneipp Cure. His particular philosophy involved the use of hot- and cold-water therapies in combination with herbalism. Some of the herbs used included calendula, which acts as an anti-bacterial and antiinflammatory; juniper to soothe sore muscles; and valerian to promote a good night’s sleep. To this day, the many resort hotels and inns in this spa town offer treatments that use the original methods of Kneipp. Kneipp therapies are also available at many spas worldwide. Kneipp Herbal Bath Oils are sold at pharmacies and even come in handy travel sizes for a quick fix. Photos courtesy of Kneipp-Original Bad Wörishofen


| A US T RI A |

Not so far away and surrounded by the magnificent Alps, is the Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt in Going, Austria. Boasting the largest hotel saltwater pool in Europe, as well as a newly designed spa, the menu here nicely reflects the rich Alpine region. For example, the soothing Marigold Bath uses the nurturing herbal essential oil extracts of organic marigold and chamomile—a wonderful treatment for stressed and sensitive skin. Marigold, explains Maria Hauser, daughter of the Hauser family who own the spa, contains soothing and pain-relieving properties and helps calm irritated skin (an ideal treatment if you’ve had too much sun or have spent a long day hiking or skiing in the mountains). This common and colorful garden flower is found on many mountains, like those surrounding the Stanglwirt. Another cherished treatment at this spa is the Stanglwirt Signature Alpine Herb Pouch Massage, a deeply relaxing massage (especially beneficial for those dealing with insomnia) that begins with a re-energizing footbath and foot massage. The core of this treatment involves steam-heated herbal pouches that are gently used to massage. All of the herbs in the pouch come from the gardens of local farmers. There’s coltsfoot, valued as a respiratory disinfectant and cough suppressant, and used since the days of ancient Greece and Rome to relieve asthma and bronchial congestion; pepper-root, boasting antibacterial properties, in addition to having tonic, stimulant, analgesic and carminative (anti-gas) properties; sage, rich in antioxidants and important nutrients, such as Photos courtesy of Hotel Stanglwirt vitamin K, and valued throughout history for a wide range of uses in both cooking and medicine; peppermint, known to help digestion and relied upon for cold and flue relief; as well as a variety of blackberry, strawberry and raspberry leaves—high in vitamin C and trace minerals and believed to have healing properties for many ailments, including colds and skin rashes.

Photos courtesy of Le Torri di Bagnara Castle-Villas


| I TA LY |

At the Le Torri di Bagnara Castle-Villas, proprietress Zenaide Giunta, Napoleon’s great-great-grandniece, infuses the property’s homemade extra-virgin olive oil with aromatic herbs from her botanical gardens. The one-of-a-kind oil is used in the Anti-Stress Massage. Guests may choose from oils infused with garden-fresh chamomile, lavender, peppermint, rosemary or sage. Guests who stay at this historic castle will find themselves blissfully situated amidst a 1,500-acre estate and working farm—which Zenaide refers to as “a private green heaven.” Manicured gardens designed by Mario Margheriti, a famous Tuscan landscape designer, include an herb garden with aromatic plants and a kitchen garden with fresh vegetables for guests to pick and enjoy—dotted by flowers, pomegranate and cherry trees, with laurel, rosemary and lavender bushes, and oak and olive trees that are continuously in flower.

BALI Frangipani, lemongrass, aloe vera, damascena rose and coconut oil are just some of the luscious flowers and plants found in spa treatments at the Mulia Spa on the spectacular coastline of Nusa Dua in southeastern Bali. The spa makes use of fifty percent of local indigenous ingredients in its treatments—the Purely Bali massage, the Mulia Mermaid treatment, the Bali Hair Crème Bath and the Sun Lovers Delight, to name a few. A homemade “boreh,” a paste-like substance created from a mixture of natural ingredients such as roots, turmeric, ginger, galangal, various leaves and herbs and spices like clove and nutmeg, is employed here as well. Often, these ingredients are mixed with bark from various indigenous trees. KER & DOW NEY


the guide


And speaking of trees, the baobab, moringa and marula, all of which hail from Africa, have long been revered for their healing properties and make wonderful essential oils that are especially nourishing for the skin. The One&Only Cape Town, South Africa, offers a number of holistic experiences and spa treatments that pay homage to local African influences. For example, the Essence of Africa Journey, a stress-reducing signature ritual, uses ancient healing ingredients, including baobab tree oil (highly moisturizing, it is rich in vitamins A, D, E and F, as well as Omega 3,6 and 9)—excellent when used on the hair, as well. Rooibus herbs from the African bush are also used in this treatment to help improve skin elasticity.

Photos courtesy of One&Only Capetown RESEARCH: “The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook” by James A. Duke, Ph.D., © 2000, published by Rodale.



Mary Bemis is a leading spa and wellness expert. The founder of InsidersGuidetoSpas. com, and the co-founder of Organic Spa Magazine, she keeps her bathroom well stocked with all sorts of herbal bath oils and elixirs.

PAC K I NG : PRACTICAL MATTERS Small Spaces, Big Ideas: Three Packing Tips I Live (and Swear) by. By Feifei Sun illustration by jonny ruzzo

Like many travel writers, I learned how to make the most of small spaces by living in one myself—an 800 square-foot apartment in New York City, shared with two roommates, to be exact. My bedroom didn’t even have a closet; I hung up nice dresses on a $20 metal rack I purchased from IKEA and kept tees, sweaters and jeans in suitcases. It was great preparation for my career as a travel writer, especially since I never check bags, even for weeklong trips. How do I make that work? Here are four of my go-to tips: Illustration inspired by Lipault’s 18” Weekend Bag in Tangerine,

Ma ke a List. T hen E d i t I t.

As soon as I get my trip itinerary, I go through the events and activities and write out what kind of outfits I’ll need. I find that people often think they need to pack more than they’ll actually wear—and having a written list keeps that habit in check. Your list doesn’t have to be specific; often I’ll write, “one nice dress, three casual outfits,” or something to that effect. After I complete the list, I’ll go back and see what I can cut out or wear twice. I often get away with wearing the same little black dress for two separate dinners by changing jewelry or the sweater I toss over it.

E v eryth i ng M u st Matc h

S k i p th e “ T r av e l” Ro u ti n e

You can make a handful of pieces go the extra mile by making sure everything matches with the next piece—meaning every shirt you pack must go with every pair of shorts or jeans you pack and so forth. I find it’s easiest to accomplish this goal by sticking to neutrals. In fact, it’s rare to see me in something other than whites, grays or black on a press trip. A white shirt isn’t going to make the same impact as a vibrant, patterned dress, but your traveling companions aren’t likely to notice that you’re repeating an outfit as a result.

Pack what you wear and use in your everyday life and resist the temptation to pack things you think you’ll want when traveling. If you don’t use a face spritz or calming oil in your everyday beauty regimen, you’re probably not going to use them while traveling either—even if they seem like perfect airplane items. The same applies to special pumps, shawls or that spunky fuchsia lipstick that you never seem to wear in real life. Only pack what you know you’ll use.

Feifei Sun is a former editor of TIME, where she oversaw the magazine’s style and design content and worked on special issues like the TIME 100 and Person of the Year. She was also an editorial assistant at Vanity Fair, blogging about photography and fashion.

the guide

T E C H : L i am M c C ab e i n v e s t igat e s w h e r e lo - f i m e e t s h i - f i Traditional adventure gear doesn’t need to be old fashioned. These high-tech treatments of tried-and-true tools offer the best of both worlds—a nostalgic reminder of travel’s intrepid past, rounded out with modern refinements and convenience. BY LIAM MCCABE

The Gear: Swarovski EL 8x32 Binoculars ($2,199)

Use It For:

Birding in Madagascar

W h y:

Serious birders agree, Swarovski glass is as good as it gets. With precision-ground elements and advanced lens coatings, these binoculars provide a near-flawless edge-to-edge view. The elegant, lightweight and fully waterproof body is perfect for long days in the field and the focusing action is a marvel.

The Gear: Suunto MC-2 Global Compass ($84)

U se I t F o r :

Hiking in Argentina

W h y:

Even among a category that was mastered decades, if not centuries ago, the MC-2 is a feat of engineering. This global compass can find true north from any point on the planet—the curve of the earth won’t interfere with the needle, and unlike a GPS navigation system, it’ll never run out of batteries.

W h y:

The Gear: Leica M Monochrom Digital Rangefinder ($7,950)

Use It For:

Street photography in Tokyo

As a camera that shoots only in black and white, with strictly manual-focus lenses, the Monochrom compels its owners to work inside the romanticized bounds of old-time photography—except, of course, that it’s digital. Its quiet shutter and subtle design help it blend inconspicuously into any city street. For best results, pair it with a 35mm or 50mm Leica lens.

The Gear: Oakley Airwave 1.5 Ski Goggles ($650)

Use It For:

The slopes in New Zealand Why:

Keep the snow out of your eyes—and then some. A heads-up display provides real-time data on your speed, altitude and location, all from built-in sensors. Sync it with your smartphone for text, call and even Facebook integration. It’s like Google Glass for the slopes.

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, and more. He’s an avid traveler and aspiring outdoorsman. KER & DOW NEY


Authentic Experiences D I V E R S E


China’s secret southern region comes to life on this 13-day journey. Diverse landscapes, cultures, and experiences are all on the menu as you venture into the rich history of local peoples, starting and ending with the more modern hubs of Beijing and Shanghai.

S U G G E S T E D Beijing


| D a y s 1-3 |




Vi si t Tia n a n m en S q u a re a n d t h e Fo r b idden C it y w it h p ri v a t e a c c es s t o S h u Fa n g Z h a i T h e Opp o s i t e H o u s e

Guiya ng

| D a y s 4 -6 |


| D a y s 7-9 |

Le a rn aut h en t ic c a l l ig ra p h y a t a l o c a l Bo uy ei f a m il y h o m e Sheraton Guiyang

Ex p lore D ra g o n ’s Ba c k b o n e r ic e t er ra c es a n d it s div er s e mi n ori t y c u l t u res a n d h a v e l un c h a t o p a m o u n t a in w it h t h e Pi n g ’a n p eo p l e Shangri-La Hotel Guilin

Sha ng hai | D a y s 1 0-1 3 |

S t e p i n t o a 1 9 t h c en t ur y g a rden h o u s e k it c h en fo r a n a u t h e n t ic c o o k in g c l a s s The Peninsula Shanghai

Contact your travel professional or visit us on the web to view this journey at

style T he Art of Jet-Setting


Curated and written by Martine Bury



Editor’s Selects



From a holiday at the beach to safari in the bush, we’re keeping things light and chic.






1. Playful and lust-worthy, we want every color combo Hermès “Brazil” printed cotton-terry beach towel in yellow, $610 | 2. Dress pants inspired, expertly tailored and fresh, even out of the water Onia Calder 7.5 Swim Trunks Geo Brush in Hydro, $175 | 3. Iconic, comfy and rugged with a hint romance Ralph Lauren at Tourneau, $7,100 |





4. A work of art for the serious camera connoisseur packed with features—Italian mahogany with copper body, built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization for blur-free photos Hasselblad Bron “Lunar” LF 18–55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS, $7,695 | 5. Made of Indonesian Nyamplung Oil, this shield goes on dry, works hard and lasts Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray, $35 | 6. Subtly soft with plenty of attitude Craven Iteri Gold Dust Necklace in 22k gold and sterling silver, $1,200 | 7. Fashioned in orange epsom calfskin and cleverly adjusts to three positions Hermes E-Zip Stand for iPad 2, $2,150 | 8. A sharp, versatile basic bag-abouttown for toting vacation essentials LL Bean Signature Waxed-Canvas Tote in Field Olive, $99 |



9. Luxe calme et volupté in yellow that says hello Eres two-piece bikini, reef top, $275; Lagoon bottom, $235 | 10. A smart, sophisticated way to carry your choice of the scent master’s fragrances Maison Francis Kurkdjian Globe Trotter in Gold, $105 | 11. A real deal Panama, hand woven in Ecuador only at night, protecting it from the weaver’s sweat Goorin Bros. “Ruben Gonzalez” Fedora Hat in 3 grade brisa Panama straw, $140 | 12. A just-right, soft-sided, featherlight check-in piece at 8.3 pounds Briggs & Riley BRX Explore Medium Expandable Upright, $360 | KER & DOW NEY


world traveler


“INDIVIDUAL. EFFORTLESS CHIC. DYNAMIC. ECLECTIC. TIMELESS. ELEGANT.” Lubov Azria’s favorite words are the very definition of the BCBG Max Azria Group chief creative officer’s personal style—and a mantra for their trendsetting fashion lines’ (including Herve Leger and BCBG Generation) loyal customers. Her resume is packed with accomplishments, from training with the Bolshoi Ballet in her youth to being inducted into the influential Council of America Fashion Designers (CFDA) in 2010. Her roots in Ukraine, Texas and Los Angeles combined with her husband’s background in Tunisia and France,

only begin to explain her wanderlust, which inspires Azria to explore the globe, dig into local art scenes and engage in serious philanthropy. As the wife of the iconic brand’s Founder, CEO, Chairman and Designer Max Azria, she is equally passionate about keeping their children and large family tight-knit, despite their addresses all over the world. The Azrias’ regular Shabbat dinners are as epic as their family vacations. So true, the family that works and travels together, can enjoy success together.

What inspires you and why? Inspiration is everywhere. People watching on the street, films, traveling the world and right here in my backyard of Los Angeles; I love going to the flea market to take in the fashion culture and fresh environment. A little visual inspiration plus your wildest imagination creates something special. Who is your style icon? Jane Birkin is one of [them]. She exudes cool nonchalance—the epitome of “effortless chic.” How does travel fit into the BCBG lifestyle? We see travel and culture as true components of the BCBGMAXAZRIA brand’s DNA. Through BCBG, we aim to bring a global style, appeal and attitude within the reach of every woman. You are celebrating BCBG’s 25th anniversary this year. What gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment? BCBGMAXAZRIA began with a single idea—to create a beautiful dress. We have certainly achieved that and much more. We are in the business to inspire people to do what inspires them. I am living a dream, creating and discovering new things each and every day. The one thing that keeps me going, each and every day, is the love for what I do. How have you managed working so hard, helming so many companies and finding time to get away with your family? Balance is key. I am so passionate and love what I do professionally, but the key to maintaining the balance in your life is to be inspired every single day. Every morning I wake up and ask myself, “how can I make today better than yesterday?” Taking time for my family and myself and doing what I love is important to stay grounded.


Where was the last place you traveled to out of the U.S.? Paris, France

What cities in the world do you consider top fashion capitals? Paris and Tokyo are amazing. Japanese fashion is ahead of our time. Designers like Rei Kawakubo, Junya Watanabe and Comme de Garçons are true innovators in the industry. There is, of course, Los Angeles where we live and New York where we have shown for almost 20 years. Do you have a favorite destination for shopping? Tokyo. Shopping is essentially considered a sport there. It’s a shopper’s paradise. What essential item in your closet is your go-to for summer travel? Seasonless pieces so you get more mileage out of your wardrobe, like a versatile dress that you can take from day to night. Which do you prefer for the beach, yacht or pool—bikini or one-piece swimsuit? A one piece and let’s add to the mix a great tunic.



If you could pick any destination in the world for a summer holiday, where would you go? St. Barths, St. Tropez and Istanbul

world traveler Thinkstock | PaulinaG87; BCBGMAXAZRIA Bardot Novelty Stripe Jacquard Moto Jacket,


Things Lubov Azria Won’t Leave Home Without…

1. iPad

2. Pashmina 3. Lansinoh 100% pure HPA Lip Balm 4. Embryolisse Radiant Eye and Flower Essence Toner spray 5. Leather moto jacket

What do you look for in a destination when planning a getaway? Great company, lots of sun, amazing food, and I am always looking to bring back an unforgettable story.

To you, what is the difference between a tourist and a traveler? A tourist is guided by the destination. A traveler is guided by the journey.

What destination has surprised you the most? Argentina, the Palermo Soho, a neighborhood in Buenos Aires—is artisanal yet modern and great for inspirational shopping and browsing. Then the wine region of Medoza offers culture and a beautiful landscape. Also, in Beijing, China, the thriving art community blew me away. There is so much creativity emerging from their arts district, a total unexpected, pleasant surprise.

What do you do on a long flight? Sleep, sleep and more sleep

What is your favorite luxury hotel? I recently stayed at the new Ritz Carlton in Kyoto, Japan. It was simply breathtaking, a perfect balance of traditional Japanese style mixed with chic, modern elegance. What essential thing should someone splurge on when traveling? A good suitcase with 360-degrees spinner wheels—by far the easiest and best travel companion. What is the most memorable trip you have ever taken? A two-week private yacht excursion with 25 of our closest friends and family; by the end of the trip the yacht had had enough of us!

Do you unplug or stay connected to the digital world while on a trip? I always prefer to stay connected, but sometimes it is not an option. The destination may decide for you. Do you prefer flea markets or boutiques? Flea markets—you really discover the local culture. Do you have a favorite flea market abroad? The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul Name a faraway place on your travel bucket list? Dubai. Also, I’ve always wanted to go to the World Cup games! Your idea of happiness is… Happiness is about doing what you love and being surrounded by loved ones. As the Dalai Lama says, “Happiness is not something that comes made, it comes from your actions.”




Be st in To w Sling a luxe duffel over your shoulder or let a smoothgliding rolling case be your guide. Whatever you pick, carry on the most handsome, most durable luggage in flight.

Ghurka Kilburn RS No. 252 Rolling Suitcase in Walnut Leather, $1,595 |

WANT Les Essentials de la Vie De Gaulle S4 Trolley in Brown Caviar, $2,695 |

Tumi Bashford Weekend Bag by George Esquivel in Bridle, $895 |

Saint Laurent Duffle 12 in Black Leather , $2,650 |

Burberry Ostrich Leather Holdall in Saddle Brown, $6,500 |

Rimowa Topas Stealth Cabin Multiwheel IATA, $1,340 |

Filson Wheeled Carry-on Bag in Tan, $545 |

Victorinox Lexicon 22 in Red, $420 | KER & DOWNEY


Passion Points RIMOWA’s man in charge takes flight.

Dieter Morszeck, managing director of the luxury traveler’s must-have RIMOWA luggage, has always been obsessed with making things work and taking function further. In 1976, he successfully developed the first waterproof camera case in the world. Five years later, he took the helm at his family’s business with an eye to shake up the stagnant German luggage industry with innovation that resulted in RIMOWA’s iconic Salsa collection—the “lightest plastic luggage shell in the world.” You see, Morszeck began a love affair with the travel lifestyle as a child. Today, the company mascot is a vintage Junkers 52 aircraft, which Mr. Morszeck takes for a spin as often as possible.

What is your most vivid childhood memory? When I was young, my father and I would go to the airport in Cologne and watch the planes. There, I saw a jet for the first time and was very impressed. This fascination has remained alive ever since. As a child, flying always meant freedom to me.

Did you always want to take over the family business? In my youth I wanted to become a pilot, but then I started working at RIMOWA and never stopped. So now I am a private pilot and part of the family business.

To promote the vintage-style 1950 limited edition luggage collection a couple of years ago, you flew a vintage JU52 aircraft across the Atlantic—how did you do it and where else have you taken it? It was a dream of mine to be able to fly across the Atlantic. With nearly 100 hours of flight time, my crew and I flew through Germany, England and Scotland and over Iceland. We then continued our flight over Greenland, where we were low enough to see the whales jumping through the icy waters. Our journey continued down through Northern Canada, down and across the USA and back up through Canada before returning on a similar path. It took a lot of organization and a great team of people, but we pulled it off. JU52 is a big part of RIMOWA’s history, because the cases with the grooves were inspired by the structure of the airplane.

If you could travel with just one RIMOWA piece, what would it be and why? I would choose the Salsa Deluxe 3 Suiter, my favorite piece, because it’s very convenient and provides plenty of space. I think that traveling today, especially for business people, is hectic and the time factor is very important.

What do you pack?

Photos courtesy of Rimowa

I only pack things that I really need.



flights Fres h Takes on Grea t G eta wa y s

Lewa Safari Camp, Kenya

p h ila n t r ophy: t h e good trip

A call to action from Ker & Downey’s President David Marek reveals just how easy it is to combine passion for travel in Africa with compassion for the people, wildlife and breathtaking landscape of this great continent. Make a difference today.

Protecting Africa’s Wildlife and Natural Resources My passion for African wildlife started in 1978 when I first flew over the Okavango Delta in a Cessna 206 and watched a herd of elephant trundle over the flood plains trailing a plume of dust. Seeing Africa for the first time instills in one the desire to preserve it for those that follow. I’ve been able to share Africa with my wife and daughters—and, ultimately, I want to also share it with my grandchildren. The most pressing issue in Africa right now is the poaching of rhino. In the 1900s, it was estimated only 50 rhino were left in the wild. Through heroic conservation efforts, their numbers were increased to 20,000 in 2008. Now with poaching increasing we are again faced with dwindling herds of rhino. To help protect critical stocks of rhino, 100 white rhino from South Africa parks will be relocated to Botswana where they can be closely monitored. The cost to move them will total $7 million, or about $70,000 for each one moved. We’re assisting in efforts to raise the funds to move the rhino and we’re looking at alternatives for Ker & Downey travelers to get involved to support those efforts. Another conservation success story that needs additional help is the move to secure additional conservancies in the Masai Mara in Kenya. Historically, the Masai Mara was much larger than its present size. However increasing populations of people and domestic livestock reduced the size of the Mara to 50 percent of its former glory. The result of which has caused the wildebeest migration to spend less time in Kenya as well as reduced the annual Lolita plains migration from the north to only a trickle of animals.

Dedicated conservationists saw the problem and started working with the Maasai and Samburu tribes in order to carve out more land for wildlife. Through their efforts, they’ve secured 260,000 acres across eight new conservancies. The effects on wildlife have been immense and immediate. Where there were once small villages, there are now leopards, lions, cheetah and other animals living in the area. And the migration is once again growing and extending the amount of time spent in Kenya. The immediate need is to add approximately 50,000 acres from four new conservancies. Although Ker & Downey has already committed to donating cash and resources to this effort, our clients can also assist with a contribution or simply by booking a safari with Ker & Downey and staying at one or more of the conservancies. A percentage of your trip cost will be donated to the effort.

Helping Africa’s Greatest Treasure: The People It was August 2005, and I had just been appointed president of Ker & Downey. My wife Gana and I and our children, Sara and Haley, were on a vacation in Botswana where we met Erika Visser, a young woman who was working with the AIDS community around Maun, Botswana. At the time, there was a stigma about AIDS and those who suffered from it were ostracized from their communities; many suffering and dying alone in the bush. Erika had taken it upon herself to take care of these people by providing food, clothing, shelter and transportation to the medical clinic as well as paying for their children’s school fees. Once Gana and I saw what she was doing, we started helping her by providing funds for her work. We also started putting in water lines so they could have fresh water. That was the beginning of our philanthropy work. KER & DOW NEY


Ugandans arriving to pick up mosquito nets


Today the stigma associated with AIDS is gone, and people are getting the medications they need to lead long and productive lives. We thank people like Erika Visser who saw a need and stepped forward to fill the void. In 2008, Gana and I went on an exploratory trip to Uganda to see for ourselves if there was something we could do for the Ugandan people. We knew the history of Uganda with the wars and poverty, but we had also heard of the lack of healthcare in rural areas and wanted to see if we could make a difference. From the moment we landed in Entebbe, the people stole our hearts and we knew this is where we would return. We found a local pastor in Mbale, Pastor Morris, who has a vision to build 250 churches across East Africa. With his assistance, we now provide healthcare for the members of his churches and the community at large. What we found during a three-day medical mission at one of his churches was that we not only provide healthcare services to the 300 church members, but we also provide these services to people of the surrounding community; many times seeing up to 2,000 people in a day. Each year in July we return to Uganda. With us we bring friends and associates who want to make a difference. We also bring mosquito nets and medications to be distributed. Pastor Morris arranges the local doctors and nurses that will see between 15,000 to 18,000 people that week split between two or three communities. Our work in this area has grown each year. The first year of our medical mission, we purchased 3,000 mosquito nets in Uganda to support the local economy and our doctors saw 7,000 patients. The second year, we purchased 6,000 nets and the doctors saw 13,000 patients. Each year, the medical mission has grown, and last year was the largest. Last year, we provided 12,000 nets and our doctors saw over 20,000 patients. This year, we’ve scaled it back a bit because the sheer number of patients, 20,000, overwhelmed the doctors and nurses. This year, we will bring 9,000 nets and hope to see about 15,000 patients. You are probably wondering … why Uganda? Here are some facts: • Every year, between 70,000 and 100,000 children die of malaria in Uganda … yes 100,000 children. • About 40 percent of all clinic visits are due to malaria. • About 25 percent of all admissions to hospitals are due to malaria. Think for a minute: You are the mother of four children in Uganda. Your job is to work in the fields and take care of your children. But this week, one of your children is sick with malaria. Her symptoms include flu-like illness with fever, chills, muscle aches and headache. She might develop

nausea, vomiting, cough and diarrhea. Cycles of chills, fever and sweating that repeat every one, two or three days are typical. On some days, there is vomiting, diarrhea, coughing and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes due to destruction of red blood cells and liver cells. If she has a severe case, malaria can develop into bleeding problems, shock, liver or kidney failure, central nervous system problems, coma, and she can even die from the infection or its complications. So as the mother of this child, you stay in your hut and care for her. During this “malaria week” no work gets done, hopefully your other children are lucky enough to go to school but, more likely, they will stay home and help you with the crops…but they fall behind in school and their education suffers. Hopefully the father is around to assist, but many times he is not. If you can afford it, you hire someone with a bicycle to take you and your child to the clinic 20 miles down the road where the child can get treatment. But if you can’t work the fields, you will have no money to pay for treatment, so you sit with your child in your hut and hope for the child’s survival. Since people are sleeping unprotected from the mosquitoes at night, another child might fall ill to malaria the next week. The epidemic spreads. If the mother falls ill, the children may not have someone to look after them, and so on. This is a dilemma being repeated in hundreds of thousands and maybe millions of huts across Uganda every week. Logically, countries with huge malaria problems have a difficult time being productive. When so many people are home sick every week, a country has trouble functioning. It is a cycle that has to be broken so that children stay healthy enough to go to school and receive an education and parents stay healthy enough to take care of their children. There is one answer … mosquito nets. Starting this year we’ve expanded Ker & Downey’s mosquito net program. Through Pastor Morris we’ve arranged a warehouse in Mbale where we store mosquito nets. Now, at any time of the year, those schools, orphanages and communities that need mosquito nets can collect them from our warehouse. So instead of helping people for two weeks a year, now we can help them the entire year.

But we need your help. A $7 donation buys one mosquito net and the medications to treat malaria, worms and other issues the local villagers could have. Ker & Downey will match your donation. Just go to the donation page of our website at Want to get involved? If you are interested in assisting any of these great causes, please email us at KER & DOW NEY


l ay ov e r: do ha Photos courtesy of St. Regis Hotel | Museum of Islamic Art Doha

On a quick jaunt through a country on the rise, Lesley McKenzie declares the capital of this sovereign Arab emirate a true “Desert Rose.”

Doha, the capital of Qatar, sits at the intersection of sand, sea and skyscrapers. Located on a thumb of the Arabian peninsula, this jewel-box of a kingdom sets itself apart from a number of its neighbors with a commitment to promoting tourism (Doha has been selected to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first global sporting event held in the Middle East), all while maintaining a hold on its desert roots. This is evident as soon as I touch down in the new Hamad International Airport, which opened this spring as part of the country’s efforts to reinvent the desert destination as a world-class, international flight hub.

Qatar prides itself as much on its forwardthinking visions as it does on its rich past. It’s this futuristic attitude that permeates everything happening in Qatar right now, and a 24-hour stay is ample time to experience this peaceful kingdom as it seeks to strike a balance between its historic roots and modernity. I spent a night at the extravagant St. Regis Hotel, one of the city’s five-star resorts and, without a doubt, beloved by tourists and locals alike. And how could it not be? Looking onto the Arabian Peninsula, each of the 336 Middle Eastern décor-inspired rooms comes equipped with its own personal butler, ready to cater to my every whim during my stay. The property is also home to some of the city’s most buzz-worthy eateries including Michelin-starred modern Cantonese concept Hakkasan; two Gordon Ramsey spots including his namesake restaurant, and bistro-style Opal (boasting Qatar’s most extensive wine list); and Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha, the premiere venue for jazz music around town, with an artist program curated by the spot’s iconic New York namesake. In the midst of the luxury boom spearheaded by Qatar’s former ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and now his son and successor, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, a number of destination-worthy cultural institutions have made their debut around town. Must-visits for first-timers to Qatar include the majestic I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art Doha bowed on the city’s corniche in 2008, offering a sweeping—and often breathtaking— glimpse of 1,4000 years of religious history with both permanent and rotating installations. The country’s commitment to education and impressive architecture continues at the Katara Cultural Village—a nearby complex dedicated to promoting global art and culture exchange through a labyrinth of art galleries, concert halls and an awe-inspiring Greek and Islamic style 5,000-seat amphitheater, which faces the sea. Qatar prides itself as much on its forward-thinking visions as it does on its rich past. Locals (who number 300,000 in the kingdom’s multi-national population of two million) trace their roots back to a rich Bedouin culture, where the Arabian stallion was revered for leading tribes into battle. Today, the royal family still holds these chiseled beasts in high regard, best seen with a behind-the-scenes visit to Al Shaqab Stables—a world-class facility for housing, breeding and showing the family’s horses, thanks to two state-ofthe-art equestrian centers and an equine exercise pool. Local heritage is also on display at the Falcon Souq inside the restored Souq Waqif, where the prized, feathered hunters are on parade next to an array of falconry equipment. Venture further down the market’s cobbled streets to explore walls of silks and fabrics, not to mention the tantalizing aromas of sweets and spices and the clucking of eager and friendly shopkeepers. Photo Thinkstock | VV-pics

One need look no further than the glittering skyline dotted with ongoing construction projects to fully grasp Doha’s commitment to growth and an influx of visitors. But can this city handle a boom of tourists, while holding on to its cherished heritage and small-city charm? A word to the wise: get there before they do.




the d r i n k:

somet hing n e w Kavalan is an exciting emerging whisky brand from Taiwan— the first of its kind on the island. Quest gets the first taste. BY RYAN CROSBY

Kavalan is the old name for Yilan County, the pristine northern part of Taiwan where the distillery is located. Ian Chang, the master blender, is proud to say, “We do not try or pretend to be any one of the Scotches or the Japanese whiskies. Kavalan whisky has since day one set out to be a unique Taiwanese whisky on its own.” The International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) in London have so far, with a brief history of just over eight years, awarded Kavalan distillery three years in a row as Asia-Pacific’s Spirit Producer of the Year since 2011 . The brand is the brainchild of Mr. T.T. Lee, who conceived of the distillery when Taiwan joined the World Trade Organization in 2002, making a privately owned spirit a reality for the first time in his country. It was completed in 2005, and the first drops to leave the casks arrived in March 2006—a timeline that might surprise aficionados. The quick production can be attributed to the uniqueness of the subtropical climate, which speeds up the aging process. The flavor of Kavalan is a joy for connoisseurs of whisky, the complexity on the palate hits different notes than the typical Bourbon or Scotch. Hints of mango, green apple and cherry permeate many of the whiskies, while vanilla, honey and nutty flavors often add to the silkiness of the finish. The award-winning standouts from their collection are the Kavalan Classic Single Malt and the Solist Fino, which is the only whisky to score 100 two years in a row from the Beverage Testing Institute. Chang swears by pairing the different blends with meals, in place of wine. Kavalan has over one million visitors a year, and U.K.’s Whisky Magazine awarded it with Tourist Attraction of the Year for 2011 and 2013. It is also just 45 minutes away from the Taipei 101, convenient for those who want to shop in the world’s tallest building. Definitely worth the side trip for spirit fanatics, luxury travelers can be VIP guests on a comprehensive guided tour of the maturation warehouse with a member of the research and development team, and can sample whisky straight from the casks, which is a very rare opportunity at distilleries. “My general goal for the brand is to see Kavalan single malt whisky be widely purchased, savored and enjoyed by global consumers within the next 10 years,” Chang enthuses. “I would really want to make Kavalan a true global brand and also the icon of Taiwanese Whisky. We want the instant connection—when one sees Kavalan, one thinks of Taiwan!”

TASTING NOTES Kavalan Classic Single Malt The first whisky the distillery produced, its complex and fruity taste has earned it many awards and a mention in the popular book “101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die.”

Kavalan Concertmaster Also single malt, this markedly polished spirit matures first in American oak casks before being finished in Portuguese ruby, tawny and vintage port wine casks to add smoothness to the taste.

Kavalan Ex-Bourbon Cask Solist Boasting a pretty self explanatory name, it’s aged in American White Oak ex-bourbon casks and served non-chill filtered at single cask strength, which is between 55–60% volume. It’s remarkably both velveteen and complex considering its strong alcohol content.

Photos courtesy of Kavalan

We want the instant connection— when one sees Kavalan, one thinks of Taiwan!” KER & DOW NEY


r etre at:

p l a net van a Veer Singh’s mission to create the most iconic wellness retreat in the world. BY Mary Bemis

A few summers ago, high above Aspen in a ski lift on my way to dinner, I found myself deep in conversation with Veer Singh, a young entrepreneur from New Delhi. We were discussing his desire to build a retreat that would offer a range of healing modalities and be self-sustaining, but what struck me was his ultimate goal: “the most iconic wellness retreat in the world.” As time went on, I realized Veer was no ordinary dreamer. His mission ran deep, and he had the vision, the tenacity and the means to make it come true.

Veer Singh, Owner



Photos courtesy of Vana

I hadn’t been back to India since 2005, when the Taj group unveiled its new spa brand to the world, so I was pleased when I had the opportunity to return this past February. I was among one of the first to step foot inside Singh’s realized dream, the Vana, Malsi Estate. An hour’s flight from New Delhi, and situated on 21 acres dotted with mango and lychee orchards, organic gardens and more, you feel you are deep in the forest, far, far away from human activity. Happily, this is not true. Singh’s five-year, $55 million project provides the best of both worlds, for Vana is pleasantly perched on a small plateau, surrounded by the ancient Sal forest to the west, the foothills of Himalayas to the north and the vibrant town of Dehradun to the east. This is India at its best.

...situated on 21 acres dotted with mango and lychee orchards, organic gardens and more, you feel you are deep in the forest, far, far away from human activity.

The yoga temple


Contemporary in design, the retreat has 69 rooms, 17 suites and four villas—gorgeous personal spaces that are really more like private sanctuaries. There are lots of indoor and outdoor spaces where one may stop to rest, reflect or re-energize. A very special room, the Bodhi Tree, has a beautiful tree sculpture made of scrap metal. People gather here for evening discourses to absorb, to learn, to debate. “It is our ode to the Bodhi Tree under which Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment,” Singh explains. The spiritual aspect, so poorly executed at most spas and wellness retreats, is refreshing and real here. “The spiritual component of Vana continues to evolve,” says Singh. “As Tibetan Buddhism is an important part of Tibetan healing and Hindu philosophy a part of Ayurveda, it is only natural for us to bring these two realms of thinking into Vana. Our Tibetan Healing Center has its own shrine room, where daily respects to the Buddha are performed. We have also started our pujas, which are carried out by a Hindu priest between two to four times a month, depending on the Hindu calendar.” Dehradun is home to a large Tibetan community. Singh felt a “deep duty” to bring in Tibetan healing, called Sowa Rigpa. This is the traditional form of medicine in Tibet, as Ayurveda is to India and as traditional Chinese medicine is to China. The therapists come trained from the Men-Tsee-Khang, the Tibetan Medical and Astrology Institute in Dharamsala, set up by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In an extraordinary twist, the Tibetan therapists at Vana are the very first batch out of the Institute. This is powerful stuff.

One visits Vana to explore every pillar of wellbeing, be that emotional, mental, physical or spiritual. The menu is a beautiful compilation of Ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, spa, fitness, aqua therapies and, my favorite, the aforementioned Tibetan healing. Each wellness offering has its own dedicated space and its own team of specialists, and Vana is also in the midst of creating its own self-sustained food network. The cuisine is excellent and the epitome of healthy, thanks to Chef Kuntal Kumar (who previously worked with Gordon Ramsay), with a focus on food that is local, seasonal and as organic as possible. In addition to all of this, the property carefully manages its energy and waste and even has its own bottling plant that helps save up to 100,000 plastic bottles a year. Singh is aiming to achieve an ambitious LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) rating in the near future. Designed by Spanish architects, Esteva i Esteva Arquitectura, Vana does not compete with nature, but instead works in harmony with it. The result is a series of clean and contemporary spaces where a neutral palette of colors and materials are accented with a thoughtful use of color. At every turn, one finds a tremendous attention to detail, and the use of natural and sustainable materials—lots of wood (FSC-certified American ashwood and bamboo) and stone (Indian dholpur, khareda and Spanish crema marfil)—are evident throughout the property.

One of my favorite design details is the Vana logo, named the Vana Tree. It depicts seven elements representing the seven threads that weave through Vana: the dove for contemporary luxury; the leaf for ecology; the mango for who we are; the bee for design; the lotus for wellness; the bud for service; and the butterfly for nature. I’d say Vana has all the bases covered—and then some.

Healthy cuisine

Photos courtesy of Vana

The neutral materials and their matte finishes blend in perfectly with the surrounding forest, plants and trees. Local river stone and boulders were also used in the numerous pathways and walls. Antonio Esteva of the design firm says, “Vana, Malsi Estate is a complete departure from anything in India. It is an homage to nature itself and is yet in many senses romantic.”

A N E Y E F O R D E TA I L A note on the beautiful custom work at Vana LINEN S Vana, Malsi Estate is one of the few properties globally to use GOTS-certified organic cotton linen. All of the linen in guest rooms and all wellness spaces is organic and made especially for Vana. “Grown by a farmer’s cooperative in India, our linen comes with very little negative karma,” explains Singh. “Perhaps this is one of the reasons most of our guests tend to intensely catch up on sleep in the first few days at Vana.”

CERA M IC S Artist Siraj Saxena created the inspiring ceramic artworks in several locations throughout the retreat. He has also developed all of Vana’s crockery to work with its unique cuisine and philosophy. These ceramics add a quality of softness and humility to the high ceilings and vastness of Vana’s dining spaces.

RO B E S , S ARON G S & RETREAT ATTIRE Designers Abraham & Thakore designed the exclusive robes and sarongs at Vana, as well as an A&T line for men and women, using beautiful natural fabrics. The boutique showcases a variety of these exclusively crafted garments that are minimalistic yet sophisticated. Designed by Spanish fashion house Cortana, Vana’s retreat attire, available in-room for guest use, is produced by A&T, using organic cotton grown by Singh’s friends in south India. ART W OR K Siraj has produced almost 500 bespoke pieces of art for Vana over the last five years. Across mediums ranging from oil on canvas, oil on paper, glass, mirror, ceramic, wire mesh, fabric and scrap metal. Collaborating with friends and junior artists, Siraj’s art forms an integral part of Vana’s aesthetic, explains Singh. V ANAV E D A As part of its commitment to wellbeing, nature and ecology, Vana developed Vanaveda, its own range of products using the purest ingredients and traditional Ayurvedic wisdom. The range of skin, body and hair products are specified for three different body types called doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. The line brings together the goodness and benefits of the best herbs and oils, organic whenever possible, and may be found in all rooms and wellness spaces and for purchase at dukān, the retreat’s boutique. Vanaveda includes products for skin and scalp, massage oils, pure Indian essential oils and soy wax candles.

Spa room



Four Seasons Kuda Huraa


Martine Bury concludes that three resorts are better than one.


he first morning I arose in my over-water bungalow at the Four Seasons Kuda Huraa in the Maldives, I walked straight out to the deck to drink in the surreal view. There was water as far as my eyes could see, crystalline and turquoise blue. A few feet directly below a graceful, solitary blacktip reef shark glided through the tranquil waters lapping at the structure’s wooden beams. Home to over 30 species of sharks, including the elusive, gentle whale shark, the Maldivian archipelago is a designated sanctuary for these fish spanning 35,000-square miles of Arabian Sean in the Indian Ocean. Suffice to say, I didn’t spend much time contemplating the swath of nature that spread out before me. I grabbed my iPhone, took a shot and promptly posted it on Instagram and Facebook—the modern-day postcard. The immediate reaction of scores of friends and acquaintances overwhelmingly expressed that this breathtaking range of 1,200 coral islands, dotting this intimidating spread of ocean, is at the top of most people’s bucket list. “Dream trip,” “Bucket list,” “Wow, wow, wow.” Scientists have grimly speculated that the chain of Maldive Islands—name derived from mālā, the Sanskrit word for garland—will soon disappear, and succumb to rising sea levels. With a sense of excitement and urgency, I wanted to get the most possible out of the experience on every level. Comprised of three unique resorts, The Four Seasons Maldives made it easy. Inspired by the region’s singular, aquatic sense of place, it was time to really see the sea. Faced with hundreds of islands, over 110 resorts, more than 50 additional resort projects in the works in this delicate

ecosystem and the desire to get to know this uniquely mixed native Indo-European culture, one can be plagued by the tyranny of choice. A stay at the Four Seasons allows guests to explore many special environments in the Maldives in a seamless experience combining two private island resorts and a luxury liveaboard yacht. The 12-acre garden island Four Seasons Kuda Huraa is a diminutive destination compared to the 44-acre jungle island Landaa Giraavaru, its more remote sister property in the Maldives’ only UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Baa Atoll. Docked at Kuda Huraa, the 11-cabin, three-deck yacht Four Seasons Explorer is literally a floating luxury lodge for die-hard divers complete with staff, dive pros and a boat tender following on a traditional Maldivian vessel to cater to every need. In the details, the resort’s highly curated experiences always remind you that no matter how lavish life can be on the surface, you are there to experience what’s underneath it. You have to take the plunge. From the moment I disembarked Cathay Pacific Airways’ new direct flight to Malé from Hong Kong for the late night, 25-minute speedboat ride to Kuda Huraa, I had to get my sea legs. With its Island Spa, four great restaurants and stretches of white sand beach, the resort was the perfect entrée to my Maldivian journey. I soon discovered that this very special grouping of properties offers inspiring opportunities for all-out luxury, high-adrenaline adventure, centering mind-body experiences, as well as meaningful conservation. Here is my ‘bucket list’ some life-changing things you can only do at Four Seasons Maldives. KER & DOW NEY


Ride the Next Wave With prime exposure to Southern Ocean swells and rock star breaks such as Chickens, Jailbreaks and Sultans, the Maldives boasts near-year-round ideal surfing conditions in the Malé, Central and Outer Atolls. Kuda Huraa offers every level of thrill from expert-taught surfing lessons to seven-day guided “surfaris” aboard the Explorer, touring secret spots. But the ultimate ride is the private Seaplane Surfari, led by Tropicsurf pros. Rush-seekers charter a private seaplane, fly from break to break and chase the waves for a solo fantasy or a man-date for up to eight participants, surfing at will and discovering untouched shores.

Live on a Boat A private charter cruise is the best way to connect to the essence of the Maldives. Reputed to be the island nation’s swiftest, most opulent live-aboard, Four Seasons Explorer excursions are completely bespoke. On a multiday trip, the 128-foot catamaran spoils up to 22 guests with luxuries such as on-board massages, champagne cocktails and torch-lit dinners on remote sandbars surrounded by the sea. Dive and snorkeling expeditions range from leisurely to scientific (marine biologists in tow), with opportunities to peek into the colorful coral architecture of this expansive underwater volcanic mountain range and spot rare wildlife—native turtles, giant whale sharks and willowy manta rays, the space aliens of the sea. KER & DOW NEY


Make a Clean Start All stripes of watersports and spa treatments are available at both island resorts. But Landaa Giravaaru offers opportunities to both unplug and achieve enlightened wellness at the Spa & Ayurvedic Retreat, a destination in its own right. While there, I consulted with resident Ayurvedic Physician Dr. Shylesh Subramanya, whose background is in sports medicine. While he educates and customizes treatments for guests, he is also part of a team spearheading innovative offerings such as the Sleep Clinic, individualized detox programs and even private cooking classes. Also on the menu at both resorts is the Night Spa, starting at 10 p.m., where open-air treatments, like the chakra-balancing Om Supti Ritual, make you feel the island is your own as you melt beneath a blanket of stars and canopy of banyan trees. 56


All Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Maldives

Save the Sea Life The most compelling reasons to visit the Maldives are the environment, the wildlife in the ocean and the people who live above it. As one of the world’s poorest countries, a tug of war exists between the first big enterprise, tourism, and the second, fishing, both connected to a way of life. Environmental challenges, such ocean acidification, higher temperatures—and especially rising sea levels—are a genuine concern. The Four Seasons Maldives gets guests involved in mitigating these problems through first-hand experiences with accredited research, rescue and conservation experts. Kuda Huraa’s Marine Discovery Centre works with trailblazing organizations such as Center for Responsible Tourism (CREST) and Seamarc. Focused on protecting, monitoring and rehabilitating the region’s seven species of turtles, the resort is home to the Maldivian Sea Turtle Conservation Program and the Olive Ridley Project. On Turtle Safari, guests actively participate in the monitoring of the turtle population while diving with marine biologists. The Reefscapers and Coral Research initiatives offer hands-on experiences. Area reefs have been on the decline since a devastating El Nino event in 1998 and due to continual warming of the water. Dedicated to bringing the reefs back to health, the team gets guests involved in the building of coral frames. Coral fragments are carefully attached with simple cable ties, deposited into a specified location in the ocean, recorded in a database and monitored. You can even “adopt” a frame and track its growth over the years. With over 1,200 coral frames successfully planted between the two resorts, this program has boosted the reefs surrounding the resorts by 20 percent. On my last full day at Landaa Giraavaru, I got a thrilling wakeup call. “Manta on Call” began with notification by phone that manta rays had been spotted about 20 minutes away by the resident Maldivian Manta Ray Project Team. Quickly, we were whisked away by boat to Baa Atoll’s Hanifaru Bay to snorkel with the friendly, mysterious winged fish, helping the researchers spot the rays as they took ID photos for the manta database. Mesmerized by the creature, I lost myself in its effortless, floating motion and looking beneath me at the endless crater of deep blue, breathless. The manta had vanished in a flash. So many things about the Maldives I couldn’t take with me or share. They just left an indelible picture in my mind.

explorations “ Th e real voyag e of dis covery consi sts not in seek ing new l a nds capes but in having new ey es. ” – Ma rcel Proust

Peninsula Beijing KER & DOW NEY


Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc

Cla s s i c

coast B y M a y a Va n d e n b e rg


t seems these days the focus is always forward and whatever stands still is forgotten. As they say, out with the old and in with the new. But as certain cities race to modernize, others fight to hold on to their sense of self so that tomorrow’s traditions are the same as today’s. France’s alluring Côte d’Azur draws nearly 11 million visitors a year; and though its seaside cities refresh themselves bit by bit, it certainly isn’t the new that brings in the jet setters—drawn not only to the yachting life and exclusive beach clubs but also to the region’s deeply-rooted way of life. The Riviera’s real draw is that it has barely changed … and for the better




After a pleasant seven-hour overnight Air France flight, I landed in Paris at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning and spent two days wandering the cobblestone streets of Île Saint-Louis, chewing on fresh baguettes and brie (so cliché, I know) and browsing the extraordinary impressionist collection at Musée d’Orsay. But I wasn’t in France for Paris; I was there for the Riviera. So after the weekend, I boarded Rail Europe’s high-speed TGV train for the five-hour journey to Cannes. As I sat back in my plush first-class seat, I watched with excitement as rolling fields of emerald and citrine dotted with wisps of white cows whizzed past my window. There is just something inherently beautiful about the French countryside, especially when that countryside

Cannes: Photo courtesy of ASSOULINE available at

Photo courtesy of Majestic Barrière

is bordered by the azure Mediterranean stretching farther than the eye can see.

Cannes Most know Cannes for its annual two-week film festival, which began in 1939 and put the seaside city on the map. But once the starlets and oppressive paparazzi clear, Cannes is as quaint as any other low-key Riviera hideaway. Granted its chichi beach club scene is unlike any other and chairs sell out as quickly as they are available, but the destination as a whole is more than accessible. Originally a humble fishing village, the arrival of British Royal Chancellor Lord Brougham, who came for a winter and spent 34 years, opened the doors to tourism with his invitation to royals and artists like Renoir to join him in this newfound haven. And while the city continues to build its reputation as a chic, cosmopolitan destination and recently unveiled a new train station (Note: to be completed in summer 2014) to accommodate the crowds that descend each season, its real charms are what they’ve always been: the lovely seaside Croisette dotted with luxe shops and high-end century-old palace hotels like Majestic Barrière, my home while in town; the Forville Market, whose vendors arranged their wares in the most eye-appealing of manners, so the aroma of basil mingled with the bright crimson of fresh tomatoes delights the senses; and the hillside castle museum, which treated me to a spectacular panorama of the bay and Lérins Islands after a climb to the very top.

Soak in the coast from the glamorous patio of the Majestic Barrière.



Antibes Juan-les-Pins READ THIS : The French Riviera in the 1920's by Xavier Giraud (Assouline) captures the creativity and spirit of the post WWII paradise when it was a burgeoning art scene, inspiring famous talents from Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald to Picasso and Cocteau. A firsthand exploration, the images come from the author's personal archives.

A quick 12-minute ride on the local TER train landed me in Antibes Juan-les-Pins, situated halfway between Cannes and Nice. Antibes enjoys one of the most extensive coastal stretches in France, with seven-and-a-half miles of shoreline and its ancient ramparts snaking along the crystalline sea. Within its walls is a city of narrow lanes, charming boutiques, sidewalk cafes and an impressive arts and culture scene that includes the oldest European jazz festival Jazz à Juan, held in an alfresco venue that’s seen the likes of Ray Charles and B.B. King and the recently reopened Picasso Museum, which houses a collection of works the artist created during his time in the city. While I enjoyed ambling around the cobblestone streets and sinking my toes into the soft sand at Plage de la Gravette, it was France’s only dedicated absinthe bar that topped my list of city favorites. You would never know when passing the storefront selling olive oil and ceramics that the Absinthe Bar was tucked below in a ninth-century cellar complete with a Roman well. After descending the curved stone staircase, I first noticed the abundance of hats strewn across the small space, which I’m sure patrons are wont to don once drunk on the green goodness that Van Gogh famously imbibed. Then I enjoyed a proper absinthe tasting, learning how to dilute the alcohol by slowly dripping water on a sugar cube perched on a slotted spoon set atop the glass. The 10-year-old bar hosts gatherings every Friday and Saturday night, and as I sipped the licorice-flavored libation, I wished it were the weekend. It crossed my mind that Antibes originally seemed quieter than its neighboring Riviera cities, but outside appearances sometimes belie what’s within.

S a i n t Pa u l d e V e n c e As my driver wound his way through tree-lined streets, I saw the walled city of medieval Saint Paul de Vence from a distance. Perched on a hill, its fortifications were clearly delineated against the blue sky behind and the green grass below; its single bell tower rose majestically from the middle. It was only in the 19th century that the surrounding hills were covered with flowers, vines and olive trees, and the streets actually remained bare until the 1950s when Mayor Marius Issert had them laid with cobblestones. I was immediately enchanted once inside the walls, and I watched locals play boules, also known as bocce ball, on a dirt expanse outside a restaurant. I smiled as they went about their game without giving a second glance to the centuries-old city they called home. Saint Paul de Vence’s innate beauty has attracted numerous ac-

tors, writers and painters, a few of whom chose to settle like Marc Chagall—as such, the area is heavily influenced by art. This year marks the 50-year anniversary of the Maeght Foundation, the second largest contemporary art museum in France after Paris’s Centre Georges Pompidou. The uniquely designed space features a sculpture garden and a restored chapel dedicated to Marguerite and Aimé Maeght’s late son Bernard. It also showcases one of the largest European collections of graphic works from the 20th century with pieces by Chagall, Calder and Léger. As I wove my way through the garden labyrinth, I thought how strange it was that in a city dating to medieval times, I was standing in front of Miró’s 14-foot-high marble l’Oiseau Lunaire statue—which in English means “moon bird.”

Above: Photo courtesy of ASSOULINE available at | Right: Thinkstock

Night view of Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc


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Nice Next on my itinerary was Nice, the capital of the French Riviera. The city’s sense of self is pervasive, and not only does Nice have its own dialect—which I noticed when trying to navigate the narrow streets as the signs are in French and Niçard—but it also has its own cuisine, which goes way beyond the wellknown Salad Niçoise to include such specialties as pissaladiera (onion flan with black olives), farcis (stuffed vegetables) and ratatouille (vegetable stew). Though the culinary scene is entrenched in tradition, not just any restaurant can claim it serves Niçoise fare. In order to receive the official Cuisine Nissarde appellation, a restaurant—like husbandand-wife-run Lu Fran Calin—has to prove it upholds the city’s cooking heritage, and as of now, only 17 restaurants have received the designation. Then there are others who completely eschew tradition for modernity, such as David Faure who helms the gastronomic Aphrodite. Here liquid nitrogen is a staple ingredient, and the newly added insect menu means creepy crawlers are as well. Faure gave up his Michelin star to introduce the insect menu in February, and it was the liberty to exhibit his style that won out over a desire to abide by the time-honored French technique. A visionary in his own right, Faure seeks to show an adaptive way of cooking by using products available to everyone because, as he sees it, the world’s population is growing, but our food sources are diminishing. While I appreciated his pioneering attitude, after munching on a handful of crickets and larvae, I hoped it wouldn’t come to that. I like to think that some things will never change.

Relax on the crystal blue beaches in Nice.




Italy Tailor-made

Writer Nell Casey takes a satisfying solo trip to fashionable Milan and the enchanting, jet-setting paradise, Lake Como. She finds the perfect fit.




alking into the Armani Hotel Milano feels a bit like walking into the mind of the celebrated fashion designer. This 95-room hotel is as minimal and sleek as one of Giorgio Armani’s iconic suits—and as elegantly determined as I imagine the man himself to be. The whole

setting conspires to make you feel as if you’ve been airlifted out of life, that busy and rumpled otherworld. In this spare new realm made up of monochromatic tones of grey and cream and black, there isn’t a single detail that hasn’t been integrated into the clean line of the hotel.

Armani Hotel Milano is located on Via Manzoni, which, fittingly, is part of the haute fashion district. Simply by walking out the door, one encounters the cosmopolitan style that is expected of Milan. The hotel itself is part of a sprawling complex presided over by the ever-present Armani, including his showrooms, his home and flower shops and Nobu Armani, the sophisticated Japanese restaurant chain that the designer opened along with celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa in 2000. (Armani, himself, also lives nearby.) Venture just a few steps further along Via Manzoni and you’ll come across Via Montenapoleone, another mecca of fashion lined with Prada, Cartier, Pucci and Gucci.

Photos: Above: Entrance to Armani Hotel Milano; Opposite page: Clockwise from Top Left: Milano Suite at Armani Hotel Milano; Linguine di Gragnano dish at Asola; Matteo Torretta e Manuel Pranzo at Asola

After exploring a bit—and feeling famished from the strenuous exercise of shopping—I hit one last style outpost: the Brian & Barry Building. This boutique department store—Milan’s style equivalent to Barneys New York, but with restaurants such as Eataly added to the mix—opened just last March. The industriallooking complex, largely comprised of glass and steel, also boasts Asola | Cucina Sartoriale, a modern restaurant perched on the top floors of the building with an amazing view over the rooftops of the city. This is where I settled in for an exquisite meal that included gamberi crudi as well as calamari alla griglia.

Photos courtesy of Armani Hotel Milano & Asola | ©Paolo Picciotto

I spent 24 hours in Milan—happily mixing the glamorous bustle of the city with the restrained luxury of the hotel—before heading off to the Italian (and George Clooney’s) summer retreat of choice: Lake Como. For my short stay in Milan, I wanted to experience a blend of the high style and refined culture this northern city is known for—along the way, however, I also happened upon some of the lesser-known perks, such as an evening stroll through the verdant Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli with women cheerily biking in heels and plain-clothed businessmen out for their passeggiata, leaving me with a more wholesome impression of this city known for its industry.


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Pool at Armani Hotel Milano


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After having spent the first half of the day seeking extreme fashion, it felt reassuring to travel back in time for the afternoon with a visit to the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan’s historic art museum.

Courtyard of Pinacoteca di Brera

This former monastery, also the home of the Brera Academy, a venerated art school, displays Italian paintings spanning several centuries, many of them considered masterpieces. One of these is the 15th century “Christo Morto” also known as “Lamentation Over the Dead Christ,” by Andrea Mantegna, which is dramatically presented solo and under a spotlight. The painting offered a very striking image at the time—and remains so today; this is a portrait of the corpse of Christ lying supine on a bed, a single hole punctured in each of his hands and feet. There are also paintings by Piero della Francesca, Tintoretto and Caravaggio, to name only a few of the other masters on display. (However, to see Milan’s most famous painting—Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church—tickets must be booked at least two months in advance of your visit.)

Michelangelo Pietà Rondanini



In the evening, I made my way to the delightful Mimmo Milano for dinner. This heavenly candle-lit space—pristinely white with antique books lining the shelves—allows larger groups to sit at long elegant dining tables or smaller parties, like me, to sit in a cozy armchair by the fireplace. The cuisine hails from regions throughout Italy—Sicily, Puglia and Tuscany, among them—all of it amazing. As engaging as I found Milan to be, I was relieved to have the pressure lifted a bit as I zipped further north with a car and driver the next morning. Within the hour, we were coasting alongside the glistening water of Lake Como— headed toward another way of life altogether.

All photos Wikipedia and Thinkstock

After a thoroughly enjoyable visit to the Brera, I walked through another leafy splendor—Parco Sempione, Milan’s biggest historical park. At the edge of Sempione is Castello Sforzesco, a restored castle with the original moat from the medieval town surrounding it and several courtyards within bordered by charming gardens. This is also where I found the Museo d’Arte Antica, which offers a glimpse of Michaelangelo’s last sculpture—an unfinished yet poignant statue of Mary and Jesus—as the great artist died while working on it. Conveniently, there is a well-trafficked walkway that ushers crowds out of the castle and leads toward Milan’s iconic Duomo, a formidable Gothic structure that cannot be missed: it’s the fifth-largest cathedral in the world.

Photo: Scuba diving Duomo square

Lake Como


Photos courtesy of Grand Hotel Tremezzo Photos from top left: Honeymoon Suite Maria; Lakefront hotel; Private boat on Lake Como; Chefs preparing meals; Lush gardens; all Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Upon arriving at Grand Hotel Tremezzo, I knew it was going to be difficult to leave—ever. This truly grand hotel majestically looks out over the lake, its orange awnings charmingly beckoning from a distance. The property is a world unto itself with several restaurants— ranging from informal to very formal—two outdoor pools (one of which floats upon Lake Como itself), a spa, a clay tennis court, hiking paths and a 20,000 square-meter park with magnolias, tulips and hydrangeas, as well as a “dis-moi oui” corner devoted to the legions of hopefuls who bring their beloveds here to pop the question. As much effort as it took to pry myself away from this paradise, I was grateful for having done so once I encountered the water up close. As I sat waiting for a boat to ferry me across to Villa del Balbianello, thinking about the fairytale-like enchantment of the lake, a swan appeared, float-

ing tranquilly by on the water, as if to prove my point. Once I arrived at Balbianello, an incredible estate built in the 1700s that now hosts curious tourists eager to glimpse how the well-heeled Europeans of yesteryear spent their lavish summers. (Here, too, was where Star Wars: Episode 2—Attack of the Clones and the 2006 James Bond remake Casino Royale were shot.) Another inspiring villa that deserves an afternoon is Villa Carlotta. Right next door to the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, the Villa’s extraordinary botanical garden alone, with its 500 types of plants and flowers, is worth the price of admission. My next boat ride allowed me a panoramic view of the surrounding towns lining this thirty-mile lake and made a stop at nearby Bellagio. This charming town is comprised of a series of steep cobblestone streets lined with shops—and shoppers—many of them selling the silk for which the Como region is known. Pierangelo Masciadri’s wonderful store, selling his personally designed silk ties, scarves and purses, has been popular among

visitors ever since Bill Clinton wore a Masciadri-designed tie in 1992. (Bill Gates, George W. Bush and Sandra Day O’Connor— wearing one his ‘scarf-ponchos’—soon followed suit.) Once I’d seen the sights of Como, I did what people do best here: I lounged. By night, however, I discovered an excellent variety of restaurants. On the first evening, I found the delicious and refreshingly informal Pizzeria Balognett owned by a lovely husband-and-wife team. I sat outside on their terrace—near the vegetable garden from which they get their ingredients—with vines and wild flowers twisting up the side. And, on my last night, I took myself out to Al Veluu, a romantic restaurant where it seemed everyone was on their honeymoon but me—although I was having a love affair of my own with the view from the outdoor terrace where I was seated. So as couples all around me tapped their glasses of Prosecco in a toast to their forever promise of love, I lifted my own glass to the green mountains and blue water spread before me in its own forever promise of tranquility. KER & DOW NEY



secret Kitchen

Krista Simmons Takes A Crash Course in Chinese Regional Cuisine.

It’s a shame that Chinese food has been associated with lonely nights in and hung-over dim sum brunches. The cuisine from one of the world’s most ancient societies is really quite complex, steeped in thousands of years of tradition. In fact, the Chinese are so connected with what they eat that it’s considered medicine. Look beyond the lazy Susan, and you’ll find that what’s cooking in the world’s most populated country is as varied as the regions themselves.



Waldorf A storia beijing The Waldorf Astoria may have just opened, but the sleek, contemporary property has found its footing quickly. With 176 guest rooms and suites, the hotel presents an intimate feel by substituting a sprawling lobby for a one-on-one checkin, and also offers customizable spa treatments and solo dips in their full-length candlelit pool. The restaurant’s intimate, open kitchen and stunning custom Molteni stoves give any cook kitchen envy.

Previous page photo courtesy of the Peninsula Hotels Photos courtesy of Peninsula Beijing |Thinkstock | Danny Simmons | Waldorf Astoria Hotel

A tour through China’s three largest cities—Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai— showcased that directly. Many locals proudly boast that the Chinese eat everything with legs besides the kitchen table. And it’s true; it’s not at all alarming to find locals skinning eels, deboning chickens, or hacking open juicy dragon fruit as motorbikes whiz by women huddled around mahjong tiles in the local markets. It may seem too wild to some, but one could argue that our food system is the one that’s grotesque. Most people in the States are so far removed from our food source that it might as well have been grown on another planet. Unfortunately those American ideas are infiltrating the culture in China’s financial hubs, where you’ll see plenty of Starbucks, McDonalds and KFC chains. Still, it’s going to take a lot to undo thousands of years of history. Food is not only essential to conducting business and family matters but for minding one’s health as well. That black mushroom you’re eating? It helps prevent cancer. All that tea you’re consuming with your meal? It aids digestion. Don’t even think of ordering cold water; that solidifies the fat in your tummy, they say. Same goes for the soup you’re served at the end of the meal. The guides from Ker & Downey led us as we explored the unique regional cuisine of three areas in China—and managed to pick up a trick or two in the kitchen, too.

Beijing Though the days of imperial China are long gone, remnants of the old world ways can still be found in Beijing’s hutongs, or still-thriving back-alley neighborhoods centered around the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Stroll through the Xitang Hutong after taking a dumpling and hand-pulled noodle making class at the recently opened, wellappointed Waldorf Astoria Beijing, where aspiring cooks can see how their dough-working skills stack up to Three Sisters, a local lunch spot that specializes in Beijing-style dumplings. Photos clockwise from top left: Krista visits a local farmer’s market; Chefs preparing food at the Waldorf Astoria Beijing; Beijing; Prepared dish at Peninsula Beijing

The Peninsula Beijing also offers a culinary program for those looking to familiarize themselves with the more Cantonese-style cooking of Hong Kong, including dim sum favorites like siu mai. Chef Sam Song brought us to Ren Bei Lei market to shop for supplies for the day, and I happened upon a stall that sold the culinary equivalent of yin and yang called jian bing—a giant cracked wheat crepe that balanced sweet and spicy by painting with hoisin and chili, then sprinkling with cilantro, chives and iceberg lettuce. Another must-see for adventurous street food lovers is Wangfujing Snack Street, where you’ll find everything from candied fruit and stinky tofu to fried scorpions. For something a bit tamer but still sticking to traditional, Peking duck is a must. There’s a great debate over who does it best in town, and though Michelle Obama enjoys Da Dong, our wood-fired duck, complete with its signature candied crackly skin, at Made In China was fantastic. The restaurant features cuisine from many of China’s most popular provinces with a sprawling open kitchen where chefs toss hand-pulled noodles with the skills of an Olympic ribbon dancer. (Their moves are far more graceful than mine at the Waldorf Astoria’s cooking lesson, for the record.) Another restaurant that showcases the varied cuisine of China is Lost Heaven—a Yunnan-focused restaurant with stunning tribal artwork and embroidery. Their menu features dishes from the province, which borders Vietnam, Laos and Burma, and also has the highest population of ethnic minorities in China. This melting pot makes for some really interesting flavor profiles in dishes like chicken soup cooked in clay pots or aromatic veggie pancakes with willow leaves and coriander. Food really does serve as a vehicle for cultural immersion here and, in some cases, helps preserve history. A 600-year-old Tibetan temple, restored after the Mao regime, was recently transformed into a fine dining restaurant called The Temple where first-rate service is truly a religion. The eatery showcases Chinese wines and cheeses—both industries in their infancy making headway with the growing disposable income of the upper class. For a little less highbrow experience, make sure to hit up one of the halal snack shops like Huo Guo Shi, where locals hover over bowls of congee. The fennel-filled pancakes and freshly fried sugar dusted Chinese beignets were perfect road snacks to take on the way to the isolated and well-preserved Jinshanling portion of the Great Wall.



S han g ri- L a C he n g d u Many people make the journey to Chengdu— once the start of the Southern Silk Road—in search of the giant pandas, but end up falling in love with the city’s unique tradition of hospitality. This is even truer at the Shangri-La Chengdu; where in true Chinese custom, guests are welcomed with a warm cup of local tea upon arrival. The modern property is a feast for the eyes, with its sweeping views of the river and roving gallery of local contemporary artists. Starting the morning out with a latte and light breakfast at the Horizon Club will make you feel like you’re at your own home away from home before you start your day of exploring. 74 K ER & DOW NEY

Sichuan Just three hours from Beijing by plane and you’re in Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province and the third largest city in the country after Beijing and Shanghai. It is where the route for the ancient Southern Silk Road began. The scenic route from the airport revealed glimpses of the regions history and natural beauty. Then from the luxury and convenience of Shangri-la Chengdu, we headed into the culinary fray. While many tourists come to check out the cuddly giant pandas at the Chengdu Research Base, adventurous eaters and heat seekers come for the cuisine. Sichuan cooking has long been associated with fiery hot dishes spiked with dried chilies, chili paste, chili powder and numbing, tonguetingling Sichuan peppercorns. While the food is not for the faint of heart, it’s hardly going to scorch your tongue—there’s much more balance to it than that. The perfect example of this is at Lion Pavilion, where an assortment of pig parts, seafood, beef and veggies are bathed in bubbling cauldrons of broth called hot pot. The fish mint leaf salad that’s served on the side is what did it for me—herbaceous, slightly bitter, sweet and salty—with the Sichuan fish mint herb defying the notion that Chinese wok fry all their veggies. Old Chengdu Club has a version of the traditional salad too, as well as other mainstays like twice-cooked pork flecked with Sichuan peppercorns. As the trip went on, what once was a strange tingle from the Sichuan peppercorns began to make my taste buds dance in delight.

Photos courtesy of Thinkstock | Shangri-la Chengdu | Danny Simmons

That same balance is taught to at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, where I learned to make regional staples like mapo tofu and kung pao. The latter is actually a classic Sichuan dish that couldn’t be more different than its sad takeout stepsister in the States. The bright, ginger-studded version we made was much less goopy, with a delightful crunch from fresh peanuts and fried chilies. Another opportunity for education further afoot is at the brand new Anantara Emei. Located in the green countryside about two and a half hours outside Chengdu, the verdant property is a peaceful retreat from the chaos of China’s large cities. The property’s Spice Spoons program pairs aspiring cooks with Chef Chris Huan, who gives a market tour through the small town center, and then does a hands-on demo with the produce back at the lush resort.

Photos clockwise from top left: Szechuan peppercorns; Shangri-la Chengdu; Mount Emei; Chefs preparing dumplings at Shangri-la Chengdu; Crab dish at Shangri-la Chengdu

Many travelers make a pilgrimage to Emei to visit the sacred Buddhist holy site at Mount Emei, and while th e space for enlightenment is indeed stunning, for a food fiend, a trip to the morning markets with chef Huan is what’s revelatory. Hawkers haggle with customers while withered farmers lug in bamboo rucksacks full of verdant veggies from the mountainside. A woman deftly works a tofu press while her neighbor arranges a rainbow of pickled vegetables. The smell of sweet, tea-smoked Sichuan duck fills the air. Li Hua prepares stone bowls full of pork rice noodle soup so hot that they need to be delivered to the table with giant metal tongs. It’s a smorgasbord for the senses, and I was left wanting more.




Photos courtesy oPeninsula Shanghai; Danny Simmons

Arriving in Shanghai after a whirlwind tour of wild eating was a godsend. The city is known for its Western influence having been a French concession for nearly 100 years. Stylish Shanghai swagger is welcome after two weeks of travel, and the luxury started off with the creature comforts at our home base at the lavish Peninsula Shanghai. The Chef’s Table at Yi Long Court restaurant operates much like the private dining rooms that are so ubiquitous in China. There are some Western touches that Chef Terrence Crandall imparts, like his sprawling French Laundry-inspired rooftop garden.

Photos clockwise from top left: Lunch in Shanghai French Concession; Traditional Garden, Shanghai; Peninsula Shanghai bell hop in downtown Shanghai; The Bund Shanghai; The Bund yacht lunch; Yi Long Court Chef Table

That’s not to say that you don’t feel like you’re in China, though. Dining at Ye Shanghai, you can try local favorites like fired eel, sweet and sour soup (that flavor combo is traditionally Shanghainese), and shen jian bao dumplings served with a side of vinegar instead of soy sauce. At Din Tai Fung, you won’t even think about dipping, though. Their delicate soup dumplings—which are definitively Shanghai’s most popular dish—are so soul-warming I almost forgot about my impending journey home. Sad as it was to depart the stunning view of The Bund, the idea of clean air was calling after days of unfortunately heavy pollution. The dumplings, though, will be sorely missed. KER & DOW NEY


Bany an Tree A l Wadi , UA E

True Romance by Haley Beham

Planning a destination wedding, unforgettable honeymoon or special getaway for two? We’ve searched the globe for the most pristine beaches, private hideaways and the coziest fireplaces to curl up to with your love. Here are 10 of our favorite amorous escapes.





K ing s ton T r e e H ou s e at Iv ory Lod ge Lion Sands Game Reserve, South Africa The Kingston Tree House at Ivory Lodge is the perfect marriage of secluded safari getaway and modern luxury to inspire hopeless romantics and adventurers alike. Each morning, you head out on an early game drive with your guide and tracker in search of the Big Five before returning for breakfast. After another late afternoon adventure in the wild and champagne sundowners, you can retreat to the private treehouse for tapas or an indulgent dinner for two. It’s the thrill of being in the open air of the African bush, with the luxury of a four-poster bed and full bathroom facilities in a chic wood and glass treehouse.

Cava s Wine Lod ge Argentina The Cavas Wine Lodge is a sweet hideout—both for passionate wine connoisseurs and the novice looking to develop her palate. Tempranillos, Malbecs and Syrahs flow from the 900 wineries that dot the green foothills of the snow-capped Andes Mountains in the heart of Mendoza’s wine region. Cozy up to your sweetheart and sip on a glass of the lodge’s own deep red Cavas Gran Malbec in front of the woodburning fireplace, or swirl a glass with the lodge’s sommelier to bring out the aromas of plum, rose or blackcurrant before letting the flavors slowly move through your mouth. KER & DOWNEY


Silolon a Soj ou r ns, MSV S i Datu B ua Indonesia Romantics looking to celebrate their honeymoon with a truly unique journey will enjoy an intimate cruise on the MSV Si Datu Bua through the clear, blue waters surrounding Indonesia. As the crew navigates the traditional Phinisi sailboat between hundreds of lush, jungle-covered islands, spend the afternoon on the spacious sundeck listening to the water softly lap against the wooden vessel as sprays of water gently splash onto your skin. Achieve a warm, sun-kissed glow after soaking up the sun, then dive into the cool, refreshing waters of the Southeast Asian seas to discover the colorful schools of fish and pink, orange and purple coral reef.





Ba nya n T r e e A l Wa d i United Arab Emirates If a getaway packed with adventure and rejuvenating holistic spa treatments in glamorous high style fits the bill, the Banyan Al Wadi is your oasis in the middle of the arid desert. The majestic Al Hajar Mountains and glistening waters of the Arabian Gulf create a stunning backdrop for exploring the dunes of Al Wadi Nature Reserve with your private guide, sand boarding or taking a dip in your villa’s private pool. After a day of discovery, as the crisp desert sun descends and a golden hue is cast over the desert, wind down by dining on an intimate dinner in the dunes.

Uma by COMO Puna kha Bhutan There is no better place to nurture your mind, body and spirit than in the Punakha Valley where green-terraced rice fields overlook a bend in the Mo Chu River. Surrounded by untouched mountains and bathed in natural light, the villas of Uma by COMO are pure serenity, with wood-burning fireplaces that cultivate a tranquil atmosphere for unwinding and reconnecting with your inner spirit. Stretch your legs with a hike through the lush mountains, enjoy the thrill of rafting the white waters of Mo Chu River and feel any tension in your body dissolve with a traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath.



La S ultan a O u a l id ia Morocco With a backdrop of dramatic cliffs overlooking a lagoon of pink flamingos on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, La Sultana Oualidia is perfectly poised to take in the views of white sand beaches and endless blue ocean. It’s a sophisticated atmosphere that encourages relaxation at its finest—from lounging on the pristine beaches and sipping cocktails in the swimming pool to indulging in a Royal Hammam treatment for two. Walk down to the secluded beach to surf and swim. To cap off your perfect day, share a dinner of oysters and lobster on the beach while lounging on plush cushions under a Berber tent. Eco-resort, Adrère Amellal 96






Th e On e&Only R e e t h i R a h Maldives Looking for a quintessential tropical getaway with white sand beaches and unending crystal blue waters? You will fall in love with One&Only Reethi Rah, tucked away in the North MalĂŠ Atoll. Arrive by yacht to some of the largest resort villas in the world then quickly change into your swimsuit to hit the beach. The sand between your toes and the salt water that lingers on your lips reminds you that you are in paradise. As the sun dips into the horizon, head out on a private cruise and enjoy the cool ocean breezes, setting a memorable scene.

Hotel C ala d i V ol pe Sardinia Join the jet set at one of the most exclusive resorts in the world. Located along the emerald coast of Porto Cervo in northern Sardinia, the Hotel Cala di Volpe is reminiscent of an ancient fishing village. A network of towers, porches and terraces seamlessly blend into the environment and hug the harbor, creating a quiet refuge on the waterfront where the only sounds you’ll hear are the melodious songs of the sea birds. Speed around the Mediterranean coast by Jet Ski then dive below the surface to discover the marine life living in the turquoise waters of this tropical aquarium. KER & DOW NEY


Romantic A m an g al l a Sri Lanka Days are calm and life is peaceful at Amagalla. Located within the ramparts of a 17th-century Dutch fort, it’s a quaint resort full of charm and ideal for couples seeking respite from busy schedules and bustling cities. Your days are spent relaxing in the spa with Amangalla’s signature Shirodhara oil treatment or releasing tension in the yoga pavilion. Wander through the landscaped garden and narrow streets of the fort town, lined with colonial Dutch architecture, before returning to the hotel to take afternoon tea with warm, homemade scones and fresh jam on the bright and airy verandah.


Le s Ottom a ns Turkey Set on the European shores of the Bosphorus, the opulent Hotel Les Ottomans is a chic former 18th-century Baroque mansion decorated with glittering chandeliers, theatrical colors of deep reds, blues and gold, and velvet walls that are as soft as they are rich. It’s ultra exclusive with only ten suites and a lavish 2,400-squarefoot Caudalíe Vinothérapie® Spa, the only one of its kind in Turkey. Sip on herbal-infused tea before pampering yourself and your sweetheart to the spa’s signature massage, which utilizes grapeseed oil to replenish the body of lost minerals from head to toe.



Private dining at Vivanta by Taj Bekal


Itinerary T h e Royal T r e atm e n t By h al e y b e h a m

Ker & Downey takes you on an unforgettable, luxurious journey through India’s sweeping landscapes and authentic properties.

M u mba i | D a y s 1 -2 | The adventure begins by boat to the Gateway and Elephanta Caves T aj M a h al P alac e & T o w e r

C h i k magal u r | D a y s 3 -4 | Visit the Hoysala period temples Chennakesava of Belur and Hoysaleswara in Halebidu T h e G at e way H o t e l K M R o a d

C o orG | D a y s 5 -6 | Share an authentic meal of Pandi Curry with a local Kodavu family V i va n ta by T aj C o o r g l i

B e k al | D a y s 7 -8 | Embark on a houseboat cruise on the scenic Valiyaparamba backwaters V i va n ta by T aj B e k al

Hy de r aba d | D a y s 9 -1 1 | Enjoy a sound and light show at the Golconda Fort T aj F ala k n u ma P alac e



From the moment you step off the plane in India, you know you’re someplace special. Its vibrant markets, opulently carved temples and colorful festivals breathe life into the large country, while its soul lies in the diverse culture and long religious history evident by the many sacred sites and rituals. Its landscapes are as diverse as its people. From bustling cities to quiet desert terrain, sun-drenched beaches to snow-covered mountains, India is a place to be explored again and again. With so much to see and do, where does one begin? We’ve crafted a journey that draws upon India’s history, brings out the sweet aromas of the country’s best coffee and relishes in the cool dew of the rainforest over ten incredible days.

Day 1–2 After a long international flight, you’ll enjoy a night to reset your internal clock at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai’s iconic landmark hotel, offering the perfect respite. Rest up because your day starts early tomorrow with a boat tour to the Gateway and Elephanta Caves, a temple hewn out of solid rock. Be sure to take a walk to the top to spy stunning panoramic views of the Arabian Sea. Your afternoon is packed with stops at some of Mumbai’s most popular sites, including the Gateway of India and the Prince of Wales Museum, where you can brush up on your Indian history. Continue onto the Jain Temple, the prettiest temple in Mumbai, beautifully adorned with an entrance flanked by two elephants. The Jain community is known for self-restraint, but they pour large sums of money into their places of worship, making their temples some of the most resplendent in India. You’ll also stop a fish aquarium, Dhobi Ghat, Mani Bhawan and the Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hills for sweeping views of Chowpati Beach.

Day 3–4 You are met early for your transfer to the airport to catch your 7:35 a.m. flight south to Bangalore. From there, your driver delivers you to the The Gateway Hotel KM Road, Chikmagalur. It is a five-hour drive, but the scenery shifts dramatically from the bustling city, in which you started your day, to more bucolic sights. The district is nestled among the Baba Budan hills and surrounded by lush mountains, waterfalls and wildlife sanctuaries. On your second day in Chikmagalur, you visit the Hoysala period temples Chennakesava of Belur and Hoysaleswara in Halebidu for an in-depth look at medieval Hoysala architecture. While Chennakesava Temple is large, lavish and took 100 years to complete, the structure ushered in a new style of architecture that the Hoysala’s became well-known for. You’ll finish the day in Shravanabelagola to see Gomateshwara, Asia’s tallest monolithic statue that stands almost 60 feet tall.

Day 5–6 After breakfast, you’ll meet your driver for a four-hour transfer to Coorg, set in the beautiful hill country, surrounded by verdant forests of rosewood and sandalwood. While at the forest retreat of Vivanta by Taj Coorg, your time is your own, but consider a guided walking tour of the nearby coffee and spice plantations that reveals the spirit of this hill country. For a special treat, immerse yourself in the culture of Coorg and share an authentic meal of Pandi Curry with a local Kodavu family.

You’ll relax as your houseboat moves through the backwaters while you munch on a banana leaf lunch.

Day 7–8 Today you head out of the hills and coffee plantations to the seashore town of Bekal, a three-hour drive from Coorg. You’ll check into your hotel, the Vivanta by Taj Bekal, and have a chance to get settled before an afternoon of sightseeing. Bekal is home to the 300-year-old Bekal fort, the largest and best-preserved fort in Kerala. It is spread over 40 acres and abuts the Arabian Sea. On your second day in Bekal, you’ll enjoy a leisurely breakfast before embarking on a cruise on the scenic Valiyaparamba backwaters. The waters are fed by four rivers and dotted with several small islands. You’ll relax as your houseboat moves through the backwaters while you munch on a banana leaf lunch.

Day 9–11 After breakfast, you are driven two hours to Mangalore to board the 1 p.m. flight to Hyderabad via Mumbai. You’ll arrive in India’s fifth-largest city, full of culture, history, beautiful mosques and minarets, a little after 8:00 p.m. An Eastbound representative meets you and transfers you to the resplendent Taj Falaknuma Palace to recharge your batteries after a full day of travel. The following day, a morning tour of Hyderabad takes you to the Golconda Fort, famous for its acoustic system, palaces and ingenious watersupply system. You’ll get to witness its spectacular acoustic system in the evening as a sound and light show brings the fort to life with the depiction of the mighty Qutb Shahi dynasty. If you’ve got the time and energy, take a jewelry tour through the narrow lanes of the Choodi Bazaar where local craftsmen are eager to share their stories, or a palace walk at sunset with a glass of champagne before you bid farewell to India in the morning. Contact your travel professional or visit us on the web to view this journey at


10 5

By Beverly Joubert @ Duba Plains Camp


SHOT O n e p i c t u r e , o n e m o m e n t, o n e m e m o ry by p h oto g r a p h e r B e v e r ly J o ub e r t.

Swamp Cats of Botswana “I photographed this image in Duba Plains in the Okavango Delta whilst we were filming ‘Relentless Enemies.’ It was an intense scene as the territorial males from the ‘Duba Pride’ chased the young sub adult males from the ‘Skimmer Pride’ across the river. It is unique to see lions run through water, but these big cats have adapted to their wetland environment and use it to their advantage. Dereck and I managed to get over the channel just in time, so I was able to capture the image from a low vantage point against the riverbank.”

Beverly Joubert is an award-winning filmmaker and acclaimed National Geographic photographer and explorer-in-residence. She has been filming, researching and exploring Africa with her husband, Dereck Joubert, for over 30 years. They are also the founders of the Big Cats Initiative with National Geographic. They have made 25 films for National Geographic including “Eternal Enemies,” which has been viewed by over one billion people in more than 100 countries. Their 2011 film, ‘The Last Lions” has become a powerful ambassador for wild lions globally. The Jouberts have received many accolades including seven Emmys, Lifetime Achievement awards, a Peabody award, Panda awards, a World Ecology award and an induction into the American Academy of Achievement. Beverly is also one of the founders of Great Plains Conservation, a company that returns vast tracts of land back to nature.



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Forget group tours, long lines, or shared experiences; with Ker & Downey, everything is a completely tailored fit and our artist’s signature is threaded throughout 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.

“The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” - Jacques Cousteau


QUEST Magazine Issue 3  

Explore France, Italy, China, Maldives and some of the best places to travel this summer in Ker & Downey's Summer issue of QUEST magazine.