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ultratravel The Daily Telegraph



On location




RedeďŹ ne extraordinary in Antelope Canyon, Arizona.

Discover this land, like never before.

7 nights Half Board in a Standard Sea-View Room From ÂŁ1399 per person For further information or to book please contact Kuoni on 01306 744739 Quoting tour reference: IO0704 www.kuoni.co.uk


Saddling up Riding the pampas in style with Argentina’s cowboys (page 52)



Features 28 Playground of the modern Gatsby The Long Island of F Scott Fitgerald’s novel has lost it sheen. Today’s East Coast aristocrats head north to Nantucket, says Douglas Rogers


38 Virtual Singapore See the city’s skyline come alive though your tablet or smartphone 41 Style-setters’ secrets Nicole Farhi, Poppy Delevigne, Angela Missoni, Heidi Grosman and Louise Kennedy reveal their favourite holidays spots out of the fashion spotlight 44 In the footsteps of TE Lawrence Anthony Horowitz rides into the wadis of Jordan to seek out the Arabia portrayed in David Lean’s epic film 52 The well-heeled gaucho Near Buenos Aires, Chris Moss discovers five estancias where guests can experience the cowboy life while enjoying fine food and a decent malbec 63 Bid for a dream holiday Trips to Mauritius, Vietnam and the Maldives are among the prizes in our silent auction in support of CLIC Sargent, the charity for children with cancer 72 Paradise atoll Win a trip for two to Jumeirha Vittaveli in the Maldives

Regulars 11 Editor’s letter The glamour of the film and fashion worlds inspires our writers; plus, LOUIS VUITTON

Blippar, the app that enriches armchair travel


13 The next big thing News, trends, events and phenomena from around the world, compiled by Adriaane Pielou 17 Ultratravel accessories Lights, camera, action: what to take with you, from a light-up umbrella to a calfskin-coated camera 22 Victoria’s secrets Small gestures of politeness make a big impact, says Victoria Mather 24 Countdown to… Washington DC. Peter Foster, the Telegraph’s resident correspondent, charts the city where the presidential race is hotting up 27 Shop local Lisa Grainger relishes the creations of the artisan chocolatiers of Brussels 67 Ultra intelligence Ballooning in the Antarctic; afternoon tea, Russian-style; a suite to savour in Tuscany; and what makes spa specialist Lisa Johnson hot and bothered 74 Travelling life Francis Ford Coppola names his favourite restaurants, hotels and holiday spots – from the Mayan city of Tikal in Guatemala to the Metropole in Hanoi

© Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012. Published by TELEGRAPH MEDIA GROUP, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT, and printed by Polestar UK Limited. Colour reproduction by wearefmg.com. Not to be sold separately from The Daily Telegraph. Ultratravel is a registered trademark licensed to The Daily Telegraph by PGP Media Limited






Bring our cover story to life with footage from next year’s Gatsby film, stills from our shoot in Nantucket, and more‌

BLIPPAR HOW IT WORKS 1. Download Blippar for free from the App Store or Google Play. 2. Hold your smartphone or tablet over the photograph (left) and the advertisement (opposite). 3. Watch the pages come alive.

“Who is this Gatsby?� asks Nick Carraway (played by

that can transport them from the printed page into the heart of the

Tobey Maguire) in Baz Luhrmann’s much anticipated

action. With Blippar (above right), readers can use their smartphone or

remake of The Great Gatsby. Many expect the

tablet to roar through Singapore’s streets in Mark Webber’s Formula

director’s depiction of New York in the 1920s –

1 car, or to leap from the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel with six Base

the age of jazz, loose morals and bootlegger

jumpers. They can also watch the trailer of Luhrmann’s ďŹ lm (above) or

millionaires – to be a parable for modern times. The

hear why Christian Louboutin is such a fan of the Mandarin Oriental (see

ÂŁ80-million ďŹ lm, once scheduled for this autumn, has been put back to

advertisement, opposite). Augmented reality just got very real indeed.

summer 2013, giving us time to ponder afresh Nick Carraway’s question.

Continuing our life-through-a-lens theme, author and screenwriter

On page 28, novelist Douglas Rogers sets out on an East Coast odyssey

Anthony Horowitz heads to Jordan (page 44) to fulďŹ l a lifetime ambition of

taking him from the holiday mansions of the Hudson Valley to the nautical

visiting the set of Lawrence of Arabia, 50 years after the release of David

retreats of Nantucket, where modern-day Gatsbys spend their summer.

Lean’s epic ďŹ lm. In Travelling life (page 74), Hollywood director Francis

As wealth and consumerist values continue to shift East, we turn our

Ford Coppola deďŹ nes what luxury means to him and, on page

attention to Singapore in the wake of the royal visit. Those who marvel at

41, big names from the world of fashion, including Nicole Farhi and

the city’s skyline (page 38) will be equally awe-struck by the technology

Angela Missoni, reveal where they kick off their heels and hide away.




Jonathan Glynn-Smith Stylist: Louise Hall-Strutt Model: Victoria@Ford Models Clothing: Hat vintage, jacket Ralph Lauren, trousers Nicole Farhi Shot on location in Siasconset, Nantucket Island, Massachusetts

Victoria Mather Our exacting columnist goes from Gloucestershire to Mumbai in search of that most basic of hotel essentials – decent service. “It’s the X factor,â€? she says, “the thing that deďŹ nes whether you feel special or a dead bore to staffâ€?

Anthony Horowitz Fascinated since boyhood by Lawrence of Arabia, the novelist and screenwriter needed no persuasion to visit Jordan on the 50th anniversary of the ďŹ lm’s release. “Wadi Rum was thrilling,â€? he says, “because it was so easy to get lostâ€?

Nicole Farhi The fashion designer, who was born in Nice, reveals where she goes to unwind with her family – such as her house by the sea near Marseilles. “It’s wonderful to be in a place where you don’t have to dress up or put on make-up,� she says

Chris Moss Having lived in Latin America for many years, the author and journalist knows his criollos from his casuarinas, making him perfectly placed to head south from Buenos Aires and tour the loveliest and most welcoming estancias on the pampas

Francis Ford Coppola The Hollywood ďŹ lm director, hotelier and winemaker counts Belize, Berlin and Rio de Janeiro among his favourite places, and has surprisingly simple tastes. In hotels, he says, it’s the practicalities that count, “like having a shelf in the shower to put my electric toothbrush onâ€?


Editor Charles Starmer-Smith Creative director Johnny Morris Managing editor Andrew Purvis Deputy editor Lisa Grainger Sub-editor Yolanda Carslaw Photography editor Joe Plimmer Contributing editor Adriaane Pielou Intern Naomi Matusala Executive publisher for Ultratravel Limited Nick Perry Publisher Toby Moore Advertising inquiries 07768 106322 (Nick Perry) 020 7931 3239 (Fran Burns) Ultratravel, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT




Modena art Clockwise, from main picture: classic cars in the Enzo Ferrari Museum; the exterior; and the Fiorano test circuit, where two new driving courses take place

Upcoming events, trends, ideas, phenomena and feats of large-scale engineering from the world of luxury travel


zFERRARI MANIA irst came the vast, luminous showroom of the ÂŁ15-million Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena, northern Italy. Shaped like a car bonnet and made of aluminium in the yellow and black of the Ferrari logo, the futuristic 54,000sq ft building looms large over the modest brick house (far right)

where the marque’s founder was born in 1898. Inside are 30 classic cars of historical signiďŹ cance displayed on plinths like works of art, surrounded by motoring memorabilia, photographs and, where possible, video footage of the cars in action. Now, from this autumn, fans can also get behind the wheel of a Ferrari on two new driving courses held at the Fiorano test circuit, GETTY IMAGES

11 miles away, near Maranello. Two options are available: an advanced driving course (October 18-19; ¤10,905/£8,580) and a sports driving course (November 14-15; ¤8,207). Prices include lunch at the track and two nights at the Una Hotel Modena (store.ferrari.com/events).



zRIVA 63’ VIRTUS Making a big splash at the Cannes Boat Show this weekend will be this 63ft monster, the largest open yacht ever produced by the legendary Italian boat builder. With a top speed of 40 knots and a cruising speed of 35, Riva’s flagship is sporty as well as sleek, its teak deck and stainless-steel fittings recalling the styling of the 1950s. The price of the Virtus has yet to be announced (riva-yacht.com).

z NOBU IN LAS VEGAS Superchef Nobu Matsuhisa (above) is big, with 26 restaurants to his name, but his latest opening in the US is positively gargantuan. With 11,200sq ft of floor space, Nobu Las Vegas seats 327 – twice the capacity of a Boeing 737-800 – and cost $30 million (£19 million) to build: entirely fitting in America’s capital of scale and ostentation. In addition to sit-down meals, it will provide room service for the first Nobu boutique hotel (180 rooms), located, like the restaurant, at the Caesars Palace mega resort (3,950 rooms) with its kitsch Ancient Roman theme. Rooms at Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace cost from $300 (£190) a night, and can be booked from October 1 (caesarspalace.com/nobu).


The former Rockefeller hotel, built in 1958, reopens in December after its dazzling renovation by Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Once a grapefruit and coconut plantation, the estate has an aquatic playground (left) fashioned from an old Puerto Rican mill. $1,200/ÂŁ765 a night (doradobeach.com).

z SHOW OF GOLD The Olympics may be over, but London is once again the setting for a glorious display of precious metal. This month, the largest ever Goldsmiths’ Fair takes place in the Italianate Goldsmiths’ Hall. Spread over two weeks, September 24-30 and October 2-7, it provides an opportunity to buy direct from leading silverware and jewellery designers (thegoldsmiths.co.uk/events).

z OPULENCE IN GREECE Turning a blind eye to austerity,

the 38 calm, secluded guest

Aman makes its mark – big

pavilions, each with its own


time – with Amanzoe, its latest

pool. A spa, hammam, gym,

An indoor swimming pool (right), a Bollywood

resort (below), sprawled

library and near 360-degree

beach party and a volcanic lava-cave deep

across a hillside near Porto

views across pine forest and

underground (the mysterious Cinema

Heli on the east coast of the

olive groves to the Aegean

at the Centre of the Earth)

Peloponnese. At its centre is

make this an unrivalled spot in

are among the more unusual

a vast reflection pool with

which to decompress. From

venues for screenings at

a circular terrace as its hub,

¤825/£650 per night (00 800

a watery theme continued in

22 55 2626, amanresorts.com).


the ninth Reykjavik International Film

The serene 60ft pool (above) at Lakshman

Festival, which gets

Sagar, Rajasthan – a 32-acre “heritage

under way this month.

retreat� opening this month – proves that

On Tuesday Movie

simple pleasures can trump the sumptuous.

Night, well-known

The retreat, built around a 19th-century

Icelanders open their

hunting lodge, has 12 mud-and-stone

homes to festival-goers

cottages, each with a fireplace and plunge

for private viewings of

pool. Among the diversions for guests are

their personal DVD

herding goats or sheep and making pottery,

collections. The festival

all during visits to local villages, plus fishing

runs from September 27 to

and contemplating the night sky. From ÂŁ205

October 7. Five-night stays

per night for two, full board (sewara.com).

cost from ÂŁ600 per person, excluding flights (icelandairhotels).


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1 Bright Night light-up umbrella ÂŁ17.49 (0800 044 5010, ďŹ rebox.com). Fitted with a waterproof 6V bulb powered by batteries lasting three hours, this ingenious invention comes in various striking patterns, and in a uorescent ‘safety’ version. 2 Frogman Power Chip Neon by LED Lenser ÂŁ39.95 (01460 240336, ashaholics.co.uk). Diving torch with a long, narrow LED beam that cuts through the murk. Easy to grip and operate with one hand or when wearing gloves, it emits 75 lumens and is waterproof to 200ft. 3 Light-up i-pout lip gloss by New Cid Cosmetics ÂŁ11.70, available in eight shades, and Compact LED Model Mirror ÂŁ19 (0845 643 0119, feelunique.com). 4 Tikka 2 Core head torch by Petzl ÂŁ53.90 (01433 622001, safariquip.co.uk). Rechargeable via USB, this lightweight, versatile and – reportedly – bomb-proof torch has three light modes for different activities. 5 Tiny Monster TM11 V1.12 by Nitecore ÂŁ194.95 (Flashaholics, as before). The world’s smallest and lightest 2,000-lumen torch is made from aircraft-grade aluminium









7 4




1 Nikon 1J1 with 10-30mm lens ÂŁ499.99 (nikon.co.uk/wheretobuy). Ideal for travel, with interchangeable lenses stored in a compact way. 2 Nokia 808 PureView ÂŁ489.99 (0845 045 5555, nokia.com). Has a Carl Zeiss lens and 41-megapixel camera at the rear, and a second camera for self-portraits at the front; images can be sent direct to Facebook and Flickr. 3 Leica M9-P Edition Hermès ÂŁ18,000 (020 7629 1351, leica-storemayfair.co.uk). Coated in calfskin and created jointly with the French fashion house, only 300 exist – hence the price. 4 Pentax Q ÂŁ599.99 (01782 753 350, pentax.co.uk). The world’s smallest, lightest camera has a ‘vintage colour’ shooting mode. 5 Olympus Tough TG-620 ÂŁ229.99 (00800 659 67873, shop.olympus.co.uk). Waterproof to 100ft, shockproof, freezeproof and crushproof. 6 La Sardina Seoul Edition ÂŁ55 (00 43 1 899 440, uk.shop.lomography.com). Inspired by the Russian-made Lomo Kompakt Automat of the 1980s, this cult analogue lomography camera produces ‘saturated colour’ images








3 6


1 Bremont ALT-1WT World Timer ÂŁ3,995 (0845 0940 690, bremont.com). This pilot’s watch shows the hour, simultaneously, in 24 cities around the world 2 Linde Werdelin Oktopus II Double Date ÂŁ15,360, and (directly above it) Reef dive computer ÂŁ1,500 (020 7727 6577, lindewerdelin.com). The stylish diving watch, in titanium and rose gold, acts as a platform for the powerful clip-on instrument that helps divers plan their dive and avoid decompression illness 3 Chanel J12 Marine ÂŁ3,200 (020 7499 0005, chanel.com). For swimmers and divers, water-resistant to 1,000ft, with a screw-down crown and unidirectional bezel 4 Louis Vuitton America’s Cup ÂŁ6,550 (020 7399 4050, louisvuitton.co.uk). Sailing watch with a regatta timing function, from the ofďŹ cial sponsor of the race 5 Polar RCX5 Tour de France GPS ÂŁ374.50 (01926 310330, polarelectro.co.uk). Cycling watch with heart monitor, downloadable training programmes and GPS 6 Chopard Mille Miglia ÂŁ9,660 (020 7409 3140, chopard.com). Women’s chronograph, in a white special edition, from the backer of Italy’s Mille Miglia car rally



Putting full-size bottles in the bathroom is exactly the kind of small detail that packs a big punch of luxury

Little gestures of consideration count in these harsh times. Victoria Mather seeks out shining examples of service


oast and marmalade is surely not too much to ask for, is it? Yet when Andrew Dunn, founder of Scott Dunn, was feeling a bit peckish at a top London hotel at 10.30am and waved down a passing waiter, his modest request turned into a three-act play. First the toast; 10 minutes later the butter; 10 minutes after that the marmalade, which, by this time, had been lost in translation as Marmite, by someone for whom English clearly wasn’t a ďŹ rst language. Mr Dunn’s toast was, of course, cold. This, gentle reader, is a parable of our times. As the British become more idle, regarding a job in service as a downgrade to Downton Abbey, staff from the rest of Europe and beyond have become our lifeline to uber-nannying (which is what service really is). It is just that they don’t always get the plot – or the marmalade. Andrew Dunn, by comparison, employs only the best; his company (scottdunn.com) provides the most experienced, super-trained, jolly nannies in the villa and chalet business. They’re every mother’s pride. Not least because Mummy can leave the little darlings building snowmen up an Alp or frying by a pool without fear of her smallfry ending belly-up like deceased goldďŹ sh. Service is the X factor, the thing that deďŹ nes whether you feel special or a dead bore to staff who’d prefer it if you were not a guest paying to interrupt their valuable time. It’s all about thoughtfulness, and the little things that cost so little but mean so much; we are thrilled by the smallest gesture of consideration in these turbulent times. In my quest for good service, I set the satnav for the Wheatsheaf Inn in Northleach,


Victoria’s secrets

Gloucestershire. Would a pub, until recently the dustman of hospitality, be better than one of London’s grand duchesses? The answer is a glad, conďŹ dent yes. My room was a poem of expensive neutrals, the bathroom abundant with full-size bottles of Bramley, an eco-chic brand that smells delicious, not of hairdresser’s after-shave. Full-size is exactly the small detail that packs a big punch of luxury. Little plastic bottles are mean, purport to pong of mango (why, it’s disgusting?) and, I’ve always suspected, all contain exactly the same viscous unguent, so you might just as well chuck the conditioner into the bath along with the shower gel. The Wheatsheaf (cotswoldswheatsheaf.com) is owned by Sam and Georgie Pearman; he was a chef at Langan’s and the Michelinstarred Glass House in Kew, she was a corporate lawyer. They’re young, whizzy, attention-to-detail ďŹ ends. If the Chipping Norton set, just up the road, left any children behind, they’d be returned dry-cleaned and replete with organic steak frites. The Wheatsheaf’s staff have a training exchange programme with the Gramercy Tavern in New York. Their executive chef, Antony Ely, has cooked for Bono (perhaps not a bonus) and worked at Chez Bruce and the River CafĂŠ. The food is exactly what one wants, comfort food executed perfectly. I was in a dog-friendly room so Maud could go into the garden; always sniffy, literally, about her accessories, she consented to use the immaculate dog bed thoughtfully provided. When we left, we received, like all guests, a smart bag with sparkling and still water and a Wheatsheaf

chocolate bar to sustain us on the weary road. The little gesture. Perfection. Like the bookmark placed by Oberoi staff inside the novel you’ve thrown aside in the rush to dinner/the pool/the spa. Like the real books, the kinds of novels you’ve always wanted to read, in the rooms at La Trasierra (trasierra.co.uk), near Seville. Like the complimentary car and chauffeur at Trident (tridenthotels.com) in Bandra Kurla, Mumbai, and the advance calls made by the concierge to restaurants, shops and nightclubs to red-carpet your way. Magic. It’s exactly how to make a near-the-airport hotel funky. (If ying into Mumbai late and ying out early, the Trident is the only place to stay, with off-the-planet service, champagne at 2am and clothes laundered during what’s left of the night.) But then, in India, good service is a given. At the new Lakshman Sagar in Rajasthan (greavesindia.co.uk), once the hunting lodge of the Thakur of Raipur, they understand that a whispery dining room of strangers is ghastly. Have dinner oating on the lake. No problem. The 12 shikar ghars, or villas, where you sleep are built of stone and contain books, music and locally sourced furnishings. The limo? It’s a bullock cart that transports you and lunch up to the Fatehgarh Fort. At Sher Bagh (sherbagh.com) at Ranthambhore, Rajasthan’s tiger reserve, the chef includes you in cooking by the camp ďŹ re, using spices and tomatoes from the hotel’s organic garden. It’s kind, therapeutic. At the Serai Tented Camp (the-serai.com), near Jaisalmer, the chefs invite you personally to collect Phumbi mushrooms with them. It’s getting personal. I’ll raise a toast to that.

Simple luxury in completely natural surroundings, a serene hotel where I can unwind and cleanse my mind, space to just be me. Get special extra content with the Aurasma Lite app by pointing your device to this image.

Requested by Jonathan...

Crafed by

For expert advice and to book, visit your local store or kuoni.co.uk For a brochure, call 08 44 557 3777

COUNTDOWN TO Washington Museums, great restaurants and a palpable political buzz make DC the place to head this autumn, says Peter Foster


HOTELS The Willard InterContinental

(001 202 628 9100, washington. intercontinental.com), established in 1818, hosted Abraham Lincoln for a month as he awaited inauguration. Across the street from the White House complex, the Willard has also accommodated nearly every US president since 1850 as well as Charles Dickens, Martin Luther King and David


Lloyd George. For a more modern take


on VIP treatment, try the Mandarin

In the run-up to election day in November, and

Oriental (below, 001 202 554 8588,

with the first of the presidential debates looming, the

mandarinoriental.com), favoured by

excitement in the US capital is tangible – and the feeling

celebrities and security-conscious

of being close to the centre of power is exhilarating.

diplomats, and therefore used to

Great landmarks greet the visitor at every turn, many

handling high expectations. The

relating to America’s political history: must-sees are the

Tabard Inn (001 202 785 1277,

White House (smaller and more unassuming than you’d

tabardinn.com), in a quiet corner of the

expect), the US Capitol (bigger and grander, above) and,

vibrant Dupont Circle neighbourhood,

along the National Mall, the piercing white needle of the

was converted from a row of town

Washington Monument. The city also has some of the

houses in 1922. Its 40 rooms, each

world’s greatest museums (see below). While it’s true

with eclectic decor, offer DC’s

that DC is no London, Rio or New York come nightfall, all

quintessential boutique experience.

those politicos and K-Street lobbyists – not to mention the Obamas, the city’s keenest VIP diners – couldn’t survive without some choice restaurants. Major performers pass through music venues such as the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and, for something more intimate, the celebrated Blues Alley jazz bar in Georgetown. Rent a car and take a day-trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the shores of Chesapeake Bay, the civil war battlefields at Gettysburg or the family seats of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson at Mount Vernon and Monticello.

‘Spacious avenues that begin in nothing, and lead nowhere, are among its leading features’ Charles Dickens



VISITORS’ BOOK Senators, mayors and the First Couple are often out and about, as are A-listers in town to promote political causes. CafÊ Milano’s guest list includes George Clooney and Julia Roberts, while The Source has served Paul McCartney and Harrison Ford. At the Four Seasons, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg have been among the diners and the Jolie-Pitts have stayed there – though once they ate more modestly, opting for a special at Charlie Palmer Steak.


MUSEUMS DC’s main cultural treasure is

RESTAURANTS CafĂŠ Milano (below; 001 202 333 6183, cafemilano.net), at

the Smithsonian Institution, the

3251 Prospect Street, is a Georgetown institution and the haunt of

world’s largest museum and

diplomats, lawmakers and lobbyists. A wide-ranging menu of Italian

research complex. Perhaps most

treats allows less well-heeled diners to get away with a bill of $40

unique is the Air & Space

per head, but spending double that would be easy. Another good

Museum (right; 001 202 633

choice for people-watching is the Old Ebbitt Grill (001 202 347

2214, airandspace.si.edu), housing

4800, ebbitt.com), a stone’s throw from the White House and

more than 100 years of American

a favourite of Presidents Grant, Harding and Roosevelt. Ahead of

aerospace history, including the

the election, its velvet booths, lit by antique gas lamps, are the

Wright brothers’ Flyer and the Apollo

scene of political tĂŞte-Ă -tĂŞtes aplenty. Founded in 1856, it is one of

11 command module. Also unmissable is

Washington’s oldest restaurants, with excellent, unpretentious food.

the Hall of Presidents at the National Portrait

Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party and quiet rooms filled with


modern art. Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens (001 800 429

Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, the biography of

1520, mountvernon.org), the estate of George Washington, is out of

Abraham Lincoln. President Obama named

town, on the shores of the Potomac River. The mansion has been

it as the book he’d take to the White House,

restored as it was in Washington’s day, and the education centre

and it is now being made into a Steven

tells the story of one of the great figures of American history.

Spielberg biopic starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

Gallery (001 202 633 8300, npg.si.edu), while The Phillips Collection (001 202 387 2151, phillipscollection.org) is home to

ESSENTIAL READ For a sense of the historical heart that

beats within the capital, pack Doris Kearns



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BRUSSELS ULTRATRAVEL CHOICE 3 ESSENTIAL ADDRESSES Pepper trufes? Ganache embellished with gold crickets? Europe’s capital is the place to discover unexpected pleasures in the dark art of chocolate-making, says Lisa Grainger

JEAN GALLER 44 rue au Beurre, Grand Place (00 32 2502 0266, galler.com). A baker’s son who started making chocolate 35 years ago and has 30 shops worldwide. Charming, charismatic, and known for his creativity (for instance, white chocolate with marzipan and pistachio); inventing the 70g bar; wafes ďŹ lled with praline; variety (from 85 per cent chocolate spread to super-light fresh raspberry trufes to the Oasienne, with almond-paste and orange); and

experience worth travelling the world for. It is Marcolini, admit the new wave of experimental chocolate-makers, who has led the way in modernising chocolate and educating clients about ingredients. He inspired Laurent Gerbaud (chocolatsgerbaud.be) to create his own style of 75 per cent Ecuadorian/Madagascan chocolate avoured with fresh fruits, nuts and spices – Turkish ďŹ gs in summer, Piedmont hazelnuts in autumn – and offer them one at a time with wine or coffee. (Galler, too, has embraced this concept in his wine-and-chocolate shop in Uccle suburb.) Gerbaud encourages tasting chocolate as one might taste wine, but at the aptly named Passion Chocolat, it’s virtually impossible to sample just one – especially when its Italian owner, Massimo Ori, is about. Ori is not just mad about the meringue-light pralines with ganache ďŹ llings, but ensuring customers become addicts, too. By the time I leave him to visit the 100-year-old Wittamer (wittamer.com), a few doors down, I can hardly face another chocolate – never mind Wittamer’s delectable ganaches adorned with gold-dipped crickets. And I deďŹ nitely cannot face eating a single one of the chocolates I create at the workshop of Zaabär (zaabar.com). In its industrial kitchen, classes are held two days a week, showing chocoholics how to spread hot mixture on to marble tabletops, work it to a glossy consistency, and then roll trufes and pour bars. While a six-year-old in the class is thrilled by the size of the bar she has made, the avourings she is offered are less pleasing. “I don’t really like chilli and pink peppercorns,â€? she says. “Can’t I have hundreds and thousands?â€? In Brussels? At an artisanal maker whose latest avour is curry? Absolument pas!

graphic packaging – each avour presented in a coloured wrapper, designed by his wife.



here aren’t many countries whose chocolate-makers have been in business for more than a century, whose population can stomach 15lb each of chocolate annually and whose capital has more chocolate factories than any other city on earth. But Brussels, as any chocolate aďŹ cionado will tell you, is not just capital of Europe, but chocolate capital of the world, a place where one only has to breathe the city’s air to get a heady hit of the dark delicacy. In fact, as my guide, MĂŠlanie Saussez, is quick to point out, the sweet that most people would call chocolate, the Belgians call confectionery (“our c-word,â€? she says). Real Belgian chocolate, apparently, has to contain at least 30 per cent cocoa, mixed with sugar and cocoa butter. The (literally mind-blowing) creations that send endorphins racing to your brain – made by the city’s masters of the dark art – contain at least twice that concentration, and often as much as 85 per cent. Even to mention giant Belgian brands such as Godiva, Neuhaus and Leonidas induces discomfort among the city’s Chocolate Masters, who regard making the real thing as an artisan craft. “Increasingly, people want to know about the purity of ingredients,â€? says Jean Galler, who started his business in his parents’ bakery, and is considered, as Saussez puts it, “Brussels’ God of Chocolateâ€?. Galler adds: “It’s not enough to use the best-grade chocolate, without additives. We have to source the ďŹ nest ingredients, and create delicacies that are dreams.â€? Since the 18th century, when chocolate was brought back from Mexico and turned from a drink into a hard sweet treat, chocolate bars have maintained a pretty consistent form: long bars, trufes and pralines. But Belgians are not afraid to break with convention, as I discover on my three-hour chocolate tour with Saussez, into buildings with elaborate medieval spires and brutal glass walls, occupied by both fashion designers and traditional lace-makers. In the world of chocolate, in the past decade, the changes have been revolutionary – with Pierre Marcolini leading the way. Still the only Belgian chocolatier to control every step of the process, from choosing the bean and roasting it to creating his exquisite Grand Cru boxes, featuring single squares made from beans from a speciďŹ c origin, Marcolini turned chocolate-making into a hip new art. His shop, off Grand Sablon square, where elegant men drink espressos at pavement cafes, looks more like a jewellers’ than a luxury food emporium, all black double-height rooms, gleaming glass cases and slim staff in slick suits. Clearly, to the designer-clad Japanese tourists queuing to get in, this is an

PASSION CHOCOLAT 2/4 rue Bodenbroek, Grand Sablon (00 32 2514 7714, passionchocolat.be). Opened seven years ago by Massimo Ori, a former Italian engineer and serious epicurean who believed it was time to “follow my heart, my true passionâ€?. His two tiny shops have become particularly well-known for their intensely avoured ganaches, cherry cognac “bombsâ€?, 85 per cent chocolates ďŹ lled with fresh-mint-infused cream, and biscuit pralines, using a secret mix of roasted nuts and creamy caramel.

HOW TO DO IT SHOP Chocolate master MÊlanie Saussez charges ₏150 for three hours’ guiding and tasting (00 32 496 778601, melanie-saussez@hotmail.fr). STAY The serene Hotel Amigo, rue de l’Amigo (00 32 2547 4747, hotelamigo.com), two minutes from the bustling Grand Place, with


top-notch concierge, from â‚Ź199 for a double. TRAVEL Kirker Holidays

1 rue des Minimes, Place du Grand Sablon (00 32

(020 7593 2283, kirkerholidays.com) offers three-night trips to Brussels,

2514 1206, marcolini.be). The only master

travelling on Eurostar, staying at Hotel Amigo, with private transfers, from ÂŁ619. EAT Vincent, a traditional tiled brasserie known for high-quality

chocolatier in Belgium to buy beans direct from producers – from Ivory Coast to Cuba – and roast

steak (00 32 2511 2607, restaurantvincent.com), or, for ďŹ sh, the wooden-

them himself. Known for his small and intensely

panelled Scheltema (00 32 2512 2084, scheltema.be), both about ÂŁ100

avoured 6g chocolates, square tablets (main

for two, excluding wine. VISIT The Chocolate Museum, to understand

picture, top), contemporary monochrome boutiques,

the sweet’s history (mucc.be). MORE visitbelgium.com/belgianbites

jewel-like packaging, intense ice creams and delicious cakes (he was originally a patissier).


IN SEARCH OF When Leonardo DiCaprio (left) plays Jay Gatsby in next summer’s long-awaited ďŹ lm, his ďŹ ctional haunt will be Long Island. Today’s millionaires have a different playground, as Douglas Rogers ďŹ nds on an East Coast odyssey beginning in the Hudson Valley and ending in nautical Nantucket



In Gatsby’s wake A motor launch off Nantucket Island, where New York’s monied classes spend their summers, with Brant Point lighthouse in the background PHOTOGRAPHS BY JONATHAN GLYNN-SMITH



© 2012 Hilton Worldwide







y friend Halliday, who made a fortune in advertising in the 1990s, fancies himself as Gatsby. Or at least he did, back when he had money, before the crash. He had a loft in Tribeca where he hosted decadent costumed balls, and he spent entire summers at country estates and beach houses, dressing in white linen jackets and Brooks Brothers suits and sipping Tom Collins cocktails on pillared balconies. There was probably a lighthouse in his story, somewhere. I met him years ago, when I ďŹ rst moved to New York, and heard snippets about the life he had led. I assumed, when he spoke of “the beachâ€? and “the countryâ€?, that he meant the Hamptons, but he scoffed at that. “Jerry Seinfeld from Brooklyn goes to the Hamptons.â€? Halliday wasn’t averse to Long Island, per se. East Egg and West Egg in The Great Gatsby are substitutes for Manhasset and Great Neck on the North Shore – aptly known as the Gold Coast – and an elite Wasp leisure class still lords it over that lush peninsula. Old Westbury has the famous Meadowbrook Polo Club (est 1881), while the grand mansions of Sands Point and Locust Valley are glorious reminders of the decadence of the Gilded Age. But, by all accounts, much of Manhasset and Great Neck has been invaded by Mob Wives and drunken bachelorette parties; besides, as with the Hamptons, getting there from Manhattan can take ďŹ ve hours in Friday trafďŹ c. No, Halliday told me, if I wanted to ďŹ nd today’s Gatsbys I would have to go elsewhere. “Everything old is newâ€? is a clichĂŠ, but there’s a longing in our uncertain economic times for the order, glamour and sophistication of a romanticised past − hence the allure of Mad Men and Downton Abbey. Next summer, a new Gatsby movie by Baz Luhrmann will be released, a rather frenetic retelling of F Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece of the louche, gin-soaked Jazz Age. In tribute to the ďŹ lm – and book – I wanted to ďŹ nd out where a modern-day Gatsby might spend his summer, so I met up with Halliday in his favourite Manhattan haunt – Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle (it’s not like he has no money) – and he advised me on an itinerary. I should start in the Hudson Valley, upstate New York, he reckoned, country retreat of the Rockefellers and Roosevelts back in the day – and, according to him, still a bolt-hole for the monied classes. Then I should drive east, past the hedge-fund titans in Connecticut, to Newport, Rhode Island (“America’s ďŹ rst resortâ€?), a society playground since 1881 when Lady Astor started summering there. Unlike Long Island’s mansions, Newport’s are either open to the public as museums or

Chic lit The retro style of F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel (left), recaptured in next year’s film starring Leonardi DiCaprio (bottom), can still be found at the Glenmere hotel (centre) in the Hudson Valley

still lived in by descendants of “Mrs Astor’s 400â€? – her elite list of late-19th-century New York society families. Where else, I asked Halliday? “The Island,â€? he said. “Martha’s Vineyard?â€? He looked at me as if I had arrived at one of his black-tie balls in Bermuda shorts. “Nantucket, you heathen, Nantucket!â€? I once thought Nantucket was a line in a limerick, but no. There it is, a speck in the Atlantic, about 30 miles off Massachusetts. Once the world’s richest whaling outpost, inspiration for another American literary classic, Moby Dick, it is now an exclusive hideaway for billionaire tycoons, blue-blood politicians and reclusive celebrities. I had a week to visit Halliday’s suggestions, and I hit the road in the confused heat of late June – a white linen jacket and a copy of The Great Gatsby in my travel case. First stop was a country house in the Hudson Valley, an hour north of Manhattan. The eastern side of the Hudson has long been a retreat for the uppers: Rockefellers, Roosevelts and Vanderbilts built mansions there, which are now museum homes. More recently, Chelsea Clinton married an investment banker in Rhinebeck. In keeping with Gatsby’s more nouveau inclinations, I was on the less fashionable West side, heading to a farming town called Chester. It seemed an unlikely place to ďŹ nd echoes of the Jazz Age. I passed a giant outlet mall and a tractor. But on a tree-lined bend I came to a set of wrought-iron gates. And there it was: a giant, salmon-pink Tuscan mansion on a hilltop, an elegant driveway curling to its front door. I drove up. Formal gardens rolled down to woods, and a lake shimmered in a valley below. A man in a uniform came out to greet me. “Welcome to Glenmere,â€? he said. “I am Charles, the butler.â€? Very good. Glenmere was built in 1911 by Robert Goelet, scion of a Manhattan banking family. Like Gatsby, he had been trying to woo back a woman – in his case, his wife – who was having an affair with an Italian. A big house usually does it. He hired the architects Carrère and Hastings and a masterpiece rose on a hill: a 35-room Italianate villa set around a grand central cortile, with sweeping marble staircases, columned porticos, and formal gardens dotted with statues and fountains. The wife, Daisy-like, remained un-wooed, but the mansion was a high-society hit. Babe Ruth mingled with visiting British royals, and socialites poured in from nearby Goshen racetrack and Tuxedo Park, America’s ďŹ rst blue-blood gated community – which was developed in 1885 by the tobacco baron and yachtsman Pierre Lorillard IV and later gave its name to the tux. Then came the crash. Goelet sold, and a succession of delinquent owners followed. By the time Alan Stenberg and his partner Daniel deSimone bought Glenmere in 2006, it was a wreck. Now, six years and more than $30 million later, it’s an 18-room Relais & Châteaux, easily the ďŹ nest hotel in the Hudson Valley. Charles took my bags to my suite and I walked the


grounds. A spa had been added out back (I booked The Glenmere Man treatment in the marble-tiled hammam) and by late afternoon, after the requisite round of croquet, was drinking gin gimlets by the pool, ferried to me on silver trays. As the sun dipped, I read: “There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights‌â€? I met Stenberg, a dashing sixtysomething with slickedback hair and ďŹ tted jacket (he was almost the model for Ralph Lauren’s polo player) in the library before dinner. Cole Porter tunes drifted in from the living room. He saw me admiring his books. “They’re real,â€? he joked. For Stenberg, buying Glenmere started out as a sop to a mid-life crisis, but it has turned out to be a timely tribute to a glorious age. “Recall, back in 2008 there was no Gatsby nostalgia or Downton Abbey,â€? he said. “We thought our guests would be ďŹ ftysomething retirees.â€? Instead they are fabulously rich young New York couples in love with the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties. A hedge-fund millionaire – a woman – recently rented out the entire house for a weekend-long Gatsby party. “White opera gloves for the ladies, bow ties for the men,â€? Stenberg added. “We called in a croquet master. People do anything to recreate that era.â€? Glenmere’s contemporary aesthetic helps to attract the monied classes. Scott Snyder, designer to the stars, has combined vintage furniture with edgier modern art from Germany, and the food, sourced from surrounding farms, is very New York. I ate a delectable octopus salad in the cortile one evening; then foie gras and short ribs paired with Italian wines in the dining room. On my ďŹ nal night I met a well-to-do neighbourhood man who had popped in for a nightcap. He lived in Tuxedo Park, that mysterious gated community. I asked how it started. He told me that Lorillard moved to the Hudson Valley in 1885 when his beloved Newport started getting overrun by the nouveau riche. “Like who?â€? I asked. “The Vanderbilts,â€? he said. Newport called, four hours away. I drove east, crossing

the Hudson on the Tappan Zee bridge, then motored north up Interstate 95, bypassing Greenwich and Darien, leafy towns of today’s hedge-fund titans, every second car a Ferrari. I arrived in early afternoon over the majestic Claiborne Pell suspension bridge and could see why the rich made Newport their playground. The old town ran down to a glittering bay, where yachts danced on the tides; on higher ground the Gilded Age mansions of Bellevue Avenue stood sentinel, their back gardens rolling to cliffs above the Atlantic. y only problem: Newport was full! The America’s Cup yacht race trials were taking place, and every millionaire with a boat was in town. Unable to get a room at Castle Hill, the favoured retreat of the summer set, on its own peninsula, I lunched there instead. Tribes of blonde Wasps reclined on Adirondack chairs on a lawn sloping down to the bay; a perfect vantage point for the races. I noted the famous Turret Suite: it had a front-on view of a lighthouse on the rocks. The Vanderbilt Grace, built as a YMCA in 1909, and now a hotel with 33 rooms and suites, was full, too. Still, I managed a cocktail in its bar where an immaculate Italian in a cream suit and blue shirt stood next to me sipping iced water. So cool. Like Gatsby. I found a room at the Attwater, a low-key boutique hotel in a great location, just off Bellevue Avenue. Which is, of course, the highlight of Newport. Is there a more opulent road on earth? It was here that Mrs Astor made Beechwood Mansion her summer home. The 400? That was the number of people she could ďŹ t into her ballroom. I took a trolley tour of “The Avenueâ€? the next day, and the mansions rolled by: Doris Duke’s 39,000sq ft Rough Point, Claus von BĂźlow’s Clarendon Court, a Bentley in the drive. “Most of the original owners lived in them only six weeks a year – the summer season,â€? said our guide. The Vanderbilt mansion – The Breakers – was the biggest


of the lot. It did seem a bit nouveau. The Preservation Society purchased the house 40 years ago and it is open for tours – except for the fourth oor, where a brother and sister, descendants of Cornelius, are said to live in Grey Gardens-like seclusion. As for Beechwood, it was bought in 2010 by Larry Ellison of Oracle, one of the richest men in the world, who has closed it to the public. A mansion tour is one thing, but a party in one of the homes is the real deal, so I was delighted to learn that one of the grandest – Rosecliff – would be having an evening cocktail soirĂŠe for the Newport Flower Show it was hosting. Sponsors included Brooks Brothers, the iconic American apparel brand. I bought a ticket and donned the white jacket. The grand ballroom, with its frescoed ceiling and clustered chandeliers, looked familiar, as did the sweeping back terrace and fountain, steps leading down to garden, the ocean beyond. Couples danced between the ower stands and ate canapĂŠs in front of stalls selling rum cocktails and designer clothes. Then it hit me: The Great Gatsby, 1974: Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. This was Gatsby’s house in the ďŹ lm! I made my way to the Brooks Brothers tent and admired the shirts. Daisy would have wept. It was then that the elegant Italian I had seen at the Vanderbilt Grace appeared beside me. I introduced myself. He said his name was Claudio Del Vecchio, and he happened to be the owner of Brooks Brothers. I almost spilled my drink. We talked Gatsby. “You know we made all the suits for the new ďŹ lm,â€? he said. “More than 500 costume looks, period style. Of course Mr Fitzgerald was a customer of ours‌â€? I loved Newport – the lively sailor bars and seafood restaurants on the wharf; the Prohibition-era smuggling boat, Rum Runner, on which I did an evening cruise around the bay; lavish weddings in full swing on the lawns of private yacht clubs. But Newport luxuriated in its past. I wanted the future, or at least the present‌ And so to Nantucket, or in Halliday’s words, “The Islandâ€?.


Nautical but nice Clockwise, from main picture; the Bellevue Avenue headland, Newport; navigation aids; a fan at the America’s Cup, Newport; scallops at Castle Hill; sailing past the hotel’s Agassiz Mansion






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Getting to the Cayman Islands from the UK is easy. It’s leaving that’s hard. Soft white sand between your toes, aquamarine sea, azure sky and golden sun and perhaps, a delicious Rum Punch – a visit to the Cayman Islands is pure indulgence. With three small islands to choose from, 5-star accommodation, fantastic restaurants and luxury spas, you’ll enjoy a holiday of a lifetime in paradise. Direct BA flights make it even easier for you to get to the Cayman Islands. Sadly, they also provide direct flights home too.


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Vintage look Clockwise, from top: model transport; feeling the breeze at Brant Point lighthouse, Nantucket; al fresco dining at the White Elephant; Cisco Beach, one of Nantucket’s best surfing spots; memento of a whaling past; Sankaty Head lighthouse

You can take a commercial flight to Nantucket from New York now – a 45-minute puddle jump (many summer residents take their Gulfstreams) – but for many years, you had to go by boat. I drove an hour north to Cape Cod, and caught the slow ferry from Hyannis. Thirty miles out at sea, in sight of no land, Nantucket’s isolation is its appeal. It was the last day of June – midsummer – but when the boat pulled in, the island was shrouded in mist, only widow’s nests of old town rooftops visible through the shroud. Isolation can be a great leveller; even the jets of the billionaires get grounded in the fog. Nantucket is a byword for blue blood, but it has had its booms and busts. In the 18th and 19th centuries, when whale oil was king and its fleet spanned the globe (Ahab and Starbuck in Moby Dick are Nantucketers), the island had clean-burning street lights before Paris, and the wealthiest, most literate population in America. When the oil market crashed the island sank back into oblivion, a poor fishing community. In the 1920s – at around the same time Gatsby was holding court in West Egg – it was discovered by the Broadway set, who moved into tiny, rose-covered cottages and spent summers drinking gin gimlets and performing singalongs in cedar-shingle playhouses. Only in the 1950s did affluent Northeasterners discover the island, and only in the 1990s was truly impossible wealth ushered in. I booked a cottage at the White Elephant near the harbour, the most elegant hotel in town, a languid property done in light beach tones. It had a beach of its own, deckchairs lined up on the lawns facing it. A wedding was in progress, and the fog cleared for the vows. I walked into the rarefied old town. Cobbled streets lined with chic boutiques were lit by vintage lamps; there were no traffic lights. Aside from a single Ralph Lauren, there are no chain stores. Tommy Hilfiger has a home here, but he’s not allowed to open a shop. The island has its own dress code and language, too. Men in faded red shorts and caps – Nantucket Reds – cycled by, and in the Boarding House, a popular bar for the summer set, every second shirt and over-the-shoulder sweater had either a whale insignia or the letters ACK on it – Nantucket’s airport code. These are the ultimate in preppy signposts: code to an entire class of Americans who spend their leisure time in Nantucket. alliday was last here six years ago, yet his list of places to visit and restaurants to try was still relevant. I dined on butter-poached lobster with chorizo at the candlelit Straight Wharf; John Kerry – “husband of the Heinz heiress” – was in the adjacent bar area with an entourage. No one paid him any attention. And why would they? The list of billionaires with homes here is long: George Soros; Eric Schmidt from Google; the CEOs of P & G and Johnson & Johnson. I met an estate agent who had a waterfront property listed for $59 million; the joke goes that Nantucket is so expensive, millionaires mow the lawns of billionaires. Of course, the arrival of new money – so many Gatsbys – has brought social conflict. Rival golf and yacht clubs have sprung up because the establishment clubs had such impossibly long waiting lists. The Nantucket Golf Club, of which Bill Gates is a member ($300,000 to join), opened in 1995 because no one could get into the elite Sankaty Head, established in 1923. The Nantucket Yacht Club, a ramshackle cedar-shale pile with a couple of tennis courts close to the harbour, is far more prestigious than the swanky new Great Harbor Yacht Club ($250,000 to join). I thought of Mrs Astor and her elite 400; Lorillard spurning the Vanderbilts – and so it goes. And yet, for all the new money, Nantucket has retained its style and grace. Often forcefully. There are building codes – homes are all done in that simple grey cedar shingle – and a group called the Nantucket Land Bank commands a levy from any new home buyer, which then goes towards purchasing new land to be protected from development. In effect, the property base gets ever smaller, the prices higher. After two days in the old town I relocated to the



grandest hotel on the island, The Wauwinet, a gorgeous, discreet 28-room inn, on the near-deserted north-east peninsula. Motorboats bobbed in a private dock, and my room looked across Nantucket Bay, the old town lights twinkling in the harbour. I could imagine Gatsby standing here, watching his guests arrive by motor launch. Nowadays they arrive in planes from the world over. My fellow guests included an elderly Chinese woman, dressed head to toe in Prada, who practised tai chi on the lawn, and a young British honeymoon couple cuddling in a corner. National Geographic magazine recently rated Nantucket the greatest island in the world – these travellers will only increase and the secret will be out. If you want the true retro glamour of the Gatsby Age, relocated to the 21st century, there is no better place than Siasconset, an idyllic hamlet on high cliffs at the eastern edge of the island. I visited one afternoon on Halliday’s advice – and stayed past midnight. The Broadway set hung out here in the 1920s, and those rose-covered cottages still stand, alongside larger cedar-shingle homes. The Casino – the theatre where they performed – is still going, now a private club with tennis. I dined on scallops and sea bass in the Sconset Café, a chic, minimalist space; millionaires in flip-flops sat at tables near me. At sunset I walked over to the Summer House, a classic, somewhat faded 1920s hotel and bar, with sea views from its rose-strewn gardens. I ordered a dark and

TWO WOMEN IN SEQUINS, FEATHERS IN THEIR HAIR, DANCED A WALTZ. I WONDERED WHICH CENTURY I WAS IN stormy, while a man played show tunes on a white piano. The crowd got larger and louder; a blonde television news anchor I recognised flirted with a man who looked like George Soros. “His brother,” a drunk corrected me. Two women in sequinned dresses, feathers in their hair, danced a waltz. I wondered which century I was in. Around 10pm a tribe of privileged young drunks, dressed in tuxes, ties undone, returned from a wedding “in town” – Nantucket village. The barman promptly frogmarched one of them out for an unpaid bill. I took a walk outside, weaving, slightly drunk, through the gardens, the scent of roses and jasmine mingling with cool sea air. A half-moon hovered over the Atlantic; somewhere out there in the emptiness was Portugal, Europe, the Old World. The only sound was the gentle lap of the waves below. Then, suddenly, a low rumble came out of the darkness. I turned, and clattering towards me on the old sea road was a gorgeous white vintage car, roof up, a couple inside lit by the moon. The driver had a hat on, a woman beside him was smiling. They hooted and waved. Then the car disappeared into the night. Sublime Travel (01753 653646, sublimetravel.co.uk) is offering seven nights on Nantucket Island, from £2,800, based on two people sharing. The price includes return flights from London to Boston with British Airways, return internal flights to Nantucket with Cape Air, three nights at the White Elephant and four nights at The Wauwinet.

LAWNS, LAUNCHES AND LOBSTER LUNCHES How to live like a 21st-century Gatsby on America’s opulent East Coast


two-bedroom cottages, where guests can

The Straight Wharf Nantucket Island

Glenmere Hudson Valley (001 845 469

indulge their inner Gatsby. The lawn of

(001 508 228 4499, straightwharf

1900, glenmeremansion.com). From the

the main building is lined with white

restaurant.com). Perennial favourite close

butler at the front door to the Carrara

wicker furniture and deckchairs – perfect

to the wharf, with timber floors, hurricane

marble bathrooms with amenities scented

for watching tycoons’ yachts pull into the

lamps and great service. Simple, fresh

for the hotel by an Italian perfumer,

harbour. John and Theresa Heinz Kerry live

dishes include yellowfin crudo, clambakes,

Glenmere is Gilded Age grandeur for the

a few doors down. Doubles from $195,

and butter lobster with chorizo. Try to get

21st century. The 18 rooms include

garden cottages from $295. Prices

a table on the deck, facing the water.

a 12,500sq ft penthouse with views of

almost triple in high season.

Glenmere Lake, while the landscaped

Sconset Cafe Nantucket Island (001

grounds have more than enough

508 257 4008, sconsetcafe.com). This

room to land a helicopter. Rooms from

minimalist, low-ceilinged space with white

$750 (about £480) per night, Goelet

chairs has art photography on the walls.

Suite $3,585 (£2,290). No children.

Try the crispy skinned cod with fingerling potatoes and saffron aioli. It’s BYO (buy

Castle Hill Newport, Rhode Island (001

a bottle from the wine shop next door). No

401 849 3800, castlehillinn.com). This

credit cards, but they do accept cheques.

pristine Relais & Châteaux property, on The Summer House Nantucket Island

a private 40-acre peninsula, has its own

(001 508 257 4577, thesummerhouse.

lighthouse, beach and wedding marquee. Guests stay in pretty beach houses,

The Wauwinet Nantucket Island

com).This faded property with a beach-

cliff-side cottages or the historic

(001 508 228 0145, wauwinet.com). This

side bistro, pool, piano bar and restaurant

nine-bedroom Agassiz Mansion (top),

28-room hotel occupies a narrow spit,

transports guests to the 1920s. Magic.

a pile built in 1874 for explorer Alexander

with access to Atlantic beaches behind

Agassiz. Its lawn and terrace bar are

it and the bay in front. Guests are ferried

hangouts for the yachting set, and the

to and from Nantucket Village in a 1948

Take a trolley tour of Nantucket,

best room is the Turret Suite duplex,

Chevrolet or on the Wauwinet Lady

including the grand mansions of Bellevue

with sweeping views of the bay.

motor launch (above). Dine inside or

Avenue (vikingtoursnewport.com).

Doubles from $750, Turret Suite $1,150.

on the terrace deck at Toppers, a great

Board Rum Runner II, a prohibition-era

restaurant serving island classics

smuggling boat from the 1920s, for

Vanderbilt Grace Newport, Rhode Island

such as diver scallop ceviche and

a cruise off Newport, Rhode Island

(001 401 846 6200, vanderbiltgrace.com).

lobster bake. Doubles from $225.



Built as a YMCA by Alfred Vanderbilt in 1909, this historic district mansion was

The Attwater Newport, Rhode Island

turned into a sumptuous 33-room hotel by

(001 401 846 7444, theattwater.com). New

the Grace Hotel group in 2010. From the

boutique hotel in light blue, white and

vintage indoor pool to the cocktail bar

yellow tones. Doubles from $159.

lined with Pop Art paintings, it’s a subtle synthesis of classic and contemporary


design. The British-born chef Jonathan

Glenmere (see Where to stay, above).

Cartwright’s restaurant, Muse, features

The executive chef Seadon Shouse,

a tasting menu called “An Evening at The

formerly at Zylo Restaurant at the W Hotel

Visit the 7th Annual Newport

Breakers”, based on a 1912 dinner at the

in New Jersey, creates modern classics

Mansions Food and Wine Festival

main Vanderbilt Mansion (though, these

with organic, farm-fresh ingredients.

(above), from September 21 to 23, with

days, you are served quail instead of lark).

grand tastings at Marble House and Clarke Cooke House Newport, Rhode

a gala celebration at Rosecliff (001

Island (001 401 849 2900, clarkecooke.

401 847 1000, newportmansions.org).

The White Elephant Nantucket Island

com). On the ground floor of this

Attend Nantucket Race Week,

(001 508 228 2500, whiteelephanthotel.

18th-century building, right on the wharf,

which takes place every August, and

com). This harbour-front property in soft

the Candy Store Bar does cocktails, sushi

watch the Opera House Cup

white and blue tones is the leading

and oysters; on the top floor, the SkyBar

Regatta – the first on the East Coast

old-town hotel. The main cedar-shingle

evokes St Tropez and serves chowder,

for all-wooden, single-hulled classic

building has 54 rooms, plus one- and

lobster and steak frites to the yachting set.

boats (nantucketraceweek.org).

Doubles from $275.



Flying the flag The nine-bedroom Agassiz Mansion at Castle Hill in Newport, Rhode Island



The surreal skyline of Singapore comes alive with Blippar, the technology that takes armchair travel to new heights. On the eve of the Grand Prix, and in the wake of the royal visit, download the app, point your smartphone and enter in…


along an aerial walkway, among the 18 ‘Supertrees’ of the newly opened Gardens by the Bay


BLIPPAR HOW IT WORKS 1. Download Blippar for free from the App Store or Google Play. 2. Hold your smartphone or tablet over the landmarks pinpointed by the captions above. 3. Watch the pages come to life with video, audio, 3D images and more.



inside the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest, two of the world’s largest plant conservatories


the Singapore Grand Prix circuit at night with Formula 1 winner Mark Webber

from the 680ft-high platform of the Marina Bay Sands Skypark with six Base jumpers


above the ‘lotus flower’ of the ArtScience Museum, then along the waterfront to the Louis Vuitton store


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Far from the catwalk La Ciotat, where Nicole Farhi has a home. Bottom: Soho House in Miami, where model Poppy


Delevigne heads for a romantic break


A quaint seaside town in France is Nicole Farhi’s favourite haunt; Angela Missoni’s is a village in Sardinia. Lisa Grainger gleans some surprising tips from the fashion set POPPY DELEVIGNE

Company (theultimatetravelcompany.

boyfriend wants to pass out during the day,

One of two models in the family,

co.uk); I can’t book a flight without Heidi,

I can nip out and shop for vintage stuff; the

the other being her sister Cara, the

she’s on speed-dial on my phone. Soho

shopping is brilliant. But then, Miami is an

26-year-old socialite (pictured, left)

House is amazing, and so romantic I get

amazing city; it’s really underestimated.�

has featured in campaigns for Anya

butterflies in my tummy thinking about it.

Hindmarch, Mango and Burberry, and is

The rooms are very private and personal,

a brand ambassador for Chanel.

the baths big enough to swim in and the

“My summers nearly always start with a trip

whole place is such fun. There are rows of

to Ibiza, involving lots of cocktails on the

beautiful sunloungers with navy blue-striped

beach, late nights and really long lie-ins. We

cushions, watering cans to wash your feet,

party at home, mostly, but if we go out, we

and a beautiful cocktail garden with fairy

The French fashion designer created

love the Jockey Club (jockeyclubibiza.

lights and lanterns. There’s a Cecconi’s

her eponymous brand in 1982 as part

com), where they do the best strawberry

restaurant downstairs and you can order

of the French Connection group, and

daiquiris, and play incredibly loud rave

food up to your room (you must try their

has since branched into restaurants.

music. There’s a fantastic restaurant in San

zucchini frites). Sometimes we’ll have

She lives in London with her husband,

Lorenzo, in the middle of the island, called

a whisky cocktail in the bar, other nights

the dramatist and writer David Hare.

La Paloma (palomaibiza.com), where

we’ll go to their Mexican place to drink

“We go every summer with our children and

everything is really fresh and organic and

tequila and watch outdoor movies. If my

grandchildren to the South of France,


home-made. They make things like rabbit

where we have a house outside a quaint

tagliatelle with tomato and avocado salad,

little seaside resort called La Ciotat (en.

served with vats of cold rosĂŠ.

tourisme-laciotat.com), near Marseilles.

After that, we head to Tuscany for

Because I was born in Nice, I always dreamt

a week, where we rent a farmhouse, sleep,

of having a house by the sea, and I love it.

eat and don’t touch a drop of alcohol (after

It’s everything that Cannes and St Tropez are

Ibiza, it’s the last thing we want). What I love

not: very discreet and quiet. It is wonderful,

about Tuscany is that it’s so Romeo and

when you spend your life designing clothes,

Juliet, with all the hills and exquisite scenery.

to be in a place where you can relax, where

As an antidote, my boyfriend and I will

you don’t have to dress up, put on make-up

go for a romantic break, just the two of us,

or meet anybody in the fashion industry

to Soho House (sohohouse.com) in Miami,

(apart from my old friend Betty Jackson,

which I book through The Ultimate Travel

who coincidentally lives five minutes away).


It’s all terribly old-fashioned and local, with

the ingredients – especially the seafood. One of

course and a little village

a Saturday market where farmers sell their

my favourite restaurants is Barque (barque

with two restaurants,

vegetables or chickens, and men bring fish

restaurant.com.au), set in a colonial house and

a pizzeria, two bars and

they’ve just caught. There’s a square with a bar

serving wonderful Asian cuisine. The staff have

a marina. The food is

where you can have a glass of wine or a coffee.

a genuine warmth. I also love The Wine Store

delicious – lots of pasta

(thewinestore.com.au), where the wine bar has an

and pork, as well as fish.

Other than this family holiday, David and I try to go away once a year on our own – for a birthday, anniversary or celebration – and

impressive list and the food is excellent.

Our favourite restaurant

At Margaret River, we loved Cape Lodge

nearby is Da Pasqualina, in Murta Maria, which

pamper ourselves. We’ve been to quite a few

(capelodge.com.au) in Yallingup, which felt like our

does appetisers of clams and octopus, and then

Aman hotels (amanresorts.com): three in

own little private property, in beautiful grounds,

grilled prawns and fish with potatoes. It’s very

Bhutan, one in Bali and one in the Turks and

but with people there in minutes if you needed

simple and extremely delicious, especially with

Caicos. The last one, in Turkey, was fantastic. The

anything. Everything was of the finest quality: the

a decent Sardinian wine such as Vermentino.

rooms are like villas, with their own pools, and if

bedlinen, the towels, the porcelain in the dining

you don’t want to, you don’t have to see anyone

room. We didn’t want to leave. When we did,

(thalassa.com) thalassotherapy spa in Quiberon

else. We mostly drove to little villages nearby and

we drove, with not another car on the road,

in Brittany, an hour and a half from Lorient airport,

ate in tiny restaurants, and I also went to

along a fantastic stretch of coast to Quay West

or a few hours on the TGV from Paris. I went with

a hammam, which was fun (I love to be scrubbed),

(mirvachotels.com) in a place called Bunker Bay:

my mother when I was 15, and I now go with my

and got to see Ephesus and other ruins.

it’s a contemporary resort on a beautiful beach.

husband. It’s on an Atlantic-facing peninsula with

If I close my eyes, I can still see it: the delicate

its own microclimate, so even in winter you can sit

rock formations, the varied blues of the sea.

outside in the sun. The spa was opened in the

If we don’t go to an Aman, we tend to stay at a beautiful hotel near Naples called Il San Pietro di Positano (ilsanpietro.it). It’s set above rocks

Afterwards, we went to a wine estate called

and, to get to the beach, you go in a lift through

Single File (singlefilewines.com), so named

the rock. The balcony views are breathtaking, the

because among the vines are ducks that roam

rooms are furnished in a lovely classical style,

around in single file, and another called Matilda’s

and people dress up for dinner. The food is

Estate (matildasestate.com), where there’s a

unbelieveable, just gorgeous.� nicolefarhi.com

delightful restaurant called Pepper & Salt, run by the talented chef Silas Masih. One dish he made I will never forget: a mix of raw fish and beetroot and edible flowers. It was just perfect, like nothing else I have ever eaten.� louisekennedy.com

For 30 years, I’ve been going to the Thalassa

‘A little beach bar, paella and a bottle of rosĂŠ – my idea of a perfect afternoon’ Heidi Grosman

1960s but is still the best, with a huge jet pool, very good massages, seaweed wraps and salt scrubs that work. You stay at the relaxed Sofitel Thalassa Quiberon (sofitel.com), surrounded by incredible rocks and beaches. The food is healthy, of course, so you miss bread and wine, but you still have beautiful fish, oysters and clams. There is so much to do: amazing walks, cycling along the coast, big monoliths in Carnac. Best of all, at the end you go home with a beautiful face, and a much slimmer body, but


you don’t feel like you have suffered; you just feel energised.� missoni.com

One of Ireland’s most successful fashion designers, she has dressed political figures ranging from Mary Robinson, the former Irish president, to the First Lady of Chile


and members of the Jordanian royal family.

The daughter of Rosita and Ottavio “Tai�

“For a quick fix, I’ll head to Italy – Menaggio, the

Missoni (who competed in the 1948 London

most beautiful location in the world, overlooking

Olympics for Italy, and designed the team’s

Lake Como and the mountains – or to St Tropez.

tracksuits), Angela Missoni was born into

One half of the Heidi Klein duo (the other is

Both are easy to get to from London, so they’re

one of the great knitwear dynasties. Her

Penny Klein), this designer of swimsuits,

ideal if you want three or four days away. For

collections have been worn by Cameron

bikinis, sunhats, flip-flops and kaftans thinks

a long holiday, I’m a convert to Western Australia.

Diaz, Nicole Kidman and Sharon Stone.

pre-holiday shopping is a chore. Her

On our last trip, we stayed in East Fremantle, by

“Every summer I go to my house in Sardinia, in

collections are available all year round.

the harbour, where there is a real buzz,

a village called Puntaldia (puntaldia.com), near

“There are three places I keep going back to: Ibiza,

particularly around George Street, which felt like

Olbia. It’s a beautiful spot, with long, white, sandy

where we have a house in the hills, and where we

Nantucket or the Hamptons: quaint, upmarket,

beaches. One, just by my house, is three miles

go to relax; St Tropez, out of season, when it’s not

with great little shops and incredible restaurants.

long. There are lots of little islands, so you

too crazy; and Mustique, where we usually hire


can get in your gozzo [a small, flat-bottomed

a villa. Mustique is gentle, very low-key, with a lovely

Australian cuisine: it’s not just the way they cook

fishing boat] and go exploring. There is very little

little bakery in the village, two bars (Basil’s and

and the mix of Asian influences, but the quality of

around: a simple 1980s resort, a nine-hole golf

Firefly), and the Cotton House (cottonhouse

As a foodie, I was blown away by Western

resort.com) if you fancy a hotel. The beaches are Make-up optional By the sea

beautiful. If you want waves, you go to the Atlantic

at Il San Pietro di Positano, Naples.

side; if you want calm blue Caribbean sea, you

Top: the Hotel Pastis, St Tropez

go to the other side, just a few minutes away. In Ibiza, we used to party at places like the Blue Marlin (bluemarlinibiza.com), but now that I have three children we go to El Chiringuito (elchiringuitoibiza.com), a great little beach bar where you can have the best paella with a bottle of rosÊ – my idea of a perfect afternoon. When we go to St Tropez, we try to avoid the awful traffic by staying at Hotel Pastis (pastis-sttropez.com), about five minutes’ walk from the town. It’s all pale greys and arches and balconies with pretty plants growing up them. St Tropez is the biggest source of inspiration for our design because it’s full of gorgeous little boutiques with colourful jewellery and shoes and bags you don’t see anywhere else. I bought a big canvas bag there ages ago, and it still comes with me (usually full of one of my 40 or 50 swimsuits which I have to test – I know, tough job!). I got it from Club 55 (club55.fr), which I love because it has such a buzz. It’s perfect for people-watching; I could just sit there all afternoon taking in the bikinis and kaftans that waft by.� heidiklein.com


ANTHONY OF ARABIA For the author and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz, David Lean’s film Lawrence of Arabia was an inspiration. Fifty years on, he follows in the footsteps of Lean and his entourage and discovers the real star – Jordan, with its vast, silent valleys, dramatic light and abundance of ancient sites


Golden highlights Anthony Horowitz (main picture, left) and his guide, Zakaria Salameh, with the Jebel Umm Ashreen rock formation in Wadi Rum as a backdrop. Opposite: Peter O’Toole (left) as TE Lawrence in the Oscar-winning film Lawrence of Arabia, directed by David Lean (right). PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOE PLIMMER


The world’s best views at great-looking prices. SNOW AND TRAIN WINTER TOURING EXPERIENCE From




per person

7 nights, includes flights. Terms and conditions apply.


Photo credit: VIA Rail Canada Inc.

*Price is based per person on two people sharing a double room. Standard hotel accommodation for six nights, sleeping accommodation onboard VIA Rail for one night, transfers between rail depot and hotel in Jasper, various excursions and other transfers. Full details available upon request. Included are flights from London Heathrow Airport to Vancouver International Airport. Taxes are included. Meals and airport transfers are not included. Price is based on arrangements commencing on 4 January 2013 but tour available from 30 November 2012. Travel must be completed by 31 March 2013. Prices subject to change according to dates of travel and availability of flights and hotels. Promotion ends 30 November 2012.

Bumpy ride Anthony Horowitz and his guide journey through Wadi Rum, eerily devoid of tourists


an it really be 50 years since the release of David Lean’s epic masterpiece, Lawrence of Arabia? Looking at it now, it seems as vital as ever, with none of the fustiness or sense of archaism that attach themselves to many classic films. The colours are superb and the performances outstanding (although Peter O’Toole was robbed of his Oscar by Gregory Peck at the 1963 Academy Awards). The wonderful musical score by Maurice Jarre is as evocative as ever. And there are still moments that have lost none of their power to thrill: Omar Sharif turning from mirage to man as he comes riding out of the desert; the single panning shot that captures the assault on Aqaba; the astonishing cut from the blowing out of a match to the Arabian sun. “Every tool used to make movies was used in the making of Lawrence of Arabia,” Steven Spielberg said in a speech to the American Film Institute 25 years later. “I was inspired the first time I saw it. It made me feel puny. It still makes me feel puny – and that’s just one measure of its greatness, because it’s a continued inspiration and it’s cutting the rest of us down to size.” The film received a standing ovation at its New York premiere and went on to win seven Oscars, yet in all the acclaim surrounding it, there is one contribution that the critics have overlooked – the country in which it was filmed. As David Lean himself wrote to his producer, Sam Spiegel: “…listen to me, Sam. The thing that’s going

to make this a very exceptional picture in the world-beater class are the background, the camels, horses and uniqueness of the strange atmosphere we are putting around our intimate story.” Many of the most memorable sequences take place in Jordan, including an early scene in which Lawrence is being escorted across the desert by a Bedouin guide. You’d have thought that a shot of two men on camels would be simple. In fact, it demanded a 500ft ski-lift, two cumbersome Panavision cameras and dozens of men working flat-out in the 40-degree heat. Somehow Lean encapsulates the Arabian desert with the khamsin (desert wind) blowing, the sand chasing its tail on dunes 1,000ft high, the afternoon shadows stretching out and the landscape saturated in an ethereal, golden sunlight. I travelled to Jordan to celebrate the anniversary and began in the desert at Wadi Rum, about 60 miles


south-west of Petra, where Lean shot a great deal of the film. His brilliant production designer, John Box, might have constructed Aqaba entirely out of plywood – the attack was shot in Almeria, Spain – but Wadi Rum is exactly as David Lean found it. In fact, TE Lawrence came here himself and the Seven Pillars of Wisdom can be found quite close to the railway line that Lawrence spent quite a lot of his time and energy blowing up. Actually, nobody is completely certain that the rock formation is the one that inspired TE Lawrence’s book, and I could only count six pillars. Like the nearby “Lawrence’s Spring” or the Nabataean construction “Lawrence’s House” – which isn’t – the pillars, too, may have only a tenuous connection to the great man. What is certain, though, is that Lawrence came here and famously described it as “vast, echoing and God-like”. I can’t put it much better than that. I stayed two nights in King Aretas IV Camp, which was only 20 minutes away from the nearest town – a bumpy, exhilarating drive across the sand – but which really did feel like the middle of nowhere. I was surrounded by vast rock faces – granite, basalt and sandstone – which, whacked by the sun and the wind, seemed almost to be melting. At times, when the light hit them at a certain angle, it was as if they were covered in hieroglyphics, perhaps carved by some alien race, trying to tell me something I didn’t understand. Until you have been alone in the desert, it is hard to


grasp how old the world is and how small we are within it. It’s not just the light that’s extraordinary. It’s the shadows, too, clinging on to every stone, every twist of desert grass. I never knew there were so many shades of black and grey. Walk just a hundred yards and the silence is total, overwhelming. You have left the 21st century. At night, the stars dazzle and as the moon slides out, stark white and ancient, from behind Jebel Umm Ashreen (a mountain whose name translates as the Mother of Twenty), you feel you are watching the essence of all drama, with no need for actors or cameras. There were few horizons at Wadi Rum. I was surrounded, enclosed, by tons of rock, by mountains that a million years ago were at the bottom of the sea. The expeditions that I made – on horseback (through the first-class Wadi Rum Horses, with proper, spirited Arabian animals) and on camels – were thrilling because it was so easy to become lost in the ever-changing landscape. King Aretas IV is described in the publicity literature as a luxury camp, and with its 10 lavatories and hot showers, sprung beds and very decent food, it certainly offered more luxury than Lawrence ever enjoyed. My first impressions of the many tents in rows and the sewage truck parked in plain sight were not encouraging – the camp seemed more military than luxurious – but with the fire lit, the wine poured and the sand dunes glowing in the moonlight, I was willing to forgive it anything. Originally, David Lean had planned to shoot all over Jordan and the Unesco World Heritage site of Petra was high up on his list. It was a wish denied by the film’s cost-conscious producer, Sam Spiegel, who moved the entire shoot to Spain. (In the end it was Spielberg who would return to this extraordinary place, many years later,


Sand city Clockwise, from top left: King Aretus IV Camp; desert signs; soldiers wearing Jordanian dress, at a Bedouin camp; and the Monastery at Petra, where David Lean’s wish to film was thwarted by his cost-conscious producer

sending Indiana Jones into Al Khazneh – the so-called Treasury, which is actually a mausoleum.) Petra – an official Wonder of the World, and on just about every list of places to see before you die – is this year enjoying an anniversary, too. After a millennium lost to the world, it was rediscovered 200 years ago by a Swiss explorer, Jean Louis Burckhardt, who entered the city disguised as an Arab. I needed no persuasion to hop on a camel and head that way, although my travel company, with its usual well-honed efficiency, had provided a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and a very knowledgable guide. othing can quite prepare you for Petra, a city carved out of the very rock by the Nabataeans in the sixth century BC. As you descend through the eastern entrance, a narrow gorge that once served as a waterway, you feel as if you are entering a monumental conspiracy between nature and humankind. There are boulders shaped like elephants that turn out to be accidental, and carvings of camels and merchants that have been placed there by design. The colours and shapes of the rock faces put you in mind of the Spanish architect Gaudí, but they are the result of erosion, exposing the sulphur, cobalt, silica and magnesium below. As you continue down, more and more buildings seem to come into focus, mainly tombs and tricliniums (meeting places), emerging from the hillsides until you turn a corner and there is the Treasury. And even though it is the climax of everything you have seen, it is still only the start. For me, the high point of Petra was exactly that: the Monastery (another misnomer, as it was originally a temple) is 900 steps up, although for the faint-hearted there are donkeys. What makes the



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inexorably against the walls. If there were half a dozen tourists in clifftop ruin so special is that it is relatively unknown. In fact, you feel the place when I visited, I’d be surprised − and that is a crazy you are discovering it for the first time. Impossibly large, carved once situation: Karak is unforgettable. again out of a gigantic cliff-face, it reduces you to slack-jawed That said, as you head south down the King’s Highway, it’s hard to amazement. It was built from the top down, carved one inch at a time escape the sense that you are following a well-tried tourist route and with what must have been incredible patience and skill. My great by the time our guide had ferried us into the obligatory mosaic hero, Tintin, came to Petra in The Red Sea Sharks and I felt exactly the factory (and shop) near Madaba, I was beginning to detect a whiff of same sense of wonderment and adventure as I climbed past plunging coach-party mentality. If you can get past this, the overall experience ravines and stood in front of this monolithic construction with the is transformative. Stand on Mount Nebo, in the blazing heat, where rest of the city far below. Moses himself stood and saw a Promised Land that he would never Now here’s the thing. Up to 8,000 people visit Petra on some reach, or dip into the water of the River Jordan at Bethany, where days and it’s hard to imagine it with crowds of tourists following Jesus Christ was baptised by John the Baptist, and the Bible is no brightly-coloured flags and umbrellas through the narrow longer something you had to read at school. It bursts into life. You passageways. But when I was there, at the beginning of May, I had feel its power and mystery all around. And not just that. At Bethany the place almost to myself. Why? Well, I stayed at the comfortable you are just a few yards away from Israel and two miles from Mövenpick hotel, which has the advantage of being right next to the JORDAN BASICS Jerusalem. At night you can see the twinkling lights of Bethlehem entrance. I was in there at 6.30am, ahead of the crowds. And right When to go Although Jordan and Palestine. Although there are soldiers everywhere and the now, there are no crowds. is a year-round destination, the tensions in the area, the echoes of so much conflict, are palpable, n a way, you have to feel sorry for the Hashemite Kingdom most comfortable times to visit the overall impression is one of peace. of Jordan, which finds itself surrounded by some of the most are September to November, I ended my trip by swimming in the Dead Sea – or rather bobbing troublesome neighbours anywhere in the world. It is bordered when summer temperatures like an oversized, ungainly cork. I’m afraid I found myself giggling by Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel and, just as memories of have dropped, and from March like an idiot. This is something you must experience sooner rather the devastating bomb attacks launched by Islamic militants to May. From June to August, the than later, as the Dead Sea is drying up at an alarming rate – losing in 2005 have begun to fade, fresh troubles in Syria have dealt another temperature can reach 50C, and more than 3ft of depth per year – and nobody can be sure that plans body blow to tourism. One might add that Abu Qatada, that most from December to February it to divert water from the Red Sea will really work. unwilling of tourists, with his well-publicised desire not to return to can be cold, particularly in the I coated myself in mineral-enriched mud, baked in the sun and Jordan, hasn’t exactly helped. desert, as well as rainy. finally emerged feeling like a new-born baby – though without the Amid all this, Jordan remains stable, and the Foreign and Currency The Jordanian dinar nappy rash. At the wonderful Evason Ma’In Hot Springs hotel, I stood Commonwealth Office had no restrictions in place in its travel advice (JD); currently £1 = JD1.10. beneath waterfalls that pounded me with naturally heated water and for Jordan at the time of writing. Reassuringly, the armed forces are Time +2GMT. Direct flights from ate dinner at the Panorama restaurant, with its astonishing views everywhere. While I was cantering across the desert, I was overflown London take about five hours. and so-so food. I wasn’t in Jordan nearly long enough. You could by three Cobra attack helicopters – and no car enters or leaves a hotel Practicalities Visas are issued spend two or three days in Petra alone. But for a week’s holiday, without being thoroughly searched. The atmosphere is tranquil, the on arrival to most nationalities I’m hard-pressed to think of a better destination. people highly educated and friendly and, under King Abdullah II, (JD20 for single entry; JD60 for When Lawrence of Arabia came out, 50 years ago, it received government policy has been broadly liberal (his mother, Princess multiple entry). It is considered positive but not universally ecstatic reviews. In his brilliant biography Muna al-Hussein, was a British woman, born Toni Gardiner, who first impolite to eat, drink or smoke of the director, Kevin Brownlow records Lean’s dismay at one came to the country as a secretarial assistant on Lawrence of Arabia). in public, particularly during particularly unkind headline: Two and a Half Pillars of Wisdom. With an uncharacteristic sense of humour, God gave Jordan not Ramadan, when restaurants are However, Dilys Powell in The Sunday Times had no doubts. “The a single drop of oil. In the long run, though, this may have often closed until after sunset. sun rising on the rim of blood-orange sand; dust storms like the contributed to the country’s stability. The economy relies heavily on Tourist information smoke-trails of a djinn; the shapes of infinity, the colours of heat – knowledge-intensive industries such as information technology; uk.visitjordan.com a passage which might be out of Homer…” And it’s clear to me, educational standards are high, with no fewer than 36 universities in reading those words, that she wasn’t just writing about a cinematic the capital; and most people you meet speak English. masterpiece. She captures Jordan, too. The other thing about Jordan is that it is very small. It is just 225 miles from Amman in the north to Aqaba in the south, and the Bailey Robinson (01488 689700, baileyrobinson.com) is offering population is only seven million. Although three-quarters of the a seven-night tailor-made package to Jordan from £2,135 per person, country is taken up by desert, the topography is extremely varied, including accommodation, return flight with British Midland and much softer and more verdant than you would expect, and packed private transfers throughout. The price includes one night at the Four with sights that are well worth visiting: Roman, Byzantine, historical, Seasons Hotel Amman, two nights at the Mövenpick Resort Petra, one natural, and Biblical. The traditional tourist triangle – Israel, Jordan night at King Aretas IV Camp in Wadi Rum and three nights at the and Syria in a single package – may be less desirable now, but for me Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea or the Evason Ma’In Hot Springs. it only emphasises that Jordan is a pretty perfect holiday destination in itself. Even the flights are civilised; if you take off at lunchtime in London, you can be having dinner in Amman by sunset. That is exactly what I did, joining the crowds in the lively, surprisingly European Rainbow Street, where I sat on the balcony of the jazzy Books Café, watching a spectacular full moon and smoking an argileh, also known as a hubbly-bubbly. (In fact, I would give this experience a miss; it may look exotic, but I’d have had as much fun wrapping my lips around the exhaust pipe of a Land Rover and it took me hours to recover.) It’s a pity that so many tourists rush through Amman, a densely-packed city on seven hills. Jabal al-Qal’a – or Citadel Hill – is certainly worth a visit, with its columns of the Temple of Hercules and its archaeological museum, which contains what is believed to be the first statue of a human ever made. The next day I went to Karak, an impressive castle built by the knights of the First Crusade and eventually brought down by the Muslim commander Salah ad-Din. Even when I was a boy, Saladin was something of a hero figure for me and I could easily imagine what it must have been like to be inside the fortress, listening to the boulders being catapulted endlessly and Top terrace The author (left) at the Ma’In Hot Springs hotel, overlooking the Dead Sea; and a waiter at the Cave Bar, carved into the rock at Petra




Calm dignity A gaucho in traditional dress at Las Viboras, one of the oldest estancias in Argentina, with eight guest rooms. Inset: the entrance to the stables at La Bamba





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Working holiday The view from the saddle on a cattle-herding ride across the pampas at El Ombú de Areco, a nine-room estancia near the ‘gaucho capital’ of San Antonio de Areco, about 70 miles from Buenos Aires


omantics will tell you the Argentine pampas begin where the River Plate dries out, and the grasslands stretch off like a green sea to the distant west. But for me, they begin at the Atalaya bakery, on Highway 2 at Chascomús. Here, for decades, artful cooks have been serving people the best sweet, buttery croissants in the world, called medialunas – the perfect accompaniment to a flask of maté and the long drive south. Now, when I stop there on my way to the Las Viboras estancia, I feel a Pavlovian prompt. In the early 1990s, I used to drive, or be driven, down the Ruta 2 every Friday, accompanied by my then girlfriend, Cecilia, often with her mother, father and spaniel, Bell. We were bound for her dad’s smallholding near Dolores. It was my introduction to the pampa húmeda, the great treeless plain of central Argentina. I learned to ride criollo horses, to birdwatch (and birdlisten) and to be joyfully idle, like WH Hudson in his pampas memoirs. In Far Away and Long Ago, the Anglo-American twitcher writes of his “happiness in the solitary places I loved to haunt, communing with wild nature, with wild birds for company”. I was 26 at the time, and being in the pampas was akin to a second childhood. There is always a risk in going back to places that have been important in your past, but Las Viboras provided a perfect re-encounter. It was family-run and the main house wasn’t too ostentatious (some estancias are very bling). I was welcomed with an al fresco lunch of lamb grilled in the classic gaucho style: crucified over a white-hot wood fire and slow-cooked to perfection. Once the malbec was poured, there was lively

conversation, about the countryside, the polo, the politics and, of course, “las Malvinas”, as well as culture and literature. I was then encouraged to take a siesta until it was time for a round of maté at 6pm. It was, as Argentines would say, the most cordial of bienvenidas, but over the next couple of days I sensed, behind this friendly, familial facade, the deep roots of Las Viboras. This was an estancia dating from 1820, making it one of the very oldest such estates in Argentina (the country declared independence only in 1817). Its location, close to the sea and an ancient coach track, meant Las Viboras almost certainly served as a frontier post during the wars between Argentina and the native Querandi, the pampas Indians. The brother of Juan Manuel de Rosas, supreme caudillo and number one hero-villain of early Argentine history, stayed there, and Las Viboras gets a mention in Don Segundo Sombra, a classic of Argentine literature. Times have changed, of course, but the owners are fierce protectors of tradition. The estancia is run by three sisters in their thirties, Sandy, Giga and Carolina Dodero, who inherited it when their father died; their mum is the fourth owner but rarely visits. “She doesn’t like the countryside, or horses, or anything,” said Giga, “so she hardly ever comes.” The Dodero sisters appear in Buenos Aires social and celebrity magazines – they are part of the polo set – but, Sandy told me, “We were raised like Indians. We used to spend our childhood here, riding and playing with the gauchos. I don’t much like the city and I avoid going there. That’s why I don’t have a boyfriend – I can’t find one who loves to be out here all the time.” The farmland surrounding Las Viboras covers some 10,000 hectares, massive for an estate that is only two


Pampas life Clockwise, from top left: a rider outside the main house at La Bamba de Areco; the swimming pool at El Rocío; Sebastián Goñi, the owner of Candelaria del Monte, with one of his art works; and typical gaucho finery

hours from the capital. The main house is set in its own gardens – known as the parque – that are neat but not overly so, bordered by casuarina trees planted to throw shade and keep the wind at bay. Most estancias follow this model; because the virgin pampas were almost treeless and covered in long grasses, settlers planted casuarina, eucalyptus and poplar trees to “civilise” the wilderness. There were also small, pretty cottages for dozens of employees – gauchos, cooks, maids and farmers. At dusk I walked for half an hour across the parque to a soundtrack of squawking ovenbirds and lapwings and more tuneful kiskadees, until I spied herds of cattle and horses in a distant field. I decided to save the pampas proper for the next day. It was pitch dark, a breeze blowing. In a small brick and plaster workshop, half a dozen peones were tacking up for their long morning rides; most days they would head off in different directions. “They check for pregnant or sick cows, keep an eye out for any problems with the stock and round them up for branding and vaccinations,” Sandy said. That morning, one gang was going to move 400 head of cattle to ensure that they had plenty of water (for the past two years, there had been drought in Buenos Aires province). We said our hellos and shared a couple of matés. The solid, squat but handsome criollo horses, with their wide sheepskin saddles, stood quietly beside riders dressed in berets, pantaloons and wide leather belts, with long daggers tucked in just above the buttocks. The scene was like something out of Martin Fierro, the great 19th-century gaucho-themed epic poem, and these gauchos exuded a calm dignity in their dealings with both horses and humans. On a whim, we decided to accompany the drovers. Four


horses were tacked up for me, Sandy, Giga and a friend, and we set off west in the grey dawn light. After passing through a couple of gates, we were out in open country. To catch up with the gang, we trotted and cantered steadily for an hour or so. It was the great Argentine experience: no paths, no fences, no roads to cross; just the freedom of the wide-open plains under a huge sky. By the time we caught up, the stock had been rounded up and we joined the rearguard, shooing the cattle across several fields and along a dry riverbed. The gauchos hooped and yelled, chivvying on the slow, ageing cows and the mischievous young calves that delighted in breaking ranks. By now the sun was higher and we were all warming up. The gauchos grinned as they worked, exchanging banter. The black and brown Angus glowed with health. Las Viboras is the biggest estancia I have visited and the Dodero women were, in their way, aristocratic (their surname is closely linked with the Onassis family). But my three-day visit there was like a working holiday. I was rarely in the house, never in my bedroom, I dined and drank with the family and I got drawn into a fight with cans of spray-on party cream (long story). I began


to smell of horses, and I enjoyed the barbecues all the more for the long rides. When it came to leaving, it was with a tinge of surprise as well as sadness. If there is one notable characteristic of estancia life, it’s that you completely forget there is a world out there – of roads, cars, haste, shops, work, and hassle. That has to be good for the soul. he Ruta 41 was too long and too well-paved to be a back lane, but it still had the feel of a country road. Tractors used it to hop from field to field, cattle trucks freighted stock to market and there were small towns every 30 miles or so, where all the shops seemed to sell combine harvesters and macho pick-ups. Heading northwest to San Miguel del Monte, I soon gave up overtaking and drove like an old gaucho in his ancient Falcon – slowly, window down, breathing in pig muck and the perfumes of the pampas. At the next estancia, Candelaria del Monte, I was greeted with fillet-steak sandwiches – I don’t eat a lot of red meat at home in Britain, but I was making up for it – and then quince pastries and maté. Always maté. I was soon joined by the estate’s owner, Sebastián Goñi, who inherited the family home a decade ago and manages 100 hectares pretty much alone. When he’s not working, he paints and sculpts; the estancia, which is only 30 years old but carefully designed to look like a traditional country house, is a gallery for his provocative conceptual pieces. On a short ride, I noticed that all around the estancia were soya fields. I’d heard this crop was eroding the old ways of the pampas, replacing the cattle and, at the same time, causing unemployment: you don’t need gauchos to corral soya beans. Sebastián said opening estancias to tourism was one way of preserving culture: “If I grew





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‘WE OFFER GUESTS TENNIS, BOWLS, MASSAGE, AND GUESS WHAT THEY WANT TO DO? NADA’ soya, I wouldn’t be able to offer visitors a picture-postcard [impression] of the pampas. By keeping criollo horses and Hereford and Angus cows, and being able to show people calves being born, we keep something special. At the same time, the tourism allows me to keep the house going.” Estancias the size of Candelaria aren’t sustainable as farms, he said, and would most likely be sold off and absorbed into a larger estate without the tourists. He said he worked closely with a neighbouring estancia, El Rocío, sharing bookings and maintaining high standards. “There are some estancias where you get busloads of people arriving in the afternoon, when they put on shows for tourists. We want to offer our guests something more personal – the experience of a typical estancia, but with a bit of luxury, and lots of comfort.” If Candelaria was very comfortable, La Bamba de Areco, a couple of hours’ drive north, was positively well-heeled. Here polo ponies pranced around puttinggreen lawns and the staff used walkie-talkies to ensure food was served, drinks poured, horses groomed and gates opened at just the right time to make guests feel like actors in a glamorous gaucho film. wned by Jean-François Decaux – of hoardings fame – the estancia dates from 1830, though one brick building known as the pulpería, or general store, is much older. It probably once served as an inn, as La Bamba sits on the Camino Real, the royal highway which, in the colonial era, linked Buenos Aires with the mines of Alto Peru (now Bolivia). The estancia was luxurious in decor and offered every service imaginable, but it was also sublimely peaceful. Over dinner the manager, Guillermo, told me, “When they arrive, people ask me what we have in terms of activities. We tell them: polo, riding, tennis, bowls, massage, a big television… and guess what they want to do? Nada. That’s what they’re here for – to do nothing.” As I’d already done a bit of riding, and enough driving, I was committed to doing some nada, too, so I kicked back on the pulpería’s settees with my WH Hudson book and a birders’ field guide. I strolled around the polo stables, where a farrier was shoeing a beautiful polo pony. His physical strength and sheer huevos (as in eggs, meaning cojones in Argentine Spanish), when the horse protested, was sublime: he looked it in the eye and told it off in horse language. One of the gauchos, a handsome, Conan-like character, showed me how he could make a criollo horse lie down while he was still seated on its


back. And two others showed me their finery: belts of silver coins, white shirts and shiny boots set proudly in ornate stirrups. If this was the get-up of gaucho warriors of yore, it was very regal republican wear. I drove out on to the royal highway, now a rutted dirt road, to begin my journey home. After a while, I passed another estancia – El Ombú de Areco, named after the pampas tree (in fact a massive herb). I made a detour through San Antonio de Areco, an ordinary-looking town at first glance but famous for its silversmiths and saddlers and cherished by Argentines as the “national gaucho capital”. Every November, a week-long Fiesta Nacional de la Tradición is held here, when gauchos from all over Argentina ride into town, grill whole cows for dinner and show off their cowboy-style dressage. The town’s most famous estancia, La Porteña, was once the home of Ricardo Güiraldes, a tango-dancing dandy and the author of Don Segundo Sombra. He took his guitar and gaucho clothes to Europe, which is where I was heading after my week in the Argentine country. So where do the pampas end? Well, the romantics will say it’s where the grass fades to grey and becomes Patagonia or rises to the clouds in the Andes. But after my trips to the pampas, I most often turn round and head back to the city. After a couple of left turns out of La Bamba, I was on the Ruta 8, immediately busy and soon widening to a dual carriageway. Then came the shanties and branches of McDonald’s, the suburbs and gated estates, and soon the road widened to 12 lanes, with toll booths, and horns sounding. It was my gateway through the great wall of mid-rise Buenos Aires. The Argentinian capital is famous for its shrinks and neuroses, for having its back to the river and its face set for Europe. But if there is one fundamental instance of denial in its people’s psyche, it’s their shunning of the open horizon of the vast grassy plains; Buenos Aires hides from the plains as meat-eaters hide from slaughter. I lived in the city 10 years, but I only miss the pampas – and the medialunas, and the maté.


communal spaces and an old

Polo and cattle estancia run by

pulpería (inn) that serves as a

a very committed Argentine

bar and lounge. Carlos Gardel,

family. The handsome Italianate

the tango legend, stayed here.

main house (below) has a large

Near San Antonio de Areco,

but cosy living room and eight

Argentina’s official gaucho

traditionally decorated

capital, 70 miles from Buenos

bedrooms (some with shared

Aires (00 54 2326 454 895,

bathrooms) surrounded by a


rambling estate. Near Dolores, 136 miles from Buenos Aires


(00 54 911 4049 7352,

Daubed in bright pastels and


decorated with beautiful objets d’art and textiles, the five-room El Rocío (top) breaks the mould of estancia design. It is close to wetlands, so ideal for birders, and not far from San Miguel del Monte, 68 miles from Buenos Aires (00 54 911 5161 5969, estanciaelrocio.com).

Last Frontiers (01296 653000, lastfrontiers.com) can arrange a five-day trip similar to the above from £1,339 per person, based on two sharing, with car hire. The price includes a one-night stay at each of three estancias, with full board, plus a further two nights’ b&b in Buenos Aires. British Airways (0844 493 0787, ba.com) flies direct from London Heathrow to Buenos Aires from £874 in World Traveller and from £3,526 in Club World, including taxes.



Cool, arty country house, with

Historic late-colonial-style

eclectic décor in the six large

nine-room mansion, built in

guest rooms and very

1880 and ideal for one-day

personalised service. Don’t

visits, offering horseback rides

expect gaucho folk music; the

and birdwatching trips. Near

owner, Sebastián, plays Nick

San Antonio de Areco, 70 miles

Cave in the communal living

from Buenos Aires (00 54 2326

room. Near San Miguel del

492 080, estanciaelombu.com).

Monte, 68 miles from Buenos Aires (00 54 2271 442 431, candelariadelmonte.com.ar). LA BAMBA DE ARECO Colonial-style polo estancia (right) with 11 sumptuous bedrooms, tastefully designed

ARGENTINA BASICS When to go All seasons except winter (late June to

Meating place Gauchos at the Fiesta Nacional de la Tradición, a week-long fair in San Antonio de Areco where they show off their riding skills and grill whole cows for dinner



September) are pleasant. January can be hot and humid. Practicalities Visas issued on arrival. Getting around You will need a car or driver to get around Buenos Aires province. If going it alone, make sure you obtain full insurance and drive with lights switched on to avoid fines/bribes. Currency The Argentine peso (AR$) is no longer monopoly money and Argentina isn’t cheap, though food and drink remain good value. (£1 = AR$7). Time difference –3GMT. Direct flights from London take about 13 hours. Tourist information argentina.travel

Luxury HoLidays 2013 Carrier specialises in luxury tailor-made holidays worldwide. Service is personal, flexible and haute couture. Our new 2013 brochures are available now and introduce the latest luxury resorts and hotels in the most chic destinations, including desirable beach resorts, private island retreats and exotic touring itineraries for the most memorable of experiences. New Destinations: Montana and Wyoming / Bermuda / Jordan / Zante / Verona / Zimbabwe / Burma Latest Hotels: Taiwana St Barths / St Regis Mauritius / Aman’zoe Greece / Ranch at Rock Creek / Segera Kenya / Monastero Santa Rosa / Banyan Tree Lang Co Bay Vietnam Ultimate Experiences: Le Massif de Charlevoix train / Windstar Cruise / Private Jet / Gorilla Trek in Uganda

Tel: 0161 492 1371 Africa | Caribbean, Bermuda & Mexico Indian Subcontinent, Far East & Australasia USA, Canada & Mexico | Europe & North Africa Indian Ocean & Arabia | Luxury Ski & Snow



Advertisement Feature


New York San Francisco Chicago 2 3 Las Vegas 3 Washington 2 3 Los Angeles 1 Grand Canyon 2 1 Scottsdale San Diego 3

Spectacular experiences, iconic first-class hotels, unforgettable dining… explore America coast-to-coast the only way that Scenic Tours knows how – in complete, fully-inclusive luxury


merica isn’t called the Big Country for nothing – and there’s a lot to pack into a visit here, as each of the 50 states boasts a super-sized selection of sights and natural wonders. So surely it’s too big to experience all in one go? Not so, actually.

Canyon and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

For anyone who harbours dreams of cruising under the Statue of Liberty and of viewing the awesome Grand Canyon all within the same holiday, there is now a new way to experience the very best that America has to offer, in one glorious ‘hit’.

And this being Scenic Tours – a company renowned for offering a unique, highlypersonalised service that puts guests at the heart of everything it does – the tour is packed full of iconic, first-class hotels.

The ground-breaking, 22-day Grand America Coast to Coast escorted tour from Scenic Tours is the most comprehensive and luxurious eastto-west adventure on the market, packed full of culture, history and beauty.

These ‘Scenic Special Stays’ range from the art deco grandeur of the Waldorf Astoria in New York, to the ultra-luxurious Park Hyatt in Washington DC and the glamorous Beverly Hilton in LA, where the Golden Globes are held.

It is an opportunity to see, feel, hear and taste the United States in all its glory and diversity, taking in some of the western world’s most famous sights - the Empire State Building, the White House, Las Vegas, and the magnificent Grand Canyon, to name a few.

Guests will also be able to kick back and relax in a wonderful Arizona Desert spa resort, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess – and stay at a lodge within the Grand Canyon National Park on the South Rim. It’s perfectly placed for spectacular sunrise and sunset views of one of the world’s most awesome natural wonders - and for an amazing 45-minute flight, providing a bird’s eye view and fantastic photo opportunities.

Even better, it offers complete, fully-inclusive luxury, with many amazing and spectacular experiences built into the price - there really is nothing else out there like it! Included adventures range from scenic Amtrak rail journeys down the East and Pacific coastlines, to spectacular flights over Las Vegas, the Grand

There are memorable dining experiences included, too, from a welcome dinner aboard a luxury ship with the Manhattan skyline as backdrop, to an evening at one of Washington’s best restaurants – the multi award-winning Blue Duck Tavern.

No other touring company offers this level of fully-inclusive luxury, where the hand-picked, firstclass hotels are as much a part of the experience as the destinations.



1 No. of nights

Although guests might pay slightly more than for a standard escorted tour, with so much included, Grand America Coast to Coast provides incredible value. Consider what it encompasses - flights, transfers, rail travel, first class hotels, all breakfasts, a great selection of meals, all the sightseeing and spectacular excursions, three scenic flights, even hotel porterage – far more than you’ll find with other companies. Up to three nights are spent in some of the destinations, allowing guests to immerse themselves in local culture, rather than simply observe like passers-by. And, unlike with a traditional escorted tour, guests have considerable flexibility to tailor this uniquely spectacular holiday to their individual needs. For example, they can take direct flights to New York from any of five UK airports, at no extra cost - while Scenic FreeChoice provides a range of included excursions and activities to choose from in many of the destinations visited. With the dollar still providing great value, America is an absolute must-see. And on this Grand American journey from Scenic Tours, you’ll discover all that’s best about this great land ‘across the Pond’, in fully-inclusive luxury where there are no hidden extras – just hidden gems and incredible memories created every day. Grand America Coast to Coast is the ultimate way to see America. But if you’re California (and New York, Chicago, Vegas and Grand Canyon) dreaming, don’t leave it too long, as these spectacular, ground-breaking new tours are already filling up fast.

INCREDIBLE INCLUDED EXPERIENCES NEW YORK CITY - stay in the art deco grandeur of the iconic Waldorf Astoria or luxurious Jumeirah Essex House and dine aboard a luxury ship, with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. WASHINGTON D.C. - see the Lincoln Memorial and White House – then follow the inauguration route of U.S. Presidents up to the U.S. Capitol, during two fabulous tours. Stay at the Park Hyatt Hotel, dining at the renowned Blue Duck Tavern. CHICAGO - discover the ‘Windy City’, home of the Blues on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan. Included Scenic FreeChoice options range from cruises to an all-American foodie bicycle tour. GRAND CANYON - kick back amid giant cacti at a five-star desert resort. And there is nothing more awe-inspiring than watching the vast Grand Canyon light up before your eyes as the sun rises. Soar over its awesome expanses with a scenic flight! LAS VEGAS - bigger, brighter, more energetic, colourful and glitzy than anywhere else on the planet - especially when seen from a helicopter! LOS ANGELES - on to legendary Los Angeles for a stay at the elegant Beverly Hilton, before taking the Pacific Surfliner rail journey to San Diego SAN FRANCISCO - stay at the fabulous Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, with its famous trams and Golden Gate Bridge, which are again seen spectacularly from the air.

For your free brochure and DVD call 0800 002 9762 or visit www.scenictours.co.uk

22 day Grand America Coast to Coast

from PER COUPLE only


£4,995 pp

0800 002 9762


HURRY OFFER ENDS 15 NOVEMBER 2012 Terms & Conditions: Prices are per person based on two people sharing a double / twin room. Early booking saving of £1,000 per couple is for new bookings made by 15th November 2012. Hotels are subject to change and may vary dependent on departure date. For full terms and conditions please see our brand new 2013 USA, Canada & South America brochure.


Every one a winner Clockwise, from left: Sky Sports presenter Charlotte Jackson; Ultratravel’s publisher, Nick Perry; Damon Hill and Barry McGuigan; Katie Melua, Darren Gearing of Shangri-La Hotels, and motorcycle star James Toseland


Bid in our silent auction for a luxury holiday, and enrich the lives of sick children too. Eddie Jordan explains how In May, when guests gathered at The Savoy hotel in London for the annual Ultratravel awards, it was partly to celebrate the best in luxury travel, partly to raise funds for a charity close to my heart. For more than 30 years, longer than I’ve been in Formula 1, CLIC Sargent has been building and running Homes from Home across Britain. As a CLIC Sargent patron, I have seen first-hand the difference these homes make to children and young people with cancer. We know that, on average, a family in Northern Ireland makes a round trip of 95 miles, up to five times a week, to access the cancer treatment their child needs. These practical difficulties – not to mention the financial pressures – can be the last straw for parents already struggling to care for a very sick child. That is why CLIC Sargent has launched the Northern Ireland Homes from Home Appeal, led by my good friends Barry and Sandra McGuigan. This exciting appeal will fund two brand-new facilities in Belfast where families can relax in a homely, comfortable environment, each an easy walk from one of the city’s

cancer hospitals. From my own work with CLIC Sargent, I know how much families in Northern Ireland need this kind of facility. Mary’s son, Michael, is 18 years old and comes from Ballykelly. He was diagnosed with leukaemia in November 2010 and began treatment. “The travel had a big impact on our family,” says his mother. “It came at a time when the winter weather was incredibly bad, with snow and ice on the roads. Michael spent three months in hospital from December to March, meaning that he missed his birthday and Christmas at home.” On most days, she adds, the family was doing a round trip of 130 miles to be with Michael. “A Home from Home would have been a godsend,” Mary says. “It would have saved us so much money, and we could have stayed together over Christmas. Instead, we paid for a hotel so we could be close to Michael at what was already an expensive and stressful time.” We hope Ultratravel readers will bid generously in this silent auction, helping families like Michael’s. With your support, we can help CLIC Sargent realise its ambition of providing two CLIC Sargent Homes from Home in Belfast. Good luck – and bon voyage.

THE LOTS ON OFFER LOT 1 A TRIP FOR TWO TO VIETNAM Donated by Western & Oriental, Banyan Tree and Angsana Hotels & Resorts A six-night luxury beach escape, comprising three nights in a private villa at the newly opened Banyan Tree Lang Co, three nights in a suite at Angsana Lang Co (both with daily buffet breakfast), return international and domestic flights, and airport transfers in Vietnam. (To be booked at least eight weeks in advance, for travel between January 5 and December 19, 2013, subject to availability.) Minimum bid £2,500.

LOT 2 A TRIP FOR TWO TO INDIA Donated by The Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts and British Airways A six-night holiday of three nights in a grand deluxe room at The Leela Palace New Delhi and three nights in a lake view room at The Leela Palace Udaipur, with breakfast, all transfers and return Club World flights with BA from London to Delhi. Minimum bid £3,000.

LOT 3 A TRIP FOR TWO TO THE MALDIVES Donated by Constance Hotels and British Airways


Seven nights in a double water villa at Halaveli Resort in the

We are inviting you, our readers, to bid for the 21 lots listed on these pages, erring, please,

Minimum bid £2,000.

Maldives, including daily breakfast and return flights with BA.

on the generous side. To take part, send your bid, stating clearly which lot you are bidding for, how much you are bidding, and your name, address, email address and telephone


number, to ultrabid@clicsargent.org.uk. The winning bid for each lot will be the highest

Donated by Beachcomber Hotels and British Airways

received by CLIC Sargent by midnight on Sunday, October 28, 2012.

Five nights in a junior suite at Dinarobin Hotel Golf & Spa in

The highest bidder for each lot will be contacted and asked to send payment within

Northern Ireland

Appeal Two new Homes from Home in Belfast

two weeks. On receipt of the cheque, each winner will be sent the prize vouchers by

Mauritius, including half board and return flights with BA. Minimum bid £2,000.

registered post. Rooms and flights are subject to availability and, unless otherwise stated, all flights are economy class. Each holiday is subject to separate terms and conditions, in


addition to those published overleaf; these are available at ultra.travel/auction2012 or by

Donated by Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living

emailing conditions@clicsargent.org.uk.

Two nights in a one-bedroom residence on Park Lane, Mayfair,

For more about CLIC Sargent, see clicsargent.org.uk/northernirelandappeal

including breakfast. Minimum bid £200.


LOT 6 A TRIP FOR TWO TO DUBAI Donated by The Address Downtown Dubai, Armani Hotel Dubai and British Airways A three-night stay, including two nights in a deluxe room at The Address Downtown Dubai, with breakfast and dinner at Hukama Restaurant; plus one night in an Armani classic room at the Armani Hotel Dubai, with lunch for two at the At.mosphere Grill. Also included are return flights with BA. Minimum bid £1,750.

LOT 7 A TRIP FOR TWO TO SINGAPORE Donated by Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts and Singapore Airlines A four-night stay, with two nights in a courtyard suite at Raffles Hotel Singapore and two nights in a suite at Swissôtel The Stamford, including daily breakfast and return flights from London or Manchester with Singapore Airlines. Minimum bid £2,000.


LOT 8 A TRIP FOR TWO TO PARIS Donated by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, The Oetker Collection and British Airways A two-night stay, with one night in a deluxe room at the Shangri-La

Going, going… gone Enticing trips to Mauritius (above), Vietnam (left) and Scotland (bottom) are among the lots in our charity auction, many including flights with British Airways (below)

Hotel, Paris, with breakfast; plus one night in a junior suite at Hôtel Le Bristol Paris, with breakfast, dinner for two (including a glass of wine per course) at Brasserie 114 Faubourg and two spa treatments at Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie (date restrictions apply). Also included are return flights with BA. Minimum bid £1,200.

LOT 9 A TRIP FOR TWO TO ROME Donated by Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts and British Airways

LOT15 A STAY FOR TWO IN LISBON Donated by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Two nights in a classic room at the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, including daily American buffet breakfast. Minimum bid £400.

LOT16 A STAY FOR TWO IN LONDON Donated by The Savoy, London Two nights in a river view deluxe suite, including breakfast, and tea for two in the Thames Foyer. Minimum bid £800.

A three-night weekend stay in a deluxe room at the Grand Hotel Via Veneto in Rome, including daily breakfast and return flights with BA.


Minimum bid £1,250.

Donated by Cunard A five-night Northern Europe voyage on Queen Mary 2, departing



Donated by Virgin Limited Edition and British Airways Three nights at Kasbah Tamadot, Sir Richard Branson’s Moroccan

from Southampton on August 3, 2013. Passengers will visit Brussels or Bruges (from Zeebrugge) and St Peter Port, Guernsey. The successful bidder and guest will enjoy accommodation in

retreat, including daily breakfast, local taxes and return flights

a Britannia balcony stateroom, use of the spa, entertainment and

with BA. Minimum bid £850.

all on-board meals, including white-gloved afternoon tea (cover charges apply in some restaurants). Minimum bid £1,500.

LOT 11 A TRIP FOR TWO TO MAURITIUS Donated by Lux* Island Resorts and British Airways


Five nights in a superior room at Lux* Le Morne in Mauritius, with

Donated by Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

half board and return flights with BA. Minimum bid £2,000.

A one-night weekend stay at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, including breakfast and dinner at Bar Boulud (with one bottle of


wine selected by the sommelier). Minimum bid £300.

Donated by The Gleneagles Hotel Two nights in a Gleneagles estate room, including breakfast and


a choice between a table d’hôte dinner at The Strathearn restaurant,

Donated by Regent Seven Seas Cruises

or a tee-time for two at one of three championship courses – the

A seven-night voyage on the Seven Seas Mariner from Rome to

PGA Centenary Course (the venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup), the Queen’s Course or the King’s Course. Successful bidders will have unlimited use of the resort’s other facilities. Minimum bid £500.

LOT 12

Barcelona, calling at Florence, Portofino, Monte Carlo, St Tropez, Marseille and Palma. Includes return flights from the UK, transfers, all meals and drinks, 24-hour room service, unlimited shore excursions, entertainment, use of gym, cruise gratuities and


service charges. Departs on May 15, 2013. Minimum bid £2,750.

Donated by Kempinski Hotels Three nights in a double room at the Kempinski Hotel Bahia


Estepona, on the Costa Del Sol, including daily buffet breakfast.

Donated by Mandarin Oriental, New York, and British Airways

Minimum bid £400.

A two-night stay in a Central Park view room at Mandarin Oriental, New York, including return Club World flights with BA.


Minimum bid £2,500.

Donated by Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and Etihad Airways Three nights in a deluxe double room at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers


in Abu Dhabi, including daily breakfast and return flights from

Donated by Café Royal Hotel, London

London or Manchester with Etihad. (To be booked by December 31,

One night in a junior suite at the Café Royal Hotel, London, including

2012, for travel completed by June 30, 2013.) Minimum bid £800.

afternoon tea for two. Minimum bid £200.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS 1 All lots are subject to their own separate terms and conditions. Please familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions for each lot, which will be posted at ultra.travel/auction2012. 2 This auction is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man aged 18 years or over, except employees of CLIC Sargent, Ultratravel and Telegraph Media Group Limited, their families, agents or anyone else professionally associated with the auction. 3 Details of how to participate form part of the terms and conditions. By submitting a bid in this auction, participants agree to be bound by these terms and conditions. 4 The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 5 Bidders may bid for more than one lot, but may make only one bid for each lot. Once submitted, bids may not be withdrawn and you acknowledge that once the Promoter has confirmed you are the highests bidder, you have entered into a legally binding contract to buy the lot you have bid for from the Promoter. 6 Bids must be above the reserve listed for the lot being bid for; in pounds sterling; and received by the Promoter by midnight on Sunday, October 28, 2012. 7 Successful bidders will be notified within seven days of the closing date of the auction. 8 Late, illegible, incomplete, defaced or corrupt bids, and bids below the reserve for the lot being bid for, will not be accepted. 9 The successful bid for any one lot will be the highest received by the closing date. If two or more bids equal the highest bid, the lot shall be awarded to the bid received first. 10 Successful bidders must remit their payment for the relevant lot within 14 days of notification. 11 If the Promoter is unable to contact a winning bidder within seven days of the closing of the auction, or if the payment is not received within 14 days of a winning bidder being notified, the Promoter reserves the right to award the lot to the next highest bidder. Should there be two or more bids equalling the next highest bid, the lot shall be awarded in accordance with Condition 9, above. The Promoter reserves the right to carry on awarding the lot to the next highest bidder until the reserve is reached. 12 If the Promoter is not able to award a lot for any reason, the Promoter reserves the right to withdraw the lot from the auction. 13 The lots as described are available on the date of publication and are subject to availability. 14 Lots are not transferable and there are no cash alternatives. 15 All holiday vouchers must be used within one year of the successful bidders being notified and are subject to their own separate terms and conditions available at ultra.travel/auction. 16 Events may occur that render the auction impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Promoter; accordingly, the Promoter may at its absolute discretion vary or amend the auction and the entrant agrees no liability shall attach to the Promoter as a result. 17 Ultratravel is responsible for the publication of this auction. All aspects connected with the provision of the lots are the responsibility of the Promoter. Promoter: CLIC Sargent, Horatio House, 77-85 Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8JA. Registered charity 1107328. For full details of the Promoter’s terms and conditions, please email conditions@clicsargent.org.uk


ANA Premium Economy* gives you that little bit more. A ‘living space’ that is 17% ** more than Economy. And the warm welcome and care throughout your journey. Helped along with fine food and a spot of bubbly. You see, Japanese hospitality isn’t by design. It’s all natural. Bring Premium Economy to life. Download the FREE Aurasma Lite App from your app store and hold it in front of the ad. Enjoy more. Fly ANA Premium Economy.

www.ana.co.uk Win tickets to Japan by visiting www.ana-cooljapan.com See website for full terms & conditions

Imagine Cruising presents The Ultimate Asia Experience

Imagine... Experiencing the Golden age of travel onboard the Eastern & Oriental Express Luxury Train combined with the world famous Ocean liner, Cunard’s Queen Victoria

Imagine Cruising

with all these benefits

Experience the Eastern & Oriental Express Gourmet Dining Flight included FREE hotel stays~ Free Balcony Upgrade

THE EASTERN & ORIENTAL EXPRESS Imagine discovering the glamour and mystique of the Eastern and Oriental Express. Draped in intrigue, this world famous train offers travellers the option of taking an extended journey or simply to enjoy a day out to experience truly luxurious train travel. You will have the opportunity to spend three nights on the exclusive Eastern and Oriental Express before boarding the magnificent Queen Victoria cruise liner for your journey to Dubai. Wind your way along the edge of the River Kwai and take a guided tour of the colonial city of Georgetown, then board the ship for your unforgettable cruise across Asia. Soaring mountains, lush green forests, endless ocean and first class service await you on this magnificent journey.

Exclusive offer

OPENING HOURS: Mon - Fri 8am to 9pm Sat & Sun 9am to 9pm

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE Fully bonded means your money is 100% protected


22nts from


• Return flights from/to London Heathrow • 1nt 5 stay in Bangkok • 3nts on the Eastern & Oriental Express • 4nt 5 stay in Singapore • 12nt cruise from Singapore to Dubai • 2nt 5 stay in Dubai

Departs 19 Mar 2013 onboard the Eastern & Oriental Express and Cunard Queen Victoria Inside ......................... fr £3899 Outside ....................... fr £4299 Balcony....................... fr £4299 Grill Suite................... fr £6049 On the Eastern & Oriental Express upgrade from a Pullman Cabin to a State Cabin for an extra £250pp or a Presidential Cabin for an extra £1,330pp

Imagine Discovering… Arrive Bangkok, Transfer to 5 Hotel Day 2 Embark Eastern & Oriental Express Day 3 Eastern & Oriental Express Day 4 Eastern & Oriental Express Day 5 Disembark Eastern & Oriental Express, Transfer to 5 Singapore Hotel Day 6 5 Singapore Hotel Day 7 5 Singapore Hotel Day 8 5 Singapore Hotel Day 9 Embark Queen Victoria, Singapore Day 10 Port Kelang (Kuala Lumpur) Day 11 Leisure at Sea Day 1

Leisure at Sea Colombo CABIN Leisure at Sea UPGRADE Leisure at Sea FROM OUTSIDE Mumbai TO BALCONY^ Leisure at Sea Leisure at Sea Muscat Dubai Disembark Queen Victoria, Transfer to 5 Dubai Hotel Day 22 5 Dubai Hotel Day 23 Return Flight to London Heathrow Day 12 Day 13 Day 14 Day 15 Day 16 Day 17 Day 18 Day 19 Day 20 Day 21


0800 840 5900

Don’t just imagine - call free on or visit imaginecruising.co.uk

Terms & conditions apply; for full details please visit imaginecruising.co.uk. Prices are per person and are based on 2 adults sharing an inside cabin, an outside cabin, balcony cabin or grill suite. Where applicable flights are based on London departures, unless otherwise stated; regional departures are available upon request and may carry a surcharge. Imagine Cruising are ATOL protected and ABTA bonded (L7903/Y2901). When paying by credit card a 2½% charge will be added to your booking, and if paying by debit card a 0% charge will be added. ~ Where applicable & subject to availability. ^Free cabin upgrade for selected cabin grades as indicated above.

intelligence ULTRA

Polar attraction A balloon flight for two over Antarctica is Brown + Hudson’s next bespoke project



Taking off




safari on film, then present the images to them in a book.

the marine-rich seas on a private luxury liveaboard such as

When Brown + Hudson talk about “truly bespoke”,

The company’s next challenge? Arranging a hot-air balloon

Silolona (silolona.com) or Tiger Blue (tigerblue.info). Prices

they mean it. The London-based travel company, set

flight over the Antarctic for a particular couple who want to

start at £2,500 for seven days, including flights, meals,

up in 2009 by Philippe Brown, who had previously worked

soar above the ice, entirely alone (brownandhudson.com).

transfers and all diving activities (originaldiving.com).

in advertising, doesn’t have a single package to sell – or



even a template. “Everyone’s idea of a perfect holiday is different,” Brown says. “To one person, the word exotic might mean Bethnal Green; to another it might mean

FIVE-STAR SCUBA In the past, dive hotels have not been synonymous with luxury. However, a spate of recent openings

ART OF AFRICA Anticipating an influx of design-savvy tourists to Cape Town in 2014, when the city becomes World

diving with turtles in Papua New Guinea.” Hence the

has encouraged Tim Simond, author of the coffee-table

Design Capital, the One&Only resort has launched art tours

“mood board” he creates for each client, followed by

book Dive in Style, to launch Original Diving. Its holidays

led by João Ferreira, a local gallerist. The tours, tailored to

a highly personalised trip which might involve meeting

feature out-of-water experiences as breathtaking as those

guests’ particular interests, might include visits to the city’s

a particular hero (Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town,

beneath the waves. Having just returned from Raja Ampat

main art galleries, private studios (some of which are

say, or a Formula 1 driver in Monaco) or spending time

in West Papua, which he says has “the best diving I’ve

normally open by invitation only) and hip workshops such

with some of the world’s leading experts, from sommeliers

ever seen”, Simond – a qualified dive master – highly

as The Foundry, as well as trips to arts-and-crafts areas

to wildlife guides. Brown can arrange tutors for children on

recommends trips to the area, staying at either the Sorido

such as Kalk Bay. Prices range from R3,250 (£260) for

long trips, and his latest triumph was hiring a guide who

Bay Resort (papua-diving.com) or the boutique Wakatobi

a half-day to R4,600 (£370) for a full day, in a chauffeured

was also a professional photographer to capture a couple’s

Dive Resort (wakatobi.com) in southern Sulawesi, or plying

Mercedes, for up to six guests (oneandonlyresorts.com).


A d r i a t i c - We s t I n d i e s - C e n t r a l A m e r i c a - B a l t i c - B r i t i s h I s l e s

Luxury Under Sail W IT H



hilst there are many large sailing ships offering passages around the world there are few if any that can compare in terms of luxury to the 96-passenger Sea Cloud II. Standing on the dock and looking up at her you cannot help but be impressed by the sheer majesty of the vessel. Walk up the gangway and on to the deck and it is even more impressive. And, the splendour does not end here; below deck is a sumptuous world of traditional maritime inuences with 21st century luxuries.


We have chartered the magniďŹ cent Sea Cloud II for a series of unique voyages in regions of the world which are simply perfect for exploration under sail. Our exciting voyages in the Adriatic, Baltic, British Isles, Central America and the West Indies will particularly appeal to those who enjoy a few days travelling under sail. To be on deck when the sails are fully extended is a marvellous experience. The forces of nature and ingenuity of man combining in the most natural of ways allows us to experience the thrill of sailing and a form of transport that has existed since the earliest of times.

Call today for a copy of our new Sea Cloud II brochure or view online

Call us today on 020 7752 0000 for your copy of our brochure. Alternatively view or request online at www.noble-caledonia.co.uk


Vintage meets modern The open-plan Val d’Orcia suite features a resin tub

RUSSIAN ROULADE This year has already seen the opening of a Russian jewellers in London (Fabergé, on Grafton Street), a Russian bookshop (at Waterstones in Piccadilly) and, this month, a Russian spa (gobanya.co.uk). Now they have been joined by a deli in Knightsbridge (The Merchant’s Yard, stocking delicious perozhiki pastries and raznosoly pickles) and two Russian restaurants, Novikov and Mari Vanna. While Novikov’s interiors are cool international, Mari Vanna is styled like a vintage dacha, wallpapered in Russian newspapers, lit by chandeliers and lined with shelves of Soviet literature. Its afternoon tea (£45) features delicacies ranging from blinis with caviare and Perogi dumplings to finely layered honey cake, plus tea from the Rare Tea Company or a glass of (surprisingly good) Russian champagne. Prince William took over the place for his thirtieth birthday – and signed a wall to prove it. Booking essential: 020 7225 3122, marivanna.co.uk


A VILLAGE WITH A VIEW VAL D’ORCIA SUITE Hotel Monteverdi, Tuscany Castiglioncello del Trinoro, Provincia di Siena (00 39 057 826 8146, monteverdituscany.com) Opened August 2012 From €250/£200 per night, b&b Size 380 square feet USP The setting. The peace. The history. In this hilltop hamlet, every building is centuries-old, barely a dozen cars pass daily and a painterly panorama appears around every corner. At its heart is a café serving farm-fresh fare and in among the stone dwellings are a handful of exquisite rooms and suites. Hotel Monteverdi would be a find anywhere, but in well-mined Tuscany it is remarkable. The man behind the seven-bedroom hotel is Michael Cioffi, a lawyer from Ohio, who came across the

“forgotten” village of Castiglioncello del Trinoro – population 20, access via an unmade road, altitude 2,700ft – while on holiday. Entranced, and seeing the potential for sensitive renovation, he bought several tumbledown properties and recruited the Rome designer Ilaria Miani to create three villas. He introduced artists-in-residence, an archaeological dig that has uncovered a 12th-century fort, and now the hotel, also designed by Miani. A pool, with a view to the volcanic Monte Amiata, and a restaurant will follow. Guests can do yoga on a grassy terrace, and six miles away is the sublime garden, La Foce, with its excellent new restaurant, Dopolavoro (dopolavorolafoce.it), as well as the vines of Tenuta del Trinoro, whose acclaimed red is available by the glass.

The details In the open-plan Val d’Orcia Suite, entered via ancient doors from the street, old, new and natural merge. From the bed, I can see Monte Cetona and Radicofani Castle, as well as cornfields and cypresses. A painted concrete floor, pale-washed walls and light linen bedding set off the beam-andbrick ceiling and stripped-wood lintels. From the glass-walled shower, with 2ft rain-head, and the travertine trough of a basin, mirrors reflect outside and in. I hear murmurs from the café and passages of Beethoven as musicians practise for a concert in the church. There’s concealed his-and-hers storage, a flat-screen television and free Wi-Fi, but no need for air-con – that is provided by 3ft-thick walls and a hilltop breeze that keeps the village cool in summer. Yolanda Carslaw


BAGS OF GOODWILL The Taj group of hotels has just opened a Taj Khazana shop in London – its first outside India – selling items made by the disadvantaged and disabled, and by Indian artisans whose skills were in danger of dying out (such as the hand-loom weavers of Varanasi). Among the beautifully curated collection of jewellery, shawls,


homeware and inlaid boxes on sale at Taj’s

San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge This 16th-century former hunting lodge in the Dolomites has four suites and offers delicious home-cooked meals (from €2,400; sanlorenzomountainlodge.com). Hotel Castello di Casole Located among rolling olive groves, the restored 10th-century castle in Tuscany has just opened five two-storey, loft-style suites (from €980; castellodicasole.com). Borgo Santo Pietro The boutique Tuscan property has four new suites set around a courtyard; one of them, Casa di Unicorno, also has its own garden (from €645; borgosantopietro.com).

51 Buckingham Gate hotel are natural leather bags ranging from washbags and totes to covetable Globetrotter-style suitcases (bottom), available in two sizes and costing £362 and £579



FlightTrack Pro $9.99 (£6.40)

Tracks flights anywhere in the world − all 1,400 airlines and 3,000 airports − and gives information on gate changes, flight cancellations, weather and delays.

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SCIENTIFIC ANTIQUES In the Old Town in Geneva, Antiquités Scientifiques (rue du Perron; 00 41 22 310 0706, perret-antiques.ch) is like a museum − but the exhibits are for sale. Set up by Marc-André and Marlyse Perret 30 years ago to capitalise on their antique-hunting habit, the tiny boutique is full of quirky objects, from hand-crafted globes and dark-blue

Scans for all departures from

apothecaries’ jars to brass binoculars

an airport over the next two days −

and vintage cameras. Also handy

useful if you’ve missed a flight.

for visitors to Geneva are the

FlightBoard £2.49

Shows arrivals and departures boards at 16,000 airports, updated every five

respectively (tajhotels.com/taj-khazana.html).

tourist office’s nine new maps, downloadable from geneva-tourism.ch.

minutes – handy if you’re a cabbie. IT’S A CHANGING WORLD







Travel experts reveal their bugbears


Nights booked to date through Airbnb, which provides accommodation in private homes – one every two seconds

Spa guru Lisa Johnson on what makes her blood boil outside the sauna IRRITATING MUSIC It might help therapists to get into the zone


themselves, but bland arrangements of classical favourites, pan pipes and mating whales have the opposite effect on me. The

Pairs of shoes created for Marilyn Monroe by Salvatore Ferragamo, on show in his Florence museum until January (museuferragamo.it)


Aldaba giant tortoises still alive on Fregate island – the secondbiggest population on Earth


Year The Royalist Hotel – England’s oldest inn – was built

best spa music is of ocean waves and birdsong, as played at the Maia spa in the Seychelles. The Ilia Music CD and Wah! by Savasana are also good. Alternatively, let clients plug in an iPod and listen to their own. PAPER PANTS I’m not really sure which are worse – the cheese-cutter G-string variety, or the


shapeless, shower-hat kind with no obvious

More than 10,000 people take

tables for eight have been laid

glory), with a stop for a swift

back or front. The black ones are marginally

a spin on the London Eye each

with white cloths, flowers and

bathroom break in the facilities of

preferable, but Mr Bean would still have

day, but none has been able to

silver ice-buckets. A surprisingly

the (rather less salubrious) London

a field day. Pray for deft towel management.

stay for dinner – until this month.

good three-course dinner is then

Aquarium. The cost of dinner for


After a glass of champagne at

served during four revolutions of

eight is, unsurprisingly, steep

It’s all very well for therapists to glide around

Gillray’s Bar on the South Bank,

the Eye (including lobster salad

(from £5,000) although high tea

tentatively like woodland sprites, but I prefer

guests are accompanied to

during the first, followed by lamb,

costs a more down-to-earth £628

them to get stuck in. Insist on an experienced

a private pod in the Eye, where

then crème brulée knickerbocker

(0871 222 4002, londoneye.com).

massage therapist with strong hands, such as Elaine Williams at Grayshott (grayshottspa. com) in Surrey, if you want your muscles manipulated rather than just stroked.



INTIMATE INDIA On seeing Rohit Chawla’s photographs, author and Indiaphile William Dalrymple declared them among the best to have come out of India “since Cartier-Bresson was here with his Leica in the late 1940s”. Chawla’s portraits of Rabari nomads from Gujarat, published this month in his book Wanderlust, are well lit and beautifully composed but also remarkably intimate. The photographer lived and travelled with the nomads, observing the frugal simplicity of their lives while simultaneously recognising their beauty and sense of style – captured in his arresting image of camel-herders (left). From $60, rohitchawlaphotography.com

Shuffling along in a voluminous tent – with a belt that does up around your knees, and arms that trail along the floor – certainly doesn’t make you feel serene. Can we just have a nice cotton robe that fits, please? Towels are for drying yourself, not for wearing. ENDLESS SPA MENUS Who has time to wade through page after page of non-surgical facelifts and triple detox wraps? We’re there for pleasure. So please keep the menu short, or invite us to book a time slot, as at Espa spas, and pick


whatever we feel like when we get there.



Why is it special? Where else would you find a hotel boasting not one but two

Everyone loves a sauna/steam-room/vitality

confessional boxes? It has taken 12 years of painstaking work – and very deep pockets –

pool, but do we really need several of each?

to transform this 17th-century nunnery into a luxury hotel. The end result is a retreat

It seems unnecessary, particularly given the

that celebrates the best of the original religious architecture without skimping on

number of times I’ve been the only person

21st-century comforts.

in an eerily quiet spa.

Where is it? On the edge of limestone cliffs above the town of Amalfi, a few minutes’


drive away. Its dramatic 660ft elevation means the hotel and all its rooms have unforgettable

Thoughtful details such as little trays for

views over the Bay of Salerno and the craggy Amalfi coastline.

storing jewellery are undermined by making

The American owner’s addition of an eclectic mix of Italian antiques throughout the building adds authentic detailing to the historical atmosphere, and the colour palette of natural stone, convent blue and citrus lemon creates an air of calm. Boutique bonuses? A state-of-the-art spa built within the original walls, and outdoor fireplaces on the terrace, allowing guests to enjoy the spectacular setting late into the season. Downside? There is a small lift, but if you don’t like climbing steps, this isn’t the hotel for you. Best room? All 20 are permutations of a nun’s cell, arranged around common spaces. All are spacious, but the Citrus suite, where the old kitchens were, has a lovely large terrace and high, vaulted ceilings. Top tip There is a helicopter landing pad nearby, within Sophia Loren’s former holiday home, enabling guests to avoid the coach jams on the long and winding roads from Naples and Positano. Alternatively, there are several boats for hire. The details Via Roma 2, Conca dei Marini, Italy (00 39 0898 321199, monasterosantarosa.com). Doubles from €375 (£295) b&b. Johnny Morris


FLOATS MY BOAT n ingenious idea, the ParrLuxe Sea Cabana (above) is for sunbathers who would rather do their tanning on the water, but with shade if they want it. New York designer Stuart Parr, disgruntled with beach furniture, created his own floating version with not just a tanning deck but an optional carbon-fibre canopy, steps and an inside swimming net to protect bathers from sea creatures. It comes in two sizes – 8ft or 12ft long – takes 15 minutes to inflate and costs an eye-watering $35,000 to $55,000 (001 212 966 6340, parrluxe.com).


us hang our coats in a jacket-length space, beside our muddy boots. Much better to relieve us of our coats and shoes at reception, as at the Mandarin Oriental in London. (It would be nice to have a spacious space to change in, too; just because a spa is bijou doesn’t mean its clients are pocket-size.) CULTURAL INCONGRUITY Tapping a dainty gong at the beginning and end of a treatment might work wonders in Asia, but it’s so out of place elsewhere, it’s hard not to laugh out loud. Stick to the aromatic footbath beforehand and the jasmine tea afterwards. By all means offer Thai massages outside Thailand, but please don’t make Western therapists masquerade as Thai masseuses – as on my last visit to London’s K Spa (k-west.co.uk). They look as if they’re in fancy dress and probably feel like it.


The look High church meets high style with a heavy sprinkling of ecclesiastical eccentricity.

The journey is just the start of the




Trans-Siberian Express

rail journeys


An unforgettable adventure on the luxurious and world-famous Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express, that takes you on an iconic journey across Europe through the heart of Russia and Siberia. Day 1: To Berlin. Depart St Pancras International to Brussels, before continuing to Berlin, via Cologne, where we spend two nights. Day 2: Exploring Berlin. Enjoy a fascinating ‘East meets West’ tour of Berlin, introducing the sights of the once divided city. Days 3-4: Warsaw. Continuing to Warsaw for an overnight stay. On Day 4 enjoy a free morning before boarding an overnight sleeper train to Moscow. Days 5-6: The Trans-Siberian Express. Arrive in Moscow late afternoon for an overnight stay. Day 6 exploring Moscow, including the Kremlin, Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral. Later, transfer to the luxurious Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express to begin our fabulous 12-night journey in luxurious en suite cabins. Day 7: Kazan. Our first stop is Kazan, renowned for its beautifully ornate buildings, including the onion-domed cathedral and awe-inspiring Kul Sharif Mosque. Day 8: Yekaterinburg. Across the EuropeAsia divide to Yekaterinburg and visit the poignant site where the Romanov family was murdered in 1918. Day 9: Novosibirsk. Alight in Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, with a guided tour of

the city including the Opera House. Days 10-11: To Irkutsk. After a leisurely day in complete luxury on the train, arrive in Irkutsk on Day 11, the ‘Paris of Siberia’. Enjoy a sightseeing tour, with time to explore and shop for souvenirs. Day 12: Lake Baikal. One of the most scenic days as the train skirts along Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world, stopping for a lakeside barbecue lunch. Day 13: Ulan Ude. Visit the Old Believer’s Village to learn about the history and culture and a concert featuring local dancers and musicians. Days 14-15: Ulaanbaatar. Arrive in the capital of Mongolia and visit one of the fascinating museums before lunch at a restaurant housed in a yurt. Rejoin the train travelling through vast Siberia back into Russia. Day 15 is spent relaxing on the train. Days 16-17: Remote Siberia. The train follows the Shilka and Amur Rivers close to the Chinese border through remote Siberia to the most easterly point of our epic journey. Days 18-19: Vladivostok and home. Our 8,000 mile adventure across almost a third of the entire globe ends in Vladivostok with a tour of this fascinating city. After an overnight stay, transfer to the airport for our flight home on Day 19.


We’ll make sure you don’t miss: • The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express • Moscow, including the Red Square & St Basil’s Cathedral • Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia • Irkutsk & Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world • Ulan Ude including a visit to the Old Believer’s Village • Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia • Vladivostok


EX CE LLE NT - With so much included First Class rail travel (Standard Premier Class rail travel on Eurostar) 12 nights on the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express (all meals and excursions included) 5 nights’ hotel accommodation with breakfast each day Scheduled flight from Vladivostock to London in Economy Class 1 night on board the overnight sleeper train from Warsaw to Moscow All excursions described in itinerary Accompanied by a professional Tour Manager throughout

2 departures on 1st May 2013 and 21st August 2013


The TransSiberian Express in Winter


India’s Palace on Wheels


Cape Town, The Blue Train & Kruger

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Travel on the incredible Golden Eagle TransSiberian Express train for an unforgettable 8,000-mile winter adventure.

Join us on board the fabulous Palace on Wheels and experience the lavish lifestyles of the Maharajas seeing the wonderful sights along the way.

From Cape Town to Pretoria and discover the highlights of South Africa. Enjoy fantastic game drives and stay at Kruger National Park.


Dates and prices are subject to availability. Prices shown are per person based on 2 sharing. Terms and conditions apply.

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Paradise atoll Clockwise, from top: private dining al fresco; a beach suite; the Talise Spa; and the overwater Fenesse restaurant. Inset, below: sunset over the Indian Ocean

WIN A LUXURY TRIP TO THE MALDIVES THE PRIZE A five-night stay for two in a beach villa at Jumeirah Vittaveli in the Maldives, including daily breakfast, airport transfers by speedboat and a complimentary couple’s spa treatment at the Talise Spa. Also included are two return Coral Economy flights from London to Male via Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways.

JUMEIRAH VITTAVELI Located on South Male atoll, a 20-minute boat ride from Male International Airport, Jumeirah Vittaveli is the archetypal Maldivian island paradise. Each villa and suite has its own private swimming pool, sala day beds, and direct access to either the lagoon or the idyllic white sand beach. In the rooms, high ceilings, timber flooring and traditional Maldivian furnishings create an airy beach-house ambiance, while modern comforts include state-of-the-art technology such as mood lighting, Wi-Fi access, Apple Media Centre, 42in flatscreen TV and Bose sound system with iPod docking station. Wide views of the Indian Ocean encourage moments of tranquil relaxation – but for those who want a more active holiday, there is plenty to do. The resort’s five-star Padi dive centre offers not just scuba diving and snorkelling on colourful coral reefs teeming with marine life, but also kayaking, sailing and fishing trips at sunset. Other resort facilities include a bar, three restaurants, an overwater gym (open 24 hours a day) and the Talise Spa, offering a range of 100 per cent organic and signature treatments for complete rejuvenation of body and mind. jumeirah.com/vittaveli

HOW TO ENTER Simply go to telegraph.co.uk/vittaveli. You will need to leave your name, address, telephone number and a valid email address. All entries must be received by midnight on Sunday September 30, 2012.

FLY WITH THE BEST Etihad Airways is delighted to have been voted the World’s Leading Airline for the third year running at the World Travel Awards. Its new fleet of luxury aircraft takes comfort and service to new heights. Flying Coral Economy, our prize winners will be able to relax in ergonomically designed “cradle recline� seats that support the spine in a more natural position, each with a 10.4in touchscreen and more than 600 hours of on-demand entertainment options to match. They will choose from three main-course dining options, one inspired by their destination, plus a wide range of complimentary drinks, enjoying the warm spirit of Arabian hospitality in the air.

Terms and conditions The holiday and flights are subject to availabilty, and must be taken between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013. Restrictions on travel dates apply during busy periods. See telegraph.co.uk/vittaveli for details, plus full terms and conditions


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I like simplicity; I don’t need luxury. I want good basics, like a decent light so I can read in bed


rancis Ford Coppola, 73, is one of America’s

most respected directors, best known for his acclaimed films The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. He is also a winemaker, with vineyards in Sonoma County and Napa Valley, California, the publisher of a literary quarterly magazine, Zoetrope, and a hotelier. His fifth hotel, Palazzo Margherita, opened in Basilicata, Italy, in March. How many holidays do you take a year? I don’t have a regular schedule. One year I won’t get a holiday at all, the next we might take the family to one of our own resorts, in Argentina, perhaps, or the new place in southern Italy. Sometimes we’ll charter a boat, either in the eastern Caribbean or in Europe – to Turkey, say, which is wonderful, with its ancient sites, such as Ephesus, or around the Greek Islands. Your favourite spot to relax? Guatemala, near the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, one of the wonders of the world. I love the rustic food. It still has a population of indigenous Indians, so you find beautiful fabrics and artworks.


simplicity and innocence of the country, and the

The Godfather Coppola at Palazzo Margherita, his latest hotel venture in southern Italy

TRAVELLING LIFE Francis Ford Coppola

The legendary director on Mayan magic, the romance of Rio and the Milanese suite that starred in a Hollywood film Where are you going next on holiday?

as diverse: mountains with rivers you can swim in,

big, fantastic beach with beautiful food and

to see animals – all those kinds you see in zoos,

It’s my 50th wedding anniversary coming up, and

gorgeous beaches, and the second-largest barrier

beautiful girls. The Metropole in Hanoi has been

except in their real habitat. When things calm

we’ve been talking about celebrating in Vietnam:

reef in the world. You feel like you are going on

wonderfully preserved, too, to look like it did in its

down, I’d like to go to Libya, Mali and Ethiopia.

perhaps Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, then one

a jungle adventure, but a civilised version.

heyday, when Somerset Maugham was there.

Do you like adventure holidays?

of the beach resorts.

Must-see places in Belize?

Do you like luxury hotels, or simple ones?

Not really. The most adventurous thing I’ve done

Do you travel light?

The sandy beaches of Placensia; Ambergris Caye

I like simplicity; I don’t need luxury. I want good

is learn how to fly a helicopter in the Philippines.

No. For me, going off to an unfamiliar place is

in the north for diving and snorkelling; and

basics, like a decent light so I can read in bed,

One night we landed on a beach and slept on it.

an incentive to get writing, so I will often have

interesting Mayan ruins, such as Caracol.

and a shelf in the shower to put my electric

What would you consider a real luxury?

a heavy bag of research and books. I love new

Where do you eat out when travelling?

toothbrush on. I was in a hotel recently where

A room with two bathrooms, one for each of us.

devices, too, so I’ll probably have at least one with

Places serving local cuisine. Italian food isn’t quite

I had to put it on the floor.

Do you worry about your carbon footprint?

me – a really small loudspeaker, say, or a travel

the same when you’re eating it in a hotel in South

Things that rankle in hotels?

One should try to do what’s in reach. At our

bag that charges your electronic gadgets.

America, because the ingredients are different.

Being sent bottles of this or that, or baskets of

hotels, we have a hydro plant to make electricity.

Which make of luggage do you prefer?

Having said that, more than 140 languages are

fruit. If I want to eat or drink something, I like to

Our wineries have high levels of recyclable energy

Ghurka. Their leather bags don’t wear out, but

spoken in San Francisco, so you can get great

choose what it is. The internet in hotels should be

and we farm organically. Until they make an

get more weatherbeaten and lovely with age.

food from all over: Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai and

free – and I really resent it when they charge you

aeroplane that flies on hydrogen, though, we will

Favourite city for a weekend away?

very good Chinese. One place does a wonderful

five dollars for a bottle of water beside your bed.

have to make do with the ones we have.

Berlin, which has many of the wonderful features

vegetable, like spinach, sautéed with garlic and

The most glamorous room you’ve slept in?

Are you a big shopper when abroad?

of Paris but is cheaper. The Collection of Classical

served with smoky dumplings. That is really good.

The big suite at the Savoy in Milan [the Hotel

I used to love going into local hardware stores, to

Antiquities has great pieces from ancient Rome,

What’s your idea of a perfect holiday?

Principe di Savoia], which was so spectacular that

look at little things they made locally. Nowadays

then there’s the Nebuchadnezzar gate and a good

Going some place where I don’t own a hotel. If

my daughter, Sofia, put it in a film, Somewhere.

it’s harder, though you can still do it in Vietnam.

zoo. Places change, just like people do, and Berlin

you’re the owner, everyone wants to voice their

Top spot to stay in Britain?

The best airline in the world?

feels like a city that is having its time.

displeasure. As soon as I arrive, the staff are on

I wish I had the budget to stay at Claridge’s. It was

I took a trip on Cathay Pacific recently, which was

Holiday spot you love returning to?

my case, wanting a new truck or telling me about

the home of [the Hungarian-born film-maker]

pretty hard to beat. It was very luxurious, the flight

Belize. It’s a former British colony, with British

someone they’ve had to fire for having an affair.

Alexander Korda, a big figure in my life. His home

attendants were spectacular, and the amentities

traditions, organisation, education and language,

The most romantic hotel you’ve stayed at?

isn’t there any more – it’s divided into four

beyond what you ever expect. It must have been

but a really diverse culture as well. Some of the

The Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, which

apartments – but you can still feel his presence.

pretty amazing, given that I still remember it…

population are more like Jamaicans, with their

is an Orient-Express hotel. It’s very old, and they

The most remote place you’ve been?

For further information on Francis Ford Coppola’s

reggae spirit and rasta mentality; then there are

have managed to keep the patina of what it was

Kenya, where we went all over the jungle. In the

hotels, see coppolaresorts.com

Mayan and Hispanic people. The landscape is just

like. But then Rio is a remarkable city – like one

Masai Mara, we stayed in a hotel of tents. We got

Interview by Lisa Grainger


THE ART OF THE GETAWAY Welcome to the new Caribbean.


INTERNATIONAL 264 497 7000








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