Page 1


Switzerland Reimagined PLUS







A picturesque village of cozy chalets nestled at the foot of the world-famous Matterhorn, Zermatt lures visitors from around the world to the Swiss Alps every year. Start Avioning today with 15,000 Welcome points.† To apply visit

Powered By

Subject to availability. Some restrictions may apply. For complete terms, visit † To receive the 15,000 bonus RBC Rewards points, your application form must be approved by us. Upon enrolment, 15,000 bonus RBC Rewards points will appear on your first monthly statement. This offer may not be combined or used in conjunction with any other offer. Royal Bank of Canada reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time, even after acceptance by you. ®/™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. ‡ All other trademarks are the property of their respective owner(s).

Small Group & Self-Guided Tours to 100+ Countries


ADVENTURE Make this one of the best years of your life. Stop yearning after the unknown, give into your wanderlust and go discover the places across the globe that fascinate you! For near half a century, Exodus Travels has been creating life changing tours to 100 + countries for people who want to experience a world beyond sightseeing. Whether you have a yearning to immerse yourself in the great outdoors, take a trip back in time, unveil a new culture or meet people that inspire wonder, we have the adventure for you. From new takes on classic destinations to off-the-beaten path secrets, Exodus wants to help you make 2018 the type of year travel legends are made of.

Culture · Walking & Trekking · Cycling · Responsible Wildlife

EXODUSTRAVELS.COM / 1-800-267-3347


SPOTLIGHT ON SWITZERLAND Switzerland has a special gift for elevating both body and soul

P LU S Our guide to the best Switzerland has to offers in accommodations, restaurants, attractions and experiences





THE BOLD LIST: Where to go, what to eat, what

is as much art as skill

to see and what to do – now and beyond


VISUAL FEAST: Sights that will take your



breath away

in Panama




E D I TO R ’ S N OT E , S P E C I A L E D I T I O N



hen I was a kid, one of my favourite TV shows went to Malta for two episodes. I couldn’t have found the country on a map or told you anything about its history. But seeing characters I loved have adventures amidst the 16 th-century Baroque splendour of the capital, Valetta, captured my imagination. The knight’s armour. Glistening white streetscapes, complete with fortified walls. Church domes glimpsed across glistening bays. I wanted to go there more desperately than I had, at a younger age, wanted to go to Disney World. When I made the journey as a young adult, I was not disappointed. Malta was as beautiful, and as unlike my native land of Prince Edward Island, as I expected. But discovering how the tiny Mediterranean island had evolved into this magical place – credit the Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, the British and knights of the Order of St. John – gave me an even more dizzying thrill. The place hadn’t been drawn up by an imaginative Hollywood set designer, it had been sculpted by centuries of history. What we call our trips of a lifetime are trips that transcend what’s trendy and what’s the best bang for the buck. They call to us from our imagination and our dreams. Maybe we feel we’ve been in these places already, in another life. Maybe, even with all the power of Google Maps and Instagram at our disposal, we can’t imagine exactly what these special places would feel like until the moment we set foot there.

In BOLD’s first special edition, which focuses on Switzerland, we take a deep dive into a destination that’s on many bucket lists, a country that’s physically and philosophically at the centre of Europe, even as it eschews membership in the EU. Again back to my childhood, I remember going to a carnival midway, seeing the flashing signs over the ride called Matterhorn and thinking, “What place in the world has a mountain that looks like that?” That place is Switzerland, and you can join us on our journey to the Matterhorn starting on page 32. In a way, BOLD’s seven-year journey as a magazine has also been a trip of a lifetime. The new look we’ve adopted in the last year has been well received and our digital presence has grown. Over the years, we’ve seen how travellers have changed the way they plan their trips and make their journeys. Yet an app still cannot replace an excellent travel agent, and home-sharing services still can’t evaporate stress and anxiety the way a stay at a fine hotel or resort can. Some things are pretty darn close to eternal. Here at BOLD, we do strive to keep you up to date on the best places to visit now, and the best ways to experience those places. But that’s just a small part of our mission. The mechanics of it all matter less than the passions and pleasures that drive our adventures. No matter how many trips of a lifetime we take, as long as we’re able to dream, there are more to be had.

Paul Gallant Executive Editor


Terraced UNESCO vineyards of Lavaux

Lake Geneva & Matterhorn Region – treat your senses.

Discover the Lake Geneva & Matterhorn Region, which is brimming with scenic vineyards along the lakeshore and an abundance of Gault Millau and Michelin rated restaurants.

Our partner

Marlon J. Moreno CEO + Editorial Director Paul Gallant Executive Editor Magda de la Torre Americas Editor Marlon Efrain Moreno Garnica Public Relations Coordinator Monica García Senior Adviser

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lola Augustine Brown • Victoria Bass Shannon Blackburn • Andrew Brudz • Rebecca Cohen • Anita Draycott • Meagan Drillinger Tracy Hackett • Waheeda Harris • Vawn Himmelsbach • Ruth J. Katz • Ilona Kauremszky Jared Mitchell • Clare Mulvale • Doug O’Neill Muriel Paras • Mahla Pourshamsa • Michael Smith Mark Stachiew • Jacqueline Swartz • Sarah Treleaven RM Vaughan • Doug Wallace • Liam Wilkinson Simon Willis • Agatha Zarzycki ART DIRECTION AND DESIGN Laura García PHOTOGRAPHY Tishan Baldeo • Carlos Bolivar Paul Zizka • Mark Tym WEB DEVELOPER Rahul Nair SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN Clare Mulvale PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENCY Jesson + Company 77 Bloor St. West, Suite 1200 Toronto, ON. M5S 1M2 ADVERTISING For Advertising, Promotion, Reprints and Sponsorships inquiries:

BOLD® is published bimonthly by Moreno & Company Inc. Opinions expressed in BOLD are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the publisher or advertisers. BOLD does not assume liability for content. All prices quoted are in rounded Canadian dollars, unless otherwise stated.

No Swiss journey is complete without a plate (or two) of raclette, fresh from the wheel.


Photo by Tishan Baldeo

CORRESPONDENCE The Hudson Bay Centre 20 Bloor St. East P.O. Box 75075 Toronto, ON. M4W 3T3

A World of Possibilities




Explore the Great Outdoors Switzerland’s canton of Valais is a great place for travellers. From the unfathomable Matterhorn to the Rhone Valley’s vineyard tapestry, the backdrop of your hiking, biking, or walking tour will leave you awestruck. Climb through the postcard scenery to Gornergrat on Europe’s highest cogwheel railway, or ride the cable car to Eggishorn to take in the unfathomable sight of the Aletsch Glacier. You can even hike the Wine Trail that links wine museums and beautiful vineyards, across the countryside.

“In the same way that these travellers would never limit their travel plans, Avioners enjoy a travel rewards card that offers them the flexibility and choice to choose how they want to redeem their travel points.” In fact, with an RBC Avion credit card you're not subject to flight restrictions. You can choose from over 130 airlines and fly during peak season (yes, even holiday and school break). You’ll also never have to settle for unnecessary stopovers. Avioners fly when they want, where they want.

You see, there are two ways to explore a new destination.

And with Payback with Points you can redeem your RBC Rewards® points toward anything and everything you purchase with your Avion card. Simply use your points to make a payment directly toward your credit card balance.

First you have tourists; those who are happy to stick to the travel guide itinerary and to take photos of famous and familiar landmarks. But then you have travellers. These are the people who like to wander off the beaten path. They might go down an alleyway just to see where they end up. Travellers eat at the local independent café. They find a city’s third-most popular art gallery and buy a unique piece to display in their home. And sometimes they sit peacefully on a park bench just to watch the locals go about their day. According to Athena Varmazis, Senior Vice-President, Cards at RBC, “We have another word for these travellers. We call them Avioners.”

But more importantly, you can redeem points on everything you purchase for your trip. So not only can you do things like book flights, hotel rooms, and car rentals; you can also take in the ultimate panoramic view of the Alps from the Les Diablerets suspension bridge, or walk a St. Bernard in the spectacular alpine pass between Switzerland and Italy – all ON POINTS! Avioners can explore and experience any new destination. So, ask yourself: are you a tourist or are you an Avioner?

All rewards are subject to availability and are subject to change without notice. Some restrictions may apply. For complete terms, visit ®/™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. ‡ All other trademarks are the property of their respective owner(s). 1 The RBC Rewards app is operated by Royal Bank of Canada.

Explore the world, ON POINTS Easy to understand travel rewards. Book any flight, with any airline, at any time. And now you can book from anywhere, with the RBC Rewards app1. There are also no seat restrictions. If there’s a seat available, you fly – even during peak seasons. Plus you can also use your points to cover airline fees and taxes.

Earning points is simple and easy. You can feel confident knowing that you’ll earn RBC Rewards® points every time you make a purchase on your credit card.

A travel rewards program that puts you first. You love to travel. And you work hard to earn your points. Which is why you deserve to earn points that you can redeem for travel and that let you fly when you want, where you want.


To learn more visit Powered By


THE JOY OF DISCOVERY Whether we travel around the globe, in our backyards or through our imaginations, the trips we take make us who we are. The best journeys are not merely about exploring new geography and flavours, but about people and fresh ideas about the world. Here, 15 voyagers share what’s inspired, delighted and transformed their adventures.

Brett Tollman, chief executive of The Travel Corporation.


Though Brett Tollman lives in Los Angeles, the chief executive of The Travel Corporation travels about 225 days a year. His most memorable destinations have included Okavango Delta in Botswana, Maasai Mara in Kenya, Croatia, the Balkans (recovering thanks to tourism), London (his favourite city), Moscow, Cairo, Madrid, São Paulo, Lima, Prague, Budapest, Havana, Sydney, Darwin, Fiji, Tasmania, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Auckland, Namibia, Tulum, Vancouver and Lima. “There are still countless places I am yet to enjoy with my family, even in our own backyard,” says Tollman. We asked the founder and director of The Treadright Foundation (, a not-for-profit organization that supports sustainable travel and tourism projects, about how travel has shaped his life. WHAT TRAVELLING MEANS TO ME I grew up in a travel business with two very dedicated passionate parents, who taught me how to respect and engage with the people I work with. Travel has given me the opportunity to fly around the world and engage with people in so many different cities and in so many countries, which makes me a better, more informed person. Many of these people I meet become friends and make my life richer and better. Travel allows me the opportunity to show my wife and


children so many different, diverse and wonderful parts of our world, which in turn makes them also better, more informed individuals. I am always inspired, motivated and excited when travelling, though it does mean I’m away from home more than I’d like to be. WHAT TRAVEL HAS TAUGHT ME Travel has taught me that our perceptions and views of others are almost always different from the reality, which is almost always so much better than what we originally perceived. Travel has taught me to be more accepting of others, myself and my own community, and to appreciate how blessed I am, how much I have and how fortunate I am compared to so many others around the world. Travel opens my heart to visit other communities and see how happy they are, how much they appreciate what they have, how creative and inventive they are and how they adapt to their realities. Travel has taught me that I am a global citizen and that is more important than the passport that I carry. While I am proud to be a dual American and South African citizen, I’m equally proud to be a human being involved with and supportive of many other human beings around the world. Travel makes me happy to be alive and to appreciate what it is to be a human being living on our planet Earth.


WHICH TRAVEL EXPERIENCE MOST CHANGED YOUR WORLDVIEW AND WHY? I’d have to say seeing the dichotomy between industrialization and nature in the Appalachian Mountains region. It’s incredible to think about the industry that once thrived there surrounded by such beautiful landscapes. The diversity is difficult to absorb.


“Travelling changes people. It reminds me that we all put our pants on the same way, no matter where in the world we’re from.” Chef, author and TV personality, David Rocco’s travels have been seen in more than 150 countries on series including La Dolce Vita (now entering its sixth season), La Dolce Vita India and the upcoming La Dolce Vita Africa. His television debut did not find him donning an apron, however, but instead opposite Neve Campbell in a TV commercial. It wasn’t until he and wife, Nina, began living on and off in Italy, that the two were inspired to document their travels on film.


ACTRESS AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST “Being a traveller means you’re gritty and authentic, and you get in there and take off your shoes and walk barefoot in the street, or whatever it takes to have a very authentic connection with the culture of the place you’re visiting.” Actress Lisa Ray has distinguished herself as a social advocate and philanthropist, campaigning for the rights of girls around the world, and raising funds for cancer charities (she was diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2009 and was found to be cancerfree a year later after a stem-cell transplant). Born and raised in Toronto in an Indian-Polish family, her career has spanned multiple continents. In 2016 she starred in romantic comedy Ishq Forever – her first appearance in a Bollywood film in 15 years.


Montreal-based chefs Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles spent a good part of the past year touring the country for the debut of their Food Network show, Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip. Cohabitating in the tight confines of an RV was not an issue. Many of their meals, made with ingredients and recipes they discovered across the country, were made in the great outdoors, over an open flame. Danny Smiles: We met a merchant fisherman in Victoria who brought us a rock crab from I-don’t-know-how-many feet deep. And weird scallops we’d never seen before, rock scallops. Chuck Hughes: We’ve eaten wild rice before but we actually got to go collect it the old-fashioned way near Holland Marsh, Ontario. It’s very Zen. You go out in a two-man canoe, you hit the branches, it falls in the canoe, you collect it. There’s a whole ceremony and way of preparing.

EDIE RODRIGUEZ SPECIAL ADVISER AT PONANT CRUISES “I am madly in love with The Peninsula Paris. When one is in fabulous Paris and you never want to leave your room, I think that really says something.” After overseeing a massive two-year expansion and re-envisioning of the luxury travel company Crystal Cruises, last fall Edie Rodriguez took on a new role. The New York/New Jersey native was appointed Americas brand chair and corporate special adviser at Ponant, a French small-ship luxury line, known for its fine dining and refined approach to cruises. Rodriguez is tasked with raising brand awareness on this side of the Atlantic.


A World of Possibilities




Sample Switzerland’s Finest Travellers are the type to explore every new place through the eyes of a local. You won’t find travellers taking a guided walking tour of Switzerland’s most popular vineyard; they would rather hike along Lake Geneva and sip on local wines in an open cellar. And when it comes to food, travellers never miss an opportunity to ask the locals for recommendations. That's how they find true taste experiences both in top-rated restaurants, as well as in hidden-away cafés, just

off the beaten path. This is how Avioners experience Switzerland. There’s no better way to take in the Lake Geneva region than with wine, cheese, and chocolate. But it helps to know where to start. Which is why we would like to present Avion’s recommended list of the best wine, cheese and chocolate pairings you’ll find in one of the most beautiful places in the world. And the best part? You can do it all, ON POINTS!




This region boasts some of the best fondue restaurants in Europe. Gather around a communal hotpot of white wine and melted cheese and dip chunks of crusty bread in for a savoury treat. Fondue is best paired with a crisp, dry white such as a chasselas, a staple of French-speaking Switzerland.

Geneva is home to one of the oldest chocolate companies in the world. The master chocolatiers at Favarger have been crafting natural chocolates for almost two hundred years. For an exceptional taste experience, try the dark blackcurrant bar paired with a fortified red wine like port or sparkling shiraz.

A trip to Lake Geneva isn’t complete without a taste of melted cheese. Raclette is a semi-hard cheese that is heated up so the melted part can be scraped off and enjoyed. True connoisseurs swear by pairing raclette with a hot cup of tea, which is said to help with digestion.

Easy to understand travel rewards.

A travel rewards program that puts you first.

Book any flight, with any airline, at any time. And now you can book from anywhere, with the RBC Rewards app1. There are also no seat restrictions. If there’s a seat available, you fly – even during peak seasons. Plus you can also use your points to cover airline fees and taxes.

You love to travel. And you work hard to earn your points. Which is why you deserve to earn points that you can redeem for travel and that let you fly when you want, where you want.

Earning points is simple and easy.

Explore the world, ON POINTS

You can feel confident knowing that you’ll earn RBC Rewards® points every time you make a purchase on your credit card.


AVIONERS CAN DO THAT To learn more visit Powered By

All rewards are subject to availability and are subject to change without notice. Some restrictions may apply. For complete terms, visit ®/™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. ‡ All other trademarks are the property of their respective owner(s). 1 The RBC Rewards app is operated by Royal Bank of Canada.


“My mom is from Nova Scotia and growing up we used to spend a lot of summers on the beach there with my grandparents. I believe that’s where a great part of my interest in cooking came from. My grandfather is 95 and still bakes fresh bread. We’d wake up to cabbage rolls and stews and baking. When the tide went out we’d go out and dig clams and have clam boils on the beach. So I always put something that’s a tribute to my roots.”


JAN WESTCOTT PRESIDENT AND CEO, SPIRITS CANADA “You can’t really relax if you don’t have a good pair of jeans.” The president and CEO of Spirits Canada/ Association of Canadian Distillers has been a strong advocate for an industry that annually exports $600 million worth of Canadian whisky and other spirits around the world. In 2018, the association continues to be an intervenor in R. v Comeau, a case before the Supreme Court of Canada over restrictions about bringing alcohol across provincial boundaries. “Our concern is regulatory measures that favour in-province products over out-of-province products in a way that provides a competitive advantage,” says Westcott about the importance of the case.


“My wife Lora Kirk, who is also a chef, had worked at The Connaught in London and has some wonderful friends there. We wanted to take our daughter Addie to go see some of the places her mom had worked at and visited. She went out to every restaurant, museum and gallery with us. Our cabbie was so incredible. He gave us a full-on tour, including Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. The London cabs are great because you can literally roll a stroller right inside.”




“Being a chef, I love to make really good food and I take it seriously, but I like my restaurants to be fun, with lots of energy. Design-wise, I’m very hands on. All my restaurants have my mom’s art. Even though the customers might not know my mom’s art, I think it makes them feel very comfortable.”



NAME A PLACE THAT MOST LIVED UP TO THE HYPE. Bali! Stunningly beautiful, creative and spiritual, with some of the most charming and happy people you could meet. Many of the people live a very frugal lifestyle, but are very happy and almost serene overall, very spiritual. In my view, it puts a different framework around what our real needs are, what we really need in western society to make us happy.


MICHAEL SMITH CHEF, THE INN AT BAY FORTUNE, PEI “Big food loves to dangle money in front of guys like me, to shill for this, shill for that. I’ve turned them all down. The Half Your Plate campaign, working with the folks who promote and sell fresh fruits and vegetables in Canada, is a real opportunity to remind Canadians how simple it is to eat healthy.”


ARCHITECT, ALL DESIGN, LONDON, UK “Vienna is beautiful, relaxed and full of gossip.” London-based architect Will Alsop designed not one but two of the new stops on Toronto’s new subway extension, bringing his trademark whimsy to the otherwise staid experience of waiting for the train. With his propped-up-on-sticks design for OCAD University’s Sharp Centre for Design, which is now 14 years old, Alsop has played a large role in elevating what Canadians expect from their buildings.




“I lived in Rome for a year and a half on a working sabbatical at the Canadian embassy. The thing I picked up the most in Italy, which changed my whole style, was the simplicity of things. Sometimes you’d think, ‘That looks kinda boring,’ but I never had a bad tomato, I never had lousy cheese. It was always done really well. The embassy was only a 10-minute walk from Piazza Navona, so when I had breaks at work I’d walk down past the Forum and go sit there.”




Can exceptional architecture reinvent an economy? Newfoundland-born, Norwaybased Todd Saunders’ design for Fogo Island Inn has put the remote Newfoundland island on the radar of travellers from all over the world.


In this photo of a young woman in Cambridge Bay on Victoria Island, Nunavut, Ottawa-based photographer Michelle Valberg demonstrates her mastery at capturing what makes Canada’s North a truly remarkable: the people, just as much as the landscapes and wildlife.


COOL CARTAGENA The Sofitel Legend Santa Clara

In 1995, a convent built in 1621 was transformed into the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena. But the landmark building wasn’t the only beneficiary of the thoughtful repurposing. The project also contributed to making the historic walled area of Cartagena, Colombia, a more vibrant neighbourhood and a unmissable gourmet destination.



Arguments about which is the best restaurant in the world might be fun, but are hard to win. No one has come up with a scoring system for what makes a life-changing meal. But Osteria Francescana, owned and operated by chef Massimo Bottura in Modena, Italy, has certainly made a valiant effort to claim the title. The dessert “Oops! I’ve Dropped the Lemon Tart!” is Bottura’s checkmate.



Artisanship and the entrepreneurial spirit are regularly on display on the streets of Vietnam. Using his bicycle as a boutique, this vendor has an assortment of baskets and hats at the ready.


HISTORY & MODERNITY Tour & Taxis Warehouse

Some of the best architectural projects around the globe these days embrace the concept of adaptive reuse, making what’s old totally brand new. Located on the Brussels Canal, Tour & Taxis warehouse in Brussels is a 19th-century Warehouse, whose original purpose as a shipping and customs hub had become irrelevant. So it’s been turned into a remarkable space for cultural events, including Couleur Café and the Brussels Design Market.



A short walk from Nyaung Shwe in southern Myanmar, the Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery is home to novice Buddhist monks. More than 150 years old, the striking teak building sits on stilts, providing a sense of peace for religious and nonreligious visitors alike.



Joie de vivre

The scenery may be spectacular, but it’s not the only (or main) reason for a journey around Switzerland. Along the coast of Lake Geneva, along the Rhône River and into the Alps, PAUL GALLANT discovers the food, wine and people that set the country apart. Photos by TISHAN BALDEO


THIS PAGE: The Matterhorn is one of the world’s most famous mountains.



own an alleyway off Lausanne’s busy Roue de Bourg pedestrian shopping street, not far from Louis Vuitton, Hermés and a pageant of boutiques selling Swiss watches, there’s a tiny cobbler’s shop. Not on Escaliers des savetiers (Cobblers Stairs), exactly, but in the neighbourhood where shoes and other leather products have been made for centuries. Though the hammers, pliers and awls on the walls and benches of Cordonnerie Deuzet look timeless enough, the bespoke neon-coloured runners in the front window, the Bollywood film poster next to the vintage sewing machine and the plastic cartoon frog on one of the shelves remind visitors that, no, they have not taken a step back in time. The shop’s founder, Guillaume Deuzet, would more easily pass as a DJ than a cobbler and sometimes cordwainer. Deuzet launched his career in shoemaking 10 years ago in France, where he was born and raised, but came to this city on the shore of Lake Geneva three years ago. “It’s paradise for me. I can ski, I can swim,” he tells me in English. “I can make a good living doing what I love.”


For a city of fewer than 150,000 souls, Lausanne is astonishingly well appointed. Built across three steep hills, with a history going back to the Romans (and the Celts before that), it’s probably best known as HQ for the International Olympic Committee. Comparable in population to Kingston, Ont., the city has a twoline 28-station metro system and a lively bar and club scene (students at Université de Lausanne, founded in 1537, make up almost 10 per cent of the population). Necessities and indulgences alike are rarely more than 20 minutes away. Though serious skiers can, of course, easily head from here to the Alps, local ski hills are accessible by public transit. So is the Swiss wine region and the beaches along Lake Geneva. Deuzet is onto something. The quality of life, right down to the seriousness with which locals take care of their shoes, is indisputable. But then Switzerland, whose global reputation rests, in part, on watch- and chocolate-making, has perfected the art of packing excellent things into small packages. Encircled by Germany, Austria, Italy and France, the Swiss have been able to draw from the best culinary and style traditions of Europe, showcased against landscapes both pastoral and alpine. Upon arrival, a visitor quickly realizes that a great many Swiss stereotypes are true: cities, towns and the countryside are pristine and well-maintained, transit is astonishing punctual (well, one bus I took was 28 seconds late) and the Matterhorn, while not the tallest mountain in Europe, is the most striking and storied one, ranking up there with Niagara Falls and the Taj Mahal as an international must-see attraction. Yet it’s the Swiss zest for the art of living – for pursuing even the most quotidian task with finesse, tradition and creativity – that makes this compact country of just over eight million people a touristic titan. That spirit unites diverse regions where the locals might have French, Swiss German, Italian or Romansh as their mother tongue. On a recent visit, my companion and I started in French-speaking Geneva, circumnavigating Lake Geneva to Lausanne and the gorgeous wine region (this is where Shania Twain lived for almost a decade, first in a grand 19th-century château, then a waterfront mansion not far from Nestlé’s global headquarters). Following the Rhône River, we made our way into the German-speaking region of the Alps to visit SaasFee and Zermatt, the traditional base for ticking the Matterhorn off the bucket list. Along the way, I discovered that the Swiss, though extremely polite, have few qualms about chatting up visitors and sharing opinions. One day I was berated because Canada had not embraced the highly efficient IBAN international banking transaction system (I plead ignorance) and had made poor choices regarding cellular frequencies (more pleas of ignorance). But I also learned that most everything Swiss, from the free city-transit passes for visitors to the flawless dining experiences, is all swoon-worthy comfort.




t’s a bit of a secret. This comes from a flea market,” Alexandre Nickbarte-Mayer tells me on a tour of the impressive new rooftop suites at Beau-Rivage. But the table he’s pointing to is as beautiful as any of the pieces in the hotel’s opulent Eleanor Roosevelt suite, named in honour of the former first lady, who worked on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights while staying at the property. Beau-Rivage is one of the luxury hotels on Geneva’s waterfront that have earned the city its reputation as a paragon of hospitality, and is one of the last few remaining family-run properties. Nickbarte-Mayer, a fifth generation hotelier, launched the expansion project immediately upon taking over as general manager in 2016. A small museum off the lobby, which had been his grandmother’s office, has a tariff list from 1899, featuring the price of a bath at three Swiss francs, a shower at 1.50. Out the window, France’s Mont Blanc is visible across the lake, through the nearby mountain ranges. With the United Nations headquarters a tram ride away, it’s hard not to feel at the centre of things. Of course, Geneva has worked hard to put itself at the heart of thinking universally. The world’s rules for war, the Geneva Convention, was drafted here and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) that’s here pursues science projects that will shape our shared futures.


“Do you need a drink?” asks Ariel Pierre Haemmerlé, a tour guide and author of a book about Geneva’s hidden green spaces. Like many Swiss, he proudly carries around a water bottle, which at intervals he fills from the many public fountains around the historic centre. We follow him to Promenade de la Treille, where locals play chess and read newspapers on the world’s longest wooden bench. From here we look out over Parc des Bastions and Université de Genève, which was founded by John Calvin, a leader of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Calvin must take some responsibility for the Swiss work ethic and the country’s penchant for discretion and understatement. Calvinism condemns flaunting one’s wealth with clothes or jewelry. But a watch – now that’s practical. And what makes it expensive is, for the most part, hidden inside. For the Swiss, as for Calvin, functionality is the best sort of beauty humans can produce. Three young men walking down the main street of SaasFee spontaneously break into yodelling. It’s during an annual festival where locals dress up in traditional outfits to eat small dishes like raclette (cheese melted right from the wheel), pasta and grilled meats. I am unsure if I find the outburst more or less weird because they’re wearing woolen vests, fur hats and clunky boots. A few days later, in Zermatt, I encounter more random yodelling in the street, on a train and in a funicular, and figure out that wardrobe doesn’t matter – yodelling is a particularly Swiss salute to the joy of life. The contrast between the two Alpine villages is interesting. Both are car-free (accessible by train or hotel shuttle) and extraordinarily picturesque, with skiing and hiking trails winding up into the mountains that encircle them. Lushly green during spring, summer and fall at lower altitudes, the chill sets in as you rise higher and higher toward an eternal winter. Saas-Fee is definitely more easy-going, with more family-oriented restaurants and a crowdsourced ski pass campaign that will get skiers into the mountains for a sweet deal. Zermatt, with its daily dose of visitors from around the world (three million annually) coming to see the Matterhorn, is also a skier’s paradise, but on a much larger, more elaborate scale. The various trains, gondolas, chair lifts, cable cars and funiculars can get 20,000 people from the village up into the mountains… each hour. This in a village with a population of 5,800. “Skiing is easier than walking,” says Amadé Perrig, the former president of Zermatt Tourism. The 71 year old still skis for hours a week, despite having broken his legs, back and arms too many times to count. His family has had land in the area since the 1500s. He’s seen a lot of change during his life in the Alps – new infrastructure, more luxurious hotels, a smidge of modern architecture – but the mountains have remained constant. “The local people haven’t been that interested in climbing the Matterhorn,” he says. “For us it’s a spiritual place.” Even in one of the most pragmatic countries in the world, some things do remain sacred.

THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: One of the new suites at Beau-Rivage Geneva ; a Saas-Fee local dresses up for the Alpine village’s Nostalgic Culinary Mile festival; luncheon at Geneva’s Le Chat Botté; learning to make a watch at the Initium class at Geneva’s Le Comptoir des Indépendants,

WHEN YOU GO Air Canada has direct flights to Geneva, direct via Montreal, and Zurich, direct via Toronto. Swiss Air has direct flights from Toronto to Zurich and from Montreal to Geneva and Zurich. Once on the ground, the Swiss Travel Pass covers transportation by train, bus and boat, as well as rides on premium panoramic trains, the use of public transport in more than 90 towns and cities, a 50 per cent discount on most mountain excursions and free admission to more than 500 museums. Prices start at $226 for three days.


Lakeside, mountaintop & city centre


The Swiss make it so easy. The signage is always clear, the people always helpful and there’s not a bad meal in sight. Though Swiss tastes tend toward the conservative – you won’t find many flamboyant architectural structures on the skylines – they do have a sense of playfulness and fun. We looked for some of the best places to stay and eat, and things to do and things to see… and had a hard time narrowing down the list. —PG

SWISS HOSPITALITY One worries about little while in the hands of a Swiss hotelier, a calling aimed at perfectly balancing charm and comfort. You read about Hotel Beau-Rivage Genève on page 36. Here are a few other standouts in the cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais.

ROYAL SAVOY HOTEL & SPA Thoughtfully renovated and expanded with a gorgeous mix of contemporary and classic style, Lausanne’s Art Nouveau gem, which first opened its doors in 1909, is an urban oasis not far from the waterfront. In Brasserie du Royal’s dining room, patrons can catch a glimpse of Michelin-starred chef Marc Haeberlin presiding over a kitchen where local ingredients are used for classics and contemporary inventions. The rooftop Skybar has an unbeatable panoramic view of Lake Geneva and the city, and a hip crowd.

HOTEL CAPRA One of Saas-Fee’s standout properties, five-star Hotel Capra deploys clean, smart, modern design to reinvent chalet living. Rooms with cleverly hidden bunk beds are great for family vacations, and the spa is much bigger than you’d first suspect, extending underground beneath the property’s lawn and gardens.


HOTEL SCHWEIZERHOF SAAS-FEE If you’re craving Old World charm in true chalet style, with multi-course prix fixe meals, stellar service and a spa, Hotel Schweizerhof Saas-Fee might be the very place of you’re envisioning. During ski season, grab a seat in the outdoor Jacuzzi and stay warm while watching the snow fall around you.

SCHLOSSHOTEL Though nothing’s very far away in the postcard-perfect village of Zermatt, the Sclosshotel is notably close to the train station that brings all visitors into the car-free village, and to the train that will take you to Gornergrat, the best viewing point for the Matterhorn. Family-owned, but chic. The spa is perfect for après ski… pre ski… and in lieu of ski.

SWISS ART & ARTISANSHIP Switzerland has produced such visionaries as Alberto Giacometti, Le Corbusier and Paul Klee, as well scientists like Carl Gustav Jung and Hermann Rorschach (the inventor of the Rorschach test), all of whom changed our ways of seeing. Swiss art, like Swiss industry and artisanship, is marked by equal parts rigour and sophistication.

MAMCO Geneva’s wonderful Musée d’art moderne et contemporain retains the industrial character of the factory building it inhabits, with large windows that establish a dialogue between the thoughtfully presented, often provocative, work inside the building and the world outside. Exhibits are a mix of buzz-worthy international shows one would expect in the home of the United Nations, and the work of contemporary Swiss artists. The museum is at the heart of Geneva’s cool Quartier des Bains art district, which hosts an art walk the first Friday of each month, when galleries stay open late.

COLLECTION DE L’ART BRUT Celebrating self-taught creators who worked outside the system (sometimes in places like asylums and prisons), Lausanne’s collection of Art Brut is unique in the world. Some of the work is innocent in its simplicity, while other pieces will make you reconsider your ideas about normal.


DURIG CHOCOLATIER WORKSHOP Using the finest Swiss chocolate, visitors to Lausanne can make their own treats, molded, flavoured and decorated just the way they like. A fun experience for kids, or kids at heart (who have animal shapes to choose from), the workshops take you right into the kitchen, using organic and fair trade ingredients to create a custom product. For those who’d rather leave the chocolate making in the hands of the masters, Durig’s selection is second to none.

BROGUE Settled amidst Geneva’s luxury hotel row, Brogue is probably the best place in the country for high-quality men’s shoes, with many of the world’s top shoe brands. Their head cobbler completed the prestigious Compagnons de Devoir apprenticeship in France.

It can take a year to make a high-quality Swiss timepiece, but enthusiasts visiting the watch capital of the world can try their hands at some key steps in the process at Initium’s workshop in Geneva’s historic centre. A (very patient) master craftsperson leads the classes of three hours, a half day or full day. The best part: the timepiece you assemble yourself is yours to keep.


SWISS GOURMET Fondue and raclette – of course! Canadians should eat all the Swiss cheeses they can manage. But the Swiss excel at menus of all sorts, from bistro fare to more adventurous culinary experiences. Geneva’s international outlook, in particular, provides an array of international dining experiences.



Hotel Beau-Rivage’s exemplary restaurant, headed by Michelin-starred chef Dominique Gauthier, has a Mediterranean-flavoured décor. Gauthier’s dishes are also picture-perfect creations, as is the wine cellar. The hotel’s terrace, looking out on Lake Geneva, is a wellknown see-and-be-seen spot for lunch.

Switzerland produces 110 million litres of wine annually, but little of it leaves the country, mostly because of the strong domestic thirst for it. A trip might be the only chance Canadians get to taste a range of Swiss vintages. The best comes from a UNESCO World Heritage region on the slopes along Lake Geneva, easily reachable by train from Lausanne, where about 200 families produce mostly whites on small, steep plots. This is Switzerland: some of the harvest is done by helicopter. The area is also a spectacularly beautiful place to explore, with hiking trails and country roads, as well as train lines, linking the villages and wineries. One of the friendliest places to stop is Cave de Moratel, run by Family Longet-Voruz, third generation winemakers in Cully. Their reds, like the Diolinoir, will surprise you.

RESTAURANT ESSSTUBE Even the fondue bread – a waffled loaf delivered to your table in a tea-cozy-like envelope – is delightful at this playfully welcoming mountain restaurant. Delicious and hearty traditional dishes like beef fillet with béarnaise sauce or a rösti (potato fritters) are often served with a twist: popcorn on the side, or maybe a tipped-over jar of roasted seasonal vegetables.




This unique bistro-meets-boutique, in a fashionable quarter of Geneva known for its restaurants and nightlife, is hidden away on the premises of what used to be artists’ studios. One space contains a collection of international and local fashion brands. The other, which overflows onto a green terrace, is a funky restaurant, which serves up cleverly named dishes ranging from ceviche to local beef.

Around the corner from Lausanne’s opera house (with its 19th century façade and shiny modern 2012 expansion), Café Mood serves healthy comfort food, sourced primarily from local ingredients, in a bright, relaxed atmosphere that both hipsters and grandmothers will enjoy.

There are about 50 restaurants in the mountains around Zermatt. This one at Gornergrat, with an altitude of 3,100 metres, might offer the best view of the Matterhorn, as well as a terrace that’s beautiful in warm weather. The menu is classic Valais (dried beef, sausages and pasta – remember Italy’s just on the other side of those peaks) and international. For a quicker bite, there’s a self-serve restaurant on the opposite side of the entrance.


SWISS GREAT OUTDOORS You don’t have to reach the top of the Matterhorn to feel like you’ve accomplished something splendid in Switzerland. Whether lounging by (or on) Lake Geneva or schussing down an infinite number of mountainsides, there’s an ideal activity to get you out into the landscape.



Descending through a tunnel into the Fee Glacier, at an altitude of 3,500 metres, one passes through ice that’s 100, 500, 2,000 years old to discover intriguing art installations and a throne of ice. It’s a genuinely moving experience. One also finds a new appreciation for what’s at risk to global warming, as locals report the glacier has been shrinking more quickly over the past decade. Saas-Fee has various seasonal mountain transportation packages, some of which include free entrance to the pavilion.

Skiing is not just recreation in Switzerland, it’s a way of life. There are many ways to get up on the slopes, even in the summer. Both SaasFee and Zermatt offer pass packages to simplify things. Guests at most hotels in Saas-Fee receive a Citizen Pass that includes many ski lifts and mountain trains. Zermatt has an all-area pass, which includes most of the 33 mountain transportation options available.;


The best way to see the charming villages, wine country and mountains around Lake Geneva is from the lake itself. Cruises leave regularly from Port Lausanne-Ouchy, heading in various configurations to Château de Chillon (perhaps Switzerland’s most famous castle),

With so much great hiking in Valais canton, it’s hard to know where to start. The Hannig, easily reached by gondola from Saas-Fee, not only offers great views, it’s also been a summertime goat pasture for a century. Nearby Spielboden is also easy hiking, though its most famed creatures are marmots, who enjoy some respectful attention when they come out of hibernation in the spring.


Vevey (Nestlé’s HQ and an entry point to the wine region) and Montreux (home to the world famous jazz festival). Fondue and raclette cruises are especially popular. Cheese and wine at sunset!

BAINS DES PÂQUIS Jutting out into Lake Geneva toward the city’s famous fountain, this urban oasis isn’t just for swimmers, who in the summer can dip into the lake and pool, or in the winter take a sauna, Turkish bath or hammam. It’s a lovely place for an afternoon promenade or to just chill with a coffee or ice cream. Cultural events frequently take place here.

MATTERHORN HIKING Getting a good pic of the Matterhorn is easy enough. Setting aside any ambitions to summit the peak, so is the hiking around it. Hikers of all abilities will find routes and tours that can lift the spirit or set the heart racing. The 5-Seenweg (Five Lakes Walk) is considered a classic. In this Swiss German-speaking region, greet fellow hikers with a friendly “Grüezi!”


A World of Possibilities




For Those Who Prefer to Explore

Avioners aren’t tourists. They’re travellers. They like to wander off the beaten path, just to see what they can find. They seek out experiences that they can live and stories that they can tell when they get back home. And sometimes all they really want is a new city to discover.

Get the best view of the city Climb the 157 steps of St. Peter’s Cathedral for a unique panoramic view from the top of the tower, then immerse yourself in Genevan history and explore the winding streets of Geneva’s historic Old Town.

According to Athena Varmazis, Senior Vice-President, Cards at RBC, “Avioners don’t settle for mediocre travel plans. They thrive on travel and seek out the experiences that they’ll remember for a lifetime. They’ve chosen Avion because they want a flexible card that allows them to redeem their points on travel experiences they actually want, when they want.” In that spirit, we would like to present Avion’s list of some of the most recommended city break features in Geneva, Switzerland. And the best part? You can do it all, ON POINTS!

Explore the world, ON POINTS Easy to understand travel rewards.

Follow in the footsteps of the Reformation The Reformation Wall can be found in the lush green surroundings of the Bastions Park. It features four huge stone statues of the men that led Geneva to become known as “Protestant Rome”.

The birthplace of luxury watchmaking The art of luxury watchmaking was developed in Geneva four centuries ago. The city streets, lined with the most celebrated brands, attest to this reputation. Take the Geneva Watch Tour from the Flower Clock to the Patek Philippe Museum and make your way through countless luxury boutiques. All rewards are subject to availability and are subject to change without notice. Some restrictions may apply. For complete terms, visit ®/™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. ‡ All other trademarks are the property of their respective owner(s). 1 The RBC Rewards app is operated by Royal Bank of Canada.

Book any flight, with any airline, at any time. And now you can book from anywhere, with the RBC Rewards app1. There are also no seat restrictions. If there’s a seat available, you fly – even during peak seasons. Plus you can also use your points to cover airline fees and taxes.

Earning points is simple and easy. You can feel confident knowing that you’ll earn RBC Rewards® points every time you make a purchase on your credit card.

A travel rewards program that puts you first. You love to travel. And you work hard to earn your points. Which is why you deserve to earn points that you can redeem for travel and that let you fly when you want, where you want.


To learn more visit Powered By


It doesn’t matter if you’ve checked off any of this hit list – they’re all worth visiting time and again. Whether you’re searching for relaxation, adventure or the world’s best flavours, here are BOLD’s best of the best of where to go, what to eat, what to see and what to do – now and beyond.



UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Long a destination for business travellers, Abu Dhabi is working hard to appeal to the leisure category and move past its sterile skyscrapers-in-the-desert façade to present a more well-rounded image. CULTURE CLUB The growing Saadiyat Cultural District is a new development with serious ambitions to elevate Abu Dhabi’s arts scene. A new Guggenheim is slated to eventually open, adding to a Louvre and several other world-class institutions. SLEEPOVER The hotel scene has long been dominated by international luxury brands, and several new openings, adding more than 2,400 rooms, have upped the ante. The Four Seasons Abu Dhabi on Al Maryah Island is a breath of fresh air on the waterfront. JUST CRUISING Abu Dhabi conjures up images of sun and sand, but it also has a massive port. A new cruise terminal on Sir Bani Yas Island offers access to activities like snorkeling and pearl diving.


The perfect destination for a trip of a lifetime. Go back to the land with farm-to-table eating, wildlife walks, breakfast with kangaroos and chic eco-hotels. NATURAL FLAIR If you’re going to commune with nature, do it in style. Cliffside Southern Ocean Lodge is widely considered one of the best in the world. Guests experience “produce-to-plate” dining, unobstructed views of the rugged coastline and guided excursions. EAT LOCAL Sunset Food & Wine – a brand new restaurant from a former chef at Southern Ocean Lodge – opened last year, offering casual fine dining with a focus on seafood dishes like native oyster with cucumber granita. HOP ALONG THE COAST The new Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail promises multi-day walking excursions across 40 miles of spectacularly rugged South Australia coastline. Keep your eyes open for sugar gum trees and wild kangaroos. kangarooislandwildernesstrail.




Increasingly sexy Seoul is coming into its own by replacing a subdued concrete jungle with a greener, more varied metropolis renowned for terrific food and shopping. URBAN PARK The opening of the Seoul Skygarden – similar to New York City’s High Line – creates a very green, kilometre-long park in the centre of the city that includes performance spaces, street markets and greenhouses. FOODIE PARADISE Riding a wave of growing interest in Korean food, with Exodus Travels’ Adventure Holidays in South Korea, you’ll have the chance to taste some of the most underrated cuisine in the world – the smells of sizzling barbecue and the clinking sounds of locals drinking rice wine at Gwangjang Market, is a feast for the senses – making a trip to Korea unforgettable. ROLL THE DICE The first phase of Paradise City, a massive entertainment complex, opened last year. In addition to a casino and nightclubs, the complex has a large-scale spa, dining and retail – like Vegas but under one roof.


Modernity and a rich colonial heritage coexist in India’s city of dreams. Its illustrious past as one of the subcontinent’s prime hubs of trade lends it an infectious vibe that is inimitable. RIDE IN STYLE In 2015, Taxi Fabric launched a project to turn the seat covers in Mumbai’s iconic cabs into works of art. Local artists use the interiors – in almost 50 cars and counting – to create odes to Mumbai culture, such as the tiffin-carrying dabbawalas seen coordinating lunch delivery across the city. FUSE YOUR APPETITE Contemporary Mumbai cuisine is increasingly both fusion and ingredient-forward. Check out The Clearing House for seasonal dishes from across Asia, Mexico and the Mediterranean in a formerly crumbling warehouse. DESIGNER DRINKS Mumbai’s cocktail game is on point. Try the new Masala Bar for molecular mixology, and the new Bombay Canteen for alcoholic slushies and popsicles in flavours like sangria or margarita mixed with Indian spices.;



Portugal has exploded in popularity with Canadian travellers, so consider heading further afield to the subtropical Madeira archipelago. Hike the green hills, take a road trip around the coastline and sip some local wine in the fresh island air. LEGACY LANDMARK Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has opened a new boutique luxury hotel in his hometown of Funchal. Pestana CR7 is designed with the millennial traveller in mind, but the harbourside swimming pool and art deco style will appeal to most. PARTY IN THE STREETS Madeira’s Carnival season (taking place in February 7 to 14, 2018) offers one of Europe’s biggest street parties, complete with massive parade floats, samba bands and locals dancing in elaborate costumes. UNFUSSY FAVOURITES Madeiran food has a style all its own. Try rustic dishes like potato bread topped with garlic butter, fried polenta and honey cake. Consider a visit to Funchal for Il Gallo d’Oro, Madeira’s only double Michelin-star restaurant, for regional specialties with an ocean view. ilgallodoro.


This set of tropical islands is becoming increasing stylish while maintaining a relaxed charm. Most feature miles of pristine white beach, turquoise waters and villages filled with winding lanes and markets serving up freshly grilled seafood. LAIDBACK LUXURY Several indulgent hotels have been opening here, including the eco-friendly Hotel Verde, which will offer carbon-neutral luxury. verdehotels. FUSION FOOD Stone Town has launched another kind of festival, a fall food celebration that unites the city’s varied culinary traditions and spans hotels, restaurants and even street food carts. Expect barbecues on the beach, traditional Swahili cuisine and popup events. FILM BUFFS 2018 marks the 21th anniversary of the Zanzibar International Film Festival, one of the largest arts and culture events in Africa. From July 7 to 15, 2018, go and celebrate local filmmakers.


Recently named World Design Capital, this bustling city is finally being recognized as a modern, progressive metropolis of updated street food, tea traditions and gay culture. MAKE IT MODERN The Taipei Fine Arts Museum has an expansive artistic program that combines exhibitions, performances, screenings, readings and workshops. DRINK IN TRADITION Taipei has a very long history with tea, but a nouveau culture has more recently taken root. The stunning ultra-modern tea shop Xie Xie offers a new twist, including bottle of ready-to-drink cold brews. LOVE THE NIGHTLIFE Taiwan may become the first Asian country to legislate marriage equality. Celebrate by hitting pedestrian-friendly Ximan, Taipei’s gay village, for bars with large terraces, swimming pools and plenty of neon.



What Roman holiday would be complete without a visit to the Spanish Steps or the Fontana di Trevi? We suggest you add a luxe sleepover just up the road from these storied landmarks. Hotel Eden, a Dorchester Collection hotel, has reopened after its own landmark restoration, a project that renews its elegant late-1800s beginnings with new Millennium chic. Clean, light-filled interiors are matched by the historic details: the quirks remain, such as a hidden library bar, while modern aesthetes will appreciate the Bluetooth connectivity, Bang & Olufsen sound system and Bottega Veneta amenities. And the views of the Eternal City from the rooftop resto, La Terrazza, rival those of its Villa Borghese neighbour. Ciao!



If you’ve shown up at the recently reimagined Blue Bar at The Berkeley hotel and can’t sidle up to what’s currently one of the most soughtafter seats at a bar in the English capital, head to Mayfair. Just off Piccadilly, you’ll find Flemings, a member of Small Luxury Hotels, and Manetta’s, its subterranean jewel-box of a bar, complete with its 1930s-era, speakeasy vibe and a cocktail menu – our pick is the rum- and hibiscus liqueur-spiked Rose is a Rose is a Rose – to match. Purple is the colour that reigns here, the royal hue that continues to attract artists, literary types and aristocrats that are looking to stay just off the paparazzi trail. Sexy and sophisticated, to say the least. flemings-mayfair.


A modernist fan’s dream, this city of Gaudí, Miró and Picasso never disappoints. Just walk, walk, walk and be absorbed by the architecture, the people and the Catalonian ambience of this Mediterranean port with a splendid beach to boot. But to see some of the art up close sometimes also means queues, queues, queues. Here’s a tip: at the Museu Picasso order your tickets in advance, online. The portal allows you to choose the times of day when the museum is least crowded, and to skip the lines with your timed entry ticket.



FRANCE A new temple to the olfactory sense has opened its doors on a pretty stretch of Paris’ Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the elegant eighth arrondissement. Le Grand Musée du Parfum offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in over 70 fragrances while wandering through an iconic Haussmann-style mansion that previously served as Christian Lacroix’s couture headquarters. This new museum asks serious questions about the history of perfume, as well as the relationships between scent, memory and emotions. The interiors combine scientific rigour with architectural whimsy; stark white rooms are part apothecary and part art installation. And if you find something you love – whether it triggers memories of balmy childhood summers or simply smells delicious – you can even take it home. Visitors are given electronic cards to scan fragrances that can later be purchased in the gift shop.


THE NETHERLANDS Even if you’re not bedding down at the chic new Sir Adam boutique hotel, which recently unveiled 108 quirky ICRAVE-designed rooms, it’s worthy catching a ferry across the IJ River to explore Noordelijke, Amsterdam’s trendiest (and greenest) neighbourhood. There’s Sir Adam’s home itself, the A’DAM Toren, a former Shell building now filled with clubs and cafés, and, 22 storeys up, a rooftop observation deck. At the nearby (is anything in Amsterdam very far?) EYE film institute, which helped set off the Noordelijke boom when it opened in 2012, film buffs can meet on the riverside terrace for a drink or snack before taking in a screening.;



For years, Prague has captured the heart of travellers. Now the fairytale town of Český Krumlov is catching the eye of international jetsetters. Situated on the banks of the Vltava River, the town was built around a 13th-century castle with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. It is an outstanding example of a small central European medieval town whose architectural heritage has remained intact thanks to its peaceful evolution over more than five centuries. Hotel Růže, a former Jesuit dormitory from the 16 th century is the perfect base from which to explore the city centre, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. All 70 rooms are designed for your comfort. Archways, ceilings, unique frescoes and paintings are all authentic parts of the hotel.


Lisbon, the Ocean Capital of the western world, can now lay claim as a vibrant gastronomy hotbed. Leading the way is Belcanto. Without a doubt the finest restaurant in Lisbon, Belcanto serves elaborate contemporary Portuguese cuisine. You may want to save it for your last night in town; if there’s one lasting impression of Lisbon you’ll want, this is it. Dishes of scrumptious fresh seafood, like Rebentação (Portuguese for “surf”), provides proof of the genius of chef José Avillez, a rising young star on the Portuguese food scene, fresh from his training with chef Ferran Adrià at ElBulli.



KAMALYAYA KOH SAMUI, THAILAND The jungle setting of Kamalaya, perched high up a steep hillside within the island’s rainforest, encourages a quieter meditation, but also a sort of natural networking with other guests that only a remote locale can inspire. If yoga and Eastern leaning wellness is your thing, this is the place. Its founders are a husband and wife team, mixing his yogi training with her Chinese medicine practice. But this doesn’t mean the spa’s gone soft. Intensive fitness classes in the top-notch gym, including postureinducing pilates, hikes around the nine-acre property and mentoring sessions all provide balance to an otherwise otherworldly experience. WHAT TO TRY: A meditation session. Former Buddhist monks are among the teachers.


The approach to health and wellness is quite serious here – this isn’t your average day spa. Known for a holistic approach, the renowned spa is more retreat than treatment. The experts recommend a week here in the mountains of Baja California, where fitness and wellbeing programs are guided, and therapies and treatments – along with much of the mainly vegetarian culinary experience – are made in the kitchens from medicinal herbs and vegetables grown in the property’s organic gardens. WHAT TO TRY: Something you definitely can’t do at home: a guided hike up into the foothills of Mt. Kuchumaa.



Inland from the beaches – and the beach bums – is a paradise that belies all the touristy notions. Still-untouched swaths of rainforest jungles, rushing rivers and a rich traditional in mindfulness and wellness all give Ubud a vibe unlike any other. Four Seasons at Sayan Sacred River Spa has elevated it even more, for mind, body and spirit. The spa’s soundtrack is a calming combination of the gentle breeze breaching the open window and the babbling of the Ayung River that runs through the property. So relaxing is this music of nature, when we visited we fell into a light slumber. WHAT TO TRY: Aerial/anti-gravity yoga for a lightness of being and a healthy stretching of the limbs and the head. fourseasons. com/sayan/spa/



If you were to ask someone where the ancient therapeutic concept of taking the waters still exists, some would say Hungary. And, although it is true that the country is still a destination for hydrotherapy, sometimes a bath house is a little in-yourface for more genteel Western tastes. Széchenyi Thermal Baths in Budapest is the country’s largest and worth a visit, but for a more personal experience, Magnolia offers almost a dozen bath-themed treatments, as well as more familiar peels, massages and facials using French skin-care line Sothys. WHAT TO TRY: The couples treatments and experiences.


The brains behind Gwinganna (including Australian actor and wellness enthusiast Hugh Jackman) take the word “retreat” as gospel. Ranging from twonight wellness weekends to as long as seven days (exclusively for the Gwinganna Detox), programs promise to reset your health span, with special events over the calendar year that include Women’s Discovery, Nourishing You and weekends devoted to “heart, brain, health.” In the Hinterland of Queensland’s Gold Coast, Gwinganna is ecotourism certified and, although fairly restrictive (no booze, smokes or junk food allowed), it promises a lifestyle reset for our everyday hustle and bustle. WHAT TO TRY: Regain a healthy balance through Gwinganna’s four-day Triple “S” – sleep, sugar, stress. ’Nuff said.




TEGERNSEE, GERMANY If you’re looking for a combination of medical spa and old-school retreat, this is it. The medi-clinic follows the FX Mayr method, a medispa approach to digestive wellness first developed in Austria more than 40 years ago. And going with the gut here is what it’s all about. Detoxing to help cleanse your insides, learning better nutrition habits and, yes, the odd facial thrown in, naturally, all contribute to resetting your digestive health. Balancing bad bacteria with good isn’t the only game here: harmony for the mind, exercise for the body and (spa) food for the soul – with Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathy and Western medical methods – gives Lanserhof an all-inclusive feel for your health. WHAT TO TRY: Choose something for your outsides, too: The Lans Derma Regeneration facial, meant to help boost the skin’s immune function.


Since 1932, this spot has been on the cutting edge of medical-spa retreats, grounded in science, yet elevated with Swiss hospitality. Health and wellness, longevity boosting and, of course, aesthetic treatments feature in a program that has been created by more than 50 wellness experts. You can quit smoking, lose weight and detox your liver while striving for better mobility (a key function as we age) and have a physical checkup; medical staff include radiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists and more. And it’s in the Swiss Alps with a view of Lake Geneva. Naturally, nutritionists have built a menu that helps guests take the healthy principles home with them. WHAT TO TRY: The six-night Rebalancing program, which utilizes a holistic approach with both traditional and Ayurvedic techniques.


QUEBEC CITY An essential ingredient of Québécois cuisine, the savoury combination of fries, cheese curds and gravy, makes poutine the must-have street snack of the historic centre. Do a taste test: old-school devotees believe in the traditional style offered by historic Chez Ashton, while those embracing innovation make tracks for newbie Le Chic Shack, where modern additions include smoked meat or braised duck.

OTTAWA For a long time, the Rideau Canal has held bragging rights as the longest ice skating rink in the world. But there’s a new twist to enjoying the winter wonderland in the nation’s capital. The annual Winterlude Festival now includes the continent’s first Ice Dragon Boat Festival, with teams competing for paddling supremacy on the frozen river.


Quebec City Ferry by John O’Sullivan



MANITOBA Head to the north of this Prairie province for one of Mother Nature’s most spectacular sights: the Northern Lights. The best time to see this natural phenomena of green light in the night sky is typically between January and March. But those who want to avoid shivering in the cold take note: The inhabitants of The Pas, population 5,368, claim the Aurora Borealis shines there year round.

YUKON Throughout the 22,000 square kilometres of wilderness in The Kluane National Park and Reserve, one can experience the beauty of forests, rivers, glaciers and icefields, as well as Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak. Here it’s possible to see black and grizzly bears, Dall sheep, moose and caribou. For a Bald eagle-eye-view of this UNESCO World Heritage site, take a Rocking Star Adventure flight.

OKANAGAN VALLEY Nk’mip Cellars in Osoyoos should be a bucket-list destination for oenophiles. Located in the hottest and driest area of Canada, this award-winning vinyard/ restaurant/all-suites resort is Canada’s first Aboriginal-owned winery and was named Canadian Winery of the Year 2016-2017 by the InterVin International Wine Awards.

ROCKY MOUNTAINS While most visitors fixate on mountains and glaciers, five-star luxury can be found among the high peaks of Banff National Park. The elegant Post Hotel & Spa, built in 1942 by Sir Norman Watson, offers memorable indulgences such as dining at Fondue Stübli, tasting something from the wine cellar or the ultimate cabin: The Watson House, a 3,000-square-foot mountain lodge with all the creature comforts on the banks of the Bow River.


NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR There’s a reason the area between southern Labrador and northern Newfoundland is known as Iceberg Alley. Every spring the icebergs make their migration here. Hiking and boat tours are standard options, but kayaking a portion of the 29,000 kilometres of Atlantic coastline will help you get up close and personal with these jaw-droppingly huge pieces of ice, which hide 90 per cent of their mass below the sea surface.




Unquestionably, Spain is an incubator for culinary trends. This is, after all, the turf of the groundbreaking chef/godfather of molecular gastronomy Ferran Adrià, who created ElBulli. In Madrid, Adrià disciples such as the Michelin-starred chef Sergi Arola, and his take on tapas at Vi Cool, carries the torch. But for a truly nextlevel experience, look no further than Adrià’s brother, Albert. elBarri is a concept of multiple dining venues dotted around the city, from Tickets, a Barcelonainspired tapas resto that’s ranked 25 in the Top 50 Restaurants, to Enigma, a reservations-only, experiential spot where you don’t know what you’ll be eating until they’ve confirmed your table.



There’s a new definition of Asian fusion. French influences seem passé. Now it’s all about Japan meets Italy. Yes, Japanese-Italian. At Kissa Tanto, pasta mingles with shiso broth. Eggplant is Japanese, yet roasted Italian-style. Magret duck breast gets a hit of miso, while sake sidles up to glasses of big Tuscan reds. Yet, is it really that surprising? It’s the diversity of Canada in one spot and, even better, a relaxed, all-inclusive vibe that puts everyone at ease. Tokyo jazz cafés of the 1960s, known as “jazu-kissa,” inform both the ambience and the name, kissa. Tanto loosely translates to “so much” or “plenty.” Nevermind – after one bite, you’ll want to kissa the cook, plenty.



Californians are notoriously demanding restaurant patrons, but at chef Ludo Lefebvre’s collaboration with John Shook and Vinny Dotolo, guests must submit to buying tickets online ahead of time for the spectacular no-substitutions five-course tasting menu. Though Lefebvre’s foundation is French cooking (he was born in Auxerre, Burgundy), don’t be surprised if curry, ceviche or other global flavours make an appearance in one form or another. The small dining room (an old pizza parlour, sign still intact, just off Melrose Avenue) makes for an exclusive speakeasy-like experience.





With a culinary scene that’s often overshadowed by that of its neighbour to the north, Chile has a deep need for champions of the kitchen. Enter Rodolfo Guzmán, who trained as a chemical engineer before working in restaurants in Chile and Spain. From the time Guzmán opened Boragó in 2007, the chef has scoured his native land for traditional ingredients (algae, beach asparagus, a fungi that grows on tree limbs, berries he finds on the forest floor) and embraced ancient cooking methods used by the Mapuche indigenous people – all, of course, with a modern twist. The everchanging tasting menu, as many as 20 courses, can be paired with wine or juice.




You know Michelin-starred chef Cristiano Tomei has a big, playful personality without ever meeting him or seeing him on TV cooking shows. It’s all there in the flavours. While there’s certainly a Tuscan heart to his tasting menu (guests get only a choice of number of dishes), the key element is surprise: salty when you expect sweet and vice versa. Today it’s herring with dandelion, tomorrow, overstuffed ravioli sitting like eggs atop a bird’s nest. The dining room is located inside the Lucca Center of Contemporary Art, whose creative displays can also make your heart race. l’



8½ OTTO E MEZZO BOMBANA HONG KONG Call us crazy, but we’ve rediscovered Italian here. Being Canadian, however, we appreciate MasterChef Canada host “Demon Chef” Alvin Leung’s Michelin-starred Bo Innovations, and new kid on the block Vicky Cheng (alum of Toronto’s George Brown College and Oliver Bonacini) and his one-Michelin-star VEA resto. But it’s the Italian, chef Umberto Bombana, that has us excited. Bombana arrived in 1993 with his truffle-flecked Northern Italian cuisine and never looked back. In 2010, he opened 8½, a fine-dining experience with a little Fellini-esque la dolce vita (hence the name of his resto) thrown in that’s scored three Michelin stars – the only three-starred Italian restaurant outside Italy. Don’t miss the caviar and abalone starter, the white-truffle pasta, risotto or, well, just about anything over which Bombana can shower those earthy truffles.



Though Tel Aviv is awash in great restaurants, the drive to the countryside north of the Atsmon Mountain Reserve is part of the delight of visiting solar-powered eco-farm Goats with the Wind. Organic goat cheese is the star attraction of their prix fixe menu, which is driven by seasonal local ingredients straight from the farm’s vegetable garden. Eaten in their comfy al fresco dining room, the salads are as fresh as they are pretty, and the wine to wash it down with is, of course, made right on the property. Meat options available, too.





PANAMA The Moment

s we clambered into the tour boat, took our seats and snapped into our lifejackets, the guide explained that the vast Panamanian lake we were about to sail on was entirely man-made, created when the area was dammed and flooded to build the Panama Canal. Underneath Gatun Lake’s shimmering blue waves, he said, were the skeletons of full-grown trees, creating a unique watery ecosystem. While those underwater trees sounded fascinating, what really captured our attention was in the trees above water. There, in the branches that drooped over our heads, lurked hidden troops of monkeys, waiting for the sound of an approaching engine. Curious, friendly and eager for a meet-and-treat, they were Panama’s best ambassadors. As our boat slid gently into the shore, the furry welcoming party arrived: tiny capuchin and squirrel monkeys, hopping onto the roof and swinging happily on the struts, reaching out with remarkably human-looking hands to take the nuts and bits of banana we had for them. While some jumped back into the trees immediately to savour their treasures, others lingered to gaze at us, almost as if they were hoping we could make a longer-lasting connection between species. Maybe, in those warm Panamanian moments on the shores of that young lake, we did.—LIZ FLEMING



Fly TAP Portugal and enjoy up to five days in Lisbon or Porto on the way to over 65 destinations throughout Europe and Africa, all at no additional airfare. Book now at




Gornergrat Railway, Switzerland

Subject to availability. Some restrictions may apply. For complete terms, visit ®/™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. ‡ All other trademarks are the property of their respective owner(s).

Bold issue43 march 2018  

Our guide to the best Switzerland has to offers in accommodations, restaurants, attractions and experiences.

Bold issue43 march 2018  

Our guide to the best Switzerland has to offers in accommodations, restaurants, attractions and experiences.