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For fans of the macabre, there’s no better place to visit than the chilling Catacombs of Paris. Miles of tunnels beneath the city are filled with 18th century human remains, arranged in intricate patterns. Start Avioning today with 15,000 Welcome points.† Visit rbc.com/avion or call 1 800 769-2511 to apply.
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of our travellers would recommend Exodus to their friends*
of our travellers recognize that we design and operate trips to benefit the local community and environment*
4.7 out of 5.0 average trip rating based on the past 100 online customer reviews*
Europe - Beyond Sightseeing For over 43 years, Exodus Travels has been creating life changing tours for people who want to experience a world beyond sightseeing. Whether you have a yearning to take a trip back through time in the fairytale palaces of France’s Loire, village-hop by bicycle through the Baltics, drink your way through Italy’s Chianti wine region, follow the paths of bygone gods in Greece, trek the Mont Blanc circuit, behold the traditional flamenco dancers of southern Spain, or simply meet incredible people that inspire you with wonder, Exodus has an adventure in Europe for you. From new takes on classic destinations to off-the-beaten path secrets, let Exodus Travels introduce you to the real Europe.
Cultural • Hiking • Cycling • Responsible Wildlife *Statistics based on feedback from 2014 up until the time of publication.
EXODUSTRAVELS.COM / 1-800-267-3347 boldmagazine.ca
CONTENTS SPRING 2017
F E AT U R E S
PARIS, JE T’AIME Even in tough times, the allure of the French capital never wavers, writes Jacqueline Swartz in her celebration of the City of Light
42 HISTORY & MODERNITY Fascinated by Brussels’s long tradition of art and style, Waheeda Harris accepts an invitation to see where luxury is born
50 SHADES OF GREEN Out on Ireland’s prettiest greens, Anita Draycott discovers just what serious golfers will endure for their sport
Pont Alexandre III bridge in Paris, empty in the early morning.
Despite the onboard attention to detail, it’s the history and culture found along France’s Rhône River that captivates Ruth J. Katz
FRENCH IMMERSION WITH EMERALD WATERWAYS
That’s not all. What would a cruise in France be, after all, without a culinary escapade or two? Emerald Liberté guests will enjoy a unique culinary adventure on every cruise - a Provençal style dinner created by acclaimed local chef and Top Chef France finalist, Fabien Morreale. A culinary wizard who is passionate about using the freshest, traditional and local Provençal and Mediterranean ingredients in his cooking, Morreale also loves to surprise guests with clever Asian influences. He credits his grandmother for making him the chef he is today.
“Cooking with my grandmother is the basis of everything I know about food,” says Morreale, “and it’s where I developed my palate.” Lucky Emerald Liberté guests will benefit from that carefully developed palate as they indulge in delicious dishes created from the products of the Valley of Les Baux-de-Provence and enhanced by Chef Morreale’s special genius. INCLUSIVE IS BEST
© 2017 PULSO MEDIA GROUP INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
n the ever-competitive world of river cruising – where glam ships offer sophisticated cruisers everything from haute cuisine to onboard classical quartets – Emerald Waterways is a standout. Their secret? The ultimate blend: luxury and value, the most beautiful areas of Europe and a collection of stunning river cruise ships. Emerald’s choices are enticing. If you decide on the eight-day “Sensations of Southern France” cruise, for example, you’ll be immersed in outstanding culinary and cultural experiences in Provence. This season, you’ll be among the first to experience the newly built Emerald Liberté – one of three brand new ships being launched by Emerald Waterways in 2017. The sister ships include the Emerald Destiny, which will sail the Rhine and Danube rivers and the Emerald Radiance, which will sail Portugal’s Douro river. With just 138 guests aboard, the Emerald Liberté will have 70 suites and staterooms and a remarkable three-to-one guest/crew ratio. Guests will be able to choose from two restaurants—Reflections, the main dining room, and The Terrace for breakfast and lunch—and will enjoy not only an onboard hairdresser, massage therapy room and fitness area, but also a collection of bicycles, perfect for riding through the Provençal countryside. If you’ve always longed to watch a Champagne bottle smash against the hull of a ship, plan to be on hand for the launch of the Emerald Liberté in Lyon. And the excitement of the christening will be just the beginning of the adventure. Later, you’ll taste the exceptional wines at Cave de Tain, enjoy the Taste of Provence tour and olive tasting session at a local olive mill, and explore the fascinating maze of gothic hallways and rooms that make up the medieval Palais des Papes. Whether you choose the christening cruise or opt for one of the regular itineraries, once you climb aboard the Emerald Liberté you’ll begin your up-close-and-personal introduction to the unforgettable scenery of Lyon, Arles, Chalon-Sur-Saône, Tournon and Avignon as you explore the Rhône and Saône Rivers.
Sometimes the biggest – and by far the nastiest – surprises for novice river cruisers are the additional fees charged onboard. Just when you think you’ve paid for your vacation and are ready to set sail and enjoy it, it’s hugely disappointing to discover that many river cruise companies charge for everything from staff gratuities, to drinks and – most expensive of all - shore excursions. With prices that start at $40-$50/person/day and rocket skyward from there, the cost of a seven-ten-day cruise can quickly escalate. That’s not how it works on Emerald Waterways where the cruise fare includes some flights, all transfers, most shore excursions, all onboard and some on-shore meals, beer, wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch and dinner, as well as bottled water in the staterooms. The inclusive attitude even extends to staff gratuities and good quality, complimentary wifi – a rare treat. SEEING THE SIGHTS UNDER SAIL Ultimately, the appeal of a river cruise in Provence lies in the proximity you enjoy to the shorelines. You’ve come for an authentic experience, a great view is the key and the Emerald Liberté is well ahead of the competition. While other ships offer shallow French balconies, Emerald Waterways’ signature stateroom design provides an indoor balcony, decked area and open-air system to bring the outdoors in. As you glide along the peaceful waters of the Rhône and the Saône, drinking in the scenery - and perhaps, a glass or two of local wine - you’ll savour that total Provence immersion you came to find.
THE LUXURY OF MORE 1 855 444 0161 Visit emeraldwaterways.ca or Contact your travel professional boldmagazine.ca
CONTENTS SPRING 2017
AG E N DA 17
WANDERLUST: The inescapable
art of Dutch life
STAY: Meticulously restored, the Milu Hotel aims to stay central to Florentine society
NEW & NOTEWORTHY: SIM on arrival in India; Italy’s Veneto wines; UV fashion
GLOBETROTTER: Crystal Luxury Corporation’s Edie Rodriguez
STYLE FILE: Scents that define their native lands
FOOD DIARIES: The life of chef Jason Bangerter and Cambridge’s Langdon Hall in photos
THE GUIDE 31
SEVEN CITY BREAKS: Our editors pick seven European cities you must visit now
T R AV E L N AV I GATO R
TRAVEL INTEL: What your airline ticket
UPGRADES: BOLD and Exodus travel
BOLD TRAVELLER: Our Insider’s Guide
WORTH TRAVELLING FOR: Munich’s
includes (and what it doesn’t)
present the best of Portugal’s Douro region to Chiang Mai
Jahreszeiten Bar 68
One of the most impressive projects from the late architect Zaha Hadid, Antwerp’s eye-catching Port House fits 500 employees into what was once a fire station.
E D I TO R ’ S N OT E
BRIDGING THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE
Is there ever a bad time to visit Europe? No matter how many times we’ve been, no matter the political headaches of the day, no matter the weather or the price of flights, the grand continent provides inspiration, wonderment, indulgence and balm for even the most world-weary soul. For North Americans, especially, the distances themselves are astonishing. Nations whiz by in a journey of mere hours; a jaunt from the bewitchingly bleak hills of Connemara in Ireland to the futuristic architecture of, say, Zaha Hadid’s Port House in Antwerp is akin to time travel. Researching my feature on museums in the Netherlands for this issue (page 17), I was astonished by the the ease at which the train system was able to whisk me from Groningen in the north to The Hague in the south; it was faster than transiting across some North American cities. And I suppose I can’t celebrate Europe without mentioning the food. At Groningen’s unassuming Eetcafé Schuitendiep restaurant, each of the six “surprise” courses was a piece of art; candy-coloured configurations tickled the taste buds with unexpectedly savoury flavours. But then again, even the cheeses rolled out at a typical Dutch breakfast bring tears to my eyes.
Canadians may moan about how far the loonie goes in Europe. But a flurry of airline competition has brought down the cost of many transatlantic routes, while ticket prices within the EU are often mere formalities. The high quality of accommodations, food and attractions across the continent delivers excellent value for any sized budget. Of course, there’s always the classic (and romantic) approach to a Europe sojourn: bread, cheese and a bottle of wine al fresco across from one impressive national monument or another. Santé! Proost! Prost! Skål! Sláinte! Saúde! Salute! ¡Salud! Priekā! Na zdrowie! Cheers!
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Paul Gallant Executive Editor
EMERALD WATERWAYS BEST RIVER CRUISE LINE
BEST NEW SHIP (RIVER)
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IT’S ALL INCLUDED
✓ Innovative on-board features like a heated pool with retractable roof & cinema†
EMERALD’S EXCEPTIONAL VALUE
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BEST NEW SHIP (RIVER)
2018 CRUISES AT 2017 PRICES + SAVE $1000 PER COUPLE ON 15+ DAY CRUISES OR $500 PER COUPLE ON 8-14 DAY CRUISES Book by May 15, 2017
✓ Boutique hotel style accommodations with spacious cabins and our refreshing open air balcony system in all our suites ✓ All onboard meals and gourmet dining at Reflections Restaurant ✓ A refined selection of wine, beer, and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner ✓ Biking and hiking guided tours with EmeraldACTIVE ✓ Enjoy in depth cultural experiences with our EmeraldPLUS excursions. ✓ Daily excursions
SPLENDOURS OF EUROPE
8-DAY CRUISE Nuremberg to Budapest
15-DAY CRUISE Amsterdam to Budapest
$3,045 per person*
$4,495 per person*
SENSATIONS OF SOUTHERN FRANCE 8-DAY CRUISE Lyon to Arles FROM
✓ All airport transfers to and from your Star-Ship ✓ Port charges & taxes included ✓ Plus we take care of all gratuities ✓ and much more... † Pool is located on the sun deck for the Emerald Radiance and does not convert into a cinema, no bicycles on board.
Call 1 855 444 0161, visit emeraldwaterways.ca or contact your travel professional *Terms & conditions: Offer applies to new 2018 bookings and non-transferable. Offer ends May 15, 2017 unless sold our prior and is not combinable with any other offer. 2018 cruises at 2017 prices based on the same cruise departing at a similar time of year and is valid until May 15, 2017. $1000 per couple and $500 per couple savings based on the full brochure price. A non-refundable initial deposit of $500 per person is required at the time of booking, with full payment required 90 days prior to departure. Taxes & port charges are included in the price. Prices based on following 2017 departures: EWNB010718.1, EWCR28042018.1, EFRC28042018.1. Offer may be extended, cancelled or withdrawn at any time without notice. 2018 itineraries, hotels and inclusions are subject to availability and may change. For full terms and conditions please visit www.emeraldwaterways.ca. Emerald Waterways, 401 West Georgia St., Suite 1025, Vancouver, BC, V6B 5A1. © EMERALD WATERWAYS 2015 | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED | BC CONSUMER PROTECTION #40178. ECAMA016
CONTRIBUTORS SPRING 2017
ON THE COVER
The inside view of the Panthéon dome, Paris, France.
Marlon J. Moreno Publisher + Editorial Director Paul Gallant Executive Editor Magda de la Torre Americas Editor CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Andrew Brudz • Anita Draycott • Meagan Drillinger • Waheeda Harris • Ruth J. Katz David Locke • Muriel Paras • Michael Smith Jacqueline Swartz • Sarah Treleaven • Liam Wilkinson ART DIRECTION AND DESIGN Laura García
LAURA GARCÍA Art Director Starting out her career in design in Mexico City, Laura Garcia first designed brochures and newsletters for movies premieres, moving on to work on brands like Gillette, Givenchy, Elle Mexico and Clinique. Most recently Garcia has breathed life BOLD’s new look, helping us transition to a cleaner and more elegant design.
WAHEEDA HARRIS Writer
MICHAEL SMITH Writer
HISTORY & MODERNITY
A traveller from an early age, Waheeda Harris has been writing about our planet for the past 10 years, appreciates good design, the aisle seat on a plane and one switch to turn off hotel room lights. She’s grateful to learn about the planet every day.
As the Travel Navigator and consumer reporter for BOLD, Michael keeps track on the ever-changing landscape of travel and how it affects readers. He also works full-time as the digital manager for travel industry magazine Travelweek. Follow his adventures at instagram.com/ michaelsmithaus/.
PHOTOGRAPHY Carlos Bolivar • Tishan Baldeo WEB DEVELOPER Rahul Nair ADVERTISING For Advertising, Promotion, Reprints and Sponsorships inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Public Relations Coordinator Marlon Moreno Garnica Luxury Destination Weddings & Honeymoons Brand Johnny Gomez email@example.com Director of Sales PHONE: 1.416.323.7828 extension 25 PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENCY Jesson + Company jessonco.com firstname.lastname@example.org 77 Bloor St. West, Suite 1200 Toronto, ON. M5S 1M2 CORRESPONDENCE The Hudson Bay Centre 20 Bloor St. East P.O. Box 75075 Toronto, ON. M4W 3T3 BOLD® is published bimonthly by Pulso Media Group 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.
A World of Possibilities
TRAVEL LIKE AN AVIONER
For Those Who Prefer to Explore
PORTOBELLO ROAD MARKET
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 they want to do it all, as easily as possible. According to Athena Varmazis, Vice-President, Cards at RBC, “In the same way that these travellers aren’t limited by the tourist guide, Avioners don’t accept limitations on their travel plans and they would never carry a travel rewards card that would place such limitations.” In that spirit, we would like to present to you, Avion’s list of must-see European attractions. And the best part? You can do it all, ON POINTS!
Portobello Road Market, London Known as the world’s largest antique market, Portobello Road Market in fact has everything, including live music, art, and of course, antiques. With over 300 years of local history, this neighbourhood is also home to some of London’s coolest pubs.
Explore the world, ON POINTS Easy to understand travel rewards.
GENTINA LARGO DI TORRE AR
Largo di Torre Argentina, Rome There’s no shortage of ancient ruins in Rome, but this sight is a must-visit for two reasons. First, this is the place where Caesar was famously stabbed. And second, it is now home to the Roman Cat Sanctuary.
Brouwerij ‘t IJ Windmill Brewery, Amsterdam Ever drink a pint in a working windmill? In Amsterdam you can! Just a bike ride away from the heart of the city, the Brouwerij ‘t IJ brewery has been brewing since 1985 and is one of the best spots to stop and enjoy an authentic Dutch beer. All rewards are subject to availability and are subject to change without notice. Some restrictions may apply. For complete terms, visit rbcrewards.com/terms. ®/™ 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.
Use your points toward all your purchases. With Payback with Points, you can redeem your RBC Rewards® points toward anything and everything you purchase using your Avion® card. Simply use your points to make a payment directly toward your credit card balance.
AVIONERS CAN DO THAT ®
To learn more visit rbc.com/avion Powered By
TREASURE ISLANDS Quebec’s enchanting Les Îles de la Madeleine offer visitors a string of islands with ethereal landscapes, natural wonders and one-of-a-kind experiences. While it is quintessentially Canadian, it’s a part of Canada most us don’t get to experience everyday. Les Îles de la Madeleine (or Magdalen Islands, for our anglophone readers) are a collection of eight interconnected islands, forming an archipelago in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Though part of the province of Quebec, they share a lot in common with the nearby Maritime provinces. Jacques Cartier was the first European to land on the islands, which were a common stopping ground for the Mi’kmaqs for hundreds of years. Today, they remain unspoiled and transportative, with temperate climates, rolling hills, lighthouses, charming fishing villages, forests perfect for hiking and rare birds.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE With a mix of Acadians and Scottish immigrants, some of the locals are actually the descendants of the over 400 shipwrecks that crashed onto the shores of the islands centuries ago. Today, the Madelinots are a warm, proud and diverse people. In fact, you’ll notice a distinct accent from island to island, but keep in mind: almost all its residents speak only French. Music is a huge part of their culture, and they are always happy to perform the songs they write for an audience of visitors.
SUNSET STRIP With its strikingly unique landscape and uninterrupted skyline, the islands offer some of Canada’s most stunning sunsets, with streaks of pink, orange and red cascading across the sky. A few of our favourite lookout spots include: Parc de Gros-Cap’s La Martinique Beach and cliffs; the lighthouse on the cape of L’Étang-du-Nord; and the breathtaking colours of Belle Anse in Fatima cannot be missed. BY THE SEAFOOD Unsurprisingly yet delightfully, seafood is the most popular cuisine on the islands! There’s a chance you’ve already eaten their world-famous lobster, their most famous export. Other seafood favourites include freshly caught scallops, herring, mussels and crab. Raw cheeses and pot-en-pot (seafood pot pie) are also local specialities that will delight taste buds. WHEN YOU GO Air Canada Express offers daily flights to Les Îles de la Madeleine from Toronto and Montreal with connections for all Air Canada and Star Alliance destinations. 1 888 247-2262 www.aircanada.com
PLAN YOUR TRIP THIS SUMMER
tourismeilesdelamadeleine.com 1 877 624-4437 • email@example.com
© 2017 PULSO MEDIA GROUP INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Whether you’re pro or a newcomer to the sport, kayaking offers an exceptional, up-close experience with the unique landscapes, from dazzling red sandstone cliffs to tranquil lagoons to secluded beaches. And for birdwatchers, the wetlands are home to a diverse collection of waterfowl. For an even richer experience, there are a few kayak tour operators on the islands who offer experienced guides and translators.
AGENDA W H E R E O U R WA N D E R LU S T I S TA K I N G U S N E X T
DUTCH TREATS In the Netherlands, three major museums demonstrate the narrow distance between art and life.
The dizzying lobby of the Groninger Museum in Groningen, Netherlands. boldmagazine.ca
[ WANDERLUST ]
s my train zips north through the sculpted Dutch landscape, passing gently rolling dikes, green-watered canals and man-made wetlands, a student heading home for a family visit pauses the movie he’s watching to point out to me the towns he thinks are attractive and those he thinks are “a little ugly.” It turns out my blond-haired companion is a master’s student in Museum Studies and Egyptology and has a lot of aesthetic opinions. That’s a smart career choice in a country that has more museums per square kilometre than any other. Even by European standards, the percentage of Netherlanders who work in the cultural industries is astonishingly high. You’re more likely to run into someone who works in culture and recreation than a farmer, fisherman or even an IT professional. The homeland of Rembrandt and Van Gogh, whose Golden Age of painting through the 17 th century gave us the term “master,” as in “masterpiece,” is a place where artistic expression permeates daily life, whether it’s how cheese is arranged on a breakfast plate or how the latest blockbuster museum show has been curated. Crimes against art regularly make the news. Last fall, five Dutch Golden Age masterpieces worth more than CAD$19 million, stolen from the
Photographer: Robert Kot © Groninger Museum
Photographer: Robert Kot © Groninger Museum
Westfries Museum more than a decade ago, turned up in the Ukraine and were returned to their home amidst much excitement. At Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, it’s hard not to look at Barnett Newman’s ethereal blue “Cathedra” without thinking about the disgruntled artist who slashed it with a knife in 1997. Art forgery, art theft and other art controversies happen with astonishing regularity and maximum media exposure. It almost feels like it’s not the windmills dotted across the countryside that power the nation; it’s the rich assemblage of art, artifacts and collective knowledge. “This is almost the ideal museum in variety, shape, originality,” says Andreas Blühm, the German-born director of Groninger Museum, not a just little boastfully. “Of course, when it was built, everybody hated it. But to get people from the south to visit, the museum has worked hard to distinguish itself.” Fate has played some part in Groninger Museum’s success; the authoritative David Bowie is exhibition was there when the cultural icon passed away last January, attracting more than 200,000 visitors in just a couple of months. But so has the museum’s outrageous architecture. Founded as a traditional 19th-century museum housed in a historic mansion, in 1994 the directors reinvented the institution with new digs designed with tremendous disregard for coherence by architects Philippe Starck, Alessandro Mendini, Michele de Lucchi
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Groninger Museum’s wild interior and exterior; the blue Delft collection at Gemeentemuseum in The Hague and the museum’s H.P. Berlage-designd exterior; the blockbuster Alma-Tadema exhibition at Leeuwarden’s Fries Museum; and the work of Claudy Jongstra, also at the Fries Museum.
and Coop Himmelb(l)au. The team’s three fanciful deconstructionist pavilions form a chain of islands in the middle of one of the canals encircling Groningen, a compact and otherwise unflamboyant northern Dutch city. In fact, the building demands so much attention, the museum’s offerings are obliged to be just as daring to compete. In the lounge, design team Studio Job created an ironic gentlemen’s club, complete with lighting fixtures resembling breasts or, depending on your perspective, inflated condoms. Until April 30, 2018, Auguste Rodin’s “The Kiss,” “Balzac” and “The Thinker” will be the highlights of the Netherlands’ largest-ever exhibition of the sculptor’s works at the Groninger Museum. But, regardless of whatever special exhibition is drawing crowds, the museum is always awash in colour, texture and provocation, with shiny phallic sculptures steps away from elegant gowns. Heading south to The Hague, I visit the Gemeentemuseum. Like with the Groninger Museum, the aesthetics of H.P. Berlage’s modernist building, completed in 1935, play a major role in determining what’s displayed. Here’s the story: Sal Slijper, the largest collector of the painter Piet Mondrian, was courted by several museum directors hoping to woo a substantial inheritance. When Slijper died in 1971, his estate ended up in the hands of the Gemeentemuseum, in part because Slijper considered Berlage’s balance-obsessed building the best suited to display Mondrian’s balance-obsessed paintings. In doing so, Slijper transformed the museum into Mondrian central. That’s a strength curators are exploiting this year until September 24, when they
put all 300 works in their collection on display together for the first time. The show is part of a larger celebration of the 100th anniversary of the journal De Stijl, the main forum for the avant-garde art movement that influenced Mondrian, Berlage and a generation of Dutch artists and designers. Of course, the Dutch are not alone in their devotion to the cult of art. They import museum types, too. At the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden, which will share the title of 2018 European Capital of Culture with Valletta, Malta, I met New Yorkbased editor and curator Peter Trippi. Sharp and exuberant, Trippi talks about the curatorial team’s work in putting together the exhibition Alma-Tadema: Classical Charm, which ran earlier this year and but can be seen at the Belvedere in Vienna, Austria, where it runs to June 18, and at Leighton House Museum in London from July 7 to October 29. (Fries Museum’s next blockbuster is M.C. Escher in 2018.) For a time, the paintings of Sir Lawrence AlmaTadema could be picked up for next to nothing. Trippi once spotted one as wall-filler at a Baltimore diner; another turned up last fall on BBC One’s Antiques Roadshow. Now the Dutch painter is celebrated. His “The Finding of Moses,” the exhibition’s showstopper, sold for US$36 million in 2010, the highest amount paid for a Victorian work at that time. “The moral of the story?” says Trippi. “Never throw anything away.”–PAUL GALLANT
WHEN YOU GO KLM serves the Toronto Pearson-Amsterdam Schiphol route with its Boeing 787 service, which features three levels of service including its impressive New World Business Class (with full-flat seats). klm.com Holland Tourism Board: holland.com Groningermuseum: groningermuseum.nl Gemeentemuseum: gemeentemuseum.nl Fries Museum: friesmuseum.nl
[ STAY ]
Where CLASSIC and CONTEMPORARY collide
In the centre of one of the world’s most beautiful cities, SARAH TREALEVAN discovers a new boutique property that offers guests the best of old and new worlds – and a whole lot of art.
Photos by MORGAN DONOVAN
ON THIS PAGE: This Milu stairway functions as a gallery space. OPPOSITE PAGE: A deluxe room; the Milu’s library; the hotel’s lowkey exterior.
lorence is widely considered Italy’s most beautiful city, largely for the magical sense of history woven into each cobblestone and iconic red roof. The city is home to world-renowned wonders such as Michelangelo’s David, Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and the largest duomo in Italy. But the best things about Florence aren’t all relegated to the past. Tasteful modern design – in the form of high-design shopping and cutting-edge art galleries – complement the ancient character. And the latest addition to Florence’s chic and modern landscape is the Milu Hotel, a boutique property that combines both old and new elements.
he Milu Hotel, which opened in October, is housed in a meticulously restored 15th-century building, originally part of a handsome row of private residences belonging to the Florentine elite. Preserved period details include arched windows and large stone slab flooring. The property was in the centre of bourgeois life, and even once housed the Café Doney, a fixture for aristocrats and socialites – like the Kardashians of yesteryear, but classier. The contemporary five-floor building weaves together complementary visions of traditional Florentine heritage and classic hospitality with modern design based on a playful and minimalist aesthetic. A grand central 19 th-century staircase, which doubles as a gallery space for work by international artists selected by the hotel’s in-house curatorial team, connects all the floors. From the moment Milu opened its doors, common spaces were elevated by art from around the world and of multiple disciplines, including installations, paintings and sculpture work by artists such as Maya Gelfer, Ronen Sharabani, Galia Gur Ziv and Carmel Ilan. There are 22 individually designed rooms that emphasize understated style within a distinct colour palette. Rooms are spare and tasteful, with pops of colour, exposed wooden beams or interesting objets against a neutral canvas. Modern marble bathrooms with rain showerhead complement more classic design features, like wooden shutters and plump patterned throw pillows. Rooms include air conditioning, complimentary wifi and cable television, a workstation with printer, and Egyptian cotton linens. Each room acts as a showcase for Italian furniture, lighting and design pieces by local brands like Moroso, Rimadesio, Minotti, Desalto, MDF Italia, Molteni, Magis, Bonaldo and Gubi. Some rooms have balconies overlooking the bustling Via de’ Tornabuoni – possibly a perfect place to relax with a delicious glass of Tuscan wine.
The services at the Milu are in line with an au courant image. A 24hour “hyper local” concierge is on deck to make recommendations for exploring Florence’s art, culinary, fashion and music scenes. Staff will also assist with booking museum tickets, private transfers and day trips to nearby Siena, Pisa and Lucca. Daily breakfast is offered in the Library Lounge, which is a chic mix of spare white walls, marble fireplaces, candy-apple-red chairs and oversize art books. The spread includes fresh fruit, vegetables, yogurt, pastries and breads, plus locally cured meats. (Expect good coffee – this is Italy, after all.) When the sun is shining, Milu has a charming terrace lined with boxes of fresh herbs. The Milu is a boutique property, so amenities are less plentiful than at larger hotels. But the Via de’ Tornabuoni is in the heart of Florence’s fashion and design district, so guests can just walk out the front door and discover terrific restaurants, bars, cafés, museums and luxury shops like Fendi and Giorgio Armani. Milu doesn’t have an in-house spa, but appointments can be made at a luxurious venue close to the hotel. The nearby Palazzo Strozzi plays host to international art exhibitions – be sure to stop into the charming Strozzi Caffe for spritz – and the Uffizi Gallery, one of Florence’s most beautiful art museums, is a must see. Several other key sightseeing landmarks are also close by. The famous Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower is just five minutes away on foot, as is the bell tower by Giotto. The Ponte Vecchio – the iconic and highly romantic medieval enclosed arch bridge – is also just minutes from the Milu. Rooms from CAD$225/night. hotelmilu.com
[ NEW & NOTEWORTHY ]
Instant Indian Connections
othing ruins a vacation quite like a sunburn – plus sun-damaged skin can be a dangerous and nasty business. This being 2017, there is, of course, a tech solution. The fashion-forward June bracelet by Netatmo, a UV monitor that helps protect you from the sun’s harmful rays, is part of a new breed of wearables. Designed to look more like a piece of jewellery than a Livestrong bracelet, the June senses UVA and UVB exposure while worn on the wrist or clipped to a bag. The accompanying app syncs the information from the device with your inputted skin type to give you a real-time personalized UV index that lets you know when your skin needs a break. The software will also remind you to put on a hat and sunglasses or reapply sunscreen and let you know what level of SPF is best for you. Perhaps the biggest draw of this gadget, which goes for $39.99, is its stunning design. In platinum, gold or gunmetal, it’s simple to match with any fabulous outfit. junebynetatmo.com
ndia has always had a reputation for red tape. When I applied for a visitors’ visa 20-some years ago, it was a lengthy bureaucratic process that left me feeling battered well before I set foot in the country. But the introduction of India’s e-Tourist Visa in 2014 has completely upended expectations, with a 100 per cent online process that costs just US$48 with approval taking four days or less. Now India is sweetening the deal, providing foreign visitors, including Canadians, with free mobile SIM cards on arrival. Pre-loaded with R50 talk time (about CAD$1) and 50MB worth of data, the SIM card can be inserted into a compatible unlocked cell phone. Visitors present a copy of their e-Visa and the first page of their passport at the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) outlet at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (T3 Terminal). Eventually the program will roll out to 15 other international airports. The SIM-on-arrival can ease the hassle of chasing down wifi or using payphones. Or, truly confused visitors can use it to call the Ministry of Tourism’s recently introduced 24/7 Tourist Helpline. (+1800111363). indianvisaonline.gov.in — PG
ne of the largest wine-producing regions in Italy, Veneto is once again contemplating a referendum to gain more autonomy from Italy’s central government. Regional president Luca Zaia is promising a vote by fall this year, leaving oenophiles wondering what will become of the much-loved Valpolicella viticultural zone, the source of much easy-drinking but increasingly sophisticated Italian wines. About an hour-and-a-half drive from Venice, the rolling grape-vine-covered hills near Lago di Garda make for an earthy day trip. Though Veneto is unlikely to build a wall, Canadians do already have some opportunities to make their own Valpolicella tour from the comfort of their own homes. While the most well-known wines of the region are still the white Soaves, the area is increasingly known for its red Classicos, Ripassos and Amarones, all of which can transport a drinker to the banks of Lago di Garda with a mere taste. Il Bosco, one of the full-bodied Amarones from winery Cesari, heralds from a five-hectare vineyard just south-east of Castelrotto at an altitude of 150 metres. Cesari’s Bosan Amarone, the company’s top wine, uses grapes grown further south and nearer the lake, which keeps the weather mild year-round, nurturing notes of cherry, spices, cocoa and vanilla. While there’s probably no rush to visit before a separation, a tour via the tastebuds is always in order. cesariverona.it —PG
Start Your Flight Off Right...
Plaza Premium Lounge, Winnipeg Richardson International Airport
[ GLOBETROTTER ]
Around the world with travel expert
Edie Rodriguez Head of Crystal Luxury Corporation.
A Native New Yorker now based in Miami, Edie Rodriguez joined Crystal Luxury Corporation in 2013 and was soon promoted to chairman, CEO and president. Rodriguez had worked in senior marketing, sales and business development positions with luxury lines, like Canyon Ranch, Hermès, Clicquot and Todd English. But it was her blueprint to dramatically expand Crystal’s fleet and range of offerings that captured the industry’s attention. This summer Crystal will debut two new luxury river yachts, adding two more vessels in 2018 and, in 2019, three polar class expedition mega-yachts. When she was a girl, the gift of a porcelain Geisha doll from an aunt who visited Japan triggered a deep interest in world customs and cultures. Since she was six, Rodriguez has dreamed of visiting every country in the world and so far has visited more than 100 on all seven continents.
“My home is filled with slippers from hotels all over the world.” Confession time: name one thing you’ve taken from a hotel. Slippers. I love bringing them home and walking around my house in them. I wear them for a few days and then throw them out and replenish with a new pair. As you can imagine, my home is filled with slippers from hotels all over the world. What’s the one thing you pack for every trip? My global international converter. What’s your essential item for making travel more comfortable? My Kartusch wrap to keep me warm. What’s your guilty pleasure while travelling? Sampling all of the fabulous red wine varietals around the world. Which is your road most travelled? The road that leads to Italy. Where have you just come back from? The magnificent Crystal Serenity, where I sailed in the Caribbean. Where in the world have you felt happiest? At my home in Tuscany. It is my slice of heaven on Earth. Which is your favourite hotel and why? I am madly in love with The Peninsula Paris and the experience there. When one is in fabulous Paris and you never want to leave your room, I think that really says something.
Who is your favourite travelling companion? My husband Tom. Who is the most interesting person you’ve met on your travels? A gentleman who is in his 80s now, but is a Holocaust survivor who came to America as a 10-year-old orphan boy. His story is fascinating.
Roatán Island, one of the best-kept secrets of the Caribbean.
What inspires you to keep exploring? An insatiable desire to grow and learn perpetually. I am passionately in love with travelling the world and achieving my goal of getting to visit every single country in the world. What would be your trip of a lifetime? Crystal AirCruises around the world by private jet departing from NYC this August for 29 days. I lost my heart in… New York City. NYC is always home in my heart regardless of wherever I am in the world. You know what they say: You can take the girl out of New York but you can’t take New York out of the girl. Which travel experience most changed your worldview and why? When my son was 14 years old I took him on an African safari to Kenya. This truly changed my view of the world, and his. One can truly understand how blessed we are to simply have running water, food, clothing, housing, etc. To see a family of five, like the Maasai, live in a hut made out of elephant dung with no utilities truly gives a new perspective on life.
[ STYLE ]
NOSING AROUND THE CONTINENT Five grand scents that define five grand EUROPEAN CITIES
Every city has its own distinctive ambience. Here, five fragrances that will immediately transport you to a distinct European sensory experience. BY SARAH TRELEAVAN
GRASSE Grasse, France, has been called “the perfume capital of the world,” as the town is home to some of the world’s oldest perfumeries and best-trained noses. Massive jasmine fields, with their pretty white blossoms, dominate the scene; every year, the Jasmine Festival kicks off the harvest period. For a little taste of the harvest, try the legendary and very feminine Chanel No 5, which sources from Grasse’s jasmine fields. chanel.com
ROME In springtime, fragrant orange blossoms line the streets of Rome and bring a breath of fresh air into an ancient city. Penhaligons’ Orange Blossom Eau de Toilette promises “all the stimulating sensations of a stroll through orange orchards in bloom,” with just a hint of honey and bergamot. One mist will transport you to Rome’s Giardino Degli Aranci, a pretty little orange garden with a sweeping view of the city. penhaligons.com
OSLO, NORWAY DoubleYou’s Norvége was inspired by Norway’s fresh, clean air and the distinct smells of each of the country’s four seasons. Some notes are evocative of the ice-cold lake waters and snow-capped mountains of Scandinavian winters, while hints of green grass, fresh-cut herbs and lemon – as well as spicier notes like sandalwood and coriander – are reminiscent of Norway’s spring, summer and autumn months.
BARCELONA While many associate Barcelona with olive oillaced tapas and Gaudi’s impressive architectural accomplishments, it’s also very much a big-city beach town. Replica Beach Walk by Maison Margiela promises the essence of “sun-kissed salty skin” with notes of bergamot, coconut milk, lemon and pink pepper that mimic the distinctive tang of the fresh ocean spray at busy Barceloneta Beach.
LONDON, ENGLAND There’s a reason the British make the best umbrellas and coats in the world: It rains a lot. One of the most iconic London smells is rainwater on warm pavement or damp soil, and beading on the leaves of the city’s many plants and trees. Mr Burberry mingles the evocative earthy and fresh elements of a recent rainfall in the British capital. ca.burberry.com
THE LUXURY DESTINATION WEDDING & HONEYMOON
SPECIAL ISSUE SUMMER 2017
[ FOOD DIARIES ]
Earthly Delights Langdon Hall executive chef JASON BANGERTER has a knack for finding the best ingredients in the most unexpected places.
oing into his fourth summer as executive chef at Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa in Cambridge, Ont., Jason Bangerter will only have a complete sense of what his menus will look like when he sees what the 75-acre property has to offer. A big part of his job is roaming and exploring. Within an hour of foraging, he can often fill a container with more than 30 varieties of edible plants. Throughout the season, all the veggies on the plate come from the estate. “Each day there’s something new that blossoms that ends up on the menu somewhere,” says Bangerter, who trained at Toronto’s George Brown College and who has worked in kitchens in Paris, London, Germany and Switzerland. Here he shares a few of the stories behind some of his favourite photos. – PAUL GALLANT
1. I was out foraging near the greenhouse and when I went over to peek at some interesting-looking plant, I found a morel. Not just any morel – this thing is gorgeous. Over a week, we ended up harvesting 50 to 60 of them and served them filled with a mousse, poached, left whole. The sous-chef had been hunting for these mushrooms for years and I said, ‘Nobody’s ever looked beside the pool.’ My joke about the property is that the only thing I haven’t found is Smurfs. 2. Sous-chef Eric Robertson and I were out at the last moment picking garnishes. That bronze fennel has been harvested, but in peak summer the branches are taller than me standing up. 3. My wife and two children – Sebastian and Christian, who are 11 and
eight years old – lived part of last summer in France. When I joined them for two weeks, they took me to all the favourite spots they had discovered. We went to the market every morning and bought baguettes and sometimes some charcuterie, we sat on the beach and drank champagne. This is in Arles, in a beautiful courtyard. 4. The hands you see are an artist’s line of china from France, featuring photos of the hands of different farmers. This dish I call terroir, which I do every summer, is actually all ingredients from the property on one plate. Everything from wild berries to weeds, flowers, leaves, black walnut. You’ve basically taken a scoop of earth to eat. On the bottom, there’s gravel made from dehydrated onions crumbed with
sugar and black walnut and some shallots. Then there’s a scoop of sorbet, garnished, maybe, with a spritz of apple from our orchard. Every single bite is different. 5. I live in Milton and on the way from my place to Langdon Hall is Hilton Falls. Quite often I’ll bring my family and we’ll go walk or ride bikes on the trail. Sebastian looks small against the falls, which are huge. 6. Thumbelina carrots just pulled from the garden, still warm. Everything gets used. We dehydrate the roots for stock and powders. The greens get used for garnish or purées. The only thing we don’t use is the dirt. 7. I worked in Toronto as chef for almost two decades and some of the products we’re getting on this side of the escarpment are some of the best
ingredients I’ve seen in all my years of cooking. This farmer is about 15 minutes from here and supplies me with all true bloodline heritage-chicken eggs. You know the eggs are special because they’re not all the same colour and same size. 8. 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 and, in this case, it’s Nova Scotia lobster, lightly poached. 9. Part of our trip to France last summer was to teach our sons about Canadian history, which included Vimy Ridge. This photograph to me is incredible. We were just walking up and my wife, who is not usually the picturetaker, took this one I found quite moving.
For more information, visit langdonhall.ca; for more pictures and visual stories, explore Chef Jason Bangerter
The Vaticanâ€™s Momo spiral staircase, designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932, is one of most photographed, and certainly one of the most beautiful, staircases in the world. The broad steps are something between a ramp and a staircase.
The best urban destinations keep on giving. New neighbourhoods, new gastronomic trends and new cultural experiences take their places alongside tried-and-true attractions and beloved venues. Along with au courant hot spots where we can join in the crowd, these cultural capitals are always offering us fresh revelations we can discover ourselves. From London to Lisbon, BOLD explores seven city destinations to visit now.
RBC AVION PRESENTS: 7 EUROPEAN CITY BREAKS ÂŽ
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 sought-after 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.co.uk/fine-
ROME, ITALY What Roman holiday would be complete without a visit to the Spanish Steps or the Villa Borghese? We suggest you add a luxe sleepover just up the road from these storied landmarks. Hotel Eden, a Dorchester Collection hotel, is reopening its doors this spring 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!
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 artist’s work 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. See Picasso Portraits (until June 25, 2017) and 1917: Picasso in Barcelona, (October 25, 2017 to January 28, 2018), which celebrates his residency in the city a century ago. One hundred years later, still modern. museupicasso.bcn.ca —MP
In December, a new temple to the olfactory sense 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.
Even if you’re not bedding down at the chic new Sir Adam boutique hotel, which earlier this year 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. A multimedia exhibition on Hungarian director Béla Tarr wraps up in May, and is followed by a major spotlight on Martin Scorsese, with documents, photos, storyboards, set designs, costume designs and a model of New York providing insight into the director’s cinematic visions. Scorsese – The Exhibition runs May 25 to September 3. siradamhotel.com; eyefilm.nl —PG
CZECH REPUBLIC 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 16th 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.
ON THIS PAGE: Exterior of The Louvre Museum. OPPOSITE PAGE: Beef carpaccio salad, the signature dish at La RÃ©galade restaurant.
i s r a J P
aim e Can a romantic past meet a rosier future? JACQUELINE SWARTZ reports from The City of Light.
Following the terrorist attacks of 2015, Paris felt emotions beyond anger. “Strangers were so kind to each other. I have never seen anything like it,” remarked my friend Beatrice, a Parisian to her bones. The people I know in Paris do not curtail their usual activities in a city where much of life is lived outside the home. But entering large stores and museums, you are now asked to open your purse for the guards. What seems to have changed is that Parisians have become, well, nice to foreigners. With my deranged sense of direction, getting lost is pretty much my default mode. I was surprised to find that people went out of their way to be helpful. I asked a man for directions; instead of shrugging he stopped a woman holding a phone. She googled the place and both smiled at my gratitude. The Metro, which keeps getting upgraded, now has information booths where you can ask directions before buying tickets from a machine. One surprisingly welcome change is in gastronomy. There is now a move to fresh, local ingredients with an emphasis on vegetables. Les Bistrotters, in the 14th arrondissement, calls itself a 1900s bistro revisited, and carries the locally produced food designation Les Produits d’Ici, Cuisinés ici (Local Products, Cooked Here). On my recent visit, I was impressed with my starter, a colourful plate composed of carrots, gold turnip, chioggia (striped) beets, watermelon radish, celeriac and a topping with a tempura of carrot leaves, all served with a honey citrus dressing. I experienced cheese heaven on a self-guided artisanal tasting tour offered by Le Food Trip along the trendy rue des Martyrs area near St. Georges metro. One of the stops was L’Affineur Affine, a cheese store/restaurant run by Morgane and Matthieu, a young couple who met at cooking school. I tasted a St. Nectaire, a Comte, a Brillat-Savarin and a Blue des Courses. And that other sense, the olfactory one, which Colette called the most aristocratic of all the senses? The Fragonard Museum, housed in an opulent 19th-century building near the Opera, offers a free tour of the history of perfume and an interactive experience where you guess the scents. For a deeper experience, I joined the perfume workshop offered by Maison Candora. We learned about the top notes, typically citrus, the floral middle notes and the woody base notes, and then experimented blending our own perfumes. Though Paris is forever, a little experimenting goes a long way.
“ W e’ll always have Paris, Humphrey Bogart says to Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca. We know just what he means: memories of a deliriously passionate time in a beautiful city made for romance. For me, Paris has always been a backdrop against which life becomes more vivid, romantic, intense. Here, the senses get jump-started. There is the artful décor of shop windows and the scents puffing out of bakeries, the kaleidoscopic taste of seriously good wine at affordable prices and the magnificent buildings in a multitude of styles: Gothic, Renaissance, Art Nouveau. Everyone has their own Paris. I will always treasure the book stalls along the Seine, where I would chat with an artistic young guy with a shady past and a lemony scent. There was the fifth-floor walk-up near the rue Mouffetard, a long 2,000-year-old Left Bank street lined with small shops. Here, I spent good and bad times with a philosopher who knew how to cook. Of course, you don’t have to be in love, or even in a good mood to savour Paris. You can sit in a café, look out the rain-blurred windows and indulge in a kind of stylish melancholy. Paris cafés are not yet computer stations with customers glued to laptop screens; people converse. The city seduces, but it helps to be open to a plural Paris that’s always changing. There’s the Place de la Concorde, with the obelisk Napoleon brought back from Egypt, but also the latest playground for bourgeois bohemian cool hunters. Now it’s Pigalle, the red-light district. Museums evolve, too. The Picasso Museum doubled its size, creating one fascinating section devoted to Picasso’s private collection.
CLOCKWISE: Shot of the Seine at the Pont Alexandre III; Fountain of River Commerce and Navigation (1840) at Place de la Concorde; The Nobles’ Room at Château de Versailles.
STAY The design of the four-star Platine Hotel (as in platinum blonde) celebrates Marilyn Monroe and her era; even the breakfast room is a witty riff on diners. The rooms are decorated in a glamour befitting a silver-screen star, but there are ample sockets on the desk and nightstand. Rooms from CAD$160/ night. platinehotel.fr
SEE Walk over the Seine across Pont Saint-Michel. The squat bridge and the graceful buildings along the quais comprise a symphony of stone. On the other side is the spire and turrets of the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris.
CLOCKWISE FROM OPPOSITE PAGE TOP LEFT: Bistrotter’s chef Erwan Le Gahinet and owner François Gallice; a selection of French cheeses; the Marilyn Monroe room at Platine Hotel; Candora’s perfume workshop in progress; Musée Picasso; dining room at La Régalade; La Régalade’s chef Bruno Doucet preparing a meal.
At La Régalade, chef Bruno Doucet creates what he calls “recipes from yesteryear revisited” in elegantly muted surroundings. The fixed price of CAD$55 includes a complimentary terrine, first course, main and dessert. 106 rue St. Honore. Laregalade.paris
Entice your tastebuds at Les Bistrotters, in the 14th arrondissement. This 1900s bistro carries the locally produced food designation Les Produits d’Ici, Cuisinés ici (Local Products, Cooked Here).
TOURS Fragrance Tours: Take a perfume class, where you learn about different notes and then choose your own and blend your own perfume. candora.fr Food Tours: Highly recommended: Le Food Trip . It allows individuals, not groups, to go to a handful of artisanal places selling olive oil, cheese, duck foie gras and chat with the owners. You get a passport with stickers for 35 euros and then show the sticker to the store owner. le-food-trip.com/en
FLY Air France’s premium economy giving you access to priority check-in, wider seats, footrests, gooseneck lamps and amenity kits. Classe d’Affaires has full reclining seats and slots for handbags, shoes and feet. airfrance.ca
HISTOR & MODE
Y E R NITY The duality of 21st-century Brussels style. BY WAHEEDA HARRIS
n Brussels’s most famous tradition, every other summer, volunteers make intricate patterns with begonias on the Grand-Place in the city centre. Originating in 1971, the practice reinvents one of Belgium’s best-known public spaces. Like the bold hues found in the carpet, Brussels Exclusive Labels (BEL) members are re-defining contemporary Belgian design in all its forms. Founded in 1937, the 80plus members of BEL represent diverse businesses, some family-run companies, others sole proprietorships, creating a new 21st-century artisan class in Brussels.
itting in the lobby of Hotel Amigo, it’s hard to believe my stylish surroundings used to be a police station and jail. Located steps from Brussels’s famous Grand Place (a UNESCO World Heritage site), the hotel’s lobby is a mix of past and present: 15th-century paving stones have found a new home as lobby flooring, surrounded by elegant red and green velvet seating, historic Flemish tapestries and contemporary Belgian art. Visiting celebrities and European politicians have made this boutique boite their Brussels HQ, thanks to modern décor by Olga Polizzi, design director and co-owner of this fivestar Rocco Forte Hotel. Around the corner, the original location of Maison Dandoy, launched in 1829 by Jean-Baptiste Dandoy, has been transformed from bakery to elegant tea room, offering another Belgian obsession: Speculoos, a crunchy biscuit that I could easily have morning, noon and night. Alexandre Helson is the sixth generation to work in the bakery business started by his great great great grandfather. In 2013, Helson revamped the company image, updating the packaging for the beloved biscuits and other sweet baked goods that are still all made in Brussels and found across Belgium. The black, wood and gold tea room shows off the multiple sizes of white with oversized gold polka dot boxes, emblazoned with Maison Dandoy in a bold font, a tempting package to reuse as fashionable closet storage.
In nearby Place du Grand Sablon, chocolate-maker and confectioner Pierre Marcolini has elevated the sweet treat to a new level, a challenge in a country where chocolate is a birthright to citizens. Marcolini’s confections are akin to haute couture, changing his offerings seasonally like a fashion house. An award-winning pastry chef, Marcolini is one of the few Belgian chocolatiers who makes his own single-origin chocolate, sourced from plantations around the world. Transforming raw cacao to chocolate – and then to art-inspired truffles, bars, macarons and ice cream – has made Marcolini popular in Japan as much as in Belgium. His three-storey historic flagship building is just much a lure for satiating one’s craving for sugar as much as for his Instagram-worthy seasonal decorations. Up the street on Rue des Sablons is the polished entrance of Leysen Joaillier, the creative headquarters of the Leysen Family, where father Henri and son Maxime, the fifth and sixth generations, create adornments made from precious metals and rare gems, carrying on the tradition of the family business since 1855. The sleek showroom features a range of affordable designs, modern jewellery perfect for the up-and-coming career girl. I am welcomed upstairs, where the wealthy are shown custom creations inspired by rare stones and discuss bespoke commissions. Oh, where did I put my platinum card? I spy a pink diamond that should be mine. At each boutique I visit, I’m impressed with the dedication to creativity as much as surprised that I don’t know these names like similar companies I can list from nearby England, France or Italy. Belgium designs are worthy of the girl on the street as much as a crowned head of Europe.
PREVIOUS PAGES FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: The entrance of Candora’s fragrance boutique; Give Up, a 2015 fibreglass sculpture by Dutch artist Parra, in exhibit at the Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art; detail of guildhalls from the GrandPlace; modern furniture from the permanent collection at the Modern Art Museum; 18k white gold, diamonds and sapphire pearls from Maison Leysen; interior view of Liège-Guillemins railway station designed by architect Santiago Calatrava; haute couture hat designer Fabienne Delvigne; volunteers making intricate patterns with begonias on the Grand-Place; designer Édouard Vermeulen; chef Lionel Rigolet from the Michelinstarred restaurant Comme Chez Soi; the Ambassador Ballroom at Hotel Amigo; prêt-a-porter collection from Maison Nathan.
OPPOSITE PAGE: The lobby at Hotel Amigo. ON THIS PAGE: An old abandoned factory transformed into a new centre for innovation.
ucked in a residential neighbourhood, the atelier of Fabienne Delvigne seems utterly simple, yet she’s an innovative woman who has been designing and handmaking stylish hats and accessories for the local A list, including Belgium’s Queen Maxima. Working with innovative textiles, like banana fibre, Delvigne uses old-school techniques to create her collection of chapeaux, sensual and curvy creations that flatter and draw attention. Couture house Natan is another name well-heeled fashionistas will soon fixate on, easily joining the ranks of other Belgian design names known on this side of the Atlantic like Diane von Furstenberg, Ann Demeulemeester and Martin Margiela. Launched by Paul Natan in 1930, the couturier is currently led by Édouard Vermeulen who, along with his creative and retail team, occupy a stylish five storey on Avenue Louise in the affluent Ixelles district. From the main floor showroom showcasing the current season’s prêtà-porter, select clients are welcomed to the second floor for couture services while the next floors house the staff who work with Vermeulen to create each season’s collection from the must-have day dress to ethereal ball gown. Brussels’s savoir faire seems to be found in all forms of design – innovative and unique, happily European but easily welcomed in any part of the world. I step into the fragrant L’Antichambre, a petit shoppe on Place George Brugmann, resembling an old-style apothecary more than an au courant source for perfume. Unlike the typical rows of differently shaped bottles holding pale liquids these small glass bottles are filled with the world’s archetypal scents: aromatics, florals, musks and woodlands. Relying on the olfactory memory of an individual, owner Anne Pascale works with clients to create their own signature scent. I inhale scent after scents, recollecting different times of my past, fleeting glimpses of standing in my grandmother’s kitchen as she cooked, the freshness of flowers from gardens I passed on the way home from school or the lasting traces of a friend’s cologne, someone who recently passed away. My mind has been filled with the beauty of Brussels design, with all my senses happily pushed into overdrive by the creativity of the best of the Brussels.
ON THIS PAGE: A model shows off a dress from Maison Nathan’s prêt-a-porter collection. OPPOSITE PAGE: Red stairs leading down a metallic tunnel in Brussels’s Atomium.
WHEN YOU GO SEE & DO
In its short two-year history, the Art & Design Atomium Museum (ADAM) has made itself a must-see for design aficionados with its exhaustive collection of 20 th -century art and design.
The five-star Hotel Amigo, part of the Rocco Forte Hotels group, is a hop, skip and a jump from the Grand Palace. Its locally sourced luxury will wow guests. Rooms from CAD$240/night.
The Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art Museum, which just opened last spring in a former brewery next to the canal in the city centre, has four floors of permanent and temporary exhibitions designed to go viral.
TASTE With two Michelin stars, Comme Chez Soi guards its place as Brussels’s top gastronomic experience with its six-course set menu and Art Nouveau style.
50 Golf as it was meant to be played on
the Emerald Isle. BY ANITA DRAYCOTT
“From the elevated first tee you have splendid views of the jagged Antrim coast, and if the sun shines, you will be blessed.” There are about 160 genuine links courses in the world and almost one third of them are in Ireland. How’s that for the luck of the Irish? The main reason we golf addicts cross the Atlantic is the lure of the links, but for pampered North American swingers, the first encounter with a true links course may come as a bit of a shock. No wall-to-wall fairways, yardage markers or cart girls. “Buggies,” as carts are called in Ireland, are few and far between; links courses were meant to be walked, either shouldering your bag or pushing a “trolley.” Better still, hire a caddie, not just for judicious advice on the quirky bounces, but also for local colour. Expect to lose plenty of Titleists in the rough and taste the salt in the invigorating air. Links courses were created in the main by Mother Nature, carved through dunes linking land and sea. This is golf as it was meant to be played.
CONCENTRATE ON YOUR DRIVES, NOT YOUR MOTORING On my first trip to Ireland, I tossed my clubs into the “boot” of the rental car, opened the left front door and realized the steering wheel was on the right. Jet lag may have had something to do with it. But driving on the “wrong” side of the road can be stressful. On our last trip, our group put the driving and planning into the capable hands of Carr Golf. Joe Carr, the company’s late founder, was one of Ireland’s greatest golf heroes, with more than 40 championships including three British Amateur titles. Today, Joe’s son, Marty, operates the business, named winner of Golf Digest’s Editors’ Choice Award as 2016’s “Best Tour Operator.” With our input, Carr booked our tee times, caddies, hotels and sightseeing ventures. When we finished our rounds we piled into our comfortable coach while our driver, Senan, expertly handled the roads.
IRELAND’S GREAT LINKS Our foursome, having played in Ireland on other occasions, decided to hit a combination of top-ranked links and some lesser-known gems. Nothing cures jetlag like a round of golf in a stiff wind. That’s just what we encountered at Portmarnock’s Old Course, 15 minutes from Dublin Airport. Pot bunkers abound and the rough is long and fierce. Portmarnock proved to be a worthy warm-up to Royal County Down, ranked number one on Golf Digest’s 2016/17 “World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.” “It’s one of those rare courses where you could feel a perfect handshake between the hand that created the land and the hand that shaped it into a golf course,” wrote Tom Coyne, author of A Course Called Ireland. Narrow ribbons of fairways wind their way through daunting sand dunes surrounded by beautiful, yet penal gorse and shaggy bunkers. I knew my caddie Brender and I would get along when he suggested I play the “jubilee tees” on several of the fairways requiring long carries over expanses of gorse. “Where are they?” I asked. “Wherever we want them to be,” he replied with a wink. Royal County Down is tough for the pros; for a high handicapper, such as myself, it’s downright humbling. For many, hole number nine is golf ecstasy requiring you to launch your ball over a high hill covered in gorse down to the fairway 80 yards below. Royal County Down can be exhilarating or excruciating, but you’ll never forget it. What an Irishman calls a “bit of a breeze and a mist,” I would call a galeforce wind and torrential downpour. The morning we arrived at Royal Portrush on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast I wondered if we should start building an ark. “Should we wait until it clears a bit?” I suggested to the starter. “It’s looking pretty good now,” he responded as my umbrella blew inside out. Okay, we
OPENING PAGES: Aerial view of the Royal County Down golf course. THIS SPREAD FROM TOP LEFT: Golfers warming up at Royal Portrush; the Causeway Coastal Route; Mount Falcon Estate.
ON THIS PAGE: Coastal route with a view of the beach. OPPOSITE PAGE: Visitors stepping on the hexagonal basalt columns of County Antrim’s Giant’s Causeway.
40 WINKS AND 19TH-HOLE ATTRACTIONS There’s an unspoiled magic in Ireland where the mischievous locals offer rewards to every leprechaun caught and a sign on a pub door promises “free beer tomorrow.” Allow plenty of time for sightseeing, pub crawling and mingling. It’s fitting that the world’s top ranked Royal County Down sits beside the landmark Slieve Donard Resort and Spa. The sprawling Victorian edifice offers grand views of the Irish Sea, especially from the bubbling vitality pool in the spa. Breakfast in the Oak Restaurant is a sumptuous buffet. It was here that I discovered porridge is better when you add fresh cream – and a wee dram of Irish whisky. After rounds at Royal Portrush and Portstewart, the inviting smoky smell of a peat fire lures visitors into the snug Bushmills Inn. I also recommend the tour with samples at Old Bushmills, the world’s oldest licensed distillery, where they’ve been producing the “water of life” since 1608. We broke up the drive from the Causeway Coast to Rosapenna in County Donegal with a stop in Londonderry, where our driver conducted a walking tour of the town’s historic walls. On Mount Falcon Estate’s “hawk walk,” resident master falconer Jason Deasy takes us into the woods with his dog Chili and Arizona, a Harris hawk initially tethered to our guide’s glove. Deasy demonstrated how to call and release Arizona. Each time he performed his takeoff and landing ritual, Arizona received a reward of a raw chicken leg tucked into the palm of our sturdy leather gauntlets, so he was a bit lazy about hunting for critters, which was fine with me. With wingspans of up to six feet, razor-sharp beak and talons, it’s thrilling enough to have such a powerful “terminator” at the end of your arm. decided, we’ll play this gem designed by Harry Colt come hell or high water. When my Titleist blew off the tee and Rory, my shivering caddie remarked, “I’m glad it’s you playing in this wind and not me,” I knew we were in for a battle. Portrush has made renovations on its championship Dunluce Links in preparation for hosting the 2019 Open. The notorious Calamity Corner (now the 16th instead of the 14th) requires a precise drive over an enormous chasm on the right. Purgatory follows. Aim your blind drive for a striped pole and pray. Minutes west of Portrush, the Strand Course at Portstewart Golf Club, founded 1894, is a sight for sore eyes. From the elevated first tee you have splendid views of the jagged Antrim coast, and if the sun shines, as it did for us, you will be blessed. Game of Thrones was filmed on the beach below. Northern Ireland-bred golf champ Rory McIlroy has commented that you won’t find a tougher front nine anywhere. There are plenty more great links on the Causeway Coast, but our group had decided to spend a few hours driving to a couple of lesser known masterpieces in northwest Ireland. Rosapenna, overlooking Sheephaven Bay, has been challenging golfers since 1893 when Old Tom Morris created nine holes among the dunes. About a century later a newer Strand nine replaced the old front nine resulting in a wonderfully schizophrenic blend of ancient and modern links. Just beyond the 18th green stands a life-size statue of Old Tom himself. Bring your camera. For our grand finale we tackled The Dunes at Enniscrone, established in 1918. At 7,033 yards it’s a rollicking romp over towering dunes and serene valleys with grand views of Killala Bay. Scoring well here requires precise aim on the tumultuous fairways. The yardage book describes the 17th as “just like the 17th at Sawgrass except more natural – 150 yards of terror, especially when the wind blows! So take good aim, take good care and good luck. If it all fails, enjoy the view!”
Sure and begorrah, it makes golf seem rather tame.
WHEN YOU GO STAY Originally a baronial lodge, the 19th-century Mount Falcon Estate, was renovated and reopened in 2006. Guests can stay in the manor house or in fully equipped rental lodges, ideal for golf groups. Chef Daniel Willimont of the Kitchen restaurant serves innovative dishes using produce from the estate’s own gardens. Feast on turnip and horseradish soup, salmon with a gin and beet purée and cassis, elderflower and apple cobbler. Sip your nightcap in the lively Boathole Bar. Rooms from CAD$140/night.
mountfalcon.com Après golf activities at the Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort include various indoor pools and spa treatments. Walkers and cyclists can take various trails around Sheephaven Bay. Named after golfing legend Harry Vardon, the restaurant specializes in local lobster, scallops, crabs and spectacular sunsets. Rooms from CAD$120. rosapenna.ie BEFORE & AFTER TEE TIME In Enniscrone’s Kilcullen’s Bath House, visitors steep in deep Victorian tubs filled with hot sea water doused with fresh seaweed, known for its natural curative powers to reduce stiffness and make the skin silky soft. kilcullenseaweedbaths.net At County Antrim’s Giant’s Causeway, a World Heritage Site and geological marvel, you can hike among the 40,000 six-sided basalt columns formed by cooling lava about 60 million years ago.
MAGNIFIQUE! SAILING THE SOUTH OF FRANCE BY RIVER, RUTH J. KATZ DISCOVERS THE REGIONâ€™S DELIGHTFUL FEAST OF FOOD AND HISTORY.
knew I was going to have a cosseting journey on Scenic’s Sapphire – a “space-ship” (as the company has dubbed its longships) cruising from Châlon-sur-Saône down the Rhône to Tarascon – when I opened the pre-cruise welcome package from the company 10 days before departure. Aside from all the vital cruise documents, there was an all-purpose, well-made backpack and a little velveteen kit for the plane (sleep mask, earplugs and so on). Once on board the ship, I saw that all this attention to detail carried over to the vessel, including the handy, matte-black pencils that are in holders around the ship, which sport “sapphire” crystals on their crowns. The cabins were nicely appointed with plush, snowy robes with the Scenic logo in black embroidery, black slippers with white logo embroidery and toiletries from L’Occitane. No sooner was I unpacking in my cabin when my butler Costin Gheorghe came a-knocking to see if I needed anything; he was all you’d want from a valet and I learned, after our trip, that his expertise had not gone unnoticed by the company, as he was promoted to head butler on another Scenic ship. With 167 guests on board (just a hair under capacity), we were pampered by a hotel crew of 43 (and a nautical crew of seven), and I have to say, my every whim was met. As some hotels do, Scenic offers a pillow menu, and I decided to test them all out; by the end of the sojourn, my cabin looked as if I were staging The Princess and the Pea on my bed. Scenic, an Australian corporation, celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, and our cruise marks the first time, the staff told me, that the Aussie guests were outnumbered by the Brits, followed by the Canadians and the Americans. The company started as Scenic Tours, a land-excursion firm, which began commissioning ships for river-cruising in 2008 (Sapphire was constructed in Malta that year). This year the company can boast of 16 ships waltzing around the world, with three itineraries in France. In each stateroom are two invaluable guides (yours to take home): a fold-out, laminated map (with written info) of the South of France, that is over two yards long (!) so that you can follow your route in detail and identify the terra firma port/starboard with local city maps on the reverse side; and a 275-page book on the South of France, a goldmine of 411. Our route would take us through three locks on the Saône and 12 on the Rhône. And, as is de rigueur on a river ship, the length (442 feet) and width (a hair over 37 feet) are perfectly calculated to allow the craft to pass through these hurdles. The galley, as all riverboat galleys, is a tight squeeze, but at a shade under 400 square feet, it was a marvel that the staff could prepare buffet lunches with dozens of choices, including for those with dietary restrictions,and that they could orchestrate lavish dinners for three different restaurants. While technically there is only one main dining room, the aft seating area is converted at night to a “fancy” restaurant, L’Amour, with a set menu, and a section of the main dining room is rejigged for yet another upmarket dining experience, at La Rive. (Both require reservations.) The luncheon salad bar was so extensive that, I swear, my toughest decision every day was not which excursion to take, but what kind of salad to make. Another smart thing Scenic offers is a preview of the next day’s dinner menu on the reverse of the daily schedule, which, as on all cruises, is displayed on your bed by the turn-down staff, while you are dining.
OPENING PAGE: Scenic Sapphire Cruise in Avignon. OPPOSITE PAGE: Cluny Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery in Cluny, Saôneet-Loire, France. ON THIS PAGE: on board butler service; interior of Scenic Sapphire’s restaurant.
ON THIS PAGE: Sapphire’s culinary experience. OPPOSITE PAGE: Sundowners at Tournon Castle; detailed interior of Scenic Sapphire suite.
xcursions (included in the price of the cruise) were wonderful and diverse. Day one, I chose the Abbey at Cluny, which was an architectural jewel, with three churches that were built between the fourth and the 12th centuries. Strolling through the nearby village was a treat, too, as it is dotted with intriguing shops, offering beautifully packaged sweets, hand-wrought pocket knives, over 100 types of tea and hand-crafted baskets. Lyon was a gratifying destination for me, as last time I was there, I had had no time to visit the Musée des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs. But first, in the morning, I took the general sightseeing tour. Lyon, France’s third largest city, is arguably the bedrock of her gastronomical dominance in the world (the cosmos?). Home to Paul Bocuse (there is a delightful statue of him in the town square), the environs are chocka-block with tantalizing eateries; since our schedule allowed for overnight berthing, this presents the perfect time to abandon ship, target a boîte Lyonnaise with a mere Michelin star or two, and max out your AmEx. In the town of Vienne is the Roman Temple of Augustus and Livia, which is possibly the best preserved Roman temple in France. Also in Vienne you’ll find a plaque honouring Thomas Jefferson, the ambassador to France from 1785 to 1789, who is said to have admired this temple. In the evening, we enjoyed a pleasant sundowner, a Scenic private event, at the Château de Tournon, with a rooftop view of the town. We partied seriously as we reached the celebrated Pont d’Avignon. A chanteuse came on board to croon French classics, including, of course, “Sur le Pont d’Avignon.” Dockside was a giant Ferris wheel, very much like the London Eye, and in town was a charming double-decker carousel. We all dolled up for a delightful evening at the Pope’s Palace, where sparkling wines and sparkling stringed instruments entertained us. The next day, I took the excursion to Pont-du-Gard and Uzès, which ranks high on my list of picturesque French villages. The open-air market provided an opportunity to stock up on fragrant soaps, good-smelly cheeses, flavourful nougatine, macarons, hot breads and everything to wear from a sunhat to chaussures. Pont-du-Gard is the site of a remarkable, three-tiered Roman aqueduct, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The splendour of those sites was matched by the next day’s stroll through Les Baux-de-Provence. Perched on a rocky outcropping, Les Baux is one of the 155 members of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (the most beautiful villages of France), and it lives up to its lofty designation. If you are not an old-hand at river-cruising, you might be surprised to know that city-side docking berths are not that abundant and the popular river routes are well trafficked in the summertime. Therefore, it is not unusual for ships to raft side-by-side, with various companies’ ships toggled together. (Don’t open your drapes in the morning without a robe on; you never know if you’ll be staring into someone else’s cabin.) If your craft is the second or third in a raft, you may have to walk across another ship’s sundeck and out onto the dock through that ship’s egress. So if you are curious about the interior of another line’s décor, this provides for subtle snooping. Wishing I had had more time in Tarascon, I left the ship, dejected to be heading to the Nice airport, thinking of the admonition: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
THE DETAILS Sapphire and its sister ship Diamond will be refurbished for the 2017 season. The reconfiguration will include the addition of a plunge pool, an exercise room and facilities for Scenic Culinaire, a new immersive cooking school/demo facility focusing on French cuisine. Prices for the 2017 season for an eight-day cruise similar to this one, start at CAD$5,210 per person, double occupancy, excluding airfare. The company also offers special packages that include airfare. scenic.ca
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TRAVEL NAVIGATOR O U R T I P S A N D T R I C KS TO N AV I GAT I N G T H E WO R L D
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN YOUR TICKET (AND WHAT’S NOT) A $99 ticket to Iceland? Believe it!
With a major battle afoot between low-cost and legacy carriers, could travellers be winners? MICHAEL SMITH takes a closer look. ILLUSTRATION BY LAURA GARCÍA
n a domestic flight, I’m no longer surprised to find I don’t get a meal or that I have to pay for my checked bag. But when I’m flying for seven hours over the ocean, I expect my small comforts. However, as the airlines compete over fares, they are slowly breaking out their offerings and charging extra fees. Here are a few things to be on the lookout for when you book your next flight to Europe.
MEAL TICKET The airline meal is always being made fun of, but on long flights, it’s no laughing matter. Hot meals are no longer standard, nor are the snacks or a stiff drink when you’re looking for a nightcap on a red-eye.
L E T M E E N T E RTA I N YO U Did you know that in order to save weight, WestJet took the entertainment units out of the chairs for their London flights? As a replacement, you can download their app to watch on your own screen or rent an iPad from the airline. My neck starts to hurt just thinking about staring down at my phone for seven hours.
WOW P R I C E TAG S Iceland’s WOW Air has burst on to the scene with some eyecatching price tags like CAD$179.99 to Copenhagen from Montreal (via Iceland). They have also quickly become the king of the fee, with every small upgrade costing you extra. Your carry-on better be small, otherwise it will cost you.
E X T R A L E G RO O M , E X T R A F E E Providing your favourite spot on the plane has now become a big revenue source for airlines. KLM and Air France’s reserved-seat price takes into account the demand on each flight to maximize their profit.
T H AT ’ S B OT H WAYS Seeing $14 for a meal doesn’t seem that bad or $25 for a bag. But remember to double the fee, because you will want to eat and have your bag on the way back.
WIFEE It’s starting to become a norm for airlines to offer wifi for a fee. For those who like to stay connected, we have included it in our comparison. Personally I like being disconnected on my flights.
CO D E S H A R E CO N F U S I O N When booking a flight with Lufthansa, you might be surprised to find yourself on an Air Canada flight. If you book with Air Canada, you might end up on a Brussels Airlines flight or an Air Canada Rouge flight. If you have your preference, make sure to book on the plane you want.
THE FINE PRINT (TO EUROPE)
Air Canada (Tango)
WestJet (Econo fare)
Not available on
E N T E RTA I N M E N T
A DVA N C E S E AT SELECTION Complimentary
First bag, both
Flights to Europe don’t
you buy a
units. Tablet rentals for
$8.99-$10.34 if you
+ $32.18 Duration of flight both ways
+ $40 - $118 Regular seats start at $20, exit rows at $40
don’t have your own compatible device
+ $60 - $160
But not all planes have
$30 for standard
seats up to $80 for more leg room
KLM /Air France
Brussels Airlines (Economy)
$42.20 for 200MB
+ $23.98 - $127.98
If you book online.
ISK for a
It’s $88.61 at
standard seat booked online
the gate. Larger
carryons cost, too
The higher price is for
Economy Class touch
+ $29 - $149
+ $39.99 - $119.99
Personal monitors are
US$11 during flight,
Wifi costs €17
$35 per flight
for 24 hours
Welcoming the world O
ntario is a special place—a destination full of opportunity and adventure. Much of it is centred in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, the heart of the province that’s better known as the GTHA. More than 6.5 million people call the GTHA home, though that number is estimated to grow to nine million by 2031, when a combined 190 million travellers will pass through its two major hubs each year: Toronto Pearson International Airport and Union Station. That’s about half the current population of Canada month in, month out, and almost double today’s traffic. And there’s little wonder why. Whether it’s business or leisure, the GTHA has visitors covered—from the snowy slopes outside Barrie, to the fruits of Ontario’s wine country, Niagara; from the tech corridors of Kitchener in the west, to destinations like the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa in the east. There’s tons to see and do in every season. Connecting to the region has also never been easier. In June of 2015, Metrolinx (the transportation agency of the Province of Ontario) launched the Union Pearson Express, a dedicated air-rail link that connects the airport to Union Station downtown in just 25-minutes, with trains leaving every 15 minutes. It’s now simpler than ever to skip the traffic on Toronto roads and zip right downtown, reliably and comfortably. Once there, it’s easy to see why Union Station is considered the transportation heart of the province. UP Express easily connects with local subway and transit, and a GO train network that links the core to the most populated of Ontario’s communities. Union Station is also home to VIA Rail, Amtrak and Ontario Northland rail services, so it’s easy
to move from plane to train, and on to your final destination. If you’re planning on staying downtown, Union Station is also located in the centre of all the action—close to business centres and attractions, world-class hotels and restaurants, as well as the conference venues that draw visitors to the city. (In fact, there are over 20 hotels less than a 10 minute walk from the station.) Union is also connected to the PATH, downtown Toronto’s underground walkway that links 30 kilometres of shopping, services and entertainment. A great convenience, no matter the weather. Come downtown and visit destinations like the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the Air Canada Centre (home of the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs and the NBA Toronto Raptors), or the Hockey Hall of Fame. Take in one of the city’s incredible restaurants, or do some shopping in the shops along King and Queen streets. There’s plenty to see and do only a few steps from Union Station. But tourism is really only half the story. Ontario is looking to become even more competitive when it comes to global investment. Toronto’s real GDP is expected to have grown by almost three percent in 2016, Hamilton’s economy by 2.2 percent. Stronger growth in manufacturing and construction, along with healthy activity in the services sector, is helping to drive a positive economic outlook. Easy and timely access to global markets is critical for that growth to continue, and UP has helped make business happen more reliably. So, if you’re planning a trip to Toronto, be sure to ‘Hop on the UP’—as the slogan goes. It’s quickly become the gateway to some of the best things in Ontario.
CANADIAN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM
Ontario is the destination of choice for both business and travel—and now UP makes it easier than ever to be a part of all the action.
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U PGRADES E D I TO R â€™ S I T I N E R A RY
AGED TO PERFECTION
From ancient monuments to historical cities,
a walking tour of Portugal’s Douro region brings visitors on a unique European trip to the past.
n 2000, an amateur archaeologist named Hans Eelman discovered a sunken Dutch ship in the North Sea off the coast of the Netherlands. Among the hundreds of other sunken vessels, this one contained something special buried in its waterlogged rubble: a still-corked bottle of wine. Its acidic, elderberry contents still inside the telltale onion shaped bottle, it had laid there untouched for 350 years. But it didn’t come from Italy or France, the most well known of Europe’s wine producers. Instead it had come from Portugal’s Douro region. Less famous than other wine regions on the continent, Douro has a long history of producing some of the world’s best wines, including the area’s famous Port. Douro offers visitors the chance to step back in time with walks through villages, cities and wineries that have only gotten better with age. A walking tour takes you through the atmospheric Porto, Cinfães and Peso da Régua in the UNESCO World Heritage Douro Valley, where famous Port wine is produced, and on to the Terras de Basto, home of Portugal’s ‘young’ Vinho Verde wine. With leisurely walks, wine tastings and cultural visits, this tour is the perfect introduction to the country that once dominated world trade routes.
GET YOUR FOOT IN THE DOURO A landscape of sloping hills, green vines and the picturesque Douro River make it the perfect location for fascinating, beautiful and leisurely walks. Found in the Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro region, the wine region is upstream from the city of Porto (we’ll head there a bit later). In addition to the wine bottle on the bottom on the sea, more evidence of ancient wine production has been found in the area, dating back as far as the third century AD. By the 17th century, Port wine was the primary export from the region. In the 1950s, the first non-fortified table wines were being produced. And in 2001, its famous libation earned its place as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, the area produces grapes, including black varieties Bastardo, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca, and white Donzelinho branco, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho, yield wines with the highest classification from the Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC), some of which you will have the pleasure of tasting.
HARD TO PORTO The second largest city in Portugal, Porto has a history rife with invasions, revolution and political intrigue that will delight and intrigue whether you’re a history buff or not. Almost 2,000 years old, Porto possesses one of Europe’s oldest city centres, and the perfect place for a stroll. Its UNESCO World Heritage area is home to medieval structures, cobblestone streets and other historic architecture, surrounded by a 14th-century wall. Throughout the day, you can get close up to 15th-century houses so old they look ready to crumble at the slightest touch, the lavishly decorated 19th-century Palácio da Bolsa or Stock Exchange Palace (don’t miss the Arab Room!) and Porto Cathedral – a Roman Catholic church that is the city’s oldest surviving structure. Along the way, stay fuelled with Bacalhau a Gomes de Sá, a casserole of salted codfish, potatoes and eggs, or Francesinha, a sandwich stuffed with sausage and ham, then covered in cheese and doused in a rich sauce made of beer and tomatoes. Be sure to wash it all down with plenty of Port, during a guided tour of a historic Port wine cellar.
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A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT
Heading out of Porto, the railway connects you to a string of endlessly charming historic towns and wine-producing sites, set against a stunning natural backdrop. A scenic two-hour train ride to Regua provides an unforgettable view of the Douro River clinging to the precipitous rocks along the gorge. There, a visit to the fascinating Douro Museum is the ideal starting point to understand the history and culture of the region. It’s housed in the fully – and beautifully – restored Casa da Companhia, a historic building whose style is emblematic of the area. After the museum, it’s time to experience the area’s unique landscapes: terraced vineyards, rolling hills and olive groves. Nearby, the Quinta do Tedo, a winery dating back to the 18th century, still produces some of the area’s best wines on 37 acres of class “A” vineyards. A guided tour of the grounds includes a look into their production process, fun and messy foot treading, 19th-century cellars where their wines are aged and sampling of their signature Ports and red wines, along with plenty of chances for bird-watching and panoramic views of the valley. © 2017 PULSO MEDIA GROUP INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
CIN-CITY About an hour and a half away is Cinfães, a village of about 3,330 in the northern district of Viseu. Its history is linked to the first king of Portugal and there is no shortage of historic sites, including fortified towers and Romanesque churches throughout. A stroll through its Bestança Valley reveals one of Portugal’s hidden gems: the Bestança River. Relatively unknown, even to Portuguese people, it’s rife with magical waterfalls, medieval stone bridges and villages that look like they’re straight from a storybook. Lush walking paths vein their way through the valley. Amongst them is Vilar de Mouros. Renowned as one of the best, it takes you across the ethereal medieval bridge of Covelas.
STEP BACK IN TIME A walking tour of Portugal offers a trip that is quite literally off the beaten path. It offers visitors the chance to stroll back in time through ancient structures, old-world charm and age-old wineries. Savour each step… and each sip!
OPPOSITE PAGE: A traditional winery in the Douro Region; Dom Luis I bridge over the Douro River; Details of 19th-century Palácio da Bolsa or Stock Exchange Palace. ON THIS PAGE: A grape picker; Grape picker holding grapes; traditional Portuguese fish.
OUR INSIDERâ€™S GUIDE TO
CHIANG MAI, the capital of Northern Thailand, was known as the
L anna Kingdom
13 th century. Apart from being cooler and less hectic than bustling B angkok , C hiang M ai is a captivating mix of ancient and modern . ANITA DRAYCOTT encounters lush highlands , hill tribe villages , traditional cuisine and remarkable temples along with a hip urban vibe , luxury hotels and shopping nirvana . in the
STAY EAT SEE & DO SHOP
PREVIOUS PAGE: Colourful umbrellas from the Borsang Umbrella Village. ON THIS PAGE CLOCKWISE: The Palette Dining Room at 137 Pillars Resort; grilled fish at Warrorot Market; Hill Tribe Girl in Chiang Mai; professional caddies at the Chiang Mai Highlands Golf Resort.
TOP: Main lobby at the Dhara Dhevi Resort. BOTTOM: Traditional Thai Rolls. OPPOSITE PAGE: The Mandalay Residence at the Dhara Dhevi Resort; Thai salad from Davidâ€™s Kitchen.
137 Pillars House, formerly the northern headquarters of the Borneo Trading Company, established in 1889, offers 30 luxurious suites, gourmet dining, spa and wellness programs in a tranquil garden setting.
The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai transports guests back to the culture and architecture of the ancient Lanna Kingdom. Your villa or suite is tucked amidst 60 acres of verdant gardens, lakes, a working rice paddy and teak pavilions. The resort offers myriad activities, from Thai boxing for kids to origami paper folding. Ride a water buffalo and partake in rice planting. dharadhevi.com
Formerly the British Consulate, the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort provides contemporary style in the heart of the city centre. Balconies overlook the Mae Ping River and tranquil gardens. Splurge with a gourmet champagne dinner on the resort’s romantic sunset cruise. chiang-mai.
EAT SPICE IT UP
Go family style. You will be picked up at your hotel and driven to the Raunkaew-Yanon family home where you’ll visit the gardens and learn to cook traditional Lanna dishes such as chili dips and Northern pork curry. Dine with the family on a terrace overlooking their village of Bandoo.
Chow down curbside at stalls all over Chiang Mai. At sunset, head to the Chiang Mai Gate Market. Mingle with locals ranging from bankers to labourers as you munch on barbecued chicken, curries and noodles galore. For dessert, try the Thai staple, sticky rice with mango.
NIMMAN Chiang Mai’s coolest place to hang out, Nimmanhaemin Road (aka Nimman), tempts with trendy cafés, unique boutiques and all sorts of bars and casual eateries. Coffee snobs, get your flat white at Doppio Ristr8to, where the owner trained with the best baristas in Australia. ristr8to-coffee-
At David’s Kitchen, chef O offers classic French cuisine with an Asian accent in a lush garden setting. When you crave a change from curry, consider lobster bisque, beef bourguignon (the chef’s speciality) and chocolate soufflé.
NIGHTCAPS Sip a Ping River cocktail (vodka or gin plus lychee, lemongrass and lime juice) at the rooftop bar of the Sala Lanna Chiang Mai hotel. salaresorts.com/
TOP: Traditional Thai massage. BOTTOM: A monk blessing a child; Elephant bathing at RanTong Save and Rescue Centre; umbrella making in Borsang; A traditional flower market in Chiang Mai.
SEE & DO THERE’S THE
Warning: Thai massages are addictive. Lying on a floor mat in a pair of supplied loose pajamas, you will be manipulated with a series of contortions and stretching movements patterned on the Asanas of Hatha Yoga. Experience two hours of such bliss for a pittance at massage studios all over town.
With its many temples and saffron-swathed Buddhist monks, Chiang Mai is the ideal place to take part in an early-morning ritual. Their religion forbids the monks from asking for food, so the custom is to buy a basket from a vendor containing some rice and fruit, remove your shoes, kneel down and offer the basket to a passing monk. For this he’ll bless you. Whatever your beliefs, it’s a lovely way to start your day.
The elephant is revered in the Buddhist religion as a symbol of protection. Centuries ago, royals rode them in combat against the Burmese. More recently, elephants hauled lumber from Thai jungles. But when the teak exportation business dwindled, many pachyderms and their mahouts (trainers) became unemployed. At the Ran-Tong Save & Rescue Centre, visitors feed, bathe and ride the great beasts while learning more about their plight.
Located 1,000 feet above sea level, Chiang Mai Highlands Golf & Spa Resort might well be the coolest place to take a swing in all of Thailand. Caddies are an integral, mandatory and very useful part of the Thai golf experience; almost all are women.
SHOP NIGHT BAZAAR
Every evening vendors set up their stalls on both sides of Chang Klan Road. Women from various hill tribes, wearing ornate headdresses, sell silver trinkets and hand-woven silk items. As a general guideline, start the bartering process by offering half the opening price.
Chiang Mai has its own version of the outlet mall. San Kamphaeng Road is an 18-kilometre stretch of factory workshops selling silver, silk, lacquerware and celadon pottery. Plus hand-painted umbrellas in all sizes, from the ones in your Mai Tai to patio shaders.
At Herb Basics you will find aromatherapy products made from local herbs found in Chiang Mai, ranging from Kaffir Lime Shampoo to Green Tea Lip Balm. They have several locations in town and a new shop at the Chiang Mai International Airport.
WORTH TRAVELLING FOR
Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski, 17 Maximilianstrasse, Munich, Germany. kempinski.com
U R B A N OA S I S
he ideal lobby bar acts as both refuge and destination. Perhaps located right in the midst of the urban bustle, a lobby bar offers calm, intimacy and elegance, as well as a perfectly poured cocktail. With more than 20 different kinds of champagne on the menu – and the spirits selection is even more impressive – the Jahreszeiten Bar in Munich’s Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski is an urbane retreat for both your soul and your taste buds. The room is Old-World handsome, with leather chairs and a fireplace creating a perfect venue for swapping war stories from the boardroom or the shops on chic Maximilianstrasse, one of the city’s four royal avenues, just outside the hotel doors. This is not the Munich of beer and sausages, but of romantic composer Richard Strauss, the Blaue Reiter group of artists, the Rococo Cuvilliés Theatre and the Lenbachhaus museum. Try the Honey & Clyde, with Wray & Nephew Rum, lime, honey and, of course, champagne. – PAUL GALLANT
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