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CL A SSIC L I F E S T Y L E 2018 ANNUAL

LIFESTYLE

T H E C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R

T H E C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R 2018

T H E C U LT U R A L E D I T I O N // I S S U E 2 2 2 0 1 8 C O V E R P H O T O B Y: DA N I E L L E H A R T E





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elcome to our 22nd Cultural Edition of the Classic Lifestyle Magazine.

2017 was a significant learning curve as we ventured into the rainforests of the Amazon, the forbidden city of Tehran, the gastronomique wonders of Lima and Peru, the villages of Fiji and the infamous concentration camps of Auschwitz. Weaving our way through the labyrinth of cultures it was hard not to be overwhelmed at the resilience of the human spirit and the relentless tenacity of entire races, simply to fit in and be accepted in this global community. We would like to welcome our new travel partners MTA, who have been instrumental in mapping out our many global adventures, helping and guiding us through the maze of insurance options, visa applications and the vast cultural differences. As so many readers request guidance and travel support, it is crucial that you to look toward MTA as your guiding light.(see page 320) No year has been more challenging, reaffirming the importance of only carry on luggage, giving us that freedom and agility around the terminals allowing us to seamlessly change flights as was the case in Berlin, courtesy of Victorinox this was made easy. It was however one individual that single handedly created distress and doubt amongst travellers, chipping away at the fabric of these communities with his single minded bigotry, initiating the travel bans, that lead to significant tourisim down turns across the US and creating wide spread doubt across many nervous countries around the world. Travel over the past decade has been a struggle, and in most instances, taken the shine and excitement that should be in many cases, a once in a lifetime experience.

It appears that the turmoil of airport security, bag checks, and the ever present scans and rescans are here to stay and are to become more prevalent in hotels and resorts. On the positive side, we had our standout destinations this year and we were down to two - Lang Walkers Kokomo in Fiji’s South Pacific and Michael Paravicini’s ‘Vira Vira’ in Peru; two completely different and uniquely spectacular experiences, destinations that I cannot recommend more highly. Special thanks need to also go out to the Hyatt Regency Sydney, All Occasion Cruises Team, Moet & Hennessy and Sweet Art for helping us celebrate Danielle’s 50th...The Party of the Year! In closing, make travel in 2018 simple - try only ‘carry on’ luggage!

Publisher Phil Harte - Harte International Consultancy. UAE. Produced by Nude Publishing, a division of Nude Creative Pty Ltd www.nudepublishing.com.au Art Direction, Editorial & Production Nude Creative hello@nudecreative.com.au www.nudecreative.com.au Nude Creative

Editor at Large Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan Art Director Martha Clegg Food and Wine Director Max Alfieri Director of Photography Danielle Harte

Max

Danielle

Social Media Editor Tayla Harte Feature Writers Sandra Sully Danielle Harte Mark Rix International Sales phil@harteinternational.com

Tayla

Nicole

Sandra Australian Office PO Box 856, Sanctuary Cove Queensland, 4212, Australia +61 (0)420 977 959

Classic Lifestyle Magazine is published by Nude Creative ABN 92 148 963 240, on behalf of Harte International Consultancy Dubai UAE. Nüde Creative & Harte International Consultancy Dubai UAE use due care and diligence in the preparation of this magazine but are not responsible for any mistakes, misprints, omissions or typographical errors. Nude Creative & Harte International Consultancy Dubai UAE print advertisements provided to the publisher but give no warranty and make no representation as to the truth, accuracy or sufficiency of any description, photograph or statement. Nude Creative & Harte International Consultancy Dubai UAE accept no liability for any loss which may be suffered by any person who relies either wholly, or in part, upon any description, photograph or statement contained herein. Nude Creative & Harte International Consultancy Dubai UAE reserve the right to refuse any advertisement for any reason. ©Copyright – no part of Classic Lifestyle Magazine may be reproduced in part or in whole without the written permission of the publisher. No spam. Email addresses are published for professional communications only and do not constitute an invitation to send unsolicited emails.

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H E A R T S O N F I R E S T O R E S , A U T H O R I Z E D R E TA I L E R S , H E A R T S O N F I R E . C O M . A U

NSW: Dracakis, House of Fraser, Matthews Jewellers | VIC: Holdsworth Bros., Trewarne Jewellers QLD: Anthonys Fine Jewellery, LeGassick, Loloma Jewellers | SA: Grahams | WA: Smales | ACT: Briolette



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CONTENTS Travel First Leg

BERLIN

F O R G E T N OT T H E T Y R A N N Y O F T H I S WA L L N O R T H E LO V E O F F R E E D O M T H AT M A D E I T FA L L

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46

THE SWEET SPOT

AUSCH W IT Z

T I M E TO S T R O L L T H R O U G H THE STREETS OF ZURICH, M A R V E L AT H I S TO R I C A L ARCHITECTURE AND I N D U LG E I N E U R O P E ’ S F I N E S T C H O CO L AT E

HONOURING THE T R AG I C H I S TO RY O F T H E CO N C E N T R AT I O N C A M P S

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N O W T H AT ’ S A KNIFE

COMO

CEO CARL ELSENER SHARES WHY HE NEVER L E AV E S H O M E W I T H O U T H I S V I C TO R I N OX

S O P H I S T I C AT E D ELEGANCE IN C E N T R A L LO N D O N

86

TEHR AN

A TIMELESS YET SEDUCTIVE IRAN

108 134

CIT Y IN A CIT Y

INDULGE IN THE GR ANDEUR OF DUBAI’S FINEST THE WESTIN, THE W & ST REGIS

SOFITEL

STYLISH SEDUCTION OF SINGAPORE… THIS MA JESTIC PROPERTY HAS IT ALL

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H E A R T S O N F I R E S T O R E S , A U T H O R I Z E D R E TA I L E R S , H E A R T S O N F I R E . C O M . A U

NSW: Dracakis, House of Fraser, Matthews Jewellers | VIC: Holdsworth Bros., Trewarne Jewellers QLD: Anthonys Fine Jewellery, LeGassick, Loloma Jewellers | SA: Grahams | WA: Smales | ACT: Briolette


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CONTENTS Travel Second Leg

R E S TA U R A N T O F THE YEAR

E XQ U I S I T E C U L I N A RY MASTERPIECE ’S FROM AROUND T H E G LO B E

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152 THE DOLDER GRAND

S U B L I M E C O M B I N AT I O N S O F T R A D I T I O N A L F L AV O U R S

LET THEM E AT C A K E THE ORIGINAL CAKE BOSS

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THE CHANGING FA C E O F L AT I N AMERICA T H E U LT I M AT E C U LT U R A L D E S T I N AT I O N

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VIR A VIR A

T H E E L E G A N C E O F A DV E N T U R E - I M M E R S E YO U R S E L F I N T H E U N PA R A L L E L E D LU X U RY O F P U CO N ’ S H AC I E N DA H OT E L V I R A V I R A …YO U W I L L N E V E R WA N T TO L E AV E !

KO KO M O

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A T R U E U N D I S CO V E R E D PA R A D I S E W I T H I DY L L I C W H I T E S A N DY B E AC H E S, WORLD-CLASS CUISINE & AT T E N T I O N TO D E TA I L T H AT W I L L L E AV E YO U B R E AT H L E S S

THE ALMIGHTY A M A ZON

CRUISE ALONG THE A M A ZON JUNGLE DELFIN STYLE… I M M E R S E YO U R S E L F I N THE MYSTIQUE WORLD OF PINK DOLPHINS, SLOTHS, MON KE Y ’ S , E XOTIC FROG S , A N A C O N D A’ S & S M A L L V ILL AG E’ S

T H E C L A S S I C C U L T U R A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 8 | 11





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CONTENTS Travel Third Leg

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Q A N TA S LOUNGE

CO N T I N U A L LY P U S H I N G T H E B O U N DA R I E S TO E S TA B L I S H T H E T R U E MEANING OF ‘FIRST CLASS’

A N DA Z O N SUNSET

50 SHADES OF RED IN WEST H O L LY W O O D

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L E T YO U R DREAMS SET SAIL

S I LV E R S E A’ S L U X U R Y EUROPEAN CRUISES WILL DELIGHT IN THE T H R I L L O F D I S C O V E R Y… FROM SOUTHA MPTON TO COPEN H AG EN W E V IS IT M E D I E VA L T O W N S A N D M U S E U M S , B E H O L D N AT U R E ’ S W I L D B E A U T Y A N D TA S T E G A S TRO N OM IC E XC E L L E N C E

M AV E R I C K CHOPPERS

TO P G U N TA K E S O N T H E G R A N D C A N YO N I N F U L L FLIGHT

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276

FIJI ISL ANDS

S A N TA BARBAR A

BLISSFUL ROMANTIC ISLAND ESCAPES PERFECT FOR THE U LT I M AT E FA M I LY G E TAWAY

348 H YAT T REGENCY SYDNEY

LIGHTING UP SYDNEY’S SKYLINE & DA R L I N G H A R B O U R

320

H I M A L AYA N S A LT B AT H S , H O R S E R I D I N G A LONG TH E B E ACH , CHEESE & WINE TA S T I N G … E N J O Y S A N TA B A R B A R A FROM SUNRISE TO S U N S E T AT T H E M AG NIFICENT FOU R SEASON’S RESORT

M TA

TA K I N G C A R E O F A L L Y O U R T R AV E L NEEDS ‘ON AND OFF THE GROUND’

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | A L L O CC A S I O N C R U I S E S

F

or over 20 years, All Occasion Cruises has been regarded as Sydney’s leading luxury yacht and charter company. Offering a fleet of world class yachts coupled with their team of expert events coordinators, they are dedicated to creating the best memories on Sydney’s iconic harbour. With their keen eye for detail and taste for elegance, All Occasion Cruises have long been trusted by many to host a variety of events ranging from corporate gatherings to weddings and engagements, to formal dinners, birthday celebrations and even overnight charters. They boast a long list of exclusive clientele including a number of A-list celebrities. At the center of their luxury fleet reigns the Queen of All Occasion Cruises, the MY Seven Star. At 98ft, this Leonardo Azimut has become the symbol of luxury and opulence in Sydney Harbour. With her expansive length, the MY Seven Star accommodates up to 80 guests and comfortably sleeps 6 guests. She comes fully equipped with extravagant staterooms, lavish twin guest cabins all with en suites and state-of-the-art, in-cabin entertainment. All to ensure that guests experience the ultimate comfort on their cruise. The MY Seven Star is built with a spacious aft deck featuring large curved sliding doors, where guests can mingle and unwind while dining under the night sky. With a fly bridge which offers stunning panoramic views, guests can enjoy taking in the sights and sounds of the beautiful Harbour in the luxury of their own Jacuzzi, while an Executive Chef prepares a delicious custom menu to please even the most discerning of palates. In addition to the MY Seven Star’s amenities, there are various water activities and sports equipment available to give guests their best experience on the Harbour. Cruise in style this summer with All Occasion Cruises.

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

ALL OCCASION CRUISES P: 02 9809 5499 | info@aocruises.com.au

T H E C L A S S I C C U L T U R A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 8 | 17


SANDRA SULLY AND PHIL HARTE

DRINKS UNDER SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE

ALL OCCASION CRUISES, MY SEVEN STAR

ABOVE: DANIELLE AND RYLEY HARTE TONI ELLIS AND JUANITA AOUKAR BELOW: PAULINE, LIANA AND GIULIO

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50 Celebration

C L A S S I C T R A V E L L E R | C E L E B R AT I O N

TH

L

MOET ANGELS ALL DRESSED IN WHITE BELOW: RYLEY AND FRANKIE

ife is not measured by the amount of breathes that we take, but by the moments that take our breathe away…

As we all know milestones come around ever so quickly and before you know it, our once innocent teenage years quickly turn into the maturing twighlight years. For my beautiful wife Danielle, a women who radiates and inspires us all, it was time to rejoice and celebrate hitting the Big 50 like never before. So there lays the challenge! How do I deliver a party to end all parties? Well, with the help of my most valued ‘circle of friends’ and Albert Einstein’s - ‘Imagination is more important than Knowledge,’ I set off to gather the crème de la crème. DAY ONE: Firstly, location location and what better spot in Sydney than the Rooftop Zephyr Bar located at The Hyatt Regency overlooking Darling Harbour, with its spectacular golden sunset backdrop, its luxurious contemporary boat inspired decor & exquisite cuisine. Secondly, enlist Danielle’s favourite beverage Moet Ice Champagne, which coincidentally became the theme for the evening ‘All White Moet Angeles’ and we were definitely on track for party central. Thirdly, what’s a party with out a cake! Welcome Sweet Art’s queen of culinary excellence, Anthea Leonard who built the most spectacular ‘Moet Ice Champagne in a bucket cake you have ever seen! And if that’s not the icing on the cake, our dear friend Rocco Speranza sang the mesmerising Andre Bocelli’s ‘The Prayer’ Oh what a night! DAY TWO: As if all of that wasn’t enough, I decided to lift the bar and take it up a notch by tracking down a seven million dollar boat cruiser from All Occassion Cruises - MY Seven Star, to leisurely set sail for a champagne birthday brunch and marvel over Sydney’s majestic harbour. For our fifty guests there was no expense spared with a welcome mimosa, fresh platters of mixed fruit/ berries, muffins, smoked salmon rolls, minted lamb chops and of course the upper deck selfies compliments of the Canon Collective photographers. As the day grew to a close, friends and family reminisced over a fresh cup of tea and chocolate birthday cake, wishing the day just kept on going.

NAN WITH THE HARTE FAMILY

On reflection, life is all about making the time to create and experience precious unique moments with our loved ones. I’m pretty sure the brownie points are well in my favour and we’d delivered something quite extraordinary… Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

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IGNITE SOMETHING O N LY T H E P E R F E C T C U T C A N U N L E A S H A DIAMOND’S BRILLIANCE.

H E A R T S O N F I R E S T O R E S , A U T H O R I Z E D R E TA I L E R S , H E A R T S O N F I R E . C O M . A U

NSW: Dracakis, House of Fraser, Matthews Jewellers VIC: Holdsworth Bros., Trewarne Jewellers QLD: Anthonys Fine Jewellery, LeGassick, Loloma Jewellers SA: Grahams | WA: Smales | ACT: Briolette


C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | D R AC A K I S J E W E L L E R S

A G I R L’ S

Best Friend THE DRIVING FORCE HAS ALWAYS BEEN TO PROVIDE HIGH QUALITY JEWELLERY AND EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE.

P

aul Dracakis left Greece in the 1950’s, at the young age of 17. After growing up on the small Greek island of Kytheria, Paul went searching for a better life in Australia. After many challenges and a lot of hard work, Paul opened his first Dracakis Jewellery store in 1979. Pauls’ dream for his Jewellery store was to become a well-established business that sold nothing but the highest quality of Jewellery pieces. Over the years, both Paul and wife Helen have passed on their wealth of knowledge to their children: Nick, Peter, Theodore and Fotina. In 1979, Husband and Wife Helen and Paul Dracakis established the first Dracakis Jewellers store in Manly. In 1986 the couple bought their second shop in the Warringah Mall shopping centre in Brookvale. Helen continued to run the Manly store while Paul took on the running of the new store.

Paul was determined to find the perfect store and in 1987 they sold the Manly store in search of another store. Finally in 2002 Paul and Helen bought the Mosman store. Originally a NAB bank it took two long years to get permission to convert the building into Pauls dream store. Mosman opened in 2004 and has remained Pauls dream store. The driving force has always been to provide high quality jewellery and exceptional customer service. Their three sons, Peter, Nicholas & Theodore, all jewellery and watch experts in their own rights, swiftly integrated into the family business and now independently manage both stores. Each son in the Dracakis family has completed their diplomas of Gemmology, as well as both Peter and Nicholas having completed diplomas in Diamond Technology and are Registered Valuers. Peter and Theodore are qualified Master

T H E C L A S S I C C U L T U R A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 8 | 21


Jewellers, and Peter is the company’s Diamond Setter. The Dracakis family has always been keen to continue the family tradition of excellence in design, quality and customer service. They have received numerous awards for their creative achievements in jewellery design including Harper’s Bazaar, Diamond Guild Awards and De Beers Designing Awards. However, the Dracakis family has remained adamant that their expertise extends far beyond the workroom and into the store. Each family member and their associate staff members possess exceptional interpersonal, sales and professional skills which develop relationships with their customers based on trust and honesty. With two established stores, the next move for the Dracakis family was to establish an online presence. In 2015, Dracakis Launched a fully integrated e-commerce website with a substantial range of diamond, pearl,

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coloured stone and sterling silver jewellery. This marked the extension of Dracakis Jewellers into a whole new market place both state wide and nationwide. The website has essentially become a third store for the business, allowing much more products to be showcased. It allows the business to offer much more any store can offer without overwhelming a customer. Dracakis continues to carry forward the family values into business so that ultimately the 3rd generation will continue Paul and Helens hard work far into the future. F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

DR ACAKIS JEWELLERY Sydney, Australia | dracakis.com.au


IGNITE SOMETHING O N LY T H E P E R F E C T C U T C A N U N L E A S H A DIAMOND’S BRILLIANCE.

H E A R T S O N F I R E S T O R E S , A U T H O R I Z E D R E TA I L E R S , H E A R T S O N F I R E . C O M . A U

NSW: Dracakis, House of Fraser, Matthews Jewellers VIC: Holdsworth Bros., Trewarne Jewellers QLD: Anthonys Fine Jewellery, LeGassick, Loloma Jewellers SA: Grahams | WA: Smales | ACT: Briolette




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AJE FASHION





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WORDS

32 | C L A S S I C M A G A Z I N E

BY

:

PHIL HARTE


CREATED IN 1990, THE PAINTING DEPICTS LEONID BREZHNEV AND ERICH HONECKER IN A FRATERNAL EMBRACE, REPRODUCING A PHOTOGRAPH THAT CAPTURED THE MOMENT IN 1979 DURING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF THE FOUNDATION OF THE GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC.

T H E C L A S S I C C U L T U R A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 8 | 33


WHAT A DIFFERENCE 33 YEARS MAKES – THAT’S THE TIME THAT HAS PASSED SINCE THE BERLIN WALL FINALLY CAME DOWN, IN 1987.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | B E R L I N

CONSTRUCTED BY THE GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC (GDR, EAST GERMANY), STARTING ON 13 AUGUST 1961, THE WALL

D

COMPLETELY CUT OFF (BY LAND) WEST BERLIN

uring my stay in Berlin, I had the chance to go for a walk around the city with one of the country’s most respected historians, courtesy of the Berlin Tourist Authority.

It was only then that I realised the suffering and despair the East Germans endured during that time.

This had been on our bucket list for some time as I’ve long been infatuated by WWII and the madness created by Adolf Hitler and his henchmen. As I write this, I’m sitting at the airport heading out to Krakow to see the infamous concentration camps – Auschwitz and Birkenau.

FROM SURROUNDING EAST GERMANY AND FROM EAST BERLIN UNTIL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS OPENED IT IN NOVEMBER 1989.[2] ITS DEMOLITION OFFICIALLY BEGAN ON 13 JUNE 1990 AND WAS COMPLETED IN 1992.

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BRANDENBURG GATE - BERLIN

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CONSTRUCTED BY THE GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC STARTING ON 13 AUGUST 1961. ITS DEMOLITION OFFICIALLY BEGAN ON 13 JUNE 1990 AND WAS COMPLETED IN 1992.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | B E R L I N

Berlin has always been a misunderstood city, and is now doing its utmost to match up with the rockstar cities of the world. At the time of writing, Danielle and I had just spent three nights at the city’s most soughtafter hotel, the Grand Hyatt Berlin. Eight hours later, the city was to become the home of the world media and all the who’s-who of the film industry. The Berlin Film Festival was to take over every restaurant, hotel room and theatre seat in town for the following four days. You could really feel the hype and celebrity around the hotel lobby as cameramen and journalists started to get a feel for the place. The Grand Hyatt is all about position – it’s located literally metres from the Brandenburg Gates, Check Point Charlie, Hitlers Bunker and the infamous Berlin Wall. After arriving at the airport, a 15-minute limo ride delivered us to the hotel’s entrance, where the staff were waiting for us. A brisk -4 degrees Celsius outside, we quickly escaped the bitter cold and headed straight for the room, completed the check-in formalities and took immediate advantage of the roof-top gym and steam room – all before our 7.00pm booking for the first of two restaurant reviews.

OUR MENU WAS AN EXCITING CULINARY JOURNEY, BOTH CREATIVE AND THOUGHTFUL

The Grand Hyatt can, without any question, boast about having one of Berlin’s best restaurants in Vox Restaurant. Not knowing what to expect, we were thrilled to see this eclectic Asian fusion menu that, somewhat surprisingly, threw in a classical beef tartar. Our menu was an exciting culinary journey, both creative and thoughtful, in which all the dishes were uncomplicated, fresh and as local as possible. They certainly weren’t going out of their way to bemuse the diner. We dined on world-class blackened cod accompanied by freshly made hollandaise sauce, a beautiful selection of tempuras, marinated trout with lemongrass, and freshly made sushi, sashimi and real wasabi. Open-style kitchens are always welcome as they make you feel part of the restaurant team’s energy. Day two was spent walking the streets. Given the hotel’s location – right in the heart of Berlin – Potsdamer Platz, Brandenburg Gate,

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the Unter den Linden promenade, the Government District, the Holocaust Memorial and the Tiergarten Park were all within walking distance. As well as these sites, the KaDeWe, the luxury boutiques of Charlottenburg, the trendy Prenzlauer Berg district and the green area of Berlin can be easily reached from the hotel. Our walk eventually led back to the Grand Hyatt by lunchtime, as I had a date with destiny: the house wiener schnitzel. As a side note, I believe life without a schnitzel is not really living, and I will continue on my quest for the Holy Schnitzel. This particular trip took us in and out of Switzerland, Germany and Poland’s schnitzel hotspots. Three days after arriving, the hotel was absolutely abuzz, and it wasn’t all that unusual to see famous producers, directors and A-list film stars hanging out in the lobby. Our final activity was the usual onehour gym session followed by two hours in the Club Olympus spa, where we enjoyed an amazing deep tissue massage and lazy eucalyptus steam – a great way to finish our stay. So, as quickly as we’d arrived, it was time to head back to the airport. The snow was falling as the limo pulled up, and we could see the red carpet unfold and hundreds of media and VIPs arriving as we headed down Marlene Dietrich Drive, quietly envious of the Grand night to come.

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

GR AND HYATT BERLIN Berlin, Germany | berlin.grand.hyatt.com

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | B E R L I N

BERLINER DOM

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | K R A KO W

K

R

A

K

O

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WHEN MAKING THE DECISION TO VISIT THE DEATH CAMPS OF AUSCHWITZ, POLAND, OUR FIRST STOP WAS TO BE THE TOWN OF KRAKOW.

W

e arrived to Krakow, located by the Vistula River in southern Poland, later than expected, thanks to an airport strike in Berlin that saw us take the long way around via Munich. Though exhausted by our 12.10pm arrival, we were thrilled to be there.

THE MAIN SQUARE IS A SQUARE SPACE

The following morning, as the sun poked its head over Krakow’s main square, we immediately sensed the charm and history of Poland’s second largest, 7th century city.

SURROUNDED BY HISTORIC TOWNHOUSES AND CHURCHES

Surrounded by historic townhouses and churches, the centre of the main square is dominated by Cloth Hall, which, topped by a beautiful attic and decorated with carved masks, was rebuilt in 1555 in Renaissance style. Alongside Cloth Hall sits Town Hall Tower, while the 10th century Church of St Adalbert and 1898 Adam Mickiewicz Monument are located on the opposite side. Rising above the square, whose town hall hasn’t survived to present day, are the Gothic towers of St Mary’s Basilica. After wandering through several cobblestone lanes we enjoyed a small chat over coffee with a café owner about our visit to the camp that day – a somewhat uncomfortable local topic. Given the sub-zero temperatures, we were among just 20 or so people in the entire square, most of us waiting for the transfer bus. I could only wonder what the city was like in 1943.

BUILT AT THE REQUEST OF KING CASIMIR III THE GREAT - WAWEL CASTLE

As we returned from Auschwitz later that day, it was as though the entire city came out to welcome us back, as the lively streets, bustling restaurants and gaggles of tourists thrummed beneath the bright afternoon sun. Here, to conclude our day, we enjoyed the world’s best schnitzel and a traditional horse-drawn carriage ride – a final romantic touch. Krakow’s beauty is matched by the warmth of its people; despite the city’s heartbreaking history, there is a palatable sense of pride and welcome here. You can’t help but fall in love with the place. Additionally, the Historic Centre of Krakow has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978 and is testament to the city’s historical significance and cultural offer. However, Krakow, once the ancient capital of Poland, has been enchanting visitors for thousands of years and is often called the ‘Magical City’. Krakovian air itself carries ample mystery and history, as well as clean oxygen and nitrogen. Here, each stone tells a story. Later, en route to the airport, we reflected on how much we had underestimated Krakow; we left feeling somewhat taken by its magic. Our tip for visiting Krakow: allow four or five days to explore the city entirely, with plenty of time to pause – in one of its quaint cafes, on an inner-city bench – and imagine what it was like all those years ago.

BUILT IN THE 14TH CENTURY ST MARY’S BASILICA

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THE CONCENTRATION CAMPS OF AUSCHWITZ AND BIRKENAU, POLAND

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or as long as I can remember, anything to do with WWII has sparked within me an insatiable hunger for knowledge.

I’ve long been obsessed with trying to understand why exactly these atrocities occurred, why the litany of crimes against humanity – perpetrated by murderous thugs – were able to take place as so-called ‘Acts of War’. I can’t think of any movie or documentary about the Holocaust – such as Schindler’s List or The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – that could have prepared me for what I saw and felt during my day at the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau. Our tour guide was prompt and by 7.00am we’d departed from Krakow’s town square. The journey was emotional as we watched a 50-minute documentary about the attempted systematic extermination of an entire race, by our own race, through the most torturous and despicable methods imaginable. By the time we arrived we felt slightly more prepared but no less shaken up, with the falling snow and conditions of -10 degrees Celsius adding to the solemn, reflective feel of the tour. Without a word spoken, we all knew we would leave with a new perspective of the world. Our journey took us through the infamous Auschwitz 1, the original death

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camp where the Schutzstaffel, or SS, conducted experiments on prisoners in order to perfect their killing machines. Such killing instruments included gas chambers resembling shower blocks, a well-known fixture of the Holocaust. The disposal of corpses was the task of a series of large crematoriums. As the tour led us through the 30 or so blocks in which doctors and surgeons perpetrated these heinous crimes, we felt constantly reminded of how monstrous and systematic the method was in its aim to destroy the human spirit. Our pensive silence was only broken by the occasional wail of an overwhelmed visitor, which would echo throughout the cold, hard walls. Frequently did I find myself stricken when observing the tonnes of human hair, discarded shoes and personal items that the Nazis collected for reuse. Horror struck me like a falling sky when we entered the corridors that held thousands of photographs, each telling a haunting story of the millions who suffered between 1940 and 1945. While reading about the castration of young boys and the mutilation of pregnant women – who had their unborn babies ripped from their wombs – it was nearly impossible to hold back tears. We felt utterly helpless, stripped of our capacity to talk about what we were seeing.


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IT WAS DIFFICULT TO GAUGE ONE’S EMOTIONS AFTER THE TWO-HOUR TOUR OF AUSCHWITZ, AND TO IDENTIFY EXACTLY HOW WE FELT CHANGED BY IT.

We merely stood in silence, trying to imagine the suffering that these people went through. Nearing the first tour’s end, we stood outside the gates of the commandant’s private family villa, just 100 metres from the gas chambers, which features in ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’. An historical drama directed and written by Mark Herman, the film follows the ultimately tragic friendship between the commandant’s young son, who wanders into the campgrounds, and a Jewish prisoner of the same age, who both end up in a gas chamber. For those interested in the Holocaust, I implore you to watch this film. It was difficult to gauge one’s emotions after the twohour tour of Auschwitz, and to identify exactly how we felt changed by it. In any case, every member of the tour was silent, deep in mutual sadness, shock and emptiness. Our next stop was Birkenau, which I can only describe as 200 hectares of hell on Earth. Walking along the train tracks, we reflected on the hundreds of thousands of people who were delivered upon them by the carriagefull, ready for extermination. A lonely carriage sat on the track siding, a gruesome reminder of how real it all was. We walked on for two kilometres in the relentless subzero temperatures, complaining about the bitter cold and our frozen extremities. Suddenly, we thought of all the prisoners who crossed the grounds in the same conditions. Not another complaint was made.

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JEWS ARE A RACE THAT MUST BE TOTALLY EXTERMINATED - HANS FRANK 1944 GOVERNOR GENERAL IN NAZI OCCUPIED POLAND

LEFT: WHAT REMAINS OF THE 43,000 PAIRS OF SHOES IN THE CAMP AFTER ITS LIBERATION ON JANUARY 27, 1945,

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OVENS CREMATED THE BODIES OF

ARTIFACTS ON DISPLAY

THOSE WHO DIED IN THE CAMP

AT THE MUSEUM

To this day, the animals that ran the death camps are still being brought to justice. While many of the camp workers were part of the SS, many were, in fact, non-military civilians who chose to work there out of pleasure. Both tours left me with more questions than answers; the most bewildering question left unanswered for me was, ‘Why do humans act this way?’ It was so difficult to come face-to-face with the despicable nature of how humans treat each other and a type of suffering we simply cannot comprehend. We can’t just blame Hitler, who never entered a single camp; his order was to simply get rid of them. It was the thousands of those under his order that carried out these horrors, thinking they would get away with it…

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU Oświęcim, Poland | auschwitz.org

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FULL FRAME FROM A NEW ANGLE

Photographer: @matjoez

canon.com.au/6DMarkII


+

The Sweet

spot

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PHIL HARTE

W

hen one thinks of Switzerland, four great images pop up: mouth-watering c hocolate; t he iconic Victorinox Swiss Army knife; the legendary Roger Federer and the amazing Park Hyatt Zurich. As is customary, Danielle and I did whatever we could to tune into the Australian Open final; as our British Airlines flight took off – whilst the Fed Express was centre-court creating history – we were given the score updates. Our descent into Zurich was picture perfect, with the famous Swiss Alps proudly cascading across several borders, covered with a fresh dusting of snow. We couldn’t wait to rug up in our new Victorinox jackets and scarves.

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On arrival, it was time to join in the subtle excitement of the Federer win and enjoy the modest pride rippling through town. I guessed that the understated, laidback nature of the Swiss was to be consistent throughout our stay. Aptly located at 21 Beethoven-Strausse, Zurich, the Park Hyatt Zurich presents a very slick, award-winning design of five storeys in the city’s most prestigious financial and commercial district, surrounded by historic monuments and beautiful cobbled streets. With the Hotel Manager, Benjamin Wolny, ready and waiting with the welcome committee, the Park Hyatt tradition kicked in. The doors opened and we headed straight to our suite, where a plethora of chocolates, a bottle of chilled Krug and a beautiful assortment of fresh fruits awaited our arrival.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R |

ZURICH

APTLY LOCATED AT 21 BEETHOVEN-STRAUSSE, ZURICH, THE PARK HYATT ZURICH PRESENTS A VERY SLICK, AWARD-WINNING DESIGN OF FIVE STOREYS IN THE CITY’S MOST PRESTIGIOUS FINANCIAL AND COMMERCIAL DISTRICT, SURROUNDED BY HISTORIC MONUMENTS AND BEAUTIFUL COBBLED STREETS.

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One of 142 refined guest rooms, ours was a very contemporary abode, showcasing exquisite fabrics and only the most elegant of appointments. The spacious living areas boasted all the latest technology, and led to an enormous bathroom with deep soaking baths and rain showers, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling marble. Our first night was spent relaxing in The Lounge, which boasted an expansive open fireplace, lush furnishings and 91 magnificent art pieces adorning the walls by notable artists such as Sol LeWitt, Heinz Mack and Serge Poliakoff, among others. The most prolific piece was specially commissioned from Sol LeWitt and covers a stunning 53 square metres, with a 15-metre-long sculpture separating The Lounge from the reception. On our first night of dining, we enjoyed a wonderful Vienna schnitzel that isn’t usually on the menu – the chef had been informed of my schnitzel obsession.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R |

ZURICH

ESCHERWIESE BALLROOM, THE PERFECT PLACE TO HOST YOUR NEXT ELEVATED MEETING OR EVENT

ONE OF THE 142 REFINED GUEST ROOMS A PRIVATE DINING ROOM FOR 16 PEOPLE THE VIBRANT YET RELAXING ONYX BAR

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TAKEN ON TOUR BY DANIELLE HARTE IN ZURICH


“I HAVE SEEN MANY LANDSCAPES AND OBSERVED HOW CITIES FIT INTO THEIR ENVIRONMENT, BUT I HAVE NEVER SEEN A CITY, WHICH WAS SO ENTICINGLY BEDDED IN ITS LANDSCAPE AS ZURICH.” – HERMANN HILTBRUNNER


Over the next few days, lunch and dinner were enjoyed among the Park Hyatt’s various eateries. Our signature evening entailed pre-dinner cocktails at the famed ONYX Bar – a vibrant yet relaxing place that features authentic Onyx stone finishings, floor-to-ceiling glass walls and an amazing outdoor lounge with hand-rolled cigars on offer. We had dinner at Parkhuus, a bold and animated restaurant with the show kitchen as its centrepiece, and a magnificent two-storey glassfronted wine cellar named ‘Wiichaller’, which proudly displayed over 3,000 selected wines. An Ingo Maurer chandelier made of fine china and silver, and a private dining room for 16 people also punctuated the space. On entering Parkhuus, it was hard not to spend time around the open fire grill watching the chefs hard at work, creating dishes from local Swiss produce and some of the world’s best accompaniments. Unlike the restaurant scene in Sydney, dining in Zurich kicks off quite late, with most diners arriving from 9.00pm. Our last day was a treat, with a couple of hours spent at Club Olympus: an hour in the gym followed by an all-consuming deep tissue massage. More than once have I been scathing of the hotel massage – such has been my dissatisfaction with so many. Well, the Park Hyatt Zurich dispelled any notion of that – what an hour well spent! Danielle and I could only rave about the treatment. Later on, as we lay in our deep soaking bath watching the snow fall, we decided to spend our last night in The Lounge with a signature slab of homemade chocolate cake and a glass of the hotel’s finest Riesling. For me, it was a pleasure to end the night with their finest jasmine tea and take in the fabulous art by the open fireplace. There are daily flights to Zurich on British Airways from Heathrow Terminal 5.

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F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

PARK HYATT ZÜRICH Zürich, Switzerland | zurich.park.hyatt.com


A Club World of difference in 2018 Your Club World experience is being upgraded across 2018. Expect superior restaurant-style dining with beautiful new table settings and food display trolleys on board. Sumptuously soft new bedding from The White Company - now appearing on flights between London Heathrow and New York JFK - is also making Club World more luxurious.


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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | V I C TO R I N OX

N OW T H AT ’ S A K N I FE! WORDS

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BY

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PHIL HARTE

y first task as a 14-year-old apprentice chef was to build my own toolkit, comprised of high quality knives and kitchen utensils that would last a lifetime and help me carve my way into the Modern French Culinary Arts.

My three first choices were the Victorinox 12-inch Chef ’s Knife, another 10-incher and a Paring Knife, which inevitably became the foundation of my toolkit. Now, let’s fast-forward to my recent trip to Switzerland, where we stayed at the Park Hyatt Zurich. Here, we were picked up at 8.00am to enjoy a picturesque drive down to Ibach-Schwyz, winding through the foothills of the Swiss Alps and through sleepy little towns with snow-capped chalets, a scene straight off a postcard.

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I was very excited about the upcoming visit to the head office and factory of Victorinox, where, better still, I was to have a coffee with the fourth generation owner and Chief Executive of Victorinox, Mr Carl Elsener. At the head office, where I was waiting with anticipation, Mr Elsener burst into the room with energy and stories to share. The vibrant 59-year-old couldn’t wait to tell us about his family’s tripof-a-lifetime to the Australian Outback, which he complemented with a glossy 100-page photo book. Immediately, I knew the visit would go well. Carl Elsener, born 4 July 1958 in Ibach-Schwyz, is the greatgrandson of Karl Elsener, the founder of Victorinox. He studied business and marketing in Switzerland and abroad, mainly in North America, where he completed numerous training programs in management and corporate leadership. Mr Elsener has been directly involved in the family business for more than three decades and took over as CEO in 2006. The company today is managed by the fourth generation of the Elsener family. Married with three children, he’s a firm believer in humane, sustainable and fair business practices. He played a major role in transforming the company from a simple cutler’s workshop to a global company with six product categories. His achievements have been rewarded numerous times in the past, with the most prestigious award in 2011, when he was given the Swiss Award in the category ‘Economy’.

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MR ELSENER HAS BEEN DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN THE FAMILY BUSINESS FOR MORE THAN THREE DECADES AND TOOK OVER AS CEO IN 2006. THE COMPANY TODAY IS MANAGED BY THE FOURTH GENERATION OF THE ELSENER FAMILY.


C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | V I C TO R I N OX

VICTORINOX, LUCERNE STORE

He is a passionate advocate of unique yet functional design and the rich tradition of development and manufacture in Switzerland. His business philosophy is the foundation of his success as a business leader: “Recipes for successfully managing a company are of little use. We see ourselves as a brand that stands for high quality, functionality, innovation and iconic design,” he says. The founding principle of his company is to produce practical and functional high quality products for people around the world. The company’s customers, employees and the quality of their products are the cornerstones of their corporate philosophy. The key factors in their long-term success are human values like credibility, openness, trust, respect, gratitude, modesty, courage and responsibility. Victorinox is the big brand in town with around 1,000 local employees and 2,000 globally, with the average staff member enjoying over twenty years with the company. After meeting Mr Elsener, we spent the following two hours meandering through the factory floor, meeting the toolmakers, artists and the many designers who were working hard to produce the 60,000 army knives and 60,000 kitchen knives that are released each week. We were lucky enough to hold one of the original Swiss Army Knives from 1896, which had a black wooden handle and only 10 applications. Today’s super knife boasts 80 applications and the iconic Swiss red colouring with the trademark cross.

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VICTORINOX, HEADQUARTERS IBACH VICTORINOX, STORE LUCERNE

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ALL OF THE COMPANY’S RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT REMAINS IN-HOUSE, AS DOES THE TOTAL PRODUCTION OF THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE. BUSINESS COULDN’T BE BETTER.

The Swiss Army Knife is now available in several colours with multiple applications designed for several industries, including for police, fire and emergency services and even equestrian. It has become standard issue for several of the armed forces and is mandatory for the Swiss Army. In 2005 Victorinox acquired its only real competitor, Wenger, who was wavering throughout the Global Financial Crisis. In fact, Victorinox made the purchase mainly to prevent the entry of non-Swiss competitors into the market. Carl and his team were successful in weathering the commercial storm of the GFC via sound business practices and planning for inevitable downturns in the market. The global concern surrounding terrorism directly impacted business sales when the traditional pocketknife was banned from carry-on luggage on planes, which sliced a massive 30 per cent off the bottom-line and affected their corporate gift business. This catalysed the expansion of the Victorinox product line. Over the last decade Victorinox has introduced worldclass travel luggage, fashion and watches to the market, while also dabbling in perfume products. Thanks to the success of their watches and luggage, the future for Victorinox is looking bright. All of the company’s research and development remains in-house, as does the total production of the Swiss Army Knife. Business couldn’t be better. There are several remarkable stories about the Swiss Army Knife throughout modern history. In 1983, during a 10-day mission in the US space shuttle Columbia, German astronaut Ulf Merbold performed a number of repairs worth several million marks, using only his Swiss Army Knife. In 1999, when a telescopic recording device malfunctioned, an officer was able to reattach the connecting wires using his Swiss Army Knife. And I won’t forget to mention the many life-saving surgical procedures that have taken place at road crash sites, which doctors and paramedics have conducted with their Swiss Army Knives.

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From outer space to surgery, from sports fields to kitchens – you really shouldn’t leave home without your Victorinox! Despite the incredible range of functions, Victorinox is still evolving and fine tuning its tools. With inspiration from the thousands of customer suggestions, the creative team work to enhance and develop the iconic brand everyday. During our visit to the factory, it was easy to imagine how this fourth generational product has survived through tough economic times. And if you stop and think about it – while forgetting the day-to-day economy – the massive challenges that resulted from 9/11 are still prevalent today. This is not only a product that makes the Elsener family proud; Victorinox is a brand that the entire company, both in Switzerland and around the world, feels proud to be part of. According to Carl Elsener: “130 years of Victorinox represents an important milestone for us and a major incentive to continue and develop the life’s work of the Victorinox pioneers with just as much passion.” The opportunity to visit and appreciate the home and founders of Victorinox was more gratifying than I’d imagined. Who would have thought that starting out with that little red cross would have led me, some 44 years later, to the roots of one of the world’s greatest brands! F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

VICTORINOX Ibach, Switzerland | victorinox.com

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SWISS ARMY KNIVES

CUTLERY

WATCHES

TRAVEL GEAR

FUNCTIONALITY IS PART OF OUR FAMILY DISCOVER MORE AT VICTORINOX.COM

MAKERS OF THE ORIGINAL SWISS ARMY KNIFE | ESTABLISHED 1884


THE PARK LANE COCKTAIL

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C MO O C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | LO N D O N

M E T RO P O L I TA N

I

f location indicates real estate excellence, COMO Metropolitan London, nestled on Old Park Lane in London, has followed the guidelines perfectly.

Flanked by Aston Martin and Ferrari dealerships, and just a leisurely stroll from the Marble Arch and high-end fashion outlets like Harvey Nichols and Harrods, the ‘Met’ takes on several hospitality greats in the vicinity, including Four Seasons, Grosvenor House and the Savoy Hotel. On arriving, as we stepped inside from the sub-zero February temperatures, the doorman welcomed us with the customary “Welcome to the Metropolitan” before we checked in our bags with the attentive lobby staff.

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LOBBY AND MET BAR

We then hit the ground running – so to speak – with a session in the gym and an exceptional deep tissue massage and couple’s private steam at COMO Shambhala Wellness Spa. The importance of hotel gyms and spas cannot be overstated; they’re essential in fast tracking jetlag recovery and relaxation. Always be sure to research your next hotel’s facilities. We shared a three-hour dinner with friends at Met Bar, an edgy hotel bar with a small, yet smart, food menu and cocktail selection, which we managed to work through together. For dinner we savoured a bowl of spicy nasi goreng, crispy skinned barramundi and a medium-rare scotch fillet steak with fresh béarnaise sauce and sautéed garden beans. Met Bar adds to London’s already vibrant bar and revitalised gastro-pub scene, which has been improved once more by the city’s ban on smoking in hospitality venues. On the restaurant side of things, one can observe how, lately, clever boutique hotels have done a great job of attracting the world’s up and coming celebrity chefs to their kitchens, while also avoiding outrageous overheads and moving away from the conventional hotel-style restaurant. COMO Metropolitan London ref lects its contemporary personality and style in Nobu, one

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of the world’s trendiest eateries to date, located on the hotel’s first floor. Nobu, as the seasoned traveller would know, has a global reputation as one of the world’s best Japanese eateries – just ask Robert de Niro, a huge fan. I highly recommend Nobu’s blackened cod, available both lunch and dinner. One can arrive to both COMO Metropolitan London and COMO The Halkin from Heathrow Airport via the Heathrow Express to Paddington station, followed by a 15-pound cab ride. British Airway’s flight BA 16 departs from Sydney at 4.00pm and arrives to Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 at 4.55am the following day. Our tip: if you’re arriving to any hotel early, pack your gym gear and fresh clothes at the top of your suitcase for a workout and spa session straight away. Though most hotels can arrange early check-in, a workout fills waiting time and helps boost your energy levels.

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

COMO METROPOLITAN LONDON London, England | comohotels.com/metropolitanlondon

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OX CHEEK WITH PIQUILLO FLAMES

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ntil a good friend invited me there, I hadn’t known much about COMO The Halkin, a very understated luxury hotel in the sleepy but exclusive area of Belgravia in London. Located at No. 2 Halkin Street, and thus providing easy access to Knightsbridge, Mayfair and St James via the tube, COMO The Halkin offers 41 contemporary rooms and suites and a Michelin star restaurant among the hotel’s picturesque Georgian surrounds. Some 24 years ago, Mr Ong purchased No. 2 Halkin Street for his wife Christine, who, dissatisfied with the London hotel scene, decided to develop the Mercedes dealership into one of the city’s chicest B&Bs. Our trip began with a relaxing lunch at Sydney Airport’s Qantas International First Lounge, followed by a flight to Singapore and then to Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 on BA 16. Our Oneworld membership affords us access to the program’s best airline and lounge partners. We fast tracked through Heathrow Airport and onto the Heathrow Express to Paddington, from which we took a 15-minute taxi to COMO The Halkin. After checking in before 6.00am we enjoyed a brief jog through Green Park, all the while anticipating an excellent breakfast. One of the biggest perks at COMO The Halkin is its Michelin starred Basque restaurant, Ametsa with Arzak Instruction – a collaborative concept between Elena Arzak – voted Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef in 2012 – and a handful of exceptional Spanish chefs, including her father Juan Mari Arzak. Besides groundbreaking ‘New Basque Cuisine’, here guests can enjoy anything from the traditional English breakfast to fabulous Greek yogurt, fresh berries and Australian Manuka honey. T H E C L A S S I C C U L T U R A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 8 | 83


This 41-room hospitality gem feels more like a multi-millionaire’s private home than a hotel – and in many instances, it is. While staying in one of the stylishly configured rooms or suites – with city or garden views – one can settle into The Halkin Bar for the evening for wine and tapas, or Ametsa for a world-class Michelin star experience. With an elegant, somewhat minimalist aesthetic with rich timber panelling, neutral tones and arching ceilings on the top floor, rooms and suites at COMO The Halkin exude class without the pomp and ceremony often found in Britain. On the basement level guests can work out 24/7 in the hotel’s well-equipped gym, while its Belgravia location provides unfettered access to excellent city jogging routes with little traffic. During our stay we dined at Ametsa, whose menu celebrates contemporary, creative Spanish cuisine. Each of our six courses was beautifully prepared and presented, beginning with aperitivos of chimeneas de sobrasada – sardine doughnuts. For entrees we enjoyed pan-seared scallops, and for mains, tuna with cinnamon on fire and fabulous Iberian pork on embers. To finish the night on a sweet note, we ordered ‘the Big Truffle’ served with hot dark chocolate sauce, which the waiter poured over the top at the table. Thanks to the restaurant’s impeccable service and imaginative menu, there wasn’t a spare seat in the house, a credit to executive head chef Sergi Sanz Blanco. COMO The Halkin has everything we look for in a hotel: luxurious details and boutique design with a unique twist on the traditional. With addresses in London, Phuket, Miami and Perth, among others, enjoy the difference with COMO hotels and remember: size isn’t everything.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | LO N D O N

HALKIN BAR BELGRAVIA SUITE

HALKIN BAR FT LOUNGE

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

COMO THE HALKIN London, England | comohotels.com/thehalkin

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FIVE YEARS AGO, I WAS WATCHING BEN AFFLECK’S 2012 THRILLER ‘ARGO’ ON A BRITISH AIRWAYS FLIGHT FROM LONDON TO SINGAPORE. THE OPENING SCENE SHOWED A BA 747 PREPARING TO TOUCH DOWN IN TEHRAN’S IMAM KHOMEINI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.

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WORDS

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PHIL HARTE

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ast forward to 2017, and I found myself on one of the first British Airways flights to return to Tehran. I would soon begin my time in one of the most misunderstood countries in the world. Having travelled to Iran, I was astonished by some of the uninformed impressions of that country that I encountered upon my return home. As in most nations of the Middle East, Islam plays a major role in daily Iranian life. As such, it is important that visitors abide by Iranian culture and laws—a universal sign of respect that is expected of all tourists, regardless of destination. As with all foreign tourists, upon arrival, my wife Danielle and I were whisked off to activate our visas. While waiting for our visas in the business lounge, we were served a lovely breakfast by a team of locals.

After breakfast, and with our visas secured, we ventured into the daily hectic and noisy traffic of Tehran, along with the fifteen million commuters that work in the capital city. Perhaps not surprisingly, Tehran traffic is not for the faint of heart. Two hours into our journey from the airport, we had only traversed fifteen kilometres! In true Iranian fashion, however, our driver sweetened the experience by stopping by a bakery and returning with freshly-baked sangak bread. We made the mistake of calling our hot confection Turkish bread—a mistake that we did not repeat! Content and excited, Danielle and I relaxed in the back seat and enjoyed the beginning of a remarkable trip. Upon entering the capital, we absorbed the awe-inspiring Alborz mountain range that surrounds Tehran like a fortress, blanketed with snow and glowing beneath the spectacular rising sun.

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MILAD TOWER

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ONE’S DESTINATION IS NEVER A PLACE, BUT A NEW WAY OF SEEING THINGS.

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LEFT: DR AHMADI, OWNER NILOO HOTEL TEHRAN RIGHT: YAS RESTAURANT ON VALI ASR STREET OWNER, MR NASSERIAN AND HIS SON ABTINE

LEFT: ILIO ARTISAN CHOCOLATIER AT MELAL SHOPPING COMPLEX RIGHT: LUNCH SPREAD AT RESTAURANT DIZI SARA

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We chose to stay in one of Tehran’s best hotels, Hotel Niloo, where the entire team was waiting in the lobby for our arrival. The remarkable staff of the hotel ensured that our five-day stay in their establishment was flawless. Our jam-packed Iranian itinerary had been planned for some time, including meetings, reviews, daily photo shoots and a gastronomic exploration. It would not be an exaggeration to say that food and hospitality are Iran’s second religion. All of our meetings revolved around coffee, tea, lunch or dinner. We would no sooner finish lunch before being asked our preference for dinner. I particularly loved early mornings in Tehran, when the aroma of freshly baked sangak would waft through the streets. While Australians tend to hit the corner store for the morning bread run, Iran is renowned for its street-side ovens manned by multiple bakers. Locals drop by and return home with a one or two metre long sangak under their arms. We enjoyed lunch one day at the famous Dizi Sara Restaurant, an eatery almost impossible to book and even harder to find. Here, they only serve one type of traditional Iranian soup with fresh salad and condiments. I was invited into the kitchen and found myself pulling a metre of sangak out of the oven, alongside twenty chefs who together run the establishment.

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TEHRAN’S NUT AND DRIED FRUITERY OWNER, HAJ JALIL TAVAZO

We had scheduled a breakfast meeting at the agency office for the following day. As this would be a home-cooked breakfast, we headed to the local market to purchase the needed ingredients. The vibrancy of an Iranian marketplace cannot be imagined until one has experienced its sounds, smell, and energy. The sale of farm-fresh produce was only a small fraction of the hundreds of simultaneous transactions that were taking place. I highly recommend a visit to any such bazaar. During our visit, we were always conscious of our clothing and presence. Danielle was obliged to wear a headscarf at all times. All women must wear headscarves or traditional chadors, a long veil that envelops the body. As night fell, we stopped at a footbridge, hoping to capture Tehran’s iconic ‘flag image’, with the help of 50,000 automobile lights streaming along the landmark Tabiat Bridge, or ‘nature bridge’. Danielle was able to perform photog raph ic mag ic by contrasting thousands of red and white lights with the neon green of the bridge, creatively creating the ripple image of the Iranian flag.

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As we opened our blinds every morning, we were greeted by the splendour of the snowy mountain range of Alborz and its remarkable ski resort located just twenty miles outside of Tehran. The Tochal Telecabin & Entertainment Complex project, now under the management of the Poma Corporation of France and originally built by Doppelmayr, an Austrian firm, began operation in 1974 and opened to the public in 1978, offering visitors skiing, archery, zip-lining and climbing throughout the year. Tochal Telecabin is also home to one of the world’s longest gondola lifts, stretching 7,500 metres in length. Beginning in the Velenjak Valley in the north of Tehran at an altitude of 1,900 metres and ending at 3,740 metres near the main ridge of Mount Tochal, this gondola lift provides access to the area’s ski resorts and recreational centres. The beautiful landscape, fresh mountain air and various water springs add to the area’s unique draw, attracting families and sports fanatics from all over the globe. Our morning visit to the mountain gave us a new and exhilarating vista of Tehran.

THE GONDOLA LIFT HAS SEVEN STATIONS: STATION ONE – 1,900 METRES LOCATED AT THE BEGINNING OF VELENJAK VALLEY (END OF VELENJAK STREET) PARKING, INNS AND SOME OTHER FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE STATION TWO ­– 2,400 METRES VERY LIMITED FACILITIES STATION FIVE – 2,935 METRES LOCATED IN THE MIDDLE OF A RARELY USED SKI SLOPE THAT ONLY OPENS MID-WINTER A RESTAURANT AND RESCUE CENTRE ARE AVAILABLE ALSO ACCESSIBLE VIA SEVERAL CLIMBING PATHS LIKE SHIRPALA SHELTER, OSOON VALLEY AND PALANG-CHAL SHELTER CHANGE HERE TO ACCESS STATION SEVEN STATION SEVEN – 3,740 METRES LAST STATION LOCATED IN THE MIDDLE OF TOCHAL SKI SLOPE AND VERY CLOSE TO TOCHAL MAIN RIDGE, THIRTY-MINUTE WALK TO TOCHAL MAIN PEAK ALSO ACCESSIBLE BY HEZAR-SHAM VIA CLIMBING PATH FROM STATION FIVE

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ONE OF THE WORLDS LONGEST GONDOLA LIFTS AT TOCHAL MOUNTAIN RESORT TEHRAN


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While five days were certainly not sufficient to explore all of Tehran, we did manage to climb the Milad Tower (also known as the Tehran Tower, a multi-use commercial enterprise that is the world’s sixth tallest tower), sample local Valentine’s Day chocolates from Ilio Artisan Chocolatier, and devour delicious kebabs and endless sangak bread at obscure holes in the wall throughout the city. We also visited the renowned Tavazo Fruit and Nut shop, where we purchased fifteen kilos of mouth-watering dried fruits and nuts. It is difficult to imagine how this thriving metropolis—with its tantalising cuisine, its amazingly hospitable people, and its palpable desire to engage globally – has been kept from the world. For decades, Iran has been a questionable tourism destination, given its political and social circumstances. Slowly, however, as the country re-enters the world community with the lifting of sanctions, tourism will inevitably increase. T H E C L A S S I C C U L T U R A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 8 | 97


FAST FACTS >>> MUST VISIT: THE TOCHAL SKI FIELDS MUST EAT: YAS RESTAURANT ON VALI ASR STREET, DIZI SARA RESTAURANT, ILIO RESTAURANT AT MELAL SHOPPING COMPLEX, DIVAN RESTAURANT AT SAM CENTER ON FERESHTEH STREET CURRENCY: IRANIAN RIAL MAIN LANGUAGE: FARSI FLIGHTS: BA HOTEL: NILOO, SEPEHR HOTEL IN ELAHIEH VISIT: GRAND BAZAAR TAJRISH BAZAAR TABIAT BRIDGE TAVAZO ASL NUTS AND FRUITERY ON ASR STREET BEWARE: THE AMAZING HOT SANGAK BREAD

In my estimation, Iran is the most eyeopening and, amazing find of 2017 for foreign travellers. Australians are eligible for visas upon arrival. The airport experience is fairly straightforward. We recommend booking private transport with a local guide who will enrich your experience and help navigate the tremendous traffic. The price for this service is very reasonable. Women travelling to Iran must wear hair scarves and dress modestly in pants. Men should leave their shorts and singlets at home. British Airways flies daily from London’s Heathrow Airport, departing at 9:30 p.m. and arriving in Tehran at 6:30 a.m.

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NAQSH-E JAHAN SQUARE-IMAM MOSQUE

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H I G H L I G H TS

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n a warm and sunny day in May this year, I stopped at the entrance to the Eram Gardens in Shiraz to have my fortune picked for me by a little neon yellow bird. A stall seller nearby handed out bags of bright green sour plums as the chirruping bird perched on my shoulder dipping into the box of fortunes in my hands to pluck one out. The garden is a popular place to visit in Spring, blooming with scented roses and fragrant willowy cypress trees - a place for reflection as much as to admire the reflection of the magnificent Qajar era pavilion that sits in front of the glassy blue pool. Iranians love their gardens and flock to them most days to picnic and gossip, doze and drink

tea. Shiraz is one of the oldest cities in Persia - a city synonymous with flowers and poetry, literature and wine. Shiraz, or Parsa in Persian, is home to the revered poet Hafez, whose mausoleum is best visited at sunset when the marble tomb glows in the pink light. Listen carefully and you may hear the soft weeping of a woman mourning the loss of the nation’s most romantic of poets. One of my favourite places is the Bazaar -e- Vakil in the centre of the old city. Built by Karim Khan Zand around two hundred years ago the seventy-four archways dominate the warren of passageways, where stallholders jostle for space and craftsmen and women tinker and hammer out their wares in the caravanserais that T H E C L A S S I C C U L T U R A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 8 | 101


RIGHT: NASIR OL MOLK

THE ANCIENT ZOROASTRIAN TOWER OF SILENCE IS A MUST DO; NOW ABANDONED, THESE CIRCULAR STRUCTURES WERE ONCE USED AS PLACES TO LAY THE DEAD, TO BE PICKED CLEAN BY CARRION BEFORE FINALLY GOING TO THEIR RESTING PLACE.

lead off the main thoroughfares. This is the place for traditional craftsmanship and where you might pick up an exquisite piece of jewellery or ceramic work. Each quarter focuses on a different material, notably qasqui kilms stacked high to the ceilings for which the region is well known. Not far from here is the gorgeous Nasir ol Molk – commonly known as the Pink Mosque. Built to catch the morning light, sunrise is the best time to visit when the Mosque comes to life in a spectacular kaleidoscope of colours that flood through the stained glass windows and dance across the walls and floors. Just over 65kms northeast of Shiraz lies the jewel in the crown of Fars province: Persepolis. This phenomenal site draws the crowds so if you can make the effort to arrive in the early morning you should have it almost to yourself. Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire from 550 – 330 BC, and some of its’ most beautiful and impressive architecture was built under the rein of Darius I. Take your time to walk slowly along the southern wall of the apadana to admire the tribute bearers coming from all nations of the Persian Empire to include Egyptians, Elamites, Nubians, Arabs and Greeks. Each person is characterised by their appearance and the gifts they bring - from camels to cups and rams to wreaths. If you have the stamina, climb up to the 102 | C L A S S I C M A G A Z I N E

top of the site to enjoy the staggering views of the surrounding plains and city laid out beneath you. Nearby is the site of Naqsh-e Rustam, an ancient necropolis with four impressive rock cut tombs cut high into the cliff face where swifts soar and dive out of the narrow doorways. After climbing the hills of Persepolis you may return to the city with an appetite…And Persian cuisine doesn’t disappoint. The subtle melding of sweet and savoury is unique to the country and you must try local specialities such as Fesenjan (walnut and pomegranate stew) and Gormeh Sabzi (a delicate lamb herb stew). The barberry bejewelled chelo (rice) and the myriad flavours of scented bastani (ice cream) are made with saffron and rosewater. You must also try ‘dizi’ – a hearty delicious stew eaten often in winter, presented in a stone pot with a pestle to grind it down before adding a separate bowl of meat juice to it. And do pay a visit to the restaurant Haft Khan that boasts quite delicious food in the most elegant of settings and all set within an award winning building constantly buzzing with hungry customers. Shiraz lies at the foot of the Zagros Mountains – a collection of mountain ranges that gently roll across the landscape and whose hidden valleys shelter nomadic pastoralists such as the Qashgai and Bakthtiari who still move their herds into the lower pastures


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JAMEH MOSQUE, HAMAM KHAN, GOLAB GIRI-ROSE WATER

during the summer months. As you drive out of the city you may catch a glimpse of them en route to Yazd, a desert city to the north east of Shiraz and the spiritual homeland of Zoroastrians. I feel at home in Yazd. People are innately friendly and welcoming and you can explore most of the city on foot winding your way through the labyrinth of little back alleyways and lanes in the old town, stepping into hidden courtyards and galleries full of art and craft. There are numerous rooftop teahouses to rest weary feet and sip a refreshing pomegranate juice whilst admiring the views and the many badgirs (wind towers) that sprinkle the skyline. In the early evening pay a visit to one of the oldest Zurkhanehs (House 104 | C L A S S I C M A G A Z I N E

of Strength) in the country and witness an age old tradition where men wrestle and lift weights accompanied to energetic song and drum beat. Nearby is the delicious pastry shop of Haj Khalifeh Ali Rahbar – a much beloved master confectioners established one hundred years ago and always thronged with customers. The smell of rosewater, almond and pistachio is enticing enough to taste and then buy the beautifully packaged pastries. Climbing the eerily evocative Dakhma – the ancient Zoroastrian Tower of Silence is a must do; now abandoned, these circular structures were once used as places to lay the dead, to be picked clean by carrion before finally going to their resting place.


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THERE IS NO FINER EXAMPLE OF THE PERSIAN ISLAMIC GENIUS THAN THE INTERIOR OF THE DOME... EACH PART OF THE DESIGN, EACH PLANE, EACH REPETITION, EACH SEPARATE BRANCH OR BLOSSOM HAS ITS OWN SOMBRE BEAUTY. BUT THE BEAUTY OF THE WHOLE COMES AS YOU MOVE.

The road northwest out of Yazd takes you towards Esfahan, with the mighty Lut Desert to the east and en route you might stop at Nain, renowned for its 9th century Jame Mosque and its delicately patterned brickwork columns. Nothing prepares you for seeing Naqsh-e-Jahan Square in Isfahan for the first time. Bordered on all sides by splendid Safavid era buildings and a vast bazaar running parallel around it, this is a place I come back to time and again to people watch and soak up the architecture. A mecca for shoppers, the bazaar seemingly never sleeps, and one can spend hours browsing through antique shops and watching the printmakers at work. A favourite Mosque on the square is the richly decorated Sheikh Lotfollah whose interior so moved Robert Byron he describes it in vivid eulogy in his Road to Oxiana: ‘There is no finer example of the Persian Islamic genius than the interior of the dome... Each part of the design, each plane, each repetition, each separate branch or blossom has its own sombre beauty. But the beauty of the whole comes as you move.’ And indeed you must visit at different times of day to appreciate the light as it traces its way across the patterned surfaces. There is so much to see and do in Isfahan, and the majority of it focused on the magnificent buildings, however the city also has some lovely parks and bridges.

TOP TO BOTTOM: FIN GARDEN, MAHIN SARAY-E RAHEB HOTEL, CARPET WEAVING

On a recent visit I sat with my group on the banks of the Zayandeh River gazing across at Si-o Se Pol Bridge in the warm din of the evening. The bright yellow light from each of the thirty-three archways reflected like golden coins onto the dark water and the chatter and laughter of neighbouring picnickers occasionally rose to compete with the chorus of frogs in the nearby reeds.

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I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to find a warm piece of ‘sangak’ – the delicious Iranian flat bread (said to resemble a woman’s chador) thrust under my nose. The little girl whose hand it belonged to shyly turned back and her family waved and beckoned us over to join them on their picnic rug. Our group of ten soon swelled to twice the size and whilst photos were taken, tea was brewed and more laughter ensued as the rose tinted moon climbed high in the sky. For some of the best coffee and cake in the city head to Jolfa in the Armenian quarter well known for its 17th century Vank cathedral whose rich frescoes makes a refreshing contrast from the Islamic blue tile work of the great Mosques. Jolfa is also home to the recently opened gem that is the Isfahan Music Museum. The space pays homage to the country’s rich musical traditions with instruments ranging from the chicken bell to the oud on display, and the enthusiastic curators are also master musicians and will often give private performances after a tour. Accommodation in Iran is still a fledgling, but growing, industry and you will find some of the best ‘boutique’ hotels in Kashan. About 250kms south of Tehran, the city of Kashan is famed for the distillation of rose water, and a long established carpet and 106 | C L A S S I C M A G A Z I N E

silk industry. But its secret is the restoration of some of the finest 18th century houses into hotels and Saraye – e Ameriha is the best of them. You can dine under the stars in a pretty courtyard around a pool or in the main restaurant exquisitely decorated with mirrors. The comfortable rooms are tucked away off a series of courtyards and the beds made with luxury linen. It’s a lovely place to while away an afternoon and has some small onsite shops selling hand-loomed textiles and clothing, as well as a good coffee shop. Kashan is well known for its historical Safavid era Bagh -e Fin Garden where visitors flock to enjoy the series of turquoise water pools cascading down from a painted pavilion. It was late afternoon in May when I visited and paused to sit on a bench by a five hundred year old cypress tree. The trickle of the water was accompanied by the unmistakeable singsong from a nearby nightingale and I realised I had stepped into the very essence of the Persian poem itself as Hafez once wrote: ‘Happiness is right in front of you’. F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

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Hab toor

DAWN OF A NEW

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IN TYPICAL DUBAI STYLE, THE HOTEL SCENE CONTINUES TO EVOLVE AT BREAKNECK SPEED. GIVEN THAT THE 2020 WORLD EXPO IS LESS THAN THREE YEARS AWAY, WE CAN ONLY EXPECT TO SEE MORE AND MORE EXCELLENCE AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE HOTEL INDUSTRY.

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ne of the UAE’s leading developers has undertaken a trifecta of exceptional standards: The Westin, W Dubai and The St. Regis Dubai, offering a combined 1,600 rooms, 18 eateries, two spas, a massive pool deck, state-of-the-art health clubs, refined meeting facilities, ballrooms and a banquet space, all within Al Habtoor City. Located along the Dubai Canal, the property offers the best in hospitality, entertainment and residential development. One might call it the ‘perfect mousetrap’ – the inclusion of three leading yet distinct hotel brands, each with their own signature products and culture, means guests won’t have much reason to leave during their stay. The property was spearheaded by hospitality wunderkind Jason Harding, who assembled one of the region’s most in-tune and experienced teams to guide this hospitality juggernaut over the next decade.

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MEETINGS AND EVENTS

TOP TO BOTTOM: LOBBY, BRIDAL SUITE,LOBBY STAIRCASE, AL JOUD BALLROOM.

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I was lucky enough to spend nine nights at the property, which gave me enough time to enjoy everything – from the familiar five-star offerings at The Westin, to the hip and edgy details of W Dubai, to the uber-rich and luxurious facilities of The St. Regis Dubai. Arriving at The Westin was as slick and efficient as expected, with check-in made all the more lavish by a wedding show taking place in one of the ballrooms. The Westin appears to be the workhorse of the group, with a significant presence of meeting facilities, as well as one of the UAE’s largest spa facilities – exactly what one needs after a long day of work meetings. As a global economic hub, Dubai is renowned for its outstanding business environment. The Westin offers all of the amenities and facilities that enable you to be productive and at your best. With 16 flexible meeting rooms of various sizes, including the 1,425 square metre Al Joud ballroom, The Westin is well equipped to host a variety of gatherings, from small meetings to large galas. Meanwhile, the Heavenly Spa by Westin truly is heavenly, thanks to its 22 treatment rooms, specialty showers, signature tailored treatments and multiple steam rooms and saunas. The WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio features the finest exercise equipment from Technogym for all levels of performance in an airy, energizing environment.

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TOP AND BOTTOM: COOK HALL RESTAURANT OPPOSITE: IL CAPO, WOODBURNING PIZZA OVEN

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The WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio provides everything needed for an exhilarating workout, from dumbbells to fitness magazines, headphones, and local area running maps, and more. A dedicated yoga studio is also available for classes or individual practice. This gym is open around-the-clock, and offers New Balance shoes and athletic wear for those who didn’t pack their own. In my view, there’s no excuse for avoiding exercise while travelling – especially with facilities like these. Staying on level seven of W Dubai allows guests access to all of The Westin’s spa facilities, as well as those inside the W Dubai property. Since Al Habtoor City is under the stewardship of the self-confessed health-nut Jason Harding, guests can rest assured that the property’s health and lifestyle concepts are in good hands. The facilities even include a massive running track that circles the local precinct and newly opened canal, offering spectacular early morning runs and sunset strolls. As a lover of great Italian fare, dinner at Il Capo was an absolute treat, especially in the company of local food critics Mark and Zoe Rix. We enjoyed homemade pasta, veal carpaccio, ricotta and spinach-stuffed ravioli, lightly breaded veal Milanese and a fabulous side of spaghetti a’olio. Dessert was a simple yet sublime tiramisu accompanied by a single espresso. Italian food shouldn’t look like rocket science; menus should keep it fresh, local and uncomplicated, and should retain the classics without the over-ambitious twists of hipster cookery. II Capo has everything you want for a great Italian dining experience: a fabulous room, amazing views of the canal and waterfall, and a sensible, thoughtful menu. On my final night, in a more casual setting, I enjoyed a medium-rare fillet served with fluffy béarnaise sauce and a side of mac’ and cheese – the ultimate gastro pub/sports bar meal. The Cook Hall is a very cool and relaxed bar that has great live music, a few nights of trivia and the occasional football night. It’s a place to hang and meet up with friends, or socialize with other guests when travelling alone. Each night spent at The Westin was relaxing, ending with either a sunset run along the walkway or a coffee while watching the waterfall shimmer with ever-changing colours, just as the boats were heading out via the canal to the Arabian Sea.

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

THE WESTIN DUBAI AL HABTOOR CITY Dubai, United Arab Emirates | westindubaialhabtoorcity.com

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LEXICON GLOBAL HARDSIDE CARRY-ON DISCOVER MORE AT VICTORINOX.COM

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W D U BA I

WORDS

BY

A

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PHIL HARTE

fter my stay at The Westin, I moved into the very hip and edgy W Dubai. I entered the lobby, my senses tuned to the hotel’s unique style, design and culture, which reminded me instantly of my stay at W Seminyak in Bali. After a fantastic stay there, I was excited to see what W Dubai had in store.

W Dubai is where style visionaries and cultural connoisseurs converge to redefine what’s new on the global stage. All W properties make it their mission to deliver a uniquely quirky yet stylish experience, encouraging staff to interact with guests and fulfil every request. Their underlying culture reflects a Whatever/Whenever approach to hospitality. W hotels certainly attract a specific clientele: more single people, fewer children, plenty of hipsters and guests that consider themselves trendsetters. On level 32, BOA Lounge & Club oozes W style and attitude, with ultra cool furnishings, technology, round beds and spaces that tempt anyone to invite 50 of their friends to join. As expected, the gym was excellently equipped with full access to the Heavenly Spa facilities located just metres away. Amazingly, after one of my daily workouts I was surprised to share the steam room with the legend Billy Ocean, who was in town to headline the Taste of Dubai food festival. As it was International Women’s Day, Billy shared a personal story with me that led us both to express pride about our wonderful respective wives.

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Billy recounted how he’d met his wife Judy when he was 15 and she 13 – some 53 years ago – and referred to her as his anchor. He also told me how proud he was of his three kids and three grandchildren. To speak with someone so high up in the music industry about something so personal, and to listen to his expressions of commitment to his family, was very inspirational. As many would know, my wife and my rock, Danielle and I have been together 23 years, and are always proud of our two fabulous kids. After sharing a few stories, I invited Billy to join my two good mates, food critics Mark and Zoe Rix, and myself for dinner at the famed Namu restaurant. Our night at Namu was made all the more sensational in the company of a rockstar, as well as the incredible views over the canal. The food was sublime, and led me to dub Namu, Dubai’s best Asian fusion restaurant. The menu featured barbecue, dim sums, sushi and oriental dishes.

OUR NIGHT AT NAMU WAS MADE ALL THE MORE SENSATIONAL IN THE COMPANY OF A ROCKSTAR, AS WELL AS THE INCREDIBLE VIEWS OVER THE CANAL.

Leaving all decisions up to the executive chef, our entrees featured a host of sushi and sashimi pieces with beautifully prepared dumplings and noodles, while our mains included lamb cutlets, blackened cod and traditional Korean bibimbap.

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After wrapping things up with a deconstructed Pavlova and trying to leave discreetly, Billy was suddenly mobbed by fans, which is only to be expected – after all, he is a legend. On our way down we stopped at W Lounge on level 30, where we enjoyed the vistas over the Arabian Sea and the dazzling carnival that is Sheikh Zayed Road, the super highway connecting Dubai to Abu Dhabi. The sun sunk below the horizon just as I finished my cranberry juice, which marked the beginning of Dubai’s light show: an illuminated tapestry of skyscrapers, bridges, freeways and the distant Burj Al Arab, all reflecting like diamonds thrown across the Arabian Sea. Finding a quiet workspace to write up my stories is often challenging, but not this trip. Level Seven restaurant at W Dubai is my new favourite spot, where I enjoyed a green tea and amazing views while typing out my memories and reviews. The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. After some great interactions with the Level Seven team, I decided to try out their menu. The head chef, Antonio, whipped up a brilliant steak tartar and homemade spaghetti pomodoro – just like his mama makes – with sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and plenty of parmigiana. Elinah was on espresso duty, ensuring I had enough fuel for my seven-hour writing stint. My three nights at W Dubai were fantastic, made all the more special by a committed team of hospitality experts who always endeavour to excite their guests. The real thrill arrives when La Perle opens its doors later this year – an incredible water theatre performance designed by Franco Dragone, the designer behind the Celine Dion show, A New Day … Live in Las Vegas. F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

THE W DUBAI AL HABTOOR CITY Dubai, United Arab Emirates | wdubaialhabtoorcity.com

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | D U B A I

THE HOTEL CHANDELIER COMPRISING 1,200 PIECES OF HAND-CUT CRYSTALS, ILLUMINATING THE MAJESTIC GRAND STAIRCASE.

The St. Regis Dubai extends the legacy of the Astor family to Dubai. Located on the arterial Sheikh Zayed Road, the hotel’s interiors are influenced by the city’s beauxarts architecture of the original St. Regis in New York, and accentuated by bespoke elements. Part of Al Habtoor City, Dubai’s firstever integrated urban resort, the hotel sits alongside two other hotels, three high-rise residential towers, as well as a Las Vegasstyle theatre that will collectively be located on the banks of Dubai Water Canal. Driving up to the entrance of a luxury hotel, as I did on this particular morning at 7.30am, is always exciting. The suited-up concierge really enhances the stately sense of arrival when they open the doors and say, “Welcome to The St. Regis”. Inside is the traditionally uber-luxurious lobby, complete with vintage check-in desks, exquisite furnishings, artworks throughout and the grand staircase, all accented by the twinkle of the most magnificent chandelier.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | D U B A I

SET AGAINST THE STUNNING BACKDROP OF A MOTHER-OF-PEARL MURAL, SOMMELIERS PERFORM THE CHAMPAGNE SABERING AT SUNDOWN TO CELEBRATE THE TRANSITION FROM THE DAY INTO NIGHT.

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J&G STEAKHOUSE AT ST. REGIS DUBAI OFFERS A SOPHISTICATED COLLECTION OF STEAKHOUSE CLASSICS REIMAGINED

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | D U B A I

THE ST. REGIS BAR EXUDING AN AURA OF SOPHISTICATION THAT MAKES IT A CHOICE VENUE FOR THE INFLUENTIAL

The swift check-in was complete by 8.00am and, despite the early hour, my room was ready for me. Shortly, it was off to breakfast and my first meeting for the day. The St. Regis Dubai is a hotel in which people love to hold their meetings – after all, there’s only one chance to make a first impression! Café Fleuri, where I breakfasted, is reminiscent of a 1930s Parisian café, with an open kitchen and combination of buffet and a la carte dining. Dropping into the Champagne Lounge was also an excellent decision, and a must for all guests. The lounge combines sophistication with a light-hearted atmosphere, and offers an outstanding range of the world’s best bubbles. That night I had dinner at the award-winning J&G Steakhouse, a sophisticated and substantial eatery with impressive interiors and a menu of classic, bold cuisine. Here I invited a close Aussie mate of mine, David, to share an enormous tomahawk steak from Queensland, Australia – its beautifully marbled texture and rich, juicy savour reminded me that, without a doubt, Australian beef is the best in the world. We paired the steak with sautéed carrots, creamed spinach and garden-fresh peas with a fluffy béarnaise sauce. Beforehand, our entrees included tuna tartar with avocado, spicy radish and ginger marinade, and some black truffle cheese fritters. Dinner at J&G Steakhouse certainly measured up to my expectation, with exceptional service, a lively atmosphere and that unforgettable Aussie tomahawk.

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THE ADJOINING PATISSERIE IS A FRENCH-INSPIRED SALON DE THÉ AND PASTRY SHOP OFFERING DELECTABLE SWEET AND SAVOURY DELIGHTS, TO ENJOY WITH ONE’S BEVERAGE OR AS TAKEAWAY

When Friday arrived, the city erupted in anticipation of the Taste of Dubai food festival, drawing what seemed like millions of selfproclaimed food buffs rushing to make the traditional Friday Brunch. On top of that, hundreds of hotels were vying to present the best foodie experience within the four-hour festival. At 700-800 dirham (AED) per head, the competition was fierce! Café Fleuri, located on the hotel’s first floor, was right up there with the best, with buffets scattered throughout to create what looked like a never-ending food train. Dishes included sautéed foi gras, Alaskan king crab, escargot and lobster tails. Meanwhile, the Taittinger Champagne showers, flowing from the ceremonial bottle sabering, added extra sparkle to the proceedings. On my last day in Al Habtoor City, with the jewel in the crown still shining, I had a lovely breakfast, lazed a few hours by the pool, worked out in the gym for an hour and, finally, enjoyed my favourite deep tissue massage at Iridium Spa. This boutique and intimate spa offers six treatment rooms, an excellent steam room, sauna, spa and Turkish bath. 130 | C L A S S I C M A G A Z I N E


C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | D U B A I

VERSAILLES BRUNCH DECADENCE

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My massage was awesome – 90 minutes of deep tissue attention, relaxed stretching and a steam. The gym, on the other hand, is as about as high-tech as you can find, offering Technogym’s ARTIS series equipment, a personalised stretching area, several cardio options and plenty of weights. Al Habtoor City’s health and fitness combination is one of Dubai’s best. As a final sweet note, in my rush to check out and get to my next meeting, I left my iPad in the room. But just before panic set in, I quickly called hotel manager Goran, who arranged the hotel limo to deliver it to my location in just 20 minutes. Now that’s service! Many thanks to The St. Regis Dubai and to all the Al Habtoor City staff for an exceptional week.

ABOVE: SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL SUITE WITH A MAJESTIC IN-ROOM GRAND STAIRCASE, 12 PERSON F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

THE ST. REGIS DUBAI Dubai, United Arab Emirates | stregisdubai.com

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DINING ROOM AND ROOFTOP PLUNGE POOL BELOW: TECHNOGYM



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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | S I N G A P O R E

SSingapore O

SENTOSA RESORT & SPA

SOFITEL IS THE ELEGANT ANSWER TO A LUXURY TRAVELLER’S QUEST FOR THE GOOD THINGS IN LIFE. EACH HOTEL ILLUSTRATES AN ARTFUL BLEND OF LOCAL CULTURE AND FRENCH SOUL.

W

ith an innate sense of new French art de vivre, Sofitel hold themselves to a heightened level of excellence and refinement.

With 120 addresses in 40 countries across five continents, Sofitel appeals to the modern status seeker with its special and unique character, which makes its hotels stand out from the crowd. Sofitel’s consummate service, graceful design and creative gastronomy help distinguish the brand in all the world’s major cities – including Paris, London, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Dubai, Bangkok and Shanghai – as well as its country landscape locations in Morocco, Egypt, Thailand and French Polynesia. I never miss the opportunity to drop in to Singapore, which I have been visiting for over 20 years. On my recent trip I called in to the luxury Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa, located on the picturesque island of Sentosa. As always, the island humidity welcomed us soon after our British Airways flight from London touched down. Thanks to the efficiency of Changi Airport, we arrived at the resort within 30 minutes, where the Sofitel team and several proud peacocks welcomed us.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | S I N G A P O R E

Situated on Sentosa Island and at the top of a cliff rising above Tanjong Beach is Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa, with a bold and elegant style that cleverly integrates the surrounding nature within the conserved area of Asia’s premier leisure island. Drawing inspiration from Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, French designers Beatrice Martinet from Toineinbangkok and Pierre Maciag from M.A.X Studio added various elements to modernise the 1930s colonial buildings in which Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa is located. The clever use of space and light in the heritage buildings provides discerning guests a unique experience that blends the best of local culture, French art de vivre and rituals of refinement. With 215 rooms and suites, including four luxurious villas, the hotel also features the world’s largest So SPA, four exquisite dining establishments, over 1,300 square metres of conference facilities, a 33-metre swimming pool and more, offering guests a sense of relaxed sophistication and urban resort living. My suite was full of typically So furnishings; all were hip, sophisticated and very cool. The bed was simply a dream come true after the 13 hour flight. Having arrived at 5.00pm, however, I had time to sneak in the spa review with a 90 minute deep tissue massage, workout and steam before my much-needed sleep.

AMONG ITS AWARDS ARE BEST LUXURY RESORT SPA 2015 BY WORLD LUXURY SPA AWARDS, BEST LIFESTYLE OVERHAUL AND BEST WEEKEND TREAT

So SPA by Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa is a 6,000 square metre sanctuary of peace and serenity, housed in an elegant, awardwinning heritage building. Among its awards are Best Luxury Resort Spa 2015 by World Luxury Spa Awards, Best Lifestyle Overhaul and Best Weekend Treat by Harper’s Bazaar in 2016, and Best Couple Treatments, Energizing and Best Pre-Natal Massage by Singapore Women’s Weekly Spa Awards 2016. With 14 luxurious indoor treatment rooms, six breezy outdoor treatment pavilions and a dedicated females-only area, the spa offers rejuvenation, refreshment and renewal through its wide range of bespoke treatments.

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Based on French cosmetology with a touch of local influence, So SPA presents a playful menu inspired by another craft that French are well known for: the art of fine dining. A list of ‘Starters’ offers short pick-me-up treatments ranging from 30 to 45 minutes, while the ‘Mains’ showcase a selection of extensive and intensive facials, massages and body treatments for in-depth pampering. The following morning, I was up at 5.00am and into the gym, followed by a run around the resort and breakfast by the pool, which offers amazing views of the Sentosa shoreline. I dined at award-winning restaurant The Garden, which boasts organic, healthy and locally grown food in a charming conservation building that adjoins So SPA. The Garden presents a menu of delectable and nutritious delights that comes complete with calorie count. Guests can relish in the picturesque garden backdrop and idyllic ambience while dining alfresco by the spa’s pool or watch the chefs in action through the indoor open kitchen. Sticking to an all-protein meal, for my entrée, I opted for sautéed scallops with avocado puree and a fabulous tuna tartar with lemongrass and chilli marinade. For my main I enjoyed a medium-rare scotch fillet, beautifully steamed garden vegetables and two glasses of chilled pineapple, apple, celery and ginger juice. Our final day was enjoyed by the pool at So SPA. Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa is like a miniretreat – so long as you can show a little discipline in the restaurants! So, when you’re next in Singapore and want to do some serious detoxing, you know where to stay. It will be very worth your while.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | S I N G A P O R E

WINE & DINE AT THE XPERIENCE RESTAURANT LOCATED AT THE LOBBY OR

FAST FACTS >>>

UP THE EXPERIENCE AND HEAD TO HI-SO ROOFTOP POOL BAR FOR SOME BESPOKE COCKTAILS AND A NIGHT TO

FACILITIES

REMEMBER.

33-METRE SWIMMING POOL

TENNIS COURTS

KIDS CLUB (VILLA DES ENFANTS)

FISH SPA

DIRECT ACCESS TO TANJONG BEACH

BUGGY SERVICE

TRANSPORT •

MASS RAPID TRANSPORT (3.9 KM, HARBOURFRONT STATION)

SINGAPORE CHANGI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (25 KM)

COMPLIMENTARY HOTEL SHUTTLE SERVICES

VIVOCITY (2.7 KM)

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

SO SOFITEL SINGAPORE Singapore | sofitel-so-singapore.com

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NAMU - THE W, DUBAI

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | D I N I N G

R E S TAU R A N T S

of the year

2017 HAS BEEN AN INTERESTING YEAR OF FOOD, WITH NEW FAVOURITES EMERGING FROM THE MOST UNLIKELY OF PLACES.

WORDS

BY

:

PHIL HARTE

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AND WITHOUT SURPRISE, THE TRADITIONAL BUT CONSTANTLY RENEWED RECIPES OF INDIAN, THAI AND CHINESE CUISINE HAVE THRILLED US ON MANY OCCASIONS.

Our adventures have taken us to the kitchens of Peru, Chile and the Amazon, as well as the Hangis of New Zealand and the cafes of Krakow.

BRASSERIE QUARTIER, ONE OF EIGHT DISTINCTIVE DINING VENUES THE ST. REGIS HAS ON OFFER

We’ve tasted the United States’ love for Hispanic cuisine in their tantalising tacos and breakfast burritos, and savoured the warmth and tradition of family style eating on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. The South Pacific wowed us with its spectacular array of fruits and seafood, and its use of underground baking. We also observed various cooking methods native to the Amazon in South America. And without surprise, the traditional but constantly renewed recipes of Indian, Thai and Chinese cuisine have thrilled us on many occasions. We can never get enough curry, steamed dumplings or wok-fried dishes. What I’ve noticed and find extremely refreshing is the discontent many are feeling towards the overrated Michelin star system, coupled by a resurgence in menus that celebrate fresh, simple and local food. I’m looking forward, hopefully soon, to the day when these so-called celebrity chefs understand that the average diner isn’t always as sophisticated in kitchen terminology as they may think. Some chefs could show a little more respect by omitting all together the edible complexities, for which they charge us diners an outrageous price.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | D I N I N G

DUCK CURRY AND PAPAYA SALAD, THE THAI KITCHEN, PARK HYATT DUBAI

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STANLEY LEE’S REMARKABLE FAMILY – WHO ARE CELEBRATING THE 40TH YEAR OF LEE’S FORTUNA COURT

My favourite dishes of the year include: perfectly cooked spaghetti aglio e olio with fresh chopped chillies and parmesan (Ioesco, Sanctuary Cove, Australia); lightly steamed snapper bathed in fresh ginger and soy (Walker D’Plank, Kokomo Private Island Fiji, Fiji); magnificent Mongolian lamb pancakes (Lee’s Fortuna Court Chinese Restaurant, Crow’s Nest, Australia) and beef massaman curry (Simple & Irresistible Kitchen, North Sydney, Australia). It might do us well to remember that, at the end of the day, food is food. Sure, some of these whiz-bang dishes require a high level of skill and chemistry, but the most important element of any dining experience is good service and good taste – not an overzealous, over-priced Michelin star attitude. For my favourite dining experiences of the year, I’d like to thank Max and Amanda Alfirie at Ioesco, Lang Walker and his team at Kokomo Private Island Fiji, Stanley Lee’s remarkable family – who are celebrating the 40th year of Lee’s Fortuna Court, and Micky and the team at Simple & Irresistible. As a quick disclaimer, our dining recommendations are based on service, taste and overall experience, in which the abovementioned venues have excelled. For us, culinary expertise is secondary to these considerations.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | D I N I N G

ABOVE: MAGNIFICENT MONGOLIAN LAMB PANCAKES LEE’S FORTUNA COURT CHINESE RESTAURANT

SOURCED LOCALLY AND PREPARED BY FIJI’S FINEST, EVERY MEAL ON KOKOMO ISLAND IS SIMPLY UNFORGETTABLE T H E C L A S S I C C U L T U R A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 8 | 145


POACHED LOCH DUART SALMON

T H E

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GO R I N G LO N D O N

OR GORING BUILT THE GORING AND OPENED IT IN 1910. HIS FAMILY WERE COAL MERCHANTS IN DRESDEN, BUT OTTO HAD CREATIVE LEARNINGS


C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | LO N D O N

THE GORING DINING ROOM, SOUTH COAST BRILL AND SADDLE OF DEER

H

e became a travelling Chef to various European Royalty- this is what brought him to England. He built the first hotel in the world with a bathroom in every room and recruited Head Chef Gasc, who trained under Escoffier. With an elegantly designed, Michelinstarred restaurant, a world-renowned afternoon tea and an opulent bar offering the finest wines, spirits and cocktails.

The Goring Dining Room is one of the most admired restaurants for fine dining in London. Under the helm of Executive Chef Shay Cooper, the colourful and flavoursome dishes attract dining guests from Belgravia and beyond.

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

THE GORNING London, England | the goring.com

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LET THEM EAT

Cake

A HEART IS NOT SOMETHING YOU’D USUALLY FIND IN A PATISSIER’S KITCHEN BUT SWEET ART’S ANTHEA LEONARD, A SCULPTOR BY TRADE CAN BE GIVEN THE STRANGEST THINGS FROM WHICH TO MODEL HER CAKES UPON, ESPECIALLY BY QUIRKY ST VINCENT’S DOCTORS.

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C L A S S I C T R A V E L L E R | S W E E TA R T

SWEET ART THE ORIGINAL CAKE BOSS

P

rostates, implements used for triple bypasses, apparatus for knee replacements and a variety of organs – that’s what they bring me so I can make their cakes look real. I love it. Those cakes are so challenging,” says Leonard. Yet there’s so much more to her art forms than appendixes and lungs, Anthea makes everything from piped flowers to icons such as Dame Edna Everage jumping out of a lamington, hands raised and smile on her face. She’s even made a ten foot long Uluru cake. “Now that was another challenge, getting the perfect colouring for the cake,” she says. There’s been a five foot tall Barrangaroo cake, a ten foot long Able Tasman ship, a life sized cake of the Queen, a life sized Barbie cake for the doll’s fiftieth anniversary and creations for The Great Gatsby’s afternoon tea scene. Back in 1987 I find an article in the Sydney Morning Herald which reads, “Contrary to popular opinion, she does not spend her days making ‘erotic’ cakes.” She claims customers are more embarrassed asking for them than she is making them. “We may make one penis or boob cake a week. They are not the bulk of our business,” she says. Looks like, thirty years later, the novelty of these appendages have been replaced by internal organs. I wade through so many stories about Anthea, each one mentioning just a portion of the many celebrities she has worked for. T H E C L A S S I C C U L T U R A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 8 | 149


Her client list reads like a global who’s who with the likes of Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Princess Mary of Denmark, Dylan, Cher, Elton John, Olivia Newton- John, Elizabeth Taylor. She says to me, “You tell me the name and I will have done the cake.” I can’t catch her out on this one. Now into her fourth decade of cake making, Anthea confesses to only two dropped cakes. One was a champagne bottle cake to be cut at an event which Bob Hawke was attending when he was PM. A dropped cake means a disaster and resculpting the whole thing. With seconds to spare, Anthea and her team got the second cake to the event on time. Time management is crucial although not something Anthea ever studied. Her student life was spent learning sculpture at the National Art School before she went on to Florence for more study. Then to the US where she trained at Le Notre as a patissier and worked at Hansen’s in Beverley Hills. It was here that Anthea applied her sculpting to the new medium of cake. She thought making a cake would be similar to sculpting and she knew how to do that so decided to do it. She was cleaning houses for the rich and famous on the side and one well known celebrity was having a fourth of July party. When she saw the cake come in with some pale blue and pink balloons attached, Anthea thought, I can do better than that and she did. Even Martha Stewart has Anthea’s designs. Wedding cakes, one of Anthea’s specialities were all whites and flowers, pillars and fruit cake back then. No one was doing anything like what she was doing at the time in the 70s. Anthea turned the tradition on its head and opted for chocolate, and carrot cakes with colour and shape. A revolution had begun and Anthea was its leader.

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She left the ovens of Beverley Hills to return home to Australia where she thought she’d try her hand at set design and applied for the NIDA course. The person who interviewed her was so impressed with her portfolio of cakes he suggested she set up her own shop. She took his great advice and set up Sweet Art in Paddington at 27 years old. Her first cake in Sydney really made a big noise with the celebrity set. Charles Waterstreet and Graham Bond were in a musical in which there was a bomb. Anthea made a bomb cake for the party and so launched her career with a bang. Her business grew and grew and morphed into a full scale wedding planning business and then an events business. Anthea and her team design extraordinary events for major corporates, tv networks, film and tv sets, magazines, galleries and the most sought after private parties. Her most expensive gig to date was worth $37,000 for a number of cakes for a corporate company, and $12,000 for a cake on its own which was an edible statue, not just styro-foam. Yet for Anthea, if she were to have someone make a cake for her, she’d love an awesome tart with magenta and orange flowers. Still passionate, almost forty years down the track, Anthea confesses, “I just love what I do. I love every single job because it’s different.”

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

SWEET ART Paddington, Sydney | info@sweetart.com.au



a culinary maste rpiece

D O L D ER

H

G R A N D

aving been asked to review ‘The Restaurant’ at the Dolder Grand, I was caught up in a hectic international business forum, fortunately we all have to eat, so there wasn’t really any excuse not to accept.

It has been well documented that I am less than impressed with the over rated Michelin star arena, scarcely seeing the executive Chef hard at it, delivering his menu, however Master Chef himself, Heiko Nieder actually does the work and prepares what we found to be some of the most magnificent dishes of 2017. Heiko took the time to come out and chat about his brilliant, artistic creations some of which needed to be in a photo gallery.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | Z U R I C H

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT CHANTERELLES WITH CURED EGG YOLK, BEAN SALAD AND BLACKCURRANT, CRAYFISH WITH MELON, CORIANDER, DILL AND GREEN CURRY, LOBSTER FROM BRITTANY WITH BUDDHA’S HAND

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ABOVE: OSYTER WITH GRANNY SMITH, LANGOUSTINE WITH PUMPKIN, SHARON FRUIT, VANILLA AND ROOIBOS TEA

The Restaurant serves fresh and innovative gourmet cuisine created by our Chef of Fine Dining, Heiko Nieder, in a stylish atmosphere. The gourmet restaurant has been awarded 18 Gault Millau points and 2 Michelin stars. We sampled a surprising and seemingly endless array of flavours and enjoyed an unforgettable evening, 10 courses to be exact. Chef of the Year 2017, Master of flavours Heiko Nieder serves up culinary masterpieces to guests at The Restaurant at the Dolder Grand. His creations are always something new, innovative and extraordinary, with a flavour like no other, therefore he has been awarded ‘Chef of the Year 2017’.

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F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

THE DOLDER GR AND Zurich, Switzerland | thedoldergrand.com


Beauty in every bubble Lightly sparkling Italian mineral water www.santavittoria.com


K okomo

L I V I N G

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T H E

D R E A M


C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | KO KO M O , F I J I

A

t the halfway mark of our Fijian adventure we made our way to Kokomo Private Island Fiji via a private otter seaplane.

This island resort was built by Australian construction magnate Lang Walker, who, bewitched by its natural beauty during a sailing trip, purchased the island with the aim of creating what is now one of the most remarkable getaways in the South Pacific. On approach, our seaplane circled the island to alert everyone that new guests were arriving, while Danielle and Tayla busily snapped photos of the rippling canvas of teal and turquoise, flecked with coral colours, that stretched beneath us. After a smooth-as-silk touchdown we were greeted Fiji style with a lei, fresh coconut, cold towel and the trademark “Bula”, and personally welcomed by general manager Martin Persson. Soon after, our butler Mani delivered us in a buggy to Number 32, a property whose magnificence I’m struggling to articulate in text. The doors opened to an overwhelmingly beautiful family home, comprising three bedrooms, a master bedroom and nanny’s quarters. We spent several minutes navigating the central lounge room, dining room and show kitchen, which led us eventually to the 50-metre sundeck and 15-metre infinity pool bordered by eight sun beds. We’re accompanying this piece with a sunset image to help illustrate Kokomo’s breathtaking beauty. Throughout our new home, a natural colour scheme and specially commissioned artwork complemented the exposed local timbers, stone and displays of flora. Our pantry was filled with wine, snacks, fruits and freshly baked cookies. Meanwhile, downstairs was fully equipped as sleeping quarters for our butler, who was always ready to take care of our every need.

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Soon after arriving we took a tour of the island, by buggy, to discover what other gems Lang had hidden away. As we drove along the manicured pathways we admired a picturesque row of beachfront villas before a sweep of white sand lapped by azure waters. Built closely together on top a slight hill, the gym, kids club, pool, pizza café and bar allow guests to move from one to the other easily, and ensure that their kids are always safe and having fun. We ventured towards the hillside and through the market gardens to reach a private restaurant, where we found a private Chef ’s Table, open kitchen and dining spaces for eight. In relation to dining at Kokomo, the 220-acre island has been modelled to eventually become self-sufficient and sustainable, complete with nurseries, fruit, vegetable and citrus gardens, beehives and laying chickens (soon to be joined by quails and ducks). All this coupled with lively fish markets at the resort’s front and backdoor – providing snapper, squid, lobsters, crabs and mussels – makes for matchless gastronomy at Kokomo. There are no menus at each of the three eateries at Kokomo; the produce available every day, as well as the guest’s tastes and preferences, shapes what’s on offer. At just 30 years of age, Australian Executive Chef Anthony Healy has been with Kokomo from the outset and brings a wealth of experience to the table. With the help and meticulous stewardship of the project manager, the two have created the most enviable working kitchen I’ve ever seen.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | KO KO M O , F I J I

KOKOMO’S VISIONARY LANG WALKER

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | KO KO M O , F I J I

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Six nights at Kokomo Island would allow you to enjoy a distinct dining experience every evening, be it on a secluded beach before a stunning sunset, on the helipad overlooking the entire island or, as we did, simply hanging out on your private deck for a barbecue. We dined at Walker D’Plank restaurant, where chef Caroline chats with diners to determine what they feel like before whipping up a personalised meal featuring local ingredients and international cooking methods. For us she prepared an amazing snapper in soy and ginger, tempura prawns and a medium-rare rib eye steak served with wok-fried garden vegetables picked from the kitchen garden. Breakfast can be as lazy as you wish; either wake to fresh fruits, yoghurt, home-baked croissants and Vittoria coffee in your villa, or make your way to the Beach Shack, with its uninterrupted Pacific Ocean views, and select from the extensive menu. At 10.30am, as we sent off work emails and posted Instagram photos to envious friends and followers, we watched as Kokomo’s seaplane glided across the water with eight new guests on-board, who, as they stepped onto the dock in front of the musical welcome committee, could barely hide their disbelief. Tayla and Danielle soon hit the water for a marine life shoot, with Tayla snapping underwater and Danielle from the kayak. Meanwhile, I took the opportunity to catch up with an old friend, Kokomo’s visionary Lang Walker.

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BEACH FRONT VILLAS AND BUNGALOWS


C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | KO KO M O , F I J I

My first question to Mr Walker – “What were you thinking?” – led into a long discussion about the resort’s beginnings and history, entwined with Lang’s vision and plan for the future. As it were, ‘Kokomo’ was a piano song Lang played as a child, which became the name of the super yacht he raced later in life. During its establishment, it occurred to Lang that that name Kokomo also suited the resort, and thus a legacy was founded. Lang’s theory is simple: find a paradisiacal island, engage the utmost luxurious facilities and details, employ a passionate and committed crew that live and breathe your vision, and then tell the world about it. Kokomo Private Island Fiji is, in my estimation, as close to a perfect 10 as you will find. In fact, to test my rating, I even spent a few days searching for a fault or a missing detail but found no such thing – the resort is flawless. As we walked along the pier for the last time, the entire staff – gardeners, housekeeping, chefs, management and Lang himself – were there to send us off, still waving as the Kokomo seaplane flew high above the panoply of palm, sand and water. Kokomo Private Island Fiji is located 45 minutes from Fiji’s Nadi Island, which, as mentioned above, is just a 3.5 hour flight from Brisbane International Airport. Here, your luxury holiday dreams come true at almost every step.

MTATRAVEL.COM.AU

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Andaz Maui

WA I L E A

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A RUSH OF TRANQUILLITY WASHED OVER US AS SOON AS WE ARRIVED TO HONOLULU FROM SYDNEY. WHILE STILL HAWAII’S LARGEST CITY, THIS OVERSIZED BEACH TOWN HAS LEFT THE GLITZ AND GLAMOUR TO LOS ANGELES, NEW YORK CITY AND LAS VEGAS IN FAVOUR OF KICKING BACK.

A

fter a 45 minute connection flight from Honolulu we touched down in the tropical island of Maui, the home of Haleakala National Park and 30 full miles of pristine beaches. Here, we were booked in at Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. Lapped by the Pacific Ocean, with a clever fusion of luxury accommodation meets salt-swept vacation, Andaz Maui offers guests 290 rooms and suites and 10 residential villas, complete with indulgent amenities and a matchless beachside location. As we checked into our rooms we couldn’t wait to stroll along the flawless strip of sand nearby or to explore the island’s plethora of natural wonders. Before the adventures though, we enjoyed an afternoon lounging poolside with some superb cocktails. Undoubtedly Maui’s best accommodation, we felt comfortable and familiar in our amazing Andaz Maui suite with unfettered ocean vistas, private lanai and access to four distinct eateries that celebrate locally sourced produce. In fact, that’s precisely what makes Andaz Maui so unique, you feel worlds away yet right at home. Rooms, suites and villas include ocean and garden views, flat screen televisions and complimentary Wi-Fi, and feature trademark Andaz design elements with Hawaiian touches.

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Andaz Maui, with its 70,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, abundant palm gardens and radiant sunsets, boasts Hawaii’s most premium location for meetings, conferences, weddings and traditional holidays. Meanwhile, its spacious oceanfront lawn and pool areas also serve as ideal cocktail party spaces, while the open kitchens in the residential villas make for more intimate culinary experiences. Each night of our stay was a gastronomic adventure, as we savoured the island-inspired cuisines of several critically acclaimed chefs among all four of the property’s award winning restaurants. Among these adventures we shared authentic Hawaiian cuisine served family style at Ka’ana Kitchen, sipped fabulous sunset cocktails at Lehua Lounge, dined poolside at Bumbye Beach Bar and enjoyed a picnic lunch beneath palm trees after a day of windsurfing and kayaking. The real highlight of Andaz Maui dining, however, was Morimoto Maui, a sophisticated Japanese eatery led by celebrated celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto. Our first trip to the famed Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort was certainly not the last. It takes just six on-flight movies to arrive to Honolulu Airport from Sydney, whereby you’ll arrive in the morning and by lunch will be surfing or kicking back Hawaii-style with a cocktail or two. Either way, you’ll have the time of your life.

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ANDAZ MAUI AT WAILEA RESORT Maui, Hawaii, United States | maui.andaz.hyatt.com


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ANDAZ ARRIVAL LOUNGE AND OCEAN VIEW KING ROOM

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Waikiki

CEN T R I C

HYATT CENTRIC IS A BRAND OF FULL-SERVICE LIFESTYLE HOTELS LOCATED IN PRIME DESTINATIONS. CREATED FOR MILLENNIAL-MINDED TRAVELLERS WHO WANT TO BE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ACTION. HYATT CENTRIC HOTELS ARE THOUGHTFULLY DESIGNED TO ENABLE EXPLORATION AND DISCOVERY.

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he lobby lounge is a launch pad providing guests with information about the most sought after food, nightlife and activities the destination has to offer, sourced from a community of ‘in the know’ local explorers. The bar and restaurant are local hot spots where great conversations, locally inspired food and signature cocktails can be enjoyed. Streamlined modern rooms focus on delivering everything guests wants and nothing they don’t, including environmentally conscious bath products, Bluetooth-enabled electronics, restaurant to-go delivery service and salon-grade blowdryers. A team of associates are always available to aid guests in their discovery of the destination and make the most of their stay. Charles Young has been selected as general manager of Hyatt Centric Waikīkī Beach. In his new role, Young will spearhead all hotel operations, overseeing 230 upscale, oversized rooms and suites at the first Hyatt Centric-branded hotel in the state of Hawaii.


C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | H O N O L U L U

“I am thrilled to help introduce the Hyatt Centric brand to Waikīkī and provide guests with everything they need to get out and explore this fantastic city,” said Charles Young, general manager of Hyatt Centric Waikīkī Beach. “The Hyatt Centric brand is experiencing very exciting growth, and I look forward to helping position the hotel for success in this great community.” Young has more than 20 years of hospitality experience and an extensive portfolio in hospitality management. He has overseen several mid- to-large-scale properties across the globe in locations such as Hawaii, Australia and Florida. He has also helped open a number of hotels, most notably Oahu’s own Vive Hotel Waikīkī. Hyatt Centric Waikīkī Beach opened this winter in the former Waikīkī Trade Center, placing guests in the centre of the action. The full-service, lifestyle hotel will feature floor-to-ceiling windows offering outstanding views of

Waikīkī, as well as on-site amenities including an outdoor pool and entertainment deck, upscale bar and restaurant, and 24/7 fitness facility. Several retailers will also join the property at the former Waikīkī Trade Center, including a new 34,000-square foot, two-level Nordstrom Rack, Starbucks, Jamba Juice and American Savings Bank. F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

HYATT CENTRIC WAIKIKI BEACH Honolulu, Hawaii, United States | waikikibeach.centric.hyatt.com

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ne of the highlights of transiting through London is the opportunity to experience truly classical hotels in the place where traditional hospitality was born. I began to observe the sophisticated details of this tradition soon after I arrived to the Corinthia Hotel London. Throughout the lobby hundreds of avalanche white roses seduced me with their aroma as I made my way to the north-end dining room, where I enjoyed an English breakfast tea from fine Wedgwood China, accompanied with a silver strainer and lightly glazed shortbread – don’t expect the common teabag here! From there I strolled into the in-house florist store, where the artistic florist was carefully crafting the day’s selection of Britain media stems, calathea white star, cymbidium delmonte and delicate blooms of hydrangea macrophylla. The coming-together of colour, scent and texture transfixed me and I continued to watch the production line of sculpture bouquets, which were being prepared for the nuptials that afternoon. Corinthia Hotel London, with 250 rooms and suites, is the flagship of the hotel group, which now boasts eight – soon to be nine – global properties. Again, position is key: Charing Cross station, Trafalgar Square, the London Eye, the Thames and Covent

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Garden are all a short distance away, embedding you in the London scene. Our arrival to London from Santiago on BA 250 was on time into Terminal 5, and we were soon expressed through Heathrow and into a cab, which took us directly to Whitehall Place. After our greeting we headed straight to our gorgeous suite on the fourth floor, which included a classic but sophisticated study that adjoined an elegant boudoir with beautifully appointed furnishings and textures throughout. Having rested well on our 14.5-hour journey in the new 787 Dreamliner, we had the energy to kick straight into gear in the hotel’s gym – undoubtedly one of London’s best equipped. We couldn’t wait to enjoy a good workout on their latest Technogym Art series. Spread over four floors, ESPA Life has an exclusive floor dedicated to a thermal spa, steam room and saunas, and also includes a celebrity hair salon by Daniel Gavin and a Margaret Dabbs London nail studio. Of course, you could find me in one of the multiple massage rooms, enjoying 90 minutes of deep tissue indulgence. During our three-night stay we reviewed spas, suites, bars and restaurants, held several meetings and enjoyed a daily photo shoot, with Danielle scouring the local area to capture the traditions of the Old Bailey. On the first night we enjoyed a fabulous evening at Massimo Restaurant & Bar, Corinthia’s Italian offering, and were pleased to find a host of Italian staff, from the executive chef through to the service team. Trying to stick to our diet plan, we started with tuna tartar and a beautifully fresh caprese salad. Danielle followed with a homemade tagliatelle infused with ripe cherry tomatoes, chunks of succulent lobster tail and a rich napoli sauce. I requested

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an off-the-menu tagliatelle aglio e olio with extra chilli – the ultimate test for an authentic Italian kitchen. Somewhat unsurprisingly, thanks to the dessert of mouthwatering peanut butter mousse, hot waffle and homemade chocolate gelato, our so-called diet went sailing down the Thames! Our breakfast every day of traditional thick Cumberland sausages, poached organic eggs and sautéed mushrooms was exceptional. Additionally, it was great to see granola, fresh fruits and yoghurt on offer instead of the nasty donuts and sugary cakes that have become all too popular among the lazier, less thoughtful hotels. I watched many kids selecting exciting and healthy items from Corinthia’s buffet. In keeping with London tradition, we spent our final day at Corinthia Hotel London enjoying a Sunday roast, which Danielle arranged with Bobby and Sophie in The Northall restaurant. After starting with tempura soft-shell crab and beef tartar with Melba toast, we dined on a medium-rare roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, a fillet of Dover sole and grilled garden vegetables. And just when I thought I might return to the said diet plan, a magnificent, made-to-order bread and butter pudding arrived to the table. Corinthia Hotel London has it all: location, beautiful rooms, a gym decked out with Technogym equipment, a wonderful spa and world-class food – all of this surrounded by the heavenly scent of a hundred freshly cut hydrangea flowers.

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F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

CORINTHIA HOTEL LONDON London, England | corinthia.com

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AS THE YEARS PASS, WE KEEP SEARCHING FOR THE ULTIMATE TRAVEL DESTINATION, A PLACE WHOSE MAGNIFICENCE WILL SPARKLE IN OUR ANECDOTES DECADES ON. IT’S THIS MAGIC – OF UNFOLDING FRONTIERS, WILD EXPERIENCES, NEW CHALLENGES – THAT KEEPS US HOOKED.

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ima, Peru’s capital of South America, is today renowned for its lust for cooking; the city now boasts recognition as an international gastronomic hotpot. Through several of its world-class eateries and their respective chefs, Peru is taking the global food scene by storm.

Our adventure to Peru required careful planning, since this was our first time to South America. We enlisted the expertise of the South America Travel Centre, and CEO Alex Burridge. Alex and his team crafted a brilliant itinerary for us, partnering us with British Airways, including there latest 14-hour flight from Heathrow to Santiago, Chile, there longest haul on the network. The beauty of being in the One World Alliance program you get to enjoy the spoils of all the partners . Our journey kicked off in the Qantas International First Lounge in Sydney, where we enjoyed our mandatory massage and a lunch of crispy calamari, linguini with fresh asparagus and three scoops of homemade ice cream accompanied with a Vittoria espresso, not a bad start. Arriving into Changi airport it was a visit to the lounge, shower and back to the gate for our overnight to London, waking up soon before touching down, we arrived into Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport at 5am. With no check-on luggage, we flew through to the Heathrow Express and onto Paddington where we checked in to the fabulous COMO Metropolitan London Hotel on Old Park Lane. To realign our body clocks we hit the gym for a one-hour workout and steam, followed by a leisurely walk through Green Park before breakfast. When leaving the lobby, we saw two couples with whom we’d shared our journey from Sydney arriving by cab – guess who checked-on luggage? Two day’s relaxing at the Metropolitan was awesome enjoying a fabulous night at the famed Nobu Restaurant before we would head out to Bologna where we had the unique opportunity to spend two days with the team at the Technogym’s global headquarters and their flagship store in downtown Milan, Italy (see page 328) After two days of meetings and a tour of the world’s leading fitness headquarters, we headed onto Gatwick and embarked flight BA 2239 to Lima, Peru. Lima’s international airport was a treat to navigate; with minimum paperwork and the absence of the usual bullying at customs, we perceived a true sense of welcome. As expected, we were greeted with a huge smile from our guide, Alex, who was ready to introduce us to his home in all its glory.

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BELMOND MINAFLORES, LIMA

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After an hour’s taxi ride we arrived to the Hotel Belmond Minaflores at 8.30pm, where we checked in and briefed on our upcoming activities and then were left to enjoy the night. We spent our first night in Lima in the worldrenowned Belmond Miraflores Park, a hotel perched high on a cliff-top studded with palms and pandanus trees, whose gardens seemed to spill into the Pacific Ocean. With its sweeping staircase wrapped around a cosy library, the lobby seduces its visitors with local art, stunning furnishings and vases brimming with indigenous flowers. Having already reviewed six other Belmond properties, our expectations were high – Belmond Miraflores Park didn’t disappoint with its beautifully appointed rooms, trademark beds accented with plush textures and natural artwork throughout. Arguably Lima’s premier hotel, the Belmond has always excelled with classically local sophistication; this is accommodation that oozes style and defines modern Peru. The property’s rooftop spa and its signature Tragaluz Restaurant complete the hotel’s repertoire, the latter adorned with magnificent artwork. The Belmond tends to usually include a little surprise in your stay; this time ours was a personal in-room sauna, which became part of our nightly ritual. Breakfast was served on the rooftop observatory with breathtaking views of the coastline and a team of delightful chefs waiting on us. After our sunrise shoot and a hearty breakfast, we spent the morning scouting sights for our feature spread, discovering a myriad of classic buildings, churches and villas. After the long flight we always look to squeeze in a massage and as 11am came around it was time to indulge at the Spa, and as we surrendered to a 90 min deep tissue massage, being lathered with Lavender oil and having every inch of our aching limbs kneaded as if a loaf of fresh dough preparing for the oven, we were in heaven! Finishing up in a hot spa and steam room, we then prepared to check out, with only one final task, to review Tragaluz Restaurant for lunch, we had a table reserved on the balcony overlooking the Pacific. Here, we sat back and the let the joys of dining take over. Following our entrees of tuna and salmon double tartare with ceviche emulsion and blackened grilled scallops with crispy garlic, I relished in a serve of paiche, an enormous Amazonian river fish, served with regional chorizo and banana palm salad with a signature tuna Thai curry.

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B

H OT EL

To top it off, we ordered our favourite dessert: apple and blueberry crumble with butterscotch milk ice cream. After lunch we met Alex, who had our luggage ready to take us to our next stop, Hotel B. Now, I tend to believe there are hotels and then there are real hotels; Hotel B and its touches of bespoke hospitality sit firmly in the second category. Wrapping around the intersection of Avenida Saenz Peña and Calle San Martín in the heart of Lima’s Barranco district, this remarkable gem of only 17 art-filled rooms has charmed the area for some 104 years, and is without a doubt the most unique place to stay in Lima. Alongside the 10 smartly appointed, high ceilinged manor rooms are seven more rooms built within a contemporary annex, with the latter boasting wrought iron freestanding baths in the living room. Originally built in the style of the Belle Époque, the mansion served as a seaside retreat during the presidency of Augusto Leguia in the 1920s. Its architectural features and flair capture the celebratory spirit of Peru’s centennial, which permeated life in the capital city throughout the era of its construction. Famed French architect Claude Sahut, lauded for his work remodelling portions of the Government Palace, along with T H E C L A S S I C C U L T U R A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 8 | 185


SINGING AND DANCING IN THE RAIN AT HOTEL B

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many of Lima’s main avenues, parks, theatres and other public buildings and spaces, was originally commissioned to design the property as a summer retreat for the Garcia Bedoya family. Construction was completed in 1914 and initially showcased imported Italian marble and exotic woods, along with an ornate façade, stratospherically high ceilings featuring teatinas (a unique style of skylight favoured locally), open balconies and expansive terraces. The Arts Boutique Hotel B restoration and reconstruction team includes sculptors from the Fine Arts Academy and a legion of carpenters under the supervision of an Italian master woodworker. The goal of the project was to preserve the original structure while introducing a complimentary threestory annex to the property, ushering it into the modern era in its new role as a boutique hotel. The INC (Peru’s Historic Building Society) considers the renovation a new standard for historic restoration in Lima and beyond. The edifice is being restored as a family home, though this time, over 100 years after its construction, it’s a home for all to enjoy. This painstaking labour of love has helped Hotel B’s progression into a world-class gallery of eclectic pieces from around the world, whose exhibition expands into next door’s Lucia de La Puente Gallery, showcasing everything Peruvian. VIP invitations to gallery nights are just one of the hotel’s classy inclusions and following an unexpected late night out, it would be a sleek black dress ties replacing the typical ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs to hang from your hotel door. Future plans will see Hotel B eventually absorb the neighbouring gallery, as well as convert its sister property into a further six to seven equally magnificent suites.

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Hotel B is proudly located in the heart of the trendy, Barranco district, an eclectic arts-minded community rich with boutique galleries, cafes, restaurants and museums. We had the pleasure of dining at Hotel B’s, The Restaurant, a beautifully decorated private dining room that seats just 17 diners, located next to the hotel’s main bar. Showcasing a long bar and constellation of marble-top bistro tables, surrounded by dark timber, Hotel B’s in-house eatery resembles an Old World European café where perhaps Hemingway would feel at home. The restaurant’s cuisine, however, offers an inventive Peruvian-Mediterranean menu of mainly small plates, featuring dishes like charcoal-grilled octopus and crostini with avocado and anchovies, and pepper loin medallion with escalivada. The menu is designed to be paired with Peruvians piscos, pints of Peruvian craft beer or a glass of South American wine. Our dinner was a mix of Western and Peruvian style dishes, including traditional osso bucco linguini, grilled sea brim served with a very spicy salsa, and a side of sautéed local vegetables. The finale was a delicious Cherimoya Alegre with Cointreau.

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AUTHENTIC PERUVIAN STREET FOOD

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AS WE MEANDERED THROUGH THE STREETS WE MET THE LOCAL VENDORS, SAMPLED THE PERUVIAN STREET FOOD, ROAST PORK ON FRESHLY BAKED ROLLS AND THE STREET FAVOURITE, BARBECUED GUINEA PIG.

On the Sunday we launched into our first official day ‘on the job’ beginning with an early morning run and breakfast before a three-hour walking tour of the Old Town and surrounding art and food scene. Suffice to say that during many of our trips we always encounter some interesting reality check’s and Downtown Lima was our first in Peru. Once a thriving hub of activity and business, years of political unrest and economic irresponsibility the GFC has certainly decimated this once-vibrant city, leaving many magnificent historical buildings boarded up and, in many cases, completely derelict. During this time, many major hotels and financial institutions packed up and left, once again impacting the local scene of restaurants, theatres, cafes, markets and nightlife. Additionally, when inflation hit an alltime high, property prices plummeted and the value of the Sol was obliterated. Meandering through the streets, we met with local vendors and sampled plenty of Peruvian street food, including roast pork on freshly baked rolls and a local favourite, barbecued Guinea pig. As our guide Alejandro explained, Lima is slowly but surely climbing towards economic recovery, with tourism leading the way. One must agree that thanks to touristic hotspots like the Amazon and Machu Picchu, and the infectious passion of the Peruvian people, the country’s future looks bright.

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BAKED SCALLOPS , CLASSIC CEVICHES

With just three days in the city, we needed to find out what all the gastronomic fuss was about. Our lunch stop was at Amaz, one of Peru’s rock star eateries, where we had the chance to dine with renowned chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffano, the man responsible for marrying the jungle with gastronomy, for introducing diners to the Amazon’s culture and supplies with a contemporary approach. With wild Amazonian king snails on the menu, it was truely a very cultural experience. Madueño’s restaurant Huaca Pucllana sits inside the mud-coloured landscape of the archaeological centre of Limeño culture, where it serves local classics like ceviche and linguini palm heart salad, Dining among the remnants of ancient history wasn’t unlike dining in an Indiana Jones setting. Our favourite gastronomic experience was, however, the day we spent with celebrity chef Penélope Alzamora, who led us through her favourite market place to purchase fresh scallops, grouper, local crayfish and an array of fresh fruit and vegetables for a Peruvian feast we were to prepare together. Chef Penélope invited us to her home where she prepared some classic ceviches and I baked some scallops with fresh lime, chillies and parmigiana for our entrees. Penelope also concocted a Parihuela, a Peruvian style bouillabaisse with sides of asparagus, wild rice and corn.

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SHOPPING WITH CHEF PENELOPE

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THIS BAR SERVES NOTHING ELSE OTHER THAN PISCO, AS WORLD CHAMP, OWNER AND MASTER PISCO MAKER ROBERT MELENDEZ PROCEEDED TO LINE UP THE SIGNATURE DRINKS, AND THEY JUST KEPT COMING.

Our feast was topped off with a few traditional pisco sour cocktails, which, though a delicious detail of a truly Peruvian feast, sent us back to Hotel B at 4.30pm in desperate need of a siesta. Somewhat unexpectedly, we were later summoned to the lobby for a late night Peruvian tradition: a trip to the world’s only exclusive Pisco bar, Bar Capitán Meléndez, hosted by Robert Meléndez, the foremost pisco sour expert. You must visit the Capitán to believe it; it serves nothing but pisco sours. Here, the pisco world champion and bar owner Robert proceeded to line the bar with signature drinks, which continued to flow well into the night. For the past 30 years, Robert has been running the bar that he built in memory of his late father, who was in the business some 50 years prior to his death. In other words: what Robert doesn’t know about a pisco sour isn’t worth knowing. Just don’t tell the Chileans that the drink was born in Peru! One can easily imagine how the night went. Somewhat unfortunately, I was the acting teetotaller and thus had to call on Danielle and Alex to sample the collection of these award-winning Pisco sours. At 7.00am the following day, Alex was ready with the car – despite a slight hangover from the previous night’s Pisco session – to deliver us to the Lima airport. While peak hour in Lima isn’t pretty, we managed to suck it up and enjoy the mayhem.

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AMA ZON T H E

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M I G H T Y


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THE NEW AND REFURBISHED DELFIN III TAKES YOU ONE STEP BEYOND LUXURY, WHERE COMFORT AND GRACE COMBINE EFFORTLESSLY WITH THE WILDERNESS OF THE AMAZON TO CREATE THE MOST UNIQUE AND PERSONALISED VESSEL TO EVER SAIL IN THE AMAZON REGION. IN A SETTING OF UNDERSTATED ELEGANCE AND WORLD-CLASS HOSPITALITY.

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elfin Amazon cruises are without doubt the best way to see the Amazon and as we approached, we couldn’t help but compare it to a grand three-storey paddle steamer that you may see heading down the Mississippi, without the paddles. While embarking, we admired the vessel’s statuesque form and ship-shape condition, gleaming in the sun before our journey down the mighty Amazon. Positioned over the water, the Delfin’s VIP Lounge hosted all the on-board formalities. However, the true culmination of style and comfort was in our room, the Owner’s Suite 201, which offered panoramic vistas through 16 floor-to-ceiling windows wrapped around the Bow, a spacious office, a lounge area and its massive bathroom with a vintage bath, which, from some angles, looked as if it was positioned over the river.

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A ROOM WITH A VIEW

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We spent out first night on-board relaxing and meeting the other 15 guests, with whom we shared a fabulous threecourse Peruvian dinner and a few drinks on the aft deck, everyone excited for the upcoming cruise. The next day we adventured into the Amazon rainforest. As the Delfin III approached our drop-off point, we watched the sky dissolve from steel blue to marbled grey and black – a sample of the region’s wild weather patterns. While we prepared to board the skiff that would take us deep into the rainforest, a gang of local eight-year-olds began pursuing us, screaming, singing and waving in excitement. Danielle began snapping away, sending them into a wave of happy energy. We spent the morning visiting local villages and schools, watching the locals swim and capturing endless shots of sloths hanging out with monkeys, surrounded by whirlwinds of colourful birds. Daily life along the shores of the Amazon is ever-changing, with hundreds of local fishermen – their wives and kids on-board – scouring the river in their handmade dug-outs for the daily catch, which is often enough to feed the family, earn an income in the local fish market or trade for goods like kerosene, salt and other domestic needs. Danielle and I couldn’t help but compare our life with that of the modest Amazonian family, which survives with just two hours of electricity per day, little to no refrigeration and no access to corner stores or basic amenities, things we take for granted, humbling. On the final day of the cruise we trekked through the rainforest with a small team of guides and paramedics, who were equipped with machetes and wooden sticks – just in case! Finally, it was time to come face-to-face with the legendary Amazon.

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Over two hours we traversed a menagerie teaming with poisonous and harmless flora and fauna, often indistinguishable from each other. We ended up crossing an enormous pinktoe tarantula, a porcupine and handful of venomous red back arrow toads, whose sting can render a man paralysed and cause lung collapse leading to suffocation. Later, we also spotted a rampaging mob of squirrel monkeys marauding across the canopy. However, it was heading out of the forest – feeling exhilarated and thankful to do so unscathed – that we met the beast: the infamous green anaconda, whose giant body stretched across the path as if guarding it. As we kept our distance, with the images of so many horror movies flooding our memories, Danielle managed to snap a few shots, struggling to keep her Canon lens still as her nerves were understandable. Back in the skiff, our guide explained the ecosystem rules, whereby the frogs eat the bugs, snakes eat the frogs and birds eat the snakes. Unfortunately, the greatest predator the Amazon will ever see is the human.

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On our way back to base, we had the once-ina-lifetime opportunity to swim with a school of pink dolphins. Even days later we struggled to comprehend the inimitability of this journey: swimming with pink dolphins in the Amazon! We spent that afternoon enjoying a work out and massage on-board the Delfin III, a late lunch and a final photo shoot of the sunset, whose remarkable colours danced and swirled upon the water like a liquid inferno, its fires slowly dying with the darkening sky. This was like no other place on Earth. Before docking the following morning soon after sunrise, we were welcomed by a drove of local villagers who’d lined up along the riverbanks to watch us pass by. As the Delfin III tied off we would wish our newly found friends safe travels as we all headed, home for some and others, the adventure continues.

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EACH DAY WE WOULD FIND OUR SELVES SURROUNDED BY SOME OF THE MOST REMARKABLE COLOURS AND REFLECTIONS AS THE SKY RESEMBLES AN INFERNO REFLECTING ON TO THE RIVER AS IT TURNS TO GLASS, IT IS LIKE NOWHERE ELSE ON EARTH.

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TAKEN ON TOUR BY DANIELLE HARTE IN PERU


Our transfer to the Iquitos airport was ready – then it was onward to Chile’s capital, Santiago. On arriving to Santiago, we immediately sensed the city’s sophistication and style, but were soon exposed to its seedier side as we ventured downtown, passing graffiti-smothered walls and groups of homeless people. Being the flagship of Chile, Santiago’s vibrant cultural scene is supported by its world-class artists and thriving gastronomy. Luckily for us, the South America Travel Centre team had secured us a room in arguably the best hotel in town, the trendy Singular Santiago, Lastarria Hotel. The Singular is located in the hipster district of Santiago, surrounded by a plethora of bars and cafes, which were alive and humming during the weekend of our stay. Our short but hectic itinerary wasn’t designed for the fainthearted; we arrived to The Singular from the Amazon around midnight, checked in to our fabulous room and arranged a wake-up call for the following morning at 6.00am.

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The following day, as usual, we headed straight to the gym and sauna first-thing, before readying ourselves to be picked up by local celebrity Chef Fillieppe who then took us on a grand tour of the fish, flower, meat and produce markets in the area, selecting ingredients for our Chilean cooking lesson. As if the Saturday market wasn’t already a hive of activity, the day we visited was Mother’s Day, which saw the fresh flower market bursting at the seams. After the market, Fillieppe took us to his show kitchen where, courtesy of Uncorked Wine Tours, we prepared a magnificent four-course lunch accented with incredible Chilean wines. After sharing my culinary background with Fillieppe, we decided to split the cooking task between us while Danielle and the other two couples were happy to sample the wines and pisco sours. Some four hours later we felt a little worse for wear, having devoured an enormous but delicious feast of pork belly, mushroom and parmesan risotto complemented with perhaps a few too many pisco sours.

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THE SINGULAR ALLOWS YOU TO UNWIND IN PURE LUXURY, FOCUSING ON RITUALS OF HARMONISING THE PERSONS BODY, PHYSICALLY AND ENERGETICALLY.

The Uncorked Wine Tour experience is an absolute must and for only $95.00 an absolute steal. It includes a morning market tour with your own celebrity chef, a private cooking lesson and the four-course meal with unlimited wines. Back at The Singular, we had a tour of the hotel arranged. What a fantastic property it is; a rustic yet sophisticated collection of 62 rooms, beautiful period pieces and an abundance of artwork adorning every floor. Each of the stylish rooms, in blending the contemporary with the classic, exudes a charm of the bygone era and includes thoughtful amenities. Its location in the Lastarria neighbourhood, where the city’s best art museums are, befits the hotel’s style and culture. This district is, as the hub of creativity, once again assuming the role of Santiago’s vibrant heart. The hotel also offers guests an exclusive lounge and bar, a large terrace and a pool on the ninth floor that boasts the most amazing views of the city and its parks. Its restaurants have an air of classic refinement and sophistication, presenting menus that reflect rich Chilean cooking traditions. The Singular’s spa invites guests to unwind in pure luxury by focusing on rituals that harmonise the body’s physical state with its energy.

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WITH A WORD CLASS GYM, MASSAGE ROOMS A PLENTY, STEAMS SAUNAS, POOL AND JACUZZI THERE IS NOTHING LEFT WANTING.

Along with the world-class gym, massage suites, steams, saunas and the jacuzzi, guests aren’t left wanting. After our tour of the hotel, we were invited to review the rock star of Santiago’s restaurant scene, Boragó, an eatery that seeks to surprise and satisfy diners with a menu crafted by chef and owner Rodolfo Guzmán. When we arrived for our booking at 8.30pm there were only four tables occupied, but just 30 minutes later the entire restaurant was in full swing. Though presented with the option of an 18-course tasting menu, we settled for the six-courser, which lasted two hours. Each course was created by a 10-strong culinary machine of chefs performing within a spectacular show kitchen. The meticulous attention to detail and artistry applied to every dish reflected Guzmán’s hard work and ethos as the executive chef. Our menu included chupe of mushrooms from Quintay, rock vegetables from Punta de Tralca, sea urchin cakes, koloa root broth, lamb cooked a la inverse and vine leaf mille-feuille. Dessert included bitter plants from the Atacama Desert and an ice brûlée with rose ice cream sandwich served with a cold glacier – it’s somewhat difficult to imagine but was delectable in every way. A night at Boragó is one not to be missed – just remember to fasten your seatbelt. After finishing our dinner at 10.30pm we enjoyed a nightcap back at The Singular, placed our breakfast order for the following morning and stole a few hours sleep. We woke the following morning at 5.00am with a warm croissant and freshly brewed coffee waiting for us, and before we knew it we were checked in and on-board another flight en route to the famed Hotel Vira Vira in Pucón, which is what I’m calling my best experience of 2017.

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Vira Vira CHILE

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onder this: if you were a successful Swiss banker, married to a brilliant artist/designer with a teenage daughter in school, what would be your next life challenge? Well, you’d buy a 22-hectar parcel of Chilean forest and build the world-class 17room resort of your dreams, of course. This is exactly what Michael and Claudia Paravicini did, and what a retreat they’ve created. With spectacular views of the Eureka Volcano and bordered by the flowing waters of the Liucura River, the hotel includes eight spectacularly designed suites and 12 fabulous villas, all decorated by Claudia. Additionally, six of the rooms have outdoor hot tubs – perfect for slipping into with a glass of Chilean wine to contemplate the sunset after a day of hiking, trail biking or rafting. It didn’t take me long to grasp the secret of Vira Vira’s success; where else can you spend a day adventuring with experienced personal guides in the most serene of environments, to later return to a magnificent bed, private spa and world-class dining? However, I must say that the staff at Vira Vira – a remarkable blend of international hospitality experts and passionate locals – is what really makes the experience unforgettable. Our personal guides were Filleppe and Macarena, accompanied too by Patricio, an internationally celebrated photographer. T H E C L A S S I C C U L T U R A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 8 | 213


Meanwhile, the restaurant was under the command of a brilliant young restaurateur, Cedric Vinckier from Belgium, who speaks six languages and, at the young age of 25, has been in and out of various Michelin starred restaurants around Europe. Working with Cedric was head waitress Karim from Pucón, who delighted in telling us that she lives “the best life in the world” in a cabaña not far from from Vira Vira with her two ducks. Despite not having been formally trained, Karim had all the skills and personality of a seasoned maître d’. We also met Augustine, a baby faced cocktail star currently under the mentorship of Cedric, undoubtedly on track to international hospitality stardom. The real jewel in the Vira Vira crown, however, was Executive Chef Alberto Damien Fernandez Dupouy, whose sublime creations of local and homegrown produce left me absolutely speechless. Besides the vegetable and herb gardens, Vira Vira boasts its own sheep and dairy cows, whose milk is turned into exquisite cheese products in the hands of Switzerland’s premier cheese maker, who works at Vira Vira for three months each year to stock the hotel’s fridges with parmigiana, mozzarella, camembert, brie and blue vein. Every day at Vira Vira begins with a breakfast menu of homemade bakery products, croissants, danishes and baguettes, accompanied by an assortment of jams, yoghurts, cheeses and muesli – all baked and handmade daily.

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THE FRIDGES ARE STOCKED FOR THE BUSY NINE MONTH SEASON AHEAD WITH SHELVES OF PARMIGIANA, MOZZARELLA, CAMEMBERT, BRIE AND BLEU VEIN.


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1PANORAMIC VIEW OVER HUERQUEHUE NATIONAL PARK SUNSET AT HUEPIL MALAL

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There’s economy class. Then there’s World Traveller. There’s more to our World Traveller cabin than just great value. With our award-winning service, ergonomically designed seating, extensive in-flight entertainment and complimentary meals, it’s the smart way to fly economy class. Visit ba.com


RIVERSIDE DINING AROUND COMMUNAL BARBECUES AT VIRA VIRA

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I REALLY CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH: THIS WAS WITHOUT A DOUBT OF THE MOST REWARDING, RELAXING AND REMARKABLE EXPERIENCES I’VE HAD DURING THE 22 YEARS OF CLASSIC MAGAZINE.

Lunch was always a gastronomic adventure of seasonal fruits and vegetables, either sautéed or grilled and served with a delectable assortment of mouses and purees. The menu also offered baked local chicken, racks of lamb, smoked salmon and grilled sea bass with various sauces and emulsions. We began each of our evenings with one hour in the hot tub accompanied by a fresh juice or cocktail, looking out over the icy Liucura River as it meandered hundreds of kilometres down from the snow-capped volcanos. For five months every year, this river is home to thousands of migrating salmon and rainbow trout.

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AND INTO THE FOREST I GO, TO LOSE MY MIND AND FOLLOW MY SOUL…

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After rejuvenating from the day’s photographic adventure, Danielle and Patricio would scroll through their library of images, including those taken under the spectacular waterfalls. Soon after we’d find ourselves at the bar, in the trusty hands of Cedric, Michael and Augustine, all ready to impress with the latest cocktail invented and executed at the minute. One of the evenings we enjoyed a remarkable dinner of braised rack of wild hare with baby carrots, grilled squash and beetroot, and a mediumrare venison fillet or a chateaubriand served with fluffy béarnaise sauce infused with tarragon picked from the garden. We also enjoyed beautifully hand-turned pommes château and a plethora of desserts, including vanilla crème caramel to tarte tatin straight from the oven – and of course, a single espresso. Sadly, I don’t feel I’ve done Hotel Vira Vira the justice that it deserves; it was by far one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Jump onto www. southamericatravelcentre.com.au and check out the Hotel Vira Vira page to get more of an idea. It takes an 11-hour flight from Sydney to Santiago with Latam Airlines, or 14.5 hours with the British Airways service from London. I really can’t stress this enough: this was without a doubt of the most rewarding, relaxing and remarkable experiences I’ve had during the 22 years of Classic Magazine. On our final day, we woke at 5.00am and were met by Karim, who had hot croissants, homemade muesli, fresh juice and coffee ready for our breakfast. Meanwhile, Patricio had our bags ready to head to the airport. Arriving to Santiago again, where we’d take our final flight home, we were really looking forward to the British Airways Dreamliner and a big sleep in there flat beds. This was a wonderful way to conclude our sensational South American adventure.

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

SATC.COM.AU

VIR A VIR A Pucón, Chile | hotelviravira.com

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FOUR SIMPLE WAYS TO TAKE BETTER TRAVEL PHOTOS with Dr Chris Brown

As you probably know, Chris has been the much-loved presenter of Bondi Vet and The Living Room, along with a growing list of other programs. Now for something you probably don’t know — he’s a passionate photographer and Canon Ambassador. Chris makes the most of his seemingly endless work-related overseas and domestic trips to fuel this passion and grow his skills. A brief look

at his Instagram page (@drchrisbrown) reveals he not only has the gift of storytelling, but the gift of a creative eye. It’s a gift that can’t be given, but it can be learned. Much of his skill has come from trial and error — a process that has taken some time. The good news for you is he’s willing to share a few shortcuts to creating images worth sharing.


TIME OF DAY IS IMPORTANT Light is the most intrinsic part of photography. The better the light looks, generally the better the final image can be. Some of the best available natural light is around dawn and dusk — aptly referred to as the ‘golden hours’. “It is a magical time for photography,” Chris explains. “The colours are a lot richer.”

DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT YOUR IMAGE TO ‘SAY’ Images speak volumes (or 1,000 words as the cliché goes). Deciding what not to include in your image, while assessing the scene, is as important as deciding what will be in the shot. “When I’m shooting a winemaker, for example, I make sure I include the wine barrels in the shot to tell his story”.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED Uniqueness is an important and powerful element in a photograph. You can bring this quality to your images through style or composition. But, one of the easiest ways to create unique images is by embracing the unexpected. This could be in the form of an unusual subject or series of events. “Work with the challenges, rather than against them,” Brown says.

TAKE A CAMERA WITH YOU, EVERYWHERE The first step to make sure you don’t miss a special moment, or breath-taking scene is having a camera with you whenever possible. “The best camera is the one you have with you. I never leave home without my Canon 1D X Mark II, but you can capture amazing images with any camera,” says Chris. Check out more of Dr Chris Brown’s photography on Instagram at @drchrisbrown.

All images by Chris Brown


RURAL AUSTRALIA LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE It’s not often a life-defining epiphany comes to you while waiting in line to buy a loaf of sourdough. That’s exactly what happened to rural landscape aerial photographer, Josh Smith.

I was standing in a bakery in Bondi, watching people order all these different types of bread. And I thought to myself, ‘I wonder if they actually know about the amount of work that Australian farmers have put in to make that happen.’

“My goal is to tell the story of Australian farmers, who are the best and most sustainable in the world. Through my photography I try to show the scale and beauty of what they do with our land.”

When viewed from the ground, a farm tractor is an everyday specimen of agricultural machinery. But from a few thousand feet directly above, it’s breathtaking in its grace as it meticulously sculpts the land into parallel lines and contrasting colours.


The farmers are oblivious to the earthly beauty that’s created as they go about their daily activities.

“When they see these shots they say ‘there’s no way that that’s where we live,’ or ‘who would have thought that my tractor looked like that?’ They haven’t even considered that their place is capable of looking that beautiful – they never see their farms in that light. I think that’s quite powerful.”

Josh hails from Narribri, a small town northwest of Sydney, around six hours by car down the New England Highway. For him, growing up on the land has instilled a deep appreciation for Australian farmers.


Aerial photography was a hobby for Josh until early 2011, when once-in-a-century floods devastated parts of Queensland and northern New South Wales. From this tragedy came a lucky break – he was already documenting the natural disaster when a major newspaper got in touch, wanting to buy photographs. His work was published over successive days as part of the newspaper’s coverage. Since then, his photography has found its way into many a magazine and exhibition. The key to his success, he says, is having a niche.

His niche encompasses his mission to remind us of where most of our food and fibre comes from. For him, photography is an artistic medium through which he can connect urban Australians with the country’s rural heart. The combination of aerial photography and rural Australia is certainly unique.

It’s not very often that you would see a photo in Sydney or in a gallery of a big 60 or 80 foot combine harvester in a wheat paddock. It’s a point of difference for me.


Having access to an aeroplane isn’t just a way for Josh to take aerial photographs – it’s also a means for him to reach some of the remote parts of Australia. Making the journey to remote areas means having to ring ahead so that fuel can be trucked in for their plane.

Particularly out in the Simpson Desert and over the Strzelecki Ranges and all those sort of places – it’s pretty hostile. If you put a plane down in those areas because you’ve run out of fuel – aside from it being massively stupid – you’re in a hell of a lot of trouble. But Josh wouldn’t have it any other way. He feels blessed that much of his time is spent capturing photographs of sprawling landscapes very few of us get to see. From high above, the

outback becomes completely abstract in appearance – so much so that a group of gallery-goers mistook one of Josh’s photos for an Aboriginal dot painting. In reality, it was a series of watering points, threaded together by trails worn into the landscape by animals traversing the land. It’s moments like these that make it hard to deny that Josh is well and truly delivering on his mission.

This story originally appeared at canon.com.au/explore See more of Josh’s work at joshuajs.com

All images by Josh Smith


No Place Like Home A decade ago Photojournalist Craig Golding stumbled upon the pleasure of uncovering unfamiliar stories in familiar surrounds.

Fast-forward to the present day, and what began as a productive way for him to relax, has turned into a love affair with his local community. In a way he’s gone through a process of re-sensitisation, forming a view that you don’t need to cross the seven seas to find somewhere worth exploring. When it comes to professional news photography, you’d be hard-pressed

to find someone who knows it better than Craig Golding. He’s inspired a generation of Australian press and sports photographers throughout his career, which spans more than a quarter of a century. Over those years he’s had his fair share of world travel — whether it be an Olympic Games in Barcelona, or a World Swimming Championships in

Fukuoka, he’d go wherever the work took him. But, even after experiencing a kaleidoscope of places and cultures, for him there’s still no place like home. “Of all the places I’ve been to, there’s nowhere I’d rather live than Cronulla. To me, it’s another world,” he exclaims. The beachside suburb, in Sydney’s south, caught him hook, line, and sinker.


Seeing in a totally new way Craig’s intentional exploration and examination of his local community is a relatively recent thing — when compared to the length of his illustrious career. “I’ve always wandered Cronulla taking pictures, but not much prior to 2008 when I was working at the Sydney Morning Herald.” Shifting to freelance work changed all that. “You go from working full time to maybe working every now and then, especially when you first start.”

The early years Growing up in the Sydney suburb of Riverwood, Craig would often be taken to the beach by his parents. “We’d head out there as a kid. Cronulla was our beach.” This pattern set up the beginning of something more long-term. “From the time I was about 15, my mates and I used to jump on the train — or when we all got our licences, throw our boards on top of the car — and head out to Cronulla.”

“I used to grab my camera and wander off around Cronulla just for something to do. Not having to meet anyone’s expectations, just to get pictures that pleased me, was a release. It’s therapeutic and relaxing, just like surfing.” This newfound hobby came with some eye-opening discoveries for Craig. “I realised I‘d never paid that much attention to where I actually lived. I think most people often feel that everything

is happening everywhere other than where they are. They feel that they have to go somewhere else.” “After spending all this time wandering around Cronulla, I started encouraging other people to have a really good look in their own backyards. I’d recommend it to anyone; you’ll find things that you’ve never noticed before.”


It was only a matter of time until the pull of Cronulla became stronger. “One by one all my friends and I started moving to there. When the first two or three moved they shared a place with about 10 people — as you do when you’re young. I moved into a small unit, and when I got married ended up buying a place. All this was within a couple of blocks of where I first moved into Cronulla. I’ve been living here ever since.”

“The area’s changed over the years. It’s changing rapidly now. Originally when you drove into Cronulla, off to your left were mangroves and sand hills. You could stand in there and you felt like you were in the middle of the Sahara desert. Now all those sand hills are suddenly becoming grass hills and housing developments. They’ve mined all the sand, and it’s just getting built out. That’s progress I suppose.”

“The trouble is weekends in Cronulla. Forget trying to drive down to the shops. There’s nowhere to park and endless traffic. Surprisingly Cronulla is possibly one of the only beaches in Sydney to not have parking metres.”

Professional people-watching It’s among the burgeoning rattle and hum that Craig discovers and photographs his subjects. “My eye is attracted to people. It’s probably because of my background in newspapers.” However, it’s not just people-watching Craig engages in—speaking to people is crucial in his creative process. “You meet a lot of people doing what I do. I’d say I probably end up talking for about 80% of the time, and taking photos for about 20%.” A little chitchat goes a long way towards uncovering interesting stories and witnessing subtle moments that would otherwise go unnoticed. “I use my newspaper ethic of not wanting to set up a scene; I want it to look and be real. Every time I go out, I come back with something.” It was only a matter of time until the pull of Cronulla became stronger. “One by one all my friends and I started moving to there. When the first two or three moved they shared a place with about 10 people — as you do when you’re young. I moved into a small unit, and when I got married ended up buying a place. All this was within a couple of blocks of where I first moved into Cronulla. I’ve been living here ever since.” “The area’s changed over the years. It’s changing rapidly now. Originally when you drove into Cronulla, off to your left were mangroves and sand hills. You could stand in there and you It It It


Shooting street photography around the beach has its challenges, something that Craig has learned to overcome. “It used to be tough shooting at the beach, and then it got tougher. Now, it’s almost impossible because everyone’s so paranoid that you’re up to no good.” “When I think people are getting a bit concerned, I’ll go up and I’ll have a conversation with them and say, ‘Hey, my name’s Craig. This is what I’m doing.’ One hundred percent of the time people will go, ‘Oh, yeah? That sounds good.’” “I’ve found that doing this — shooting the Cronulla scene, I’ve started to find it easier to chat with people who previously I might’ve looked at and thought, ‘Oh jeez — I’m not going near that guy. Most times, when I start talking to those people I find out they’re just like you and me.” “Essentially photography is seeing — seeing in different ways — and looking for different light and different subjects. Doing this sort of photography exercise hones your skills, but it also changes your perspective. It keeps you searching for things you may not have noticed before. And the beauty is anyone can do it.”


“This is one of my favourite shots. I saw this group of teenagers in the water, just fooling around, getting on top of each other’s shoulders. To me, it’s just a really nice picture. I got to the point where they’re not paying any attention to me. It’s natural.”

“I've ended up at parties on Australia Days. I've wandered into a party and sort of said, ‘Hey, who owns the party?’ Someone ends up pointing at someone else, and I go up and have a chat with them and say, ‘Hey, look this is what I'm doing. Do you mind if I wander around with the camera?’ Again, they always end up saying, ‘No, no problems, mate. Go for it.’ I turn around and there’s someone handing me a sausage sandwich or bringing me a beer.”


“This is another one I really like, and it’s purely a weather thing. I was just photographing some surfing, and I looked up in the sky. All of a sudden there was the most unbelievable sunset I’d ever seen. It looked like the whole sky was on fire. There was a guy on a longboard about three hundred yards up the beach. I just happened to get a couple of frames of him as he caught a bit of a wave on the shore. I don’t particularly like a sunset for the sake of a sunset. I just feel like it needs to have some sort of human element. It’s one that I really think is special.”

This story originally appeared at canon.com.au/explore. Follow @craiggoldingphotos on Instagram to see more of Craig’s work.

All images by Craig Golding


QANTAS

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The Best O

ver the past decade we’ve been blessed with some remarkable travel experiences that have taken place in the Middle East, Russia, India, the Maldives, Alaska, the Mediterranean and to the tip of Chile.

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Recently, we decided to venture north – and what better way than with a visit to Southampton, Brugge, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Skagen and Copenhagen aboard one of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships, the Silversea Silver Whisper. Travelling anywhere can be both exillerating and debilitating, to ensure it isn’t the latter you must plan every step, irrespective whether you’re heading to Sydney or Santa Barbara, Brisbane or Beirut, Tasmania or Turkey. Your travel plans have to start days before, thinking about your diet and overall wellbeing.

THE QANTAS FIRST CLASS LOUNGE IS A FIVE-STAR EXPERIENCE AND A GLOBAL BENCHMARK IN AIRLINE LOUNGES

Packing light (no check-on) is mandatory but also ensuring I have my airport experiences ‘down pat’. Arriving into Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport, I always get there a good three hours before my flight knowing that my favourite lounge, being with out doubt the world’s Number 1, will settle any nerves and ensure that my journey starts off on the right foot. Having checked in, its time to head straight up to the Qantas First Class Lounge at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport, with our favourite pre-flight lunch of salt and pepper squid with green chilli dipping sauce, rare minute steak, a bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce and a Vittoria short black. While Danielle enjoyed a last-minute massage in the lounge spa, I was allocated our seats with a perfect view of the A380 aircraft from our dining table. The exhilaration of travel starts and never gets old.

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GREG DUFFEY, MANAGER CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS LOYALTY

As always, I run into Greg Duffey, Manager of Corporate Com’s Loyalty, who for more than 20 years has treated every day in the lounge as his first, applying attention and care to every passenger and his or her upcoming journey. The QF lounge also allows us to use the business centre and make sure that all emails, letters and calls are done and that the journey is stress free. You must take note that its called the First Class lounge but more times than not I will be on a premium economy or business class ticket, some times lucky enough to be at the very front, the perks of being a loyal frequent flyer pays off in the long run and this privilege extends around the world, priority boarding, extra baggage allowance, all adds to the experience. You may think that I am a little over the top with this, but I can assure you its the major reason I have remained a loyal Qantas Frequent flyer. Each time I experience the Lounge, the QF team never fail to remember us and understand the importance of covering every detail as you prepare for the next 14 or so hours, our waiter will offer us a table by the window and suggest the specials from a menu that you usually only enjoy at your favourite restaurant. The Qantas Lounge has a unique formula, with the lounge being managed by the Sofitel hotel group and the kitchens under the stewardship of Rockpool’s Neil Perry. Over the past 40 years of extensive travel I am amazed that the majority of Airlines still offer up the unsavoury buffet style with the Bain Marie’s broiling away with average at best offerings and in most cases inedible selections. As many airlines continue to cut corners and compromise on quality, Qantas in fact strive to enhance the overall customer experienced with Vittoria coffee showcasing real baristas, and actual chefs preparing exciting and healthy options with truly experience restaurant staff outlining the menu offerings. Sitting on-board the A380, the Qantas 11 is always a thrill. As the QF team rolled through the aisles, we settled in with our QF pyjamas, menus and vanity packs, and began scrolling the movie selection , ready to begin the 14-hour flight over the Pacific Ocean towards Los Angeles. 236 | C L A S S I C M A G A Z I N E

Our last trip to the US was a pleasant relief, when we heard that Qantas had opened its new First Class lounge at the Tom Bradley Terminal. Now we all know that you cannot find a true First Class lounge at LAX, well all that has changed, spending time between flights it has now become a pleasure with the Qantas First Class lounge doing their best to mimic their Sydney big brother, the lounge staff infact repeatedly asked, are we as good as Sydney? The answer is, “Not yet. But youre getting close!” Travelling through Asia we stopped off at the new Singapore lounge and occasionally through Hong Kong you can always see the subtle enhancements and the typically Aussie influence that make all the difference, last week en route from London to Sydney I had the pleasure of a stop off at HK’s Qantas lounge and it was exceptional, a refreshing shower a freshly prepared plate of barbecued pork with an assortment of steamed dumplings and two slices of lemon tart accompanied by the mandatory Vittoria espresso.


C L A S S I C T R A V E L L E R | Q A N TA S

IN 2018 YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ENJOY THE NEWEST EDITION TO THE STABLE WITH A FIRST CLASS LOUNGE OPENING AT HEATHROW, JUST IN TIME FOR THE NEW ARRIVAL OF THE NONSTOP FLIGHTS FROM PERTH . Domestically its impossible to go past the Sydney, Melbourne and new Brisbane lounges all striving to deliver a premium product to that ever demanding traveller. Sydney domestic is actually better than most of the international lounges with fresh juice bars a tremendous choice of salads and freshly prepared hot options, breakfast is outstanding with, freshly cut fruit salads, greek yogurt and real muesli, sausages, eggs, mushrooms, tomato and as always that Vittoria coffee courtesy of a real barista and baskets of freshly baked croissants. In 2018 you will be able to enjoy the newest edition to the stable with a First Class lounge opening at Heathrow, just in time for the new arrival of the nonstop flights from Perth .

The Qantas lounge’s have been carefully and thoughtfully developed with the creativity and skills of designer Marc Newson, Gastronomic wiz, Neil Perry and hospitality know-how of the Sofitel, overseen by the Qantas team, I can’t believe why the industry hasn’t taken the opportunity to imitate the bench mark that has been set, or maybe they just haven’t flown Qantas yet.

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

QANTAS FIRST CLASS LOUNGES qantas.com.au

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CELEBRATING HOLLYWOOD IN THE 70’S ‘ROCK ’N ROLL’ STYLE


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DESIGNED BY JONATHAN ADLER TO CELEBRATE THE HOTEL’S ROCK AND ROLL HERITAGE WITH 70S-INSPIRED ARTWORK AND FURNISHINGS.

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hen we touched down at 6.00am, the Tom Bradley Terminal at LAX Airport was already abuzz, but in no time we raced through the new electronic customs system and were en route towards the Andaz West Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard.

I’ve lost count of my trips to the City of Angels, but I could never forget an experience like that of the Andaz. As Hyatt Hotel’s rock star property, the Andaz has hosted some of the world’s biggest musicians, including The Who, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix. Today, the Andaz continues to embrace the culture of the traditional Riot House. On arrival, our good mate General Manager Henning Nopper introduced us to the hotel’s newly installed Vittoria Coffee pop-up

espresso bar. As we relaxed over a short black, he told me about the hotel’s latest collaboration with U2’s Bono and Bobby Shriver’s organisation (RED), which partners with the world’s most iconic brands to financially assist Global Fund’s fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Now partnered with (RED), Andaz offers guests the (ANDAZ) RED Suite, designed by Jonathan Adler to celebrate the hotel’s rock and roll heritage with 70s-inspired artwork and furnishings. Thirty per cent of the nightly room rate contributes to (RED)’s fight against AIDS. The following 10 days were made even more special by the presence of our kids, Ryley and Tayla, who, soon after arriving, were keen to hit Melrose for some shopping.

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THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS On the third day of our trip we met up with mates in Las Vegas, staying at the one and only place on the strip, The Mirage. Here we arrived just in time to see The Mirage Volcano erupt along with hundreds of other onlookers. As the former home of Ziegfried and Roy, you can still see the famous white tigers, as well as the dolphin sanctuary and the amazing Beatles spectacular LOVE, by Cirque du Soleil. In my former life I lived in Las Vegas for a few years, during which I discovered much more than shows and gambling. This family trip was a great opportunity to rediscover that side of the city and show it off to the kids. With only four days in town, we wasted no time in seeing a David Copperfield show at the MGM and enjoying a marvellous dinner at Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak restaurant at the Mirage. After a long day on the road, we devoured our selection of truffled risotto, sautéed scallops, filet mignon and medium-rare New York steak with béarnaise sauce, buttered asparagus and sautéed mushrooms. For dessert we indulged in homemade crumble with scoops of vanilla bean and chocolate ice cream to conclude a memorable feast.

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THE VILLAS SWATHED IN SECRECY - MANY WITH THEIR OWN GUARDED ENTRANCES... VIP TREATMENT

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CHRISTOPHER BOND: LIVING THE DREAM AS VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES AT THE ICONIC MIRAGE RESORT, CHRISTOPHER BOND OFFERS EXPERIENCES LIKE NO OTHER.

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as Vegas, United States – For Christopher Bond, serving as Vice President of Sales at what he considers the best hotel in the world is a dream come true. Born and raised in the Dallas-Forth Worth area of Arlington, Texas, Bond originally aspired to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a doctor. His father had other plans after coming up with a “crazy idea” during a Las Vegas trip in 1989. For Bond, this gamechanging idea involved moving to Vegas and becoming a player in the city’s booming hospitality industry. While beginning his studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Bond fell in love with The Mirage—Vegas’ first megaresort which opened soon after his arrival. After earning his Bachelor of Science Degree in Hotel Administration and starting off as a Sales Account Executive at Golden Nugget, Bond fulfilled his longtime dream of working at The Mirage. In 1994 he began serving as the megaresort’s Leisure Sales Manager and later became its Travel Industry Sales Manager in 1996. Bond also married his wife at The Mirage in 1997. In 2000, Bond left The Mirage to explore other opportunities in the Vegas hospitality industry. Before returning to The Mirage in 2015 as Vice President of Sales, he served for a little over two years in a similar role at New York-New York Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Both resorts are owned by MGM Resorts International, one of the world’s leading hospitality companies. Today, Bond also oversees The Mirage’s Convention Sales, Convention Services and Catering. With more than 23 years of experience in hospitality and proven expertise in event planning, Bond is proving instrumental to the success of The Mirage’s

multimillion-dollar convention business. Having earned his Certified Meeting Planners (CMP) certification through the Convention Industry Council in 2012, Bond is capable of personally overseeing every aspect of planning and executing any event. Through his leadership, Bond’s sales team set new records for convention room night bookings in 2015—and 2016 looks to be even better. After 27 years, The Mirage is still proving itself a powerful contender in the highly competitive Vegas convention market. “The strength of The Mirage is that it is one of the most iconic resorts in the world with a rich history,” Bond said. Looking beyond its rich and storied history, The Mirage continues to surprise first-time and returning guests with an ever evolving mix of amazing resort experiences. From beautifully refreshed rooms and suites to exquisite new restaurant concepts, Cirque du Soleil®’s revitalized show The Beatles™ LOVE™, a fiery new volcano and more, there’s always something worthy of discovery. Seeing is believing, and Bond loves showing potential convention clients everything The Mirage has to offer. “If we can get them on property, they’re done—they’re here,” he said. One of the biggest draws for convention guests is the resort’s fully furnished ballroom customizable for virtually any event within the 90,000-square foot Mirage Convention Center. According to Bond, “There’s nothing like it in town.” For Bond, bringing together the right people for the job is just one aspect of building a successful sales team. Wisely recognizing that a happy team is a more effective team, he actively encourages his associates to have a healthy work-life balance. Outside of the workplace, Bond has another important job—keeping his two young sons from missing baseball and soccer practice.

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ONE OF LAS VEGAS SIGNATURE LANDMARKS - HOOVER DAM

MAVERICK FLIGHT At 6.00am the following morning we headed to the gym, enjoyed a steam and breakfasted at Pantry, the hotel’s principal breakfast café that also offers delicious lunch and dinner dishes. After a serving of homemade muesli, Greek yoghurt and poached eggs, we were ready for our Maverick Helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon, which departed at 10.00am. The Maverick guys picked us up at 9.00am and took us to the McCarran Airport, where a line of choppers awaited their next passengers. After being weighed and briefed, the team sent us out to meet our pilot, Jake, who would take us over one of the seven wonders of the world. It’s nearly impossible to articulate the exhilaration of a chopper ride in text; it’s simply indescribable. As you lift 10 feet off the

ground and begin gliding down the runway, your body charges full of adrenaline, your headset resounds with commands from ground control, and you almost can’t think straight. When suddenly the pilot hits the gas, sharing the sky’s with the eagles and Hotel California blaring in the background the feeling of excitement and freedom completely overwhelms you. En route to the Canyon, we swung by the Hoover Dam hoping to run into Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and the other transformers. Despite their absence, the sights were truly incredible. After, we crossed Lake Mead and flew over the Canyon’s western rim and down to the canyon floor we followed the river bed carved out by the great Colorado River. Touching down soon after on the landing pad, we were welcomed by a champagne brunch.

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WHEN SUDDENLY THE PILOT HITS THE GAS, CRANKING UP HOTEL CALIFORNIA IN THE BACKGROUND AND SHARING THE SKY WITH EAGLES, THE FEELING OF EXCITEMENT AND FREEDOM COMPLETELY OVERWHELMS YOU.

While our pilot Jake shared some geographical information, it was really the size and majesty of the Grand Canyon that blew us away. In that moment the natural splendour seemed to absorb all surrounding sounds and distractions, leaving us to contemplate the sight in wonder. Before long we strapped ourselves back into the chopper, the kids all the while savouring those pricless memories. On the return trip, we stopped for a fuel top-up before positioning our approach into Vegas, which was like rehearsing for a Hollywood blockbuster. With the befitting Top Gun soundtrack playing, Jake descended on the strip nose-down-tail-up, navigating the illuminated maze of resorts, rollercoasters and rooftop signs. When we finally returned to the airport, where Jake settled us softly onto the landing pad, we threw around a few high-fives and joined together for a traditional family hug. From there we settled into the Maverick lounge to watch the on-board video of our adventure. This was my first visit to the canyon having been coming to vegas for 20 years and thanks to the maverick team I cant recommend it more highly. The following day we headed to the outlet stores, where shoppers were enjoying a massive 70 per cent-off sale. Here we shopped our hearts out at Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Adidas, Lulu Lemon, Michael Kors, Armani, Nike and Urban Necessities. We later returned to The Mirage – feeling much lighter in the pocket – for our daily gym session before the Chris Rock show at 7.00pm. After a huge day we arrived a little worn out, but it only took Chris two jokes to get our smiles and blood pumping again. By 9.30pm, we were outside and strolling back up the strip, each with a Pinkberry frozen yoghurt in hand abuzz at the last couple of days.

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THE HOOVER DAM COMPLETED IN 1935 ALONG THE ARIZONA -NEVADA BORDER


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THE MAVERICK EXPERIENCE IS ONE THAT CANNOT BE OVERLOOKED WHEN PLANNING A TRIP TO VEGAS, IT NEEDS TO BE ON THE TOP OF YOUR LIST ONCE YOU HAVE BOOKED THE MIRAGE.

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ON OUR DESCENT WE MARVELLED AT THE FAMOUS LAS VEGAS STRIP

Las Vegas on a Saturday night isn’t for the fainthearted; the constant barrage of lights, colours, music and energy is as powerful as it is mesmerising. However, we soaked it all in, stopping especially to observe the Fountains of Bellagio and The Mirage Volcano, which provided a fiery backdrop for the silhouetted pirate ships of Treasure Island. On our final night in Vegas we dined at The Mirage to review the newly opened Otoro. As big Asian fusion fans, we were delighted to try the sushi bar and the robata grill. First up we enjoyed a platter of assorted sushi and sashimi with loads of wasabi, prawns, salmon, smoked eel, tuna and a selection of nigiri wraps and hand rolls. A barbecue lover’s delight, we followed the sushi platter with mains of succulent lamb cutlets, skewered sea bass and marinated chicken, and a healthy pan-seared wagyu sirloin from Down Under, which was served under freshly whipped béarnaise sauce. Our sides included barbecued asparagus in lemon-butter sauce, marinated mushrooms and barbecued corn on the cob soaked in a sesame-soy marinade.

Before heading to the Jennifer Lopez concert, we had time to squeeze in several desserts, including chocolate fondant, limoncello drizzle cake, a few scoops of homemade ice cream and a piping hot blueberry crumble straight out of the oven. At 6.00am the following morning it was time to head for the airport, with Ryley and Tayla heading out on the QF 12 and Danielle and I on the BA 268 to London Heathrow. With a few hours to spare, we were able to enjoy the Qantas First Class Lounge at LAX and sample our favourite crispy calamari and minute steak in a different location and with out doubt the lounge in the states, here we also savoured and shared our memories from the trip. The bonus of this final day was being a member of the oneworld loyalty program allowing us all to enjoy the QF lounge all bite we were on different carriers. From the lounge we all headed to the gates together, knowing that we were in good hands.

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L E T YOU R

DREAMS Sail

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THE CHARMS OF A STYLISH BOUTIQUE HOTEL, SPACIOUS OCEAN VIEW SUITES AND A TRUE ALL-INCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE

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rriving into Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport is always so easy. We touched down at 10.00am, checked into the Fast Track lane and by 11.15am we’d arrived at The Halkin London hotel at number 2 Halkin St Belgravia.

The following day held the next phase of our adventure, taking a leisurely train ride south to our Silversea Cruise Ship which was docked at Southampton prepared for our journey to Copenhagen, Denmark. If you happen to arrive into London from Sydney or Los Angeles, you’ll need to depart from the Waterloo Station for an 80-minute train ride into Southampton, and from there take a five-minute cab ride to the docks. I never grow tired of observing the design and scale of the Silversea Cruise Ships. There is something very nostalgic about ocean cruising, especially in luxury class. On arrival, concierge welcomed us with the company’s slick trademark service as our bags were checked in and passports processed. Moments later we were led up to the gangway where Captain Luigi and our butler Raj awaited us.

THE SUITE INCLUDED AN ARRAY OF LUXURY BRANDED AMENITIES, A PILLOW MENU AND A PERSONALLY STOCKED MINI-BAR.

Our suite – No. 728 on Deck 7 – was nothing short of spectacular, our butler Raj swung open the door before waiting on standby, ready to help with unpacking or to press any of our clothes.

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THE CRUISE MARKET HAS BECOME ONE OF THE LARGEST GROWTH CATEGORIES IN THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY, OFFERING A HOST OF PRICE POINTS AND PRODUCT OFFERS.

The suite included an array of luxury branded amenities, a pillow menu and a personally stocked mini-bar. After settling in, we sat on the balcony and cracked open a bottle of champagne, while Raj ran us through the upcoming daily tours, made our dinner reservations across the five onboard restaurants, discussed the nightly shows in the Cabaret Showroom and booked us in for some spa and massage sessions. The cruise industry has become one of the largest growth categories in the travel industry, offering a host of price points and product offers. We would advise spending just that little more to ensure you secure a truly memorable experience. Silversea offers cruise packages of pure allinclusive luxury, including sophisticated five-star accommodation, exceptional food options and highly trained career staff that appreciate and enjoy the company on-board. We’ve all heard the horror stories around cruising; we even ended up exchanging cruise reviews with other guests on-board.

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ENJOY THE SUNSHINE AT THE RESORT-LIKE POOL DECK OR INDULGE IN THE FINE DINING RESTAURANT

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ENJOYING THE DOTING SERVICE AT SUNSET

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | B R U G G E

All of us agreed that Silversea is by far the most superior brand, and we wouldn’t advise jumping from brand to brand. This trip was our third with Silversea and we wouldn’t think of changing any time soon. Brugge is a major port in Flanders which connects Belgium’s intricate railway and canal transportation system. Not much larger than Tasmania, Belgium is one of the most populated nations in Europe and is surrounded by France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Tourism has long been the principal industry of Belgium, with preservation laws ensuring that the centre maintains its design and charm from medieval times. In Brugge, chocolate is not just an obsession; the city is now developing a reputation for culinary indulgence by which many streets host multiple chocolate shops.

LIFE ON THE STREETS OF BRUGGE

Brugge also boasts three Michelin Star restaurants; as in London, the dining prices at these verge on excessive. However, there are hundreds of options around town with great seafood and traditional Belgian cuisine. Our only mistake was visiting during the summer high season, during which this tiny town draws many cruise ship tourists who quickly fill the streets. Get into town early for your fresh Belgian waffle – that way you’ll beat the crowds. Silversea had arranged a relaxing bike ride for all of us around town, which gave us plenty of time to sightsee and absorb remnants of the town’s history. Dinner on-board the ship was a nightly highlight. This particular evening we reached the aft deck around 7.00pm for an exquisite Italian meal of fresh linguini with napoli sauce, spaghetti carbonara , a side of caprese salad and tiramisu to finish. We cruised overnight to Amsterdam and woke at 6.50am, with sunlight streaming into our suite, to a whole new adventure. Soon after, I eagerly made my way to the aft deck, set up for breakfast and began a morning of writing – a marvellous way to start the day. As we entered the port in downtown Amsterdam the canal was already a hive of activity, with cruise ships docking, pilot tugs darting from bank to bank and mega ships jockeying for a position with the energy of a New York parking station.

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MARIJUANA WAS LEGALISED IN AMSTERDAM IN THE 1960S, THOUGH IT’S STILL ILLEGAL TO SELL MORE THAN 500 GRAMS, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE LIMIT FOR PERSONAL USE.

As the Silver Whisper cruised in gracefully, thousands of onlookers onboard approaching ships watched from there 30-plus-high decks as Captain Luigi, like a Formula 1 driver, pulled a smooth 360-degree turn midstream and backed the Whisper into position. The Silversea guests went off to breakfast feeling quite proud that morning. Our Silversea cruise ship included an air bridge, allowing guests direct departure into the passenger terminal and onto the street where the tour and transfer buses would be waiting for us. Located so close to town, we decided to walk along the river, explore the cobblestone lanes and cross the many hundreds of bridges and canals weaving through the city. Exploring Amsterdam without being rundown by a cyclist is no easy feat; never in my life had I seen so many bicycles in the one place. Just check out Danielle’s photos of the bike parking stations to understand what I mean. Luckily, we enjoyed two hours of exploring unscathed and had a fantastic time visiting the home of Anne Frank and photographing the charming scenery, all the while passing groups of weed-smokers perched around the canals. It was just another summer’s day in Amsterdam. Marijuana was legalised in Amsterdam in the 1960s, though it’s still illegal to sell more than 500 grams, which is considered the limit for personal use.

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ABOVE: AMSTEL RIVER THAT RUNS THROUGH THE CITY OF AMSTERDAM BELOW: ANNE FRANK HOUSE

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The many diverse ‘coffee shops’ here sell different types, strengths and flavours of marijuana – watch out for the magic cakes at morning tea! With a relaxed afternoon planned on-board, we couldn’t resist the grilled crispy snapper and garden salad on the pool deck for lunch. After a few hours of lazing around, we enjoyed a work out and a steam before I settled into some writing in the lounge. At 7.00pm that evening, we dined on a bowl of fresh fettuccini at our favourite eatery onboard, La Terrazza, where restaurant maitre d’, Francesco had made us a reservation on the aft deck. Amsterdam nightlife is a mixing pot of alternative culture and bold traditions, with the city’s famous red light district, De Wallen, running along a series of quaint alleyways bordered with some 300 one-room cubicles showcasing Holland’s ‘ladies of the night’. The area – what I called a den of iniquity – seemed like one great party where throngs of revellers cruised up and down the canal, throwing back a few pints of Heineken and a joint before dropping into the odd strip show. It seemed that everyone was there to share Amsterdam’s naughty side, without violence or trouble. The following morning at 6.30am we hit the gym, had breakfast on the deck and watched as the ship cruised straight up the North Sea to Hamburg, Germany. The Alster Lakes and Elber River are the Hamburg’s defining features and the keys to its success. With a harbour and an international history, Hamburg is an open-minded city filled with fashionable professionals and a huge advertising presence. Unsurprisingly, it also houses the highest amount of millionaires in Germany. Hamburg, a port city for over 1000 years, reached its crest of power in the nineteenth century. However, what you see today in Hamburg is relatively new, as bomb attacks destroyed over half of the city during WWII. Fantastic architecture, high-end shopping and luxury offerings infuse Hamburg with sophistication and style, which I took in during my search for a lunch spot. Nestled down on the canal I found a picturesque café on the canal with an irresistible lunch special: Wiener schnitzel with a side of gnocchi. T H E C L A S S I C C U L T U R A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 8 | 261


Of course, my hunt for the perfect schnitzel never ends. We later spent the night on-board at La Champagne, a trophy eatery that only seats 30 diners. Its six-course menu and fabulous wine list distract you from all sense of time, allowing you to enjoy every moment of culinary splendour. We enjoyed entrees of pate maison and lobster salad and mains of seared foie gras, creamy lobster bisque, mediumrare racks of lamb, grilled lemon sole and an array of roasted garden vegetables. Dessert was a magical Cointreau infused vanilla soufflé served with a silky Cointreau crème sauce. From dinner we headed directly to the Cabaret Showroom for an incredible evening of ballet performance featuring Jean-Sebastien Colau from Opera de Paris and Susanna Salvi from Opera di Roma. Silversea has scheduled a series of intimate performance nights across the fleet through its collaboration with various ballet companies, and also hosts numerous classical, pop and rock-androll music nights on each cruise. When we retuned to our suite, two hot chocolates awaited us on the balcony. Sipping them, we watch the shimmer of the full moon as it followed us up the North Sea en route to Denmark. These brilliant starry evenings, reflected across the Atlantic, created great photography opportunities for Danielle. The following morning, with a full day of cruising ahead, we decided to bunker down in our suite, enjoy some room service and watch as many movies as we felt like. Not unlike honeymooners, we locked away our phones, work and gadgets and let the Silversea service take care of us. Waking to a welcome horn the following morning, we opened the drapes to a landscape peppered with windmills and cottages, a classic image of the tiny Danish port of Skagen. After departing Skagen at 6.00pm, we settled into our final night onboard at La Terrazza on the aft deck, sitting at our favourite table for two. Here we enjoyed round two of Caprese salad, spaghetti pomodoro, homemade tiramisu and a single espresso, with Francesco and the boys ensuring our final night was memorable, they decided to arrange a sneaky soufflé from Le Champagne.

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SEAS THE DAY... SUNSETS ARE ALWAYS BETTER ON A CRUISE

MTATRAVEL.COM.AU

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MAKERS OF THE ORIGINAL SWISS ARMY KNIFE | ESTABLISHED 1884


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HOTEL NIMB AT TIVOLI GARDENS

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A TRULY UNIQUE BOUTIQUE HOTEL, IT OFFERS AN INTIMATE AND EXQUISITELY PRESENTED ENVIRONMENT FOR KICKING BACK AND INDULGING.

At 10.00pm it seemed the entire guest list turned up for the finale stage performance in the Cabaret Showroom. At 6.00am the following morning we were gliding into the port of Copenhagen. After some muesli and a fresh juice we headed down to dockside where the Silversea team was waiting by our limo with bags checked. Just 15 minutes later, after the farewells, we arrived to the country’s best five-star accommodation, Nimb Hotel, located in the heart of town in the famous Tivoli Gardens. Nimb Hotel is in fact the flagship accommodation of the Tivoli group, with 17 spectacular suites, five incredible eateries, a world-class spa and gym, with an upcoming extension of 24 more suites. After beating the morning traffic, we arrived at 8.30am just in time for breakfast at the hotel. Additionally, we were relieved that our suite was already prepared for us. After breakfast, I had a scheduled meeting with General Manager Iben Marburger Juul. The sense of fairy tale perfection is present in every one of Nimb’s suites. A truly unique boutique hotel, it offers an intimate and exquisitely presented environment for kicking back and indulging. Iben is the perfect guardian for Nimb Hotel, with years of hospitality experience and an insatiable passion for the Tivoli vision. After our meeting, Iben escorted Danielle and I to the gardens to explore this fantasyland. Strolling down the back stairs we were meet by two of the most unlikely but colourful security guards, in full plume proudly parading there wares, and in all there glory it was as if they were paid models on assignment. Two magnificent peacocks were the star attractions that kept Danielle mesmerised; pouncing like a puma she captured them both in all their glory, careful not to miss any of the show. Danielle’s photographs illustrate just how spectacular our stroll through the park was, with gob-smacking rollercoasters, live ballet performances and a world-class music stage that looked suitable to host a U2 concert. That evening 30,000 music revellers were set to attend the weekly concert – just another Friday night at the Tivoli Gardens.

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Our next stop was to enjoy a glass of beetroot, ginger and lemon juice with Lesbeth at the newly opened Gemyse; an organic eatery boasting a live chef ’s kitchen, twenty private dining seats and several open fire pits arranged around the manicured herb and vegetable garden. Here, vegetables are no longer an overcooked garnish but a star feature with plenty of taste and texture, showcased across a morning-to-evening menu. The chefs here constantly excite diners with plates full of intense yet delicately spiced combinations. Just when we thought we were safe, we entered our meeting with celebrity pastry chef Torben Bang of Cakenhagen. Every weekend Cakenhagen offers diners extra pampering with their Cake-Extravaganza, whereby sweet-tooths can taste as many whipped cream cakes, macaroons, cakes, pies, cookies and petit-fours as they wish, accompanied with tea, coffee or a glass of luxury champagne. Tom wasted no time in showing off his magnificent array of pastries, specifically the Tivoli Cake made with a 123-year-old recipe. Here, Danielle enjoyed a gorgeous lemon meringue pie with a glass of Moet Ice – luckily, because there wasn’t a spare seat left in the house. At 4.00pm we enjoyed a one-hour workout in Nimb’s small but excellent gym that was decked out with Technogym equipment, like all great hotels are. Iben had booked us into Nimb Brasserie for a classical dinner for two at 7.00pm that night. That way we had time to photograph the hordes of friends and families arriving to the concert in Tivoli Gardens, a spectacular display of energy and colour. Sandra, a Copenhagen Hospitality College graduate, welcomed us to Nimb Brasserie and, as we sat down, presented us a refreshingly thought-out menu, designed to guide rather than bamboozle the diner with options.

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ORANGE

GREEN

PURPLE

- CARROT

- CUCUMBER

- BEETROOT

- APPLE

- APPLE

- APPLE

- RED PEPPER

- SPINACH

- LEMON

- GINGER

- LEMON

- GINGER

- TURMERIC

- GINGER - WHEATGRASS

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The menu reflects classical European gastronomy in entrees like escargot burgundy and coquelles St. Jacques, and mains of traditional Boeuf Wellington with truffle sauce. We really tested Sandra’s skills by ordering the crêpe Suzette, which would be prepared at our table. With the precision of a world-class maître d’, Sandra applied the perfect amounts of freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice, finished it under flambé with a splash of Cointreau, and served it with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream – this was heaven. Nimb Hotel is the jewel in the Tivoli crown. The five rooms and 12 suites are designed and decorated with utmost detail, instilling a sense of home-like comfort into your stay. Besides the stunning antiques, luxury bath products and Geismars linen, the B&O BeoVision television, B&O sound system and BeoCom 5 telephone in each room create a sense of indulgence. All rooms but three include open fireplaces, and all but one overlook the charming Tivoli Gardens. Nimb staff always strive to exceed expectations and are dedicated to provide personalised service from the moment you book your suite. Whether staying for a special occasion or a weekend getaway, your stay at Nimb Hotel will be one of ultimate hospitality – especially with the service of a private butler.

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NIMB HOTEL IS THE JEWEL IN THE TIVOLI CROWN. THE FIVE ROOMS AND 12 SUITES ARE DESIGNED AND DECORATED WITH UTMOST DETAIL, INSTILLING A SENSE OF HOME-LIKE COMFORT INTO YOUR STAY.

Nimb Hotel’s long-term vision is nothing short of spectacular, and I have no doubt that Iben will deliver a world-class destination, which will be realised by the time you’re reading this feature. Our final night in Copenhagen was simply strolling through the gardens of Tivoli, watching the many families enjoying a Friday night with Ferris wheels and rides concerts finishing up and restaurants coming to a close. Our time coming from Southhampton some ten days earlier was a distant but spectacular memory and know it was time to pack the bags enjoy our final night at the Nimb and head home filled with pages of adventure.


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P asadena Langham A

rriving into LA is always exciting for me as I have been a regular for the past 25years. This trip was made even more special as I had the family and it was the start of a month of adventures.

Being a 6am arrival we headed straight for the 210 West and Pasadena’s hotel jewel, the Langham Huntington Pasadena. Opening in 1907 this grand Dame was beaming with history and thanks to the Langham hotel group it stands as a trophy in LA’s hotel scene. We enjoyed a very relaxing 3 nights taking advantage of the health spa and gym daily, laying by the pool and enjoying the fabulous eateries on hand. The rooms were as expected, classical yet sophisticated with bespoke period pieces throughout and the incredible meetings space made it the perfect convention and events option in the region. There is know doubt that the wedding business flourishes at the Langham with amazing grounds allowing this incredible structure to nestle beautifully into its gardens. Our last night was to be spent at the exceptional restaurant Royce, a steak and seafood offering with all the flare and skill of a Michelin star eatery.

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COURTYARD AT LANGHAM HUNTINGTON PASADENA


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THE ROYCE WOOD-FIRED STEAKHOUSE CHUAN SPA VIP SUITE

The real standout at Royce was the tremendous attention to detail and the flawless waiting staff, as many readers have attested, I am a stickler for good service and The Royce is at the top of any that we have eaten at this year. The original hotel on the site was built by General Marshall C. Wentworth, a Civil War veteran, and designed by Charles Frederick Whittlesey in the Spanish Mission Revival-style. It opened in February 1907 as the Hotel Wentworth, but the structure was only partially complete, with the first four stories finished and a temporary roof. The hotel’s completion had been delayed due to a shortage of construction crews caused by rebuilding in San Francisco following the 1906 earthquake. Heavy rains that year kept away prospective guests, and the Wentworth closed its doors in July 1907 after its first season. The hotel reopened on March 18, 1991 with 383-rooms as The Ritz-Carlton, Huntington Hotel.The new building largely replicated the exterior of the original, but offered modern facilities. It was renamed The Ritz-Carlton, Huntington Hotel & Spa in April 1998. In October 2007, the hotel was sold to Great Eagle Holdings for $170 million and renamed The Langham Huntington, Pasadena, on January 8, 2008, managed by Langham Hotels International. Exiting the Langham needs to be planned, you can get caught in that traditional freeway traffic so we headed out just after the

THE REAL STANDOUT AT ROYCE WAS THE TREMENDOUS ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND THE FLAWLESS WAITING STAFF morning rush and spent the afternoon in Beverly Hills before making our way to LAX. The Langham as a group from Sydney, Hong Kong to London, New York to Chicago are exceptional properties and I have reviewed each and every one, the main component to a world class hotel is their ability to be consistent in every way and the Langham is exceptional.

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a m e Rriviera i c a’s SA N TA

A

BA R BA R A

s we woke gently on our QF 11 flight, blinking our eyes towards the tip of the wing, we admired the spectacular coastline of California’s Santa Barbara, the most sophisticated and exciting beach town in the United States.

Nestled between the celebrity hideaways of Malibu and the rich-and-famous Carmel, Santa Barbara is hands down the most understated jewel in the American West Coast crown.

Landing at 6.00am, we felt great anticipation for our Santa Barbara visit, where for two days we would stay in the magnificent Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore and enjoy a jam-packed weekend of activities crafted by Visit Santa Barbara. After a 70-minute drive from the airport, we checked in to our bungalow at Four Seasons, enjoyed a work-out and freshened up before finally kicking back in front of a crackling fire pit at Bella Vista restaurant, accompanied with a fresh juice and the world’s best breakfast burrito. Soon after, Four Seasons General Manager Karen Earp talked us through our brilliant two-day itinerary, which would begin with a two-hour vibrational resonance session at Salt Cave with guru David Kennet, followed by lunch at the locally owned market place-come-bakery café, C’est Cheese. C’est Cheese offers over 120 types of international cheeses and a selection of charcuterie products. For lunch, Danielle enjoyed a classic grilled ham and cheese sandwich, while I opted for the trophy piece: a grilled Australian wagyu beef sandwich with fresh horseradish.

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VISIT: SALTCAVESB.COM CESTCHEESE.COM SBPOLO.COM THEBLACKSHEEPSB.COM SBBEACHRIDES.COM

These were certainly not your average sandwiches: the ham was beautifully cured jamón ibérico from Spain; the shaved parmigiana of the highest quality; the wagyu sliced paper-thin and stacked five inches high; the lashings of horseradish laid artfully on a bed of crispy ice burg lettuce; and all this cushioned between slices of homemade bread. My single espresso topped it all off nicely. Here, while having lunch, we hung out and compared sandwiches with the locals; one lady even offered me a bite of her turkey breakfast, camembert and fresh fig jam sandwich – of course, I was obliged to offer her a taste of my wagyu on rye. By 2.30pm we were the happy attendants of a local polo match at the Santa Barbara Polo and Raquel Club. Established in 1911, the club is the third oldest polo facility in the US and boasts an historic clubhouse, swimming pool, fitness centre and a tennis club and school with eight pristine hard court tennis courts. Besides joining in the tradition of ‘divot stomping’ – whereby spectators are invited onto the field during halftime to replace the upturned mounds of earth – we had a great time at the very social after-party, which kicked on with an open bar til late. Barely recovered from the polo match festivities, we returned to our bungalow, freshened up, re-dressed and headed out for an amazing night at The Black Sheep Restaurant on Ortega Street. The Black Sheep is proud of its straightforward ethos: let’s eat, drink and be merry – a dining approach celebrated by restaurant owner Ruben Perez and his father and chef extraordinaire, Robert Perez.

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Luckily, to avoid spoiling the review by overeating, The Black Sheep team agreed to showcase five tasting size dishes and dessert. At The Black Sheep, Robert serves up an eclectic menu influenced by Senior Perez’s of Los Angeles and decades of cooking in haute cuisine. The Latino, Asian and European accented dishes range from braised pork belly and Indian-spiced New Zealand lamb shack, to small plates of beef bone marrow bruschetta and scallop crudo with candied carrot puree. Our favourite for the evening was the white marinated anchovies on crostini with orange zest, and the roasted beets with pomegranate, blue cheese, frisÊe and pistachio. Dessert was a wonderfully light chocolate mouse and, of course, a single espresso. With sophisticated yet practical dishes and hints of classical heritage, The Black Sheep is a sensational dining experience in which the pride and passion of father and son resound in every flavour combination. At 4.45am the following morning, we scrambled for the Canon, tripod and lens bag and headed to the beach for a magnificent sunrise. Soon after, we were en route to the Santa Barbara Beach Rides ranch, an absolute must when visiting this destination. Charlie Picerni at Santa Barbara Beach Rides was onhand with his team, preparing the horses for a two-hour ride along the Summerland Beachfront, in which we cantered through lemon groves, over bridges and along the tideline.

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TRUE SPANISH COLONIAL LUXURY

Despite being Danielle’s first ride, her nerves soon settled and she was racing away with the wind, relishing the sensation of freedom that makes beach riding in Santa Barbara so popular – and romantic. We both hoped the ride wouldn’t end. Back at Four Seasons, it was time for that much anticipated couple’s massage – the perfect release after two hours of using our muscles on the ride. In saying that, we massage junkies always look for an excuse to indulge in a rub down. Four Seasons has arguably the best deep tissue team on the West Coast, as well as an excellent spa, steam and gym offer. On our last night in town, we chose to review Tydes Restaurant inside the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club, which gives it the best restaurant location in California. Perched over the Pacific Ocean, the dining space captures a stunning panoply of sunset colours, while the breaking waves swallow time with each sandy retreat, leaving us bewitched in the moment. Luckily for us, Restaurant Director Andrea Ghirardelli personally crafted our culinary experience, which included lobster and sweet corn ravioli, chargrilled octopus, yellow fin crudo and, finally a caramel and chocolate mousse candy bar. Despite a leisurely 11.00am check-out, we woke for another sunrise shoot and beach walk, before heading to a dreamy breakfast in front of the fire pit. The freshly squeezed juice – prepared by Jorge – breakfast burrito, single espresso and warm blueberry muffin were enough to tempt us into extending our stay. 282 | C L A S S I C M A G A Z I N E


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SANTA BARBARA IS NOTHING SHORT OF INFECTIOUS, A TRULY UNFORGETTABLE AND UNDERSTATED DESTINATION. WHEN YOU’RE PLANNING A TRIP TO LA, YOU MUST SPEND A FEW DAYS ON THE AMERICAN RIVIERA. FLIGHTS ARE DAILY FROM SYDNEY ON AMERICAN AIRLINES/QANTAS AND DIRECT FROM LONDON ON BRITISH AIRWAYS. DON’T FORGET MTA WHO CAN TAILOR-MAKE YOUR ADVENTURE.

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FOUR SEASONS Santa Barbara, The United States | fourseasons.com/santabarbara

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EXPERIENCE ALL THE EXTRAS

American Airlines and the Flight Symbol logo are marks of American Airlines, Inc. oneworld is a mark of the oneworld Alliance, LLC. © 2017 American Airlines, Inc. All rights reserved.

PREMIUM ECONOMY THE AMERICAN WAY



10

Trinity Square

FOUR SEASONS RECENTLY, WE STUMBLED ACROSS ANOTHER MAGNIFICENT LONDON LANDMARK THAT’S BEEN TRANSFORMED INTO A FUTURE HOSPITALITY ICON.

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T

en Trinity Square was opened in 1922 as the Administration Headquarters for the London Port Authority, which collected fees from all boats making use of the Thames. Ninety-five years on, the edifice still collects fees albeit for an entirely different service. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts have swooped on yet another trophy address, which has been their modus operandi for many years. When I caught up with General Manager Charlie Parker during our stay he spent a passionate hour outlining the scope and vision for the newly completed Ten Trinity Square legend. The building’s monolithic façade imparts a sense of security; you know you’re about to be treated to a treasure trove inside the architectural masterpiece, where the classic and the contemporary combine. On entering the grand foyer, guests are engulfed by the magnificence of the rotunda and various unique stone works, carvings and sculptures from bygone years. My suite was as expected: replete with a selection of beautiful earth tones like carbon, sandstone and chocolate – trademark Four Seasons colours, gorgeous linen and immaculately tiled bathrooms finished in stone. While all rooms at Ten Trinity Square include the latest technology and amenities, the hotel’s spa is perhaps the most stylish standout. Here, designs etched in mother of pearl, forested walls and a fabulous pool, steam room and sauna beckon guests to forget their agendas. All this was complemented by a fantastic gym and massage offerings. Located on the second floor is the Ten Trinity Square Private Club, which features sophisticated meeting and dining rooms, private libraries and bars – everything the discerning business traveller would want. The club is members only, so I would recommend all London locals to join. At the helm of the hotel’s La Dame de Pic London eatery is chef Anne-Sophie Pic, a third generation classical French chef who’s incorporated a masterful twist on the traditional without resorting to the over the top concoctions of so many Michelin star wannabes.

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THROUGHOUT HER CAREER ANNE-SOPHIE PIC HAS BUCKED TRADITION.

Anne-Sophie Pic is the daughter of chef Jacques Pic, and grew up at her family’s restaurant, Maison Pic. Her grandfather, Andre Pic, was also a chef, who was particularly known for a crayfish gratin dish, and who first gained the restaurant three Michelin stars in 1934. Anne-Sophie initially decided, however, to stray from her family’s footsteps and travelled overseas to train in management. After working in Japan and the United States as an intern for various companies, including Cartier and Moët & Chandon, she let her passion guide her back to the restaurant world. In 1992, at 23 years old, she returned to Maison Pic to become a chef under her father’s training, but switched to front-of-house when he died three months later. In 1995, the restaurant lost its third Michelin star – her father’s star, in Anne-Sophie’s eyes. This spurred her to return to the kitchen and in 1997, Anne-Sophie took control of the restaurant with no formal training in cooking.

OUR NIGHT AT LA DAME DE PIC LONDON WAS SIMPLY SUPERB, WITH A SPECTACULAR SIX-COURSE TASTING MASTERPIECE THAT INCLUDED: GREEN ASPARAGUS ROASTED WITH PASTIS, GREEN ANISE, LIQUORICE AND LEMON VERBENA ICE CREAM PAIRED WITH GODELLO, BODEGAS GODEVAL, VALDEORRAS, SPAIN 2015

By 2007, she had regained Maison Pic’s three Michelin stars – an achievement reached by only three other female chefs. That same year, she was the only woman on French newspaper Le Figaro’s list of the top twenty richest chefs in France.

BERLINGOTS PASTA PARCELS WITH LIGHTLY

Later she opened her second restaurant, Anne-Sophie Pic – Le Restaurant located in the Beau-Rivage Palace hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, which was awarded with two Michelin stars in 2009. She opened the Paris-based La Dame de Pic in 2012.

PIC AND MAISON CHAPOUTIER, RHÔNE VALLEY,

We enjoyed our final culinary experience at Mei Ume, London’s most exciting new Asian dining concept that offers diners modern yet authentic Chinese and Japanese dishes. Vibrant and fast-paced, the restaurant’s atmosphere is as addictive as its fare, which includes beautifully presented sashimi, sushi, dumplings and many other wok-fried delights.

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SMOKED PÉLARDON CHEESE, SEASONAL WILD MUSHROOMS, TONKA BEAN AND VOATSIPERIFERY PEPPER PAIRED WITH SAINT-PÉRAY ‘PAYROLLES’, MAISON FRANCE 2013 CHALLANS CHICKEN MARINATED IN SAKÉ, HISPI CABBAGE WITH RAZOR CLAMS, GILOU LEMON AND SAUCE SUPRÊMEPAIRED WITH ORGO RKATSITELI, KAKHETI, GEORGIA 2014 BRIE DE MEAUX TAHITIAN VANILLA PAIRED WITH KAMEMAN ‘GENMAI’ JUNMAI SAKE, KAGOSHIMA, JAPAN NV


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BRITTANY PIGEON SMOKED WITH LIQUORICE, TURNIP, CRISPY SALSIFY AND COMBAWA SITRUS BOUILLON

BEETROOT AND BOURBON POINTU COFEE BAKED IN A SAT CRUST WITH FOAM AND BARBERRY

THE WHITE MILLEFEUILLE TAHITIAN VANILLA CREAM, JASMINE JELLY AND VOATSIPERIFERY PEPPER FOAM

What I loved most was that our waiter prepared me, the nondrinker, an amazing tea to pair with each dish. La Dame de Pic London and Mei Ume are outstanding eateries whose seats will soon be at a premium. Located in London’s most historic area – close to illustrious neighbours such as the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral – Ten Trinity Square has long been regarded as one of Britain’s finest architectural landmarks. Now home to Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, this Grade II*-listed building possesses a fascinating history. Returning to the spotlight, Ten Trinity Square played a starring role in the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall. It made a convincing MI6 where M (Dame Judi Dench) met Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes).

SCOTTISH LANGOUSTINE SEARED IN SHELLFISH BUTTER WITH HEIRLOOM CARROTS, BOUILLON INFUSED WITH PINE TREE BUDS AND GERANIUM PAIRED WITH ‘IN THE DARK’ GEWURZTRAMINER, OVUM WINES, OREGON 2014

During excavations to support the original foundations, a number of significant Roman archaeological finds were made, including chalk-walled cellars, cesspits, animal remains and a well. All of these items were given to the Museum of London Archaeology. Rather than create reproduction interiors, Reignwood chose to restore and preserve as many surviving original features as possible. A team of stone-restoration experts spent years on the exterior stonework and carvings. Inside, specialist restorers have brought new life to the original plasterwork, wood carvings, marble floors, and the soaring grand staircase. Following this six-year, multi-million-pound renovation – and now with the renowned management of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts – Ten Trinity Square stands once again as one of London’s most desirable addresses.

Ten Trinity Square was purchased in 2010 by Reignwood, the Chinese investment company. The firm brings a deep respect for London’s history and culture, and began the process of revitalizing the building as a hotel and residences. It took six months to secure conditional planning permission before conversion work could begin on this Grade II*-listed building. (The “Grade II*” designation from Historic England reflects “particularly important buildings of more than special interest.”)

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

FOUR SEASONS AT TEN TRINITY SQUARE London, England | www.fourseasons.com/tentrinity

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5 Luxury star I N T H E H E A RT O F D U BA I

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alking back into the iconic Kempinski Hotel at the famed Mall of the Emirates was quite unnerving.

It was 4th December 2010 that the Harte family, armed with one giant suit case, last checked in to the Kempinski Hotel, which then became our home for the next thirty days. Having just emigrated to the UAE, we arrived with clothes, some office equipment, a computer, iPads and two unhappy kids. This was the biggest adventure for the Harte clan to date, and we only had thirty days to find a school, rent an apartment, buy a car, get our phones and emails running and secure our residency. Our decision to book into the Kempinski Hotel was based on entertaining the kids and keeping their minds off home. At that time, Mall of the Emirates, or MOE, was the biggest and most widely discussed mall in the world – that’s no surprise, given its indoor replica Aspen Colorado ski field, huge cinema, Harvey Nichols, hundreds of luxury stores and restaurants, and a kids’ sanctuary complete with bowling alleys, all of this was at our front door. The Kempinski Hotel is part of the global luxury five-star hotel brand, positioned on Sheik Zayed Road, just five minutes from the famed waterpark at Jumeirah Beach and Burj al Arab Hotel. On check-in, we were welcomed back by General Manager Slim Zaiane, who escorted us to the most impressive room in Dubai. The Aspen Ski Chalet is as close to waking up in the slopes of Colorado as you can get, with a sprawling three-level, three-bedroom chalet, each bedroom with an en suite and fireplace. The chalet also boasts a 10-seat dining table, sunken lounge, separate kitchen, a grand staircase and the most spectacular views straight up the slopes, as well as Dubai’s inspiring skyline.

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Complete with exclusive access to a dedicated butler service and the Executive Lounge, and delightful winter-inspired amenities, this spacious mountain ski lodge offers the perfect escape in the middle of the desert. Soon after arriving, relaxing with an espresso freshly made by my personal butler, Slim and I got to know each other and I shared my story from several years earlier. A three-day plan was hatched, which involved signature dinner reviews, spa treatments and daily workouts – not being able to share it all with the whole family was the only disappointment. The real highlight for me was not the spectacular room or the hypnotic deep tissue massage; but the night spent with good friends Andy and Deb Staines, during which we feasted on the Levantine spread prepared by the best chef to come out of Jordan.

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I was fortunate enough to spend an hour and an espresso with Executive Chef Südwind and he gave me a remarkable culinary journey through the regions of the Middle East.

My final night was spent at Salero Tapas & Bodega, where a lively group of South American Flamenco dancers entertained the diners.

But it wasn’t until the following night at restaurant Olea that an unfamiliar yet thrilling avalanche of flavours and aromas befell us – tastes we’d never experienced at home.

We practically gathered a layer of sweat just watching them!

Olea presents the most authentic Levantine cuisine and a complete Levant dining experience that will delight all the senses. The restaurant proudly boasts passionate, knowledgeable Levant chefs who adopt traditional cooking methods and present the signature dishes in a dazzling presentation tableside. Add to this the authentic tastes, ingredients and aromas of Levant home cuisine and the look and feel of a welcoming contemporary modern Arabian restaurant. For entrées were ordered these sensational little sausages, which were marinated and served alongside onions, garlic, peppers and a secret Jordanian balsamic inside a clay casserole dish. The standout, however, was the beautifully crafted foi gras, lightly sautéed in caramelised onions, garlic, button mushrooms and finished in a light white wine and jus reduction. Suffice to say that having sampled the entire menu, we struggled getting back to our room. But we soon settled in with a coffee in front of the open fire and watched hundreds of skiers hurtling down the slopes. Wednesday played out as usual: back to the gym in an attempt to balance the ship from the night before.

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As the name implies, Salero Tapas & Bodega is an affair of Spanish gastronomy that exudes flair and elegance, complete with a charming ambiance that befits its casual and accommodating character. This distinctive tapas and bodega fuses traditional foodsharing platters with a modern twist, to offer visitors inimitably genuine and unforgettable Spanish dining. A traditional paella and amazing marinated goats cheese salad were the pick of the menu, accompanied by a jug of sangria. Salero is an exceptionally lively yet intimate eatery owned and run by the hotel – an absolute must-visit in Dubai. Since those first nights in Dubai back in 2010, we have seen a plethora of changes throughout the UAE, all of which the Kempinski Hotel MOE has matched in innovation, helping it to maintain its leading position in luxury. If you’re heading to the United Kingdom or Europe, do what we did and spend a few nights at the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates. F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

KEMPINSKI HOTEL MALL OF THE EMIR ATES Dubai, United Arab Emirates | kempinski.com


MULTI AWARD WINNING MODERN ITALIAN DINING ON THE GOLD COAST

VOTED BEST PIZZA IN QUEENSLAND AND BEST WINE ON THE GOLD COAST

Capri On Via Roma, 15 Via Roma, Isle of Capri QLD 4217 Phone 07 5526 8868 bookings.gc@cicchetti.com.au

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kempinski

P alm Jumeirah

5 S TA R LUXU RY O UT O N ‘ TH E PA L M ’

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he highest-profile land grab was to become the UAE’s own work of art – the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.

set my schedule and, importantly, confirm my dinner reservation for 7.00pm at Brunello.

This massive engineering feat eventually became ‘the place’ to reside, and over the past 15 years has been home to many celebrities and several leading hotel brands, and has staged some of the most spectacular events imaginable.

Dining at the Kempinski is classical; a style reflected no better than in the fabulous truffle promotion that the restaurant was holding on the night I dined there.

At the time of writing, I’d just spent a few days relaxing at the fabulous Kempinski Hotel & Residences on the Western Palm. Entering the trunk of The Palm takes you five kilometres into the Arabian Sea, followed by a soft turn left and another two kilometres. Here you arrive at the prestigious address, beautifully positioned with dazzling views of the Dubai skyline. Inside the residence, I was delighted by the world-class Kempinski service – a swift check-in and a sharp concierge who was able to

In celebration of the harvest festival of truffles – an ingredient that has earned itself the moniker ‘diamond of the kitchen’ – the chefs at Brunello had designed a full menu around this aromatic fungus with spectacular dishes to match its decadence. The chef ’s devotion to truffles is apparent in three expertly articulated items: the pizza bianca topped with tartufo nero and fontina cheese, the alfredo style linguine with black truffle shavings, and the carnaroli risotto with black truffle and veal jus.

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The superb tagliatelle alfredo was my favourite of the night, with shavings of black truffle and a little extra parmigiana. On the Friday I was there, the grounds were abuzz with the events team eagerly preparing for the traditional Dubai Brunch. Slides and castles were being erected, as well as thoughtful play areas and plenty of activities on the water to entertain. With 200 suites, this property not only offers its guests serenity in a setting of comfortable, country club-like charm; but also the opportunity to socialise with couples and families on the onekilometre stretch of uninterrupted beachfront. What I love about this event is its inclusion of the entire family. The staff are well-versed in babysitting, which allows the adults some quiet time over lunch.

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Restaurant Brunello was the host for the day, but on the beachfront is also a very cool Hamptonsstyle restaurant called Beluga, a 50-seat eatery uniquely positioned for weddings or private events. It’s easy to feel right at home in this residential resort, especially inside one of the two-bedroom suites, which include a kitchen and laundry. With all amenities included, guests can be as active around the resort or as secluded as they wish. On one of the nights I decided to cook for my good friends Mark and Zoe, which I prepared for with a little shopping and a little room service, which gave me that feeling of a home-cooked meal. With living room terraces that look out over the Arabian Gulf or the Palm Jumeirah Lagoon, these grand suites feature two king-size bedrooms, one twin room, three bathrooms and a fullyequipped kitchen – but it is not just the size that will impress you here. In addition to plenty of space, you will enjoy luxury furnishings and a suite that has been decorated in a truly elegant, European style. The two-bedroom suite at Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah offer a truly opulent stay. Having been on the road for a couple of weeks, it was all so convenient to throw on a load of washing and catch some sun on our balcony sunbeds. One of the mornings was the real treat, with a 7.00am workout and healthy bowl of fruit and Greek yogurt, followed by an hour-long deep tissue massage at Cinq Mondes. If you’re a Kempinski fan, you’ll be pleased to hear that the grand opening of the Emerald Palace is set to take place around December 2017, which will see the Kempinski expanding its footprint on the palm. I had the opportunity to take a guided tour of this soon-to-be benchmark in Dubai’s luxury living, which will offer an additional 391 suites, six world-class dining concepts, an indoor pool and spa and sprawling lawns and pool areas to complement its sister property, Kempinksi Residences, next door. A combination of investment properties and hotel suites, together the Kempinski will deliver some 500 luxury rooms in a thrilling location, all without the bustle of a rapidly evolving Dubai. My tip: before and during your travels, search for accommodation in residences, as well as hotels. The results and experience may surprise you.

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Fiji Islands K EPT

SECR E TS

9 DAY FIJI ADVENTURE TAKING YOU OFF THE BEATEN PATH

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ur final adventure for the year took place just three and a half hours across the Pacific Ocean to the well-loved and long-visited Fijian Islands, a journey we’d anticipated all year.

Since my first trip to Fiji in 1995, during which I was creating several events with Qantas and its partner Air Pacific, not a whole lot has changed. As we stepped off our Fiji Airways flight, we were welcomed by the trademark ‘Bula’ – a Fijian greeting – and a crowd of beaming smiles.

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To arrive, we’d flown from Brisbane International Airport at 11.30am and touched down into Nadi at 5.00pm local time, skimming over a postcard scene of tropical palms and a melting sunset. Completely booked and on time, our Fiji Airways flight reflected the islands’ ongoing success as a tourist destination in the Pacific. Fiji has had its fair share of challenges: among various coups, devastating cyclone damage has repeatedly impacted the country’s economy. But its resilience – demonstrated no greater than in the


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Fijian rugby seven’s gold medal win in the 2016 Rio Olympics – has pushed the nation forward. Over our nine-day trip, Danielle, Tayla and I had planned to post, shoot, blog, vlog and review some of the world’s most romantic and luxurious resorts located in Fiji, as well as share the islands’ abundant cultural beauty. Our first stop was Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa on Denarau Island. Though we only stayed here one night, we got to hang with the hotel’s social butterfly and digital chief Ula and enjoy a fabulous

dinner at V Restaurant, Sofitel’s fine dining feature restaurant. Chef Muni served up a magnificent tuna tartare with prawn laksa, a rack of lamb cooked to perfection and a signature seafood lasagne. Our room was located in the Waitui Beach Club, a precinct just for adults positioned next to the gym, spa and pool – you can imagine where we watched the sunrises. We enjoyed breakfast at 6.30am before heading to the airport, bound for Savusavu Island and its number one resort, Savasi Island.

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Our fifty-minute Fiji Link flight dropped us just fifteen minutes from Savasi Island, which is the brainchild of Melbournian Paul Savenkov, which he manages with his daughter Marina. Inspired by his own family holidays in Fiji, Paul has created a unique luxury hideaway within an intimate slice of paradise. Entirely boutique, Savasi Island includes eight bespoke suites complete with private pools, postcard views from every balcony and private beach access. Such is its proximity to the water, guests can even fish from their sunbeds. The hotel offers scuba diving, snorkelling, lobster, spear and deep-sea fishing, kayaking and cooking classes – you’ve little reason to leave. When our driver delivered us to Savasi Island, we were welcomed with hugs, bulas and greetings – “welcome home” – before the team whisked our bags off to our suite. We were then seated at a breathtaking table perched over the water for breakfast. Resembling a force field against the distant waves, which pounded rhythmically against the coral, we observed the ebb and flow of the turquoise ribbon that wrapped around the island, a trademark image of Fiji’s coastlines. Hidden beyond our view dazzled tranquil coves and white-sand beaches. When we finished breakfast we settled into our villa, a beautifully appointed space gleaming with natural finishes, site-inspired furnishings and outdoor showers. Paul designed the one and two-bedroom villas with families and couples in mind. While many hotels strive to make the guest’s final night the most memorable, Savasi Island mixes things up. At 6.30pm we all gathered in the lobby where chairs and pillows had been arranged into a mini amphitheatre, and took our seats as the lights went down. Moments later, some 50 traditionally dressed locals from a nearby village – mums, dads, elders and kids – entered and began to perform a wonderful 30-minute show, a display of passion, pride and excitement that left us speechless. At the show’s end, the performers invited us to dance before leading us to a secluded beach for the evening’s vovo (dinner). After snaking our way down the crevasse we entered the outdoor dining room, located just metres from the waves and complete with blazing bonfires and a lavish buffet on the shoreline. Our dinner included salads and selections of local vegetables, fresh fruits, roasted pork and chicken, and my favourite homemade coconut cake.

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OUR INFINITY POOL WAS PERCHED OVER THE CORAL AND BLENDED BEAUTIFULLY INTO THE SURROUNDING ASSURE TAPESTRY ENSURING THAT OUR EVENING WAS BLESSED WITH A MAGNIFICENT FIJIAN SUNSET.

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AMAZINGLY, SAVASI ISLAND STOOD AGAINST THE MIGHTY PACIFIC OCEAN AND MAINTAINED ITS STRUCTURE ENOUGH FOR PAUL TO RESCUE HIS DREAM. WALKING THROUGH SAVASI ISLAND, IT WAS HARD TO IMAGINE SUCH A PARADISE BEING TORN APART.

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While everyone dined, table talk gradually hushed as the local musicians broke into song. I think we all felt blessed to have been able to share this amazing night.

some excellent shots, we headed back for lunch and some afternoon snorkelling and spear fishing.

After dinner, we found our suites decorated with lilies, rose petals and a welcome note, personal touches of the housekeeping team.

I had the opportunity to sit down over a slice of homemade banana bread with Paul, who told me about the heartbreaking devastation caused by Cycle Winston in February 2016.

The following morning we enjoyed a spectacular sunrise before exploring some rocks and caves en route to breakfast in the restaurant. Here, each table was positioned to create a sense of privacy, making us feel like the only guests in-house. We enjoyed a range of fresh fruit, juice and fluffy omelettes, all complete with the trademark bula welcome.

Sweeping the property with 10-metre-high waves, the once-acentury cyclone punished Savasi Island for days on end, as well as the rest of the community, roads and resorts. Amazingly, Savasi Island stood against the mighty Pacific Ocean and maintained its structure enough for Paul to rescue his dream. Walking through Savasi Island, it was hard to imagine such a paradise being torn apart.

After breakfast we began a kayak trip down the peaceful Qaloqalo River with our guide Junior. After we unloaded the kayaks at the mouth of the river, a short drive from the hotel, a fishing family waved us goodbye as we began our journey through the dense mangrove forest and rich flora.

For the past year, with the help of his team, Paul has painstakingly rebuilt the property to its former glory. The future looks even brighter, with several new villas planned including over-water bungalows and the reconstruction of the Tui Tai, a 100-metre, 12-berth yacht. The plan is to re-float, gut and refit the beautiful vessel with five luxury suites, and anchor it some 100 metres offshore to host the rich and famous.

For the first five kilometres, we let the gentle currents guide us towards the trip’s main attraction, an inland salt lake fed by the ocean tide that stretched over more than 100 acres, which ancient Fijians once used as a shortcut to Natewa Bay. We approached the lake as the only visitors besides a couple of mums ‘shopping’ for dinner with their fishing rods. After the successful kayak trip, during which Danielle and Tayla captured

That night we enjoyed a farewell dinner on a secret beach complete with its own waterfall, pond and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. After a shared serving of freshly made fish cakes with spicy Thai chilli sauce, I opted for grilled pork tenderloin with Asian spices, balsamic cabbage, grilled pineapple and apple cider reduction. T H E C L A S S I C C U L T U R A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 8 | 307


Danielle chose a traditional coconut snapper poached in banana leaf parcels with tomato, onion and ginger, served with steam root crop. Dessert was a homemade crème caramel and a slice of ultra dark chocolate tart. Dining with Paul and Marina was a fitting way to end our amazing visit, as they shared with us their stories of passion and triumph that ultimately propelled Savasi Island forward. We believe that family is a crucial element of the property’s success. We couldn’t recommend Savasi Island more. We implore our readers to call MTA and have them arrange you a bucket-list trip to Savasi Island.

TATAVU THE FIJIAN BBQ

THE FIJIAN MEKE THE MOST POPULAR TRADITIONAL DANCE

Travellers can arrive to Savasi Island from Brisbane via the daily 3.5-hour flight to Fiji’s Nadi Island, followed by a quick connection flight to Savusavu Island. There are direct Fiji Airways flights from LAX and San Francisco International Airport in the United States. From London, you can take a British Airways flight to LAX or San Francisco in just eight movies, and head on with Fiji Airways from there. On our final morning we enjoyed yet another early breakfast sitting over the water, watching the incoming tide as it washed over so many scampering crabs and the feet of incoming fishermen, the morning catch slung over their shoulders. The entire team assembled to farewell us with a tropical melody of guitars and ukuleles as we departed what had really felt like our Fijian home. As our car wove through the palm-fringed lanes, several families from the first evening’s gala show waved us goodbye while the kids ran alongside, hooting and laughing. Within fifteen minutes of arriving at the airport we were checked in, loaded on and buckled up en route back to Nadi. Despite heavy cloud cover and very windy conditions that left us a little shaken, our pilot Raj negotiated the landing expertly.

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At the airport, a Tourism Fiji team was waiting to transfer us to the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa. Skirting the Coral Coast, our ride was a little slow due to the building traffic for the annual Fiji International PGA event being held at the resort. A Pro-Am round was taking place the day we arrived, attracting a swarm of media and international fans. This is InterContinental’s fourth year hosting the PGA, a complement to its eight years on the island. Area director of sales and our good friend Dean White welcomed us when we arrived and led us into the five-star property whose design and structure were set to impress. With 289 rooms, some 60 of which are suites, InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa invites guests to become members of its Club InterContinental, which includes members private dining, butler service and private checkin. We stayed in a beautiful oceanfront suite situated just metres from the pristine waters and bone-white sandbars of Natadola Bay, which has been voted one of the best beaches in the world. As we unpacked, Danielle raced down to the water to add another blistering Fijian sunset to her photo reel. Harmonised with earth tones, local timbers, stone and natural textures, our suite reflected a traditional Fijian aesthetic realised with modern touches. With the stylish outdoor living space, we moved effortlessly from our beds to the lawn to our private beach cabana. Although our stay was brief, we managed to hit the gym for an hour before enjoying a session in the spa, plunge pool and ice room. Spa InterContinental offers great service and facilities, and was fully booked for two days during our stay. That evening we met up with Dean and digital director Florence Law for drinks at Kama Bar before heading to a world-class dining experience at the resort’s signature eatery Navo. Hospitality overcame us the moment we arrived to the restaurant. Firstly, by the headwaiter who outlined the fabulous menu and the catch of the day, secondly, by the Executive Sous Chef who detailed the night’s specials, and thirdly, by the Executive Chef, a South African who made the mistake of bringing up cricket and rugby with two Aussies. Dinner included a vakalolo hotpot and freshly caught fish of the day served with nama (sea grapes), coconut cream and chilli on top a crispy pastry dome, followed by roasted Fijian pork belly and kokoda, a raw ceviche-like fish salad prepared with coconut cream and lime juice.

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WITH 289 ROOMS, SOME 60 OF WHICH ARE SUITES, INTERCONTINENTAL FIJI GOLF RESORT & SPA INVITES GUESTS TO BECOME MEMBERS OF ITS CLUB INTERCONTINENTAL, WHICH INCLUDES MEMBERS PRIVATE DINING, BUTLER SERVICE AND PRIVATE CHECK-IN.

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RELAXING POOL SIDE

We also enjoyed freshly caught Yasawa Island lobster tails grilled and served with chilli-and-lime-infused oil and fluffy béarnaise sauce. Comprising a spread of five different cheesecakes, sorbets, coconut pie, chocolate soufflé and handmade petit fours, dessert was certainly one of those ‘OMG!’ events that punctuated an already spectacular dinner.

FIJIJ AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS

Though the team didn’t stop there, endeavouring to impress us within the limited timeframe of our one-night stay. After a beach stroll back to our suite, we entered to find a bath ritual beautifully prepared with salts, bougainvillea petals and a fresh pot of ginger tea. You can only imagine how the rest of the night went. At 5.30am the following morning we took some sunrise shots along the beachfront before heading to the gym, where we ran into close mate, golf addict and Wallaby legend George Gregan, who was a special guest at the PGA event. If that wasn’t enough, we also saw All Blacks legend Justin Marshall making the most of the buffet at breakfast. Despite having experienced so much in 18 hours, we accepted Justin’s invitation to return soon with the family for a slowpaced holiday. At 10.00am we began our journey to The Fiji Orchid, a boutique property located just 15 kilometres from Nadi International Airport that offers travellers a luxurious ‘step’ between destinations.

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Designed for those who want “to pause at each step of a journey and savour the experience”, The Fiji Orchid boasts just six eco-designed garden bures (Fijian hut), a beautiful homestead that doubles as restaurant and bar, a discreet rock pool, eight hidden sun beds and a private massage bure. Each bure is simple yet stylish, with timber floors, local furnishings and a pitched, canopy-style roof extending from floor-to-ceiling windows, through which stream the light and colours from the tropical garden. During our stay, our butler Ledg took our lunch and dinner orders in advance to minimise waiting time in the restaurant, affording us more time by the pool or in the romantic confines of our bure. The Fiji Orchid enjoys a remarkable history. Formally the home of Canadian-American Ironside star Raymond Burr and later under ownership of his gardener, the property was eventually sold to Peter and Jenny Bourke from Sydney, Australia, who are also the owners of the private, allinclusive Nukubati Island in Fiji. The Fiji Orchid has hosted actors like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Gerard Butler and Liam Neeson, directing legend George Lucas and The Eagle’s Joe Walsh. There’s no doubt that anonymity plays a big part in The Fiji Orchard’s success. After a sunset shoot, we headed to the homestead where only five tables were set. Our dinner included an entrée of palm hearts and fresh prawn salad dressed with light vinaigrette, followed by grilled Spanish mackerel with tomato-chilli salsa, sautéed garden vegetables and a chocolate soufflé to finish. The Fiji Orchid is truly one of those hidden gems, a hotel whose seclusion, service and comfort you must experience for yourself. As we approached Nadi from the south, we took in a bird’s-eye view of the latest edition to Fiji’s hipster scene, Malamala Beach Club, built upon on an exquisite island that can be covered on foot in 10 minutes. Just twenty minutes from Denarau Island by speedboat, we reached Malamala Beach Club and were greeted by resident executive chef Lance Seeto, a man with an interesting history: born in Papua New Guinea with Chinese origins, he grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and is now a Fijian citizen. Over a few years and a new found appetite, Lance teamed up with the Beach Club and six days in is preparing for a whole new challenge. The beach club is yet to find its way or define clearly its market, so by the time you are reading this story it will be five months in and hopefully on the path to success. Malamala Beach Club welcomes day visitors with a series of lounges and daybeds, an infinity pool, cool bars and hipster cocktail makers, all to the backdrop of chilled house music and a quirky Fijian menu crafted by Lance himself. Be sure to sample his take on the traditional kokoda, his adventurous goat pie and a delightful dessert he calls the Golden Orb. Lance has assembled a host of up-and-coming young chefs who he’s nurtured over the last few years, and with whom he will launch a book in 2018, likely to be titled ‘The Accidental Chef ’. 314 | C L A S S I C M A G A Z I N E


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EXECUTIVE CHEF LANCE SEETO, A MAN WITH AN INTERESTING HISTORY: BORN IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA WITH CHINESE ORIGINS, HE GREW UP IN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, AND IS NOW A FIJIAN CITIZEN.

SeaFiji takes guests to Malamala Beach Club for $169 Fijian. Once arrived, you can simply run a tab and kick back. Daily and weekly passes are available, while vessel transfers depart from Port Denarau. There is a minimum spend required for those who arrive by their own transport. As the clouds crept over after our day at the club, we made our way down the jetty and boarded SeaFiji for the famed Castaway Island Fiji. Castaway Island Fiji inspires images of delirious Oscar winner Tom Hanks in his 2000 Cast Away role, as he clings to a beloved volleyball that doubles as his companion. The actual film set is located some three kilometres from Castaway Island Fiji – though I was hoping for a fate better than Tom’s.

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SMELL THE SEA, AND FEEL THE SKY LET YOUR SOUL AND SPIRIT FLY

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Castaway Island Fiji has been a much-loved getaway destination in the South Pacific for some fifty years, offering couples and families a haven to disconnect from ‘reality’ and reconnect with themselves. This is made easy with the island’s ‘No Television, No WiFi’ policy, replacing gadgets with board games, crab races, fishing, kayaking and volleyball. Here, one lives in the moment. And instead of Michelin star menus, Castaway Island Fiji, in line with its family program, presents breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets alongside a la carte options and live barbecues in the open-air Restaurant 1808. Castaway Island Fiji clearly delivers what people want; over 40 per cent of the resort’s business comes from repeat guests, while 15 per cent of those have returned over five times. From the porch of our beachfront villa, I enjoyed watching the dozens of kids and their parents having a blast. General Manager Steven Andrews and Sales and Marketing Director Meli Titoko simply manage the process, never playing with their winning ways. The starting price for Castaway Island Fiji is around $1200 Fijian per night for a villa that sleeps four. Food, drinks, massages and activities cost extra, though some activities are complimentary. It’s located just 45 minutes from Denarau Island by boat, and is accessible from Nadi Island by boat, helicopter and seaplane. 318 | C L A S S I C M A G A Z I N E

We woke to another magnificent sunrise on Castaway Island Fiji before breakfasting and checking out. As our SeaFiji transfer lined up along the shore, the entire staff, guitars in-hand, bid us farewell in song. Our final stop was Denarau Island, where we took a short transfer to Sheraton Fiji Resort, checked in to our beachfront villa and headed straight to Flying Fish Restaurant for a culinary collaboration with chef de cuisine Shaun Thomson. A young, ambitious Australian chef doing great things at Flying Fish; it was a pleasure to join Shaun in a cooking class, in which I sampled the local feature dish, kokoda, and a healthy serving of Fijian chicken curry, fresh roti and steamed rice. Post-lunch, Shaun told us about the several challenges present in Fiji’s gastronomic scene, as well as those caused by Cyclone Winston. We spent the afternoon on the beach lounge with a coffee, reflecting on our jam-packed time in Fiji. But of course, we still managed to slip in a workout and steam at Sheraton’s sister property, The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa. That evening, we enjoyed sunset drinks at The Westin before our final review at the private Whisky Room, with a five-course degustation lined up by executive Chef de Cuisine Pawel Klodowski.


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WHATEVER YOUR CULINARY DESIRES, YOU WILL FIND THEM ON THE RANGE OF CASTAWAY MENUS

Each as sophisticated as the previous, our dishes included grilled local zucchini with tomato chutney, parmesan crisps and miso vinaigrette; seared yellow fin tuna tataki served with 18-year-old Parma ham and local pawpaw; Savannah grassfed tenderloin, and superbly caramelised banana with dark chocolate, sage and berry sorbet. A final beach stroll to our villa gave us time to reflect on our last nine days, as well as admire the darkening sky, mottled with heavy cloud and unbroken rain, as it rumbled across the ocean towards the horizon. The most memorable part of this journey was undoubtedly the Fijian hospitality and the Fijian people’s zest for life – it’s as if connection and making visitors feel welcome were engrained in their culture. You simply must visit Fiji at least once, even if only to meet these wonderfully hospitable people.

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JUST GO

I T S TA R T S W I T H YO U LIFE WAS MEANT FOR GOOD FRIENDS AND GREAT ADVENTURES - MTA

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LEFT: BERLINER DOM THE CATHEDRAL OF BERLIN RIGHT: THE MERRICK FAMILY

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o describe MTA – Mobile Travel Agents as a ‘bit of a quiet achiever’ would be very much the understatement.

While the company, currently, may not have the biggest profile on the public stage, behind the scenes MTA sits comfortably with the knowledge it has been the reason literally thousands upon thousands of Australians have seen their travel plans quite literally come to the fullest and most successful fruition. It’s a very different story however on the Australian travel industry scene where MTA and its founders, co-managing directors Roy and Karen Merricks engender huge respect from industry peers as the forerunners of the burgeoning home-based travel consultancy sector in this country. While it could be viewed as unseemly to draw parallels to the famous “if you dream it you can do it” quote attributed to Walt Disney, that is exactly what the Merricks did almost 20 years ago, while eating fish and chips on a Gold Coast beach and while their children, Ben and Sara, enjoyed the sand and surf… they dared to dream. Over two years of careful research, building their business plan and model resulted with a launch in early 2000 of the now highly respected MTA – Mobile Travel Agency brand. That dream has evolved into one of the Australian travel industry’s great success stories. And today the MTA brand has attracted nearly 400 like-minded skilled and experienced ‘dreamers’ from around Australia, providing the flexibility and convenience of arranging your travel at a time and place that suits you. With MTA they have access to exclusive offers, no additional cost upgrades and amenities at hotels around the world to make very special things happen. MTA also has one of the most respected and inspirational young Australians, around the world solo sailor Jessica Watson OAM, at the helm as its brand ambassador. Added to which, the company has received huge kudos for the many and varied innovations and apps it has pioneered in recent years and continues to introduce. All designed to both protect its clients while at the same time enhancing their overall travel expectation.

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BECAUSE WE REALLY DO CARE FOR OUR PEOPLE, THEY CARE ABOUT THEIR BUSINESS AND CARE FOR THEIR CLIENTS

So just how did the Merricks’ amazing story begin. Speak with Karen and she will tell you that coming from the position of working in combination as a frontline consultant in the travel industry and as a mother juggling two young children, in her dream world everything would revolve around the way she always wanted to work while having the freedom to be her own boss. To come and go as she pleased and to work the hours she wanted around her family. And a home-based agency setup, similar to a fledgling activity that she and Roy were aware was starting to take shape in the United States, seemed to offer a tangible solution. A great idea, but it was to take more than two years of intense research by the Merricks before they could successfully establish their dream of a home-based agency system in Australia. All the decisions as to how the business could work, from designing support systems and product offerings right through to staffing, were made in those two years of planning – and a hallmark of the Merricks’ ongoing success has been their infallible resolve to stick to those decisions to this day. The couple finally took the plunge in February 2000 when they bought Nobby Beach Travel on Queensland’s Gold Coast, boarded up the shop front, moved into a back room and commenced operating Australia’s first, truly home-grown and home working mobile travel agency under a ‘Mobile Travel Agents’ branding. The former owner of Nobby Beach Travel was MTA’s first travel advisor and the company’s numbers quickly grew to 15 with everyone working from a home base. “Because we really do care for our people, they care about their business and care for their clients...,” Karen says.“Our MTA Mobile Travel Agents and our Head Office team are truly our biggest asset. They’re experts in travel, passionate about what they do and dedicated to making your travel experience absolutely fantastic. We promise you’ll never want to wait on hold, or queue up to speak to an overworked, stressed out, desk-bound travel agent ever again! Because we rely heavily on repeat and referral business, keeping our clients extra happy is vital. So, we’ll always put you first and provide five-star personal service that you’ll want to tell your friends about. In the early days, it was not uncommon to see us driving from home to the office in the middle of the night to make sure a ticket has been issued for an MTA travel advisor needing help for a client. You can imagine the bond that developed.” As the business continued to expand from its Queensland base, the Merricks took their first steps in approaching other like-minded travel advisors beyond Queensland and in order to reach them and grow their numbers, they targeted people living interstate, running tiny ads in the Sydney Morning Herald which proved successful. And before they knew it, the Merricks had run out of room at the support office and needed to relocate, this time to a 54 square-metre room in Robina where they had just enough space to fit a couple of desks, two computers and a work-horse fax which still proved faster and more effective to deal with than the then fledgling dial-up Internet service.

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IN BARCELONA SAGRADA FAMILIA DESIGNED BY CATALAN ARCHITECT ANTONI GAUDÍ

SAINT ANGEL CASTLE AND BRIDGE OVER THE TIBER RIVER IN ROME, ITALY


C L A S S I C T R A V E L L E R | M TA - M O B I L E T R A V E L A G E N T S

ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS MONUMENTS IN PARIS, THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE DE L’ÉTOILE STANDING AT THE WESTERN END OF THE CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES AT THE CENTRE OF PLACE CHARLES DE GAULLE

“Everything was done by hand and via fax which was king in those days,” Roy Merricks says. It was in Robina that the Merricks first brought their children into the business. Sara, then a teenager, was attending university part time studying a business degree. Sara was responsible for answering the phone, handling organisational work and support of agent enquiries and payments while sitting on the floor with piles of paper. Since those days, she has moved through almost all departments and is currently Executive Manager. Ben meanwhile used his spare time away from university to come in and help start developing what formed the groundwork for the company’s intricate IT systems, a job he still performs today in his capacity as Head of Business Information. Ben was very involved in the next big step forward when MTA digitalised its one-stop business form. He was also the catalyst for what became MTA’s earliest ‘Virtual Office’ housing the forms originally designed to service its ever-growing number of consultants and as 2002 rolled around, the Merricks finally had all their systems in place. Since those early days MTA has gone from strength to strength, the brand’s resilience proven on many occasions via its ability to weather many of the storms, developments and challenges that have affected the entire travel industry. Further growth also precipitated another support office move – this time to bigger premises at Ashmore but it wasn’t long before yet another move was required, so it was back to Robina where the MTA national headquarters now resides spread across two floors housing some 45-support staff providing 24x7 support to both clients and MTA advisors. “MTA is an amazing beast – I remember once in an interview we were asked what plan B was, but there was never a plan B, we always believed in MTA and still enjoy seeing how well things work, how much the industry recognises us and our brand for what it is and the results we achieve,” Karen says. “Key to everything we have done and a major factor in our ongoing evolution has been our ability to keep pace with and harness the right technology at the right time. There can be no doubt technology and making the right moves has played a major role in enabling us to be where we are today.” While leisure travel originally formed the bulk of MTA’s business, the Merricks also recognised their ever-growing number of advisors who are keen to build on their share of the opportunities presented by the corporate sector and today it forms a key component of the overall business. “We cover the spectrum – Medium to high end leisure, tours, cruises, group travel, conferences, entertainment, niche product, bespoke and experiential travel,” Karen says. Cruising has become an area that MTA excelsin, with access to some amazing offers and affiliations. Special Voyager Sailings on most of the high end cruise lines only available to select agencies. “The key to all, is understanding client’s needs, building a solid base and researching but always being flexible to move and change the business as we see things being needed to be changed.”

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Industry recognition for MTA has been strong with finals berths in the National Travel Industry Awards eight years running. MTA was also handpicked by Sir Richard Branson in 2007 as one of only eight Australian Accredited Space Agents for the Virgin supremo’s Virgin Galactic product, and is a proud member of an exclusive ‘invitation only’ global luxury product group being awarded the organisation’s ‘Top Producer Australia and New Zealand’ award. The company is also one of only a handful of Australian-based agency groups to be invited to become a member of the Orient Express Bellini Club and currently holds a seat on their advisory board. And the Merricks are always top of the contact list and regularly seen as first port of call for industry media seeking comment on issues affecting the retail sector. Adding to this and further underlining the respect with which the industry holds the company, MTA took a massive step ahead of its competition in mid-2015 following the demise of the Travel Compensation Fund with the launch of its unique, ironclad money back guarantee - Zero Flight Risk™. This industry leading client financial guarantee Zero Flight Risk™ guarantees any MTA client purchasing a travel product or service from one of its approved travel suppliers and can be rest assured MTA will guarantee their funds in the event of any of its suppliers becoming insolvent and unable to deliver the product or service.

A PICTURESQUE RESORT IN THE MALDIVES, WHICH ARE MADE UP OF MORE THAN 1,000 CORAL ISLANDS

While not a replacement for travel insurance, Zero Flight Risk™ certainly provides peace of mind to MTA clients. Zero Flight Risk™ is just one of a series of innovative products MTA continues to roll out, in the process keeping its 400-odd travel advisors firmly at the cutting edge of the latest developments in travel technology. These include the ‘MTA Companion, a new ‘Itinerary Builder’ and Travel App for all mobile devices which enables advisors to equip their clients with a suite of information building on the original itinerary – be that a dining experience en-route, a sightseeing opportunity, an event taking place or even the best place to shop if the client is looking for something specific. And just last April, the company rolled out a ‘Global Fares’ tool solution seen as a major game changer for the advisors’ ability to bring the best fares instantly to clients, in the profess placing them at the very forefront of the ever-developing travel technology landscape. So where do the Merricks and MTA go from here. The recent investment in MTA by Australia’s leading agency group Helloworld, the introduction of client financial guarantee Zero Flight Risk™, new IT support and developments, personal websites – the list is ever-growing as are the accruable benefits for MTA travel advisors and their clients.

GRAND CANAL AT SUNSET WITH SAN GIORGIO MAGGIORE CHURCH, VENICE, ITALY

“We know we provide much beyond the booking value, MTA advisors have personal connections and insider knowledge to offers that can’t be Googled or found online. “As we often say, you can’t VIP yourself. “Proof of this is the fact that ever more increasing numbers of clients are finding MTA travel advisors in a world where our expertise, knowledge, experience and after sales support is being valued by many more travellers. Summing up both Karen and Roy believe travel isn’t a commodity, it’s an experience... “And that is the very hallmark on which we have founded MTA.”

MTATRAVEL.COM.AU

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MTA MEMBERS - JAMES & NICOLA IRVING KUZUZANGPO LA (RESPECTED GREETINGS) FROM JAMES & NICOLA IRVING, OWNER/OPERATORS OF SPECIALIST TRAVEL COMPANY BHUTAN & BEYOND. A VISIT TO BHUTAN IS INDEED A GREAT PRIVILEGE.

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e still echo that sentiment after 16 visits in the last 15 years. Our returning clients preach a similar doctrine.

Putting a finger on what makes Bhutan so wonderfully special isn’t possible in a simple soundbite or two. There’s magic and mystery in this unique and delightful little Kingdom, which generously proffers a wealth of rich history & culture; none of it contrived. The Buddhist religion transcends to a ‘way of life’ and is all encompassing – offering the rest of humanity some positive lessons in faith and respect for all. We always marvel at the beautiful smiling, and often unwaveringly optimistic, people who just adore their homeland and the deities that protect and guide them through life. The much-loved Royal Family of the Wangchuck dynasty remains strongly connected with the people and is revered. Bhutan rewards visitors with its tantalising mix of easy access; instant immersion into its unique and charming culture, and scenery to delight even the most jaded senses. Personal safety is so high that single female travellers make up a sizeable percentage of international visitors. The descent into Paro Airport, winding along the Paro valley, is one of life’s great experiences and on a clear day you’ll spot Mt Everest 160 kms off to the left. Bhutan’s two national carriers, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines, both fly Airbus A319 Jets and both offer an excellent, and surprisingly inexpensive, business class product. There are daily flights from Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata &

Kathmandu & regular services from Singapore, Dhaka, Guwahati and Bagdogra. The entry visa process is possibly the easiest anywhere in the world and we surprisingly still battle to dispel the myth, purported by countless travel journos, that Bhutan only allows a limited number of entry visas per year. What rubbish; if we can reserve you a seat on a plane you’re in – and Bhutan & Beyond will make the rest happen for you! A delectable mix of upmarket lodges makes Bhutan a ‘must visit’ destination for the discerning traveller. The heady mix of very intimate luxury, unique culture & delightfully friendly people, combined with scenic beauty and remoteness is simply spellbinding. Luxury supremo Aman Resorts have five sensational lodges in the five key valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Phobjikha & Bumthang; boutique hotelier COMO have two wonderful Uma COMO resort lodges in Paro & Punakha; the relatively new Gangtey Lodge in Phobjikha continues to impress and there are new entrants on the horizon in the form of Six Senses, amongst others. Be forewarned, many of these lodges only have between 8-14 rooms and booking well in advance in the peak season months is essential. Talk to James & Nicola at Bhutan & Beyond for the perfect bespoke Bhutan experience. F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

JAMES IRVING, BHUTAN & BEYOND P: +61 (07) 5525 2845 M: +61 412 416 111 james@bhutan.com.au | bhutan.com.au

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EXPERIENCE ALL THE EXTRAS

American Airlines and the Flight Symbol logo are marks of American Airlines, Inc. oneworld is a mark of the oneworld Alliance, LLC. © 2017 American Airlines, Inc. All rights reserved.

PREMIUM ECONOMY THE AMERICAN WAY


C L A S S I C T R A V E L L E R | M TA - M O B I L E T R A V E L A G E N T S

MTA MEMBER - ALLY KILPIN

A

lly Kilpin embodies the drive and vision that compelled Roy and Karen Merricks to create Australia’s first truly home-grown and homebased mobile travel agency in 2000.

Before she joined MTA, as one of the Merricks’ earliest ‘recruits’, Ally was already an extremely accomplished international travel consultant; accruing years of premium operational experience in both the United Kingdom and South Africa before returning home to Australia. “The timing was perfect,” Ally says, “Roy and Karen were the ‘new kids on the block’, having just launched their home-based travel consultancy business. Their vision for this new business model was incredibly bold, they were also extremely easy-going people and I immediately warmed to them. Roy and Karen gave very clear answers to every question I asked,” she says. “I loved their transparency, I liked their energy and of course I was very excited by the potential this new venture offered – so I went for it, it was the right fit!” Ally increasingly appreciated the advantages of her working lifestyle. “Being based at home has the obvious benefit of not wasting time sitting in the daily traffic chaos that we unfortunately have no alternative but to accept Ally said. “Instead of getting frustrated and stressed on the way to work, I found myself heading off for an early morning surf, can it get any better than that? The flexibility to work at any time allowed me so many special moments with my son while he was a baby. Two years later I thankfully could also share similar special times with my daughter Riley.” Rapid business growth over the years meant increased management responsibilities had begun to encroach on Ally’s travel advising time. “I knew I had to resolve this, the solution was closer than I thought – my husband Nick, was working for an advertising agency at the time.” Having Nick manage the non-client elements of her

business made a huge difference and allowed Ally to concentrate on what she is best at and enjoys most – travel advising. With Nick’s support, coupled with the 42-enthusiastic head office team Roy and Karen have assembled on the Gold Coast, Ally’s business has blossomed. In addition to satisfying the demanding needs of the busy corporate traveller. She operates a boutique, highly personalised service to a very select and diverse clientele – from a world-famous author and professional athletes to business leaders and some of the country’s top financiers. Ally even managed the worldwide travel requirements for the legendary Australian rock band INXS while on tour for several years. Much more than just a planner, Ally creates unforgettable moments for her clients. By having the means and contacts available, gives Ally great satisfaction in creating unique and extraordinary trips for her clients. “Succeeding in your own business is rewarding, to be able to enjoy so much quality time as a family and always being available for our two growing kids has been priceless. It has to be one of the greatest positives of our working lifestyle. Since I signed with MTA it has been a wonderful professional and personal adventure. I’m very proud to have reached their ‘Platinum’ status. Of course, Nick and I couldn’t have done this without Roy and Karen’s amazing vision and the MTA team. They have given us the opportunity to work from home and have provided us with an incredible, continually evolving platform of reliable support enabling us to truly live our dream. I am so glad I made the decision to join MTA all those years ago.” F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

ALLY KILPIN, MTA P: +61 (0)2 9939 8333 M: +61 410 611 164 akilpin@mtatravel.com.au | mtatravel.com.au/akilpin

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B E YLimitsO N D T H E

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W EL L N E S S

CO M PA N Y


C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | T E C H N O G Y M

SPENDING TIME ON THE BEST QUALITY TREADMILLS, BIKES AND ELLIPTICAL TRAINERS MAY LEAD YOU TO THINK THAT GYMS COULDN’T GET ANY BETTER, BUT THAT’S FAR FROM THE TRUTH.

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he health and f itness industry, now worth some $80 billion, has cemented itself into our way of life, whether we’re working to defeat that ever-present bulge, clip a few kilos off the waistline or develop a rock-solid set of abs and pectorals. In this age, it’s imperative that we dedicate at least 40 minutes a day to exercise, as well as address our harmful eating habits, in order to avoid diabetes, obesity and other weight-related conditions. Now, when one thinks of Italy, they usually find their head swirling with images of red-hot Ferraris and cuttingedge fashion shows, or salivating over the idea of a plateful of aromatic, freshly made pasta flecked with olive oil and herbs. And yet rarely does Italy conjure images of state-of-the-art exercise and training equipment, like that offered by Technogym. Technogym was invented in 1983 by Nerio Alessandri in Italy. What began as an expression of his passion for sport and design for the 22-year-old Alessandri has since become one of the world’s leading exercise and wellness brands, combining technology, art and design. Nestled in the quaint town of Cesena in northern Italy, some 45 minutes from Bologna, is the Technogym global headquarters. Here, the company has developed the world’s first Wellness Village, where over 30,000 annual visitors experience the best in health, fitness and wellbeing.

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TECHNOGYM STAFF CANTEEN

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DESPITE ITS SIZE AND SCALE, HOWEVER, THE ORIGINS OF THE TECHNOGYM BRAND ARE FAR MORE MODEST.

Passionate about our health and having maintained a daily exercise routine for some 25 years – whether on the treadmill, bike or kinesis equipment – Danielle and I know what’s out there and are huge supporters of the Technogym brand. During a recent trip to Italy, we had the opportunity to visit their newly opened flagship retail store in Milan before heading onto Cesena, where we were stunned by the magnitude of the Wellness Village. Despite its size and scale, however, the origins of the Technogym brand are far more modest. With the help of his brother and driven by his motivation to promote the correct workout techniques, Alessandri began to design the first pieces of exercise equipment in his garage, which inspired success and interest throughout the fast-growing industry. It would be impossible to describe the entire range in this article, so I implore you to visit www.technogym.com to learn more about each remarkable piece of equipment. During our 48 hours in Cesena, Danielle and I had the opportunity to experience a two-hour workout with David, one of the Technogym Master Trainers, and boy, what a brutal couple of hours it was! A world-class athlete in her own right, Danielle was simply amazed by David’s level of knowledge and the quality and variety provided by Technogym. T H E C L A S S I C C U L T U R A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 8 | 331


We’ve been particularly aware of the prominent role wellness and exercise has assumed in the hospitality field; nowadays, we only choose hotels that provide a well-equipped gym – if it’s Technogym, that’s a real bonus. We’ve long been advocates of both healthy lifestyles and dedication to exercise while travelling, encouraging business and leisure travellers to establish a mandatory daily workout. As the ultimate accolade, Technogym has been the preferred equipment supplier of the last six Olympic Games, proof that its equipment quality and philosophy is the first choice for the world’s best athletes. With over 2,000 global staff, we managed to join the 1,000 in-house staff for lunch in the Technogym headquarters. All Technogym staff enjoy a two-hour lunch and workout break from 12.00pm to 2.00pm every shift, and have access to a fabulous healthy lunch in the staff restaurant for just one euro. As a side note, I wouldn’t suggest arranging a meeting within the lunch and workout time, as you may be kept waiting. Travelling the way we do, I’m excited to see that most hotels are now installing Technogym from the outset, while many other properties are making the switch to the company’s equipment. So, when you’re next looking online for a hotel, check out the Gym/Spa page on each property’s website and make sure they provide Technogym.

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

TECHNOGYM Cesena FC, Italy | technogym.com

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STRENGTH STRENGTH BECOMES BECOMES STYLE STYLE

POWER PERSONAL POWER PERSONAL DESIGNED BY ANTONIO CITERRIO DESIGNED BY ANTONIO CITERRIO

Power Personal, the new designer solution for strength training, offers over 300 exercises Power Personal, the new designer solution for strength training, offers over 300 exercises combining professional performance and a unique style. Power Personal completes the Personal combining professional performance and a unique style. Power Personal completes the Personal Line - the original collection combining all of Technogym’s thirty years development experience Line - the original collection combining all of Technogym’s thirty years development experience and the design concepts by Antonio Citterio. Empower your style by visiting: technogym.com and the design concepts by Antonio Citterio. Empower your style by visiting: technogym.com


GIVING BACK:

JUDY DAVIS GETS INTO REHEARSALS AT NIDA

T

he National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) is one of Australia’s premiere learning centres for the performing arts. Ever since it opened its doors nearly 60 years ago in 1958, its graduates have been continually recognised for their contribution to the success and vibrancy of the Australian and international entertainment industries. Some of Australia’s famous household names have graduated from NIDA. Cate Blanchett, Baz Luhrmann, Mel Gibson, Catherine Martin, Jessica Marais, and Sam Worthington (to name but a few) all began their careers there as students and went on to achieve international and award-winning acclaim for their work. You can imagine the excitement in the rehearsal room when one of Australia’s leading actor/directors and renowned NIDA alumnus, Judy Davis, came to direct a student production of Dennis Kelly’s play Love and Money. NIDA’s final year Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) students were given the unique opportunity to work closely with the famous actor on the piece across rehearsals and seven performances last June. Judy graduated from NIDA in 1977, where she once starred alongside Mel Gibson in a student play production of Louis Esson’s Mother and Son. Just two years later, she burst onto the scene with Gillian Armstrong’s My Brilliant Career, for which she won two BAFTAs for Best Actress and Most Promising Newcomer. Since then, Judy has had a stellar career as a multiple award-winning actor and director which has seen her twice nominated for an Academy Award, and the winner of three Emmy Awards, eight AACTAs and two Golden Globes amongst many others. Most people will recognise her entrancing audiences in films such as A Passage to India, High Tide and Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives. Her directing credits are also impressive, and it is this skill that she brought to NIDA’s young students. Her support for NIDA is a wonderful way to inspire the next generation of emerging artists with her vast experience, skills and talent. “It’s such an inspiring moment when NIDA alumni come back into the rehearsal room,” said NIDA Director/CEO Kate Cherry. “We were incredibly proud to have Judy Davis working with and directing our students – it was such a generous thing for her to do. She knows exactly how it feels to be at this stage of the journey as a developing artist – and our students can see that there is a bright and fulfilling career ahead of them. Judy’s experience is invaluable and provides a real sense of connection to the industry.” The play Love and Money is about a young couple’s desperate attempts to navigate the world. The production featured students from courses across the breadth of NIDA’s many performance and non-performance disciplines. NIDA student Nikita Waldron played the characters Val and Debbie in Love and Money. “When Judy met us she was instantly warm and level, with zero ego. She treated us with a lot of respect and was a very generous person,” she said. “She had the most beautiful laugh and it was so loud and infectious. She is a wonderful storyteller and we heard some of her incredible stories. I was in awe,” she added.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | N I DA

JUDY DAVIS AND MEL GIBSON 1977

A common passion for what NIDA stands for created strong foundations for their work together. “It was so nice to have someone in the room who understood what NIDA is about and what we’re trying to do, and who used that knowledge to approach you in the rehearsal room,” commented student Vaishnavi Suryaprakash, who played Jess. “We all recognised that Judy had the insight and understanding of what happens in this building, which means that – and this could be said about all graduates that return to NIDA to direct – there isn’t that big separation from what’s in the institution and what’s out there in the industry,” added Dalara Williams, who played the Mother. In this production, NIDA used minimal staging and utilised a large LED screen as the background, enabling the design students to focus on screen and imaging technology. “Technology continues to play an increasingly important role in the learning of our students – as demonstrated by our significant new partnership with Canon Australia,” said Cherry.

IT WAS SO NICE TO HAVE SOMEONE IN THE ROOM WHO UNDERSTOOD WHAT NIDA IS ABOUT AND WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO DO, AND WHO USED THAT KNOWLEDGE TO APPROACH YOU IN THE REHEARSAL ROOM

Judy gave the actors a freedom to fly on their own, empowering the young actors to find their own voice and methods. “From the get-go, Judy was incredibly open to whichever way we wanted to develop our characters,” said Nikita. “At one point I asked her, “Am I allowed to do this?” And she said “You can do what you want, it’s your process, you’re the artist.” She gave me the strength to trust my instincts.

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Lounging

A R O U N D WORDS

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N I C O L E L E N O I R -J O U R D A N


C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | O S S I E R B E L L E

OLIVER GEORGE WOMBLE

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enny Camplisson, owner and designer of Osier Belle has just opened a new headquarters in an exclusive Neutral Bay address. As she takes me through a wonderland of fabrics and weaves, she moves closer and tells me about what’s hot, “This season is about rusts, retro and a lot of texture and so is ‘Osier Belle’. Also hot are greys, and newly devised weaving patterns.”

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“Our furniture offers statement pieces that create wow factor: settings that mix timber with other materials in a clever, unique way, furniture that is custom designed to always look WOW.” There are many aspects that set Osier Belle apart, one is the exclusive light grey hyacinth wicker which looks natural but is actually synthetic and perfect for coping with the elements of outdoor living. This compliments the Australian grey phase with our current love for charcoal and grey exterior paint. Then Osier Belle adds the luxurious fabrics from the US and Australia to allow the cushion colours to pop in an expression of personality. Hanging in the newly launched Neutral Bay store is the Osier Belle unique ‘Hanging Hug’. It’s a suspended open lounge you can just fall into, built for two or three, although, as with anything at Osier Belle, it can be made to size whether for your home or at a luxury retreat. Osier Belle opened in Australia in 2010 and Penny opened her own factory in Indonesia after months finessing her designs. The factory in Indonesian employs a management team of twenty and another fifty weavers, welders, and seamstresses. Penny’s direction to the factory has been to “take your time, make with love and care, don’t compromise, and don’t cut corners.” She said to her workers, “ Let’s make these new designs stunning, beautiful and of excellent quality, all whilst being functional and truly being outdoor furniture.” The factory is a welcoming place which provides refreshments and music ensuring the environment is one that’s enjoyable and respectful resulting in the making of beautiful furniture through workers that are happy, valued and comfortable. Many of the skilled weavers are women based at home with their children so Penny has organised to make the frames in the factory and deliver them to the mothers in their homes where they weave without pressure or stress (or cost for childcare). Osier Belle do not use cheap labour nor exploit their workers and that in the quality of the workmanship. Osier Belle makes custom designed furniture for those who want a statement, a point of difference, something that truly reflects personality and lifestyle. Penny provides complimentary consultations, giving ideas and advice. She styles potential layouts and ideas, giving options and suggestions to maximise the use of that space, answering the needs for that area, for that person or family. Every visit is different and needs a bespoke plan. And, because Osier Belle has their own factory, turnover time to provide is significantly better than their competitors.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | O S S I E R B E L L E

OUR FURNITURE IS NOT DESIGNED USING COMPUTERS NOR MECHANICALLY MADE FROM TECHNICAL DRAWINGS.

They can make and deliver customised furniture to customers within 10 weeks and also offer complimentary rental furniture in the interim if needed. “Our furniture is not designed using computers nor mechanically made from technical drawings,” she says. Each design is created by Penny Camplisson who takes it to Indonesia with her drawings and starts the process by manually bending aluminium to create the shape, re-addressing for look, feel, comfort, discussing the strength, practicality and manufacturing challenges. “Each angle, curve takes time and, once we get it right, we create our template for that design from that sample, organically created from bare hands, love and consideration. That’s what makes our furniture different and so tactile.

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The curves and shapes are made with so much consideration. The cushion fabrics, shapes and finishes are tediously thought through, right down to the straps and unique ties for character, practical solution and design signature.” She says.

Osier Belle’s clients come from Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns. They have completed a substantial order for a Fijian resort, a cruise liner and for the Viro owner himself (he said they have the best weavers and quality of finish to portray his product).

EXAMPLE OF WORKING WITH CUSTOMERS:

The Osier Belle showroom is a true retail destination experience. The enchantment starts as you enter the doors with suspended furniture, whirlpools of water, reflecting onto beautiful stone penny tiles sourced in Indonesia (on the back of a motorbike driving the back streets!). The idea was to create a place full of aspiration, unique ideas, tactile furniture that exudes quality and indulgence.

Extreme Weather design – this idea was created after visiting a customer who lives on the penthouse level in a stunning apartment overlooking Manly, Queenscliff and Freshwater. Their views and outdoor space are incredible but very vulnerable from the gale winds. Not to be defeated, Penny designed a solution. She made the Frappant modules with a woven channel in each base so customized sand bags (made in their protective cover fabric) could be filled and put into the bases of the modules. This means the modules are weighted down and will not move, but can be easily moved when the customer needs to relocate the furniture. They also modified the cushions so straps went through the base and the back of the cushion, securing the base and back cushions in place so they would not blow away. Velcro added so they can easily be removed for cleaning. A simple idea but has worked for many customers.

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

OSIER BELLE 24 Grosvenor Street, Neutral Bay | osierbelle.com.au

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Hyatt R egency

C H U R C H I L L

BY 6.30AM ON MY BIRTHDAY – 22 JANUARY – LONDON HADN’T LET ME DOWN. WITH THE DRIZZLE, MIST AND THREAT OF SNOW, LONDON AT -6 DEGREES CELSIUS IS THE LONDON I LOVE.

I

n my view, you haven’t lived until you’ve sat across from an open fireplace in Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, with a full English breakfast of poached eggs, Cumberland sausages and crispy bacon topped with grilled tomato.

Loaded with authentic British charm, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill offers a quintessential stay in London’s West End. Designed to honour Sir Winston Churchill, the hotel features bespoke tailoring, refined décor and subtle nods to his life and legacy. Guests here can shop on Oxford Street, stroll through Hyde Park and discover the classic architecture of Marylebone Village during their stay. This particular trip to London began when I boarded the BA 16, London via Singapore. Once settled into my seat I wasted no time in exploring the selection of movies and decided what work I would undertake. It’s imperative to prepare for a long haul flight days before departing; many people take their normal health for granted and wonder why their body begins rejecting things after a long flight. On arrival at 4.35am in Heathrow Airport, I was straight onto the Heathrow Express – a short cab ride from Paddington to The Churchill. Sometimes it’s a risk arriving so early because your room mightn’t be ready. But, touch wood, no hotel has ever let me down. To combat the possibility of jetlag, I completed check-in quickly and headed straight to the gym for a one-hour workout. After boosting my energy, I had a hot shower and finally took a seat in the lounge and got acquainted with my English breakfast – the perfect way to prepare for my first meeting of the day.

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The Churchill is a spectacular property located in Portman Square, just a few kilometres from the famed home of cricket, Lord’s Cricket Ground. My first meeting was with cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who’s often regarded as the greatest batsman of all time. Together we worked through the final details of his global brand launch, which was to take place in Mumbai one week later. Over the past five years I have staged several memorable, bespoke events at The Churchill. In partnership with the Hyatt, I put together the retirement event for former Aussie cricket captain Michael Clarke, as well as a UK brand launch with Spartan International. Both brilliant events made use of the famed Churchill Bar & Terrace and the classy Churchill ballroom, respectively. Following a recent refurbishment, the hotel now boasts several new meeting spaces, spacious suites and some of London’s best cocktails in the exquisite terrace. One can easily lose themselves here, surrounded by style, drinking hot chocolate as the snow falls outside. Located near Hyde Park, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill is the ideal location for visitors wanting to discover the sights and scenes of London. Guests can tour the National Gallery, attend a show at London Palladium, shop on Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street, or enjoy the many boutiques and cafés in Marylebone Village. At Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, you’re only moments away from all the action. The hotel has also refurbished the rooms with tastefully appointed artwork, beautiful colour schemes and textures throughout, cloud-like beds and bathrooms equipped with automated toilet seats and soft, oversized towels.


C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | LO N D O N

To return to the entrance: at the very moment you step into The Churchill, you know you’ve made the right choice. The concierge team, who don top hats and tails, have your bags tagged and whipped up to the room before you know it, while the concierge desk makes sure you have everything you need. You don’t need to leave Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill to experience thoughtfully sourced cuisine and great cocktails in London’s West End. Savour idyllic Portman Square views from The Montagu as you sit down to a traditional afternoon tea or delicious farm-to-table fare. The Chef ’s Table, located in The Montagu, offers an open-kitchen dining concept that gives diners a front-row seat to the action. With an award-winning menu and heated outdoor terrace, The Churchill Bar & Terrace is the perfect place to unwind with a creative cocktails and light bites in a chic setting. While you’re in the West End, dine on delicious Italian fare at Locanda Locatelli, a Michelin-starred restaurant located in the hotel. The Montague hosts a vibrant, open show-kitchen, a Chef ’s Table for six and a relaxing dining room, crisp with white tablecloths, that fits 75 people. The typically ‘Hyatt’ menu, which entails as much local produce as possible, includes a small yet imaginative selection of seafood, including Dover sole and trout paired with lamb, brilliant pasta dishes and plenty of vegetarian options. I’ve found rooms in the UK to be somewhat small, though certainly not at The Churchill. Each of the beautifully appointed rooms and suites presents a real sense of class, emphasized through the fine fabrics and soft furnishings.

THE LEVEL OF SERVICE AT THE CHURCHILL IS SECOND TO NONE WITH ITS TEAM OF ATTENTIVE AND EXPERIENCED CONCIERGE, AND A CAB RANK SITUATED JUST OUTSIDE TO WHIZZ YOU OFF TO THE NEXT MEETING OR YOUR LAST-MINUTE DEPARTURE.

The level of service at The Churchill is second to none with its team of attentive and experienced concierge, and a cab rank situated just outside to whizz you off to the next meeting or your last-minute departure. My favourite part of Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill is the Regency Lounge. For a few extra quid per night, guests can access the lounge’s executive level, which includes daily breakfast and happy hour, while morning and afternoon tea are also available. It’s the ideal space for private meetings. I always advise that one should choose a hotel that is well positioned. The Churchill certainly ticks that box in London.

F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

HYATT REGENCY LONDON - THE CHURCHILL London, England | londonchurchill.regency.hyatt.com

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BONNIE DOON K I N G

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O F

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eritage, history and experience cannot be easily acquired or simply bought, it takes, in most cases, a lifetime.

As an industry full of pomp and ceremony and lets not forget tradition, golf is one discipline that will test the metal in the best of us.

With some 20 years entrenched with the above challengers, I have been tested at many golf courses, from the money can’t buy Cascata course in Vegas, to the whistling coastlines of Turnberry. What really makes the experience at any course memorable is the attention to detail and the service from its gatekeepers. We have been fortunate enough to have been given full access to the wonderful Bonnie Doon Golf Club in Sydney and over the past 10 years we have staged many tournaments, charity events and corporate days and each year we walk away with that same utterance, “we must do that again”, and we do. Over the years, Bonnie Doon has ensured that the course is always kept in mint condition with subtle changes being implemented to enhance and never hinder the experience, but the thing that I am most impressed with is the relaxed yet professional way the team, headed up by Blake Ballinger, runs the club and its events day to day and the welcoming nature of its members. So when your next looking for a new challenge or a venue for your next corporate event, I promise, they will become your new best friends, call BDGC General Manager Murray Watts.

ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S MOST INFLUENTIAL GOLF CLUBS One of Australia’s most influential golf clubs began with an assembly of ‘golf mad cranks’ at the home of Marrickville Doctor Charles Adam Patrick in 1897. Now, more than a century later, it is a club with a host of traditions, the third-oldest in Sydney, and unique in that it has existed at three different sites. Under its original name of Marrickville Golf Club, it was a 12hole course amid what were then the estates and grand homes that dotted the hills of Tempe. One of these was the notorious ‘cliff hole’, which required a lofted iron shot to carry up the rocky face of a 15-metre cliff. Membership at Tempe was restricted to men, of whom many were bookmakers, jockeys and hoteliers Subscriptions were all of 10/6, or just $1.05 a year. The club moved to a new site at Arncliffe in 1907, also prompting a change in name. Bonnie Doon was the title of the grazing property the club purchased - land included in Cook’s original charter of Botany Bay - and that was the name chosen by a majority of members.

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G R EEN S


C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | B O N N I E D O O N

Now the club boasted an 18-hole course and a grand homestead for its clubhouse. The membership was opened up, and even ladies were allowed to play - with certain restrictions. Following World War II, expansion plans for Mascot aerodrome included land occupied by 13 of Bonnie Doon’s 18 holes. Members again picked up their clubs, this time moving to the present site at Pagewood. Taking over the much younger New Metropolitan Golf Club in 1947, Bonnie Doon’s 850 members now played on a pure links-style course of wide fairways and natural hazards, carved out of sandy heath and banksia scrub. In the years since, the nature of the course has changed, the membership has grown and facilities have developed to bring the club up to Group One standard. But the character of ‘The Doon’ has remained - first and foremost, a golfer’s club. Recent work on the new trophy cabinet has lead to the discovery of some historic trophies. Tom Howard was Club Champion in 1913 then again continuously from 1915 to 1921. This run of form set a record at the time for 8 Club Championships (7 consecutive), the most won by one person in the Club’s history. Greg Bell was later to break this record with 11 wins to date.

IN THE YEARS SINCE, THE NATURE OF THE COURSE HAS CHANGED, THE MEMBERSHIP HAS GROWN AND FACILITIES HAVE DEVELOPED TO BRING THE CLUB UP TO GROUP ONE STANDARD. BUT THE CHARACTER OF ‘THE DOON’ HAS REMAINED - FIRST AND FOREMOST, A GOLFER’S CLUB.

In 1920, the Australian Open was played at The Australian GC which played host to 27 players for the tournament. Tom won the best Amateur trophy with a total 311 in fifth place behind the winner Joe Kirkwood (290) and the likes of Dan Soutar (295) and Fred Popplewell (302). He kindly presented his trophy to his home club, Bonnie Doon GC. The next year (1921) saw Tom defeat Ivo Whitton, Eric Apperly and Eric Pope to win the NSW Amateur at Royal Sydney. In January 1922, TE Howard left the amateur ranks and turned professional to take his first post as Club Professional at Concord GC. In August 1923, Tom finally succeeded at Royal Adelaide winning the Australian Open by 3 shots against a field including Ivo Whitton, Fred Popplewell and Eric Apperly.

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Hyatt

REGENCY

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA’S UNOFFICIAL CAPITAL, HAS LONG STRIVED FOR RECOGNITION AS A GLOBAL BUSINESS MEETING DESTINATION – WITH THE WORLD’S BEST HARBOUR, ENVIABLE WEATHER AND BRILLIANT LOCAL LIFESTYLE, IT CAN’T BE FAR OFF.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | S Y D N E Y

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ntil recently, the newly launched Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour needed a world-class hotel to match – a hotel brand that could handle the centre’s growth and reflect true corporate connectivity. Luckily for business and leisure travellers, Hyatt Regency Sydney on Sussex Street has filled that gap.

Boasting a 270-million-dollar refurbishment and the largest inclusions of any hotel in the country, this 892room hospitality giant is fast becoming the jewel in Sydney’s corporate crown – it was recently named Australia’s Number One meetings and conference hotel. When we arrived to Sydney from Los Angeles, Danielle and I were excited to see what all the fuss was about. As the QF 12 dipped its wing on the final descent, the sun shimmered over Darling Harbour and danced off the Hyatt Regency Sydney building.

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A short cab ride delivered us to 161 Sussex Street, where we’d booked a Regency Club room. We bypassed reception and headed straight to the Regency Club check-in, a workout and early breakfast. We got our blood flowing at the spacious 24/7 fitness centre, which boasts a cardio gym and separate weights room. We enjoyed 30 minutes of yoga, a 60-minute bike ride and a warm down before heading to the Regency Club Lounge for breakfast. The hotel’s beautiful contemporary lounge teams its uninterrupted city views with a fantastic breakfast menu, all day refreshments, ideal meeting spaces and a private 20-seat dining room. At breakfast, it was refreshing to see a host of healthy choices, as well as the hotel’s live cooking station, where our fluffy ham, cheese and tomato omelettes were prepared. We paired this with a Vittoria coffee – our first since being home. The lounge also provides the ultimate meeting place for a sunset happy hour – there’s nothing like a few snacks and a glass of good wine before heading to dinner. It wasn’t, however, until General Manager Malcolm Zancanaro invited us to level 12 that we truly absorbed the hotel’s style. Here we entered Zephyr, the Hyatt’s stylish sky-high bar wrapped in magnificent urban, harbour and Anzac Bridge views – a truly breathtaking location. Inspired by the style and feel of a luxury ocean liner, the bar’s interior boasts cosy lounges, plenty of timber and a sweeping bar that delivers Sydney’s best espresso martini. Sunset sessions at Zephyr are bound to hypnotise, as guests lose themselves within the bar’s sophisticated sound track and the western sky’s display of melting pink and gold.

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C L A S S I C T R AV E L L E R | S Y D N E Y

MALCOLM ZANCANARO, GENERAL MANAGER HYATT REGENCY SYDNEY MALCOLM ZANCANARO’S CAREER WITH HYATT HOTELS SPANS 25 YEARS. HAVING STARTED AT HYATT KINGSGATE SYDNEY IN 1991 MALCOLM HAS WORKED IN NUMEROUS PROPERTIES THROUGHOUT AUSTRALIA INCLUDING SANCTUARY COVE, MELBOURNE AND PERTH. IN 2004 MALCOLM JOINED GRAND HYATT SHANGHAI AS EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT MANAGER - FOOD AND BEVERAGE AND IN JANUARY 2008 MOVED TO THE DIVISIONAL OFFICE IN HONG KONG AS DIRECTOR OF FOOD AND BEVERAGE - ASIA PACIFIC BEFORE TAKING UP A ROLE AS HOTEL MANAGER IN GRAND HYATT BEIJING IN JULY 2009. IN JANUARY 2010 MALCOLM WAS APPOINTED GENERAL MANAGER, HYATT REGENCY QINGDAO AND OVERSAW THE HOTELS OPENING. IN AUGUST 2011 HE RETURNED TO GRAND HYATT BEIJING AS GENERAL MANAGER WHERE HE SPENT THE LAST FIVE YEARS BEFORE TAKING UP THE POSITION OF GENERAL MANAGER, HYATT REGENCY SYDNEY IN AUGUST 2016.

I met here with the Vittoria Coffee team and cricket great Chris Gayle, with all whom I enjoyed a night of tapas and endless signature espresso martinis. Hyatt Regency Sydney rooms combine amazing views, contemporary finishes and those trademark Hyatt beds that call for endless sleep-ins. One of the property’s highlights is its capacity to host meetings and events of all sizes, be it a wedding, product launch, boardroom lunch or a delegate forum for 1200 people. Among some 3700 square metres of state-of-the-art event space, the Hyatt offers 21 meeting rooms equipped with multiple electrical, microphone and phone outlets, in-house audio-visual services and wireless high-speed internet. A leading wedding option in Sydney, the two ballrooms can seat more than 800 people each, while most spaces enjoy panoramic Sydney views. During a leisurely lunch as guests at the annual Rugby League Grand Final Luncheon, Danielle and I admired the menu’s exceptional quality; preparing perfectly seared tuna and rib-eye steaks during a service of 600 diners is no easy feat! Hyatt Regency Sydney is beautifully positioned, just 200 metres from the city centre, the Darling Harbour precinct, the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and the Sydney Maritime Museum. Directly outside the hotel is a taxi rank for those returning home from a night at Zephyr, and a 24-hour car park for those arriving by car. It’s said that the Hyatt has hosted Tina Arena during her recent national tour, the Barmy Army during the summer of cricket, and the cast and crew of the smash-hit Broadway musical, Kinky Boots. In fact, I hosted The Gallery opening with Tina Arena, who was celebrating her sold-out 2017 national concert tour.

Golf fans staying at Hyatt Regency Sydney enjoy direct access to the Bonnie Doon Golf Club, which includes equipment hire. Meanwhile, Canon Australia holds photographic journeys around the Sydney foreshore and photography master classes on the weekends. The hotel’s ground floor doubles as a Canon photo gallery. The icing on Hyatt Regency Sydney’s cake is the magnificent 100-foot cruiser MY Seven Star docked out the front at Cockle Bay Wharf, waiting to take you and 50 close friends on a luxury harbour cruise. Ask the concierge for details. Sailmaker restaurant offers mesmerising views, excellent daily buffets and an extensive a la carte lunch and dinner menu within a ‘classically Sydney’ atmosphere. I would especially recommend the wonton noodle soup. ‘Hyatt hopping’ between Sydney, Dubai and London ensures the same Hyatt comfort and experience in each distinct setting. After finishing our Sydney meetings we usually head to the Qantas Lounge, spend two nights at the Grand Hyatt Singapore and then fly to London to stay at the fabulous Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill at Portman Square. A premium, waterside retreat located in Sydney’s CBD by Darling Harbour, Hyatt Regency Sydney is a haven of relaxation for business and leisure travellers. Sydney’s largest premium hotel. – with 892 rooms, multiple dining concepts and 3,700 square metres of meeting and event space – we encourage you to enjoy an unparalleled Australian getaway at the Hyatt. F U R T H E R I N F O R M AT I O N

HYATT REGENCY SYDNEY Sydney, Australia | sydney.regency.hyatt.com

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