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Inside

Platinum Club

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Trailblazer Golf has over the past few years acquired a loyal fan following in Oman, although it is not a mainstream sport here yet. Awareness and interest in the sport has been seeing a steady increase especially as a result of the various golf courses that are up and functioning now

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Advertorial Waking up to the view of lush greenery against the backdrop of the majestic Hajjar Mountains is a dream come true for many. Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club presents a select collection of apartments that can make the dream come true

Automobilia

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Business and Finance

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Entrepreneur Mae Ballout started the first day spa in Oman and revolutionized the spa culture with Ayana Spa back in 2004. The entrepreneur shares all about her journey over the years

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Exclusive The Luxury Forum held in Dubai brought together

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some of the luxury industry’s top names to discuss and understand about the luxury market in the international arena as well as the Middle East

Etiquette A gentleman’s game, golf is rooted in qualities like integrity, dedication and honesty. It is imperative to follow the rules of the game, which are often unwritten Advertorial It’s back and it’s bigger. Muscat Festival 2011 promises new shows, famous personalities and new experiences. A sneak peek into the much-awaited event of the year

January 2011

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First Look MINI Countryman, the revolutionary four-door automotive from the popular brand is creating ripples in the auto world. Spacious, contemporary and agile, the Countryman is a great new creation by MINI Drive Volkswagen’s new 2011 Touareg showed off its prowess on a trip to Jebel Akhdar. A true on and off road companion, the 4WD does not fail to impress

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RIDE The 2nd Hajjar Rally was recently held in Sohar that witnessed Harley bikers take to the roads with gusto. Bikers enjoyed two days of action packed activities which included rides, games and much more


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Art and Design

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Impressions Forty artists got together to present their mesmerising art works where the canvas was acrylic Oryx. The traveling Oryx Caravan is part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Al Said

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Architecture Ferrari World Abu Dhabi offers a thrilling brand experience like no other, a multi-sensory celebration of a design icon. Mike Lewis of Benoy ***** gives a detailed description on its architectural feat

Gourmet & Hospitality

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review Tokyo Taro in Al Falaj Hotel has been offering authentic Japanese cuisine; coupled with impeccable ambience and top class chefs for the past 25 years. The experience is not only unique but a memorable one as food is prepared and served straight from the heart

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Golf Special Putting on a green course in the desert might have been a dream more than two decades ago but today the region is home to top golf courses. A look at some of the best golf courses in GCC

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Lounge Books not be missed this month - William and Kate: A Royal Love Story by Christopher Andersen and The Guinness World Records Gamers Edition 2011 by Brady Games Staff and Guinness World Records Editors

Style and Beauty

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Fashion Classic meets eco-friendly in the new Spring/ Summer 2011 collection from H&M

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Showcase Girard-Perregaux is one of the few authentic Swiss watch making manufacturers who specialises in a comprehensive approach to design. Launched by Khimji’s Watches, watch aficionados can now find some of those exquisite collections at the showroom now.

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Melange

Travel and Lifestyle

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Culinaire Shangri-la’ Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is hosting three exemplary chefs from the renowned French restaurant, Lasserre known for its rich gourmet history

Destination Princely cities Jaipur and Jodhpur are visitor’s delights. Among their many famed attractions are the breathtaking palaces in both cities

luxury

Simply Musts A selection of the finest buys for connoisseurs of

My View Bebhinn Kelly, renowned fashion blogger from UAE, presents her take on why business houses need to embrace online marketing January 2011

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Reflections Happy New Year! I was at a dinner recently where this gentleman remarked, “I feel this is going to be a special year.” A lovely thought to begin the new year with، especially if you are as convinced as the person mentioned. 2010 has been a rough year for many and there’s nothing like a new year to, although a cliché, ring out the old and ring in the new. We have done that in Crème de la Crème by introducing some new features in the magazine. To begin with we have sharpened the personality of the magazine by including a theme every month. This month we have turned to the game that is making headlines in the country – golf. More about that later. We tweaked the font and design a bit; we have in fact experimented different styles of layout. We will also bring you more stories from around the world with special emphasis on the region. For this is where the action is happening – personalities, companies and brands from the region are creating ripples in the international circuit and we will be bringing them to you through Crème de la Crème. And we just can’t wait! Back to the current issue. Crème de la Crème January 2011 is The Golf Issue. The gentleman’s game, as golf is often referred to, has been played in the country for almost 40 years. Yet, it is only with the arrival of green courses that the game has attained the popularity it enjoys today. Having said that, there is still a lot to be done in the field of golf in the country. Our lead story takes a look at the development of the game, especially with the arrival of green grass courses. Besides the various stories related to golf, there are interesting reports, city happenings and articles in this issue. One of our recommended reads is the article on the Palaces of Jaipur and Jodhpur (pg***). A thought provoking article by Dubai-based blogger, Bebhinn Kelly addresses the need for business houses to adopt internet marketing to achieve goals and be more successful (pg**). Do let us know your comments about the magazine – what you like and don’t’ like. Your opinions matter to us and keep us going. Have a great year and a lovely month!

Editor anne@sjsoman.com

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PRESENTED BY

Suite 20-21, Assarain House, Greater Muttrah, Muscat PO Box 2058, Ruwi, PC 112, Sultanate of Oman Tel.: +968 24789680, Fax: +968 24751019 Advertising & Sales Enquiries: +968 99822501 Subscriptions: +968 96781712 E-mail: helpdesk@sjsoman.com www.cremedelacremeoman.com

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Crew

January 2011 Vol - III Issue - 26

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ABDULLAH AL TAIE

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AUSTIN D’SILVA

PUBLISHER AL ROYA PRESS & PUBLISHING (SAOC)

EDITORIAL Editor ANNE KURIAN

DESIGN & PRODUCTION Art & Design NEIL VICENTE CASTILLO

HEAD - SALES & MARKETING BEATRIZ PEREIRA

Senior Writer MADHULIKA MOHTA

Senior Designer SEBASTINE SILUVAI

Features Writers SUDIPTA DASGUPTA LEELA NAIR

Web Design D. SHERWIN

International Correspondent VAILIA FERNANDES

EVENTS C. S. KUMAR SEEMA AL BALUSHI

PHOTOGRAPHER ELVIS FERRAO

SUBSCRIPTIONS ARUN DAS SHEIKHA AL HARTHY

DISCLAIMER

ADVERTISING Oman KALPANA D’SILVA NAVEED SHARIF UAE AUDREY ALMEIDA International RUPA FERNANDES BARRY COELHO

DISTRIBUTION ABDULLAH AL BALUSHI ZAHRA AL BALUSHI

All rights reserved. No part of Crème de la Crème or any part of the contents there of may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. The publishers regret they cannot accept liability for errors or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers

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PLEASE RECYCLE THIS MAGAZINE AFTER YOU HAVE ENJOYED READING IT


Platinum Club

Trailblazer w Etiquette w Advertorial January 2011

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Platinum Club

Trailblazer

Golf in the City 48

January 2011

The new year aspires to witness the development of Oman into a viable international golfing destination, attracting golfers from worldwide and hosting international quality golf tournaments, while stoking its popularity amongst the local golfing community, writes Priyanka Sacheti


The top quality and diverse nature of the golf courses being constructed is providing Oman with a great platform to really drive golf tourism forward very quickly

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ith several upcoming golf course projects in the offing and the notable greening of courses, Oman has witnessed a considerable increase in the number of golfers and enthusiasm towards the game; 2011 therefore aspires to witness the development of Oman into a viable international golfing destination, attracting golfers from worldwide and hosting international quality golf tournaments, while stoking its popularity amongst the local golfing community. The game has definitely received fresh impetus with the arrival of 18-hole grass courses in Muscat at Muscat Hills and recently opened grass course at Ghala Wentworth Club respectively; courses such as those at The Wave, Muscat, Malkai, Salam Yiti, and Murya at Salalah too will eventually add to the plethora of green options available to players. “Earlier, people used to be reluctant to take to the game upon encountering sand-courses; however, the green courses have now encouraged those players to return to the game,” says Salim al Harthy, Executive Vice Chairman, Oman Golf Committee (OGC), delineating the impact that the green courses have had on the golfing community in Oman. Well-known Muscat golf player, Tarun Kunzru concurs, adding that while the golfing community greatly enjoyed playing on the sand-courses, the arrival of the green courses has meant that the experience of golfing has improved many fold. “For golfers, it’s a quantum increase in quality of life in Oman and of course, it’s nice to have great options for playing different courses.” He adds that as the golfing January 2011

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Working closely with the Oman Golf Committee, Oman’s golf clubs/courses will certainly ensure that the game is accessible to all and by providing such quality facilities and services it will grow on every level - from those just starting out in the game playing for recreation to the National Team competing on a world stage

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community in Oman is small, a potential move could be to have a reciprocal system between the different clubs of at least once a week for the local resident members. “This has been the arrangement earlier with sand courses which fostered great interaction and friendship between golf club and players,” he says. Ladies captain at Ghala Wentworth, Sara Boyce meanwhile hopes that the arrival of the green courses will attract both those unaccustomed to playing on sand courses as well as learners. Apart from the huge expatriate community patronising the game, Salim al Harthy says that Omanis too are trying it out, perceiving it as a relaxing game. He also states that the OGC is also very intent upon encouraging the youngsters to pick up and become involved in the game. “I think it’s a very good sport for youngsters to pursue; golf is one of those few games, which is played in absence of a referee and thus works on the basis of individual honesty, perseverance and integrity,” he emphasises, elaborating that these are the virtues that will be great to instill into the youngsters. “Young Omanis are nonetheless really embracing the game and we have witnessed quite a few youngsters taking up golf,” he says. OGC is also in the process of developing a strategy specifically aimed towards developing the game amongst juniors, such as bringing golf to schools; in short, the goal is to work in conjunction with golf clubs and make the sport


Embrace the game

H.H. Rawy bin Kais Al Said, Chief Executive Officer of Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club shares his views on golf and the future of the sport in Oman.

T accessible to the masses. In addition, OGC would also like to witness more Omani women pursuing the game at all levels. The fact that Muscat offers both a very interesting golf experience coupled with the tourist attractions, culture, and landscape that Oman is justly famous for renders it to be an extremely viable golfing destination, indeed. Whether it’s the varied terrain of Muscat Hills, with its wadis and hills or the surrounding mountains at Ras al Hamra, it offers stimulating golfing adventures in addition to experiencing the delights of Oman. “With a variety of golf courses, including the Greg Norman course at The Wave, Muscat, which will additionally offer a sea-links experience, I believe the golfers in Oman will be spoilt for choice,” says Kunzru. These factors coupled with various upcoming golf course projects around the Sultanate will significantly contribute towards establishing Oman as a popular international golfing destination in the future; it’s all the more significant considering that golf is worth $44 billion a year worldwide in the holiday segment alone. “At the Oman Golf Amateur Open last year in January, we had about 130 golfers, including those from Holland, Bahrain, and Spain,” Salim al Harthy informs, adding that he anticipates a similar strength and internationally varied coterie of golfers to gather in the upcoming 2nd Oman

he launch of Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club has been welcomed by the people living here, especially those who play golf. There were no grass courses in Oman till then. The course at Muscat Hills is challenging and unique. The terrain is rugged and the golfers have a different experience when playing at Muscat Hills. Everyone who has played at the course has been happy with the layout of the course. With more golf courses opening, the people in Oman as well as tourists are going to have a lot of options. There are many enthusiastic golfers who travel all over the world to play at different courses. As more golf courses open in Oman, they have the choice of visiting the Sultanate, which can eventually become a golfing destination. There are never too many golf courses in any country. The more we have the better as the residents and tourists have the option of trying out different courses. In fact, we could all work together and promote each other. This will be excellent for not just the golfing community but also the country. Golf is still in its early stages in Oman. We have a long way to go. Awareness has to be created among young Omanis so that they understand the game and take it up. There are more golf courses opening in Oman; we need more people to come and play the game. We have only 700 registered players in Oman, compared to UAE’s 7000. At Muscat Hills, we have tried to create awareness and instill interest in the sport through advertising, workshops and lessons. We have encouraged schools to send students to learn more about the game and even encourage the children to take it up as a sport. We have the resources to teach just about everyone – from kids aged five or six to players who are looking for to improve their game. Golf has a very bright future in Oman. Muscat Hills along with other golf courses will be successful in creating a keen interest in the game among the people in Oman. I am sure in the future Oman will be seen as a great golfing destination and also host international tournaments. As told to Anne Kurian

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Golf Amateur Open 2011 to be held on 20th and 21st January, 2011 at Muscat Hills. Apart from tirelessly working to manage and promote the game in the Sultanate, under the aegis of Ministry of Sport, the two-year old OGC also achieved affiliation to the Scotland-based golfing world governing body, Royal and Ancient in December 2009 and has also developed a unified handicap system amongst the golfing clubs in Oman, the system is currently being implemented at Muscat Hills, Ras al Hamra and Ghala Wentworth golf clubs; the initiative will allow accountability and transparency across the board, facilitating the sport and enhancing players’ awareness of one another. Salim al Harthy also says that the increased presence of Golf Professionals at various clubs has translated into more opportunities to learn and improve upon one’s game. One such Golf Pro is Alex Day of Muscat Hills, who concurs with Salim al Harthy about the status of golf in Oman today. “I would say that golf in Oman is in a great position right now,” he says, adding that while it is very much a developing sport and recreation, it is nonetheless on the right track towards becoming an increasingly popular game.  “Oman’s golfers that have been playing the sport for a number of years are really passionate about the game and have a very healthy appetite to see it grow on all levels. Whether it’s to start a new hobby, further develop your skills, or actually work within the industry, the opportunities within the game are vast,” he states.

The fact that Muscat offers both a very interesting golf experience coupled with the tourist attractions, culture, and landscape that Oman is justly famous for renders it to be an extremely viable golfing destination, indeed

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He also echoes the popular view regarding the huge difference that the new green golf courses have made towards the game, both locally and internationally. “The top quality and diverse nature of the golf courses being constructed is providing Oman with a great platform to really drive golf tourism forward very quickly,” he says. He states that what makes Oman a unique golfing experience is the overall topography of the landscape; the golf courses are routed across unusual terrain created naturally by wadis that run through and alongside many holes. “Coupled with the dramatic mountain backdrop and sea view, there are some fantastic and memorable tee / approach shots to experience,” he says. Alex says they endeavour to introduce the game to as many new golfers as possible at Muscat Hills through a range of several different types of memberships and tuition packages. “Whether you’re a complete novice picking up a club for the first time or require more in depth swing analysis, we cater to all golfers of all abilities,” he says. Furthermore, he also feels that it is vital to place strong emphasis on growing the game at grassroots level; at Muscat Hills, for instance, there are approximately 50 juniors aged between 5-15 years involved in the junior program. “It is a comprehensive, progressive and structured program designed to help children learn about playing the game of golf,” he describes.  “There is a good ratio of boys to girls and we welcome all children whether they’re brand new to the game or are looking to fine tune their existing skills,” he says. A junior academy is also in the pipeline with regular competition and events planned across the various


clubs and courses, indicating the plethora of opportunities being offered to the youngsters to learn and fully immerse themselves in the game. Accessibility to the game is certainly the buzz-word. “Everyone involved is striving towards the same goal and it’s a game that the whole family can enjoy together. Working closely with the Oman Golf Committee, Oman’s golf clubs/courses will certainly ensure that the game is accessible to all and by providing such quality facilities and services it will grow on every level - from those just starting out in the game playing for recreation to the National Team competing on a world stage,” Alex concludes. A sense of optimism strongly permeates the air while talking about the future of golf in Oman, whether speaking from the perspective of a player, instructor, or managing the game itself. Salim al Harthy hopes that more Omanis will take up the game and eventually participate in international tournaments in the future. “The challenge will be to turn Oman into an exciting industry and golfing destination with close cooperation between golf enthusiasts, sports and tourism government support and linking all this with the Golfing global and regional administrators and event managers,” opines Kunzru. With several courses and presence of qualified Golf professionals, all that remains is for even the uninitiated to embrace the game. “It’s amazing how hitting a small white ball around the course can be therapeutic!” sums up Boyce. 

OGC is also in the process of developing a strategy specifically aimed towards developing the game amongst juniors, such as bringing golf to schools; in short, the goal is to work in conjunction with golf clubs and make the sport accessible to the masses

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Platinum Club

ETIQUETTE

A g lfer’s conduct code

Unwritten it may be, but the conduct of code in the game of golf is a crucial aspect of the game. Keith Robbins writes down some of the important rules that are followed on course

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Do not write your scores on the scorecard until you reach the next tee. There are many times when the score is less important than learning and improving our golf games

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he customs of golf are such an integral part of playing the game, it is important that beginners understand golf ’s unwritten ‘code of conduct’. The consequences of not knowing the rules of the game can be embarrassing and even upset your playing partners, subjecting you to expulsion from the course and not being invited back to play on the course, among other unwanted situations. While there are many fundamental elements to be observed while playing golf, here are some of the most basic yet important rules that a golfer must always adhere to. On the Tee and in the Fairway Obey all signs posted on the course. This rule is a simple one - obey all posted signs and warnings. Else the signs wouldn’t be put up. Be courteous, know when to be quiet.  When another player is playing his shot, do not talk, do not jangle change in your pocket, do not rattle clubs in your bag and do not take practice swing. Give the other player a chance to concentrate. It’s worth noting that the time to be quiet begins before the player steps up to his ball. Golfers with even a small amount of experience go through what is known as a pre-shot routine, which usually begins about the time they pull a club from their bag. They might then stand behind their ball and look down the target line before stepping up to the ball and addressing it. It is important to be quiet during this period. Check your position. Do not stand directly behind another player’s intended target line. This is a violation of the rules if the player is your partner, and otherwise it’s distracting because the player can usually see you out of the corner of his/her eye. Do position yourself so that you can observe where the ball goes.

Advice and Comments. The basic rule is be always be positive and do not offer advice. When you are playing for the first time with someone, be conservative at first about complimenting or critiquing a shot. Follow the lead of his friends, pay attention to his comments, and wait until you have a good understanding of what is a good and bad shot for a particular player. Don’t assume that everyone’s standards are the same as yours. Let faster groups play through. If you have a gap of more than 2 strokes ahead of you, you are playing too slowly and you may be holding up other golfers behind you.  Fortunately there is a solution that will allow you to play at your pace. Invite faster groups to play through, that is, let them go ahead of you. Know what ball you’re playing. All golf balls have brand names on them along with a number (usually 1, 2, 3 or 4). Know the brand of ball you are playing and the number on it so you can positively identify the ball as yours. Experienced golfers use a permanent marker to put a mark on their ball. Think of your own unique marking, maybe a dot over the brand name, or a series of two or three dots. Mark all the golf balls you’ll be playing your identifying mark. Yell ‘fore’when appropriate. When you hit a ball in the direction of other people on the golf course, you should yell, “Fore!” loud enough so they can hear you. And you should do so to give them plenty of time to cover their heads, not just as the ball is about to land. Getting hit by a golf ball is no fun, and can cause devastating injury, such as loss of an eye, or even death. It’s nothing to fool around with. Know when it’s your turn and be ready to hit. It is customary for the person who took the fewest strokes on the previous hole to tee off first on the next hole. This is known as “honours.” You’ll often hear someone say, “it’s

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finished putting and the group behind you will have to wait before they hit. Pitch the ball to the green, then go back to the cart and drive it up near the green. And don’t drive your cart past someone who’s in the middle of their routine. Stop and wait until they’ve hit. A cart whizzing by is just as distracting to a player who’s hitting as having people walking around and talking. More so when the cart is being driven toward them.

Be ready to play your shot when it’s your turn. Slow play is one of the most annoying problems when playing golf

your honour.” That mean’s you’re first to hit on the tee. Then, after everyone’s ball is in play, the player whose ball is furthest from the hole is expected to play next. If you’re furthest from the hole, then “you’re away,” and it’s your turn. Be ready to play your shot when it’s your turn. Slow play is one of the most annoying problems when playing golf. Don’t slow down play by dilly-dallying to your ball. Be ready to play when it’s your turn. That means if you’re riding a cart and you must keep the carts on paths, take more than one club with you. Bags, pull carts and riding carts. Know where the cart is. Don’t park it 50 yards in front of the green and leave it there after you pitch on to the green. You’ll have to walk all the way back there when you’re

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Etiquette on the Green Don’t walk in someone’s line. On the greens, be aware of where everyone else’s ball (or mark) is. It is bad form to step on someone’s line. Take the few extra steps to walk around their line, or at the very least, step over it without stepping on it. And if you’re wearing metal spikes, don’t drag your feet! It leaves an uneven surface for the next group to putt on. In case you don’t know, the “line” is the route that the ball will travel on the green from the spot where it stopped to the hole.  Mark your ball on the green.  Keep a ball marker or coin in your pocket to mark your ball’s spot on the green. If your ball is near someone’s line, they’re not going to want to look at your ball and wonder if their’s is going to hit it. Mark your ball by placing the coin behind it, then lift your ball. The Rules of Golf allow you to remove your ball from the green and clean it (which is a good idea, especially if it picked up a clump of mud). If your coin is in another player’s line, they may request that you move it. Simply pick out a spot in the distance, a tree or a bush or a ball washer-something you can use as a reference point--and place your putter head next to your coin, pointing it in the direction of the reference point. Then simply move your coin one putter-head length. If that’s not enough, move it two putterhead lengths. (Then, be sure to remember to replace your coin in its original position before you replace your own ball.) If you putt/chip your ball near the hole and do not plan to putt out, mark your ball with a coin or ball-marker. Aside from being a distraction, other players will incur a 2 stroke penalty if they play a putt from the green and their ball hits yours. Tending the flagstick. The Rules of Golf state that a ball which is played from the green must not strike the flagstick. If it does it’s a two-stroke penalty (or, in the case of Match Play, loss of the hole). Therefore, when players are within range to be able to see the hole from their ball, it is customary to remove the flagstick and lay it down somewhere out of play. However, if a player is putting from far enough away that he can’t see the hole, it is customary for someone to “tend” the flagstick. This means you stand beside the hole with your hand on the flagstick, and you remove it after the player strokes his putt and before it reaches the hole. When you tend the flag for someone, stand on the side of the hole so you don’t cast a shadow on the hole (that makes it harder for the player to see the hole).


Balls just off the Green. When a player’s ball is off the green (“off the green” also includes that closely-mowed area around the edge of the green called the “fringe” or the “collar”), he has the option of leaving the flagstick in the hole. Before removing the flagstick, ask the player “how he wants it”--in, out, or tended. If they want it left in, DO NOT remove it as the ball approaches the hole! Watch your shadow. As mentioned before in describing the proper procedure in tending the flagstick, players should always be mindful of where they’re casting a shadow. When other players are putting, always stand quietly still, and be sure your shadow is not in someone’s line. Same thing with any other shot on the golf course. Make sure your shadow is not a distraction to other players.

Scorekeeping. Do not write your scores on the scorecard until you reach the next tee. There are many times when the score is less important than learning and improving our golf games. While we’d all like to play as well as touring pros, it just ain’t so. Recognize that there is a difference between professional golf tournaments and recreational golf (the kind most of us play). While you are learning it is acceptable to bend the rules to speed up play. Pick the ball up if you have over 10 strokes on a hole. Move the ball out from under a bush or tree. Take a mulligan or re-hit a shot if it doesn’t hold up other golfers. If you have any doubts, clear it with a partner. We aim to learn, improve and enjoy this game. Scoring is secondary except in tournaments and if wagers are being made.

The basic rule is be always be positive and do not offer advice. When you are playing for the first time with someone, be conservative at first about complimenting or critiquing a shot

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Advertorial

Muscat festival is here!

One of the most anticipated events in the country, Muscat Festival 2011 is all set to enthrall audiences. The festival which is scheduled from January 27 to February 24, 2011 is expected to attract people from all over the country as well as globally

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he festival that showcases Oman’s famed culture, traditions and hospitality is back with a bang. Muscat Festival 2011 is bigger than before and promises a host of exciting events this time round. In fact, the festival has been scaled notches up with the introduction of awe-inspiring events. The Muscat Festival, unlike earlier, will be held in various phases from January 27 to February 24, 2011. The two main venues of the festival are Qurum Natural Park, Naseem Garden and Riyam Park. For the first time, four exciting events are part of the festival. This includes the Oman Food Festival, Muscat Fashion Week, Extreme Sailing Series and Tour of Oman. Malik Al Hinai, Committee member of Muscat Festival and one of the leading figures behind this year’s initiative, says, “Muscat Festival will be in par with international festivals from this year. We want to show that Oman is capable of hosting a festival that is of such high calibre.” At the Qurum Natural Park, an Omani Heritage and Culture Village will be set up during the festival that will showcase to visitors many of Oman’s indigenous crafts. A working souk within the park will feature artisans from various regions of the Sultanate demonstrate their trade skills during the festival as well as 23 countries will also be participating at the International village within the park. The Oman Food Festival at the Qurum Natural Park is sure to attract people in large numbers as students from the Oman Tourism College, The Oman Chefs’ Guild and leading hotels in the country come together to present a sensational dining experience to the festival visitors from February 5-15.

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Yet another fascinating event scheduled is the Muscat Fashion Week that will showcase Arab Couture from designers around the region. This will be held from February 22-24 at the Riyam Park. The internationally acclaimed Extreme Sailing Series will commence this year from The Wave Muscat and is one of the key events of Muscat Festival 2011. Visitors can view the thrilling series that has 10 international competitors taking part from February 22-24 at the Public Village. Tour of Oman, which was held in the Sultanate for the first time last year, is now a part of the Muscat Festival calendar and will be held in the country every year from now. The cycling event is scheduled to be held from February 15-20 in six stages. Games, rides and shopping stalls are the main attractions of Naseem Garden, the other important venue of the festival. One of the highlights of the festival this year is the visit of Indian film industry’s top actor, Shah Rukh Khan. The multi-faceted actor will be in Muscat on February 17 for a special show. Also part of the festival concerts are performances by Indian movie singer Sonu Nigam and leading actress, Lara Dutta. “We are also conducting a series of lectures by renowned Arab and international authors as well as poets at various venues across Muscat. This is a first for Muscat Festival and we hope it will be received well,” informs Malik. “The events are centered on the city, Muscat, which is a familyoriented place and we want the events to reflect this aspect. We did not want to do events that are over-the-top or do not relate to the character of Muscat. Through Muscat Festival 2011, we are also trying to create a fun and festive environment,” sums up Malik. Muscat Festival 2011 is definitely set to rewrite history!


Business & Finance

Entrepreneur w Exclusive w Advertorial January 2011

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Business and Finance

Entrepreneur

Making a difference

Mae Ballout brought about a difference in the spa industry in the Sultanate with the launch of Ayana Spa seven years ago. The day spa remains one of the most frequented in the city with the founder being hands-on, even today

As opposed to the chemicals and bleaches that were prevalent then, we brought premium international products to Oman and also counselled customers about the dos and don’ts of spa treatments and gave them customised solutions for achieving the look that was perfect for them

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elax, refresh, revitalise, rejuvenate, renew… who would not get tempted to opt for one or the other of these exotic treatments that most spas offer? From the use of known ingredients like oils, flowers, mud wrap, yoghurt and honey to more exotic treatments using volcanic clay, seaweed, caviar and algae, spa menus by various hotels and resorts have come a long way from that of the 80s where spa treatments were usually just an option of massages. Before the concept of spa therapies caught on in the last decade or so, there were many smaller therapy centres that could be loosely labelled as predecessors of the modern spas and resorts. Mae Ballout, an internationally certified aesthetician who started her first spa in 1998 says, “At the time, the existing options for spa treatments were few and those that existed were quite basic. I was shocked by the lack of hygiene and professionally trained therapists in the smaller centres.”


The Ayana Spa provides a sublime range of skin treatments, hair, traditional baths, massages, nail care and depilatory

She decided she wanted to do something to upgrade the existing standards and hygiene in professional spa therapy in Oman. Mae started Star Salon and Spa, initially located inside the Grand Hyatt, but moved out of the hotel a few years later to get her own place, which she called Ayana. As busy lifestyles take their toll, consumers are looking for ways to slot fitness routines into their daily schedules. Experts say that weight loss, skin care and anti-ageing therapies are all in demand, regardless of the cost. Today, the Omani spa goer is ready to pay for something if they think it is worth it. She says, “When we opened, the slow season was on. Also, we didn’t really have a strong marketing plan.” Nevertheless, she began by inviting around 500 people; friends, relations and their friends. While Ayana was a premium spa, they kept costs slightly lower to suit Oman’s customers. Ayan has about eight Asian therapists and has a large expatriate customer base. Mae recalls that when Ayana started, the market was price-sensitive. “We were the first to come out with an

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RO20 facial. As opposed to the chemicals and bleaches that were prevalent then, we brought premium international products to Oman and also counselled customers about the dos and don’ts of spa treatments and gave them customised solutions for achieving the look that was perfect for them. Also, the fact that we had trained therapists made a big difference.” The last few years have also seen the influx of foreign wellness companies into the sultanate, mainly focusing on fitness and skin treatments, an area largely ignored in the sultanate. Some of the international brands were already functional elsewhere in the Gulf, but in recent years, have looked towards Oman as a growing market for wellness services. It certainly helps that Oman is a stable economy and there is a large educated and affluent segment of customers in the cities of the sultanate, who expect and demand the very best in beauty, fitness and wellness solutions. “As of now, there isn’t much competition, as we are very different from the other day spas that are available in Muscat. A slew of new hotels should be opening in Oman by 2013-2014. But as of now, it’s too early to think about those,” she says. However Ballout, who looks after the beauty and spa section of Ayana, is quick to point out the difference between a beauty salon and a spa. The latter adopts a

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holistic approach providing the customer with not only a beauty treatment but a relaxing atmosphere as well where people connect with their own bodies and emerge calm and relaxed, and energised. Ayana Spa, an exclusive for ladies spa, is Oman’s first Urban Day spa. It was established in 2004 and since then, has remained steadfast in delivering a holistic approach in promoting physical and emotional well-being and a balanced state of mind. The 700 square meters of space includes fourteen spa treatment rooms, two hammam rooms with jet showers, steam rooms, spa shop, hair lounge and rest areas amidst an authentic Oriental ambience. It offers the ultimate spa experience through the fusion of traditional techniques with modern technologies using exclusive organic and cosmeceutical skincare brands to deliver professional treatments beyond your expectations at realistic prices. The Ayana Spa provides a sublime range of skin treatments, hair, traditional baths, massages, nail care and depilatory. The spa is well-known for friendly, polite and helpful staff. While health and fitness as a service is still largely sold rather than bought the world over, the rising number of wellness options, coupled with increasing health consciousness on the consumer’s part, bodes well for the health of the sultanate.


BUSINESS & FINANCE

Exclusive

The path of luxury

Industry leaders and key business players affirm that the luxury industry in the Middle East is headed towards development and away from the pall of uncertainty caused by the global crisis. The Luxury Forum brought together stalwarts for a no-holds barred discussion. Crème de la Crème reports…

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he Luxury Forum, a unique conference addressing the luxury marketing industry was held at the Jebel Ali International Hotel in Dubai from November 1-3, 2010. Organised by LEORON Events, a Dubai based event Management Company, in association with The Luxury Marketing Council (Middle East), the forum was held to study and discuss the challenges and trends of luxury marketing in today’s market, especially the region. The event brought together industry players from the field of luxury to share their ideas and discuss business insights and practices pertaining to the Middle Eastern markets. Delegates at the event included major players from various luxury industries such as fashion, jewelry, hotels, travel, and automobiles. The forum provided the perfect platform for delegates and participants to network and build relationships with their counterparts in the luxury market from The Luxury Forum also provided guests the opportunity to learn more about using the internet to reach luxury consumers in an innovative way. The Middle East luxury retail market is showing progress in 2010 following a slowdown due to the recession, was the major contention during the forum. Yet many of the speakers pointed out that growth in the sector is unlikely to return to pre-recession levels as a result of saturation in certain markets in the region. Studies presented at the forum showed that Abu Dhabi, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia are showing signs of recovery, while Lebanon and Syria have benefited from a boom in the luxury retail and real estate markets due to recent changes in the political climate. Luxury stores and retail brands are set to open outlets in these markets. Many speakers were of the view that in the scenario following the recession, innovative approach and value addition were key elements to increasing brand proposition and need. A point raised during the two-day conference relating to the international scenario was that it is imperative for brands to understand why consumers buy luxury, what they believe

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As the regional market is also evolving brands will need to be creative and look at other marketing and communication strategies to reach out to the affluent consumer

luxury is and how their perception of luxury value impacts their buying behavior. The internet was seen as an upcoming tool for the luxury client. The new global environment following the recession has been successful in creating changes in the behaviour of high networth individuals. Studies show that interest is not only in the product but also whether the brand is upholding the luxury philosophy of excellence throughout the whole of its operations, including the Internet as an information vector and its considerable growth as a distribution tool. The affluent consumer is now using social networks as a tool to connect with the brand, influencing purchasing behavior. Crème de la Crème was the media sponsor of The Luxury Forum 2010.


Advertorial

Living on the greens S et on sprawling verdant property that offers spectacular views of green golf courses and the majestic Hajjar mountains, Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club is a luxurious project in the Sultanate. A dream project of H.H. Sayyid Kais Al Said, Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club (Muscat Hills) made history by launching the country’s first 18-hole green golf course. One of the foremost ITC projects in Oman, Muscat Hills also features residential properties around and within the golf course. Much of the residential units sold out soon after the launch. There are only 18 apartments from the first phase of the project left for sale. The picturesque surroundings, proximity to various landmarks in the city and a fully developed 18-hole green course are some of the highlights of Muscat Hills. Rod Taylor, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of the project, says, “Muscat Hills is the only ITC project that is finished in the Sultanate and offers a full-fledged golf course. The response has been tremendous and we have only 20 apartments left from a total of 135. Each apartment measures approximately 163 square metres, comprising two bedrooms and baths.”

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One of the most unique ITC projects in Oman, Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club is a great choice for those looking to buy a home in the city. Panoramic views, proximity to various landmarks in the city and a fully-developed residential complex are some of the project’s attractions Elucidating on what makes the residential project popular among buyers, Taylor says, “The property is at an elevated level and the views are spectacular. The project offers a quiet living ambience at a low density. With the headquarters of various financial institutions moving here, the construction of the new conference centre and the opening of the Southern express, Muscat Hills has become a prime property.” A hotel and clubhouse are the other features planned within the property that will offer more leisure activities to the residents and visitors. Discussions are currently in progress with an international operator to run the hotel. “Once these two aspects are functional, Muscat Hills will move to a different level,” says Taylor. The properties are priced at RO 150, 000 rials and RO 160,000. Various buyers have already made Muscat Hills their home with many of them moving in and living on the premises. The residents comprise expatriates and nationals from the region and Oman. The community services at Muscat Hills are rendered by Global Strata while the golf course is run by Braemar Golf from Scotland.


Take pride in your possession!

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Automobilia

First Look w Drive w Ride January 2011

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Automobilia

FIRST LOOK

MINI MARVEL The mini countryman is a revolutionary four-door automotive from the german auto manufacturer that is the only one of its kind in the category. a creme de la creme report

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ll eyes were on MINI at the Geneva Motor Show 2010 as the brand marked the next chapter in its illustrious history with the unveiling of a totally new model, the MINI Countryman. The fourth model to join the MINI portfolio, the MINI Countryman bridges the gap between the classic concept of the MINI and a modern Sports Activity Vehicle, and includes the unique driving pleasure typical for MINI. The MINI Countryman will provide even greater freedom and space as the first ever MINI vehicle with four doors and a wide-opening rear lid, promising to provide truly versatile use and driving comfort. Despite boasting enhanced interior design features and technologies, the MINI Countryman retains that unmistakable MINI look, premium quality, efficiency and driving characteristics as the classic go-kart feeling. MINI ALL4, the all wheel drive system is also available for the first time on a MINI vehicle. Commenting on the international debut of the vehicle, Sarah Klippert, MINI Manager at BMW Group Middle East said: “The MINI Countryman brings the MINI brand into the 21st Century with its ultramodern design, styling and innovative technology features. One of MINI’s core philosophies is to think outside the box and the MINI Countryman represents the essence of this. We are looking forward to its Middle Eastern debut and know that this vehicle will be a fresh and exciting addition to our roads”.

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As the fourth model within the range and the first premium car of its kind, the MINI Countryman is a pioneer in many respects. It opens up that characteristic MINI feeling for new target groups and at the same time transfers individual design and the unique fun of motoring into a segment with greater demands in terms of space available, diversity and motoring comfort. Both the MINI Cooper and Cooper S Countryman models come in four-cylinder petrol engines with twin-scroll turbocharger, direct fuel injection and fully variable valve management based on the BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology and have a capacity 1,598 cc. With the presentation of the latest and most wideranging model line-up since its relaunch in 2001, the MINI brand is beginning a new chapter in its successful history as the originator of the premium small car segment. The market introduction of the new MINI family will be joined on 18 September 2010 by the sales launch of the brand’s fourth model, the MINI Countryman. The updated versions of the MINI, MINI Clubman and

MINI Convertible cut a more stylish figure than ever, boast unsurpassed agility and achieve even higher levels of efficiency than before. With its four doors and large tailgate, extra space and – as an option – all-wheel drive, the MINI Countryman delivers totally new ways of experiencing the driving fun typical of the brand. The latest evidence of the brand’s extraordinary potential comes with the launch of the MINI Countryman. For the first time, a MINI can boast four doors and a large tailgate, as well as a versatile interior offering space for up to five occupants. Added to which, the MINI Countryman is the brand’s first model with a body measuring over four metres and which can be equipped with ALL4 all-wheel drive as an option. The MINI Countryman is also the world’s first and only premium car of its kind. The crossover model’s wide range of qualities allows it to cross the boundaries of urban mobility to take the trademark MINI feeling into new dimensions and win over additional target groups. From the first glance, the MINI Countryman strikes you as unique, powerful, robust and versatile. Equally eye-catching are its hallmark

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Additional options and special equipment tailored to the MINI Countryman include high-end audio and navigation systems, an extralarge Panorama roof, Adaptive Headlights in combination with Xenon headlight units

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brand design elements and proportions. This combination allows the brand’s fourth model to bridge the gap between the classical concept of the MINI and a cuttingedge Sports Activity Vehicle. The driving characteristics of the MINI Countryman also betray its family roots. Like all the brand’s models, the Countryman has the most agile handling in its segment. Its high-class chassis technology and precise yet efficient electromechanical power steering deliver the familiar MINI go-kart feeling, which is given a new angle by the raised seating position and optional ALL4 all-wheeldrive system. Technology including the standard-fitted Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system ensures the MINI Countryman has unbeatable active safety. The MINI Countryman is available from launch with three petrol and two diesel engines. The selection of petrol variants ranges from the MINI One Countryman with 72 kW/98 hp and MINI Cooper Countryman developing 90 kW/122 hp, through to the 135 kW/184 hp MINI Cooper S Countryman, whose 1.6-litre four-cylinder powerplant is the most efficient engine in its displacement class. The petrol models are joined in the line-up by the MINI Cooper D Countryman (82 kW/112 hp) and MINI One D Countryman (66 kW/90 hp) diesel variants. The ALL4 all-wheel-drive


system is available for the MINI Cooper S Countryman and MINI Cooper D Countryman. In place of a conventional centre console, the MINI Countryman also comes with an innovative rail system between the seats: the unique MINI Centre Rail allows personal items to be kept within reach at all times when on the move. Storage compartments and brackets can be securely fixed to the rail with the help of a specially developed clip-in attachment system. Added to which, the MINI Centre Rail creates a visual and functional connection between the front and rear seats. Exceptional integration capability: MINI Connected is launched. The innovative functions of MINI Connected enable the entertainment and communications equipment in all MINI models to set new standards. MINI Connected enhances driving pleasure through the intelligent link-up of the driver, his MINI and the outside world. MINI is the world’s first car manufacturer to offer, as part of its MINI Connected concept, a newly developed USB interface which uses its unparalleled range of functionality to maximise the integration of the Apple iPhone into the car’s audio and infotainment system. An application available for MINI Connected comprises a web radio function, the use of Google local search and Google Send to Car services, as well as reception of RSS news feeds. It also

enables Facebook and Twitter posts to be displayed on the on-board monitor and allows the user to send standardised text messages. Another special feature which fits right in with the MINI style is the Mission Control function. This system analyses a host of signals relating to the vehicle itself, the driving situation and the vehicle’s surroundings to supply the driver with relevant information and advice – all generated in dialogue form. These dialogues are based, among other things, on information regarding safety and comfort settings. They request that the driver and passengers buckle up their seatbelts, for example, and instruct them on the use of the air conditioning system. They also incorporate upto-date information on driving conditions and the current status of the vehicle – such as outside temperature and the amount of fuel in the tank. The additional functions integrated into the MINI are activated and operated via the on-board control system. To use the full range of MINI Connected functions, customers need to specify their cars with either the MINI Visual Boost radio or the MINI navigation system. Both options use a high-resolution colour display in the Centre Speedo and the MINI joystick positioned on the centre console to ensure comfortable, easy and intuitive operation.

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Automobilia

Drive

A day with Touareg

The new 2011 Touareg showed its prowess during a recently organised day tour to Jebel Akhdar. Elvis John Ferrao goes on an exciting journey to the mountains where the new improved 4WD demonstrates its calibre on- and off-road

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Automobilia

RIDE

Biking Off Limits When a convoy of 100 Harley Davidson bikers graces the city, it is a sight to behold. The 2nd Hajjar Rally, recently held in Sohar, was attended by Elvis John Ferrao who witnessed the thrilling biking experience

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The second edition of the much awaited Al Hajjar Rally was held late last year and Harley owners experienced a thrilling ride from Muscat to Sohar and back

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here is nothing more exciting than owning a Harley Davidson bike and experiencing an exceptional ride along the picturesque roads of Oman with a bunch of enthusiastic riders. Given the infrastructural beauty of the roads in Oman, riding a bike can be a true delight. The second edition of the much awaited Al Hajjar Rally was held late last year and Harley owners experienced a thrilling ride from Muscat to Sohar and back. The two day action packed rally witnessed riders from all walks of life on their Harley Davidson bikes. Crowne Plaza Hotel, Sohar played host to the rally where all the bikers had the opportunity of experiencing the hospitality, dining and lodging options of the hotel. The hotel was the starting point of all the rally rides that happened during the two day event. During the night sky, it brought with it an extra sparkle for the bikers as they were treated to luxurious dinner spread with live music, poolside canapé and live cooking stations, all catered by Crowne Plaza Hotel. The first day of the event included bikers on a ‘Local Ride Out’ where they covered most of city including the famous Sohar Beach and Sohar Souk. The highlight of the rally was the ‘Bike Show’ where riders flaunted their creativity on their bikes. The ‘Thunder Roll’ and exciting ‘Biker Games’ got the crowd on their feet and the last day of the event had a special closing ceremony scheduled for the bikers which was much appreciated. The Al Hajjar Committee works tirelessly, going to extreme lengths to create exciting schedules for Harley riders every year. As Sohar is currently one of the most developed cities in the Sultanate of Oman outside the capital of Muscat, this year’s rally was truly one of a kind. Special awards were presented to the Harley-Davidson dealerships of Muscat, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, all of which were major sponsors of the Al Hajjar Mountain Rally. Certificates of appreciation were presented to Ricky Tursinov (the Food & Beverages Manager of the Crowne Plaza Sohar), Kevin Smith (Director of the Muscat HOG Chapter), David Stephenson (Muscat HOG Chapter Site Coordinator) and Angie Wightman (Marketing Manager for Harley-Davidson of Dubai). John Thornton from Oman won the trophy for Best Softail. All the other prizes went to UAE riders. A particular mention goes to Mohammed Al Mazrooie who picked up the three most prestigious trophies for Best Custom Bike, Best Bike at the Show (determined by the judges) and the Peoples Choice (voted for by the people attending the Rally) for his Black and Skulls Custom Bike.

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A non-profit organization offering a wide range of high-quality and exclusive handcrafted products interpreting the country’s history and culture. Bring home the essence of Oman’s rich heritage from a range of classy yet traditional products and at the same time turn your shopping passion into a cause by helping our craftspeople and artists. The Gallery works closely with artisans from the province and features products that are designed by them.

Jawharat A' Shati Complex Next to Muscat Intercontinental Hotel Tel. 24696974


Art & Design

Impressions w Architecture January 2011

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Art & Design

Impressions

Canvases with a difference

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The Oryx Caravan art show featured the fascinating works of 40 artists as part of the National Day celebrations. The show also aimed to create awareness about the endangered species. A Crème de la Crème report


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orty colourful Oryxes dotted a demarcated space in the Ministries District in Al Khuwair. Painted in myriad hues, some embellished as well, the Oryxes made for a fantastic viewing. The Oryx Caravan, featuring the 40 art works, was organised as part of the 40th National Day celebrations. The art event, which was inaugurated by Maqbool bin Ali Sultan, Minister of Commerce and Industry, also had in attendance Ministers, various ministries’ officials, ambassadors and leading businessheads. The event was organised by Oman India Fertiliser Company (OMIFCO). The art event is also a road show which will be on display in open spaces around the Sultanate. The exhibition comprises 40 life-size fibreglass Oryxes that have been created into painted and embellished artworks by various Omani and expatriate artists. The exhibition is also aimed at raising awareness about the endangered species and the national symbol of Oman. The show went on to show the role played by art in the country, especially with regard to matters that concern Oman and its environment.

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The exhibition comprises 40 life-size fibreglass Oryxes that have been created into painted and embellished artworks by various Omani and expatriate artists

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Travel & Lifestyle

ARCITECTURE

An Architectural Marvel Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is over 700m in diameter, that’s the equivalent to 7 football pitches

Right at the centre of Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, sits the world’s first ‘Ferrari World’ – a thrilling experience like no other, a multi-sensory celebration and a design icon. Mike Lewis, the ingenious designer of the project talks about the making of the theme park

The Mastermind - Mike Lewis

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ike Lewis’s commercial acumen and design flair significantly contributed to the design and delivery of several landmark projects in the UK, including the huge new-build Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent and the multi-award winning Bullring in Birmingham (UK), a benchmark in urban regeneration. In 2007 Lewis relocated to Abu Dhabi to lead Benoy’s Design Studio as well as to oversee the design and delivery of the milestone Ferrari World Abu Dhabi brand experience. Lewis’s friendly demeanour, extensive experience, commercial awareness and technical knowhow make him a creative master to every design team that he leads. Benoy is an international firm of architects, masterplanners, retail auditors, visualisers, interior and graphic designers working from design studios in the UK, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore. The company is primarily specialised in retail and leisure design, but also covers the entire architectural spectrum that falls under the umbrella of ‘mixeduse’, including: commercial facilities, hospitality, residential, public realm, towers and transportation hubs. The building was conceived as a simple ‘ground hugging’ structure; like a red sand dune. A three pointed star in plan with extensive ‘tri-form’ claws to cradle outdoor attractions, the 3D nature of the building was derived from the sinuous double curve of the classic Ferrari body shell. The double curve was proportionately applied in elevation to set the

structure’s length (700m) and height (48m). Mike Lewis shares more information on the fantastic theme park. What was the brief given by the client? “The client – Aldar Properties’ aspiration for the wider Yas Island master plan was very simple – to create a high quality resort destination with a uniquely powerful and sophisticated blend of quality environments, attractions, lifestyle sports, entertainment, major events, living, international brands, local character and flair. Yas Island represents a key component of Abu Dhabi’s 2030 Vision and will help to significantly raise the profile of leisure and tourism in the region, while asserting Abu Dhabi as a key player on the global leisure stage.” What was the design concept for Ferrari World? “The vision was to create a form that is unmistakably Ferrari, an expression of the passion and emotion of the brand. Functional requirements obviously include the need to house the theme park attractions in a huge environmentally controlled zone, but also to allow the attractions to engage properly with the adjacent racetrack, roller coasters and surrounding facilities. Due to the shape of the island and the position of Ferrari World, the building was conceived as a very simple ‘ground hugging’ form, peeling up from the landscape in flowing lines like a red sand dune. The visually

All materials used in the construction of the development were reviwed in respect of the environmental impact

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distinctive form and shape crowns the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 track and every flight in and out of Abu Dhabi International Airport will experience the true beauty of the sleek shape and form of the building; an architectural expression of the values of the Ferrari brand itself. A three pointed star form in plan, with a main core enclosed element with three extensive ‘triform’ claws that cradle outdoor attractions; the 3D nature of the building was derived from an analysis of the sinuous double curves of countless Ferrari body shells. At the very centre of the plan the huge roof dips and gathers itself into the ground like a huge crystal glazed and lit funnel, creating the perfect setting for one of the world’s most exciting acceleration rides. “The elegance of the roof form is part of the experience of Benoy’s Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park. As you approach the building, its scale deceives, the red roof with glistening silver edging houses a multitude of rides and attractions inside, designed with the direct input of Ferrari S.p.A.” Has Benoy worked on any other theme parks before? “No, although the fundamental principles relating to the movement of people around a building are very similar to the principles that Benoy works to when designing retail malls and other leisure destinations. Benoy’s commercial awareness also means that we have been able to deliver the client several additional revenue streams.”

The visually distinctive form and shape crowns the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 track and every flight in and out of Abu Dhabi International Airport will experience the true beauty of the sleek shape and form of the building; an architectural expression of the values of the Ferrari brand itself

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Did the design change much from the concept stage? “The original concept is very close to the final product as we were able to communicate a clear and solid vision for the building from very early on in the design process. As you would expect the design has been refined during the many months of concept, schematic and detail design, however the essence and spirit of the design captured at concept has been delivered through to the finished structure, this is evident when you compare the early design sketches to the finished building.” What were the major challenges you had to face design wise when the structure was being constructed? “One of the biggest challenges was the sheer scale of the building, and although the upper plaza level has been conceived as a simple three dimensional flowing span, the lower 3 levels are an interwoven mix of functional spaces that required careful planning and design consideration. Like all other challenges it was important not to be overwhelmed by the task and to think about the scope of work as simply a list of challenges to be solved. The building was subject to many rigorous Value Engineering sessions; by working closely with the client and the construction management team we were able to retain the core vision whilst putting in place high quality, simple solutions that will stand the test of time.”


The Ferrari shield logo on the roof measures an incredible 65m in length and covers an area of 3000m2

What measures did you have to bear in mind to face the heat? “The building stands in a harsh environment, sea breezes with a high salt content, frequent sand storms, and very high temperatures in the summer months and relatively low in the winter months, creating a temperature swing of more than 40 degrees C, therefore close attention to good quality detailing was a must to ensure reduced ongoing operational costs. With a high temperature swing and increased expansion and contraction, particularly on the large roof surfaces, the amount and placement of movement joints was critical. The final solution was the simplest of all with a single movement joint toward the perimeter of the roof, allowing the building to expand and contract from the ‘stiff ’ centre outward with the movement of +/-200mm taken up at the perimeter. The structure and external facades are all orientated to allow for this movement with rotating base joints, which then also allow the building to ‘breathe’ according to temperature swings.”

Lewis’s friendly demeanour, extensive experience, commercial awareness and technical knowhow make him a creative master to every design team that he leads

Can you tell us about the materials used for the construction of the building? “Due to the nature of the development, the most significant environmental issue is considered to be the consumption of valuable resources, such as energy, water, January 2011

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and materials. All materials used in the construction were reviewed in respect of the environmental impact of the manufacturing process, life cycle de-figuration and end of life disposal. All timber panel products including plywood and composite doors only utilised timber obtained from well-managed and sustainable sources. Tropical hardwoods could only be used if sourced from a well-managed source certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or where the following information has been obtained from the supplier prior to ordering.”

The Ferrari World Abu Dhabi roof would cover the Vatican City in Rome

This stunning centrepiece houses the 62 metre high ‘G-Force Tower’ – a ride that takes thrill seekers over 15 meters above the building before delivering one of the most intense ‘freefall’ experiences in the world

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Were there several designers involved in this entire project and how did all of them collaborate with each other on this complex design? “Yes – the interaction between the designers of the building and the designers of the various rides was crucial to the realisation of the overall concept. For example, the expansive 45 meter high roof is punctuated by a vast glazed crystal like funnel measuring 100 meters in diameter at the top, pulling down to just 17 meters diameter at its base. This stunning centrepiece houses the 62 metre high ‘G-Force Tower’ – a ride that takes thrill seekers over 15 meters above the building before delivering one of the most intense ‘freefall’ experiences in the world. Two of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi’s ’tri-forms’ cradle roller coasters, while the third provides event space for up to 15,000 people. Close collaboration with Jack Rouse Associates (the ride developers) was crucial to the building’s design, not least because their requirements in relation to ride management and guest safety were so specific. The building was constructed in a very short timeframe.” Given the short span of time that the building was constructed, what is the kind of quality control measures you had to bear in mind? “It’s certainly a challenge; although we were fortunate to have been part of a very experienced and talented delivery team that was able to anticipate and resolve issues before they became problematic. As well as challenging it’s also very exciting and rewarding to work in such a focused and determined environment.” Do you think that Ferrari World will spark more theme park development in the region? “Abu Dhabi is committed to a strategy that seeks to establish the Emirate as a premier tourist destination. To achieve this objective, they plan to increase the number and quality of tourist friendly amenities and attractions; in fact they have already embarked on an ambitious programme of development delivery.”


Gourmet & Hospitality

Review w Culinaire January 2011

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GOURMET & HOSPITALITY

Review

Straight from the Heart Takao Nakatogawa

Tokyo Taro in Al Falaj Hotel has been offering authentic Japanese cuisine; coupled with a unique dining experience amidst an impeccable ambience and top class chefs for the past 25 years the culinary affair was not only unique but a memorable one for Sudipta Dasgupta

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okyo Taro has been one of the most prestigious Japanese restaurants for the past 25 years in Oman since it opened its doors to patrons in the 1980’s and its claim to fame has been the exceptional food they offer. The only and authentic Japanese restaurant in the city offers an innovative and unique menu and most of all specialties like their Fried Ice-Cream has earned them a devoted fan following. Dining at Tokyo Taro is an exceptional experience, especially at dinnertime. Located at the top floor of the Al Falaj Hotel, the restaurant overlooks the city where diners enjoy a breathtaking sight with a décor inspired by the Japanese countryside - with natural textures and wooden furniture. Takao Nakatogawa, Manager, Tokyo Taro has been working for the restaurant right from its inception and follows a simple philosophy of offering patrons authentic Japanese flavours. “I make sure that the flavour in our food is authentic in this restaurant. I don’t believe in changing the taste according to what the local people would like which you will see most restaurants doing

nowdays,” says Nakatogawa. Japanese food is renowned for its presentation, the freshness of its ingredients and for its long-reaching history. Although rice is what comes to mind when we imagine Japanese cuisine, my experience in Tokyo Taro was one to cherish. Japanese cuisine is all about exclusivity, diversity and most importantly serving delicious food! My colleague and I started our feast with a platter that contained sushi, sashimi, nigiri and maki, all served on a boat-shaped wooden dish. In addition to a small bowl of sushi rice, the tuna (maguro) and sweet omelet (tamago) nigiri tasted so fresh that we were not even tempted to dip it in soy sauce. Also, my all time favourite, the California Rolls were equally tasty and flavoursome. “We believe in using the freshest and cleanest ingredients in all our

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preparations. Since we have some items on the menu which is served raw, we have to be very careful in selecting the ingredients. There is a lot of emphasis on hygiene and freshness in all the food that we serve. I go to the market every day and personally select the best quality fish. We let the ingredients speak for themselves,” says Nakatogawa. “Traditional Japanese food is undoubtedly one of the healthiest and most delicious in the world which is available to most of us nowadays like tofu, sushi, tempura, miso, soba, and even green tea. Due to that, we have lot of local people who come to our restaurant to experience the real taste of authentic Japanese food as they are familiar with our kind of food at the same time,” says Nakatogawa. Tokyo Taro offers a special lunch buffet on a daily basis, giving diners the chance to sample various Japanese dishes. The buffet also offers delicately crafted sushi, Miso soup and green tea as well. The next best dish that arrived at our table was the

vegetable and prawns tempura which was served with a sweet ginger sauce. Another Japanese specialty, the tempuras should not be missed and the ones served in Tokyo Taro are to die for! As we feasted on the Japanese delicacies, the service staff made sure that we were being fed well; their hospitality is commendable! The ambience evokes a very friendly and informal atmosphere making everyone feel at home and comfortable. When asked about the challenge of setting up such an authentic restaurant, Nakatogawa said – “Initially it was very difficult as Japanese cuisine was a fairly new concept back in the eighties in this part of the world. But it was the flavour and taste in our food that won the hearts of most of our patrons who still visit us even today.” Being in this industry for so many years, Nakatogawa knows his market and accordingly has set an extensive menu which comprises of all the famous delicacies of

The next best dish that arrived at our table was the vegetable and prawns tempura which was served with a sweet ginger sauce. Another Japanese specialty, the tempuras should not be missed and the ones served in Tokyo Taro are to die for!

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Japan. He has altered the menu only three times in the last few years keeping some of his fast selling dishes the same on the menu. One of the main highlights of this restaurant is the Teppang Grill where your meal is cooked right in front of you, which is one of the great thrills of going to a place like this. There are all kinds of dishes you can order, including chicken, salmon, shrimp, or combinations of these. If you order fried rice, you get to see it fried on the grill with sake, ginger, and soy sauce. Our culinary journey ended with their famous Fried Ice Cream, I suggest each and everyone who has a sweet tooth like me to try this heavenly and authentic Japanese sweet dish. I guarantee it is a unique experience each and every one of you will enjoy! Prepared on the Teppang Grill, the ingredients are not only unique but extremely tasty.

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One of the main highlights of this restaurant is the Teppang Grill where your meal is cooked right in front of you, which is one of the great thrills of going to a place like this

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GOURMET & HOSPITALITY

Culinaire

French delight Lassere is renowned for being one of the most dining choices in France. Steeped in history, the fantastic restaurant is among the most popular. Three chefs from this renowned French restaurant is in Oman to provide a unique culinary experience at Shangri La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa

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It has been recorded that on stepping into Lasserre, the diner is transported to a discreet and cozy atmosphere reflective of the grandeur of an Old World family mansion

n exquisite and regal dining experience is the highlight of famed French restaurant, Lasserre. The French restaurant is famed for having among its diners famous personalities like Salavador Dali, Frederic Dard, Romy Schneider and Audrey Hepburn. The restaurant has been referred to as a magical place where guest are treated like royalty; conceptualised and created by René Lasserre, its visionary founder. It has been recorded that on stepping into Lasserre, the diner is transported to a discreet and cozy atmosphere reflective of the grandeur of an Old World family mansion. The charming boudoir lift transports diners to the restaurant, with its classical and elegant décor. The impeccable attention to every desire and need provided by the maîtres d’hôtel assures a genuinely individual experience. When the celebrated retractable roof, painted by Touchagues, opens to reveal the splendor of the Parisian skies, the spectacle is complete. Located in the heart of Paris, Lasserre has become renowned as a gourmet institution since its inception in the 1940s and has seen many famous faces dine in its theatrical surroundings inspired by the 18th Century gardens at Versailles. This month Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa will host Michelin starred Lasserre’s three chefs along with the House of Taittinger for an absolutely exclusive promotions resort’s Sultanah restaurant from January 9 to 14, 2011. The visiting group include Executive Chef Christophe Moret, Executive Sous Chef Gregory Rejou and Executive Pastry Chef Claire Heitzler who will bring their expertise in best of French à la carte fine dining and take gastronomic delights to new heights. Among the exemplary creations that the chefs will showcase are dishes like macaroni with black truffle, Brittany lobster and roasted pineapple with iced banana zabaglione cream, all with Taittinger bubbly pairing to create the perfect palate sensation. French dining in the heart of Arabia is a mesmerising experience and not to be missed. Sultanah is one of the city best restaurants where dining ensures an unforgettable journey for the senses coupled with the outstanding service. When Lasserre and Sultanah meet, you can be assured of an out-of-the-world experience.

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Travel & Lifestyle

Destination w Golf Special w Lounge January 2011

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Travel & Lifestyle

Destination

Postcards from Rajasthan Princely and steeped in marvellous history, Jaipur and Jodhpur are of Rajasthan’s magnificent cities. Dr. Patricia Groves visits the astounding palaces in these two fabled cities

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t was a land not desired by conquerors. With vast stretches of desert, rugged mountains and few running rivers, its riches were not apparent. More than 1,500 years ago, moving northward with the aim of escaping a Turkish invasion, Rajput warriors, legendary descendants of the sun god, made Rajasthan their domain. The Rajputs found wealth in marble, minerals and jewels - and adorned their palaces accordingly. Art and artisans flourished under their patronage and a rich, multifaceted culture took root. In this two part series, we visit the princely palaces of four fabled cities – first Jaipur and Jodhpur. Next month, we visit the palaces of Jaisalmer and Udaipur.

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Jaipur In the traditional culture of the land now known as Rajasthan, the colour emblematic of hospitality is a warm apricot coral. To welcome HRH Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, who came on a state visit in1897, the Maharajah of Jaipur had the entire city painted this appealing colour. Later, Rudyard Kipling, who must have first sighted the city when it was bathed in the rosy hues of dawn or dusk, called Jaipur ‘The Pink City’; and, since then, that is how Jaipur has been known. A palace shaped like a crown At the heart of the city is the purest expression of this distinctive apricot colour - a five-story architectural marvel in the shape of a crown, Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds, one of the most famous buildings in all of India. I first caught a glimpse of the Palace of Winds at night, in the reflected neon of the street. It rose high above the clamour of horns and engines, the chaotic streams of humanity, and the impossibility of peace on the main thoroughfare of this populous city. Uninhabited and ghost-like, the fragile façade of the Hawa Mahal shone in the subdued white and bare grey of its intricate bones. It was from behind the lacy screens of the Hawa Mahal windows that, for centuries, unseen ladies of the Royal Court watched ceremonial processions and street life. The Palace of Winds vanished as I turned my head for a last view of the delicate, silhouetted windows and balconies in their perfect blend of Hindu and Islamic architecture and my car melted into the traffic. Strangely, when I saw the Palace of Winds the next day in the full light of late morning, the structure seemed just as ethereal as it had the night before. A rosy glow illuminated its curving crown, and the intricate window screens seemed like beds of flowering arabesques.

Mehrangarh was the seat of the largest of the Rajput kingdoms and is still used by the present Maharaja for ceremonial occasions

The Legendary Founder of Jaipur The iconic Hawa Mahal is part of the City Palace complex erected early in the 18th Century by Raja Jai Singh II, the legendary founder of Jaipur. As a child of eleven years, Prince Jai Sing was summoned from the Amber Palace to the Mughal court in Delhi for being hostile toward the Mughal conquerors. There, Emperor Aurangzeb grabbed the child by his arms – saying, “Of what use are your arms now?!” The plucky Prince responded – “With your Majesty’s long arms to protect me, what other arms do I need?” The Emperor declared the young boy worth one-anda-quarter more than ordinary men and conferred on him the hereditary title of Sawai. In 1727, at the order of Jai Singh II, Jaipur came into being as the City of Victory, in celebration of his success in uniting the Rajput kingdoms against the Mughal Empire. The beautiful, orderly new city was laid out according to the celestial teachings of Hindu Philosophy - in nine quarters symbolising the planets. Amber Fort Palace Raja Jai Singh’s childhood home, the 12th Century Amber Fort Palace in the countryside just north of the city, remained in use for ceremonial events. Today, Amber Fort still reigns over the hills and valleys in breathtaking mediaeval splendour.

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Visitors may ride decorated elephants up the steep hill past the ramparts and through the huge arched Gateway of the Sun into the first courtyard of the vast palace complex. Among the many splendours of the Palace, inside the Ganesh Gate with its gaily painted floral murals, is a courtyard pavilion with walls and ceilings covered in a lacework of tiny faceted mirrors so intricately worked that it might be made of diamonds. It is said that, at night, just one candle will light the entire pavilion through infinite reflections in millions of mirrors. Rambagh, the perfect palace In 1835, Jaipur was a walled city with seven gates. Not far from the city limits was a modest palace, called the Rambagh, built by the Maharani of the time for her favourite handmaiden. Half a century later, in 1887, Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh transformed Rambagh Palace into a royal guest house and

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The ‘Blue City’ of Rajasthan is best viewed from the ramparts of the Fort as it towers above the plain where the town stretches out, its throng of small flat-roofed houses spreading to the borders of the surrounding desert

hunting lodge - complete with tennis courts, a polo field… and a glorious swimming pool enclosed in a vast arboretum, art nouveau in style, and filled with light. In the 20th Century, the Rambagh Palace, with new interiors decorated by Hammonds of London, became the residence of Man Singh II and his famous wife, Maharani Gayatri Devi, one of the most beautiful women in the world at the time. A blend of Rajput and Mughal styles, the romantic Rambagh Palace, now a luxury hotel, is considered an architectural masterpiece. In creamy lemon trimmed with coral and burgundy, this fabulous hotel is an unforgettable symphony of arched colonnades, scalloped arches and slender rooftop cupolas. Returning to Neemrana Palace A favourite day trip from Jaipur is to Samode Palace in the Aravalli Hills, a decorative late 19th Century palace known today as the site of several romantic Hollywood films. Much further afield, in the direction of Delhi, is the magnificent 15th Century Neemrana Palace which I had seen emerging from the mist early one morning twenty years ago, when it

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first opened as a hotel… and had been longing to see again. There is always the danger when returning to a place from the past that it will be a disappointment in the discerning mind of the present, and because of the often disheartening changes that come with ‘progress’. It had been a long, tiring drive on rough roads in heavy traffic; and, as we neared the site, I feared I had made a mistake. To my astonishment and utter joy, Neemrana was even more enchantingly beautiful than before. The acacia forest had grown thickly all around to embrace the structure as it meandered up the hillside. The pavilions, balconies and courtyards were overflowing with lush, flowering bushes. Hundreds of brightly coloured birds had settled in the gardens and trees. The old stonework of the exterior was refurbished; and the white designs on the terracotta-red arcades freshly painted in fine brushstrokes. Furnished with antiques, the outside terraces, alcoves and domed rooms now gleamed through new glass archways. The polished white marble floors were inlaid with diamond and arabesque patterns in jade green or jet black. The ancient palace seemed like a young debutante settling into the rich green dream of the hills.


Jodhpur The ‘Blue City’ of Rajasthan is best viewed from the ramparts of the Fort as it towers above the plain where the town stretches out, its throng of small flat-roofed houses spreading to the borders of the surrounding desert. Many of the houses are washed with indigo, leaving a light blue stain believed to repel mosquitoes. Seen from above, the blue houses cast their colour over the entire city. Mehrangarh Fort and its Palaces Such is the romance conjured by this city that I wanted to ride into Jodhpur on a horse, dressed in the iconic riding pants named after the city. I settled instead for a striking black, gold and orange polo shirt from Mehrangarh’s chic Museum Shop. Built in the mid 15th Century, this most majestic of forts was described by Rudyard Kipling as “the creation of angels, fairies and giants”. Mehrangarh was the seat of the largest of the Rajput kingdoms and is still used by the present Maharaja for ceremonial occasions. It houses the white marble coronation throne upon which every ruler of Jodhpur has been crowned. The Fort contains a number of beautifully restored Palaces, one of which is an excellent museum with antique weapons, miniature paintings, sculptures, palanquins and ornate howdahs (elephant seats). The Mehrangarh Palaces are noted for brightly painted murals on crushed seashell plasterwork; ceilings made of mirrors and gold leaf; and, delicately latticed windows. It is a matter of historical record that a man named Rajiya was buried alive in the foundation of the Fort as a sacrifice to ensure its safety and effectiveness. To this day,

Rajiya’s descendants live in a garden estate bequeathed to the family in compensation. Umaid Bahwan Palace I first saw the Palace of the Maharaja of Jodhpur, the monumental castle called Umaid Bhawan, from a distant hill, at dusk when a full moon had risen, and the bloodred sun was still hovering on the horizon. With the elegant elongated structure bathed at once in the light of the sun and the moon, a more beautiful sight could not be imagined. Construction of the palace was undertaken in 1925 during the Great Depression, by Maharajah Umaid Sigh, as a famine relief project that provided work for 3,000 men for fifteen years. Designed by a British and an Indian architect, (Henry Vaughan Lanchester and Budhmal Rai), the Palace and especially the interior decoration of the grand central rotunda, subtly integrate Art Deco, Hindu and Islamic design motifs in the finest marble. Enormous, opulent and lavish, the Palace today, with 347 rooms, said to be the world’s largest private dwelling, houses HH Maharaja Gaj Singh and his family in gorgeous apartments, as well as a spectacular luxury Taj hotel and a fine museum. For the recent wedding of the Crown Prince, the entire outer courtyard was garlanded with roses and marigolds. On the road again… I left Jodhpur just as the moon was fading into the awakening blue of the morning sky, and the sun was rising in an ethereal pink haze over the dark sand dunes. We were heading out on a winding road across the desert for Jaisalmer, the Golden City. January 2011

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Travel & Lifestyle

GOLF SPECIAL

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ootball may be the national sport of the region but coming quite close on its heels as a popular sport is golf. Brought to the region largely by the expatriate population who made their home in this part of the world, golf has captured the fancy of the nationals just as much. Internationally renowned golfers have designed many courses in the region that are today visited by golfers from around the world and where PGA tournaments are held too. Presented here are some of the top golf courses in the region based on facilities, golfing challenges and landscape. THE MONTGOMERIE, DUBAI One of the most popular and luxurious golf courses in the Emirates, The Montgomerie, Dubai’s championship golf course was designed by Colin Montgomerie in collaboration with Desmond Muirhead. The course is spread over 265 acres which consist of 123 acres of turf, 49 acres of man-made lakes numbering at 14 and 93 acres of landscaped gardens.   The course includes undulating ‘links land’ style fairways with generous landing areas that can challenge and

intrigue players of all levels. One of the signature holes is the par 5 fourth, dubbed the Snake hole for its saddleback fairway which doglegs towards the green, with two bunkers behind forming the eyes of the snake. The par 3 thirteenth, a hole designed in the shape of the UAE, boasts a 360 degree teeing area around an island fairway and green, allowing for a completely different golf hole to be played every time. The Montgomerie, Dubai offers two very different seasons of golf.  During winter, the golf course is over-seeded whilst the summer season has the course back to a full stand of Bermuda grass.  EMIRATES GOLF CLUB, DUBAI The first all-grass championship golf course in the region, Emirates Golf Club was launched in 1988. The course, which is commonly referred to as the Desert Miracle as a result of the lush greenery despite being in a desert city, Emirates Golf Club is home to two championship courses, a 9 hole Par-3 course, golf academy, numerous practice facilities and two driving ranges. The club’s flagship course, The Majlis is a

Golf Special Played with fervour and passion, golf is a popular game in the region. Green and brown courses are becoming a common sight in the famed Arabian landscape. Crème de la Crème gives a bird’s eye of some of the most renowned neibhouring golf courses

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The Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club course sets up for a thrilling finale to a round with its two par 4 closing holes. The 17th and 18th have the Creek guarding the entire left side of the fairwaydubo

challenging par 72, 7,301-yard layout. One of the most prominent features on the course is the Majlis positioned between the 8th and 9th holes, while one of the most challenging holes on the course is the par 4, dogleg 8th. International championships like the Dubai Desert Classic and the Dubai Ladies’ Masters are played on this course. The other course, redesigned by golf legend and six-time major winner Nick Faldo, named The Faldo, combines a stunning visual design with the nuances and challenges of any championship course in, providing visitors an exceptionally enjoyable yet unique golfing experience. The Faldo also offers golfers the option of engaging in the sport at night thanks to its fully floodlit 18-hole course. TOWER LINKS GOLF CLUB, RAS AL KHAIMAH Situated amongst a vast mangrove with the majestic Hajjar mountains as the background, Tower Links Golf Club is a challenging 18 hole, par 72 golf course. The club possesses an outstanding range of facilities enabling golfers to improve their standard of play. The back nine holes and practice facilities are fully floodlit for night play. The course offers four areas for tees - championship, men, seniors and ladies.

The clubhouse exterior design is based on a ‘Watchtower’ showcasing the rich history of the Emirate. Tower Links now possesses an active Golf and Social Membership whilst also catering for the demand of Golfers from the surrounding Emirates as well as the growing International tourists. Tower Links Golf Club is a challenging 18 hole, par 72 golf course. The club possesses an outstanding range of facilities enabling golfers to improve their standard of play. The back nine holes and practice facilities are fully floodlit for night play.  The course is 7,200 yards in length with four tees: Championship, men, seniors and ladies, therefore providing tee-off opportunities for all standards of play.  The clubhouse exterior design is based on a ‘Watchtower’ reflecting the rich history of the emirate and bringing to Ras Al Khaimah a landmark building. ABU DHABI GOLF CLUB, ABU DHABI The first thing that will strike you is the clubhouse, a huge complex in the shape of a falcon swooping down on a golf ball which presides over the magnificent layout. The clubhouse features three stories of bars and restaurants as well as leisure facilities including outdoor pool, gymnasium, tennis/squash courts, snooker room, stadium court, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. Progressing towards the golf course, you will find extensive practice facilities- putting/ chipping greens and practice bunkers compliment the floodlit 350m driving range, the largest in the Gulf. Two 18hole, par-72 courses await players. The Gardens Course at 6498 yards is gentle and ideal for all standards with holes 10 -18 floodlit. The centerpiece though is the National Course; planned and designed in 1992. Upon completion

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The course, which is commonly referred to as the Desert Miracle as a result of the lush greenery despite being in a desert city, Emirates Golf Club is home to two championship courses, a 9 hole Par-3 course, golf academy, numerous practice facilities and two driving ranges

in 1998 the course was given important time to mature and as a result is in marvelous condition. At 7204 yards, with lush fairways, large palms, lakes and bunkers, the Peter Harradine-design is a wonderful blend of challenging yet rewarding holes. THE ROYAL GOLF CLUB, BAHRAIN The Royal Golf Club’s two golf courses offer something for golfers of all abilities. The Montgomerie-designed Championship course will be a challenging option for even the most seasoned golfer but will also appeal to the less experienced as there are plenty of holes giving risk/reward opportunities for those daring enough to take them. The par 3 Wee Monty course provides a gentle introduction to the sport for beginners but, like the Championship course, offers more demanding options to the more experienced People of all ages and from all backgrounds can enhance their lives through the wonderful sport of golf. Our Royal Golf Academy has been meticulously designed to provide unrivalled tuition experiences for all. Indoor tuition suites, state-of-the-art golf tuition aides, shaded driving range bays and immaculate practice putting greens are just some of the facilities on offer which will increase your enjoyment, whether you are learning the basics of golf from scratch or seeking to improve a specific aspect of your game. DIRAB GOLF CLUB & RECREATION CENTER, SAUDI ARABIA Saudi Arabia’s first ever 18 hole championship quality golf course on grass, the Dirab Golf Course is situated in the scenic valley near the Mountain Escarpment of Tuwaiq. Playing in this golf course brings a memorable experience worthy of sharing with golf friends back in your own country. It has since been voted as one of the best golf courses in the world. Truly is, the Dirab Golf Course is a mecca for golf players around the world.

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Dirab Golf Club & Recreation Center is only grassed 18-hole, Par-72 championship golf course in Riyadh, Kingdom Saudi Arabia. It has unbelievable grass formations with thousands of plants, trees surrounded with desert and mountain that attracts people who enjoy an active and fulfilling lifestyle. Dirab Golf Club has already been firmly place on the golf map in the Gulf region having hosted the 1st National amateur Championship in 2001, 10th Annual GCC Golf Championship in 2002, BMW world qualifier tournament 2004 as well as Dirab Pro-Am Golf tournament 2005. Among its other amenities, Dirab Golf Club & Recreation Center also offers several other activities, including horse riding, swimming, tennis and 5,000 acre farm that can be used for camping along with the tent. Also the wellfurnished villas are available for rent.


Among its other amenities, Dirab Golf & Country Club also offers several other activities, including horse riding, swimming, tennis and 5,000 acre farm that can be used for camping along with the tents. DUBAI CREEK GOLF & YACHT CLUB, DUBAI The par 71 course that measures 6,857 yards is a memorable journey from the first tee to the 18th green. The superbly manicured fairways are undulating, demarcated by mounds, date and palm trees, and most other times by water. Apart from the Creek, which comes into play on at least four holes, several artificial lakes add to the beauty and difficulty of various other holes. The presence of multiple tees ensures that golfers of all calibres enjoy their day out at the course. While length of the tee

helps, the premium is certainly on accuracy, especially with the approach shots as most of the greens are multitiered with subtle borrows. The Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club course sets up for a thrilling finale to a round with its two par 4 closing holes. The 17th and 18th have the Creek guarding the entire left side of the fairway. While the 17th can still be conquered with some smart play, the 18th requires mandatory cerebral involvement on every shot. There is water on the left and a long bunker on the right, beyond which is water again. A good drive will still leave you with a long iron into the tiered and sloping green, which is guarded at the front and right by a body of water. Golf does not end at sunset at Dubai Creek as the feature packed Par 3 course, a well-equipped Driving Range and the Club’s outstanding practice facilities are all floodlit to allow play late into the night. January 2011

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Travel & Lifestyle

Lounge

Guinness World Records Gamers Edition 2011 -Brady

Games Staff, Guinness World Records Editors

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uinness World Records is the world’s bestselling copyright book, and it’s a recordbreaking publishing phenomenon! It has historically rocked the best-seller charts selling over 4 million copies annually, with publications printed in over 22 different languages. Guinness World Records Gamers Edition 2011 brings you record-breaking computer- and video-game accomplishments from around the world, including high scores, biggest tournaments, largest cash prizes and most successful games. In addition to thousands of high scores and records, the book features a round-up of the key events of the video-gaming year - including reviews of new releases, new consoles and the major tournaments along with detailed game strategies, interviews with the professionals, tips and cheats to improve your play, tabulated information, fullcolor photography and illustrations, league tables, bizarre facts, and amazing trivia.

Guinness World Records is the world’s best-selling copyright book, and it’s a record-breaking publishing phenomenon!

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William and Kate: A Royal Love Story 

Christopher Andersen

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put it to William, particularly, that if you find someone you love in life, you must hang on to that love and look after it. . . . You must protect it.” — Diana, Princess of Wales Theirs was destined from the start to be one of the most celebrated unions of the twenty-first century: he, the charismatic prince who would someday be crowned king of England; she, the stunningly beautiful commoner who won his heart. Prince William and Kate Middleton defied all odds to forge a storybook romance amid the scandals, power struggles, tragedies, and general dysfunction that are the hallmarks of Britain’s Royal Family. In the process, they became the most written about, gossiped about, admired, and envied young couple of their generation. Yet for most of their nearly decade-long affair, William and Kate have remained famously quiet and kept their royal relationship a tantalising mystery. Now, as their longanticipated wedding finally approaches, journalist and #1 New York Times bestselling author Christopher Andersen reveals the intimate details of their celebrated courtship and offers a mesmerising glimpse of the man and wife—and future king and queen—they will become. For many, William and Kate’s union represents an opportunity to recapture the magic—the compelling and complicated legacy—of his beloved mother Diana, Princess of Wales. Part glittering fairy tale, part searing family drama, part political potboiler, part heart-stopping cliff-hanger, theirs is, above all else, an affair to remember. Theirs is the story of two young people who found each other in college, came perilously close to losing what they had forever, and pulled back from the brink at the last possible moment. Theirs is the story of private moments stolen for public consumption, of harrowing car chases, of scorching personal dramas played out behind the scenes, of calm heads prevailing in times of panic, and of a singular devotion made stronger by time. The saga of William and Kate is one thing above all else: a love story.

For many, William and Kate’s union represents an opportunity to recapture the magic—the compelling and complicated legacy—of his beloved mother Diana, Princess of Wales

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Style & Beauty

Fashion Exclusive w Showcase January 2011

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STYLE & BEAUTY

Fashion Exclusive

Fashion goes Timeless

H&M’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection goes back to basics to create fashion that is timeless and classic. This season there’s a particular focus on the mood of the 60s and 70s, with brightly coloured shapes that are short and sharp alongside a more romantic silhouette that is long and elegant. To make a modern mix, these pieces are teamed with seasonal trends and modern essentials with innovative shapes and proportions. There is a move towards function in fabrics as well as form, with many of the fibres used being organic or recycled. 

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Photographs: Hasse Nielsen


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Style & Beauty

Showcase

Inspiring Creations Girard-Perregaux is one of the few authentic Swiss watch making manufacturers who specialises in a comprehensive approach to design. They offer a complete range of movements (over 100 variants) and prestigious mechanical watch collections. Crème de la Crème recently attended the launch of the luxury brand at Khimji’s Watches

Bridges during the launch event and journalists had the opportunity to witness the unveiling of some of the most exclusive collections from the brand. STATEMENT OF FINNESSE As fervent defenders of the craftsmanship that goes into the creation of beautiful timepieces, Girard-Perregaux design and produce watches, including the movements, with the focus on perfection, leading them to push the boundaries ever further.

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irard-Perregaux was recently launched in Oman by Khimji’s Watches where the brand received rave reviews from watch aficionados. The brand has succeeded in preserving and developing its unique expertise over a period of more than two centuries. Some of the most innovative designs and movements first created by Constant Girard-Perregaux in the 19th century, like the Tourbillon with three gold Bridges, are still being made today. Frederic Micheli, Area Sales Manager, Girard-Perregaux explained the working mechanism of the three gold

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Brand Philosophy More than simply an example of precision mechanics, each Girard-Perregaux timepiece is also a work of art, its spirit reflecting the care and attention lavished on it by its creators, from the engineer to the master-watchmaker. The collections are the result of a subtle marriage between tradition and state of the art technology. The pursuit of excellence, a respect for history, the fostering of innovation and a focus on exclusivity: Their philosophy is built on expertise and authenticity, but also has its roots in imagination and emotion. Quality That Matters The brand marries design and technical mastery, and is as much an incarnation of inspired creativity as of watchmaking expertise. In its image, Girard-Perregaux


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The collections are the result of a subtle marriage between tradition and state of the art technology. The pursuit of excellence, a respect for history, the fostering of innovation and a focus on exclusivity

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Frederic Micheli, Area Sales Manager, Girard-Perregaux - explaining the mechanism of various models from GP

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Khimji officials along with GP’s Area Sales Manager during the launch

Haute Horlogerie watches are distinguished by the quality of their mechanism, their excellent finishing and their aesthetic inventiveness. Their design and manufacture require not only consummate technical accomplishment, but also extraordinary expertise. These authentic masterpieces are forged from noble materials by the hands of expert watchmakers. Composed of hundreds of parts, some of which are microscopic, they are subjected to rigorous tests to guarantee their reliability. Minute repeaters Tourbillons, perpetual calendars, split second chronographs and other complications form a varied collection which breathes new life into the art of fine watchmaking.

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Girard-Perregaux Haute Horlogerie watches are distinguished by the quality of their mechanism, their excellent finishing and their aesthetic inventiveness

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Committed to Innovation Girard-Perregaux has always been committed to innovation. The Manufacture has registered around eighty patents in the field of watch making and re-invests a good part of its revenue in Research and Development. This is what ensures their collections and brand stand the test of time and inspires watchmakers to continue improving everything they do in an endless quest for perfection. Well before the vintage look had permeated all trends, Girard-Perregaux conceived a collection inspired by the retro forms of one of its Art deco style watches from 1945. Since then, a variety of versions have embodied modern interpretations of the unique personality of the


Vintage 1945 line, with an incredible wealth of details. This timeless, classic Girard-Perregaux model, adorning the wrists of discerning connoisseurs worldwide, is distinguished by its undeniable elegance. Timeless Beauty Inspired by the creative Art deco style explosion, in 1945 Girard-Perregaux designed a wrist watch encapsulating these principles. This was a very cleanly structured timepiece: a rectangular case elongated by lugs, a symmetrical design and curved flanks integrating the crown. The alternating steel and gold tones on the case are also highly characteristic of the Art deco period. In 1995, Girard-Perregaux re-used the shape of the 1945 piece in a new interpretation to launch the ‘Vintage 1945’ line, a contemporary take on the style. Its general appearance reflects the refined grace that characterised the original watch: the right angles of its rectangular form are emphasised by godrons and elongated lugs,

its curved case its perfectly on the wrist, the crown is integrated directly into the very slim case and the dial is subtly domed. Groundbreaking Research In the 1960s, Girard-Perregaux was one of the very few watchmaking manufacturers to have its own Research & Development team. In 1966, it launched the first High Frequency movement, operating at 36,000 vibrations/hour which would provide exceptionally accurate performance. That same year, the Neuchâtel State Council decided to recognise the work and developments of Girard-Perregaux by awarding the Brand the Observatory Centenary Prize. The GirardPerregaux 1966 collection pays tribute to this era, incorporating the fruits of the Manufacture’s ongoing commitment to innovation, with its modern selfwinding calibers and particularly elegant cases.

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In 1995, GirardPerregaux re-used the shape of the 1945 piece in a new interpretation to launch the ‘Vintage 1945’ line, a contemporary take on the style

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UNDER SUPERVISION OF DR.RAMI ANDERI Brazilian - Lebanese Plastic Surgeon implementing the latest innovations of the Brazilian techniques

Location: Bldg.1303, Way No. 3017, Shatti Al Qurum PO Box 1505, PC 133, Al Khuwair | Tel.: 24699052, Fax: 24699051 | GSM: 99244099

www.cosmeclic.net


Melange

Simply Musts w My View January 2011

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MELANGE

SIMPLY MUSTS

A selection of the finest buys for connoisseurs of luxury Fashionable Eyes The new capsule collection of sunglasses from Prada features sophisticated silhouettes, designed to match the sensual aesthetics and modern femininity of the current season. The new Swing Sunglasses are the creative expression of feminine notes and bold chords, combining vaguely 1950s shapes with the simple lines of Prada’s 1990s fashions. The Prada Swing sunglasses add elegance and style to anyone who adorns it. www.prada.com

Alluring Design This intricate handmade porcelain candle holder is creatively designed by Jasmine Rowlandson. There are of course sculptors who take their inspiration from the natural world but Jasmin’s creations reflect an unusually sublime interpretation. They look identifiably representative but in fact are entirely abstract. This porcelain candle holder, reminiscent of something one might find on the sea bed, is very unusual and, full of gentle and soporific movement. Created exclusively for 20ltd.com, it is available in only 20 editions. www.20ltd.com

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Addicted to Fashion Givenchy takes its classic Nightingale satchel and gives it a fun and feisty fashion look. The satchel is made of leather and has two short handles and a long detachable shoulder strap. This is a great designer handbag that adds a splash of style to an outfit. Take it to work, when traveling, or shopping out on the weekend. The size of the bag is perfect to hold whatever you need this winter including your basics plus a scarf, gloves, small umbrella and more. Go straight from the office to meeting friends for dinner looking fashionable by wearing this Givenchy handbag. Available at Eye Candy, Jawharat A’ Shatti

For the Love of Diamonds The L.U.C Tourbillon Lady watch is an example of Chopard’s highest expertise. It exists as a subtle blend of Haute Horlogerie and Haute Joaillerie. Baguette diamonds decorate the entire case and enhance a grand complication dial. It includes a tourbillon with the small seconds at 6 o’clock and an ample power reserve at 12 o’clock. A stylish yet simple letter C in polished gold is stamped on the Tourbillon bridge, both elegant and modern in appearance. The movement, entirely handdecorated, is COSC certified and carries the Poinçon de Genève seal. For twelve years L.U.C watches have been made for individuals who are passionate about fine watch making. However whilst in the past women with a penchant for technology have often been seduced by the contemporary lines and the high quality movements of these watches, today Chopard has produced a Tourbillon exclusively with them in mind. Available in a limited edition series of 25 pieces in rose gold and 25 pieces in white gold. For any further information, contact Khimji’s Watches at 2469917

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Innovative Technology MINI has teamed up with design audio products experts sonoro audio to bring sounds from around the world into our living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and offices. The result of the cooperation is an Internet radio that combines urban chic with a boundless musical experience. The MINI rocks sonoro limited edition of the elements W Internet radio can receive over 18,000 web radio stations via WiFi or LAN. The design radio also boasts a media player function for streaming music libraries direct from a computer. The alarm clock, sleep and snooze functions, Radio Frequency remote control and eDock external iPodÂŽ docking station with charging function are all easy to use. www.mini.com

Winter Fashion With a distinct edge of luxury that comes as standard with Michael Kors’ collections, this chunky knit cashmere cardigan invests a homely appeal in a hip-length shawl style. Let this oversized winter warmer add texture to your ensemble and team with casual jeans and trainers. The cardigan comes with ribbed cuffs and waistband and popper-fastened front. The cardigan is made with 74% cashmere, 9% angora, 8% yak, 7% camel hair and 2% opossum. www.harrods.com

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Picture Perfect The new Samsung ST600 and ST100 are the first of their kind in the compact digital cameras category; they are the only digital cameras in the market that feature two screens. The front screens are bigger than their predecessors, now measuring 1.8” compared to the 1.5” front LCD screens before, so your loved ones can properly frame themselves in photos and videos and be part of the action by stepping out from behind the camera and joining friends and family in the shot, and seeing their festive pictures in even better detail. The ST600 and ST100 have a full-range of smart and easyto-use features that come in four stylish, mood-inspired colors, including hot pink, gold, black and purple, and are encased in a slim and sleek compact frame with a metallic finish to deliver a new sense of fun and modern functionality that will ensure users stand out from the crowd. Available at Sarco Showroom, Oman

When Technology creates Opportunity The new Flip Mino2HR combines signature Flip Video quality with improved technology to offer 2 hours of HD video that is better than ever. Mino features incredible 720p resolution, now with 50 frames per second and builtin image stabilization to produce incredibly clear and steady HD video. The new Mino has a simple user interface and a super-slim, pocket-sized design. Easy-to-use pre-loaded FlipShare™ software lets you organize, edit and share your videos by e-mail or directly to Facebook™, Twitter™ and YouTube™. Carry it anywhere with its sleek and slim design that fits in any pocket or purse and shoot up to 2 hours of stunning HD video. Connect the flipout USB arm directly into your PC or Mac® to launch pre-loaded FlipShare™ software. Use the FlipShare software to organize and edit your videos, capture photos, send video greeting cards and create movies and also share videos privately using FlipShare’s attachment-free email or post publicly with direct video shares to Facebook™, YouTube™ and Twitter™. www.cisco.com January 2011

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My View

Digital is the way! BEBHINN KELLY, POPULAR DUBAI-BASED BLOGGER AND FOUNDER OF THE STYLISH WWW.HELLAWAFAHSION.COM WRITES ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF GOING DIGITAL, A TREND THAT MANY BRANDS IN THE REGION ARE YET TO EMBRACE

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he arrival of Burberry’s fact sheet on digital activity in my Inbox prompted me to do a report on why it is imperative for brands to advertise online. The geek in me finds fact sheets on digital activity from luxury brands quite interesting, but I understand I may be somewhat alone in this so I’ll try to keep it as entertaining as possible. When I started blogging in the UAE, much of the response was tepid. Not many people were convinced about the power of online advertising. While I blogged away in isolation (everyone has moments of self doubt, even people as wonderfully thick skinned as myself) a couple of things kept me going - my clients (small & sporadic as they were at the time), an e-mail from Scott Schuman himself (the creator of popular fashion blog, www.thesartorialist.com) and brands like Burberry. I figured if brands like Burberry were embracing online (this was before McQueen {may he rest in peace} was live streaming shows and before Lady Gaga’s tweets had the ability to crash websites) then it must be the way forward. To this day I’m astonished to discover that brands in the region have not looked more closely at Burberry for inspiration. Take Art of the Trench as an example. Burberry employed (note the word employed here, ladies and gents) Scott Schuman to take photographs of people wearing trench coats and launched a website called Art of the Trench to load them too. Now although the Art of the Trench is only just over a year old, it has already had over 8 million page views from 200 countries. To this day people voluntarily load pictures of themselves in trench coats they have bought to the site. You cannot put money on the value of that kind of brand integration and loyalty; I have often used the site myself for inspiration for various looks and posts. What’s even more amazing is that the Sartorialist posted the pictures he took for Burberry to his own blog. He liked them so much he became like an ambassador of the brand. Full page print ads in magazines cannot and will not have that kind of impact. Much like Net-a-porter (their magazine covers only what they sell in their store & is essentially a marketing juggernaut but we all love it anyway and again I can’t be the only one who logs onto their site for inspiration for outfits), Burberry have found a way to work with online folks, make them part of the process and generate a whole load

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of blog love. Much has been made of Burberry reaching the 3 million mark on facebook. It is an outstanding achievement; Christopher Bailey and his CEO Angela Ahrendts deserve huge felicitations. However, their facebook victory is not something I want to dwell on. Why? Because people in this region misunderstand the effectiveness of facebook. We may be in the digital age but the same old marketing principles apply. If I say “Hellwafashion.com is great”, you hear me. If someone else who is well respected in the Industry says “Hellwafashion.com is the blog to read”, you listen. Facebook is about telling the world how great YOU think you are; which is not enough. Facebook still needs to be used in conjunction with other forms of promotion. Which is what Burberry does. They advertise online in effective engaging ways and they live stream fashion shows where viewers can share personal views on the collection. Burberry gets it. And here’s the thing. I’m 32 years old; when I was a teenager I saved up all my money and bought expensive magazines and looked at images of clothes I couldn’t afford because I had bought the magazine. Teenagers nowadays have the choice, buy the magazine or go online and get real time information from brands like Burberry for free. The older women get, the busier our lives get. When today’s teenagers reach 32 and have to hold down a full time job while looking after children/arranging a wedding/blogging/spending time with their partners (you get it, we’re busy), are these women going to head into a store, buy a magazine and flip through it to find out what they should be wearing? No. They are going to jump on their ipads, hit net-a-porter.com before they go to bed and buy brands they are familiar with. With all the personal interaction they have had through the years with Christopher Bailey on facebook, with all the collaborations they’ve seen Burberry do with bloggers and musicians, Burberry’s going to be top of their minds. Burberry has been around since 1856, so age is no excuse. It is a brand which is over a century old and has an online store. Teenagers grow up fast, if brands from this region or operating in this region want to stay relevant, they need to start looking to brands like Burberry, sooner rather than later.


are you geared up to face the challenge? Ladies, get ready for the 2nd edition of Muscat Ladies Golf Cham pionship which prom ises double the fun and excitem ent this year!

February 17 & 18, 2011 ghallah wentworth golf club For Registrations please contact Claudia - 99357608, Sara - 99158290


Crème de la crème 2011  

Crème de la crème 2011

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