JAN - FEB 2018
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?
MAGAZINE hauTe houses of slumBer MOST EXCITING NEW HOTELS FOR THE YEAR OF THE DOG
capiTal of culTure VIENNA’S PACKED FESTIVAL PROGRAM
THE HOTTEST DESTINATIONS IN 2018 AMERICAN AIRLINES
LONDON’S BEST MARKETS
KYOTO’S THE SUIRAN
elcome to the first issue of Explorer for 2018. We love the start of a new year – there’s so much promise, so many new destinations we can’t wait to explore, so many new experiences ahead. In this issue we look at
some of the most captivating destinations on the planet and also some of the most inspiring new hotels to stay at. We start off in Africa, which has been slated as the hottest continent for the year ahead – and for good reason. With its vibrant cities, awe-inspiring landscapes and unique wildlife, Africa wins hearts like no other destination. From Africa we delve into the world of hotels, safari camps and chic urban retreats with our take on the hottest new hotel openings in 2018. There’s time to explore the host of cultural events planned for Vienna during the year ahead before we visit London to delve into the city’s best markets. After all that adventure we need a change of pace and head to Kyoto’s intimate The Suiran, a member of The Luxury Collection and a great base from which to explore Japan’s former imperial capital. Whether you’re looking to be active or need the right destination for a touch of R&R, we hope Explorer continues to inspire and inform your travels for the year ahead.. Safe Travels,
David Leung Publisher
WORLD IN PICS Okinawa is famed for its pristine beaches. Credit: Be Okinawa
The iconic Golden Gate Bridge swims in fog. Credit: San Francisco Travel Association
Hong Kong continues to thrill photographers with its eclectic mix of east and west. Credit: Hong Kong Tourism Board
From deserted beaches in Asia, to gourm travel pics inspiring o
WORLD IN PICS
Look out for one of Australiaâ€™s greatest food festivals in Noosa May 17-20. Credit: Noosa Food & Wine
Greeting the dawn from the surf line in Queensland. Credit: Destination Gold Coast
Celebrate the US National Park Service centennial with a little exploration. Credit: Intrepid
Enjoying the open vistas of Colorado by horseback. Credit: Colorado Tourism Office
Slovenia comes to life with the colours of Autumn. Credit: Wild Photography
met discovering in Australia, these are the our travels this season.
South by Southwest March 9-18, 2018 Austin, Texas
With its origins as an indie film festival, South by Southwest exhibits a variety of films, media, and music all over Austin each spring. With film viewings and music performances set against workshops and seminars from leaders in the tech, film, music, media and business worlds, the event is a great excuse to head for Texas’ most unique city, with film premiers, celebrity-attended music events and much more. www.sxsw.com
Splashy Fen Festival March 29-April 1, 2018 South Africa
Established in 1990, Splashy Fen is South Africa’s longest-running music festival, which every Easter attracts thousands of people to a farm near Underberg, KwaZuluNatal for a unique outdoor music experience. Also present are arts and crafts stalls, food and drink outlets, crèche and children’s entertainment programme, as well as various camping and accommodation options. This year look out for acts by Bowling for Soup, Perez, and the Pierce Brothers. http://splashyfen.co.za 6
February 9-14, 2018 Rio de Janerio, Brazil
The world’s largest street festival, the Rio Carnival is a festival held before Lent every year and welcomes over two million people per day. The highlight of the week-long festivities is the procession of samba schools, the dancers from which are dressed in striking costumes and followed by ranks of eye-catching floats. www.riocarnaval.org
April 6-7, 2018 Istanbul, Turkey
Dedicated to music, creativity and technology, Sónar Istanbul’s second edition will take place on April 6th and 7th in Istanbul’s Zorlu Performing Arts Center. Once again music, creativity and technology will come together for an unforgettable experience. Look out for top headliners like Africa’s Black Coffee, the Pan-Pot duo, and The Ancient Moons, which consists of Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy, American jazz pianist ELEW and Mozambican guitarist Neco Novellas. https://sonaristanbul.com JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018
To the Poles & Beyond
French cruise company Ponant will launch the cruising worldâ€™s first natural gas powered electric hybrid ice breaker in 2021. The newly ordered, custombuilt vessel will offer guests access to the most remote polar regions, including the geographic North Pole, the Ross and Weddell Seas, and Peter I Island. The new ship will be built by Norwegian shipyard VARD, with design by Stirling Design and icebreaker specialists Aker Arctic. Boasting just 135 staterooms, a fleet of military grade zodiacs, and chic, contemporary interiors in keeping with the lineâ€™s other vessels, the yet-to-be-named ship will be Clean Ship-certified and environmentally friendly. Ponant joins the likes of Scenic, Crystal Cruises, Hurtigruten and Aurora Expeditions in announcing exciting new custom-built vessels for the growing expedition cruise market. www.ponant.com
NEWS Princess Inspired
If you’re looking to splurge a little on your next visit to Monaco, you might like to try the city-state’s newest luxury penthouse. Monaco's iconic Hotel de Paris has unveiled the most extraordinary suite on the French Riviera, a jaw-dropping two-floor penthouse suite, entirely dedicated to Princess Grace. Stretching across the two top-floors of the five-star property, the Princess Grace Suite is a showcase of the mark the Princess left on the history of the Principality with the suite's interiors displaying her work and personal souvenirs, including her favourite poems and books. Located in one of Monaco's most exceptional settings, the two-bedroom suite boasts a refined, modern decor and offers a 180-degree views of the Mediterranean from three terraces and a patio. Other features and services include a private insuite concierge, an infinity pool which opens onto an outdoor lounge area, a granite jacuzzi, a shower-hammam, a dedicated private room at the property's renowned spa, the Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo, in winter, and a tent at the Monte-Carlo Beach Club in summer. www.hoteldeparismontecarlo.com
Lombok Bound Hotel group Wyndham will debut in Indonesia when it opens on spectacular Lombok Island later this year. The all-suite Wyndham Lombok Sundancer Resort is set on 48 hectares of beachfront land in southern Lombok and offers close proximity to one of the world's most famous surfing breaks, Desert Point. The all-suite resort will feature 66 one and two-bedroom suites with a living area overlooking the Lombok Straits and its surrounding islets. The resort will also offer a host of leisure facilities including an all-day dining restaurant; a 900sqm pool with swim-up bar and deep water area for diving lessons; and a private beach club. An idyllic island in Indonesia's West Nusa Tenggara province, Lombok is gaining international repute for its pristine beaches, spectacular diving, clear waters and challenging surf breaks, which are among the world's best. To the north of the island lies Mount Rinjani, Indonesia's second highest volcano, offering outdoor enthusiasts a scenic ascent to the peak with lush hiking
Putting Mums in the Frame
trails leading to waterfalls, hot springs and a picturesque crater lake. www.wyndhamhotels.com
Mums everywhere have faced the struggle of trying to capture family photos that include the whole family. It seems that mothers have become the unofficial family photographer for holidays or special occasions, creating a trend known as 'ghost mums' – always missing from family photos. Now, a new website, Travelshoot, is solving this problem by connecting all types of travellers with local photographers across the globe to capture moments from family holidays, honeymoons, destination weddings and more. Travellers simply select their destination and available dates before leaving for their trip and Travelshoot arranges for the photographer to guide them through photo shoots at iconic locations around the city. Travelshoot experiences start from US$399 and are currently available in more than 100 destinations across Australia and the world. www.travelshoot.com
Bali’s Hottest Opening One of the most anticipated openings on the Island of the Gods, Capella Ubud opens in Autumn, bringing new levels of luxury to Bali’s spiritual hub. A hidden sanctuary within densely forested terrain, Capella Ubud features 22 ultraluxurious tents designed by celebrated architect Bill Bensley. Located along the sacred Wos River, where the Balinese regularly gather for festive processions, each tent featuring an individual plunge pool set against the backdrop of a densely forested terrain. Other amenities include the signature Capella Library, a canopied cistern pool, tented gymnasium, Robatayaki grill, garden specialty dining and the award-winning Auriga Spa and wellness retreat. A Capella Personal Assistant is on hand to attend to every guest’s preferences from the point of reservation until departure. To curate the perfect Balinese adventure, the Capella Personal Assistants can help to prepare a bespoke programme that is as active or relaxed according to individual desires. www.capellahotelgroup.com 10
NEWS Move with the Migration
Safari specialist Audley Travel will add the award winning and unique safari experience, Bush Rover Migration Camps, to its programme for 2018. Travellers staying in one of the Bush Rover Migration semi-permanent camps will find themselves in the very heart of the great wildebeest migration. The camps are set in one of three private locations in the Serengeti, dependent on the time of year – at the Grumeti River (May to July), close to a crossing point for the migrating herds on the Mara River (July to October) and the Gol Mountains in Ngorongoro Highlands (December to March). The Bush Rovers move to the best places for clients to experience the safari of a lifetime, folding up to a moving vehicle and setting off to the next exciting vantage spot. The unique accommodation, which was the 2017 winner of the National Geographic Traveller Big Sleep Award 'Happy Glampers' category, sees clients sleep in large elevated bedrooms housed on the top of fully working land rovers, each with a balcony for the best views. The mobile rooms also have en-suite wood panelled bathrooms with shower, flush toilet and a bath, as well as large double beds, seating areas and space for a fantastic evening meal deep in the wilderness. The accommodation is solar powered to give hot water, light and power wherever it is parked up. www.audleytravel.com
Room to Rock
Pioneering holiday park operator Away Resorts has kicked off 2018 with the launch of an innovative new caravan accommodation option that gives its guests the ultimate rock 'n' roll treatment. The Rockstar accommodation - the first of its type in the UK - takes its inspiration from great British rock music, paying homage to our country's best and biggest rock legends with an interior décor that's part country chic, part Brit-cool, and part punk. Featuring a central living space with 55-inch television and DVD player, the caravan also features a dedicated kid’s bedroom with huge windows and bunk beds, and an adult’s bedroom with king-sized bed, en-suite and plenty of storage. There’s even a hot tub that can fit the whole family. www.awayresorts.co.uk
New Great Barrier Retreat Opens Australia's newest relaxed luxury accommodation, Zen Beach Retreat offers relaxed luxury in addition to a host of private iconic reef, beach and island experiences. Positioned on absolute beachfront in Bargara, on Bundaberg's coastline, Zen is less than an hour's flight from Brisbane and is within easy access of two Iconic UNESCO World Heritage Listed wonders, the majestic Great Barrier Reef and spectacular Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island. Hosts Shane and Pascaline Emms design tailor-made holidays featuring unique, private and fully-hosted experiences from the boutique retreat, which can accommodate up to twenty-two guests across five residences. Experiences include snorkelling and diving the turquoise waters of the pristine, unspoilt Great Barrier Reef on Lady Musgrave Island and the world leading eco-tourism destination of Lady Elliot Island; private discovery tours of the sand paradise of Fraser Island; swimming with sea turtles before witnessing nesting and hatching of turtles including the endangered Loggerhead Turtle in ranger-led encounters; and exploring the extraordinary food bowl of the Bundaberg region, including internationallyacclaimed iconic and craft beverages, with behind the scenes farm tours and private chefs. www.zenbeachretreat.com JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018
HOTELS FOR 2018
From luxury safari camps to city boutique hotels, here are the most exciting new hotels to hit the scene in 2018. By Nick Walton
Shinta Mani Wild, Cambodia Opening October
Redefining the wilds of Cambodia with a few creature comforts, Shinta Mani Wild will be a new luxury camp experience that combines world class design, hospitality and conservation. Another new property for acclaimed designer Bill Bensley (who recently unveiled ten sumptuous villas at the Shinta Mani Angkor in Siem Reap), Shinta Mani Wild is located in a vital wildlife corridor between the Bokor and Kirirom national parks, and will protect this pristine corner of Cambodia in a ground-breaking partnership with Wildlife Alliance, Fauna & Flora International, The Royal University of Phnom Penh, and the Cambodian Government. The camp’s 16,100sqm custom-designed tents will be perched on a swift-moving river, which can be explored on the property’s Bensley-designed luxury expedition boats. After adventures on the water or in the rainforest, make for the Landing Zone Bar, which is located on the edge of the sanctuary’s largest waterfall, or dine at the Waterfall restaurant, which will serve local dishes with ingredients foraged from the surrounding forest. www.shintamani.com 12
HOTELS FOR 2018 Zuri Zanzibar, Tanzania Opening May
Located on the breathtaking northern coast of Unguja, the Tanzanian archipelago’s main island, Zuri Zanzibar boasts an idyllic setting on 300m of private beach. The Design Hotels member property will feature 55 bungalows, suites and villas, nestled in tropical gardens with uninterrupted views over the glittering turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. While six suites offer semi-private access to the beach and private jacuzzis, it’s the 500sqm Ocean Front Luxury Villa that will impress, with its private beach and pool, and three bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. Designed by Prague - and London-based studio Jestico & Whiles, the new resort will incorporate traditional African touches and craftsmanship, including thatched roofs and East Coast artwork, to emulate a traditional Zanzibari village. Leave time for an intimate dinner at Maischa, which specialises in dishes cooked in a traditional Josper oven; and a trip to visit the turtles of the Tambatu Marine Park. www.zurizanzibar.com
Como Uma Canggu, Bali Opening February
Baliophiles will rejoice with the opening in February of the newest Como retreat. Located on the island’s south coast, Como Uma Canggu will feature 119 rooms, suites and residences, including a breathtaking three-bedroom duplex penthouse with rooftop pool. Steps from some of Bali’s best surf breaks, the new luxury hideaway has been created by designers Koichiro Ikebuchi and Paola Navone, with landscapes by Trevor Hillier. Look out for world-class ‘new world cuisine’ packed with local produce; surfing classes from Tropicsurf; and Asian-inspired treatments in the seven suite Como Shambhala Retreat, the resort’s signature spa. www.comohotels.com
The Datai Langkawi, Malaysia Reopening June
Located amidst Malaysia’s ancient rainforest, The Datai Langkawi, one of Asia’s grand dame resorts, will re-open this summer after an extensive multi-million dollar renovation. Redesigned by renowned architect Didier Lefort of DL2A, the luxury resort’s guestrooms, suites and villas will undergo a complete revamp, with new additions including a Nature Centre, a beachfront fitness centre, additional spa pavilions, and a glorious new wellness enclave set within a mangrove forest. www.thedatai.com
HOTELS FOR 2018
Hotel X, Toronto Opening March
Jabali Ridge, Tanzania Opening September
Offering the perfect marriage of luxury and wild landscapes, Asilia Africa’s new Jabali Ridge camp will open on a rocky kopje in southern Tanzania’s 150,000sqkm Ruaha National Park this September. Offering a spectacular wildlife encounter across an area the size of New Jersey but with very few visitors, guests will have access to large populations of African elephant, as well as lions, leopards, and buffalo living in close proximity to the camp. They’ll also have the chance to see rare sable antelopes and roan antelopes during both day and night game drives. When guests return from excursions, they can commune with nature in one of eight timber louvre-wrapped suites, with their staggering panoramic views, or in the camp’s infinity pool, which is surrounded by abundant vegetation and granite boulders. Families can book the stunning Jabali Ridge Private House, a threebedroom stand-alone villa with its own swimming pool and game vehicles. www.asiliaafrica.com
Part of the Library Hotel Collection, Hotel X is the most anticipated opening for the lakeside city of Toronto. Boasting 406 rooms and the vibe of an urban resort, the new property is located on the site of the city’s historic Exhibition Place grounds and will feature luxurious guest rooms and suites; Ten x Toronto, a distinctly Canadian athletic and wellness facility with over 740sqm of indoor and outdoor activity space; a heated rooftop swimming pool; a beer garden; and leading restaurants. Almost all guest rooms and suites will feature stunning panoramas of Lake Ontario or the Toronto skyline – the duplex Presidential Suite not only boasts accommodation for six but also a two-storey living room with fireplace. The Ten x Toronto complex will offer guests access to four indoor tennis courts; a rooftop pool; squash courts; a fitness centre with dedicated spaces for Hot Yoga, spinning, Pilates and group fitness classes; and a golf simulator; while the Harmony Spa by the Lake will feature ten treatment rooms including two spacious couples' suites. Look out for Mediterranean fine-dining at Petros’ and the best sports action at the Falcon SkyBar. www.hotelxtoronto.com
HOTELS FOR 2018
andBeyond Phinda Homestead, South Africa Reopening September
Emerging from the ashes of the previous homestead, which was destroyed in a fire, andBeyond Phinda Homestead is part of a 28,555-hectare conservation that boasts several world-class game lodges, each nestled within its own unique ecosystem. With interiors by designer Fox Browne, who was tasked with restoring the acclaimed original retreat, Phinda Homestead will have the feel of a contemporary private bush home, complete with raw materials, subtly retro furnishings, and locally-sourced art, including Zulu basketwork and Nguni hides. Beyond the homestead’s four spacious, minimalist guest rooms are elegantly-appointed bathrooms featuring marble basins shaped like Zulu water pots, while the villa also boasts an intimate gym and massage room, a rim-flow swimming pool, a herb garden, and a spacious deck with island bar. www.andbeyond.com
La Peer Hotel, Los Angeles
Opening January The newest creation of trend-savvy hotel company Kimpton, LA’s La Peer Hotel debuts this month as an elegant and intimate enclave anchored in the heart of West Hollywood’s celebrated Design District. Tucked between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, this new design-forward hotel will boast 105 rooms and suites dressed in oak herringbone (we love the Terrace King with its private patio); a rooftop deck with 360-degree city views; a pool and fitness centre; more than 743 square metres of indoor and outdoor dining and lounge spaces; and Viale Dei Romani, a new restaurant concept created by Casey Lane, chef and owner of California’s Tasting Kitchen and New York’s Casa Apicii. www.lapeerhotel.com JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018
HOTELS FOR 2018 Kudadoo Maldives Private Island, Indian Ocean Opening April
Boasting just 15 one- and two-bedroom over water villas, the Yuji Yamasaki-designed Kudadoo Maldives is set to redefine luxury in the Indian Ocean archipelago. Located in the Lhaviyani Atoll, near sister resort Hurawalhi, the new boutique resort will offer an adults-only sanctuary complete with cavernous villas in Tasmanian oak and natural stone that feature private infinity pools, freestanding soak tubs, personal iMacs, handmade furniture and round-the-clock butler service. After a day of diving with manta rays with the team from ProDivers or capturing the trade winds with the resort’s catamarans, head for the Duniye Spa, which laces its treatments with preservative and chemical free spa products; or feast on the best Maldivian seafood with Personal Chefs cooking in-villa or Hurawalhi’s acclaimed 5.8 Undersea Restaurant only minutes away. www.kudadoo.com
Skywatch Lodge & Spa, Canada Opening August
Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring Northern Lights a Skywatch Lodge & Spa, a new high-end US$19 million retreat opening outside Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Designed by Yellowknife architect Simon Taylor, Skywatch will offer just 36 luxury guest suites, with each sumptuous space boasting natural fibre king-sized beds, floor-to-ceiling windows, and gas fireplaces. The lodge will be the place to watch the Northern Lights thanks to private decks and dark-sky aurora lighting. After a dip in the outdoor, heated star-lit infinity pool or trying your hand at dog sledding or ice fishing, head for a juniper-infused massage at the spa, which comprises seven opulent treatment rooms, before warming up in the cosy library, or taking a table in the signature restaurant, which will serve ‘rustic elegant cuisine’ using locally foraged ingredients. http://solsticedestinations.com
HOTELS FOR 2018
Anantara Maraú Bahia Resort, Brazil Opening July
The brand’s first foray into South America, Anantara Maraú Bahia Resort will debut this summer overlooking Brazil's Bay of Camamu and the Atlantic Ocean. Showcasing the country’s rich cultural and ethnic diversity, and boasting African, indigenous and European influences, the new resort will initially offer just 30 guest rooms, suites and bungalows. Arrive via the property’s private forest-wreathed landing strip and be transported to a lost paradise of white sandy beaches, manicured gardens and organic design lines. While the active can hit the beach for volleyball matches, ride horses on guided trips along the Carapitangui River, quad bike through the forest, or make for the modern fitness centre, those seeking relaxation might prefer a speedboat cruise to the incredible Tremembé Waterfall and its natural bathing pools; or to take a perch beside the expansive swimming pool and pool bar, the heart of the new resort. www.anantara.com
Wa Ale, Myanmar Opening March
The first luxury eco resort to open in Myanmar’s pristine Mergui Archipelago, Wa Ale is a breathtaking new retreat for cityweary travellers looking for the ultimate escape. Comprising 11 luxury tented beach villas and three eye-catching treetop villas, the boutique resort is nestled on one of the region’s 800 tropical islands, which have until recently only been accessible by yacht. This Robinson Crusoe-esque escape has been constructed using reclaimed and locally-sourced materials to ensure it blends with its natural environment. Set on a blissful stretch of dazzlingly white sand beach, flanked by rocky cliffs and backed by lush evergreen jungle, the island is part of the vast Lampi Marine National Park, an ASEAN Marine Heritage site, the crystal clear, turquoise waters of which teem with wildlife, including whale sharks, dolphins, dugongs, turtles and manta rays. Guests can soak up the sun on their private patio, dine on locally-grown produce at the resort restaurant, and even visit local Moken fishing villages, with 20 percent of the resort’s profits going to the Lampi Foundation, a conservation initiative helping local communities. www.waaleresort.com JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018
HOTELS FOR 2018
Awasi Iguazú, Argentina Opening February
If the stunning Iguazú Falls, the iconic waterfall that stretches along the border between Brazil and Argentina, is on your bucket list, you’ll need somewhere to stay. Located on the Argentinian side, Awasi Iguazú is the region’s newest luxury eco-lodge, a stilted hideaway nestled deep within the ancient rainforest. The retreat’s 14 villas, each secreted in a canopy of cassia and tibouchina trees, feature a few creature comforts, including outdoor decks and private plunge pools, spacious living areas and interiors that reflect the rich culture of the indigenous Guarani people. Beyond, the main lodge building features stonework reminiscent of the nearby ruins of a Jesuit Missionary settlement, and houses a restaurant helmed by Argentine chef Rafael Ceraso, who employs plenty of exotic jungle ingredients in his dishes. www.awasiguazu.com
Serra Cafema, Namibia Reopening June
Set against the towering dunes and formidable desert landscapes of Namibia, Wilderness Safaris will reopen its acclaimed Serra Cafema Camp in northwest Namibia next summer. Undoubtedly one of the most remote camps in southern Africa, Serra Cafema overlooks the Kunene River in the Hartmann's Valley and is being rebuilt at the same site. The new Serra Cafema Camp will be 100 percent solar powered and built with an extremely light ecofootprint to ensure minimal impact on its pristine desert location. At the same time the emphasis will still be on celebrating the local Himba culture, one of the last true nomadic peoples on the planet. The new camp will comprise just eight riverside villas, each designed to blend into the picturesque surroundings, and will offer a host of unique experiences, from rare opportunity to meet members of the Himba people, to fascinating nature drives or guided quad bike eco-excursion through the fragile dunes. Boating on the Kunene River in search of crocodiles and water birds will also be available, water levels permitting. www.wilderness-safaris.com 18
HOTELS FOR 2018 The Fontenay, Hamburg
Opening February The first five-star hotel to open in Germany’s historic harbourfront city in almost two decades, The Fontenay will be an urban resort in the heart of the city. Located on the banks of Lake Alster, on a plot of land purchased by shipbroker John Fontenay in 1816, the new Jan Störmer-designed hotel will be a short walk from the city’s downtown and its new Elbphilharmonie concert hall. Each of the 131 rooms and suites make the most of the hotel's stunning lakeside vistas with private balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as oak parquet flooring (with timber sourced from the forests of the Fontenay Abbey in Burgundy), decorative objects by Danish design brand Georg Jensen, and original artwork by Peruvian painter Antonio Máro. Look out for a signature restaurant by Michelinstarred chef Cornelius Speinle, previously of The Fat Duck; and a rooftop full-service spa by La Mer, complete with a 20-metre horizon edge indoor/ outdoor pool. www.thefontenay.de
ME Dubai, UAE
Opening late 2018 Spanish luxury lifestyle hotel brand ME by Meliá will open its first Middle East property when it unveils the ME Dubai in the fourth quarter of 2018. Designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid, who personally designed all of the interiors and exteriors, showcasing her vision of ‘interconnectedness’, ME Dubai is set to become a legacy hotel for the city. ME Dubai will take residence in the breathtaking, 95-metrehigh Opus building, the newest architectural icon in the Dubai skyline. Situated in the heart of the upcoming Burj Khalifa district in Downtown Dubai, ME Dubai will consist of 93 rooms and suites, including an ultra-luxurious Suite ME, as well as 98 serviced apartments. In addition, the property will feature dramatic, signature furniture in the lobby, vertical café, lounges and reception area, which were either designed or personally selected by Zada Hadid. Foodies will love the new ME’s 15 restaurants, including an outpost of contemporary Japanese robatayaki restaurant ROKA. www.meliahotelsinternational.com JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018
AFRICAâ€™S HOTTEST DESTINATIONS FOR 2018
A vast continent with unmatched possibilities, these are our picks of the destinations you should be keeping in mind for your adventures in the year ahead. New statistics out this month from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) prove that tourism in Africa is reaching new heights! Africa showed a nine percent growth in tourism arrivals in 2017 compared to 2016, a larger increase than any other region in the world, and 2018 looks even more promising. Tourism is bound to grow even further as more and more people realise that the continent is an incomparable place for all kinds of adventures, and all types of travellers
Namibia Many travellers discount Namibia because it's perceived as just a giant, barren desert, but it's anything but that. Namibia is a place of great contrasts, characterised by vast open spaces, magnificent wildlife, and dramatic landscapes. The world's oldest desert, the Namib, is a place where diverse animal populations have thrived for thousands of years â€“ and continue to thrive. In Etosha National Park, Namibia's premier wildlife destination, huge herds of game animals concentrate around waterholes in the dry season, and if you're lucky you'll even see a cheetah - Namibia has the largest wild population of cheetahs in the world! The tallest and most mesmerising sand dunes on Earth can be found at Sossusvlei, and the haunting and evocative Skeleton Coast is known for its swirling mists and shipwreck-strewn shorelines. In the remote north of Namibia, ancient tribes such as the Himba still live in the same manner their ancestors did thousands of years ago. In a nutshell, Namibia is raw, wild, beautiful and unmissable.
AFRICA Botswana This huge, sparsely populated nation that borders South Africa is a high-touch, low volume destination. It's never crowded, because the government limits the number of people allowed in the safari camps and game reserves. There are more animals than visitors, which equals incredible game-viewing experiences. Furthermore, poaching is rare, so many endangered species that are hard to see in other countries are abundant here. In addition to traditional land-based game drives, water safaris are also possible in northern Botswana's network of lakes and rivers. Visitors can canoe down the Chobe river and see elephants on the banks, or take a boat safari in the Okavango Delta. Visitors are also just beginning to discover the starkly beautiful Makgadikgadi Pan, a giant salt flat that's home to herds of zebras, wildebeest, and migratory birds.
Rwanda Travellers who want a truly off-the-beaten path wilderness experience come to Rwanda. Made famous by researcher Dian Fossey and the movie Gorillas in the Mist, Rwanda's star attraction is the highly endangered mountain gorilla, of which there are only about 800 remaining in the wild. A select few visitors every year can see them up close in the dense tropical rainforests of the Virunga Mountains in the Parc National des Volcans. Travellers to Rwanda can also explore other remarkable parks such as Murchison Falls and Nyungwe Forest National Park, or enjoy the cosmopolitan pleasures of Kigali, one of the cleanest, safest and friendliest capitals in Africa. 22
Mozambique As some parts of Africa get more popular, visitors are seeking out less-travelled, more off-the-beaten-path spots. Mozambique is one of those places. The country offers blissfully empty Indian Ocean beaches, well-preserved coral reefs, remote archipelagos, and mouth-watering cuisine that reveals a fascinating mix of Arab and Portuguese cultural influences. Mozambique is starting to get noticed by scuba divers, honeymooners, and those looking for adventure. Whether you stay for a weekend, or two weeks, you will be bewitched by this up-and-coming country.Â
Kenya As a perennially popular destination, Kenya will continue to be hot in 2018. It's the cradle of mankind, home to hundreds of diverse tribes and people, and the keeper of world-famous parks and reserves. Travellers will always want to visit Kenya to have classic African adventures: to see the Big Five on safari, to learn about cultures such as the Maasai and Samburu, and to bask on balmy tropical beaches. Where else but Kenya can you catch a glimpse of rare wildlife on endless plains, with the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro rising in the background?Â JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018
CULTURE There’s never been a better time to visit Austria’s dynamic capital as Vienna prepares for a year of celebrations. Here’s some of the many reasons you should be visiting in 2018.
Beauty & the Abyss Vienna celebrates Viennese modernism in 2018, as well as the heroes of that time - the painters Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the composer Gustav Mahler and their contemporaries. The Viennese modernity - that time around 1900 - when these and many other personalities created great works, is one of the most important art and culture epochs of European history. In 1918, Vienna lost four important protagonists - Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, the architect Otto Wagner and the designer Koloman Moser – during a period in which Vienna was said to oscillate between "beauty and abyss". In 2018 – a century later – Vienna will be taking an in-depth look at the creative output of the artists of Viennese Modernism, with 15 exhibitions held at the greatest museums and galleries in Vienna shedding light on the most prominent and highly popular masterpieces of that period. www. viennesemodernism2018.info
A Fairy Tale Night For more than two centuries Vienna has been the uncontested ball capital of the world. A unique blend of age-old Austrian traditions, magnifi-
VIENNA cent court ceremonial and the trademark Viennese waltz has seen the capital's ball industry turn into one of the nation's best-loved exports, with replica events playing out in around 30 cities worldwide, from New York to Shanghai. But nothing beats the original – the romance and charm puts the Viennese ball season in a league of its own. Ball season starts each year on November 11 and runs until Ash Wednesday/ beginning of Lent, with its peak in January and February.
ner Gemischter Satz wines have enjoyed DAC status, a quality seal that guarantees their origin. The wine archive at Palais Coburg is not simply a wine cellar, but a total of six different wine cellars in the historical vaults of the palace. Over 60,000 bottles are stored here, the oldest being from the year 1727. In addition, the Coburg cellar, one of the world's best-stocked collections, was recently awarded World's Best Wine List 2017 by The World of Fine Wine magazine.
Specialised shops rent out ball gowns and tuxedos, and dancing schools offer blitz courses in waltzing and ballroom standards. A ride in a horse drawn carriage from a grand ball dinner to the splendid ball venue makes your fairy-tale night complete.
Where the Music Plays
Reinventing Viennese Cuisine A boom in Michelin-awarded restaurants and some of the best wine lists in the world ensure Vienna offers an enticing variety to those who look for gastronomic pleasures. The city’s long tradition of fusion cuisine and its close proximity to vineyards also make Vienna the place to go for authentic culinary treasures. While Vienna is famous for its traditional signature dishes Schnitzel, Tafelspitz, Sacher cake and apple strudel, Vienna’s young chefs have worked hard to forge their own styles, seeing the number of Michelin stars held by the city’s restaurants double. In 2017, Amador's Wirtshaus, Mraz und Sohn, and Steirereck were awarded two Michelin stars each. Steirereck ranks #11 on the list of the World's 50 best restaurants. Edvard, Konstantin Filippou, Le Ciel, Opus, Tian, and Walter Bauer were awarded one Michelin star each. But don't forget about the wine! Wine has been produced in Vienna since the Roman times. The typical Viennese style is a white wine, known as Wiener Gemischter Satz. For this kind of wine grapes of different varieties are planted, harvested and vinified together. From the 2013 vintage onwards, Wie-
Vienna is the world's uncontested capital of music: no other city has been home to so many composers – Mozart, Mahler, Haydn, Beethoven and Johann Strauss, the king of the Viennese waltz, all worked in the city. Every night in Vienna around 10,000 music fans are treated to live classical music, something that is simply unheard of in any other city in the world. Each year the Vienna concert schedule includes more than 15,000 events of various sizes and genres. In total, the three big opera houses in Vienna – Vienna State Opera, Volksoper and Theater an der Wien – will hold 28 opera premieres during the 2017/18 season. Highlights include the Opera live on the Square, held in April, May, June and September 2018; the Summer Night Concert, held May 31st; and the Danube Island Festival, held in June.
A Thoroughly Livable City Vienna was named the most liveable city in the world in 2017 (for the 8th time), by the Mercer Quality of Life Survey, which is annually conducted in 230 major towns and cities. The survey compares the political, social and economic climate, medical care, education, and infrastructural conditions such as public transportation, power and water supply. It also takes into consideration recreational offers such as restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports facilities, the availability of all kinds of consumer goods from food to cars as well as environmental conditions - from green space to air quality.
Kyoto D Calling Jonathan DeLise travels to the
imperial capital of Japan and the hotel that captures the cityâ€™s elegance and timelessness to perfection.
oubtless, the rich imperial history of Kyoto inspired the Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, which opened in 2015 in the cityâ€™s Arashiyama neighbourhood. Just fifteen minutes from downtown Kyoto, the compact neighbourhood best exemplifies what one might imagine when asked to describe Kyoto. Arashiyama affords visitors vistas of the four seasons, from lovely snow-capped pines in the winter to lush and verdant hillsides in the summer; as well as centuries-old temples, and pristine bamboo-lined hiking paths. If you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown while still being a short distance from the halcyon imperial capital, Suiran is your match. Echoing omotenashi, the Japanese concept of
anticipating a guest’s needs, the Suiran provides a complimentary one-way taxi ride from Kyoto train station. New arrivals are greeted by a muted gateway that reveals stony trails bordered by lush flora and wiry trees. Much of the property overlooks the Hozo River, across which maple trees bountifully crowd the hillside. It’s fitting that the hotel’s name is derived from sui, or jade, referring to the leafy hills and pure waters, and ran, an abbreviation for Arashiyama.
light snacks, and desserts, as well as for afternoon tea sets that reflect the changing seasons. The riverside outdoor patio allows for a relaxed cup of tea, and is perfect for spring or autumn mornings. Kyo-Suiran is the more formal of the two options, and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as kaiseki, or the traditional multi-course hâute dinner which traces its roots to Kyoto, and indulgent teppanyaki sets replete with wagyu, foie gras, and Japanese paella. Whereas the main dining room overlooks a beautiful and serene garden, there are also private teppanyaki and dining rooms, excellent for end of the year get-togethers, or bounenkai, and luxurious formal dinner meetings. www.suirankyoto.com
The Tsukinone Superior Room is spacious (not a word commonly bandied about in Japan), and presented in both Japanese and Western motifs. The aesthetic in the bedroom features a mix of tatami and wood, with a massive bed, and beautiful tea set presented on the dining table. The sophisticated bathroom consists of surfaces finished with smooth stones, and excellent lighting throughout. The Western shower also overlooks the openair bath, also known as a rotemburo, which is located beside the room’s private and serene garden. The Tsukinone is one of only 17 rooms that has its own openair bath, further enhancing the intimate appeal of the Suiran’s nearly soundproof rooms. Following a long day of sightseeing, you may want to enjoy two larger spas located on the third floor of the hotel. Raku has been created using cypress trees, and An with elaborately placed stones. They are both year-round, all-weather baths, and come with exquisitely chosen treatments in accordance with various phases of the moon. Impressively, both spas can be reserved for private occasions. Suiran has two restaurants; Café Hassui, situated right along the Hozu River, is located in a Meiji-era building erected for 19th century poets (or 21st century bloggers). It’s a quiet spot for local teas,
Camden Markets If you can’t find what you’re looking for in Camden, it’s time to give up and go home. This sprawling market covers half the neighbourhood, with various enclaves dedicated to international street-food, independent shopping and local design, stretching from the riverside food stalls of Camden Lock to the cavernous underbelly of the Horse Tunnel Market. Hunt hard and you might pick up a Mexican hammock, a Gambian hoodie or a corduroy Saville Row suit from the 1950s.
Alfie’s Antique Market Tucked away in a quiet corner of Marylebone, Alfie’s is a multi-storey emporium of antiques, collectibles and vintage design, with more than 100 shops spread out behind an Art Deco façade on Church Street. Named after owner Bennie Gray’s father, Alfie’s is frequented by a patchwork of London life, from hardcore antique dealers and celebrity buyers to wide-eyed tourists. Look out for retro jewellery, vintage posters and furniture ranging from turn of the century kitsch to contemporary design.
The Great British marketplace is a legendary enterprise that’s as old as the country itself, and there’s nowhere better for a spot of weekend market-hopping than the UK capital, discovers
Hackney Flea Market This relatively young market in achingly cool Stoke Newington has quickly become one of the city’s favourites. Home to a mish-mash of stalls selling vintage vinyl, period furniture, retro clothing and everything else imaginable, the weekly event is just one more reason to visit East London. A rotating line-up of DJs man the sound system each weekend, playing a collection of rare and popular tunes as eclectic as the goods for sale at this unique bazaar off Church Street.
Maltby Street Market The sons and daughters of folk that used to shop at Borough Market now spend their weekends perusing the stalls at Maltby Street Market. Come Saturday and Sunday, the workshops of LASSCO Ropewalk and the surrounding streets are converted into a warren of foodie shops and independent produce stalls nestled into and around the railway arches, with artisans selling everything form beard balm and chilli chocolate to biodynamic vegetables and homemade mead. Look out for the snug outposts of popular London eateries like St. Johns, Comptoir Gourmand and Neal’s Yard Dairy.
Brick Lane Market Another East London favourite, the Brick Lane Market is a visual feast in the heart of one of the most vibrant parts of the capital. Sundays see the streets transform into a chaotic mass of humanity, with stalls selling col-
lectibles, junk and everything in between, and street performers showing off the best of Shoreditch colour. If you tire of slogging through treasure troves of second hand goods, lift your eyes to see some of London’s best street art, or stop in for lunch at one of the myriad ethnic restaurants that line the neighbourhood.
Old Spitalfields Market Everything in the world is crammed under one roof at Old Spitalfields Market, housed in a Victorian building that’s been flogging wares since the late 19th century. Quiet Mondays to Wednesdays see the covered market filled with regular traders, but the rest of the week is divided up into themed days for niche buyers. Thursdays are all about antiques; Fridays are dedicated to fashion and art; Saturdays mean vintage wares; and Sundays combine the whole lot for a mega-market, complete with street food stalls offering an endless variety of edibles. JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018
Taking the World to Africa SA287 Hong Kong – Johannesburg
South African Airways has won Africa’s best airline for 14 years straight, and with good reason, but the carrier will need investment if it wants to compete with the major players of Asia, discovers Nick Walton on a recent flight. Check in/The Lounge After a quick check in process at HKIA Terminal 1 I made my way through security to the United Club Lounge of United Airlines, South Africa Airways’ Star Alliance partner airline, located near gate 60. A pleasant, out-of-the-way lounge, the United Club has a little something for every traveller, from ‘open air’ seating located above the concourse, to plush lounge suites, self service bar, to well-maintained showers.
The Seat I boarded the A340-600 aircraft at gate 31 for my 11.55pm flight and found my seat in the 42-seat business class cabin. While the decade-old seats aren’t especially padded or wide (at 23.7-inches), they’ve been lovingly maintained and offer a comfortable 180-degree lie-flat bed. A spacious armrest between seats features a privacy screen, controls for the seat positioning (and the great massage system), and room enough for a couple of glasses of wine and a pair of headphones, while a small cubby hole set in the seat back in front is big enough for a bottle of water and a chic amenity kit by fashion designer Mphelane Mareletse. Entertainment controls, headphone jack and AC power are located beneath the armrest, while a rather chunky personal monitor swings up from beneath. During boarding a single young crew member served juice and South African sparkling wine to a packed cabin.
The Flight After an on-time departure on our 11 hour 28 minute flight crew served hot towels and drinks, in my case a Tanqueray gin and tonic. Like many other passengers I decided to skip the meal – there’s nothing more confusing than eating dinner at 1am and breakfast at 4am. After browsing the airline’s rather dated entertainment system I decided to catch a few episodes of Law & Order on my tablet before making up my bed (the trick is to do it before your seat mate due to space constraints). South African make up for their older seats with superbly comfortable duvets and comforters and I managed to have one of the best sleeps I’ve had in the sky.
Dining I woke approximately 80 minutes out from Johannesburg to the smell of breakfast being prepared. After glasses of orange juice and more hot towels were dished out I opted for plain yoghurt, a croissant, coffee, and a cheese omelet with grilled chicken sausages, hash browns and mushrooms. The omelet was exceptional, as was the coffee and service. We arrived on time into a cool and cloudy Johannesburg.
Summary South African Airways offers a great non-stop service between Hong Kong and and while it’s not the newest product, it’s perfectly adequate for a red-eye long-haul flight. Hong Kong-Johannesburg return in business from US$5,802 per person. www.flysaa.com
Flying the Dream
American Airlines’ new Boeing 787 Dreamliner adds new levels of sophistication to the airline’s routes across Latin America, discovers Nick Walton on a recent flight between Dallas and Santiago. Boarding There’s nothing like that new plane feel, which was evident as we boarded the American Airlines 787-8 at gate D33, entering the first of the aircraft’s two business class cabins, which boasts 20 of the plane’s 28 business class seats. Like many new business class products, the cabin initially looked cramped, especially with the overhead bins open, but once you take a seat you realise there is intelligent design at work. The cabin quickly filled up for the ninehour overnight flight to Santiago, Chile.
The Seat This was my first time flying American Airlines’ newest generation business class product aboard the 787-8 and only my second ever time flying backwards – the staggered 1-2-1 configuration means some seats face forward and some backwards, but AA has made it work.
sesame vinaigrette, and followed by a well-curated cheese plate. Had dinner service been a bit quicker or the Express Option been available I would have opted for that. I also opted to just have coffee and yogurt as breakfast was served 90 minutes out from Santiago and I had another flight to catch.
Service As the business class cabin filled up crew offered sparkling wine in plastic glasses (something I still find curious) and dinner menus. The menu featured an Express Option (perfect for our 8pm departure), and it was evident that many passengers would opt for it. Unfortunately, after takeoff cabin crew advised that because they had not taken orders on the ground, the Express Option would not be available. Consequently, many passengers chose not to dine. Despite the hiccups, dinner service, when it did begin, an hour into the flight, was quick and efficient.
My seat, 6L on the port side, was clearly well constructed and thoughtfully designed; there’s a large personal monitor, wide arm rests, space for shoes under the ottoman-styled extension, slots for tablets or magazines, AC and USB ports, and two beautifully-large windows with electric ‘blinds’. Two touchscreen panels, one with buttons, control the seat position and inflight entertainment system. Already presented were a pair of American Airlines’ signature Bose headphones, a bottle of water, and a chic amenity kit by Cole Haan.
Midway through the meal crew dimmed the lights and the cabin took on a cosy, infinitely relaxing ambiance that helped passengers
After dinner, I converted my seat into a heavenly bed, complete with warm duvet and a pair of pillows. Although the seat is a tad shorter than its brethren on the 777, it still all-but-guarantees a great sleep
What We Didn’t
Dining The dinner service on this south-bound flight began with a wellmade gin and tonic and a bowl of warm nuts (although it did take quite a while to arrive as you’ll read below). As I had snacked in the Admiral’s Club before the flight and wanted to get as much sleep as possible, I decided to just enjoy the dinner entrée, a beautifully balanced dish of cold chicken with grilled five spiced pineapple and watermelon that was accompanied by a loose-leaf salad with spicy
looking to get a full night’s rest.
What We Liked The 787-8 seat may not quite offer the market-leading dimensions of its 777-300ER sibling, but it’s still an inspired piece of hardware and a sign of great things to come at American Airlines.
The only niggle about the 787 seat is that there is no compartment in which to store the sizable AA headphones and their hard case. Service needs to be a bit more organised.
Summary Latin and South America is American Airlines’ turf and the worldclass 787 business class product is a sure way to maintain loyalty across the airline’s extensive network. American Airlines business class Dallas/Fort Worth – Santiago return from US$6,070. www.aa.com JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018