GARDEN ROUTE GOLF South Africa’s most spectacular courses
MONACO UNCOVERED An insider’s guide to Monte-Carlo
FOREVER PROVENCE Three stylish hotels in the South of France
VIP IN PARIS
SET SAIL IN STYLE
On the catwalk with Chanel
The hottest superyachts of 2013
Reflections on a life of travel
MADE IN TAIWAN Make the most of 24 hours in Taipei
Adventure island Surprises await above and below the surface in Mauritius
High design at ME London
Voyages of a lifetime
ON THE ROAD The latest luxury autos
introducing pure hadahaa p a r k h y a t t ’s f i r s t a l l - i n c l u s i v e p a c k a g e explore our underwater kingdom e n j oy a c o m p l e t e m a l d iv i a n e x p e r i e n c e
Your ideal stay is waiting at Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa. Experience the purity a n d b e a u t y o f t h e M a l d i v e s l i k e y o u h a v e n e v e r s e e n b e f o r e w i t h t h e r e s o r t ’s P ure H adahaa pack age —the first a l l -incl usiv e fu ll fo o d , b e v e ra ge a n d e x c u rsi o n exp e rience available at a Park H yatt re sor t. This c o mp le te e x p e ri e n c e o ffe rs y o u t h e l u xur y of unlimite d food a nd b e v e ra ge se r v ic e s d u ri n g y o u r ti me o n th e i sla n d as well as experiencing the wonders of Hadahaa’s breathtaking under water kingdom. With the recent opening of the new domestic airpor t at Kooddoo, our remote island p a ra dis e in the extre me so uth o f the M a l div e s is th a t mu c h mo re a c c e ssi b le . We i nvite you to expe rie nc e pure M a l div e s at its v e r y b e st. R e s e r vations +960 6 8 2 12 3 4 o r m a l div e s.parkh a d a h a a @h y a tt. c o m N o r t h Huvadhoo ( Ga a fu A l ifu) A to l l , Re p ub l ic of M a ld i v e s
The trademarks HYATT™, PARK HYATT™ and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt International Corporation. ©2013 Hyatt International Corporation. All rights reser ved.
On the cover 48 Golfing the Garden Route South Africaâ€™s southern coast is home to some of the most spectacular golf courses in the world
60 Adventure in Mauritius Surprise experiences are never far away on this colourful island
70 Sail away in style
The most sophisticated new yachts available to charter this summer
80 Taipei in 24 Hours
Fine food and authentic culture in the little-known Taiwanese capital
The super sleek deck of Ethereal â€” yours to charter for just US $225,000 per week
©2013 ALL RIghTS RESERvED
ADELYA JEWELLERY COLLECTION SUMMER 2013/ LADY MARMALADE / adelyajewellery.com
102 In the news 28 Retrospective 150 years of Société des Bains de Mer 30 Europe Croatia becomes the 28th member of the EU 32 Middle East & Africa Dubai’s nightlife is back on the map 36 Asia & Oceania Cruising in Burma and traditional medicine in Bali 40 Americas Multimedia experience at LAX; new resorts in the Caribbean 42 Debut Hot hotels, chic boutiques and exclusive new resorts 44 Interview Shoe designer Jimmy Choo on a life of travel
Inside 82 Diary Out and about this month? Don’t miss these events 84 Spend it Californian road trips, Maldives escapes and Thai delights 91 Suite dreams Designer chic at the über-stylish ME London 92 On the road Luxury automobiles from the world’s top carmakers 96 Ignition Comfort is king in the Hyundai Centennial 2014 101 Grapevine News and gossip from the world of luxury hotels 102 Insider Explore the glam streets of Monaco with these insider tips 104 VIP Behind the runway at Paris Fashion Week with Chanel 106 Connoisseur Three of the best new luxury hotels in Provence dotwnews.com
Letter from the Editor In the 21st century, consumerIsm has taken on a new form. We still like to spend our hardearned dollars on things such as electronic devices, new cars and fancy homes in the hamptons, but these days, people are just as likely to invest their month’s salary on an experience as they are an object, and 99 percent of the time, this involves some form of travel. From the proliferation of destination spas and wellness retreats around the world, where people come to invest money into their own wellbeing, to experience-based travel itineraries such as winetasting in the South of France, gourmet tours in Italy or cruising down the nile in Egypt, experience has become the 21st century’s most-coveted item. Whether you’re looking for a 10-day spiritual cleanse in the himalayas or a three-night safari under canvas (with Egyptian cotton and butler service, of course) in africa, chances are, it is already available. If, 20 years ago, you told your friends you were travelling halfway around the world to play golf, they might think you were mad, but today, spending a week exploring the golf courses along South Africa’s Garden route is perfectly reasonable, as Richard Holmes discovered when he did just that for our story on page 48. For some people, the idea of doing much of anything at all while visiting somewhere like mauritius might sound like a devastating waste of relaxation time, but for others, the myriad adventures to be had on land and at sea prove all too good to miss, as deputy editor Rebecca Haddad discovers on page 60. One thing that will never change, it seems, is people’s perception of the value of money. The lifestyle of a luxury yacht owner is undeniably envious, but anyone who has ever seriously thought about buying one will know that the costs associated with yacht ownership require an income more like that of Wimbledon champion Andy Murray than your run-of-the-mill CEO. That’s why savvy yachting enthusiasts choose to charter a yacht for a couple of weeks rather than buy one of their own. Whether you’re planning a weekend in the cap d’antibes or a two-week adventure in the south Pacific, there’s a yacht to meet your needs. The only hard bit is choosing which vessel to charter.
Sail away Charter a superyacht like Ethereal for your Caribbean or South Pacific adventure
To help us make this important decision, travel writer Tristan Rutherford shares with us a selection of luxury yachts and superyachts that are available for charter this season on page 70. There are plenty of other experiences to be had in this month’s issue, including living the high life in the French capital during Paris Fashion Week (page 104), visiting taipei, one of Asia’s lesserknown and most exciting cities (page 80), and staying in a Passion suite in one of London’s trendiest new hotels (page 91), as well as four pages of the most incredible travel itineraries we could find in ‘spend it’ (page 84). I hope you enjoy the issue and share the experiences you find within with others.
Joe Mortimer Senior Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributors REBECCA HADDAD
It was only a few months ago when deputy editor Rebecca Haddad decided to pack up her life in Sydney to chase the sun and sand in Dubai. She believes the most rewarding travel experiences are the ones that involve visiting rarely talked-about destinations and discovering their hidden gems. This issue, Rebecca escaped the Arabian summer and went islandhopping in Mauritius, where she found that the tiny Indian Ocean paradise is brimming with adventurous activities and unique experiences, both on land and below the waves. Read her story on page 60.
Freelance travel writer Richard Holmes is based in Cape Town, South Africa, but he takes every opportunity he can to escape the city and explore the country’s spectacular southern coastline. According to him, there is no better way to do so than from the driving seat of a golf cart, and few places in the world more scenic than South Africa’s Garden Route, which is home to some of the best golf courses on the continent. From cliff-top tee shots and rolling fairways to the charming sea-facing towns along the route, Richard takes us on a golfer’s road trip on page 48.
PAMELA McCOURT FRANCESCONE
Pamela McCourt Francescone hails from Dublin but lives and works in Rome, a city she calls the most beautiful in the world. Having visited 96 countries to date, she’s in a good position to make comparisons. Her latest “find” is Taipei, a hassle-free Asian capital with the world’s greatest collection of Chinese art, trendy hotels and great eateries. Put it on your checklist for your next Asia stopover, but not before you read Pamela’s 24-hour Taipei itinerary on page 80.
Tristan Rutherford is a freelance travel writer who splits his time between Turkey and the French Riviera, and whose work has appeared in publications such as The Independent and the Sunday Times Travel Magazine. His travels take him to some of the world’s finest sailing destinations and aboard some of the world’s most captivating yachts. He shares his selection of the top yachts to charter this summer on page 70. When he is not writing — or cruising across the globe — Tristan also lectures in travel journalism at London’s Central Saint Martins College.
August 2013, Issue 86 Publisher Anna Zhukov email@example.com Senior Editor Joe Mortimer firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Deputy Editor Caitlin Cheadle email@example.com Deputy Editor Rebecca Haddad firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Online Editor Simon Harrington email@example.com Editor-at-Large Andy Round firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Editor Mary Gostelow Art Director Kris Karacinski email@example.com Multimedia Graphics Manager Haitham El Shazly firstname.lastname@example.org United Kingdom Sales Representative David Hammond email@example.com Circulation department firstname.lastname@example.org Cover image Sailboat on a reef in Mauritius - MTPA
International Commercial Representations Destinations of the World News’ network of international advertising sales and editorial representatives are based in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America. Destinations of the World News is published monthly by WNN Limited and distributed globally to the world’s premier airport lounges, our subscriber network and a select number of five-star hotels in the UAE. The title Destinations of the World News is a registered trademark and the publisher reserves all rights. All material in Destinations of the World News is compiled from sources believed to be reliable and articles reflect the personal opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the publisher. Destinations of the World News is not responsible for omissions or errors that result from misrepresentation of information to the publisher. Advertisers assume all liability for their advertising content. All rights of the owner and the producer of this conceptual development and artwork design are reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be imitated, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of WNN Limited. Principal Offices WNN Limited, Reuters Building 1, Office 106, Dubai Media City, PO Box 500661, Dubai, UAE Tel +971 4 3910680 Fax +971 4 3910688 WNN limited, 31 Archbishop Kyprianou Street, 3036, PO Box 51234, zip 3503, Limassol, Cyprus To subscribe to Destinations of the World News at an annual rate of $99 visit the website at www.dotwnews.com and hit SUBSCRIBE. Images used in Destinations of the World News are provided by Gallo Images/Getty Images/Corbis/iStockphoto/ Photolibrary unless stated otherwise. DOTW News is printed by J G Cassoulides & Sons Ltd, Nicosia, Cyprus and Al Nisr Publishing, Dubai, UAE
In the patchwork of islands that make up the Maldives archipelago, Kanuhura stands out as a unique treasure. Emerging from the waters of the remote Lhaviyani Atoll, the secluded resort is the ultimate island hideaway, 40 minutes by seaplane from the main island of Malé. Scattered around the small tropical island are a collection of gorgeous villas, some nestled around the jungle-fringed beaches and others perched over the crystal-clear waters of the lagoon. All have been carefully made with hand-carved wood, bamboo and other natural materials that reflect the natural surroundings of the island, creating a rustic, ‘island chic’ ambiance. The bountiful sea life found in the waters around Kanuhuru make it one of the world’s best places for diving, and the land-based activities available at the resort allow guests to do as much or as little as they like. For the ultimate island retreat, Jehunuhura is a tiny uninhabited island ringed with a white powder beach, just a short boat ride away from the resort, where guests indulge in castaway fantasies.
CONTACT Tel: +960 662 00 44 n Fax: +960 662 00 33 n Email: Info@kanuhura.com.mv n www.kanuhura.com
onte-Carlo’s Place du Casino is transformed into a charming garden party as part of the 150-year anniversary celebrations for Société des Bains de Mer, the company behind some of Monaco’s most famous landmarks. Société des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Etrangers à Monaco (SBM), as it was originally known, was established in 1863 at the behest of Prince Charles III to turn Monaco, then a cash-strapped Principality, into a luxurious playground for Europe’s wealthy. Founder François Blanc told stakeholders: “Here we must present the dream.” The company built casinos and hotels to rival those in Nice, Cannes and other Riviera destinations, and a railway to improve access to the small waterfront enclave. Now, 150 years later, Monte-Carlo is known as the ultimate luxe playground — home to some of the world’s top hotels, restaurants and spas (see ‘Insider’ on page 102) including Hôtel de Paris, Hôtel Hermitage, and the Casino de Monte-Carlo. The summer-long anniversary celebrations started with Dîner sur l’Herbe (Dinner on the Grass) on July 5, an extravagant garden party inspired by the painting Luncheon on the Grass by Édouard Manet. To mark the occasion, lawn, grapevines and olive trees were planted in the illustrious Place du Casino, where a dinner prepared by Monégasque chef Alain Ducasse and SBM’s own team of chefs was served to a star-studded line-up of VIP guests.
Photo: Sergio Gobbo
Croatia prepares for its close-up Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union last month, opening the doors to further development of its roaring tourism industry. The marinas along Croatia’s scenic Adriatic coast have already proved to be a cost-effective alternative to the Côte d’Azur, and now luxury developers are snapping up land, stretches of coastline and old buildings to bring top-notch hotels and resorts to the country. Last year, Dubai-based Arqaam Capital bought a 6.5-hectare plot
of land on the island of Hvar near the town of Stari Grad, with plans to develop a luxury resort. Nearby, a 90-room Nikki Beach Resort & Spa is scheduled to open in 2015, bringing the high-end lifestyle brand to Croatia for the first time. In the popular city of Dubrovnik, Spanish architecture firm Summum Design is working on a project that will see the acquisition and restoration of 23 mansions, summer villas and historical buildings scattered throughout the city.
The buildings will be converted into boutique hotels, luxury villas, restaurants, spas ashops and bars. Together with a floating lobby along the riverfront, the buildings will form Dubrovnik Experience Lifestyle Hotel & Villas. This year also saw Design Hotels collection welcome its first Croatian property, Hotel Lone (below) in Rovinj, to its portfolio. And that, it seems, is just the beginning. The Croatian government has pledged to pave the way for foreign investment and plans to redevelop the country’s rail system to improve connectivity. The Croatian Ministry of Tourism has also allocated US $263,000 to create 269 free WiFi hotspots around the country, improving its image as a tourist-friendly destination. Dubrovnik has also attracted a new breed of tourist in recent years; fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones may recognise parts of the UNESCO World Heritage city as the setting for King’s Landing in the series.
The latest in luxury travel How does spending Christmas and New Year in a private villa in Sydney, Australia sound? Bettina Schreiber has 60 properties in her Kamekura collection that sleep one to nine for a minimum of one week. She can arrange a full-time chef and beauty treatments, and there are chauffeurs at the ready. www.kamekuraresidences.com
Mountain high luxury in France IT MIGHT not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of luxury accommodation, but the new Refuge du Goûter, in the shadow of France’s MontBlanc, is a welcome sight for many alpinists. Situated 3,835 metres above sea level, the Goûter Hut is an ultra-modern and environmentally friendly structure that’s perched over
a 1,500-metre precipice. Despite its precarious location, most visitors are pleased to reach the warm environment within, since it is the final place to rest before the arduous final climb to the summit of Western Europe’s highest mountain. Designed by architects DécaLaage, the four-storey stainless-steel-clad building is powered by renewable energy
sources and has a restaurant and space for 120 guests for US $80 a night: sounds simple, but as far as mountain refuges go, it’s probably the best in the world. Refuge du Goûter is owned and operated by Française des Clubs Alpins et de Montagne (FFCAM), the French Alpine and Mountain Club, which manages 142 huts and chalets in the Alps and the Pyrénées.
Damascus’ famous Bakdash icecream is now available in Amman, at Al Madina Al Munawara beside Ibn Al-Haitham Hospital. The blocks are pounded and served, as in Syria, with pistachios. The ice-cream’s unique taste is from mastic (plant) resin and salep (flour made from tubers of orchids). www.visitjordan.com Wile the night away in Milan at the Just Cavalli Hollywood nightclub on via Luigi Camoens (www.just cavallimilano.com). Stay out all night and enjoy a recovery breakfast at Pasticceria San Gregorio, Via San Gregorio 1, which opens at 5.30am (www. pasticceriasangregorio.it). Quark Expeditions’ Arctic cruises out of Murmansk in northwest Russia give you the option to float over the North Pole in a tethered hot air balloon. Back on land, enjoy a barbecue on ice. www.quarkexpeditions.com Tokyo’s must-know tailors are designer Hisay Hidaka and pattern-cutter, Hideaki Miyaha of Scye. Their designs are avant-garde French. For men – think a bright blue blazer with mustard Bermuda shorts, while for women, designs are more Jil Sander-casual, but suitable for any occasion. www.scye.co.jp
CHANEL’S design genius Karl Lagerfeld took inspiration from Greek mythology when designing the new pool space at the Hôtel Métropole in Monte-Carlo. Known as Odyssey, the space features redesigned gardens and Joël Robuchon’s third restaurant in the hotel. The pièce de résistance is the pool (above), which features monochrome poolside furnishings and is surrounded by fifteen glass panels depicting Ulysses’ journey as described in Homer’s the Iliad and the Odyssey, which are particularly impressive when lit up at night. www.metropole.com
Want to live like Gwyneth Paltrow when she’s in LA? Stay at Shutters On The Beach in Santa Monica (www. shuttersonthebeach.com), then head to Caffe Luxxe for a caffeine fix (www. caffeluxxe.com) and on to Hotel BelAir for a Wolfgang Puck brunch (www. hotelbelair.com). MAry GOSTELOw
Middle East & Africa
Designer flair in Riyadh Dubai’s metro may have turned heads for its driverless trains and sleek stations, but planners of the new Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia have added a touch of designer style to the ambitious project. The ArRiyadh Development Authority, which is in charge of the project, has commissioned Pritzker Architecture Prizewinning architect Zaha Hadid to design the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) Metro Station, one of the key stations on the vast network, which will be built from scratch over the next four years.
Live the Hollywood life in Dubai Paramount Hotels & Resorts already has us breathlessly waiting for its first hotel project to open in Dubai, but now the company has launched a collection of luxury serviced villas in one of the emirate’s most highlyanticipated residential and lifestyle developments. Damac Villas by Paramount is a private, gated community of 160 Hollywood-themed homes on the fringe of the Trump International Golf Club in the Akoya by Damac development — a 28-million-square-foot project that will include mansions, villas, luxury apartments, a boutique hotel, schools and retail outlets when complete. The freehold serviced villas start from AED 3 million (US $817,000) and feature interiors themed around the movies, with high-end audio-visual equipment as standard. In addition to the villas, the community will be home to high-end restaurants, a screening room and a beach club with an Olympic-size swimming pool. www.damacproperties.com
Preliminary designs reveal a futuristic six-level building (including two underground parking floors) made from flowing overlapping lines resembling the patterns created on sand dunes by desert winds (left and above). Famed for projects including the Guangzhou Opera House, the London Aquatics Centre and the upcoming Performing Arts Centre on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, British-Iraqi Zaha Hadid says the KAFD station will become an iconic public space in Riyadh as well as a transport hub.
Middle East & Africa
Destination dining in Dubai After a quiet start to the year, the buzz has returned to Dubai’s nightlife scene. The most exciting recent news for Dubai’s social set was the opening of supperclub Dubai, the first Middle Eastern outpost of this ultra-trendy restaurant/lounge concept from Amsterdam. Nestled in a corner of Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel on the Palm Jumeirah, the stylish venue is spread out across six areas, each offering high-end dining and a stellar line-up of entertainment and musical acts. Supperclub arrives a few months after MusicHall Dubai (above) opened in the same hotel; a cabaret style set-up with a variety of live acts performing every evening while guests enjoy dinner at the restaurant-style seating in front of the stage, or drinks and snacks on the tiered banquettes in the auditorium. Hot on the heels of the opening of the Vogue Café in Dubai Mall’s exclusive Level Shoe District, was the announcement that a GQ Bar will open in the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai in October. The two-floor venue will be home to a bar and restaurant that will feature Internet connectivity and a digital area aimed at the “tech savvy customer”, according to Condé Nast International Restaurants. In keeping with the fashion theme, Studio F is a lounge bar-cumrestaurant located in the stylish Boulevard Jumeirah Emirates Towers. Created by Fashion TV, the lounge is built around a catwalk on which models parade the latest trends.
Adding some Asian flavour to the new crop of largely Euro-themed venues is Sake No Hana (below), a Japanese lounge and restaurant in Souk Al Bahar serving Oriental fusion cuisine. Created by the team behind Hakkasan, there are now 12 Sake No Hana restaurants from Las Vegas to Shanghai. Finally, one of Istanbul’s trendiest lounge bars has opened its first international outpost in Rixos The Palm Dubai. Biber Lounge serves an interesting combination of modern tapas and sushi in a contemporary setting with wooden floors, leather armchairs and bold art decorating its walls.
QAtAr AIrWAYS has been calling itself the ‘World’s Five-Star Airline’ for years and now that service extends well beyond the reach of its aircraft with the opening of a sales centre in London’s Harrods department store. Aimed at London’s affluent travellers, the Knightsbridge office is staffed by sales agents dressed in the familiar burgundy Qatar Airways uniforms, who offer personalised booking services to customers in one of London’s most esteemed addresses. www.qatarairways.com
INSPIRATION HAS ARRIVED For the movers and shakers and rainmakers. For the ones who make it happen on the go and on the ground. Who accomplish great things without losing sight of the important things. For you, weâ€™re Marriott. marriott.com
Asia & & Oceania Oceania
Pets earn points with Virgin Australia’s Velocity programme MeMbers of Virgin Australia’s frequent-flyer programme, Velocity, can now earn points for their furry travelling companions. As part of the new programme, members can earn 300 bonus points each time their pet flies with them. While Virgin Australia is the first airline in the country to offer benefits to travellers with frequent-flying pets, it isn’t the first airline in the world to tap into the trend. Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Paws programme was launched in 2005, and gives each pet a welcome pack and pet passport, which is stamped with points that can be redeemed for petfriendly gifts or bonus miles for their owners. www.virginaustralia.com
Suite life at Vana Belle, Koh Samui Thai beachside living just stepped up a notch at Koh Samui’s newly opened Vana Belle resort, with the launch of its three Ocean View Pool Suites and seven Tropical Pool Villas. Each suite and villa at the resort, located along Chaweng Noi Beach, is designed with full regards to natural surroundings. The openplan interiors blend seamlessly with the exteriors thanks to the breezy neutral palate and use of natural materials. Luxurious touches include private infinity pools, marbled bathrooms and access to a personal champagne bar and butler service. www.vanabellekohsamui.com
Biggest freestanding retail and hotel complex opens in China
Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province in south-west China, has recently claimed the title of home of the world’s biggest freestanding building. The New Century Global Center is big enough to house 20 Sydney Opera Houses. The 1.76-million-square-metre space is a luxury holiday in itself – it boasts a re-created Mediterranean town, two five-star hotels, shopping malls and an indoor beach serviced 24 hours a day by an artificial sun. The building took three years to complete, but it seems as though cleaning the glass roof would take a lot longer.
Traditional healing in Bali Depending on who you speak to, Bali is a party paradise or the ultimate in wellbeing holiday destinations. Truth is, it’s both. A new program at COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali caters to both the revelers who need recovery or relaxers who want to kickstart their path to wellness. The Traditional Oriental Medicine Program, a first in Asia’s wellness resorts, is a three- to eight-night experience and includes accommodation at the resort as well as a program tailored for you in consultation with the resident medical practitioner, David Melladew. There are a variety of treatments to cater to your needs including acupuncture, massage therapy and meditation. The Estate also runs its own daily schedule of activities to keep you busy. www.comoshambhalaestate.com
Cruise through Burma in style Orient-Express Hotels’ luxury river cruiser, Orcaella, embarked on its maiden cruise in Myanmar late last month. The boat, a traditional flotilla ship built in Yangon, is named for the dolphins that inhabit the Ayeyarwady River. The voyage runs for 11 nights and takes passengers from Mandalay and along the foothills of the majestic Himalayas. The experience is an ideal way to really immerse yourself in Burmese culture — you’ll travel down Myanmar’s most remote waterways and stop at historic sites while staying in one of the 25 cabins and suites decorated with traditional Burmese furniture and local art. www.orient-express.com
Singapore Airlines upgrades first and business classes The standard of airline comfort has improved dramatically in recent years and Singapore Airlines has managed to raise the standards even higher with its next-gen first and business class. Comfort is at the forefront of the class upgrades. The new first-class seat features improved privacy with a shell design and curved side panels as well as a padded headboard and additional mattress layer. At a size of 35 inches wide and 82 inches long, it’s one of the most spacious seats in the sky. The seat also has a passenger control unit, which makes it easier for you to switch off your 24-inch LCD screen. The business-class seats are designed similarly to those in first class, with changes including a greater incline (132 degrees), two new seating positions for improved flexibility, an extra storage area on the side console and an enhanced all-in-one business panel. The enhanced cabins will be available on selected flights between Singapore and London from September before the upgrades are rolled out on new aircraft joining the fleet over the coming year. www.singaporeair.com
BE AC H H O U SE CO LLE C T I O N CRAFTING T H E E X T R AO R D I NA RY
The Caribbean’s luxe renaissance
Meliá Marina Varadero
Minimal design at Meliá
Seven Mile Beach
Statue of Liberty reopens to tourists After being shut for almost a year, Liberty Island, home to America’s ‘Green Lady’, reopened on US Independence Day last month. The island and its 93-metre copper statue, tinged green from oxidisation over the years, was closed for renovations after Superstorm Sandy tore through New York in October 2012, damaging the dock, paved pathways and some of the island’s buildings — though Lady Liberty herself remained steadfast. Tourists can once again climb the stairs to the viewing deck in the crown of the statue, which was given to the people of the United Stated as a gift from France in 1886 to symbolise the union between the two nations. www.nycgo.com
While travellers’ attention moves to South America, notably Brazil, for the 2014 World Cup, the nearby Caribbean is quietly enjoying a luxury travel renaissance, as big hotel brands seek to make their presence known in the archipelago. First up is Melià Marina Varadero in Cuba, which opened this summer. Located on the tip of the Hicacos Peninsula in the north, the resort includes 126 condos and a 423-room hotel, which features a special luxe floor known as The Level. In December, Sheraton Santo Domingo Hotel will open in the Dominican Republic. The hotel will feature 245 guestrooms and suites as well as a state-of-the art fitness centre and swish lobby bar. Meanwhile, American boutique hotel chain Kimpton is developing its first-ever Caribbean property in the Cayman Islands. The site of the 263-room hotel is along Seven Mile Beach and will include six beach bungalows and 56 residences when it opens in 2016.
“The resort includes 126 condos and a 423-room hotel, which features a special luxe floor known as The Level”
Multimedia experience at LAX
Photo: Moment Factory
The largest immersive multimedia system in America has opened at the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. The installation, made of seven components, was designed to enhance the airport experience for passengers, with video content focusing on the iconography of Los Angeles and the destinations served by flights departing from the new terminal. The seven wall screens feature four hours of original digital video content, several interactive capsules and 3D effects with technologies that react to the movements of passers-by. It also includes real-time airport information and a modern clock tower (right) to ensure you don’t become so immersed that you miss your connecting flight. www.lawa.org
Richard Branson’s Necker Island reopens
After a two-year restructure as a result of a fire in 2011 (in which actress Kate Winslet emerged a hero after saving Sir Richard Branson’s mother), Necker Island is back in business. The Great House has maintained its Balinese style, with some innovative touches. The Master Suite is a standout: 1,500 square feet of accommodation with a Jacuzzi and views of the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean from almost every angle. www.neckerisland.virgin.com
Mobile check-in at Marriott
Marriott is introducing a new mobile check-in service at its 325 hotels across the US and Canada, making the check-in process quicker and easier for Marriott Rewards members. Guests with a smartphone (and the free Marriott mobile app) can check in any time after 4pm the day before they arrive, and they will receive a notification when their room is ready. Members can then head straight to the mobile check-in desk at the hotel, where their room key will be waiting for them. www.marriott.com
DEBUT Hot hotels | chic boutiques | exclusive resorts
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Occupying the northernmost column of the Azerbaijan capital’s iconic Flame Towers is this latest offering from Fairmont. A total of 318 guestrooms including 19 serviced apartments — decorated in a warm palette, naturally — look out on to the city, the old Inner City and the Caspian Sea. Travellers checking into a suite will also have access to the Fairmont Gold Lounge on the 19th floor, which gives guests extra privileges to make their stay easier and more enjoyable, including a private check-in area, complimentary canapés daily and a dedicated concierge team to assist with check in and arranging services such as limousine transfers. www.fairmont.com
Situated in the archaeological gold mine that is Cusco, Palacio del Inka joins the Luxury Collection this month. From the minute guests step through the Spanish Colonial façade, they are immersed in a space that draws aesthetic influence from Spanish and Incan architecture. Each of the 203 guestrooms is decorated in gold and burgundy, with floor-toceiling windows that offer panoramic views, while the public spaces expose stone construction typical to Peru. The hotel’s location across from the Coricancha (the most important temple in the Inca Empire) makes it an ideal base for history buffs. www.starwoodhotels.com
Palacio del Inka
Russia’s colour and majesty are key elements of this first Four Seasons hotel in Russia, housed in the restored Lion Palace – former residence of Princess Lobanova-Rostovskaya. All 151 guestrooms are decked out in a neutral palette and classic furnishings to resemble imperial style, but it’s the 26 suites that have really been given the royal treatment, with neoclassic décor, marble bathrooms and sweeping views of the Admiralty, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, parkland or charming city streetscapes. There’s also a spa, 24-hour fitness centre and three restaurants to keep you busy. www.fourseasons.com
St. Petersburg, Russia
It’s hard to imagine a Polynesian escape in Dubai, but that is what Sofitel is going for with its new resort on the Palm Jumeirah. The 100,000 sq m resort, on a 500-metre stretch of private beach, has been designed with pacific islands in mind — think palm-roofed huts by the pool, vertical gardens designed by famed botanist Patrick Blanc and open-plan living — so it feels a world away from the city. There are 361 rooms and 124 suites, as well as 182 serviced apartments. Of course, no beachside resort would be complete without a gourmet seafood restaurant, and Moana fits the bill. www.sofitel.com
Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace
Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa
Qufu, in the Shandong province of China, may be small compared to the likes of Beijing and Shanghai, but it has huge historical significance. It’s the hometown of the philosopher Confucius and has more than 150 World Heritage-listed temples, palaces and cemeteries within its borders. The hotel, located near the old city wall and the Temple of Confucius, is a stark contrast to its historic neighbours. All 325 rooms and suites are fitted out in an elegant, contemporary design, and are complemented by the hotel’s services and on-site amenities worthy of an Emperor, including a Pillow Menu, limousine service and CHI spa. www.shangri-la.com
Jimmy Chooâ€™s travelling life
Fashion designer Jimmy Choo talks tea with the Duchess of Cambridge, amorous hotel guests and where to buy the best shoes Interview: Caroline Shearing How often do you travel? Every month. Recently I’ve been to Switzerland, Vietnam and São Paulo, in Brazil. I travel for seminars and talks and even when I’m travelling for business, I usually get an extra few days to explore the shopping districts — I’m usually looking for something unique for the home — and the culture. I also have homes in Malaysia and London and I travel a lot between the two.
“As soon as I get off a plane I put my hand to the ground to thank the god of that country and ask that my stay is peaceful, with no accidents or danger, and that I get the chance to meet good people”
Caroline Shearing | The Daily Telegraph | The Interview People
Best destination for shoe shopping? Italy. The leather used there is very genuine and the quality of the craftsmanship is good. The styles are also very fashionable. I recommend travelling to Milan, Rome or Florence for the best shoes. Shoe-making in Italy, especially in Tuscany, is a skill that has been passed from grandfather, to father, to son. Malaysia is best for sandals, though. Sandal-making is a traditional skill there and you can buy a beautifully made pair for as little as US $15. Most exciting city for fashion? A lot of talented designers have trained in London. I was educated in London and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for that education. Students from all over the world come to learn about design and fashion, but they also come because the clothes the royal family wear are seen by people across the globe. I worked with Diana, Princess of Wales, for seven years and my sister cut her hair for a time. The Duchess of Cambridge came to Malaysia last year and we had tea at the British High Commissioner’s residence. The first thing the Duchess said to me was that she wore a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes when she met the King and Queen of Malaysia. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are a very nice young couple. The Duchess in particular had to deal with so many people asking to take her picture. But she didn’t mind — she knows people adore her. Favourite type of holiday? Cultural breaks. I love Japan and its rich culture. I go to Tokyo every year — my son is based there — and it’s very clean, with beautiful flowers, fantastic sushi, lots of exciting architecture and great fashion.
“Even when I’m travelling for business, I usually get an extra few days to explore the shopping districts and the culture” Best hotel? The Grand Hôtel in Stockholm. All the big names stay there. I was there to see the King of Sweden and they gave me a very decadent but classy suite. There was also a great view of the Stockholm Ström and the beautiful Royal Palace opposite. Worst hotel? I stayed in a hotel in Tokyo where the walls were like paper. I could hear a man and a woman spending time together in the room next door. When it came to having a bath, the staff wanted to run the water for me but I wanted to be left alone to do my own thing. Favourite spot for relaxation? Penang, Malaysia. It’s a very peaceful and relaxed city. It’s also surrounded by the sea and the food is heavenly. The Penang Hills are nearby and I always feel calm when I’m walking there. Best piece of travel advice? Last year, my Buddhist teacher was meditating and my ‘Lady God’ told him to remind me to allow myself more time to prepare before I travel. My driver will say to me, “Please be here at 9am” and I will go down 45 minutes late. It’s usually because I’m looking for things that I have forgotten to pack. Now I try to pack the day before I travel. Also, be careful what you eat. I was in an airport lounge in Germany and I popped a Haitian peanut into my mouth and my lip was immediately swollen. Do I have a nut allergy? I’m not sure. I’m okay with other nuts. I have a problem with kiwifruit and get itchy if I eat one. How else do your Buddhist beliefs influence your travels? As soon as I get off a plane, I put my hand to the ground to thank the god of that country and ask that my stay is peaceful, with no accidents or danger, and that I get the chance to meet good people and make good friendships. Sometimes I hear people say, “What the hell is this guy doing?” as I pretend to tie my shoelace.
the hotel and the hotel’s doctor, who was a very old lady with shaky hands, gave me an injection. But, just as she was about to attempt to cut the hook out, the hotel’s manager shouted, “Stop!” I was in a cold sweat and meditating at this point. He then grabbed a pair of pincers and pulled it out in one move. I don’t even have a scar. Afterwards, my Buddhist teacher said, “When the hook went into the fish’s mouth it caused pain.” This was God’s way of showing me the fish’s pain.
Favourite city in the world? Hong Kong. It’s a very fashionable city and has great Chinese food, beautiful bars and good shopping.
We have to ask — how many pairs of shoes do you pack when you travel? Three pairs: an evening shoe, day shoe — either lace-up or slip-on — and a pair of sandals.
Worst experience on holiday? I was line-fishing off the coast of Malaysia and, as I threw the line out, the hook embedded itself into my hand. The boat owner told me not to pull it out or it would rip my hand to pieces. We went back to
And if you could only take one pair? It would have to be a comfortable pair. When we walk, we need comfortable shoes to hold our feet. I also like to wear slippers. I’m always reminding my family, “Slippers, slippers, slippers!” Feet are very important. n
1. Grand Hôtel Stockholm is a Choo favourite 2. Jimmy Choo in his London studio 3. Sunset glow in Penang, Malaysia 4. Florence is one of the world’s best cities to buy shoes
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Ernie Els’ Oubaai Golf Club is one of many award-winning golf courses on South Africa’s Garden route
South Africa Explore
GolfinG the Garden route One of South Africaâ€™s most picturesque drives is also home to some of the finest golf courses in the southern hemisphere WORDS: Richard Holmes
outh Africa’s Garden Route has long been one of the most popular destinations for locals and visitors alike, with its scenic mix of beaches and forest, lakes and holiday towns. But, in the last 15 or 20 years the area has become known for greenery of a different sort. A world apart from the Big Five safaris further north, the area is now widely regarded as the premier golfing destination in the country, if not the entire African continent. There are a dozen 18-hole courses in the 150-kilometre stretch between Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay, the heart of the Garden Route, and the Fancourt Estate outside the town of George is a fitting place to start a week spent golfing along this scenic southern coastline. Fancourt opened in the early-1990s, and is now a part of The Leading Hotels of the World. It offers a stylish hotel, fine-dining and familyfriendly restaurants as well as a state-of-the-art golf academy and a well-equipped leisure centre and spa. But most importantly, it boasts three remarkable courses laid out by South African golfing legend, Gary Player. All three — The Links, Montagu and Outeniqua — rank among the top 20 in the country, offering something for almost every handicap. 4
1. Hole 16 on The Links course offers unbeatable panoramic views 2. The wide beach at Plettenberg Bay marks the end of the Garden Route 3. The dam at The Links 4. An aerial view of Fancourt estate
“What was once pastureland and an airfield is today an expanse of rolling dunes covered in thick, grassy swales, undulating fairways and deep-pot bunkers” Outeniqua and Montagu are traditional parkland courses that offer challenging but forgiving rounds to high-handicappers such as myself; players that really shouldn’t find themselves standing on the first tee at The Links on the windiest day of the month. Gary Player called The Links his greatest achievement as a golf-course designer and the 6,477-metre track is breathtaking in its ambition, beauty and challenge. Player’s design team spent months studying the classic links courses of Scotland before turning their eye to the hectares of flat land on the southern edge of the Fancourt estate. What was once pastureland and an airfield is today an expanse of rolling dunes covered in
thick, grassy swales, undulating fairways and deep-pot bunkers. Ah yes, those bunkers. As with any good links-style course, the bunkers are a hallmark of Player’s layout, where each hole has a name — from ‘On Ye Go’ at the first, to ‘Sheer Murrrder’ for the 12th — that hints at what lies in store. Layout aside, there’s a lovely loneliness to The Links that is rare on many other courses. While it may not have the North Sea off to starboard, the course is striking in its careful design and rarely permits you to glimpse another fairway from the one you’re playing. More often than not, you’ll feel like the only player on the course; exclusivity perhaps demanded by the high green fees.
The overall laid-back feel of Fancourt fits in well with much of what the Garden Route has to offer. The region is full of small country hotels, cosy bed-and-breakfasts and selfcatering, family-focused resorts. I spent many a family holiday on this stretch of coastline, so I know it well: the sinuous Kaaimans River Pass, where the road drops from George to Wilderness; the lovely boardwalk that meanders here on the fringes of the Touws River; the lonely beach at Wilderness that runs for miles, all the way to what is officially known as Gericke’s Point, but has for years been known to locals as Lion Rock. There’s wonderful snorkelling to be had in the tidal rock pools, and safe bathing on the
1 1. Accommodation at Fancourt 2. The Montague course at Fancourt 3. Panoramic views are part-and-parcel of playing golf on the Garden Route
beaches that frame it on either side. The estuary that runs into the sea here is one of many on this coastline, with the inland lakes that drain into the Indian Ocean providing a rich nursery ground for fish. No surprise, it’s a popular spot for rod anglers, too. Swartvlei and Groenvlei blur past on my way to Knysna; a popular town that’s packed to the gunwales in December and January, but pleasantly quiet at most other times of the year. It’s a bustling little town and a good base for visitors who prefer a bit of buzz on their holiday, with the Knysna Waterfront and Thesen Island developments offering a range of shopping and dining options. Although it verges on the snooty, Thesen Island is perhaps my favourite corner of town, with its wonderful lagoon views and the delightful Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa set in the town’s old power station. A short walk away you’ll find Ile de Pain, the renowned eatery run by master baker Markus Färbinger and chef Liezie Mulder. The town is most famous for its signature lagoon that flows out to sea between the iconic Knysna Heads, and pleasure cruises up to the entrance of the treacherous waterway are a must for visitors. How treacherous, you ask? Well, it is famously one of the few places in the world where Lloyd’s of London won’t insure vessels entering and exiting. I was more interested in what lay above the Knysna Heads though, with the fynbos-clad slopes of the Eastern Heads home to some striking coastline that the course at Pezula makes glorious use of. Designed by David Dale and Ronald Fream of GolfPlan USA, Pezula balances its relatively short track — 5,963 metres off the Club tees — by making full use of the area’s dramatic topography. Pezula’s layout is dictated by the environment rather than a design template, and ranges from parkland to links across its run of 18 holes.
Anahita Golf Course by Ernie Els, Mauritius
Anahita The Resort
Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita
The St. Regis Mauritius Resort
One&Only Le Saint Géran, Mauritius
Shanti Maurice - A Nira Resort
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The gauntlet is thrown down from the very first tee, with a stroke-one, par-five that requires careful course management to carry a wooded gully and reach the green in three shots. Happily, the pace settles down for a meander through wooded valleys and wideopen hilltops. Carts come as standard here, with plenty of steep inclines making a walking round almost impossible. Into the back nine, the ocean begins to dominate the horizon. The elevated tee-box of the precipitous par-five 13th is as dramatic as they come, while the signature 14th matches it with a finishing green perched on the rocky cliffs. With the manicured fairways and a stylish clubhouse overlooking the 18th hole, it’s no surprise that Compleat Golfer magazine has 54
rated the course a ‘Five Star Golf Experience’ every year since 2005. Fitting the five-star golf experience, the on-site resort is one of the best on the Garden Route and has recently joined the respected Conrad stable. Perched on a hill overlooking the 10th fairway, the Conrad Pezula Resort & Spa was easily the most stylish hotel I encountered on my five-day meander. The contemporary suites are decorated in earthy African tones, and offer plenty of mod cons to satisfy discerning travellers. There’s a spacious spa on site offering a range of wet and dry body treatments, alongside a heated pool and steam room that is open to all hotel guests. My idea of pampering leans towards the Bacchanalian though, and chef Geoffrey Murray
at Zachary’s is only too happy to oblige. A firm proponent of farm-to-fork dining, Murray offers some of the most innovative cuisine on the Garden Route, with wines from the hotel’s award-winning wine list to match. If you love wine, food and golf, Pezula is hard to match. Acclaimed South African golfer Ernie Els is known for dabbling in wine-making, but is perhaps more famous in the area for opening his first signature course at Oubaai Golf Club, part of Hyatt Regency Golf Resort & Spa, in 2002. A short drive from the airport at George, the resort is near the idyllic holiday village of Herolds Bay, where Els himself has a seaside bolt-hole. Aside from kid-friendly rock pools and a flat beach, there is great surfing to be had both here and at neighbouring Victoria Bay.
South Africa Explore 2
1. The Pezula course is a patchwork of every shade of green 2. The luxurious Conrad Pezula resort 3. Take a break at the Pezula clubhouse after a round or two 4. Rooms at Conrad come with sprawling views of the course and Indian Ocean 5. Zacharyâ€™s restaurant serves up cuisine with a farm-to-table philosophy
1. Oubaai’s cliff-hanging 17th hole makes for some thrilling golf 2. The Hyatt Regency Oubaai Golf Resort & Spa
“Forgiving fairways ease you gently into the morning, before the bunkers become plentiful and the typography of the Gwaing River Valley comes into play” For travelling golfers looking to step up from the area’s rustic holiday cottages, the combination of luxury accommodation, a modern spa and an outstanding course makes the Hyatt Regency Oubaai a popular choice. The course’s unconventional layout of five par-fives and five par-threes adds another layer of entertainment to a links/parkland hybrid that appears fairly straightforward at first, but reveals plenty of surprises through the round. Forgiving fairways ease you gently into the morning, before the bunkers become plentiful and the topography of the Gwaing River Valley comes into play. And Els ensures every hole uses the landscape to full effect; on the flat, bunkers and water line the course, while on the fringes,
thick bush and unforgiving dune grasses will really focus your attention. Yet none do that quite like Oubaai’s signature 17th, a hole that for me sums up all that is good and great about golfing the Garden Route. Behind me on the tee box, the Outeniqua Mountains spread out in a hazy line. To my right, the finishing 18th makes a lazy curve around a forest-guarded dog-leg. And in front of my pitching wedge? Just 119-metres of fresh air falling to a green backed by the sparkling Indian Ocean. A par here and a bogey to follow give me my best score of the week. But, with world-class courses and unbeatable views, chances are that on your Garden Route golf adventure your eyes won’t spend much time looking at the scorecard. n
Thegoldenbook Fancourt Tel: +27 44 804 0000
Conrad Pezula Resort & Spa Tel: +27 44 302 3333
Hyatt Regency Oubaai Golf Resort & Spa Tel: +27 44 851 1234
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Adventure ISLAnd In Mauritius, luxury living meets one-of-a-kind experiences and an incredibly diverse culture to create unforgettable memories WORDS: Rebecca Haddad
he view outside the car window could not better encapsulate the term “island paradise”. It’s a cloudless day and the sun beams across water as clear as crystal, meeting pristine sand and lush forest beyond, where the mountain known as Lion’s Head is clearly visible. Suddenly, the weather turns and rain hits the car, blurring the perfect scene. My driver smiles. “Don’t worry, the rain won’t last long. The island is giving you a blessing and a warm welcome,” he says.
Colour and culture (clockwise from top) The forest meets the turquoise ocean; lively Mauritian dancing; bright sailing boats take to the clear waters
This uplifting perspective seems to be shared by everyone I meet in Mauritius, a tiny jewel in the Indian Ocean with a history as colourful as its national flag. First colonised by the Dutch in the late 16th century (the island is named for the Dutch Prince Maurice Van Nassau), Mauritius has seen colonies of migrants from France, Britain, India and China. As a result — and with no indigenous culture of its own — Île Maurice’s 1.2 million inhabitants are an exotic bunch.
French Creole is the most widely spoken language in the island nation, though the culture and cuisine are heavily influenced by the island’s South African neighbours and the large Indian population. As this heady cultural cocktail suggests, Mauritius is far more than your standard island paradise — it bursts with the surprising and unexpected at every turn, and retains the characteristics of all those who have called it home. Here, adventures abound, whether you seek them or not.
Inviting hammocks dot Le Touessrok’s Îlot Mangénie
castaway As the car winds its way south-east to Blue Bay, a tiny natural reserve in the largely undeveloped part of the island, the heavens clear and we board a speedboat to our final stop: Le Touessrok resort, part of The Leading Hotels of the World. A 40-minute speedboat ride up the east coast takes us across that crystalline water, which seems to melt into the sky, to the resort’s dock next to a collection of ocean villas that pop out among the vegetation like sandcastles. ‘Touessrok’, the resort’s lovely guest relations officer Annabelle tells me, is a play on the French phrase “tu es roc” (you are rock), and it’s certainly evident that the focus at the resort is, well, you. The rooms, suites and villas are perched along the peaceful shores of Trou d’Eau Douce Bay, far from the hectic pace of the bustling capital, Port Louis — and, it seems, the rest of the world. Despite the luxurious lodgings, I’m keen to get out and discover Le Touessrok’s other surprises. A 10-minute boat ride takes us to Îlot Mangénie, an uninhabited island reserved exclusively for Le Touessrok’s guests to come and unwind. Your castaway experience comes with some thoughtful additions, such as a sunglasses-cleaning service and cold towel upon arrival. There’s no need to cook your own catch here either — the chefs at the island’s restaurant, Crusoe’s, do all the hard work for you. Here, I get my first taste of Mauritian cuisine: fresh calamari and fish served with hot chilli paste and cool coconut relish, along with a salad of tender palm heart, nicknamed ‘Millionaire’s Salad’ as it is a Mauritian delicacy. After a short siesta in the inviting winter sun, I reluctantly clamber back on the boat and over to Le Touessrok’s second island, Île aux Cerfs, where hammocks and sunloungers make way for waterskis and windsurfers. A short buggy ride further inland and you’ll discover Cerfs’ pride and joy: a championship golf course (voted one of the top 10 in the world) with fairways so soft you’ll want to play barefoot.
the life aquatic The next morning, on the winding drive to Trou aux Biches, 10 minutes from the tourist hub of Grand Baie on the northern coast, the road takes us through villages whose names reflect the island’s mixed heritage: Camp Ithier, Bramsthan, Petite Retraite. Historic churches stand next to multicoloured confections of Hindu temples, pagodas and brilliant white mosques. “There used to be so many religious public holidays,” my driver quips, “that the government had to cut some to keep the economy going.”
Blue lagoon (top) Le Touessrok and its islands from the air Island bites (above) Palm heart salad is a national delicacy and a great accompaniment to seafood
Houses with corrugated iron roofs stand in the shadow of newer concrete homes, built to withstand cyclone season. Between the towns, plantations of sugarcane dotted with old sugar mill towers sprawl into the distance. Despite the plethora of sights to take in above sea level, I’m keen to explore what’s happening below. Blue Safari at Trou aux Biches runs ocean tours in a 10-man submarine that wouldn’t look out of place in a James Bond film, and I eagerly hop aboard. At a depth of 35 metres, it appears that life below the surface is as colourful as life above.
Clownfish swim circles around blue tang while schools of rainbow runners hover in the water, seemingly suspended in animation. The reef itself stretches as far as the eye can see; a valley of undulating coral hills with sandy roads running between them. For those who prefer to be in charge of their own vehicle, you can opt to ride a subscooter to a depth of three metres. And if you’re pressed for time and need to sample as much of the underwater world as you can, there is also an option to eat lunch on board a smaller, five-person submarine, while it tours the seabed.
Setting the scene (top) Discover Mauritius’ famous giant water lilies at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden What lies beneath (above) A submarine ride lets you get a closer look at local marine life
Back on the surface, it’s time to explore the island’s land beauty. A 15-minute drive south of Grand Baie, we arrive at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden in Pamplemousses, home to Mauritius’ famous giant water lilies, banyan trees and bottle palms, the national delicacy in its raw form. It takes seven years for each palm tree to grow to its full height before its fleshy heart can be extracted. As the palm tree cannot regenerate afterwards, the rule is that if you extract one, you must plant another in its place.
This sustainable attitude extends to sugarcane, too. Although no longer the island’s primary export (textiles and tourism share the load), no part of the sugarcane plant is wasted. The cane is used in vinegar, perfume and rum, while the remainder of the plant is used in furniture and as fertiliser. All this exploring must be balanced with equal amounts of relaxation, so we head south to the coast, where Shanti Maurice awaits. The resort, another property from The Leading Hotels of the World stable, is nestled between mountains and sea, and from the
moment I arrive, it’s clear that escapism is the aim of the game. Most suites and villas come with their own infinity pools and rain showers, and all open up onto the only section of Mauritian coastline unprotected by reef. With the sound of waves against rocks to lull you to sleep, it feels like it’s just you and the island.
Into the wIld Driving northwest the next morning, we pass a mountain shaped like a gorilla’s head (dubbed ‘King Kong’), facing another mountain shaped like a sitting lion. The pair serves as an omen of what we’re about to face. Mauritius is not renowned for its exotic fauna, but the island continues to surprise when we arrive at Casela Nature & Leisure Park, a 14-hectare sanctuary for exotic animals including flamingos, monkeys, zebra, giant tortoises and tigers. I’ve come to get up close and personal with the king of them all. The park’s ‘Walk with the Lions’ experience means I get to venture beyond the fence and straight into the home of the big cats. Stepping into the enclosure, it quickly becomes clear that the lions prefer sleeping in the sun than eating visitors, but the experience is both awe-inspiring and thrilling — one can’t fully tame a wild beast, after all. Back at Shanti Maurice, our final dinner of sweet lobster meat, sizzling prawns and squid accompanied by fresh salads and a side order of spirited
Solitary luxury (above) Sprawling Shanti Maurice makes you feel as though it’s just you and the island Wild things (right) An affectionate pair of tigers at Casela Nature & Leisure Park
traditional music and dancing is a spectacular way to round off the trip. Walking back to my villa, I think about how lucky I’ve been to experience such a fascinating and genuine island culture — something that’s a little harder to unearth in other luxe island destinations
like the Maldives. I stretch out by the pool and watch the moon cast light across the water until ominous clouds shadow it. Within minutes, a gentle sprinkling of rain begins — the tears of an island saying goodbye, and a blessing for our safe return. n
A priceless Experience
Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority 5th Floor, Victoria House, Saint Louis Street, Port-Louis, Mauritius Tel : (230) 210 1545 - Fax : (230) 2125142 www.tourism-mauritius.mu
ISLE OF PLENTY
No matter what sort of holiday you seek, Mauritius will deliver
Le Touessrok Ideal for: Adventure seekers Perched along a pristine stretch of coastline on the north-east coast, Le Touessrok just beckons to be explored. If lounging about a spacious and brightly decorated ocean suite or catching some rays by the resort’s main pool doesn’t appeal, guests have exclusive access to nearby Îlot Mangénie, an uninhabited island equipped with hammocks, sun loungers, a restaurant and very attentive staff who are on hand to ensure you have everything you need. For more active pursuits, take a boat across the lagoon to the resort’s second island, Île aux Cerfs, where you’ll find plenty of water activities to get your adrenaline pumping, including windsurfers, kayaks and waterskis. Then, spend an afternoon teeing off on the worldrenowned golf course as the sun sets over the mainland. Tel: +230 402 7700 www.letouessrokresort.com
shanTi Maurice Ideal for: rest and relaxation Sprawled over 14 hectares on the quiet southern coast, this resort is the last word in seclusion. Ocean villas — most with private infinity pools — are equipped with everything you need to make your stay as comfortable as possible, including king-size beds, Plantation organic toiletries and Nespresso coffee machines. When you can tear yourself away from your room’s glorious ocean view, there’s plenty to entertain throughout the resort. Enjoy meals made using produce sourced locally and from the resort’s own garden at one of the three on-site restaurants. And no relaxing holiday would be complete without a spa treatment. Nira Spa is the one of the largest in the Indian Ocean, and combines ancient Ayurveda and yoga techniques with modern wellbeing practices — the 90-minute Sega ritual is a must-do. Tel: +230 603 7200 www.shantimaurice.com
consTance Le Prince Maurice Ideal for: families and groups As one of the first luxury resorts on the island, Le Prince Maurice has had plenty of time to fine-tune its offerings. With 64 junior suites, 12 family suites, 12 villas and one Princely Suite, there’s plenty of space for families and groups of any size. The three-bedroom Princely Suite is located in a secluded part of the resort close to the beach and also comes with the services of a villa master to attend to your every need. Adults can enjoy a treatment in the Spa de Constance by Sisley, fine dining at Le Barachois, a floating restaurant that sits over a natural fish reserve, or a round of golf at one of the two nearby courses. For young discerning travellers, there’s Les Petits Princes kids’ club, which has its own pool and runs cooking classes and outdoor game days. Tel: +230 402 3636 princemaurice.constancehotels.com
Royal Palm Ideal for: being close to the action While most resorts are a decent drive away from Mauritius’ major townships, Royal Palm, on the sun-drenched northwest coast, is just minutes from the popular tourist hangout of Grand Baie, making it ideal for visitors wanting to experience Mauritian life beyond the five-star resorts. All 84 suites face the beach and each are personalised with colourful printed fabrics and artworks, though all have the same relaxed ambience that’s quite a contrast to the noise of town. Of course, a stay here grants you all the other luxuries of a typical resort including gourmet dining options, watersports and a Clarins spa. When the sun sets, you have the option to forgo drinks at the hotel’s main bar for Grand Baie’s buzzing nightlife. Tel: +230 209 8300 www.beachcomber-hotels.com
maRadiva Ideal for: couples Located on a stretch of ivory sand in the west coast of the island, Maradiva is the only resort of its kind in Mauritius — accommodation is 65 private villas. Although smaller in size compared to many other resorts on the island, the intimate layout makes Maradiva ideal for a romantic getaway. Each villa has its own private terrace, garden and infinity pool, and a butler is available round the clock to attend to your every whim. Such a romantic setting sets the mood for a variety of couples’ activities, including an indulgent Indian aromatherpy treatment for two (finishing with a rose-petal bath and champagne, of course) and in-villa dining by candlelight, where Maradiva’s staff work with you to create your ideal menu, which is then prepared fresh and then served to you by your butler. Tel: +230 403 1500 www.maradiva.com
The ST. RegiS mauRiTiuS ReSoRT Ideal for: culture vultures Set abetween lush fields of sugarcane and Le Morne Beach in the island’s south-west is the first St. Regis hotel in Africa. The resort celebrates the diversity of Mauritian culture. It is designed to resemble a Victorian sugar baron’s manor house; all 172 guestrooms and suites are elegantly appointed with wide terraces affording Indian Ocean views. The top-ofthe-range beachfront St. Regis Villa features four bedrooms with private pools and gardens, as well as a bar, a private spa treatment room and personal butler service. An authentic Indian menu from Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar is served at the resort’s Simply India restaurant, though to keep with the colonial theme, you can enjoy Mauritian-French fusion cuisine at Le Manoir Dining Room. Tel: +230 403 9000 www.stregismauritius.com
The award-winning yacht Big Fish is anchored in a bay in the South Pacific
T h e h OT T e s T s u p e r Ya C h T s Futuristic materials, innovative design and green technology have created a new breed of luxury yachts â€“ here are the ones to watch out for this summer, courtesy of Monaco-based charter specialist Y.CO WORDS: Tristan Rutherford
BIG FISH Whether she’s on a trans-Antarctic tour or on her current pan-Pacific sweep, this award-winning yacht is tailor-made for adventurous expeditions around the globe, allowing her guests to take luxury long distance. Big Fish's bespoke build means that she offers the amenities of a 65-metre yacht in a powerful 45-metre package. She boasts a vast aft deck, a scuba decompression chamber for serious expedition diving and the widest swim platform of any yacht in her class. The yacht’s adventure-seeking ethos is best summed up by her 28-foot tender, Triple Ripple, a custom-designed jetboat with a nautical range of 200 miles. Crew can escort Big Fish’s entire complement of 10 guests to distant islands, uninhabited atolls and lonely reefs, before skimming home for sundowners in the vast saloon. If luxury expeditions are what you seek, Big Fish is available to charter from US $245,000 per week.
THE NEW SCENT FOR MEN
SHERAKHAN Sherakhan is one of the most unique yachts on the planet and a world unto herself. Designed back in the 1960s, totally rebuilt in 2005, then refitted to modern perfection in 2012, she is this yearâ€™s most prized long-distance superyacht. Why, you might ask? Blessed with a range of 3,500 nautical miles, Sherakhan is a go-anywhere maritime machine. She offers 13 cabins, which can accommodate up to 26 guests, each designed with an individual mood in mind. The boat, available to charter for $451,000 per week, features a robust structure, rendering it at home in any waters, from calm Caribbean currents to feisty and unpredictable Antarctic seas. Sherakhanâ€™s crew can offer guests the ultimate expedition wherever they are in the world, with tender trips to deserted Pacific islands, kayak tours to African shores, or outdoor lectures alongside barren ice floes.
ETHEREAL Cutting-edge green technology doesn’t just make Ethereal eco-friendly; her sea-powered lithium battery system means she can sit at anchor or in port without the need for generators, which means she can run in silence. Advanced features grace every aspect of this 58-metre beauty, which is available to charter from $225,000 per week. Futuristic insulation keeps her five cabins quiet and comfortable, while the windows and hatches turn opaque in the sun, rendering her saloons cool. Ethereal is an ideal vessel for guests who enjoy close encounters with marine life, particularly whale-watching. Guests on the lookout for whales can be hydraulically hauled up to the crow’s nest for a bird’s-eye view. When cetaceans are spotted, Ethereal flips into stealth mode to shadow the pod using rudders, thrusters and undersea cameras — an alluring feature as she cruises around the South Pacific this year.
Super yachts Superyachts
WALLY B In a word, Wally B flies. Thanks to a 2012 refit, this jet-black thunderbolt is luxury yachting at its fastest. Ocean-racing safety features keep your party secure as you tease another knot of speed from this thoroughbred. No expense was spared during Wally B’s recent overhaul. The décor of its three double-cabins can only be described as ‘gentleman chic’. Her owner’s cabin stretches across the full beam of the boat, its en-suite bathroom a medley of frosted glass and cherry wood, with a Japanese bath to soak in. The capacious interior can be transformed into a dining room for 14 guests or a venue for a party. Instead of sailing Wally B themselves, guests have the option to captain a smaller vessel should they wish to. Her 4.7-metre custom tender comes into its own when exploring the hidden coves of the Costa Smeralda or the caves of Kefaloni. Wally B is available to charter around the Western Mediterranean from $58,000 per week.
OCEAN PARADISE Italian superyacht specialist Benetti has distilled contemporary yachting into 55-metres of flamboyant futurism with Ocean Paradise. As well as a vast jacuzzi deck, this triple-tiered dynamo boasts interiors by designer Mauro Izzo. Inside, floor-length windows offer water views and in the master cabin, there's a private balcony. You can control temperature, lighting and music via an iPad, while reclining on an Eames chair. The main saloon is more St. Moritz ski lodge than classic yacht. Rugs, poufs and Starck-esque seating are scattered over a modern hardwood floor. A projector means movies can be watched accompanied by surround sound and cold drinks. Ocean Paradise is available to charter from $328,000 per week. www.ycoyacht.com n
ExperienceExceptional Exceptional Holidays Experience Holidays Come and behold stunning views of the Indian Ocean endless azure waters, while
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NIGHT & DAY Taipei is a pint-sized Asian capital where ageold traditions thrive alongside swanky shopping malls and vibrant night markets
Words: Pamela McCourt Francescone
08.00 Fly into Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on an EVA Air (www.evaair.com) flight from Europe, the US or Asia. If you’re coming from Hong Kong, Shanghai or Tokyo, you might be on one of their Hello Kittythemed aircraft, where everything from the head rests to the fruit in the in-flight meals are embellished with the cartoon kitty. Hop into a taxi (US$40-50, depending on traffic) and head for W Taipei (10 Zhongxaio East Road, Section 5; +886 2 7703 8888; www.wtaipei.com), the city’s trendiest hotel in the buzzing Xinyi fashion and entertainment district. Get your first view of the Taipei skyline from one of the überstylish 70-square-metre Fantastic Suites. There are also Wonderful, Fabulous and Spectacular Rooms, Marvelous and Wow Suites and one Extreme Wow Suite. 09.30 Refresh after the flight with a splash in the outdoor 25-metre WET pool, then sit down to a breakfast of Chinese noodles (or perhaps bacon and eggs) at The Kitchen Table.
10.45 It’s time to discover the city, and the first stop is the Taipei 101 tower (www.taipei-101. com.tw), a five-minute walk from the W Taipei. This is the city’s iconic, bamboostalk-shaped landmark, and currently the world’s fourth tallest building. It takes just 37 seconds to shoot up from the fifth to the 89th-floor observatory (open daily 9.0022.00; tickets $16.70 for adults). Grab an audio guide to get the best out of the 360-degree views of the city. 12.15 Descend three floors for some of Taiwan’s finest dining at Ding Xian 101 (+886 2 8101 8686; www.dingxian101.com). The menu is traditional with an emphasis on organic ingredients and local specialties such as oyster omelettes, delicate seafood soups and melt-in-the-mouth dumplings make for a memorable meal. After lunch, head back into the lift to descend to the basement levels and stroll around the mall, browsing its smart designer boutiques and specialty stores.
13.30 Take a taxi across town to the National Palace Museum (221 Zhishan Road, Section 2, Shilin District; +886 2 2881 2021; www.npm.gov.tw). Pick up an audio guide ($3.30) and get ready to be gobsmacked by the world’s greatest collection of Chinese art. With a treasuretrove of more than 65,000 artworks from ancient imperial collections, space dictates that the artefacts on display be changed every few months. The most famous pieces on view are clearly marked, but you really can’t go wrong with the array of bronzes, porcelain, textiles, paintings and ivory, many of which date back thousands of years. 16.30 After this full immersion in local art and beauty, it’s time for a break, so drop into The Landis Taipei (41 Min-Chuan East Road, Section 2; +886 2 2597 1234; www.taipei. landishotelsresorts.com). This art deco hotel in the city’s business and financial district has an elegant lobby lounge — just the place to enjoy a cup of Taiwan’s prized Oolong tea.
The Kitchen Table
17.30 The Longshan Temple in the Wanhua District (www.lungshan.org.tw) is at its most atmospheric at sunset, when worshippers gather together to pray and chant. Light some incense or candles and enjoy the spectacle. The local worshippers are very friendly and love to talk to visitors. Afterwards, take some time to explore this interesting old neighbourhood, with its quaint shops selling antique and Buddha articles.
Cantonese at Shang Palace to Japanese at Ibuki. For a romantic dinner for two, it has to be at the Italian Marco Polo Restaurant at one of the curtain-draped, intimate tables along the spectacular curved window looking out on Taipei 101. Here, traditional Italian dishes have been given a sophisticated twist, such as the potato gnocchi with duck breast ragout and the tiramisu espresso topped with chocolate shavings that would have them lining up in Milan.
18.30 Drop back into the W Taipei for a 90-minute Away Signature Massage at the stunning Away Spa. It’s the perfect pick-me-up for the night ahead (or the morning after).
22.00 Make a quick stop at the Shilin Night Market, Taiwan’s most famous night foodie paradise. Soak up the buzzing atmosphere as you browse alleyways of stalls for souvenirs or a late-night snack.
Tel: +886 2 2378 8888 www.shangri-la.com
20.00 Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel Taipei (201 Tun Hwa South Road, Section 2; +886 2 2378 8888; www.shangri-la. com) is the tallest hotel in the city. There’s marble everywhere as well as a magnificent rooftop pool and more restaurants than you’ll find at any other luxury hotel in town: from
W Taipei Tel: +886 2 7703 8888 www.wtaipei.com
The Landis Taipei Tel: +886 2 2597 1234 www.taipei.landishotelsresorts.com
Shangri-La Far Eastern Plaza Hotel Taipei
23.00 Head back to the Fantastic Suite at the W Taipei to enjoy a blissful night’s sleep in the king-size W Signature Bed under a starspangled ceiling, with the Taipei 101 twinkling like a gigantic Christmas tree just outside the window. n
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
August 2–26 Edinburgh, Scotland
As the largest arts festival in the world, Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a great chance to see big-name performers and emerging artists showcase their talents at various events across the Scottish capital. With 45,464 performances scheduled, including theatre, dance, music, comedy and exhibitions, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any spare time in the month for the city’s other attractions. www.edfringe.com
August 28 Buñol, Spain
This messy festival sees thousands of people crowd the main square and Calle del Cid in the town of Buñol to hurl crushed tomatoes at each other. It’s believed La Tomatina began in 1945, when a group of rowdy youths watching a parade caused one participant to fall, after which the enraged participant started hurling vegetables from a nearby cart at them. Many participants stay in nearby Valencia to escape the mess afterwards. www.latomatina.info
Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum
Until September 29, 2013 British Museum, London, England
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 froze life in Pompeii and Herculaneum, and the sites have become two of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions. More than 250 objects from the sites, such as marble reliefs and furniture, are on display, including many never before exhibited outside Italy. www.britishmuseum.org 82
2013 PGA Championship
The historic Oak Hill Country Club hasn’t seen a PGA Championship since 2003, but the much-loved venue is preparing for thousands of spectators to line its fairways this month for the final major tournament on the golf calendar. See the likes of Rod Perry and last year’s winner Rory McIlroy as they swing to win from a US $8 million prize pool. www.pga.com
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Janeanne Gilchrist
August 8–11 Oak Hill Country Club, Pittford, New York
Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad August 15–18 Gstaad, Switzerland
Gstaad Saanen private airport in south-west Switzerland will play host to the 2013 Hublot Polo Gold Cup this month, an event that has run since 1996 and has become one of the most renowned polo tournaments in Europe, drawing 6,000 spectators last year. Festivities really kick off with the players’ parade on Friday and competition ends with the Final match on Sunday. www.polo-gstaad.ch
Spend it How about a Californian road trip in a Bentley? A remote island escape? Or free run of a French château? There are plenty of indulgent escapes to take this month
Tour the Cali coast in a Bentley It has often been said — and reaffirmed in pop culture over the years — that the best way to see the sights of America is by going on a classic road trip. Take a tour of the wild Californian coast in a Bentley with St. Regis’ new Pacific Grand Tour Aficionado Package. Start at St. Regis Monarch Beach or St. Regis San Francisco and wind you way up or down the coast from one property to the other in a classic Bentley. You’ll enjoy a two-night stay in a suite at both hotels, as well as a Grand Tourister Bag — a stylish travel pack designed by New York-based designer Jason Wu — and an official Bentley Key Chain (as if your mode of transport isn’t classy enough). If, at any point during the trip, you’d like to make an overnight pit-stop, there are designated St. Regis concierges at either hotel who will be happy to accommodate requests. Available: until September 30, 2013 Price: from $6,900 Book: +1 415 284 4070 www.stregissanfrancisco.com/aficionado
Classic Cali views at St. Regis Monarch Beach
*All prices are subject to change. Please contact the listed companies for further information.
Ski break in the Swiss Alps
The Maldives has long been a haven for couples and honeymooners, with its relaxing resorts and secluded accommodation options. The Beach House Iruveli is on a remote island in the Haa Alif atoll, and while all its accommodation offerings feature spacious living and nothing but sparkling Indian Ocean on each doorstep, the 600-square-metre Grand Beach Pavilion is the king of them all. Beach House Iruveli’s new ‘Ulimate Beach House’ package starts with four nights’ accommodation in the pavilion, which features its own private pool and a walled courtyard so your privacy is assured. There’s also a sauna, steam room and private massage treatment room, as well as a secluded beach cabana. If that doesn’t sound tempting enough, the package also includes a host of activities especially for two, including a romantic dinner on the beach, a Maldivian Massage, two champagne breakfasts and a dolphin cruise experience. Lovebirds with a slightly more adventurous streak will also enjoy the overnight castaway experience at the resort’s uninhabited private island, Govvafushi. Available: now Price: from $23,250 for four nights Book: firstname.lastname@example.org www.beachhousecollection.com
Rent the Carlton Hotel in St. Moritz
As summer enters its final months, it’s time to book in early for a glamorous winter escape. The Swiss resort hideaway of St. Moritz is the birthplace of Alpine tourism, and it’s climate and idyllic location in the Upper Engadin lake landscape has meant that the destination has long been a winter playground for the rich and famous. The Carlton Hotel, which celebrates its 100th birthday this year, is an institution in St. Moritz, with an unrivalled location right on the lake and panoramic views of the snowcapped mountain landscape. The entire hotel can be rented out exclusively for you and your family and friends should you wish, for a rate that includes all services and amenities including 60 junior suites and suites, two fine-dining restaurants, a bar and a 1,200-square-metre spa with treatments sure to revive your body after a day on the slopes. Available: now Price: from CHF 80,000 ($85,498) per night Book: email@example.com www.carlton-stmoritz.ch
Around the world in 25 days These days, time seems to be the biggest luxury of all. For many of us, a trip around the world could take months, even years. But, if you do have a spare month — and a spare US $100,000 — you can embark on a 25-day tour of the world on board a private jet. The trip is for 50 guests at a time, and there are nine different itineraries available, scheduled to run from April next year. All of the world’s most exciting and exotic destinations are covered — from Rio de Janeiro to Easter Island, Dubrovnik, Bhutan (left), Sydney and Marrakech, its just a matter of choosing the route that most appeals to you. And, given the journey is just as important as the destination, no expense has been spared on your actual flight experience, with 180-degree flat beds, a fullystocked bar and a personal iPad to take home with you once the trip is over. Available: first trip departs April 7, 2014 Price: from $99,950 per person Book: firstname.lastname@example.org www.intravjet.com
Visit Bhutan during your world tour by private jet
Live a French fairytale It’s the ultimate European summer holiday — to have free run of a classic château in the picturesque French countryside. SJ Villas is making that dream holiday a reality by adding Château de la Goujeonnerie to its portfolio of elegant estates. The château was built in 1872 and is located in the Vendée region in the Pays-de-la-Loire region of south-west France. It has recently been restored to its former glory with the addition of 21st-century comforts. Of course, such expansive accommodation such as this is best experienced with friends, and the château can accommodate up to 35 of them. You’ll find the château also offers plenty of surprises to ensure you and your guests have a good time. Spoiler alert: one of the sitting rooms transforms into a discotheque of sorts, complete with mirror ball, smoke machines and glitzy gold banquettes. Available: now Price: from GBP 1,000 ($1,521) per person, per week, based on 35 people sharing. Book: email@example.com www.sjvillas.co.uk
Rent Château de la Goujeonnerie for a week
The Residence, Maldives
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi, Maldives
W Retreat & Spa - Maldives
Niyama, A Per Aquum Resort, Maldives
One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
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Kids and teens up to 16 stay and play for FREE. OVER $500 USD OF ADDED VALUE** • Free session at Kids Club or Club Rush • Free unlimited access to Aquaventure Waterpark, the No. 1 waterpark in the Middle East and Europe • Free unlimited access to The Lost Chambers Aquarium • Preferential rates to swim with Dolphins • SpongeBob SquarePants and other characters will be performing this summer
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Heli golf in Scotland It should come as no surprise that, as one of the greenest countries in the world, Scotland should also be home to some of the best golf courses. Nira Caledonia in Edinburgh is offering a three-night package for golfers keen to perfect their swing with Scotland’s dramatic landscape as a backdrop. The Heli-Golf package includes a threenight stay at the 28-room boutique hotel, as well as helicopter transfers to play a round at Kingsbarns Golf Links, with it’s North Sea views, and at the famous Gleneagles, which boasts three championship courses and will be the venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup. You’ll also get to enjoy fine dining at Nira Caledonia’s Blackwood’s Bar & Grill and be in the heart of the sights and sounds of Edinburgh city. You will be tempted to extend your stay if golfing is your prerogative, as there are more than 100 courses within an hour’s drive of the hotel. Available: now Price: GBP 4,998 ($7,442) per person, based on two sharing a double room and two golfers. Book: firstname.lastname@example.org www.niracaledonia.com
Embark on a heli-golf tour of Scotland
Splendour of Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai has long been revered as the most historically rich destination in northern Thailand, with its many sacred temples and famous old city. Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi blends seamlessly into the area’s landscape with its design inspired by the heritage of its location, in the heart of the former Lanna kingdom. Spread out over 24 hectares surrounded by paddy fields, the hotel takes its influences from colonial times and southeast-Asian traditions. The hotel’s Splendour of Dhara Dhevi Package is tailored so you can get the most out of its best features during your stay. The package includes a three-night accommodation in the two-bedroom residence, Colonial Suite, Penthouse Residence or Royal Villa, as well as a signature dinner at Farang Ses restaurant and a Spa Ceremony at the hotel’s famed Dheva Spa and Wellness Centre. There’s also an opportunity to get close to nature with the option of partaking in a cooking class or rice-planting session. Available: until September 30, 2013 Price: from THB 74,499 ($2,391) Book: email@example.com www.mandarinoriental.com/chiangmai
Inside and out From its sophisticated Passion Suites to its trendy rooftop bar, ME London is one seriously stylish hotel, says Caitlin Cheadle
alking into ME London’s ground-floor entrance just off the Strand is a confusing experience. Across from the popular STK restaurant is a bar concealed behind a barricade of silver poles, with lounge seats scattered about, but no concierge desk. After a few minutes of wandering we are approached by a helpful bellboy who informs us that reception is actually one floor above, accessed by a set of private lifts behind the bar. It’s clear he’s had to explain this before. The lobby, it turns out, is worth the extra effort. Walls of grey marble extend up to the ceiling on which projected images of jellyfish ascend up the walls. Every night at 8pm there’s a free light show here for guests, with complimentary Cava (Spanish bubbly). The first hotel to be entirely designed by Norman Foster + Partners, it’s clear that ME London is big on style, but thankfully without sacrificing substance. The Passion Suite, on the sixth floor, is one of the most thoughtfullyplanned hotel rooms I’ve seen. The door opens into a central corridor that runs straight through to a semi-circular bedroom, where floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the Strand. Outside the bedroom, the master bathroom has been split into two on either side of the corridor: one with an enormous triangular bathtub and separate walk-in rain shower, and the other with his and hers sinks, a toilet inside a frosted glass compartment, and a vanity area. Continuing along the corridor, we come across the lounge with a table and chairs beside the window, a nice spot for in-room dining. Or, you could curl up on the sofa and watch a movie on the enormous flatscreen, inlaid into a slab of black marble covering one wall. The minibar is also split into two, hidden behind sleek, lacquered doors in the lounge and bedroom and offering a selection of gourmet treats, fragrances, special care packages, dog toys, a Nespresso machine in the lounge and tea-making facilities in the bedroom. Thoughtful extras are abundant: touchactivated panels in the lounge and bedroom control temperature and lighting, while the work desk is embedded with USB ports, adaptors, and iPad chargers. There are candles and matches throughout the suite, and toiletries from all-natural brand Apivita include mouthwash and makeup remover. ME London’s crowning glory is its rooftop bar, Radio, an homage to neighbouring Marconi House, formerly the headquarters of the BBC.
Passion Suite bedroom
Mood lighting in the living area
Inside, a central bar is surrounded by tables positioned in front of floor-to-ceiling windows. On the patio, sofas and daybeds share 360-degree city views, so it’s no surprise that Radio is at full capacity when we head up there for a drink. No problem – a quick phone call to our ‘Aura Manager’ (ME’s answer to the personal concierge) and we are personally informed 20 minutes later that a table is ready for us. Style, service and sophistication: trendy doesn���t have to be try-hard. n
The important bit What: Passion Suite Where: ME London, 336-337 The Strand, London Price: starting from GBP 1,140 (US $1,698) per night, including VAT. Contact: +44 207 395 3400; firstname.lastname@example.org www.melia.com
ON THE ROAD
ASTON MARTIN VANQUISH VOLANTE
Engine: AM11 6.0-litre V12 Power: 565 bhp Torque: 620 Nm 0–100kph: 4.1 secs (est.) Top speed: 295 kph Origin: Gaydon, UK Cost: from US $323,974 in Dubai
This jaw-dropping new release from Aston Martin is, above all, breathtakingly beautiful. It’s also the first ever all-carbon-fibre-skinned Volante in the company’s history, and rivals its sibling, the V12 Vantage S in the power department. With design elements borrowed from the One-77 hypercar, Aston Martin describes it as the “ultimate convertible” super GT and we find it very hard to disagree. Was it worth the wait for a topless version of last year’s Volante to be released? Let the pictures speak for themselves.
“This car is what luxury super GT driving is all about. Great performance, fantastic style and exhilarating Volante motoring in one superb package” Dr Ulrich Bez, CEO, Aston Martin
AUDI R8 V10 PLUS Engine: 5.2-litre V10 Power: 550 bhp Torque: 540 Nm 0–100 kph: 3.5 secs Top speed: 319 kph Origin: Neckarsulm, Germany Cost: from US $162,000
The new champion of the Audi R8 range packs an awful lot of punch for such a small package. The V10 Plus features the new S-tronic fast-shifting, dualclutch transmission and a launch control function, which combine to create a staggering 0–100 kph time of 3.5 seconds. The Quattro all-wheel drive system distributes the power to all four wheels, and Audi’s magnetic ride system adjusts the shock absorbers to fit the driving style and the road surface. In short — it is a lean, mean driving machine.
LAMBORGHINI EGOISTA Engine: 5.2-litre V10 Power: 600 bhp Torque: N/A 0-100kph: N/A Top speed: N/A Origin: Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy
“It is designed purely for hypersophisticated people who want only the most extreme and special things in the world. It represents hedonism taken to the extreme” Walter De Silva, head of group design, Volkswagen
The latest in a long line of Lamborghini concept vehicles, the Egoista is the most extreme interpretation of the Italian supercar to date. With an exterior that looks like it has come from Batman’s private fleet and a one-seat interior that seems to be part Apache attack helicopter and part Star Wars X-Wing spacecraft, the Egoista is an otherworldly vehicle designed for pure driving pleasure. That said, the car is, in the words of the company, “a gift from Lamborghini to Lamborghini, resplendent in its solitude.”
Comfort is king in the new 2014 Hyundai Centennial, says Joe Mortimer
SMOOTH OPERATOR IN the often snobby world of luxury, brand is everything. When it comes to high fashion, it is the Italian and French fashion houses that have been around for hundreds of years whose brand names we pay premium prices for. It doesn’t matter that newcomers can produce products of equal quality; they don’t have the pedigree that comes with big brand names. And so it is in the world of automobiles. Prestige carmakers have decades of high-performance engineering and interior styling to call upon when creating new models, and their names are synonymous with luxury. But for newcomers, or firms that are moving into the luxury arena for the first time, it’s an uphill struggle to get that sort of recognition. It was with this knowledge floating around my subconscious that I accepted the invitation to review the 2014 Hyundai Centennial, the flagship model in the South Korean carmaker’s stable. Known more for economical run-arounds, mid-range sedans and small SUVs than premium vehicles, the Asian firm entered the luxury arena in 1999 when it first launched the Centennial. The car sold well in Asia, but remained relatively unknown in the rest of the world. Until now. 96
I’m immediately bemused with the welcome jingle as I enter the car and turn on the ignition, but also impressed with the space and the comfortable seats. The central console and dashboard lack the refined finish of its competitors — the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and the Audi A8 — but when I start the engine, it becomes apparent that this book should not be judged by its cover. I’m struck by the silence. Soundproof glass blocks out the construction noise around me and I find myself in a cool and tranquil environment. Controls for most of the tech functions can be found on the ergonomic steering wheel, finished, like the rest of the interior, in mahogany trim, with Frenchstitched instrument panel and micro-fibre suede on the roof. My passengers in the back are impressed with the reclining rear seats, although anyone above 5’6” will struggle to enjoy the fullyreclined position, even with the front passenger seat moved all the way forward via a handy control. Perhaps an extended wheelbase version of the Centennial could be the solution. The large 9.2-inch LCD rear screens are a hit, as is the refrigerated compartment in the rear armrest, big enough for a few small bottles of water.
Automatic sunblinds and climate controls keep things cool, and back-seat passengers can control everything from their own console. In the back seat, the already smooth ride is even better, as a plethora of tweaks to the shock absorbers and dampers designed especially to maximise rear seat comfort come into play. But even up front, it is a smooth ride. The advanced 4.8-litre V8 has been well-tamed, ensuring it stays steady. There is no jerking when pulling away or braking, and steering is very light. When the need for speed arises, the V8 delivers, as a surprised A8 driver discovered when I left him at the lights. Hyundai has gone to town with the technology in this new Centennial, with a collection of functions that have esoteric lights flashing and warnings beeping every 30 seconds. The line-up includes Blind Spot Detection, which causes a warning to flash on your wing mirror and HUD every time a car appears in your blind spot, and a warning sound if you indicate to move while the light is illuminated. One of my favourite things is the all-round view parking camera, which gives you a 360-degree view of the entire car, including a computer-generated bird’s-eye view of your surroundings.
Although it lacks some of the refinement of its European counterparts, the Centennial is a very good car indeed. As a corporate or personal limousine for a discerning buyer who isn’t distracted by more well-established brand names, the Centennial is an economical alternative that will not disappoint. ■
NUTS & BOLTS Engine: 5.0-litre V8 GDi Power: 424 bhp Torque: 495 Nm 0–100 kph: 5.8 secs 100–0 kph: 41.5 metres Top speed: 240 kph Origin: Seoul, South Korea Cost: from US $70,000. This model $73,500
THE AFRICA HOTEL INVESTMENT FORUM 2013 RETURNS TO KENYA! The Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) will return to Kenya this year, taking place 23-25 September at the InterContinental, Nairobi. The 2013 programme has now been released and will provide insight into the key investment opportunities across Africa. Visit www.africa-conference.com to download a copy.
Highlights include: • • • • • •
CONFERENCE PATRON Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism
THE AFRICA GROWTH STORY – WHO WILL BE THE WINNING ECONOMIES? AFRICAN GOVERNMENTS & THE PRIVATE SECTOR HOW ARE THE INTERNATIONAL OPERATORS TACKLING AFRICA? FINANCE FORUM OVERVIEW OF THE TOP TEN DESTINATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA ABC OF HOTEL DEVELOPMENT
AHIF aims to showcase high-growth destinations across the continent; the 2012 event was a resounding success with over 400 regional and global delegates.
Visit www.africa-conference.com to register now and save $300.
A SELECTION OF CONFIRMED SPEAKERS INCLUDE:
AZALAI Hotels Mossadeck Bally, Chief Executive Officer
Colliers International Frontier Advisory (Pty) Ltd Filippo Sona, Head of Dr Martyn Davies, Hotels, Middle East & Africa Chief Executive Officer
Hilton Worldwide Simon Vincent, President EMEA
Hotel Spec Mark Martinovic, Chief Executive Officer
IHG Taras Ettl, Vice President Development, Middle East & Africa
Inaugure Hospitality Group Denis Sorin, Chief Executive Officer
Lonrho Hotels Ewan Cameron, Chief Executive Officer
W Hospitality Group Trevor Ward, Managing Director & Founder
World Travel & Tourism Council David Scowsill, President & CEO
Wyndham Hotel Group Bob Loewen, Chief Operating Officer
Marriott International, Inc. Alex Kyriakidis, President & CEO, Middle East and Africa
Visit www.africa-conference.com to register now and save $300.
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2013 HOST PARTNERS
On the grapevine
Contributing editor Mary Gostelow rounds up the latest news, gossip and insider tips from the world of luxury hospitality
One&Only goes east The Kerzner empire is set to finally expand to China with the announcement of One&Only Sanya, located at Tufu Bay on Hainan Island. Scheduled for a 2014 opening, the resort, set on 16 hectares of beach-facing grounds, is expected to feature 180 rooms and villas, each commanding stellar views of the private coastline, as well as a range of food and beverage options, including cuisine from acclaimed French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. www.oneandonlyresorts.com
Mandarin Oriental comes to the Bosphorus Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Istanbul, is scheduled to open in what is now the Kuruçesme Arena, an open-air concert and event area in the neighbourhood of Beşiktaş, in 2016. Currently being built by ESTA Real Estate Investment Management Inc, the proposed 130-room hotel, located one of the oldest parts of Istanbul, will be managed by area general manager Nejat Sarp when it opens. www.mandarinoriental.com
The 400-hectare site of a former US naval base along Cable Beach in the Bahamas is to become a luxury resort development called Baha Mar. It will include a 700-room Grand Hyatt, a 300-room Mondrian and a 200-room Rosewood, due to open in 2015 under general manager Luis Fernandes, formerly of Rosewood’s Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos, Mexico. The project is being developed by Baha Mar Resorts Ltd., masterminded by its CEO, Sarkis Izmirlian, whose grandfather set up a successful equipment supply company in Khartoum, Sudan. www.bahamar.com
Insider Fairmont Monte-Carlo’s assistant head concierge, Stéphane Bellon, shares his favourite spots in this seriously glamorous European town DINE
My top recommendations for a great meal are Joël Robuchon, at the Hôtel Métropole, and Le Louis XV at the Hôtel de Paris, respectively orchestrated by worldenowned chefs Joël Robuchon and Alain Ducasse. They are the best places in Monte-Carlo to experience fine French cuisine from these two Michelin-starred chefs. Robuchon, 4 Avenue de la Madone; +377
Taking the ‘Hop-on, Hop-off’ sightseeing tour from Casino Square is a great way to explore the city at your own pace. Some of the best stops are the Princely Palace, the Princess Grace Rose Garden and the Oceanographic Museum. One day pass from
9315 1510; www.metropole.com / Le Louis XV, Place du Casino; +377 9806 8864; www.hoteldeparismontecarlo.com
WINE When you think about partying, Jimmy’z Sporting Monte-Carlo is the first place that comes to mind. It’s a legendary nightclub and a popular after-dark hangout among the rich and famous, so there’s a good chance you’ll get to have a drink with a movie star or fashion icon. 26 Avenue Princesse Grace; +377 9806 7068; www.montecarlosbm.com. The hippest terrace in Monaco is the Billionaire Sunset Lounge at Fairmont Monte-Carlo. You can enjoy homemade sushi, cocktails and shisha, while enjoying music spun by the DJ — all with a great view of the sea and the Riviera. 12 Avenue des Spélugues; +377 9350 6500; www.fairmont.com/monte-carlo
SHOP The best place to shop is the Carré d’Or, where luxury fashion boutiques are concentrated around Casino Square, a fiveminute walk from the hotel. On your way, you’ll find Le Métropole Shopping Center. The mall has about 80 boutiques including designer fashion and Manufacture de Monaco, which produces highly soughtafter fine china made exclusively in Monaco. 17 Avenue des Spélugues; +377 9350 1536; www.metropoleshoppingcenter.com
While exploring the narrow, winding alleyways of the Old City, which dates back to the Middle Ages, it’s worth making a stop at Chocolaterie de Monaco. It sells the best-tasting chocolate in town as well as a selection of teas. Place de la Visitation; +377 9797 8888; www.chocolateriedemonaco.com
US $24 for adults; www.monacolegrandtour.com
VISIT There is a special exhibition running at the Oceanographic Museum called Sharks: a thrilling experience, which I highly recommend. Avenue St-Martin; +377 9315 3600; www.oceano.mc. I would also suggest a visit to the Grimaldi Forum to view its summer exhibition, Monaco fête Picasso, which commemorates the 40th anniversary of the death of famed artist Pablo Picasso. Until September 15; 10 Avenue Princesse Grace; +377 9999 2000; www.grimaldiforum.com
INDULGE Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo offers a variety of treatments that combine the benefits of mineral-rich seawater with manual relaxation therapies in a very comfortable setting overlooking the beautiful marina. 2 Avenue de Monte-Carlo; +377 9806 6900; www.thermesmarinsmontecarlo.com.
Finally, if you are looking for a Monégasque lifestyle treat, book in for ‘High Heels’ (for her) or ‘Pole Position’ (for him) pedicures at the nail bar at the Willow Stream Spa back at Fairmont Monte-Carlo. 12 Avenue des Spélugues; Tel: +377 9350 6600; www.willowstream.com
Willow Stream Spa
Monaco’s Port Hercules
Le Louis XV
Photo: JC Vinaj
Billionaire Sunset Lounge
Picasso at Grimaldi Forum Jimmyâ€™z Sporting Monte-Carlo
VIP Paris Fashion Week, Paris
Jewellery designer Adelya Bakhtiyarova takes us beyond the runway at Chanelâ€™s Haute Couture Autumn/ Winter 20132014 Show at Paris Fashion Week EVENT Of the 40 or so fashion weeks around the world, Paris Fashion Week is one of the most prestigious. At the recent Autumn/Winter shows, the likes of Dior, Valentino and Versace sent dazzling haute-couture collections down the runway, but it was local fashion house Chanel that stole the show. I had a frontrow seat to witness what Karl Lagerfeld had in store on July 2 at the Grand Palais â€” what better place to showcase the work of fashion royalty?
Lagerfeld and his models Models showcasing Chopard jewellery Le Matignon Paris
AMBIENCE When it comes to Chanel and the genius of its head atelier, a simple catwalk show simply wont cut it. Upon entering the Grand Palais, guests were met with a postapocalyptic theatre setting: think broken seats, mounds of rubble on the floor and between the rows of seats, and the ceiling seemingly blown away, allowing natural light to stream onto the runway.
RUB SHOULDERS WITH The big shows always draw a mix of celebrities and high-profile fashion figures. Kristen Stewart, Milla Jovovich and Vanessa Paradis held court in the front row, while Vogue’s powerhouse editor Anna Wintour was spotted in a demure Chanel two-piece suit (naturally) and her trademark oversized sunglasses.
STAY Mandarin Oriental Paris The post-apocalyptic setting of the show
There are many five-star hotels near the Grand Palais, but I stay at the Mandarin Oriental, Paris. It has an excellent location along Rue Saint-Honoré, just five minutes from Grand Palais and the Place Vendôme. The hotel itself is, like Lagerfeld, avantgarde and always fills up quickly, so book in advance. Alternatively, try the nearby Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme — classic Parisian sophistication at it’s finest.
DINE The show’s day time-slot meant the afternoon was free for lunch. You can dine with the VIPs and celebrities at L’avenue on Avenue Montaigne, but if you prefer something away from paparazzi camera flashes, hop across the Seine to La Société on Boulevard Saint-Germain. This trendy eatery has been given the seal of approval from Karl himself.
AFTER DARK There was no after-party for the Chanel show so we headed to Le Matignon Paris on Avenue Matignon to attend the after-party for designer Yulia Yanina. This hotspot is also a restaurant and the night had a really good atmosphere, as guests mingled over champagne and canapés.
MUST-DO I flew in a day early to do a bit of shopping on Boulevard Saint-Germain. It’s another hip location, home to boutiques and little shops of local designers — a great place to pick up a fashionable ensemble to wear to the shows.
Connoisseur An insider’s guide to the most luxurious hotels in the world
T Mary Gostelow
Luxury travel connoisseur
he South of France is one of the most picturesque parts of the country and there are myriad luxury offerings from which to take it all in. InterContinental Marseille — Hotel Dieu, which opened its doors in April, towers over this fascinating city’s old port, as it has since the mid 1750s, when it began life as a hospital. Now the imposing 194-room hotel has sensational 21st-century architectural additions, which blend beautifully with the unclad, rough limestone of some interior walls and massive private terraces. Room 734 is 600 square feet, with unpolished Verona oak floors, linen-look walls, and a 300-square-foot terrace looking across the port to NotreDame de la Garde Basilica on the hill beyond. Take time to explore the area including the port’s waterfront, which was upgraded by British architect Sir Norman Foster. Back at the hotel, dine at Brasserie Les Fenêtres, under the command of Marseille’s best-known chef, Lionel Lévy. His signature dish is bouillabaisse. Try it as a starter ‘milkshake’, out of a glass with foam on top, or as a main course. The latter comes deconstructed, with rouilly-filled potato towers, perfectly cooked fish nuggets and a half-full glass of fish and rouilly over which you pour broth from a glass thermos. Build up your appetite by running through the old town’s steep streets or making use of the hotel’s gym or indoor pool. General manager Madelijn Vervoord and her chief concierge Audrey Berr add a delightful personal touch to this significant hotel. www.marseille.intercontinental.com
Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle is in La Celle en Provence, a valley tucked between Roc de Candélon and the Luberon mountains. The abbey itself, mostly in ruins, dates to the 12th century. In 1999 Alain Ducasse leased its adjacent Benedictine convent, where, years ago, unmarried daughters of society families took the veil. Under general manager Tancrède Barale, who coincidentally comes from Marseille, the 10-room hotel feels as though you’re staying at a Ducasse home — look out for the fantasised portrait of him in the church, which is now home to the boutique. My favourite rooms are those in the Béquinage building. There, you have private gardens looking into the main two-hectare garden with its cherry trees, blackcurrant and gooseberry bushes, herbs and vines, and several stunning Nathalie Decoster metal sculptures. Michelin one-star cuisine by long-time Ducasse disciple Benoît Witz is served in three intimate dining rooms: Diane de Calluire, Alsacie de Montpellier and Louise de Castellane. During the day, explore the locale and try the best of Provence’s wines at Coteaux Varois en Provence Maison des Vins, next to the hotel. Exercise comes from outdoor running or swimming, and there is a newly-opened beauty room. www.abbaye-celle.com Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort near Fayence, 40 kilometres north-west of Cannes, is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. Under general manager Gilles Fouilleroux, this 303-hectare resort is golf heaven. There’s two Dave Thomasdesigned courses, a Biomecaswing centre where you can improve your swing and a David Leadbetter golf academy. There’s also plenty of amenities for less golfminded guests, including tennis courts, a spa with its own 20-metre indoor pool, a sensational kids club and relaxing private terraces in each of the 115 villas. Foodies enjoy two-Michelin-star cuisine from chef Philippe Jourdin, while art lovers can admire sculptures scattered throughout the hotel from Frenchmen Arman and César Baldaccini, with contributions by Brit Tony Cragg and German Hans Thurner. www.terre-blanche.com Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle