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December 2013

ECUADOR BY RAIL A rail odyssey in South America LEGENDS OF HOLLYWOOD Exploring LA's iconic hotels

TIME TRAVELLER Talking travel with Montblanc's CEO



More than just a travel accessory

Unwind on Sentosa Island



The Rocks is the new home of cool

Polo at the Palace in Abu Dhabi

WARSAW UNCOVERED 24 hours in the Polish capital

SEYCHELLES EN PRIVÉ Escape to a private island hideaway

SUITE DREAMS Hotel Albergo Beirut


Voyages of a lifetime


Bentley Continental GT Speed







Š 2013 Hilton Worldwide


The peace of the beach. The buzz of the city. New cultures and discoveries. Lazy days in the sun.


With hundreds of destinations in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of brands, including four new hotels in the United Arab Emirates and Seychelles, new experiences are always on the horizon. From the new DoubleTree by Hilton Seychelles Allamanda Resort & Spa, which opens its doors soon, to Conrad Dubai, Hilton Capital Grand Abu Dhabi and Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, you’re never far from your perfect escape. Whatever your reason for getting away.

Book an unforgettable experience at HHONORS.COM/DOTW

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: n

One Sheikh Zayed Road Your luxurious Dubai abode Dubai’s premium address. Your ultimate destination. The H Dubai. One Sheikh Zayed Road

PO Box 125511, Dubai, United Arab Emirates T: +971 4 501 8888 E:

Business meets pleasure at The H Hotel Dubai, a luxury urban retreat at One Sheikh Zayed Road, where the city’s cultural and financial heart beats. Destinations such as Dubai International Exhibition Centre and Dubai International Financial Centre are a short walk away, and exclusive shopping is available at Dubai Mall, adjacent to the Burj Khalifa. Contemporary design embodies the unique aesthetic of The H Hotel Dubai – a luxurious environment infused with rich decor and subtle Arabian touches in the centre of the world’s most dynamic city.

In other words, there is no other.

Contents title


December 2013

On the cover 68 Legends of Los Angeles

Behind every great story in the City of Angels is a great hotel. We visit some of the best

78 Seychelles en privé

The ultimate Indian Ocean luxury travel experiences are best enjoyed in private

92 Get your Rocks off

Once Sydney’s seedy underbelly, The Rocks is now the most glamorous address in town

102 Mile high in Ecuador

A train journey through the Avenue of Volcanoes is the ultimate Latin thrill ride

110 Age of the Global Citizen Multiple citizenship is a reality for more and more of the world’s mega-rich

120 24 hours in Warsaw

How to spend a luxury-filled night and day in the ancient Polish capital

122 My city... St. Moritz

White Turf CEO Silvio Staub shares his favourite spots in Switzerland’s winter playground

124 Connoisseur

Mary Gostelow eats and pedals her way around Singapore’s Sentosa Island

Photo: Gerard Larose - STB

78 A land far, far away Find your own slice of paradise in the Seychelles

December 20XX




Contents December 2013

48 In the news 38 Europe 52 Debut

Courchevel reaches new peaks of alpine luxury

Hot hotels, chic boutiques and exclusive new resorts

40 Middle East & Africa 58 Diary Asian charm on The Palm; new luxe in East Africa



Out and about this month? Don’t miss these events

44 Asia & Oceania 60 VIP

Singapore’s season of change; Jetman takes on Mount Fuji

Behind the scenes at Coutts Polo at the Palace in Abu Dhabi

48 Americas 62 Interview


North America’s exclusive member’s-only ski resorts

Montblanc CEO Jérôme Lambert reflects on a life well-travelled

Spend it 128 Passport 144 Sail away

Rejuvinate in Cambodia, an art tour of India or Bhutan by private jet

Benetti proves why it’s at the top of its game with Checkmate.

134 On the road 146 Suite dreams

Photo: The Chedi Andermatt

Luxe launches from the Dubai International Motor Show

Old-world charm and modern Lebanese culture at Hotel Albergo

140 Ignition

The Bentley Continental GT Speed blends power and elegance

December 2013


Photo: Raffles Praslin Seychelles

Letter from the Editor CORRECTIONS On page 43 of the October issue we provided the incorrect website for Amano’i resort in Vietnam. The correct address is On page 82 of the November issue we incorrectly stated that Vintage Bank was at The Leela Palace in Chennai. The bar is actually located at Hilton Chennai. On page 84 we misspelled the name of the owner of Lloyd’s Tea House, whose name is Vandana.

WHAT IS TRAVEL if not a blank parchment on which to create unusual experiences, unforgettable memories and chance encounters that we wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to seek out in our daily lives? Destinations are indifferent to our wants and needs — it’s up to us to make the right choices when planning our trips to turn our experiences into memorable stories. Few places are as chock-full of stories as Los Angeles, home of one of the world’s biggest film industries, the dotcom revolution and more lawyers and psychologists per capita than most cities in the world. If walls could talk, the history of the City of Angels, and many of its denizens, could be rewritten in shocking technicolour by the iconic hotels that call LA home. We sent Rowena Marella-Daw to explore some of LA’s legendary addresses, as well as some contemporary haunts frequented by the glitterati, to find out what it’s like to spend a day in the shoes of Hollywood’s finest. Read her story ‘LA confidential’ on page 68. Several thousand kilometres south, Gavin Haines took a journey along a section of Ecuador’s recently rebuilt railway line, a spectacular trip through the Avenue of Volcanoes and the Andean foothills between Quito and the port town of Guayaquil, past the country’s highest peaks and down the Devil’s Nose, one of the most precarious stretches of railway in the world and one that cost countless lives to build. Along the way, he met Baltazar, a 68-year-old ice merchant who has been climbing the country’s highest volcano twice a week since he was a child. Read his fascinating story on page 102. We also revisited Sydney this issue, as deputy editor Rebecca Haddad embarked on a walking tour of The Rocks. Formerly a nefarious neighbourhood of hoodlums (‘larrakins’ as they are locally known), gentrification has turned The Rocks into a trendy hub for creative organisations and high-end brands in the same vein as the Meatpacking District in New York or Belleville in Paris. The Rocks also happens to occupy some of the finest real estate in town, in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The sandstone buildings and renovated wharf area make a stark contrast from the glittering skyscrapers of downtown Sydney, and the past is never far away as you wander its cobbled streets and historical buildings. Read ‘The Rocks reborn’ on page 92. I had the pleasure of talking to Jérôme Lambert, the new CEO of Montblanc, about a life well travelled. Despite spending about 60 percent of his time on the road, Jérôme still approaches travel with childlike delight, finding lasting memories in the experiences he has and the people he meets along the way. Read the interview on page 62. There are plenty more stories to be told in this issue, including a review of Relais & Châteaux’s Hotel Albergo in Beirut (page 146), a luxurious tour of the Seychelles (page 78), a behind-thescenes look at the Coutts Polo at the Palace in Abu Dhabi (page 60), a test drive of the Bentley Continental GT Speed (page 140) and a collection of unmissable experiences in St. Moritz, courtesy of Silvo Staub, CEO of White Turf (page 122). I hope you enjoy the issue and that it inspires you to go out and create your own unforgettable travel stories.

Joe Mortimer Senior Editor


December 2013


COVER IMAGE Private Pool Residence at Fregate Island Private

December 2013, Issue 90 Publisher Anna Zhukov Senior Editor Joe Mortimer Deputy Editor Rebecca Haddad Deputy Online Editor Simon Harrington Contributing Editors Caitlin Cheadle, Mary Gostelow, Andy Round International Sales Director Jesse Vora Sales Executive Lee Anderson

Rebecca Haddad

Earlier this year, deputy editor Rebecca Haddad decided to pack up her life in Sydney to chase the sun and sand in Dubai. Her thirst for adventure has taken her around Mediterranean Europe and the Middle East, but, as she discovered this month, plenty of travel surprises can still be found back at home. For this issue, Rebecca returned back to Sydney to get to know a old neighbourhood that has emerged from a murky past to become one of the hottest postcodes in town. From luxe hotels to always-packed eateries, The Rocks is the new must-visit destination in the city. Read Rebecca’s story on page 92. @bechaddad

Account Executive James Stead Art Director Kris Karacinski Multimedia Manager Vandita Gaurang Multimedia Graphics Manager Haitham El Shazly Circulation Department

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

Gavin Haines

Gavin Haines reports for a range of titles including National Geographic Traveller and The Independent. Luxury, eco and adventure travel are his areas of expertise, and his aversion to flying has inadvertently made him a specialist in rail travel. To put his experience to the test, we sent him on a rail trip across Ecuador (page 102) for this issue, where he was charmed by the South American country’s laid-back lifestyle, dramatic countryside and UNESCO-protected capital city. @gavin_haines 32

December 2013

Robert La Bua

It can be risky returning to a destination that was superb the first time around, but travel writer Robert La Bua’s second visit to the Seychelles surpassed even his own lofty expectations. The same mesmerising blue water was still there, it was the resorts that had changed — for the better. “For Seychelles’ visitors, there seems to be no limit to excellence as the country’s best resorts push themselves to attain ever higher standards,” he says. Read his story ‘Seychelles en privé’ on page 78.

Rowena Marella-Daw

Rowena Marella-Daw is a UK-based writer specialising in luxury and honeymoon travel, whose most memorable travel experience was a 10-hour train journey from Budapest through the Carpathian Mountains to meet a Transylvanian count. For this issue, Rowena spent a week cruising around Los Angeles and hanging out at the city’s most iconic hotels; from Hollywood to Santa Monica, she uncovers the brightest stars in a mesmerising constellation on page 68.

To subscribe to Destinations of the World News at an annual rate of $99 visit the website at 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

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Luxury beauty care for your hair, face and body

Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, Tel +971 4 3665653 Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah, Tel +971 4 3664357 Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah, Tel +971 4 4530458 Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach, Tel +971 4 4484743 P.O.Box 75579, Dubai, UAE

12.13 News

The latest news from the world of luxury travel

Photo: David Andre

Photo: David Andre







Middle East & Africa

Asia & Oceania






Debut - hot hotels and chic boutiques

Diary - events worth travelling for this month

VIP in Abu Dhabi: Coutts Polo at the Palace

Montblanc CEO J茅r么me Lambert

Die-harD ski fans are loyal creatures, which is why year after year, thousands come back to show off their skills in Courchevel — the belle of France’s oh-so-chic ski scene. The ski-in, ski-out resort, jewel of the Three Valleys ski area, has plenty to celebrate this season, starting with the opening of the brand-new L’Apogée Courchevel on December 11 (or 11/12/13 if you like a good auspicious date). Set high up in the exclusive Jardin Alpin, the hotel is part of the Oetker Collection, which also includes the superb Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc near Cannes and Fregate Island Private in the Seychelles. L’Apogée features 53 rooms and suites and, for serious

exclusivity, a private 525-squaremetre ski chalet with five en-suite bedrooms, private spa and a butler and chef. There’s also a caviar bar with views of the valley below. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of Courchevel favourite, Le Chabichou, owned by chef Michel Rochedy, whose restaurant started the resort on its path to stardom back in the 1970s. The family-run hotel was admitted to the exclusive Relais & Châteaux group of hotels last year following a US $9.5-million upgrade that added a 1,100-squaremetre spa and a new restaurant. The Leading Hotels of the World has also welcomed two new

members from the town this year: 29-room Hotel Le K2 (below), owned by the father of Olympic skiing hopeful Alexis Pinturault, and Hôtel de Charme Les Airelles. New shopping boutiques from Prada and Moncler will ensure that visitors are all impeccablydressed this season, and with seven Michelin-starred restaurants with 12 stars between them from culinary masterminds such as Pierre Gagnaire and Yannick Alléno, guests can also rest assured they will be well-fed. Looking ahead, LVMH is rumoured to be opening a second property in the resort in 2014, which will complement the brand’s first hotel in the area, Cheval Blanc, a favourite among celebrities and LVMH aficionados, and one of two hotels in the resort with the coveted ‘Palace’ rating. In 2015, another Courchevel favourite, 36-room Hôtel La Sivolière, will open a second property in town; a super-posh boutique retreat that general manager Florence Carsassonne says will only be available to friends of La Sivolière.

Photo: Patrick Pachod

Courchevel: let the games begin


MARy SAyS...

The latest in luxury travel

Mallorca prepares for luxury revival MALLORCA is known as a party destination, but after the opening of the Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel and Spa last year, a raft of new hotels and other developments are set to put the island on the map for discerning travellers. Meliá Hotels & Resorts is launching its uber-trendy ME lifestyle brand next year with ME Mallorca (above), a rebrand of the Melia Magaluf, which opened last year.

Located near the town of Calviá, the resort will feature 246 rooms, 78 ME+ suites and a luxe Suite ME, as well as two pools and a Skinc spa. Hyatt plans to open a Park Hyatt Mallorca in 2015, a 142-room resort built in the style of a traditional hilltop village on the northeast coast of the island, near the town of Canyamel. The resort will form part of the exclusive Cap Vermell

Estate, which also includes an 11-room boutique hotel and will feature 70 luxury residential villas near an 18-hole golf course. There’s also good news for yachting enthusiasts. The Spanish government recenly dropped its 12 percent tax on charter yachts of more than 15 metres, which will open up Mallorca and the rest of the Balearic Islands to more chartering activities in 2014.

From August 2014, OrientExpress takes its 36-passenger Royal Scotsman train beyond its usual Scottish borders. Threenight journeys from Edinburgh to London or vice versa, include a stop for cocktails at the Queen’s Norfolk estate, Sandringham. Visit Alnwick castle in Northumberland and go punting on the river Cam in Cambridge. Foyles, established in 1903, is London’s premier bookshop, and its Charing Cross Road headquarters has been an institution since 1906. But in spring 2014 it relocates, on the same street, to a former Central Saint Martin’s art college building. Designed by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, Foyles’ ‘bookshop of the future’ has four floors of exhibition space, music venues, a café and, of course, hundreds of thousands of books. The scions of the literary world were consulted about how the new bookshop should look. Former Brioni CEO Umberto Angeloni is behind Caruso, the Parma supplier of men’s customised jackets and trousers, who produce 11,000 pieces a year to big-name European brands such as Loro Piana. Now Caruso, named for eternally-famous tenor Enrico Caruso who died in 1921, is going to open its own store in Milan.

Own a piece of London history As competition mounts on London’s ever-competitive luxury hotel scene, The Lanesborough is set to close its doors for a major renovation. Designs for the new-look interiors were completed by Paris-based designer Alberto Pinto shortly before his death in 2012, and include an upgrade of the 93 guest rooms and suites as well as the public areas. To commemorate the end of an era for the 19th-century Hyde Park landmark, more than 3,000 furnishings, works of art and other memorabilia will be sold at an auction from December 9 to 13.

Florence vineyard owner Pietro Antinori has, quite literally, gone underground. Marchesi Antinori has moved its headquarters from a Renaissance palace in Florence to Bargino, in Tuscany’s Chianti region. The new building, designed by Marco Casamonti of Archea Associati, in Florence, has an above-ground shop, olive oil studio and restaurant, Rinuccio 1180, run by Matteo Gambi. Everything else, including wine storage and Pietro Antinori’s own office, is subterranean. MARy GOSteLOw

December 2013


Middle East & Africa

Wine and dine at Yas Marina

Luxury yachts moored at Yas Marina

A FLOTILLA of new restaurants, lounges and bars flung open their doors in Yas Marina last month to welcome the yacht-owners and VIPs that flocked to the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The new line-up for the 2013 season includes a new outpost of Beirut institution Iris, a laid-back indoor/outdoor sunset lounge that serves seasonal cuisine and cocktails in a prime position overlooking the marina. There’s a stage for live music and local and international DJs provide the soundtrack in the evenings, as the sun dips behind the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi on the other side fo the marina.

Alternatively, there’s Spanish tapas at Diablito Food & Music, French and German delicacies at Café d’Alsace, seafood at Aquarium and Lebanese cuisine at Rozanah. The new outlets join the flagship Cipriani fine-dining Italian restaurant and the casual sports bar Stars ‘N’ Bars, which have both undergone face-lifts during the summer. Yas Marina is becoming a luxury lifestyle destination in its own right for jetsetting visitors, with other new services for yacht owners including a new branch of SNS Marine, selling new and used performance boats, and nautical apparel store MTM Marine.

Laid-back Iris is a great spot for sundowners


December 2013

Yas Marina’s promenade

Middle East & Africa

The life aquatic in Mozambique Luxury safari lodge specialist &Beyond is spreading its unique blend of experiential luxury further in Africa as it prepares to take over the Benguerra Island Lodge off the coast of Mozambique. Ten casitas (small houses) and two cabanas looking out onto the Indian Ocean are nestled on a pristine stretch of beach on Benguerra Island, the second largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago. After a US $1.5-million refurbishment, the lodge will reopen as &Beyond Benguerra Island at the end of 2014. As well as being surrounded by ocean, the island is home to wetlands and three freshwater lakes, so marine protection will be a fundamental part of the guest experience.

Burj’s birthday celebration Burj Al Arab – the sail-shaped hotel that made Dubai famous – has had its fair share of superlatives in the past. To celebrate the festive season and the hotel’s 15th birthday, mixologists at the self-proclaimed sevenstar hotel have created a rather festive cocktail. Named ‘The Birth of an Icon’, the drink is a blend of nine casks distilled over the last 15 years. We advise drinking it slowly — each one will set you back AED 15,000 (US $4,084).

Asian charm on The Palm Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa is home to the UAE’s first ever overwater villas, and now it brings another authentic taste of Asia with its fleet of 20 e-Tuks. Unlike the noisy, fume-belching tuktuks that zip around the streets of Bangkok, these colourful three-wheelers from Dutch company, Tuk Tuk Factory are battery-powered, making them free of noise and emissions. The fleet of 20 vehicles includes an e-Tuk limo for six passengers and an e-Tuk Vendo, which will be used by the housekeeping department.


December 2013

Barefoot luxury in the heart of the Indian Ocean - pure nature, pure Seychelles, pure Raffles...

PURE LUXURY IN THE HEART OF THE INDIAN OCEAN Raffles Praslin, Seychelles Cradled at the heart of the Seychelles, on the island of Praslin, are eighty-six architecturally exquisite villas touched by the sublime beauty of white powdered sands, ringed by opal-hued oceans and lush green hills. The ideal place to rediscover the luxury of spontaneity, Raffles Praslin is infused with Seychellois spirit and traditional Raffles service.

Meanwhile, romantics might dine in our Curieuse Seafood Restaurant, enjoy the delights of Losean, down a Praslin Sling at the Pool Bar, meet for drinks and beats in the Danzil Lounge Bar, or relax at the Takamaka Terrace for cocktails and panoramic views.

Swim, sunbathe, snorkel, sail, wind surf, walk... or just do nothing at all. Raffles Seychelles is the perfect place to escape the everyday, to explore your senses, and to reconnect - with yourself and those you love.

Alternatively, unwind in the award winning Raffles Spa - the finest in the archipelago - taking your body, mind and spirit back to a state of pure relaxation. With ocean views from the outdoor tubs, and the very best pampering in the whole of Seychelles, our spa is a destination unto itself, famous the world over.

The adventurous can explore the mystic prehistoric forest of Vallée de Mai, the magical islands of Curieuse and La Digue, and the vibrant coral beds at the Curieuse National Marine Park. In fact, even the journey to the hotel is to experience glorious, abundant, surprising nature.

Only fifteen minutes by plane or helicopter from Mahé (or a scenic forty-five minutes by boat), and a million miles from ordinary, Raffles is loved by those with an adventurous sprit and a taste for the very best.

Forbes Travel Guide’s top 10 beach resorts around the world 2012 World’s Leading Luxury Villa Resort at the World Travel Awards 2013 For more information or reservations Raffles Praslin, Seychelles – Tel +248 429 6000 Email:

Photo: Changi Airport Group

Asia & Oceania News& Oceania Asia

Project Jewel at Changi Airport

Times of change in Singapore


December 2013

The rooftop pool at Sofitel So Singapore

The indoor garden of Project Jewel

Photo: Changi Airport Group

In RECEnT years, Singapore has prospered thanks to economic and population growth, which in turn has seen the rise of luxury developments, most notably at Marina Bay Sands. And, it seems, the city-state is just getting started, with planned cultural, leisure and business developments set to cement Singapore’s place as a global city. Change begins at the very place visitors first visit in Singapore, with a new shopping and leisure complex set to open at Changi Airport. Dubbed Project Jewel, the 3.5-hectare site will link all three existing terminals and will feature an expansive indoor garden complete with a waterfall as well as a host of retailers. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2018, is designed to create more leisure space to increase Changi’s appeal as a stopover point for a potential 24 million annual passengers. On the hotel front, growing luxury brand Sofitel So will open its third hotel in March, located in Singapore’s CBD near the new Gardens by the Bay urban space. Like the already established Sofitel So hotels, Sofitel So Singapore has been given the designer touch inside and out, with nods of French sophistication down to the finest details. Paris-based designer Karl Lagerfeld designed the hotel’s logo, which will appear on various guest products throughout. Meanwhile, Marina Bay continues to expand, with Marina One set to add its silhouette to the city skyline in the next few years. The building will include a mix of residential towers, offices and a retail space known as The Heart, which will also be home to a landscape garden, and is expected to be completed in 2017. For now, you can visit Singapore and explore change on a cultural level. “If the world changed” is the theme of this year’s Singapore Biennale, which is on until February. More than 80 artists have participated in the event, expressing their ideas of how the world has changed for Southeast Asia and what kind of world they foresee in the future. Though, with so many new developments in the pipeline, it’s clear that Singapore’s future looks bright.

Let us lend an air of luxury to your business meetings. Let us find a translator fluent in both Arabic and your business. Let us show your guests genuine Arabian hospitality. Let us remind you that true success is always by design.

Experience the new level of luxury with Club Level accommodations. Enjoy access to Club Lounge for up to two guests with a dedicated concierge team, culinary presentation throughout the day, dedicated chef de cuisine, complimentary wireless Internet access, and complimentary two-hour usage of a meeting room. For reservations, call The Ritz-Carlton, Doha at +974-4484-8000 or visit us at

Terms and conditions apply. Š 2013 The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.



Man versus mountain The name Yves Rossy may not ring any bells, but his nickname surely will. Better known as ‘Jetman’, Rossy, 54, is a pilot and aviation enthusiast, constantly experimenting with innovative modes of air travel. This Swiss daredevil’s latest feat? A flying tour of Tokyo’s Mount Fuji using a jet-powered carbon-kevlar wing. He reached impressive speeds of 300 kph and enjoyed equally impressive views of the snow-capped peak. If and when jet-pack travel becomes mainstream, we don’t recommend carrying anything in your pockets — if something falls out, it’s a long way down to get it back.

China’s museum island After recently staking claim to the world’s biggest building, China is also set to become the home of another architectural milestone: Asia’s biggest private arts museum. Pingtan Art Museum China, a complex of three buildings resembling sand dunes, will be constructed on its own artificial island in a project costing RMB 800 million (US $131 million). You’d be forgiven for not knowing where Pingtan is — the city is still in the process of being constructed. When complete, Pingtan Art Museum will serve as the city’s cultural heart.


December 2013

Lakeside luxury in New Zealand Matakauri Lodge near Queenstown offers a breathtaking escape on New Zealand’s South Island and it’s about to get even better with the opening of Matakauri Owner’s Cottage next month. The four-bedroom cottage, spread out across 465 square metres, is designed with families and groups in mind, and boasts a spacious lounge, study, kitchen and dining room. Best of all, you won’t have to travel far — if anywhere — for a taste of the scenery NZ is famous for. Views of Lake Wakatipu and the mountains beyond can be enjoyed from the bathtubs of each ensuite bathroom, the private balconies or from the jacuzzi on the main balcony.


Mountain high society

the exclusive Vail Mountain Club

With snow season well and truly here, resort towns across North America are experiencing the annual population surge as keen skiers flock to the mountains in droves. But, where to go for a luxury ski holiday, sans the perpetual chairlift queues? The idea of members-only ski resorts sounds like a dream, but in fact, such places exist. Yellowstone Club in Montana, USA, is a private residential ski resort with 898 skiable hectares. Most of the runs can be found on the 9,860-foot Pioneer Mountain; with approximately 400 members to date, there’s a lot of room to enjoy the snow. To join this most exclusive of ski resorts — Bill Gates is reportedly a member — you’ll need to prove you’ve a hefty bank balance. It costs $250,000 to join, plus an annual fee that starts from $20,000. On top of these initial payments, you’ll also be required to invest in a mountainside home at the resort, which could range from $5 million to $35 million. Across country in Vermont, The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain is another members-only resort, but with a more accessible price tag. Formerly The Haystack Club (rebranded last year), the resort features luxe chalets, a golf course, spa and 40 ski runs spread out over 566 hectares. Membership options range from the base Legacy Membership, which gives you access to the resort (after a $40,000 deposit and an annual fee of $2,575) to an Equity Membership, which requires an investment of $100,000 and gives holders an eight percent annual dividend over five years, which converts into credit towards a real estate unit on site.


December 2013

the hermitage inn at the hermitage Club, Vermont

If you can’t commit to such high stakes, you can join private members’ clubs at some other well-known resorts, where you can still enjoy exclusive benefits even if it means sharing the slopes. At Vail in Colorado, The Arrabelle Club in the heart of Lionshead, close to the Eagle Bahn Gondola, offers members a host of benefits including valet parking, clubhouse entry and admittance into VIP events, including weekly wine and cheese gatherings and seasonal parties. Membership requires a $150,000 deposit plus an annual fee of $5,380. Vail Mountain Club, located at the base of Vail Mountain, offers similar member benefits for a deposit of $275,000 plus $6,440 annually.

A new frAgrAnce for women



Upgrade at St. Regis New York One of New York’s hotel icons, St. Regis New York, is back in all its glory with renovations finally completed. Guestrooms, suites and public spaces all came under the redesign, which also saw the expansion of the much-loved King Cole Bar, now the King Cole Bar & Salon. Guestrooms and suites have been revamped with modern Manhattan style in mind, featuring black-lacquer painted floors, marble tiled entryways, custom furnishings and rich colour schemes with cheeky hints of leather. The hotel’s exclusive collection of designer suites have also been given a minor update to bring them back to their original lustre.

Michelin in Barbados Guests of Cobblers Cove in Barbados next month are in for a gastronomic treat as twoMichelin-starred chef, Michel Roux Jr. takes up residency. From January 9-18, the head of Le Gavroche in London will cook a series of lunches and dinners based on local produce and assisted by the hotel’s executive chef, Michael Harrison, who trained under Roux at Le Gavroche. He’ll also host cooking demonstrations and book signings.

Capella moves to St. Lucia Capella Hotels and Resorts has taken over management of Discovery at Marigot Bay in St Lucia. The company is embarking on a major renovation of the resort, which will be rebranded as Capella Marigot Bay, St. Lucia when the upgrade is completed by September next year. In the meantime, the resort will remain fully operational. The group is also in talks to further develop the Marina Village area to include art galleries, restaurants and bars and a range of high-end boutiques.


December 2013

DEBUT Hot hotels | chic boutiques | exclusive resorts

© Destinations of the World News – The World Wide Web

New-look Le Grand Bellevue on Gstaad’s Promenade is the oldest palace hotel in this chic Swiss village. Originally built in 1912 as a wellness resort and spa, the hotel has undergone a year-long renovation that combines contemporary sophistication with classic elegance. Stay in one of the 57 rooms and enjoy the homely feel of the common spaces including the Lounge, Bar and Private Cinema. The Yacht Club is also available to guests of the hotel’s suites. Le Grand Bellevue’s restaurant, Leonard’s, is overseen by Michelin-starred chef Urs Gschwend, or you can enjoy a more intimate dining experience at Le Petit Chalet, which seats 18 guests.

Gstaad, Switzerland

Península Papagayo, Costa Rica

Spread across 11 hectares on the Península Papagayo, on the north-west coast of Costa Rica, is this first Andaz property in Latin America and the second Andaz resort worldwide (Andaz Maui at Wailea in Hawaii opened earlier this year). Luxury is of paramount importance in the 153 guestrooms, including 21 suites (four with private plunge pools). Guests are spoilt for choice of activities, whether they are seeking something social or complete solitude, including water sports, fishing trips, access to a private beach, a 24-hour spa and fitness centre, or a round of golf on the 18-hole Arnold Palmer championship golf course.

Le Grand Bellevue

Andaz Papagayo Embracing the Parisian chic life means swanning down the ChampsÉlysées, shopping at luxury boutiques, feasting on French cuisine and sipping champagne at a classy lounge. You can do all of that with a stay at the new Sofitel Arc de Triomphe, which has the feel of a typical Parisian pied-à-terre, with interiors from legendary designer, Andrée Putman. Inside are 124 rooms and 31 suites, all tastefully designed in hues of white and beige. There’s also a restaurant serving French cuisine under the guidance of chef Thomas Bruno, a spa, state-of-the-art gym and a contemporary bar where you can raise a glass to the City of Light.

Paris, France

Sofitel Arc de Triomphe

The UAE’s Northern Emirates are slowly coming out of the shadows of their southern siblings, including the country’s smallest emirate, Ajman. This new establishment, a Luxury Collection Resort, is a fine example of pristine beachside relaxtion in the Arabian Gulf. Although its just a short drive from bustling Dubai, it feels like a world away. A total of 205 rooms and suites decorated in thoroughly Arabian tones of rose, blue and golden amber await, as does the GOCO spa — the first GOCO-branded spa in the UAE. The resort’s Beach Grill Restaurant and Bab al Bahar Lounge are great places to relax and watch the sunset.

Ajman, UAE

The Ajman Saray

December 2013

This latest addition to the Design Hotels family is, as you would expect, aesthetically pleasing as well as luxurious. The hotel’s design is inspired by a local folktale of a goddess who drank the forbidden elixir of life, which saw her leave earth to start a new journey on the moon. Modern furnishings in traditional Chinese prints and hints of ceramic and crystal adorn all of the 91 guestrooms, from the Half Moon rooms to the sumptuous Moonshine Suite. The hotel’s location is also a blend of old and new — it’s located in Hong Kong’s former red-light district of Wan Chai, which is now home to galleries, boutiques and modern restaurants.

Hong Kong

Mira Moon


Taj. Forever seductive, forever trusted, forever enchanting. From authentic Indian palaces to landmark city hotels, from dazzling resort properties to pastoral safari lodges, enjoy a thoughtful blend of tradition and modernity in the distinctive and highly personal Taj manner. Fabulous suites, splendid dining, and tranquil Jiva spas await. Discover the Taj difference at over 120 hotels around the world. For reservations and special offers visit, email, call 00.800.4588.1825 toll free or contact your travel consultant. India

New York


San Francisco




Cape Town



Sri Lanka




This hotel is the latest by The Oetker Collection, responsible for Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc and Le Bristol, Paris. L’Apogee Courchevel is perched like a crown atop Le Jardin Alpin in Courchevel 1850 in the French Alps. Accommodation ranges from cosy rooms and suites to a four-bedroom penthouse with a rooftop hot tub and a five-bedroom chalet with private spa and ski lift access. After a day on the slopes, cuisine by two-Michelin-star chef Yannick Franques should kerb hunger pangs.

Courchevel, France

Miami Beach, USA

No matter whether you come to South Beach — one of America’s most iconic stretches of sand — for the sun or the nightlife, you can be sure the atmosphere is always buzzing. When you need some downtime from it all, this 74-room hotel awaits. Housed in an original art deco building in Miami’s Historic District, the hotel holds prime position along the beach and features interiors by Italian designer, Paloa Navone, who respected the hotel’s art deco heritage, subtly adding pops of colour throughout. There are two restaurants on site, including a seafood restaurant and poolside café. Instead of a rooftop bar, you’ll find a Shambhala Urban Escape, with treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy pool and juice bar.

L’Apogée Courchevel

Metropolitan By COMO

The billionaire capital of the world has welcomed the city’s second Kempinski property, which is the former residence of Count OrlovDavydov, at the corner of Nikol’skaya Street and Lubyanka Square. Now a luxury hotel of 221 rooms and suites, the site’s 19th-century charms haven’t been forgotten, with palatial chandeliers, curved staircases and art deco furniture throughout. Despite being steeped in Russian history, Hotel Nikol’skaya has a range of cultural dining options, including the laid-back Latin Mojito Lounge and Restaurant, and the Parisian Café Vendome.

Moscow, Russia

Bazaruto Island, Mozambique

The Bazaruto Archipelago, 30 kilometres off the coast of Mozambique, is one of Africa’s bestkept secrets. You’ll find this resort on the third largest of the protected islands. A total of 44 villas are on site, each with four-poster beds and breezy living spaces — some also come with plunge pools. If you can tear yourself away from your villa, snorkel in the azure ocean, unwind in the Anantara Spa or enjoy fresh seafood dinners with a side of beach views.

Hotel Nikol’skaya Kempinski

Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa

December 2013

You’ll find this hotel, the latest arrival in the rapidly expanding capital of Sichuan province, overlooking the iconic Tianfu Square. With 353 rooms and 55 suites, two restaurants, a spa and plenty of cultural attractions around, you’d be hard-pressed to find yourself running out of ways to occupy your time. For an extra dose of luxury, book into one of the rooms or suites from levels 38 to 41 for access to The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge, which has a dedicated butler, private meeting spaces and cuisine prepared fresh at live cooking stations.

Chengdu, China

The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu


Be Special Be DeStineD for BaroS For 40 years now, we have been dedicated to one single goal: making you happy! You are special to us; we know you by name, not villa number. We are delighted to have you staying with us so we can attend to your desires and make your holiday special too. Come to Baros to celebrate the best there is; discover the Essence of the Maldives, and the holiday of your dreams! .

Baros Maldives is a small exclusive coral island in the Indian Ocean ringed by a sun-kissed beach and a vibrant house-reef. The awardwinning boutique luxury resort is proud of a long and outstanding history of service excellence. Baros Maldives has been rated as No. 1 Luxury Hotel in the Maldives by Trip Advisor and as the World’s Most Romantic Resort by World Travel Awards, 2013

With so many hotels opening up in time for the start of Swiss ski season, it seems like there’s a bit of a case of overcrowding. But, one thing that has been missing is a W Hotels mountain escape, and this debut, the first in the Alps, is sure to make an impact. Luxury hasn’t been sacrificed for W’s standout design concepts, which feature modern decor accented with bold colours that add a level of warmth to the hotel. W Verbier is located in the heart of the ski action and you can take the gondola from just outside the door up the mountains to spend your days whizzing down the powdery slopes.

Verbier, Switzerland

New York City, USA

New York’s been experiencing quite a bit of hotel movement of late, and this latest addition brings a touch of the glamorous 1920s to Midtown Manhattan. All 172 rooms and suites have been given the art deco touch with wooden furnishings, leather bedheads and subtle antique accents. But, what really makes WestHouse a standout is it’s all-inclusive accommodation — all stays come with a series of extras curated to each guest, including afternoon teas, evening canapés, a chauffer-driven car service and a ‘self-service’ food and beverage option, making it feel as though you’re staying less in a hotel and more in a stately mansion the likes of Jay Gatsby would call home.

W Verbier

WestHouse New York Giving new meaning to Alpine elegance is this latest edition of The Chedi, located in the resort town of Andermatt, a picturesque two-hour train ride from Zurich. All rooms, designed by architect Jean-Michel Gathy, resemble luxe log cabins and range from deluxe rooms to the Gemsstock Suite, which comes with its own wine cabinet. Elsewhere, you’ll find two restaurants, a bar and lounge, a ski-in living room, a private outdoor ice-skating rink and a spa equipped with hydrothermal baths to keep you toasty warm during your stay. There are many activities to enjoy no matter what season you visit, including an 18-hole golf course and the thrilling ski runs of Gemsstock peak.

Andermatt, Switzerland

The Chedi Andermatt

December 2013

Despite being located in Shenzhen’s new business district of Futian, this hotel is all about leisure. Accommodation ranges from deluxe guestrooms to the three-bedroom Presidential Suite, which takes up the entire 28th floor. If you miss out on booking the suite, there are other ways to embrace the luxe life during your stay, such as fine dining at one of the two restaurants, including Zhuo Yue Xuan, where you can experience Cantonese cuisine in a private dining room; afternoon tea or cocktails at Yi Bar & Lounge; or a treatment at the spa, which opens early next year.

Shenzhen, China

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Anantara’s first property in Cambodia has made its debut, a boutique resort of just 39 suites near the famous Angkor Wat site. While the surroundings might be ancient, nothing about the resort is dated: contemporary charm oozes throughout the resort, from the gold-flecked, terrazzo-tiled pool to the rain showers and king-size beds in all rooms and suites. That said, Cambodian heritage is not forgotten, with local artwork throughout the resort and a restaurant serving traditional Khmer recipes.

Four Seasons Hotel Shenzhen

Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa



Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

December 26 to January 1 Sydney and Hobart, Australia

The 69th edition of this worldfamous race will see more than 95 vessels sail from Sydney Harbour to Hobart, in Tasmania. The 1,170-kilometre yacht race is considered one of the most gruelling in the world, and draws top crews from all corners of the globe who compete for revered honours.

Mubadala World Tennis Championship December 26–28 Abu Dhabi, UAE

Tennis Complex in Zayed Sports City will be the home of some serious competition this month as six of the world’s leading male tennis players, including reigning Champion, Novak Djokovic, battle on the court for US $250,000 in a winner-takes-all competition.

Art Basel Miami Beach December 5—8 Miami, USA

Miami Beach transforms into a hub of art and culture for four days of special exhibitions and events this month. Art Basel Miami Beach draws tens of thousands of visitors each year, who come to see the work of established and emerging artists from more than 250 of the world’s leading galleries.


December 2013

Photos: © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Le Grand Bal December 31 Vienna, Austria

Christmas markets

Throughout December Various locations across Europe

‘Tis the season for mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and Yuletide carols as crowds flock to Christmas markets in cities right across Europe. While all the markets draw merry crowds, the most popular ones can be found in Berlin, Prague and Vienna.

Photos: Catherine Kohler

As the world says goodbye to 2013, Vienna welcomes 2014 in style with the annual New Year’s Eve ball at the stunning Hofburg Palace. But it isn’t all just dancing, with a gala dinner and performances from leading talent from the Vienna State Opera Ballet Association and the Vienna State Opera.

VIP Coutts Polo at the PalaCe, abu Dhabi, uae Team Fabergé London get into position

Models showcasing Chopard jewellery Two-star dining at Onyx Restaurant

It’s a weekend of fashion, high society and, of course, the Sport of Kings. Rebecca Haddad goes behind the scenes at this year’s event

Emirates Palace provided a stunning backdrop

EVENT After the inaugural competition last year, Coutts Polo at the Palace returned to Abu Dhabi on November 22–23. This ‘compact’ polo competition saw four teams — Coutts Abu Dhabi, Fabergé London, Maserati Milan and Argentina Team Buenos Aires — of three players compete for the Coutts Polo at the Palace trophy. Not even the threat of rain could dampen the competition, which saw last year’s winners, Buenos Aires, claim victory against Coutts Abu Dhabi in a fierce but friendly final. Maserati was on hand with a fleet of Quattroportes

Ambience The playing field was set up on the lush lawns of the palace. Spectators could watch from under umbrellas set up around the pitch or in the popular Polo Garden area, while VIP guests mingled in the chalets set up on the far side of the pitch. In the Coutts VIP chalet, guests watched the competition while sipping champagne and enjoying canapés served by Emirates Palace butlers. If play seemed a little too quiet for VIPs, Maserati representatives were also on hand to offer test-drives in their sleek range of Quattroportes.

Rub shouldeRs with

Hakkasan restaurant Breeze Lounge, Emirates Palace

The who’s who of Abu Dhabi society were in attendance, as well as several highprofile guests including His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, chef Gary Rhodes and Lebanese actress and former Miss World contestant Lamitta Frangieh.

AFteR dARK All VIP guests were invited to the afterparty held on both nights at the Palace’s Breeze Lounge at the East Wing Pool and Beach. Guests mingled with polo players while Milanese DJ Fabrizio Marra set the mood with a retro-heavy playlist to get the crowd in the groove until midnight.

dine Emirates Palace happens to be home to some of Abu Dhabi’s best dining spots, including Hakkasan restaurant, which serves some of the best Chinese cuisine in town. Also on site is Mezlai, which serves authentic Emirati dishes, and Sayad, specialising in fruits de mer.

stAY A weekend of polo should be matched by a thoroughly regal stay. All the rooms and suites at Emirates Palace will make you feel as if you’ve been given the royal treatment, with marble bathrooms, elegant furnishings and a butler service.

must do Dressing to impress is important: think ladylike day dresses for women and trousers and collared shirts for men. If you can, make a long weekend of the event — preferably the day after competition ends — so you can properly rejuvenate at the hotel’s Anantara Spa or on the 1.3-kilometre private beach.

December 2013


THE TIME TRAVELLER J茅r么me Lambert, the new CEO of Montblanc, reflects on a lifetime of travel experiences, from the wilds of Argentina and pre-dawn runs in New York to the creature comforts of a long breakfast in Hong Kong Interview: Joe Mortimer


A place of rest The rooftop pool at The Peninsula New York is the perfect way to recover after a day spent Christmas shopping

Photo: Bart Barlow

Park life A sunrise run around New York’s Central Park is a good way to kick-start a day of meetings

How often do you travel for business? Working for Jaeger-LeCoultre for the last 12 years, I was spending 30 to 40 percent of my time travelling. Now, with Montblanc, I have to be in contact with a lot of clients, so it’s more like 60 or 65 percent of my time. I know the airport pretty well. How much of that time is your own? For the time being it’s all business. The only time I have for myself is when I go running, which I do very early in the morning, usually outside or sometimes in the hotel gym. In the past I had a little more time to enjoy the beauty and pleasure of being in different cities. Does running give you a different insight into cities? Oh yes. I have run in Central Park in all seasons. When you pass by Harlem Hill and you come back through the reservoir, and you have the sun rising behind the towers — wow, that is an incredible moment. Of course, you have to organise your agenda so you don’t have a meeting before 8.00 am, but if you begin [your run] at 6.15 am, you have time to go back to the hotel and have a shower. How does travel help you better understand your products? Montblanc is the “Maison for fine lifetime companion”. By definition, a companion is someone who comes along with you wherever you go. Our clients are more and more nomadic. When I am travelling, my

experiences are very representative of what our clients need when they travel. That’s true for leather goods, travel accessories, writing instruments and even watches. I find travel very aspirational and inspirational. How does people’s definition of luxury change around the world? I think it is very much connected to generation. In the past, a hotel was an address and now it is an experience. It is still an address, but on top of that is has to be an experience. I would say that for us it is the same. A luxury item is a statement about me, but it is also an experience. It is particularly true with leather goods and writing instruments, where the value of experience is huge. How do you define luxury when it comes to travel? Luxury is everything connected to time. When we travel to wonderful cities, the frustration that we don’t have more time to enjoy them makes you very sensitive for the time you have. Therefore, it’s very frustrating if you lose 30 minutes for a security check in the airport or your room is not ready at the hotel. Luxury is the ability to be organised and to stick to the plan with no variations. How do you fly? If I fly with Richemont we fly private, but most of the time I fly commercial. The problem is that for those people who fly private regularly, they cannot fly commercial

after that. It is addictive. Most airlines have made amazing improvements in their services in the last five years. The quality of the lounges and the food onboard has improved dramatically for most of them. And the planes themselves — you sleep better on an A380 than you do in your own bed. It is an exceptionally pleasurable way of travelling. Can you remember your first-ever trip abroad? I was very young, maybe seven years old. We had a holiday home in the south-west of France, near to the border with Spain. We climbed a small mountain then crossed the border on foot. We ate in a restaurant where the food was different and everyone was speaking another language, then we returned to France. That is something that has stayed with me. The destination was the trip itself, in this case. What makes a memorable travel experience for you? Firstly, the people. When you visit a lot of countries, you find that talking to people can reveal different things and give you a deeper view of something. They can introduce you to a better understanding of things. That is definitely what changes the flavour and impression of a trip. The second thing is the landscape. Take the view from this suite: in one hour when the sun starts to move behind the Burj Al Arab in the distance and it looks like a ghostly ship — that is something that I will always take a few seconds to admire.

December 2013


“Your sensitivity and perception is very different when you travel. You feel things differently”

What are some of your favourite hotels in the world? Palacio Duhau — Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is fantastic. There’s a salon with a nice terrace that opens in the garden and an amazing cheese cave. It feels like you’re staying in a private house when in fact you are in a very well-structured hotel. I like the neighbourhood and the shopping. It is a wonderful city. I also like the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong for its location and the style of the hotel, which is very traditional. I could spend three hours at the breakfast in the morning, but you would gain a few pounds if you did so. Another one with a great location is The Peninsula in New York. If you go there with the family at Christmas time and you have been busy shopping the whole day with the snow coming down, a dip in the pool on the roof is just wonderful. Have you had any disastrous hotel experiences? I was in China staying at a hotel in Beijing that had just opened. It was 2008 and the hotel was virtually empty, so they gave me a huge suite. There was one light between the bedroom and the living room that you could not switch off. I looked everywhere but there was no switch. The only solution at 2.00 am was to stand on a chair and smash the light. I was not willing to call to have someone come to the room because when I did that earlier it took them more than an hour. What have you learnt about yourself through travel? You learn if you travel a lot just how much your culture has forged you. If I am travelling with Air France for example, it is very easy for me to appreciate a dinner or a lunch because the chef has come from the same culture as me. When you are tired or stressed after a week of heavy travel, you go back to needing only the very

Palacio Duhau — Park Hyatt Buenos Aires


December 2013

basic necessities. That comes down to smell, personal space, taste, sound and so on. You need your own private Idaho and you retreat to your place of safety. Your sensitivity and perception is very different when you travel. You feel things differently. It’s kind of like you are no longer just two eyes; instead you have more of an holistic experience. Any tips for packing well? I use a Montblanc bag that has room for my suit. And a writing instrument of course — I use a Fineliner in Carbon. Montblanc is the “Maison of fine lifetime companion” and we really mean that. If you leave behind one of the items you usually carry with you every day, you will see after 15 minutes how miserable you feel. You have the impression you are half naked and you feel you have lost your social status. In the past, the sheriff of a city had to have their badge, their hat, their gun and their boots before going into action. This is the equipment for modern life. Can you share any ‘wow’ moments from your travels? Visiting Ushuaia in the far south of Argentina was incredible. We went out on a boat on the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The landscape is very rugged and you have a very threedimensional view. The water is dark like hell — it is black. There are small islets where you see seals swimming around and everything is very chaotic; you think that anything could happen. Another was in this region. I like riding and last year in Jordan I was invited by a friend to go for a ride. I was riding on an Arab horse at seven in the morning with the first light of day. It was a kind of biblical light. The horse was flying and it was early enough in the morning that I was still half asleep. The temperature was 24 or 25 degrees and the ground was very soft. It was an amazing experience. n

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he glory days of Hollywood, famously referred to as the Golden Age, from 1930 to 1960, brimmed with glamour and sophistication. Screen goddesses such as Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth and Grace Kelly epitomised the elegance of that era with their beauty and flair. Women swooned over debonair matinee idols such as Cary Grant, Clark Gable and Errol Flynn, while Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire swept audiences off their feet with graceful showmanship. In pre-internet days, actors’ private lives were shrouded in mystery. Their favourite haunts and hideaways were considered sacred ground, none more so than the swish hotels where Hollywood’s movers and shakers hammered out deals, and gossip columnists lingered for juicy scoops. Fortunately, some of the legendary locales of the Golden Age are still around to keep the legacy of Tinseltown’s hedonistic heyday alive.


December 2013

The Golden Age (above) The Beverley Hills Hotel is one of the original LA icons; the ‘50s retro entrance to the hotel; actress Faye Dunaway relaxes the morning after her 1977 Oscar win City of angels (previous page) The bright lights of Los Angeles

But where is the glamour to be found in 21st-century Hollywood? Standards have certainly changed in the style department and talent has become a rare commodity in our social media and reality show-dominated lives, and the old concept of ‘glamour’ has become elusive; a Hollywood state of mind. Nonetheless, the magic is still there — you just have to know where to find it.

PINK NOSTALGIA Even though the Golden Age is long gone, your choice of LA address will say as much about your personality as your outfit. There is still a starry cast of legendary luxury hotels to choose from, many of which have undergone face-lifts to compete with younger, trendier venues. Perhaps the most iconic is The Beverly Hills Hotel, nicknamed ‘The Pink Palace’ for its unmistakable pink façade framed by towering palm trees. Situated on the upscale end of Sunset Boulevard, the

grande dame of Hollywood evokes the elegance of a bygone era as guests step onto the porte-cochère’s red carpet, flanked by the hotel logo in original 1950s-style script, with signature green and white stripes on the promenade ceiling. The lobby imbibes retro elegance, skilfully updated with dashes of Art Deco. The hotel’s famous private bungalows, nestled within five hectares of lush tropical gardens, were a firm favourite among old Hollywood’s royalty, and remain the principal choice of prominent guests today. Accessed by winding pathways, each one feels like a private home, with its own fireplace, pool and, in some cases, a grand piano. Marilyn Monroe’s favourites were bungalows one and seven; business magnate Howard Hughes made one of them his occasional home for 30 years, and Liz Taylor spent honeymoons there with six of her eight husbands (not at the same time, though).

December 2013


“Even though the Golden Age is long gone, your choice of LA address will say as much about your personality as your outfit” Across the grand lobby is The Polo Lounge, which for decades has been a hotspot for the rich and famous. Major movie deals have been inked here, and potent beverages consumed by regulars such as Humphrey Bogart and Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin. Back then, a guest’s VIP status was indicated by which booth they occupied, and a strict dress code applied. It was only Marlene Dietrich who dared defy the rules by scandalously entering the lounge wearing trousers. The famous pool with its private cabanas and Cabana Cafe is still the place to be. It has featured in many classic films and provided the setting for the famous photo of actress Faye Dunaway taken the morning after her Oscar win in 1977. The strong sense of nostalgia is combined with a fresh energy, and a good way to soak up the glamour is sunbathing on a striped lounger, sipping a cocktail, just catching the vibe. The hotel, now part of the Dorchester Collection, celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.


December 2013

Poolsode glam (above) Guests find privacy in chic surroundings at Hotel Bel-Air; (right) enjoy family fun on Santa Monica Pier

A HIDDEN GEM A 10-minute drive uphill from The Beverly Hills Hotel is Hotel Bel-Air, another five-star icon, which opened its doors in 1946. Set within a secluded enclave surrounded by gardens, it was a popular retreat among the A-listers of yesteryear and remains fashionable among those in search of privacy. A two-year renovation completed in 2011 saw the introduction of larger bungalows and suites, which sit alongside the older ones now refreshed in contemporary styles. Many of the hotel’s original features remain, including the oval-shaped pool, once the riding ring for the estate. It is also a poignant reminder of Marilyn Monroe’s last days: it was here in 1962 that she posed for Vogue magazine, the final images immortalised in the book The Last Sitting. The late actress and Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, was also a frequent guest. The bungalow she stayed in after winning the 1954 Academy Award for Best Actress is now known as the Grace Kelly Suite.

It was also here that she spent time prior to her marriage to Ranier III, Prince of Monaco.

STAR TREATMENT In old Los Angeles, a portion of fertile land once inhabited by Indians and Mexicans was named El Rodeo de las Aguas (Spanish for ‘the gathering of the waters’) for its abundant supply of water and precious commodities. Today, it is the famous Rodeo Drive, a three-block stretch of exclusive designer and boutique shops that attracts visitors from all over the world. But what really makes this landmark special is the historic Beverly Wilshire at the junction of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive. Starting life in 1928, the hotel, then called the Regent Beverly Wilshire, was built on the site of the former Beverly Auto Speedway. In 1990, it made an appearance in the film Pretty Woman, which starred Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, and was finally rebranded in 2006 as Beverly Wilshire Beverly Hills, a Four Seasons Hotel.

FOODIEHEAVEN GOrDON rAmsAy At tHE LONDON WEst HOLLyWOOD Indulge in tapas-style cuisine at Gordon ramsay’s Hollywood restaurant, under the masterful direction of executive chef Anthony Keene. the elegant yet laid-back ambience is matched by memorable dishes from the tasting menu: highlights include bluefin tuna tartare with watermelon, cucumber and wild parsley dressing, and braised pork belly and scallop with manila clams and curried lentils. trEs by JOsé ANDrés the avant-garde decor at tres by José Andrés, in the sLs Hotel beverly Hills, is complemented by an ingenious menu. try the delicious and innovative Huevos a La Cubana ‘Andy Garcia’ — 12 quail eggs served sunny side up. Perhaps California’s answer to Heston blumenthal, José Andrés puts pizzazz in traditional tapas and dishes with molecular gastronomy, best experienced at the bazaar next door (left). CUt bEVErLy HILLs After hours of shopping along rodeo Drive, beef up at CUt, Wolfgang Puck’s michelin-starred steakhouse in the beverly Wilshire hotel. It’s the place to see and be seen — a popular haunt for Hollywood’s movers and shakers and the purveyor of sublime cuts of steak.

December 2013



“Actors’ favourite haunts and hideaways were considered sacred ground, none more so than the swish hotels” This hotel is all about European-style elegance. Wrought iron gates mark the entrance to a cobblestone driveway, which is lined by gaslight lanterns from an Edinburgh castle. Inside, the hotel’s lifts (elevators) are fitted with padded seats for weary shoppers. Retiring to a grand, elegant suite is the highlight of the experience, with the best offering views of Rodeo Drive. The hotel boasts an impressive rollcall of rich and famous guests, from US President Barack Obama to Elton John and the Dalai Lama. Perhaps the most memorable of all was Elvis Presley. During his stay, he watched balloons float up to his balcony carrying love notes sent by his many adoring fans. Start your day with breakfast in elegant surroundings at The Blvd restaurant. Pace yourself though — croissants in LA come extra-large. After a little retail therapy on Rodeo Drive, head for the hotel’s spa for a relaxing massage, then continue your star treatment with a manicure and


December 2013

pedicure at The Nail Bar while sipping champagne and watching a movie. Round off the day with a tour around town in the hotel’s chauffeur-driven convertible.

PRIVATE LIFE Legendary venues aside, Los Angeles also has its share of swanky and intimate boutique hotels scattered across the city, from up-and-coming Downtown LA in the east to trendy Santa Monica on the western edge, running alongside the Pacific Coast. Up there among the favourites is the W Los Angeles — Westwood, the suburb west of Beverly Hills. Housed in a large, white 1960s building in the hip enclave of Westwood Village, which is also home of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the W is an all-suite hotel of sleek interiors, eye-catching art, mood lighting and cosy chill-out zones that attract trendy denizens, loved-up couples and media types.

Talk of the town (top to bottom) Poolside cabanas at Viceroy Santa Monica; primp for a night out at the Beverly Wilshire’s Nail Bar Mirror mirror (opposite) The rather suave lobby of Viceroy Santa Monica

The Whiskey Blue lounge is known for its handcrafted cocktails, while The Backyard is more upscale than the name implies, offering a laid-back alfresco dining experience beside the sparkling pool with its calming waterfall and cabanas. With a mobile bar in the shape of a vintage Airstream trailer on call for poolside parties, it’s no surprise this hotel has doubled for Miami in several films and provided a backdrop for numerous LA fashion shoots. Whizzing up to the 16th floor, you’ll find luxurious penthouse suites styled with a mix of cool retro and sleek contemporary design. The surrounding neighbourhood of Westwood Village is worth taking time to explore, particularly its wonderful landmark, the Fox Theater, also known as the Village Theatre. Designated a Historic-Cultural Monument, for more than 60 years it has been one of Hollywood’s leading venues for film premieres.


December 2013


COASTAL CULTURE If you’re eager for Friday- or Saturdaynight partying in a venue with live music and plenty of attitude, set your GPS to Viceroy Santa Monica. The hotel’s vibrant energy and swanky setting draws in young Angelenos and foreign guests alike. The decor jives with the territory, with white leather loungers and fixtures in monochrome and bold yellow. By 10.00pm the stylish lobby is obscured by a heaving crowd of beautiful people. Inevitably, the party spills out onto the pool area, where the atmosphere is even more intoxicating. For guests contemplating a quiet night, this may not be the place, so either join the party or take a stroll along the famous Santa Monica Pier, which is full of atmosphere and oldfashioned funfair thrills. Viceroy Santa Monica is the perfect base from which to explore the shops and eateries along the 3rd Street Promenade. Better yet, amble along Venice Beach for a reviving morning-after walk and observe this seaside community’s artistic, sporty, off-the-wall denizens. Just be sure to watch out for eager cyclists and rollerbladers.

LUXURY BY DESIGN When you combine Philippe Starck’s sleek design and the culinary expertise of chef José Andrés, you can expect


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Style and substance (top to bottom) Fine dining from José Andrés at The Bazaar at SLS; the Altitude Pool at SLS Beverley HIlls is a popular media hang-out

something out of the ordinary, and that’s exactly what you get at SLS Hotel Beverly Hills on La Cienega Boulevard. A favourite for those in the LA loop, it’s funky and sexy, with an Alice in Wonderland feel throughout. In Tres by José Andrés restaurant, a deer head made of glass hangs above the fireplace, while silver lamp stands shaped like machine guns and chair backs printed with animal heads can be found on the floor. It’s tempting to linger after a meal just to absorb the atmosphere. The room decor is luxuriously quirky, with a TV discreetly hidden behind a tinted, full-view mirror. Rooftop pools are commonplace in Los Angeles hotels, and at SLS’s Altitude Pool they’ve pushed the boundaries, with oversized glass windows around the terrace through which to gaze at the LA skyline. It’s where the hotel really reveals its rock-star edge. The rooftop is frequented by Hollywood’s media set, and it recently played host to the star-studded post-Emmys celebration. Los Angeles has and always will be synonymous with film, fame and glamour, but it’s the city’s legendary hotels and modern counterparts that keep this sprawling city from falling into a somewhat obscure and mundane landscape. Stories of the past entwine with the tales of today to ensure the magic is still alive and well. n

Thegoldenbook THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL Tel: +1 310 276 2251

HOTEL BEL-AIR Tel: +1 310 472 1211

BEVERLY WILSHIRE Tel: +1 310 275 5200

W LOS ANGELES — WESTWOOD Tel: +1 310 208 8765

VICEROY SANTA MONICA Tel: +1 310 260 7500

SLS HOTEL BEVERLY HILLS Tel: +1 310 247 0400

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P r i v ĂŠ

Somewhere between the endless blue of the sky and the myriad colours of the indian Ocean is your perfect Seychelles escape Words: robert la Bua


he outside world disappears immediately upon alighting from the panoramic-windowed flying fishbowl. In its place is a fantasy island where life exists in as near a perfect state as earthly possible. To those for whom privacy and security are of utmost importance, Fregate Island Private offers an incomparable option for enjoying the best of the Seychelles the way it really should be enjoyed: in carefree spirits, devoid of worry and stress. Fregate is one of several different island resorts in the Seychelles that make such an escape readily available, customised to each visitor’s needs and preferences. With its management contract recently acquired by the Oetker family, Fregate Island Private is the latest jewel in The Oetker Collection, a group of exclusive properties that already includes Le Bristol in Paris and Palais Namaskar in Marrakesh, among others. There are only 16 villas on Fregate Island – most are large, one-bedroom homes with spacious rooms and expansive decks bordering swimming pools, while a few villas have two bedrooms. The owner’s personal compound, atop a bluff overlooking the sea, is also available for hire. Access to the compound is restricted even for employees, who must phone ahead for permission to enter the area when it is occupied. For the ultimate in privacy, Fregate Island Private can be reserved in its entirety by a single party. Full buyouts are not uncommon, with extended families especially pleased to have an island in the Seychelles to themselves; the fact that Fregate is one of the most beautiful in the world is a welcome bonus. Food is a point of pride on Fregate, where executive chef Arnaud Davin has applied the savoirfaire accumulated in his native France to his responsibilities in the kitchen and to the cuisine prepared in it. Davin oversees Fregate’s farm with a tenderness that matches his aptitude for growing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs. He eliminated the routine use of chemicals on the plants and soil, aiming to raise the purest food in the country. The result is absolute freshness. Guests revel in the simple joy of food with robust flavours, picked the same morning only a few hundred metres from where it is served. So successful is chef Davin’s farming program that Fregate sells its surplus on the main island of Mahé.

“To those for whom privacy and security are of utmost importance, Fregate Island Private offers an incomparible option”

Fregate Island Private from the air

Photo: Raymond Sahuquet


Escape to a private island hideaway

December 2013


Photo: Gerard Larose

Anse Source d’Argent is regarded as one of the best beaches in the world

“Guests come to Fregate simply to relax in their villas and enjoy the stylish surroundings, fine dining and excellent service”


December 2013

On Fregate, the experience of eating is elevated to new heights, literally and figuratively. Meals can be enjoyed in the comfort of one’s villa or anywhere else on the island, be it a private breakfast in the library, a beachside lunch on the sand or high tea in a treehouse — there is no limit to the venues. The original plantation house, now a museum displaying artefacts and exhibits related to Fregate Island, is an ideal place to enjoy a meal with a side of history. Like everything else on Fregate, dining is tailored to individual preferences, with chef Davin and his team only too pleased to meet the challenge of creating specific dishes on request. One guest’s admiration of the fragrant ylang-ylang blossoms while on an escorted tour of the garden saw him delighted by a surprise ylang-ylang sorbet for dessert the following evening. Fregate Island Private truly is a sanctuary for guests who crave solitude; you’ll rarely catch a glimpse of other guests during your stay. The resort’s staff meet every morning to coordinate each guest’s activities in such a way that privacy is optimised and locations around the island are occupied by only one party at a time. There are plenty of beautiful spots to unwind, including Anse Macquereau, one of the most beautiful beaches in Seychelles, where there is no need to worry about being disturbed; when other guests see the “Beach Occupied” sign at the start of the walkway, they know to seek their own sand elsewhere. One cove over from Anse Macquereau is Anse Victorin, a slightly larger beach that’s popular for relaxed lunches in the shade of the palm trees or candlelit dinners under the stars. In fact, the only other inhabitants you’re likely to see on Fregate are local Giant Aldabra tortoises. More than 2,000 of the gentle giants roam freely across the terrain and can live to more than 150 years. Surprisingly though, many guests come to Fregate simply to relax in their villas and enjoy the surroundings, fine dining and excellent service rather than soak up the sun at the beaches. One place they do visit is the Rock Spa, where the sage Dr. Abhilash supervises Fregate Island’s Ayurveda program. Although other types of massages and treatments are available, the Ayurveda treatments are a speciality on the island and are administered with medical precision while still ensuring high levels of relaxation and enjoyment. Private yoga sessions are also on offer; the dexterity of the lifelong yogi is at once astonishing and inspirational.


Gaze out at sea and sky from your villa at Fregate

Photo: Raymond Sahuquet

The islands of Sainte Anne Marine National Park

December 2013



Because Fregate Island Private is only accessible by helicopter or boat, the exclusivity of the island is easily preserved. However, since most visitors to the Seychelles visit more than one island, it is likely that another resort capable of offering privacy and comfort will be desired, in which case travellers should head to Raffles Praslin, on the second-largest of the Seychelles’ 115 islands. Raffles offers sleek and stylish accommodation with extensive resort facilities in a lessisolated location. Air Seychelles links Praslin to the international airport on Mahé with several commercial flights per day, but a helicopter transfer is the best way to arrive in style. What Fregate is to solitude, Raffles is to exhilaration. Though it offers a quiet environment, Raffles has an air of sophistication that wouldn’t be out of place at its sister properties Le Royal Monceau in Paris or the original Raffles Singapore. Raffles Praslin keeps guests as busy as they wish to be, with sporting activities and dining venues to rival any big city resort. The resort’s sublime private villas all face the blue waters of Anse Takamaka and the small island of Curieuse beyond. A short distance from Raffles Praslin is Anse Lazio, regarded by many beach critics as one of the best beaches in the world. The outstanding staff at Raffles are only too happy to create personalised experiences to make their guests’ visits memorable. Private excursions to Curieuse and to the island of La Digue’s famous Source d’Argent beach are easily arranged, as are visits to Praslin’s lush Vallée de Mai, a primeval forest and UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are few such tracts of original forest left in Seychelles; as on many other tropical islands of the world, the planting of coconut palms in centuries past was great for sailors needing strong copra fibres for ropes, but not so great for the local flora. The Vallée de Mai is home to the queen of palms, the coco de mer, whose plants and seeds earnt mythical status when the female seeds, shaped sensuously like the hips of a woman, washed ashore on the coasts lining the Indian Ocean long before the Seychelles was known to exist. The male coco de mer is equally evocative.

Looking out from a hillside villa at Raffles Praslin


December 2013

“Because Fregate Island Private is only accessible by helicopter... the exclusivity of the island is easily preserved”

Sublime views from Raffles Praslin

“As the country’s largest island, Mahé is part of almost every visitor’s sojourn in Seychelles”

Raffles Praslin’s spa offers a splendid series of treatments in air-conditioned or open-air pavilions with gorgeous views of the sea. Among the signature experiences is the Pure Pearl Treatment, which, as its name implies, uses the powder of crushed pearls in a revitalising scrub that’s certain to increase one’s lustre. The shine is also bright at Raffles’ dining establishments, where casual meals and refined dining are equally enjoyed thanks to appealing menus and attractive venues — including the private poolside deck at one’s villa for partaking the chef’s culinary efforts in complete privacy. For some, the idea of departing the Seychelles is unwelcome at best, but the lucky few never leave; they buy a residence and stay as long as they want. On the main island of Mahé, special residential properties rarely come onto the open market, but one charmingly rustic home with spectacular views of Anse Soleil is currently available in the vicinity of Kempinski Seychelles Resort on the island’s beautiful south-west coast. As the country’s largest island and home to its only international airport, Mahé is part of almost every island-hopping visitor’s sojourn in the Seychelles. Kempinski’s privileged location between a rock and a soft place is impressive, especially when seen from above in a ZilAir helicopter. The huge granite monolith and stretch of sand that border the property serve as a backdrop to the resort’s fine accommodation and sterling service. Kempinski’s recently opened dive centre provides guests with the opportunity to do some underwater exploration in the transparent sea, while the on-site spa provides a place for disappearance into an altered state brought on by the expertise of its therapists and menu of seasonal treatments. Naturally, the cuisine at Kempinski is supreme; private dining rooms with relaxation areas can be prepared for groups or families wanting to enjoy a homely atmosphere outside their accommodation, which is provided not in individual villas as on Fregate or at Raffles, but rather in spacious rooms and suites grouped in separate buildings across the property. Guests seeking maximum privacy can book entire buildings so that families, friends and entourage can all stay together.


Charter a yacht to cruise around Praslin Island

Poolside at Raffles Praslin

December 2013


Green wilderness surrounds Kempinski Seychelles Arrive in style with a ZilAir transfer

Thegoldenbook Fregate Island Private Tel: +248 4 670 100

Raffles Praslin Tel: +248 4 296 000

Kempinski Seychelles Tel: +248 438 6666

Air Seychelles Tel: +248 4 391 000

ZilAir Tel: +248 4 375 100

Of course, no exclusive travel itinerary is complete without suitably luxurious services at either end of the trip. Fortunately, arrival and departure in Seychelles has reached an unprecedented level of comfort and efficiency with the recent opening of Air Seychelles VIP, a private terminal at Seychelles International Airport. Air Seychelles, in collaboration with Abu Dhabi-based Royal Jet, now offers front-end commercial passengers and private jet travellers their own intimate terminal where immigration, customs, and transfers are all executed in total seclusion just steps from the tarmac. Within the VIP terminal, specially trained staff and four separate lounges ensure privacy, discretion and security are maintained at the highest level. The team at the tourism board say this new facility has been a catalyst for attracting private jet travellers to the Seychelles, permitting direct and immediate transfers to beautiful islands such as Praslin and Fregate without ever needing to enter the airport’s main terminal building. However you ultimately choose to arrive, the exclusive activities available in the Seychelles are the stuff of holiday fantasy – once-in-alifetime travel experiences that will remain with you long after your trip comes to an end. n


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T248 4677 000

Discover the local treasures of Seychelles with eyes wide open... of excitement and thrill! Wake up and feel inspired at the origin of Seychelles hospitality a sanctuary of enchanting discoveries idyllically nestled at the tip of the picturesque Beau Vallon Beach.

For more information or to make a reservation, visit or call +248 4677 000

Discover a revitalizing perspective as you relax in the serenity of your very own furnished terrace with stunning ocean views, relish the luxury of space in the elegant contemporary accommodation and let us indulge your passion for fine cuisine.


Month 20XX ©2012 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, Le Méridien and their logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates.

The Rocks reborn

The gentrification of Sydney’s former slum, The rocks, has seen the neighbourhood earn its place among the city’s high-end locales, where culture, fine dining and entertainment abound Words: Rebecca Haddad

“A first-time visitor will quickly discover that The Rocks is a lesson in not judging buildings by their façades”


t’s morning peak hour in Sydney, but you wouldn’t know it. The bustle of traffic rumbling towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge is just minutes away, but the streets in this part of town are relatively calm, almost eerily quiet. Forget the glitzy skyscrapers of the central business district — here, old sandstone houses and warehouses line dark cobblestone streets in scenes worthy of a Dickens classic. It’s not the postcardperfect Sydney that so many tourists come to see, but this neighbourhood, known as The Rocks, is actually where the city’s story starts; an anthology of sometimes-sordid tales of convicts and debauchery, gangs and hardship. I highly doubt that the former inhabitants of this onceslum area would have imagined their home would one day be among Sydney’s most well-to-do areas, but fastforward a few hundred years and the sandstone homes and warehouses are now hotels, cultural institutions, fine-dining establishments and pricey residences. In these silent, cobblestone streets, Sydney’s latest luxury enclave awaits.


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Modern icons (above) The Rocks sits so close to Sydney’s two main attractions, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House Picture perfect (previous page) The sandstone façades of the old wharf buildings in The Rocks give the neighbourhood plenty of character

Looks can be deceiving I am standing along Kent Street in front of a series of white Victorian terraces, which, on first impression, seem rather unremarkable. A first-time visitor will quickly discover that The Rocks is a lesson in not judging books by their covers — or, in this case, buildings by their façades. The homes I am standing in front of are actually The Langham Sydney, a stylish hotel of 96 rooms and suites, all elegantly blending the past with the present via mahogany furnishings, a classic neutral colour palette and 21st-century modcons. With several hundred historic buildings to see, all made from the sandstone rocks that give this enclave its name, The Rocks is best explored on foot. I start my journey on Hickson Road, which runs parallel to Kent and along the harbour shoreline. Despite myriad stories of British settlement days (the First Fleet arrived in 1788), the history of The Rocks goes back much further — some 40,000 years in fact, when the Cadigal clan of Indigenous Australians lived on the land.


“Such a hub of creativity need only be matched by diverse dining options, and Walsh Bay delivers” Archaeological digs throughout The Rocks have since uncovered several ancient campfire sites and a range of traditional relics, while recent development ensures the area’s ancient past is not forgotten. The left side of Hickson Road is dominated by a wharf area, from which the rumble of construction punctuates the quiet. This wharf area is in the process of transforming into an urban space known as Barangaroo, home to parks, retail outlets, offices and a hotel. It’s named for a local Aboriginal woman who was the second wife of Bennelong, another local Aboriginal who served as the interlocutor between the indigenous people and the British settlers. The area will become one of the biggest luxury developments in Sydney when completely finished in 2023 (the first stage will be completed by 2015). Creativity and CUiSine During the Depression, Hickson Road was dubbed ‘The Hungry Mile’ for the men who travelled from wharf to wharf in search of work when employment and food


December 2013

Urban revival (above) DFS Galleria on George Street stocks duty-free luxury goods from big brand names Sublime city (right) Dawes Point enjoys prime harbour views right under the city’s famous bridge

were scarce. These days, the top of Hickson Road, which winds directly under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and around Dawes Point, is now a haven for fine dining. The neighbourhood of Walsh Bay is located at the tip of the peninsula and is commanded by five wharves, which have been converted into luxury apartments (actor Russell Crowe calls one home) and the headquarters of the Sydney Dance Company and the Sydney Theatre Company, the latter of which is currently under the creative direction of actress Cate Blanchett and husband Andrew Upton. Such a hub of creativity need only be matched by diverse dining options, and Walsh Bay delivers. Off Hickson in Towns Place is El-Phoenician Restaurant, which has just celebrated its second year of serving Lebanese cuisine the way it should be: classic, simple and in banquet form, matched by an equally impressive list of Lebanese wines. Further down along Hickson Road, the trendy set flock to Cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh for its authentic Italian cuisine — if you like the food, be sure to visit the adjoining grocer to take some snacks home.

November 2013




neighbourhoodwatch Pyrmont a short taxi ride east of the rocks will take you to Pyrmont. in days gone by, this wharf area of darling harbour was a vital hub of the city’s maritime industry, home to warehouses and shipbuilding yards. while the industry may have moved on, the suburb has enjoyed new life with restaurants, stylish offices and the Star, an entertainment complex home to luxury shopping, five-star hotel the darling and award-winning restaurants including Momufuku Seiobo and black by ezard.

Surry HillS You’ll find this trendy village south-east of the cbd at the start of Sydney’s southern suburbs district. in early settlement days, the land in this area was used as farming and given to freemen, before being subdivided from the 1830s onwards as more residents moved away from the harbour. gentry were soon replaced by a working class, bringing with them larrikin gangs and petty crime. in modern times, the suburb is a haven for bohemia, home to artisans, designers, writers and students, and is where you’ll find many eclectic small bars, restaurants and galleries.

Sydney theatre Company’s headqurters on the Wharf in Walsh Bay old meets new in the area around the rocks markets

While The Rocks is home to many historic pubs, it does have its fair share of chic watering holes. Nighttime theatre-goers mingle with local office workers at The Bar at the End of the Wharf at Sydney Theatre Company, lingering over a drink and sharing plates in a warehousestyle atmosphere you’d expect from NYC. When you need a place to rest your head for the night, The Sebel Pier One is just down the road, its luxury hotel rooms and suites enjoying prime positioning directly under the Harbour Bridge. A stay in the top-of-the-range Harbour View Balcony Suite comes with that famous harbour vista. Eventually, Hickson Road connects with the city’s first road, George Street, whose position remains unchanged since settlement days. Wandering under the Harbour Bridge, in all its granite and steel glory, and down the western side of Circular Quay, the scene changes quickly: Dawes Point Park, where joggers prance by and tourists capture their all-important snaps of the Opera House and sparkling harbour; the glamorous Park Hyatt Sydney; and the glass-encased Overseas Passenger Terminal, home to the award-winning Quay restaurant. Before I head further down Circular Quay and into the bustle of tourists, buskers and ferry commuters, I turn right, away from the harbour and up the steep path to Argyle Street, which cuts through the heart of this old neighbourhood. nigHt moveS Come to Argyle Street on a weekend morning and you’ll find yourself jostling for space as crowds come to the popular markets, where you can pick up anything from fresh produce to crafts from local artisans. Of evenings, Argyle is crowded with people visiting it’s many cafes, boutiques and bars. In days gone by, the streets and laneways that surround Argyle were not places you’d roam after dark. Suez Canal for example, is a narrow laneway between George and Harrington streets, and was the former hangout of The Rocks Push, the local gang who dominated the area in the late 19th century. The larrikins of yesteryear may be gone, but the area is still populated with night owls, who crowd the bars and clubs that have made their homes in some of the heritage buildings.


December 2013

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Thegoldenbook the Langham Sydney tel: +61 2 9256 2222

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Park hyatt Sydney tel: +61 2 9256 1234

On the corner of Playfair and Argyle streets is the Bavarian-themed Löwenbräu Keller, modelled on the famous bier halls of Munich. A block up is The Argyle, a multi-level bar, lounge and club complex. A few minutes’ walk north on George Street is the old Mariners Church, now Bar 100, where revellers dance to DJ-spun tunes and a live band on weekends. If you’re after a glimpse of those famous harbour views, head to the roof of The Glenmore on Cumberland Street. Built in 1921 and renovated just last year, the hotel is home to a trendy rooftop bar that gets crowded on weekends from lunchtime, with patrons eager to soak up the afternoon sun and share jugs of Pimms or sangria while watching the gleaming white sails of the Opera House take on the orange hues of sunset. SignS of the timeS With so much to see and do in The Rocks, you’d be safe in assuming that you don’t have far to travel to find luxuries of the retail kind. Not far from Suez Canal is Nurses’ Walk, the laneway that cuts across the former site of the colony’s first hospital. Here, you’ll find many quaint little cafés and contemporary art galleries. The Wentworth Gallery in particular is worth a visit, home to a selection of works from both emerging and established local contemporary artists, as well as works from some of Australia’s Indigenous artists such as Evelyn Pultara and Yinarupa Nangala. Further down George Street


December 2013

the luxe life (top to bottom) Enjoy a tranquil sunset from The Sebel Pier One; million-dollar views from a Harbour View Balcony Suite

towards the CBD is DFS Galleria, a duty-free shopping mall stocking all the big names in luxury fashion and accessories including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Tiffany & Co. Were it not for the sandstone buildings and cobblestone streets, it would be easy to forget you are in Sydney’s oldest area; such is the success of The Rocks’ evolution into a cosmopolitan blend of old and new. Walk back along the harbour foreshore and you’ll stumble upon the most evident example of this ideal. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) takes pride of place along the west side of Circular Quay. The original art deco building was completed in 1952 and the Mordant Wing was added in 2012 as part of a AUS $53 million ($49 million) redevelopment, resembling a tower of monochrome blocks that present a stark contrast to the sandstone façade of the original building. Standing determinedly in shadow of the MCA is a small but nonetheless significant dwelling. It’s regularly overlooked by locals and tourists, who dash past without realising that it is, in fact, Sydney’s oldest building. Cadman’s Cottage was constructed in 1816 and was the former residence of John Cadman, the former chief boatman or coxswain of the early colony. The juxtaposition of the two buildings sums up The Rocks perfectly — a place that proudly preserves the tales of Sydney’s past and embraces its exciting future in equal measure. n




ThE high lifE Barrelling down a 100-year-old railway line through Ecuador’s Avenue of Volcanoes is the ultimate introduction to one of South America’s hidden gems Words: Gavin Haines


December 2013


December 2013




he Galápagos Islands have been both a blessing and a curse for Ecuador. The iconic archipelago — regarded as the most biodiverse on the planet — is one of the leading attractions in South America and has long been a magnet for travellers. The problem for Ecuador, however, is that most of those visiting the archipelago tend to bypass the mainland. Typically, tourists fly into Quito, the colonial capital of the tiny nation, rest their heads for the night and jet off the next day to spot boobies (the winged kind) in the Galápagos. But the times, they are a-changing. With its newfound oil wealth, the Ecuadorian government has invested in ambitious programmes to attract well-heeled visitors to the mainland; a little-known treasure trove of wonders that has been luring intrepid travellers for decades but has remained largely undiscovered by the luxury travel set. Its flagship project is a US $280 million redevelopment of the country’s historic railway, which was officially unveiled this summer.


December 2013

Rail country (top to bottom) Tour the countryside aboard the revamped Trun Crucero steam train; the urban sprawl of Quito Mountain high (previous page) A herd of alpaca graze in front of the mighty Chimborazo volcano, Ecuador’s highest peak

And that is why I’m here at Quito’s newly renovated Chimbacalle station, boarding a train in the lofty Ecuadorian capital. Nestling in a picturesque valley some 2,800-metres above sea level, the city is within throwing distance of the equator and its historic Old Town is a splendid maze of cobbled streets, colonial architecture and Catholic churches. These dazzling attributes helped it become one of UNESCO’s first ever World Heritage Sites (along with Kraków in Poland) in 1978. It’s also a working city; asthmatic buses wheeze around narrow streets, whistle-blowing policemen direct traffic and vendors peddle their wares to busy commuters. That’s the bustle I leave behind as the train rattles through the suburbs, passing just yards from people’s front doors, which open to reveal waving children, barking dogs and the odd curmudgeon who doesn’t seem to be entering into the spirit of things. Men on motorcycles escort our train out of the city, warning those ahead of the approaching locomotive. “They aren’t used to it yet,” explains the carriage attendant, as we

A new frAgrAnce for men

leave Quito and climb into the misty countryside, where grazing cattle and waving farmers await. It’s an idyllic, rural scene that belies the violent activity going on beneath us. After all, this is the Avenue of Volcanoes, a volatile boulevard of lava-spewing mountains that have devastated this region before and will surely do it again — geologists claim a big one is imminent. Mercifully, all is quiet when I hop off the train at Machachi station to visit Cotopaxi, which, at 5,897 metres, is Ecuador’s highest active volcano. “When she erupts, that’s it for this valley,” says my local guide, Pablo Tufiño, cheerfully. Despite its fearsome reputation, Cotopaxi is hiding behind clouds when I peer up at its peak, so I hike around the foothills to admire the scenery. It’s a glorious stomp, albiet marred by a bout of altitude sickness, which eases over a bowl of quinoa soup at the nearby Hosteria

Historic charm (left to right) Quito’s breathtaking Plaza de San Francisco; the refurbished Tren Crucero makes its way through the suburbs of Quito

Tambopaxi. Also easing is the cloud; finally, a snowtopped Cotopaxi reveals herself, looming over the valley with grace and menace.

A LIFE LINE The restoration of Ecuador’s railways started in 2008 and reached a milestone this summer when the historic 450-kilometre line between Quito and the coastal city of Guayaquil was reopened. When this route was first inaugurated in 1908 it unified a nation previously divided by the Andean foothills. “Before the train, if you wanted to go from Quito to Guayaquil you wrote your will — it was a very dangerous journey,” explains Pablo. “When they built the railway our country became one.” However, Ecuador’s trains fell out of fashion during the 1970s as the nation took to the Panamericana — the


LINEOFLUXURY The historic route between Quito and Guayaquil was reopened earlier this year, and its flagship service is Tren Crucero, which takes passengers on a first-class trip through the heart of the country. The four-day, three-night excursion harks back to the golden age of rail travel and uses refurbished steam locomotives for certain segments of the 450-kilometre journey. The service makes several stops along the way and includes a guided tour of Cotopaxi. There are no sleepers on Tren Crucero so passengers peel off the railways at night and check into some of Ecuador’s finest haciendas along the way. The price for tours in 2014 starts from US $1,270 per person, which includes accommodation, meals and excursions. Trips on Tren Crucero are seasonal, running from June through to August and December through to February. The organised tour departs fortnightly from Quito and Guayaquil, but there are other services running more regularly.

48,000-kilometre blacktop highway that runs the length of the Americas, connecting Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego in the far south with northern Alaska. The redundant railways suffered a silent plight in the harsh Andean environment; rain washed sections of track away and landslides buried other segments under mud and rocks. By the mid-noughties only two short sections remained open and these were operated by private tour companies. But now, the railways are back and passengers looking to jump aboard have two options: they can either take an organised tour or hop on and off along the route as they please. I opt for the latter and find myself disembarking once again, this time at Urbina station, which, at 3,618metres above sea level, is the highest station on the line. This lofty outpost sits in the foothills of the inactive Chimborazo volcano; at 6,268-metres, it is the highest mountain in Ecuador and, thanks to the equatorial bulge,

its summit is the closest point on earth to the sun. I tell you this because I have very little else to say about the mountain, chiefly because I can’t see it. In fact, I can barely see the end of my nose thanks to the thick fog. But it is there according to a chap called Baltazar, who I meet at the station. He is best known in Ecuador as “the last ice merchant”, a moniker he has earnt by following the family tradition of climbing Chimborazo to collect ice from its glaciers. He has been doing this twice a week since he was a child. He is now 68. The tradition dates back to the colonial era when the Spanish sent locals up to the mountains to fetch ice. Many men used to ply this trade, but fridge freezers have all but banished the job to the history books — Baltazar is the last ice man standing. His story is so inspiring that in 2012 a film was made about him called, The Last Ice Merchant, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012.

December 2013



Country of might (top to bottom) The perilous journey down the Devil’s Nose; eco-luxe at Mashpi Lodge

INTOTHEJUNGLE If you have some free time before jumping on the train, Ecuador’s cloudforest is a beautiful diversion. Sitting at the junction between the Andes and Amazon, the cloudforest is a hotbed of biodiversity, home to birds, butterflies and big cats. Mashpi Lodge is the place to stay. It looks like a Bond villain’s lair, but the owners have ethical intentions and profits go towards protecting the surrounding forest. Mashpi challenges the perception of eco-lodges and reconstructs it into something unashamedly luxurious. For the adventurous, you can cycle over the forest canopy on the resort’s ‘sky bike’.

Through a local interpreter, I quiz Baltazar about his trade. He tells me it takes four hours to climb the volcano; during the ascent he weaves baskets to carry the ice back down. “I make them out of grass,” he says, demonstrating his technique. “I chip off 12 blocks and bring them down on donkeys to sell at market.” Each block fetches $5 and although demand has tailed off, loyal clients stick by him, claiming the million-yearold ice has nutrients you don’t get anywhere else. I ask Baltazar how much longer he’ll work as an ice merchant. “I will go to Chimborazo until I go to God,” he smiles.

NEW HORIZONS He might be the purveyor of ice, but Baltazar is a warm soul. My meeting with him is one of the highlights of my trip, the other being the railway itself as it snakes its way down the infamous Devil’s Nose, a steep, snout-shaped mountain widely regarded as the toughest test for trains on the planet. Zigzagging through switchbacks and skirting along steep stretches of track laid inches from the rocky precipice, it’s easy to see how this route earnt the bragging rights to such a title.


December 2013

Completed in 1902, a more fitting name for the perilous railroad might have been the Devil’s Noose; of the 5,000 workers who constructed it, half were killed in the process. A small museum at Sibambe station, which sits in the shadows of the mountain at the base of the Devil’s Nose, explains how disease and dynamite accidents sealed the fate of the largely Caribbean workforce, recruited, so the story goes, on account of their superior strength. The indigenous community at Sibambe, resplendent in their traditional garb, greet passengers with singing, traditional dancing and herds of inquisitive alpacas as the train pulls into the station. There’s a carnival atmosphere and a small market where you can purchase local handicrafts. “Before the railway there was no restaurant, no bar and no museum, but that’s changed and now people here have work,” enthuses Manuel Mendoza, the ponchowearing museum curator. “It is good for our community.” And it’s good for tourists, who can once again experience this spectacular railway and discover a country in the process of rediscovering itself. n

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Sweeping Caribbean views from a hillside cottage at Kittitian Hill in St. Kitts and Nevis


December 2013

Photo: PITER 2013

From St. Kitts to Bulgaria, more and more destinations are offering citizenship in return for sizeable cash investments in real estate projects or charitable funds. But why are so many people looking for second citizenship and what are the benefits of having a second passport for these new Global Citizens? Words: Joe Mortimer


A second passport offers visa-free travel — by land or by sea — to many countries for those with the means to acquire one


he world is getting smaller. Today, ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) travel around the world in private jets to snap up companies and invest in real estate, stopping here and there to explore new opportunities or spend two weeks on a yacht, before boarding the next flight to sign a deal in another continent. They are mobile, they are powerful and they are incredibly wealthy. With power and money come access to certain privileges that are beyond the reach of mere mortals. Chief among those privileges is the ultimate luxury travel accessory, a second passport. If you have the money and are willing to invest it abroad, there’s somewhere in the world that will acknowledge your contribution to its economy by offering you citizenship and all the privileges that come with it. Welcome to the age of the Global Citizen. Countries including the US and the UK have been offering citizenship in return for significant financial investment and job creation for decades, but the number of destinations that offer citizenship through real estate investment is on the rise, particularly in the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. Today, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda all offer attractive investment for citizenship programmes, as do EU countries including Bulgaria and Hungary.


December 2013

MEET THE GLOBAL CITIZEN So, who are these Global Citizens and why is a second citizenship appealing? “Globalisation is a fact; we are living global,” says Armand Arton, CEO and president of Arton Capital, an agency that facilitates the administrative side of the investment-for-citizenship process for UHNWI clients. “You and I have the world in our pockets — we are mobile. We are exchanging investments and ideas: trade and transactions are no longer locked within local economies, and the movement of people is more active. Global Citizens are individuals who recognise that the prosperity of one individual, one company or one nation is interdependent with the prosperity of others.” His big picture scenario is noble, but there are plenty of less philanthropic reasons to acquire second citizenship. Tax breaks, geographical security and simple investment opportunities are all valid motives, but perhaps the most attractive factor is the ease of travel, particularly for people whose nationalities can act as a barrier to entry to certain countries. Having a second citizenship in a Commonwealth country such as Dominica in the Caribbean offers visa-free travel to more than 100 countries around the world, something many passport holders can only dream of.



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“The key word is freedom,” says Arton. “Some might think that obtaining a second residence or citizenship is the latest craze, or an extravagant whim. But, to people with means who come from distressed regions, this is a way to secure their own future and the future of their families. Ultimately, securing a second and a third passport is about being able to make the best choice under the most favourable circumstances.” Many Global Citizens are wealthy individuals from troubled countries in the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia who want to remove the barriers to travel and find a secure destination to which they could potentially relocate their families if the situation called for it. One man who had it all except for freedom is Joseph Ghossoub, CEO and chairman of MENA Communications Group and former president of the International Advertising Association (IAA). During the Gulf War of the early 1990s, Ghossoub was stranded in Europe when his Lebanese passport meant he was placed on a no-fly list. A similar situation arose in the wake of 9/11, when life became very difficult for many Middle Eastern passport holders. “When you hold a passport from a troubled country, it is not fun at all, I can assure you. The ‘what ifs’ in this part of the world are so many and so uncontrollable,”

Developers are dreaming up projects that offer Global Citizens aspirational luxury travel experiences

says Ghossoub, who now holds citizenship in Bulgaria and St. Kitts and Nevis. “I now have a choice between the mountains of Europe and the beaches of St. Kitts to call home for me and my family. Money cannot buy you happiness, but nobody ever said that money can’t buy you tranquillity.” Ease of travel and safety and security are not the only reasons for obtaining second citizenship. According to wealth intelligence firm, Wealth-X, there are now 199,235 UHNWIs in the world, with a combined wealth of US $27.8 trillion — more than one third of the combined gross national product of all the countries in the world. As the rich get richer, certain governments are implementing taxes that oblige their wealthiest citizens to part with more of their hard-earned cash than ever before. Earlier this year France introduced a 75 percent tax for citizens with an annual income of more than EUR 1 million (US $1.34 million) and the results are already obvious. Read any European newspaper and you’ll find stories about high-profile politicians, businessmen and actors gaining second citizenship in foreign countries, among them former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and actor Gérard Depardieu, who holds seven passports from countries including Belgium and Russia as well as his native France.


HOW DOES IT WORK? On paper, the process of becoming a global citizen is relatively straightforward, but each country has different requirements, regulations and application processes that can be time consuming for the busy UHNWI. Companies such as Arton Capital facilitate entry into the world of global citizenship through A-Z consultancy services, so there is just one point of contact for the investor. The first challenge is choosing a destination. The requirements vary from country to country, starting from US $100,000 in Dominica. If money is no object and you meet the requirements of a government background check, anyone can become a Global Citizen. One country to recently formalise its programme is Antigua and Barbuda, which launched its ‘Citizenship by Investment Programme of Antigua and Barbuda’ this year. The programme promises citizenship within three months of making an investment in one of four areas: real estate, the government’s National Development Fund, a charitable fund contribution, or investing in a business. The minimum investment requirements vary, from a $250,000 cash donation to one of the funds, to a $400,000 investment in one of the government-approved real estate projects, or a business investment starting from $1.5 million. Additional fees apply depending

Four Seasons Resort Nevis is part of St. Kitts and Nevis’ well-established citizenship for investment programme


December 2013

on whether you are applying for a single citizenship or multiple citizenships for an entire family, as well as administrative fees. In return for your investment you receive lifetime citizenship, no tax on foreign income, duty-free trading within the Caribbean and visa-free travel to more than 110 countries. As with many countries, the cash donation option is the most cost-effective for instant results, but, according to Arton, more and more people are now investing in property for their own use. “Investors are interested in buying property for themselves and their families as well as for business,” he explains. “Usually, they start by buying condos or vacation houses for personal use and then they continue with making greater investments where they expect higher return in the form of capital gain.” Consequentially, more and more developers are dreaming up sustainable real estate and resort projects that offer investors aspirational luxury travel experiences as well as long-term potential for return on investment. GIVING BACK One such developer is Val Kempadoo, who hopes that his resort, Kittitian Hill, will put St. Kitts and Nevis back on the tourism map. St. Kitts has offered citizenship

Photo: PITeR 2013


A cottage at Kittitian Hill, St. Kitts

Thegoldenbook Kittitian Hill Tel: +1 869 466 1712

Four Seasons Resort Nevis Tel: +1 869 469 1111

Sweeping views of the Caribbean

for investment for several decades and is home to some already well-established properties including the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies, as well as several upcoming properties including a new Park Hyatt St. Kitts. But Kittitian Hill is raising the bar when it comes to sustainable development and community integration, with both factors central to the construction and operation of the project. Embracing the original philosophy and values of the ‘Citizenship by Investment Program’ of St. Kitts, Kempadoo hopes to attract investors of “good character” to Kittitian Hill, which is a complex of farmhouses, villas, cottages, suites and a boutique hotel, all spread out across 162 hectares of lush Caribbean hillside. A number of investment options are available, from full ownership for private use to fractional-ownership schemes on units that will go back into the hotel’s room inventory. In addition to the wealthy investors and holidaymakers that the resort will attract when its first phase opens next year, Kempadoo promises that Kittitian Hill will involve the local community every step of the way and be “a catalyst for change, bringing lasting benefits to the local people and economy.” A team of about 50 local contractors and craftsmen is working on the buildings, using local or sustainable materials.


December 2013

Photo: PITeR 2013

Arton Capital Tel: +971 4 319 7665

Kempadoo’s partner on the project is Patrick LiotardVogt, a Swiss investor and chairman of ASmallWorld (ASW), an invitation-only networking community for affluent, jetsetting individuals, who recently bought out the government’s stake in Kittitian Hill. As part of their commitment to the success of the resort and the wider tourism industry of St. Kitts and Nevis, the two entrepreneurs are offering all ASW members a free sevennight stay at Kittitian Hill when it opens. “My goal is to put St. Kitts on the map of this world and on the social agenda. It is a fantastic island and it is so much fun,” says Liotard-Vogt, who has bought three cottages on the development for his own use, making him eligible for the citizenship programme. “I took the passport, which I do not need, but I was happy to take it. As a Swiss [national] you are pretty fine, passport-wise.” Through Kittitian Hill, Kempadoo and Liotard-Vogt hope to attract discerning investors to St. Kitts and give back to the local community. This ideal echoes the Arton Capital chief executive’s belief that true Global Citizens are aware that their own prosperity is permanently intertwined with that of the communities they invest in, and that becoming a citizen is about more than just a passport. Indeed, becoming a Global Citizen is a socially conscious investment as well as a financially beneficial one. n

Photo: PITER 2013


Invest in a slice of island paradise at Kittitian Hill

December 2013


Night & dAy

Ever considered a break in the Polish capital? We explore the cobbled streets, charming squares and bustling bars of this Eastern European gem


Words: Oliver Robinson

10.45 Touch down in Warsaw Chopin Airport on Emirates EK0179 and catch a cab to Mamaison Hotel Le Regina (+48 22 531 6000;, which is situated in what used to be the Mokrowski Palace. The spectacular property boasts a similarly spectacular location in the heart of the capital’s Old Town. Alternatively, head to the 112-year-old Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel (+48 22 551 1000;, which was built with the backing and funds of Polish pianist-turned-Prime Minister, Ignacy Jan Paderewski and opened in 1901. 11.30 Once you’ve freshened up, get a sense of the capital’s rich history by following in the footsteps of the Polish kings of yore along the Royal Route (‘Trakt Królewski’), the road that runs between the Royal Castle and Wilanów Palace. Taxi to Wilanów and work your way back to the Old Town via Łazienki Park, also known as Royal Baths Park (above), home of the bronze Chopin Statue.

12.30 Since you’re passing through Łazienki, stop off for a sophisticated luncheon at Belvedere (+48 22 558 6700; pl), best reached via the Parkowa Street entrance. The menu is contemporary European fare with a decidedly Polish slant — try the starter of foie gras terrine with pear tart, dark chocolate and almonds, followed by the catfish baked with ginger served on vegetable julienne. It’s worth noting that in the summer months, Belvedere is the perfect spot to sip champagne in the sun. Contemporary culture vultures could take a detour to Dzielna 72 to see Monkey Business, one of the huge murals by Etam Cru, the now world-famous street art duo, Sainer and Bezt. 13.30 Once you’re back in the Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), pop into the Royal Castle (Zamkowy 4; +48 22 355 5170;, home to The Lanckoro ński Collection of Rembrandt paintings. Outside, meander

around the Castle Square and through the cobbled streets, stopping by the Old Town Market Place and the haunting statue of Mały Powstaniec (the Little Insurgent) on Podwale Street — a commemoration to the child soldiers who fought and died in the uprising against the Soviets. If you want to purchase a piece of Polish history, get to the suburb of Koło, home of Bazar ne Kole, before 14.00. This enormous antiques market sells everything from furniture to World War II memorabilia. 17.00 Depending on the day you visit, you may be lucky enough to catch a lateafternoon performance from the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra (www.filharmonia. pl). Founded in 1901, the orchestra is one of the oldest in Europe and, under the stewardship of artistic director, Maestro Antoni Wit, is still a musical force to behold. Performances — from symposia to gala concerts — take place in the arresting Viennese Secession-style Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall, which consists

Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall

Royal Baths Park

Hotel Bristol

of a 1,072-seat main concert hall and a 378seat chamber music hall. 20.00 You’ll have worked up an appetite by now, which is just as well since Warsaw’s dining scene has exploded in the past couple of years. Sushi Zushi on Zurawia Street (+48 22 420 3373; is a must for hip, young things with a taste for sushi served in slick environs. Those wanting more substantial sustenance should head to Butchery and Wine (22 Zurawia; +48 22 502 3118;, also on Ulica Zurawia, for the best steaks in town. No round-up of the Polish capital’s dining scene would be complete without a mention of Atelier Amaro (Agrykola 1; +48 22 628 5747;, Poland’s first Michelin-star restaurant, where chef Wojciech Modest Amaro brings the spirit of now-defunct Spanish restaurant El Bulli (his former employer) to the table via seasonal Polish ingredients paired with traditional liquors. Try the deer, blueberry and juniper paired with ‘old and young’ potato vodkas.

22.00 Warsaw truly comes alive after dark — from chic supperclubs packed with pouts and preening to Poznańska’s graffiti-strewn dives heaving with hipsters, there’s something for everyone. Start at Znajomi Znajomych (Wilcza 58a; +48 22 628 2061; www., where the bar’s exposed brickwork, mood lighting and great soundtrack combine for the perfect kickstart to the night. Syreni Śpiew (Szara 10a; +48 602 773 293; in Powile neighbourhood in the borough of Sródmieście is a little out of the way, but is arguably Warsaw’s coolest destination in one of the city’s coolest boroughs. 01.00 It may seem tempting to spend the entire evening in the aforementioned establishments, but it’s worth getting a taste of Warsaw’s club scene with a visit to De Lite (Marii Konopnickiej 6; www.deliteclub. com). The nondescript entrance would be easy to miss if it weren’t for the hulking doormen — and walking down the numerous

flights of stairs feels like a descent into the underworld, but your journey’s rewarded once you reach the packed bearpit-style dance floor. For a less cosy club experience, head to Sketch (Foksal 19; +48 602 762 764;, which is the go-to destination for the capital’s beautiful people. Fork out for a table and order by the bottle to attract a crowd. 04.00 Roll home to the comfort of your Mamaison suite for a few hours before hauling yourself out of bed for breakfast, then a bleary-eyed ride back to the airport. n

STAY Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel Tel: +48 22 551 1000

Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Tel: +48 22 531 6000

December 2013


MyCity Silvio M. Staub, president of White Turf, talks us through the essential things to see and experience in St. Moritz this ski season RoMantiK Hotel MuottaS MuRagl At 2,456 metres above sea level, this hotel offers one of the most beautiful views in Switzerland. Traditional Engadine specialities can be savoured in the Panorama restaurant while enjoying spectacular views of the Engadine Valley.

Wander in the footsteps of Giovanni Segantini, the most famous painter in the Alps. Nobody should miss a visit to the Segantini Museum in St. Moritz. Even for me, a local who has been countless times, I find these paintings very touching and beautiful every time I visit.

Samedan; +41 81 842 82 32;

Via Somplaz 30; +41 81 833 44 54;

CReSta Run

King’S Club

Since 1884, more than 30 annual races take place on the natural toboggan track between St. Moritz and Celerina, next to the Olympia Bob Run. It is breathtaking to watch reckless athletes dash by at speeds of up to 140 kph. The notorious bend, the Shuttlecock, is where bobbers who take excessive risks are thrown off the track and thus enter the legendary ‘Shuttlecock Club’.

The most famous nightclub of St. Moritz is at the Badrutt’s Palace Hotel. The notion of a closing time does not exist at the King’s Club — it is a place for celebration, dancing and enjoying the exclusive lifestyle of St. Moritz until the sun rises above the mountain scenery. Stars and starlets, the beautiful and the rich celebrate at the legendary club.

Via Serlas 27; +41 81 837 10 00;


DRaCula Club


Segantini MuSeuM

In the grounds of the Kulm Hotel, the most exclusive parties in town are celebrated at Dracula Club. Founded by Gunter Sachs, ‘Dracs’ was a magnet for jetset personalities during the 1970s. Today, Gunter’s son Rolf Sachs manages the club, which is the meeting place for St. Moritz’s high society. Via Veglia 18; +41 81 836 80 00;

la gonDola La Gondola is an atmospheric après-ski bar in a former cable car with a terrace in the middle of St. Moritz. They serve anything one could wish for, from mulled wine to the Engadine speciality salziz (a local smoked and air-dried sausage), and traditional cheese fondues.

HoRSe anD CaRRiage RiDe to Fex valley The ‘Val Fex’ is one of the most beautiful side valleys of the Engadine. A carriage ride in winter to the car-free Fex Valley from St. Moritz to Sils-Maria is a mystic and romantic experience for the whole family. Warmly wrapped in fur blankets, the trip takes you through idyllic snow-covered and glacial landscapes.

WHite tuRF HoRSeRaCeS

The traditional Engadine Restorant Central in Samedan serves the best homemade pasta specialities in St. Mortiz. Remos’ raviolis melt on the tongue.

For 107 years, the international horseraces on the frozen lake of St. Moritz have been the social and sporting highlight of the winter season. Of special interest are the Skikjöring races that are unique in the world, where daredevil drivers are pulled on skis by galloping thoroughbreds across the frozen lake, captivating more than 35,000 visitors every year. The next races take place on February 9, 16 and 23 in 2014.

Reservation required; 7503 Samedan; +41 81 852 5247;

Via Aruons 29; +41 81 833 84 60;

Reservation required; +41 79 751 86 05

ReMo’S Ravioli

December 2013

the Cresta Run

Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl view of the town from Kulm Hotel

A carriage ride in the snow

King’s Club at Badrutt’s Palace A thrilling horserace at White Turf

August 2013


Connoisseur An insider’s guide to the most luxurious hotels in the world

W Singapore – Sentosa Cove

T Mary Gostelow


Luxury travel connoisseur


December 2013

ake a break from the frenetic pace of Singapore and head 10 minutes across the causeway bridge to Sentosa Island, a wonderland of resorts, beaches and leisure activities that are more reminiscent of laid-back Thailand than business-focused Singapore. Here are three of the most friendly hotels on the island; all have free bike hire and access to Sentosa’s two golf courses. Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa, run by general manager Ben Bousnina, opened in 1993 and was completely redone in 2011. My favourite of the 454 rooms are the end rooms, numbers 601 to 1101, all with massive balconies. Inside, big bathrooms have all-glass walls allowing you to look out from the shower or the tub at the dozens of ships always moored out in the Singapore Strait. Dining choices include Silver Shell Cafe, with its two buffets (one set lower to the ground for kids), a seafood or Sunday brunch at Barnacles and sharing-plates at Casserole. There are beautiful sandy beaches that are safe for swimming and lots of natural greenery. A complimentary bus leaves every 20 minutes from 09.30am to Vivo City shopping mall. To recover, try a Singapore massage in the hotel’s CHI the Spa, or burn up the carbs in the Life gym, open 24 hours. Mövenpick Heritage Hotel Sentosa, built in 1940 as a British military barracks, opened as a 191-room hotel in 2012. Heritage rooms have stone terraces surrounded by glass that look out into lush greenery.

Interiors by Japanese design company Super Potato include a single trunk of Indonesian wood that forms a deliberately misshapen 14-seat table in The WoW bar. WoW, incidentally, stands for World of Whiskies, and the hotel’s general manager, Roland Svensson, has arranged a partnership with the original WoW in the historic Waldhaus am See hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland. That hotel’s legendary owner, Claudio Berlusconi, has 3,500 different whiskies. On Sentosa, the Mövenpick is able to offer 300 of those labels to sate the appetites of the growing number of Singaporeans and expats who enjoy whisky and food pairings. You might be lucky enough to try Macallan 1946, which sells for US $24,000 a bottle. Away from the tastings, the hotel has the relaxing Tablescape restaurant, a 24-hour Technogym and a 20-metre outdoor pool. Two minutes’ walk from Resorts World and Universal Studios, the hotel also offers free transport to Vivo City. W Singapore – Sentosa Cove is the ultra-fun youngest sibling of this Sentosa trio. Run by general manager Stephane Fabregoul, the hotel comprises 240 rooms and nearly the same number of private residences over five hectares of lush land. Since opening in September 2012, the W has become a popular honeymoon and, perhaps incongruously, conference location (convention-goers appreciate the ceiling-hung, noise-cancelling ‘lampshades’, under which you can hear your mobile phone without interruption). For the best rooms, try the 80 sq m rooftop Fantastic Suite, with its large private terrace, or one of the nine Away Rooms, with small private gardens, plunge pools, and direct access to the spa. The Technogym is 24 hours, and there’s a massive curvilinear outdoor pool. The hotel’s designer, Rockwell Group, has put in many fun elements: all-day The Kitchen Table restaurant has wooden ‘tables’ hanging upside down from the ceiling, while the salt and pepper containers are made from Laguiole horn in Skirt steakhouse and shaped like apple-green tree trunks in The Kitchen Table. Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa

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HOTEL DO CHIADO Rua Nova do Almada, Nยบ 114 | 1200 -290 Lisbon | Portugal Tel. +351 213 256 100 | Fax. +351 213 256 161 | Email:

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Passport This month, rejuvenate with a wellness retreat in Cambodia, golf with the pros in Abu Dhabi, discover India’s art scene or enjoy a VIP tour of the mysterious Kingdom of Bhutan

Tee off in Abu Dhabi The biggest names in golf will arrive in Abu Dhabi next month for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which runs from January 16–19. While it will be experience enough to be in the crowd, why not go one step further and be a participant? Book the ‘Week at the Tees’ package and you’ll not only get to watch the pros in action, but have the chance to play with a world top 30 player, too. The package includes seven nights at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, five rounds of golf at Abu Dhabi’s top courses including Saadiyat Beach and Yas Links, a four-day pass to the Championship and a golf clinic with a pro. The price also includes airport transfers as well as transportation to and from the hotel and golf courses. They’ve also thrown in a Yas Park Pass giving you access to Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, and a Wadi Adventure day pass in Al Ain should the action on the green slow down — or you want to extend your stay to take in a few more thrills. Available: now Price: from GBP 5,295 ($8,529) Book:


December 2013

Watch and play at the HSBC Golf Championship

Peace in paradise

*All prices are subject to change. Please contact the listed companies for further information.

Golden celebration

Song Saa Private Island is located off the coast of Cambodia. Rather than offering guests a separate spa space to relax and rejuvenate, the entire island resort is a sanctuary to unwind, with regenerative sites, outdoor salas and treatment villas nestled in the rainforest and along the shoreline. With the stress of a busy end of year, it makes sense to take time out to start 2014 afresh. Enter: the seven-day ‘Refresh Retreat’, a bespoke programme focused solely on regaining mental clarity and complete detachment from stress. While a stay on Cambodia’s first private island is a chance to shut down in itself, a few activities to help you relax couldn’t hurt. You’ll get a consultation with the resort’s head of wellness and enjoy massages, spa rituals, three private yoga sessions, two private guided meditations and exercises that you can take with you when you leave so that you can maintain that state of zen — at least, until the next staff meeting. Available: now Price: from US $4,608 Book:

Celebrate Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong’s 50th anniversary

In October, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong toasted its 50-year anniversary with a lavish gala party featuring celebrity guests, live performances and a 26-storey installation. The official party may be over, but that doesn’t mean that the celebrations have stopped. The iconic hotel has a special ‘Fantastic and 50’ experience so guests can come and experience the hotel in true VIP style. The package will treat guests to the best of what the hotel has to offer and includes accommodation in an Oriental Suite, a bottle of champagne on arrival, a champagne breakfast for two served in your suite, a 1963 dinner menu in the Michelin-starred Mandarin Grill + Bar and a Golden Sparkling Body Treatment in The Mandarin Spa. No celebration should be without a parting souvenir, which is why you will also receive a special 50th anniversary gift when you check out. Available: until December 29 Price: from HKD 19,888 ($2,565) for the first night and HKD 9,888 ($1,275) for the second night Book:

December 2013



Art in India With such a colourful culture, it is unsurprising that India is the birthplace of so many acclaimed contemporary artists and home to spectacular architecture. Tour India through its art with Abercrombie & Kent, in this 13-day trip hosted by Dr. Hugo K Weihe of Christie’s auction house. Your journey begins at the Imperial Hotel in Delhi, home to three art galleries with collections from artists of the 17th and 18th centuries. Over the next few days, you will visit various museums and eat with notables of the Indian art world including collectors, photographers and artists. You will also receive VIP Vernissage tickets so you can meet the exhibitors at the Indian Art Fair in Delhi. From Delhi, you’ll travel from Agra to Jaipur and Udaipur, and the tour includes stops at landmarks including the Taj Mahal and City Palace in Udaipur before finishing in Mumbai with a stay at the iconic Taj Mahal Palace. Available: January 29 to February 10 Price: from GBP 9,949 ($15,931) per person Book:

Absorb India’s breathtaking art and architecture

A blockbuster break It’s not unheard of for film buffs to travel to the filming locations of their favourite movies. The people at VeryFirstTo, in conjunction with luxury travel firm Unmissable, are making it easier with a three-month tour of the most iconic film locations around the world, covering 10 countries and 20 locations. Don’t fret if your movie trivia is a bit rusty — you’ll get a private guided tour at each destination, from Katz’s delicatessen in NYC (made famous in the movie When Harry Met Sally), to the breathtaking landscape of Glencoe in Scotland (the backdrop to the movie Braveheart). Even if you aren’t as much of a movie buff as your travelling companion, you’ll still be ticking some top destinations off your bucket list —and you’ll get to stay in the suites of the classiest hotels along the way, including Hotel Bel Air in LA and the Mandarin Oriental Toyko. Available: now Price: from GBP 198,000 ($317,097) per couple including business-class flights (when available) Book:


December 2013

Revisit ‘La Dolce Vita’ at Rome’s Trevi Fountain

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, we’re Marriott.


Fashion on Fifth Avenue Dior is synonymous with fashion and although it may be a French house, it has a second home firmly planted in America’s fashion capital of New York. Such is the city’s love affair with the label, St. Regis New York has dedicated an entire suite to it. The suite’s design is inspired by the Dior atelier in Paris, featuring a pale colour palatte, French furniture and a selection of Christian Dior’s sketches adorning the walls. Book a night in the suite and you’ll be treated to an exclusive Dior shopping experience, where you and a guest can enjoy a full American breakfast at the hotel before spending the afternoon on the second floor of the Dior boutique on 57th Street, opened exclusively for your visit. There, staff will present to you with a personalised collection of products for your perusal. That evening, you can enjoy private beauty treatments in your suite to help you feel a million dollars before a night out on the town in Manhattan. Available: until December 31 Price: from $11,000 per night Book: +1 212 339 6738

Stay in the lavish Dior Suite at St. Regis New York

Himalayan luxury The Kingdom of Bhutan has long been a destination of intrigue; despite being bordered by China and India, it has remained steadfastly isolated from outside cultural influences. It’s one of the least-visited places on earth, but is home to a handful of luxe resorts. COMO Hotels and Resorts has launched a seven-night ‘Luxury Himalayan Escape’ so discerning travellers can come and experience Bhutan in style. You’ll arrive into Paro airport via private jet — on the only private jet service authorized to fly into Bhutan — and transfer to COMO’s Uma Paro lodge in the Paro Valley, where you’ll stay for four nights before moving north to the Punakha Valley to Uma Punakha for your final three nights. Your days will be filled with private excursions including guided hikes, whitewater rafting on the Mo Chu river, a meeting with local monks and resort activities such as a COMO Shambhala Massage and dinner in the courtyard at Uma Paro. Available: now Price: from $92,000 from Dubai, including return private jet flights Book:


December 2013

Discover the mysteries of landlocked Bhutan

Raffles Praslin Seychelles

Desroches Island

Maia Luxury Resort & Spa

Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa

Raffles Praslin Seychelles

Four Seasons Resort Seychelles


WWW.DOTW.COM Real-time online booking confirmations for more than 100,000 ground services in over 7,500 cities. Net wholesale rates for hotels, resorts, apartments, villas, transfers, sightseeing tours and excursions worldwide.


Banyan Tree Seychelles



The Middle East has had a long and passionate love affair with cars, from the trusty 4x4s that helped conquer the deserts of Arabia, to the luxurious supercars that can be seen cruising around Dubai’s nightspots every night of the week. It’s no surprise, then, that the 12th edition of the Dubai International Motor Show was the biggest yet. Visitors were treated to 108 global and regional car launches as well as 15 futuristic concept cars, showcasing some of the design and technological innovations that will shape the world of automobile manufacturing in the years to come. From the most expensive to the most nostalgic, here are our favourites.

“Meo Costantini embodies the most successful era in Bugatti’s racing history. When Bugatti created the Type 35, he inspired one of the most successful racing cars of all time” Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber, president, Bugatti Automobiles SAS

Engine: 8.0-litre W16 Power: 1,184 bhp Torque: 1,500 Nm 0–100 kph: 2.6 secs 0–200 kph: 7.1 secs 0–300 kph: 16.0 secs Top speed: 410 kph Fuel consumption: 23.1 l/100 km CO2 emissions: 539 g/km Origin: Molsheim, France Cost: US $2.8 million

BUGATTI VEYRON MEO COSTANTINI When you have already created a car as good as the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, there’s not really much point dreaming up another. There are plenty of reasons for creating jaw-dropping, limited-edition versions of that model though — about 2.80 million reasons to be precise. The ‘Meo Costantini’ is the third of six limited-edition models being dreamed up by the company’s design team as part of ‘Les Légendes de Bugatti’ series. Named after racing driver and friend of founder Ettore Bugatti, Bartolomeo “Meo” Costantini, this vehicle takes its design cues from the Bugatti Type 35, with its distinct blue and polished aluminium body and laser engravings on the interior that capture the essence of the world of motor racing in the 1920s.

December 2013


Alfred Dunhill Ltd

On the road On the road

ASTON MARTIN CC100 SPEEDSTER CONCEPT Engine: 6.0l-litre V12 Power: 565 bhp Torque: 570 Nm 0–100 kph: 4.5 secs Top speed: 305 kph Origin: Gaydon, UK

Aston Martin celebrated its 100th birthday this year, and what better way to commemorate the milestone than by creating a car that combines the best of the early years with the latest technical innovations? At first glance, you would be forgiven for thinking the CC100 Speedster Concept is a restored vintage racer. The conspicuous absence of a roof or windscreen and the raised bodywork behind the driver and passenger seats is reminiscent of the Aston Martin DBR1, while the big racing number on the bonnet is a nod to its racing heritage. But, under the hood, the CC100 boasts the engine of a V12 Vantage Roadster, the fastest car in the British carmaker’s current line-up. The extra wide grille and curvaceous bodywork could be the shape of things to come.

December 2013


On the road

ROLLS-ROYCE CELESTIAL PHANTOM Engine: 4.8-litre V12 Power: 453 bhp Torque: 720 Nm 0-100 kph: 6.1 secs Top speed: 240 kph Fuel consumption: 14.9 l/100km CO2 emissions: 347 g/km Origin: London, UK Cost: Undisclosed

When the first ever Rolls-Royce Phantom was handed over to its proud owner at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2003, it was a special night. Thousands of stars twinkled in the sky, and the British luxury carmaker celebrated the first of many successful deliveries. To commemorate that night a decade ago, the company decided to create a car that went beyond the usual realm of luxury expected from Rolls-Royce — a birthday gift from themselves, to themselves. And so, the Celestial Phantom was born. With a midnight blue exterior, the extended wheelbase model is a spectacle to behold, but the real magic starts on the inside. Above the seats, more than 1,000 fibre optic lights have been sewn into the car’s roof lining in the exact pattern in which the stars appeared in the sky on that fateful night 10 years ago. On either side, diamonds have been stitched into the leather door panels and set in the central console and privacy divider. CEO Torsten MüllerÖtvös confirmed that the Celestial Phantom is the most expensive RollsRoyce ever made, but remained tightlipped over the identity of the man who bought the car and how much he paid.

December 2013



Ignition Sectiony


For a balance of refinement and elegance with speed and power, look no further than the Bentley Continental GT Speed Words: Joe Mortimer

WHEN I pull up outside the Bentley showroom, the Continental GT Speed is waiting outside, surrounded by a red velvet rope hung from brass posts. Without exception, everyone who passes by stops to take a photo and it’s easy to see why. It stands out in Bentley’s eye-catching ‘Apple Green’, but beyond that, it’s one of the most beautiful cars on the road. The differences between the GT Speed and your average Bentley Continental are obvious from the outset. It sits lower to the ground and its large 10-spoke, 21-inch wheels look like they mean business. At the front end, the black lattice effect of the grille continues down to a wide air intake at the bottom and two additional intakes on either side. A single ridge that runs down the middle of the hood, as well as the slightly pronounced haunches, enhance the car’s muscular look. Stooping inside, I’m overwhelmed by the heady scent of leather; a rich aroma that conjures memories of posh London bootmakers and tack

rooms at the finest stables. It’s a smell that is unmistakably British and it fills me with nostalgia. There are other elements inside that hark back to a bygone era: the organ-stop controls for the air conditioning, the aluminiumrimmed dials and a Breitling clock face embedded in the central console. However, that’s where the trip down memory lane ends; apart from the vintage touches, this is a thoroughly modern carriage. The low roof immediately reminds you of the GT Speed’s racing prowess, and the dark tint, engine-turned aluminium finish on the dashboard and passenger cockpit combine the essence of motoring and aviation, a sense enhanced by Bentley’s familiar winged emblem emblazoned on the steering wheel and gearstick. Firing up the engine, I’m surprised by how quiet it is. The powerful 6.0-litre, twin-turbo W12 can produce 616 bhp and speeds in excess of 300 kph, but from where I’m sitting, it sounds more like a kitten than a lion; a comforting purr rather than a roar.

NUTS & BOLTS Engine: 6.0-litre twin-turbo Power: 616 bhp Torque: 800 Nm 0–100kph: 4.2 secs Top speed: 329 kph

Consumption: 14.5 l/100km CO2 emissions: 338 g/km Origin: Crewe, England Cost: from AED 992,000 (US $270,000)

The onboard computer is straightforward and the navigation system is one of the best I have encountered, with an easy-to-use interface and clear instructions displayed on both the central eight-inch touchscreen and in the dash-mounted display. The sound system is engineered by Naim, a UK-based audio specialist that has created a bespoke product for Bentley designed to deliver crisp, clear sounds even at high speeds. Bells and whistles aside, this is a car designed for driving, so driving we go. Pulling away, I immediately get a sense of the power that lies in wait. The GT Speed pulls at the reins, hungry to speed up to a gallop, but remains obedient and restrained. The drive is smooth, but not to the point that you lose all sense of the road; even when you program the adjustable dampers to the most comfortable setting, you still feel connected to the tarmac beneath you.

When unleashed, the power is breathtaking. The purr of the W12 becomes a throaty bellow. For a large car, the top speed of 329 kph seems unbelievable until you start driving it – then it seems entirely feasible. One complaint is the position of the manual gear paddles, which quickly disappear out of reach when turning. The Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system has a wonderful ‘Dynamic’ mode that encourages the wheels to slip a little, which is immensely enjoyable when coming out of corners at speed, but the allwheel drive system means that you are always in control. The steering is uncompromising, even when pushing the throttle on a bend. In the past decade, luxury cars have improved on performance and high-performance cars have added more luxury finishings. With a design that combines the golden era of racing with pure Bentley refinement and an engine that is as much brains as brawn, the GT Speed seems to have achieved the best of both. ■ dotwnews.comDecember Month 20XX 2013


Sail away

Built: 2013 Length: 43.6 m Beam: 9.26 m Gross tonnage: 390 tonnes Draught: 2.58 m Cruising speed: 14 knots Range: 3,500 nautical miles (at 12 knots) Home port: New England, US Broker: Northrop & Johnson Charter: from US $200,000 per week Cost: $24.5 million


Among the star-studded events during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show last month was the official global unveiling of Checkmate, the latest in the Vision series of yachts from Italian shipbuilder, Benetti. Finished in a two-tone palette inside and out, in celebration of the owner’s passion for chess, Checkmate is a 145-foot superyacht with a refined and timeless design by Stefano Righini. Four ensuite cabins plus an owner’s cabin with 180-degree panoramic views sleep 12 guests in total. Passengers can enjoy the vast sun deck and its hot tub, the rooftop “Sky Lounge” located on the upper deck and an indoor/outdoor dining area that’s perfect for meals under the stars. Inside, sophisticated designs by Zuretti include the use of Madrona Burr veneer and Cherry wood throughout, as well as marble bathrooms and dark neoclassical carvings. The main and lower decks feature oversized rectangular windows so guests can enjoy panoramic views, whether they are cruising around St. Barts or exploring the New England coastline.



ANTIguA CHARTER YACHT SHOW Antigua, West Indies (below) December 6–12

SAlON NAuTIQuE INTERNATIONAl DE PARIS Paris, France December 7–15

THE 7TH SANYA INTERNATIONAl bOAT SHOW Sanya, China December 10–13

“Finished in a two-tone palette in celebration of the owner’s passion for chess, Checkmate is a 145-foot superyacht with a refined and timeless design”

December 2013


Suite dreams

As time goes by

Hotel Albergo’s Executive Suite is an elegant example of modern luxury combined with the old-world charm of a culture caught in the crossroads, writes Rebecca Haddad


here are two things the Lebanese do well: celebrate their rich culture with pride and consistently welcome visitors as if they were old friends. I experience both of these almost as soon as I pull up outside Hotel Albergo, a lovingly converted 1930s Levant mansion in the affluent suburb of Achrafieh in Beirut. The doorman greets me with a smile as wide as the moon and quickly ushers me into the cosy lobby, where I am welcomed as if I were here only last week. The boutique nature of Hotel Albergo, a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux collection, adds to the homely feel of the place. There are just 33 charming rooms and suites, each celebrating aspects of Lebanon’s rich heritage, which is a cultural cocktail of Oriental opulence, Arabic tradition and European sophistication. I am checked into a 55-square-metre Executive Suite on the first floor. In this part of the world, decor isn’t done by halves and this suite is no exception. Richly coloured Persian carpets cover the floor of the main living room, which is adorned with antique furnishings in clashing prints of ochre, rose and deep blue, sourced by interior designer Tarfa Salam from cities as far afield as Washington DC, Paris and London. Paintings and ceramic plates hang on


December 2013

the room’s mint-green walls, while an elaborate Ottoman-inspired chandelier completes the decorations. The scene before me wouldn’t work in any other part of the world, and I am surprised by how settled it makes me feel. It isn’t until several minutes later that I realize the TV of modest size is tucked away in the corner of the living room. In fact, most of the mod cons are hidden away, with the minibar hidden in the dressing room and the iPod speaker dock balancing on one of the side tables in the bedroom. Located off to the immediate left of the main lounge is the bathroom, classically decorated with mosaic tiles, old-fashioned shower and tap fixtures, and a glass vase of Dead Sea salts should you wish to soak in the tub. So classic is the bathroom that the only hint of anything modern is the hairdryer and Molton Brown amenities — a contemporary bathroom would have simply looked out of place. Through French double doors at the end of the living room stands the four-poster bed dressed in soft, white sheets. Almost immediately I am welcomed with fresh lemonade, fruit and Turkish delight, which I enjoy while leaning out over the small but chic balcony, which looks onto Abdel Wahab El Inglizi Street below. That at-home feel continues throughout the hotel, where

you can wander about doing whatever you please. Take the old-fashioned lift to the roof to sit by the pool, breathing in the scent of the surrounding orange blossoms; indulge in a spa treatment; or come home from a day exploring the local neighbourhood before heading to one of the two on-site restaurants for a late lunch. The night is always young in Beirut and as the sun sets, the sound of honking cars fills the air as crowds head to the nearby hotspots of Downtown and Rue Monot. I opt for a quieter start to the evening on the hotel’s rooftop terrace, an intimate space surrounded by ivy and bougainvillea, and furnished with cane tables — several of which are already occupied by other guests with the same idea. I order a glass of French red and a selection of Arabic mezze (a cultural crossroad of the culinary kind) and watch Beirut’s night lights flicker on, selfishly wishing I could keep this charming Achrafieh hotel a secret. n

The important bit What: Executive Suite Where: Hotel Albergo, Beirut Price: from $600 per night Tel: +961 1 33 97 97

Mixed media Shaping individuality with a few components – USM communicates your ideas into a daily picture. Request detailed information or visit our sales partner. Distribution Middle East: Star Office L.L.C., P.O. Box 10237, Dubai U.A.E. Phone +971 4 341 03 66, Fax +971 4 341 03 77,, USM U. Schärer Söhne AG, 3110 Münsingen/Switzerland, Phone +41 31 720 72 72,

BEYOND EXPECTATION The legacy continues with The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort.

Set along a pristine white beach, overlooking azure blue waters and accompanied by the prestigious Saadiyat Island Golf Course, the century-old heritage of St. Regis is redifined with Arabian flair. Mediterranean living with world-class golf against an azure sea, one of the many reasons why.

saadiyat island, abu dhabi +971.2.498.8888

a legacy of luxury. now at over 30 of the world’s finest hotels & resorts.

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Destinations of the World News - DOTWNews - December 2013 issue  

Few places are as chock-full of stories as Los Angeles, home of one of the world’s biggest film industries, the dotcom revolution and more l...

Destinations of the World News - DOTWNews - December 2013 issue  

Few places are as chock-full of stories as Los Angeles, home of one of the world’s biggest film industries, the dotcom revolution and more l...

Profile for dotw_news