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Contents Fresh perspectives on the news and people that matter in the Middle East

Business 12 FIRST WORD

CEO’s on hiring the best talent

14 INVESTMENT DESTINATION Gulf investors look to Turkey

16 NEW BUSINESS HUB

Abu Dhabi’s central business district

18 LEADERSHIP

18

Jumeirah Group CEO, Gerard Lawless

20 PROFILE

22

Life in Saudi’s ARAMCO compound

22 COVER STORY

Ben Affleck Exclusive

28 Concierge

UAE’s top concierge companies

30 COFFEE AT THE CLUB

Farahnaz Karim connects philanthropists

28 14

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special report 34 BULGARIA: Europe’s safe bet

Why the country is attracting foreign investment

37 cITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT

Bulgaria offers citizenship for foreign investment

40 Bulgarian visionary

Irina Bokova, head of UNESCO

42 History and CULTURE

Discover Bulgaria’s ancient history

46 Tourism

Bulgaria’s village charm

Lifestyle 52 GIZMOS & GADGETS Hottest new releases

54 auto

Bentley’s custom cars

34

56 Customised creations

54

57 Design

Blacking out Rolex

Vertu’s bespoke luxury

58 Focus on islamic aRT Dubai’s latest exhibitions

60 TRAVEL

A trip to magical Bhutan

78

64 HIP HOTELS

Stately homes and castles

68 LITTLE BLACK BOOK Mumbai city guide

70 YACHTS

Azimut 45’s innovative design

72 WELL BEING

The Paleo diet and lifestyle

74 DINING

Dubai’s best steak houses

76 Grooming

Fall fragrances and skin protectors

78 FASHION

Salvatore Ferragamo’s Autumn collection

70

80 horology

80

Oversized timepieces

September / October 2012 GC 5


Giving a voice to worthy causes When A-list celebrities put their names behind noteworthy causes and issues, they can push them to the front of the world’s stage to get much-needed attention and support. Our cover subject, Hollywood superstar Ben Affleck, is using the power of his popularity to do just that–both through his films and humanitarian work. Embodying the spirit of global citizenship, he has championed the plight of women and children in marginalized communities in Africa through his charity, The Eastern Congo Initiative. And in his professional life, his latest film, Argo, tackles a hot political topic while retelling the tail of the Iran hostage crisis. In our exclusive chat with the actor, he shares why this project and understanding the Middle East is so important to him. Long before expats came to the UAE, westerners flocked to Saudi Arabia to work at oil giant ARAMCO. On page 20, we

bring you a rare glimpse inside the company and expat life inside Saudi Arabia from one of its longest serving expats, ARAMCO General Counsel David Kultgen. Also in this issue we have a 16 page special report on Bulgaria. The country has emerged as one of Europe’s hottest new investment destinations. Its economic and political stability, affordability as well as unique investment programs have brought a flood of interest from Middle East investors. We bring you a snapshot of the country’s business climate, culture and history. And don’t miss our lifestyle section which is all about you! From concierge services that will take care of your every whim, to the most luxurious bespoke cars and watches, discover the very best in customized concepts. Enjoy this issue and, as always, we look forward to your feedback so please do drop us a line with your thoughts. RITU UPADHYAY Editorial Director

Global Citizen

TM

editorial DIRECTOR Ritu Upadhyay - rupadhyay@reachmedia.ae Senior editor Natasha Tourish - ntourish@reachmedia.ae Lifestyle Editor Aysha Majid - amajid@reachmedia.ae ART DIRECTOR Omid Khadem - okhadem@reachmedia.ae CONTRIBUTORS Dania Saadi, Nina Glinski, Sara Hamdan, Heba Hashem, Shane Philips, Patricia Andrews, Nausheen Noor, Tahira Yaqoob, Matt Hamilton Printed by Raidy Emirates printing group www.global-citizen.com www.facebook.com/GlobalCitizenMag MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE NEOPROMO FZ LLC Dubai Media City, Building 6, Ground Floor, Office G08, PO Box 118368, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 391 4842 Fax: +971 4 391 8022 Email: info@neopromo.net

REACH MEDIA FZ LLC publisher Armand Peponnet Advertising sales@reachmedia.ae SUBSCRIPTION subscription@reachmedia.ae Dubai Media City, Building 8, Ground Floor, Office 87, PO Box 502068, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 385 5485 Email: info@reachmedia.ae Copyright 2012 Reach Media. All rights reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the permission of Reach Media .Where opinion is expressed it is that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the editorial views of the publisher or Global Citizen. All information in Global Citizen is checked and verified to the best of the publisher’s ability, however the publisher cannot be held responsible for any mistake or omission enclosed in the publication.

6 GC September / October 2012


Nina Glinski

Shane Phillips

Tahira Yaqoob

recently relocated to Dubai from New York, leaving a position with a social media startup to pursue a career in journalism. After earning her B.A. in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania, Nina worked as an analyst for Morgan Stanley and CLSA Asia Pacific Markets.

Shane is a leading Executive Search Consultant in the region and is the Managing Director of Shane Phillips Consultants, a local boutique search firm. Given his passion for the employment market, Shane has his own show on Dubai Eye 103.8 every Thursday at 8pm called “Eye On Careers.”

is a freelance journalist with 18 years’ experience in newspapers and magazines. She spent seven years at the Daily Mail as a news reporter and then deputy showbusiness editor before moving to the UAE in 2008, where she worked as a senior features writer at The National for four years before freelancing full time.

Dania Saadi

Sara Hamdan

Matthew Hamilton

is a bilingual journalist with a decade of experience in journalism in the Middle East. As a business reporter for Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper, she has covered all aspects of the Lebanese economy and financial markets. She also contributes to various news agencies in the UAE, Iraq, Egypt and Syria.

is a Dubai-based stringer for the New York Times. She also regularly contributes to Rolling Stone and Variety. Fluent in four languages including Arabic, Sara has lived and worked in the region for five years – two as a banker with Merrill Lynch and three in the media industry.

is an American writer based in LA. His writing has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, The National, and Monocle, among other publications. He first came to the Middle East fresh out of college to teach Iraqi refugee children in Jordan before returning to the US to pursue a career in journalism.

8 GC September / October 2012


Elegance is an attitude Andre Agassi

TOGETHER, WE’RE BUILDING HIS FUTURE Since Andre Agassi retired from professional tennis, he hasn’t stopped pursuing excellence. Founding and inspiring the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education and the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy. To give underprivileged children a chance to receive an education, learn a trade and build a life. Longines is happy to help. It funded the Longines Scholarship Fund for Agassi Prep Graduates. Allowing gifted and motivated youngsters to

The Longines Saint-Imier Collection

www.longines.com

learn a trade with a future, at the N.G. Hayek Watchmaking School.


SHORE TO SHORE Swimmers patiently wait for their turn to start the annual Lake Zurich crossing. Participants swam for 1,500 meters, crossing the lake from the Mythenqaui to Tiefenbrunnen beaches. Each year the event attracts thousands of swimmers.

the B i g P i c t u re


word

P e r s p e c t i v e s f r o m t h e to p

Hire Right One of the most important jobs of a Chief Executive Officer or Managing Director is creating a high performance team. Top CEOs from the region share their perspectives on how to hire the right people. By Shane Phillips

Tom Nauwelaerts Managing Director, Al Futtaim Logistics “The Dubai environment is such a unique workplace that it requires that little bit more from job candidates. Besides high academic and professional attributes, I’m looking for people who give me the spark, that sense of positivism and will to succeed in the Dubai work place. I don’t want job hoppers or career hunters, but people with that drive and energy to build something lasting and worthwhile. Perform and excel first and be rewarded later is my motto.”

Raju Shroff Managing Director, Regal Group “When hiring key executives I prefer candidates who are holistic in what they do, who understand the business from every angle and understand how to create a mutually accountable team. Today’s executive has to understand IT, HR, logistics, finance, marketing; they need to have the whole gamut of skills. They have to have in-depth knowledge of the industry. Focus, direction and vision are the fundamental ingredients of a winner. I will usually gravitate towards those individuals who are focused and have insight into the industry. I need people who are going to be immediate value adds to the business but also have a long term vision for self and team growth.”

12 GC September / October 2012


first word

Ahmed Ismail CEO, MAF Ventures “In addition to the typical qualities of executive leadership and industry competence, I increasingly look for three differentiating qualities in my executive team. First is strategic agility in order to effectively navigate today’s increasingly complex markets and business environment. Second is an uncompromising value system that puts integrity ahead of anything else. Third is a genuine interest in people development and coaching.”

Feroz Saleem CEO, Bayer Pearl “I look for potentials that demonstrate what we call LIFE values - Leadership, Integrity, Flexibility and Efficiency. A strong candidate should exhibit a history of accountability for their actions and results – both successes and failures. I look for examples on how the candidate has balanced short term results with long term requirements in their past roles. No matter what position we recruit for, an in-depth understanding of our industry is vital. Agility and ability to adapt to future trends and needs also illustrates the candidate’s flexibility. Efficiency for me is also a crucial trait whereby we look for candidates that are able to demonstrate how they focused on activities that have created value for key stakeholders in our industry.”

Alex Mussallam CEO, MAF Dalkia Middle East “I look for well-rounded professionals who are team players, have a history of leadership and proof of past success. The multicultural environment we live in the Middle East is a challenge to overcome, and having professionals who are able to manage their teams, while meeting the expected results in this environment is indispensable. I also search for professionals who are flexible, having the ability to revise plans in the face of obstacles and setbacks. The executives should positively impact not only their teams but also their peers through their personalities and teamwork. We like employees who above all, desire to make a difference in everything they do.”

September / October 2012 GC 13


Investment

Investment Flows into Turkey Turkey’s shift towards Islamic finance coupled with government reforms draws Gulf investors. By Dania Saadi

ulf investors are plowing more money than ever into Turkey. From hospitality firms to private equity houses, Gulf firms are betting on profiting from Turkey’s growth and reforms. The country’s economic and political stability, coupled with its young population and strong focus on Islamic finance puts it ahead of many investment destinations in the region and in Europe. The 75 million population-strong country straddling Europe and Asia is also embarking on major reforms to lure more investments and bolster its $772 billion GDP economy. One such move expected to open the floodgates of Gulf money is the Turkish government’s easing of

14 GC September / October 2012

Bilkis Ismail, counsel at Dubai based law firm SJ Berwin.

foreign ownership property restrictions. (Already Gulf firms have been busy doing business in Turkey this year.) Kuwait’s Burgan Bank bought Turkish lender Eurobank Tekfen and Abu Dhabi-based food and beverage firm Agthia Group acquired Turkish spring water firm Pelit Su. Abu Dhabi’s energy firm Taqa is looking at investments in Turkey, while Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Capital is also eyeing new deals there. The revolutions transforming the Middle East have thrown Gulf investors into the arms of Turkey as investment safe havens in the region diminish. “Because of the Arab spring, fund managers have been reluctant to make


Investment

Image courtesy of Corbis / ArabianEye.com

investments in the GCC region (other than in Saudi Arabia), which has resulted in a large amount of dry powder in MENA focused funds,’’ said Dubai-based Bilkis Ismail, counsel at law firm SJ Berwin, who is a member of the International Private Funds team. “Fund managers, where the fund documentation permits, are now deploying these monies for investment into Turkey.’’ Investors are particularly interested in healthcare, consumer, transportation, industrials, manufacturing, and infrastructure and telecom sectors in Turkey, she added. Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund was part of a group that had bid for a stake in Turkish airport operator TAV Havalimanlari Holding. Saudi Arabia’s telecom firm Saudi Oger has a controlling stake in Turk Telecom, the country’s biggest phone company. ISLAMIC FINANCE A growing area of interest for Gulf firms is Turkey’s Islamic finance arena. This industry is benefitting from Turkey’s shift of focus from integrating with Europe to bolstering ties with its Arab and Islamic neighbours, under the leadership of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Islam-leaning Justice and Development Party. “This is not something that Turkey has previously fully capitalized on, due to its focus on being a secular state and thereby continuing its quest to obtain membership of the European Union,’’ said Ismail. “But with the Arab Spring fallout there is an increasing appetite for Islamic finance in Turkey.” This mutual interest in Islamic finance came to the fore in 2011 when a $350-million Islamic bonds or sukuk issued by Turkish bank Kuveyt Turk, an affiliate of Islamic lender Kuwait Finance House, attracted strong Gulf interest. Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank or NCB is majority owner of Turkish Islamic lender Turkiye Finans. Turkish apprehension about Islamic institutions persists and is behind the classification of Turkish Islamic lenders as “participation banks.’’ Turkey’s struggle between its secular

image and the growing power of Islamic roots is not the only issue facing the country. Turkey, which suffered a financial crisis in 2001, has a host of economic problems from underdeveloped infrastructure to corporate governance. “There are still issues with the grey economy. Sometimes the infrastructure is outdated or incomplete,’’ said Jarmo Kotilaine, Chief Economist of NCB Capital. Strong economic growth in the last two

economy. The IMF has also called on Turkey to undertake more reforms in the labour market and education system. “One of the biggest issues in Turkey is corporate governance. It remains to be seen whether the new Turkish Commercial Code will help to address transparency issues and allay investors’ concerns,’’ said Ismail. “Turkey is heavily focused on local relationships and whilst there is a lot of interest in Turkey from regional and

"Turkey’s shift towards Islamic Finance coupled with government reforms bolsters Gulf investments."

global managers, without the local relationships or using a local intermediary, they are not getting the traction in finding the right deals. That is half the challenge with Turkey.’’

years has led to a steep current account deficit that reached 10 percent of GDP in 2011, but has since subsidized in 2012 as the economic turmoil in its main trade partner, Europe, and global economic malaise helped slow down an overheating

TOURISM BOOST Turkey’s booming hotel industry, which has benefitted from an uptick of Arab tourists who are shunning unstable countries in the region, has promoted hotel firms, including Abu Dhabi-based Rotana and Dubai’s Jumeirah Group, to look for properties there. Jumeirah this year acquired management of Istanbul’s historic Pera Palace and is on the prowl for more deals. “We are looking at potential projects both in Turkey’s major cities as well as in the resort locations,’’ said Piers Schreiber, Jumeirah Group’s vicepresident of corporate communications. “We see growing demand for luxury hotels both from domestic and foreign travellers.’’

September / October 2012 GC 15


Business

A New Business Hub Emerges Can the UAE house two central business districts without competing with each other? GC investigates. By Patricia Andrews

An artist rendering of Al Maryah island in Abu Dhabi

s the United Arab Emirates big enough for two business districts? This question will soon be put to the test as Sowwah Square, Abu Dhabi’s Central Business District (CBD) on Al Maryah Island, thought to rival well-known established centres in Singapore, New York and London, is well underway. But in the lead up to it’s completion, officials say Abu Dhabi’s business hub is not competing with Dubai’s well established financial centre, the DIFC, located just 120 kilometers north of the capital. Abdulla Al Shamsi, Vice President at Mubadala Real Estate and Hospitality told Global Citizen, “Collectively, both Al Maryah Island and the DIFC present a strong proposition to international markets – one that demonstrates that there is a firmly-rooted financial sector in the Emirates offering a robust and stable place to do business. Al Maryah Island is not in direct competition with the DIFC.”

16 GC September / October 2012

He elaborated: “At this stage the focus is on building a critical mass of professional companies and people. This will ultimately complement the DIFC by attracting more business professionals to the UAE.” Formerly Sowwah Island, Abu Dhabi municipality recently renamed the island project Al Maryah after the historical village in Liwa Oasis, (which is inhibited by pure bred Arabian Oryx called Al Maryah.) The name change is aimed at showcasing what the Abu Dhabi municipality calls “the true historical and environmental values of the UAE and the economic and urban importance of the island.” Abdulla Al Shamsi

"...both Al Maryah Island and the DIFC...demonstrate there is a firmly rooted financial sector in the UAE offering a robust and stable place to do business."


Business

Al Shamsi says this is the first time Abu Dhabi will have a dedicated business district. “It is modelled on the world’s foremost commercial centres such as Canary Warf, Midtown Manhattan, and Clarke Quay in Singapore.” Al Maryah is being developed in phases, the first of which is Sowwah Square, which is considered the ‘heart’ of the business district. It features 180,000 square meters of grade ‘A’ office space integrated with leisure, shopping and dining facilities.

impact for Abu Dhabi’s and the UAE’s economy. Across the world it has been demonstrated that bringing likeminded people together spawns new ideas, innovation and enterprise,” Al Shamsi adds. The plan is ambitious, but Al Shamsi says they have already attracted the right names. “With prominent firms such as Al Tamini & Company, Booz & Company, Deloitte and GE Corporate already open

DRIVING innovation Job creation and supporting and accelerating the growth of the private sector, notably SMEs and family businesses were identified as key challenges at the International Monetary Fund’s regional economic outlook update recently. Masood Ahmed, director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, said, “Fiscal vulnerabilities to falling oil prices have increased, and structural challenges remain, such as the need to create jobs for growing workingage populations and to further diversify the economies.” Part of Abu Dhabi’s vision 2030 plan is actively working to diversify the economy away from dependency on oil. The creation of the CBD is a key element in furthering that goal. “(Al Maryah) will build a critical mass of business people that will in turn lead to a highly positive

"we are seeing the creation of clusters of lawyers, bankers, and management consultants, which is a very positive sign for Abu Dhabi’s business community."

for business and taking advantage of their new location, we are seeing the creation of clusters of lawyers, bankers, and management consultants, which is a very positive sign for Abu Dhabi’s business community.” BUSINESS and PLEASURE Sowwah Square consists of four commercial towers, ranging from 30 to 36 floors high. It will soon be home to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange’s (ADXs) new headquarters, which is expected to be up and trading by the end of the year

in a trapezium-shaped building. It will also house the Galleria shopping centre, which is scheduled to open its doors to business in the third quarter of next year. The Galleria will feature well-known luxury fashion and fine jewellery brands including Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Gucci, Prada, Alexander McQueen, Bulgari and Christian Louboutin, among others. Luxury hotels, including the Four Seasons, will anchor the project.

Al Shamsi says there is no doubt that the current global business climate is “challenging” and the real estate market in Abu Dhabi is not immune to international economic pressures. “However, we are developing projects for the long-term sustainable future of the Emirate and believe that the medium to long-term prospects remain extremely good. The new CBD is just one example of a development that is focused on the long-term future of Abu Dhabi, backed by the Urban Planning Council’s strategic blueprint for the City.”

A rendering of the shopping galleria at Al Sowwah Square

The lobby of one of the central buildings in Al Sowwah Square

September / October 2012 GC 17


profile

The Reign of Jumeirah Jumeirah Group CEO Gerard Lawless on how a Dubai concept has grown into a global luxury brand in the hotel world. By Sara Hamdan

18 GC September / October 2012


profile

erard Lawless sits in a plush armchair at a café in Al Qasr hotel. He looks right at home as he adjusts his glasses and talks about how Dubai has grown during his fifteen-year tenure at the helm of Jumeirah Group. Even the waiters pause to hear his stories as he points to the view of the Burj Al Arab hotel, probably Jumeirah’s most famous property, and the stretch of sandy beach below. The head of Jumeirah Group is in fact at home and very much a representative of his brand: worldly, warm and surprising. With words peppered with an Irish accent, he talks of how he and his team built the homegrown Jumeirah Group into an international luxury hotel chain. Aside from building the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel that now serves as Dubai’s landmark, Jumeirah Group has aggressively expanded internationally over the last decade. In the past 18 months alone, the hotel chain has added 11 new properties under the brand’s umbrella. Adding to its roster of some of the world’s most attractive hotels, such as the Essex House in New York that faces Central Park and the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London, this year Jumeirah Group took over the legendary Pera Palace in Istanbul, where Agatha Christie wrote ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and once a second home to Ataturk. Some destinations were chosen for their scenic appeal to tourists, such as the stunning seaside resort in Port Soller, a quaint fishing village in Mallorca, Spain, which opened in April this year. Others, such as Jumeirah’s business hotel by the Caspian Sea in Baku, Azerbaijan, will open soon and be the first international luxury resort in the country. “Some were quite opportunistic, like the Pera Palace offered to us by the new owner, while others opened after slight delays, including new properties in Frankfurt and Mallorca,” said Lawless. “We have more in the pipeline in varying degrees – some waiting for financing, some in the construction phase. These are exciting times.” Rattling off exact numbers of hotel rooms or staff in restaurants in new

properties, it is obvious that Lawless has been involved in the minute details of every one of Jumeirah’s projects. “Back in 2004, when we became a member of Dubai Holding, we identified 30 key locations worldwide that would become our prime targets,” he explained of the company’s strategy. “Beyond that, we look at secondary or opportunistic areas.” When it came to opening a hotel in Baku, the strong trade relations between the UAE and Azerbaijan, as well as the

Jumeirah Group has played a part in Dubai’s tourism boom. Occupancy levels and rates for rooms are at record highs this year, after dips in 2008 due to the financial crisis. Revenue from Dubai’s entire tourism industry rose 20 percent in 2011, to 16 billion dirhams or $4.35 billion, according to statistics from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. “Dubai is becoming a universal aviation hub and with bids in for major events like the World Expo, Dubai’s ambitions to double its size by 2020 are on track,” he said. “That means the potential to build more hotels. We have already seen so many new projects announced, which is renewing investor confidence.” Much of this boom is credited to a surge in tourism from the Far East. Last year, 214,000 Chinese tourists visited Dubai, compared to 25,000 just

"His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum had a clear objective for Jumeirah Group to become a global luxury brand"

frequency of direct flights to the young commercial hub, were taken into account. “When developing in Baku, most of our competitors had already established a presence – the Park Hyatt, Four Seasons, Fairmont, the Hilton,” said the hotelier. “All in all, we go where it makes sense for Jumeirah.” Jumeirah Group also has new projects in China and Bali that are about to start. Beyond international expansions, Jumeirah Group has also focused on expanding business in the Gulf. A new management agreement was signed for a property in Kuwait that will open by the end of this year. Out of over 13,500 employees working for Jumeirah Group worldwide, 10,000 staff work in Dubai.

ten years ago, according to data from consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle. Indian tourists to Dubai rose nine-fold in a decade, reaching 700,000 last year, up from 300,000 in 2002. “Russian business has become huge for Jumeirah as well, at times equaling our business from the UK, which is currently our biggest source market,” he said. Up to 24 percent of Jumeirah’s business is generated from their UK properties, which includes Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel and Jumeirah Carlton Tower in Knightsbridge. “Right from the start, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum had a clear objective for Jumeirah Group to become a global luxury brand,” said Lawless. “Dubai is an example of what can be achieved if there is the energy and the vision.”

September / October 2012 GC 19


profile

A residential neighborhood in the ARAMCO compound in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Inside ARAMCO Saudi Aramco General Counsel David Kultgen gives GC a glimpse inside expat life in one of the world’s richest companies. By Matthew Hamilton

ts verdant lawns, tree-lined streets and Spanish tiled singlefamily homes make a drive down Arabian Gulf Rd feel like any other American suburb. But this avenue isn’t in the United States, or even North America; it’s in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia– corporate headquarters for one of the world’s most valuable companies, oil giant Saudi Aramco. Aramco was founded in 1933 as the Arabian American Oil Company: a joint venture between American oil giants like Standard Oil and Texaco. As home base for the company, Dhahran quickly became filled with clusters of compounds built exclusively for employees of the company and their families. The idea was simple: assuage the anxieties of American employees (and their spouses) venturing into the unknowns of expatriate life with a dose of comfort. After all, it’s easy to 20 GC September / October 2012

forget that you’re 7,000 miles away from home when you live in a neighborhood that resembles anything in Pennsylvania or Illinois. In the 75 years since Americans first flocked to work in Dhahran, the culture of the compounds has evolved. In 1980,

Saudi Arabian Oil Company. With over 39 years of experience in the company, Kultgen is also one of Saudi Aramco’s longest-serving employees. Among the company’s executives, only one other exceeds his length of service. “It was only supposed to be a two year

In the 75 years since Americans first flocked to work in Dhahran, the culture of the compounds has evolved. the company became fully owned by the Saudi government. No longer in service to mostly American shareholders, employing Saudi nationals became a corporate priority, and consequently today, Saudis populate the highest echelon of the company. Except for one: American David Kultgen, General Counsel for the

term, five at the maximum,” says Kultgen, looking back to 1973, when he joined Aramco’s New York office as a newly minted lawyer. After one year in New York, he was shipped out to Dhahran with his wife, Candy, and their shared thirst for adventure. Dhahran couldn’t have been further from Manhattan: the


Image courtesy of David Kultgen

profile

main road in the Saudi town had two lanes and two streetlights; televisions offered only one station – the company’s own network; news from the outside came in 2 cm-thick printouts of articles and sports scores from the Associated Press; and the milk was powdered. Like any young expat, he took solace in the generous salary package and the shortterm contract. “Fortunately, I stayed with it,” he says now, “because I was doing work at a far higher level of responsibility than I would have been back in the United States.” During his first two years, he was responsible for negotiating large contracts for infrastructure work, and he continued with high-level transactional work until 1980, when he left Aramco to work in London. Kultgen returned to Aramco in 1982, landing in Houston, Texas, in the period during which Aramco was transforming from its joint venture status into the nationalized company it is today. Kultgen was offered a post in the company created in the wake of Aramco’s nationalization – a post which would have kept Kultgen, his wife, and three children in the United States – but the newly nationalized company’s first Saudi CEO and President saw Kultgen’s potential. On a flight from Houston to Dhahran, Ali Naimi, now the Minister of Petroleum in Saudi Arabia, made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Kultgen was named Associate General Counsel, and Saudi Arabia became home, again. In 2010 Kultgen became General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. “It’s an enormously complicated and complex job within a large and important company, and I’ve slowly realized that what I say is often the final word,” he admits without a smack of hubris in his tone. “I have to be careful, ensure my words are well thought out, and that I speak without emotion.” It’s likely this mix of humility and acuity that made him so compelling for Naimi to woo him back in the late 1980s. As Saudi Aramco has diversified beyond oil, in activities ranging from green energy to joint ventures with Dow Chemical and Sumitomo, he’s emblematic of – if not the source of – the company’s calm, precise strategy. While career advancement may have lured Kultgen to the desert kingdom, genuine affection has kept him there.

“I’ve never felt like an outsider here. You can only grow close to a place where you feel comfortable and welcome,” he says, adding that for his three children, Dhahran is home. “My son only ever lived here after age three, so when he went to boarding school and college in the United States, he was more ‘international’ than ‘American.’” He joins the fondness with honesty, adding that “Aramco is a nice little

Dhahran may resemble small town America, its demographics have shifted. Today, Saudi Aramco’s employees hail from over 60 countries. More diverse, less American-centric human resources practices have also left David and Candy Kultgen with more local ties than ever. “We have more Saudi friends now than American ones,” he says, and his legal department verifies the trend. 90% of the lawyers in the legal department are

"Aramco is a nice little bubble within a society as a whole; it’s different than the world outside the company gate."

Marking 30 years of service to Aramco, Kultgen with Saudi Aramco CEO, Khalid Al Falih.

bubble within a society as a whole; it’s different than the world outside the company gate.” He acknowledges that the compounds are exempt from Saudi’s strict dress code, prohibition against female drivers, and other religious laws. “It’s an easier place to live than in most places in Saudi.” Fast forward several 80 years since they were first constructed, and while

Saudi nationals, and while Kultgen has no crystal ball, his successor will likely be Saudi. “I now have several US-trained Saudi lawyers who would make an excellent general counsel,” he says. The next general counsel may have come from vastly different circumstances than the American-born predecessor, but his future will be determined by Kultgen’s imprint of wisdom and dedication. September / October 2012 GC 21


Enter

’ Ben s

World

Award winning actor and director, activitst, husband and father– Ben Affleck wears many hats. But the Hollywood A-lister is putting his star power to good use, taking on projects and philanthropic initiatives that touch on issues close to his heart. He shares his thoughts on his newest film as well as his interest in the Middle East with GC. By Sian Edwards

There is buzz about the Oscars and actor Ben Affleck’s name is being mentioned quite a lot. The actor turned director’s new critically acclaimed political drama, Argo, based on the true story of the rescue of six American Embassy employees caught in the Iran hostage crisis in 1979, hits theaters in the UAE November 8. Affleck, 40, plays the role of a CIA specialist who develops a risky plan to free six Americans hidden in the Canadian ambassador’s home in Tehran by having them impersonate a film crew. In real life, Affleck’s life has become more sedate over the last few years. He has been married to actress Jennifer Garner since 2005, with whom he has three kids: Violet, 6; Seraphina, 3, and a son, Samuel, born in February this year. The family split their time between homes in Los Angeles, Massachusetts, and Savannah, Georgia. When he’s not making films and spending time with his family, the Hollywood a-lister is committed to his charitable work and political activism. His non-profit group, The Eastern Congo Initiative, works with women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has one of the highest mortality rates in the world with 15 percent of the country’s children dying before their fifth birthday. In this exclusive interview, Affleck opens up about his long standing interest in the Middle East, humanitarian work as well as how life has changed with three kids.


Affleck and his co-star Bryan Cranston in Argo. business

Argo is a fascinating mix of Hollywood comedy and historical drama set in the backdrop of the Middle East. What drew you to this topic and story? I really liked the idea that it was a story that was true and that also was not just informed by the events that were happening at that time but we could communicate to the audience a complicated history that preceded that and would inform that. Most Americans know a lot more about the hostage crisis than they do about Mossadegh and the revolution in Iran that was engineered in part by the CIA and the British. I thought that it was going to cast a kind of interesting and unexpected light on events that we were already familiar with that we had seen through a very different prism in the United States, and also a story that was still quite hopeful at a time when there’s a lot to be cynical about in terms of our relationships, the Western relationship with the Middle East. And it was also one that portrayed the Iranian people I think as being caught in the middle rather than sort of demigogging this idea and making the Iranians as all bad guys.

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What led you to major in Middle Eastern studies when you were a student at Occidental College? When I went into Middle Eastern studies…I’m going to date myself a little bit, but I went to college in 1990. At the time, I didn’t want to do theatre. I thought if I’m going to go to college, I’m going to learn about theater and drama and stuff elsewhere. I thought the educated artist, the educated actor was a better actor or writer. I liked foreign policy and I liked politics. But the field that was really popular there was Soviet Studies. That was what the government jobs wanted you to have studied. That was hot and current and what was sort of happening in the world. The Middle East was a very kind of backwater department that didn’t have many people in it, and it wasn’t seen as particularly relevant to the United States. I had to keep doing independent studies with professors to make up new classes. I thought it was this incredibly mysterious, exotic, fascinating place, and I saw it as opaque. It made me want to kind of penetrate that opacity and


COVER STORY

wants to travel so much at this point, I think she would happy to come along to Tehran, but she may prefer Kabul. Do you speak any Farsi? I can say a few words, like ‘hello, how are you?’ (laughter) Your hairstyle and the wardrobe from the 1970s really suits you. Did you enjoy that look? (laughs) Thank you. I enjoyed the wardrobe more than the hairstyle, which got to be very hot. I was thinking, ‘how did The Bee Gees perform all those years (laughter) without getting heat stroke?’ The beard and the long hair was a bit of an ordeal and walking around in real life with that look, I got the occasional sideways glance. But it was fun. It was fun to do something with a different look.

“I thought that it was going to cast a kind of interesting and unexpected light on events that we were already familiar with that we had seen through a very different prism in the United States, and also a story that was still quite hopeful at a time when there’s a lot to be cynical about in terms of our relationships, the Western relationship with the Middle East.”

Image courtesy of Warner Bros

try and find out what is at the root of this mystery, this intractable conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis? Lands that were nothing but desert and Bedouins for 100 years, and then ten years later you have gleaming skyscrapers. The whole thing seemed very exotic and interesting to me, and so I signed up. Did you do much traveling there? I have been there, yeah. I’ve done traveling earlier and recently to spend time with our troops there. I’ve been in Kuwait and all the Gulf Countries, Jordan, Egypt, North Africa...everywhere in North Africa, except for Libya. And Turkey (if that sort of counts). It’s a fascinating region and you find things that you didn’t at all expect when traveling there. So during those times that you almost went to Syria or Iran, does your wife say, ‘Oh great, I come along?’ or say, ‘Can we go to Kabul instead?’ (laughs) My wife would just love to travel, having three children in a row has meant that I got to travel more than she has. So she

What I didn’t want to do is have one of these things where you make a big thing about it because it’s ‘the 70s.’ Like have everyone wearing big choppers and platform heels, bell bottoms. I wanted the period to feel real but just recede into the background. Like if I took a photograph of all of us sitting around here right now and in 15 years showed it to somebody, you would go, ‘Oh, I don’t know when that was…. 2000 or maybe 2005? Or 2016, it could be.’ That’s what I wanted for the 70s. Does it also make you wish you were back in a less complicated time? In the 70s, there were no cell phones or Facebook. Did it make you think about how much better life was then? Well, I will tell you it’s just harder and harder to make a movie with any tension in it, because you go now, ‘Well, why doesn’t he message her on Facebook?’ or, ‘He would just Tweet it and they would all be saved.’ Or, ‘So just pick up your cell phone!’ It would be impossible to get around all the ways we have to communicate with one another. There is something nostalgic definitely about that time when, if you left your house, people just couldn’t get a hold of you. They might call and someone would say, ‘He’s out. I don’t know where he is and he will call when he gets back.’ If you needed to call someone, you found a payphone and you didn’t know who was trying to reach you. I felt like it was freer. By doing this period movie, I noticed this difference. I noticed how much more tightly we’ve wound ourselves to one another, and in some ways it’s good, but in some ways I ask myself, ‘Do we really want to be tied this closely to one another all the time?’ But I guess that’s for a different movie. Can you talk a little bit about where you are at in life and in general and turning 40… Oh my God! (laughs) Which is the new 25 obviously, but… 40 is the new 15, interestingly enough. I am in my sophomore year. I really feel like, and I don’t want to jinx anything, but I really feel as good, if not better, than I have felt in my life.

September / October 2012 GC 25


COVER STORY

Affleck founded The Eastern Congo Intiative, a non-profit that provides aid and advocacy for community-building initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo .

I really like what my relationship is to my work right now, and I really like the opportunities that I’ve had. I work harder than I ever had. At the same time, I have a much more rewarding home life than ever. And my wife is just a spectacular woman. I’m in a place now that’s very, but my psychology leaves me to think, ‘Oh, something bad must be happening. When is the other shoe going to drop,’ because I feel so blessed that I am just trying to keep focused on things as they are.

Christmas. Did you make a decision to step off that treadmill and get away from those movies? The Town was 92 million, so I’m very close to 100 million (laughter). Internationally, it crossed 100 million, so I’ll take exception to your statement, only in that regard. The rest of it what you say is definitely true. I spent a lot of time on a certain kind of treadmill, chasing a certain kind of movie, trying to keep up a certain kind of pace. I got to a point where in some measure the choice was made for me and some parts I also made the choice myself, which was that I was going to step off that for a little bit too, take a break. I wanted to direct, so I was going to start focusing on directing, I want to continue acting, but kind of in the way that HollywoodLand or State of Play or movies where I wasn’t necessarily out in front as the lead, but I could do more interesting things that were a little more

Image courtesy of Gettyimages

So the biggest shift is that you have to watch princess movies at 40? (laughs) Yeah, I’ve got a long life ahead of me of watching princess movies. You haven’t had a $100 million movie since Daredevil in 2003. That was followed by Gigli and Surviving

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hugs actor Ben Affleck after his speech at the USAID Child Survival conference in June.

Affleck visits a farmers market with his family in Los Angeles.

26 GC September / October 2012

Affleck greets fans during the premiere of Argo at the Toronto Film Festival .


business

the Making of Argo With the recent attacks on American government compounds, a film about American diplomats trapped in revolutionary Iran seems more relevant than ever. “How often do you get to make a movie on this subject matter, particularly in a world where some of the war films that had been made had been a little too depressing for audiences over the last 10 years?” Affleck said. Speaking recently at the San Sebastian film festival in Spain, Affleck remarked that his goal when making the film was to stick to the facts. “First of all, you’d never believe this story if it weren’t true,” he said. “But my goal was for it to be factual. I have friends that are Democrats and friends that are Republicans. I have friends that are Americans and those that live abroad. I wanted everyone to see it and be able to take something from it because it was based on facts.”

In Argo Affleck starred with and directed critically aclaimed performances of fellow actors Bryan Cranston and John Goodman.

Image courtesy of Corbis / ArabianEye.com

below the radar. Then I felt kind of ready to act and direct with The Town, and it was a refocusing. I have a very, very different life than I used to have and I much prefer the life that I have now. I do things that I am much more interested in now, and I think I am a little bit more mature and I don’t chase the idea of what my life should be, and I try to think about what I would like my life to be, and then think about ways that I can get there. And yes, I definitely made some movies that didn’t work. That’s for sure. And I wish I hadn’t, but I certainly wouldn’t give that back if it meant that I didn’t get to end up where I did now. How do you spend your time when you are not working? I used to have all these hobbies and stuff, and those all went away when I had kids. When I am not working, I am home and as you say, I am watching Princess movies or I am playing games or doing that stuff. I don’t have time to try and learn the guitar as I was before, there are a couple of guitars in my house that are just gathering dust. They haven’t been touched since my first child was born. So mostly I am running around with the family, because I also do some traveling. I also work with the Eastern Congo issue in Africa and I make way for that as part of my life and I give that some bandwidth, so really, there’s nothing else left but for my family, which is wonderful.

The screenplay for the movie is based on the 2007 Wired magazine article “Escape From Tehran: How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans From Iran.” With its mix of political drama and Hollywood satire, critics are saying the film is a shoe in for a best picture Oscar. Affleck says in directing the film one of his greatest challenges was developing smooth transitions from the tense Iran scenes to the more humorous moments, which have gained buzz for Alan Arkin playing the role of veteran Hollywood producer.


business

At Your Service For the UAE’s top concierge companies, it seems that no request is too outlandish. GC sizes up some of the most popular. By Tahira Yaqoob

hen Selina Dixon was asked to find a pet pygmy goat, she didn’t bat an eyelid. Together with her team, she tracked down one of the African creatures to a breeder in the US, arranged to have it vaccinated and shipped at a cost of about $5,000, and two months later, delivered it to her delighted client. If the unusual request sounds a tad preposterous, it is not the only one. Selina’s firm Quintessentially is among a number of concierge services which have sprouted in the UAE and no demand, it seems, is too exigent. From ordering Siamese cats from Thailand to locating English nannies for lessons in etiquette (a particularly popular request after the Queen’s Golden Jubilee), there is no limit to what companies are prepared to do to fulfil customers’ exacting needs. The last few years have seen a rash of such firms springing up, even in the wake of the recession. They range from UAE branches of international companies like Quintessentially, Visa Infinite Concierge and Vertu to local outlets such as Cava, whose Dhs600,000 premium will cover a round-the-clock personal assistant, right through to Assist.ae and Allinque. com, which cater to the more mundane necessities of everyday life. NO REQUEST TOO BIG Whether it is getting someone to pick up your groceries, register your car, order a private jet or organise a wedding, there is a 24-hour service promising to do the job - for the right price. Concierge firms pledge to be your PA,

28 GC September / October 2012

wife, nanny and personal shopper all rolled into one - or, as Sagina Abdullaeva, the client relationship manager at Cava, puts it: “We try to cover all 360 degrees of a person’s life.” Quintessentially says its international database of contacts compiled by 64 offices around the world, coupled with

localised knowledge from its team in Dubai, give it an edge. Packages range from Dhs5,000 a year to Dhs170,000, with self-dubbed ‘lifestyle managers’ making it their business to know what you like, from your preferred airline seat to whether you would like front-row seats at a Madonna


business

Image courtesy of Corbis / ArabianEye.com

Cava consultant Joergen Peters and front of desk Antoinette Andersen.

concert before they go on sale. Dixon says: “It is a one-stop shop because we know our customers so well. They might have a PA but she or he would not necessarily know what Zuma is like. It is our job to know those things.” Two-thirds of the clientele are men, mostly married; female clients tend to be divorcees. Most are high-flying, highearning and with little time to deal with the minutiae of their professional and personal lives. A cheaper option is the free 24-hour service offered to Visa Infinite credit card holders, available in eight UAE banks and costing from Dhs750. Call centre concierges can reserve tickets, arrange chauffeurs and suggest gifts, with the products costing extra. Travel and hotel bookings are the most popular requests in the UAE. The service is run from Sydney, however, and without experts on the ground, there is always the danger you could find yourself at a restaurant, which has simply been located on the Internet. The downside of using a company whose first service is not personal assistance are equally apparent at Vertu phone company, which has a confusing range of packages depending on the cost of the phone you buy (between Dhs16,000 and Dhs150,000) while calls to their customer centre are diverted through Bahrain.

Abdullaeva. Zuzana Kalsi saw a gap in the market for middle class, middle wage earners who might not have millions to splash out but are just as keen to ease the burden of everyday chores. Her company Assist.ae charges Dhs100 an hour - with monthly packages starting from as little as Dhs450 - to take the strain out of the small stuff, whether it is picking up a pint of milk or medicines from the pharmacy. “Most concierge companies cater to

If money is no object, Dubai-based Cava is one of the latest to join an already crowded market. Its three packages range from Dhs120,000 a year, which includes 50 hours a month of personal assistance, business and social networking, rising to Dhs600,000 for round-the-clock service. Abdullaeva says: “All of our clients are vetted before joining and have to have a minimum of $5 million in assets.” Cava’s 15 members - all men aged between 27 and 32 - might have PAs but the service promises to ease all headaches outside the boardroom. “We don’t have anything to do with the corporate level but we might arrange maintenance of a client’s apartment,” says

Zuzana Kalsi, founder of Assist.ae

"We try to cover all 360 degrees of a person’s life." the wealthy and their fees are so high,” she says. “Our clients are middle class people in full-time jobs who do not have time to take care of errands or practical matters. We try to make our services affordable.” There may be less of the personal touch with some customers ringing in an emergency to get things done (one client even used Assist.ae to serve divorce papers on her husband) but Kalsi says she is now building a loyal following and can offer an insider’s view to Dubai - something international companies are often lacking. Similarly, Allinque.com - set up by four Emirati friends in their late 20s - charges monthly packages ranging from 10 hours of personal assistance for Dhs850 to 40 hours for Dhs2,600. Their local knowledge and understanding of Emirati culture has attracted a clientele of young professionals, including many Arabs. Co-founder Ahmad al Ashram says: “We came up with an innovative idea that would tackle an issue many professionals struggle with daily - better use and management of time.” And there isn’t a working person out there who could argue with that.

September / October 2012 GC 29


Coffee at the Capital Club

Creating a network of Philanthropy Farahnaz Karim connects philanthropists with those in need of aid. By Nina Glinski

arahnaz Karim is CEO and Founder of Insaan Group, a five-year-old Dubai-based non-profit organization focusing on education and social enterprises in East Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. “There’s a great opportunity to involve professionals, business owners, successful people in Dubai to be more strategic and effective with their philanthropic efforts.” Part of Karim’s effort involves connecting philanthropists with ventures they would otherwise not know about, like-per-use solar paneling in East Africa, or low-cost Indian education programs and handicraft collectives empowering the artisan communities in India. Karim built Insaan upon principles gleaned from years of experience, addressing what she assessed to be the problems of traditional charity: short-term thinking, supply driven design, and a bias on the provision of “stuff versus actual impact.” “Don’t tell me that you’re building a school. Tell me that the quality of education you’re providing is of a certain level because you’re monitoring it and following these students through,” she explains. Karim considers philanthropy a private matter and until now has never given an interview. “There’s nothing to brag about,” she explains, pointing out the misfortune of those who need philanthropic aid. “It’s about what we can do collectively, in this lifetime.” On a family visit to Calcutta, India in the 1980s,

30 GC September / October 2012

11-year-old Karim discovered children her own age suffering deep levels of poverty. “It never really leaves you,” she remembers. Karim was focused on building a humanitarian career, studying political science and modern languages at McGill University then a Masters from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, positioning herself for a role at the United Nations Geneva headquarters. There, she focused on refugee and migration issues, but felt removed from those who benefitted from the aid. Deciding in her midtwenties that Geneva was, “not very close to the poor,” she explored field opportunities. Ultimately obtaining a position in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan following the withdrawal of Soviet forces. Overwhelmed by the generous hospitality of an impoverished Afghan family in the remote province of Farah, the idea for Insaan, which means “humanity” in Arabic, was born. “The consciousness of humanity and becoming the best human being possible in this lifetime is what drives me,” she explains. Insaan receives funding from Muslim families in the UAE observing their Zakat obligation, as well as US investors and hedge fund managers. The organization values the privacy of its donors, a humility inherent in Insaan’s culture and Karim’s psyche. “They don’t have their names on a building. That’s not why they do it.”


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FOCUS ON

BULGARIA

Special Report

BULGARIA Bulgaria has embarked on an ambitious program to become one of Europe’s most attractive investment destinations with a comprehensive strategy of reforms and investment promotion. While the Balkan country is famous for its thousand year old culture and heritage- modern day Bulgaria is quickly becoming a year round holiday destination, in part, due to its affordability, but mainly its stunning natural beauty. From its nine UNESCO world heritage sites, to its snowcapped moutains and black sea beaches. GC’s special report showcases what Bulgaria has to offer.

September / October 2012 GC 33


FOCUS ON

BULGARIA

Finance & Economy

Europe's safe bet With its political and economic stability and low operational costs, foreign investment in Bulgaria is at an all time high. A view of Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia.

he seemingly endless economic saga of Europe has not dimmed the appetite for investment in Bulgaria, a development that the country’s investment agency hopes to capitalize on with a series of international events to promote Bulgaria as a prime investment destination within the EU. Lower cost is what sets Bulgaria aside from other potential investment destinations. The country delivers higher standards of quality than other cost-intensive locations around the world, according to Borislav Stefanov, executive director of InvestBulgaria agency. Cheaper labour costs coupled with a proactive government policy in relation to attracting foreign direct investment has left Bulgaria in a favourable position in comparison to its neighbouring countries.

34 GC September / October 2012

“For the first 8 months of this year direct foreign investments in Bulgaria have grown seven times in comparison to 2011,” Economy, Energy and Tourism Minister Delian Dobrev told GC.“Bulgaria is continuously trying to improve its investment legislation in order to compete successfully at European and global level for the investment inflows leading the economy to sustainable growth.” Stefanov explained that “political and economic stability, along with a balanced budget and strict fiscal policy,” elevated their status as a safe EU investment destination. Of course, it also helps that Bulgaria has the lowest taxes in Europe (10% corporate and personal tax, 5% on dividends and 0% capital gain tax).


Special report

‘‘Bulgaria is continuously trying to improve its investment legislation in order to compete successfully at European and global level for the investment inflows leading the economy to sustainable growth.’’

Industrial Growth

Which industries are most appealing to foreign investors? According to Dobrev, a sector with high potential for investment is the automotive industry where the investment opportunities have been or are being explored by many of the world leaders in producing different elements and parts of the automobile, such as Montupet (France), Johnson Controls (USA), Yazaki (Japan), Melexis (Belgium) etc. He said that three significant auto-manufacturing investments has boasted their scope for future projects. “We are able to produce more than 50% of all car components – cables, wires, seats, air-conditioners, windshields, etc. – and we see a continuous interest in this sphere.” Two more big investments are in the pipeline – in outsourcing and shared services. This foreign investment share goes hand in hand with progressive government plans due to be introduced in parliament this month, to pass amendments to the Investment Promotion Act (IPA). These changes will provide extra support from the government to foreign investors, designed to supplement the existing incentives (including financial support with building new infrastructure, refund of social security payments and opportunities to buy land plots without a tender or an auction, at market or lower than market prices.)

Bulgarian Minister for Economy, Energy and Tourism Delian Dobrev.

“After that, it is our goal as an investment agency to follow up and identify specific companies, but it is a two-way process – the more awareness businessmen have about Bulgaria, the higher the chance that some of them will be interested in researching investment opportunities here,” explained Stefanov.

Image courtesy of Corbis / ArabianEye.com

GLOBAL CAMPAIGN

The main investment promotion agency, InvestBulgaria are holding nine events globally, focused on different industries, with the aim of bringing together Bulgarian businesses and prospective investors from outside the country. “I hope that as a result of our marketing campaign, we will get new inquiries from the Middle East, Asia and America,” says Stefanov. “Bulgaria is not the size of Germany, it’s not France, it’s not even Poland or the Czech Republic, places that investors know about. Bulgaria is quite unfamiliar the further you are from here, and this is why some general advertisement as an investment destination could be useful just in the sense of increasing awareness of the country.

Executive Director of InvestBulgaria agency, Borislav Stefanov.

September / October 2012 GC 35


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BULGARIA

investing for Citizenship

investing for a Bulgarian passport A unique citizenship for investment program allows investors to gain residency and citizenship in exchange for making an investment in Bulgaria’ s burgeoning economy. ulgaria has witnessed largescale foreign investment across many sectors. But the country’s unique citizenship for investment program, launched in 2009, has seen hundreds of smaller scale Middle Eastern investors apply for residence in the country in exchange for investment. “Foreign high net worth investors from MENA, Asia and CIS (former Soviet Republics) are particulary attracted to the Bulgarian Program because of the physical residency waiver. Not many countries in the world offer this type of flexibility to businessmen and their families, while at the same time guaranteeing safe investments in bonds, permanent residence and future European citizenship with the lowest taxes possible,” said Armand Arton, President and CEO of Arton Capital, a global citizenship advisory firm with offices in Montreal, Sofia and Dubai. As a full member of NATO and the European Union, Bulgaria is preparing to enter the Schengen zone within the next few months, which means that permanent residents of the country will be granted visa free travel throughout Europe. Although there are a number of Immigrant Investor programs available throughout the world, the Bulgarian program is unique. As long as an investor meets all the legal requirements and invests €511,292 in the country, they will be granted residency and after five years get citizenship, without ever having to live there or without paying any taxes on their wealth, inheritance or income outside of the country. Since 2007, a Bulgarian passport entitles its holder to work, study and live freely in most European countries. As an EU citizen, applicant’s children are also entitled to attend

Bulgarian parliament building in Sofia.

September / October 2012 GC 37


FOCUS ON

BULGARIA

Special report

Passive and safe investment

Bulgaria is the only country in the EU, since 2011, to have their government bond rating upgraded by Moody’s to Baa2 from Baa3, reflecting its ongoing fiscal discipline and improven institutional strength. This also highlights the resilience of Bulgaria’s financial system throughout a volatile period in Europe. As a result of this stable outlook, the Investor Program, which normally requires a passive investment in approved government bonds of €511,292, allows a financing option. This requires a single payment of €180,000 which financial companies like Arton Capital can arrange for foreign investors, allowing them to use their free capital for other investments in Bulgaria with a higher rate of return.

BULGARIA

38 GC September / October 2012

Business opportunIties

Many Middle Eastern businessmen look to further expand upon their investments in the country. “Bulgaria offers a skilled work force at competitive prices, great strategic location – on the road between Europe and Asia and an attractive tax policy, so it’s only natural that once investors have made the initial commitment to this country, they will want to look for more investment opportunities,” explained Milen Keremedchiev, Managing Director of Investment advisory firm, EU Capital Partners and former politician and deputy minister of Economy and Foreign Affairs. Fadi Mehio is a Dubai based businessman who has taken part in Bulgaria’s Immigrant Investor Program. He is looking at opportunities to extend his facilities management and interior architecture business to Sofia. “If a country has granted me citizenship, I feel I can also do something in return,” he says. “We have learned a lot in Dubai about building businesses and industry and we can take that experience and know-how there.”

Bulgaria Immigrant Investor Program * `

Minimum Investment Financed Option

`

€ 511,292 € 180,000

Residency requirement

none

Time to residency

6-9 months

(after application is submitted)

Time to citizenship Visa free travel (number of countries)

5 years

130

* Data compiled from country program websites. Minimum investment figures are approximate and have been converted to Euro for comparative purposes.

Image courtesy of Gettyimages

an EU university at a lower cost. In addition, the Bulgarian government have made it a top priority to attract wealthy foreign investors by creating tax incentives for foreign businessmen. Bulgaria offers the lowest tax rate within the European Union – 10% flat corporate and personal tax on income made in Bulgaria. Arton Capital has advised the Ministry of Economy, Toursim and Energy, as well as InvestBulgaria on the legislation, implementation and promotion of the program, in order to attract more high and ultra-high net worth investors to Bulgaria. The most recent recommendation currently before parliament is to implement additional benefits to applicants and their families, such as lifting the age of dependents to 25 years, adding any EU language in the citizenship test requirements, and lowering the required time between residency and citizenship from 5 years to 3 years, as well as allowing a fast track program for those who are already accepted as permanent residents to become citizens in just one year, against additional investment or contribution to the economy of Bulgaria. Such multiple tier investment options and reduced time to citizenship already exists in the UK Investor program, but the Bulgarian option has more tax benefits and complete flexibility in terms of physical residence, compared to the minimum requirement of 183 days per year, outlined in UK legislation.


FOCUS ON

BULGARIA

World Leaders

UNESCO's Bulgarian Visionary Irina Bokova heads the UN agency dedicated to promoting Global collaboration through education, science and culture.

Irina Bokova, UNESCO DIRECTOR GENERAL.

native of Bulgaria, Irina Bokova, is the first female Director General of UNESCO- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization which works to protect the heritage of cultures around the world. Global Citizen talks to the former Bulgarian Foreign Minister about her role at the helm of the UN agency and the nine UNESCO World Heritage sites in Bulgaria. As a Bulgarian, you are inevitably asked about the country’s best kept secrets - please tell us a little about these? Bulgaria’s best-kept secrets are embedded in its history. The country’s identity definitely focuses on the Thracian heritage, which no country in the world can dispute. In 2000, three archaeological sensations placed Bulgaria in the limelight of world archeological interest. This was the discovery of the temple-tomb at Starosel, the fortress palace at Perperek, and the beehive tomb at Alexandrovo. Similarly “Brand Bulgaria” should represent a bridge between the values of the past and the advances of the future.

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When you entertain visitors to Bulgaria, where do you take them? There are a lot of places that I would recommend to visitors but for me nothing compares to the magic of the Rhodopes, a beautiful mountain range in Southern Bulgaria. It boasts the richest and most varied fauna of all Bulgaria’s mountains and is one of the most important regions in Europe as far as biodiversity is concerned. The Rhodopes are believed to be the birthplace of the mythological singer Orpheus who enchanted people and animals alike with his magical music. How do you see the role of Bulgaria in the modern world and what examples can they set to the rest of the world in terms of cultural tolerance? Bulgaria provides great weight to the preservation of culture and respect for cultural diversity as they are at the heart of sustainable economic and social development policies. I launched a major initiative at the annual Summit of the Heads of State of South-East Europe in Belgrade in 2011 - Culture:


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‘A Bridge for Development’. My goal is to establish a network of intellectuals, creative artists and culture professionals from the entire region so that they can deepen their joint commitment to urban development projects. What has been your greatest achievement since heading up UNESCO? Two recent initiatives have placed UNESCO at the forefront of the international community. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked me to serve as Executive Secretary of the high-level steering committee for his initiative on education (Education First), which seeks to achieve quality, relevant, and inclusive education for every child in countries affected by conflict. The second initiative is UNESCO’s lead role in implementing the science recommendations of the SecretaryGeneral’s panel on global sustainability. This panel presents a vision for a sustainable future through poverty eradication and the reduction of inequality. During the Rio +20 conference in Brazil, the Secretary-General asked UNESCO to take the lead in creating a Scientific Advisory Board.

"Bulgaria’s best kept secrets are embedded in its history."

Image courtesy of photos afrique du sud.

What reforms has UNESCO recently adopted and how have they improved the organization’s ability to be more flexible and more efficient on the ground? Reform is the mainstay of my agenda. I am intent on sharpening the impact of UNESCO, on increasing its efficiency and on raising its profile. This reform affects the structure and programmes of our organization, the management of human resources, the shape of our field presence and our visibility. I have established new partnerships to better highlight our results. I believe this is the only way to get our message across convincingly, to broker new ideas, to set standards and to bring the right actors together around a common vision and shared objectives.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the High-level Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly (MDG Summit) in New York.

Goal family - Bokova during the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

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FOCUS ON

BULGARIA

History

Take A Tour of BULGARIA'S HISTORIC CITIES Bulgaria is proud of its ancient history and impressive capitals, which play a key role in the world’s cultural and historical heritage. GC takes a tour of the country’s historic cities.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

growing but not aging Sofia became capital of Bulgaria in 1879 after the liberation from the Ottoman rule. Today, with its 1.3 million inhabitants, it’s the largest city in the country with its well-preserved town walls still standing in the center. There’s an abundance of spacious green parks, restaurants and small coffee shops are dotted along the pedestrian areas. Visitors can drink as much water as they please from the city’s taps as the city was established around a mineral spring, which still exists today.

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Tours are given around the National History Museum, the National Art Gallery and the National Archeological Museum. Its Crypt, known as the Museum of Icons, displays Bulgaria’s biggest collection of religious icons. The true icon of the city is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, a cross-domed basilica with a gold-plated dome and bell tower. One of Sofia’s finest hotel’s – Arena di Serdika is built around the true remains of a Roman arena.

Image courtesy of Corbis / ArabianEye.com

Sofia


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VELIKO TARNOVO THE THIRD ROME

In the 14th century, due to its important cultural development and its mighty influence on the Balkans, Veliko Tarnovo was known as the “Third Rome.” Today the stunning ruins of its fortress speak of a glorious past and a developing future with scores of tourists descending on the city center, which is lined with royal and patriarchal palaces. Once home to medieval Bulgarian rulers, the site was protected from all sides by an impressive stonewall with tall battle towers. There were once 23 temples and four monasteries functioning within the fortress. For a full ‘tour through the ages’ don’t miss the sound and light show, which takes place throughout the year around Tsarevets Hill.

PLISKA

THE FIRST BULGARIAN CAPITAL Pliska was the main political, economic, cultural and military center of the kingdom for almost two centuries since its creation in 681. The site today is one of the most impressive examples of medieval European construction. Visitors can admire wellpreserved ruins, which form an impressive archeological openair reserve and museum, including the stone fortification of the old capital, the Great and the Small Palace, and the Grand Basilica - the first big Christian temple on these lands built in the 9th century. One of the most treasured belongings from Pliska is the Rosette-a unique object made of bronze and shaped as a rosette with seven rays, which was discovered by archeologists during excavations in the city. It represents an ancient Bulgarian 12 year cyclical calendar, declared by UNESCO as one of the most precise calendars in the history of mankind.

PLOVDIV

8000 YEAR OLD CITY Plovdiv is a city upon layers of cities and an epoch upon layers of epochs. It is 8000 years old – older than Rome or Athens. It has more than 200 archaeological sites, yet today the city is a busy commercial and administrative center. Visitors still prefer its “Old town”- an architectural and cultural reserve with cobbled winding steep streets that afford visitors amazing views of the renaissance buildings and museums below. Don’t miss the Ancient Theater, which is one of the best-known monuments from Roman times in Bulgaria. For lunch or dinner go to “Kambanata” restaurant, where the head chef is the former personal chef of the Emir of Kuwait.

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FOCUS ON

BULGARIA

Culture & Heritage

MADE IN BULGARIA Bulgarian culture and cuisine is influenced by its thousand year old history.

Banitsa is a traditional Bulgarian breakfast dish made from layered filo pastry and pieces of cheese.

Traditional dishes

Traditional Bulgarian cuisine is essentially Slavic, but also has a lot in common with both Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. Grilled meats and sausages are typical of everyday dishes but you are more likely to find pork or lamb than beef. Cattle is

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used primarily to produce butter, sirene, and, of course, yogurt which some claim originated in Bulgaria. Village food tends to be heavier on meat than its city counterparts, but also includes a lot of vegetables, home grown herbs and fruits. A must try is the famous Bulgarian Shopska Salada. It’s made from thick juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, parsley, roasted peppers, and sirene- a delicious brine cheese you find throughout the Balkans. As well as salads, Bulgarian food also uses a lot of yogurt, soups, meats, and pastries. A must try for any visitor is Taractor, a soup made with cucumber and cold yogurt. Of course, with every meal in the Balkans, Rakia is an essential. The delicious and amazingly stiff plum liquor is a mainstay and compliments the shopska salad.

Locally grown produce

For such a small country, Bulgaria is incredibly self sufficent. They grow their own berries, herbs and roses and produce their own cheeses, rose oil and even have their own brand of mountain tea, known as Mursalski Chai. It’s only grown in the Rhodopi mountain at 1500 m high and is famed for curing all types of pains because of its anti-anemic properties, as well as being rich in flavonaids and anti-oxidants, which helps lower blood pressure.

Image courtesy of Corbis / ArabianEye.com

ive centuries subjected to Ottoman rule and, more recently, four decades locked very firmly behind the Iron Curtain turned Bulgaria into a distant, enigmatic country in the eyes of much of the rest of the world. However modern day Bulgaria has transformed itself into one of Europe’s top holiday and business destinations, whilst still preserving its traditions and customs. Bulgaria is the perfect antidote for the traveller who wishes to get away from it all, according to the country’s tourism minister and it seems that thousands of British, Russian and Japanese tourists agree. For the past few years, droves of new tourists have been flocking to the country’s Black Sea resorts in summer and mountain ski resorts in winter. The country’s lower costs in comparison to other EU countries seems to be the main deciding factor among tourists but an appreciation for the country’s preserved heritage and traditions is what really sets it apart.


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If tea isn’t quite strong enough for you then be sure to stop by one of the country’s wine distilleries. The region of Sakar mountain in the most south-eastern part of Buglaria is the Mecca of fine contemporary Bulgarian wine-making. Each of the wineries here –Katarzyna Estate, Sakar, Terra Tangra, Castra Rubra –have won awards internationally. Castra Rubra Winery, for example, is the Bulgarian project of Michel Rolland, the oenologist who helped create the highest number of 100-pointrated wines in the world. Via Diagonalis, Nimbus and Pendar are some of the wines Rolland produced. Every year on valentine’s day in the village of Starosel, visitors can experience the Trifon Zarezan celebration, when people go to the vineyards to sing and dance in honor of the saint of the winemakers. In the autumn, vine harvest is also not to be missed. It’s a tradition that the first harvested fruits are thrown into a huge wooden barrel and young girls in traditional folk dresses dance and crush the vines with their feet to the beat of traditional music. One of Bulgaria’s most exclusive wines is called “snow wine,” which is produced in only very small quantities because the vines are harvested when the earth is frozen and covered by snow. The ice wine has an amber colour with a slight rose sparkle and has a distinctive aroma of quince jam with a dry peach after taste. The freshness of the sip balances the sweetness of the desert wine. (Try Katarzyna’s Sence of Snow, 2005, if you can find it.)

1 liter of rose oil) which is heavily sought by global perfume makers. Nearly every village in Bulgaria has its own rose distillery, one of the oldest is Enio Bonchev distillery in Tarnichene village. It extracts rose and lavender oil using the oldest-preserved technology which dates back from 1909. To see first hand how the rose oil is produced, head to the village of Skobelevo, where the old 19th century distillery takes visitors through the steps involved in rose oil production. And if you think that the privilege to sleep on rose petals is only for kings – come and try it here. An aromatic sleep is part of the adventure here.

A country of Roses

Bulgaria has been dubbed the ‘country of roses’ for centuries because of its main export item, which is used to produce rose oil. The country’s annual Rose Festival is hosted in a town called Kazanlik from mid-May till mid-June and attracts more than 5000 tourists, mainly from Japan. Locally produced rose oil is an expensive commodity, selling at €6,000 per litre ( it takes 3000 kg of rose petals to produce

Young girls in the village of Starosel, celebrate autumn harvest by crushing vines with their feet dressed in traditional folk dresses.

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FOCUS ON

BULGARIA

TOURISM

Village

Hideaways Travel back in time while staying in Bulgaria’s most charming villages.

A typical traditional home in Koprivshtitsa

ilking a cow at dawn, driving sheep out at feed, kneading dough from hand-ground flour and baking a loaf in an age-old furnace while sampling traditional dishes are just some of the highlights of rural tourism in Bulgaria. Bulgarian villages are being rediscovered by those who dream of an escape from their hectic and demanding everyday lives. “Local villagers have managed to preserve not only the spirit of the past, but also some true relics that have belonged to their great grandparents such as the intricacies of hand-made furniture, tablecloths and bed-covers that speak of the mastery of traditional handicrafts,” said tourism and economy minister Delian Dobrev.

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Leshten Village

Leshten

The first thing you notice when reaching the village of Leshten, which is perched on the slopes of the western Rhodopi mountains, are the small white traditional houses that sit modestly on top of the hills. Such authenticity coupled with unspoiled nature has made Leshten the set of countless historic movies and music video clips. Depending on the season, tourists can choose fishing or hunting, mushroom gathering, mountain walking and cave exploration trips. Late afternoons are perfect for swimming or having a spa treatment in the nearby resort town of Ognyanovo. The village pub, which used to be the local monastery school, is full of charm and has some of the best pub grub around. The daily menu is written on wooden tablets


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and guests call the waiter by knocking with the special wooden mini-hammers hanging over each table. The best places to stay are Lesten house, 300-year old restored houses that also have rooms in their eco-house, which is built totally from clay. For those who prefer to stay in an authentic medieval-style mansion with 21-st century amenities, choose the luxurious guesthouse Lavanda in nearby Kovachevitza.

KOPRIVSTITZA

If you head towards Sofia, you’ll find the narrow and winding cobblestone streets of Koprivstitza situated in Sredna Gora mountain. This place will leave you immersed in 19-century rebel Bulgaria: with the echo of galloping horses and the songs of women sewing the rebel flags. The air is fragranced with thyme, mint and wild strawberries that all grown naturally in the area. All houses are beautifully preserved, while the churches and museums are typical of Bulgarian Renaissance architecture. Every April there is a public “restaging” of the moment when the

uprising was declared, and in summer the National Folk Art Festival takes place bringing thousands of tourists and dancers together.

Omaya Village

Another fairy-tale destination, surrounded by forests, is the eco-village Omaya, located 19 km south of Gotse Delchev. Here human fantasy and love of nature go hand-in-hand in creating a unique combination of six individually designed houses made out of clay, stone and wood. In the lakes of the property you are encouraged to catch your own fish and then have it prepared at the local restaurant for dinner.

Etara Village

If you ever dreamed of travelling back in time, once you reach Etara (8 km south of Gabrovo), you’ll feel like you’ve been dropped into the middle ages. This is an archaeological and ethnographic complex with the one-and-only unique collection of water-driven machinery in Bulgaria. Its main walking street dates back from the early 19th century, the open-air museum has 16 patterns of Balkan architecture, demonstrating the home-grown talent of pre-renaissance builders. Houses are open to the street, so that visitors can see into the small shops where the local craftsmen are weaving and painting.

Lavanda guesthouse located outside of Leshten

Etara’s main street

An eco house in Omaya

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ADVERTORIAL

A SYMBOL OF QUALITY Festa Hotels (part of Festa Holding) manage luxury hotel complexes in central and idyllic locations throughout Bulgaria. The group’s hotels are spread between the capital city Sofia and high-end mountain and seaside resorts, which offer seasonal year round events, including skiing in winter and beautiful beaches in summer.

This is in line with the vision of the company, which is to present Bulgaria as Europe’s hidden gem for holiday and business travel. The hotels’ exclusive location, attention to detail and efficient customer service sets it apart from others. www.festahotels.com

Brandy Cask Cabernet Sauvignon

Via Pontica Resort Via Pontica Resort is built within a lush green park close to the beach. The 5-star hotel offers guests relaxation spa treatments and in the evenings guests are free to tour the in-house 80-year old wine cellar, named “Izbata” and enjoy local wine tastings before dinner. www.festaviapontica.com

A remarkable wine in the super-premium segment, produced from selected handpicked grapes from our own vineyards. The famous Black Sea Gold winery that makes it, is 80-years old. The wine ages in casks made of Strandzha oak where wine brandy has ripen for more than 30 years. After you buy it, it will continue to ripen over the next years. (Golden Medals from Mundus Vini, 2008, Mundus Vini 2010 and IWC Vienna 2011; Silver Medal from Mundus Vini 2011, 2 Gold Medals, Vinaria 2010 and 2011).


Festa Winter Palace Best Online Reputation Award, 2011 (from the Swiss expo“Meeting Luxury”) Gold Award, Best Five-Star Mountain Hotel of 2011 (Tourism and Recreation Magazine, Vacation and Spa Expo 2012).

Founder and owner of Festa Holding and Business Woman of the Year in 2003 and Woman of the Year in 2006, Petia Slavova explains the company’s success:

Festa Dolphinarium in Varna The Dolphinarium in Varna is a unique entertainment facility, which for the last 25 years has been a symbol not only of Varna but of Bulgarian tourism. Every day six dolphins perform a unique show with acrobatics and manage to show off their balancing and dancing skills to music. Extension plans are in the pipeline to add new swimming pools for the dolphins and seals, entertainment facilities for children and a museum, as well as a multifunctional hall for scientific and educational purposes.

Over the last two decades I have continuously invested efforts and passion into banking, finance and health insurance, tourism and entertainment, wine production and viniculture, transport and real estate. We are committed to society and we support Bulgarian culture and sports.” www.festa.bg


ADVERTORIAL

A blissful and rejuvenating lifestyle nly 8km away from Varna lies Sana Park, a serene resort designed by Austrian architects that is surrounded by woods and has a small river running through it. It’s the ideal location to enjoy the luxurious, year-round SPA and wellness retreat that allows you to be ‘one with nature’ with the unspoilt landscape. Entering the gates you can’t help but inhale deeply, as you witness the stunning exclusive setting, which offers an unsurpassed combination of sea climate and fresh mountain breeze. Calm and tranquil, the place envelopes guests with its tender charm. Although it appears only as a relaxing resort, Sana Park also offers residents the opportunity to purchase a home there. Billed as the perfect escape, the ultra modern apartments will help to dilute the stresses of everyday life.


The compound has 296 studios, one, two and three-bedroom apartments dispursed generously on a plot of 2.6 ha. The interiors are ultra chic, warm pastel colors reflect the natural light inside each apartment – so the feel of harmony and coziness is overwhelming. All individual units are easily transformable, designed to make it easy to adapt to various personal tastes and ready to accomodate diverse individual requirements. This careful planning and synergy is felt thoughout the whole park. AN IDEAL SECOND HOME The idea is that residents are not just buying a property but a complete lifestyle. They have access to a state of the art fitness facility, which looks out onto a green open park. After a workout they can indulge in the resort’s spa and wellness center, which offers beauty and relaxation treatments and has its own private mineral spring, which has varied water temperatures between 32 and 47.5 degrees. This mineral water is highly recommended for treatments of heart

and vascular disease as it has a soothing effect on the nervous system, and it helps with the ailments of the musculoskeletal system. Quiet and elegant, personalised and attentive – this is the place to come to after a long day at the office – to find a balance and to lift your spirits. Individual attention and procedures are tailored to every guest according to their needs. Connoisseurs of fine cuisine will appreciate Sana’s restaurant, it offers daily gourmet specialties in the main restaurant or in the Mediterranean bar, all complimented by a range of Bulgarian and foreign wines. For the business-focused client Sana Park Resort offers a conference facility, and for the family men - a playground, mini market, several boutiques, a vitamin bar and a 4-star apart-hotel, operating all year round with concierge and room service. Guests have underground parking and 24-hour security provide extra comfort for owners and visitors.

www.sanaparkresort.com


GIZMOS & GADGETS Bespoke Bicycle Limited to just 77 pieces, the Aston Martin One-77 Cycle is available in seven exclusive colours with handstitched trimmings. The technologically advanced features and specifications are custom manufactured in a frame size to suit you. Designed, engineered and built in Britain, the handsome racer features innovations derived from racing car technology, together with the highest levels of fabrication and craftsmanship. (www.factorbikes.com AED 144,815)

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gizmos and gadgets

A Collaboration to be Reckoned With The Hasselblad Ferrari H4D-40 camera features a 40 Megapixel medium format sensor and signature True Focus, as well as access to the world’s most advanced lenses. A specially designed limited edition series— only 499 cameras— the H4D Ferrari comes with 80mm lens and an exclusively designed glass display case. (Advanced Media-Dubai, AED 98,005)

the sound of art KEF’s limited edition Muon speakers were originally released back in August 2008. It seems the price tag may have inhibited buyers somewhat, however these extremely high spec pieces of art made from superformed aluminium, with their one-of-a-kind shape boast a four-way speaker system with powerful bass drivers and a Uni-Q drive unit that delivers a seamless listening experience. (kef.com AED 810,967)

TAG Heuer Racer Entirely constructed from leading materials of motor racing and aviation, the android powered TAG Heuer Racer has a lightningfast, customized 3D interface and is available in a range of colours and materials— from dark grey F1 rubber and 316L stainless steel, to 18k rose gold. This hot new mobile offers the highest phone specifications along with an impressive advanced security system. (TAG boutiques across Dubai AED 13,323)

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auto

Customised creations Bentley’s personal touch retains discerning clients

entley’s Mulliner factory, in the small English town of Crewe, is more akin to a medieval guild than a 21st-century car plant. Instead of robots and assembly lines, you will find hammers, needles and thread. Mulliner is the luxury car manufacturer’s customization unit for clients who want their cars highly bespoke. About half of the approximately 500 Bentleys built each year in the UK get the Mulliner treatment. “If you have customers with enough

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resources and imagination and you combine that with our skills, you can get a very special car,” says Bentley Mulliner Director Sam Graham. Bentley says that the paradox of the car is that although it is instantly recognizable, it takes time and effort to handbuild each one. This is why the Mulliner facility houses coach builders, cabinetmakers, coppersmiths, sheet-metal fabricators and electricians. The workshop has its own wood mill and wood shop, a trim shop to hand stitch and cut leather, and a


auto

steel-fabrication area. Such craftsmanship takes time (Bentley has the slowest production line in the world) but customers in the UAE don’t have to travel to England to develop their dream car. Bentley’s online configurator enables users to visualise and build their own design. Select from a diverse range of paints, leather, veneers and metal models to create a virtual prototype of your own bespoke vehicle. The configurator even allows you to embroider a custom message in the treadplate and four headrests. Once you’ve been inspired, customers can make an appointment in their nearest Bentley showroom in the UAE- two in Dubai and the newly opened showroom in Abu Dhabi- to make your prototype a reality. The company provides customers with a photo album when they receive their cars, including shots of each part of their autos’ manufacturing process, from shell to final product. Mulliner keeps close records of each vehicle’s assembly, helping the production workers detect whether any flaws were made and at which point. In addition to the photo album, customers receive a book detailing how specialized parts work. This is done so that body and repair shops throughout the world can figure out how Mulliner workers seamlessly fitted a DVD player into the rear headrest, or how the folding solid wood tables unfurl. If

"If you have customers with enough resources and imagination and you combine that with our skills, you can get a very special car."

a car has special problems that can’t be solved locally, Bentley dispatches an engineer to repair it. When it comes to price, it’s not easy to determine the cost of a bespoke model, as there is no “standard Bentley.” So price is on application. Graham once said the motor industry’s natural instinct is to “build as many cars as possible with as few variations as possible. That is old-fashioned mass-production common sense. But we don’t work by these rules.”

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design

Customised Concept

Pushing the boundaries of Rolex watch customisation for the ultimate extravagance.

Modifying high-end wrist watches to bespoke specifications is a growing trend amongst collectors.

here are a handful of companies dominating the new market for bespoke customised watches. George Bamford is the innovative mind behind the British Bamford Watch Department that helped develop the latest craze for redesigning luxury timepieces. What started out as a basic blackening process has now been enhanced by a number of ‘secret’ formulae and is perfected as a highly advanced military grade PVD coating. The combinations of dial colours, luminous paint and the ability to have up to eight characters of text on the dial of your customised timepiece, ensures that each finished Rolex is a highly exclusive one-off commodity. At the Bamford Watch Department every watch is supported by a full two year warranty and coating lifetime guarantee.

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Other operators are Project X— responsible for designing the Moore Rolex— Brevetplus and Pro-Hunter, brands reflective of a kind of macho Ernest Hemingway countenance. All of these independent companies specialise in re-designing high-end wristwatches to bespoke specifications on customer request. Project X founder Daniel Bourn, explains launching the company out of a desire to “provide a service to clients who appreciate the history and allure of original manufacturers’ brand name.” Their Limited Edition Collection features original Rolexes, customised and produced in runs of just 24 individually numbered watches per design. www.discoverprohunter.com, www.brevetplus.com and www.bamfordwatchdepartment.com, www.projectxdesigns.com


design

Not just a phone

Vertu Constellation AED 30,500 available at Vertu stores

he Rolls-Royce of the phone world, Vertu has redefined luxury in telecommunications, combining design, engineering and craftsmanship. Launched in 1998 (at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris no less), the ever-evolving phone company is a world leader in luxury mobiles and every phone is painstakingly crafted by hand in the UK. “Each handset is made up of hundreds of components specially designed and made exclusively for Vertu therefore it has to be expertly assembled by hand,” explains Hutch Hutchison, head of Vertu’s Concept Creation and Design. “For instance, sapphire crystal, which has never been used on phone screens before, is a dominant material used on our handsets due to its very high scratch resistance and clarity.” The cost of the luxury phone is not for the faint hearted. Handsets start around AED17,000 and can go

up to AED316,000 if you’re interested in a diamondencrusted version. It’s not just the precious stone-encrusted dials, exotic skin cases, diamond detailing and meticulous crafting that set these phones ahead of their competitors. Vertu owners also have access to an exclusive 24 hour concierge service, accessed by the press of a button on the handset. This VIP treatment is available in eight different languages and provides a variety of perks— including open doors to private members clubs and access to sold-out shows. This month Vertu launches their Constellation Black Neon collection in Dubai, a range of three phones (in neon blue, neon orange and neon silver) with a distinct sporty feel. “The Black Neon collection were designed to be reminiscent of a luxury sports car,” explains Hutchison. “We’ve even used hand-crafted perforated leather to accentuate that experience.”

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ART

The Midas Middle East

As the Louvre opens its new Islamic art galleries celebrating the world-famous permanent collection in Paris this month, Dubai looks to the talent of local artists raising the bar in contemporary regional art.

Demolition: A Solo Show by Fereydoon Omidi

The XVA, DIFC until the end of Sept

Iranian calligraphist Fereydoon Omidi— who has presented his work globally from Japan to New York— now showcases a large-scale body of works using the rhythmical and enchanting repetition of letters at the XVA Gallery in DIFC. By innovatively layering oils to create depth and intensity, Omidi explores the ancient script in colour giving a contemporary creative take on the most mundane of shapes.

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ART

In The Name of Freedom, by Oussama Diab Ayyam Gallery, DIFC,

from 17 September until 30 October Channeling obvious influences from the master Andy Warhol, pop and graffiti-inspired Palestinian artist Oussama Diab presents a solo exhibition of expressionistic canvases at Ayyam Gallery this month. Playful subjects take centre stage against juxtaposed nondescript backdrops sending challenging messages to the viewer. In Human Being (cue the banana), Diab depicts the fruit pierced with nails denoting crucifixion and pain, issues hard to avoid regardless of the viewer.

When The Lights Went Off We Saw, by Sara Naim The Pavilion Downtown Dubai until 24 October Dubai’s hottest contemporary gallery introduces Syrian artist Sara Naim with her debut show, When The Lights Went Off We Saw. The mesmerizing photographic exhibition explores the abstract and physical notion of light in its most beautiful form through a series of enchanting digital prints shown for the very first time. Each photograph is an enlargement of an over-or-under-exposed negative, challenging the effect of light forms in this refreshing and enchanting exhibition.

My Rock Stars: Volume 1, by Hassan Hajjaj The Third Line, Dubai

from September 12 until October 18, 2012 After 13 years in the making, Moroccan photographer Hassan Hajjaj, with the help of the passersby who he snapped in his pop-up studios erected on the streets of Morocco, London, Paris and Kuwait, finally presents this series at The Third Line. Experimenting around the revival of African photography from the 1960s and 70s, Hajjaj captures musicians, fashion designers, dancers and singers doing what they do best – performing – in this energetic and colourful exhibition.

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Travel

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North Korea

Travel

Japan

South Korea

Breathtaking Bhutan

Nepal India

BHUTAN

India

The magical Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan still resists the lures of the modern world.

Bangladesh

By Nausheen Noor Hong Kong S.A.R.

Taiwan

China

Macao S.A.R

Malaysia

has guaranteed that the nation remains pristine. It is an ideal place for trekking. The rice fields in the valley are patterned like mosaics. They connect to hills verdant with primeval forests. Further still, on the horizon, are the snowcapped mountains of the Himalayas. Traditional architecture, prayer wheels powered by streams, and strings of colourful prayer flags are ubiquitous along the landscape. Treks often lead to remote cliff-side temples and monasteries. The visuals alone could make converts out of nonbelievers.

s

Laos

policy. Visitors now have to famously pay a minimum $250 tariff per diem, which is inclusive of accommodation, food, transport and an official guide. This Thailand makes it an expensive place to visit, but also assures that you will not encounter VietnamRemote towns overrun with backpackers. Cambodia luxury resorts are more Bhutan’s style. In 2011, Bhutan welcomed around 64,000 tourists. By contrast, more than 600,000 people visited nearby Nepal in 2010. Bhutan’s legacy of isolation, the sheer inaccessibility of much of the country and the traditional reverence for nature

Philippine

Burma ucked between India and China at the remote end of the Himalayas, the tiny kingdom of Bhutan has long captured the imagination of tourists in search of a spiritual journey. With its astonishing natural beauty, peaceful Buddhist culture, and an enigmatic traditional society that has taken tenuous steps towards modernity, Bhutan may indeed be the last Shangri-la. When Bhutan first opened its borders Sri Lanka to foreigners in 1974, they adopted a “high end, low volume” tourism

Brunei

Singapore

Image courtesy of Corbis / ArabianEye.com

Indonesia

Timor-Leste

Ashmore and Cartier Islands

The iconic Takstang monastery, Paro

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P


Travel

It is remarkable that Bhutan has remained untouched in a region that suffers increasingly from overpopulation and reckless overdevelopment. Even its survival into the present century as an independent country is something of a marvel. With Sikkim swallowed by India, and Tibet taken over by China in the 1950s, Bhutan is the only remaining Buddhist state in the region. Perhaps it is due to this vulnerability that Bhutan has remained gently resistant to

modernity. Schoolchildren and office workers are required to wear the gho and kira— the traditional male and female clothing. The country’s only traffic light in Thimphu was taken down days after installation; people complained it was ugly and ineffective. The populace has reluctantly embraced democracy since the peaceful 2008 transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional democratic monarchy. Bhutan’s most enduring legacy in the

collective consciousness is the concept of “Gross National Happines.” A term coined by the King in 1972, who was“not concerned with Gross National Product” but rather a more holistic development indicator, encompassing economic self-reliance, an unspoiled environment, preservation of culture and good governance. GNH has since been embraced by economists and political leaders, earning Bhutan the reputation as “the happiest nation in the world.”

places to visit PARO The entry point for most journeys through the Kingdom, the dramatic 8th century Taktsang, or “Tiger’s Nest” monastery, one of the country’s most recognizable sites built on a sheer cliff face at an height of 2,950m.

THIMPHU The charming capital is as close as Bhutan gets to urban, though there are still no traffic lights. It’s the best place to witness the juxtaposition of old and new with its many lanes of shops, vegetable and meat markets, and assorted local restaurants.

PUNAKHA One of the lowest lying and most fertile valleys in the Kingdom, Punukha rests at the confluence of the Mother (Mo) and Father (Pho) rivers. At the rivers’ junction, the Punakha Dzong is perhaps Bhutan’s most impressive building.

GANGTEY A town in the glacial Phobjikha Valley is part of the Black Mountains National Park. One of Bhutan’s most important wildlife sanctuaries because the large flock of black necked cranes that winter here.

WHERE TO GO THE UMA PARO This hillside retreat seamlessly combines traditional Bhutanese architecture with luxury facilities. All rooms have views of the forest, mountains or valley. The COMO Sambhala spa offers traditional Bhutanese stone baths in a private hillside cabin. The Bukhari restaurant is arguably the best in the valley and features a traditional Bhutanese set menu that changes daily. Paro (+975 8 271597)

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Travel

TAJ TASHI While most hotels in Bhutan are exclusive retreats nestled in the countryside, the Taj Group’s hotel opened in January 2008, in the heart of the capital. Designed to resemble Bhutan’s dzongs, the hotel houses 66 bedrooms sleekly furnished in a mix of traditional and contemporary. Thimphu (+975 2 336699)

THE AMAN RESORTS The Aman resort chain was the first foreign organization allowed to build a hotel in Bhutan. They now have a series of minimalist but wellappointed lodges across the country. The allinclusive Amankora Journey lets guests travel between the five lodges over a minimum 7day period. Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangety and Bumthang (00 800 2255 2626)

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travel

RESIDE LIKE ROYALTY

While the popularity of monarchy and titles has taken an upturn, maintaining ones lavish domain is far from afternoon tea in the atrium. We bring you GC’s Hotlist of stately lodgings restored to their regal splendor.

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Ballyfin, Ireland

Secluded Elegance with a soft upper lip Situated on 600 acres of unspoiled green land, Ballyfin is a secluded 15-room country retreat on a vast Georgian estate just an hour and a half away from Dublin. Complete with helipad and look-out tower, the 18th century stately home celebrates its Irish culture and heritage with a series of oil paintings of former lord and lady inhabitants. Elegant chandeliers hang from the elaborate motif ceilings and the grandeur of the public sitting rooms are defined by mahogany furniture, parquet floors and ornate fabrics, as well as a 5,000-volume library which chronicles the house’s compelling history. Carrying on the traditions of its founding era, each guest is welcomed by a crew of immaculate butlers— lining the manor steps— before being whisked straight to one of the period style rooms. Celebrated Chef Fred Cordonnier devises a classic yet refined Irish menu, complimented by organic vegetables from the estate’s own garden. Afternoons in Ballyfin are made for walking, fishing, boating and cycling, or if its raining— as it often does in the Emerald Isle— golf bugging around the estate’s forest trail and lake. If the weather is not in your favour, the plush indoor swimming pool and spa are at hand and how could we forget afternoon tea! (rates from AED 4,499 per night)

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travel

Samode Palace, India

Film reel vintage and palatial drama

This 300-year-old maharaja’s mansion near Jaipur, in the heart of Rajasthan, is cradled amongst the majestic Aravalli Mountains. The Samode Palace— now a grand boutique hotel— is a whimsical sanctum of marble swimming pools, mural-lined walls, mirrored halls, princely antique-filled suites and wise old trees chivalrously adorned with twinkling lanterns. With 43 rooms, including 23 suites— all with a private balcony or terrace— this walled arcadia is not without the modern comforts of a business centre, courtyard wifi, gym, day spa, children’s play area, DVD library and boutique. Guests can wander through the Sheesh Mahal— a breath-taking series of painstakingly detailed walls, domes and murals. Decorated with 16th-century handpainted walls, opulent chandeliers and silver armchairs, it was once a royal reception space. The hotel’s bar boasts one of Jaipur’s finest cellars, filled to the brim with top-shelf wines, and dining consists of Rajasthani, European and Asian dishes. Whether you choose to feast in the lavish main dining room, or pretty green terrace courtyard with rustic wrought iron tables and twinkling candles, you remain enveloped in fairytale charm. (rates from AED 630 per night)

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travel

Il Borro, Italy

Fanciful novel of horseback gallops and Tuscan fruits With its deep medieval roots and excellence in wine production, this vast estate owned by the Ferragamo family leaves you immersed in a novel— with Tuscany as the protagonist. Constructed in 1848 by Prince Hohenlohe, the Il Borro Villa has a long history with moments of splendour and ruin, mainly due to abandonment following the Second World War. As if with the wave of a wand, the sweeping and bountiful gardens awash with fruit trees and pungent herbs have been restored to their original beauty and the residences each with their own show of character. The medieval village, a warren of gothic nostalgia and quaint captivation teeters on a gallant hilltop accessed by an antediluvian pathway. The estate’s country farmhouses, villas and even the grand Villa Il Borro itself cater to every comfort flaunting resplendent dÊcor and huge windows with shutters opening up to a lush surround of green expanse and the audacious medieval village. The wellness spa boasts a stunning infinity pool surrounded by a vast wilderness of rampant trees. Wine and olive oil tours as well as the two restaurants on the estate offer guests the opportunity to reap the fruits of the village. The estate gives visitors distinctly diverse experiences, but the main objective stays the same; guests remain embalmed in pure relaxation amidst an oasis of tranquility. (rates from AED 922)


City Guide

LITTLE BLACK BOOK

Mumbai It’s commonplace for Abhay Deol to be introduced as the baby boy of Bollywood’s Deol acting dynasty, however it’s plain to see that the eco-conscious maverick has far from climbed coat tails. Establishing himself as Bollywood’s talented nonconformist he gives GC’s Lifestyle Editor Aysha Majid a rare gander into his Bom…sorry Mumbai best bits…

Waterstones Country Club and Spa “I like to recharge here when the city gets too intense. It’s a relaxed, serene environment and they have a pool, library, games rooms, gym, tennis and squash courts as well as a few restaurants, so it caters to everyone.” Off International Airport Approach Rd, Marol, Andheri(E)Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.

Wasabi “Was Mumbai’s first contemporary Japanese and is one of my favourite restaurants. The décor is pretty modern and minimalist and the food is consistently good.” The Taj Palace Hotel & Tower.

It can get intense at times and there’s a lot to see, so keep your eyes peeled and don’t go down the commercial sightseeing route. You will miss the good bits...

The Jehangir Art Gallery

“Is probably one of India’s most famous art galleries. It was built in the 50s and showcases some great exhibitions. The café is always busy and reminiscent of the 70’s socialist culture.” Mahatama Gandhi Rd, Kalaghoda

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City Guide

Blue Frog “Hosts Mumbai’s best gigs. Showcasing live music six nights a week, catering to every preference from funk, jazz and soul to electronic, rock and folk, as well as stand-up comedy, film and poetry nights.” Mathuradas Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.

Leopold Café and Bar

“Is not a place I go regularly as it’s the other side of town, but it used to be an old drinking spot for backpackers and has been around since 1871. Since Gregory Roberts’ book Shantaram, Leopold has become even more popular with tourists and locals and the casual atmosphere makes it a great spot for a quick drink.” Near Electric House, Colaba Causeway, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road.

Chor Bazaar which literally means ‘Thief Market’— “Is a good place to go for clocks, lamps and old furniture. You can also get old Bollywood movie posters from here— I’m not hugely into labels, I like character. Sometimes the pieces are authentic and others are just really good reproduction.” Mutton St, Bhuleshwar.

Prithvi Theatre in Juhu

Mumbai’s equivalent to the Hamptons, this coastal spot in the Konkan region is where the city’s affluent residents take time out. “Alibaug is a great weekend getaway from the hustle of the city. You can catch a 45 minute ferry from the gateway of India.”

“Is an intimate, old-school theatre with an open-air café. It was set up as a non profit organisation in the 70s, in memory of Prithviraj Kapoor and is a bit of an actor hangout.” 20 Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road

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Yachts

Azimut 45

Having received international awards for innovation, comfort and style, this prestigious new arrival’s design offers space along with elegance and privacy.

nown for its graceful style and innovation, Azimut is the leading producer of 40 to 100 feet luxury yachts, offering the most extensive range in the world. The Italian designed Azimut 45 sets a new benchmark by re-examining the fundamental aspects of liveability and quality. The exterior and concept were created by one of Italy’s greatest nautical architects Stefano Righini, while the classic and sleek interiors are courtesy of designer Carlo Galeazzi. The lines of the yacht are harmoniously balanced, while dynamic profiles project the shape forward even when stationary. “Fish in particular have shapes that exhibit vitality, even when they are motionless they seem to dart. Nature inspires how I innovate the design of the

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deckhouse panes of glass, protracting them to the silhouettes of certain animals,” explained Righini. “In the side view the impression of dynamics bursting forth emerges and from the outside the windows reflect the foam and become a landscape painting.” With two or three cabin options— each with a large central VIP compartment and flybridge attached as a modular unit at 2 the stern— this multifaceted yacht boasts a 12m, versatile space that transforms from a dinette complete with dining table and a sofa area— with L or C shaped seating— to a spacious sundeck on a single level. The fly is designed to accommodate 10 people between seating, sundeck and steering station. Accessed by a handy stairway, this spacious terrace overlooking the sea


Yachts

covers the entire cockpit and the swimming platform can be either fixed or retractable. Oak interiors are a natural honey colour complimented by light Jakarta leathers and Azimut follows the construction philosophy of using natural dyes and materials. The keel of the boat is a classic variable dihedral, with an angle of 21 degrees amidship, that reproduces the optimal qualities in terms of wave absorption and performance. Righini employed a building method that ensures low environmental impact, high-quality construction and top-flight mechanical characteristics. The Azimut 45 is outfitted with twin 480 mhp (max) Cummins engines, shaft-mounted propellers and a max speed of 32 knots, and can carry 12 persons, with easy handling and docking options.

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Health

Paleolithic Health & Nutrition The ‘caveman’ diet offers many health benefits. James Heagney, certified sports nutritionist, explains.

e are bombarded with a host of celebrity fad diets designed to undo the business lunch bulge in record time. The problem is they have limited success, are often unrealistic to follow and have no scientific evidence to back them up. They can leave you tired, grumpy and— speaking for the vast majority— can often cause your weight to rebound over and above your original starting weight. This brings us to the Paleo Diet. Paleo refers to the Paleoithic era also known as the Stone age. You may have heard of the term ‘Caveman diet.’ The premise behind this nutritional approach is based on evolution. The human genome has evolved 0.02% in the past 40,000 years. For all of our techological advances we are essentially still cavemen. We therefore need to eat the way our bodies are programmed. Evolution is a marvelous thing but we have raced away and mother nature is way behind trying to catch up. For example, Neolithic foods such as whole grains, dairy and processed meats have only been present for 500 generations. Prior to that 100,000 generations were sustained on a Paleo diet. If you return to your genetically nutritional roots you can reverse such health diseases as obesity, high blood pressure, type two diabetes and heart disease.

Sample Paleo Meal Plan Breakfast Steak, toasted almonds and a cup of blueberries

Lunch

Chopped Salad – Chicken, egg, avocado, pine nuts and as many different vegetables are you wish

Afternoon Snack

An apple and a handful of Brazilian nuts

Dinner

Grilled salmon, spinach, asparagus, onion, tomato

Dessert

Herbal tea and a punnet of strawberries


Health

What differences will I see • • • •

Significantly reduced waistline Body fat reduction Increased concentration Stable energy levels

FOODs to include Protein

Fats

Carbohydrates

Grass-Fed Beef

Avocado

All Green Vegetables

Lamb

Raw Nuts

Peppers

Wild/ Game Meats

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mushrooms

Seafood

Coconut Oil

Tomatoes

Organic Chicken/Turkey

Macadamia, Walnut Oil

Onions

Whole Organic Eggs

Grass Fed Butter

Sweet Potato

FOODs to Remove Beverages

Carbohydrates

Fats

Breads

Margerine and Spreadable Butters

Beer

Pasta

Hydrogenated fat

Milk

Potato

Vegetable Oil

Fruit Juices (too much fructose and refined sugar)

Cakes

Sunflower Oil

Fizzy Drinks

Biscuits/ Cookies

Fried Foods

Diet Soft Drinks

James Heagney is a Certified Sports Nutritionist and 5 Dimensions Practitioner at the Capital Club, Dubai. www.jamesheagney.com twitter: @jamesheagney www.facebook.com/5DimensionalHealth

Medical benefits to a Paleo Diet • Decrease incidence of cardiovascualr disease • Reduces Inflammation • Improves insulin management • Eliminates most frequent food intoleraces • Improves total cholesterol scores • Anti ageing effect


dining

Strictly Carnivore

If Prometheus invented man and stole fire for them, then one can assume that the steak soon followed. There is something very primitive about barely dressed meat cooked over a fire. Since then steak has evolved significantly. But whether Wagyu or grass fed, topped with foie gras or crab cakes, a perfectly cooked steak is peerless. Here are some of the best spots in the city to enjoy this paleo-friendly meal. By Nausheen Noor

Gaucho This Argentine steakhouse puts an extraordinary amount of attention to the provenance of their products. Gaucho’s beef is imported from the grasslands of Rosario in Argentina. Their cattle are allowed to roam freely and are exclusively grass-fed. Gaucho’s creators believe cattle which are usually penned and fattened on corn and wheat, result in a tastier steak than grain-fed, or Wagyu. DIFC Podium Level, Gate Village 05, +971 4 422 7898

Ruth’s Chris This 45 year old American restaurant’s signature steaks are cooked with a unique broiling technique at 1,000 degrees Celsius and served to guests on a theatrical sizzling hotplate. Their signature dish is a filet topped with a crabcake and doused in hollandaise sauce. The Address Hotel, Dubai Marina, +971 4 454 9538

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dining

Rhodes Twenty10 Part of Gary Rhodes’ ever-expanding UAE empire, this restaurant features a “choose your own” menu where the cut of meat, sides, and sauces are all separate. The menu also includes British takes on many steakhouse favourites, such as a bunless burger served with melting foie gras. Le Royal Meridien, Dubai Marina, +971 4 399 5555

Rib Room The newly renovated restaurant used to be one of Dubai’s original steakhouses. There are the requisite cuts of Canadian, Australian and U.S. meats but this restaurant’s strength may be in their side dishes. The chili fries and the wasabi fries are standouts. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, +971 4 319 8088

West 14th Steakhouse A ranch in Nebraska provides the US Black Angus beef that is cut to order by the resident butcher at West 14th. This New York-style restaurant is a great place for casual dining with gorgeous views of the Arabian Gulf and Dubai Marina in the distance. Oceana Beach Club, Palm Jumeirah, +971 4 447 7601

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Fragrance

Sensual Scent

Channel a debonair demeanour with this selection of fall fragrances infused with wood and musk.

Terre D’Hermés

White Suede

An alchemic journey through the elements; earth, air and water. woody, vegetal and mineral eau de toilette. (Hermes & selected perfume stores throughout Dubai 100ml AED 347)

Tom Ford’s unisex eau de parfum exudes the smooth, supple scent of elegant suede; velvety rose, saffron, warm amber and sensuous musk. (Bloomingdales Dubai 50ml AED 781)

Aventus This masculine Creed fragrance is optimistic and woody, with virile sensuality. Finished with Oakmoss, Ambergris and a light dusting of Vanilla. (Saks Fifth Ave Dubai 75ml AED 755)

Aqua Di Parma Intensely masculine eau de cologne, with well-defined notes and construction, combining freshness with Oriental traits of Agarwood. (Bloomingdales Dubai 100ml AED 670)

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Grooming

Skin Protectors

Relentless AC and the scorching desert sun can take its toll. We bring you GC’s potions and lotions to help you battle the elements.

Kiehl’s Men’s Alcohol Free Herbal Toner

Chanel UV Essential SPF 50 UV Care and Anti Pollution

Prevents appearance of dark spots & premature aging. Translucent non-oily.

Contains herbal, soothing extracts and helps comfort skin after the impact of shaving.

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel UV Guard for Men

Maximum protection from UVA rays. Protects from daily damage and premature aging.

Clinique Maximum Hydrator for Men

Replenishes moisture to keep skin hydrated. Helps plump up skin and eliminate fine lines.

Kiehl’s Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream

Spiked with menthol and camphor. Provides incomparable skin effect for CloseShavers.

Shiseido Deep Wrinkle Corrector Minimises the visibility of deep wrinkles caused by ageing and dryness.

Weleda After Shave Balm Contains cooling aloe gel and jojoba oil. Absorbs quickly with a mellow fragrance of essential oils.

Weleda stocked at Organic Foods & Cafe. Other products available at Bloomingdales and Harvey Nichols in Dubai.

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fashion

FALL FASHION Salvatore Ferragamo’s 2012 Autumn/ Winter men’s runway was a cool and collected mix of military structure and precise tailoring softened with perfect swaths of cashmere and velvet. GC’s Lifestyle editor Aysha Majid picks some of the best pieces for fall.

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Ferragamo Fall/ Winter collection available at mall of the Emirates

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1: Hermes iPad case, Burjuman Dubai approx. AED 4,492 2: Hermes high tops, Burjuman Dubai approx. AED 3,672 3: Paul Smith navy brogues, Saks Fifth Ave Dubai AED 1,400 78 GC September / October 2012

4: Hermes watch, Burjuman AED 7,508 5: Bottega Veneta messenger bag, mrporter.com AED 6,380 6: Bottega Veneta cufflinks, mrporter.com AED 1,632


fashion

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7: Paul Smith phone cover, Saks Fifth Ave Dubai approx. AED 462 8: Smythson camera case, Boutique1 AED 845 9: Alexander McQueen, mr.porter.com AED 5,396 10: Gucci sunglasses, mrporter.com AED 1,864

11: Hermes USB, Burjuman Dubai approx. AED 2,570 12: Globe Trotter, Harvey Nichols, approx. AED 22,000 13: Gucci jumper, mrporter.com AED 3,632 14: Salvatore Ferragamo bag, Dubai Mall AED 4,344 September / October 2012 GC 79


watches

Size Matters 1

Six statement watches to give you a ‘dressing down’… Go big or go home.

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Hublot Big Bang Aero Bang: 44mm case, 18ct rose gold satin finish, water resistance of 100m. (AED 152,500, select Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons stores)

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Panerai Radiomir 10 Days Power Reserve GMT: 47mm case, the second special edition dedicated to Dubai, only 10 units have been made, waterproof to 100m. (P.O.A. Panerai Boutique Dubai Mall)

3

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph: 45.5mm case, water resistant to 600m. (AED 31,100, Rivoli stores Dubai)

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Calibre de Cartier: 42mm case, polished 18k rose gold, brown leather strap, water resistant to 30m. (AED 82,500, Cartier Dubai Mall)

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Patek Philippe’s Nautilus, brand new for 2012: Case diameter of 40mm, water resistance of 120m. (AED 92,000, select Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons stores)

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www.omegawatches.com

PLANET OCEAN

OMEGA Boutiques: BurJuman • Deira City Centre • Dubai Mall • Mall of the Emirates • Mirdif City Centre • Sahara Centre • Wafi and at select Rivoli Stores.Toll Free: 800-RIVOLI

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