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THE MIDDLE EAST’S BIGGEST TRAVEL MAGAZINE

AUGUST 2012

WIN

A stay at one of Hong Kong’s hippest haunts

MADRID

Why there’s no time for siestas in the Spanish capital

Produced in International Media Production Zone

12

New York’s top spots for a bite

hot hotels to make your head spin...

Ciao Bella

Say hello to Italy’s best-kept secret

Madagascar Contrasts and colour abound in the Indian Ocean


CHOOSE YOUR OWN FLAVOUR

SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY OPENING RATE FOR A LIMITED TIME STAY FROM 1ST OF JUNE TO 20TH AUGUST (LAST DEPARTURE)

Four entirely unique five star boutique hotels now open within the exciting, vibrant Souq Waqif, Doha’s favourite leisure destination. Come and experience authentic Qatari hospitality and choose your own flavour.

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FOR A CORAL ROOM IN ANY OF OUR HOTELS

AL JASRA AL NAJADA ARUMAILA AL MIRQAB MUSHEIREB AL BIDDA

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KANOO WORLD TRAVELLER AUGUST 2012

CONTENTS TRAVEL BITES 05 CHECK IN

Unusual Eid escapes, the secrets of firstclass packing and new hotels besides

14 COMPETITION

Win a three-night stay in Hong Kong at one of the best boutique hotels in town

17 WHERE TO STAY

40

Need digs in sunny Sao Paulo? You can’t go wrong with these city slickers

18 PICTURE THIS

A glimpse of the lavender pastures of Provence, France’s most vibrant fields

21 12 ARCHITECTURAL GEMS

Style-savvy travellers take note: these quirky gems are in a class of their own

70 VISIT: PERTH

From nightlife to wildlife, WA’s lively capital has something for everyone

72 VISIT: EDINBURGH

Head to Scotland this month for a smorgasbord of art, theatre and comedy

76 SUITE DREAMS

Retire to this luxe lodging amid the treetops of the Ozzie outback...

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54

FEATURES 34 SPAIN Can Madrid steal Barcelona’s cultural capital crown? KWT heads to Europe for a slice of the action

40 USA

No dining scene is more accomplished – or outlandish – than New York’s: pack your appetite and head to the Big Apple

48 ITALY

Take a trip to the exquisite Egadi Islands, and you may never want to leave...

54 MADAGASCAR

From cheeky lemurs to spooky forests, this African wilderness is full of surprises

62 INDIA

A kaleidescope of colours, oft-overlooked Karnataka is a sensuous summer retreat

Paddling canoe along river, Madagascar; Rob Howard, Corbis / Arabian Eye

48

62

Managing Director: Victoria Hazell-Thatcher

Group Editor: Laura Binder

Production Manager: Haneef Abdul

Publishing Director: John Thatcher

laura@hotmediapublishing.com

Senior Advertisement Manager:

Advertisement Director: Chris Capstick

Sub Editor: Hazel Plush

Stefanie Morgner

chris@hotmediapublishing.com

hazel@hotmediapublishing.com

stefanie@hotmediapublishing.com

+971 4 369 0917

Designers: Adam Sneade, Vanessa Arnaud

+971 4 446 1558

Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from HOT Media Publishing is strictly prohibited. All prices mentioned are correct at time of press but may change. HOT Media Publishing does not accept liability for omissions or errors in Kanoo World Traveller.

Jun-Dec 2011 23,120 BPA Consumer Audit Produced by: HOT Media Publishing FZ LLC

August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 3


STAY IN STYle ThIS Summer Stay 3 nights & enjoy Dubai Ice Rink or Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo + SEGA Republic Stay 4 nights & enjoy Dubai Ice Rink or Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo + SEGA Republic + KidZania速 Stay 5 nights & enjoy Dubai Ice Rink or Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo + SEGA Republic + KidZania速 + At the Top, Burj Khalifa

For further information on the Armani Hotel Dubai please contact our Reservations Office on +971 4 888 3999 or your local travel agent. For bookings please visit: www.dubai.armanihotels.com | Terms and Conditions apply


CHECK IN | NEWS

CHECK IN

BE INFORMED, BE INSPIRED, BE THERE

EID

10 EID BREAKS WITH A DIFFERENCE

Get the maximum out of your mini-break with these short-haul adventures

1

Discover green gold… on the verdant Sri Lankan Ceylon slopes. Tea Trails, a working tea plantation, offers luxurious lodgings in the heart of its fields; think secluded colonial bungalows surrounded by lush green hills, a personal team of staff to rustle up spicy delicacies, and the finest afternoon tea you’ll ever sip. Learn about the picking process on a guided tour (you’ll get to pluck your own leaves, too),

take picnics in the pastures, and venture to the top of Adam’s Peak for stunning Ceylon views in every direction. Feeling adventurous? Hire a bike and work off the caffeine on one of the cycling trails that thread through the Central Highlands World Heritage area, past remote villages, bubbling streams, and the lush greenery of the Bogowantalawa Valley. teatrails.com August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 5


2

Become an elephant expert… by joining a research team at Thailand’s Golden Triangle tented camp (pictured). Get up-close with the gentle giants on the Elephant Researcher Program – you’ll take part in behavioural studies, play learning games, and witness their intelligence firsthand. Inquisitive minds can pick the brains of on-site experts, investigate how elephants communicate, and head out on safari atop the beautiful beasts. At the end of the day, retire to the sumptuous camp for Thai, Laotian and Burmese dining, and soak in your suite’s custom-made wooden hot tub – then snooze under a tented canopy just inches away from the rainforest. fourseasons.com 6 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller

3

Take a walk on the wild side… on a safari through Oman’s Dhofar region. While the rest of the Middle East swelters, temperatures in this tiny enclave hover around a pleasant 30°C thanks to the khareef – a unique monsoon season which transforms the dusty wadis into a sea of lush greenery. This verdant paradise is home to all creatures great and small: hyena, ibex and gazelle roam the region, as well as an endangered group of Arabian leopards. Muscat Diving & Adventure Centre will take you to the heart of the action on guided safaris and nature walks through the bush, and birdwatchers will love their twitching trips too. holiday-in-oman.com

4

Soar through the skies… over the rugged plains of Cappadocia, in central Turkey. This striking region is known for its lunar terrain – a vast expanse of rocky fissures and peaks, hewn over millennia of erosion. The best way to experience the region is by air: take a hot air balloon ride for breathtaking views in the cool, silent skies. You’ll glide over caves, clefts and rocky pinnacles known as ‘fairy chimneys’, and up towards the spectacular volcanic valleys. Prefer to stay on – or beneath – terra firma? Explore the underground cave cities of Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı, subterranean settlements that were excavated at the height of the Hittite Empire (1500-1300BC).


Presents


5

Set sail down the Nile… on-board a felucca, a traditional Egyptian sailing boat. These serene vessels have traversed the length of the River Nile since ancient times – hire a private one from Cairo, and head south to Luxor and Aswan on a threeday trip. Life on board is leisurely, the perfect respite from life in the city; with no motor, the boats are reliant on the wind to fill their billowing sails – it’s a laid-back pace, with nights spent moored up under the stars. Be lulled by the gentle breeze and watch as the mossy banks roll past – hop-off points include Karnak and the fascinating Valley of the Kings, where you’ll find architectural wonders galore. en.egypt.travel

8 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller

6

Blow away the cobwebs… with a trip to Kathmandu, Nepal, Asia’s adventure sports capital. Tear up the mountain bike trails through the dense hillside forests, or head out on hiking trails to far-flung rural villages. Adrenaline junkies will love Bungy Nepal, one of the world’s longest free-fall drops over the raging Bhote Kosi river gorge. With its high mountainous terrain, the region is brimming with prime white water rapids – perfect for white knuckle rafting and canoe trips. Base yourself at the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu (pictured, bottom left); they’ll organise your adventures for you, so all you have to worry about is plucking up the courage to have a go… hyatt.com

7

Hang out with big cats… on a tiger safari in Ranthambore National Park, India. A mere 2.5 hours from Jaipur, this reserve is home to a healthy population of the big cats – and offers some of the best viewing in the country. Check in to the Oberoi Vanyavilas hotel (pictured, top left) for luxury embroidered tents, private gardens, and jungle safaris that’ll get you up-close with the tigers themselves. They’re not the park’s only residents, though – you’ll spot the likes of hyenas, wild boars, sloths, flying foxes and macaques, as well as leopards if you’re lucky. Got a little more time? Head to nearby Amer Palace, the spectacular former home of Rajasthan’s maharajahs. oberoihotels.com


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8

Take a quirky city break… to Baku, Azerbaijan’s up-and-coming capital. Even after its brief flurry of tourism courtesy of this year’s Eurovision contest, Baku is still well and truly off the tourist map – so you won’t have to battle the throngs. This oil-rich region has one thing on its mind: becoming the world’s next most extravagant destination. Its seafront boulevard is set to become the longest in the world, the workin-progress Flame Towers cast an impressive (and imposing) figure over the city, and the 23,000-capacity Crystal Hall hosts worldclass acts from around the globe. Go now, before the rest of the world catches on…

10 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller

9

Serve like a Wimbledon pro… at one of the world’s best tennis hotels. Gstaad Palace (pictured), surrounded by Switzerland’s alpine peaks, is running ‘Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks’ until September, giving guests the chance to be coached by the Grand Slam legend himself. Beginners can learn the ropes from the pro, and more experienced players will be able to pick up expert tips. Off-court, the pretty landscaped gardens, glorious spa and Olympic-sized pool will soothe your muscles, and the cool mountain air is the perfect antidote to a Middle Eastern summer – and, better yet, it’s close enough for a long weekend. palace.ch

10

Ride the waves… off the coast of Morocco, at the paradise resort of La Sultana Oualidia. Set on the banks of a crystal clear lagoon, the hotel enjoys private access to gentle Atlantic Ocean surf breaks – great for beginners and kids. Its dedicated surf school is the first in the area, with expert coaches who’ll get you riding in no time. Back on dry land, recline in style at the Moorishstyle fortress; its intricate stonework and mosaics are truly stunning, and the spa is a haven of tranquillity. Refresh yourself at the traditional hammam, and pep up aching bones with an al fresco massage in the garden. lasultanaoualidia.com


CEASE THE CREASE Louis Vuitton reveals the secrets of compact and stylish packing

The Parisian elite were the first bunch of jet setters to enjoy Vuitton’s packing expertise: his early apprentice years were dedicated to the art of trunk-making and luggage-packing, when he mastered the making of boxes in which belongings were beautifully placed – and a doddle to unpack. Fast forward to the present day, and Louis Vuitton’s 15 ‘maisons’ – from Shanghai to just-opened Sao Paulo – are offering The Art of Packing service; three lessons based upon three pieces of luggage (the trunk-like Alzer, pull-along Pegase and Keepall holdall). All sorts of handy tips are being unwrapped, from placing the heaviest objects at the bottom of the case and stuffing shoes with silk paper, to filling empty corners with underwear, socks and gloves and the best way to fold your jeans for a weekend jaunt.

In the bag KWT steals a look at perfect folds… Dress: 1. Lie the dress down with the top in the suitcase and the bottom out of it. 2. Place a jacket on top, open, with the collar raised. Fold in the sides, then fold over the sleeves. 3. Tuck in the bottom of the dress against the jacket. Thin Jumper: 1. Lay the jumper down flat, collar on top. Fold the sleeves in. 2. Roll it over on itself, from the collar to the bottom. 3. Roll it over on itself again from left to right as needed. Shirts: 1. Raise the collar of the shirt to protect it. 2. Do up every other button. 3. Fold it in two, across the height with the collar visible and the sleeves folded at the back. 4. Stack two shirts, top to toe, to stop them from creasing.

Exotic escape? If you’re planning to pack your bags for India, things will be easier from this month onwards: IndiGo has just launched a second daily flight service from Delhi to Dubai, plus three new routes to Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi. goindigo.in

12 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller


CHECK IN | NEWS

ESCAPE TO EUROPE

A trio of stellar August openers provide plenty of reasons to make for the EU

Go to... Greece Amanzoe

Go to... Portugal Fazenda Nova Country House

Go to... Italy The Hotel at Monteverdi

Why go? Part of Aman resorts, it’s dripping in discrete luxury and set in a catch-your-breath location, overlooking the Peloponnesian coast – peace-seeking couples will be in seventh heaven. Which room? Each of its 38 ‘guest pavilions’ have private stone-walled courtyards and pools, plus a pergola on the terrace. Don’t miss A day’s island hopping – dreamy crescent-shaped coves and beaches are a short sail away…

Why go? For sun, sea and fresh ocean air – the former private residence by the coastal town of Tavira has been given a modern country makeover. Which room? Of its 10 suites, we love the Garden Suites complete with private garden, terrace and pretty orchard views. Don’t miss A bite of the freshly-made bread from the 200-year-old bread oven (breakfast is best eaten by the poolside terrace), or the hotel’s chicken piri-piri – it’s delicious.

Why go? Set on a UNESCO heritage site, the Val d’Orcia region of Tuscany was all but dormant until a US lawyer transformed an almost-abandoned medieval village into an authentic-yet-luxe retreat. Which room? Rent one of its three villas (from six-to-two beds) and have a private chef rustle up authentic Tuscan fare while you’re there. Don’t miss Mingling at Caffe Monteverdi, where guests and locals gather for alfresco bites (its chef is Locanda Locatelli-trained).

August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 13


HOT OFFERS

WIN a luxurious city break in Hong Kong

In the dazzling heart of Hong Kong, the Lan Kwai Fong Hotel is one of the city’s finest boutique hotels. Step inside for sleek interiors with cosy Cantonese touches; each room boasts city and harbour views, and chic hand-picked décor. With the cosmopolitan districts of SoHo and Lan Kwai Fong on your doorstep, the nearby entertainment options are endless: think vibrant art galleries, hip cafés and cultural treats galore (the Hong Kong Fringe Club is a local favourite). Got some HK dollars to splurge? Pick up high street and designer threads at Causeway Bay and Times Square, a quick cab drive away, or venture to Hollywood Road for curiosity shops and antique treasures. When evening comes, you won’t have far to go to find top-notch nosh: Celebrity Cuisine, the hotel’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant, is one of the hottest venues in town. The chicken wings stuffed with birds nest and Eight Treasure duck, created by feted Chef Cheng Kam-fu, have an international foodie following all of their own. lankwaifonghotel.com.hk 14 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller

THE PRIZE Three nights in a deluxe room for two people. To enter, email easywin@hotmediapublishing. com with your answer before August 30, 2012. Q. Which of the following attractions will you not find in Hong Kong? a) Victoria Harbour b) Golden Gate Bridge c) Nan Lian Garden TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Valid from August 30 for 12 months. (Subject to availability and blackout dates). Prize is non-transferable, and is not exchangeable for cash.

While you’re there… 1. Eat at Kau U Fong – you’ll find the alleyway amid the busy Central District, where ground floor squatter workshops have been turned into trendy cafés. 2. Shop til you drop at Causeway Bay, one of the city’s most popular shopping

areas, and add Russell Street, Hennessy Road and Yee Wo to your checklist – as well as Japanese department store Sogo. 3. Saunter around SoHo where the streets are packed with eateries, as well as galleries and antique boutiques on Hollywood Road.


Situated in the northern most atoll of the Maldives Haa Alif, The Beach House at Iruveli Maldives recreates the style and charm of traditional Maldivian hospitality, while seamlessly blending Asian traditions of simplicity and elegance to its overall appeal. The resort offers a level of serenity unsurpassed in the Maldives. Sleek and contemporary, The Beach House at Iruveli Maldives offers unparalleled luxury to the discerning few. ______________________________________________ For bookings and reservations please contact us at reservations@beachhousecollection.com T: +960 6500 400 F: +960 6500 444 E: info@beachhousecollection.com www.beachhousecollection.com


More space to be yourself... Space, luxury, privacy. Each of our wonderfully stylish suites, penthouses and villas offers the ultimate in exclusivity, bringing a touch of European flair to Dubai, for you and your family. We were pleased to be presented with two awards at the recent World Travel Awards, including Middle East’s Leading Penthouse.

Some secrets are too good to keep. www.kempinski.com/palmjumeirah

T +971 4 444 2000


CHECK IN | WHERE TO STAY

WHERE TO STAY...

SÃO PAULO

Brazil’s largest city has a crop of hotels to match: from working ranches to smooth designer digs, there’s something to suit every city tripper’s taste

START

Top spot

See

OROR

Be seen

OR

Grand design

Modern Masterpiece

OR

Emiliano Hotel

Old Charmer

Tivoli São Paulo - Mofarrej

emiliano.com.br

tivolihotels.com

On Oscar Freire Street, São Paulo’s upscale shopping strip, you’ll find this swanky hotel: a chic blend of contemporary design and classic touches. Show off your new designer threads in the exclusive lounge and restaurant, favoured by suits and celebs who love the rooftop helipad...

Make for the exclusive Jardins neighbourhood and check into the Mofarrej Presidential Suite for a bout of unbridled luxury: this 750m2 abode is the biggest suite in South America, no less, with decadent décor and 360° views of the vibrant city – sure to get you in the sizzling spirit of Sao Paulo.

Urban adventure

Great escape

Big bucks

InterContinental São Paulo

Haras Larissa

Hotel Fasano

intercontinental.com

haraslarissa.com.br

fasano.com.br

catucaba.com

Perched in the heart of the city centre, this bolthole is perfectly placed for exploring the sights. Don’t miss the sumptuous on-site French eatery Tarsila.

On the outskirts of São Paulo, this stunning ranch boasts horse riding, a tennis academy and golf course. The grounds are a vision of lush greens and bright blooms.

This family-run hotel combines gastronomy with sleek design and Brazilian hospitality. In fact, its Italian restaurant is often feted as South America’s best.

Head a bit further out of the city and, above the casarão, you’ll find this rural idyll; a trio of converted farmhouses with bags of cutting-edge charm.

OR

OR

Boutique

Fazenda Catuçaba

August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 17


PICTURE THIS

PROVENCE, FRANCE Lavender fields

France produces over 50% of the world’s lavender – and if you head to Provence over the next month you’ll see it all being harvested. The seemingly endless sea of lilac is the lifeblood of this European utopia, with the sweet-scented buds fragrancing local food, toiletries and essential oils (the lavender-tinted honey is a musttry). Summer is one of the farmers’ busiest times, but life here still unfurls at a leisurely pace; check into a chambre d’hote (farm-style bed and breakfast) and explore the region by foot, or hire bikes to navigate the gentle hills. Look out for lavender-themed fêtes along the way; sleepy villages come to life with music, dancing, and countless stalls where you’ll find fieldfresh produce aplenty. Image: Corbis / Arabian Eye

18 July 2012 Kanoo World Traveller


CHECK IN | NEWS

July 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 19


ESSENTIAL SELECTION | ARCHITECTURAL GEMS

Laura Binder spotlights top urban triumphs and rural surprises – prepare to have your head turned…

12 Architectural Gems August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 21


1

Hotel Lone, Croatia

lonehotel.com Jet setters have just cottoned on to the ancient charms of Rovinj – fragrant forests, honeycombcoloured beaches and crisp, fresh air. And Hotel Lone (pictured on the opening page) is reason enough to visit: set high in the hills, you won’t be able to miss its black and silver stripes surfacing from the greenery like an ocean liner. Its rural setting is reflected inside too – white-beige stone and sandy-yellow furnishings pay tribute to the beaches, while leafy murals mimic the trees. Teamed with white winding staircases and sparkling sea views, you have some seriously soothing environs. Drift into a deeper state of relaxation with a turn in the hotel spa, where wood, stone, water and gold combine.

2

Hotel Marqués de Riscal, Spain

starwoodhotels.com It’s impossible not to stop and stare at the web of berry-coloured metal cavorting above Spain’s pea-green vineyards. A creation of the famous Frank Gehry, the hotel’s offbeat aesthetics make for an unusual stay. Get past its mindboggling exterior and you’ll be immersed in white and rich red-hued interiors (inspired by the fruits of the region) and find fabulously quirky windows bestowing stellar views (for the best in house, opt for an annex room). But our favourite feature has to be its Marqués de Riscal Restaurant – sit beneath its sweeping roof and savour authentic Rioja fare, from spicy meats to just-plucked vegetables, and a glass of what you fancy too… 22 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller


ESSENTIAL SELECTION | ARCHITECTURAL GEMS

3

Nordic Light Hotel, Sweden

nordiclighthotel.se ‘Colourful’ is the best way to sum up this revamped seventies build – and for good reason. The most obvious being the bright smorgasbord of colours that illuminates each window when night falls – a hint of what’s behind its doors. Weird and (more often) wonderful lighting installations set the mood throughout each minimalist space; a fantastic canvas for lighting architect Kai Piippo. Stalactite lights shoot down from ceilings, neon pieces pop up, and blue, pink or orange lights are splashed generously across walls – seen at best in the hotel boudoirs. But there is some method in the madness: with only five hours of daylight in Stockholm at certain times of the year, it certainly lifts your mood. August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 23


ESSENTIAL SELECTION | ARCHITECTURAL GEMS

4

D-hotel, Belgium

d-hotel.be Futuristic and historic style combine at this new design gem: first there’s a charmingly aging farmhouse square, then a protected windmill dating to 1841, and finally an all-new glass construction which joins the two together with sharp, modern lines. The result is a cool-yet-cosy bolthole. Most enchanting of all, though, has to be its (at times) outlandish interior design – a fusion effort from a cluster of international designers. Expect futuristic sea-green prints in the Matali Crasset Suite, classic movie tributes in the Junior Suite by Belgian director Jan Verheyen and playful designs in the bright dining room – plus equally playful dishes, like foie gras with strawberry chutney. August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 25


5

The Opposite House, China

theoppositehouse.com Angular, emerald-hued and dressed head-to-toe in glass, the Beijing-based Opposite House is sure to have made rival architects green with envy. Its modern aesthetics are a work of contradiction: strong angles give way to a gentile sense of calm the minute you step inside: rooms are sleek, wooden features are soothing (note the oak tubs), minimalist furniture is fuss-free, while floor-toceiling windows create a sense of unlimited space. And no more so than in its 2,153 square feet two-level penthouse (left). Book it and you’ll have a huge outdoor terrace and pool at your fingertips – not to mention free use of a Maserati.

6

Kameha Grand Bonn, Germany

kamehagrand.com This mammoth glass creation on the banks of the river Rhine may not look like the most ecofriendly of hotels, but it takes its ecological status as seriously as its super-cool Marcel Wanders interiors. The hotel doubles up as one of Europe’s biggest geothermal facilities, which means summer heat is stored for winter and the chilly climes of winter make for a cooling summer. Step through its cleverly-constructed façade to wander beneath curved, crane-your-neck ceilings and admire the Siebengebirge mountain range from its plentiful panoramic windows.

26 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller


7

Dream Downtown, USA

dreamdowntown.com Make for New York’s trendiest neighbourhood, the Meatpacking District, and you’ll soon be faced with the bright lights of this distinctive hotel. In fact, you’d be forgiven for mistaking its wrought iron facade and dark circular windows for a hip Big Apple hangout, rather than a hotel. Pleasingly, its dedication to cutting-edge design continues inside – seen at best in its glassbottomed pool (you can peer all the way down to the lobby) and The Beach. Yes, you read right: the hotel’s designers have created a stretch of St Tropez with imported sand, white cabanas and even obliging attendants who saunter by armed with Evian mist. When night falls, the sizeable ‘beach’ transforms into a starry nightspot, so you can have a slice of Ibiza in the Big Apple too. Who’d have thought it?

8

Hotel Unique, Brazil

hotelunique.com Urban artwork rarely looks better than this: set in Sao Paulo’s high-end Jardins, the hotel’s green copper façade stands out like an alien’s space ship. Its gardens are equally quirky, with sandy rock cubes and palms in place of pretty plants. It comes as little surprise, then, when the drama continues inside with geometric themes cropping up in the form of circles, squares, curves and ellipses. Manoeuvre around its glass and white furnishings and make straight for the rooftop terrace where you can drink in the sizzling city – though prepare to have your gaze averted by its shocking red swimming pool.

28 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller


‘The hotel hovers some 34 levels above the hustle and bustle, on the rooftop of a new shopping centre’

30 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller


ESSENTIAL SELECTION | ARCHITECTURAL GEMS

9

Hilton Pattaya, Thailand

hilton.com If you’re craving a quiet break but still want to make for Thailand, check in to the Hilton Pattaya and you can avoid the busy beachspots of Chonburi as and when you wish – the hotel hovers some 34 levels above the hustle and bustle, on the rooftop of a new shopping centre. It’s a real urban sanctuary. Enter poolside (there’s no jam-packed lobby here) and you can dip straight into its ocean-facing infinity pool, which is flanked by funky architectural details. For more head-turning features, our advice is to make for the hotel’s Drift lounge, where you’ll sip tipples beneath a gilded ceiling and among scattered water ponds. Magical.

10

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, UAE

jumeirah.com There’s tough competition in the skyscraper stakes in Abu Dhabi, but this hotel’s five (yes, five) towers, stand out by a mile. Aside from the sculptural forms that erupt from the ground in a show of glistening glass and steel, the hotel’s 12-metre-high lobby won’t fail to catch your eye. What’s more, that glass curtain allows you to look out across the beach-meets-city setting and ponder the sun-drenched Arabian Gulf. And when you’re not spending your time in awe of its architectural form, you can splash some serious cash in Avenue at Etihad Towers, a shopping boulevard with enough designer names to make you feel like you’ve just set foot on Rodeo Drive.

August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 31


11

Limes Hotel, Australia

limeshotel.com.au Limes Hotel (left) is right at home in Brisbane’s happening Fortitude Valley (think trendy lounges, bustling café culture and hip young things in abundance). Which, no doubt, was the inspiration behind designer Alexander Lotersztain’s creation: as achingly cool outside as it is in, the hotel’s sharp exterior (we love its odd-shaped windows) gives way to a rooftop lounge and movie theatre – so you can catch cult flicks under the stars. And when Brisbane has you beat, the hotel’s bedroom tidbits will help you get some much-needed rest – goose-down pillows and L’Occitane bathroom goodies among them.

12

Habita Monterrey, Mexico

hotelhabitamty.com Sat at the foot of jagged mountains, sandy deserts, vast canyons and dense green forests, Monterrey is a Mexican city with a difference: for starters, its home to the masterful Habita Monterrey, the latest brainchild of Grupo Habita (the creative talent behind La Purificadora). Parisian designer Joseph Dirand celebrates the swinging sixties inside, with a show of sheer black, white and grey, plus plenty of design pieces (note the Swan Chair by Arne Jacobsen). Raw concrete and black onyx appear as the textures of choice – and our advice is to make straight for the cool concrete rooftop lounge, where you can take in the most mesmerising Mexican panoramas. 32 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller


Enter The Dragon 2 nights/3 days

4* - Starting from 235$ (per person) 5* - Starting from 580$ (per person) - Includes Return transfer Day island tour Daily breakfast

3 nights/4 days

4 nights/5 days

2 nights Hong Kong/2 nights Disneyland 4* - Starting from 950$ (per person) 5* - Starting from 1285$ (per person) - Includes Return transfer Day island tour Daily breakfast 2 day passes to Disneyland

Hong Kong

2 nights Hong Kong/1 night Macau 4* - Starting from 445$ (per person) 5* - Starting from 790$ (per person)

Royal Pacific Towers and Hotel (4*) Four Seasons (5*)

- Includes Return transfer Day island tour Daily breakfast

Disney Hollywood Hotel (4*)

All rates are subject to change without prior notice and subject to availability Excludes airfare and visa chargers Kanoo Holidays terms and conditions apply

Disneyland Macau

Grand Hyatt (5*)


34 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller


SLEEPLESS IN MADRID | SPAIN

Sleepless in Madrid Time waits for no one in Madrid – which is why Laura Binder skipped the siestas to soak up the capital’s non-stop splendours…

August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 35


Opening page: Madrid’s Gran Via and Alcala Street at Twilight. This page, clockwise from top left: Architectural detail on an old building; Shopping in Barrio de Salamanca; Tapas; A waiter from Chocolateria San Gines.

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he sun is out and Madrid is positively buzzing – a hive of activity on an early summer afternoon. What happened to the famous afternoon nap? “Pah”, I’m told. In peak season sleep is nothing but a waste of good time. Before the off, the age-old debate of Barcelona versus Madrid reared its head: Barcelona has long been considered Spain’s more ‘magical’ city (there are no outlandish Gaudi creations in Madrid, no fairytale turrets or gargoyles, one travel companion argued). But, the country’s capital is cosmopolitan to its core – a comeback I stand by: the shopping is second-to-none, lounges line every street (the largest per capita of any European city, no less), the history is palpable, the museums a must and, like any true cosmopolitan hub, its people are a cultural cocktail – few Madrileños actually hail from here. “If you’re in Madrid, you’re from Madrid” is an oftspoken phrase, according to a Spanish friend (herself from Barcelona). Best of all, though, Madrid remains very, very Spanish: regal palaces radiate noble Spanish charm, the olive oil-drenched tapas is the best thing since sliced bread, and it’s still possible to savour sweet churros (doughnuts), dipped in deliciously gooey chocolate, at haunts that date back to 1894. (Whatever you do, don’t bypass Chocolateria San Gines – it’s a Madrid institution.) This wasn’t my first visit to Madrid. Which is why, second time around – 10 years older, none the wiser and questionably more mature – I sought to sample it in style. “Salamanca”, my Spanish friend advised. “Calles Jorge Juan, Jose Ortega y Gasset, Serrano…” What sounded like an assault of seductive Spanish words, turned out to be real places, set in one of Madrid’s most exclusive neighbourhoods; each fabulously strewn with high-end boutiques (Gucci, Loewe, Etro…). Once there, olive-

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‘Olive-skinned Europeans strolled along, some with equally well-groomed pooches, others in Audrey Hepburn-style shades...’

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skinned Europeans strolled along in white jeans, some with equally well-groomed pooches, others in Audrey Hepburn-style shades, arms looped with handsome men. This is the district for some seriously stylish retail therapy, along with hidden high-fashion boutiques, which we unearthed on leafy side streets, and enclaves of interior gems with pieces good enough to make you groan with want. Stay, as we did, in the hotel at Salamanca’s heart – the Gran Meliá Fénix – and the concierge can even arrange for two personal shoppers to escort you around the very best (a service, I found, that also comes in handy when you can’t pronounce one street from the next). They arrived in model-like form (one like a young Demi Moore, the other more Eva Mendes), much to the delight of my male counterpart who was previously “not bothered” by the difference between Loewe and Mango – how things change. Fashion masterclass over (and a few shopping bags heavier), the aforementioned Gran Meliá Fénix made a fittingly sophisticated spot to retreat to post-shop. I opened the window of my latte-hued room, letting the sounds of Madrid rush in, and paused before the postcard-worthy view across the famous Plaza de Colón (a commemorative nod to the explorer Christopher Columbus – or ‘Cristóbal Colón’ to use my questionable Español). Beyond it, the road took us to the mouth of one of Madrid’s major galleries, the Museo Del Prado. (For those on a cultural foray, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Museo Reina Sofia make up the rest of the ‘big three’). Its grandiose, columned frame gives shelter to works from some of the greatest European artists of 38 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller

all time – Caravaggio, Botticelli (his fat, pink, cherubim babes were particularly scrumptious), and Spanish greats like Goya and Velazquez. A walk through its labyrinthine high-ceilinged halls proved a hearty feast for the senses (though, whatever you do, don’t be tempted to touch the canvases – the security women are beastly). It’s a location, too, that placed us adjacent to Madrid’s biggest slice of greenery, the Parque del Buen Retiro. Pass through, as we did, and you’ll see it’s a virtual playground for all ages – the athletic sprinted by effortlessly; the leisurely strolled with ice creams, picnicked on lawns, and teens pouted for photos at the feet of monuments and by the park’s curving colonnade (a tributary nod to the 19thcentury monarch Alfonso XIII). Of course, you’d need your walking shoes on to make it across its 350-odd acres, but intermittent cafés and impromptu performances from bohemian buskers (that day, bongo drummers) made it a walk in the park like no other. Back in my boudoir at the Gran Meliá Fénix, I was determined not to succumb to tired feet (fluffy robes, Clarins products and a regal chaise longue helped). Though built in the fifties, its 19th-century neoclassical looks took me back to an even earlier era with its gold awnings, a dome-ceilinged lobby and top-hat clad porter. It’s timelessly handsome. In fact, if it weren’t for the shops and the sights I’d have happily stayed holed up for days… Which is why we decided to fight urges of laziness and seek out Gran Meliá Fénix’s rebellious, sexy little sister: ME Madrid. Minutes away, I was surprised to find her at the heart of the city’s charming Old Town. There, staff looked as though they’ve just stepped out of a copy of Time Out and (annoyingly) didn’t look a day over 25. The contrast

Previous page, clockwise from top: 19th-century residential properties on Gran Via; Boating in Retiro Park; Pooches wait patiently on a high-end shopping street. This page, from left: ME Madrid Tower Suite and terrace. Opposite page, from top: Old Madrid; Café in Plaza Mayor.


Images: Corbis/Arabian Eye; Getty Images; Supplied

SLEEPLESS IN MADRID | SPAIN

of style and environs was bold: inside, white-gloss finishes mixed with flashes of purple and playful touches. If it’s not the coolest hotel in town, I said, I’ll eat my new hat. (After all, where else will you get David Bowie lyrics etched on your mirror?) One look through the window, though, and I was peering over one of Madrid’s oldest squares, Plaza de Santa Ana. Not only that, but the building itself was once the favoured hangout of the city’s top bullfighters – a detail that would have come in handy earlier... “What on earth?” I cried, face-to-face with a huge, stuffed bull’s head. Which, as it turned out, was just one piece of bullfighting memorabilia to appear in the hotel. With little inclination to rest (why stop now?), we headed out: the square presented a picture-perfect scene of twee tables topped with jugs of icy beverages, small plates of fat anchovies, plump tomatoes, impossiblyjuicy olives, and carefree patrons chatting under the sun. Nobody was about to forfeit a seat for a siesta. We walked on through the Old Town where cobbled streets of narrow houses leaned into one another for support, terracotta- and butter-toned facades sported iron balconies draped in blooms, while tiny tapas haunts spilled out onto the streets. For a city of over three million, though, it suddenly struck me how easy it was to navigate (and trust me, I’m the last person you’d hand a street map to). At Puerto del Sol, I found my answer: a plaque marking ‘kilometro cero’, the point from which the Spanish road system in its entirety is measured – and the point from which Madrid spreads out with web-like effect, with old districts to its south (La Latina being the eldest) and newer areas to the north (Malasaoa, Chueca…). It makes sightseeing as easy as cherry pie. We made a somewhat inevitable beeline for Plaza Mayor, where the city began. This surely is Madrid’s monument, I mused – the Barcelona’s Gaudi. Threestories high, today the impressive square building bears sought-after apartments and hectic (not to mention pricey) cafés. The square plays a willing host to street performers and buskers, to photographing tourists and caffeine-sipping people-watchers. Yet, its origins hold darker images – a site of Imperial Spain, condemned heretics were burned here at the height of the Spanish Inquisition. A hint of darkness creeps through the colour and chatter even still. Get past the café price tags, though, and it’s a fine place to sit and ponder Madrid’s past and present. Minutes away, ME Madrid’s hippest hangout – The Penthouse – provided an alternative spot to peruse the sights; beautiful people reclined by candlelit couches and drank in what has to be one of the city’s finest vistas. Supping on a glass of something cool (when in Rome...) and admiring said view, my companion and I agreed all bets were off: this cosmopolitan city is a strong and stylish rival of Barcelona – just don’t waste your precious time on sleep. August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 39


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A BITE OF THE BIG APPLE | USA

A BITE OF THE BIG APPLE From a good ol’ barbecue to torchon of foie gras with cocoa – when it comes to culinary diversity and innovative cuisine, nowhere compares to New York City. Douglas Rogers spotlights the haunts to seek out on your travels…

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ight million people from every country on Earth live in New York, so the range of culinary experiences is bewildering. The fine dining scene changes amazingly fast, with new trends and movements springing up all the time. What is new? At the height of the recession came a wave of gourmet burger bars, such as Stand in the West Village ($10 for a regular patty); now southern comfort joints are hip, be it good ol’ barbecue at The Cardinal, a funky East Village duplex ($20 for a rack of Memphis ribs), or upscale southern fare such as red snapper with grapefruit gremolata at Marcus Samuelson’s Harlem hot spot, Red Rooster. New York chefs are always innovating. The artisanal and ‘locavore’ (local food) movement is all the rage the world over, but what to do in a city of eight-lane traffic and skyscrapers? Easy: grow it on the roof. Richard Farnabe, the executive chef at the Soho Grand, has planted an organic garden on the 17-storey hotel, growing herbs, vegetables, micro greens – and more than 27 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. Whatever the trends, there are always the classics, and New York does them like no other. Don’t miss the oysters at Grand Central Oyster Bar in the basement of the famous station terminal, going strong since 1913; or a Porterhouse steak at the venerable Brooklyn institution Peter Luger (established 1887) – for my money the world’s finest steakhouse. Bring cash, though. Steak for two costs $85 – and they don’t take credit cards. August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 41


For a special occasion… Eleven Madison Park The finest dining experience in New York, bar none. The domain of the Swiss culinary genius Daniel Humm, its soaring space above Madison Square Park is grand enough: skyscraper ceilings, towering tree arrangements, skybox dining suites. But the menu is what really inspires: rather than a choice of dishes, you get a diagram and a list of ingredients – chèvre, chives, foie gras, squab – and the waiter helps you choose which combination you want. Torchon of foie gras laced with cocoa, anyone? 11 Madison Avenue, 212 889 0905. Four-course dinner $125. elevenmadisonpark.com The Restaurant at the Mark The new restaurant of the French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, in the fabulously-restored Mark Hotel, is the ultimate upscale New York experience: fine dining mixed with high-grade people-watching. At lunch, Upper East Side heiresses with dogs in their purses pick at salads, oysters and foie gras while their town cars idle outside; at dinner, Wall Street tycoons and Madison Avenue millionaires come for perfectly-balanced Vongerichten specialities such as a tuna tartare and grilled black sea bass with fennel. The scene in the adjacent pink-lit bar area could have been choreographed by Vogue; take one of the cowhide chairs, sample a signature kumquat mojito, and check out the supermodels. 25 East 77th Street, 212 606 3030. Dinner from $80. themarkrestaurantnyc.com The Lambs Club Set just off the lobby of the glamorous Chatwal Hotel, Geoffrey Zakarian’s luxurious new lounge and grill is a tribute to the Lambs – the celebrated theatrical group which used to convene at this landmark six-storey Georgian building in the early 20th century. In the footsteps of Fred Astaire, WC Fields and John Barrymore, guests now dine at plush red leather banquettes under Art Deco lamps on clubby classics such as Cobb salads, oysters on the half shell, and prime Delmonico steak. An equally swanky upstairs lounge overlooking 44th Street features mocktails by Sasha Petraske, a master mixologist. 132 West 44th Street, 212 997 5262. Dinner from $80. thelambsclub.com 42 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller

Opening page: Skyline over Central Park. Opposite page, clockwise from left: Eleven Madison Park; Gnocchi at Eleven Madison Park; Casunziei at Abboccato, Whole Branzino at Abboccato; Prime Meats signature sign; Abboccato; Prime Meats lounge; Lamb chops at Prime Meats; Butter-poached lobster at Eleven Madison Park.

For a mid-range meal… Tomoe Sushi The queues outside this West Village gem say it all: don’t be surprised to wait 30 minutes for a table. But what it lacks in swift seating, it makes up for with the freshest fish in town. The menu features everything from giant clams and tuna belly to succulent sea urchin ($8.50) and a 16–piece plate of assorted sashimi ($36), prepared by Tomoe himself. The Onigoroshi sake ($5) is a perfect accompaniment. 172 Thompson Street, 212 777 9346. Two courses and house beverages $50. tomoesushi.com Prime Meats Brooklyn is now a big foodie destination, and Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli, who set up the cult Italian–American restaurant Frankies Spuntino, have outdone themselves with their latest Carroll Gardens opening: a gorgeous, wood–panelled, 19th-century-style German-American eatery. The braised beef brisket in red cabbage is out of this world, while the period look and country soundtrack add to the warm welcome. 465 Court Street, 718 254 0327. Two courses $40. frankspm.com Abboccato From the Livanos family, who own the fine-dining Greek hideaway Molyvos and the upscale seafood emporium Oceana, comes this elegant Italian in the unlikely setting of Midtown. The pastas are all handmade, regional dishes include an Umbrian-style quail stuffed with mortadella and Sicilian-style grilled octopus, and the aroma of truffles and freshly baked breads draws you in. The perfect spot post-theatre, after a show at Carnegie Hall, or when the chaos of Midtown sightseeing gets too much. 136 West 55th Street, 212 265 4000. Dinner from $40. abboccato.com


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A BITE OF THE BIG APPLE | USA

For an affordable bite… JG Melon This New York institution, which opened in 1972, is popular with the preppy set and famous for its burgers and Bloody Marys. Its tinpressed ceiling, wood counter and veteran staff are part of the charm – and its cheeseburger is one of the juiciest in town. If the wait for a table is too long, try the equally venerable PJ Clarke’s (pjclarkes.com), 19 blocks south at 915 3rd Avenue. Going strong since 1884, it is frequently name-checked in the hit show Mad Men. 1291 Third Avenue, 212 744 0585. Cheeseburger $10. Torrisi Italian Specialities The best lunchtime sandwiches in the city are to be had at this cosy new 18-seat gourmet deli in trendy Nolita (north of Little Italy). The tiled, brick-lined interior resembles a rustic Italian kitchen, but sandwiches such as eggplant Parmesan or potato, egg and provolone taste like they’ve been prepared by master chefs. For dinner, a four-course fixed-price menu costs $45: expect homey Italian classics with modern twists. 250 Mulberry Street, 212 965 0955. Sandwiches $6-$10. torrisinyc.com Dos Toros Taqueria We wouldn’t usually include fast food, but we defy anyone who has tasted the guacamole-filled pollo asado (grilled chicken) quesadilla to not come back for more. This is Mexican food made from super-fresh ingredients, with friendly service and in funky surroundings, with tables made from reclaimed wood. The menu is a simple list of burritos, tacos and quesadillas and there are three locations. One burrito will keep you going all day. 1111 Lexington Avenue, 212 535 4658. Sandwiches $6-$10. dostoros.com Opposite page, clockwise from top: Locande Verde; Red Rooster; The Restaurant at The Mark. This page, top to bottom: The Mark’s lounge; Torrisi.

Family in tow? Locanda Verde The Tribeca neighbourhood has plenty of family-friendly spots: the venerable Walker’s and the funky Bubby’s have long been popular with the Prada push-chair brigade. Joining that list is the affordable and welcoming Locanda Verde – the latest Tribeca restaurant of area resident Robert DeNiro, within his Greenwich Hotel. Brunch starts at 8am. Sample an exquisite selection of pastries and try the lemon ricotta pancakes or corned-beef hash and eggs Benedict combo. Lunches and dinners feature bountiful Italian fare: the chef, Andrew Carmellini, makes a garlic– crusted chicken that can feed a football team. 377 Greenwich Street, 212 925 3797. Dinner from $50. locandaverdenyc.com August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 45


Where to stay Soho Grand From the high, vaulted ceilings, towering columns and velvet drapes of the lobby – which evokes classic European and Asian hotels – to the chic bedrooms and the happening nightlife in the Grand Bar and Club Room restaurant, the Soho Grand is a gorgeous merging of old world charm and contemporary style. Ideally located on fashionable West Broadway in the heart of SoHo, you’re at the heart of downtown, but in easy walking distance of the stylish neighbourhoods of Tribeca and the West Village, should you want to venture beyond. The hotel offers exceptional service and has concierges on call 24/7. sohogrand.com

Ace Hotel Part of Ace, a hip, budget chain, the Ace is the first East Coast version and it has been an instant hit, with a great restaurant and gourmet coffee shop attracting creative industry types. The 260 rooms range from ‘suites’ to ‘smalls’ to ‘bunks’, and are as eclectic as the clientele. Expect retro tiles and en-suite bathrooms in the suites; while the smallest are literally two bunks in a room with a sink and plain white décor. The neighbourhood is not great, but for the central location there’s no better deal in town. The Ace’s coffee shop, Stumptown, is out of this world, and Breslin Bar and Restaurant, with the Michelin-starred British chef April Bloomfield in situ, is already one of the city’s hottest foodie spots. acehotel.com/newyork

New Yorker top three… 1. Tip well. Doubling the tax on your bill is a useful guideline as to how much. Don’t be afraid to slip the bar tender or waiter $20 before you sit down – you’ll be amazed at what it gets you. 2. Dining is theatre, so do say hello to those next to you. New Yorkers love an accent and are extremely friendly. 3. Make sure to book, especially over weekends. 46 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller

Images: Corbis / Arabian Eye; Supplied Text: Douglas Rogers / The Daily Telegraph / The Interview People

The Standard This Meatpacking District hot spot, from the celebrity hotelier Andre Balazs, has become the most talkedabout social scene in the city. A tall, narrow slab of a building, it may be reminiscent of a Seventies British council block, but with its stylish restaurantlounge and two ultra-hip rooftop club lounges, its aesthetic is LA flash meets New York glamour. With their giant floor-to-ceiling windows, the 337 rooms overlook the Hudson River or straddle High Line Park. standardhotels.com


A BITE OF THE BIG APPLE | USA

Opposite page, top to bottom: Organic garden at the Soho Grand; The Standard bedroom; Ace hotel. This page, clockwise from top: The Standard Hotel; Ace hotel suite and entrance.

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ONE STEP BEYOND | ITALY

One Step Beyond Sleepy, remote Marettimo – closer to Tunisia than to mainland Italy – doesn’t have to work too hard to cast its magical spell over Linda Cookson

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Opening page: Harbour, Egadi Islands. This page, clockwise from top left: Cala Dogana Marina; Persiane windows typically found in the south; A mule navigates a steep pathway; Traditional Marettimo houses.

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ot many non-Italians have heard of the Egadi Islands – a tiny archipelago off the coast of western Sicily. But visitors beware: unspoiled and virtually car-free, the islands have a time-warp charm that can be addictive. Hotelier Fausto Gobbo pitched up there 15 years ago on his bicycle from mainland Italy and never left. It was to Marettimo, the most isolated of the three main islands and a one-hour crossing from the Sicilian port of Trapani, that Fausto lost his heart. At that time, there was nowhere to stay in Marettimo town (the island’s only settlement) other than by begging a room for a night from a local. Abandoning his job in the fashion industry, Fausto set to work to fill the gap and created a charming cluster of small apartments overlooking the main harbour. It’s been a labour of love, as I discovered. Sea-view terraces and balconies cascade down towards the waterfront through a tangle of tropical gardens that provide a wonderful retreat. Butterflies drift, birds squabble and endless varieties of rare flowers blaze brightly under the Mediterranean sun. Meanwhile, below you, there are the comings and goings of the pleasantly scruffy harbour. Every now and then, horses amble along the promenade, with no owner in sight. Who do they belong to? Fausto shrugs and gestures up a mountain. “Some guy up there, I guess.” The Egadi Islands – Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo – are neither as cosmopolitan nor as postcard-pretty as their better-known offshore rivals, such as the Aeolian Islands, which have a far more obvious appeal. Visit Panarea in August and you’ll see enough yachts, fashion victims and gold sandals to last you a lifetime. No, the charm of the Egadi island chain lies in something quite different. Its islands offer simplicity, authenticity and a remoteness – both literal and spiritual – from more worldly destinations. It’s no coincidence that Marettimo’s ancient name, bestowed by its earliest Greek settlers, was Hiera, meaning ‘sacred’. I arrived at in the main harbour (Scal a Nuovo) of Marettimo on a Saturday morning, alighting from a sprightly orange tub of a ferry called Calypso. The jetty was bustling – provisions being unloaded, black-clad old 50 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller

ladies with string bags heading off for a day’s mainland shopping, and a cacophony of bored local dogs chasing cyclists with a misguided optimism bordering on the heroic. But the sleepy town beyond the harbour seemed all but deserted. The first thing that hit me was how un-Italian the harbourfront looks. The jumble of small cubed houses, their flat roofs bristling with solar panels and satellite dishes, has a distinctly North African feel. Some of the houses are whitewashed; others are in natural stone. Their cobalt-blue doors and shutters, and ramshackle tangle of elaborate wrought iron grilles and balconies reminded me of Tunisia – hardly so surprising, since Cap Bon is only 70 miles away and visible from the island’s west coast. Life in Marettimo town, as I soon discovered, is quiet, if not soporific – especially by day. In picturesque alleys of houses bearing bright ceramic name plates, mounds of fishing nets, buoyed with empty plastic bottles, dry in the street. Behind the canvas flaps or beaded curtains that


ONE STEP BEYOND | ITALY

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‘Visitors beware: unspoiled and virtually car-free, the Egadi Islands have a time-warp charm that can be addictive’

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Images: Getty Images; Corbis / Arabian Eye Linda Cookson / The Independent / The Interview People

Opposite page, clockwise from top left: One of the region’s many caves; Yellow wildflowers on the coast; Marettimo grocery shop; Fishermen on Favignana Island.

hang across open doorways you can hear the snoozing of their fishermen owners, back from a night at sea. Silent porcelain Madonnas gaze down from quaintly tatty shrines on street corners (a reminder that you’re in Italy after all). The only regular bursts of noise are horn-blasts from the fruit and vegetable cart and a bizarre little hardware truck peddling buckets and dusters. This is not the place to come if you crave action, but Marettimo’s clear waters teem with colourful life, a dream for scuba-divers. It’s also great for walkers. There’s a spectacular mountainous hinterland, dominated by Monte Falcone (686m) and criss-crossed by rough footpaths and mule tracks. A really gentle stroll, through pine groves studded with screens of oleander and geraniums, takes you up to Casa Romane, a plateau above the town where the ruins of an old Roman garrison sit cheek by jowl with a deserted 12th-century chapel. As I looked down over the harbour from the ruins and watched distant ferries leaving trails like skeins of milk across the water, I was mesmerised by the dreamy scent of wild herbs. Thyme and oregano predominate: Marettimo’s modern name comes from the Italian for sea (mare) and thyme (timo). A highlight of any visit is taking a boat trip round the island. Although Marettimo is small (six miles by two), the rugged coastline has countless caves and grottos, as well as – to the north-west of the town – an imposing 17th-century Spanish castle perched on a hill on the Punta Troia promontory. It was restored last year, prompting a massive island knees-up. On the west coast, there’s a cute whitewashed lighthouse, the Faro di Punta Libeccio. Local fishermen operate trips most days in high season. The one I joined was organised by the affable Salvatore

Livolso, on his boat Ricciola. Resplendent in gold neck chain, baseball cap and a T-shirt that said ‘Under Fire. Under Pressure. Out of Time’ (in Marettimo? You’ve got to be kidding, Salvatore), he steered us cheerily past dramatic limestone cliffs and into a succession of grottos and caves that glowed eerily green in the half-light. Grotta del Cammello is marked by a rock at the entrance that looks like a camel’s head (if you squint very hard from a particular angle). But being in an open boat on turquoise water, watching gulls scud across the rock face and sunbeams toss iridescent spangles across the waves is honestly more than enough. In the end, what I liked doing best on Marettimo was simply hanging out. Evenings are livelier than daytimes, with plenty of restaurants – but, be aware, evening meal prices are not cheap. Both Il Pirata (the island’s oldest restaurant, decked out with pirate flags) and the more modest La Scaletta (on a terrace near the Scala Nuovo) charge €40 per head for four-course fish suppers, expensive by most small-island standards. For travellers on a budget (or non fish-eaters), there’s the fantastic La Cambusa delicatessen, a treasure trove packed with gorgeous meats, cheeses and freshly cooked local specialities such as caponata (a stew of aubergines, olives, tomatoes and capers). And Marettimo’s lounges also offer good value. My favourite was the unpretentious Tramontana, set on the sea wall above the old harbour (Scala Vecchio). It has tiled tables, friendly local clientele and a great line in free canapés. Sipping fresh tipples at sunset while watching the castle on Punta Troia morph into a raven-shaped silhouette was just magical. As Fausto had promised me when I arrived – Marettimo knows how to cast its spell. August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 53


Mad for Madagascar This exuberant island in the Indian Ocean has much more than lemurs to offer, says Kate Eshelby

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adagascar wears an unexpected coat: like its many chameleons it constantly changes its appearance from African to Asian. Waves of rice paddies and primary-coloured pousse-pousse (hand-pulled rickshaws) masquerade as Asia, but the copper-red soil reminds you that this enormous island belongs to a very different continent. It’s a place that has long fascinated naturalists – not least because of all those chameleons (it boasts roughly half of the world’s species). It is also home to that strange family of primates, the lemurs, which can be found here – and only here. The lemurs are old-world primates, animals that died out everywhere on the globe except for Madagascar, a chunk of land which floated away from would-be predators millions of years ago. But lemurs are not Madagascar’s only claim on the attention of visitors. Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital, is unlike any other African city. Ripened green rice-paddies lap at the ring of hills around the city. Spires sprout from the hilltops and bright Creole houses peep down. Vintage French cars (Madagascar was formerly a French colony) zip along steep cobbled roads. And red-brick farmhouses, reminiscent of rural France, sit on islands in the middle of paddy fields, where buffalo wade in the water and rickety rowing boats float. One of the city’s finest sights is the flight of long steep stairs leading to Avenue de l’Indepéndence, along which market sellers demand a moment of your time. “Buy vanilla?” one lady offered, thrusting armfuls of pods towards me. The smell was delicious: pungent and sweet. Other vendors had big bunches of flowers, cinnamon and baskets of locally grown lychees for sale. I was staying at a delightful guesthouse called la Varangue, near the President’s Palace. It felt a little like

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MAD FOR MADAGASCAR | MADAGASCAR

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Opening page: A dug-out canoe moored off the island’s coast. This page, clockwise from top left: Zoma Market, Antananarivo; On the road through Isalo National Park; A colourful pousse-pousse; Cocoa beans; Faravohitra District, Antananarivo.

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MAD FOR MADAGASCAR | MADAGASCAR

boarding in the home of a likeable aunt. The rooms were full of collections of oil lamps, antique irons, copper kettles, gramophones and coffee grinders. The scent of chocolate permeated the hallway. The chef here is known for his scrumptious chocolate sculptures, and the food was world-class and exquisitely presented. From the capital, my guide Rako drove westwards along the RN7. To see this vast island in all its glory, this impressive road is the ideal conduit. It crosses the backbone of the country, and is Madagascar’s version of Route 66. Both highways pass frontier cowboy towns, prairies, desert, canyons and giant rock boulders, before ending at the beach. But Madagascar’s beach has crazylooking baobab trees, and Madagascar’s road is mellow to drive, with each twist revealing a new colour. We passed hills cocooning villages and families travelling in wooden carts pulled by humped zebu cows. Antsirabe was one of the first towns we encountered: here, there was an almost constant pitter-patter of fast-moving bare feet as men darted around pulling passengers in pousse-pousse. Everyone rides these rickshaws, from school children to a nun I saw climbing aboard in full headdress. From Antsirabe, the RN7 runs out of the hills and dips into thick rainforest: much of it formed by Ranomafana National Park. Here, I stayed in a bright and airy room at Setam Lodge. That evening the light and views over the forest were ravishing; I walked through the neighbouring village, fringed with rice paddies, past a gleaming river glittering with sunlight. August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 57


‘Ripened green rice-paddies lap at the ring of hills around the city… bright Creole houses peep down. Vintage French cars zip along steep cobbled roads’

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‘Red-bellied lemurs flashed through the forest, long tails flying out as they performed gravity-defying leaps’

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Images: Corbis / Arabian Eye; Getty Images Text: Kate Eshelby / The Independent / The Interview People

MAD FOR MADAGASCAR | MADAGASCAR

Mist whispered from the trees in the morning, and a walk up a steep trail rewarded me with my first glimpse of lemurs. Before humans arrived on the island, there were lemurs as large as gorillas here. Smaller, red-bellied versions flashed through the forest, their long tails flying out as they performed gravity-defying leaps. Rare golden bamboo lemurs also inhabit these forests – and I was lucky enough to see one close up. He sat just metres away, eating bamboo. The way he clutched the stem and tore off outer sections with his long fingers looked just like a human eating sugar cane. Walking on, I passed a German lady in Wellington boots, who had been living in the park for a year researching frogs. “There are so many species here, and many more still remain undiscovered,” she said excitedly. “But the tragedy of Madagascar is how quickly the primary forest is being destroyed.” Because of tavy, a traditional (but illegal) slash-and-burn technique, much of Madagascar’s forest is set alight annually for planting rice. Deforestation is a major problem here. Back on the road, men wearing straw hats wandered along with enormous herds of zebu. They were heading for Ambalavao, which holds the country’s biggest weekly zebu market. It’s held on a plateau on the outskirts of the town, surrounded by mountains. Ambalavao itself was beautiful, with plenty of old gabled houses and wooden carved balconies.

Then the road twisted into southern Madagascar, which is hot, dry and desert-like. Here Isalo National Park unfolds its space and savannah, like Madagascar’s own Arizona. I stayed at Jardin du Roy, which lies inside the park. It is sunk into a basin of rocks and is impressively camouflaged. The simplicity of its exterior is almost monastic, yet this hides chic and luxurious interiors. Beyond the hotel there are miles of park. Water cascades from the jungle above and bright light skips across the rocky overhangs. These grottos and jungles are isolated within steep canyons; stumbling upon them is like finding your own enchanted world. Above, the landscape is straight out of a Western. After a day of walking I sat up on one of the rock plateaus to admire the panoramic surroundings. As evening fell, the sky turned red and the yellow sandstone flashed bright gold. And then Rako drove onwards to my final destination, the coast. Here I stayed at Ifaty in Le Paradisier, a small hotel with individual thatched cottages spaced out along the beach and an infinity pool that seemed to end in the sea. Each morning pirogues like pond skaters would glide by, and women would come to collect cockles from the beach. Behind the long stretches of deserted beaches were groves of baobabs, their distinctively squat silhouette like no other tree. They are topsy-turvy, with fat trunks topped by a frenzy of branches. Another oddity, in this most peculiar land.

Previous pages: Green rice fields. Opposite page, clockwise from top left: A Mahafaly girl carrying corn; Verreaux’s sifaka lemur; Taking fruits to market; Spices at Joffreville market; Parson’s chameleon; Sainte Marie island; Ring-tailed lemur. This page: The towering Baobab trees of Morondava Beach.

August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 61


Indian Summer

In the south of India, little-visited Karnataka serves up plenty of surprises, from the bright lights of Mysore Palace to rare wildlife sightings...

62 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller

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utside the Maharajah’s palace a collective intake of breath was followed by an outburst of joyous applause from the large crowd. About 100,000 light bulbs had been switched on. They instantly transformed the royal complex into a host of linear illuminations, picking out silhouettes of the domes, pillars, arches and more. The net effect looked remarkably like Harrods lit up at night – only more opulent, bigger, and with the exotic distinction of including illuminated gateways and temples. Mysore on Saturday and Sunday nights is uplifted by this light show. It is a major visitor attraction for the new breed of middle-class tourists who come here from across India. And their spirit of enthusiasm is intoxicating. On the day of my visit there were very few tourists from further afield. The southern corner of the state of Karnataka is not much of a feature on the tourist map of the wider world. Which is odd because there is a fabulously rich mix here, from


INDIAN SUMMER | INDIA

‘Built by English architect Henry Irwin in 1912, the Maharajah’s palace is a confection of Mughal-style architecture with dashes of Scottish Baronialism’

silk and sandalwood in Mysore (to say nothing of regal light shows), to elephants and big cats in the jungle-lands beyond. And should you need to catch your breath after that, there’s a serene health retreat in the area, too. I started my trip at Bangalore (officially now Bengaluru). For all the hype about this being the IT capital and hip bar venue of India, I found it an unexpectedly laid back, leafy city, in parts almost quaintly old fashioned. Tree-lined avenues grace the old area of town while to the south is the expansive Lalbagh botanical garden, complete with a glasshouse built in 1889 and modelled on Crystal Palace. I visited Nandi Temple, constructed in the 16th century by the city’s founding father, Kempe Gowda, and containing a huge granite statue of a bull. It has been turned black from being rubbed with peanut oil in acts of reverence for the creature, said to be the vehicle of the Lord Shiva. I took in the old fort and the teak-carved palace of Tipu Sultan, Muslim ruler in the 18th century and ferocious August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 63


64 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller


INDIAN SUMMER | INDIA

August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 65


enemy of the British. Then I retreated to the sleek surrounds of the Park Hotel where contemporary cool gets a twist of Indian panache with great splashes of colour. The vibrant i-Bar pulsed with music – which was, every so often, interrupted by televised highlights from an international cricket tournament. Moving on to Mysore the next day the effects of Road Safety Week enlivened the three-and-a half-hour drive: ‘Road safety is a mission, not an intermission’ announced one of the notices dotted along the way. Arriving (safely) in this pretty city you can’t help but dither slightly over which site to explore first. To the south, Chamundi Hill is one of the eight most sacred hills in southern India. Topped by the Sri Chamundeswari Temple, it was drawing bright streams of pilgrims as I arrived. I moved on to the Maharajah’s palace so as to see the place by daylight before returning for the evening illuminations. Built by the English architect Henry Irwin in 1912 it is an almost bewildering confection of Mughal-style architecture with dashes of Scottish Baronialism. Yet perhaps best of all are the retail outlets. The city is liberally endowed with handicraft shops selling silk and sandalwood goods, and it is also a key centre for agarbathies, or incense sticks. For an intense fix of colour, head for Devaraja Market. Most Indian markets are absorbing, but this flower, fruit and veg centre is in a class of its own. I wandered by wonderful stalls piled high with aubergines, tomatoes, squash and chilis; I paused to take in the aromas of spices; I marvelled at piles of bright powders for bindis (dots decorating the forehead); and I stood spellbound watching flower merchants weave intricate garlands of marigolds and jasmine. From flora to fauna, I continued for about three hours further west to Nagarhole National Park, once the hunting preserve of the Rajahs of Mysore. Literally meaning ‘snake streams’, Nagarhole backs on to three other wildlife reserves which together form a protected area totalling 2,000 sq km and harbouring elephants, gaur (an Indian type of bison), wild dogs, the odd tiger, leopard and much more. The Bison camp on the edge of the Nagarhole Park is a swish, tented outfit on the banks of the Kabini River. Here you can enjoy creature comforts that evoke the lavish days of safaris in the 1920s. In the large canvas villas there are huge open-air shower areas, dressing tables and full-length mirrors, while meals in the generous public 66 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller

Images: Getty Images; Corbis / Arabian Eye; Shutterstock Text: Harriet O’Brien / The Independent / The Interview People

‘There is a fabulously rich mix here, from silk and sandalwood in Mysore, to elephants and big cats in the jungle-lands...’


INDIAN SUMMER | INDIA

areas feature delicious spreads of subtly spicy mains and old-fashioned puddings. But it is the camp’s 4x4 safari drives that you’re really here for. I went on three long ventures into the park where I was amazed by the beauty of the bamboo, rosewood and sandalwood forest and of course by the wildlife: exquisite roller birds with bright turquoise wings; trees teeming with langur monkeys; female elephants marshalling tiny young so tenderly yet firmly, it was tear-jerking. We even tracked a leopard, finally viewing it up a tree where it was draped across a fork in the branches looking as comfy as if in a familiar old armchair. I was considerably less graceful than the tree-leopard a day later. I ended my trip at the Shreyas Retreat near Bangalore. It is essentially an upmarket ashram offering every luxury that most people could possibly want, but with an emphasis on spiritual calm and regeneration. Yoga beginners are welcome, although as something of a novice my own first session was, frankly, unremitting torture. Yet recuperating afterwards was a serene pleasure. I sat in shaded tranquillity in the vegetable garden, well kept by volunteer guests as well as the ever-kindly staff, while images of lounging leopards, flower weavers and palace illuminations washed through my mind – a parade of the remarkable kaleidoscope that is southern India.

Opening page: The Maharaja’s palace. Previous page: City flower market. Opposite page from top: Indian elephants; Gray langur monkeys. This page: A guard infront of the Maharajah’s palace.

August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 67


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CONCIERGE | OPENER

CONCIERGE

PERTH | EDINBURGH | ST TROPEZ | PHANG NGA BAY

THE 30-SECOND CONCIERGE

JENNIFER FALDUZZI, MUSE RAMATUELLE ST TROPEZ

Fancy getting away to the well-heeled French Riviera? This achingly glam bolthole brings opportunities aplenty to avoid the beach-based throngs, as its head concierge reveals... The top suite to check in to... would have to be the Romy Suite. An incredible two-bedroom suite of some 1,400 square feet, it spans two floors and opens onto a garden, complete with swimming-pool, outdoor shower and designer furniture. On the second floor, you will also enjoy a large balcony with crisp sea views. The place to head for a day out... is Porquerolles, on a boat excursion. There you can discover the true preserved beauty of this island. Arrive at the port at the foot of the village and you’ll discover various artisans and restaurants around the main square . It’s a real piece of paradise, with roads lined with pine and eucalyptus, and where the only thing you’ll meet on your travels will be bicycles and chilled-out pedestrians.

The best way to get around... is via the hotel shuttle or upon a Muse Bicycle, a beautiful custom-made bike; they’re very popular for jaunts to the beach and rides around the town. Alternatively, we can arrange the hotel’s Bentley for suite guests, or our Muse Mercedes. For a fine spot to eat in come nightfall... I would suggest the M Restaurant at Muse for the best of flavours from the Med, combined with an Asian touch. The island’s La Pomme de Pin is the best for Italian food in a very nice environment (you simply must try the pasta alla moda nostra). A parting tip... is to have a run or a walk on the Sentier du Littoral for breathtaking views and beautiful surrounds. muse-hotels.com August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 69


VISIT

PERTH

Head to Western Australia’s vibrant capital for slick city culture with a wild edge, says Hazel Plush

P

erched on Australia’s westernmost coast, amid wild coastline and vast eucalyptus forests, Perth is one of the world’s most remote cities. It’s certainly no onehorse-town, though – the culture here is vibrant, and the city is a thriving blend of international influences. Mingle with suited professionals in the New York-style brasseries of the bustling CBD, visit Cottesloe Beach for surfer culture and trendy boutiques, or hang out at Fremantle, the city’s bohemian quarter which still boasts a distinctive colonial style. The locals heed the Aussie ‘work to live’ mantra, so evenings are lively affairs – head to Northbridge to dance until dawn, or Subiaco for buzzing cafés and restaurants. With the wilderness on your doorstep, it’d be rude not to take the ferry to Rottnest Island (merely 25 minutes away), home of unique birdlife and the elusive quokkas – the island’s native marsupial. Life in Perth is all about the great outdoors, and it doesn’t get much greater than here; visit Rottnest between August and November to see waters teeming with humpback whales as they set off on their southern migration.

70 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller


PERTH | AUSTRALIA Opposite page clockwise from bottom left: Surfing a break at Cottesloe Beach; Cafés in London Court; City skyline from Kings Park; A quokka on Rottnest Island; Perth’s Bell Tower.

MUST-DOS

Images: Corbis / Arabian Eye; Shutterstock

The Swan River (1) runs through the heart of the city, and a boat cruise is a gentle introduction to Perth’s sights. Pick up a vessel from the harbour and watch as the scenery changes from glass office towers and boutique malls to the sleepy riverside communities of Matilda Bay and Swan Valley. For a more energetic experience, cycle the track that runs along the river and then catch the ferry back to the city centre. King Street (2) is the area to head for some leisurely pavement pounding: funky galleries and curiosity shops sit side-by-side with trendy boutiques and cafés. It’s easy to lose an afternoon hopping between each one (don’t miss Wasteland for contemporary art, or Form for local crafts and design), and the strip is a lively evening hangout too. The Art Gallery of Western Australia (3) (artgallery.wa.gov.au) is home to a seemingly endless array of contemporary and classical Australian works, as well as a hearty selection of international pieces. Exhibition highlights for 2012 include a 120-strong selection on loan from New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and a chronological collection of Indigenous art that dates back to 1800. Fremantle (4), a district to the south of the river, is where you’ll find Perth’s arty crowd sipping flat whites. The area has preserved its colonial style more than the rest of the

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Willetton Fremantle

city, which makes for picturesque wanderings among the red brick avenues. Take a day to explore the sprawling Fremantle Prison and the Western Australian Maritime Museum, then sample the delights of Freo’s renowned eateries (The Crowded House is a local favourite for contemporary Australian cuisine; thecrowdedhouse. com.au). Kings Park (5) boasts 400 hectares of landscaped gardens brimming with native wildflowers and eucalyptus trees just a stone’s throw from the city centre. The lookout at Lotterywest Federation Walkway affords spectacular views of the skyline and river, and walking and cycling trails are perfect for escaping from Perth’s bustle. Rottnest Island (6) is an even more serene destination. Regular ferries depart from

PERTH’S BEST… BEACHES Trigg Home to Marmion Marine Park, this is the place to head to see bottlenose dolphins, seals and – if you’re lucky – the odd humpback whale.

Perth Harbour to the car-free island where you’ll find salt lakes, rugged forests and secluded beach bays. Waterbabies will be right at home: the surf is notoriously good here, and snorkel trails weave through the protected waters to shipwrecks and alcoves.

WHERE TO STAY The Richardson (7) (therichardson.com.au), with its striking design by Sir Terry Farrell, makes for a stylish city bolthole. It’s an easy stroll from the CBD and Kings Park, and the soothing ESPA treatments are perfect for unwinding after a heavy day’s sightseeing. The Outram (8) (wyndhamvrap. com) offers a dose of Parisianstyle chic to the west of the city centre – close to the Swan River. Check in to a room with a Jacuzzi

(they’re vast) for a luxurious twist, and don’t miss sundowners on the terrace.

WHERE TO EAT Jackson’s (9) (+61 8 9328 1177), to the north of the city, is a Perth institution. Its seven-course tasting menu is a feast of fresh Australian flavours, and the à la carte selection features playful takes on traditional favourites (don’t miss the snowy mountain pigeon breast with roast parsnip and pear). John St Café (10) (+61 8 9384 3390) is a local favourite for late brunches and leisurely lunches. Eat here before making your way to Cottesloe Beach (it���s just around the corner) – the eggs Benedict is deservedly popular, and pastry lovers will adore the homemade chicken, pine nut and mushroom pie.

Cottesloe

Scarborough

This lively stretch of sand is perfect for beach games, and the nearby promenade is brimming with trendy cafés. Perthites flock here on sunny weekends – make like a local and take to the waves on a bodyboard.

Popular with the backpacker and surfer crowd, this low-key neighbourhood is charmingly bohemian. Stock up on local produce and souvenir curios at the busy craft and foodie markets (held every weekend).

August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 71


VISIT

EDINBURGH

Go now to witness world-class comedy, literature and performance – as well as a stash of royal jewels

E

very summer, Scotland’s feisty capital puts on a show to remember: the city springs to life with Edinburgh Festival, one of the UK’s most exciting cultural jamborees. This year, expect even more bang for your buck – with the Olympics thrusting Britain on to the global stage, the festival is set to be the biggest yet. Take a trip to the city this month and you’ll find authors, actors and artists of the highest order (see edinburghfestivals. co.uk for details) – a fascinating feast of all things Scot, worthy of a few days’ exploration at least – and there’s plenty to fill up your diary at other times of the year too. Lose an afternoon in the spectacular Old Town, a warrenlike medley of cobbled streets, tiny boutiques and independent cafés, or head to Princes Street (Scotland’s answer to London’s Oxford Street) for big-name brands. The jewel in Edinburgh’s crown is the imposing castle and barracks – sign up to an evening tour for chilling stories of horrors and hauntings – and a brisk walk up Arthur’s Seat gives a glimpse of Scotland’s emerald countryside. Culture vultures won’t be disappointed either: a plethora of galleries and museums serve up offerings to rival those of London and New York, and the city’s playful, creative vibe lasts long after the Festival disbands. 72 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller


EDINBURGH | SCOTLAND

MUST-DOS

Scottish residence. The Royal Botanic Garden (4), which was established in 1670, is another royalists’ favourite. There are few finer places to soak up some Scottish rays than the Chinese pavilion, and you can retreat to the Glasshouses – jam-packed with orchids, palms and tropical shrubs – if the weather turns. Edinburgh Old Town Weaving Co (5) (geoffreykilts.co.uk) is run by respected highland tailors that specialise in tartan garb, so head here if you’re looking for a high-quality souvenir. You can take a peek at the working mill and browse the tartan guide while they rustle up made-to-measure kilts, jackets and accessories. The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (6) (nationalgalleries.org) is home to sculptures and paintings by some of Scotland’s treasured contemporary artists, as well as others from all over the world. The gallery itself is in a neoclassical building designed by William Burn, which makes an intriguing foil for the modern works within. Outside, you’ll find gardens by present-day landscaper Charles Jencks – perfect for a leisurely stroll after a morning’s sightseeing.

Edinburgh Castle (1) dates back (in parts) to the 12th century, and makes for a fascinating introduction to Edinburgh’s bloody history. Its turreted chambers, visible from all over town, have served as royal residences, prisons, military barracks and birthplaces of kings and queens – nowadays, handy audio guides will direct you to the key spots. Arthur’s Seat (2) is a similarly conspicuous attraction: an extinct volcano and the tallest of Edinburgh’s seven hills, the peak affords brilliant views over the city. Lug a picnic to the top on sunny afternoons – the summit route from Dunsapie Loch takes an easy 15 minutes. The Queen’s Gallery, at the Palace of Holyroodhouse (3) (royalcollection.org.uk) is chock full of regal treasures; this year, in a celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the collection includes paintings by Rembrandt, drawings by Michelangelo, and Fabergé’s Imperial Easter Eggs. In the Palace, wander around the Royal and Historic Apartments when the Queen isn’t at home – this is Her Majesty’s official

EDINBURGH’S BEST… SUMMER FESTIVALS Art Festival (Aug 2-Sep 2) This is the UK’s biggest annual gathering dedicated to art: both established and up-coming artists flock to the city’s museums and galleries, which host over 45 exhibitions between them.

Fringe Festival (Aug 3-27) Edinburgh’s most famous cultural extravaganza,

WHERE TO STAY

International Book Festival (Aug 11-27) With a lecture and workshop line-up that includes Nobel Laureates, Booker and Pulitzer Prize winners, this is one of the world’s finest events for literature lovers. Look out for the likes of Ian McEwan and Will Self.

WHERE TO STAY

The Scotsman Hotel (7) (thescotsmanhotel.co.uk) is one of the city’s most charming lodgings – expect incredible views of Princes Street and the Firth of the Forth, spectacular marble interiors, and Scottish hospitality at its best. The Balmoral Hotel (8) (thebalmoralhotel.com) boasts 188 luxury rooms and suites, many of which feature views of Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town. Its signature restaurant, number one, serves up classic Michelin-starred dining by chef Jeff Bland.

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Fringe features over 40,000 performances (from standup to Shakespeare) in 250 different venues city-wide.

21212 (9) (+44 131 523 1030) features a daringly creative concoction of haute Scottish cuisine, with a Gallic twist to every dish courtesy of Paul Kitching. The ingenious tasting menu, brimming with fresh locally-sourced ingredients, is celebrated city-wide. Dubh Prais (10) (+44 131 557 5732) has chef James McWilliams at its fore (Raymond Blanc is a fan), and serves up Scottish delicacies with real panache. The ever-tender saddle of venison from the Blair Atholl estate is worth a visit alone.

Craigentinny Golf Course

Edinburgh Images: Corbis / Arabian Eye; Shutterstock; Supplied

Bonnington Comely Bank

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Kanoo Travel Kanoo Airline Center Al Khobar

KT Karama Holidays

TRAVERSE ANCIENT TURKEY

DISCOVER KERALA

6 days, 5 nights From $816 p/p

4 days, 3 nights From $226 p/p

Istanbul, the ancient home of the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Treasury, is where this trip through Turkey commences. After a day exploring the city, you’ll journey on to Konya – pausing to browse handmade leather goods and see the hot springs of Hierapolis on the way. The centre of the Selçuk Empire, Konya is famous for its Whirling Dervishes and the Sultanhani Caravanserai, a historic stop-off once frequented by traders. From here, it’s on to magical Cappadocia to delve into the underground cities of Ozkonak and Kaymakli. Explore their labyrinthine tunnels, then head out into the volcanic landscape of the eerie Pigeons Valley.

Escape the GCC’s searing heat this summer with a jaunt to leafy Kerala. In the heart of the county’s tropical backwaters, the Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere resort is a five-star luxury haven. Spend your days flitting from the Jacuzzi and swimming pool to the ayurvedic spa, or hire free canoes and peddle-boats to explore the crystal waters of the Indian Ocean. De-stress with yoga and meditation on the purpose-built terrace, and sample local cuisine made with ingredients fresh from the organic vegetable garden. Come nightfall, dine in the two onsite restaurants and experience traditional dance and song performances. Mini-breaks don’t get much better than this.

Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Dubai +971 4 334 7944 holidaysmgruae@ kanoo.ae +971 4 334 1444 KT Jebel Ali LOB 16 Ground floor Jebel Ali Free Zone Dubai +971 4 881 6095 ktajbfz@emirates.net.ae +971 4 881 5050/8816350 KT Bur Dubai Khalid Bin Walid Street Bur Dubai Dubai +971 4 393 1545 ktdxb7@kanoo.ae +971 4 507 2467 KT Burj Burj Dubai Business Centre, Bldg no. 1, Ground floor Dubai +971 4 365 3268 Ktdxb10@kanoo.ae +971 50553 9431 KT Al Ain Emirates Commercial Complex Khalifa Street, Al Ain

+971 3 764 4811 sales1@kanoomussafa.ae

Edinburgh +44 13 1718 2505

M1 1PX +44 161 833 7301

KT Abu Dhabi Al-Najda st. P.O. BOX 245 Abu Dhabi +971 2 678 1766 trvlmgrauh@kanoo.ae +971 2 678 0400

Kanoo Travel 66 Gordon Street Glasgow G1 3RS +44 14 122 52905

Kanoo Travel 2 Victoria Street, Nottingham NG1 2EX

UK UK Kanoo Travel 34 Union Street, Birmingham, B2 4SR Birmingham +44 1 21 644 5555 Kanoo Travel 74 Queens Road, Clifton, BS8 1QU Bristol +44 1 17 906 5105 Kanoo Travel 3 Queen Street CF10 2AE Cardiff +44 29 206 49305

Kanoo Travel 38-40 High Street, Guildford GU1 3EL +44 14 8355 1605

+44 115 924 7705 Kanoo Travel 20 Charles Street, Sheffield, S1 1GW +44 114 263 9305

Kanoo Travel 30-31 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4EX +44 20 7484 9688

Kanoo Travel 99 Above Bar, Southampton, SO14 7FG +44 23 807 16805

Kanoo Travel 78 Brompton Road, London, SW3 1ER Knightsbridge +44 207 761 7905

Kanoo Travel 6 Stonegate YO1 8AS York +44 190 467 6505

Kanoo Travel 2-4 High Street Croydon CR0 1YA +44 2 08 256 0805

Kanoo Travel 1 Horsefair Street, Leicester, LE1 5BP +44 116 242 1805

Kanoo Travel 69 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2JG

Kanoo Travel St. Mary’s Gate, Manchester

August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller 75


SUITE DREAMS

SIX SENSES YAO NOI, THAILAND

Overlooking the turquoise waters of Phang Nga Bay from its lofty rainforest heights, this Thai abode is a vision of rustic chic. You’re completely at one with the elements here: be serenaded in the private pool by the resort’s resident birdlife, mosey down to the beach (it’s at the bottom of your wooden staircase) for snorkelling, or take a sumptuous shower in the alfresco bathing area. Craving mod cons? The villa boasts a Bose sound system, DVD player and 76 August 2012 Kanoo World Traveller

internet access so you can keep in touch with the outside world while languishing on your treetop terrace. In fact, there’s no need to leave at all – the on-site chef will conjure up Thai treats from fresh local ingredients, to be served by the villa’s butler wherever you please. The spa will come to you too: take your pick from the awardwinning Six Senses menu, and a therapist will work their magic in the privacy of your villa. Heavenly. kiwicollection.com


A. LANGE & SÖHNE AUDEMARS PIGUET BACKES & STRAUSS BAUME & MERCIER BELL & ROSS BLANCPAIN BREGUET BREITLING

THE NATURE OF TIME

BREMONT CELSIUS CHANEL CORUM DELANEAU FRANCK MULLER FRÉDÉRIQUE CONSTANT GIRARD-PERREGAUX HERMÈS HUBLOT IWC JAEGER-LECOULTRE JOHN ISAAC GENÈVE LONGINES MAURICE LACROIX MONTBLANC OFFICINE PANERAI OMEGA ORIS PARMIGIANI PHILIP STEIN RADO RICHARD MILLE ROGER DUBUIS ROLEX TAG HEUER ULYSSE NARDIN VACHERON CONSTANTIN VERTU ZENITH

THE FINE WATCH ROOM

+44 (0)20 7730 1234 harrods.com


Kanoo World Traveller_Aug'12