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THE MIDDLE EAST’S BIGGEST TRAVEL MAGAZINE

W

A AT LU SH XU AN RY GR WE I-L EK A EN DU D BA I

IN

AUGUST 2011

!

A Tale of Two Cities

Produced in International Media Production Zone

HIGHLAND FLING Mark Wilson is charmed by Scotland’s natural beauty

Crossing ancient borders on the Danube Express

9 must-sees on the cobbled streets of York Eid Experiences

How to make the most of your short break

GREECE The secrets of Samos revealed


Kanoo World Traveller AuguST 2011

contents TrAvEL BiTES 05 AgendA

The latest travel tit bits from around the world.

17 Where to stAy

Your route to the perfect Cape Town hotel.

18 Picture this

34

Stop-and-stare sights to ponder...

25 essentiAl selection Eid escapes for every taste.

66 city guide: york

Enjoy quaint cobbled streets and cream teas aplenty.

68 city gide: shAnghAi Futuristic skylines meet classic Chinese charm.

71 comPetition

Win a weekend at Shangri-La Dubai.

72 suite dreAms

Sleep among the trees at the Pretty Beach House.

44

56

FEATurES 34 scotlAnd

Mark Wilson explores the brisk (but beautiful) Scottish Highlands

39 mAyA Steal a glimpse of Mexico’s best kept secret.

44 sAmos

Heart-melting sights and tastes off the Aegean coast.

50 morocco

Ele Cooper encounters the barmy streets of Marrakech.

56 istAnbul to budAPest Crossing cultural boundaries on the Danube Express.

39

On the cover: Kokkari, Samos, Greece. José Fuste Raga/Corbis.

50

Managing Director: Victoria Hazell-Thatcher

group Editor: Laura Binder

Production Manager: Haneef Abdul

Publishing Director: John Thatcher

laura@hotmediapublishing.com

group Advertisement Manager: Cat Steele

Advertisement Director: Chris Capstick

group Deputy Editor: Jade Bremner

cat@hotmediapublishing.com

chris@hotmediapublishing.com

jade@hotmediapublishing.com

+971 4 446 1558

+971 4 369 0917

Designers: Adam Sneade, Sarah Boland

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.

June-Dec 2010 22,620 BPA Consumer Audit Produced by: HOT Media Publishing FZ LLC

August 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 3


check in | news

CHECK IN

Stately MatterS

BE INformEd, BE INspIrEd, BE tHErE

Wander down to the country Cotswolds today and you’re in for a big surprise: the conversion of one of the region’s most famous stately homes into the Ellenborough Park Hotel – a makeover that took three years to complete. The longstanding property (just a stone’s throw from Cheltenham race course) has assumed myriad identities since the 16th century: grand residence (frequented by the likes of George III), 19th century land holding and 20th century girls’ school. Today it’s a picture of modern pleasures, allowing luxuryseeking travellers the chance to bask in its rich history and grandiose surrounds. But its new facelift manages to cling on to the property’s finer roots: “Oak panelled rooms and ornate plaster ceilings were fully restored as was a magnificent staircase added by Richard De la Bere in the early 1600s,” reveals general manager, Graham Vass. “And outside a beautifully-crafted Knot garden echoes the building’s Elizabethan roots.”

But which room should we make sure to reserve? “The most spectacular is the Arkle Suite,” says Graham. “It’s 52 square metres in size and boasts an 18 square metre bathroom with a roll-top bath. A door from the master suite [home to a four-poster bed] leads into The Library, enabling guests to entertain up to 12 people and it has private access to the main garden.” There’s no shortage of quintessentially English pursuits to tickle guests’ fancy, either, be it a country stroll, croquet on the lawns or trying your hand at clay pigeon shooting or the sport of kings, Polo. But there’s only one British way to wind down after a long day – with a generous helping of afternoon tea: “Mouth-watering orange or sultana scones filled with rich Cornish clotted cream and delicate finger sandwiches are served on silver cake stands, while teas from around the globe can be supped from fine china,” says Graham. We’re chomping at the bit for a slice. ellenboroughpark.com

August 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 5


NEw yorK

Doctor’s Orders Doctor-come-chef Miguel Sanchez Romera claims he’s invented a new form of dining that marries taste with a heightened visual and sensory experience. What happens when a Doctor takes up cooking? While it sounds as though we should answer such a question with an amusing punch line, alas, this is no joke. Argentinean doctor/chef Miguel Sanchez is set to unleash ‘neuro-gastronomy’ this September at New York’s new Romera Restaurant in the Dream Downtown hotel; a move that places his medical experience, fine art studies and passion for cooking in to one big melting pot. A pot that fuses three key ingredients: the food itself, taste-memories and the ritual of fine dining. “With cuisine, I achieve an expressiveness that attempts to create a profound impact at a neuro-sensorial level, or what I call a ‘sensorial hyperrealism’,” explains Romera. “Sight, flavour, aroma and texture have complete dominance. With these, one can arrive at a path by which the memory of taste and the emotions associated with them lead to pleasure through this culinary journey.” Another cooking fad, you may well groan, but Romera claims his new method of cooking is “credible, sustainable, natural, pure and healthy”. His signature dish – the Romerian mosaic of vegetables – consists of vegetables and carefully crafted stock which arrives at your table with hot water ready to be poured on. It takes eleven minutes to prepare but took Romera three years to envisage. “High cuisine is an art form,” insists Romera, “a social, communicative, expressive thing that tries to reflect a moment, a place and a social time, like any true art.” But whether ‘arty food’ is enough to keep diners coming back remains to be seen...

New York food fads that failed... eating on screen Now closed, the Remote Lounge remains a much talked-about hightech wonderland where patrons spied on other diners via video consoles at their tables – and then contacted them via a built-in phone at your seat. Creepy? We think so...

Going to bed Duvet ironically never had any duvets, just large beds instead of chairs. Unfortunately, though, they were white in colour which didn’t prove the most practical hue for sushi-eating patrons who reclined vertically.

aNd those that triumphed... singing waitresses Still going strong, Ellen’s Stardust Diner is forever full to the brim of fifties memorabilia, from a choo choo train that circles the restaurant to an original 1956 Predicta TV. Try and get through a course without young Broadway wannabes belting out a classic show number.

twin service Set up in Yorkville by twin sisters Lisa and Debbie Ganz, there is only one Twins restaurant in the world and its staff comprises 37 sets of identical duos who work shifts in, you guessed it, identical uniforms. Each night the casual eatery manages to attract 10 to 20 sets of twins, triplets and other ‘multiple’ customers.

auGust hotel opeNiNGs... Find Aman Resorts 24th property, Amanrüya perched on Turkey’s Agean coast amid thickets of olive groves, emerald-hued forests and sun-licked pebble shores. Rest your head in one of its 36 Pool Terrace Cottages and you’ll be privy to a private pool, porch and lounging pergola. The five-star Jumeirah Frankfurt Hotel forms a new landmark in the city; take your pick of 218 guest rooms or plump for its suite – the largest in Frankfurt. Make for Manhattan and schmooze like a New York socialite at W Hotel Downtown New York which opens its glass doors on August 16 to cool loft-style spaces and seriously glam twists (black mosaic, granite floors and glass light sculptures) over 58 floors.

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Kanoo World Traveller August 2011


check in | news

The firsT Lady Doris Greif will open Jumeirah Etihad Towers this September as Abu Dhabi’s first female GM. She tells Jade Bremner why there is no ‘glass ceiling’ in the UAE “I always knew I wanted to be GM one day,” says Doris Grief, the newly appointed General Manager of Jumeriah Etihad Towers. The hotel tower stands proud with four other brand new skyscrapers in the Ras Al Akhdar area of Abu Dhabi, and includes 382 luxury guest rooms, a 130metre beach, a four-level podium with 12 restaurants and 30 highend fashion boutiques. That’s a decent amount of responsibility for the UAE capital’s first female GM. But she doesn’t come inexperienced. Doris Grief headed Jumeriah’s Emirates Towers in Dubai from 2004 to 2007, making her one of a string of female GMs in the city, including Pam Wilby, appointed GM of Grosvenor House and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa in 2000, Elaine Watson, appointed GM of Marriot Courtyard in 2004, and Cornelia Erhardt, appointed GM of Radisson SAS, Dubai Marina in 2008. So why has it taken Abu Dhabi − the capital of one of the most liberal countries in the Middle East − over 10 years to catch up? “I don’t think it has anything to do with Abu Dhabi or this part of the world,” says Doris. “Factually very few women choose to carry on in their career as far as GM; men have

‘My Western clientele is more shocked to see a female GM than my Arab clientele’

August 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 7


it easier in that they have a spouse who chooses to play along, with the wife traditionally moving countries with the husband,” explains Doris who, at the age 46, is not married and has no children. “I admire women who have a child and go to work, I haven’t got the faintest idea how they can do that and achieve the work/life balance people preach. But, my family is my hotel.” Doris has seen “no glass ceiling” in the UAE and is adamant that women who reach the highest ranks get there through sheer determination. “There is no discrimination between being male and female in this industry [hospitality] in this part of the world. I’ve personally experienced an incredible amount of support. Nearly half of our (Jumeirah) hotels have appointed female GMs. Jumeirah makes an effort with this because they have seen that it works.” But is it fair to say there is such an obvious divide between men and women in the Western world? “It does seem much harder there than it is here,” says Doris. “Here people appear far more open-minded towards female GMs than they are given credit for. My Western clientele is more shocked to see a female GM than my Arab clientele.” Right now Doris and her team have all hands on deck preparing for next month’s opening and it’s with some excitement she looks on the hotel complex, which she claims will be like “nothing else in the area”. Business and leisure guests are set to combine, with day guests enjoying the multitude of eateries, a spa and, of course, shopping. “It will be a 70/30 split between business travellers or conference groups and pure leisure travellers,” says Doris. “It’s going to be a buzzing mini-city.” jumeirah.com

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Kanoo World Traveller August 2011

Off for Eid? There’s surely no smarter place to pack your weekend threads than in one of Paul Smith’s latest luggage designs. If colourful canvas is your, erm, bag make a beeline for his printed designs – we love ‘stamp collection’ (pictured), a map-shaped jigsaw of stamps from around the world – perfect for globetrotters.


check in | news

My perfect trip... Malaga Travel writer and ex-Genesis drummer Chris Stewart released his latest tome Three Ways to Capsize a Boat last month, but where does he set sail for summer? We snare his top travel tips… Malaga used to be a dump of a city, one of those places that you hurried through to reach somewhere else. But the municipal authorities decided to do something about it and now the city looks like a garden of botanical delights, filled with art and museums and home to a lush and semi-tropical climate. My wife is my preferred travelling companion and, as I think a city’s greatness depends on who you’re with or meet, we always stay in Malaga with friends. If you’re unfortunate enough not to know anybody though there are heaps of hotels in which to stay, from the industrial type to the most exquisite little bijou places. You must visit The Picasso Museum and Botanical gardens at La Concepción. The museum is the way an art gallery ought to be – innovative, imaginative, welcoming and entirely enriching. The best place to eat fish and seafood is Dani García’s La Moraga at La Malagueta beach. He takes a slightly offbeat approach to traditional dishes and the quality of the lobster and octopus is superb. If you can’t get in (this is one of Southern Spain’s very best restaurants, though there’s nothing snooty about it) try one of his other three establishments in the city or the Michelin-starred Skina, down the coast in Marbella’s Old Town. A well kept secret is the English cemetery; it’s a peaceful and delightfully unkempt garden in the middle of the fury of Malaga. There is nowhere quite like it for a cool, philosophical ramble.

toUrIst trAIL

double delight Steaming ahead in the speed stakes this month is a construction that looks set to rival China’s airlines: an 820metre long, high-speed railway link that can transport travellers from Beijing to Shanghai in five hours, at a speed of 200mph. Which means tourists can peruse the rapidly-fading Hutongs by morning and tuck-in to a cool Shanghai eatery by night – and all for a ticket price of around $86.

3 more ways to double your sights... 1. Brussels and Amsterdam Make a beeline for Brussels-Noord and catch a train to Amsterdam’s Central Station and, in less than three hours, you can walk off bites from the world’s best chocolate shops with a stroll (or cycle) along the flower-flanked canals of Holland’s most carefree city.

2. Macau and Hong Kong Take a high-speed ferry from Macau Ferry Terminal and you can sail in to Hong Kong in an hour, swapping Macau’s old city, chock full of rich Portuguese/Chinese history and architecture, for bustling streets, bright lights, trendy shopping and international bites.

3. Munich and Salzburg Peruse Austria’s pretty Salzburg (aka the ‘city of Mozart’) and snap away at its famous baroque architecture and idyllic alpine scenery before taking an equally picturesque train ride past Lake Chiemsee and in to Germany’s third largest city in two-and-a-half hours flat.

August 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 9


CIty BItEs

DUBAi’S cUlinARy qUARTER Thanks to a gastro evolution in Dubai’s financial district, some of the city’s finest restaurants are now within walking distance of one another...

1 THE IVY, DUBAI

2 LA PETIT MAISON

What’s long served as a favoured celebhangout in London is now in Dubai, bringing its signature British style (hunting green leather seating, conker walnut accents) and classic dishes like Shepherd’s Pie. And if it’s good enough for Kate Moss... theivy.ae

Riveria chic and a sparkling city atmosphere sets the scene at LPM. ‘Nicoise-style’ fare means you and your companions are in for a culinary feast of tender French fare – but make sure to leave room for the cheesecake, it’s to-die-for. lpmdubai.ae

EMIRATES TOWERS EMIRATES TOWERS METRO

4

308TH RD

1

SATWA PARK

312TH RD

3 2 SHEIKH ZAYED RD

FINANCIAL CENTRE METRO 1

5

RITZ CARLTON DIFC

DIFC

3 ZUMA

4 ROYAL CHINA

5 CENTER CUT

For Japanese cuisine, there’s no slicker spot to raise your chopsticks than Zuma. A place to see and be seen, sky-high ceilings and a spectacular bamboo structure creates a wow factor – and the contemporary menu is equally impressive. zumarestaurant.com

Savour a first-class taste of the Orient amid a headturning show of scarlet red, including jewel chandeliers that tinker overhead. Dim Sum is a lunchtime specialty, while carvedat-the-table duck makes a sumptuous choice come nightfall. royalchinadubai.com

Carnivores will be in seventh heaven at the Ritz Carlton’s slick, New York-style eatery. Its dedication to the ‘world’s best beef’ provides a mouthwatering menu and each piece tastes... divine. The crème de la crème of the city’s steak spots. ritzcarlton.com

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Kanoo World Traveller August 2011


ENTER A DIFFERENT WORLD

+44 (0)20 7730 1234 harrods.com


london calling

Set Sail for Summer London bound this year? Swap five-star hotels for something altogether quirkier… a deluxe canal boat with all the trimmings to rival its landlocked sisters. We get the lowdown from the hotel-cum-boat’s owner and designer, Davina Stanley My friends were selling a dilapidated old chugger of a boat which just happened to have the most beautiful mooring in London – below the famous Cedric Price aviary at London Zoo. I have done luxurious interior design jobs in the same area of Primrose Hill (a glam spot in its own right) for some time, so put two and two together and came up with On the Water!

Record everything from sunken shipwrecks to underwater cities, hidden treasures and unique marine life with this Liquid Image Video Camera Scuba Mask; a nifty set of underwater goggles, complete with a 136 wide angle high-definition video camera attached. liquidimageco.com

I designed the finished look on the back of an envelope. I met with around five boat builders and eventually joined forces with Bluewater Boats who were the only ones prepared to take on our modern vision of a canal boat akin to a five-star hotel, with a large bedroom/lounge, en suite bathroom, galley kitchen, skylight windows and superb deck (great for star-gazing). It has a Hemingway/Florida Keys meets luxury city club look set in an English idyll. The fluid space is all about luxury and comfort and we’ve paid attention to detail, such as a flat screen TV and DVDs in case the weather goes bad. My team and I can really ‘zing’ things up for an event though, using the best London suppliers – we recently hosted a celebrity chef dining room, and a seventies-style disco onboard. Make reservations and you have the entire vessel to yourself, which sleeps two in a king-size bed – and you can stay for up to two weeks. A local artisan bakery assembles and delivers hampers daily too, so you can enjoy fresh continental breakfasts. You can set sail with our skipper if you make arrangements in advance and at an extra cost. Though, you should bear in mind that a trip to Amsterdam or even London’s Tower Bridge can take a very long time aboard a canal boat! What’s more, its setting on the edge of Regent’s Park makes a beautiful, peaceful spot in which to just stay still. Oxford Street, Camden Market and Mayfair are a short walk away and London Zoo is literally next door. Primrose Hill itself is also full of fab restaurants, cafés boutiques (and is a great spot for celeb-spotting) and you shouldn’t leave without admiring the view from the top of the hill which stretches out across the city. beonthewater.co.uk

hot offers

great getaways This month’s hot offers from Kanoo Travel and American Express Vacations

castel monastero, italy STAy 7 nIgHTS, PAy fOR 5 get away from the city with a long weekend in the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside where cypress tress and chestnut forests shroud this beautiful (and romantic) resort.

alila villas, bali STAy 5 nIgHTS, PAy fOR 4 Spend an extra night at no extra cost in a luxurious villa which takes prime position on an elevated over-the-ocean plateau and bask in picture-perfect vistas.

baD raGaZ, sWitZerlanD UPgRADE gUARAnTEED Make for the foot of the awesome Alps and immerse yourself in Swiss chic at the legendary grand Resort Bad Ragaz where upgrades at time of booking are a certainty, along with late 4pm check-outs. 12

Kanoo World Traveller August 2011


What in the World? we trAwl tHe globe For August’s most weIrd And wonderFul HAppenIngs…

6–11

25-27 6-13 20-21 10-15

1-7

1–7 InternAtIonAl CIrCus FestIvAl

vietnam’s most talented tricksters descend in a multi-coloured whirl of jugglers, trapeze artists and comical clowns to entertain spectators on a gargantuan scale. A spine-tingling sight.

6–13 Cowes week

A date for the diary of any selfrespecting english socialite since 1826, the planet’s longestrunning (and most prestigious) regatta cues a jolly good, weeklong show of boat races, bands, glamorous evening balls and a truly terrific firework finale.

6–11 InternAtIonAl woodsCulptIng symposIum In the Finnish town of kemijärvi, artists’ nordic pine structures (as well as metal and glass creations) crop up all over town as though they’ve just landed from outer space.

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Kanoo World Traveller August 2011

10–15 FestIvAldo mArIsCo swarms of fishlovers saunter down the Algarve’s Jardim do pescador olhanense to indulge in portugal’s most talked about seafood festival, where just-caught sea fare is devoured to live concerts.

20–21 urbAn bbQ meAts are grilled on the streets of brussels by top chefs (including michelin-star names) and gourmet bites served to hungry revellers at a mammoth communal table.

25–27 CowAl’s HIgHlAnd gAtHerIng 32pound stones will be hurled in scotland by tartan-clad folk who gather (as they have since 1894) to toss heavy artifacts in the name of tradition and test their strength in a mighty tug of war.


EID Al FITR CElEBRATION. A VERy spECIAl CElEBRATION AwAITs yOU IN THE MAlDIVEs.

Everything has been organised to offer the guests a unique vacation and a once in a lifetime Eid moment. • Middle Eastern buffet for genuine flavours • Mashraby tents with lounge cushions, shisha and mocktails under the moonlight • Arabic TV channels for utmost comfort • Kid’s facility to share a unique vacation with the ones you love • Villa Host to attend your every whim • Deserted islands - become an island chief for a day Book now by calling +960.6500400 or visiting BeachHouseMaldives.com or sending an e-mail to info@beachhousemaldives.com EXTRAORDINARy plACEs. A sINGUlAR EXpERIENCE. At each of our destinations around the globe, experience the personalised waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts service that creates unforgettable moments. waldorfastoria.com

©201 1 Hilton Worldwide


AgendA | where to stAy

Where to stay...

Cape Town

Jet off to south Africa for safari, turquoise oceans and pure African beauty... START

Hotel

OR

Beach

Villa

OR

Wild

Table Mountain

OR

National Park

Seaside Villa

Kensington Palace

capetownvillas.co.uk If you’ve got a family in tow but don’t want to scrimp on luxury, book your own private villa in Camps Bay. This property’s striking linear design and interiors takes inspiration from its surroundings, from the sea to the mountain tops. Eat home-cooked meals on the patio or lawn and bathe in the Jacuzzi.

kensingtonplace.co.za Sat on the edge of the 1,000 metre high Table Mountain, you’ll find this super-cool bolthole where you can immerse yourself in the wilderness. Suites radiate a modern yet calm ambience, with the odd animal skin rug thrown in for good measure, while dining is best done outside with a view of the famous flat-topped peak.

Romantic

OR

Adventurous

Glamping

OR

Lodge

The Bay

Ocean View House

Tanda Tula

Jaci’s Safari Lodge

thebay.co.za It’s easy to unwind in this heavenly setting with four hotel pools, gourmet food and couples’ beauty treatments to hand, including hot stone massages.

oceanview-house.com Prepare yourself for both mesmerising ocean views and the ultimate adrenaline fuelled activity: shark diving. Trips run daily.

tandatula.co.za Try luxury camping at this resort where tents feature Victorian baths and cheetahs and jackals can be spied from private decks.

madikwe.com Set in the bush, this is a great getaway at any age: go on safari by day and spend nights beneath authentic, thatched-roofed suites.

August 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 17


Picture this

NambuNg NatioNal Park AustrAliA While this bizarre scattering of pointed rock forms may appear like something lifted straight out of a science fiction film, they are very much part of a natural landscape – posing proudly in Western Australia. This is Pinnacles Desert, where hundreds of the soaring, saffron-coloured rocks (each one formed from limestone) protude from snaking sands and remain eternally still. But you don’t have to stop-and-stare from afar; get your walking shoes on and stroll and stroll through each one on a trail that takes you within touching distance. Alternatively, get behind the wheel for a memorable drive, pausing only to snap away at the ageing formations. Spellbinding stuff. Image: Corbis


Picture this

glacier bay NatioNal Park usA Alaska is the setting of this shiver-inducing scene where a lone trekker explores an ice cave in the National Park and Preserve – a 3.3 million acre landscape where glaciers are over 4,000 feet thick and 20 miles wide. Recognised as a natural wonder, this icy part of the park is now UNESCO protected, yet 200 years ago its shorelines and islands where completely covered in ice. Come winter, temperatures here fall to a frosty minus 23 °C though, remarkably, you can still spy some 160 breeds of marine life and around 240 birds, along with roaming mammals like wild black and brown bears. Keen for a look? Adventure companies run cruises along the park’s waters so you can steal a glimpse of its stunning lakes and glistening peaks for yourself... Image: Corbis


Picture this

tsiNgy de bemaraha strict Nature reserve MAdAgAscAr Head off the south-eastern coast of Africa and into the Indian Ocean and you’ll discover the diverse island of Madagascar, a place that offers its visitors endless exploration: fragile rainforest, far-reaching honey-hued desert, ageing rock formations and, perhaps best of all, these curious karst limestone structures. A by product of ancient plateaus eroded by fierce floods and relentless rainfall, their jagged forms were left in the waters’ wake (along with caves, fissures and canyons) and stand erect in a labyrinth of paths just too mysterious for passers-by to resist... Image: Corbis


EssEntial sElEction | Eid EscapEs

essential selection

Eid ESCAPES Make the most of your break with a short-haul trip that guarantees an incredible experience‌

Hike in Nepal’s Himalayas Nothing quite prepares you for your first glimpse of the Himalayas with its awesome protruding peaks which pierce the brightest stretch of blue sky. A trip to fascinating Nepal brings with it a close look at this very mountain range: climb one of its giant jagged faces, including Lhotse 1 (8,516 metres high), Kanchenjunga (8,586 metres) or the highest peak on the planet; Mount Everest (at 8,850 metres). There are also plenty of chances to master shorter climbs (which require far less preparation beforehand). Venture skyward with the help of an expert guide and pass lush paddy fields and quaint farms and villages, pausing to soak up true Nepalese culture and admire colourfully-clad locals in traditional dress. Alternatively, make for Everest Base Camp by 4x4 and stay overnight at highaltitude where mountaineers prepare for the fiercest challenge of their lives...

August 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 25


Pick tea in Sri Lanka Head to Bogawantalawa Valley (also known as the ‘Golden Valley of Tea’ thanks to its distinctive pea-green hills) and spend your days plucking tea leaves from the lush terrain with local farmers. At Ceylon Tea Trails (pictured above) you can stay in plantation bungalows that date back to 1890 and offer local yet lavish gastronomy, butler service and period furnishings that hark back to a bygone era. Seek out one guest house perched 4,000 feet atop the mountainside for the most mind-blowing views. By day, venture along the snaking tea trails and learn all there is to know about the ancient art of identifying tea. And, after you’ve collected all the tea you can sup, stretch your limbs further by climbing Adams Peak Mountains in Central Highlands or saddle up and explore by horse-back.

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Kanoo World Traveller August 2011


Pullman Dubai Mall of the Emirates Summer Special at a Shopping Hotel

Discover a hotel directly connected to Mall of the Emirates with over 500 shops. Choose from 481 guestrooms and suites ideal for family stays. Indulge in interactive dining, chic spa treatments and complimentary shuttle to the beach. Enjoy this special summer rates valid until September 15, 2011. *Terms & Conditions apply.

New attitude hotels for business travelers. Yo u r l o y a l t y p r o g r a m

www.pullmanhotels.com

For further information and reservation, please contact us: +971 4 702 8000


Surf perfect barrels in the Maldives

Make like a millionaire in Moscow

The cluster of 1,192 islands offers sun-seekers consistent world class surf amid peace, quiet and tropical bliss. Make like a pro-surfer and hire a private boat and captain – try local outfit Surfatoll – and live onboard for a week. Its staff of local sailors are expert wave spotters who’ll not only deliver you to the very best reef breaks (ranging from hip high in size to double overhead) but teach you how to catch (and cook) fresh fish. If conquering the waves leaves you feeling tired, swap your board for flippers and snorkel amid flurries of exotic fish and multi-coloured coral. Luxury-travellers, meanwhile, can seek comfort at the Waldorf Astoria’s Beach House Maldives where non-surfing hours can be whiled away in one of its 83 beautiful villas, complete with pool, butler and private al fresco dining.

Jet off to this billionaire’s haven and immerse yourself in high-end shopping and rich cultural surrounds. The refined traveller can spend the day perusing designer threads at Armani, Chanel, Christian Dior, Prada and Gucci boutiques (plus more besides) before hiring the royal box at the Bolshoi Ballet for the best view in the house. To see the decadent capital in its entirety, though, hire a helicopter and spy Russia’s elite by swopping over ‘the secret city’ − Moscow’s answer to Beverly Hills – where you’ll see all manner of elaborate mansions (some are as large as a football pitch) flanked by forest. Hungry? Eat at one of the coolest eateries in the city – Oblaka. Perched so high it virtually sits in the clouds, it marries magnificent style with amazing vistas and the finest European/Oriental cuisine.

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Kanoo World Traveller August 2011


EssEntial sElEction | Eid EscapEs

Feel the rain in Salalah

Dine in two continents in one day

Southern Oman Salalah is an anomaly in the Middle East; the area’s bizarre micro-climate offers rare relief from the region’s painfully hot summers, with temperatures dipping as much as 10 degrees less than its neighbours. Instead of sweaty brows and dry desert, you’ll arrive to a semi-tropical climate peppered with green shrubbery, natural palm trees and an environment that’s akin to a lush rainforest. If you’re missing rain, a predicted 25 millimeters falls during August, thanks to an uncharacteristically large amount of moisture in the air. Head to Ayn Hamran at the foot of the Ayn Mountains to behold natural springs and a wealth of flowers, or the Taqa village at the entrance of Wadi Dirbat where you can marvel at another unusual spectacle: cattle and camels grazing together on dew-licked green grass.

Separated by the Bosporus Strait, Istanbul is the world’s only metropolis to straddle two continents – Europe and Asia. Set off on a culinary adventure with lunch in a quaint Asian eatery followed by dinner in Europe. Cross the Bosporus and step into Asia where you’ll find Hatay Restaurant serving up flavoursome local cheeses with traditional, sweet apple tea. Back in Europe, have dinner on-the-move at the city’s oldest indoor food market, Grand Bazaar – an elaborate show of domed roofs and vibrant spices – and wrap your lips around everything from Turkish spinach pancakes to baklava meat and falafel. For a sit-down meal, take a pew at Feriye. Once a 19th century Ottoman police station, its classical architecture and outside veranda makes for a romantic spot to tuck-in to Turkish fare.

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EssEntial sElEction | Romantic REtREats

Skydive in Dubai Forget white water rafting or charging around in a Ferrari full-throttle – for the ultimate adventure in the UAE, plummet to the ground from 12,000 feet and freefall for 30 seconds before pulling your parachute and drifting downward, marvelling at the world famous Palm Islands, city skyline and Jumeirah Beach as you do. If you’re a first time jumper worry not, you’ll fly tandem through the air like a carefree bird in the safe harness of an instructor, which means you can simply enjoy the experience of skimming through the clouds on a speedy descent through the Earth’s atmosphere. Once-in-a-lifetime stuff.

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May 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 30


Visit a wonder of the world in Jordan Explore Wadi Musa and the ancient Nabataean and Bedouin settlements. Now a protected heritage site, millions flock here to tread its ancient paths, as traders did in the first century. Meander through snaking valleys lined by impressive rocks which stretch dozens of metres high and behold an ancient Bedouin city of hobbit-like caves and houses with rooms carved from rock. Don’t leave without snapping the colossal Treasury (left), built by the Romans it’s an impressive show of columns, an emperor’s tomb and an urn that’s rumoured to contain Pharaoh’s hidden treasure. (Look carefully and you can even spot bullet marks where Bedouins throughout the years have attempted to seize its fortune.) But a trip to Jordanian pastures isn’t complete without a gentile float (literally) in the famous Dead Sea: not only the lowest body of water on Earth but the richest source of natural salts, which makes it a virtual floatation tank for those who dip in its uninhabited depths. So, lay back in the calm salty waters and let the region’s rays wash over you...

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You deserve a hotel that offers more than the rest This Summer, stay in a Signature room inclusive of breakfast from AED 795* or upgrade to a Raffles Club room from AED 1090* We didn’t get to be a luxury, award-winning hotel by offering the expected. With Dubai’s largest rooms and private balconies, combined with spectacular city views, heartfelt service and outstanding facilities, your stay will be like no other this Summer. Children under 12 stay and dine for free. With an outdoor swimming pool and the tranquil Raffles Spa; there is something for everyone. Perfectly positioned in the centre of Dubai, we’re not only close to the city’s most loved landmarks, we’re one of them.

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Beijing | Dubai | Hainan | Makkah | Maldives | Paris | Phnom Penh | Siem Reap | Singapore | Seychelles | Tianjin

www.raffles.com/dubai


HigHland HigHland fling fling Mark Wilson explores the highlands of Scotland

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the highlands | scotland

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he rain lashed against the windscreen and all I could see was the headlights’ feeble beam on the dry stone walls and ghostly lichen-crusted trees that bordered the slick lanes. We were heading north from Inverness, somewhere on the borders of Ross-shire and Sutherland, home to verse-inspiring scenery, but I couldn’t see a thing. I coaxed the car on and up. “Drive to Ardgay and turn left at the phone box in nine miles”, read the directions and, just as we were thinking we had to be on the wrong road, there was the red box. A left turn, more wet miles, and on to an unmade track. Finally we had arrived at Alladale. The lodge loomed, grey and shadowy like Baskerville Hall and through the deluge we saw the door creak open to reveal... a very nice man who loaded our three-course dinner in his Land Rover and escorted us to our bed for the night.

We weren’t staying in the lodge itself, but in Eagle’s Crag, one of the two bothy-style stone buildings up an even more pot-holed track, at what seemed to be the last outpost of civilisation. But this is no spartan shelter. This is modern chic, Highland style, with underfloor heating, deerskin rugs, vast plasma TVs, huge sofas, wet rooms: all the paraphernalia of contemporary luxury accommodation. And although it’s nominally self-catering, it’s lazy luxury self-catering, where chef’s selection is delivered with instructions on how long to put it in the oven. And it’s good stuff – soups, salads, fresh rolls, and local produce such as haggis or Highland beef. And venison. Lots of venison. That first night was approaching freezing and buffeted by gales but we were cosy by the wood-burning stove. Next morning we woke up to clear skies and the most astonishing

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‘Eagle’s is the most remote accommodation at Alladale and looking west is what appears to be your private glen with the river burbling by...’ view. Eagle’s is the most remote accommodation at Alladale and looking west is what appears to be your private glen with the river burbling by, and mountains that slope to 1,300ft above you framing the view. And this is just from the window while you’re eating breakfast. The estate, or wilderness reserve as it aspires to be, covers 23,000 acres. Paul Lister, scion of the MFI empire, bought it in 2003 with a vision to return this remote area to its prehistoric glory as part of the vast Caledonian forest. To achieve this, Alladale’s estate manager, the ebullient New Zealander Hugh Fullerton-Smith, is embarking on an audacious programme of replanting hundreds of thousands of Caledonian pines to expand the forlorn patches of old-growth trees, culling the red deer and reintroducing native animal species that can promote tree growth. Wild boar and elk are already on site. The pair of elk are an imposing sight even from behind a fence. They’re not fully grown – when they are, in a couple of years, the male will weigh about 750kg and stand about 2m at the shoulder. One of the most radical plans is to bring back wolves. “Our long-term ambition is to introduce two packs,” Hugh told me, “but for that we need 250,000 acres. We would have to bring in the neighbouring estates.” For now they’ve applied for a zoo licence to keep three wolves, eight wildcats, plus the boar and elk, in a 500-acre enclosure. You certainly can’t fault Alladale’s ambition. All this worthy rewilding doesn’t stop you having a splendid time playing the country gent or lady for the week: there’s the full range of Highland sports – deer stalking (at least until the wolves take over, to show how it’s supposed to be done), clay-pigeon shooting, fly fishing and riding. And, when the weather behaves, the view isn’t bad either.


the highlands | scotland

Previous page: Loch Leven and Pap of Glencoe mountain. Opposite page: Elk at play. This page, clockwise from left: Taychreggan Hotel, Rossahilly House; Samling Hotel; Blackaddie House.

Wild About britAin

Images: Corbis; Vonessen Media, Taychreggan Hotel, Rossahilly House; Samling Hotel; Blackaddle House. Text: Mark Wilson / The Independent / The Interview People

Four more places to enjoy...

You can walk straight up into the heart of the Lake District from the front door of the Michelin-starred Samling Hotel (thesamlinghotel. co.uk), situated just above magical Lake Windermere. Ask to stay in one of the estate’s old cottages – they are beautiful and secluded. One of the great figures of modern British cooking, Ian McAndrew was once the youngest Englishman to hold a Michelin star. Now he and his charming wife Jane have relocated to the Scottish Borders, realising a dream by transforming Blackaddie House (blackaddiehotel.co.uk) – a historic country inn amid the spectacular scenery of the Southern Upland Way – into the most welcoming of small hotels. It’s well worth the detour from the M74 – and, of course, the food, most of it sourced locally, is quite simply superb. With its stunning location on the bonnie banks of Loch Awe, the 300-year-old Taychreggan hotel (taychregganhotel.co.uk) has often been voted Britain’s most romantic place in which to stay – and under the management of Fiona Sutherland and her family, this cosiest of Highland boltholes is performing better than ever. Across the Irish Sea, Rossahilly House (rossahillyhouse.com) is a beautifully-appointed seven-bed house on the edge of Lough Erne in County Fermanagh. It makes a perfect base from which to explore Northern Ireland’s picturesque Lakelands – or try a day’s invigorating surfing at nearby Donegal Bay.

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Kanoo world traveller promotion

Welcome to Paradise Spend Eid in the Maldives at Reethi Beach, a model eco-friendly resort where nature meets comfort and style

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jewel amid the equally sparkling waters of Baa Atoll – recently added to UNESCO’s global list of biosphere reserves – Reethi Beach offers the perfect marriage of first-class comfort and natural beauty – only 15% of the island is built upon, giving guests the opportunity to roam barefoot amidst lush vegetation and beneath gently swaying palm trees. Three elegant types of accommodation await guests here: Reethi Villas, which stand just steps from the powder-soft beach; Deluxe Villas, where guests enjoy open-air rain showers and use of a traditional Maldivian swing; and the stunning Water Villas, perched over the turquoise ocean below. You can take your pick from five great restaurants – head to the exclusive beach-side Saima Garden and dine al fresco at one of only five tables – and a superlative list of activities in and out of the ocean. And enjoy it all in the knowledge that you’re at a resort with impeccable eco-credentials; a resort that provides a truly magical and authentic Maldivian setting fully integrated in the undisturbed habitat in which it stands. reethibeach.com

‘A truly magical and authentic Maldivian setting with impeccible eco-credentials’

Three must-have resort experiences… Dine on your own island For the ultimate romantic meal, ask guest relations to prepare a table for you on the cottonwhite sands of the nearby uninhabited island. There you’ll dine alone beneath a blanket of stars, with only a team of expert chefs, waiting staff and the sound of gently lapping waves for company. Discover local culture If you’re keen to explore beyond the confines of your slice of paradise, take a boat ride to Eydhafushi, the capital island of Baa atoll, which is home to a mosque and thriving local community. Here you can learn of the Maldivian way of life and pick up a few traditionallycrafted souvenirs. Dive in crystal-clear waters Reethi is ringed by a collection of reefs that are home to a stunning array of multi-hued marine life. An experienced team of staff are on hand at the resort’s Dive Centre to cater for all standards of dive enthusiasts, from experienced through to novice, while if you simply fancy a snorkel there are dedicated boat trips, too.

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tulum | mexico

Down Mexico way Mick Brown savours the ramshackle charm of Tulum, a village the developers haven’t got to – yet...

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tulum | mexico

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Opening page: Lights for sale in Tulum. This page: Tulum’s ancient ruins.

hey have built a cycle path since I was last in Tulum, two years ago – a smooth, broad strip of concrete that runs for a couple of miles alongside the road from the town to the beach. A cause of considerable civic pride, heralded by a sign on the main highway approaching the town from Cancun, the path is undoubtedly a boon for both locals and visitors, but it carries more ominous portents. Halfway along, a broad drive cuts into the jungle, marked by a small, glass–sided bungalow: the sales office for a forthcoming development, Aldea Zama, promising condominiums, hotels and shopping plazas. Outside town they are breaking ground for an airport, and there is talk of a golf course. In short, it could be the beginning of the end. The southernmost point of Mexico’s so–called Riviera Maya, Tulum was little more than a dusty hamlet 10 years ago, a magnet for backpackers drawn by the Mayan ruins that perch in a spectacular position on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean and an expanse of white beach as beautiful as any in the world. Accommodation was to be found only in a couple of thatched cabanas on the beach and a handful of modest pensions in town. From Cancun to Playa Del Carmen the road is now lined with enormous resort complexes, but the plague has yet to reach Tulum. The buses carrying day–trippers to the Mayan ruins turn off before reaching the town itself, and few even venture on to the beach, where throughout the day fishermen land their catch under a cloud of circling frigate birds and the occasional squadron of pelicans skirting the tops of the waves. Farther south, the cabanas become more luxurious, all offering spa treatments, yoga and ‘eco-friendly’ surroundings (a euphemism for solar power: mains electricity has yet to reach this far) – hedonism with a spiritual–lite coating, and prices to match. Coqui Coqui is the most chic of them all. Drew, the laconic American who each morning cooked the scrambled eggs in the small hotel in town where I stayed, said that he saw the Hollywood actress Charlize

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Images: Corbis; Shutterstock, Coqui Coqui Spa & Residence Resort Text: Mick Brown / The Daily Telegraph / The Interview People

Theron there on the beach. “She was like, glowing, man. You could see her from 50 yards away.” Verily, it is paradise; but a paradise that could be anywhere in the Caribbean. No Mexicans live on the beach and some visitors never bother to venture into the town – which is their loss. Tulum is not particularly pretty, but it has a ramshackle, bohemian character – a mile-long main strip, lined with buildings of mongrel shapes and sizes. There are restaurants, cafés and change booths. But the streets are quiet and the shops – selling pottery, brightly coloured blankets and trinkets stamped with the images of Mexico’s two national symbols, are still noticeably short of customers. According to Drew, the fear of swine flu almost killed the tourist trade two years ago. More recently, fear of drug–related murders has been keeping visitors away, although Tulum strikes me as one of the most placid places on Earth. The occasional glimpse of an open truck, laden to the gills with armed militia, might be taken as a symbol of reassurance. But it’s said that all the drug barons have their summer homes in the Yucatan and a state of truce applies, and anyway even drugs baron realise that killing tourists is bad for business. The indigenous Mayan people are by nature reserved, somewhat aloof. They are small and compact, the women as tiny as children – so tiny that when sitting on the benches in the small park outside the Palacio Municipal, their feet don’t touch the ground. The homes on the backstreets are utilitarian brick-built squares in pastel colours, usually with a smallholding attached – a few chickens, perhaps a goat. Through the open doors one glimpses a table, a couple of hammocks, a small shrine, and a large television. At the far end of town the pavement runs out, giving way to a rough strip of gravel and overgrown grass; the tourist businesses are replaced by auto–repair shops, a local supermarket, hole–in–the-wall chicken joints and enterprises of a more uncertain nature. But the sturdy wooden door on the ground floor seems to be perpetually locked. What goes on there? It’s impossible to say. Keep walking, and at length, as the town fades to darkness, you come to Tulum’s great find. A small roadside restaurant, open-fronted, with plastic chairs and metal tables on a cement floor. Locals queue for a table. As you wait, a van arrives and two men manhandle into the kitchen grouper fish, four feet long and fresh from the beach. Dinner. It’s the best food you will taste in Mexico, washed down with the local tipple – at around $11 a head. You will only get the name out of me on pain of death. Some things you just don’t want to change.

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Clockwise from left: Local woman; Temple of the Frescoes at the pre-columbian Mayan site; Local shrimp Tacos; Coqui Coqui Spa & Residence Resort; Pottery for sale.

‘The indigenous Mayan people are by nature reserved, somewhat aloof. They are small and compact, the women as tiny as children’


tulum | mexico

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Greek GoddesS The Aegean island of Samos has aquamarine waters and ancient sites but its real charm is that it has a life of its own that remains untarnished by mass tourism, reckons Michael Bywater

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he search for authenticity, that little place you discovered where they are genuinely pleased to see you and which retains its original charms, is cursed by the Heisenberg Effect. The observer inevitably spoils what he’s observing. Or, more precisely, the host community, in its eagerness to please in order to get the revenues, spoils it. The Heisenberg Effect was brought home last year on a small and startlingly beautiful Greek island. The very phrase ‘Greek island’ kicks off a whole chain-reaction of mental images: deep blue skies, crystal seas, whitewashed simplicity and a fiesta of gnarling: gnarled olive groves, gnarled goatherds, gnarled ancient peasant women, stooped and toothless in a frightfully picturesque fashion perhaps related to the fact that most of them starved as children but which, all the same, the Greek postcard industry is happy to perpetuate as shorthand for simplicity, hardiness and timeless values. The retsina tastes gnarled. The coffee is gnarled. Even the food (we imagine) is gnarled. It’s nonsense, of course. The Greek islands are a continent in themselves. Ithaka and Hydra are as different as Austria and southern Portugal. Each island has its own

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character, geographical and human. And the timeless, simple way of life in which we fondly imagine ourselves to be participating is just another variation of the Peter Mayle Fallacy. Those gnarled peasants sleep now on mattresses stuffed solid with undeclared income from tourism, and the woman who owns the little taverna almost certainly owns a dozen other businesses and is richer than most of the people she serves. (And have a look at her slender, glossy daughter and her tall son smiling over the grill with his perfect teeth: that’s what a bit of money and good nutrition does to you.) On one such island, I got involved in a debate about the future of the tiny fishingport town. It is, currently, perfection. One neo-classical building has been, properly, painted terracotta. To drive along the harbour-front, it’s necessary to have one wheel slightly over the edge; diners at the tavernas have to edge their chairs out of your way. The arrival of the bus is an event: everyone cranes forward to watch it topple, as one day it surely must topple, into the drink. There is a bakery (OK), a greengrocer (execrable) and two supermarkets (both tiny, not super at all, one execrable, one unspeakable). There is one good restaurant, and one which used to be good until the chef


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SamoS | Greece

fell in love and, initially, couldn’t eat, then, subsequently, couldn’t cook. But now they want to move forward. They want to move parking from the present amiable chaos into a regimented, paid-for car park behind the harbour, and bus everyone in on little electric golf-carts. They want to paint all the buildings terracotta. All must have the same, officially sanctioned, awnings. There will be proper streetlighting. Centralised bouzouki music will be piped. And then nobody will want to come there, because it’s not just about what people want to come to, but what we are going away from. The very things this island wants to ‘improve’ are the things we want to remain the same. But there is another island, popular among the Greeks. It’s an island that won’t change to what it (mistakenly) believes will appeal to the tourists, because it has an existence of its own. It’s big enough to be varied, small enough to possess its own idiosyncratic, and distinct, personality. There are mountains and plains, vineyards and olive groves, a humming little seaside holiday town with no pretensions to be anything else, and a main city that sees no need to tart itself up for us, because it has things of its own to be getting on with. It has an ancient history beyond an obdurate peasantry scratching a living. It also has an economy. The place is called Samos, in the northern Aegean. From the eastern coast, you can swim to Turkey. (A small but thriving cottage industry is devoted to people swimming in the opposite direction, hoping for a new life in Europe.) It’s a curious place, and I’d rather like to live there. Even arriving on Samos, the airport has a peculiar charm. You’d not be surprised if an old DC-3 taxied up to the ramp. Nobody is trying to sell you anything. The notoriously churlish Greek police actually smile. The international dehumanisation of gates and barriers and admonitory signs (ticking you off for something you hadn’t even thought of doing) and chutes and dingdong announcements and pat-down areas: all absent. It’s an odd combination of an old-style public baths (an impression of tiles and waxed lino) and a 1930s ferry terminal. It is, in short, rather nice, strangely reassuring, and, quite inexplicably, welcoming. You’re glad to be there, and you feel that Samos is equally glad you’ve arrived. Quite possibly an illusion, but a pleasant illusion all the same. Close to the airport lies the Heraion, the classical Greek temple to the goddess Hera, once linked to the town by the ‘Iera Odos’ the Holy Way by a 6km road dating back to the 7th century BC, and lined with 2,000 statues and with graves and funeral monuments. The following century, the Samians built the Tunnel of Eupalinos, a kilometre-long vast water-conduit

‘You’re glad to be there, and you feel that Samos is equally glad you’ve arrived. Quite possibly an illusion, but a pleasant illusion all the same’ astonishingly constructed, without the use of compasses, theodolites or even written mathematics, beginning at either end and meeting perfectly in the middle. How they pulled that off is still a mystery, though one which might have been known to Pythagoras, born there around 570BC and commemorated by a modern sculpture on the waterfront at Pythagorion. Samos has been part of the Byzantine Empire, when it was chief island in the Aegean military complex; unwillingly annexed by the Ottoman Empire (at which point most of the population headed inland to the mountains and the fertile central plains, avoiding Turks and pirates alike); a semiautonomous state; and it wasn’t until 1912 that Samos became part of the new Kingdom of Greece. This is, in short, no simple backwater turned tourist-trap. And this may be why it’s so appealing as a holiday destination. More than anything else, it reminded me in that strange way you can be reminded of something you never quite knew of southern France before that became California-sur-Med. The roads follow the sometimes precipitous course of the terrain, branching off with sudden swooping curves, emerging unexpectedly over terraced vineyards or agricultural plains. One moment you can be driving along a typically Aegean maritime landscape, the next in a deep shaded tunnel with running brooks and the heavy green forest scents of pine and galbanum. One-shop villages and small towns appear suddenly around a bend in the road; a hairpin curve brings you to a startling vista of the sea and, near enough to touch through the haze, the rocky coast of Turkey. A causeway across the saltmarsh passes a long, low building: a military station with an observation tower where a Greek soldier stares through powerful, unblinking binoculars at a Turkish soldier across the strait, who is staring back at him; and so peace is maintained.

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It’s usually silly to say that a place has something for everyone, and Samos is no exception. Those between 17 and, say, 26 years old, who toil in the shadow of their hormones, might prefer somewhere sweatier, somewhere more doof-doof-doof-dooffa. Otherwise... here’s the Armonia, a small family-run hotel near Kokkari, on the north-eastern coastline: light and airy, it is indeed like a Côte d’Azur hotel that dates back 30 years ago, overlooking a perfect horseshoe bay a few minutes’ walk through the pines. A half-hour stroll downhill in the evening takes you to Kokkari town where, for some reason that nobody could explain to me, prices, as in Samos overall, are about two-thirds of the rest of Greece. Unable to face walking back up the hill due to idleness, I enquired about a taxi; the waiter took me by the arm and led me through the village to the taxi-stand, chatting affably as we went. This felt more like the original Greek xenofilia, the fondness for strangers, than the tourist-trap wolf-beam you more commonly encounter. “Come! You want eat? Good! BEST!” In Psilli Ammos, Mrs Frangou and her two sons run a taverna with three apartments, as close to the silversand beach as they could be without sinking. One of the sons rides past bareback on his horse, the other sits in the taverna practising his bouzouki, tuned to an unfamiliar scale; the music on Samos has a powerful Turkish influence, quite unique. Mrs Frangou brings home-made cakes; a tiny general store two minutes away sells anything you need. Children play on the clean sand in the shade of the tamarisks. Along the coast, in a strict conservation area, a group of 16 wealthy Australians have taken the three ultraluxurious villas at Marnei Mare, perched magnificently on a clifftop, with shaded gardens and steps running down to the Aegean. The willowy, sophisticated concierge rules with a rod of silk; anything almost anything they want is theirs to command. And from that to a tiny, tworoomed, 18th-century fisherman’s cottage on a tiny rocky promontory in Kerveli bay. Look out of the bedroom window and there is no sign of land, only the aquamarine water 6ft below and the sound of the gentle waves. Ten minutes’ walk through the groves on the headland brings you to Kerveli: a taverna, a shop, a road back. Lina brings her daughter Stella to say hello. Her husband Manoles comes by with a couple of melons from his fields. Then you are alone again. But alone or not, you’re never far from the reality of Samos as a working island with its own life. Once I was on Hydra on the last day of the season. The awnings were rolled up. The tables brought indoors. The ferry brought not excited visitors and journey-fractious

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Opening page: Traditional Greek Windmill. Previous page, clockwise from top left: Rowing boat; Classic Greek property; Cliffside properties; Samos fisherman. This page: View over the Aegean sea.

‘Above the town is one of the most beguiling places in Greece, which is to say, on Earth: Ano Vathy’


Images: Corbis, photolibrary, Shutterstock Text: Michael Bywater / The Independent / The Interview People

SamoS | GreeSe

children, but lavatories and air-con parts. The setdressing was carried into the wings and the crew came on to strike the set. In Gaios, on Paxos, the end of the season is the same: the square is one day busy with late-season holidaymakers and summering British and Italians, the next day empty, rain-lashed, shuttered up. Samos keeps alive. In Samos Town, there are plays, concerts, shops, cinemas: a miniature metropolis. (The owner of the little taverna in the shady back street welcomes us even though it’s mid-afternoon, no known mealtime. “Where are you from? How do you like Samos? You have a nice face; I think you have a warm heart.” For once, it’s not tourist bananas, but genuine. They say the people of Samos are cool. I think they are perhaps just reserved; free, perhaps, of that Greek exuberance which can sometimes edge into the phony. And so life continues. The banks do banking, the schools teach, the Samians mill around. Above the town is one

of the most beguiling places in Greece, which is to say, on Earth: Ano Vathy, the old harbour-town, perched on the hills behind its modern counterpart. It is like the imagined memory of an Aegean port come true: the sea below, the air redolent of herbs and cooking, winding precipitous streets. A river-gorge cuts through it (water is everywhere on Samos, tumbling down from the rocks, running through the valleys, bubbling from the ground). There is not a right-angle in Vathy. It is impossible not to get lost; impossible to care if you do, because there is always another pretty street, another café, another schoolyard with children laughing and tussling. I took a taxi back up the hill after lunch, but then caused inconvenience by not knowing where I had parked the car. Two baking hours later we found it 10 yards away from where the taxi had dropped us. As I said, it is impossible not to get lost in Vathy. And of all the places on Samos, Vathy is where I should like to be right now.

This page: A Greek island at dusk.

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spice of life What do you get if you cross a dancing cobra, a bowler-hatted salesman and a rusty lantern? Ele Cooper finds out

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spice of life | morocco

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Previous page: Crenellated Wall in Marrakech. Clockwise from left: Slippers on sale in a souk; Traditional woman in market square; Lamb Tagine; Classically ornate archway; ;

Spices on display at an Essaouira souq.

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orocco is often described as being somewhat mad, but until you’ve experienced said madness firsthand you can’t possibly comprehend the scale of it. After just five minutes in Marrakech, my best friend and I had already witnessed an old woman with a child’s stool balanced on her head, a hatchback ‘petit taxi’ stuffed with nine fully grown adults, and a man single-handedly pushing someone else’s double-parked car out of the way so that he could move his own. There was no doubt about it: we’d need a guide. Cue Abbas, who grew up playing hide-and-seek in Marrakech’s endless alleyways and knew the city like the back of his hand. After explaining that Marrakchi zebra crossings are at best seen as abstract art, he masterfully led us through the hair-raising traffic towards the heart of the city. Shopping was top of our agenda, but we were well aware of how ill-prepared we were for this labyrinthine medina. Haphazard infrastructure aside, though, as we zigzagged through the city’s innards I became increasingly aware that no element of design in Marrakech is left to chance: even the most insignificant doorway is decorated with intricate carvings and tiles. Nowhere was this more apparent than at La Sultana, the riad where we were staying. I say riad – but I mean an opulent five-star hotel with riad-style internal courtyards and refreshing plunge pools dotted throughout. Make no mistake about it: La Sultana is truly spectacular, and each room is made special through its own name and theme. We were staying in Panthère (panther), reflected through the antique panther statue, the crowning glory in an already impressive room. Our favourite touch, though, was the enormous bubbling hot tub, surrounded

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by columns and accessed via a mini-flight of steps. So enamoured were we with this palatial spot that we decided to shun the insatiable pace of Marrakech on our first night and eat beside the starlit pool in La Sultana’s courtyard, the gentle strumming of an oud player the only contrast to the contented murmurs of our fellow diners – many of them opting, like me, for the lamb tagine; tender, sweet and almond-laced. The next day, with Abbas’s haggling tips fresh in our minds (“go in too low and you’ll simply insult the vendor”), we headed back to the souks to get bargain-hunting. As we wandered, we gazed hungrily at a cart brimming with dark, juicy cherries, though the plump cats stalking around us only had eyes for the carcasses hanging incongruously beside the glittering slippers of a neighbouring stall – for while Marrakech’s souks are nominally divided according to wares, contrast prevails. The blacksmiths’ quarter, however, definitely does have its own vibe. Accessed via the leather souk, which emits a smell the ripeness of which I had never encountered, you hear it before you see it. As we drew nearer, the insistent clink of metal-on-metal became almost as hypnotic as the dancing cobras in Djamaa El Fna, the manic main square where we would feast on freshly grilled street food later that night. Again, the word ‘mad’ is insufficient when describing Djamaa El Fna. Bodies are everywhere; acrobats leap on to each other’s shoulders; tiny men march around playing home-made, threestringed instruments in a painfully tuneless style; and all the while, locals feast on sheeps’ heads, as impassive as the storks that reside on the city ramparts. Fast forward 12 hours and we were on our way to the coastal


spice of life | morocco

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town of Essaouira. As we moved westwards, the scenery transformed from stark desert to verdant landscape: where, closer to Marrakech, cacti and date palms stood, olive groves began springing up. I felt like I’d been transported to Greece. Much as we’d loved Marrakech, walking into the brand-new Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa was a breath of fresh air. The huge pale grey lobby is ultra modern, with a living plant wall, felt stools made to look like pebbles and little chairs carved from enormous tree trunks. After being served sweet tea, we were shown to our room. Again, the décor was bang up to date, with an iPod dock, abstract art on the walls and bold stripy cushions. However, the local influence was not lost in the design scheme, with a huge, angular bath tub made from mosaic tiles painted Essaouira’s signature cobalt blue. Our balcony, which boasted a huge daybed, was blissfully peaceful, overlooking a tranquil swimming pool, the golf course and the sea beyond. Satisfied that we’d hit the luxury accommodation nail on the head, we rewarded ourselves by heading to the state-of-the-art So SPA, immersing ourselves in the near-pitch-dark hammam’s hot, bubbling baths for a blissful couple of hours. Suitably de-stressed, we later hopped on to the hotel’s free shuttle bus into Essaouira, venturing through the ancient white walls guarding the city. On first impressions, Essaouira looks much like an English seaside town: there’s a promenade dotted with little cafés, villas reminiscent of Hockney’s ‘splash’ series and a slight sense of faded grandeur. All signs of sunshine gone, the wind whipped excitedly around us, the churning sea attracting just two intrepid windsurfers. As we strolled around the souk, we revelled in how laidback it all seemed compared to Marrakech: Essaouira’s alleyways are more orderly yet no less charismatic or colourful, as we discovered while stocking up on locally crafted tagines, handbags and jewellery. As well as being a shopping haven, the ancient walled city enjoys popularity among hippies as it’s where Jimi Hendrix penned ‘Castle in the Sky’ – but Essaouira captured imaginations long before the guitar superhero’s time. The Romans couldn’t get enough of its natural resources, though by 1506 the Portuguese had rocked up, installing a magnificent selection of canons along the battlements that still remain today. Then Mohammed Ben Abdellah al-Khatib became sultan in 1750, working with a French designer to create a town not dissimilar to La Rochelle. These days, though, Essaouira is best known for its fishing – so we headed for the grill stands flanking the port. Approaching with trepidation – the phrase ‘rough and ready’ came to mind – we were immediately ambushed by three eager salesmen, all desperate to tempt us with offers of the ‘best meal we’d ever eat’

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and all for MAD50 (approx $6). Puzzled that all the stands were decorated the same (blue-and-white-striped awning and plastic tables), offering the same food for the same price, we eventually settled for the busiest-looking one and ordered what turned out to be a tasty feast. Shrimps were plonked on our plates followed by sea bass, prawns, sardines and squid, all of which were devoured at a rate that would suggest we hadn’t eaten for days. Hammam-based indulgence and out-of-town serenity were all well and good, but with two nights of our trip left we thought it would be wrong not to immerse ourselves in Morocco’s magical madness one last time – so we made for Essaouira proper. L’Heure Bleue, a Relais & Chateaux riad just inside the city walls, was by far the most appealing option. The minute we walked through its doors, we felt like we’d stepped back in time to the days when colonialism ruled and tradition was sacrosanct. The inner courtyard was all rattan furniture and pristine white cushions, vibrant foliage made even livelier by the birds frolicking within. Our room featured charming touches like an embroidered eiderdown and heavy wood shutters, and made us feel a million miles from the sweetcorn vendors in the street below. On the roof, though, the vibe was pleasingly shabby chic: raffia parasols, brightly coloured flowers and cacti lent it an almost Mexican feel and, as the sun finally came out, we were in our element, quickly forgetting our ‘mad’ intentions and sprawling across the daybeds. Our final Moroccan dinner had to be somewhere fittingly special and, according to our sources, there was only one place to head: Elizir. It didn’t disappoint. Quirkiness ruled, with mismatching napkins, panes of coloured glass and perhaps most randomly a bicycle all competing for diners’ attention – but the décor couldn’t distract from the all-organic menu: we slurped nutty pumpkin soup topped with a liberal scattering of Moroccan saffron before feasting on a chicken, fig and gorgonzola tagine so rich that we were full from the first bite (but so tasty that we persevered until the last). The next day, treating ourselves to one final round of the souks, I finally found it: my dream Moroccan lantern. Yes, it was a bit battered, and yes, its chain was so rusty it could well have disintegrated at any moment, but it was perfect. It was also ridiculously expensive and when Mustafa, the shopkeeper, told me his final price, I walked away. Five minutes later, his bowler-hatted colleague sprinted up the road towards me and said, “Alright, Fatima, he’ll do it.” Somewhat baffled by my new nickname, I allowed myself to be dragged back to the shop, where Mustafa explained that I’d haggled so well that I could be mistaken for a local – a compliment if ever there was one. So there you have it: Morocco. Drop-dead gorgeous though slightly rusty and, yes, okay… Mad as a bowler hatter.


spice of life | morocco

Clockwise from top: Pool at La Sultana, Marrakech; Bedroom at Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa; La Sultana’s restaurant.

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between the lines | istanbul to budapest

Between the lines Ian Cowie rides the Danube Express from Istanbul to Budapest, a journey of ancient capitals, enchanting landscapes... and sinister historical echoes

I

magine a train journey through time. Crossing cultural, political and religious conflicts spanning not just centuries but millennia. No, you don’t need to be Doctor Who to take this trip; all you need is a ticket for the Danube Express. Eight carriages will transport you and up to 41 fellow travellers between Istanbul and Budapest, winding their way from the Bosporus on the shores of Asia, over the Carpathian Mountains and across the wide Hungarian plains. The Balkans have been a battleground for thousands of years, where Muslims and Christians, patriots, Nazis, communists and capitalists clashed to make history. Much of this dramatic past is still visible, for good or ill, day and night, from the windows of the sleeping cabins or the restaurant and lounge car, complete with on-board piano. It is a curious experience, to say the least, to watch the derelict factories that litter the Romanian rust belt slide by, as you drink and eat to the cheerful tunes of Cole Porter. Bulgaria, like Romania, became a member of the European Union in January, 2007. But you can still see heavily laden horse-drawn carts on its country tracks and children playing by streams and ditches choked with plastic bags. There is nothing picturesque about post-Soviet rural poverty. On a brighter note, there is extraordinary beauty in many other aspects of the passing scenery. Sunflowers stretch as far as the eye can see before being replaced by orchards of walnut and cherries. There is the majesty of the river that gives this train its name and several delightful surprises, even for fairly experienced travellers. For example, I confess I had never heard of Veliko Turnovo. Reading that this had been the medieval capital of Bulgaria gave me little idea of what to expect: a perfectly preserved walled city perched precipitously above the ravines of the meandering Yantra river.

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Opening page: View of Parliament from Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest. Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Turkish dancers; Inside the Danube Express; Turkish Loukoum and coffee; Danube Express at sunset.

One of the good things about the Danube Express, unlike betterknown trains that travel through this region, is that there is time to get off and walk about to see things close up. So, for example, we were able to wander around Veliko Turnovo and enjoy a former capital of a European country where the all-too-familiar exploitation of holidaymakers has barely begun. Yes, there were plenty of shops, pitching for the trade of the passing traveller, but very little plastic tat. Most shops sold local ceramics, such as brightly enamelled jugs and plates, or woodwork, brasswork and paintings of local scenes. More sinister were streetside stalls selling Nazi daggers, compasses and other kit, left behind by a defeated army fleeing one of the bloodiest theatres of the Second World War. The decades of communism that followed seem to have preserved this place from commercialisation, even after the iron curtain collapsed. Veliko Turnovo is well worth going out of your way to visit if you seek something different. Which is just what Danube Express founder Howard Trinder had in mind when he set about converting and refurbishing former Hungarian and East German rolling stock. “This is a way to experience parts of eastern Europe that you would not otherwise see, to visit unusual destinations, some of which are almost unknown elsewhere,” he told me. “This is a hotel train where you can get out and go sightseeing. It is also unlike its competitors in that each of the new compartments in our deluxe sleeping cars have air con, an en suite shower and lavatory and side-by-side beds rather than bunk beds. “We also decided to be different from those trains which expect their customers to dress up in black ties and the like for dinner,” said Trinder. “We believe it’s your holiday and it’s your choice about what to wear.” That makes lots of sense, given the amount of walking we did before, after and during the train trip. First, we enjoyed a couple

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of days in Turkey’s capital. Istanbul was the wealthiest city in Europe for most of the Middle Ages. Today, it remains by far its biggest metropolis, if you count that portion of the population which lives in Asia, because this city spans two continents. Successive generations of inhabitants have been thankful for their good fortune, building some of the most spectacular places of worship on the planet. Hagia Sophia – at first a church, then a mosque and now a museum – was the largest cathedral in the world for more than a millennium. Sheer size is by no means its only remarkable feature. Brilliantly enamelled tiles testify to extraordinary artistry in ceramics, which remain a major local industry. Other fine examples of this craft can be enjoyed at the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace. Bring binoculars. Outside on the street, Balkan tobacco, black coffee and sweat mingled on the breeze off the Bosporus, a choppy strip of water, ploughed by ships of all sizes travelling between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea. We had a fine view of these shipping lanes to port as our train pulled out of Sirkeci station and headed toward southern Bulgaria on the third day of our trip. First stop, after the border, was Kazanlak, which used to supply rip-off Kalashnikov rifles to thirdworld regimes seeking a cheaper option to the licensed Russian originals. Today it is seeking to reinvent itself as a centre of the rose oil trade. Very big in Japan, apparently. When we visited a nearby Thracian tomb, listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site, we were the only people there – apart from the security staff. Back on the train, we passed deserted stations and a military compound filled with dusty tanks which didn’t look as if they had moved in a long time. Conical haystacks, raised off the ground on short stilts, are another oddity of rural Romania. We stopped at Brasov, where grim Soviet architecture gives way to open fields on higher ground and the 14th-century Bran Castle guards the pass between Transyl-


between the lines | istanbul to budapest

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between the lines | istanbul to budapest

‘There is extraordinary beauty in many other aspects of the passing scenery. Sunflowers stretch as far as the eye can see before being replaced by orchards of walnut and cherries’

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between the lines | istanbul to budapest

‘This is a way to experience parts of eastern Europe that you would not otherwise see, to visit unusual destinations, some of which are almost unknown elsewhere’

Images: Corbis; Danube Express; Go to Turkey Text: Ian Cowie / The Sunday Telegraph / The Interview People

Previous page: Bulgarian sunflower field . Opposite page: Sultan Ahmet Camii Mosque or ‘Blue Mosque’. This page: A local shoe-shiner.

vania and Moldavia. There is some dispute about what – if anything – Dracula had to do with these bijoux towers. Vlad Tepes, a local bad boy upon whom the Dracula myth seems to have been founded, was born nearby in Sighisoara. But such historical niceties matter little now, amid the bottles of vampire sauvignon, rubber masks and gothic capes. Six days into our trip, we entered Nyugati station, Budapest. Before leaving the train, I had better mention the 14 splendid Hungarian staff – yes, one for every three passengers – whose adherence to old-fashioned service with a smile proved a refreshing novelty. They stowed our beds away while we had breakfast in the restaurant car each morning, so our wood-panelled cabin could serve as a sitting room during the day, before breaking out the beds again while we ate dinner. Our first stop in Budapest was its Children’s Railway: seven miles (11km) of narrow-gauge track across the wooded Buda

Hills, run by a part-time team of 800 school-age volunteers. Our guide, Andrea, explained that it was set up to help large numbers of orphans after the war and has kept running since. She added, “See, not everything the Russians did was bad.” Much was bad though, as demonstrated by the only museum I have ever visited which had a bouncer on the door. The House of Terror was the headquarters of the communist secret police after they kicked the Nazi torturers out of it in 1945. You start on the second floor and work your way down to the basement, acutely aware that the awful things described – and often photographed – happened in the same space in which you are standing. The central theme seems to be the evil equivalence of these political extremes. You can see why the curators are careful about who gets in. History in Hungary and the Balkans is not as distant or as safe as it seems in Western Europe; they’re still making it over there.

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JORDAN A country rich with ancient monuments, historical sites and wonderful traditions AMMAN Type of hoTel

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QAR

oMR

THREE STAR pROpERTy

333

34

323

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34

FOUR STAR pROpERTy

465

48

452

452

48

FiVE STAR pROpERTy

731

75

710

710

75

Cost includes: Three nights accommodation with breakfast.

PACKAGES NAMe of The hoTel

TrEASurES of JordAN (4 dAyS/3 NiGhTS)

hoTel CATegoRy

VAliDiTy

SAR

BhD

AeD

QAR

oMR

3*

Till 30 SEp ‘11

1412

144

1371

1371

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Till 30 SEp ‘11

1550

158

1505

1505

158

5*

Till 30 SEp ‘11

1826

186

1773

1773

186

Till 31 AUg ‘11

1813

185

1760

1760

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01 SEp-30 SEp11

1880

192

1825

1825

192

Till 31 AUg ‘11

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206

1959

1959

206

01 SEp-30 SEp11

2143

219

2081

2081

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2294

234

2227

2227

234

01 SEp-30 SEp11

2419

247

2349

2349

247

3* hiGhliGhTS of JordAN (5 dAyS/4 NiGhTS)

4*

5*

SAR=Saudi Riyal; BHD=Bahraini Dinar; AED=UAE Dirham; QAR=Qatari Riyal; OMR=Omani Riyal.

TRAnSFER AnD TOURS CAn BE ARRAngED iF REQUiRED. WE HAVE A WiDE SElECTiOn OF HOTElS AnD VARiOUS pACKAgES TO OFFER DEpEnDing On yOUR pREFEREnCE. plEASE ASK FOR DETAil pROgRAMME OF THE pACKAgES FEATURED • All pRiCES ARE pER pERSOn On TWin SHARing BASiS SUBJECT TO CHAngE WiTHOUT pRiOR nOTiCE • THE RATE AT THE TiME OF RESERVATiOn AnD COnFiRMATiOn Will pREVAil • KAnOO HOliDAyS TERMS AnD COnDiTiOnS Apply TO All BOOKingS. • Validity 15 September, 2011 or as specified. 12

Kanoo World Traveller May 2011

Code: 035 JO0511SA For more information call or contact any Kanoo Travel or Kanoo Holidays office.


concierge sri Lanka | York | shanghai | Australia

The 30-second concierge

Manjula jayasundara, Maya TanGallE, srI lanKa How would you sum-up the residence to would-be guests? It’s a new, private residence where you can experience peace and seclusion amid the rich landscape of rural southern Sri Lanka. The property is surrounded by paddy fields, and this modern space offers a unique contrast to its ancient setting. How can I best occupy my days when I’m here? If you’re feeling active you can take a dip in our 20 metre pool, play a game of cricket, croquet or badminton in our gardens or book a yoga and tai chi lesson with our yoga master. Animal lovers, meanwhile, can take a pair of binoculars and spot the many varied species of birds on the property. Alternatively, explore the stunning beaches nearby (armed with a boogie board) or take a day trip to Udawalawe to see wild elephants, or the bustling market in Tangalle where you can learn to cook a Sri Lankan dish. Alternatively, you could go to nearby Rekewa and watch turtles nest.

Which bedroom proves the most popular? The rooms are virtually all the same size and each one opens out on to our pool. However, Thekka and Ehela have both proved a hit with former guests: if you like to wake up to a view, you’ll like Thekka for its sprawling vistas over the pool and across the paddy fields, while Ehela in the New Wing is a preferred pick for seclusion thanks to its private courtyard. Where can I go to eat both in and outside the villa? Here you can eat fusion cuisine in the open pavilion, Old House dining room or in the garden by candlelight (save room for chef Darshana’s to-die-for deserts). Outside, the Last House – a private villa on the beach – is an intimate spot in which to dine. Or, you can head to Buckingham Place a small hotel in Rekawa where you may glimpse endangered turtles on its adjoining beach. Alternatively, enjoy a simple Sri Lankan curry by the sea at the Manahara Cabanas. mayatangallesrilanka.com

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GREAT BRITAIN

Visit yorK

Poppy Toner gets lost in narrow cobbled streets, fills up on proper English ‘grub’ and ponders historic ruins during a weekend jaunt inside the city’s fabled walls…

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uilt by the Romans in 71 AD, York began as a fortress on the River Ouse and was later invaded by many, including the Vikings in 1866. Today, its historic structure draws scores of European, American and Japanese tourists who mosey amid its quaint streets, some affectionately named the ‘Snickleways’. On foot is the best way to explore the city, in fact, cars are positively discouraged in narrower parts of town – where parking proves a logistical nightmare. Coincide your trip with one of the region’s many festivals (Tribfest and the Hinderwell Horse & Agricultural Society Show take place in August). If you only have time to do one thing, break for afternoon tea in one of its quintessentially English establishments – notably, the famous Betty’s and soak-up another delight; good, oldfashioned Yorkshire charm.

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MUST-DOS Go to the site of the Battle of Fulford (1) which took place a few weeks before the Battle of Hastings in 1066. There are daily tours at the site run by history enthusiasts and, if you’re really lucky, you can even catch a re-enactment by Yorkshire folk dressed up in old-fashioned battle gear and chainmail. At Jorvik Viking Centre (2) you’ll find a mock Viking settlement on the Copper gate archaeological excavation site plus exhibitions explaining the Vikings origins, way of life and why they made for the UK.

Get lost in York Maze (3). Thought to be the largest in the world it’s made up of large cultivated hedges and only opens during the summer. Find the centre and you’ve hit the jackpot! Now you just have to find your way out again... Wander around the medieval Snickelways (4). This cluster of narrow lanes threads its way through the city centre and epitomises York’s charm. Stop off at traditional shops, cafés and public houses while you’re there and, if you want to find out more, snap up a guidebook for a historical glimpse of its past.


York | Uk

Cruise down the River Ouse (5). There are dozens of boat companies offering visitors a water tour which takes you beyond the city walls, with stop-offs at King’s Staith and Lendal Bridge. Alternatively, why not tailor-make your own cruise by booking a canal boat and spending the night onboard? Try waterscape.com

TALL TALES: Yorkshire has set the scene for many classic novels including the Moores-based Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and gothic scenes from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. MURTON

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Images: Corbis; Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms.

WHERE TO STAY Middlethorpe Hall And Spa (6) Bishopthorpe Road York middlethorpe.com This grand period building sits in a beautiful grass garden backed by woodland (grounds so good they’re part-owned by the National Trust) and dates back to 1699. The mellow red brick exterior was refurbished in the 1980s before being turned in to the luxury hotel would-be guests see today. Its location places you in great stead for sightseeing trips to the nearby York Castle Museum and York Dungeon and, when you’re done, return for a soothing dip in its indoor swimming pool (a rarity for local hotels). Rooms from $127. Hotel Du Vin York (7) 89 The Mount hotelduvin.com Even Piers Morgan is known to frequent this hotel chain when on holiday and if it’s good enough for Piers… York’s offering comes in the fine form of a Grade II listed building, decked out in a classic yet contemporary décor that even the most avid travellers will admire. Find free-standing tubs in the rooms along with wallpaper prints you’ll want to take home and invigorating monsoon power showers. Rooms from $341.

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WHERE TO EAT Betty’s (8) St Helen’s Square bettys.co.uk Legend has it that the eatery was opened in 1919 by a Swiss orphan yet ‘Betty’s’ true identity is still a mystery… Even so, Betty’s has remained a York institution and weekends prompt queues of people chomping at the bit for fruitful fat rascals, cream teas and the pick of a mindboggling menu of teas. Inside it’s wonderfully quaint – from the cake stands to the staff’s frilly aprons. Afternoon tea from $27. Ate O Clock (9) 13a High Ousegate ateoclock.co.uk This cosy spot offers a delicious choice of European fare. Choose from imaginative combinations like quail egg and avocado to start and crayfish and pea ravioli with white truffle dressing and pea shoots for your main. Just leave room for dessert… Mains from $26.

Opposite page: River Ouse from Ouse Bridge. This page, clockwise from top: Fat rascals and tea at Betty’s; Betty’s waitress serves afternoon tea ; The Shambles.

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China

Visit Shanghai

Jade Bremner on the best spots to eat dumplings from bamboo pots, view the city from a vintage motorbike and witness contortionists bending themselves in ways you never thought possible... MUST-DOS Visit Tai Kang Lu (1), the Chinese equivalent to London’s Greenwich Market, and browse trendy art galleries, cafés and boutiques selling kitsch communist-themed memorabilia and crafts amid a warren of traditional Shikumen lanes. Residents here still hang their washing in the streets and wash their vegetables in communal outdoor sinks; which makes for a fascinating glimpse of local life.

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his hectic, charming and fast-evolving city offers never-ending exploration. During a visit to the most populous city in China (and the fifth largest city in the world) you’ll experience quaint Shanghainese structures set in twee contrast to pockets of European architecture and skyscrapers galore. Due to the lack of building laws, its science fiction-esque skyline is an ever-changing one – and literally knows no bounds. Shanghai streets are swarming with residents and immigrants alike who flock to the city to make their fortunes. On the roads you’ll be travelling alongside businessmen in flash cars, while on the streets the throngs of working classes dominate on bicycles. But, despite the city’s explicit contrasts Shanghai finds common ground with its universal obsession with food. Sample everything from chicken feet to hot pot, hairy crabs, soup dumplings and a staggering choice of over 20,000 restaurants. Go on, tuck in… 68

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Go to the circus. Shanghai Circus World (2) showcases contortionists, acrobats and jugglers who perform jawdropping stunts, including a finale where several motorbikes flip upside down inside a metal sphere. Walk along the Bund (3) The Huangpu River separates two very different sides of Shanghai. On the one side (Puxi) you’ll find striking British colonial buildings and on the other (Pudong) you’ll see the future and groundbreaking architecture. Here, buildings look like spaceships – be sure to snap the Pearl Tower’s pink exterior and the Shanghai World Financial Centre (it’s shaped like a bottle opener). Venture there in the evening to see both sides ignite the night sky. Embark on a city tour with a difference with Shanghai Sideways (4). This expat-managed company (shanghaisideways.com) offers sightseeing trips on a vintage 1930s motorbike and side car.


ShanGhai | China Opposite page from top to bottom: Shanghai skyline; Deluxe Room, Penninsular hotel; Acrobatic Troupe artists. This page clockwise from top left: market street; Xiao long bao dumplings; Yuyuan Garden.

A driver will take you through the pretty French Concession, impressive shopping districts of People’s Square and Xujiahui and along the famous Shanghainese side streets. Yuyuan Garden (5) dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and offers typical Chinese sights from pavilions and ponds to a giant jade rock.

WHERE TO STAY Penninsular (6) The Bund peninsula.com This luxury hotel is home to a glamorous art-deco interior which harks back to a bygone era, while its location offers would-be guests views across the city, along the colonial Bund, down the Huangpu River and over to the heart-stopping Pudong skyline. Try the Yi Long Court chef’s table during your

STRANGE SITES Shanghai is home to the world’s most expensive toilet. Set in Moon River art Park, in a man-made cave, people queue for hours to use the $602,000 loo. So far it’s had over 500,000 visitors.

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stay for minimalist, high-end Chinese fare. Rooms from $386. The Waterhouse Hotel (7) The Cool Docks waterhouseshanghai.com This boutique hotel’s design is utterly unique with its rough red iron features and chipped walls, married with chic white hues and myriad textures. Inside creative-types with blackrimmed spectacles meet about their latest projects, and rooms come complete with Hitchcockstyle peep holes (with pullacross curtains) in each room. Come the evening, nab a bite at the hotel’s restaurant Table No.1, headed by chef Jason Atherton (who was schooled by Gordon Ramsey). Rooms from $271.

WHERE TO EAT Mr & Mrs Bund (8) Nanjing Dong Lu mmbund.com In keeping with the city’s colonial influence, this awardwinning restaurant offers playful French cuisine with simple yet exceptionally good quality ingredients. Simple dishes will arrive at your table accompanied by a selection of dressings for you to dip or slather onto your succulent meats, from veal to turbot. From $40 a dish. Jia Jia Tang Bao (9) People’s Square A visit to Shanghai is nowhere near complete without experiencing xiao long bao steamed soup dumplings. These come filled with a selection of different meat and are sold in small bamboo baskets accompanied by vinegar and chili dip. This traditional eatery is one of the best in Shanghai and has people queuing around the block for the delicious melt-in the-mouth treats. $2 a basket.

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Kanoo World Traveller August 2011

Amex 14 May Str. Sayadlia Building - Alexandria Alexandria +203 4 241 020 amex.alex@ amexfranchise.com +203 424 1050 Amex Mashrabia Mall, Sharm Elysee St. El Hadaba – Oposite to Meracto Sharm El Shiek +2 069 366 6193 amex.sharm@ amexfranchise.com +2 069 366 6192 Amex Abtal El Tahrir St. Corniche El Nile Aswan +2 097 230 2909 aswan@amex franchise.com +2 097 230 6983 Amex Winter Palace hotel Luxor +2 095 237 2862 luxor@amex franchise.com +2 095 237 8333 FranCE Bureau de Change Kanoo 11 rue Scribe, 75009 Paris +33 1 5330 9878 parisscribe.france@ kanoofes.com +33 1 5330 9900 Bureau de Change Kanoo 11 cours de l’Intendance, 33000 Bordeaux

+33 5 5600 6339 bordeaux.france@ kanoofes.com +33 5 5600 6333 /+33 5 5600 6336 Bureau de Change Kanoo Printemps Department Store, 64 Boulevard Haussmann 75009 Paris +33 1 4282 4092 parisprintemps.france@ kanoofes.com +33 1 4282 4181 /+33 1 4282 4108 OMan Kanoo Travel PC 114 Muscat +968 24700317 info@kanootravel.com +968 24700249 QaTar Qatar Kanoo Travel Ras Laffan Commercial Complex Ras Laffan +974 474 8775 info@kanoo–qatar.com +974 474 8772 Qatar Kanoo Travel Salam Tower Doha +974 483 3714 info@kanoo–qatar.com +974 440 16333 Qatar Kanoo Corporate Mansour Al Mouleh Building, Old Al Salata Doha +974 431 3374 info@kanoo–qatar.com +974 448 3777 Qatar Kanoo Travel Old Al Hitmi Street Museum Street Doha +974 4371088 info@kanoo–qatar.com +974 4413441

Jeddah +966 2 263 3040

Riyadh +966 1 463 4454

Kanoo Travel Prince Sulthan Street Gizan +966 7 317 4285

Air India Kanoo Tower Riyadh +966 1 833 9793

Gulf Air Kanoo Center Jeddah +966 2 668 0303

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Air India Kanoo Center Jeddah +966 2 263 3005

WESTErn PrOvinCE

Singapore Airlines Kanoo Center Jeddah +966 2 657 9911

Kanoo Corporate 5th Floor Mohmediya Plaza Jeddah +966 2 653 9298 +966 2 653 9200 Jeddah

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Air Canada Kanoo Center Jeddah +966 2 263 2996

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EaSTErn PrOvinCE Kanoo Travel Dammam 31411 Dammam +966 3 835 5670 +966 3 835 5642 Kanoo Travel Office 2 - Dammam 31411 Dammam +966 3 833 3128 +966 3 832 2006 Kanoo Travel Al Khobar 31952 Al Khobar +966 3 895 0222 +966 3 864 7471 CEnTral PrOvinCE

SaUDi araBia WESTErn PrOvinCE

Kanoo Travel Riyadh +966 1 477 2228/331

Kanoo Travel Medina Road

Qantas Kanoo Tower

Kanoo Travel Tabuk Garden Village Compound Tabuk +966 4 428 1746 +966 4 428 1020 Kanoo Travel Ummal Qura Street Makkah +966 2 545 8263 +966 2 548 0646 Kanoo Travel Abboobakker Siddik St Medina +966 4 824 1028 +966 4 822 4240 Kanoo Travel Jamjoom Building Jeddah +966 2 643 2287 +966 2 643 4209 Kanoo Travel Beside Pizaa Hut, Al Jaish Street Taif


concierge | book your trip

win A two-night stAy At shAngri-lA dubAi With its location on Sheikh Zayed Road, a weekend at the Shangri-La Dubai places you a short distance from sun-kissed beaches, world-class shopping at The Dubai Mall and Deira Creek – the city’s cultural hub. The 200 metre, 43-storey beacon of a hotel offers would-be guests captivating city vistas (best viewed from one of its beautifully modern rooms) along with a large turquoise-hued swimming pool, Jacuzzis and plunge pools in which to take a relaxing dip. Eight eateries provide a rich array of culinary choices; try Dunes Café for all-day international fare or enjoy North African cuisine at Moroccan restaurant Marrakesh where you can feast on golden cous cous and delicious dishes like seafood tagine.

ThE PrizE We’re giving away a two-night stay for two at Shangri-La Dubai including breakfast. For your chance to win, email easywin@hotmediapublishing. com before August 31, 2011 with the correct answer to this question...

Q. What is the name of Shangri-La Dubai’s Moroccan eatery? a) Marrakech b) Monaco c) Manakish TERMS AND CONDITIONS: All dates are subject to availibility. Prize must be claimed within six months of issue date.

+966 2 736 4372 +966 2 736 4211

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Kanoo Travel Khamis Mushayat Khamis +966 7 222 3608 +966 7 222 3624

Kanoo Travel King Fahd Int'l Airport Dammam +966 3 883 7490 +966 3 883 2660

Kanoo Travel Opp.Rabigh Prison Main Road, Rabigh +4232807 +4232785 EaSTErn PrOvinCE Kanoo Corporate Al Khobar 31952 Al Khobar +966 3 882 4534 +966 3 849 8700 Kanoo Travel Aramco, Rastanura 31941 Rahima +966 3 667 3591 +966 3 667 0388 Kanoo Travel Dammam 31411 Qatif +966 3 851 4001 +966 3 851 4300 Kanoo Travel Hofuf 31982

Kanoo Travel Kanoo Airline Center Al Khobar 887 0128 +966 3 849 1823/+966 3 849 1824 U.a.E KT Fujeirah Sea Port Fujeirah +971 9 228 2298 ktfuj@eim.ae +971 9 228 2295

KT Dubai Internet City Dubai Internet City no.12 (Oracle Bldg) Dubai +971 4 390 8671 ktadic2@emirates.net.ae +971 4 390 1990 - 994 KT Karama Holidays 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 Sharjah Rolla Street Sharjah +971 6 561 8655 trvlshjmgr@kanoo.ae +971 6 561 6058

KT Bur Dubai Khalid Bin Walid Street Bur Dubai Dubai +971 4 393 1545 ktdxb7@kanoo.ae +971 4 507 2467

KT Corporate Corporate Office Dubai +971 4 392 0240 ktdxb3@kanoo.ae

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 KT Abu Dhabi Al-Najda st. P.O. BOX 245 Abu Dhabi +971 2 678 1766 trvlmgrauh@kanoo.ae +971 2 678 0400 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 2-4 High Street

Croydon CR0 1YA +44 2 08 256 0805 Kanoo Travel 69 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2JG Edinburgh +44 13 1718 2505 Kanoo Travel 66 Gordon Street Glasgow G1 3RS +44 14 122 52905 Kanoo Travel 38-40 High Street, Guildford GU1 3EL +44 14 8355 1605 Kanoo Travel 30-31 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4EX +44 20 7484 9688 Kanoo Travel 78 Brompton Road, London, SW3 1ER Knightsbridge +44 207 761 7905

Kanoo Travel St. Mary’s Gate, Manchester M1 1PX +44 161 833 7301 Kanoo Travel 2 Victoria Street, Nottingham NG1 2EX +44 115 924 7705 Kanoo Travel 20 Charles Street, Sheffield, S1 1GW +44 114 263 9305 Kanoo Travel 99 Above Bar, Southampton, SO14 7FG +44 23 807 16805 Kanoo Travel 6 Stonegate YO1 8AS York +44 190 467 6505

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

August 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 71


concierge | australia

Suite dreamS

Head 100 kilometers north of Sydney on the Bouddi Peninsula and you’ll discover this adorable guest house perched on the escarpment above the aptly-named Pretty Beach and surrounded by the leafy Bouddi National Park. This all-inclusive retreat plays host to just three onebedroom pavilions (which share a seven acre garden between them), and are sweetly dubbed Treetops, Bayview and Hideaway. Take your pick of the charming trio and, after a day’s exploration of the wilderness, retreat to interiors made from sandstone and recycled timbers, relax in vintage leather tub chairs, nestle by a combustion log fireplace or gaze at sparkling costal vistas and distinctive eucalyptus trees. The best feature of all, though, has to be the rooms’ natural wooden decks which come complete with a heated plunge pool and protruding trees that appear to magically sprout from the conker-brown deck. prettybeachhouse.com 72

Kanoo World Traveller August 2011

Image: Pretty Beach House

Pretty Beach house, BrisBane


Kanoo World Traveller_August'11  

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