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THE MIDDLE EAST’S BIGGEST TRAVEL MAGAZINE

W

A BR LuX EA uR ED K A y S EN T H WI RO OT SS C EL

IN

juLy 2011

!

BUENOS ARIES

Produced in International Media Production Zone

Rodney Bolt dances to the tune of Argentina’s tango mad capital

Nine idyllic hideaways ripe for romance THE GREAT DIVIDE

An unforgettable journey through Africa’s Rift Valley

From Russia With Love

Laura Binder falls head over (high) heels for Moscow

The German Riviera

yes, it really does exist

CÔTE D’AZUR

Dive into the most glorious stretch of France


Kanoo World Traveller juLY 2011

CONTENTS Travel biTes

feaTures

05 AgendA

77 thirty-second concierge

30 buenos Aires

The latest travel titbits from around the world.

Spend the season in snow-tipped Switzerland.

Rodney Bolt explores the ‘Paris of the South’.

12 Ask the expert

78 city guide: oslo

34 germAny

Where to holiday next, and what luggage to take...

jade Bremner delves behind the forests in Norway.

Can Germany really rival the Côte D’Azur?

14 drive time

80 city guide: lisbon

42 ethiopiA

Embark on all-American drive down Highway One.

We get hot under the collar for Portugal’s capital.

Diana Preston takes an inspiring trip on the wild side...

18 picture this

83 competition

50 moscow

A shot to make your jaw drop.

Win a luxury long weekend in beautiful Switzerland.

Laura Binder braves the cold in Russia’s capital.

21 essentiAl selection

84 suite dreAms

55 south of frAnce

Honeymoon hideaways for just-wed couples.

Spend the night atop azure waters in Phuket.

Charm and glamour prevail in Nice and Monaco.

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30 On the cover: Above the Côte d’Azure. Corbis Images.

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42

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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.

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

May 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 3


AGENDA Be informed, be inspired, be there

fall in love...

mandarin orienTal, paris

Saunter down the rue Saint-Honoré and stop at 247/251 to remove your Audrey Hepburn-esque shades – the Mandarin Oriental Group’s newly-opened hotel is a sight for sore eyes: a brow-raising Art Deco façade gives way to seriously chic interiors by renowned designer Sybille de Margerie (taupe silk cushions and pink and plum taffeta top sleek furniture to gloriously glam effect). While boudoirs (99, plus 39 suites) are a slave to detail – we love the white marble and mosaic bathrooms and how the romanticism of Paris is brilliantly portrayed through the use of Man Ray’s famous photograph The Kiss (find it in every bedroom). Trés chic. mandarinoriental.com

July 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 5


global gourmet Scottish chef Sebastian Nohse, the Executive Chef at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, has been in the region for two years. He still remembers the succulent earthy flavours of the highlands well; follow his culinary advice if you’re heading off to bonnie Scotland.

Hidden underwater art

To visit this mind-boggling new exhibition you have to dive eight metres into Cancun’s waters. Well known for his underwater creations, the artist Jason de Caires-Taylor from Canterbury has unveiled a new gallery in the depths of the ocean just off of the popular Mexican holiday destination. He sunk his latest VW Beetle installation in June, right next to another of his sculptures of a man watching the TV on a sofa and 400 life-sized figures. His efforts could well be seen as littering the ocean, but the sculptures actually aid the environment. They are carefully designed to simulate reefs and promote the growth of marine life, meaning that the pieces evolve, change colour and even shape with their environment and so appear different every time you visit. Incredible stuff. underwatersculpture.com

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Kanoo World Traveller July 2011

I’m from a very small town called Kilmarnock where local businesses generate a healthy economy. I try to go home once a year if possible, and when I’m there I always make sure to visit my favourite restaurants – 1906 at Turnberry Hotel and Elliots in Prestwick. 1906 has a very modern yet grand dining room with great views over the Ailsa Craig and the Irish Sea, and it serves very classic items but with contemporary twists. The hay-smoked rack of lamb is to die for but I also love the table-side cooked steak Diane. Elliots is a trendy lounge and restaurant, with very cool décor, it’s the place to go for a relaxing drink. Their open seafood lasagna, filled with fresh, local seafood is a winner. It is very simple food served with great side dishes. The last time I was there I ate locallycaught lobster thermidor. Delicious.


agenda | neWs

Americans voted world’s funniest nationality...

Over 30,000 travellers across the world voted in an online poll created by Badoo.com last month which named germans as the least funny nationality and americans as the funniest. The spanish came in second, the Italians third, and the British, the creators of world-famous comedies The Office and Monty Python, lagging behind in seventh place. Badoo spokesperson Lloyd Price believes america’s comedy distribution is key: ‘It’s the world’s only comedy superpower,’ he says about the nation that’s managed to get sitcoms like Cheers and Friends into every nook and cranny of the globe.

ONE MINUTE MASTER CLASS: MANDARIN good evening. Wan shang hao. Have you eaten? Nee chrr luh mah? I don’t eat chickens feet, thank you. Wo bu chi ji zhua, xiexie. I’d like to have Peking Duck. Wo yao chi Beijing Kaoya. Where is the nearest opera? Zui jin de ge ju yuan zai na li?

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4 WAyS

To escape the summer heat NATURAL HIGH KLM TO USE COOKING OIL AS fUEL

From September, KLM routes from Amsterdam to Paris will run on biokerosene, meaning passengers can cruise guilt free safe in the knowledge they’re helping the planet by travelling on aircrafts using fuel made from ecofriendly cooking oil. British Airways, Continental and a Virgin Atlantic have all previously used the fuel on their aircrafts in an effort to offset carbon emissions and meet targets set by the EU. So, jump on board...

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1

Take a dive underwater temperatures can dip to 15 degrees (depending on how low you go) so make for the great barrier reef, australia, where clear blue waters are a mild 22 degrees and the aquatic underworld is startingly good: expect to see whales, dolphins and playful porpoises.

2

Ski indoors – in the desert. Yes, it is possible: Dubai is home to the longest indoor ski slope on the planet and, while the city’s climes shoot to 47 degrees outside, you can step a ski-clad foot into a cool, minus one degrees Celcius.

3

Master a mountain It may sound like sweat-inducing stuff, but the higher you go, the cooler it gets. Head to Nepal to climb the iconic Himalayas and get snap-happy at the sight of the world’s highest peak − mount everest.

4

Be an Arctic adventurer one of the only times of year that it’s not too cold to tread this part of the globe is in July, when temperatures range from minus 10 to 10 degrees Celcius. You’ll have the benefit of extended daylight hours too, so you can spot the likes of musk ox and mighty polar bears.


agenda | neWs

Summer city break

Running shoes at the ready...

This month it’s marathon mayhem. We put two long distance events and their city’s up against each other…

Get cultural

This month’s hot offers from Kanoo Travel and american express Vacations KUALA LUMpUR, MALAySIA fROM $1,520 pER pERSON

Tour the city with this package holiday to discover one of Southeast Asia’s most vibrant cities and marvel at how it blends flavours of the Orient, India and Europe. CAIRO, EGypT fROM $940 pER pERSON

This is trip-of-a-lifetime stuff. Visit world wonder sites and explore the ancient pyramids, the sphinx in Giza and Cairo’s bustling city centre. fRANKfURT, GERMANy fROM $1,281 pER pERSON

Go museum hopping in Germany’s modern city awash with skyscrapers as far as the eye can see and pop into one of the oldest zoological gardens in the world, full of African creatures.

San Francisco, USA

Gold Coast, Australia

LOWDOWN on July 31 around 20,000 people will don their trainers and run one of the San Francisco marathon races (full, half or 5k), while the roads are closed and streets are lined with spectators. the race goes past world famous sites including Fisherman’s Wharf, the marina, over golden gate bridge and along Haight Street and up to mission bay district.

LOWDOWN Held on July 2-3, a super fit bunch of people (23,000 of them to be precise) take part in the gold Coast airport marathon. Choose from six races including a full marathon which goes along the scenic coast of Queensland from labrador and past main beach, Surfers Paradise, broadbeach, mermade beach, through miami and, finally, to burleigh Heads.

STAyING THERE try one of Cavallo Point’s luxury lodges situated in the national park looking onto the action at golden gate bridge. Set in San Francisco bay, these wooden abodes are surrounded by green space with plenty of room for the kids to throw a ball around, while you limber up.

STAyING THERE relax before and after the marathon at the vibrant and beachy designer Qt gold Coast hotel with it’s quirky colourful décor, vibrant hanging lampshades, exposed black piping (on the ceiling) and minimalist white spaces.

HIGHLIGHT When you’re done with the active stuff, grab a cooking lesson at Cavallo’s Cooking School in the michelin starred murray Circle restaurant.

HIGHLIGHT try the Qt gold Coast bazaar restaurant with organic treats and a mosaic of foods from different cultures, including hanging cured meats, daily baked pastries and authentic pizzas cooked in a traditional wood fire.

DETAILS Check in to a Contemporary King room with a golden gate bridge view from $455 per night. cavallopoint.com

DETAILS Pay $215 per night for a modern room, a stone’s throw from the famous marathon route. qtgoldcoast.com.au

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agenda | calendar

July

dance away to jazz, dress to impress in hong kong and behold the most magnificent light display...

1-10 Jazz festival

copenhagen, denmark

Each summer an impressive jazz lineup descends upon Copenhagen. This year will see an equally worthy bunch of experimental Scandinavian artists and world class musicians. Watch them perform all over the city in idyllic settings such as the Helgoland bathing pier, on the green lawns of the Frederiksberg Garden, and in the hip and trendy area of Christiania. Headliners include Herbie Hancock, Caetano Veloso and the Joshua Redman Double Trio. jazz.dk

4-7

hong kong fashion week hong kong If you can get your mitts on tickets to this invite-only event you’ll find yourself rubbing shoulders with some of Asia’s most influential fashionistas. Designers will drape their cooinducing spring/summer creations on models who strutt the catwalk, while thousands celebrate alongside the show in the form of extravagant parties and cool exhibitions. hktdc.com

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calgary stampede calgary, alberta, canada Fancy something a little different this month? Head to Calgary for its annual rodeo exhibition and festival which takes place over 10 days. The event is said to date back as far as 1886 when it started as a humble, small fair. Today, though, it’s grown to mammoth proportions with parades, concerts, chuckwagon racing and wholesome family fun. calgarystampede.com

12-14

great yorkshire show yorkshire, Uk Make for the northern English countryside and this annual farmthemed event which the locals here have been running for eons. Over 130,000 spectators flock to the site, armed with picnic baskets, to watch everything from show-jumping, marching bands and cattle parades to sheep shearing and livestock competitions. A jolly good show. greatyorkshireshow.co.uk

16-17

san clemente ocean festival california, Usa Watersports fanatics will be in their element at this exciting yet laid back festival. Set on the beach, spectators arrive in their thousands to line the pier and cheer on competitors. Alternatively, get involved in surf contests, fishing and beach runs yourself. Bring your kids, too – there’s a children’s area, music and local food to enjoy throughout the day. oceanfestival.org

21-29

festival d’art pyrotechniqUe cannes, france Hosting two jawdropping nights of mega fireworks, this year’s theme is good versus evil. Look to the skies where a battle will take place in the form of erupting lights, bangs and crackles, accompanied by music from classical composers such as Hans Zimmer, and contemporary tracks from rock band Metallica. festival-pyrotechniquecannes.com


AgendA | trAvel q&A

Ask the expert

Where to go for a delicious break and what to carry to do it in style...

Q

I travel a frequently and want to invest in some fabulous luggage. Can you recommend anything? If you’re a regular traveller, you’ll be savvy enough not to want to waste time waiting in a tedious check-in queue or by the luggage carousel. I suggest you match function with fab and only take on hand luggage for weekend getaways. I recently bought some excellent luggage of this kind by Mandarina Duck (shop.mandarinduck. com), which is precisely measured for cabin space, and incorporates hidden laptop and document pouches. The design is also sleek enough to grace the pages of Wallpaper* magazine! If you want something more glamorous still, I recommend Mulberry, Globetrotter (mulberry.com) or the gorgeous Italian brand Valextra (valextra.it). Leather styles are super-chic, age gloriously and come in an ever expanding range of styles and collections. Priceless. Sophie Toh

You can learn classic Italian cooking in the luxurious surroundings of Villa Mangiacane (mangiacane.com), set just outside Florence within 600 acres of vineyards, olive groves and landscaped gardens. The majestic 15th century villa (pictured above) is renowned for its Tuscan cooking classes, conducted by Francesca Maria Boni, an engaging Florentine cook. On arrival, she will greet you in the Olive Oil Kitchen or herb garden where you’ll start by choosing fresh herbs for the lesson. Each class lasts for approximately three hours, and you’ll prepare dishes like handmade gnocchi or risotto, and traditional meat or fish recipes using seasonal ingredients – you will of course get to enjoy the meals you’ve prepapred too! If you both prefer exotic spices, I would reccommend the more tropical destination of Southern Sri Lanka. Boutique hotel Kahanda Kanda (kahandakanda.com) now offers classes, led by its executive chef who will teach you how to rustle up delicious rice and curries (as well as recipes like KK’s famous banana tarte) using fresh vegetables and fruit from their organic gardens which you’ll find shrouded by palm-fringed jungle and tea plantations. Jessica Hudson.

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The panel Jessica hudson co-founded The Chic Collection’s travel advisory and is tasked with sampling endless luxury hotels and resorts. sophie toh is the founder of London and Dubai’s luxe lifestyle Public Relations company, Toh PR, as well as a frequent globe-trotter. Rachel hamilton is a full-time writer and the mother of two young children, Jodie and Dylan, whom she travels frequently with.

Image: Villa Mangiacane

Q

My partner and I are real foodies and I’d love to couple our holiday with cooking classes. Can you suggest anywhere that fits the bill?


Our last guests created quite a scene. It started with comments in our guest book. Some of our guests wrote about a magical quality, an elegance. For others it was the attention to detail, the simple touches that made their stay memorable. Quite a few commented on the local ambience, being part of it all. So we took these feelings, these unique moments in time, and created art. Personal imprints left by our guests, sculpted into scenes from Fairmont hotels around the world. Now as our great story continues to unfold, we invite you to create another scene with us - to be a part of something original. We invite you to scan our QR code to see how this extraordinary sculpture was created.

Stay with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts this summer and receive a free night throughout July and August*. Experience and savour all that we have to offer then recount your memories in our guest book so you can be part of our next sculptural scene. Stay with us and become part of the next chapter. For reservations or more information, please contact your travel professional, call +971 4311 5559 or visit fairmont.com. Abu Dhabi | Cairo | Dubai | Makkah | Masai Mara | Mount Kenya | Nairobi | Zimbali *Please see the website for terms and condition.


AgendA | RoAd tRip

Drive time: San FranciSco to LoS angeLeS Hit tHe ALL-AMeriCAN HiGHWAy FOr ONe ALL-iNSPiriNG ride... Work your way south from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge (pictured), taking in the spectacular orange angular beams overhead, and pass by the most mesmerising of city lights. Next make a beeline for Marin (at the far end of Highway One) and along the way you’ll encounter goose-pimple inducing hairpin bends, followed by a 60-mile stretch of road from Pacifica to Santa Cruz, offering gorgeous vistas of the lapping Pacific Ocean. With a journey that gobbles up several hours of view-gazing, pack a picnic for the route and stop to watch the sun dip behind the horizon, or seek sustenance at the quaint town of Pescadero − famous for the 115 foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse – perched sweetly on a cliff’s edge. From here you can venture south to Los Angeles and, as you do, have your camera ready for the legendary beach towns of Santa Barbara and Malibu, territory the native Americans named ‘Humaliwo’ meaning ‘the surf sounds loudly’. Image: Corbis

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AgendA | where to stAy

Where to stay...

Hong Kong

decisions decisions... should you surround yourself with the bright lights of cosmopolitan hong Kong Island or stay in Kowloon for its distinct local charm? START

Boutique

OR

Kowloon

OR

Big

Hong Kong Island

Location

OR

View

Peninsula

Island Shangri-La

peninsula.com/HongKong This high-end hotel is what the Ritz is to London or the Waldorf to New York. Afternoon tea at the Peninsula has become something of an institution where a Chineseinfused spread is served with a choice of green or breakfast tea with cucumber sandwiches; a custom that harks back to the British colonial era.

shangri-la.com Whether you’re looking to spend your trip in Hong Kong’s shopping district, have an important business meeting in the city or want to explore the coastline and cultural hotspots (try Stanley Village or family beach Shek O), this cool, luxury hotel has unbeatable access to all areas by road and metro.

Classic

OR

Modern

Panoramic

OR

Water

Langham Place

W Hong Kong

Grand Hyatt

Renaissance

hongkong.langhamhotels.com With the facilities of a big brand fivestar hotel and the intimacy of a cute boutique, the Langham strikes the perfect balance.

starwoodhotels.com Looking for something a little more funky? The inventive chic decor at this fabulous bolthole include vibrant murals and coloured high back chairs.

hongkong.grand.hyatt.com Stay here for panoramic vistas of Kowloon where snaking hills peer through skyscrapers, plus a view up to the city’s highest point – The Peak.

marriott.com A slice of tranquility amid Hong Kong’s fast pace of life, gaze over the magnificent hotel pool and stunning harbour and watch yachts come and go.

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Picture this

Great Barrier reef AustrAliA Cast your eyes over this dappled skin-like surface and you might be forgiven for mistaking it for a bizarre, blue leopard print. But, its dot-to-dot form in fact makes-up an aerial view of the famous Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea (so distinct it can be seen from outer space). As the largest expanse of reef on Earth it’s home to some equally stunning statistics: 2,900 reefs and 900 islands peppered across 2,600km. Little wonder then that what lies beneath its protected waters is pure kryptonite for scuba divers: an aquatic underworld (one of the planet’s seven natural wonders) that harbours some thirty species of dolphins, whales and porpoises, six types of sea turtles and over 1,500 different fish (brightly striped surgeons, clownfish and the red-throat emperor). As enchanting as it sounds... Image: Photolibrary


EssEntial sElEction | honEymoons

essential selection

Honeymoon Hideaways

Want to spend your first days of married life in luxurious solitude? Jade Bremner tracks down beautiful getaways to tell your grandkids about in years to come.

Necker Island, British Virgin Islands Now, correct us if we’re wrong, but nothing quite says ‘I love you’ like hiring a private island for your honeymoon. The brains behind this ultimate holiday experience is, of course, Richard Branson who transformed it into a luxury haven for sun-seekers who crave unadulterated privacy and exclusivity. Circled by spotless beaches, world class dive opportunities, marine life and opaque waters you can choose from an array of Bali Houses, dotted across a cliff top (for unparalleled views) or settle closer to the coast (meander to the warm waters as soon as you wake and dip your toes). You’ll never be bored here either, Branson’s thought of it all: try barbecues, kite-boarding, sailing and nature spotting, to name a few. Bliss. neckerisland.virgin.com

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Solio Lodge, Kenya If you don’t mind animals crashing your honeymoon, or if you’d rather like them to, then this is the place to go. Grab a chartered flight to Solio Lodge’s private airfield, just 20-minutes away from the retreat, set between Mount Kenya and the Solio Game Conservatory, and make yourselves at home in one of six standalone cottages (pictured left) which harbour the kind of luxe creature comforts and mod cons you won’t find anywhere else in this part of wild, rural Africa. From your thatched roof cottages and private deck it’s entirely possible to spot black and white rhinoceros, buffalo zebra, water hogs and, if you are lucky, lions, leopards and cheetahs too. The adrenalin fuelled fun doesn’t stop there either; the resort offers all manner of activities for more active couples, from treks and horse riding to trout fishing. thesafaricollection.com

Aquapura, Portugal Relaxation is the order of the day at this off-the-beaten-track terracotta-coloured mansion which sits perfectly poised in the Douro Valley, adjacent to a winding waterway at the foot of swooping green hills. Five hectares of woodland, surrounded by honeysuckle and olive trees form the perfect backdrop to loved-up strolls – take in a romantic moonrise above the vineyards before retiring to a modern, sleekly furnished boudoir. The resort smells divine, too, just like aromatherapy oils, so don’t even try to resist one of the Asian-inspired massages on offer. And if that isn’t enough to keep you both occupied, why not sample the local grape and set sail through the beautiful region... aquapurahotels.com

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Bay of Fires Lodge & Walk, Australia

Hacienda Uayamon, Mexico

Ditch the TV, iPod docking stations and modern gizmos: this Tasmanian retreat is all about eco-chic holidaying. A favourite among outdoor wanderers clad in North Face climbing gear, they don’t do pools here, they do beach, sea and rambling. If that floats your boat, check-in to a cabin then step straight outside to drink-in a panoramic view of peacock-blue ocean and lush Tasmanian countryside. Designed by respected Aussie architect Ken Latona, whose motto is to ‘tread the earth lightly’, you can have a guilt-free honeymoon thanks to solar powered lighting, hand pumped showers and au naturel air-con. Of an evening tuck into organically grazed delights like local seafood, homegrown leeks and even kangaroo meat. bayoffires.com.au

One of the most romantic places on our list (pictured), here you’ll spend your nights deep in the Campeche jungle in what was a workers’ quarters in the 17th century. Original stone features have been worked into the resort creating a fusion of new and old, and although it sounds like a bizarrely gimmicky combination, it really works. Wander the overgrown shrubbery which snakes around crumbling walls and topless pillars and discover 12 charming standalone houses with services that ensure you don’t need to lift a finger. Don’t miss the ancient chamber at the heart of the resort which has been styled into a stunning pool where stone pillars soar from the water. starwoodhotels.com

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The Point, USA

Homa Chateau, China

This hideaway (pictured) is quite literally set in a secret location – its whereabouts is only revealed to would-be guests once you’ve paid for your room. Set in New York, and we don’t mean Manhattan, head upstate for six hours and the landscape turns from bright lights and skyscrapers to pine trees and thickets of forest that stretch as far as the eye can see. Surrounded by the Adirondack Mountains, The Point’s vast retreat covers a 75 acre area stretching into the Upper Saranac Lake, where you and your loved-one can immerse yourselves in the wilderness. Get cosy in a luxury log cabin chock full of local Adirondack antiques and home to a roaring stone log fire. thepointresort.com

If you’re dreaming of a post-nuptial trip to the Far East, the dreamy Chinese wonderland of Yangshuo will fit the fantasy with aging men in straw hats punting down the rivers on bamboo rafts. Press further still, for Guanxi’s distinctive green angled hills, and prepare for a sight not to be seen for miles around (or anywhere else in the world for that matter): Homa Chateau. Flanked by lakes, rice fields and unspoilt scenery are two hundred international sculptures and an eye-catching chalet in the shape of a triangle, with roofs made of grass. This shrine to creativity is an artistic wonder in itself so follow suit and express yourself through pottery, calligraphy sessions, painting or a class on the ancient art of Tai Chi. guilinhoma.com

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EssEntial sElEction | honEymoons

July 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 27


Amberley Castle, UK

Amangiri, USA

Drive through winding country roads and you’ll soon uncover this historic site nestled deep in the green South Downs and quintessentially English village of Amberley. Grandeur oozes from every corner of the 12th century manor house, making it easy for honeymooners to live like Lord and Lady of the manor for the duration. Originally built for the bishops of Chichester, who would shelter here under threat of invasion, rooms and suites have now been transformed for your pleasure – think four-poster beds, royal red hues, charming antiques and touch-me fabrics. And if you really fall head over heels for the castle, why not combine your wedding and honeymoon and tie the knot in its extensive grounds? amberleycastle.co.uk

Newlyweds can shut themselves off from the rest of the world at this collection of take-your-breath-away desert abodes hidden in Utah’s distinctive canyon (pictured). Once there, enjoy every pleasure the resort can offer, from its bizarrely beautiful pool where you can take a dip with rock formations towering above your head or behold its sweeping vistas which stretch to the high desert plateau Grand Staircase. But if you’re after the ultimate in relaxation don’t leave without booking a treatment room for two at the lush spa which places an emphasis on the natural elements; stone and water. Try their floatation tank too, known to heal ailments and send people into an almost meditative state… amanresorts.com

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Buenos Aires | ArgentinA

Rhythm Nation In Buenos Aires it’s not just the tango that will set your blood racing. Rodney Bolt reports from a city with an all-or-nothing approach to life

B

uenos Aires is often billed as the Paris of the South, and it certainly has the appropriate sophistication, the fin-de-siècle grace, and the couture. But the real magic of the city lies in something essentially Latin. Trying to discover just what that something is can be the most fascinating part of a visit. Marlene Di etrichcame close when she said: ‘Latinos are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazilthey throw flowers at you. In Argentina they throw themselves.’ ‘We don’t have a middle road,’ agrees one young porteño (a person from Buenos Aires). ‘We love or we hate.’ The rooms at Legado Mitíco, my hotel in the Palermo Viejo district, were named after revered Argentines – the mystical writer Jorge Luis Borges, tango star Carlos Gardel, Evita Perón, of course, as well as a couple of military heroes, and even the comic-strip character Mafalda (an acerbic six year-old). Curiously, though, no Maradona. Perhaps the footballer didn’t quite fit the hotel’s stylish image. Legado Mitíco is just a few yards from the house where Borges grew up, right at the spot that, in a poem called Buenos Aires, he imagines to be the site of the mythical foundation of the city. In his day (he died in 1986), Palermo Viejo was a shabby outer suburb, inhabited by knife-wielding gauchos and bandits who drank hard and fought in the taverns. Today, with its leafy, cobbled streets and buildings bedecked with decorative stucco, the quarter is filled with hip lounges, designer boutiques and restaurants such as the traditional Don Julio, famed for its grills, and La Cabrera, currently hot-tipped as best in town for beef, where queues of chic porteños form nightly. But El Preferido de Palermo, though not the rowdy tavern Borges wrote about, preserves something of the old atmosphere. An almacen – a store doubling as a restaurant – it has been going strong since the Fifties. Cans of peas, tomatoes and artichokes stand on shelves, alongside jars of olives, pickles and peppers. After 10pm, as tourists go home and porteños come out for dinner, the bar stools at tall counters fill up, the television is turned to football, and flagons of drink and mounds of food appear. Borges’s favoured hangout, Café Tortoni in the city centre, is much the same as he would have remembered it – dimly lit, even at noon, with stone-tiled floors, dark panelling, marble-topped tables and oxblood leather upholstery. Nowadays, tourists flock through taking

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Previous: Tango dancers. This page clockwise from top left: Accordion Player; Caminito Street; La Boca Tango sign.

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flash photos, but there are plenty of historic café saround town – such as El Federal in San Telmo – that are not guided-tour stop-offs. It was in such a café, as men sat reading newspapers over endless cups of coffee and friends chattily munched through between-meal empanadas, that I met Augustín Rabinovich. A scheme called ‘Argentine Idiosyncrasy’ puts visitors in touch with an informed local – not a PR plant or tour guide, but a real porteño for a chat about Argentina. Augustín, a young banker from the fashionable northern suburb of San Isidro, was my contact. For an hour and a half we talked tango and opera, touched on the Argentine passion for football – and on Argentine passion in general. On how people like Maradona, Carlos Gardel and former President Juan Perón achieve godlike status. On the combined weight of history and nostalgia. Gradually, Augustín parted the impenetrable thicket of Argentine politics, revealing that the name Perón can still fiercely polarise debate. I never have been able quite to work out whether Evita Perón was a goody or a baddy, and it was somewhat gratifying to learn that the jury was still out. (Later, I would visit the Museo Evita, a fascinating paean to her life and, with an excellent restaurant in the courtyard, very much the realm of smartly dressed Ladies who Lunch.) Our discussion came up to date as Augustín explained the background of an impending transport strike, stemming from a clash a few days before that had resulted in a shoot-out between unions – an example, he said, of the Argentine flair for the dramatic. ‘Actually, Mafalda says it all,’ remarked Augustín. ‘With its pessimism, passion, drama, the cartoon strip is an accurate depiction of Argentine life. There’s a scene where Mafalda reminds her friend Felipe that it’s 4.30pm, and he should go home to do his homework. ‘There’s time,’ says Felipe. Same at 5.50pm. Then she tells him it’s 7.20pm, and suddenly it’s ‘No! Already? Now what? The sums, the essay... what can I do...’ In the street, this taste for drama can become a sense of theatre. Along Caminito, a street in the tough La Boca neighbourhood, houses are painted in bright pinks, yellows, blues – a heritage of the time when poor porteños begged paint off ships for their houses, but today a backdrop to couples dancing tango outside restaurants, as the strains of Carlos Gardel seem curiously to blend in the air with the aroma of grilling beef. I’ve felt a similar sense of pavement-


Buenos Aires | ArgentinA

Images: Corbis; Photolibrary; Shutterstock. Text Rodney Bolt / The Sunday Telegraph / The Interview People

‘Buenos Aires is often billed as the Paris of the South, and it certainly has the appropriate sophistication, the fin-de-siècle grace, and the couture’ as-stage in Italy – and perhaps this touch of drama comes from the Italian strand in the tangle of national ancestries that makes up Argentina. You’re just as likely to meet a Stein as a Santos, a Menendez as a Pallastrini. ‘I really missed that mix,’ a friend, Roberto, who had just returned after 12 years in Europe, told me. ‘There, everything was separate. Here, we’ve pulled it all together, but kept the elements.’ Nothing expresses that mix – and the drama – more eloquently than tango, the sensuous dance and music that draws together influences from Africa, as well as eastern and western Europe. The Real Tango Company is a mother-and-daughter team that takes you not to the touristy tango salons (though those can be fun), but to neighbourhood milongas – dance get-togethers held in different venues at set times each week. ‘That tango you see in commercial places is show tango’, said Florencia Costigliolo, daughter of the team. ‘It’s a distinct style, but what we call ‘tango for export’.’ Milonga tango is more intimate, very different. No arched backs and dramatic flailing of limbs, but quieter, in extraordinarily close embrace. First, a dance lesson. In a large, mirrored room, in a genteelly declining fin-desiècle building, dance teacher Evi put me through the paces on the parquet, to prepare me, should I want to join in later. (I was far too timid.) Then it was off to a 5pm milonga at a social centre in San Telmo. ‘There are milongas at all times of day,’ said Florencia. ‘Once, you heard about them by word of mouth, but these days people email or text to tell you.’ A taxi driver might pull over for a quick dance, if he knows he’s near a good milonga. People drop in during their lunch hour, or after work – women slipping off day shoes and taking glitzy stilettos out of a carry bag. It’s perfectly acceptable for complete strangers to dance, for married partners to attend without each other (a strict decorum and age-old code governs all). It’s the dancing that matters. ‘Nineteen-year-old girls can be all of a flutter if a good dancer walks in,’ said Florencia. ‘And they will be desperate to be asked to dance – even if he is 70. With a really good dancer, it is like being in love for three minutes.’ A couple glides past, chest-to-chest. The woman’s eyes are closed, her nose on her dance partner’s cheek, her arm draped softly around the back of his neck. At a pause in the music, she slowly lifts one heel in the air, waits – and lowers it again. And I think that there is something in that embrace akin to how I feel each time I’m in Buenos Aires – that Marlene Dietrich was right. The city enfolds you.

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B raving Th e BalTic Germany’s answer to the French coast might have less glamour, but it has old–world charm – and a Baltic breeze, says Adrian Bridge

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the german riviera | germany

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o who did get their towels on to the beach first – the English or the Germans? I came across the answer to this tricky question in an unlikely spot: the pretty town of Bad Doberan, close to the Baltic Sea and on a stretch of coastline now being heralded as ‘the German Riviera’. In an intriguing little museum dedicated to the history of bathing culture in Germany, I learnt that people have been taking to the waters here since 1793 when Friedrich Franz I, the Duke of Mecklenburg– Schwerin, decided that it would be good for his health. But they were not the first. The duke had heard that in places such as Margate and Brighton in England, the English were already enjoying the therapeutic effects of spending time at the seaside. And if it was good enough for the English, it was good enough for him: at a stroke the country’s first proper seaside resort was founded on a stretch of coast just north of Bad Doberan at Heiligendamm. The German Riviera was born. The museum charts the history of Heiligendamm with illustrations of its early days as a ‘cure centre’ almost entirely the preserve of the court, of swimsuits throughout the ages and with a model of an ingenious sea–cart in which ladies wishing to preserve their modesty were able to change unobserved before slipping into the sea. There is also an early list of 17 rules for ‘how to bathe properly’ (including the injunction to be ‘fearless and full of joy’). As with the English Channel, an element of fearlessness is useful when swimming in the Baltic Sea (known in Germany as the Ostsee). I used to live in Berlin in the Nineties and swam in the Baltic several times. It was always bracing. But I wanted to give it another go, particularly when I heard that this stretch of coastline spanning the northern part of the German state of Mecklenburg–Vorpommern had been proclaimed the new ‘German Riviera’. The German Riviera? I had heard that, at times, the buzz on the beaches in high summer on the island of Sylt farther to the west had a certain Riviera–like frisson, but here in what had been the former East Germany? It sounded unlikely. Albrecht Kurbjuhn, a hotelier in Kühlungsborn, the region’s largest seaside resort, and a driving force behind the attempt to lure international tourists to the area, explained the thinking: ‘We have miles of white sandy beaches and authentic wooden piers. There are promenades framed by the Baltic and pine tree forests; we have warm (but not overly hot) summer temperatures and on cooler days there are spectacular towns and attractions. We have good, well-priced food and drink. We also have space – and time. The German Riviera offers something different. Come and see for yourself.’ I suspended disbelief and took up his offer,

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the german riviera | germany Previous page: Ruegen coastline, MecklenburgVorpommern. This page clockwise from left: Schweriner Schloss castle; Marktplatz Square; Prinzipalmarkt Square.

heading out at the end of August last year with my wife for a few days of what I hoped would be sun, sea and strandkorb – time on the beach relaxing in the sturdy wicker chairs that are Germany’s magnificent contribution to the culture of the seaside (invented in nearby Rostock in the late 19th century). The plan was to lounge in a strandkorb, read a good book, drink and indulge in some serious people watching. (If this was the German Riviera, I had visions of its being filled with Claudia Schiffer lookalikes.) And then to explore. Initial impressions were favourable. In addition to the long white–sand beach, I liked the grand old ‘spa town architecture’ villas and small–scale hotels that lined parts of the promenade – buildings that since German reunification had been restored, renovated and given a new lease of life (many by West Germans who had headed east). I liked the easy–going pedestrianised main shopping street and some restaurants and cafés (in particular the Vielmehr and the cake–filled Röntgen). I also liked the marina and the long wooden jetty from which, every day, the MS Baltica passenger ship set off for trips along the coast. Kühlungsborn had the relaxed feel of a classic seaside resort and it was easy to see why it traditionally attracted the great, the good and the aristocratic of Berlin and beyond. But it hardly had the buzz of a St Tropez. Admittedly we were visiting at the end of

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the german riviera | germany

August – just after the peak season when children were at school and most Berliners back in the city. If the beach had, weeks earlier, been packed with sun–kissed young Teutons, it wasn’t now; most other guests were, like us, no longer in the first flush of youth. But it meant that, at times, we had those white sands almost entirely to ourselves, enjoying long walks along the shore letting our feet be washed by the waves of the Baltic. Like Friedrich Franz I before us, we found it therapeutic. And for my wife, not a lover of the scorching summers of southern Europe and sand too hot to stand on, the cooler temperatures were much more congenial. Kühlungsborn definitely has its charms – not least its extensive promenade (linking what previously were three distinct communities) – and exudes a quaintness associated with a bygone era. In addition to its beaches, Mecklenburg–Vorpommern is famous for its lakes (another great escape for Berliners) and quiet rural charm. As we drove around the countryside exploring some of the newer tourist provisions – a recently created golf course (a game considered too bourgeois for East German communists), quiet retreats for horse riding and a country–house garden with hundreds of rose varieties – were struck by the feeling of space and

emptiness (partly due to the fact that, economically, Mecklenburg– Vorpommern has struggled since reunification and much of its younger population has headed west). Culturally, the region contains the cities of Schwerin (with fairy–tale castle on an island) and the Unescolisted Hanseatic treasure of Wismar. Farther along the coast are the wilder beaches of Darss and the island of Rügen, complete with Dover–like white cliffs. We contented ourselves with attractions closer to hand, taking a trip on the MS Baltica (cheesy folksy music but great views of the coast) to Warnemünde, the stopping point for cruise ships and an attractive town with cobbled streets and shops selling creatively designed jewellery fashioned from the amber found further along the Baltic coast. The feeling of stepping back into the past was reinforced when we boarded the region’s most cherished attraction, ‘Molli’, the steam train that has run along this stretch of coastline for more than 100 years. We joined parents and grandparents with wide–eyed toddlers on a journey from Kühlungsborn to Bad Doberan, the train huffing and puffing its way through woods, forests and towns and attracting smiles and waves from walkers, cyclists and the curious

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the german riviera | germany

Images: Corbis; Photolibrary; Germany travel. Text: Adrian Bridge / The Daily Telegraph / The Interview People.

‘Heiligendamm offers something else: uncrowded beaches, unspoilt nature and a sense of returning to a simpler, older way of life’

Previous page: Pier at Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Opposite page: Beach chairs line the sand at dawn. This page from top to bottom: Beach house in MecklenburgVorpommern; Coastline steam train.

alike. Younger passengers returned the waves from the plush looking restaurant car, where salmon sandwiches and sparkling Sekt were being served for the princely sum of six euros – a long way from prices of something on the Côte d’Azur. The end station was Bad Doberan where, in addition to the museum on sea–bathing, there is an outstanding red–brick Gothic Cistercian monastery dating from the 14th century, an atmospheric spot that attracts coach loads of cruise passengers on excursions from Warnemünde. From Bad Doberan we headed on to the place where it all started, the sanctuary created by Friedrich Franz I at Heiligendamm. Here we enjoyed traditional afternoon coffee and cake (flavoured with local sanddorn berries) in the main lounge of what is now a five–star luxury resort and spa. Friedrich Franz would no doubt have approved. Heiligendamm today is a very grand affair occupying several white buildings and possibly the only place along the German Riviera that could be mentioned in the same breath as Nice. It was here that Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, chose to entertain world leaders gathering for the G8 summit in 2007 (Merkel, Vladimir Putin and George W Bush were photographed sitting in a strandkorb during a break in negotiations). That said, no one should come to this part of the world seriously expecting it to compete with the sophistication, glamour and sheer sexiness of the French and Italian rivieras. It offers something else: uncrowded beaches, unspoilt nature and a sense of returning to a simpler, older way of life. On our last night we sat on the balcony of our hotel room enjoying a clear view of the Plough and listened to the sounds of the Baltic. I thought back to late that afternoon when, with the last rays of the sun hitting the waves, we had headed down to the beach for a final burst of sun, sea and strandkorb. There was a breeze, but I couldn’t resist another swim. As ever it was bracing – but I was fearless and full of joy...

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Into The Great Rift Valley Diana Preston travels from remote northern Kenya into Ethiopia, through the only stretch of the Earth’s landscape that is visible from the Moon.

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arabou storks barely stirred on their treetop roosts as our safari truck rumbled out of Nairobi, the start of our journey tracing the eastern arm of Africa’s Great Rift Valley through remote northern Kenya and into Ethiopia. Two hours later, we gazed from the escarpment down into the valley’s golden-grassed infinity, struggling to take in the immensity of the only geological feature visible from the Moon. The 40 million-year-old Rift stretches over 4,000 miles from the Middle East to Mozambique. The geological turbulence that forced this fissure also created volcanoes, strings of mineral-rich lakes and barren plains of volcanic ash and black basalt, the days ahead would reveal Savannah baboons squatting by the roadside and black-and-white colobus monkeys leaping through neem trees as we reached Lake Nakuru. Here the wildlife is prolific. Cape buffalo, zebra and waterbuck grazed the shore as a trio of white rhino ripped up grass. Hundreds of flamingos turned the

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shimmering lake as rosy-pink as a Monet painting. The next day we continued northwards, crossing the Equator through terrain fast becoming desert. As we drove into the Samburu National Reserve, a platoon of warthogs shot past, the leader with his tail erect to show those following the way through the high grass, like a tour group leader brandishing an umbrella. In Samburu, it’s the wildlife not humans who rule. That night in our camp on the banks of a dry river bed we heard elephants crashing about in the undergrowth. On game drives we saw a male leopard drowsily padding in the midday heat to a waterhole and three bloody-faced young cheetahs devouring a dik-dik. As we climbed towards the Marsabit Plateau, tarmac had long given way to dirt track. Dust devils whirled around us and camels raised their drooping heads as we passed. Our final day in Kenya needed all the skills of Kinga, our driver, who deserved the ‘King of the Road’ title


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‘Hundreds of flamingos turned the shimmering lake as rosy-pink as a Monet painting’

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great rift valley | Kenya to ethiopia

‘Here the wildlife is prolific. Cape buffalo, zebra and waterbuck grazed the shore as a trio of white rhino ripped up grass’

Previous page: Flamingos in Lake Nakuru, Kenya. This page: A herd of zebra drink. Opposite page: Local tribesmen and women. Next page: Eithiopian volcanic craters.

on his T-shirt. Heading for the Ethiopian border, we rocked and rolled across the plateau, with its pimpling of volcanic cones, before descending to the Dida Galgalu – the ‘Plains of Darkness’ – so named for the black basalt strewn across this stony, oven-hot expanse of desert. There’s barely a bush and the only wildlife was the occasional skinny antelope and a few hardy Somali ostriches. With 20 miles to go and an escarpment to climb, our truck blew a tyre on one of its double rear wheels. Somehow Kinga coaxed the vehicle onward and we reached the border at Moyale, with only half an hour to spare. Ethiopia still follows an old form of Julian Calendar, making 2011 only 2004. If we didn’t immediately feel more youthful, we revived in Moyale after a drink and our first taste of Ethiopian food: beef stewed in kai wat, a spicy red sauce flavoured with onions, garlic and peppers and served on an edible plate of injera, a flat bread made from fermented tef, a grain unique to Ethiopia. Next morning, as we travelled northwards, people were streaming along the road to market. These were the Oromo, who make up some 40 per cent of Ethiopia’s population. Among them walked revered tribal elders in robes of unbleached cloth, ceremonial staffs and spiked headdresses. The market, where boys played at bar football tables, was piled with produce from vegetables, fruit and herbs to sacks of fresh green leaves – the narcotic chat, grown in northern Ethiopia, exports of which now exceed that of coffee. At a nearby crater lake we found another much-valued commodity. The Oromo call El Sod the ‘House of Salt’ because of the black salt beneath the lake at the bottom of the crater. Men loosen the salt with 12ft-long wooden poles, then, noses plugged with twists of cotton, plunge down to harvest the coarse, dark salt. The Konso, who inhabit the eastern fringes of the Omo valley, live very differently. Famed for their dry

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great rift valley | Kenya to ethiopia

stone terraces, they cultivate densely planted crops. They have no written records but showed us how they use stones to record events and how they also mark the graves of heroes with waca – wooden sculptures. As we approached Lake Chamo, another of the Rift Valley’s lakes, the vegetation became dramatically lush. The scarlet flowers of flame trees shone brightly and darkleaved mango trees were heavy with gold fruit. Boatmen from the Rift Valley Boat Service – their motto ‘Peace, Love and Strength Together’ – took us out on the lake to see some of its 10,000 Nile crocodiles and 2,000 hippos. Next we skirted Lake Abaya through a pastoral landscape. Life here has a gentle but purposeful rhythm. In the fields, people were driving bullocks in circles over grain or arranging dung cakes to dry in the sun for fuel. But as we neared Lake Awassa, the smallest of the Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes, we were back among dry scrub. Soon it was time to begin the slow ascent towards Addis Ababa, where our shadowing of the Rift Valley would end. But a spectacular two-day drive to Bahir Dar on Lake Tana in the Ethiopian highlands made for a good epilogue. Though Lake Tana lies outside the Rift Valley, it owes its formation to the same upheavals that scored the Rift into the Earth’s surface. At the waterfalls of Tis Isat, ‘Water that Smokes’, the river plunges nearly 150 feet to meander through parts of the Rift Valley to its junction with the White Nile at Khartoum. To get here we had travelled more than 1,600 miles through a landscape of Brobdingnagian proportions; a reminder, if we needed one, of the elemental forces that shaped our world and still do.

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Images: Corbis; Photolibrary; Shutterstock. Text: Diana Preston / The Sunday Telegraph / The Interview People.

‘…we gazed into the valley’s goldengrassed infinity, struggling to take in the immensity of the only geological feature visible from the moon’


From Moscow, with Love Beauty reigns supreme in Russia’s toughest city, finds Laura Binder.

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t’s March when I set a boot-clad foot on the stark ground of Domodedovo airport – the somber scene of a suicide bombers successful target just two months before – and I’m baffled not to spy a spot of damage; as though death had never visited. But given the true grit of this resilient city, it’s hardly surprising: Moscow is one tough cookie. With a series of violent revolutions to its past (the last in 1991), ‘tough’ is something of an ingrained characteristic for Moscow and her Muscovites who grind on against the odds. It’s a trait I find written over the worn faces that greet me that morning. Well, ‘greet’ probably isn’t the most fitting of terms: pulling a case fat with jumpers through the arrivals lounge I’m met by huddles of steely-faced ‘taxi drivers’ (legitimacy questionable) each vying (shoving acceptable) for the crisp notes nestling in the wallets of glamourseeking weekenders drawn to what’s now known as the second most expensive city on the planet (trumped by Tokyo, if you’re interested). Eyes are worn and lack luster – even the suited and booted driver we booked in advance looks helplessly fatigued. Thankfully, though, he’s not as forlorn as his troubled expression suggests – and his familiarity with the roads turned a potentially exasperating four hour drive from airport to city centre into a two hour stint – a triumph in Moscow traffic terms. He wasn’t even put out by the catch-your-breath chill that draws a feeble gasp from me as we make for the blacked-out car. Despite the spring season, snow blankets grass banks, ice has cast a hand over car windscreens and I find the chill cruel. ‘This is nothing!’ he laughs as my bottom lip protrudes like a child’s, ‘in winter it is minus 35 and you watch men ski to work!’ Dodging the traffic on slush-drenched roads, Moscow’s extremities (temperatures have been known to climb from

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minus 40 in winter to a merciless 40 degrees Celcius in summer) continue to unfold. An endless stream of sad tower blocks makes the suburbs akin to car crash TV: not only do they look like the most depressing digs on earth but, more curiously still, loathe to withstand either the bitter winds or searing summers. But, in true Muscovite style, their buckling forms manage to do just that. Hit the city centre, though, and apartment price tags are said to shoot from a ‘modest’ $350,000 to $20million – which would explain why only the mega rich can nestle in Moscow’s bosom. So much so that – as I’m later told by the Radisson Royal Hotel Moscow’s manager – staff working hours have to be changed to allow for the one or two hours it takes ordinary Joes to travel in from the outskirts. Little wonder, then, that those Russians who have hit the big time aren’t afraid to show it. Scoop a suite, as we did, at the jaw-dropping Radisson Royal Hotel Moscow (it sets up residence inside one of Stalin’s Seven Sisters topped with a trademark star – prepare to stand agog) and you’ll be in a prime place to admire a Muscovite celebration of wealth: a perfectly groomed blonde totters the vast, marble lobby wrapped in a white fur coat; Oscarworthy gowns parade in lobby boutiques with price-tags to make your jaw drop; Lamborghinis purr in the car park and caviar dots restaurant tables with carefree abandon. Which is probably why I didn’t flinch when passing the gloriously glamorous (and loudas-ever) ex-supermodel Janice Dickinson beneath the foyer’s metal detectors, sky-high heels on her feet and a male model on her arm: standard stuff. In fact, the newly-refurbished five-star hotel (formerly the Hotel Ukraina) is the epitome of Moscow done-good. I persuade the manager to take me for a glimpse of the presidential suite (bullet-proof, naturally) which he tells me is rented weekly in all its finery for a cool $10,000 a night.


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Which, I find, gives you free rein to shimmy your way down an Old Hollywood-style staircase (white and marble) into the widest of living spaces, (size is everything here), tinkle on a Grand piano (though it can play itself) and recline in one of two truly decadent boudoirs. The parties would be phenomenal. If that wasn’t testament enough to the prevalence of bigspending Muscovites, the burly security guards (who I manage to bump into and recoil like a spring, these guys are like human rocks) certainly are. There’s said to be 700 in the hotel, manning everything from the lobby and restaurants to the Olympicsized pool. Feeling like quite the show ponies, my guest and I didn’t need asking twice when invited to Tatler – the hotel’s hip hangout and the place to see and be seen in Moscow. Inside model-types dripped with cool and – we’re told in hushed tones – the odd celeb can be spied (Robert De Niro is a previous guest). Not on our watch though, Dickinson would have to suffice. However, after two hours of expertly whisked beverages (served by more surly model-types, something of a prerequisite it seems) supped amid a gentle wave of smoke and amid the myriad dialects of its patrons, I was equally ecstatic to return to my suite, where the interiors are more Italian glamour than Russian excess, and surrender to a silk-strewn bed. Supping coffee the next morning in Ritz-worthy environs – poured from gold pots by a waitress dressed up in monochrome

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frills like 1920s maids – I feel quite the frump in my oversized woolies against the slip of women dressed to the nines and nibbling morsels beside their well-stacked partners – don’t they know it’s snowing outside? But then I was off on a less than glamorous sightseeing mission, headed by our hired guide Ursula. Tapping her foot in the lobby below, I begrudging left my lavish breakfast pickings to brave the Moscow chill. And, needs must: the key historic sites are not-to-be-missed, whether you’re a slave to tourist trails or not. Ursula insists on a visit to the Kremlin (a former royal citadel and now the residence of president Putin) and the adjacent Red Square, spectacles that share an insight into this sturdy city’s past. On arrival, I eat my frosty words: the sheer breadth and scale of the square is captivating and, thanks to its impossibly wide streets, not a bit overcrowded – doubtless why, as the country’s central square, it’s also Moscow’s most-visited site. Standing there, the atmosphere is just what a voyeur would hope for – surly guards parade by foot and horseback with fur-lined hats; locals stroll determinedly cocooned in wool and furs; while market stalls flog multi-coloured Russian dolls. But, more than this, the square’s far-reaching history is still bizarrely palpable. ‘This is where the rebel Stenka Razin was executed,’ points Ursula matter-of-factly. I’m not sure whether she wants me to feel spooked or just take a picture. I do both, just in case.


Moscow | Russia Previous page: Radisson Royal Hotel Moscow. Opposite: Military parade in Red Square. This page, clockwise from left: Kremlin clock tower; Kremlin Palace; Dome of Underground Shopping Centre. Next page: Moscow metro station.

‘What does the ‘Red’ mean?’ asks Ursula like a true school mistress. ‘Er, blood?’ I venture, present location considered. ‘No!’ she scalds with a smirk. ‘Red in Russia means ‘beautiful’. No, it does not have Soviet connotations as many presume; it is simply ‘beautiful’.’ With beauty high on the 21st century agenda, today’s wealthy Muscovites now use the square for one such pursuit: shopping. Ursula takes us to the city’s famous department stores (Tsum and Gum) which reside in the beautiful 18th century buildings that flank the mighty square and present tantalising displays of threads heavy with wealth in their age-old windows. ‘Here you can spend your money on every designer name under the sun,’ states Ursula . ‘Moscow’s stores have products that have not come to fruition anywhere else in the world.’ Why? ‘Because no one anywhere else in the world will pay the prices.’ But while I marvel at women teetering over icy pavements on pencil-thin stilettos, I’m equally amused to see high-flying men dine in fivestar surrounds in altogether comfier get-up: sportswear is big here. With our bellies grumbling, Ursula whisks us to Boris Godunov a traditional Russian restaurant where heavy wooden tables sit beneath painted, vaulted ceilings and solemn-faced girls (I would be too if I had to wear a traditional folk dress and plaits to work) yielded steaming bowls of soup. ‘In this cold weather,’ Ursula proclaims, ‘Russians have to eat to keep warm.’ And it

really is winter-warming stuff: Borsch comes first, a peasant-style soup with a beetroot base that gives it a rich red hue, broken by bobbing pieces of cabbage, carrots, onions and meats – it’s delicious. On reflection I should have saved room for the next course – a giant chicken kiev bursting at the seams with liquid butter and accompanied by a fat Russian pancake wrapped unforgivably around mashed potatoes – non-carb eaters best surrender now. In fact, pancakes are something of a must – head to the city in Maslenitsa (pancake week), I learn, and you can get your fill of the doughy treats while marking both a period of forgiveness and end of the harsh winter. And, if you really want to make like a local, it can all only be eaten with one thing: sour cream. ‘Dollop it!’ instructed Ursula as I patted it with my spoon. ‘We eat it with everything.’ Coming from the most petite woman I’ve laid eyes on, it can’t be that bad… Rolling outside feeling much like a Russian dumpling, I took-in what looked like a palette of stony grey with concrete streets wide enough for military tanks and raindrops falling from a dismal sky: Moscow’s reputation for being ‘cold’ – in more ways than one – didn’t seem far off the mark. But, despite this, I felt myself gradually falling into its wintry hold, leaving me helpless to do anything but admire it. A chilly stroll confirmed it: grey was lifted by the prevalence of original 1930s architecture – each building a show of teal greens and lemon yellows, offset

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‘…surly guards parade by foot and horseback with fur-lined hats; locals stroll determinedly cocooned in wools and furs; while market stalls flog multi-coloured dolls’

Images: Raddisson Royal Hotel Moscow; Corbis Text: Laura Binder.

with grandiose carvings and pillars. A cruise on the ‘Dark River’ meanwhile – a wide, winding snake of water that penetrates the entire city – was illuminated by golden domes that pierced the skyline (earning Moscow the tag of ‘Golden-headed city’) and appeared fairytale-esque. But the most surprising beauty of all is also the cheapest, quickest gal in town – the metro. As Ursula informed us, it’s the best way to navigate the mammoth city – one with a population of 11million which rises to 15million by day when workers flock from the suburbs. With nine million using the metro, it’s a trip best avoided in rush hour. So, we make a bid for it – during rush hour – with Ursula at our helm. Coming from London (where mice on the tracks is a sight to coo over), I was oblivious to the hoards that paced the platforms. For, inside, the 1935 station is a virtual treasure trove; a Soviet Union showpiece that sends you hurtling back to a bygone era: marble and semi-precious stone grace the floor and walls; chandeliers dangle from low-domed ceilings while art decorates tiled walls. It’s a sight to behold – as I did, camera in hand, ambling at a tortoise’s pace to a million hares, snapping the finest displays. And all without being pick-pocketed in the process. I emerged feeling smug – even if Ursula was tapping her foot again. As I bid farewell to her I asked how long she had been in Moscow: ‘All my life,’ she declared with a smile – the first of the day. ‘It’s one tough city, but I love it.’ And as I looked at her regimented blonde locks over a tiring face, I realised she’d hit the nail on the head: rich in bloody history; scarred but triumphant; bleak but drop-dead beautiful – it’s a city well worth fighting for.

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CÔTE D’AZUR | FRAnCE

Southern Belle Why now’s the time to rediscover the glory of the Côte d’Azur

A

s if its sumptuous setting, heady climes, glittering hotels and celebrity credential haven’t already made the Côte d’Azur hugely popular with jetsetters, this month’s royal wedding of Albert II of Monaco and South African ‘commoner’ Charlene Wittstock is likely to drive a new wave of starry-eyed visitors to its shores. Nice, of course, is used to the avarice attention of foreigners. As we acquainted ourselves with the area through a guided sailing tour courtesy of Trans Côte d’Azur, playing eye spy with the magnificent A-listerowned villas only visible from the sea, we were given a real taste as to why people not only wish to visit Nice, but also to own property here. As the first French city to have a tourist-based economy, Nice is a leading resort on the Riviera and loved by blue-blooded royals, the royalty of the art and music world and sun and fun seekers alike. Our playful guide pointed out Elton John’s hideaway – somewhat understated for the flamboyant singer – as

well as those belonging to Bill Gates, Brigitte Bardot and Keith Richards, whose Villa Nellcôte is located in Villefranche-sur-Mer. After a tumultuous history with everyone fighting to have a piece of Nice, it was eventually incorporated into France in the mid-nineteenth century. While many felt that the Italian King Immanuel III had sold out to France when he gave it up to Napoleon III in exchange for financial and military assistance, it was a move that helped to put Nice on the map. With the railway from Marseilles extended, it swiftly became an easily accessible playground. Up until then travel was mainly undertaken for economic, religious or cultural reasons but for the first time ever, people travelled for pleasure and ‘to get away from it all.’ It is this air of old school glamour, along with its exuberant history and elegant reputation that attracts legions of devotees to Nice’s twinkling shores and pebbled beaches. Only second to Paris in the number

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Below: Tapenade and peppers on toast. Opposite page clockwise from top left: Classic car on quayside in La Flotte; View over village and bay; Café scene, Côte d’ Azur; Lemon market stall.

‘We strolled through the charming narrow streets of Old Nice, a convivial outdoor shopping area with flower and fruit markets, street cafés and speciality boutiques’

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of its museums and galleries; today its attractions extend beyond its bright blue seas and even more piercing blue skies and yet it is largely thanks to its setting being a magnet for artists that its cultural offerings are so prolific. We soon found ourselves at the Matisse Museum housed in a beautiful red 17th century Genoese villa on the Cimiez Hill. The ancient Romans also called this area home, and next to the museum you’ll find ruins of a Roman arena and bathhouses, as well as historical exhibits within the archaeology museum. French artist Henri Matisse, who hailed from the north of France, was urged to move to the sunny south for health reasons and he quickly fell in love with Nice. At the Matisse Museum we marvelled at the progression of his work from his more traditional early days to the end of his career which culminates in the artist using as few lines as possible to create an in-depth masterpiece. Playwrights, philosophers, novelists and even dancers have all been inspired by Nice. Nineteenth century German philosopher Nietzsche was moved by its light, novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald resided in the upmarket Beau Rivage as did Russian playwright Anton Chekhov who wrote: “It’s wonderful here in Nice. After Yalta, the climate and terrain here make it seem like heaven. I bought a summer coat and parade around like a peacock.” American Isadora Duncan, whose unique style of dancing earned her the title ‘the Mother of Modern Dance’ spent her final years travelling between Paris and the Mediterranean. Tragically she died in a car accident in Nice: in a theatrical fashion befitting of the region, her fatal demise was down to her long silk scarf being caught in the rear wheel of her car. Driving in an open-topped sports car with a flowing scarf and Chanel sunglasses is of course the most glamorous way to take in the city, but Segeway Tours with their open air electric busses complete with engaging commentary in several languages is the next best thing. And if you want to look the part then pop into Galeries Lafayette where you can rifle through over 600 different brands. Exhilarated by my new Gerard Durel handbag, we rewarded ourselves further with a hot chocolate at the store’s La Table d’Hediard. Not a regular powdered milk drink mind, but one made from ganache chocolate, so thick you can stand your spoon up in it. We then strolled through the charming narrow streets of Old Nice, a convivial outdoor shopping area with flower and fruit markets, street cafés and speciality boutiques. We even channelled the character of Grenoble in Patrick Süskind’s Perfume to create our very own fragrance at Molinard, ensuring to employ mimosa, which dominates the hills of Nice, in our concoction. Then it was back to our hotel, Le Negresco, on the Promenade des Anglais, Nice’s famous coastal boulevard lined with palm trees and flower arrangements, for further stimulation. Le Negresco isn’t just a hotel, but more a living art gallery, Madame Jeanne Augier has been the chairman and proprietor of it since her family bought the property in 1959 and today it’s one of the last private palaces in the world. Madame Augier has decorated


CÔTE D’AZUR | FRAnCE

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CÔTE D’AZUR | FRAnCE Left: Lavender Field, Cote d’Azur.

the hotel with literally hundreds of artworks – including original Pablo Picasso’s, Slavador Dalis and Morettis. Every floor takes on a different cultural era and no two rooms are the same, making it an edifying place to check into. Breakfast is served at La Rotonde which is like a giant pink carousel complete with wooden horses and automated musicians, while an aperitif can be enjoyed at Bar Le Relais – where Richard Burton forgot the lavish emerald necklace he had bought for Elizabeth Taylor – before settling down to dinner at the Louis XV-styled Restaurant Chantecler: a suitably sophisticated way to round off the day. But where Nice is more about time-honoured charm, Monaco screams in-your-face glamour and we were determined to set foot on the location of the hotly anticipated fairytale wedding which promises to begin a new chapter in the Principality’s storybook legacy. OK, so we might not have actually entered the Throne Room, but after a glorious 40-minute drive along the coastal road from Nice to France we found ourselves gazing over the Mediterranean and onto the Prince’s Palace situated on ‘The Rock’, Monaco’s old town, from the balcony of our tasteful rooms at the Hermitage Hotel. A walk around the fortified town, also home to the Oceanographic Museum and St Nicholas Cathedral, where Princess Grace and Prince Rainier are buried is a must. It was while filming Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief that the silver screen siren met her prince. Tragically the actress met her untimely death on the region’s twisty mountain roads that had featured in the film. From your elevated position here you can also gawp at the gigantic yachts pulling into the harbour below and admire the promontory’s vegetation with its prickly cacti, aloes and tamarisks. Walking in general is advocated in Monaco – not only is this the best way to take in the sights, but surprisingly for a city obsessed with fast cars it is pedestrian-friendly with drivers forced to give way to those on foot. (There are also more police per square metre than any other country in the world so you don’t want to be flouting any laws.) One of Europe’s five microstates measuring

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just 1.95 square kilometers, which makes it smaller than New York’s Central Park, you could easily cover it in one day – probably twice. On this occasion we weren’t afforded a glimpse of the prince, but we consoled ourselves by enjoying a dessert named after him at the Restaurant l’Horondelles des Thermes Marins de Monte Carlo where the Prince Albert is a resplendent, if rather effeminate looking, pink macaroon with fresh berries. Dinner was a delightful affair at the Hermitage’s Le Vistamar, possibly the finest seafood restaurant in town. Then off to the legendary Jimmy’z, Monaco’s top club, to see if we could spot Bono, Beyoncé, a Formula 1 driver, or even just one of the Kardashians… if there’s one place the rich and famous not only enjoy letting their hair down but actually like to be spotted doing so, it’s in Monaco.

Images: Corbis; Photolibrary; Shutterstock. Text: Lyndsey Steven

‘Where Nice is more about time-honoured charm, Monaco screams in-your-face glamour’


SPECIAL PROMOTION

Book your summer stays now with these incredible GCC summer offers

July 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 61


ENJOY ABU DHABI WITH OUR KNOWLEDGE AND BREAKFAST WITH OUR COMPLIMENTS.

This summer, treat your family to the sights and sounds of Abu Dhabi with special rates starting at AED 500 per room, including breakfast. Or upgrade to a suite from AED 900 per night. To make your stay even more rewarding, we have also put together a range of added value offers like two for one meals in our awardwinning restaurants and leisure activity specials. Offer valid for GCC residents only until 10th September 2011, subject to availability. Children under 12 stay free and additional rooms can be booked at 25% off. Terms & conditions apply.

For further information or to make a reservation call +971 2 693 5154/5155 or email reservations@icauh.ae intercontinentalabudhabi.com

In over 170 locations across the globe including HONG KONG • LONDON • NEW YORK • PARIS


SPECIAL PROMOTION

InTerconTInenTal, abu DhabI

If you’re looking for a mix of beach, activities and great dining opportunities, this perennial favourite is the place to stay in Abu Dhabi. It’s a modern, sleek resort which offers ‘club’ status for guests who’d prefer an extra special touch - including express check in and out, and use of the Club Lounge where complimentary drinks and snacks are served. by day: Don’t miss out on a custom-made 4x4 safari into the desert where you’ll go in convoy with other vehicles over the nearby dunes and watch the colours on the horizon melt into the sky as the sun sets. by night: The multiple restaurants here include Chama’s, a lively Brazilian joint where they’ll pass you endless chunks of freshly barbecued meat. What’s The big Deal? Book a room for as little as $138 a night, or upgrade to a suite for $246. Additional rooms can be booked with 25 per cent off. Offer valid until September 10. Intercontinentalabudhabi.com

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SPECIAL PROMOTION

ATlAnTis, The PAlm

Set on the world-famous Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, Atlantis stands like a beacon with its distinctive club-shaped archway leading you in to a magical world of adventure – including a shopping arcade, an aquarium with underground passageways and over 65,000 types of marine life, and a fast and furious waterpark with myriad slides and a lazy river. Not only that, but the hotel’s décor is as adventurous as the attractions themselves, with gold shells on ceilings and pearl-shaped water features. By day: Swim with dolphins at the hotel’s conservation centre Dolphin Bay. They offer a ‘Dolphin Encounter’ where you’ll stroke, hug and swim in the shallows with the mammals. By night: Choose from a grand total of 17 restaurants and lounges including the award-winning Nobu, which serves outstanding Japanese fare, or Ossiano, where you can watch the sea life swim past you through the aquarium that lines one side of the restaurant. What’s The Big Deal? Rooms start at $245 per night which includes access to The Lost Chambers aquarium and Aquaventure waterpark, plus discounted rates at Dolphin Bay. Offer valid until September 30. atlantisthepalm.com

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SPECIAL PROMOTION

Shangri-La, Dubai

The focal point here has to be the spectacular floor-to-ceiling crisscross wall of windows in Dunes café. However, when it comes to the hotel rooms, Shangri-La Dubai offers understated luxury. Suites emanate mellow lighting against soft browns and reds. But if you’re ready to splash out, make sure to reserve the elegant presidential suite (we love its spiral staircase). by day: Visit the health club, home to a shimmering pool overlooking Dubai, bubbling Jacuzzis, tennis and squash courts and a hair salon to boot. by night: Take your pick of seven eateries including Amwaj − a fantastic pick for fresh seafood dishes – or Marrakech for a Moroccan flavour.

Shangri-La, barr aL JiSSah reSorT & Spa, MuScaT

Shangri-La, QaryaT aL beri, abu Dhabi

Hide away from busy city life at Shangri-La’s beautiful Middle Eastern themed resort (it’s an impressive 8.5 hectacres in size) where you can stay in one of 161 residences or six private villas. It has a kilometre of private beach too, and is located just five minutes away from one of the city’s premier golf clubs. by day: Go by traditional abra boat through the neighbouring authentic souk, where you’ll sail your way past gardens and distinctive architecture on its custom built waterways. by night: There are nine places to indulge your palette here including the French Bord Eau, for fine dining and the Sofra bld for Mediterranean delights.

The bods behind this idyllic resort created it to mimic an oasis in the desert. Set in the rugged idiosyncratic mountains of Oman, its gleaming pools are surrounded by local date palm trees and every room has a terrace from which to drink-in the surrounds. by day: Go diving with the resort’s PADI certified centre and discover waters chock full of tropical marine life including turtles and (friendly) white tip reef sharks. by night: Enjoy the Latin flavours of Samba or an unpretentious beach snack with your kids at Surf Café.

What’s The big Deal? Get 50 per cent off the regular rate at Shangri-La Dubai, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi and Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, Muscat by quoting ‘summer getaway’ when you book. Rates vary. shangi-la.com

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Luxurious Hotel Apartments in Dubai Marina

On Dubai’s Seaside Shopping Promenade Discover Oasis Beach Tower’s spacious beachside apartments along The Walk in Dubai Marina. Enjoy a 2 bedroom deluxe apartment from only AED 1,660* per night, perfect for families and with easy access to restaurants, shops, outdoor cafés and galleries. You can unwind on the large swimming pool deck or take our complimentary shuttle bus service to some of Dubai’s largest and best shopping malls, just a 15-minute ride away.

For more information or reservations please call +971 4 315 4111 or email: reservations.ob@jaihotels.com

www.jebelali-international.com

*Rate includes 10% municipality fee and 10% service charge. Offer valid until 31st July 2011 and is subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.


SPECIAL PROMOTION

Oasis beach TOWer

Slap bang on Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, you can’t beat the location of this luxurious hotel apartments tower. With unbroken views of the ocean, Palm Jumeirah from your window, and with the restaurant-strewn The Walk at your doorstep, this hotel is perfect for a family vacation and offers a variety of apartments suited to different sized groups. by day: The impressive pool deck has sunshine, swimming, a water-slide for the kids and a captivating view. by night: Take a long stroll the length of The Walk, breathing in the ocean air and the sounds and smells of the ever busy eateries that line it. What’s The big Deal? Book a stay in July and get a two-bedroom apartment from $470 per night or book a two bedroom apartment in August and enjoy rates from $246 per night. jebelali-international.com

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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.

Book your 3 night Eid getaway, from AED 1299* per night * Terms and conditions apply.

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

www.raffles.com/dubai


SPECIAL PROMOTION

Raffles Dubai

One of Dubai’s most striking buildings, Raffles Dubai is as glamourous as it gets. The architecturally unique hotel is shaped like a pyramid and includes 246 super-sized rooms, including fancy diplomatic suites which overlook the stunning grounds. The inspiring décor is magnificently opulent and complemented by Middle Eastern and Asian twists, while locationwise you’re perfectly positioned to shop up a storm at the city’s best malls. Don’t leave, though, without experiencing the Raffles Amrita Spa, which offers extravagant treatments such as the Egyptian Gold massage – where the therapists quite literally smear pure 24 karat gold on your skin. by day: If you’re keen to relax, take a stroll around the hotel’s beautiful botanical gardens, based on the natural elements of fire, earth, water and wind. Together they make up 260 trees, 650 palms, 1,400 bamboo plants, 500 aquatic plants and over 100,000 shrubs. by night: The resort has eight lounges and restaurants to choose from, including the awardwinning restaurant Noble House offering Chinese specialties. Based on the 17th floor, the views of the city’s skyline will blow you away. What’s The big Deal: UAE residents can enjoy discounted room rates from $220 until August 31. raffles.com

July 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 71


SPECIAL PROMOTION

Park Hyatt JeddaH Marina, Club and SPa

Set on Jeddah’s famous Corniche, next to landscaped gardens, this resort looks over the sparkling Red Sea and the 1,000 foot high King Fahd fountain. Design-wise it’s a perfect show of elegance, while its bountiful facilities are unrivalled in the region. by day: The hotel is home to Saudi Arabia’s first ever hydrotherapy centre where ingenious water treatments are used to heal complaints, alleviate stress and help circulatory problems. Make this a must-visit when you stay here. by night: Watch your food being cooked in Nafoura’s open plan kitchen where they serve scrumptious Mediterranean grub or relax at Nadara, which serves healthy tea and juice. What’s the big deal? Get free breakfast and a standard spa treatment or one dinner at either the Andalusia or Nafoura restaurant absolutely free when you book a two night stay here. jeddah.park.hyatt.com

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PERFECT SUMMER GETAWAYS Take time-off this summer and visit one of Danat Hotels & Resorts luxurious coastal or desert hotels and resorts at sensational prices beginning at Dhs 299*. Our Summer Getaways start from 1st June through to the end of August 2011. Al Raha Beach Hotel Purchase in advance Dhs 399** Including buffet breakfast Dhs 599** Including buffet breakfast & Dhs 200 of cash-back vouchers to be used in the restaurants Everyday stopovers Dhs 555* Including buffet breakfast Dhs 699* Including buffet breakfast & Dhs 200 of cash-back vouchers to be used in the restaurants For more information, call 02 508 0555 Danat Al Ain Resort Everyday stopovers Dhs 299* Room only Dhs 399* Including buffet breakfast Dhs 749* Villa, including buffet breakfast For more information, call 03 704 6000

Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort Everyday stopovers Dhs 499* Including buffet breakfast for 2-adults & 2-children under 6-years For more information, call 02 801 2211 Tilal Liwa Hotel Everyday stopovers Dhs 499* Including buffet breakfast For more information, call 02 894 6111 Sands Hotel Weekend stopovers Dhs 325* Including buffet breakfast Weekday stopovers Dhs 350* Including buffet breakfast For more information, call 02 615 6666 Dhafra Beach Hotel Everyday stopovers Dhs 399* Including buffet breakfast for 2-adults & 2-children under 6-years For more information, call 02 801 2000

*All rates are subject to 10% service charge and 6% tourism fee • ** 3-days advance purchase – No refund • Valid from 1 June until the end of August 2011• Offer valid for UAE/GCC residents only • Two children under 12 sharing parents room stay free of charge • Payment by credit card or cash only • Rooms are subject to availability as per the terms and conditions of the package • A child policy applies • Certain conditions may vary for each hotel, check with reservations at the time of booking. Terms & Conditions apply

Danat Hotels & Resorts is a Division of National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels (NCT&H) PO Box 6942, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates T. +971 2 409 9999 | F. +971 2 409 9990 | E. info@ncth.ae | www.danathotels.com


SPECIAL PROMOTION

Danat Jebel Dhanna ResoRt

Head 200 kilometres from Abu Dhabi and you’ll find that this resort offers something most in the area don’t − desert and beach. Whether it be exploring the Arabian coastline or throttling around the desert by 4x4, here you have the option of both − and all before breakfast. We recommend reserving one of the six waterside villas for your stay for added privacy and spectacular views across the tranquil horizon. by day: Indulge in a Middle Eastern pastime at the Gazebo, the resort’s authentic shisha café which looks like an extravagant Bedouin tent. by night: With six spots to choose from we recommend Tides, the all-day dining restaurant, for its always tasty Asian and continental cuisine.

Danat al ain ResoRt

Making more than a passing nod to its setting within the UAE’s Garden City, this family-friendly hotel stands amid beautiful gardens ripe for a post-breakfast walkabout. The fact that every room and suite here comes with its own balcony means you just have to decide on the view you want – we say opt for that which takes in Jebel Hafeet Mountain. by day: If you’re feeling active you can play squash or tennis, or if you’re with the kids why not take a trip to the nearby Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium. by night: Indulge in fine Italian fare at Luce – pastas here are great – or if you fancy something with a kick, try the curries at Tanjore.

tilal liwa hotel

For a truly solitary desert retreat away from the city’s big sights and sounds, Tilal Liwa offers a genuine taste of the Middle East. This resort boasts a view of some of the highest dunes in the region, and while floating in the sparkling outdoor pool, with the sand in the distance, you’ll feel like you’ve discovered your own picturesque oasis. by day: Get simple bites in a relaxed environment at the infinity pool and Al Liwan Restaurant, or try Friday brunch at Al Badiya Restaurant. by night: Take a ride over the rich red dunes with a custom-made safari trip while the sun sets in front of you. Beautiful.

what’s the big Deal? The everyday stopover rate of $140 includes a buffet breakfast for two adults and two children under six-years-old; the family weekend half-board rate from $195, including the same; or the two-night desert and sea combination package from $245 (including one night in Tilal Liwa Hotel and one night at Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort). danathotels.com

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Experience Magic Malaysia Often known as the melting pot of Southeast Asia, Malaysia blends the flavous of the Orient, India and Europe. Its capital, Kuala Lumpur, is a polished city, energetic, vibrant and always in motion. The Package Travel from the skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur to the Hindu temples, bazaars in Chinatown and finish off with a traditional Malay buffet dinner and cultural show. Then visit the countryside for further examples of the country’s diversity and history. COST: $1,520 Includes • 3 nights hotel accommodation in a choice of hotels • Return private transfers from/to the Airport • 2 sightseeing tours • Accommodation & airfare

ITInerary TRAnsfeR fRom AiRpoRT To AccommodATion Day 1

oveRnighT AT hoTel mAlAysiAn culTuRAl nighT

dAy 2 oveRnighT AT hoTel puTRA JAyA And AgRiculTuRAl pARk dAy 3 oveRnighT AT hoTel dAy 4

TRAnsfeR fRom AccommodATion To AiRpoRT

The rate at the time of reservation and confirmation will prevail. Kanoo Holidays terms and conditions apply to all bookings. 12

Kanoo World Traveller May 2011


concierge switzerland | oslo | Lisbon | Thailand

The 30-second concierge

hannah allen, The lodge verbier, sWiTzerland How would you sum up the style and setting of the resort? I would describe The Lodge as a real home from home: a luxurious, 10 bedroom chalet with two large communal floors where would-be guests can relax. You’ll find the property nestled in the forest and you can even ski directly to the front door after a tiring day on the slopes – as well as gain ready access to Verbier’s famous après ski nightlife... Which suite should I book to make the most of the mountain views? All of the rooms have something different to offer but Richard Branson (The Lodge’s owner) favours the master suite on the top floor, for the very reason that it looks out across the Swiss Alps and down the valley. It also houses cool features like a large, open bathroom and a fire in the centre of the room. I want to come in summer; is there plenty to do all-year-round? Absolutely. The list is endless and activities extend across the seasons. The

summer brings with it a host of beautiful mountain walks and biking trails or, if you fancy something a little different, why not go along to one of the concerts at the Verbier Music Festival which run ‘til the end of July? For those who do come in winter there is of course skiing, but you can also try your hand at sledging, ice karting or even enjoy a husky-led ride. It’s evening; is there anywhere to dine outside of The Lodge? For those of you who want to head further afield there’s no better way to spend an evening than with a snow taxi ride up to one of the many mountain restaurants where you can tuck in to Swiss food and sip a long list of complementary beverages. Once your fondue pot is empty then don your head torch and jump on a sledge for a thrilling ride back to The Lodge through the mountain forest, where a cosy fire awaits along with a pre-requested tipple of your choice. thelodge-virgin.com

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Norway

Visit OslO

Jade Bremner takes a trip to Norway’s diverse capital to find a city shrouded in trees, with 18 hours of sunlight and more history than you can shake a stick at...

E

ncased by lush green forest and crammed with wooden houses and beautiful historic colonial architecture, oslo is one of Europe’s largest capitals – and one of its least populous with only 600,000 residents. The city itself is compact and easy to navigate by foot and, as you do, you’ll see osloites indulge in its art and museum culture, along with a buzzing café scene. a summer visit here will give you the best of both worlds; indoors and outdoors. In fact, when its residents aren’t sampling city life, they’re out hiking, skiing, kayaking and sailing in the surrounding wilderness. So fill your lungs with fresh air, enjoy up to 18 hours of sightseeing time thanks to summer’s extended daylight hours and tantalise your taste buds with the region’s delicious game and fish.

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MUST-DOS Take a trip to the Royal Palace (1), built in the 19th century for Swedish king Charles III. Today it’s home to the head of state and opens its doors to visitors from June onwards. Amble through the cultivated grounds and step inside for a tour of the magnificent interior. Home to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, the Opera House (2) is a sight to behold with its angular exterior covered with marble and white granite. Take a seat among over 1,300 people and enjoy

one of its daily, world-class performances. For a spot of shopping wander over to Kirkeristen (3) and the old bazaar to snap up souvenirs in the form of handicrafts and trinkets before soaking-up the area’s summer café culture in one of its quaint coffee shops. Don’t leave without a visit to the traditional wooden housing areas of Vålerenga, Kampen or Rodeløkka (4). Set in the suburbs, they were almost pulled down by officials in the 1970s to make way for a modern city but after residents’ protests


oSlo | Norway

have become an important part of Oslo’s culture – and give tourists a unique insight into the city’s quirks. The waterfront is the home of City Hall (5), which is open to the public daily and free of charge. The Nobel Peace Prize is presented in its stunning main hall every year – while you’re there, take a peek at its giant murals and historical artifacts. Playwright Henrik Ibsen, and the so-called ‘father of modern theatre’, was born in Norway and is one of the country’s proudest exports. His last house has been converted into the Henrik Ibsen Museum (6) and recently restored to what it would have looked before his death in 1906. Complete with original rooms, décor and colour it makes for a fascinating glimpse into the writer’s life and work.

EYE OF THE TIGER: Despite no such creatures living in this part of the globe, Oslo is also known as ‘Tiger City’. Spot references to the big cats citywide: a huge tiger sculpture sits outside central station and lions guard the parliament entrance.

Built to protect the city in 1290, the Akershus Fortress (7) still stands proud today, not far from the centre of town. Head there for a fact-filled historic afternoon and views of the Oslofjord (the south-east bay with a wild range of waterways).

comes with a screensaverperfect view of the city – with space to entertain up to 300 friends. Rooms from $234. Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel (9) Next to Central Railway Station www.radissonblu.com For something comfortable, easy and modern opt for the largest hotel in the country. Its decent location overlooks the entire city centre while the interior boasts inventive, often utterly wacky designs from stripy bed sheets and bright blue chairs to inventive lighting displays in the conference centre. Try Sky Bar, a lounge at the top of the building, to view Oslo’s skyline from the 34th floor. Rooms from $322.

Images: Corbis; Shutterstock.

WHERE TO STAY Grand Hotel (8) Karl Johans Gate 31 www.grand.no This historic house was built in 1874 and has hosted high profile guests from heads of state to Henrik Ibsen and Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen. The classic and elegant building also offers a ‘Ladies Floor’ entirely dedicated to; yes you’ve guessed it, female visitors. There you’ll find a spa, yoga mats and specially designed rooms for the fairer sex. Meanwhile other special features include the Christian Radich Suite which

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DENMARK

GERMANy

WHERE TO EAT Delicatessen (10) Sødre gate 8 City Centre www.delicatessen.no A hang out for cool young

7 creative professional types, this tapas bar was named satirically after the French film (of the same name) based on a butcher who sells human meat. Luckily, it doesn’t serve the latter, but it does offer good quality gastronomic creations in a laidback social environment. The chairs are originally from England while the striking wall painting (you can’t miss it) was created by Helsinki designer Benjamin Bergman. Mains from $43. Statholdergaarden (11) www.statholdergaarden.no Offering Norwegian flavours using just-picked ingredients sourced from the local area, including an abundance of local seafood and vegetables. Enjoy local asparagus, chowder with salmon and potent, aged cheeses in a nautical themed period house. From $166 for four courses.

Opposite page: Scenic Oslo. Above top: Classic wooden housing; Akershus Castle.

July 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 79


Portugal

Visit LisBon

The colourful Portugese capital boasts history, trams and an über cool art and café culture, James Dean Berry ambles around its cobbled streets...

W

ith virtually no high rises, this fairytale city is chock full of olde-worlde charm. Snaking cobbled streets wind past pink, orange and blue façades, each with red roofs and set in a higgledy piggeldy manner on myriad hillsides. In between them sit striking colonial buildings, monuments, squares and gardens. Pair such sights with pleasant weather, jovial locals and a creative art scene and you have the painfully cool city of lisbon. the first port of call on a visit here has to be a ride on the iconic, skinny yellow trams which maneuver up and down the sloped pavements of alfama and Bairro alto, during which you can take in the romantic setting, historic sites and listen to traditional fado performers. But don’t leave without tackling at least a handful of lisbon’s castles, museums, galleries, botanical gardens and enough coffee shops to keep you charged on your endless sightseeing trail.

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Kanoo World Traveller July 2011

MUST-DOS Art is abundant in Lisbon, see an array of styles from abstract to body art, cubism, experimental, classic and minimal at the Museu Colecção Berardo (1) Regular international art exhibitions have previously included the likes of Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso. The Portuguese have always been masters of the seas and the Museu da Marinha (2) documents their adventures as well as exhibiting models of the ships they used along the way. Look out for the fascinating Archangel Raphael figure which explorer Vasco da Gama took with him on his voyage to India. The exotic Jardim Botanico

(3) (botanical gardens) has existed for hundreds of years and legend has it that the king wanted one of every plant on the planet in the grounds – so expect an abundance of weird and wonderful greenery. Visit the bustling area of Bairro Alto (4) and sample dozens of restaurants and cafes each with its own personality, from reggae and jazz electro to traditional Portuguese beats. Explore the medieval Jorge Castle (5) and get a snapshot of its protruding turrets against a backdrop of multi-coloured houses, gardens and a large square decorated with antique cannons and a statue of Afonso Henriques (aka ‘the Conqueror’


lISBon | Portugal and Portugal’s first King). Head to the LX Factory (6) area where architecture firms and internet companies have formed a trendy cluster. Stop by a cute cafe and don’t miss its incredible bookshop, named Ler (‘read’), which has books stacked to the ceiling. Take a 40minute train ride out of the city to the quaint fairytale-esc UNESCO heritage site of Sintra (7); a former holiday favourite of the Portugese Royals. Famous writers (such as Hans Christian Anderson and Lord Byron) also came here for inspiration.

Opposite page: Multi-coloured hillside homes. This page, clockwise from top left: Lisbon road sign, Castelo da Pena in Sintra. Pena Palace beneath Gate of Seteais.

WHERE TO EAT Eleven (8) Rua Marques da Fronteira, Campolide. www.restauranteleven.com Surrounded by greenery, this coveted restaurant serves contemporary Spanish fare created by Michelin star chef Joachim Koerper. The building, like the food, is modern and minimalist and the walls and ceilings are scattered with

WHERE TO STAY

BUILD ME UP: Lisbon was built on seven neighbouring hills as developing in such a setting was considered to be a deeply powerful omen. SHAKY GROUND: A mega earthquake in 1775 destroyed everything but one well-worth-seeing area – Alfama.

n

7 Sintra (40min train ride)

5

LiSBOn

8

10

11

FRANCE

Images: Corbis Images

4 3 2

9 1

kaleidoscopic, distorted pieces from Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos. Try the black cod with beans from Santarém of Pára and wasabi or Lamb carré with vegetables jalousie and purée with ‘farinheira’ from Ponte de Lima. Menu prices vary. Retiro de Baco (9) 6 Rua Prior do Crato www.retirodebaco.pt Foodies should make for this romantic setting to sample their delicious and wide-range of local cheeses. Go on Thursdays for live ‘fado’ music, typically sung in city squares and streets by men decked out in traditional dress (or ‘traje academic’) including a cape and leggings. Mains from $36.

6

PORTUGAL SPAIN

MOROCCO ALGERIA

Hotel Avenida Palace (10) 123 Rua 1 Dezembro www.hotelavenidapalace.pt Located on Restauradores Square, this grand neo-classical building eludes history and looks shamelessly romantic at night when lit up against the black sky. Many of the rooms are detailed with wooden floors and full length period windows, while other impressive features include gold crests cast over doorways, winding staircases, chandeliers and soaring ceilings. Rooms from $207. Tiara Park Atlantic Lisboa (11) 149 Rua Castilho www.tiara-hotels.com Stays at this modern hotel make for a textural experience: its décor is themed by the elements (air, earth, water and fire) so expect lavish, velvet-decked furniture and walls (plus homely detailed cushions) against comparatively calming wooden earthy tones. Rooms from $137.

July 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 81


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concierge | book your trip

win A three-night swiss breAk At hotel eden roc, AsconA Longing to escape the GCC’s sizzling summer? Make for the cool climes of the beautiful Swiss Alps instead, with a stay at the five-star Hotel Eden Roc. Repeatedly voted ‘Switzerland’s best holiday hotel’, would-be guests can seek sublime solitude thanks to its setting on the shore of Lake Maggiore. Once there, relax with a soothing bath or massage at its cool, water-themed spa; saunter from the main hotel to Eden Roc Marina for myriad watersports; or take a stroll through the picture-perfect grounds of Garden of Eden Roc. And if that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, try the hotel’s all-new Marina Restaurant (the grilled fish is mouthwateringly good), or reserve a table on the lake-side terrace of La Brezza Lounge and dine beneath the night sky...

ThE PrizE We’re giving away a three-night stay for two at Eden Roc including breakfast daily and a luxurious massage at the hotel’s spa. To be in with a chance of winning, email your answer to this question to easywin@ hotmediapublishing.com before July 31, 2011.

Q. What is the name of Hotel Eden Roc’s new restaurant? a) Marina Restaurant b) Mani’s Restaurant c) By the Marina TERMS AND CONDITIONS: All dates are subject to availibility. Prize must be claimed within six months of issue date.

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July 2011 Kanoo World Traveller 83


concierge | THAiLAnD

Suite dreamS

What better way to indulge your senses than with a stay at this captivating retreat on the edge of the Andaman Sea. The double pool villa’s bed virtually hovers above the still azure waters that cradle it, before flowing into a serene lagoon in a tropical garden where colourful birds pause and pose, as though they’ve been been imported for your pleasure (they haven’t, but this place is so perfect we wouldn’t be surprised). While you’re there, step out of your suite’s transparent walls to take a dip in the resort’s infinity pool or play with the bubbles in the crystal jet pool. Later, there’s no better way to start your evening than by sprawling beneath a Thai sala (with lake views before you) and marry a soothing massage with a long, fresh fruit cocktail. Paradise on earth. banyantree.com 84

Kanoo World Traveller July 2011

Image: Banyan Tree Resorts

Banyan tree Puhket


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