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THE REGION’S BIGGEST LU XURY TR AV EL M AGAZINE

February 2014

Complimentary Copy

Issue Seventy

and...

RELA X

Produced in International Media Production Zone

Rejuvenation calls from secluded spas

Istanbul Athens Boston Cuba Bali Papua New Guinea


February // 2014

Editor’s Note Issue Seventy, February 2014

With February being the year’s shortest month, there’s obviously less time to cram in your travel plans. But fear not, for we have pulled together enough ideas to limit your research to these very pages, giving you extra time to plan your packing. To kick things off in style, Reshma Krishnan Barshikar tells us of Bali’s finest places to stay, its best boutiques and top tables, while with Fashion Week taking place this month in London, Milan, New York and Paris, we point you in the direction of those cities’ most fashionable must-dos. For a statement holiday, follow Liam Creedon to Papua New Guinea, where tree-dwelling kangaroos and men in masks greet him. Elsewhere, we explore Boston on foot, enjoy iconic railway journeys, tour Cuba with a camera in hand, and hunt out the gourmet treats of Istanbul. For something a little more relaxing, our guide to some sublime hideaway spas is just the ticket. And we haven’t forgotten it’s the month of love, either - we’ve got exclusive offers aplenty to romantic escapes guaranteed to play your heartstrings. Just 28 days? Easy.

Managing Director

Victoria Thatcher Editorial Director

John Thatcher Contributing Editors

Tracey Scott Leah Oatway Hazel Plush Senior Designer

Adam Sneade Designer & Illustrator

Andy Knappett Production Manager

Chalitha Fernando To contact any of the above people, email firstname@hotmediapublishing.com

Tracey Scott tracey@hotmediapublishing.com Jan-Jun 2013 | 22,920 | BPA Consumer Audit

@WT_magazine

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 World Traveller. Tel: 00971 4 364 2876 Fax: 00971 4 369 7494

Cover: Raffles Seychelles.

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Contents

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Destinations

Concierge

Istanbul is a fabulous city, rich in cultural diversity. It’s a fact that trickles down to its food, with the city home to some of the tastiest bites on the planet. Appetites at the ready as Rebecca Seal takes us on a gourmet tour. We also learn of the places that make Bali a big draw for the in-crowd.

Boston is one of America’s greatest (and oldest) cities, ripe for exploring on foot. Chris Coplan does just that, with a canine companion in tow. Elsewhere, Mike Unwin enjoys picture-perfect Cuba, while Liam Creedon encounters the incredible in Papua New Guinea.

The must-see architecture in Athens, the best bites in Kuala Lumpur, and railway journeys that will touch your soul - we have a host of ideas for a getaway to remember. Also, why you should enjoy the height of luxury (literally) at Dubai’s tallest hotel this very weekend...


DUBAI PALM JUMEIRAH


February // 2014

Check In The Essentials 6

You may have driven and loved South Africa’s Garden Route or Australia’s Great Ocean Road, but have you ever considered Ireland? The world’s longest (and dare we say most picturesque)

coastal touring road will be available there to drive from next month, stretching over 2,500km of untouched, rugged coast in the west of the country. Dubbed The Wild Atlantic Way, the winding

route from north to south takes in some of Mother Nature’s finest accomplishments, including the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry. Just be sure to pack an umbrella in your suitcase.


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LONDON ON A PLATE Park Lane’s newest gourmet resident, Lanes of London, is creating quite the culinary stir on the city’s food scene. Serving a sumptuous mix of dishes that hark back to the capital’s many lanes and districts – from the Indian cuisine at Brick Lane to the British classics found along Portobello Road – this upscale eatery is sure to become a hit with local and international gourmands. Occupying a late Edwardian mansion block designed by Frank Verity in the 1800s, the décor here is almost as good as the food. Ah, the food. Manning the kitchen is executive head chef Anshu Anghotra, who has sprinkled a dose of sophistication over London’s street food in mouthwatering fashion. lanesoflondon.com

> The tallest hotel in the US has swung open its doors in New York, giving the Big Apple’s skyline another architectural gem. The 68-storey Marriott hotel, located in Midtown Manhattan, stands at 753 feet and houses a 378-room Courtyard hotel and a 261-suite Residence Inn. Suitcases at the ready. residenceinn.com or courtyard.com

> Alila Hotels and Resorts is gearing up for the April opening of its Alila Jabal Akhdar resort in Oman. Built with the local environment in mind – the resort has been designed using locally-sourced materials wherever possible – this eco-friendly retreat will be sited 2,000 metres above sea level, overlooking the Hajar Mountains. alilahotels.com

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February // 2014

&

Turkey

A food tour of Istanbul is as historically revealing as its striking momuments, a new book reveals‌

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all the trimmings

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Istanbul developed a distinctive and incredibly rich and varied food culture

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here are many reasons to visit Istanbul but its dining scene may not have been the most obvious of them, at least not until now. A new publication, simply entitled Istanbul, sheds fresh light on the lipsmackingly great gourmet delights that are as rich as the Turkish capital’s history. “I wanted to write about Turkish food because I feel like it’s under-appreciated and it’s so delicious,” said author Rebecca Seal, “and focusing on Istanbul allowed me to write about food from all over Turkey - and in fact also about food from the surrounding region - because people from so many different communities live there.” Seal, a journalist, fell in love with Istanbul while studying the Middle East more than a decade ago but “over the years my interest in the food eclipsed my interest in the politics!” Frustrated at the lack of attention afforded to Istanbul’s vibrant culinary scene, last year Seal and her partner, photographer Steven Joyce, took several food tours of the city in a bid to rectify it. The result is their Hardie Grant-published book Istanbul, a delicious gastronomical jaunt through a city of contrasts, set against Joyce’s incredible food and travel images. “I first went to Turkey over a decade ago, so I’ve been back and forth a lot,” she told WT. “The main research and landscape photography was done over

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two extended trips last year though. I’m not sure there was one specific visit which inspired the book; the city is inspiring in itself, because it’s so mad and beautiful and intense, so it just seemed like a good idea.” Part of what makes Istanbul so fascinating, from a food perspective, is its demographic make-up and the culinary traditions and norms that various communities bring to the mix. “People in Istanbul come from everywhere imaginable – there are Kurds, Greeks, Armenians, Syrians, Iraqis, as well as Turkish people and people from all over Europe too,” Seal explained. “It’s always been a place where people from all over have come to live, and over the centuries that has developed a distinctive and incredibly rich and varied food culture, making it somewhere you can get absolutely delicious food.” And the standard, Seal confirmed, is high. “I think the food in Istanbul is wonderful, from the high-end restaurants that are opening up serving modern Turkish dishes, to the little stripe-roofed

carts serving rice pilaf or spicy sausage wraps late at night on street corners. “Food really is at the heart of Turkish life and is taken seriously, so there’s a lot of great stuff about, especially if you avoid the well-trodden tourist routes and eat where Turkish people are eating,” she said. “I really like the esnaf lokantasi that you find everywhere, which are simple tradesmen’s cafes, now used by everyone at lunchtime, for home-style traditional dishes, like spinach with rice and yoghurt, moussaka or kofte meatballs.” Istanbul’s gastronomy scene is constantly evolving, with international influences, including a Jamie Oliver restaurant, ever more apparent. But Seal doesn’t believe this will impact on the more traditional food culture. “The ingredients available to Turkish cooks are incredible too – highly seasonal, locally grown, reared or caught – the little deep-fried anchovies you eat for your supper with a squeeze of lemon and some salted sweet onions will have been swimming in the nearby Black Sea just a few hours earlier.”

We asked Seal to share some tasty tips on places to chow down in Turkey’s big city. Here are her recommendations… For a hearty local breakfast:

Van Kahvahelti (vankahvalti-evi.com) is brilliant for breakfast and especially for kaymak, a rich clotted buffalo milk cream served with yoghurt. Go for the breakfast platter. Coffee and snacks?

The market at Kadikoy is full of places for Turkish coffee and sticky sweet pastries. A great view?

On the Beyoglu side of the Galata Bridge you’ll spy a small fish market. At sunset, walk through it and beyond you’ll see several little grill carts serving fresh fish sandwiches for just a few Turkish lira, stuffed with herbs and fresh tomatoes and peppery rocket. Grab one of those and perch on the concrete waterside, facing the mosque and churches of the Old Town, and watch the sun as it goes down.

Either Lokanta Maya (lokantamaya. com) or Meze by Lemon Tree (mezze. com.tr), both brilliant but actually neither are budget busting (expensive in Turkish terms but not by London standards), although you must book in both as they’re very popular – both do excellent twists on Turkish food. Order anything, you won’t be disappointed.

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A family-friendly dinner?

Tavacı Recep Usta (tavacirecepusta. com): no booze and packed with families all evening, this is the place for wonderful lamb dishes. Check In

Istanbul by Rebecca Seal (Hardie Grant) Photography supplied by: Steven Joyce

A blow-the-budget evening meal?


Beach House Iruveli

AT BEACH HOUSE, DREAMS COME TRUE Today we have immersed ourselves in rich culture, uncovering deep layers of artisanal, artistic and culinary tradition. We have listened to ancient stories shared by warm local people, entranced in the magic of their world. We have been lavished with visionary service, have tasted exceptional cuisine, have explored land and sea, and been soothed by intuitive touch. And in perfect harmony, we have laughed, dancing across gentle sands warmed in celebration, as the beat of the bodu beru plays on. Here, at Beach House, we experienced the extraordinary. We invite you to do the same.

Beach House Iruveli, A Maldivian Sun | Beach House Pasikudah, A Sri Lankan Sun – opening 2014 www.beachhousecollection.com


February // 2014

Style in the city When it comes to fashionable cities, only the big four will do – New York, London, Milan and Paris. Check out this handful of hip hotels and haute hangouts just in time for fashion week

NEW YORK

STAY:

LONDON

STAY:

MILAN

STAY:

Bulgari Hotel

Armani Hotel Milano

Hotel Du Petit Moulin

The Big Apple is teeming with boutique hotels offering guests an alternative place to rest their fashionable heads this runway season. One such establishment is the Crosby Street Hotel, situated in New York’s SoHo neighbourhood. Fresh and contemporary in its design, the hotel offers 86 individually designed rooms and suites across 11 floors. Step outside your room and you’ll find a private cinema, roof garden and The Crosby Bar and Terrace. firmdalehotels.com

With the number of fashion house hotels rising, why not ride the trend and check yourself in to the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge. As you would expect from a luxury brand like Bulgari, its London hotel is achingly chic. The modern exterior blends into its historic surroundings with ease, leaving it up to the interior to transport its guests elsewhere. Sleek and luxurious is definitely the style throughout the 85 rooms and suites. bulgarihotels.com

When heading to Italy’s fashion capital, it makes perfect sense to stay at a designer hotel. The Armani Milano Hotel is a great place to start. Located in Milan’s fashion district, the Quadrilatero della Moda, the 95-room Armani is every inch as polished as the label itself. So chic is the hotel, you can’t help but lift your head that little bit higher upon check-in. Aside from the sizeable rooms there’s the 1,000-square metre spa overlooking the city from the top floor of the hotel. Time to make a reservation. milan.armanihotels.com

Picking a stylish hotel in Paris is like being asked to choose a favourite child: difficult. One great option to catch forty winks is the Christian Lacroixdecorated Hotel du Petit Moulin, found in the Marais district. The hotel, a former bakery, offers 17 individually decorated rooms, each of which tells a different story – one room mimics a dressmaker’s atelier, while others are themed around Baroque and 21st century design. hotelpetitmoulinparis.com

EAT: Walk your Jimmy Choos to Greenwich Village where you’ll find Whitehall, a Britinspired bar-cum-restaurant. whitehall-nyc.com

In nearby Raphael Street you’ll find Zuma, the contemporary Japanese restaurant serving up a chic interpretation of Japanese izakaya (pub) food. zumarestaurant.com

EAT: EAT: The Armani/Ristorante on the hotel’s seventh floor is worth checking out. Go late, pick a table by the window and indulge in the unfussy Mediterranean fusion menu.

SHOP: Treat shopping in New York like a marathon – load up on energy foods, pace yourself and keep going. Check out SoHo, Nolita, Midtown, Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue. * Fashion week February 6-13

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STAY:

Crosby Street Hotel

EAT:

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PARIS

SHOP: Nearby there’s Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Sloane Street, (deep breath), Brompton Road, Kings Road or Belgravia; all of which deserve some airtime. * Fashion week February 14-18

SHOP: Quadrilatero della Moda, a short distance from the Duomo, rightly ranks among the most important fashion districts in the world. * Fashion week February 18-23

Head to L’Ambroisie (a 10-minute walk from the hotel) for a taste of French haute cuisine. ambroisieparis.com

SHOP: Divide and conquer is a useful piece of advice when shopping in Paris. Take a district, dissect it and move on. Start at Paris’ most exclusive shopping streets Avenue Montaigne and rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. * Fashion week February 25 to March 5


February // 2014

To book one of these offers call dnata on +971 4 316 6666 or visit dnatatravel.com. Terms and conditions apply. On the same site you can also sign up to dnata’s newsletter and receive more offers direct to your inbox.

World Traveller Reader Offers If you’re feeling the love this month we’ve selected some of the finest hotels and resorts – and brilliant offers – to lose your heart to... dnatatravel.com

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

Bali Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay Offer: 4 nights starting from AED4,730 per person, or from AED8,755 including airfare. Includes: Stay three nights and receive an additional night free, plus receive an upgrade to the Ocean View One Bedroom Villa, breakfast daily and return airport transfers. Valid for stays from: February 9–April 15, 2014.

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Four Seasons Resort is located on the southern tip of the island of Bali, on the northeast slopes of Bukit peninsula overlooking the ocean and faraway seas. The resort’s luxurious villas are built into a gently terraced hillside named Bukit Permai, literally meaning beautiful hill, so what better way to indulge in some romance than here? Check In

Le Méridien Spa & Resort Limassol

Cyprus Le Méridien Spa & Resort Limassol Offer: 4 nights starting from AED1,190 per person, or from AED3,195 including airfare. Includes: Stay in a Garden View Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. Valid for stays from: Now til April 30, 2014.* * Blackout dates apply

Lying beside a 300-metre stretch of beach, amidst beautifully landscaped gardens, the design of Le Méridien Limassol Spa and Resort incorporates mosaic-tiled pools, stone arches, waterfalls and alluring passageways, great for getting lost in love. This luxurious ‘residents only’ resort features

complete privacy and a selection of delightful facilities and services exclusively available for its in-house guests. The trademark of this luxury retreat is the warm and genuine Cypriot hospitality complemented by impeccable service. Four nights here and you will leave feeling touched by Aphrodite herself.


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Malaysia Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur Offer: 3 nights starting from AED1,380 per person, or from AED4,725 including airfare. Includes: Stay in an Executive Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. Valid for stays from: Now til March 31, 2014.

Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur

The Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur’s newly-renovated guestrooms, including 101 luxuriously-appointed suites, are furnished with modern amenities to offer only the very best in comfort, making this one of the most loved and best places to stay in KL. Find yourself not only falling in love with the city, but indulging yourself inside the property too. Whether you want to experience the Shang restaurant or relax in the new Lemon Garden cafÊ, you can ignite all your taste buds on a break here.

Maldives Baros Maldives Offer: 4 nights starting from AED 11,310 per person, or from AED13,150 including airfare. Includes: Stay in a Water Villa with breakfast daily and return airport transfers, plus Welcome Hamper on arrival and one romantic in-villa breakfast per stay. Valid for stays from: Now til Apr 30, 2014. Baros Maldives is a true gem in the pristine waters of the Indian Ocean, only 20 minutes from Male Airport by speedboat; you can be submerged in the outstanding service and exquisite surroundings in no time at all. The uniqueness of this resort takes its inspiration from Maldivian tradition. A true heartfelt hospitality can be seen, felt and enjoyed throughout the resort, from the finest food, tailor-made activities and beautiful spa.

Hilton Labriz Resort

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Seychelles Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa Offer: 4 nights starting from AED5,510 per person, or from AED8,370 including airfare. Includes: Stay in a King Beachfront Villa with breakfast daily and return airport transfers, plus 15% discount on all spa treatments booked in resort. Valid for stays from: Now til Apr 13, 2014. Hilton Labriz is the ultimate remote romantic getaway. The only resort on Silhouette Island, awaiting you is a oncein-a-lifetime experience. With your own private villa (with a garden or pool), you really have the privacy you need. And with the most stunning spa built on stilts over the jungle and divine dining experiences, you really do become one with nature at the Hilton Labriz.

Switzerland Fairmont Le Montreux Palace Offer: 3 nights starting from AED 3,950 per person, or from AED5,740 including airfare. Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Lake View Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. Valid for stays from: Now til March 31, 2014* *Bookings are non-refundable

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Fairmont Le Montreux Palace

Turkey

Fairmont Le Montreux Palace is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, overlooking the Alps. Built in 1906, this jewel of Belle Époque architecture offers a traditional and elegant atmosphere, and a personalised and attentive service in true Swiss style. Spend three nights in a luxuriously furnished Lake View Room, offering both comfort and the latest technology. Begin your evening here at the intimate La Rose d’Or bar, followed by an unforgettable gourmet experience in Jaan.

W Istanbul Offer: 3 nights starting from AED1,430 per person, or form AED3,115 including airfare. Includes: Stay in a Wonderful Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Valid for stays from: Now til March 15, 2014.

W Istanbul

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Get lustful and regal in the W rendition of opulent Ottoman style for modern explorers - rooms and suites with a garden, terrace or cabana adorned with WiFi, the signature W bed and a whimsical harem of stylish luxuries. A glittering tower amidst gilded domes and minarets, chic shopping here, ancient monuments there - it’s always the best of both worlds in Istanbul.


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February // 2014

ALL ABOARD

Enjoy the uniqueness of rail travel while taking in some spectacular sights

BritRail Low Season Promotion

German Rail Pass “Springtime” Special

Rocky Mountaineer – 2014 Early Booking Bonus

Offer: 3 days starting from AED528 per person. Includes: Valid for First & Standard Classes. Valid for travel from: Now til February 28, 2014.* *ticket must be booked by February 15.

Offer: 5 days starting from AED805 per person. Includes: Valid for adult, youth, child and twin. Valid for travel from: Now til May 31, 2014.* *ticket must be booked by April 30.

Offer: 4 nights starting from AED5,690 per person. Includes: Up to $1,200 per couple in added value. Valid for travel from: April 1– October 31, 2014. *ticket must be booked before April 18.

Offers subject to availability. For further details and bookings, please contact nonairgsa@dnata.com or call +971 4 316 6671.

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Live the ultimate water adventure Book tickets online now at yaswaterworld.com Open daily from 10AM / +971 2 414 2000


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February // 2014

NEW OPENING

The hospitality brand behind the St. Regis and W Hotels, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, will mark its debut in Ajman this month. Ajman Saray, a Luxury Collection Resort, will offer guests 205 luxury rooms and suites – many with sweeping views of the Arabian Gulf – at its sizeable beachside location.

Desert tales Books inspired by the Middle East to bring on your travels

Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints And America’s Perilous Path In The Middle East

Rashid Khalidi Lawrence in Arabia

Scott Anderson A compelling account of war, deceit and imperial folly during WWI. Anderson pieces together one of the most epic and consequential periods in 20th century history – the Arab Revolt and the race to control the Middle East

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And the Mountains Echoed

Khaled Hosseini The bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns has penned another gripping novel centred on life in the Middle East. This time, his book focuses on love, humanity and self-discovery.

Drawing on his extensive knowledge of Middle Eastern politics, Khalidi’s powerful book, while not new, examines the record of Western involvement in the region.

The Sand Fish

Maha Gargash Set in the United Arab Emirates in 1950s – before the seven emirates became one country – Emirati writer Maha Gargash offers readers a glimpse into the life of a 17-year-old girl and her marriage to an older man.

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Bespoke

BALI From the very best places to stay and the must-shop boutiques, to how to relax in style and the island’s top tables, Reshma Krishnan Barshikar spills the beans on how to enjoy the high life in Bali

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February // 2014

hat is it about Bali? Je ne sais quoi. Yes, that is the only expression that can describe it. It has miles of sandy beaches, but so does Phuket. It has mouthwatering fresh seafood, but that’s just as good in Sri Lanka. It’s been bombed to bankruptcy and tsunamis have beaten it to rubble and yet the international jet set throng Kudeta in their Oscar De La Renta kaftans and their Shivan Naresh malliots, learning how to surf. The good life in Bali begins with where you stay. Sure you can sit back and watch the Indian Ocean lap at the edges of the stylish Legian, the elegant St. Regis or,

souvenirs. In the last decade, the heart of spring clothing clientele has arrived in Seminyak in droves. If you happen to stay at The Legian, then it’s best to begin at their boutique stocked with stunning resort wear from Shiva Diva. Step out and you’ll find a cluster of boutiques. My favourite are Nafsu for lovely fashion trinkets but jewellery hoarders will love Maru that stocks Indonesian inspired baubles made of copper, silver and gold. Jump into a cab, go past the Kudeta Beach Club, and get onto Ji Lakshmana to find Quarzia at 3A, which stocks stunning silk dresses hand painted using the traditional batik technique by two Italian designers.

from this month, the new Chedi Sakala. But another way to vacation is in a luxury villa. While there are few to choose from, my picks would be The Elysian, Pentai Lima, One Eleven Bali, Latitude Bali, the decadent Puri Ganesha or you could just choose Villa Bali Becik where Gado Gado, your butler not the salad, caters to your every whim. Think of arranging a personal yoga session with Kathy Cook, the island’s premier yoga instructor. Bali pulls at the heartstrings of the bohemian and the diva in a way incomparable to the rest of Asia and this has made it a haven for resort wear and lifestyle goods that have slowly become more than just travel clothes and holiday

Turn a corner where Ji Lakshmana meets Jalan Kayu Aya road and you’ll find Seminyak Square, a commercial restaurant and shopping hub. This is where you stock up on holiday reading at Periplus, Indonesia’s largest provider of English books, and groceries shopping at Casa Gourmet and Bali Deli, a favourite with expats. Step out of Seminyak Square and head down the road and you will find the The Hobo Store at 8B. The Hobo is the perfect blend of international design by Indonesian craftsman, all conceived by Anna Pretty who creates both mass production and high quality bespoke products. Want your home to look like The Legian or St. Regis?

Try The Orchard at number 33, the retail showroom of Ibal Designs, suppliers to over 70 hotels around the world. Bamboo Blonde is on the right of The Orchard and great for casual fashion. But if you prefer a name on your jeans then head to Lily Jean at number 58 and Nico Perez for breezy billowing linen shirts for the Heathcliff in your life. Ahead you’ll find irreverent hand-woven cotton and silk robes at Paul Ropp and natty lace dresses at the French Magali Pascal. Follow the bend and you’ll find over 50 brands including Alessi, Melissa, Baby Manis, Vivienne Westwood, design brand COVO at SimpleKonsepStore. If you care for something more vintage

Opening page: Chedi Sakala; Nijuh Djelantik. This page: One Eleven Bali.

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then head to Shalom Art Shop, next to the Oberoi, which specialises in mirrors and Venetian frames made in Java. Surfer boys, heads up! Dues Warung of Simple Pleasures at 32B is where actor Orlando Bloom shops for custom-made motorbikes and Drifter Surf Shop, down the road, is where he probably goes for all things surfing. Skin is great for casual natural fiber men’s wear. Aluminum lovers should head to YES, right opposite the fine art gallery Kebath and then to Café Zucchini for a glass of iced tea. Now hop into another cab and head for Ji Raya Kerobokan and hop out at the junction and saunter into the famous Niluh Djelantik, a favourite with the likes

icon in dishing up home-cooking Balinese style but if you’re feeling less coconut water and more Apple martini, then head back for a fashionable lunch at Kudeta before you head home for a long, welldeserved snooze. Having spent the morning exercising, the credit card I mean, it’s time to savour the ocean and nothing beats galloping along the beach on a stallion, the wind in your hair and sea salt spraying your face. Hire from Kuda Bahagia (balihorseadventure.com). Follow that up with a massage. Most local masseurs couldn’t find a knot if it stared at them in the face but Cendana Spa will make sure your every muscle goes soft, pliable as

of Uma Thurman and Gisele Bundchen, for bespoke footwear that combines high heels with comfort by using rubber platforms. A right on Ji Basangkasa will lead you to the Australian brand Enfant Paradis where heavenly scents will elevate your mood and make you want to pack your bags only to use their luxury travel skin care. By now your feet will be ready for Jari Menari’s ‘dancing fingers’ and yogainfluenced ‘long massage strokes’. Make sure to book ahead. Before you continue down the road for lunch at Made’s Warung, take a peek into Galeri Esok Lusa, which specialises in glass sculptures by Japanese artists. Made’s Warung is an

clay. If it’s a facial that makes you smile, then the Crème de La Mer facials at the cliff top Ayana Resort’s Spa on the Rocks will make you swoon; it might also empty your.wallet. After a blow dry, or perhaps a shave, at Spoiled at Kerobokan (book ahead), you are now prepped for the evening. Wine, dine and shop at the French food extraordinaire Metis, which comes attached to a divine boutique that sells intricate mother of pearl and silver hair accessories. I still wear mine. If you are looking to encapsulate your Bali moment, try the Pesta Lobster at the Ayana Resort in Jimbaran. Tucked away in their private jetty is your one table restaurant

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This page: Legian Bali.

overlooking Jimbaran bay with your own personalised framed lobster menu and rinkik orchestra. This is the moment solitaires were made for. If you’re ready to mingle and show that you rock, head back into Seminyak and

pull into The Potato Head Beach Club and join revellers who’ve been sipping bellini’s and having the perfect sundown. If you’re less Pucci and more Picasso, there are many art and antique emporiums like Horn Emporium and Aulia in Kerkoban, Stephanie Sensey and Icon Asian Arts in Seminyak but my favourite is Bali Gucci at Jalan Raya Basangkasa, which stocks an eclectic mix of antiques. If you’ve been everywhere and done all of that, just one phone call to Diana von Cranach at wellkeptsecrets.com will guide you to hidden beaches and whispered experiences that will have the most cynical globetrotter saying, ‘there’s something about Bali’.


World Traveller

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Having spent the morning exercising the credit card it’s time to savour the ocean

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Celebrate Valentine’s Day at the World’s Most Romantic Resort

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Treat your loved one to the most romantic Valentine’s of a lifetime by indulging your senses in an exceptional experience at idyllic Baros Maldives. Acclaimed as World’s Most Romantic Resort at the World Travel Awards grand final in 2013, the five-star resort offers GCC residents an exceptional experience on an island where guests can relax, explore and indulge themselves, all in one luxurious and award-winning destination.

Promotion

Only four hours away from the UAE by direct flight, and 20 minutes by speed boat from Male International Airport - guests are able to travel to this serene, private island resort with ease. Set in a translucent lagoon surrounded by a sun-drenched, white sand beach, ringed with a colourful coral reef, Baros Maldives is the ideal destination for a relaxing escape filled with diverse wonders that will delight every couple. Guests can enjoy the exclusivity of private dining on a sandbank in the Indian Ocean or experience an exotic lagoon fantasy on the newest addition to the delights of Baros Maldives, The Piano

Deck. The Piano is a small piano shaped platform in the middle of the lagoon, and is available for couples who want to be alone. The only sound is the natural music of splashing waves and the whisper of the caressing breeze. The resort has a plethora of water activities for the more active ones. Guests can hone their dive skills and enjoy the mesmerising colourful marine life with a Scuba Diving Experience under the guidance of a Baros Dive Instructor. The Baros House Reef encircles the island and is one of the best house reefs in the Maldives, found just a few swimming strokes away from the Beach Villas. It can be explored at any time with a complimentary snorkel mask from Divers Baros, the first resort EcoDive Centre in the Maldives. To begin 2014, let the award-winning Baros Maldives take you on a journey to discover the real spirit of the Maldives. Starting rates are from USD 605 per night ++ from May 1 to July 24. Rates vary throughout the year. Further information on Baros Maldives, please visit www.baros.com.

World Traveller Promotion

Experience Your Dream Vacation at Award-Winning, 5-Star Luxury Resort Baros Maldives


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Historic Hotel #8

PRISON BREAK

This Istanbul hotel hides a dark past – far removed from its five-star reincarnation‌

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February // 2014

ost high-end hotels pride themselves on their celebrity patrons, but while the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet has hosted its fair share of famous names, the most intriguing guests are the ones that stayed years before it even opened its doors. In the early 1900s, the hotel’s lodgers were all convicted felons – dissident famous figures, political campaigners and nonconformist artists – detained back when the building was known as Sultanahmet Prison. When it opened in 1918, the prison’s neoclassical architecture hinted at the avant garde nature of its detainees. Designed by Mimar Kenaleddin Bey, its imposing pointed arches and domes made it one of Sultanahmet’s most grandiose buildings – and handily it was located right next door to the city courthouse. Bey was a prolific Turkish architect, responsible for mosques, universities and schools throughout Istanbul. These days, his face can be found on 20-Lira banknotes, and his most famous construction has been transformed into a lavish hotel. The list of Sultanahmet Prison’s detainees includes many of Istanbul’s treasured artists and intellectuals: among them, poet Nâzım Hikmet Ran and playwright Orhan Kemal who were imprisoned for their Socialist leanings, and novelist Aziz Nesin for his role in publishing satirical journals. The inmates’ etchings and drawings can still be found in some of the building’s hidden nooks, and on the decorative arches that are so

Inmates’ etchings and drawings can be found in the building’s hidden nooks

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typical of Ottoman architecture – making the hotel a pilgrimage spot for aficionados of Turkish literature and heritage. On the hotel’s main gates, a small clue remains as to its original purpose: an inscription that reads ‘Dersaadet Cinayet Tevkifhanesi’ – or Capital City Murder Jail. The crimes of its detainees may seem trivial now, but in the nervous political climate of 1900s Istanbul they were seen as attempts to incite revolt, fuelling the fear of a Communist uprising. For its inmates, the skyline of iconic Istanbul – the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace –would have no doubt made a wistful sight from the poky cells. Now, that view is one of the hotel’s major selling points: all 65 of the rooms and Check In

suites are converted prison quarters, so guests can peer out from the very cells that Nesin and his contemporaries were confined to. The décor is, of course, well up to Four Seasons standards, but some fascinating original fittings remain: those teeny window frames are unchanged, as are the hand-painted tiles in the lobby and reception areas. Outside, don’t let the lush landscaped garden fool you: this used to be the

inmates’ exercise yard, a sparse walled compound around which they would pace. As the years have passed, contemporary Istanbul has developed outside these walls and the ‘old quarter’ of Sultanahmet, transforming the city into a cosmopolitan tourist destination. The joy of Istanbul lies in its colourful past, still visible in the fabric of its buildings and skyline – and The Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet is an enchanting example of this history.


First-class shopping in a central location Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel Directly connected to Dubai’s shopping destination - the Mall of the Emirates, the Sheraton offers comfortable suites in a prime location. Combine business with leisure and book our amazing family suite offers including sumptious breakfast buffet and Wii/PlayStation entertainment systems for kids. For more information and reservations please call +971 4 377 2005 or visit sheraton.com/dubaimalloftheemirates

©2013 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, Sheraton and their logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts ©2013 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, All Rightsvisit Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, Sheraton and their logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates. For full terms andInc. conditions, sheraton.com/dubaimalloftheemirates Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates. For full terms and conditions, visit sheraton.com/dubaimalloftheemirates


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February // 2014

IN THE SHADE Check out our top three sunglasses this season

> Planning on pounding the streets of Europe this season? Then arm yourself with this kitsch umbrella from globee.co.uk. European weather can be temperamental at the best of times so beat the rain by popping up this funky brolly, which depicts a colourful map of Paris.

Turn to Bulgari for some sophisticated eyewear

Playful stand-out shades from Burberry

These Fendi sunglasses make quite the style statement

Sleep with the fishes Zanzibar has welcomed a handful of new residents to the island of late. Our favourite is The Manta Resort, Pemba Island. Elevated and crafted along the beach, the six Sea Front Villas at this stunning resort are catching our attention almost as much as its Underwater Room (pictured) – a private floating island with your bedroom four metres below the surface. Then there’s the Park Hyatt Zanzibar in Stone Town, not quite as eye-catching (for an obvious reason) but just as luxurious. That’s it. We’re hopping on an airplane.

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February // 2014

Iru Fushi Beach & Spa

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Just a four-hour direct flight from Dubai, the Maldives is the archetypal paradisiacal escape, granting its guests crystal clear waters, powder-soft sands and achingly beautiful sunsets. Iru Fushi Beach & Spa is the Maldives’ newest luxury resort, 52-acres of swaying palm trees, exotic fauna and all of those aforementioned natural charms. From the moment your toes slip into the warm sand on arrival – you’ll be whisked here via a thrilling seaplane journey – you’ll feel completely at ease. But that’s not to say that relaxation mode should be your default setting while here – this a private island that affords ample opportunity to enjoy myriad leisure activities, including snorkeling and diving (two absolute must-dos while in the Maldives) and, for children, the fun-filled daily programmes at the aptly named Kidz Paradise. If, however, you’re all about down time, then there’s The Spa. Its 20 treatment rooms can be found at the heart of the island, amid lush greenery, and are complemented by hydrotherapy pools, steam rooms and a knowledgeable staff well versed in Ayurverdic principles, which they fuse with modern practices to offer bespoke treatments that are guaranteed to induce a state of sheer bliss. In fact, the only difficulty you’ll face at Iru Fushi Beach & Spa is in the choice of Promotion

restaurants and rooms. Just how do you decide between divine Asian dishes at Flavours, enjoyed in the most romantic of settings (over water, with the moon lighting your table) and fresh-from-theocean seafood, grilled to perfection at the beachfront Islander’s Grill? And that’s just two of the island’s 11 bars and restaurants. And then there’s your room. Will it be an exceptionally private Pool Beach Villa (pictured)? It features a large gazebo that’s perfect for al fresco dining under the stars, an open air bathroom (the best feature of which is its spa bath) and, of course, a lava-stone pool. Or the quintessentially

Maldivian over-water villas, which boast glass floor panels through which you can watch the underwater world swim by. Or how about a retreat? Nestled within verdant tropical vegetation, these stunning abodes boast all manner of absolute luxuries – the Celebrity Retreat, designed over two floors, houses a snooker room, gym, two swimming pools and a spa pavilion. We’ll leave that most enjoyable of dilemmas to you… T. +960 656 0591 W. irufushi.com

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Welcome to the Maldives’ latest slice of absolute luxury


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The Courses Dubai Golf offers the greatest selection of golf courses with a total of three championship courses included in your package:

The Creek course at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club The superbly manicured fairways at this 6,967-yard par 71 course is a memorable journey from the first tee to the 18th green.

February // 2014

Tee Time Many of golf’s greatest players have touched down in Dubai over the years to tee-off at the city’s award-winning courses: Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Henrik Stenson to name a few. The tournaments, too, continue to strengthen the city’s global golfing profile, with the DP World Tour Championship and Omega Dubai Desert Classic two of the biggest events on the calendar. Supporting the city’s push for golfing supremacy further is Dubai’s pool of luxury hotels, such as those in the Jumeirah Group, which has partnered with Dubai Golf to offer guests unique golfing packages throughout this month. World Traveller picks out the hotels you should swing into town for…

The Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club The flagship course at Emirates Golf Club, The Majlis championship course is a challenging par 72, 7,301-yard layout designed by Floridabased course architect Karl Litten.

The Faldo course at Emirates Golf Club Emirates Golf Club’s second championship golf course, which originally opened in 1996, was redesigned in 2005 by golf legend and six-time major winner Nick Faldo. Promotion

World Traveller Promotion Both Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club also provide floodlit 9-hole, par-3 courses. For tee times, simply ask the hotel concierge who will organise your times for you.


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Stay Jumeirah Emirates Towers This centrally-located hotel is a favourite among regular travellers to Dubai. Seamlessly combining state-of-the-art technology with luxury, Jumeirah Emirates Towers is the perfect place to stay for golf enthusiasts planning on fitting in 18 holes during a business or family trip. Guests here can choose from 400 luxurious rooms and suites, 15 dining and nightlife venues, and exceptional meeting and business facilities. Guests can also enjoy private beach access (valid once per person, per stay), with the option to spend a day at Madinat Jumeirah or Jumeirah Beach Hotel depending on availability. For golf widows, connected to the hotel you’ll find luxury miniature mall the Boulevard, where brands such as Bulgari, Cartier and Roger Dubuis sit alongside gourmet restaurants Al Nafoorah, Alfie’s, The Ivy, Hakkasan and the lively Studio F by Fashion TV. The perfect place to wind down after a tough day at the course.

Play Two-day special, including two nights’ stay at Jumeirah Emirates Towers and a round of night golf. Five-day package, including five nights’ stay at Jumeirah Emirates Towers and three rounds of golf at a choice of Dubai Golf courses. Seven-day spectacular, including seven nights’ stay at Jumeirah Emirates Towers and four rounds of golf at a choice of Dubai Golf courses. All three packages include green fees with complimentary golf club and shoe hire, complimentary breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi access, exclusive private beach access once per person, per stay, and complimentary access to Wild Wadi Waterpark once per person, per stay.

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For more information and reservations, call +971 4 319 8500, email JETreservations@ jumeirah.com or visit jumeirah.com/jetgolf

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February // 2014

Stay Madinat Jumeirah Spanning its own two-kilometre private beach, Madinat Jumeirah is an authentic recreation of ancient Arabia. The Arabian resort of Dubai is home to two boutique hotels – Al Qasr and Mina A’Salam – and 29 traditional summer houses called Dar Al Masyaf, and seven exclusive villas. From the wind tower-inspired architecture to the interconnecting waterways inside the property, visitors are transported to age-old Arabia when meandering around this fascinating resort. Aside from the five-star accommodation, you’ll find over 40 restaurants and bars, a souk filled with more than 75 shops, a theatre, the awardwinning Talise Spa and a wide range of lifestyle and relaxation facilities. And with an assortment of golf packages currently on offer, what better time to combine a golfing holiday with a true Arabian experience? Visit Jumeirah.com/mjgolf for more details.

Play Two-day special, including two nights’ stay at Madinat Jumeirah and a round of night golf. Five-day package, including five nights’ stay at Madinat Jumeirah and three rounds of golf at a choice of Dubai Golf courses. Seven-day spectacular, including seven nights’ stay at Madinat Jumeirah and four rounds of golf at a choice of Dubai Golf courses. All three packages include green fees with complimentary golf club and shoe hire, and access to Wild Wadi Waterpark. Visit Jumeirah.com/mjgolf for more details. For more information and reservations, call +971 4 366 8888 or email MJinfo@jumeirah.com

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Stay Burj Al Arab This sail-shaped, global icon offers the ultimate luxury golf break. Perched on its own man-made island, the all-suite hotel is made up of 202 luxurious duplex suites, with the hotel’s Royal Suite being the largest and ultimate dwelling. On arriving at the hotel – be it via the hotel’s chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce, Mercedes or helicopter (more on which in a moment) – take some time to explore the lobby area: here you’ll find the best views of the hotel’s infrastructure via the incredible atrium. When you’re done carding birdies on the golf course, you can choose to dine at one of nine outstanding in-house bars and restaurants, including the award-winning Al Mahara, where diners indulge in the most sublime seafood while sat alongside a stunning floor to ceiling aquarium. The Burj Al Arab will forever be synonymous with golf having had Rory Mcilroy drive balls off its helipad, and though we doubt you’ll be asked to do the same, Dubai’s most famous hotel has an abundance of luxurious attractions to make your stay go swingingly…

Play Two-day special, including two nights’ stay at Burj Al Arab and a round of night golf. Five-day package, including five nights’ stay at Burj Al Arab and three rounds of golf at a choice of Dubai Golf courses. Seven-day spectacular, including seven nights stay at Burj Al Arab and four rounds of golf at a choice of Dubai Golf courses. All three packages include green fees with complimentary golf club and shoe hire, a set of 14 full-size Hermès amenities for him and her, and dedicated 24-hour butler service. For more information and reservations, call + 971 4 301 7400 or email BAAreservations@jumeirah.com 40

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February // 2014

PART of the TRIBE 41


February // 2014

Birds of Paradise, tree-dwelling kangaroos and men in colourful masks greet Liam Creedon on a trip to Papua New Guinea

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Never spend more than 24 hours with a woman,” the village ‘bigman’ huskily intones, pausing to scratch his nose with the sharpened tip of an arrow. “It will make a man lose his magic and his powers will be weakened.” Advice from a Huli tribesman in the Papua New Guinea Highlands is generally heeded, especially if given by a man whose facial expression is masked under a thick layer of red and yellow war paint, whose nose is pierced by the long quill of a cassowary, and who is naked apart from a pig-tail belt. Seated around an open fire in the gloom of a smoke-stained hut, my interpreter explains that to preserve his ‘powers’ the chief lives separately from his three wives. Wife number one lives next door in a similar lean-to, sharing space with the animals and children. Other wives and relatives are housed around the settlement, guarded on all sides by steep mud walls designed to deter attacks from marauding neighbours. While the women tend to the cooking, child and pig-rearing duties, the chief devotes his thoughts to the two great concerns of the Huli male - war and gardening. I have the unsettling feeling that I’ve stumbled back into the Stone Age. Papua New Guinea is a place you don’t forget in a hurry. Sandwiched between Northern Australia’s Cape York Peninsula and the sultry haze of the Equator, New Guinea is the world’s second largest island after Greenland. While Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern part of the island, Papua and West Papua in the west belong to Indonesia. Papua New Guinea


World Traveller

February // 2014

Crocodiles play an important – and painful – role in the tribes that populate the region of East Sepik. The Sepik River is home to some one of the world’s largest crocodile populations and the tribes believe that men and crocodiles are bonded by the virtues

of strength, power and manhood. They also believe that no one can claim the status of ‘man’ until they have been scarred with the mark of the crocodile - numerous cuts made to resemble scales that run all the way down the back, from the shoulder to the hip.

It is a sweltering hotchpotch of jagged peaks, half-forgotten malarial swampland, mighty rivers and remote, enveloping rainforest. The island, shaped like a scurrying forest bird, is the most culturally diverse place on earth with more than 800 active languages spoken by its seemingly limitless ethnic groups and tribes. This variety is matched by New Guinea’s wildlife where kangaroos live in trees and birds appear to strut about in fancy dress. For a land where travelling from A to B can still be something of a challenge, Papua New Guinea has a mind-boggling number of airstrips - more than 400 at last count. I was earnestly pondering the veracity of this claim as my tiny plane plummeted toward a tangle of jungle and certain oblivion. At the last minute, the Highland airstrip of Tari shook itself free from the greenery. The island’s startling diversity is best expressed in the Highlands - a vast, previously impenetrable region sheltering broad, fertile valleys where the majority of Papuans live. The area was only discovered by European explorers in the 1930s. Tari is Huli territory. The Huli are the largest ethnic group in the area, their distinctive red and yellow ochre colours noticeable everywhere, from face-paint to wooden fence posts guarding the airstrip. Traditional culture thrives here. The unsealed Highlands Highway is the only road, where Huli saunter barefoot, casually swinging machetes, their heads crowned with bamboo creepers - a Huli mark of

The island’s startling diversity is best expressed in the Highlands 43

respect to the jungle. Children pause from pig-walking duties to wave as our van travels ever higher to Ambua Lodge, situated at 7,000ft in the Tari Gap, a world famous bird-watching area. I find myself standing at a village edge, face to ochre-painted face with a man whose headdress is taller than he is. Four


February // 2014

Opening page: Local tribes celebrating the traditional Sing Sing. Previous page, clockwise from left: Huli warriors performing Traditional Dance; Tree kangaroo; Man in traditional dress canoeing. This page: Bird Hunter at waterfall in the Southern Highlands.

It is a sweltering hotchpotch of jagged peaks, half-forgotten malarial swampland, mighty rivers and remote, enveloping rainforest

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Papua New Guinea


World Traveller

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feathers in particular stand out, lending him the appearance of someone who’s suffered a catastrophic collision with a radio transmitter. “Birds of Paradise feathers,” whispers Peter, my interpreter. The village is preparing for a festival. Gardening is temporarily forgotten, headdresses are dusted off, cassowary quills straightened through septums and face-paint applied via plastic handheld mirrors. Carved ribs, giant hornbill beaks and blue beads adorn necks. A forest clearing reveals men delicately tending to oversized wigs. Huli wigmen are famous across Papua New Guinea.

Medang is dubbed the ‘prettiest town in the Pacific’

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They attend wig schools where they’re taught incantations to encourage hair growth. The hair is then harvested and used for ceremonial wigs. Selling these helps the young men save for the allimportant ‘bride price’. Acquiring a wife means they can enter adult Huli society. The island is the world’s best birding location and the Tari Gap one of the country’s top spots. A lack of predators and glut of food has encouraged extravagant diversity, epitomised by the Birds of Paradise. A 5am start reveals the first in a series of birds seemingly designed by a madman. The silhouette of a tennis ball attached to a metre-long black streamer bounces through the dawn gloom. “Stephanie’s Astrapia,” Peter mouths - my first ever Bird of Paradise. This is bettered by the appearance of a thrush-sized bird with TV antennae Papua New Guinea

Text by: Liam Creedon Photography supplied by: Corbis / Arabian Eye

February // 2014


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February // 2014

protruding from its forehead. Binoculars reveal the antennae to be checked blue and black - King of Saxony Bird of Paradise is added to my list. Madang, nestling against the warm waters of the Bismarck Sea on Papua New Guinea’s north coast, provides welcome respite after the nervous excitement of the Highlands. Dubbed the ‘prettiest town in the Pacific’, Madang is the island’s leading tourist destination with a good range of hotels and excellent diving. In the Fifties, the Malolo Plantation Lodge was the first place in the province where locals could sample alcohol. The raucous atmosphere is long-gone; the sound of waves crashing on the black-sand beach the only distraction nowadays. More developed than the Highlands, Madang’s stifling tropical heat lends the region a laid-back feel. It’s also one of Papua New Guinea diving jewels, boasting gin-clear water, extravagant wildlife and carcasses of warships holed during WWII. Being a coward I opt for snorkelling. A hollowed-out canoe deposits me on a tiny coral cay seemingly lifted from a Bounty advert. A confetti of psychedelic fish dance like underwater butterflies before my face-mask - zebra stripes, vermilion, sulphur with a blue trim - every feasible pattern is represented. But it’s the corals that steal the breath. I drift over a giant purple brain, then dodge between the stiff leaves of a four-metre cabbage, the reverie broken only by a sea cucumber vomiting up its stomach to deter a snorkeller. I recall the ‘bigman’s’ warning. I’d spent much longer than 24 hours with Papua New Guinea. Rather than stealing my powers, her magic had soaked me to the core. Opposite page, from top left: Performers wearing traditional costumes apply face paint for the Mount Hagen Cultural Show; Lesser Bird of Paradise; Children going to School. This page, clockwise from top: Sing Sing at Mount Hagen; A Huli tribesman cooks vegetables over a Mumu; A traditionnal hut belonging to the Kaluli Tribe.

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February // 2014

Every US manned mission to space has launched from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, including that of Apollo 11 which took Aldrin, Armstrong and Co to the moon in 1969. You can visit and tour the Space Center, touching an actual moon rock, walking under the largest rocket ever made and meeting a veteran NASA astronaut as you go.

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United States of America


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February // 2014

Iconic

FLOR IDA

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February // 2014

Hailed by its citizens as America’s riviera, the city of Miami Beach spans only seven square miles yet packs in enough to make it a go-to playground for the country’s fun-seekers. One of its biggest attractions is its Art Deco District, the seeds of which were set during America’s Great Depression when the building of small hotels gave the city a boost.

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United States of America


Photography supplied by: Corbis / Arabian Eye

World Traveller

February // 2014

Walt Disney World is the younger sibling of LA’s Disneyland and was only built after the death of Walt Disney (he died in 1966, five years before the park opened). Mickey’s second, bigger, home saw the introduction of Disney’s resort hotels and that of the ever-popular Epcot, factors that have helped make it the most popular of the two.

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February // 2014

Remote Control Take charge of your yourself again by checking into one of these far-flung spas

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Spas


World Traveller

February // 2014

1. Botanique, Brazil Words: Kate Suiter

Ah, Rio! It’s impossible to tire of the place, but sometimes when it’s 40C outside, the – relative – cool of the mountains calls. Now, a serious respite, in the form of the recently opened Botanique, is only a one-hour flight away. This is a small but luxurious spa and hotel set in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest (a drier, more alpine spot than the rainforest), a cool hideaway that fills up with well-off São Paulo types at the weekends. What’s different about the spa, then? Treatments here use AfroBrazilian ingredients that are locally sourced. That translates to a deep-cleansing facial with Amazonian clay. And the rainforest sauna was a treat — you lie on big stone slabs while the steam builds, then every couple of minutes there is a downpour of rain. What’s the accommodation like? Spacious, with every eco-luxury. You can stay in a two-room villa in total seclusion; guests are allocated a main “carer” to look after their every need, including booking spa treatments. There is no concierge, or even a front desk. This works well for the most part: the only drawback is that when your contact is not available, it can be difficult to find anyone who speaks any language other than Portuguese. What else is there to do? The resort is set in 700 acres, with the spa cut into the hillside, so you can indulge in walks, horseriding or trekking, and there is a pool that opened this month. We became obsessed by the local bird life, helped by the box set of bird-call info and binoculars in every room. It’s a beautiful place, and very peaceful — no cars are allowed. But, after two or three nights, you will be ready to get back into the swing of things. Where next? When you have recharged your batteries, head back to the Rio beaches and check into the super-luxe and impossibly glamorous Copacabana Palace; the hotel has received a total makeover and is looking fabulous. If Soho House chic is more your thing, the cool place in town is the Fasano. Overlooking Ipanema beach, it has a private rooftop pool, spa and a bar.

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February // 2014

2. Castello Di Casole, Italy Words: Laura Atkinson

Where do hipsters go for a spa break when they grow up? Italy, that’s where, because there they can combine it with a foodie blowout. Head to Castello di Casole in Tuscany, a new five-star boutique hotel and spa perched high among the hill towns. The focus on the gastronomic here even extends to the beauty menu – the spa uses local ingredients such as honey and olive oil in its treatments, and even a pedicure is matched with a glass of the local wine. Relaxation plus indulgence make for a blissful combination. What else is great? It’s all very simple and luxurious at Castello di Casole. There are pools you can chill out in, or opt for the whole head-to-toe thing. We especially liked the Doposole facial, a hydrating treatment for the face, neck and decolletage that will stop the burn after a day in the scorching Tuscan sun. What’s the poolside vibe? Laid-back luxe — don’t do the full-on bling thing, but, at the same time, torn denim cut-offs just won’t pass. Think pretty prints, heels at night and the best sunglasses money can buy (Prada, please). Will I eat too much? If those Italian girls can still look good by the infinity pool while enjoying their pasta, so can you. Luckily, the spa runs yoga and Pilates classes in the old chapel — join the Lululemon-clad Yanks early doors for a quick tone up before breakfast.

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What else is there to do? Truffle-hunting trips, wine tastings and cookery lessons are all on your doorstep. Or go on a foodie pilgrimage to nearby Panzano, where the fabulous butcher Dario Cecchini is based. Fans travel from all over the world for a table at his restaurant. What if we’re being lazy? Apart from days spent by the pool drinking raultinis (a negroni with added Aperol), try a spin around the estate with the handsome gamekeeper, Paolo, spotting deer and wild boar.

Spas


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February // 2014

It’s all very simple and luxurious at Castello di Casole

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Spas


World Traveller

February // 2014

3. Amanzo’e, Greece Words: Linda Burrows

From the food to the parade of Dior swimsuits by the pool, it’s luxury all the way

Fuzzy brain? Knotted back? One shoulder higher than the other? Head to Amanzo’e, in the Peloponnese, for the alignment and movement retreat. The programme teaches you how to correct your posture, with the help of three leading experts: Ivana Daniell (Pilates), John Loftus (cranial osteopathy) and Steve Karle (watsu). What’s watsu? In a custom-built pool kept at body temperature, you’re immersed up to your ears, while Karle holds your head and gently swirls you around in the water, moving different parts of the body, and using yoga and shiatsu to restore its natural fluidity. This is topped off with ‘water poetry’: ancient Tibetan singing bowls create a musical massage underwater that vibrates all around your body. It’s seriously relaxing. And the rest of the programme? Loftus manipulates your twisted frame to unblock the body’s cranial flow and release tension. He also sorted out my tilted pelvis. Daniell will diagnose what type of exercise is right for you and put you through your paces at the retreat, as well as suggesting exercises to do at home. After a week, I felt balanced, destressed and totally re-energised. What’s the resort vibe? Set among olive groves, with views of the Aegean, it’s total luxe, with a personal assistant to meet your every need. From the local food on the menu and the sweet smell of lavender, basil and Greek herbs growing on the villa rooftops to the parade of Dior swimsuits by the pool, it’s luxury all the way. What about partners? They can charter Wally One, the hotel’s speedboat, to island-hop deserted beaches. Kayaking and windsurfing are on offer at the private beach club. For those seeking a little culture, you’re surrounded by ancient Greek history, with Mycenaean temples and ruins galore. Anything else I should know? It’s about two hours from the airport. They’ll send the helicopter for you, but that’s another $3,000.

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4. Raffles, Seychelles Words: Claudia Croft

If you want your spa experience to come with a large dose of escapism, and you’re tired of the lack of variety and isolated feel of the Maldives, then it’s the Seychelles for you. And once there, it has to be Raffles. The bluechip resort may have opened three years ago, but a new spa manager has brought with her a host of excellent therapists from all over the world and a mission to make the place stand out from the luxury crowd – all in a setting of white sand, spectacular volcanic rock formations and vibrant Creole culture.

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What about the spa? The new Body & Soul Journey provides a structured programme to guide you back to wellbeing. A combination of spa treatments and exercise, it can be as energetic or relaxing as you like. Nobody’s going to force you to do anything, so if you lack self-discipline, you might not get as much out of it as you could. It is worth dragging yourself out of bed for the excellent dawn yoga and stretching sessions, which take place in a scenic open-air pavilion overlooking the bay. Coconut oil and pearls (there’s a pearl farm in the waters here) are key local produce, and the spa’s Pure Pearl signature treatment combines both. Part massage, part body-polishing with therapeutic-grade pearl powder, it’s relaxing and refreshing, and your skin will glow afterwards. Elsewhere, the spa uses Kerstin Florian products for most beauty treatments. What’s the vibe? It’s luxurious but warm, and the staff are passionate about sharing their expertise (don’t miss the bar manager’s flavoured rum tasting). The hillside villas are spacious, with their own plunge pool, butler and on-call golf buggies to ferry you around. Who goes? It’s a real global mix, from wealthy Russians in Spas

designer denim to the Chinese elite who drink Dom at dinner, well-to-do French families and frazzled City types who alternate between checking their iPhones by the pool and rubbing lotion into their pretty girlfriends. It’s also honeymoon central. What should I pack? It’s dressy but not stuffy; tasteful as opposed to trashy. Heidi Klein or Eres cozzies and Céline shades for posing by the infinity pool (the largest in the Seychelles). At night, work a floaty maxi dress, kitten-heel sandals and lashings of delicate gold jewellery. For excursions, think Isabel Marant in the jungle. What else can you do? You can tour the island’s national park, one of the few places in the world where wild coco-de-mer trees grow, feed the giant tortoises on nearby Curieuse Island, hop over to the main hub of Mahé, or cycle around the mostly car-free La Digue.


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It’s dressy but not stuffy; tasteful as opposed to trashy


February // 2014

WALK this WAY Chris Coplan heads off with a canine companion in tow to explore one of America’s oldest cities…

This page, clockwise from below: Trinity Church and John Hancock Tower; Fairmont Copley Plaza; Massachusetts State House; Newbury Street; Slice of Boston Cream Pie; Mandarin Oriental Boston.

’ve always aspired to have a girl in every port. In Boston my sweetheart is Catie Copley. But hold on… Catie is a dog and a dog with a job – she’s the Canine Ambassador of the historic Fairmont Copley Plaza, which is more than a century old. Catie is a 12-year-old Rubenesque black labrador who was trained as a guide dog but now lives at the hotel. She has become something of a Boston celebrity, with two books under her collar. When not greeting guests in the Fairmont’s opulent lobby, she accompanies them for walks. So what better way to see the city that promotes itself as America’s Walking City than with Catie? Boston is awash with historic sites, most of which are located in a relatively compact area of often-cobbled streets – lined with gorgeous colonial-era architecture – that are a delight to walk. We set off from the Fairmont, located in the Back Bay neighbourhood and designed by Henry Hardenberg, who masterminded some of New York’s most iconic hotels, including the Plaza and the Waldorf Astoria. It sits on the corner of Copley Square, an architectural treat whose centrepiece is the majestic Trinity Church, a flamboyant French-Romanesque masterpiece built in 1877. Opposite is the renaissance-style Boston Library and towering above Trinity Church is the shimmering John Hancock Tower.

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We walked one block and turned right on to Newbury Street, lined with exclusive stores and fashionable restaurants such as Joe’s American Bar & Grill at No 181. We turned left and then right on to Commonwealth Avenue, a majestic boulevard, shaded by elm trees and which Winston Churchill described as one of the world’s finest streets. We sauntered through the charming Boston Public Garden, passing the imposing bronze statue of George

Charles Dickens stayed at the Parker House Hotel while rehearsing A Christmas Carol Washington, then crossed Charles Street on to the magnificent 50-acre Boston Common. Established in 1634, and America’s oldest public park, the common is drenched in colonial and revolutionary history. It is the starting point of the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile walking

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tour through some of Boston’s oldest neighbourhoods. Marked by double rows of red sidewalk bricks or a painted red line, it includes 16 historic sites linked to the American Revolution. At the Visitor Center at 168 Tremont Street, on the edge of the Common, you can pick up a Freedom Trail brochure or audio tour for a self-guided tour. We followed the red-brick road across the Common to the New State House – which was, in fact, completed in 1798. From here, we took a quick detour to see Boston’s most picturesque and affluent neighbourhood, Beacon Hill, which borders the common. Walking down Mount Vernon Street, we passed elegant 19th-century townhouses, antiquated gaslights, and courtyards, taking a peek down tiny, cobbled Acorn Street and Louisburg Square. Doubling back on Mount Vernon, we

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turned down Walnut Street to rejoin Beacon Street, and pick up the Freedom Trail again on Park Street. We passed the exquisite 1809 Park Street Church – the site of the old town granary – and continued to bustling School Street and

Boston Common is America’s oldest public park the Parker House Hotel. It was here that the deliciously decadent Boston cream pie – a cake filled with custard or cream and topped with chocolate icing – and the Parker House roll, a rich buttery puffy bread roll, were invented. The hotel is steeped in history:

Charles Dickens stayed there while rehearsing A Christmas Carol; Ho Chi Minh, who trained under Escoffier in Paris, was a pastry chef here, before he returned to wrestle Vietnam from the French and Americans; and Malcolm X, cut from a very different type of revolutionary cloth, did a stint as a busboy. In the restaurant, I sampled the cream pie – OK, the Parker House roll as well – at the same table (No 40) where JFK proposed to Jackie. We continued on the Freedom Trail to Court Street, where we are dwarfed by gleaming skyscrapers, and arrive at the Old State House. The elegant brick building was built in 1713 and it was from the small balcony that the Declaration of Independence was first read in 1776. Directly in front of the building, encircled by cobblestones, is the spot where the Boston massacre took place

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in 1770. British troops opened fire on an angry mob of protesters, killing five people. At this point, we left the Freedom Trail and ambled down State Street, ending up on the bustling waterfront at the mouth of the Charles River. Here, in 1773, is where the infamous Boston Tea Party took place, when a group of taxavoiding colonists, disguised as Mohawk Indians, committed treason by dumping 342 chests of tea into the harbour. We returned to the Fairmont on Boston’s excellent subway, known locally as the “T”. As I made my way to the elevator, I glanced back at Catie, now relaxing in her basket in the opulent lobby and being pampered by passing guests. It’s a dog’s life at the Copley Plaza.

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This page, clockwise from top: Boston Common sign; Boston Common; Omni Parker House Hotel; Charles River and Boston Skyline; Fountain near Boston Common and the Park Street Church. United States of America

WHERE TO STAY Head to Back Bay, an exclusive neighbourhood in the city, and you’ ll find The Fairmont Copley Plaza, Mandarin Oriental Boston and Four Seasons Hotel Boston, all three of which are fabulously located for strolling to the city’s sights. In the city’s theatre district is the Taj Boston, an historical gem whose rooms offer up arresting views. Book at dnatatravel.com


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H ΔVΔ NΔ GOOD TIME

From cigar-rollers and Cadillacs to its mighty mountain ranges and cowboys, Cuba is a picture perfect island, as Mike Unwin discovers

This page: Cuban man in Old Havana. Next page, clockwise from top left: Tobacco farmer rolling cigar; Town in Sancti Spiritus Province, viewed through an arch of a building, World Heritage town of Trinidad.

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ehind the opulent carved front door it’s a typical colonial Cuban living room. Framed Spanish ancestors glower down on to antique furniture; afternoon sunlight streams through wrought-iron window bars across the tiled floor. Typical in all respects except, perhaps, the two horses that stand patiently between the bamboo easy chair and mahogany coffee table. My daughter is dumbstruck as we edge past the animals to the tray of welcome drinks. “This is Luna,” explains our host, Julio Muñoz, patting the larger beast, “and this is her foal.” The youngster has been unwell so he’s brought her inside to keep an eye on her. As you do. To be fair, Julio – photographer, horse whisperer and local celebrity in the Unesco World Heritage town of Trinidad – is probably not your average Cuban. But, one week into our tour, “average” is

Our Cadillacs and Chevrolets cut an incongruous dash in the Plaza de la Revolución

proving tricky to pin down. Cuba seems to be one bizarre juxtaposition after another – rumba dancers jiggling in front of revolutionary slogans, old ladies chewing on stonking cigars – and we are learning to expect the unexpected. It is such images, of course, that make the island so famously photogenic. I’m here, with my family and four others on an innovative tour. The idea is to combine a holiday, taking in some of the island’s classic sights, with a basic photography course. Something to keep all ages both busy and happy. Julio is the second of two local photography guides on our trip. Already he has led us on a walkabout through town, doffing his cowboy hat to elderly señoras. We clicked away at his promptings: stooping low to capture a rose-pink 1960s Cadillac before the crumbling Convento de San Francisco; panning wider for a full street tableau – barefoot children, pastel houses, skinny

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Nearly 50 years after his death, Che Guevara’s enduring legacy sees his face daubed on walls throughout Cuba. An Argentinian, it was Che’s leading role in the Cuban revolution that

gent with pet iguana. Now, back in his living room, we are learning the theory. “See how it leads the eye in.” Julio explaining the one-thirds principle of picture composition, uses his own slide show to demonstrate that placing the subject at the intersections in an imaginary grid of thirds, rather than centering it, gives the viewer a sense of expectation. “Aaah!” we chorus, as he illustrates the point with one stunning image after another. Our clicking began a week earlier in Havana, where government tour guide Ari Perez met us at the airport. Over the past week, driving from A to B, he has been regaling us with the virtues of his homeland, how it has clung to its ideals through five decades of US imperialist aggression. His commentary has not been without its subtext: a frustration at the lack of passports, internet access and other Western indulgences. But all that may be about to change. Once the first trickle of private enterprise opens the floodgates, so popular opinion has it, the island’s unique qualities will – for better or worse – be swept away in a deluge of bland Western consumerism. And so, with just one full day in Havana, we piled into a fleet of vintage American cars and rumbled out from our hotel in search of the capital’s legendary faded grandeur. Our Cadillacs and Chevrolets cut an incongruous dash in the Plaza de la Revolución as we passed beneath a vast mural of a clearly disapproving Che Guevara. Dismounting in the city centre, we followed Ari on foot into the labyrinth of Habana Vieja (the old town). Our cameras fell greedily on the life and colours of the street: elegant colonial interiors, street vendors hawking ballet shoes, a caged parrot in a chocolatier’s window. For a nation squeezed into austerity, the place seemed brimful of life. At a tourist restaurant – ice cream for youngsters, mojitos for parents – the toasties were unimpressive (Cuba is not for

secured his iconic status in the country – and indeed beyond, immortalized as asymbol of rebellion. In the new government formed after the revolution, Che achieved much, including

foodies) but the house rumba band was fabulous. The following afternoon saw us high above a valley, some 175km to the west of the capital, gawping at the panorama of Viñales. “Switch to aperture priority and try a low F-stop,” suggested Harold, the self-effacing young photography guide who had joined us in Havana. We scrolled through one another’s images, trying to decide who had best captured this improbably chocolate-box landscape – its massive limestone buttresses punching up through a green patchwork of field and

spearheading a nationwide literacy campaign. But his quest for a global revolution took him beyond Cuba and lastly to Bolivia, where he was captured and killed in 1967.

forest against a storm sky of angry purples and pinks. Farming in Cuba remains highly traditional, the collapse of the sugar industry after the demise of Soviet Russia having spelt the end of large-scale production. This, after all, is a country with one of the lowest per capita carbon footprints on Earth. It all made for an appealing mix the next morning as we set out on foot to explore the Viñales Valley. We snapped away as pigs rootled beneath grenadilla hedgerows, a farmer led his bullock through an arrowroot field and a

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WHERE TO STAY Views of the 19th-century architectural splendours that abound in Havana are best enjoyed from the rooftop pool at the Saratoga hotel. Equally easy on the eye is the view from the Santa Isabel, a grand 18th-century palace which looks down on Havana’s old colonial square. Stay at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba and you’ ll follow in the footsteps of Hemingway and Sinatra.

heron flapped over the spiky palisades of pineapple plants. At the end of a village track were the tobacco sheds, wrinkled leaves arranged on drying racks in the dark. Cuba’s cigar industry is hailed as a paragon of the small-scale, organic and communitybased – and yet it is tobacco. Nobody dared interrupt Ari’s spiel with awkward questions, however, as he explained how the traditions are passed down through generations, that cigars are in fact good for you and how all that imperialist antismoking propaganda was just aimed at destroying Cuba’s economy. Certainly the details were remarkable: a cigar receives such loving attention, on its long journey from field to humidor, that an estimated 173 hands touch each leaf. “Try turning off the flash,” suggested Harold, as we entered a dark room to watch a wizened tobacco farmer rolling a cigar – aromatic triga leaves for the inside, tougher capa leaves for the sheath. “A blur gives you more action.” The aroma of roasting coffee beans competed with that of the leaves twisting between his nimble fingers as we jostled to capture pictures. The children, meanwhile, were thrilled at having pretend puffs on the finished product. “Did you get a picture, Dad? How cool was that!” Deep in Cuba’s pastoral interior it is easy to forget you are on a Caribbean island. But it was the Caribbean that provided our next stop. The Bay of Pigs, in the island’s southwest, is best known for the ill-fated American sponsored invasion of 1961. It was in the warm, shallow waters of Playa Girón – near our beach

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For a nation squeezed into austerity, the place seemed brimful of life

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The sea was suitably turquoise and the darting reef fish did their kaleidoscopic stuff

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hotel – that a CIA-trained team of 1,400 exile paramilitaries came ashore, only to be defeated by Castro’s revolutionary guard. Among the relics at a nearby museum, colourful rhetoric celebrated the deeds of the heroes – one of whom, before expiring, had scrawled ‘Viva Fidel’ in his own blood on the side of a tank. Outside, belligerent-looking land crabs scuttled across the sand, their pincers echoed the military hardware on display. Cold War history – along with cameras were abandoned the next morning as we headed to the nearby coral lagoon of Caleta Buena for a spot of snorkelling. The Cuba

sea was suitably turquoise and the darting reef fish did their kaleidoscopic stuff. My daughter and I watched a line of cuttlefish hang above the bottom, warning colours pulsing along their spaceship bodies, until a swish of my flipper sent them rocketing away. As we continued east, via the Frenchinfluenced coastal town of Cienfuegos and the beaches at Costa Sur, Ari warmed to his themes. Tongue-in-cheek complaints about “our American friends” had become more vehement as he bemoaned the suffering wrought by sanctions, but just as quickly dissolved into a grin. “In Cuba,”

he explained, with a wink, “we solve all our problems with drink, cigars and ‘cushy-cushy’.” Indeed. And so to Trinidad, jewel of southern Cuba, tucked away among a picturesque cluster of hills halfway along the south coast. Having met Julio and his horses on day one, day two sees us clambering onto the saddle and trotting after him into the lush countryside. We wind among sugar plantations and splash through streams before reaching a hacienda, where raw cane is crushed into syrupy drinks and an old-timer belts out Spanish love songs on a battered four-string guitar. Finally we dismount, gingerly, for a lavish lunch at La Finca de Leonardo, Julio’s family home, where a table is laden with rice, beans and shrimp salad, and a pig turns slowly on a spit. “I want to visit Scotland,” says Julio’s daughter María, as she pours Cuban Colas for the children. “I want to meet J K Rowling.” Julio does not forget his responsibilities. After lunch we pull over at a ford where, parked in the river – rear wheels in the water – is a classic red Cadillac. Julio lines us up on the bank, with the light behind us and then plays his trump card: a cowboy gallops into the shallows and, with dazzling horsemanship, makes circuit after circuit around the vehicle, sending plumes of spray across the gleaming fenders. We snap away from every angle – trying to distill into one winning image all we’ve learnt in the past week about movement, colour and composition. Those with more ambition or fancier cameras have ample time to experiment with different settings. The results, at least in my case, are rather less impressive than the spectacle. But it’s a breathless and thrilling half hour. Cadillac, cowboy, all we need to complete the cliché is Che Guevara chomping on a cigar. But these images are famous for a reason. Yes, our tour has doubtless given us a rose-tinted impression of Cuba and glossed over its numerous difficulties. But it’s a gorgeous place, we’re on holiday, we’ve got our cameras and now – at last – we’re not afraid to use them.

Text by: Mike Unwin Photography supplied by: Corbis / Arabian Eye

Previous page: Traditional dancing in Santiago de Cuba. This page, clockwise from top left: Lone house in Viñales Valley; Street musician; Baracoan beach.


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Concierge Inside Information

House Proud Hotel apartments are an increasingly attractive alternative for travellers looking for the service and hospitality of a hotel while at the same time wishing to feel like a resident in their respective location. Say hello to DAMAC Maison: new luxury serviced apartments that seem to have nailed this concept. Not quite a hotel but with all the trademarks of one – five-star service (including a brilliant concierge), kids’ club, stunning décor, sumptuous spa – this Dubai-based property offers quite the package. We’re particularly taken by the idea of hosting friends for dinner – DAMAC’s private chef service sees a top chef pack up his kitchen and bring it to your room. Then, of course, there’s its enviable location: opposite The Dubai Mall. Time for a weekend away, we think. damacproperties.com 73


THE LUXURY OF A HOTEL WITH THE COMFORTS OF HOME Enjoy panoramic views over the sparkling coastline and stunning cityscape at Fraser Suites Dubai. With award-winning service and extensive gold-standard facilities including swimming pools, steam & sauna, Kid’s Club, tennis & squash courts, conference rooms that can cater up to 200 delegates; relaxed dining in Aqua Café and the exclusive Awazen Spa Fraser Suites Dubai has it all.

FRASER SUITES DUBAI - Sheikh Zayed Road, Media City, Dubai, UAE Reservations: +971 4 440 1400 Email: reservations.dubai@frasershospitality.com


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SIX of the BEST…

Iconic railway journeys

1. ‘Indian Pacific Railway’ route, Australia Onboard: Indian Pacific Named in honour of the two oceans it travels between, the mighty 4,352km Indian Pacific route spans the width of Australia, through some of the country’s most diverse terrain. The train takes four days to reach Perth from Sydney; you’ll thread westwards through the Blue Mountains and the red sands of the Nullabor Plains to the vineyards and valleys of Western Australia.

Track trivia… The track was built in the 1900s, and took five years to complete using picks and shovels, carthorses and camels. The wedge tail eagle is the train’s symbol, as the birds can often be spotted wheeling overhead. greatsouthernrail.com.au

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2. ‘Pride of the South’ route, India Onboard: The Golden Chariot Train travel in India is laden with magic and mystery, and this intrepid 7-day route takes you to places that are unreachable by car. Departing from Bangalore, the leafy capital of Karnataka in South India, you’ll discover wildlife-rich national parks, the royal palaces of Mysore, and the golden beaches of Goa. The train’s hopon-hop-off service is perfect for curious travellers.

Track trivia… The Golden Chariot combines lavish Raj-era inspired décor with up-to-date amenities: you’ll find two onboard restaurants which serve five-star Indian cuisine with a flourish, and a dedicated spa carriage too. thegoldenchariot.co.in

3. ‘Paris to Venice’ route, France and Italy Onboard: Venice Simplon-OrientExpress The VSOE grand dame of the railways has transported high society since the 1920s, and this journey bridges two of Europe’s most glamorous cities in two days. The route threads through postcard-perfect villages and vineyards in rural France and Italy – and the Great Gatsby-style interior is just as picturesque as the view, with original features throughout. 76

Track trivia… If travelling from London, you can book the equally grand British Pullman: it’ll whisk you from the UK capital to meet the Eurotunnel shuttle that travels down to Paris. The contrast between old and new luxury only adds to this journey’s charm. orient-express.com Concierge


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4. ‘Cape Town to Pretoria’ route, South Africa Onboard: The Blue Train Weaving from Cape Town through lush farmland up to the lonely plains surrounding Pretoria, this 1,600km route takes 27 hours to traverse. Tuck into brunch as the train leaves the Cape, then explore the colonial town of Matjiesfontein on a quick stop-off. Back on board, dinner is served as the vineyards transform into desert – and you’ll roll into Pretoria just in time for afternoon tea the next day.

Track trivia… The Blue Train is actually formed of two trains, pioneers of the Great African Railway back in the steam-powered days – so your cabin could have travelled anywhere from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe to the diamond-rich mines discovered in South Africa in the 1920s. bluetrain.co.za

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5. ‘Royal Canadian Rockies Experience’ route, Canada Onboard: Royal Canadian Pacific This train not only takes you through the heart of the Rockies, but plunges you into the culture and heritage of the area too. The circular route departs from Calgary, travelling to Banff, Lake Louise and the Columbia Valley Wetlands. On the sixth and final day you’ll arrive in Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a UNESCO-protected area of glassy lakes surrounded by the Rockies’ craggy mountain peaks.

Track trivia… Almost every king and queen of England since the 1920s has travelled on the Royal Canadian Pacific service. The carriages’ elegant period style has been painstakingly preserved, with walnut panelling, velvet seats, and silver service in the dining cabin. royalcanadianpacific. com

6. ‘Trans-Siberian Express’ route, Russia Onboard: Golden Eagle

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This is the longest railway line in the world, crossing 9,289 km of Russia’s most difficult terrain. Travel eastwards from Moscow and in 15 days you’ll encounter the Ural Mountains, Irkutsk (nicknamed the ‘Paris of Siberia’ for its cultural wealth), Ulaan Baatar (once the centre of Gengis Khan’s empire), and Lake Baikal. Add-on routes will take you into China, North Korea and Mongolia too.

Track trivia… In 1900, Peter Carl Fabergé presented Tsar Nicholas II of Russia with the TransSiberian Railway Fabergé Egg, in honour of the nearing completion of the route. It is made from onyx and gold, with a to-scale gold locomotive inside. Concierge


World Traveller

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JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

Something for the Weekend I’ve heard good things about the restaurants here, is it all true?

I like to relax at weekends, how do you suggest I do that at the hotel?

It is indeed. There’s a raft of them to choose from – 14 places to dine at to be precise – and not one has disappointed us yet. Uniquely, Tong Thai (no prizes for guessing the cuisine on offer here) is headed by an all female team, and what they serve is delectable. Likewise, at Rang Mahal, the hotel’s modern Indian restaurant that’s fronted by the Michelinstarred Atul Kochhar, the food boasts extraordinary flavours that mark it as the city’s best Indian, bar none. And lest we forget the sensational slabs of steak offered up at Prime 68.

Saray Spa would be our first port of call. It’s huge, spanning the entire third floor across both hotel towers, and houses two private Hammam rooms, two private Luxury Spa Suites and, our favourite, Dead Sea treatment room, replete with its own Dead Sea Floatation Pool. Our tip for a treatment to remember? Go for The Saray Golden Hammam, which lasts close to two hours and ends with 24-carat goldinfused oil being massaged into your skin. Bliss.

And what of the rooms, which do you recommend? If you’re paying, we’ll take one of the Executive Suites, so we have access to the 37th floor Executive Lounge where complimentary snacks and drinks are served throughout the day – it also lays on spectacular views, this being the world’s tallest hotel.

SHORT STAYS Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Muscat Offer: 1 night starting from AED725 per person Details: Stay in Deluxe Mountain View Room with breakfast daily. Valid for stays from: Now til February 26, 2014. Banyan Tree Al Wadi, Ras Al Khaimah Offer: 1 night starting from AED985 per person Details: Stay in an Al Rimal Deluxe Pool Villa with breakfast daily, plus 15% discount on full body massages. Valid for stays from: Now til March 31, 2014. * 2-night minimum stay applies over weekends Park Hyatt Dubai Offer: 1 night starting from AED740 per person. Details: Stay in Deluxe Room with breakfast daily, plus AED100 spa voucher. Valid for stays from: Now til March 31, 2014. To book one of these offers call dnata on +971 4 316 6666 or visit dnatatravel.com

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Qatar The St Regis Doha

Oman Six Senses Zighy Bay

Perfect for: Extravagant couples Located in the city’s West Bay area, The St Regis is of gigantic proportions. Spread across 16,000 square metres, the fivestar resort is steeped in Middle Eastern mystique, the rooms here are a seductive blend of timeless style, Middle Eastern detail and autumnal hues. Other noteworthy features include the stunning views of the ocean and the resort’s Olympic-sized swimming pool – ringed by plush furniture to seat around 150 people. Couples looking to dine in style should book a spot at the famous Jazz at Lincoln Center – music and good food, the recipe for love. stregisdoha.com

Dubai One & Only Royal Mirage

Perfect for: Ecofriendly couples

WHERE IS THE LOVE? Follow cupid’s arrow to some of the region’s most romantic spots this month…

Tucked away in a secluded bay on Oman’s Musandam Peninsula is the Six Senses Zighy Bay resort. Described by many (including us) as the region’s most intimate hideaway, this all-villa retreat is the ideal spot to relax, recover and recharge with your significant other. Modelled on a traditional Omani fishing village, it combines luxury accommodation with traditional Arabic-living perfectly. Once you’ve explored the area – from the pristine beach to the spa – cast an eye over the resort’s romantic dining options. The sunset breakfast, dinner atop the wine tower, or simply a table at the unique Sense on the Edge, cut into the mountain, all tug the heartstrings. sixsenses.com

Kuwait Hotel Missoni

Perfect for: Starryeyed couples

Perfect for: Creative couples

With its authentic architecture and cosmopolitan charm, this stunning resort will leave you feeling starryeyed. Everything from the dramatic setting and facilities (there’s swimming pools, a private beach and spa) to the sheer size of the resort gives visitors a romantic dose of escapism. On site you’ll find two distinct accommodation zones – The Palace and The Arabian Court. Fine dining options at both locations are great, with astonishing views of the Arabian Gulf a given if you dine on the sand at the legendary Beach Bar and Grill. royalmirage. oneandonlyresorts.com

Bursting with colour, creativity and coolness Hotel Missoni is so stylish it makes you feel good just being here. As the name suggests, the hotel is kitted and fitted out by the Italian fashion powerhouse Missoni. Rooms vary from the playful 35-square metre Missoni Room – a smart space with stunning views across the Gulf – to generous suites – ranging in size, and brilliantly customised for the 21st century couple. Book the Suite d’Oro on the hotel’s top floor. Here’s why: the designer lounge area, private dining facilities, outsized bathtub and private terrace. hotelmissoni.com

Concierge

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Head to Russia and catch a glimpse of this year’s Sochi Winter Games, taking place February 7-23. From Alpine skiing and bobsleighing, to curling and figure skating, spectators are in for a sporting treat – providing you pack your winter woollies.

The Venice Carnival 2014 is set to take over the city for another year. Running February 15-March 4, the Carnevale sees an eclectic mix of baroque-inspired costumes and masks take to the streets for a range of cultural events.

Catch the final days of the world’s largest winter festival, the Carnaval de Québec, which closes on February 16. This 17-day showcase sees a host of events (sports, cultural, fun) take place around the city.

The Dubai Food Carnival swings into gear for a two-day food spectacle. Over 100 food and drink stalls will descend on the event’s Dubai Festival City location, offering a plethora of sampling, live cooking and fun.

The world-famous Rio Carnival is about to unleash a sea of colour, costume and creativity across Brazil’s second largest city. Around two million people pound the streets of Rio each day during the carnival. Make sure you’re one of them.

Concierge


World Traveller

February // 2014

Graphic language

Rome The

7m 6m 5m 4m 3m 2m

TATE Modern

Vatican Museum

MMoA

1m

British Museum

4 MILES ACROSS

(4,459,000)

8m

Louvre

70,000

9m

HOUSES OVER

WORKS OF ART

The magnificent Pantheon is the oldest building in Rome. Its current structure (it was rebuilt following fire damage) dates to 125AD

10m

VATICAN MUSEUM

The Vatican City is the world’s smallest independent state, spanning just 110 acres

Most visited art museums in the world (2013)

of

CORRIDORS

Pietralata

Sub. Trionfale

Monti

Vatican City

Portuense

Ardeatino

“ ”

I am a sucker for those old traditional places, and Rome is as good as it gets, particularly when you throw in Italian food RODGER FEDERER

( Professional Tennis Player )

Central Rome is divided into 22 districts, seperating it from the surrounding 35 neighbourhoods Districts of note for tourist attractions include Monti, Trevi, Colonna and Campo Marzio

Legend has it that if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain you’ll one day return to Rome. So popular is the custom that an estimated 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day

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It’s referred to as the cradle of western civilisation so it’s of no surprise that Athens has plenty of monuments worth visiting. Among the most famous, and important, is, of course, the Acropolis – home to some of the world’s most famous and ancient buildings: from the Parthenon to the temple of Athena Nike. If you haven’t already visited the Greek capital then here are a few reasons why you should…

Ask a...

CONCIERGE

Thomas Nikolaides, chief concierge at InterContinental Athenaeum Athens, on where to go to enjoy authentic Greek food…

Ancient Athens Step back in time with an unforgettable trip to the Greek capital, the birthplace of democracy

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The history and beauty of this spellbinding 2,500-year-old city has and continues to inspire some of the world’s greatest creative minds, and films (think Hercules, 300 and Clash of the Titans, to name but a few). Centuries after their creation, Athens’ now ancient monuments remain among the world’s most significant – steeped in a history that rarely fails to enchant the three million people estimated to visit annually. And it’s clear to see why. The Acropolis, known as ‘the sacred rock’, is Athens’ biggest draw. It’s at the UNESCO World Heritage Site that you’ll find its most famous temple, the Parthenon. Dedicated to Athena, considered a goddess of Classical Greece, it was constructed between 447BC and 438BC in marble, based on complex mathematical considerations, and with its umpteen columns (46 outside and 23 inside), remains an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece. It’s also at the Acropolis that you’ll find the Erechtheion, its second largest temple. This elaborate and unique marble structure features ornate doorways and windows as well as decorated columns with flourishes of gilt bronze and colourful glass beads. Perhaps its most famous detail, however, is its south-facing Porch Greece

Dionysos One of the most historic restaurants in Athens, it’s highly regarded for its Greek cuisine accompanied by breathtaking views of the Acropolis. To Kafeneio In one of the most aristocratic neighborhoods of old Athens, Kolonaki, To Kafeneio is a traditional Greek restaurant with romantic design and many speciality dishes. Fisherman’s Taverna Located in the Plaka neighborhood, this traditional tavern boasts select seafood specialties and a great range of regional wines.

of the Maidens – six supporting columns made to look like draped women. Breathtaking, even today. On the southern slopes of the Acropolis stands the Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus – the birthplace of Athens’ theatre. Standing here, among the fourthcentury ruins, it’s easy to imagine the 17,000 people who would visit here to see the religious festivals that took the form of competitions. There is a second theatre here, too, on the south slope, called the Odeion of Herodes Atticus, which is better preserved (it was built later, in 161AD)

and still hosts events such as the Athens Festival. The final major monument of interest on the Acropolis is the Temple of Athena Nike: found to the south west, it’s the earliest Ionic building, created in honour of Nike, the goddess of victory, and depicts Greek battles and gods. From the superior position of the Acropolis you should be able to make out the impressive silhouette of the Temple of Olympian Zeus below. It took centuries for the temple to be built and during the Roman period it was largely considered


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Where to Stay Plaza Resort Hotel (plazaresort.com) When the big city becomes a bit too much, this tranquil five-star haven offers an escape from it all, in a small fishing village just 10 minutes from the Temple of Poseidon. InterContinental Athenaeum Athens (intercontinental.com/ athens) Near to the Parthenon, this design-savvy hotel is centrally located, with spectacular Acropolis views to boot.

Getting around The pedestrianisation of several streets around the Acropolis means most of the major sites can now be reached on foot. But in recent years public transport has also improved, meaning the Athens tram is a great option for heading in or out of the city centre. There is also a good bus network and the city’s yellow taxis are reasonably priced and plentiful.

Language

Photography supplied by: Corbis / Arabian Eye

Text by:Leah Oatway

Unsurprisingly, Greek is the official language of Athens but its residents are more than used to foreign tourists and most speak English, as well as French and Spanish. Signs are also in English as well as Greek.

Greece’s biggest and most impressive temple, but when it was looted in the third century AD it was left in ruins and remains so today. If you prefer your monuments better preserved, then you would do well to check out Hephaistion: found on the Acropolis and dedicated to Hephaistos, god of the forge, the fact that it’s largely intact makes it a notable rarity. Across the street and along a marble

walkway, to the southwest of the Acropolis, is the Hill of the Muses, also known as Filopappou Hill. At the summit of the pine-clad hill is the monument of Filopappos, dedicated to Roman administrator Julius Antiochus Filopappos, along with spectacular views of Athens’ remarkable skyline and the Saronic Sea beyond. Athens’ political history is, of course, rich. Within the pine trees of the Hill of

the Muses, you’ll also find the Pnyx – site of the first democratic assembly, and just north of the Acropolis, in the heart of the modern city, is the best example of an agora – an ancient marketplace considered the cultural, political and social hub of the city. Finally, sports lovers should check out the Panathenaic Stadium – built on the site of ancient Athens and home to the first modern Olympic games in 1896.

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Where to Stay The Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur (shangri-la. com/kualalumpur) Just a short stroll from the city’s Golden Triangle and fashion area, this hotel is home to the city’s trendiest restaurant, Lafite, beloved by the city’s VIPs. InterContinental Kuala Lumpur (intercontinentalkl.com.my) With a central location, great views of the Petronas Twin Towers and the KLCC Park just next door, it’s not hard to see why this is a sought-after stay.

Kuala Lumpur Eats It’s a magnet for those seeking retail therapy but Malaysia’s capital is a tasty option for food lovers, too…

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Malaysia

Malaysians love their food. And so do we. With such a rich mix of ethnicities and cultures, Kuala Lumpur’s gastro offerings are, unsurprisingly, just as varied and exciting. No matter the size of your budget, or appetite, you’re guaranteed to find something to satisfy both, be it tasty traditional Malay street food or awardwinning fine dining takes on local classics, through to the finest Chinese and Indian fare. The sheer array of dining options available in Kuala Lumpur makes navigating them a fun, if daunting, prospect. For a true taste of this chaotic but thoroughly charming city, dining at a few of its myriad street stalls is a must. For a hearty breakfast, head to Bukit Bintang Wet Market, also known as Imbi Market. Among the eclectic crowd and vibrant produce you’ll find multiple stalls serving what’s affectionately known as ‘hawker food’: sip on thick, frothy Hainanese coffee to wake yourself up before fuelling up on kaya and butter toasts with eggs, chee cheong fun (essentially, rice noodles), crispy popiah rolls of shredded yam bean, carrots, cucumber, egg and ground peanuts, or sweet and wobbly egg custard tarts. If you prefer your food at a table, the old-fashioned fry-ups at Jarrod & Rawlin’s at Damansara Heights should set you up nicely for a day of shopping or sightseeing, or get a taste of Kuala Lumpur’s famous Cantonese fare at the ever-popular Restoran Kam Hin, off Jalan Kuchai Lama: you’ll need to get there early to have the best choice of its plump, paper-thin dim sum – the crowds snap them up quickly. If you like Chinese food, then Petaling Street, in Chinatown, is a must. While some head here in search of counterfeit goods, it’s the aromatic food stalls that inevitably prove the real draw. Here, you’ll find the best of the city’s street food – a tempting mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine. From the evening through to the early hours of the morning, chefs brave the heat to cook up noodle dishes with meat and seafood over charcoal burners for the salivating masses. Kim Lian Kee’s


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Getting around

Photography supplied by: Corbis / Arabian Eye

Text by: Leah Oatway

Bus routes are comprehensive and easy to use, taxis are not in short supply and are relatively inexpensive (though you need to insist the driver uses the meter system that’s in place) and there’s also a rail-based network that’ll get you around.

Language The official language of Kuala Lumpur is Malay, but you’ll also hear people speaking Tamil, Hindi, Cantonese and Mandarin, as well as European languages. English is also well understood, so getting around should be relatively stress-free.

February // 2014

special family noodle recipe is so popular it has spawned several restaurants across the city since the late 1920s. Meanwhile, over in Little India’s Brickfields area, where Bollywood posters and music add to the authentic Indian atmosphere, spicy curries and fragrant rice are served up on banana leaves and devoured using fingers rather than forks. More than a hundred years ago Kampung Baru was designated as an area of the city where Malay culture would be preserved. With this in mind, if you fancy a taste of traditional Malay food, you’ll need to head here. For extra ambience, brave the throngs and go on a Saturday evening, when the streets are teeming with hungry and, ultimately, happy diners: try national favourite Nasi lemak, a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf.

Ask a...

CONCIERGE

Abdul Jaleel Kamal, chief concierge of the InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, lists his Kulala Lumpur must-dos

Educate yourself on KL’s heritage Try the Kuala Lumpur Heritage Trail, a selfguided tour of the historic heart of KL that covers many famous colonialera landmark buildings clustered in a compact area surrounding the Merdeka Square. The trail can be completed within two to three hours, covering places like Central Market, Jamek Mosque, and the Royal Selangor Club.

Alternatively, head to Precious, on the first floor of Central Market. This ornate restaurant boasts Nyonya cuisine – a centuries-old food fusion that is rarely found on street stalls because it’s so intricately prepared, and features dishes like otak-otak, a tempting fish cake served with chilli and galangal. While the street food and budget eats are astounding, there are plenty of fine dining experiences to savour in Kuala Lumpur, too. Chef Takashi Kimura’s Japanese-influenced French food draws the elite to one Cilantro, while it’s best to book ahead if you fancy sampling the fine Malay wares at well-loved Bijan or upscale Enak (located at the super fancy Starhill Gallery). For a view to rival the food, La Vie En Rose is a no-brainer: the restored bungalow is not only home to the stunning creations of experienced French chef Jean Michel Fraisse but also boasts views of the spectacular Kuala Lumpur tower. Delightful.

Go shop and eat at the colourful enclave of Little India Masjid India, named after the iconic mosque, is brimming with life. The street is made up of colourful mix of shops selling souvenirs, textiles and food. The Saturday night market is when this area is at its bustling best as vendors trade late into the night. Experience the different faces of the Petronas Twin Towers Marvel over KL’s 21stcentury icon that is the tallest twin towers in the world. The surrounding park is an interesting attraction, with over 1,900 indigenous trees and 66 species of palms to see.

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Suite Dreams

Victoria Ile Au Cerf

Seychelles

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What:

About:

Owner’s Signature Villa

JA Resorts & Hotels (the name behind Dubai’s Palm Tree Court and Jebel Ali Beach Hotel) has just opened a stunning resort in the Seychelles. Aptly named Enchanted Island, we have our eyes on the magnificent

Where: Enchanted Island, Seychelles

Concierge

Owner’s Signature Villa. It offers direct access to a trio of powder-soft beaches and the kind of views that would grace any postcard. It’s also incredibly private and peaceful, with a garden, infinity pool, sea-facing

sundeck and adjoining villa, housed inside which is a second bedroom. But you’ll want to stay in the master bedroom, so that you can wake each morning with an outdoor rain shower amid the splendorous surrounds.


Profile for Hot Media

World Traveller Feb'14  

The Middle East’s highest-circulating travel magazine.

World Traveller Feb'14  

The Middle East’s highest-circulating travel magazine.

Profile for hotmedia