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October 2013

Issue Sixty Six

The calm and charm of



In-the-know guides to the country’s four big cities

Produced in International Media Production Zone

CAPE CRUSADER Mark Edmonds heads west to New England’s most exclusive stretch of coastline

Melbourne Rooms With A View Amsterdam Brazil

*All flights are subject to last minute aircraft changes.

Now you can fly to Australia with Australia’s premium airline Qantas, Australia’s premium airline, is now flying twice daily from Dubai to Australia. Experience luxurious A380* First suites, fully flat beds in Business, extra spacious seats in Premium Economy and self-serve snack bars in Economy. After take off, settle back and enjoy the best of Australia’s produce, as well as over 1500 on-demand entertainment choices in every seat. Plus, the Qantas Walkabout Air Pass lets you travel to over 75 destinations across Australia, for less. To book a great Qantas deal call 04 389 8111.

DO YOU TRAVEL TO SEE OR TO DISCOVER? Isn’t the real excitement of travel about discovering something new? At InterContinental® we share our local knowledge of a destination so you can enjoy what makes it unique. In Abu Dhabi or Dubai, for example, our Concierges will help you discover hidden gems, be it in the most unique souqs or the largest shopping malls in the world. Whatever you choose to do, we can help you enjoy truly authentic experiences that will stay with you long after you come home.

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For more information or to make a reservation, please call 800 897 1465 (KSA) or 800 4642 (UAE) or visit

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City Bazaar

Located on Kissaria Street, get a feel for the city at this local market, which features an array of textiles, produce and souvenirs. Recommended by Wahid Derras – R Navigator Renaissance Tlemcen Hotel


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Editor’s Note Issue Sixty Six, October 2013

A warm welcome to our October issue. With Eid al-Adha festivities upon us this month, many of you will no doubt be looking to get away with family and loved ones for a few days rest. With this in mind, WT has scoured the world’s many sublime hotels in order to round up six of the best rooms with views to die for (or at least catch a plane for), in a bid to make the decision about where to stay just a little easier. Further afield, we discover how family-friendly a trip to the ultra-glamorous Cape Cod can be, explore the best of what our four favourite Italian cities have to offer – Florence, Venice, Rome and Milan – and embark on a thrilling seven-day tour of wonderful Vietnam. If you’re yet to visit this fascinating country, you’ll want to upon reading Mark Stratton’s tale of discovery. And finally, we have a special treat for fashion junkies: with vintage wear still de rigeur for those in the know, we share our pick of the best places to source pre-loved designer pieces in fabulous condition. Get ready to spend some serious money.


Leah Oatway

Managing Director

Victoria Thatcher Editorial Director

John Thatcher

Advertisement Director

Chris Capstick Editor

Leah Oatway Contributing Editor

Hazel Plush

Senior Designer

Adam Sneade

Designer & Illustrator

Andy Knappett Design Intern

Emily Dixon Production Manager

Chalitha Fernando Senior Advertisement Manager

Stefanie Morgner

To contact any of the above people, email

Jan-Jun 2013 | 22,920 | BPA Consumer Audit 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: Vietnamese woman in traditional dress (ao dai) holding a white lotus flower. Getty Images.

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Why Dubai and Washington are celebrating a very special anniversary; our pick of the best cities to source vintage fashion and we talk Plane Food with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Plus, exclusive reader offers from dnata and style advice for gents off on holiday.

Mark Chipperfield enjoys Australia’s great outdoors with a trip to Melbourne and the ruggedly beautiful Tasmania, while a family trip to Cape Cod reveals it’s not just for billionaires. We share our favourite things to do in four fabulous Italian cities and take a week-long tour of Vietnam.

If you’re hungry to try something new, WT tells you why you should head to Gary Rhodes’ new Abu Dhabi restaurant. Then there’s six rooms with views to tug the heartstrings, and reasons aplenty to visit Amsterdam and the vibrant Spanish capital Madrid.

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High five

It’s been five years since United Airlines first launched direct flights from Washington DC to Dubai. In that period thousands of people have visited the American capital for work or pleasure. But if you’re not one of them, then you’re yet to tick off any of the city’s must-see landmarks – including the White House, Washington Monument and Abraham Lincoln Memorial (pictured). So, what are you waiting for?


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Coast to Coast

Two new books released this month offer fascinating pictorial histories of LA and NYC

On the east side there’s New York, the Big Apple, home to art deco skyscrapers, Central Park and Times Square. On the west side there’s LA, the City of Angels, home to Hollywood, Rodeo Drive and Venice Beach. The two heavyweight cities capture the imagination of travellers from all over the world, and these books are a photographic tribute to

both. New York, Portrait of a City, lays out photos from decades past that truly capture the energy, diversity, soaring ambition and attitude of the people and places that make up what’s often dubbed the world’s greatest city. The images, a mix of colour and black and white, include this 1950 shot of former boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson

(left), standing aside his flamboyant flamingo-pink Cadillac outside his café in Harlem. Meanwhile, Los Angels, Portrait of a City, features iconic shots of famous (or, in this case, infamous) characters like gangster Micky Cohen, pictured here in 1953 amid the front pages of newspapers that helped make him the city’s most notorious citizen.

This month, on the southwest shores of Cyprus, the world’s first restorative spa palace opens its doors. Antara Destination Spa & Resort packs in six Royal Suites and a Presidential Suite, and caters to those seeking “to hide from the hassle of everyday life and find a level of well-being they may never have experienced before”, says co-founder Nora Csige. We’re already sold.


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Investing in Abu Dhabi’s future Working at the very heart of the UAE economy, Mubadala is focused on the management of long-term investments that deliver strong financial returns and tangible social benefits to the local community. Developed by Mubadala Real Estate & Infrastructure (MREI), Al Maryah Island has been modeled on the world’s leading mixed-use, 24-hour Central Business Districts (CBD). Selected for its strategic location and proximity to the emirate’s existing business community and new residential districts, Al Maryah Island is the capital’s first Financial Free Zone. The magnetism of this vibrant, 24-hour commercial, leisure and entertainment hub is attracting unique investment opportunities to the capital.

SSQ001_Mubadala Al Maryah_EN_Air_200x265mm.indd 1

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England’s capital has a long history of trend setting and its vintage boutique selection reflects the eclectic tastes of its everfashionable residents


In a world where, for the most part, newer seems to equal better, vintage clothing continues to prove itself a beautiful exception

he allure of fabric and styles that contain the history of bygone eras continue to set the pulses of the sartorially savvy racing. No matter what your background, age or bank balance, there are few strong enough to resist the allure of a bargain or the thrill of knowing that you could be about to discover a rare, long-lost treasure that could transform your wardrobe and elevate your street cred. This trend for treasuring the retro (think 1970s Chanel handbags rather than used T-shirts emblazoned with US rock band slogans) has led to an explosion in second-hand vintage boutiques. Emerging from the many, however, are a handful of uber-special offerings that attract those in the know, from supermodels to fashion designers. WT has rounded up the finest, for your retail pleasure… Check In

You’ll lose several hours, and quite a few British pounds, in this veritable treasure chest of vintage fashion. Launched in 1999 by dream trio Fiona Stuart, Claire Stansfield and Steven Phillip, who met while running successful market stalls on the city’s famous Portobello Road, it is arguably the city’s most famous vintage boutique and is filled with covetable pieces (in mint condition and dating from the 1930s) from a host of international upmarket designers (think Vivienne Westwood, Dior and YSL). “Vintage clothing offers something special, something different… and the beauty of this job? As every passing year defines a new decade and vintage reinterprets its meaning, there are always new beautiful items to discover,” reckons Stuart.


Vogue UK has referred to WilliamVintage as its “go-to store”, which is reason in itself to take the exquisite wares at this destination seriously. A quick visit to its stylish online boutique had us falling hard for a 1955 Pierre Balmain haute couture dress (pictured) and a jaw-dropping 1931 Charles Worth dress, all long, slinky, gold and fabulous.


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It’s no surprise that the Big Apple boasts some of the best vintage fashion boutiques in the world. The biggest problem can be choosing which to shop at. Collette

For times when it’s more about getting it right than how old it is, there’s the fabulous

Collette consignment. Uptown ladies (now yearning for more contemporary fashion, having ditched the suited and booted look, according to Collette) come here to source that desirable accessory, timeless bag or runway jewellery. Of course, vintage is an important part of what’s on offer here, but it’s just a part: you’ll find new high-end designer pieces galore too, making it the perfect one-stop shop for all your outfit needs.

Edith Machinist

It’s difficult not to get excited when you first discover this snug boutique on the Lower East Side’s famous Rivington Street. For a start, there’s the boots – beautiful colours and shapes and all in great condition; then there’s the rails of party-friendly frocks, the rows of elegant shoes and lustworthy handbags that dangle temptingly on the walls. You’ll find plenty of top designer names here (think Halston handbags, Dior belts and Prada heels) but without the hefty price tags that very often accompany such treasures.

Get ready to rummage

For those with time and patience,

these less celebrated fashion hotspots are ripe with vintage stores to explore...


One cool city that’s brimming with second-hand, vintage and antique stores filled with stylish pieces just waiting to be unearthed.


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Das Neue Schwarz Everything about this place oozes elegance: from the minimalist décor to the chic and timeless pieces owner Tanya Bednar hand picks from New York, Tokyo, London, Paris and, of course, Berlin. You’ll find everything from Prada, Chloe and YSL through to Helmut Lang and Martin Margiela here.

XVII This friendly and unpretentious shop (which is pronounced dixsept in case you find yourself asking for directions) in the city’s Mitte district is laden with the unconventionally stunning. There’s more than a slight feeling of nosing through the coat hangers in your mother’s wardrobe here and lots of gems to be found too.

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Home to the world’s largest design houses, it’s little wonder Paris has become a great source for vintage fashion and timedefying accessories.


Schwarz; Collette. This page, from top: Le Monde du Voyage; Resurrection LA; Thread Den.

Images: Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Collette; Resurrection NYC; XVII; Das Neue

Didier Ludot

Ludot started collecting vintage fashion in the 1970s and is widely considered one of the most knowledgable vintage fashion dealers in the world. Rails filled with incredibly historic haute couture that has been worn by some of the world’s biggest stars cry out to be searched through at all three of his boutiques (situated near to the Louvre). He has a boutique that specialises in evening couture, one for ready-to-wear, and another exclusively for little black dresses.

LA’s vintage scene is one of the world’s most established and impressive - but with a population that includes some of the most famous, iconic and fashionable people on the planet, it’s little wonder, really. Resurrection

A Gianni Versace leather gilet, a gold Chanel cuff, a ’70s-esque Ossie Clark number and a beautifully bright Oscar de la Renta maxi dress: the elaborate and decadespanning couture found at this upscale boutique has been inspiring fashion designers since it opened in the 1990s. You won’t find yourself wading through rails of clothes either: everything is carefully edited and arranged to ensure you won’t miss a thing.

Le Monde du Voyage

For the finest vintage travel accessories there are few better places to head than this Parisian boutique in the heart of the city’s fleamarket, Les Puces. You’ll find the very best vintage and pre-owned Louis Vuitton and Hermès trunks and luggage, as well as leathergoods, jewellery, watches and clocks by the finest French fashion houses. lemondeduvoyage. com


You can’t swing a cat without hitting a retro shop in what is arguably Australia’s most cutting-edge city. And there are plenty of quirky sources to ensure you get a vintage fix.

Thread Den For those feeling creative, Thread Den’s sewing lounge is mandatory. Created in 2007 by a group of creative women fascinated by all things fashionrelated, today its classes and workshops enable budding designers to create their own unique pieces under the watchful eye of encouraging and helpful staff.


Hobo Clothing Second-hand designer clothing mixed with a selection of great quality vintage finds makes this quaint boutique in a Hawthorn shopping arcade well worth a visit. Anna Teplitzky describes her shop as “stepping into a girlfriend’s wardrobe” – keep your eyes peeled for quality Japanese and Korean vintage clobber.

The co-owners of this hugely influential store, Cameron Silver and Christos Garkinos, are regularly praised for their impact on runway trends. The superb quality of 1920s-onwards clothing and accessories draws an impressive list of clients: from Julianne Moore to Charlize Theron (stylist-to-the-stars Rachel Zoe is a big fan). Silver and Garkinos travel the world sourcing pieces from auctions, private collections and even directly from celebrities’ closets.


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To book one of these offers call dnata on +971 4 316 6666 or visit, 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 This month’s line up of luxury escapes takes in both beach and city breaks, while there’s also something special to tempt your sporty Italy


The St. Regis Rome Offer: 4 nights from AED3,070 per person, or from AED5,780 per person including airfare. Includes: Stay in a Superior Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. Valid for stays from: November 1, 2013-March 31, 2014 (Blackout period: December 27, 2013-January 1, 2014.

Zitahli Resorts & Spa, KudaFunafaru Offer: 4 nights from AED7,630 per person, or from AED11,185 per person including airfare. Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Beach Villa with breakfast daily and return seaplane transfers, plus complimentary upgrade to Half Board. Valid for stays from: November 1-December 23, 2013 (book by October 31, 2013).


Holiday Inn Resort Penang Offer: 3 nights from AED620 per person, or from AED3,480 per person including airfare. Includes: Stay in a Ferringhi Tower Hill View Room with breakfast daily and airport transfers. Valid for stays from: Now until December 15, 2013 (Book by October 10, 2013).


Heritage Awali Golf & Spa Resort

Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort Offer: 4 nights from AED3,190 per person, or from AED7,945 per person including airfare. Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Room with breakfast and dinner daily plus return airport transfers. Complimentary unlimited green fees at Heritage Golf Club (9 hole & 18 hole championship golf courses), plus 2 children under 12 stay and eat for free. Valid for stays from: Now until October 31, 2013. Heritage Awali Golf & Spa Resort Offer: 4 nights from AED 3,480 per person, or from AED8,235 per person including airfare. Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Room on an all-inclusive basis and return airport transfers, unlimited green fees at Heritage Golf Club (9 hole & 18 hole championship golf courses), plus 2 children under 12 stay and eat for free. Valid for stays from: Now until October 31, 2013.


Zitahli Resorts & Spa, Kuda-Funafaru

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Mövenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach Phuket Offer: 3 nights from AED 930 per person, or from AED4,675 per person including airfare. Includes: Stay in Garden View Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. Valid for stays from: Now until October 31, 2013.


Burj Al Arab, Dubai Offer: 1 night from AED2,985 per person. Includes: Stay in a One Bedroom Deluxe Suite with breakfast daily, unlimited Wild Wadi tickets, complimentary access to Sindbad’s Kids Club and, if applicable, complimentary return airport transfers. Plus, up to three children under 12 stay for free on a bed and breakfast basis Valid for stays from: October 8, 2013 -March 19, 2014.

Mövenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach Phuket

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah Offer: 2 nights from AED1,135 per person. Includes: Stay in a Classic Room with daily breakfast, food and beverage credit of AED50 per person daily. Plus, families booking two rooms will receive the second room at 25% discount. Valid for stays from: October 1-31, 2013 (not applicable during Eid Al Adha). Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Offer: 1 night from AED423 per person. Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Room with breakfast daily, with a complimentary upgrade to a Deluxe Suite if available. Valid for stays from: Now until January 10, 2014 (not applicable during Eid Al Adha and F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix).


Mandarin Oriental Miami Offer: 4 nights from AED2,200 per person, or from AED7,530 per person including airfare. Includes: Stay in a Superior Room on room-only basis with return airport transfers. Valid for stays from: Now until October 31, 2013. Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi


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A Sporting Chance If you’re a football fanatic, cricket connoisseur, or fixated on Formula One, dnata can send you right to the heart of the action, with bespoke packages on offer to some of the world’s biggest events. To book, call +971 4 404 5859 or email

English Premier League

When: Various matches till May 11, 2014. Offer: Starting from AED3,270 per person, flights not included. Includes: 3 nights stay with daily breakfast, return airport transfers at destination, return stadium transfers, official match tickets, travel insurance. Valid from: Now till April 27, 2013.


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Barcelona v Real Madrid

When: October 27, 2013. Offer: Starting from AED8,265 per person, flights not included. Includes: 3 nights stay with daily breakfast, return airport transfers at destination, return stadium transfers, official match tickets, travel insurance. Valid from: Now till October 13, 2013.

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FIFA World Cup 2014

When: June 12-July 13, 2014. Offer: Starting from AED24,000 per person, flights not included. Includes: 3 nights stay with daily breakfast, return airport transfers at destination, return stadium transfers, official hospitality match tickets, travel insurance. Valid from: Now till May 29, 2014.

ICC World Twenty20

When: March 16-April 6, 2014. Offer: Starting from AED3,635 per person, flights not included. Includes: 3 nights stay with daily breakfast, return airport transfers at destination, return stadium transfers, official match tickets, travel insurance. Valid from: Now till March 2, 2014.

F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

When: November 1-3, 2013. Offer: Starting from AED5,140 per person, flights not included. Includes: 3 nights stay with daily breakfast, return airport transfers at destination, return race circuit transfers, official race ticket, travel insurance. Valid for: Now ill Oct 18, 2013.

TERMS & CONDITIONS: All prices are ‘starting from’ and subject to availability. Based on twin-sharing accommodation in wellappointed hotels with daily breakfast, return airport transfers at destination, return stadium transfers, and match tickets. Flights can be quoted separately on request. Prices cannot be combined with other promotional offers or discount schemes ongoing at dnata outlets. Other terms and conditions apply.


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On November 6 the largest superyacht to embark on a world cruise sets sail from Holland. At sea for 14 months, the Sherakhan offers would-be sailors the chance to be onboard for the whole tour, or to hop on for daily or weekly crossings, taking in nature’s finest sights on the way.


Eyes down for this month’s new openings... If you needed yet more reason to take a bite of the Big Apple, October 9 sees the towering presence of the Viceroy New York unveiled between Sixth and Seventh Avenue. A fine addition to the city’s skyline, its bedrooms afford majestic views across the city. Another place boasting vistas to behold is the newly re-named Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa, in New Zealand. Standing proud at the foothills


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of the aptly named Remarkables mountain range, the hotel provides the jumping off point for skiing, snowboarding and other adventure sports aplenty. If that’s to your liking, we’d heartily recommend that you book a Lake View Room, for its roaring fireplace as much as its picture perfect surrounds. Elsewhere, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts take their bow in China with the opening of the 14-storey Mövenpick Hotel Enshi. Though located in the city’s business district the hotel offers plenty for leisure travellers, particularly those prone to the lure of the great outdoors: the treestudded hills that surround it – which make up China’s largest virgin forest – feature the Enshi Grand Canyon and the Tenglong Caves.

Louis Vuitton’s range of City Bags probably did more for the brand’s luxury credentials than anything else it has fashioned. The ‘families’ of bags date to the turn of the 20th century and a new, suitably luxurious tome chronicles a complete genealogy of each. Published by Rizzoli NY, Louis Vuitton City Bags: A Natural History is presented in a canvas clamshell with marble paper, and boasts beautiful illustrations and fashion photography, making it almost as covetable as the bags it celebrates inside.

Images, top left: Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa


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Luxury Resort Escapes

Presenting an incredible collection of luxury resorts in beautiful destinations. Experience Eid al-Adha the InterContinental way


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Right: Pool and gardens at InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort, Cyprus. Below: Deluxe Garden View Room at same hotel. Bottom right: Fireplace at InterContinental Berchtesgaden Resort Hotel, Germany.

InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort, Cyprus T. 800 4642 (UAE) or 800 897 1465 (KSA) W.


Jet setters will find sun, sea and culture at the InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort. Set in Kouklia, the coastal hilltop region is drenched in Cypriot culture, so there are myriad ways to get into the spirit of the island: explore the historic highlights of nearby Kato Paphos, drive along wavy coastlines with the wind in your hair or sink your teeth into classic Cypriot treats (we love loukoumi). But wherever you go during your stay, we’re sure the Aphrodite Hills will soon tempt you back: sunworshippers will love its outdoor infinity Promotion

pool, where you can soak up endless views of the glistening Mediterranean Sea, and shade-seekers can bask beneath olive and carob trees. Meanwhile, you can’t fail to be seduced by the hotel suites, some of which harbour private pools or bubbling Jacuzzis, so you can take sun-soaked dips whenever you please. Golfers will be equally in their element on discovering the resort’s challenging 18-hole golf course. Alternatively, let someone else do the hard work and head over the hillsides on horseback – you are on holiday, after all. There’s plenty for foodies to get stuck into too, with no fewer than 12 restaurants peppered across the resort. While you may feel spoilt for choice, our pick is the award-winning Mesogios, whose

Mediterranean fare offers a real taste of the region: try the freshly-caught fish, seasoned with herbs plucked from the area. It doesn’t get much better than that…

The inside track from the concierge…

“Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite’s Rock) is the Greek name for the famous and stunning mythical birthplace of the Goddess Aphrodite, which dates back to 1200BC. The actual rock is just a five-minute drive from the resort. It was believed that swimming around the rock with your partner at full moon will bring eternal love and youth.” Aniko Petrecs.

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InterContinental Berchtesgaden Resort Hotel, Germany T. 800 4642 (UAE) or 800 897 1465 (KSA) W. If the thought of holidaying at an alpine retreat peaks your interest, where better than the InterContinental Berchtesgaden Resort? Make for the snow-dipped Bavarian Alps and you’ll find its contemporary glass and stone façade flanked by Germany’s only Alpine National Park. With a location like this, you can really get to grips with the great outdoors: spend your day with a tour of the icy-clear Lake Königssee, take in the panoramas of Rossfield Peak (along with the region’s last remaining eagles) or take a ranger-led guide through the National Park. After a day’s adventure there’s no better place to retire to than the hotel’s standout spa: home to not one but two pools, you can slide into its heated indoor pool and drink-in the pine tree panoramas

from its floor-to-ceiling windows. A few leisurely lengths later, there’s an armlength treatment menu to choose from (who can resist a chocolate massage?), while a spell in the Finnish or Herbal sauna or Aroma steam bath will send you into a serious state of bliss. And if that hasn’t sparked your appetite, the hotel’s array of restaurants will: the Michelin-starred LE CIEL is a must-try, with fine French cuisine the order of the day. But don’t leave the hotel without raising a glass at Restaurant 3’60° – all the better savoured on its sprawling terrace where you can survey magnificent mountain scenery in the crisp alpine air.

The inside track from the concierge…

“Close to the hotel, perched at 6,017 feet, you’ll find the Eagle’s Nest, one of the very few buildings dating back to the WWII era. Today it is a restaurant with incredible views of the region.” Sebastian Burger.


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InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Vietnam T. 800 4642 (UAE) or 800 897 1465 (KSA) W. ‘Mythical Monkey Mountain’ is the name of the postcard-perfect bay that’s home to the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. Happily, the property looks as magical as its setting sounds: from the scenery (powder-white sands and transparent waters) to its standout suites (achingly high-end) and sublime restaurants (Citron’s private dining booths hover over the hillside). To reach it, you have to drive just 30 minutes from the International Airport Danang, after which the non-stop streets of Danang disappear and you’ll find yourself immersed in the Son Tra Peninsula’s sublime solitude. Here, Vietnamese-style villas dot the lush hillside, graduating skyward from palmlined stretches of cotton-soft sand. Collectively, there are some 197 rooms, each decked out in bold black and white décor and boasting anything from private pools to ocean-facing beds. But it’s The Royal Residence by the Sea that really got our attention: it boasts a jaw-dropping private dining room, perched on stilts out to sea, plus a large lap pool with a built-in bar. Reserve it and you’ll receive the royal treatment even outside of the resort – its guests are granted VIP access to the InterContinental airport lounge at Danang airport. And if all of that isn’t enough to send you starry-eyed, the resort’s Maison 1888 restaurant certainly will: the creation of superstar chef Michel Roux, it looks like an antique French mansion and serves equally superb French fare. 28

The inside track from the concierge…

“If you happen to be in Da Nang during the full-moon festival (the 14th of each Lunar month), an evening spent in the Old Town Hoi An is a wonderful experience. The town trades its electric lights for traditional lanterns for this one night, turning it into a magical and colourful area with delightful cuisines offered at various restaurants.” Ai Nguyen. Promotion

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InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort, Thailand T. 800 4642 (UAE) or 800 897 1465 (KSA) W. Wake up at the InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort and you’ll lock eyes on soul-stirring tropical vistas daily. So seductive is the scenery, in fact, that the resort’s location is famed for being the best spot on Koh Samui to see the sun set. There’s ample opportunity to admire your surrounds: laidback days can be spent by one of seven pools, with the main infinity pool bestowing 360-degree panoramas over the island and its juicy coconut plantations. The more active

Left, clockwise from top: Resort panorama; Main lobby daybed; Dining pod at Citron restaurant, all at InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Vietnam. This page, top to bottom: Air Bar; Infinity pool, both at InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort, Thailand.

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holidaymaker, meanwhile, can try out their sea legs with all wonder of water sports, from snorkelling and sailing to kayaking and paddle boarding. But, if you ask us, there are few better ways to enjoy the water than with a ride on the InterContinental Signature Speed Boat. Even the rooms here have their aquatic advantages, not least the colonial-inspired Beachfront Pool Villa which sets up home right on the beach: so you can scrunch your toes in the sand before plunging into your private pool and drying off on your sundeck. Of course, if you prefer to admire the sea from afar, there’s plenty of fun to be had on dry land too: hungry guests should

saunter to Amber restaurant where a top chef will share the secrets of Siamese cooking – but not before a head-turning trip around a local market, where you can handpick your ingredients from a smorgasbord of stalls, before rustling up spice-infused dishes in the open kitchen.

The inside track from the concierge…

“Experience a Thai massage, a centuriesold practice that is based on stimulating the flow of life force through the body via sib sen, or energy lines. There are a number of opportunities to experience one in Thailand, including at our own Baan Thai Spa.” Hirokazu Kasuya.


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Top to bottom: Saraswati Lounge; Main pool at dusk, both at InterContinental Bali Resort.

InterContinental Bali Resort, Bali T. 800 4642 (UAE) or 800 897 1465 (KSA) W.


Heart-stopping ocean and jungle views, rich culture, diverse flora and authentic décor make the InterContinental Bali Resort a real Balinese beauty. Set on Jimbaran Bay (regarded as one of Bali’s most breathtaking), it has received acclaim as much for its inspired aesthetics as its western amenities. The latter can be found in rich supply in all 419 rooms, which come in three grades – Resort Classic, Singaraja and Club InterContinental – plus suites and villas. Book a villa and you’ll gain 24-hour butler Promotion

service too, so you needn’t lift a finger. Indeed, this resort prides itself on peace and relaxation – activities list the likes of private yoga lessons (all the better taken on the beach) and healing meditation sessions (to soothe body, mind and soul). And if you really want to get in touch with your softer side, you can arrange to adopt a turtle and release it into the sea before sunset. Parents needn’t fret about their kids breaking the peace, either – there’s more than enough to keep them entertained. Seek out Planet Trekkers, a dedicated children’s centre where your little monkeys can master anything from turtle workshops to arts and crafts; which leaves

you time to spend at the atmospheric Spa Uluwatu. Couples, meanwhile, can make the most of romantic meals at the five restaurants – but to really impress, request private dining and feast on fresh seafood on the beach beneath a tented canopy while the waves break on the shore…

The inside track from the concierge…

“Make sure to see the dramatic Kecak Dance at Pura Luhur Uluwatu. It is one of the most dramatic of all Balinese dances, while Pura Luhur Uluwatu is one of Bali’s nine main temples; perched at the edge of a steep cliff, overlooking the crashing waves 70 metres below.” Diana Respati Duarsa.

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October // 2013

fry me Come


The world’s most bad-tempered chef plans to take over the globe – or at least its airports – with a string of restaurants for holidaymakers. Caroline Scott met him at Heathrow...

ordon Ramsay barrels into Plane Food at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 building like a bull in his own china shop. Even bigger, brawnier and shoutier than he appears on TV, he marks his patch by greeting each of his kitchen staff noisily, then in case anyone in the capacious, 180-seat restaurant hasn’t noticed his arrival, he hollers in the direction of a couple he met in the BA check-in queue: “drinks for these people!” He’s so wired, I wonder if he will be able to sit still long enough to do the interview. Check In

Waiters line up to take his order. He asks for tea. “PG tips – builder’s. Do you know what builder’s bum is? Let me show you...” The boss is in. The staff are pale with spent adrenaline, desperate to get it right. But what can he mean? All the tea is specially blended. “Camomile?” they twitter, getting more and more confused. “Camomile is a thousand miles away from builder’s,” Ramsay roars. “Camomile is for ballet dancers. Come on. COME ON!” He’s tanned and fit from nine months’ training for an Iron Man competition in Hawaii. “Opening restaurants is exciting,


World Traveller

October // 2013

but each year I need a focus point, a benchmark.” After a tumultuous few years he’s now on a mission to turn departure-lounge snacking into fine dining Ramsay-style. He’s en route to Las Vegas to check out the first of four more sites – others are planned in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. His hair is artfully tousled and a set of perfectly white teeth gleam winningly.

The boss is in. The staff are pale with spent adrenaline, desperate to get it right The result is kind of sexy/ferocious, with a definite emphasis on the latter. Among the snack outlets serving generic sandwiches and mass-market sushi, Plane Food is a bit of a gem. It’s a proper restaurant for a start, with its own entrance, an attentive maître d’, and the best location in the terminal – the views over the runway through floor-to-ceiling glass windows are spectacular. It has decent lighting and comfortable chairs. Opening at 5.30am, the breakfast menu – which includes eggs benedict, smoked salmon or a full English – is rolled out throughout the day, so if you’re picking up a connection and want breakfast at dinner time, you can have it. Everything is deliberately kept light. I had Wye Valley asparagus with parmesan and quail’s eggs, and a delicious quinoa, pomegranate and ras el hanout salad – all well put together, but probably not a fair reflection of what this a place can do, since Plane Food turns out dishes on a par with Ramsay’s bistros Maze and Foxtrot Oscar. There’s steamed sea bass with samphire shellfish dressing, roasted veal chop with anchovy, chilli and celery. Prices are low by airport standards, with mains from the equivalent of Dhs63 and side dishes all at Dhs19. “People who are going to be sitting on their bottoms for five or six hours don’t want to feel stuffed,” he says. Well, quite. “You’ve come through a very difficult few years,” I venture. And immediately wish I hadn’t. Suddenly his mood darkens. “Are you asking me or telling me?” he snaps, without waiting for an answer. “I’ve had an amazing few years,” he growls. “Wouldn’t change a minute of it. Why would I? I’ve never felt fitter. Or more in control.” This is a bafflingly bad way to deal with a story that is already in the public arena. “Shall we call it a day?” he announces rather crisply. Check In


October // 2013


“But Gordon! We were doing so nicely!” “We? We?” he spits. “I didn’t put a foot out of line. And anyway, my wife is arriving shortly.” Tana Ramsay is a very competent cook in her own right. Her first cook book, Tana Ramsay’s Family Kitchen, has become a staple in my house. I must have made her fresh ginger cake a hundred times. I’m blathering to this effect, hoping to reel Ramsay back in, but he isn’t really listening. The tumescent thighs have already sprung free from the buttery leather of the Plane Food chair like a couple of dogs released from the traps and he’s pacing about, barking at his new PR about something to do with “the office”. And then he’s gone. Everyone who has ever watched Ramsay on telly knows that he has an attention span about 10 seconds long. But this, he says briskly, when he slinks back half an hour later, all smiles, having established “the boundaries” (that is, no chatter about his private life), is not the real him. “It’s the edited me.” The real Ramsay is a regular traveller who operates a rigorously tight schedule. He flies to America on average twice a month and always tries to co-ordinate what he eats to his destination time zone: for breakfast today, he ate muesli and a smoothie. He’ll have a Caesar salad with grilled chicken, and a little bowl of roasted tomato and pepper soup – “no dessert” – before he gets on the plane, then nothing until he arrives in Vegas. What he will never do is eat from an in-flight tray, even though he travels first class. The children do. (He has four with Tana, aged from 11 to 15.) They travel cattle class. “They’re going to have to work hard before they turn left when they get on a plane.” He calls this “keeping it real”. You could have lunch here for roughly the same price as a coffee shop sandwich and a pastry. He makes money on the volume – 1,000 customers a day. “We’ve got the speed, 11 minutes from when you sit down, 100% bang to rights.” Food is fresh and seasonal – no mean feat, considering the logistical problems of getting raw ingredients through security every day. Vetting staff is 10 times harder, too, and he’s proud of the “phenomenal multicultural kitchen”. Cesar Bartolini, the doe-eyed Argentinian chef, says the recipe for chimichurri chicken is his mum’s. Everyone spends time in other Ramsay kitchens in order to dispel the idea that Plane Food is somehow dumbed down. It isn’t. Behind the scenes is a large, fully functional kitchen that Bartolini, who has come up through the ranks, is rightly proud of. “We’re not after Michelin stars,” Ramsay says. “Just good, honest, relevant food with a feel-good factor.” Check In

For someone so perpetually furious, he’s fond of the phrase “feel-good factor”. “If you board your flight having had a decent dinner, you arrive at your destination prepped and in a good mood,” he coos. Well, that’s the theory. Ramsay’s journey from inner-city boy to the hub of fine dining has been epic by anyone’s standards, if only he would take the histrionics down a few notches. My colleague declares the braised neck of lamb, cooked overnight in its own juices, the best he’s ever had. I eat the carry-on three-course picnic – honey-roast beetroot and goat’s cheese, cheesecake tart with berries, all zipped up in its own dinky little thermal bag. Plane Food, Heathrow T5, is open 5.30am-9.30pm serving breakfast, lunch and dinner

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October // 2013


Mayfair is the heart of London. Brown’s is in the heart of Mayfair.

Brown’s Hotel personifies modern British luxury, with outstanding personal service, elegant rooms and suites, award-winning afternoon tea and a relaxing spa. The Donovan Bar and HIX Mayfair celebrate British art and cuisine, offering the perfect London experience. Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BP Tel: 020 7493 6020 Fax: 020 7493 9381 E-Mail: Luxury Hotels and Resorts

Berlin, Brussels, Edinburgh, Florence, Frankfurt, London, Manchester, Munich, Rome, St Petersburg, Sicily. Future Openings: Cairo, Jeddah, Luxor, Marrakech

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October // 2013

Historic Hotel #4


WT explores the fascinating history of The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata – a beacon of hope and prosperity during a tumultuous century… The story of The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata begins in the early 19th century, when the site on which it was built – 13, Chowringhee Road – was the private residence of Colonel Grand. When he vacated the premises, it was transformed into a boarding house by ambitious businesswoman Annie Monk, who quickly expanded into neighbouring properties 14, 15 and 17. But there was a glitch in her plan: number 16, the Theatre Royal, had been bought in 1894 by a young man of Armenian descent, Arathoon Stephen. It was a momentous buy for Stephen, who had made his money selling jewellery from a wheelbarrow after arriving in Kolkata from Isfahan (now Iran). Success enabled the ambitious and quickwitted businessman to open a jewellery and antique shop before acquiring the now historic site. Not long after Stephen purchased the Theatre Royal, tragedy struck when the property succumbed to fire.

It was burnt to the ground. While the theatre company playing there at the time lost its props, costumes and manuscripts in the blaze, Stephen was more fortunate, his insurance covering the cost of the accident. Check In

He bought out Monk’s property and from the ashes of that theatre rose the Grand Hotel. Very quickly its elaborate neoclassical style and state-of-the-art comforts made it the place to stay for the city’s residents, with its hydraulic elevator, electricity and silent film screenings. Its New Year’s Eve parties were legendary too, with bubbly flowing, extravagant gifts for guests, and the bizarre tradition of releasing 12 piglets into the ballroom. In 1930, after Stephen passed away, a tragic typhoid epidemic in Kolkata saw six hotel guests die. Customers fled in fear as people questioned the property’s drainage system, and the hotel was closed. It would reopen eight years later under the lease, and later ownership, of Mohan Singh Oberoi. In the years that followed it was to

become the Oberoi Group’s flagship property. During the Second World War, some 4,000 soldiers were assigned, or billeted, there. It would be the scene of many parties – and today, events such as the US Marines’ Ball are a fond reminder of these heady, if difficult, days in the hotel’s colourful history. Of course, the war also brought extreme hardship on the people of Kolkata. Following Japan’s occupation of Burma, the world’s largest rice exporter at the time and Kolkata’s major food supplier, people were forced to look elsewhere for food supplies. Sadly, a combination of factors – such as poor crops and famine in regions of the country, the sharp rise in cost for whatever food was available, issues transporting grains to Kolkata

as well as panic buying and hoarding – are blamed for the famine that followed. Estimates for the number of deaths between 1942 and 1943 range from 1.5 to 3 million people. The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata bore witness to it all. When the war eventually ended, the hotel then stood testament to one of the most important chapters in India’s dramatic history: the passing of the British Empire and the Indian Independence Act 1947, which saw the creation of India and Pakistan. Today, it remains one of Oberoi Hotels and Resorts’ most prestigious properties and a landmark in the frenetic city: marrying the rich tradition it has fostered during the past century with all of the luxurious trappings one has come to expect from the world’s finest hotels.


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This month’s new releases include the return of familiar favourites

Mad About The Boy Helen Fielding It’s been 14 long years since Bridget Jones said ‘Yes’ to Mark Darcy’s marriage proposal. If, like us, you’re desperate to know what happened next, Fielding serves up the next installment this month. The Goldfinch Donna Tartt When 13-year-old New Yorker Theo Decker loses his mother, the family of a wealthy friend takes him in. But overwhelmed by his new life, he finds solace in art’s underworld. Solo William Boyd The 38th James Bond novel takes fans to West Africa and the made-up warring country of Zanzarim. This is classic Bond, with a hint of the man inside the incredibly sharp suit. Not That Kind Of Girl Lena Dunham It’s the first offering from the 26-year-old Girls writer and it’s jam-packed with amusing anecdotes and, at times, painfully straight-talking advice on everything from eating to travel.

Water Place To Stay


The latest opening on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah adds another level of luxury

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> This super-smart male grooming kit by Czech & Speake will keep any man at his best while away from home.

Over-water villas may be dotted throughout great swathes of the Indian Ocean, but in our no less tranquil waters of the Gulf they’re as rare as rainfall. Which is why the opening of Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa – and with it the region’s first over-water villas – is so exciting. Once you’re done with the novelty of sitting directly above the ocean on

your terrrace, we suggest a long soak in the outsized tub (pictured here), from which your view is of Dubai’s ever-changing skyline. Some villas also offer a glass viewing panel set into the floor, giving you privileged access to the goings on below, while all come with a personal butler to tend to your every whim.


A short boat ride from the international airport transports you to this serene island resort escape. Located on the South Male atoll, Jumeirah Vittaveli is a luxury getaway within easy reach. Here you’ll uncover vast stretches of white sandy beaches and clear waters, forming an exquisite image for you to gaze upon, as you let the slow pleasures of life take over.

For more information on our special Offers. Please visit or contact your local travel agent

YOUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME. With more than 240 ergonomically designed rooms, and more than 130 serviced apartment, exceptional facilities to cater for your special event and wide array of dinning options including the Award Winning Brazilian Churrascaria, you’ll experience the energy, style and multi-cultural environment that is unmistakably Crowne Plaza Doha - The Business Park.

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October // 2013

A. I believe that there are definitely key pieces you should be able to throw in a travel bag and be set for a few days just about anywhere. First up, I am a huge advocate of investing in a great pair of classic sunglasses. They are pivotal to ensuring the finishing touch on your look and defining a fashion statement. You’ve got a lot of great options to choose from, but if you could buy only one pair make them the Rayban New Wayfarer. Timeless classics.

A pair of cotton shorts, such as J. Crew’s Stanton line, are ideal. Those wanting to cover a bit more leg should opt for a chino. I’m a big fan of the Burberry Brit chinos, a perfect addition to your casual or smart wardrobe. And top them off with a colourful and lightweight belt such as Folk’s striped leather-trimmed number, available from Mr Porter. Presumptions that T-shirts are a no-go once you hit a certain age are also off the mark. Nothing trumps the fit and comfort of American Apparel T-shirts. There are plenty of options in the colour department but their three-pack of heather blue, heather forest, and heather plum offer great sunshine shades for your break. Footwear-wise, a pair of classic boat shoes in navy or brown just get better with age. They’re flooding the malls so you’re not short of options: just remember to invest in some noshow socks too. Round off your sunshine staples with a lightweight sweater, a smart watch and a funky short-sleeve button down and you’ll be more than ready to go.

Short Stuff Gents, prepare to make waves in these stylish swim shorts from Orlebar Brown’s Gray Malin collection…

Bulldog Mid-length Gray Malin Edition Caribbean

Bulldog Mid-length Gray Malin Edition Rio

Style Solutions

WAR DROBE MISTRESS Q. My wife and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary in the sunshine. What do you suggest I pack to ensure I look good, day and night? Another must is a linen suit jacket: it should be a man’s go-to layer for dressier occasions – plus the lightweight cloth means it’s perfect for warmer climes. A navy version, such as the navy Freud slim-fit linen suit jacket by Oliver Spencer (available at Mr Porter), is as classic and wearable a design as you can hope for. An Oxford cloth, button-down shirt (pictured above) is a great option for dayto-night occasions. Though it’s not a dress shirt, it’d look great with a pair of chinos or tucked into shorts with the sleeves rolled up. Speaking of shorts, there’s no need to avoid them: just ensure that they hit above the knee – you probably want a nine- or 10-inch inseam – and avoid cargo versions, unless you’re pledging to a fraternity.

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Bulldog Mid-length Gray Malin Edition Kauai

Our regular style expert Francesca Salih is the founder of Wardrobe Mistress, which provides style solutions and wardrobe management to the rich, royal and famous.


October // 2013

Stylish sleeps

Hotels battle it out to become the most fashionable destination for guests… Worried about your luggage going missing or not packing the right outfit for that unplanned evening out? Well fear not: the latest addition to the luxe hotel industry’s services is ensuring their guests are always well dressed.

The latest to flex its fashionable muscles is The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre, which has partnered with fashion hotspot Bloomingdale’s-Dubai to offer guests exclusive savings and services, including personal stylists delivering outfit choices to their suite. Meanwhile, The Berkeley, in London’s fashionable Knightsbridge district, keeps guests happy with its

fabulous Fashion Trunk (pictured). Curated by Carmen Haid, the founder of Atlelier-Mayer (which specialises in luxury vintage fashion and accessories), the glorious bespoke trunk is filled with covetous finds from the 1950s onwards. Among its many treasures is a 1960s Christian Dior necklace and navy 1970s Chanel clutch. Lending the items is free of charge but if you find yourself pining for the pieces you’ve seen, the concierge will arrange for you to buy your own. If cutting-edge fashion is more your thing, then Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel boasts a Fred Segal Lending Library, which allows guests of its suites to access the luxe store’s latest designer accessories, including jewellery, handbags and sunglasses. There are even dog toys and accessories for those travelling with their beloved pooch. And while guests staying at the beautiful Four Seasons Los Angeles Hotel (big with celebrities) may not need a discount, it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like one, which is why the hotel has teamed up with several upmarket boutiques along Robertson Boulevard to offer guests exclusive discounts of up to 20 per cent.




Stay ahead of the trend this autumn and see the world through a pair of rose-hued spectacles. Among the WT team’s favourites: Chloe’s over-sized blush-toned and deep, autumnal rose shades, and the playful tones incorporated in Ferragamo’s tortoiseshell numbers.

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> Be the envy of your cabin with this limited edition GlobeTrotter Christmas Candy vanity case in hot pink. Boasting a new Liberty lining called ‘Queue for the Zoo’, it’s trimmed with rich burgundy leather and is part of a collection that also includes a lunchboxsized case and extradeep suitcase.

Images of bottom story, from left to right: Chloe; Emilio Pucci; Ferragamo - all from Marchon.

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October // 2013

Luxury Mauritius This jewel in the Indian Ocean not only offers spectacular scenery and activities aplenty, but some of the world’s finest hotels, too


October // 2013

Constance Belle Mare Plage


If the brief for your next holiday includes swathes of white sand, sparkling turquoise waters and accommodation so good you’d love to call it home, this is the resort for you. Ticking all those boxes and many more besides, Constance Belle Mare Plage encapsulates all that makes Mauritius such a wonderful destination. In fact, you’ll find the island’s influence everywhere here: in the resort’s overall architecture, designed as on ode to the Indian Ocean, which laps at the sand, just yards from your room; in the variety of cuisines offered by the seven restaurants you can choose from nightly, which mirrors the diversity of the island’s cultural make up; and in the wealth of activities on hand to suit all tastes and ages, which makes full use of the bountiful attractions the surrounding landscape offers. Such activities include golf, with the resort boasting both the magnificent Legend course, reserved exclusively for guests of the hotel who play for free, and likewise the Links, which offers a taxing challenge to golfers of all levels. Then there’s the resort’s renowned dive centre, where a team of dive masters are on hand to show you the very best of Mauritius’ underwater charms. And the Constance Kids Club, where dedicated staff entertain toddlers aged four to 12 with a daily schedule of fun and games. For those who wish to do nothing more than simply relax, we’d highly recommend a trip to Spa de Constance or Shiseido Promotion

Spa, where in addition to the full gamut of body treatments offered you’ll find a sauna, Jacuzzi and hammam. As for which of the outstanding rooms to choose, we’ll leave that up to you, but the 20 villas, which each have private pools, take some beating. Ideal for families, they pack in plenty of space and two double rooms on separate floors, with a landscaped garden just steps from the beach and ocean beyond. +230 402 2600.

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October // 2013

Heritage The Villas

In the south of Mauritius, where mighty waves routinely crash on breakers to form the most dramatic of backdrops, you’ll find the rolling green hills and russet peaks of the Domaine de Bel Ombre. Dotted amid this spectacular landscape are beautiful villas, built in a traditional Mauritian-style but geared toward the modern, luxury-seeking traveller. They are single- or two-storied, and house either two, three, or four bedrooms, a fully-fitted kitchen, and a dining and TV room (perfect for large families), while each grants an uninterrupted view over the golf course, surrounding mountains or the Indian Ocean. Whichever view you have, drink it in from the al fresco bar and grill area that you’ll find aside the private infinity pool and gazebo in your manicured garden. Stunning. Yet, best of all, they combine the independence you’re afforded in a private villa with the service and facilities you find in a luxury hotel. That’s because the villas are just a short golf buggy ride away from two five star properties: Heritage Awali and Heritage Le Telfair, both of which house myriad restaurants and a spa, at which you enjoy a 20 per cent discount, as well as offering activities galore (including watersports, tennis, diving, cycling) and a brilliant Kids’ Club. Each villa is given a golf buggy so you have the freedom to drive yourself to and from the hotels. And then there’s the golf. As a villa resident you can play unlimited rounds for free on the majestic 18-hole championship course, which is designed to fully exploit the stunning surrounds. You can size up the challenging course before you play: each morning, a bespoke breakfast is served for all villa residents in a century-old chateau, and from its tree-shaded terrace you see across the magnificent Domaine de Bel Ombre, golf course and all. +230 266 9768.


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Constance Le Prince Maurice From the very second you step inside the open and wonderfully welcoming lobby of this grand dame of Mauritius hotels, you’re aware you have arrived at one of the world’s finest dwellings. This legendary hotel stands proud on a private peninsula, a unique location that puts you amid beautiful greenery, a glistening lagoon, and a fine expanse of powder-soft sand. ‘Le Prince’, at it is affectionately known, is as welcoming to families as it is to honeymooners, without compromising on the offering to each, and that’s a fact that’s best reflected in the luxury accommodation offered. Here, there are no standard hotel rooms, but exclusive suites and villas. And of the magnificently designed suites, twelve are dedicated to families, housing one main en-suite bedroom, a living room, a second room with bunk beds, and a bathroom. Our tip


when booking? Ask for one of the two Family Suites that offer direct access to the beach. For couples, there are thatched-roofed Junior Suites – some perched on stilts above a natural fish reserve on the edge of the lagoon - or, for something still grander, Villas, which either stand aside the beach and boast a private pool, or on stilts. Though if you’re set on spoiling yourself, don’t look beyond the fit-for-royalty Princely Suite. Comprised of 3 bedrooms, 2 heated swimming pools and 4 private terraces, you’ll find it on its own, in a secluded area of the hotel, right by the beach. You may struggle to leave such decadent accommodation, but do so and you’ll find a plethora of activities to engage in: free and unlimited green fees are offered at two 18-hole championship golf courses, just a complimentary tenminute shuttle ride away, while the likes Promotion

of scuba diving, sea fishing, waterskiing and windsurfing are also on hand. If that all sounds too active, you’ll love the idea of an afternoon at Spa de Constance by Sisley, one of the finest spas on the island. Kids, meanwhile, will enjoy a holiday to remember at the excellent on-site Constance Kids’ Club. Yet another unique draw of this exceptional hotel are its restaurants. Seafood dishes are a must when staying in Mauritius, and you’ll find it at its best here, whether at Asian (try its sushi), the hotel’s main restaurant Archipel (set by an infinity pool), or at the incredibly unique Le Barachois. You access it via a lantern-lit gangplank that winds through mangrove trees until you find yourself above the calm waters of the lagoon on one of the restaurant’s 5 floating decks. It’s utterly romantic and a must-dine for all who stay here. +230 402 2772/73.

World Traveller

October // 2013

Down Out &

Mark Chipperfield enjoys Australia’s great outdoors, by combining a city visit to Melbourne with a trip to experience the untamed beauty of Tasmania...


October // 2013

hat do fur seals, great sporting events, modern art, fine food, fabulous surf beaches, and Tasmanian devils have in common? Well, these are just some of the diverse things you are likely to encounter when you combine a trip to Tasmania and Victoria – two of Australia’s most exciting travel destinations – into a single actionpacked itinerary. For some, Melbourne is a destination in its own right. A construction boom over the past decade has transformed the city’s skyline, ushering in a new mood of optimism and enterprise. Federation Square, the new Docklands precinct and the Melbourne Aquarium are three examples of how the Victorian capital is shedding its staid image – although ‘Marvellous Melbourne’ of the Gold Rush era lives on in its wide boulevards, fine neoclassical buildings, immaculate parks and trams.


This page, from top: Princess Bridge over the Yarra River, Victoria; Australian steak. Opposite, from top: Federation Square and Southbank; Lake St. Clair National Park. Last page: 12 Apostles at Port Campbell National Park. Australia

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The Tasmanian devil has a reputation for being somewhat aggressive, not helped by the fact that it’s often pictured snarling. In fact, the carnivorous dogsized marsupials are desperately fighting a contagious cancer epidemic that sadly threatens the species with extinction.

Contemporary Melbourne is a cornucopia of life’s pleasures rolled into one location – food, fashion, great sporting events, elegant shopping, good theatre, blockbuster art exhibitions and the world’s best coffee (just ask a Melbournian). With an estimated 3,000 restaurants, cafés and bars covering some 75 different ethnic cuisines, Melbourne is the undisputed foodie capital of Australia – and, some would even claim, of the Southern Hemisphere. Whether you are looking for classical French cuisine, Spanish tapas or contemporary Asian fare, you are certain to find it here. And with new eateries opening almost weekly, it’s difficult to keep pace.

Contemporary Melbourne is a cornucopia of life’s pleasures rolled into one location Since hosting the 1956 Olympics, the city has gone bonkers for every type of sporting contest – from horse racing to archery – and is currently home to some of the country’s biggest sporting events, including the Australian Open (tennis), the Australian Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup, highlight of the Spring Racing Carnival. Melbourne also makes the ideal jumping-off point for your Tasmanian adventure. Long regarded as Australia’s best-kept secret, the island state – a place of convict legend, pretty Georgian architecture,

mysterious forests and wild rivers – is finally generating the international recognition it so richly deserves. Renowned for its pristine wilderness areas such as Cradle Mountain and Wineglass Bay, ‘Tassie’ (as it is affectionately known) is also something of a gourmet paradise. Its seafood, cheeses, grass–fed beef and lamb are highly prized. Indeed, Tasmanian oysters, abalone and ocean trout now feature on the world’s best restaurant menus. The recent opening of MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), one of the world’s greatest private collections of contemporary art, has propelled Hobart into the global spotlight – almost 400,000


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WHAT TO DO Days 1–5 Arrive in Melbourne with Emirates and connect directly on to Hobart in Tasmania. Drive to the top of Mount Wellington (Hobart sits at its foot) and enjoy great views over Australia’s island state. Spend a morning wandering under the arches of Salamanca Place with their craft and design shops, jewellers, restaurants, bookshops, fashion boutiques and street musicians. On Saturdays, Salamanca Market sells everything from antiques and hand-knitted jumpers to fresh fruit and vegetables. Next, at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, borrow a free artbike (which comes with a cultural map) and take a tour of Hobart’s art hot spots. Don’t miss MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art), which houses everything from Egyptian mummies to David Bowie’s gold discs and a 6,000-piece art collection that includes work by leading Australian artists as well as the likes of Britain’s Damien Hirst. Go wildlife spotting in Narawntapu National Park on the north coast. Dubbed the ‘Serengeti of Tasmania’, the number of marsupials is extraordinary. Days 6–9 Take a morning flight back to the mainland and soak up the atmosphere in Melbourne. This is a city of secret gems. Go on a backstreet tour of the quirky lanes and you’ ll discover a fabulously underground culture of cafés, fashion stores, art galleries and world-class restaurants. Melbourne has a vibrant and diverse dining scene, representing just about every world cuisine imaginable. Treat yourself to a meal after hitting the shops. The city centre is chock-a-block with independent designer stores – Little Bourke Street is great for designer homewares, while Little Collins Street has amazing clothes shops. Days 10–14


From Melbourne, hire a car and head out along the Great Ocean Road, one of the most scenic coastal drives in the country, with deserted beaches and bays, ancient rainforests and abundant wildlife. The drive starts at Torquay, an hour beyond Melbourne. The stretch between the seaside villages of Lorne and Apollo Bay is especially picturesque, for here the road is carved into the sheer cliff face with nothing between you and the big blue beyond. Continue through the wilderness of the Great Otway and Port Campbell National Parks, looking out for koalas in the eucalyptus trees, until you reach the Great Ocean Road’s signature sight – the Twelve Apostles. The perfect photo opportunity, viewing is easy from specially built boardwalks or from the beach itself. Or why not take a helicopter ride and soar over the impressive rock formations?


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October // 2013



Text by: Mark Chipperfield /The Telegraph/ The Interview People Photography supplied by: Corbis / Arabian Eye

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people have visited the gallery since it opened in January 2011. The modernist structure, located on the outskirts of Hobart, contains a $100million art collection belonging to local ‘artoholic’ David Walsh. The museum contains an eclectic range of artworks, installations and classical antiquities, including works by artists such as Damien Hirst, Julius Popp, Andres Serrano, Sidney Nolan and Brett Whiteley. Walsh describes MONA as “a subversive adult Disneyland” and it’s difficult to argue with that assessment. Entrance to the gallery is across a private tennis court. Guests negotiate their way around the building – which is literally carved into a cliff – by means of a hand–held electronic device similar to an iPod, which provides information, interviews and audio. There are no written descriptions. An inbuilt GPS identifies each exhibit as you walk around the gallery. And, in another twist, everyone gets to vote for the works on display by pressing the ‘Love’ or ‘Hate’ buttons. You can relive your MONA experience later – the gallery will email a virtual tour to you. Complete your visit with a delicious lunch at the adjoining vineyard. When Walsh bought the property in 1995 he also acquired Moorilla Estate, Tasmania’s oldest vineyard, a restaurant and a range of upscale pavilions overlooking the Derwent River. He has since expanded the accommodation options – those seeking more permanent lodging can have their ashes interred at MONA and put on display. In contrast, downtown Hobart, especially the historic precinct around Constitution Dock, remains almost untouched by the 21st century. The old Hobart waterfront is pure Thomas Hardy, with imposing bond stores, ship’s chandlers and sandstone pubs that have entertained generations of sea dogs. Hobart is still a busy port. Ships from here service Australia’s bases in Antarctica and the city plays host to the annual Sydney-to-Hobart ocean yacht race, one of the most gruelling in the world. The wharves are dotted with beautifully restored wooden boats and tall ships, many having been originally built along the Derwent. Each Saturday, the old seafaring area hosts the Salamanca Market, a showcase of fresh Tasmanian produce, local craft and artwork. Farmhouse cheeses, olive oil, fudge, berries, honey and smoked meats are just some of things on offer – plus plenty of street performers and children’s entertainment. A novel way to explore Hobart is to borrow one of the city’s artbikes. Rental is free provided you can produce some photo ID and a valid credit card – and bikes come with a helmet, lock and a map

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of nearby cultural attractions. Despite its modest size, Hobart (population 204,000) is surprisingly well-stocked with restaurants, cafés and pubs. It’s safe to say that you’ll find Australia’s freshest fish ‘n’ chips down on the wharf. But for something a little more interesting, try Monty’s on Montpelier or Garagistes, a funky bistro on Murray Street. If riding a sturdy artbike around Hobart fails to get your heart pumping, then a high-speed eco-adventure with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys may be the answer. Run by the charismatic Rob Pennicott, the military-style speedboats take adventurous types south of Hobart to see the dramatic sea cliffs on Bruny Island – a sanctuary for fur seals, dolphins, humpback whales and numerous bird species, including the majestic albatross. Getting to Bruny involves a 50-minute drive and a short ferry ride but coach transfers from Hobart can be arranged. After such an adventure, you might be contemplating a quiet stroll around Battery Point, a beautifully preserved area of Georgian architecture, or perhaps

WHERE TO STAY For incredible city and river views, there is the spectacular Crown Towers Hotel . Pensione Hotel ’s charm lies in its location too – this time in a century-old building in the heart of the city. For something a bit more personal, and very stylish too, there’s the wonderful boutique hotel The Lyall in South Yarra, the most fashionable area of Melbourne. Book at

The military-style speedboats take adventurous types south of Hobart to see the dramatic sea cliffs on Bruny Island a visit to the Maritime Museum – surely one of the city’s best-kept secrets. But you cannot leave this little gem of an island without an encounter with its most famous inhabitant, the fierce-looking but misunderstood Tasmanian devil. Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, 25 minutes from downtown Hobart, cares for injured or abandoned devils, wombats, echidnas, possums and other native animals. Greg Irons, who runs the sanctuary, has hand-reared many of these creatures and is keen to dispel many of the myths around them. With the species threatened with extinction, Irons aims to shore up their numbers and change public opinion in their favour. “Devils are really quite affectionate and loveable,” he says. “Shame they’re always photographed snarling.” Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary may not get the star billing of MONA or get your adrenalin pulsing like a cruise around Bruny Island, but it is a truly uplifting experience. You might even get to hug a Tasmanian devil – or at least have the opportunity to tickle a baby wombat.

Opposite, clockwise from top left: Constitution dock at Hobart; Sullivan’s Cove, Hobart; Tasmanian devils at Something Wild in Mt. Field National Park; Red lichen on rocks, Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park.


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REMEMBER Mark Stratton embarks on a turbo-charged seven day trip to vibrant Vietnam


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Good Morning Vietnam!” boomed the taxi driver shuttling me from the airport to breakfast in Hanoi. His Robin Williams impersonation wasn’t great. But I’d certainly arrived early enough to witness Hanoi waking up. The city’s parks swayed to tai chi; hungry patrons breakfasted on pho noodles at pavement food stalls. Even Hanoi’s millions of motorcyclists had not yet reached the ear-splitting pitch that marks the daily rush hour. Hanoi became Vietnam’s capital in 1010. The old quarter’s labyrinthine geography appears to have changed little since then. And I had nothing to assist with my disorientation amid the old quarter’s frenetic maze of markets, cafés, street-restaurants and crumbling French colonial architecture. My survival strategy for exploring it (beyond not getting run over by scooters) involved allowing fate to deliver me hither and thither. I happened upon backstreet gems such as Bach Ma’s 18th-century temple dedicated to a white horse spirit, and a handsome 19th-century house at 87 Ma May, whose hidden courtyards and creaky wooden rooms were redolent of a forgotten age. Besides baguettes, Hanoi’s most eloquent Francophone expression is the

Opening page: Aerial view of Hanoi motorcycle traffic. This page, from top: Soup at a street market in Mui Ne; Vietnamese woman. Opposite page, from top: Ornamental lamp at a pagoda; Calligrapher at work; The changing of the guard at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

decadently opulent Metropole Hotel, which dates back to 1901. During the Vietnam War it played host to various anti-war celebrities, including Jane Fonda, while the hotel recently unearthed a forgotten air-raid shelter where Joan Baez part-recorded her protest ballad “Where are you now, my son?”. But the times, as her old flame Dylan noted, they are a-changin’. Luxury outlets such as Bentley and Cartier surround the hotel, a reflection of communist Vietnam’s post-war economic liberalisation. Its reforms have mirrored China’s authoritarian capitalism. Hammer-and-sickle motifs on public buildings and visibly prominent greenuniformed soldiers are a reminder to the visitor that Vietnam’s one-party state remains a politically repressive regime, intolerant of dissent. The arrival of top-end British motor cars and luxury French watchmakers would



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These conical Vietnamese hats, known as Nón Lá, are worn almost exclusively by women in the north of the country and sometimes by men in the south. Made of straw, they’re used to protect people from both the searing heat of the sun and downpours. If crafted from leaves or bark, they’re coated in varnish for longevity.

not have amused Vietnam’s revolutionary guiding light, Ho Chi Minh, with whom I would come face-to-face with later at his mausoleum. A short walk outside the old quarter, amid a stylish suburb of French Art Deco villas around Ba Dinh Square, and I joined a lengthy queue of Vietnamese filing into his monolithic mausoleum: a Soviet-style Parthenon. Inside, I had less than a minute to file by his waxy corpse (still with signature straggly goatee) as it lay in quiet repose inside a glass chamber flanked by expressionless soldiers with glinting bayonets. I exited at the propagandadrenched Ho Chi Minh Museum, perhaps Hanoi’s most obvious expression of concrete neo-brutalism. Hanoi is also responsible for some of South-east Asia’s tastiest street food, the best of which I sought with Belgian expatriate Yves who works in the city with whom I’d organised several excursions. Down Ngo Trang Tien near his office, we ate bun dau: tofu served with vermicelli-noodle cakes soaked in fermented squid sauce. “Many visitors don’t like this strong taste,” said Yves. I did. The AED4 dish combined hot chilli, slimy vermicelli and the pungent sauce, but somehow it worked. Pavement eateries aren’t the limit of Hanoi’s culinary ambitions. That evening I dined at the Press Club, haunt of Hanoi’s well-heeled – a decadent whirl of white tablecloths, silver service and Asian woodwork. It may be the swankiest finedining eatery in town, but my three-course meal (featuring Australian tenderloin beef in green peppercorn sauce) cost just 975,000 dong (around AED169). The general manager, Kurt Walter, told me that since opening in 1997 the


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restaurant’s clientele has expanded from expatriates to a mix that now includes the Vietnamese nouveau riche. Before heading south, there was time for an excursion eastwards, to the coast. After a three-hour drive from Hanoi, I was ensconced on a wooden junk marvelling at Halong Bay’s breathtaking limestone karsts: sharpened like sharkfins, or undercut to form stone toadstools, or in pitted rows resembling cavity-filled dentures. “I’ve been here 100 times but never tire of their beauty,” said Dang Dong, my guide. During our four-hour cruise we watched foraging sea-eagles and ate squid, tiger prawns and cockles. Then

The parks swayed to tai chi; hungry patrons breakfasted on pho noodles at food stalls it was time to shuttle back to Hanoi to catch the 11pm Reunification Express to Ho Chi Minh City. She left on time. I boarded the rather functionally named SE3 service, which pulled out of Hanoi station with a groan of metal I’d heard before in disaster movies. I’d booked into a comfortable four-berth soft-sleeper cabin for a whopping 1.76 million dong (just AED305). The 30-hour, 1,726km marathon south proved a scenic revelation. Relaunched in 1976 after wartime partition, the rail route shadows two borders – those of Laos and Cambodia – while to the east the Gulf of Tonkin morphs into the South China Sea. My fellow passengers came and went, jumping off at exotic destinations such as Hue, the ancient imperial capital straddling the Perfume



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River; and Danang for Hoi An, a coastal port whose architecture has been richly augmented by centuries of foreign trade. I remained for the long haul, immersed in Graham Greene’s Vietnam classic, The Quiet American, and gazing seawards as the SE3 snaked through tunnels, along plunging coastal cliffs, past deserted beaches and rice-paddies being furrowed by buffalo. I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City a mere 96 frenetic hours after touching down in Hanoi. During the 2002 remake of The Quiet American, Michael Caine and the rest of the cast stayed at Hotel Caravelle, which hosted journalists during the Vietnam War. Even after the hotel was bombed in 1964, they continued frequenting its Saigon Saigon Bar, which still swings away on the 9th floor. The hotel has been refurbished along with Saigon’s name: it is now Ho Chi Minh City’s most luxurious offering. I rolled in at 6am after two nights on the rails, eager for a bed that didn’t rattle. The next morning, I learnt that Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are worlds apart. Founded in 1698, the southern city outshines its northern rival in size and population, and in the burgeoning capitalism epitomised by the designer soaked Dong Khoi Street, nicknamed locally ‘Champs-Elysées’. Its broader French boulevards prove even more hazardous to cross than in Hanoi – with relentless, molten streams of scooters. There’s rivalry, too, between the cities. I was variously told the North Vietnamese


Boating in Hoa Binh Province, Hanoi. Next page: Vietnamese women in traditional costume.

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were haughty, unfriendly, too serious, and obsessed by bureaucracy. Tittle tattle, maybe, but the cultural differences are tangible between the Western-influenced south and the more communist north. There are also differing dialects and cuisine, with Ho Chi Minh City’s food influenced by its large Chinese contingency and its climate. Many of the city’s highlights fall within administrative District 1 (the equivalent of a central business zone) including two must-sees around Tao Dan Park. Communist tanks stormed the Independence Palace on 30 April 1975, ending the war. The tanks are still mounted within this former South Vietnamese headquarters in attractive grounds of azalea and frangipani. The building itself has become the Reunification Palace, but retains its 1960s-era modernist interior that is fullon Thunderbirds retro, all curving sofas and leather-clad cocktail bars. Nearby, the absorbing War Remnants Museum hosts sobering exhibits of Agent Orange’s lasting effects on the

WHERE TO STAY For unbridled luxury in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, a stay at the Hotel Nikko Saigon is a must: with the city’s second largest ballroom, pack something special incase. In the thick of the city, close to its main attractions, is the glorious

InterContinental Asiana Saigon . Meanwhile, Melia Hanoi Hotel

promises a perfect base from which to explore the northern city’s delights. Book at

Text by: Mark Stratton / The Independent on Sunday / The Interview People Photography supplied by: Corbis / Arabian Eye

Ben Thanh market seduces visitors with souvenir shops, spas and a nightly food market Vietnamese, alongside a gripping collection of wartime photography seen through the lenses of Robert Capa and his contemporaries. Meanwhile, Ben Thanh market seduces visitors with souvenir shops, spas and a nightly food market. On my last evening, I grazed there on banh xeo crêpes stuffed with bean sprouts, before migrating to Thuong Hien street to eat steamed crab claws and green mussels. But I preferred the grittier authenticity of Binh Tay market, 10 kilometres away in Cholon, established by Saigon’s sizeable Chinese community. I reached it by riding pillion on a xe-om motorbike-taxi (drivers tout for business on every street corner). It’s a handy service, but my safety helmet’s markings – “hope you are lucky” – probably said it best. My final excursion (60 kilometres outside Saigon) was to the remarkable Cu Chi defensive tunnels, dug on three levels by the Viet Cong in the 1960s. My guide, Dam, and I potholed through sections of the 250-kilometre complex, which survived B52 bombing, and rediscovered the surface in plenty of time for my flight. Slow travel it wasn’t. But Vietnam never pauses for breath.


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The Rio de Janiero Carnival dates back as far as 1723 and attracts crowds in excess of 4.5 million, including hundreds of thousands of tourists who arrive seeking the world’s largest party. Flamboyant costumes and samba galore keep everyone smiling.


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One of the new seven wonders of the world, Iguazu Falls consists of 275 falls that run along 2.7 kilometers of the Iguazu River. This is the point where it descends 200 feet at the ‘Devil’s Throat’, which runs along the Brazil and Argentina border.



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There’s no better view of Rio de Janeiro than from this iconic Brazilian landmark, considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world. Made in France and shipped to Brazil piece by piece, the weather has since worn away its eyebrows, lips and fingers.

The extremely rare woolly spider monkey is the largest primate in the Americas and one of the world’s most endangered creatures. They live in the remaining Atlantic forests of southeastern Brazil in troops of five to 25 and drink the water in leaves.


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While glass-faced cable cars offer the most relaxing way to reach the top of Brazil’s famed Sugar Loaf Mountain, and the best view of Rio’s harbour, it’s also a hugely popular rock climbing destination. The first cable cars, built in 1912, were wooden.



Photography supplied by: Corbis / Arabian Eye

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Insider Italy Venice’s best coffee, Rome’s covert Carvaggios, Florence’s foodie secrets, Milan’s bespoke jewellers… Our experts spill the beans on Italy’s fantastic four cities...

VENICE CONTEMPORARY CUT: There’s no better way to get to grips with the real Venice than by watching a painter or film-maker bring it to life in front of you. With guide Cristina Gregorin (contemporary-venice. com) you can visit the studios of local artists, as well as get the inside track on contemporary art exhibitions such as the Biennale (, which runs until next month. COFFEE WITHOUT THE CROWDS: One

sniff of the bean-scented air here is worth 12 insipid lattes back home. The only place in Venice with a Starbucks-style menu is the cosy, amber-lit Caffè del Doge (Calle dei Cinque, San Polo 609, caffedeldoge. com), handy for a rocketpowered espresso. And they’ll also grind you a kilo of finest Ethiopian to take home.

NO-FUSS FISH: This workman’s caff by

day does fine dining by night and oozes back-tobasics charm from every wooden table and platter of grilled sardines. Ai Canottieri (Fondamenta di San Giobbe, Cannaregio; 00 39 041 717999) is a canalside joint way off-track on the city’s northwestern margins (locals glide up in their boats and parking can get fraught). Don’t say: “Can I see a menu?” Do say: “What do you recommend?” A steaming coal-black mound of cuttlefish on butteryellow polenta, since you ask.

SECRET SAINT: Guidebooks will nudge

you to the Accademia for dramatic oils, but the must-see masterpiece is Titian’s 16th-century Martyrdom of San Lorenzo in the Church of the Gesuiti (Campo dei Gesuiti, Cannaregio). Newly restored to gruesome glory, it shows the saint being

slowly grilled by Roman soldiers. But it’s the light – flaming torches, silvery moonshine and a mysterious heavenly glow – that’s magical. HIDDEN GEMS: The island of Murano

is just across the bay, so gaudy glass isn’t hard to find in Venice itself. But the items crafted by the hands of the Venetian-born Attombri brothers are something else – they weave Murano glass beads and wire into necklaces, bracelets and earrings so unusually exquisite that, once worn, it’ll be difficult to go back to more orthodox adornments. Indulge at Attombri, a new gallery-cum-shop close to the Rialto (Sottoportico Degli Oresi 74).

OFF-PISTE PRESENTS: Another glass must – squirrelled away in touristfree Castello, local girl Ketty Parma painstakingly creates mosaics from radiant Murano. For unique artwork - a Klimt glass painting, a seahorse or a set of jewelbright glasses, say, drop in to the Alice in Wonderland Fine Arts Gallery (Salizada S Antonin 3541-A; UNDERCOVER ART: Sidestep the crowds that flock to the Arsenale for the main Biennale art shows and head to Ca’ Dandolo Palace on the Grand Canal, which hosts the Iraq pavilion (until Nov 24; From Mesopotamian ceramics to cardboard tables and chairs, it proves that political turmoil is no impediment to the imagination. OFF-CENTRE SPRITZ: Lovely Serra dei Giardini (Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi 1254; is the go-to

greenhouse for yoga, flowers or coffee. This just-restored, late-19th-century glass-and-iron conservatory, like a lower and flatter Eiffel Tower, is now hosting an awesome Biennale exhibition. Other virtues include a view of the lagoon and a super selection of organic juices. Why doesn’t everyone know about it? Because the Venetians like to keep a few things to themselves. BOAT BUSINESS: Dedicated to the

preservation of Venice’s traditional wooden boats, Arzanà (Calle delle Pignatte 1936/d, Cannaregio) feels like a lost worwld. It’s normally closed to the public, but if you email a month in advance (associazione, you’ll get a tour of the workshop, which is stacked with ropes, oars and whichever gondola is under surgery.


Although no-one else has heard of it, anyone within a 250m radius of Pasticceria alla Bragorà (Salizada S Antonin 3604/3605), in Castello, rolls up to kickstart the day with flaky-fabulous cornetti (Italian croissants). Take-away treats include bigne (imagine a profiterole, but longer, thinner, and infinitely yummier).


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Opening page: The Grand Canal at dawn. Opposite, clockwise from left: Swiss guard at the Vatican; The Colosseum; Pizza; Italian ice cream; A flower-coloured balcony in Tuscany; Fresco by G.A. Bazzi in the Villa Farnesina; fountain in the Piazza della Rotonda


ALTERNATIVE ART: Swap the Renaissance halls of the Vatican museums for a more intimate experience at the 16thcentury Villa Farnesina (Via delle Lungara 230; There, Raphael Sanzio – among other masters – painted frescoes rife with engrossing imagery and tongue-in-cheek references.


PERFECT PIZZA: Gabriele Bonci’s legendary-among-locals pizza-by-theslice joint, Pizzarium (Via della Meloria 43; gabrielebonci. it), should be right at the top of every gourmand’s lunch list. Arrive before the 1pm rush to cash in on a delicious carb-fest of – if you’re lucky – just-baked potato pizza and freshly fried arancini (rice balls).

inevitable – a visit to the Vatican will wipe you out. Recharge your batteries with one of Rome’s best espressos at old-school Sciascia Caffè (Via Fabio Massimo 80/A; Alternatively, stop for a plate of milky mozzarella at sleek Romeo (Via Silla 26A; 00 39 06 3211 0120). gleaming white, Gelateria Fatamorgana (Via Laurina 10; gelateriafatamorgana. it) opened recently near Piazza di Spagna. Take a break from the boutiques for a scoop of decadent Kentucky (chocolate and tobacco) or sweet and savoury pera e Gorgonzola (pear with blue cheese).


converted power station, the little-known Centrale Montemartini (Via Ostiense 106; displays ancient, stark white statues of stately emperors against an industrial backdrop.

THE HIDDEN EMPIRE: In places, ancient


Rome has been smothered by the modern city. Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini (Via VI Novembre 119/A; was dug up beneath government offices next to a major traffic hub. The dusty villas at this subterranean site provide a back-in-time peek at Roman digs, replete with still colourful mosaic floors and marble-clad walls.


most iconic Roman ruin (Piazza del Colosseo; is nigh-on obligatory for visitors, but what most people don’t realise is that a new tour now takes you into the underground passageways where gladiators, wild beasts and condemned criminals awaited their fates in dingy cells, while the crowd bellowed above.



peruse the artist’s paintings at the Galleria Borghese (Piazzale del Museo Borghese; galleria But they look better at the church of San Luigi dei Francesi (Via Santa Giovanna d’Arco), where three canvases hang in the precise spot they were intended to be viewed.

LOCAL LUNCH: You’ll come across plenty

of tourist trap joints near the Forum. Avoid these and instead head for a lunch of grilled squid at Enoteca Provincia Romana (Foro Traiano; 00 39 06 6994 0273,, where every single ingredient and beverage is sourced from Rome and its environs.

THE FORGOTTEN BATHS: You can only imagine the sight of 1,000 plus guests bathing, debating, relaxing and working out in the sprawling Baths of Caracalla (Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 52, www. archeorm.arti.beniculturali. it) – they went out of use in 537AD.

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Take a break from the boutiques for a scoop of decadent Kentucky


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FLORENCE FOAM ON THE FRINGE: After 40 years of fine tuning cappuccinos, the Bernacchioni family has turned breakfast into an art. In the secret southern suburb of Soffiano, their speciality is silky, citrushued Chantilly cream, folded into flaky, caramelised pastry (Giorgio, Via Duccio di Buoninsegna 36; CRAFTED FOR CONNOISSEURS:

Inspired by corals, shells and trees, Angela Caputi (Via S Spirito 58/R; Borgo SS. Apostoli 44/46; creates bangles, necklaces and earrings that make her the style secret of every well-dressed female Fiorentine. SUPERIOR SHOEMAKER: Every chap


should have one pair of custom-made Italian shoes. Your man for the job is Roberto Ugolini (Via Michelozzi 17R; Lined with wooden lasts, his workshop is next to Santa Spirito church.


a mystery why more Florentine ladies haven’t heard of Echo (Via dell’Oriuolo 37/R; A boutique specialising in the designs of Paola Ermini, it peddles elegant, easy pieces in soft jersey and cotton.


HIDDEN PASSAGE: To avoid passing among the plebs, 16th-century Medici bigwig Cosimo I had a covered walkway built over the Ponte Vecchio. Today,the Vasari Corridor is lined with self-portraits of artists from Tintoretto to Chagall. But you must request an appointment in advance. Try one of Florencetown’s tours (Via de’ Lamberti 1; SECRET SCULPTOR: Dello Delli is the

mystery man of Renaissance art, having lived in Spain for many years. Now, he’s getting his moment: the Bargello Museum (Via del Proconsolo; polomuseale.firenze. it) has restored his touching tabernacle of the Madonna and Child. Crowned by a replica of the famous Duomo.

212427) has been flying the flag for traditional Florentine cooking for three generations. Locals are greeted like extended family; the rest of us book well in advance. GASTRO HAUNT: English is off the menu at Il Santo Bevitore (Via di Santo Spirito 64R; 00 39 055 211264,, a trad-with-a-twist place beloved of foodie Florentines. It’s worth getting lost in translation for delicious dishes such as duck-liver pâté on brioche with jus of Vin Santo, and pasta with rabbit ragù.


sunset, Gelateria Santa Trinita (Piazza Frescobaldi, 11-12/R; gelateriasantatrinita. it) is filled with Florentines buying their dolce. As well as classic flavours, there’s also peanuts and chocolate and yoghurt with strawberries and honey.

DISCREET DELICIOUSNESS: From deep-fried courgette flowers that melt on your tongue, to ribollita alla contadina (country peasant soup), Trattoria Camillo (Borgo San Jacopo 57/R; 00 39 055

The Vasari Corridor is lined with self-portraits of artists from Tintoretto to Chagall

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Opposite page: Arno river and Carraia’s bridge. This page, clockwise from left: Downtown Milan; A Milan street; Breakfast.


day of dolce vita mid-morning on Corso Magenta, in the heart of classical Milan. This ancient street radiates atmosphere, with its bourgeois palazzi, bespoke jewellers selling proposal rings (try Le Streghe, at No 56 and antiques stores full of ancient maps and leather-bound volumes (such as II Bullino, No. 50).


Photography supplied by: Corbis / Arabian Eye; Shutterstock

on Corso Magenta, you’ll find the city’s finest brioche and cappuccino (a breakfast drink only, for a true Milanese). Eat your fill at Pasticceria Marchesi (corner of Via Santa Maria alla Porta), where the original 19th-century interior is as divine as the cakes and pastries.

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RENAISSANCE ART MINUS THE RABBLE: You’re minutes from overrun

Santa Maria delle Grazie and Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. Bypass them and walk 15 minutes east along Via Meravigli for the under-visited Poldi Pezzoli (Via Manzoni 12;, a museum in the home of a 19th-century art collector, with luscious tableaux by Botticelli and Da Vinci pupil Andrea Solario.


Alternatively, make for San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore (Corso Magenta 15), which houses a lesser-known but luminous fresco cycle by Bernardino Luini, depicting the colourful life of ancient Roman soldier turned-saint San Maurizio. THE ‘NOW’ NEIGHBOURHOOD:

Take the Linea Verde (green line) to Porta Genova for the Navigli (canal quarter), a once best avoided but now vibrant arts and nightlife destination. Browse waterside cafes and thrift stores, from Elizabeth the First (Alzaia Naviglio Grande;, with its leather jackets and corsages, to Zona Tortona’s complex of artists’ studios.

HIGH FASHION FOR A STEAL: The Golden Quad (four Bond Street-style roads north of the Duomo) is well wroth a browse. But to nab Milanese labels (Armani, D&G) for up to 50 per cent less, head to Matia’s Outlet (Piazza C. Mirabello 4; metro stop Turati). BREATHE WITH THE INNAMORATI:

Join entwined lovers taking time out in Milan’s parks. Parco Sempione is the biggie (Castello Sforzesco to Arco della Pace). But tucked away Giardini della Guastalla (between the Università Statale and the Ospedale Maggiore) is better, with its Baroque fish pond and the canopied shade of 300-year-old trees. CHANGE-YOUR-LIFE PASTA:

Charismatic staff and bouncing homemade pasta (try the spicy tagliolini with prawns), can be found at down-to-earth Le Tournedos (Via Imperia 7; 00 39 02 8950 3255, CONVIVIAL CLUBBING: Milano’s jazz

scene is where it’s at. Scimmie Bar (Via Ascanio Sforza 49; scimmie. it) is cosy and powercut-dark with welcoming regulars and nightly live jazz acts.


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Cod’s Gift

The Kennedy connections are still there, but Cape Cod’s not just for billionaires – America’s rose-tinted peninsula caters for ordinary folks, too...


United States of America

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lighthouse beckoned from the west, marking out the headland. The sand stretched far into the chilly Atlantic. It was evening, low tide. As the sun dropped, the embers of our rudimentary barbecue began to cool, but around us hung a sense of something exciting. Was it the aroma of fried clams on the air? Was it the presence of a sprawling Kennedy residence a few kilometres west? Was it the appealing twang of East Coast accents around us? It was all this, and we were pinching ourselves. Here we were, holidaying on Cape Cod, New England’s most exclusive stretch of coastline – playground of billionaire third-homers and the summer schmoozing centre of the American political class. Cape Cod: the very name oozes glamour and connections. The novelist Norman Mailer kept a home here. John F Kennedy was a visitor. And now so were we – not tycoons, not well-in with the Democratic Party, just two parents with two daughters, aged 13 and 14, and my 20-plus stepson. On a map, Cape Cod sticks out sharply into the Atlantic from easternmost Massachusetts: angular, twin-pronged and assertive, not unlike the silhouette of a hammer. It’s a sharp, pushy first impression that belies the peninsula’s gentle, undulating geography of dunes and tilting beaches, rolling sea and easy living. Even the drive there was a breeze; we pootled out of Boston in our roomy, gas-guzzling hire car, relieved that American petrol costs peanuts. Our destination was Orleans, in the mid-Cape, a couple of hours away at a leisurely ‘we’re-all-going-on-a-summer-holiday’ pace. The town was, it must be said, more ’burb than boho: all unnumbered properties, set back from the roads along unmade tracks. But the gamble had paid off: a little ragged at the edges, our timber home for the holiday was full of the paraphernalia of comfortable American family life. The huge cellar contained a ping-pong table, fishing gear, baseball

As the sun dropped, around us hung a sense of something exciting

Opposite page: Edgartown Lighthouse at dusk. Next page: Provincetown seen from Pilgrim Monument on Cape Cod.

kit and beach gear. We could even barbecue on the wooden sundeck, although – sole gripe – popping out for a pint of milk was a no-no, it being four or five kilometres to the nearest convenience (actually make that inconvenience) store. On the positive side, we were perfectly placed for Nauset, a pin-up-lovely, infinite stretch of tawny sands rising to dunes of punk-haired grass, summits zippered with fences that threw long shadows at the day’s end. Cast your mind back to the movie Jaws, and you’ll recognise these shores – Steven Spielberg filmed his filmed classic on Martha’s Vineyard, at Edgartown. Later, we’d find that, even 38 years on, fact is not so far removed from fiction in these waters. For the time being, though, it was safe to immerse ourselves into this rose-tinted fantasy of suburban


October // 2013

America. We were a family on holiday in the US for the first time, and we were loving it, our daughters fascinated by all its old-fashioned idiosyncrasies, its dependency on the automobile, its dogged determination to have a good time, especially in the vacation season. And so we simply went with the flow. The Atlantic side of the cape might be chilly (the waters of Cape Cod Bay less so), but there are hundreds of kilometres of unspooling, unspoilt coastline to take your pick from. Since much of it was designated as part of the national seashore by John F Kennedy in 1961, it has dodged any development. As a result, you can lose yourself in remote dunes and not see a soul – even after July 4 weekend, when the tourists arrive in earnest. By halfway through the first week, we had settled into a pattern: breakfast at home on the deck, then a short drive to the beach, where we’d have a picnic lunch. We fell instantly for Nauset, and lazed away the last of our jet lag on its pristine sands, until sunset daubed the sky in horizontal stripes of ’70s-ice-lolly colours. All around us families nattered over their spread-out banquets, later struggling home dutifully with all their litter. Our routine only faltered when we discovered Liam’s Crab shack, a Nauset institution – one of those rough-and-ready vacation snack bars all Americans love. Its fried clams escalated rapidly from a quick-fix to a full-blown habit.

It’s easy to find the huge and juicy molluscs with your bare feet in the mud


Dieters, look away now – Cape Cod practically insists that you put on weight. The food is fabulous. Wherever we went there was abundant lobster and oysters yanked fresh out of the water. Plenty more shacks like Liam’s materialised, punctuating the roadsides, churning out childhood-fantasy fill-ups: cardiac-arrest-inducing buckets of onion rings. The lobster roll – Cape Cod’s preppy answer to the hot dog – is available everywhere. Since feeding faces is a full-on business around these parts, it’s no surprise that in peak season local pensioners are drafted in to work in the coffee shops. It took quite a while to get our macchiatos of an afternoon, but these men and women were real local characters, and we were on holiday, so what the hell? By the second week, people-watching had become a pastime for this family of Cape Cod converts. We made for salty-dog Provincetown, once a quiet haven for artists and writers such as Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill, now a wonderfully exuberant resort, overwhelmingly popular and welcoming to all. The girls were fascinated by the wonderful pink cupcakes sold in Commercial Street at a tiny shop run by Scott Cunningham, a former actor and nanny from New York City. Spurred on by bracing air and un-manicured landscapes, my hunter-gatherer instincts seemed to be kicking in – that’s how I explain the decision to spend a morning in Orleans, splashing around a local United States of America

pond with a bunch of Manhattan lawyers who’d come here for the clams, known locally as ‘quahogs’. Once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s easy to find the huge and juicy molluscs with your bare feet in the mud and fill your bucket. I swaggered back to the car clutching my haul, looking forward to nourishing the family with a hearty chowder, only to be intercepted by a fussily dressed local resident in a Gant windcheater and sebagos, who came over and asked me if I had a shellfish permit. I didn’t. They cost $80. I brazened it out and managed to make my exit with the goods but, slightly belittled, drove home feeling more ‘wee man’ than ‘he man’. This is the one major downside of Cape Cod: counterbalancing the blustery, unkempt beauty of nature, there is something buttoned-up and ordered about it. Certainly about the towns. The more ‘upscale’ they are, the more they resemble the set of the Jim Carrey film The Truman Show – an idyllic yet ironic take on Middle America. The standard uniform says it all: crisp Brooks Brothers short-sleeved shirt and a pair of chino shorts with razor-creases.

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October // 2013

Its precarious off-shore shoals earned Cape Cod’s coastline the ominous label of an ‘ocean graveyard’, having sealed the fate of thousands of ships now lying as wrecks on the ocean bed. It’s for this reason that since 1857 lighthouses have been serving to proect the sea’s many sailors. The oldest, and tallest, lighthouse is Highland Light, or Cape Cod Light which still works today.

This page, from top: Seafood platter; A runner crosses the Mitchell River drawbridge in Chatham, Massachusetts. Next page, from top: Nauset Beach; Sailboat in Cape Cod harbour; July 4 on Commercial Street at dusk.


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WHERE TO STAY Explore Cape Cod from these special hotels, including the

Boston Harbor Hotel ,

surrounded by quaint shops and restaurants. Westin Copley Place Hotel puts you in

the centre of Boston, making it easy to get to Cape Cod. Or, for a more romantic Cape experience, try Cape

Codder Resort & Spa


And that’s just for holidaymakers. In the seaside settlement of Hyannis Port there was no dirt and no litter; in Sandwich, not so much as a McDonald’s cup rolling in the breeze. Chatham – more big houses and big cars – was a little bit ‘Ivy League’, but it had a unique wild side: a magnificent colony of protected seals. They have been encouraged to thrive off Monomoy Island, an outcrop uninhabited since WWII, today accessible by boat. From the shore, we could see them swimming calmly in the flat Atlantic and flippering ungainly onto the rocks. It was so charming to watch that we felt like diving into the waves to cool off with them, but as that notorious Spielberg-film trailer put it, ‘Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...’ In July, just before we arrived, a local fisherman sighted a great white, alerting the Chatham authorities, who banned swimming for the season. The beaches remained open but nobody ventured into the water. The story was that the growing seal colony had attracted the sharks - as we barbecued fish on the beach, TV crews from Boston and New York surrounded anyone in swimwear. Even so, most people seemed relaxed, occasionally glancing out to sea in case a tell-tale triangle might glide across the horizon. Reassuringly, summer refugees from the New York City heat had brought their humour with them in their overnight bags. One – an undoubted hotdogwith-extra-onion-rings enthusiast in a billowing one-piece – took a phone call from a friend as we lay bronzing. “Hi, honey. Yes, there’s sharks here... But my husband said I shouldn’t worry about going into the water... he said, if it came to a choice, the shark would go for the seals.” It was the perfect portion of Cod ‘n’ quips. And it put us in mind for a bite. We turned to home and dinner on the barbecue. United States of America

Text by: Mark Edmonds Photography supplied by: Corbis / Arabian Eye

where you can enjoy great dining, an outdoor heated pool and the decadent treatments of Beach Plum Spa. Book at

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October // 2013

Inside Information

In Rhodes If you’re hungry for a new dining experience then you’re in luck: British celebrity chef Gary Rhodes recently opened the sublime Rhodes 44 at St Regis Abu Dhabi. Expect the best of British cuisine with a Middle Eastern influence. Rhodes has spent the past two months working tirelessly in the kitchen, day and night, to ensure every dish is prepared to perfection. As the weather cools, enjoy the fruits of his labour on the restaurant’s private terrace, overlooking the corniche.


LET US MAKE YOUR EVENT ONE TO REMEMBER Fraser Suites Dubai’s conference and banquet centre is the perfect venue for your next corporate event, function, wedding or training seminar. Choose from a private boardroom for 20 with dedicated break-out area or our three state-of-the-art stylish meeting spaces each featuring natural light and views extending to Palm Jumeirah, with flexible layouts that will comfortably accommodate up to 200 guests. Our extensive range of gourmet catering options combined with our personalized attentive service will make your event one to remember. Be inspired. Book your next event at Fraser Suites Dubai.

FRASER SUITES DUBAI - Sheikh Zayed Road, Media City, Dubai, UAE Reservations: +971 4 440 1400 Email:

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October // 2013

SIX of the BEST…

Rooms With a View

1. Eiffel Duplex Terrace Suite, Shangri-La, Paris There are none more romantic cities than Paris, and none more heart-melting sights in the whole of the city than that of the Eiffel Tower, aflame with light. For most folk, committing this sight to their camera is a good enough keepsake. But for something that will be etched on your mind as well as your memory card, book yourself into this outsized suite. A wraparound terrace looks up in reverence to Gustave Eiffel’s icon of France, and the suite’s interior is worthy of attention, too: three floors of opulence, topped with crystal chandeliers. 83

And while you’re here…

Indulge in Michelin-starred fare. That means a straight choice between Chinese at Shang Palace (one star), or, as we’d suggest, traditional French at L’Abeille (two stars).


October // 2013

2. The Ritz-Carlton Suite, Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore


Like Dubai, Singapore’s skyline is ever changing yet always striking to the eye. Head to the 32nd floor, the highest spot of the city’s splendid Ritz-Carlton, and you’ll enter the hotel’s finest suite. It boasts jaw-dropping, wide-angle views of the city and Marina Bay from every window. But it’s in the bathroom (more precisely, the bath) Concierge

where the world outside is best observed. Such is the pace of construction here though, that you shouldn’t be surprised if the skyline has altered in the time spent soaking with your rubber duck.

And while you’re here…

Sample the extraordinary Cantonese flavours created by Chef Fok Kai Yee and his crack team of cooks at Summer Pavilion. Our tip? The Baked Fish Fillet with Salted Egg Yol. A masterful dish.

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October // 2013

3. Luxury Suite, Madikwe Hills Private Game Reserve, South Africa People who speak longingly of wanting to get away from it all need only come here, the glorious Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge, for their wish to be granted. Set amid a huge swathe of wilderness at the very tip of northwest South Africa, the only sounds you’ll hear (sporadic though they are) from the pool deck of your luxury suite are those of the animals that roam the russet plains laid out before you. Wake to the sight of a giraffe craning its neck to relieve a tree of its leaves, and later, as the sun slips away, take drinks on your veranda as the distant rumbling of a lion’s roar pierces the silence.

And while you’re here…

Take breakfast under the shade of a tree following a brisk sunrise walk in the bush – just don’t let the lions smell your sausages.

4. Underwater Suite, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai In the movies WT has seen (in our spare time, when not travelling the world), being invited to sleep with the fishes isn’t an offer you’d normally gratefully receive. But when we first laid eyes on this semisubmerged suite we hurried to plump our pillow next to the lagoon’s myriad residents, all 65,000 of them. It is, quite simply, the most unique room in this region, and one that you have to stay in at least once.

Though you won’t tire of that view, you will want to make use of the threefloored suite’s other attractions, which include a personal butler.

And while you’re here…

Many of Dubai’s steakhouses lay claim to being the best, but nowhere comes close to matching Atlantis’s signature steak at Seafire. Sublime.


October // 2013

5. Kohinoor Suite, The Oberoi Amarvilas, India To see the magnificent Taj Mahal up close is one thing, to drink-in its majesty from a sumptuous suite – just 600m away – is quite something else. We know, because we’ve done so. It’s a stunning sight, and the marble mausoleum exudes an enchanting glow whether caught in the rays of dawn’s first light, or basking in the warmth of a burnt orange sunset. It’s also a view that greets you wherever you are in this top-floor suite – the bedroom, bathroom, study and living room all look out onto it.

And while you’re here…

One thing you can bank on in an Oberoi hotel is an outstanding Indian restaurant. The one to book here is called Esphahan.


6. SUN Infinity Pool Sanctuary, Jade Mountain, St. Lucia Normally, were you to receive news from your travel agent that the room you’d be staying in would have only three of its four walls in place, you’d let out an expletive or two. Yet your anger would be Concierge

misplaced if the hotel room in question were this one. That ‘missing wall’ affords the room’s grateful guests panoramic views of The Pitons (they’re the two green, volcanic peaks you see in the

picture, which form part of a World Heritage Site) and the Caribbean Sea. It’s a vista for which the term ‘postcardperfect views’ was conceived, and it’s best enjoyed from your infinity pool.

And while you’re here…

Try the fish. Any form of it. Each morning, the local fishermen deliver their catch to the hotel for it to be cooked to your liking. It just doesn’t come any fresher.

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October // 2013

Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi

Something for the Weekend WIN!

We’re offering you the chance to enjoy a weekend to remember at this Abu Dhabi icon, which will see you and a partner stay in a Deluxe Room for two nights and take breakfast at Origins. Additionally, you’ ll be treated to dinner at Amici and and a 60-minute spa treatment each. To win this wonderful prize, just tell us the answer to this question: Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi’s unique feature is that it’s the only hotel in the world built over what?

Why go? The spectacular exterior and numerous quirks – the fact that it straddles a Formula 1 track is the most obvious of these – marks this as one of the most iconic hotels in the world. It’s certainly one that you have to stay in at least once during your time in the Middle East, and right now is the perfect time to do so.

A. Racetrack B. Ice C. Water Email easywin@ hotmediapublishing. com before October 31, and keep your fingers crossed...

Why’s that? Because the hotel comes into its own during the cooler months, boasting myriad attractions for those who love the great outdoors. This month (every Wednesday and Saturday evening) sees the hotel’s manicured lawns give way to a giant cinema screen and beanbags as it hosts al fresco movie nights. James Bond is the theme of the month, kicking off with Casino Royale on October 2. Then there’s the not so small matter of the outsized – and ever popular – Skylite Lounge, the views from which span the whole of Yas Island.

Nice. Where do you suggest for dinner? That depends on which cuisine tickles

your tastebuds, as here you can enjoy – deep breath – Indian (Angar), Italian (Amici), South East Asian (Noodle Box), Modern European (Nautilus), Pan Arabic (Atayeb) and Japanese (Kazu). And dare we forget the fusion of cuisines offered at Origins. If you were to twist our arm, though, we’d suggest a table at Kazu – their tempura is always feather-light.

And how about the best room? That’s an easier one. Here you don’t have to look beyond the standard Deluxe Room. That’s because from its floor-to-ceiling window you can

take in views of the F1 track and marina. But if you’re in the mood to (seriously) spoil yourself, a night in the Presidential Suite is tons of fun. Its in-room attractions include a crystal chandelier crafted in the shape of a racetrack (naturally) and a 33-foot lap pool. Yes, in the room.

Is there much to do in the daytime there? Lots. Family fun can be had at both Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, while for golfers there’s the Yas Links and for speed demons that all important Yas Marina Circuit, which you can book to drive around.


October // 2013


Kids Are Alright

Half term is here, which means making frantic plans for entertaining your kids. Here are our top ideas… Aquaventure at Atlantis, The Palm should never be far from the top of your ‘to do’ list if you have kids to entertain. But if they’ve yet to try the waterpark’s new rides courtesy of The Tower of Poseidon – which

include the Middle East’s longest zip line circuit – then they’re in for an absolute treat. A full day of fun can also be had at The Dubai Mall’s KidZania. Were it not for the fact that

Have you been here yet? On the first floor of the MCN Hive Building in Tecom C, Dubai, is Akram Miknas’ Moving Image Museum, for which he recently received the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Award 2013. It charts the evolution of the moving image, and is the only museum of its type in the Middle East.

they inexplicably charge parents a hefty entry fee to simply stand around, this edutainment hotspot would be the go-to place, but their dirham-draining protocol aside, it’s a brilliant place for kids over four.

Of course, both of these venues are widely known, so for an under-the-radar option try Emirates Park Zoo in Abu Dhabi. Much better than Dubai Zoo and the only private zoo in the country, kids can hand-feed giraffes, zebra and camels. It‘s also home to white tigers, though we wouldn’t suggest feeding them. If you’re intent on jetting off to foreign shores, it’s well worth remembering that Etihad Airways will, from this month, have flying nannies (though not Mary Poppins) aboard its aircraft. Their brief is to help stressed-out parents of on-board toddlers (that’s all of them) entertain their kids, which they’ll do through performing magic tricks and such like, and aiding at meal times.

> Most men tend to pack a suitcase for a weekend away. This luxurious weekend holdall in electricblue leather from Hackett means they shouldn’t do ever again.


DINING OUT Revel in cooler climes by eating al fresco at one of these gems

La Terrasse par Pierre Gagnaire InterContinental Dubai Festival City, Dubai


Maya Le Royal Meridien, Dubai

Sense on the Edge Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman

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October // 2013

Graphically speaking


With its

Trophies per football club Two Liver birds can be spotted on the Liver Building, one facing the city and the other the sea. EUROPEAN CUPS and


Liverpool 41 Everton 12

major trophies

Liverpool has the largest collection of Grade II-listed buildings outside of London. The city has 2,500 listed buildings and 250 public monuments.

it is England’s most successful footballing city.

St Helens Sefton Knowsley Liverpool Wirral



played the first of

292 USA: 209.1M



gigs at

UK: 7.5M



Liverpool holds the Guinness Book of Records title as the Capital of Pop. More Liverpudlian artists have had a number one hit than from any other location (more than 50).










The Beatles’ record sales per country




October // 2013

Images: Iceland Airwaves 2012

October 2013







Foodies will descend on Australia’s capital for Good Food Month – the nation’s biggest food festival. Last year more than a million people’s tastebuds were tickled thanks to world-renowned chefs, pop-up restaurants as well as yummy lunch and dinner parties.

The Sochi Olympic torch relay starts its exciting 123-day long, 40,000-plusmile journey to Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics. It’s expected to be the world’s longest national relay race, in terms of distance and time. Expect to see it in cars, on trains, Russian troika and reindeerpulled sleigh.

The fourday musical extravaganza that is LA’s Cultural Collide has drawn lofty comparisons with Coachella. The international festival features artists from 25 countries who bring musical performances, film screenings and unique cuisine guaranteed to tempt the curious.

London’s favourite art fair, Frieze, celebrates its 11th year with a new look. Expect a more spacious feeling in Regent’s Park this year as more than 150 exhibitors from around the world showcase the planet’s best creative talent.

It began in an aircraft hangar in 1999 but today Iceland Airwaves attracts swarms of international visitors who not only enjoy the eclectic musical performances, which run until November 3 at intimate venues across Reykjavik, but usually a quick tour of Iceland’s highlights, too.


October // 2013


Arty Madrid Spain’s colourful capital has long been a hotbed of artistic talent – WT reveals where to uncover the cream of the city’s art world…

Goya, Velázquez, Dalí: Madrid is home to a firstclass breed of artist – so much so that the capital draws international art aficionados to its pulsing city streets. Here the pavements are punctuated with gallery greats, not least the ‘Big Three’: Museo del Prado, Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Museo ThyssenBornemisz. But while this gallery hat trick is a must-see, there’s more to Madrid’s art scene than masterpieces (as if they weren’t enough...)

Where to Stay Gran Meliá Fénix (es. Since its 1953 opening, discerning gentlemen from Cary Grant to David Beckham have spent the night here. Our advice is to make the most of its sizeable presidential suite, home to a terrace (and hot tub) with citywide vistas. Hotel Ritz Madrid by Orient Express ( It doesn’t get much more opulent than this Belle Époque palace – and its location at the tip of the Golden Triangle is perfect for those on an artistic jaunt about the capital. The Westin Palace, Madrid (westinpalacemadrid. com) The century-old Westin Palace is as grandiose in size as it is in reputation. Don’t leave without a spell at La Rotonda, the hotel’s lounge/restaurant, where Madrileños mingle beneath an original stained-glass dome.

Getting around




A modern Metro, plentiful buses, a trusty tram and average-priced taxis (a green light indicates one’s available) means there are myriad ways to get about Madrid. Plus, since 2008 a high-speed rail link to Barcelona means you can team your trip with a second Spanish city.




Catalan, Galican and Basque dialects are all uttered in Madrid. While most tourist sites and hotels will have English speakers, don’t expect everyone to be fluent: a few Spanish phrases could come in handy.

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October // 2013

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Juan Manuel Díaz of the InterContinental Madrid shares his favourite places to dine in the city…

Chic bites

Photography supplied by: Corbis / Arabian Eye

Text by: Laura Binder


It would be sacrilege not to see Spain’s artistic pedigrees when holidaying in its cultural heart. Madrid counts Picasso, Dalí and Miró among its homegrown talent, works of which can be seen in all their authentic glory at galleries citywide. The Museo del Prado is one that carries serious gravitas the world over – and you’ll need to dedicate at least a day to gain good ground over its three floors. There’s thought to be over 7,000 paintings held here but, luckily, there’s a free ‘Plan’ available at the ticket office, which details the location of the Prado’s most famous works, among them masterpieces from Spanish greats Goya and Velázquez. Picasso fans have cause to visit the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía: it’s home to ‘Guernica’ – a work that many critics regard as Spain’s most famous. The Picasso canvas (all 3.5 metres by 7.8 metres of it) is in a permanent position on the 2nd floor, room 206. To delve deeper into the mindset of the man behind it, you can also peruse Picasso’s sketches here, etched in the build up to his masterpiece. On Paseo del Prado 8 Museo, ThyssenBornemisza completes the ‘Big Three’ (which you may also hear referenced as the ‘Golden Triangle’). Here some of the world’s most extraordinary private collections of European art gather. Spread over three floors, the oldest works are displayed on the top floor. In our opinion the museum excels on the first, where works from big name artists from Matisse and Modigliani to Gainsborough and Goya vie for art-lovers’ attention. Though traversing the Golden Triangle could take up an entire city break, it’s worth unearthing Madrid’s lesser-known art spots. Of them is the Salvador Díaz art gallery, which stands in the shadow of its

1. The Caixa Forum 2. The Azca financial district on the Paseo de la Castellana 3. Boating lake in Buen Retiro park 4. Soleto Monument and Puerta de Europa 5. Gran Via Avenue and the Edificio Metropolis

neighbour, the Reina Sofía. Inside it’s a heady mix of avant-garde art and thoughtstirring photography. Trama art gallery takes a similar stance, with a line up that’s credited to Javier Campano, famed for his photographic depictions of Madrid. Art of an ultra-modern ilk can also be seen at the Caixa Forum. It’s a venue that’s hard to miss: brick with a rust-like roof, it defies gravity by seemingly hovering above ground level, while an adjacent wall forms a vertical garden. The works inside can be offbeat and change frequently. So immersed in art is Madrid that it’s not always necessary to go to a gallery: the restaurant Sobrino de Botín (which claims to be the world’s oldest) displays Matritum Urbs Regia by Russian Pierre Schild, a 1956 painting that depicts Madrid’s appearance in 1951 (the year it became Spain’s capital) which the artist gifted to the restaurant’s owners. Even on the city streets you can behold art for free: most significantly is a collection of 17 abstract sculptures in bronze, steel and mirrors, the creators of which include Basque artist Eduardo Chillida and Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Palazuelo. You’ll find them poised beneath the overpass where Paseo de la Castellana meets Paseo de Eduardo Dato – proof enough that Madrid is an art appreciator’s playground.

Zalacain is a superb and stylish hautcuisine restaurant very close to the hotel. It opened in 1973 and its tasty offerings vary considerably, depending on the time of year. For many, it’s the best restaurant in Madrid.

A taste of tradition

Asador Donostiarra is a sanctuary of Basque cuisine in Madrid’s financial district. Of the city’s many Basque restaurants, this reigns supreme: think delicious red meat or fish with traditional Spanish appetisers. Do not miss the “stone-cooked sliced T-bone steak”

Golden oldie

Los Galayos is one of just a handful of Madrid eateries that opened its doors more than a century ago. It is located in Plaza Mayor, in the centre of historical Madrid. Its specialty? Anything Spanish: from modern to traditional, and even tapas dishes. They have it all and its quality is outstanding.


October // 2013

Amsterdam is a city that likes to let its hair down. While it’s as famous for its liberal outlook and chilled-out style, city-goers can be sure to let the good times roll once inside its age-old quarters. While a leisurely pace is all too easy to adopt (read: cycling along cobbled streets or cruising along the centuries-old canalways), revelries are in plentiful supply – and none more so than in 2013, a year of anniversaries and milestones for the grand dame. You have just a trio of months left to make the most of the myriad festivities…

If there’s one event the Dutch delight in, it’s Queen’s Day (or ‘Koninginnedag’). Each year the city’s ancient streets and 17th-century Canal Ring surrender themselves to this almighty street party in honour of its royal family, the House of Orange (a name that prompts hoards of revellers to don head-to-toe orange). As this national holiday takes place at the end of April, those planning a trip this year will have missed the boat (so to speak) – an epic event that saw the abdication of Queen Beatrix and the inauguration of the new King, Willem-Alexander. But, all is not lost. While Queen’s Day is an annual excuse to party, this year marks a number of milestones for the city. Along with its newly-appointed royals, there’s the opening of the renovated Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, plus 2013 marks 400 years since the construction of the city’s core Canal Ring. One way to celebrate the now four-

Festive Amsterdam There’s no better time to set your cap at the Dutch capital’s canals and cobbles: 2013 is a year of commemorative revelries, Laura Binder discovers…



Ask a...


Aad van den Berg, of the InterContinental Amsterdam, divulges the best areas of the city to indulge in retail therapy…

De Negen Straatjes The small streets between the Prinsen, Keizers, Heren and Singel canals, a.k.a. The Nine Streets, boast a wonderful selection of grocery, speciality and designer stores, as well as typical Dutch cafés and restaurants. Starting from the Flower market, zigzag along these little streets, to or from the famous Anne Frank House. P.C. Hooftstraat This is the most exclusive shopping street in Amsterdam. All the major designers have a branch here. Walk down the P.C. Hooftstraat into the Vondelpark for a refreshment on the terrace of the film museum. Kalverstraat, Heiligeweg, Leidsestraat This former upscale shopping area is now popular among young urbanites. It has a large variety of fashion, sport and bookshops stretched over three kilometres. Stop for refreshments in the café located in the Amsterdam Museum.

1. Annual Koninginnedag canal parade 2. Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam


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October // 2013

Where to Stay Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam ( The Amsterdam elite (William of Orange among them) has frequented this five-star haunt since its 1578 origins, making it a fine pick for those after location and luxury in equal measure.

Photography supplied by: Corbis / Arabian Eye

Text by: Laura Binder


centuries-old canal ways (declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010) is to attend a special edition classical Noorderkerk concert ( on October 12, which will showcase works from those composers who were the toast of the town during the 17th century (think Locatelli and Corelli). Those with a more architectural curiosity, meanwhile, can play witness to a symposium (Amsterdam’s Canal District in Global Perspective, Past and Present), held at the Centre for Urban Studies ( with the University of Amsterdam on October 18. The winter may draw in come November, but don’t let that put you off. In further commemoration of the Canal Ring’s years, a new art event kicks off – Chambres des Canaux: The Tolerant Home. The exhibit will see 20 iconic canal-side properties (among them, the mayor’s official residence) given up to the cream of the art scene. Curated by former Sotheby’s head of contemporary art, Siebe Tettero, it will run November 1 to 17. Music appreciators should make way in their diary for November 3, too: The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra will perform, 125 years to the day that it first stepped out onto the stage. The company’s birthday concert (The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s Birthday Concert, will feature two momentous pieces of music by Richard Strauss and Louis Andriessen, the latter of which will have its world premiere this very evening. If you plan to visit Amsterdam during December, there are few better ways to welcome the festive season than to witness the electrical spectacle that is the Turn of the Lights (some 100,000 energyefficient LED lights will sparkle). Teamed with a firework display that would put New Year’s Eve at Burj Khalifa to shame,

Mayer Manor ( If your preference is for an apartment, seek out this decadent abode. Set within a three-storey Art Deco mansion in the city’s historic centre, its interiors are lovingly restored and home to smouldering good looks. Conservatorium Hotel (conservatoriumhotel. com) A show of contemporary design housed in a 19th-century bank building, this hotel’s slick style attracts the city’s hipsters – plus places you in the museum and fashion district, so you can count Gucci and Cartier as neighbours.

Getting around Bicycles and boats rule the roost here – and Amsterdam’s compact form makes them the best modes of transport to get about town. Bike rental shops are plentiful, as are canal buses and trams, which you can hop on and off at points of interest. (And if you really can’t fathom these three, taxis are plentiful too.)

it takes place at Amsterdam’s luxury department store, de Bijenkorf, so you can commence your festive shopping too. If you miss it, fret not: December’s Amsterdam Light Festival ( is worthy compensation: the event quite literally places the city in the spotlight, with everything from light installations to illuminated walking routes, from December 6 to January 14, 2014 – which will see you nicely into 2014.

Language While Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands, most Amsterdammers speak English and it’s easy to get around the city without uttering a word of its mother tongue. (Though, a tip, the Dutch ‘g’ sounds similar to the ‘ch’ in Bach.)


October // 2013

Suite Dreams

Asakusa Koishikawa Honjo Shinjuku Chuo



The Peninsula Suite


The Peninsula Tokyo




In a city where living space comes at a considerable premium, this 23rd-floor suite is idyllic: at 347 square metres it’s the largest suite in Tokyo and arguably the finest. Firstly, there’s the location: slap bang in the centre of the city’s exclusive Ginza shopping district, this uber-luxe suite overlooks the verdant Imperial Palace

Gardens and waterways as well as Hibiya Park. Toast your holiday from the suite’s expansive balcony. Views aside, there’s also the self-contained dressing room to get excited about, complete with nail dryer and radio; the kitchen and pantry where your personal chef can whip up meals of your choosing; and your own private gym where you can

work off the wonderfully indulgent food you’re likely to have enjoyed. And for those needing a rest, enjoy the fact that everything you need is yours at the touch of a bedside button or five, including controls for mood lighting, the curtains and blackout screens and the radio and television stations. Sounds pretty much perfect.

Profile for Hot Media

World Traveller Oct'13  

The Middle East’s highest-circulating travel magazine.

World Traveller Oct'13  

The Middle East’s highest-circulating travel magazine.

Profile for hotmedia