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Issue One Hundred | August 2016

Complimentary Copy


MUS T- HAVE TR AVE L E XPE RIE NCES To commemorate our one-hundredth edition, we bring you a collection of unrivalled travel-moments – from every corner of the globe






For non-resident foreign visitors

CASTELLANA STORE MADRID Paseo de la Castellana, 71

SERRANO 52 MAN MADRID Calle Serrano, 52


August 2016 World Traveller

Managing Director

Victoria Thatcher Editorial Director

John Thatcher

Group Commercial Director

David Wade Editor

Chris Ujma Contributing Editor

Hayley Skirka Art Director

Andy Knappett Designer

Emi Dixon Illustrator

Andrew Thorpe Sales Manager

Lisa Price +971 4 375 3608 Production Manager

Muthu Kumar

Editor’s Note Issue one hundred August 2016

World Traveller plants a landmark step in its odyssey this month, celebrating a ‘century’. It’s a proud reputation of continued success, built on 99 carefully-crafted editions. (No. 100 is no exception). Being the region’s biggest luxury travel magazine, we’re well-aware of the attention that is turned our way: it’s why we proudly curate ideas to rouse your wanderlust. In your hands, for example, is a fine vintage indeed – to commemorate this milestone, we compiled one hundred intriguing travel encounters and experiences from the minds of our seasoned writers. Which of them will ignite your spark, and influence your destination-decisions? In what is an exciting time for the industry, we are well-placed to savour the finest in sophisticated travel; our region forever fascinates by being a gateway to unlimited overseas exploration, and harbouring unique experiences. For both World Traveller and our discerning readership, long may the journey continue.

Chris Ujma @wt_magazine

Cover: Airport departures board

Jun-Dec 2015 | 22,984 | 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


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August 2016 World Traveller


The Sections

Check In 8 Be Here Now

Singapore fires into life upon its National Day (where honouring the past is on the agenda), while Siena thunders with the sound of hooves Check In News and inspiration from around the world

13 Globetrotter

A mansion and eco-friendly resort lock horns in India, plus... where to slink into a hot spring, and how to celebrate 725 years of Switzerland

Destinations In-depth travel features to fuel your wanderlust

22 Chef’s Top Tables

Tamer Shawki is Head Chef at Conrad Dubai, but where does this kitchen scientist personally dine?

24 Spotlight On: Hvar

Off the Dalmatian coast, this Croatian sensation is an emerging Adriatic highlight Weekends Everything you need to know about short-haul escapes

26 Style & Wellness

Spa news, travel accessories and fashion; make your upcoming excursion that bit more stylish 5

Welcome Contents



34 Iconic: Pisa

70 One Weekend for All: London

38 100 Must-Have Travel Experiences

72 48-Hour Foodie

A colossal compilation of the most-memorable must-experiences upon this wondrous Earth. Our batch of writers have crossed continents, explored cultures, ascended mountain-highs, plunged ocean-deep lows, and noted many wonders inbetween – all to bring you ‘simply the best’ of world travel.

73 Staycations

There is more to this Tuscan city than the Leaning Tower – though the landmark is admittedly an amazing place to begin. Here’s a look at one of Italy’s finest gems

How many of these spectacular adventures have you accomplished on your own quest? Welcome to the World Traveller version of the bucket-list: time to grab your passport

Adventure, family, romance or relaxation? Whatever your destination agenda, there’s plenty for all to soak-up in enigmatic ‘London Town’

Hop across to the Qatari capital, and discover where in Doha to enjoy the three main meals of the day (in the most delectable way)

Four hotels that prove there’s no need to leave the GCC to get away from it all

74 Great Escapes: For the Kids

An awesome foursome that cater to the most-choosy guests – the children – with entertainment and tailored facilities 6

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Check In Be Here Now


Be Here Singapore

A year on from the historic 50th anniversary of Independence from Malaysia, expect the National Day celebrations in Singapore to be just as grand. The birthday of The Lion City will be observed on August 9, and of all the nationwide festivities, Marina Bay is the focal point for the National Day Parade. The annual date celebrates the progression and bright future of the nation, while honouring the past; performances are a moving, inspiring, glorious understanding of an enduring legacy. A prime address when in town for the charming tradition is the Marina Mandarin Singapore – one of two Meritus properties in the island-city state. Located in the Central Business District and with a breathtaking vantage of the Bay, it puts guests a heartbeat away from a crowd-pleasing spectacle (where even the most-casual observer can be swept up in the emotion of the occasion).


August April 2016 2015 World Traveller

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Check In Be Here Now

Siena, Italy

The Palio di Siena represents pageantry and sporting prowess…all packed into a mere 75 seconds; a lightning bolt of Italian adrenaline. Ten bareback horse-riders represent some of the seventeen city wards, and thunder on mixed-breed steeds round the Piazza del Campo– specially primed with a dirt track for such occasion. The short sharp burst of racing is balanced with plenty of preceding pomp and circumstance in the form of Corteo Storico – a parade that honours the ancient customs of historywoven Siena. Held twice yearly on July 2 and August 16, the modern version of the race dates back to 1656, but there’s no time like the present to experience this jostle for a hand-painted palio (and local pride). 8

August 2016 World Traveller


August 2016 World Traveller

Globetrotter Here’s what’s hot in travel this month…

New Arrival

North Hill City Resort, Chiang Mai As a destination, the ‘Rose of the North’ – Thailand’s Chiang Mai – is in full bloom, and this five-star, self-styled ‘urban oasis’ is a gateway to the city (and a region of culture). Just twenty minutes from downtown, panoramas from this property are of the achingly beautiful surrounding countryside, and the resplendent golden Doi Suthep sits on the horizon too. But what of the resort itself? It’s a haven that sits away from hectic city-life,

with guests choosing from a range of 42 suites such as Deluxe Garden and Deluxe Mountain; the Royal and Presidential suites represent the pinnacle of sophistication at this luxury property. The resort maximises outdoor space: it’s an address for golf-lovers (the 18-hole, ultra-modern North Hill Golf Course and its comprehensive clubhouse are neighbours), and there’s a distinct health focus in the shape of fitness centre and stunning outdoor swimming pool.

Also, those who choose to keep a watchful eye on the ingredients on their plate can visit the on-location organic farm, and partake in farm-to-table cooking classes for a more-interactive mealtime. Indoors, Vivace Lounge has a fine selection of cigars – ideal for relaxing after dinner at the concept Italian dining enclave. With the first visitors welcomed in August, it’s the freshest addition to the Thai hospitality scene. 13

Check In Globetrotter


Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The largest arts festival in the world runs from August 5-29 in Scotland’s beautiful capital, and has something for everyone with over 50,000 performances. Let Russian clowns Derevo enrapture you with a whimsical love story, embrace cabaret action in Marie Antoinette-inspired Torte e Mort, take the little ones to The Suitcase Kid or see homegrown talent from Fife-born comedian Sloss.

Food For Thought


Forget ceviche, Hawaiian poké (pronounced poke-ay) is the raw-fish dish having a moment. Here’s our pick of poke places away from the Big Island...

Kumarakom Lake Resort

Hot from Hawaii


Opened in March, the low-lit Black Roe restaurant is London’s first dedicated poké bar and restaurant. Owned by Kurt Zdesar - the name behind Soho’s popular Chotto Matte restaurant - this Mayfair eatery offers a fun vibe, loud music, neon lights and plenty of first-class poké.

Los Angeles

Big Daddy’s Poké Shack in Venice Beach offers delicious and authentic poké with an organic focus. Opt for a Lil Daddy or go all-out with the colossal Big Daddy bowl, both pair perfectly with one of the delicious made-to-order smoothies.


While not strictly a poké restaurant – Lokkee bills itself as fusion Chinese – there’s delicious poké to be had here. Expect a a kitschy mix of Chinese and Western dishes, a funky hip-hop soundtrack and a smattering of eclectic wall art, this place is worth a visit. 14

Luxury living in a traditional mansion or ecofriendly indulgence in Kerala’s stunning backwaters What to expect? A favourite with Prince Charles, this is for those who want to experience the backwaters in absolute luxury. Heritage mansions from across the region have been lovingly reassembled to create a picturesque haven, spanning 25 acres of mesmerising beauty. With top quality restaurants, a 200-year-old Ayurmana, an onsite bird sanctuary and cultural performances, it’s an authentic waterworld paradise. Where is it? Built on the edge of Vembanad Lake, Kerala’s largest, the resort is all lush greenery, blue waters and sunny skies. Relax on a swaying hammock, enjoy the cool river breeze and watch in delight as river otters paddle down the canals that wind through the property. Must-do? See this place at its best by heading out on the resort’s houseboat. Sit back as the crew takes care of your every need – you’ll even have your own chef. There’s nothing quite like meandering past palm tree fringed rice paddies and dainty villages in Kerala’s backwaters right on the edge of the Arabian Sea.

Marari Beach Resort

What to expect? Known for its ecofriendly ethos, this is the perfect spot to reconnect with nature. Lush swaying coconut groves, meandering waterways and sprawling green grounds are dotted with swaying hammocks and thatchedroof cottages, the perfect escape from today’s hectic schedules. Sit in the butterfly sanctuary, do yoga on the sand, or unwind with ancient Ayurvedic treatments. Where is it? Right on the beach front, Marari is close to the canal town of Alleppey. Take a cruise along these famous waters, gliding by paddy fields and make a stop at the village itself, which unveils sleepy sidewalks peppered with smiling school kids, colourful spice stalls and friendly local taverns. Must-do? Embrace your inner celebrity and request villa number 17 – it’s where Heather Mills and Paul McCartney stayed. For dinner, enjoy a Marari culinary journey under a wickerwood roof and tuck into tasty seafood, caught fresh daily by local fishermen. Ask for a table around the circumference for perfect vistas and cooling breezes.

Check In Globetrotter

Three Ways To...

Experience a hot-spring haven

The only thing better than a long bath after a hard day is sliding into a natural thermal pool and feeling that rejuvenating buzz. Here’s a few of our hot spring favourites…

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, New Zealand

The bubbling water of the Champagne Pool at Waiotapu geothermal expanse has been thousands of years in the making and is a definite must-dip. Translating to ‘the sacred waters’, it offers a feast of veritable colour, with jade waters, mineral-rich orange borders and muddy slate surroundings. Head here for a rainbow of relaxation.


Terme Rogaska, Rogaska, Slovenia

Legend has it that this centuries-old spring sprang from the ground when mythical winged horse Pegasus struck its hoof on Slovenian soil, under the orders of Greek god Apollo. Renowned worldwide for its calcium-rich springs, this beautiful spot in the east of the country is now the best known thermal spa in Slovenia, and is inherently popular with wellheeled travellers and après-skiers.

Puyuhuapi Hot Springs, Patagonia

Remote, stunning and packed with mineral-rich waters, these hot springs in Chilean Patagonia draw goodness from three sources: the sea, waterfalls and thermal springs. With five outdoor pools, one filled with seawater and another with mountain water, simply choose which is for you and then soak up the goodness – all the while surrounded by rainforestcovered mountains as far as the eye can see.

August 2016 World Traveller

Going Up in the World

Pop-up rainforests

Where? Salalah Why? While summer temperatures in the Middle East are sweltering; Salalah keeps things cool by catching the tail end of the Indian monsoon. What? Ditch thoughts of dry deserts, sandy mountains and dust storms, and think instead of something akin to a pop-up rainforest, complete with emerald hills, cascading waterfalls and tropical fruits and flowers. Where to stay? If you like to be first to the party, the brand new Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara opens in September. Nestled between a beach and a freshwater lagoon, this elegant gem is a great base for making the most of Salalah’s cooler climes.

Insider A Sinking Ship

One of Florida’s best scuba diving spots just got a whole lot better as Greater Fort Lauderdale welcomed a new addition to its already impressive collection of warmwater wrecks. Lady Luck, a 324-foot tanker ship that was decommissioned by the City of New York , was sunk just a mile from Pompano Beach Pier and will act as a haven for fish and scuba divers alike.

App Go Exploring

Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock, Pokemon Go is the latest smartphone craze, where gamers capture digital monsters from real-world locations. And now it seems the game is being used as a travel tool – with users wandering down side streets, discovering new places and exploring hidden gems or popular Pokestops (landmarks) in whichver city they find themselves in. Just remember to look up occasionally.

Eternal Sunshine

Not of the spotless mind but of actual sunlight hours. Switzerland’s Locarno chalks up 2,300 hours of rays per year, making it as popular with sun worshippers as it is with film buffs Do…

Celebrate movie magic at Festival del film Locarno, a yearly get together that brings a host of celebrities, industry professionals and film-lovers to town. Drawing thousands every year, the festival happens at the goliath open-air cinema on the Piazza Grande – the ideal spot to join fellow film fans and celebrate the magic of the movies.


Silver-screen aside, explore the Piazza Grande and mingle with well-heeled locals sippping coffee in café-lined streets. Fifteenth-century Madonna del Sasso is an impressive ochre vision atop a hill, that is well worth a visit not just for its history but for breathtaking mountain, lake and city views.


Nestled on Lake Maggiore, the historic Giardina Ascona is going all out this August. Fireworks will light up the sky as guests dance to live music on August 1 in celebration of Switzerland’s 725th anniversary and then, on August 11, a Summer Night’s party will see film festival fans descend on the property for an evening BBQ and drinks under the stars.


Dining on the banks of the Maggiore brings with it a whole host of Italio- Mediterranean specialities. Tuck into authentically crusty pizza at The Pizza Restaurant Primavera, try fresh seafood at Osteria del Centrenario, or go heavy on the Swiss side at rustic Da Valentino. 17

Check In My City


Brooklyn, New York

Rachel Felder Who better to ask about the borough’s best-kept secrets than the author of Insider Brooklyn Starting the day with breakfast in one these communities is a wonderful way to feel like a local, even if it’s your first trip beyond Manhattan. Iris Café is an ideal spot along those lines: it’s nestled on a tree-lined street in Brooklyn Heights and frequented mostly by people who live right nearby. (Not to miss: the almond-laden granola, which is made in-house). I also love Little Zelda, a tiny charmer of a café in the rapidlygentrifying community of Crown Heights, and Fort Defiance, on Van Brunt Street in Red Hook. At its core, Brooklyn is a borough of neighbourhoods, each with its own 18

personality and vibe, and the best way to get around is either by bicycle or subway, both of which make the borough particularly easy to explore. I always encourage friends to venture out to some of the lesser known neighbourhoods, like Gowanus, which has fabulously unique spots like The Morbid Anatomy Museum, which displays everything from taxidermy to anatomical artefacts, and Cut Brooklyn, a shop that sells sleek handmade kitchen knives to a connoisseur clientele of professional chefs and foodies. There’s also Four & Twenty Blackbirds, which many New Yorkers consider to be the city’s best purveyor of flaky, indulgent pies. For accommodation, Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg has become, in just a few years, a Brooklyn mainstay, and with good reason. It’s in a great location – on the waterfront, with plenty of cool boutiques and cafes nearby – in a beautiful,

atmospheric former factory from the turn of the twentieth-century. Even if you’re not staying there, it’s a lovely spot for brunch or a cocktail in the rooftop bar, complete with a postcard-perfect view of Manhattan. Brooklyn also has a thriving art scene that’s worth earmarking time for. There’s always something compelling on display at The Brooklyn Museum, a majestic, world-class institution with thought provoking shows and a massive permanent collection. Pioneer Works, founded by artist Dustin Yellin, is a huge space that exhibits contemporary art, hosts talks, screenings and concerts, and hosts studio spaces for young artists. And, of course, in Bushwick is arguably Brooklyn’s most accessible art display: the vibrant, colorful street art that’s painted on building walls and store grates, best enjoyed after eating the worth-the-hype pizza at Roberta’s on Moore Street.

Check In Ask The Expert

Clockwise from left: Tblisi; Beirut; Bali; Velaa Private Island, Maldives.

Ask the EXPERT

Rob Arrow is a product manager at dnata Travel and a self-confessed hotel geek. With nearly a decade of experience in the luxury travel industry, Rob loves nothing more than talking hotels and discovering destinations. His favourite country is Lebanon, his treasured city’s Los Angeles, and his dream is to own a boutique retreat in the Italian Alps Q. It’s the 100th issue! What have been the destination heavyweights and trendsetters for dnata throughout that span; the go-to places for luxury travel? A. How time flies when you’re having fun. It’s definitely been the time for travel, and more than ever, the horizons of this region are expanded. The USA is now just an extended weekend away; you can board a flight in the morning in Dubai and by night be landing in Auckland, New Zealand; you can take your own residence, be it in Abu Dhabi, London or Sydney, flying on some of the most environmental and advanced aircraft with the likes of Qatar Airways. It is not only the airlines whose network has grown over time, but also hotels themselves. Take the local openings: the Four Seasons has become a major player, with properties 20

in Bahrain, Dubai and Dubai International Financial Centre, Abu Dhabi, and the soon to open Kuwait property. The Address will open new properties in Dubai, and now we also have a W Hotel in Dubai to call our own. Further afield, many of the top brands have a presence in the Maldives, China and Southeast Asia; adding to this we have seen the emergence of über-luxury hotels like Velaa Private Island in Maldives, La Réserve Paris Hotel & Spa, and closer to home, Zaya Nurai Island near Abu Dhabi. All the time, we are benefitting from the steps hoteliers are taking to wow us, and gain our loyalty and trust. More and more dnata travellers are exploring new destinations: Baku, Tblisi, Bali, Mexico and Seoul (to name but a few) are emerging, but as always, London, Paris, Munich and Dubai, of course, will remain key to the enjoyment of holidays that discerning jetsetters choose to take. Q. Which places are the hidden gems that you have personally gone back to time and again (and why)? A. Over years of travel there are some places that impress (and you enjoy for the mere moment), and others that get under your skin and entice you to keep coming back for more. For me, the key place is Beirut in Lebanon. Both this city and the country have mesmerised me from the moment I first arrived. The people, the inner beauty, the stories, the sun… just the cool calmness of the country – you

can’t help but lose your heart to the place. It is still growing, but slowly and silently. Kempinski are about to open the amazing Summerland Hotel & Resort in the city, and the beach clubs are booming: a day at Orchid Beach Resort in Jiyeh is like a wonderful week. Lisbon in Portugal is also filled with charm; when Spain and France drove development and tried to re-emerge more modern, Lisbon gracefully reignited its characteristic charm. Now, the streets are filled with fun cafés, the entertainment scene is bustling, and the capital has an abundance of fantastic eateries to suit all budgets. It really is a relaxed, peaceful city to enjoy for a couple of days before revving it up in Barcelona or Madrid. Much further afield, Melbourne is a place that hooks you and draws you back. Its coffee scene is probably one of the key draws, and every time you dip back into the city there’s a new place to drink, and to enjoy the hybrid sensation of salted caramel cronuts. Apart from this, you have so many small independent retailers opening, with some intriguing home furnishings, one-off fashion items and much more. Melbourne really is a city you want to go back to, to peel back its many layers. One thing that travelling has taught me is never to place expectations, and always be open to explore. You never know where you might discover that next travel gem. To explore destination options with dnata, visit your local store, call +971 4 316 6666, or log onto


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Check In Chef’s Top Tables

Clockwise from left: André; Noma; Noma; André


TOP TABLES With a keen interest in molecular gastronomy (and trained by Chef Ferran Adria at the famous El Bulli Restaurant), Head Chef Tamer Shawki fuses elements of fine dining with scientific principles at Conrad Dubai. But where does he decide to dine? 22

Arzak, Spain Order: Middle Eastern Stuffed Eggplants with Lamb and Pine Nuts;

When I saw the menu by Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak Espina, I was surprised to be seeing a middle eastern dish being served in Spain. Well of course, having been raised in Middle East, I decided to try the dish and it was extremely accurate and satisfied my tastebuds... a serious ‘well done’ for this delectable dish.

El Celler de Can Roca, Spain Order: Autumn vegetable stock

The array of menu items are among the best I have tasted, akin to offerings from the accomplished disciples of molecular gastronomy. It made me fondly remember my days in the kitchen of El Bulli. This particular dish was crystal clear, gelatinous and bursting with ten or more flavours. There’s a reason that this restaurant had a reign as one of the best in the world.

August 2016 World Traveller

Noma Copenhagen, Denmark Order: The Hen & the Egg

When it comes to this signature creation by René Redzepi, I love the idea of being part of the process, as he invites you to cook the wild-duck egg yourself inside the restaurant, but as though you are frying it in the woods. It is their most famous dish, and when I have turned my hand to it, I add aromatic herbs; a perfect restaurantexperience idea that manages to make me feel right at home.

Alinea, USA Order: Tomato Salad with Mozzarella Sphere

Grant Achatz is supremely talented, and ensures that dishes such as the Salmon Skin Pillow, and innovative Dessert on the Table are experiential. The latter is a very impressive presentation of dessert, where they splatter the ingredients on your eating surface in a truly artistic way. The entire dining journey is theatre; Chef Alinea and his team put on a memorable performance.

Restaurant André, Singapore Order: Chupa Chups; Levender, Blackcurrant, Purple Yam; Abalone, Liver, Kambu

First off, whenever I visit Asia, I feel it is a must to visit Restaurant André by André Chiang, as it is currently considered the best restaurant in Asia and Chef André is a very good friend of mine. I love the perfect combination of Asian aroma with a French touch in every dish. Every dish symbolises art and creativity. 23

Check In Spotlight On

Spotlight On

Hvar Taste the glamour of Croatia’s

answer to Saint-Tropez; this sweet-smelling sunshine island has luxury all tied up

Eat and Drink Lucullus

Named after a Roman General famous for throwing lavish banquets, this is the place to go for out-of-the-ordinary delight – it’s as well known for its dishes as for its madcap owner. On the ground floor of a seventeenth century palazzo, expect a fusion of beautifully-plated local and Mediterranean dishes in this stonewalled treasure.


Mouthwatering seafood from the Adriatic Sea, high-end sparkling beverages and impeccable service ensures this place attracts a clientele fresh off their luxury yachts, anchored just across the way. Gariful is perhaps Croatia’s most exclusive dining spot: be sure to reserve in advance.

Menego Tavern

In the heart of the old town, this dramshop is a great spot for soaking up some history: ancient artefacts were found during its reconstruction, so the place is decked out with Hvar antiques. Tuck into homemade specialities like sheep cheese aged in olive oil, and drunken fig marinades. 24

See and Do Pakleni Island

This pine-forested archipelago buffering the town’s harbour is reachable via water taxi, and offers a gorgeous set of islands oozing with deserted beaches and hidden lagoons. The best beach is on Palmižana, a small sandy bay dotted with yachts that makes the perfect lunch spot.

Two-wheeled adventure

Packed with lavender scented fields, quaint cobbled streets and pretty vistas, Hvar is ideal for cycling and the island has a well-signposted Bike Route. Take in an inordinate number of tombstones, memorials, vineyards and monuments, enjoying a pedalled journey along perfect coastal roads framed by spectacular turquoise waters.

Stay Riva Hvar Yacht Harbour Hotel

The trendiest boutique seaside hotel on the island, smack bang in the most popular promenade, Riva is Hvar’s A-list haunt. Having been in action since 1927, it’s

somewhat of an institution and a great place for celebrity spotting. Enjoy breakfasts on the waterfront terrace with a backdrop of luxury yachts and a spectacular sunrise, or people-watch with a sundowner in BB Club terrace – the place to see and be seen.

Adriana Spa Hotel

Located on the waterfront just a few steps from the UNESCO-protected Old Town, this property has a gorgeous indoor pool and a wraparound rooftop terrace with views to remember. The Sensori Spa offers holistic wellness therapies and indulgent treatments: perfect for a romantic getaway.

• Don’t miss

Rolling into Hvar from September 8-11, the Groove Yoga Festival is a global celebration of movement, music and community that originated in Ontario and is now celebrated in six different cities. Hvar’s Island Jam edition sees DJ’s, musicians; yoga lovers and a whole host of beautiful people come together for four days of energy-fuelled fun

feeling like a VIP that’s Kilban’s marhaba effect The difference is the staff. So caring. I’m just an ordinary traveller but marhaba makes me feel like a VIP. With people like this, there is only one way you can go—up, up and up! Kilban

Breeze through all the airport formalities with our meet & greet services in Dubai and Bahrain. Whether you’re arriving, departing or transferring, marhaba meet & greet makes your time at the airport something to look forward to. You can also relax in style, no matter what your airline or class of travel, at our lounges in Dubai and Bahrain. Find your marhaba effect at

meet & greet | family packages | marhaba lounge | citystop | transfer service

Check In Style & Wellness


Style Wellness What to pack for a holiday in... Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 1. Rosantica atena tasseled goldtone earrings, USD120 2. Gucci silk-twill scarf, USD465 3. Etro gold-plated bead and crystal earrings, USD530 4. Cutler and Gross, Roundframe tortoiseshell acetate and gold-tone sunglasses, USD565 5. Rosantica atena fringed goldtone necklace, USD305 6. Hampton Sun SPF30 Lotion, 118ml, USD36 7. Hampton Sun SPF15 Gel, 118ml, USD36 8. Dolce & Gabbana texturedleather passport cover, USD295 9. Dolce & Gabbana texturedleather iPhone 6 case, USD185 10. Dolce & Gabbana gold-tone, Swarovski crystal and pearl hair slide, USD1,495 11. Noor Fares wing 18-karat white gold azurite earrings, USD2,430



All items available at







August 2016 World Traveller

The Style-Savvy Local


Scotswoman Anna royall-Smith, co-founder of Stellar couture concierge, knows the best bits of Aberdeen inside out





I may be biased, but Aberdeen – nicknamed the Granite City – is my favourite city in Scotland. It’s my home. There are so many spectacular stores and landmarks to visit; it may be a little cold, but wrap up warm as it’s a city not to miss. I’m in love with fashion and everything creative so I make sure to visit Sirene Boutique (, a women’s boutique with a collection of European labels. The Closet – Vintage (theclosetvintage. is the best boutique for people who love vintage pieces like I do. This is a hidden gem of a shop! To step back and experience Aberdeen’s history, I like to visit Crathes Castle (visitscotland. com) for some spectacular, breathtaking scenery and, of course, not to forget the Queens Scottish retreat, Balmoral Castle ( The Ardoe House ( is and will always be a special place to me because this is where my wedding reception was held. I recommend Malmaison Hotel ( and the Inn at The Park Hotel ( to stay in, as both are located in a convenient surrounding and not far from the city. So, after a quick mid-afternoon nap and you’re good to go for a stroll with the family along the Royal Deeside ( All that walking works up on appetite; for the freshest fish and smell of sea air, I make sure to pass by The Creel Inn (thecreelinn., a renowned fish restaurant with a marvellous bar (selling real Scottish hops) in Catterline, just a short drive from Aberdeen. Café 52 ( is also my all time favourite restaurant in which to grab a quick bite. Stellar Couture Concierge is available six days per week, Saturday to Thursday. To book an appointment, email or for further details, call +971 56 102 5956 27

Check In Style & Wellness

The Spa You Need

In The City

A re-energising spa sojourn doesn’t have to mean jetting to a far-flung locale, severing links to the mainland. These city spas have accumulated accolades while providing bliss amidst the bustle

I’m looking for...

Tranquillity by Table Mountain Spa at Cape Grace Cape Town, South Africa

Those who can tear their eyes away from the vista and make it to the spa will emerge with a pampered body and soul. Kalahari signature massages deploy products whose inredients are ‘naturally-derived desert secrets’, while regenerative skincare attention addresses aesthetic concerns – attention is paid to hands, feet and haircare here, too. They say the décor, treatments and techniques ‘reflect the strength and mystery of our African heritage,’ and it’s a the corner of the coastal city to seek when in need of a well-earned waterfront timeout. 28

Calm in British Columbia Willow Stream Spa Vancouver, Canada

The Fairmont Pacific Rim sits on the ocean’s edge, and within it is a spectacular downtown day spa that is open to both hotel guests and city dwellers. 789 sq.m. of view-surrounded space has nine treatment areas, a couples’ room with Japanese Zen deep-tub, and a nail spa. Alongside internationally-flavoured indulgences are authentically Canadian treatments. Visitors can also avail facilities such as the infrared sauna, fitness centre, or simply choose to drink-in views of majestic snow-capped mountains from the spa terrace.

An Awakening in Asia The Peninsula Spa Bangkok, Thailand

Down by the Chao Phraya River, the waters add an extra aura of serenity to this enticing spa. It is set in a stunning three-storey Thai colonial-style building, and Peninsula recognises that ‘every body is different and each of us has different desires and aspirations for our mind and body’. These nuances are met with bespoke programmes delivered by expert therapists; guests select from signatures such as Royal Thai Massage and Himalayan Salt Scrub, plus a broad menu of ‘journeys’ that feature the likes of Jet-Lag Reviver and Detox & Renew.

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7 nights from USD2,433 per person Special offer: Stay 6 nights and receive an additional night free Includes: Stay in a Loft Room with return airport transfers Validity: Now 'til Aug 31, 2016 A boutique design hotel on the edge of Soho, which fuses the past and present with glorious results. Behind the historic, understated archway, guests are assured a grand city-centre stay. 30

B Netherlands Sofitel Legend The Grand, Amsterdam

4 nights from USD832 per person Special offer: 20% discount on room rates Includes: Stay in a Superior Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now 'til Aug 31, 2016

A Dutch Classicist facade sets the tone; horse-drawn carriages, fine afternoon teas and grand boat tours enhance the legend.

Italy The Westin Palace Milan

3 nights from USD460 per person Special offer: Stay 2 nights and receive an additional night free Includes: Stay in a Superior Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now 'til Sep 30, 2016 Well-connected in terms of locale and clientele: the choice of high-society for an inspired hotel stay. Think mid-century dĂŠcor and antique furnishings.

Jordan Grand Millennium Hotel Amman

2 nights from USD152 per person Special offer: 25% discount on room rate and complimentary upgrade to the next room category Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Room with breakfast Validity: Now 'til Sep 30, 2016 In a beautiful ancient city is a truly modern gem: luxury in the heart of the commercial centre.

August 2016 World Traveller





By calling dnata on


+971 4 316 6666 visiting a dnata outlet, or by logging onto


On the same site you can also sign up to dnata’s newsletter and receive more offers direct to your inbox. T&C apply.


E Seychelles Constance Ephelia

3 nights from USD792 per person Special offer: 30% discount on room rate Includes: Stay in a Junior Suite with breakfast and dinner daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now 'til Sep 30, 2016 Overlooking Anse L'Islette Bay, natural beauty here is landscapes and lagoons. They've an impressive abode in the arsenal: the Presidential Villa

F Maldives Constance Moofushi

3 nights from USD2,122 per person Special offer: 20% discount on room rate Includes: A Beach Villa on All Inclusive basis, including a large variety of premium beverages, free cocktails, daily stocked mini-bar, guided snorkelling, and return seaplane transfers Validity: Now 'til Sep 30, 2016 Sunset cruises and white sands: tempted to miss the flight home?

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Thailand Angsana Laguna Phuket

H Hong Kong The Peninsula Hong Kong

5 nights from USD295 per person Special offer: Stay 4 nights and receive an additional night free Includes: Stay in a Laguna Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now 'til Sep 30, 2016

3 nights from USD776 per person Special offer: Stay 2 nights and receive an additional night free Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Room on room only basis and return airport transfers Validity: Now 'til Sep 4, 2016

Nestled between two lagoons, it's the perfect place to experience gorgeous Phuket. Scenic Bang Tao Bay is up-andcoming: be a trendsetter here.

Vistas of Victoria Harbour from this hotel – or should that be views of this regal hotel from the harbour? Built in 1928, welcome to a Hong Kong icon. 31

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St. Regis Bangkok

Hotel Metropole Geneve

Hotel Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg

Shangri-La's Le Touessrok Resort & Spa


'Water Water, Everywhere...' This collection of hotels ensures you're in close proximity to the wet stuff, be it a calming lake, river or ocean


Switzerland Hotel Metropole Geneve

4 nights from USD844 per person Special Offer: 15% discount on room rate Includes: Stay in a Premier City Side Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now 'til Sep 15, 2016 Sitting pretty on Rue du Rhône, the hotel is a stone's throw from Lake Geneva – home of the iconic Jet d'Eau fountain. This is a lavish property, with a noteworthy Italian restaurant and a lovely rooftop terrace. 32


Germany Hotel Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg

4 nights from USD573 per person Special Offer: Stay 3 nights and receive an additional night free Includes: Stay in a Superior Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now 'til Sep 30, 2016 It dates back to 1909, so there's history to accompany the fivestar opulence and European flair. Nearby Lake Alster is the natural oasis, ideal for a serene evening shoreside stroll.



Mauritius Thailand Shangri-La's Le St. Regis Bangkok Touessrok Resort and Spa 3 nights from USD545 per 5 nights from USD1,002 per person Special Offer: 40% discount on room rate Includes: Stay in a Junior Suite Hibiscus Ocean View with breakfast and dinner daily and return airporttransfers Validity: Now 'til Sep 30, 2016 The Indian Ocean laps the shore of this island-highlight, which has both adventure (water sports), and peace and quiet (a spa, plus its own private island).

person Special Offer: 25% discount on room rate Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now 'til Aug 31, 2016 Chao Phraya winds through the city, and this world class hotel is a landmark too: of hospitality. To book an offer: visit a dnata outlet, call +971 4 316 6666, or log onto

ANI VILLAS, THAILAND - Villa Estate, up-to 10 bedrooms Nightly rates from $5,500 USD for 6-room villa. SPECIAL OFFER: 5th Night Free Offer valid through October 31st 2016. 3 night minimum, all-inclusive stay, exclusive of taxes and service charges. No matter how many bedrooms you take, the resort, its staff and facilities are exclusively yours.

ANI VILLAS, SRI LANKA - Villa Estate, up-to 15 bedrooms Nightly rates from $3,500 USD for 4-room villa. SPECIAL OFFER: 5th Night Free Offer valid through October 31st 2016. 3 night minimum, all-inclusive stay, exclusive of taxes and service charges. No matter how many bedrooms you take, the resort, its staff and facilities are exclusively yours.

Email us at call +971 4 316 6666

Destinations Iconic Pisa Shanghai

a s i P Iconic

and tecturewer i h c r a e po t w ith mposeodrmer maritim o c hen i y l w l t u Beautiufre, Pisa is a pf lenty of mighadventure cult still packs g an Italian that to plannin comes


August 2016 November 2015 World Traveller

Lean-in a little closer... Pisa Galileo Galilei Airport is the aviation gateway to both the historic city and the stunning, surrounding Tuscany region. From August 2, Qatar Airways expands its evergrowing world network with a daily route from the luxurious, state-ofthe-art Hamad International Airport in Doha. The airline will commence flights here with a single-aisle Airbus A320 – part of a fleet which is one of the youngest in the skies.

The Tower of Pisa

A soft ground of clay, fine sand and shells (as well as an interrupted 200-year building process) are to thank for one of the icons of Italy; a lean that was the bane of perplexed architects in 1178 has become a travelphoto staple. The gravity-defying 60m campanile (bell-tower) is the most recognisable structure in stunning Piazza Dei Miracoli cathedral complex (the ‘Square of Miracles’), and those looking to ascend the tower’s 251 steps for a spectacular vantage will be content to know that it has been stablised. Booking ahead is essential though: tickets are strictly limited. 35

Destinations Iconic Pisa


Zoom-out of the city map and Pisa’s stunning geo-locale becomes apparent. The province is set in Central Italy, and Pisa is one of the largest cities in Tuscany along with Florence and Siena. The rolling plains and pinewoods create a lyrical landscape, and there is plenty of cuisine along with vineyards, health spas and natural hot springs to be discovered. In respect of the latter, one of Pisa’s most revered is Casciana Terme, where the water emerges from a spring at a constant temperature of 35.7°C. Toasty.


August 2016 World Traveller

River Arno

241km in length and winding through Tuscany, the Arno curves through the city before reaching the sea – locals name the regions it divides into tramontana and mezzogiorno, (south and north of the river, respectively). Steps away from

Marina di Pisa

It’s not what many imagine when thinking of Pisa. The Marina region – with its white pebble beach sitting pretty beside the blue Ligurian sea – is a slice of calm within easy distance (12km) of Pisa-proper. Built as a summer beach town, all the facilities are in place for a relaxed family day on the beach

the picturesque riverside you’ll find the intricate, intimate streets of the historic quarter of Santa Maria; parallel to Ponte Di Mezzo is the famed, pedestrian-only Borgo Stretto, full of pretty cafés, restaurants and classy boutiques.

and along the Lungomare. Fishing is woven into the cultural fabric here, and there’s also a nearby harbour that caters to a perfect stroll (followed by a cup of coffee while watching the sunset). In all, it’s a frazione that has been inspirational to history’s poets, artists and everyday Pisans.


Destinations 100 Must-Have Experiences


M U S T- HAVE TR AVE L E XPE R I E N C E S An epic journey, far and wide, to assemble the very best that the planet has to offer Contributions by Richard Jenkins, Hazel Plush, Hayley Skirka and Chris Ujma Illustrations by Andrew Thorpe, Andy Knappett and Emi Dixon


August 2016 World Traveller


Destinations 100 Must-Have Experiences


New Zealand

The Alps

Visit the Acropolis

Whale watch in Kaikoura

Hit the ski slopes

The inquisitive travellers and prospective conquerors who first laid eyes on the Acropolis in 430BC would have immediately understood the power of its creators. The towering columns of the Parthenon, the looming marble façades, the intricate sculptures of the Erechtheion: all were designed to showcase the muscle and might of classical Greece, an effect that holds true to this day. The settlement sits on a natural rock platform, high above the sprawl of Athens, its white marble columns still dazzling in the sun. There’s no better place to tread in the historic footsteps of the ancient Athenians.

Most whale watching experiences are carefully timed to catch pods of whales on their annual migrations – but not in Kaikoura, one of the few places in the world where giant Sperm Whales can be seen yearround, and close to shore. The 3km deep Kaikoura Canyon runs right up against the New Zealand coast, creating a rare and rich system of sea currents that sustain a huge marine food chain including seals, dolphins and the huge seabirds known as shearwaters. A great resource to find the right tour for you is, where you can also learn more about New Zealand’s marine culture before your trip.

Plenty of resorts contribute to the best of the Alps, but those dedicated to a bout of ski and après-ski inspire imagery of powdery pistes, luxury lodges, roaring fires, and ski-lifts ascending over trails. Tignes and Courcheval in France, Verbier, Zermatt and St.Moritz in Switzerland, Innsbruck and fashionable Lech Zürs am Arlberg in Austria… every afiskionado will have their own resort de jour, but it remains that skiing in the Alps exists as a long-season social occupation for the upper classes. Majestic mountains, cool air, alpine villages, glasses of bubbles and perhaps even the fleeting sighting of a Royal Family member zipping past on the slopes.

Sri Lanka



Follow the tea trails

Witness the Northern Lights

Stay in a stately home

Sri Lanka is the globe’s fourth largest tea producer, providing the world with 340,000 tonnes of the stuff every year and, in the lush tea counties of Sri Lanka, you can sip up some history with a trail through old colonial plantations. Head to Tea Trails – the world’s first tea bungalow resort perched an altitude of 1,250m – and enjoy rambling across 2,000 acres in the panoramic region whilst staying at bungalows and cottages that date back to the seventeenth-century. Learn timehonoured planting traditions, follow the trails of old Ceylon, enjoy meals packed with fresh homegrown vegetables and, of course, sample the world’s most popular teas.

The Northern Lights (or aurora borealis) are visible across Scandinavia, Scotland and northern Canada, but the further north you go, the better viewing you’ll get – you don’t get much further than Norway’s Svalbard. There you'll experience the polar night, with unearthly colours and sounds in a crisp nightsky, above a snowy Artic wilderness that is 1,200km from the North Pole. Alternatively, Kakslauttanen in Finnish Lapland is great for those who want to gaze at the Northern Lights from the comfort of their own glass igloo. When these enchanting solar winds are in a phase of high activity, a visit heralds pure visual magic.

With the popularity of Downton Abbey, this experience is ascending must-try travel lists, with historical fascination now blended with a dash of popular culture. Highclere Castle has moved with the trend, offering 2- or 3-bedroom cottages to rent within its 5,000-acre estate, meaning one can prolong the feeling of being part of the drama. For a quieter opportunity, Cliveden House in Berkshire encourages you to create your own moment in history. They've a host of rooms (right up to the Prince of Wales Suite, and a Spring Cottage), where one can wine, dine and enjoy family time in the snugly rich confines of a stately home.


August 2016 World Traveller




Enjoy every side of the island This Indian Ocean isle is no ordinary beach destination. You’ll have over 160km of beach at your fingertips, from calm lagoons to wild stretches where pro surfers play. So why choose just one resort? Make your own tour of the island to experience its coastal treasures. Head north for the largest concentration of paradise beaches, with crystalline waters. Down south, discover turquoise bays with mountainous backdrops, while incredible sunset views await on the west coast. In the east, the island’s most glamorous boltholes reside – including One&Only Le Saint Geran and the fabulous LUX* Belle Mare. Eat your heart out, Robinson Crusoe.

Drink splendid coffee along 'the bean belt’

Visit the Pyramids and the relics of Cairo’s Egyptian Museum

It was Ethiopia’s nomadic tribes who first discovered the restorative effects of coffee. In the tenth-century they would pluck the red fruits to eat as they roamed, buoyed by the tiny nuggets of caffeine. True coffee lovers should make a pilgrimage to the town of Kaffa (which lent its name to the beans) to visit coffee farms and roam the valleys where the plants grow wild. Ethiopians drink copious cups every day, and a coffee ceremony (with tall earthenware pots and tiny cups of sweet black brews) is a highlight. Back-home, the aroma of every freshlybrewed cup will bring back memories.

You haven’t seen real gold until you’ve seen the gold of ancient Egypt. Sought after by pharaohs and fought over by raiders, the glittering treasures that lie in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum have entranced mankind for thousands of years. Set aside at least one day to immerse yourself in Egypt’s myths and legends – although that will barely do justice to the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities. The iconic Giza pyramids are just a stone’s throw from central Cairo, giving you time to rifle through dusty tombs and spooky burial chambers, following in footsteps of treasure hunters.




Stay in a riad in Marrakech

Samba at the Rio Carnival

Explore Mayan ruins

There’s no doubt that busy souks, beautiful palaces and bustling nightlife make for an intoxicating adventure, but the real delights of Marrakech lie in its historic riads – the old houses found in its atmospheric old quarter. These unique abodes have stood for hundreds of years, little oases of calm in a restless city. Happily, many have been turned into charming hotels, complete with cool courtyard gardens, sensational restaurants and sumptuous interior design. Head up to the roof to sip Moroccan mint tea while you watch city life unfurl, or lie back in a private courtyard swimming pool under a sliver of clear blue sky. Divine.

What happens when over 200 samba schools take to the streets of Rio for a dance-off? One helluva party, that’s what – with so many sequins, feather boas and booty-shaking divas it feels like the whole city is bouncing to the beat. Welcome to the biggest knees-up in Brazil – or even the world – where two million performers and partygoers flock for five whirlwind days in February. You’ll hear the drums before you’ve barely stepped off the plane – an irresistible invitation to throw caution to the wind and shimmy like nobody’s watching. Trust us: by the end of the day, you’ll be dancing on the tables just like everybody else.

If Mexico’s Mayan ruins could talk, they would tell tales of human sacrifices and merciless rulers – but for all of their bloodthirst, the people who built this stone fortress 1,000 years ago were actually quite a civilised bunch. Their engineering, agriculture and astronomy expertise was well ahead of their time – and the fruits of their architectural prowess are evident even today. Their cities of Chichen Itza, Palenque, Teotihuacán and Monte Alban are the most impressive, boasting pyramids and palaces that still stand strong. The monuments of the Mayans might now be overgrown and crumbling, but their power spans centuries. 41

Destinations 100 Must-Have Experiences

42 Petra, Jordan

August 2016 World Traveller



Traverse the narrow gorge to reach historic Petra

Get a suit made bespoke on Savile Row

The ancient city of Petra is one of the world’s must-see archeological sites, and rightly so. Where else could you see such a blend of ancient Eastern traditions mixed with Hellenistic architecture, in majestic-carved structures that sprawl far deeper than the rock face from which they protrude? An important crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Phoenicia, this ‘lost’ city has many secrets, not least it’s hidden back-door entrance, dubbed the Inca Trail of the Middle East. Trek from Dana to Petra, over 45km of mountainous landscapes, across a tangle of tracks, through dry riverbeds and over burnt orange foothills, bedding down for the evenings in a tent, under a sea of shimmering stars. Marvel at sporadic flora and fauna like the electric blue Sinai agama, prickly sea squills and fragrant juniper trees and drink tea with Bedouins during this long-distance hike. Your reward for this enduring trek? Entry to the hidden city, via a majestic touchthe-walls-narrow gorge where swirls of burnt orange and angry red lead you directly in to one of the world's New 7 Wonders.

It’s the street that is the first and last word in bespoke tailoring, where sartorial standards are impeccably high, built on time-honoured traditions and practices. The leading names are stitched onto the cognisance of any wellheeled gentleman: Gieves & Hawkes (located at No. 1), Richard James, Huntsman (go-to of Laurence Olivier), Hardy Aimes, Kilgour (the rumoured birthplace of the greyflannel suit) and Henry Poole (whose crest reads ‘By Special Appointment to the Late Emperor Napoleon III’). That’s not to say you can’t be well-dressed by a less-traditional tailoring outfit: those willing to depart from Mayfair purism will find an influx of designers breaking the Savile Row mould, like Ozwald Boateng and Timothy Everest – international designers crafting labels that create silhouettes and colours with a difference, whilst upholding the immense history upon their well-formed shoulders. Savile Row is where your gentlemanly identity will be carefully captured and your personality shaped, in the form of a perfect suit. A wearable masterpiece. 43

Machu Picchu, Peru

Destinations 100 Must-Have Experiences

Easter Island



Ponder the mysterious heads

Make the journey to Machu Picchu

Standing sentry on the slopes of the very volcano that formed Easter Island, the Moai keep some of the world’s last great secrets. They were assembled between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries by the inhabitants of this far-flung nugget of rock, surely one of the most gruelling construction feats of the time. It’s thought that they represented the islanders’ ancestors (they were placed facing towards villages, as if to protect them) so why were they torn down by the same people who created them? What sparked the end of this ancient civilisation? They’ve now been restored to their former glory, but their lips are still sealed...

A view so iconic it feels like you're gazing at a travel magazine even when it's right before your eyes, the sight of Machu Picchu – perched on its wind-whipped plateau high in the Peruvian Andes – has captivated travellers for centuries. Once only reachable after days of trekking, the site is now connected with the city of Cusco by train. How was this 500-year-old enclave built with such precision in such perilous environs? What were the whimsies of its pampered royal inhabitants? Ponder these questions as you walk amongst its ruins, running your hands over its smooth stone contours, with centuries of history at your fingertips.

Take a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls


Hovering over a roiling waterfall – its spray soaking your clothes through the open helicopter door – is one of those heart-inmouth moments that lifelong memories are made of. We’d defy even the steeliest thrillseeker not to let out a whoop as the chopper dips towards the white-water fray, the churning pools edging ever-closer while those thundering walls close in. But while the Niagara River is famed for its intense torrents, up here you can appreciate its intense serenity too: lush forest stretches out in every direction, while rainbows dance in the mist. It's Canada’s raw beauty, up close.

August 2016 World Traveller




Tour Versailles Palace

Drive Pacific Coast Highway

Dive the Great Barrier Reef

A lasting legacy of Louis XIV, the surroundings of the glorious ‘Château’ are a lot different from when it was built in the seventeenth century: you’ll now discover it nestled in a wealthy suburb of Paris. It served as the Royal Court, and opulence abounds: the Opéra Royal, resplendent Chapel of Versailles, gleaming Hall of Mirrors, Galerie des Batailles, grand apartments… not to mention 250 acres of manicured, geometric gardens. This is how it feels to live like a King. It’s a symbol of lavish luxury that 30,000 toiled to build; an immense creation by the man who proclaimed, “L'etat c'est moi,” meaning “I am the state.”

Less well-known than the iconic Route 66 but arguably more scenic, the serene Pacific Coast Highway meanders for just 235km along the Californian coast from Monterey to Morro Bay. This road is made for bikers, with scrubby mountains along one side, the bright blue ocean on the other, and sunshine on your back; it’s enough to convince anyone that two wheels are better. Sites along the road include Hearst Castle, Point Lobos State Reserve and the fabled Big Sur, where giant redwood trees reach skyward and the Santa Lucia Range of rocks plunges into the sea in a demonstration of elemental majesty. It's the definition of 'the open road'.

Larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing visible from space, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world and is Australia’s pride and joy. Comprised of over 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays while dotted with sun-drenched tropical islands, diving this incredible site with its teeming marine ecosystem is a rite of passage for those with an affinity with the underwater world. You'll spy turtles, dolphins and sharks... Cairns is the ideal base from which to explore the reef, but cities like Port Douglas, Rockhampton and Townsville are also picturesque holiday spots to plan your dive. 45

Destinations 100 Must-Have Experiences


South Africa


Stay in a former palace

Drive the Garden Route

Encounter elephants in Chiang Mai

Favoured by Hollywood and Bollywood stars alike, sleep like a sultan and step back in time in one of India’s majestic palace hotels, the likes of Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur or Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad. Each has its own unique charm and décor. Some are only accessible by boat, others offer limousine services, resident astrologers, butterfly gardens and refreshing subterranean pools. While each has a unique history, all have one thing in common – pure, opulent decadence, where the only decision you’ll have to make is the choice between a relaxing massage or a spot of lunch, brought to you by a private butler.

The best bit of driving the Garden Route isn’t actually the driving: it’s what you encounter along the way. Discover ancient indigenous forests where endangered elephants roam; spot dolphins while you laze on crowdfree beaches; take a tiny steam train that threads through dramatic mountain ranges. This 300km route between Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay is packed with incredible landscapes and experiences, so it’s not a road trip to rush. Stop as often as you can, and let the wonderful wildlife reveal itself: it’s not everywhere that you can spy humpback whales, vervet monkeys and rainbowplumed birds of paradise all in one day.

Skip tourist-trap Phuket and keep the island hopping for elsewhere – Chiang Mai is your go-to destination in Thailand. The mountainous northern capital is a fantastic escape from Bangkok’s hectic pace of life and, as the cultural centre of the country, is steeped in history. Riding on the back of an elephant at Thailand’s best-known elephant rehabilitation centre can be done without a shred of guilt, as the refuge has won countless awards for its ethical approach to rehabilitating elephants since it opened. Help the keepers feed these colossal animals, before accompanying the elephants on a walk to the river for their afternoon bath.




Book a bed on board the Trans-Siberian Railway

See the sights and sounds of Baku’s Old City

Relax with a traditional Balinese massage

Usually the journey isn’t the highlight of any trip. Except when the journey encompasses the spectacular vastness of the world’s largest country, via the longest voyage you can make by single train – the perfect opportunity to get stuck into War and Peace. Cabins in first and second class come with standard bed and breakfast, but you can treat yourself to the Golden Eagle for a double bed, wardrobe, TV and DVD, and en-suite shower room. While tickets don’t include any stop offs, you can book tick-offyour-bucket-list trips with visits to World Heritage Site Kremlin and Lake Baikal.

Don’t be distracted by the rainbow-lit skyscrapers and Zaha Hadid-designed modern marvels that puncture Baku’s skyline: the heart of Azerbaijan’s capital is actually in its Old City, a fascinating settlement whose roots can be traced back to the seventh century. It has been lived in since its ancient beginnings – with one step you can gaze into twelfth-century madrassas, while round the corner you’ll spy majestic Baroque houses. This UNESCO-listed treasure is no museum piece: it’s stuffed with fascinating shops, charming hotels, and even a bathhouse, restored to former glory.

Take a stroll down the many streets of Legian, Seminyak or Kuta and you’ll instantly notice the hundreds of massages places dotted all around Bali. Incorporating notes from their neighbours in Java – who performed indulgent spa flower petal baths and luxurious massages on their Royal Family – then drawing from ayurvedic techniques in India and borrowing elements of Swedish massage, Balians created their now worldfamous massage technique. Cheap as chips, you can indulge in the tradition for a meagre USD10 – an amazing price, and you'll feel the results in your deep-muscle tissue for days.


August 2016 World Traveller



Immerse yourself in the madness of Tokyo

Party in Beirut, before seeing Roman ruins

See the sweeping majesty of Iguazu Falls

While the perma-glow of neon and hordes of crowds might seem like an attack on the senses, there’s much more to Tokyo’s futuristic metropolis than skyscrapers and robots. Visit a Sumo stable to watch traditional Japanese wrestling or head to a maid café and witness Kawaii ‘cute’ culture – whoever spots the most elaborate animal stuck to a headband wins. Take refuge at Meiji Shrine in Shibuya – you might even spot a traditional Japanese wedding – or head to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden where you’ll find themed gardens and a 300year-old pine tree.

Combine hedonism with ancient wonders in the bright lights of Beirut – a rather grownup kind of city break, we like to think. Lebanon’s capital is renowned for epic clubs – there’s a thriving scene of arty independent nightspots, from underground lounges to rooftop venues with views. Once you’ve danced the night away it’s only a short hobble to the Roman Baths, a bewitching ancient ruin right in the heart of downtown Beirut. You can wander through the relics before seeking a shady spot in the Roman Baths Garden – an age-old site of recuperation. And let’s face it, you’ll probably need some of that.

The border crossings of South America aren't famed for drama or beauty, but one particular boundary between Brazil and Argentina will blow your road weariness right out of the water – quite literally. Enveloped in a misty curtain of its own making, Iguazu's wall of white water crashes between the two countries, a ceaseless crescendo on the River Iguazu's 1,320km journey. Access from the Brazilian side is easy, with a walkway, boat trips and helicopter tours. Those approaching from Argentina take the train through the National Park to pick up walking trails that lead right to the cascade's mouth.




Get to Everest base camp, if you dare

Venture on a KL street-food adventure

Savour a slice (or more) of pizza in Chicago

Trekking to base camp at Mount Everest is something for those who thrive on a bit of a challenge. It’s definitely attainable, even for those of us who wouldn’t quite subscribe to the 'athletic body' camp. More than just a trek, this is a photo opportunity and sense of accomplishment rolled into one. Every bend in the trail opens out onto beautiful forests, glacial moraines and unrivalled vantage points. As you climb, you’ll pass through ancient Sherpa villages, browse Namche Bazaar, listen to the grunting of mountain yaks and drink-in views from the summit of Kala Patar – the highest point on the trek.

An extended stay in Malaysia shows around the waistline: there's an abundance of fantastically affordable street-cuisine, and 24 hours in which to feast. So much to savour: the national dish of Nasi Lemak (‘fat rice’ in coconut milk, served on a banana leaf), Char Key Teow (stir-fried flat-noodles with juicy prawns), Mamak menu staples such as Roti Canai (flatbread) or Nasi Goreng Kampung, washed down with a frothy cup of Teh Tarik, and more. There’s something about the noise of a metal cooking pan being thwacked and the bustling sound of the Jalan (street) that just makes it all taste better.

You might think that Italy, or maybe even New York, are the best places on earth to get a slice of pizza – but you’d be wrong. The spiritual home of the pizza pie is Chicago, where you’ll find a special ‘deep dish’ version that’s far more dense (and more filling) than normal. The style was invented at Pizzeria Uno in 1943, and the restaurant still does a brisk trade today. Once suitably fuelled, the Windy City is home to terrific museums, parks and first-rate hotels, all easily reached via the city’s elevated ‘L Train’ that takes you above street level and right through the city’s main attractions.



Destinations 100 Must-Have Experiences




Explore quintessential English countryside

Sleep amidst the sand dunes (in style)

Stay in a Parisian palace hotel

There’s nothing like rural England. The Cotswolds, for example, oozes charm – an idyllic land of chocolate-box villages, rolling hills and fields, manor houses, stone barns and quaint English pubs for a spot of Ploughman’s lunch. The Lake District is another prospect entirely but equally pretty – rugged mountain ranges suited for hiking, and ribbon lakes to sit beside with a flask of hot coffee; pure escapism, with the hush of nature punctuated by babbling streams and a whistling breeze. This is the least boastful addition to our '100', but bed-down in a homely B&B and relish a peaceful reward.

It’s easy to forget sometimes, when scurrying amidst Dubai’s gleaming skyscrapers and towering superstructures, that the city’s most alluring quality remains the mesmeric desert. To experience its mystical charms to the fullest, spend a long weekend at one of Dubai’s desert resorts. The brilliant Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa is just a 40-minute drive from Dubai, yet feels a world away from the core of the city; the same applies to Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, where each suite offers up dune vistas and a private pool. Sloping dunes and a burnt orange landscape... a staycation beckons.

Doing Paris on the chic means booking a suite at one of its palatial hotels – the epitome of French finesse. The grand dame of grand dame hotels is, of course, the recently refurbished, rebooted and reopened Ritz Paris; one addition to the hotel of old is a tunnel that allows you to arrive without courting the attention of the paparazzi, should feel all diva on arrival into Charles De Galle. Others in this set include Four Seasons George V, and the impeccable Le Bristol. Here for the appeal of Louis Vuitton? For an LV show, artist Daniel Buren built an installation, which you can now dine within.


East Malaysia


Ride horses in the wilderness

Traverse ancient rainforests

Hire your own private island

Remaining a distinct mystery to the outside world, Mongolia is an adventure. The essence of the Mongols’ nomadic lifestyle and their devotion to horses is most apparent in the Darhat Valley. Saddle-up at a tented camp near the shores of Lake Khovsgol, a 160km-long, glacially-curved alpine lake in northeastern Mongolia, then tackle the gradual ascent of Jigleg Pass before descending into the Valley, where hundreds of horses seek prime pasture. Enjoy the warm hospitality of the Mongol people, drink down a big cup of airag (a fermented horse milk beverage), and wonder at the rituals and vigorous way of life of these nomadic folk.

There are many wonders on this list, but few date back 130 million years. The tropical-climate island of Borneo (twice the size of Germany) is home to lush greenery, spectacular wildlife, 15,000 types of rare plants, and of course its indigenous tribes; a trek through the undisturbed virgin jungles of Sabah is a journey to a lost world. Deforestation has led to the displacement of one of the forest’s most famous residents – the orangutan – and if you’re looking for a holiday where you make a difference, the Matang Wildlife Centre affords visitors the chance to nurture the orphaned or injured members of this indigenous species.

You can stay at a private island resort in the likes of the Maldives, Malaysia or even Doha and Bahrain, but what’s the point of being on an island if you have to share it with other guests? Solitude reigns supreme at Thanda Island, situated within southern Tanzania’s Shungi Mbili Island Marine Reserve, where guests hire the whole beautiful beach residence – big enough for ten guests – on a sole-use basis. Depending on the season, however, you may have to share your stretch of cotton wool-soft sand with nesting turtles – a wonderful sight – although a 1km-wide exclusive-use zone means you have a coral reef all to yourself.


August 2016 World Traveller

49 Borneo, Tanzania

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Destinations 100 Must-Have Experiences


August 2016 World Traveller



Scoot along the Amalfi Coast on a Vespa

Ride the bullet train past Mount Fuji

When Audrey Hepburn hopped onto a Vespa in Roman Holiday, the humble Italian getaround became an overnight sensation. What could beat the romance of scooting through Italy’s sensational cities and countryside on two wheels? 60 years later, it’s still the most thrilling way to get about, and by far the best way to see the mountainous Amalfi coast. There’s new adventure around every hairpin bend, be it picnicking on clifftops, exploring handsome white-washed towns, or stopping to refuel with coffee and zesty Amalfi lemon tart. Every pit stop comes with shimmering sea views: the kind of road trip you'll love.

Japan’s reputation for technological brilliance is best exemplified by its highspeed bullet trains, known as Shinkansen. Capable of speeds up to 320km/h, they’re able to turn the backdrop into a blur – although you’ll still be able to enjoy incredible panoramic views of the imposing Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain peak. Only listed as a World Heritage Site in 2013, Fuji contains 25 UNESCO sites of cultural interest including peaceful lodging houses, the spectacular Shiraito Falls, eight separate hot springs and the Miho no Matsubara pine tree grove.



Pay homage to The King in Graceland

Visit Munich for Oktoberfest

2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the King of Rock and Roll’s death, and is a perfect time to pay tribute to his everlasting impact on music. A visit to Graceland, Presley’s Tennessee home, is a rite of passage for music fans. When Elvis was a young boy, he promised his parents he would make a lot of money and buy them the best house in town – and with Graceland, he did exactly that. As the front gates open, you’re taken on an unforgettable journey into the private world of a musical legend, including the famous Jungle Room and Trophy Building (but don't step on his blue suede shoes).

Lederhosen, dirndl aprons, hops, music and dancing – that’s what you can expect on a trip to Oktoberfest. Actually kicking off in September, the world’s largest Volksfest begins with the Mayor tapping the first Oktoberfest-hops-barrel in Schottenhamel tent, watched on by 10,000 revellers, immediately followed by twelve gunshots that cue sixteen days of celebration. Enjoy the sideshows and attractions like endless parties, traditional costume parades, fairgrounds, and concerts – there’s even a national holiday, so that everyone from Bavaria can join in. 51

Destinations 100 Must-Have Experiences

South Africa



Explore Cape Town

Visit India’s cities of colour

Explore Gaudi’s Barcelona

This is no ordinary city break destination: this is where two oceans collide, where great mountains tower, and where sharks breach on the horizon. Your challenge? To see it all. Start by scaling Table Mountain: it’s easier than it sounds, with a cable car boasting unbeatable views all the way up (and down) this dramatic plateau. Next, venture to the Cape of Good Hope, a wind-whipped spot where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet, and where African penguins play. The finale of your adventure should be cage diving with great white sharks: though you're safe from Jaws, it's not for the faint hearted – but is a must on anyone’s bucket (of chum) list.

Found within the desert state of Rajasthan, India’s three ‘cities of colour’ have their own unique charms. Jaipur, the Pink City, is named for its adobe-coloured buildings and roofs, which evoke the Disney movie Aladdin. It’s bustling, filled with markets, camels and snake charmers and contains the must-see Amber Fort. Further into the desert you’ll find Jodhpur, the Blue City, awash in indigo paint. It’s much more tranquil than Jaipur, although not nearly as laid-back as Jaisalmer, the Yellow City, the smallest and most remote of the cities of colour. You’ll love its small-town charm, which is like staying in a giant sandcastle. Probably.

Gaudi's genius infiltrates the city of Barcelona in colourful fantasy and intricate geometry. To get to grips with the architect’s most famous works: stroll Passeig de Gràcia, the elegant avenue built for the wealthy where luxury shops neighbour banks and the stock exchange atop Gaudi’s pavement tiles. Gaze at Casa Milà’s wavy façade, colourful balconies and intriguing chimney tops, wondering at his inspiration. Then visit Sagrada Familia, the still-in-process jewel where each façade depicts a chapter of religious prominence. Inside, the sight of the basilica, in all its curved-column, colourchanging magnificence, is breathtaking.



The Arctic

Party hard in Las Vegas

Take a tour along the Mekong

Embark on an Arctic Circle cruise

Dubai might be like no other place on earth, but even Vegas tops it for sheer over-thetop spectacle. The main strip is a neon wonderland, with each five-star hotel crowding over its neighbour in a bid to stand out. Wander by the Bellagio and catch its famous fountain display, every 30 minutes from 3pm til 8pm, and then every 15 minutes until midnight. The hotels also play host to epic pool parties, where beautiful people to gather and celebrate – and of course, most of the world’s biggest music stars are also often in residence, from DJ maestro Calvin Harris to singers like Britney Spears, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey.

Navigate through a maze of lush coconut palms and emerald rice paddies lining the landscape, while buffalo cool off in chocolate brown waters. Many boat tours depart from Ho Chi Minh City and will show you how communities that rely on the nutrientrich soil use the bountiful produce – from coconut candy and rice paper to palm tree vases and sweet, juicy mangoes. Most tours make stops at bee farms where you can sample delicious honey tea, followed by a concert from local children. Make sure to do your research before you arrive however, as the quality of tours vary, with some simply taking you from gift shop to gift shop.

The ultimate chillout, this region has a piercing, stark beauty; white and grey have never been so arresting. The midnight sun is just one of the protagonists in this crunching, barren landscape, which is punctuated by spottings of polar bears, walrus, seals, arctic foxes and colonies of birds. (It’s also an alternative ticket to seeing the Northern Lights, mentioned elsewhere in this travelcollection). Cruises can stray into the waters of Norway, Sweden, Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Canada, Russia and even Alaska, past spouting whales and surging waves of Prussian blue. It’s a must-book voyage, into a wild realm bursting with natural beauty.


August 2016 World Traveller



Embrace the majesty of Victoria Falls

Witness a pop of pink with Sakura season

Wander the historic site of Angkor Wat

You’ll hear it before you see it: a low rumble, trembling your eardrums before you even get close. And then you’ll see the long white cloud of spray thickening, until you emerge – with ears roaring – onto the waterfall’s edge. One million litres of water tumble over that drop per second, a hypnotic sight that’s as terrifying as it is thrilling. When David Livingstone found the falls in 1855 he named them after his queen, but the local Kololo tribe had their own name: 'The Smoke That Thunders'. See them on foot, then take a microlight flight for an unforgettable bird’s eye view.

The cherry blossom is a symbol of Japan’s natural beauty and no filter can do the brilliant display of blooms justice. To see the full splendour, visit from February to early May and you’ll be spoilt for choice – stroll through a tunnel of trees in Kakunodate, see a traditional Japanese castle at Hirosaki city or head up Mt. Yoshino to experience the mountain awash with colour. If it’s romance you’re after, take a trip to Takayama City during its annual festival. Float down Suimon River in a washtub style boat as petals flutter by, then stay for the night glow when sakura trees are lit by Japanese lanterns.

So important is Angkor to this Asian country that it appears on the national flag. A mustwitness for early-birds is to experience the beauty of a sunrise like no other, as you watch light creeping over Cambodia’s ancient temples. Dating back to the twelfthcentury and hidden by jungle for hundreds of years, this remarkable monument boasts a hand-carved wall which took over 100 years to construct, using mountainous rocks delivered by boat. If you want to beat (some of) the crowds, head to the site past dark for the night tour, where the monuments are lit up beautifully.



Hong Kong

Stay in Salalah during summer

Drive The Atlantic Road

Feast on Michelin star fare

As the rest of the Gulf region swelters around 50°C, the coastal town of Salalah offers gorgeous climes and lush greenery. In Oman’s second largest city, coconut-fringed beaches and banana plantations wait to greet you, while the surrounding mountains attract the monsoon blowing in off the Indian Ocean. The town itself is a sprawling expanse of whitewashed, low-rise buildings and Al Hosn Souk is a definite highlight; stop by to pick up a souvenir of frankincense for which the region is famed. Be sure to also visit Al Baleed Archaeological Site on the east of the city – a UNESCO World Heritage Site of citadel and grand mosque ruins.

For a unique twist on that old American favourite, a road trip on the Atlantic Road is a must-do. Built on several small islands and skerries, it’s one of the most scenic drives anywhere, with stunning open views on both sides. Teetering along the edge of the sea, the 8km of curved road dips and arches over the brutal waves of the Norwegian Sea, with ocean spray soaking the road during high winds. Linking Molde and Kristiansund via eight breathtaking bridges, the road is peppered with viewing platforms from which you can often spot whales and seals. When the weather turns gloomy, this road is a veritable photographer’s dream.

Want a world-class dining experience where the memories linger on your tastebuds rather your credit card bill? Hong Kong is your hero. At Tim Ho Wan, you’ll secure simplistic yet classy cuisine on your plate, and savour it against an unassuming backdrop: this is a venture for the true gourmand who cares about specialist dim sum, not interior-design razzmatazz. Testament to the quality of the restaurant (well, more ‘hole-in-the-wall eatery’) is that most of its patrons are locals, un-awed by the star status and here for the flavours. Mak Pui Gor has raised standards but not the prices; it will set you back around USD10. Another serving, please.



Destinations 100 Must-Have Experiences

New Zealand


Glide through Milford Track

Sail the Dalmatian coast

Regarded ‘The best walk in the world’, the Milford Track route was pioneered in 1888. Traversing the heart of New Zealand’s wildcountry through the Fiordland National Park, hikers who take a five day/four night walk from Queenstown get up close to birdlife such as indigenous parakeets, bellbirds and kiwi. On fine days the deep lakes, luxuriant forest and sheer granite canyons define the landscape, but experienced hikers claim the sight of rain cascading off the mountains makes for the best views. Experts recommend tackling the hike in March – the weather is more settled, and fresh mornings, sunny days and cool nights are the norm.

There are around 1,000 Dalmatian islands off the Adriatic coast of Croatia: set sail from Split in a southwesterly direction to come across Krnknjasi Blue Lagoon on the east coast of Drvenik. Then, taste Croatian glamour by berthing alongside gleaming superyachts in the port of Skradin. From here, Kraka National Park’s magnificent waterfalls are just a short journey away. Sail on to Vis Island – the most mysterious in Dalmatia thanks to years of isolation, and famed for its thriving fishing traditions. For the party vibe, make a beeline for Hvar and Korcula, while Miljet offers lush greenery and inland lagoons. You won't want to leave.



Never sleep in New York

Retrace the Tour de France

NYC is the ideal USA-intro for the first-timer – it’s on the east coast, some 4,800km closer to the Middle East than LA, making direct flights much more manageable. The iconic skyline greets visitors from both of its major airports (JFK in the southeast or LaGuardia to the north), and beyond the sightseeing must-dos like the Empire State Building, The High Line and the Statue of Liberty, there are countless other unforgettable experiences to be had in The Big Apple. Sip coffee in Brooklyn, shop the big brands on Fifth Avenue and unwind in sprawling Central Park; you'll feel you’re at the centre of the world.

There are a multitude of cycling vacations available around the globe, but why not test yourself against the most prestigious route of them all? Thomson Bike Tours allows just that, including a King of the Mountains Cycling challenge (with Extreme and Hardcore intensity options) or a trip option that takes riders through Ventoux the Alps and Paris itself. Come Tour-time, there are even be-spoke VIP packages for you to spectate and then partake (once the competition-primed riders have departed, of course). It won’t secure you the coveted yellow jersey, but it’s a trip that will leave your sport-loving friends green with envy.


August 2016 World Traveller

55 New York, USA

Destinations 100 Must-Have Experiences

56 Ayers Rock, Australia

August 2016 World Traveller



Dine under the stars at Ayers Rock

Take a Nile cruise

Now known as Uluru, Ayers Rock is much easier to imagine than to actually get to. The 300-million-year-old natural wonder is almost 3,000km from Sydney, across brutal, unforgiving outback desert. Australia’s main airlines both fly to Ayers Rock Airport, and luxury coach transfers can be taken from Alice Springs. Once there, The Ayers Rock Resort offers a breathtaking ‘Sounds of Silence’ experience. Canapés and sparkling drinks are served as the sun sets over the ancient monolith, turning it fiery red, gold and finally a deep purple as night falls. As the stars twinkle into life, a bush-tucker inspired buffet entertains the tastebuds.

Think you’re not the cruising type? Think again – because the Nile is one of the world’s most atmospheric boating destinations, where millennia of rich history are intertwined with myths and legends. Opt for a felucca, a traditional Nile vessel, to glide down-river in Pharoah-esque style, gazing out over restless waters beneath vast white sails billowing in the breeze. Of course, one of the highlights of cruising the Nile is the opportunity for adventures on land. You’ll disembark to discover the ruined glory of the Valley of the Kings, colossal statues of Ramses II, and the crumbling Temple of Karnack.

The Philippines


Island hop from Boracay to Palawan, and beyond

Encounter the Terracotta Warriors in Shaanxi

The search for the best beach in the world leads countless travellers to the Philippines. White sands, electric blue water and waving palm trees are most people’s idea of paradise, and Boracay, Palawan and Linapacan have them in abundance. The clearest waters in the world are found in the Linapacan area, halfway between El Nido and Coron. There are countless boat operators happy to take you on a voyage between the islands in privacy, for the right price, or you can take the public ferry from San Fernando – just be wary of the waves, which can be difficult to navigate in February time.

They lay undiscovered for 2,000 years, took 720,000 builders to create, and each is unique down to its hairstyle – the Terracotta warriors are a feat of history and an experience not to be missed. It will take you at least half a day to explore all three vaults and the exhibition hall, so visit in the afternoon when there are fewer groups of tourists. For the impressive finale, start at the smallest pit and work your way up to the biggest – the size of an aircraft hangar. If quirky souvenirs are your bag, don’t miss the gift shop, where you can get a warrior statue personalised with your own face. 57

Destinations 100 Must-Have Experiences




Take-in the Taj Mahal

See Havana before it changes

Soak-in summer on the Cote d’Azur

The image of this iconic structure is no doubt already burned into your brain, but its majesty should be seen to be fully appreciated. Whilst the palace is obviously a sight in itself, it’s the magical atmosphere and romantic back story which adds to the aura – Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built it in memory of his wife. Like most wonders of the world, get there early (it opens at 6.30am) to avoid the crowds, and behold the morning sun glinting off the stunning white marble – you simply must experience seeing it in real life. Take refuge from the midday heat across the road from the East Gate exit, where you can grab coffee and bask in air conditoning.

Outlawed from America since the 1960s, the island of Cuba has been preserved like a living museum – its colonial cities crumbling gently, its old-fashioned cars spluttering in the street, and its mambo music unheard by all but the most intrepid travellers. But with the easing of trade sanctions with the US, this window on untouched Caribbean life is set to break – so where should you venture before the old traditions slip away? To Havana, where those Cuban characteristics have flourished, creating a surprisingly vibrant capital city: a land of hand-rolled cigars, palatial hotels, and jazz quartets jiving in the streets. Go now, before it changes forever.

The French Riviera is a daydream come to life. The playground of the Med, it’s 70km of hills, islands, harbours, blue waters and the coast. It’s secluded villas; yachts who’ve dropped anchor for occupants to explore landside; a cultural region where Picasso, Matisse, Renoir and others have brushed a legacy; where a meander down the Riviera takes in the major cities of Nice, Monaco and Marseille, unspolit Îles d’Hyères, and villages like Grimaud and Provence. It’s lazy days lounging on the beaches of St. Tropez, or exploring history of Provence, noseying in vineyards and taking postcard-perfect snaps. In short, it’s luxurious laid-back bliss.

Northern Ireland

The Maldives


Tread in the footsteps of giants

Stay in an overwater villa

See the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

Giant’s Causeway is sheer otherworldliness: a jagged promontory of almost 40,000 neatlypacked columns of polygon basalt rocks, created some 60 million years ago. The result of a massive subterranean explosion, the site is steeped in mythical folklore, with its name stemming from the fable of Irish giant Finn MacCool and his arch enemy Benandonner in Scotland. Legend has it the causeway was created as a path for the giants so they could fight, and that it was hastily torn up as the Scottish giant ran back across the water. The almost-perfect hexagon tubes are actually an epic legacy to lava – the precision of them beggars belief.

Ah, the Maldives. The iridescent ocean, that cream coloured sand, those sunsets which allow the sky to show off every shade between yellow and red and, topping them all, the iconic overwater villas. Nothing says you’re in the Maldives quite like stepping from your veranda and seeing an uninterrupted expanse of sea. Resorts with overwater villas to-die-for include the wonderful Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa (be sure to book the one with the infinity pool), and the amenity-rich ShangriLa's Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives. The bungalows at Cocoa Island, meanwhile, are designed to look like traditional dhoni boats.

Stimulating, creative and oh-so-cool, Germany’s Bohemian capital is a city of many faces. A magnet for history buffs, frequented by partygoers, a hub for business and an increasingly family-friendly city, it’s without a doubt a European all-rounder. Fittingly, its iconic Brandenburg Gate has served as the backdrop to some of the most significant moments in modern European history. The eighteenth-century sandstone arch clocks in at an impressive 26m, and is topped with the Quadriga statue, which was stolen by Napoleon before being retrieved by Hitler. The gate stands as testament to peace, as a symbol of unity.


August 2016 World Traveller

The Galápagos Islands



Watch for giant turtles while following in Darwin’s footsteps

Join the Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Lose yourself in the heart of Venice

The Galápagos are ruled by animals – make no mistake. Sure, they’ll let you sail through the waters, pose for you on soft sandy beaches, and even swim alongside you while you’re snorkelling. But those who call this place home – giant turtles, rainbowcoloured iguanas, blue-footed booby birds, seals and more – rule the roost. They’ll barely bat an eyelid at your presence, leaving you free to explore the spectacular volcanic islands, stepping over sunbathing lizards and treading the path of Sir Charles Darwin, who in 1839 called the Galápagos archipelago “a world within its own.” He wasn’t wrong.

New Orleans has begun the long process of putting the terrible effects of Hurricane Katrina behind it, and the annual Mardi Gras parade is now a triumphant celebration of togetherness, as well as an excuse for an almighty party and parade. The next Mardi Gras runs throughout January and February 2017, when the weather is comfortably cool. The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced back to medieval Europe, when celebrations took place through Rome and Venice in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. New Orleans was established by European colonists in 1718, who imported the revelry.

Venice deserves a list all to itself. From reclining in a gondola to crossing the Bridge of Sighs, and gawping at the golden treasures of the Doge’s Palace… we’d have to write a whole guidebook to do justice to this sumptuous city. But one of the greatest pleasures of visiting Venice is actually putting away your map and manual, and getting lost for the sheer thrill of it. One moment you’ll be amid the crowds, but the next you’ll be wandering through the most ornate backstreets you’ve ever encountered, with the scent of coffee dancing on the breeze. It feels the whole city is yours alone.


The Caribbean


Walk the Great Wall of China (maybe not the whole thing)

Take a cruise between Grand Cayman, the Bahamas and beyond

Book a suite at the world’s tallest hotel

Given the sheer size of this behemoth, tours are split up into sections. The most tourist friendly are the Jinshanling to Simatai routes and the section around Badaling, popular due to their immaculate restoration and family friendly conditions, which equate to large crowds. More adventurous types often head to the Jiankou or Zhuangdaokou sections, where they're faced with dangerous and difficult terrain, but rewarded with wonderful scenery. The middle ground is Jinshanling or Huanghua Cheng, offering a smattering of souvenir shops, but marginally less busy and moderately easy to hike.

Strewn across the sea like a necklace of glittering emeralds, the rainforest-covered Caribbean islands have entranced travellers for centuries – and as soon as you set foot on them, you’ll understand why. For the best experience, take to the waves in a liveaboard boat or yacht charter: you’ll ease into local life, with fresh fish on tap and great bonhomie between sailors. Each sun-drenched island has its own character, from all-natural Grenada and wild child Dominica, to the lavish resorts of St Lucia and the unrivalled luxury of the Bahamas. Pinch yourself: you’re in paradise.

Dubai has set many a world record, but in the travel-stakes it’s a fact that this skyline is home to the world’s tallest hotel – any traveller has an eagerness to tick this one off their list of must-stays. On the fringe of Downtown, the 76-storey, 355m-tall JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai enjoys fine views across the city, with sky-skimming suites providing an unrivalled vantage. Vault, one of the hotel’s 15 lounge bars and restaurants, occupies the top two floors (for a cocktail with a visual twist), and make time to eat at the ever-excellent Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar – save us a poppadum. 59

60 Moscow, Russia

August 2016 World Traveller



East Malaysia

Explore Moscow

See the sights of Rome

Ascend Mount Kinabalu

Brace the sub-zero temperatures, don your cashmere and immerse yourself in a Moscow winter. Witness The First Throne at its best and most authentic, see the storybook Red Square aglow with twinkling lights, then warm up with a spot of ice skating. A city where even the shopping malls have Instagram-worthy architecture, take in some Stalinist history while you browse, then continue the culture trip in one of the capital’s many museums – the eclectic multimedia art museum is a must for fans of Banksy, Damian Hirst et al. Find a moment of peace at Chistye Prudy (The Clean Ponds), to take a breather from the tourists and traffic.

Rome is a city for all of the senses – the kind of place that excites and rejuvenates in equal measure. The dome of St Peter’s Basilica is a constant companion, peeping over the rooftops to remind you that you’re in the presence of some heavyweight history. Feast your eyes on the Renaissance riches of the Vatican museums and Museo e Galleria Borghese, before following your nose to seek out a real Romanesque cup of coffee: dark and bittersweet on your tongue. Finally, indulge your sense of touch within the Forum and Colosseum, tracing your fingers over the same stones that witnessed gladiators taking on the fight for their lives.

The humidity can get stifling in Malaysia, but not up here. The air is clear at Low’s Peak, 4,096m above sea level atop the tallest peak in Southeast Asia (and the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea). Starting from Timpohon Gate, the Summit trail is the route with various shelters along the way, while the Mesilau trail is for those seeking more of a challenge (and it’s the route of choice for scientists looking to study the great mountain’s ecology). Engage a guide to help you navigate the plateaus and peaks of this granite behemoth. Four to six hours climb away is the alpine-inspired Pendant Hut, for a night on the majestic mountain.




Drive Route 66

Take a flight over the Himalayas

Stay somewhere unique in London

First established in 1926, Route 66 was one of the USA’s first highways and is easily its most famous. It runs from Chicago through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, finally reaching its conclusion some 4,000km away in Santa Monica, California. It was the inspiration for Jack Kerouac’s seminal On The Road, as well as John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. For the most all-American experience it’s possible to have, we’d recommend hiring a Ford Mustang, setting aside three weeks and going on the world’s most iconic road trip, taking in all the sights and incredible scenery along the way.

If trekking isn’t your forte, don’t despair as you can still appreciate the wonder of the Himalayas with a flight aboard the Everest Express. Take your pick from Yeti Airlines or Buddha Air and depart Kathmandu Airport in the early morning for an hour’s adventure high over the Himalayas. Soar over snowcapped mountains and into valleys so narrow you almost skim the rock face, then wonder at the beauty of Everest herself – you’ll fly a mere eight nautical kilometres from the imposing mountain. Ideal for those short on time, an Everest mountain flight lets you view in a matter of minutes what would take days on the ground.

Gir Lion Lodge sounds straight out of the Serengeti, but it’s actually in the heart of the UK-capital, at London Zoo. The abode is the gateway to experience the zoo after-hours, before retiring to one of nine bespoke private cabins within the Land of Lions development. Not looking for a love-in with the King of the Jungle? Brave the ghouls with a night at ancient Hampton Court Palace in Fish Court for a true sense of history, or for a more private affair, book The Georgian House built by King George I. Enjoy breakfast overlooking time-worn Tudor cobbles, then stroll the rose gardens. Both ideas ensure a London stay with a difference. 61

Destinations 100 Must-Have Experiences



Take a tour of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Immerse in the epitome of football fever

An iconic sight within the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – one of the largest and most beautiful such buildings in the world. Considered a showcase of historical and modern values of art and architecture, it was built under the vision of Sheikh Zayed, the founder of the country. With a capacity big enough for over 40,000 worshippers, it also houses the world’s largest handknotted carpet. Spectacular white columns surrounded by glistening blue pools of water make this one of the most visited sites in the nation.

Commandeering more than 70 per cent of all Argentine football fans between them, Club Atlético Boca Juniors and River Plate represent the very best (and fiercest) in the country’s footballscape, and have a rivalry unlike any other in world football. Matchdays when they lock horns divide Buenos Aires – into yelllow and blue (for Boca), or red, white and black (for River Plate). Thousands of football fans from across the country (and hundreds more from overseas) know this is a sight not to be missed: a riot of colour, noise and energy that makes other derby days look like a tame playground kick-about.



See the Highlands aboard The Royal Scotsman

See the great Wildebeest migration

Rural Scotland: a concoction of hauntingly beautiful landscapes, fascinating history and time-honoured tradition. Get to the heart of this rugged land with a journey on board the Royal Scotsman, a luxury train with the atmosphere of a country house hotel. Relax in your luxurious cabin or the observation car, to enjoy gliding by castles, villages and glens. You’ll hurtle through Cairngorms National Park and past Ben Nevis and Loch Lomond. Depart the train to partake in clay pigeon shooting, gallop across sandy beaches on horseback, or swim in a mirror-still loch – just watch out for the infamous monster.

A cloud of dust billows on the horizon and the ground starts to tremble. Your truck edges closer to the sound in the distance. You’ve been transported inside a real-world nature documentary; a chaotic mix of hooves, fur, tails and manes come thundering over the plains. It's the magic of the Masai Mara migration, that takes place from July to October. Having travelled from Tanzania’s Serengeti, millions of wildebeest attempt to cross the raging Mara River, where hungry crocodiles lie in wait. With off-the-beatentrack luxury camps to stay in, if you’re going to do a safari then this is the place.


August 2016 World Traveller

63 Wildebeest Migration, Kenya

Destinations 100 Must-Have Experiences




Sleep in Oman’s mountains

Throw tomatoes at La Tomatina

Island hop in Greece

Follow in the footsteps of Wilfred Thesiger and head to the Sultanate of Oman and Jebel Akhdar – part of the Al Hajar mountain range. Rising to 3,000m above sea level and encompassing the great Saiq Plateau, the ‘Green Mountain’ offers an elevated retreat with views to remember. Discover villages and valleys stacked against vertical hillsides and filled with terraces of rose fields, hidden natural springs, friendly villagers and openair mosques. Explore well-hidden wadis and terraces in the cooler mountain climates, and bed down in the lap of luxury in one of the two five-star hotels perched on the curving rim of this great canyon.

Don your shoddiest clothes and a pair of goggles and get ready to pelt people with tomatoes at the food fight festival in the Valencian town of Buñol. Inspired by a spontaneous 1945 food fight between locals in this tomato-producing region in the east of Spain, the annual fiesta celebrates its 71st anniversary this month. See the cobbled streets run red with pulp as tens of thousands of partygoers hurl 170 tonnes of over-ripe tomatoes at one another. Then, wander intricate streets lined with centuryold mansions, cosy cafés and the occasional antique store. Only after you’ve had a wash and a change of clothes, of course.

With its sugar-white beaches and wild herbscented cliffs, the Greek archipelago is the stuff of summer holiday dreams. Move over, Maldives: these tiny isles are lapped by lapis lazuli-coloured waters, and warmed by the rays of year-round sunshine. If you want a picture-perfect beach retreat with superlative seafood, characterful hotels and charming whitewash villages thrown in for good measure, this is the spot – just refer to Shakespeare and Louis de Bernières, who were both inspired by the isles. With only 227 of the whopping 6,000 islands inhabited, you won’t have to venture far to find a beautiful, private muse of your own.



Czech Republic

Dine at the world’s best restaurant

Drive the Ring of Kerry

Explore Prague on foot

Modena's impressive claims to fame: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Pavarotti and the production of that world-famous balsamic vinegar. It can now add another to the impressive list, as Osteria Francescana was crowned the best restaurant in the world. Under the guidance of Chef Massimo Bottura, this three Michelin-starred enclave serves reinterpreted Italian classics including a dish called ‘oops I dropped the lemon tart’, where the dessert is deliberately dropped onto the diner’s plate. Post dinner, the surrounding, inherently-walkable town of Emilia-Romagna offers Romanesque architecture and bustling covered markets.

While Ireland has more than its fair share of scenic drives, the most popular is the Ring of Kerry, and it’s not hard to see why. A 179km circuit round the Iveragh Peninsula, the road winds past remote beaches, rural seaside villages, silent lakes and historic ruins, alongside breathtakingly panoramic Atlantic Ocean views. There are plenty of places worth stopping along the way. Wander sites like Puffin Island or Skellig Michael, explore the colourful Portmagee village or the bigger, bustling Killarney, cycle around Lough Caragh, visit fifteenth-century Ross Castle and stay overnight in Sneem, a tiny village known as the ‘knot’ in the Kerry Ring.

It’s been been less than 30 years since the Velvet Revolution blessed Europe with the City of Spires. Wearing its past proudly on its sleeve, this place is a history buff’s haven, and the best part? It’s entirely walkable. Wander streets where Gothic architecture and Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical buildings stand cheek to jowl. Meander Prague’s 200 historic gardens and parks, shop for antiques in Karmelitska Steet, stop for dinner at Ginger & Fred’s in Frank Gehry’s surreal Dancing House, and enjoy vistas of its main waterway the Vltava River – which inspired Moldau, the celebrated classical -music composition.


August 2016 World Traveller




Tango through the night in Buenos Aires

Shop the retail delights of Orchard Road

Dive the underwater cave network of the Riviera Maya

Originating from the back streets of Buenos Aires by lonely immigrants over a century ago, Tango is Argentina’s most famous social export, even listed by UNESCO as a cultural icon. The music, dance and poetry of tango is truly beautiful and there’s no better place to see it in action than in the sultry confidence of Argentine’s capital. Head to San Telmo’s Plaza Dorrego for a Sunday night Tango spectacular, as locals and tourists, old and young, dance together. Buenos Aires is a place full of Milongas, where even the kids will want to stay awake and dance into the small hours of the morning.

The economic rise of The Lion City has been astounding, and this main road is a microcosm of SG’s futuristic ambition, architectural inspiration and respect for a history. A visual feast, Orchard is 2.2km long and packs a punch as a shopping haven, home to countless department stores, malls and luxury boutiques. Dip into any experience you desire: the fashionista paradise of ION Orchard, high-fashion frolics in Mandarin Gallery, the vibrant 313@Somerset Mall and many more. It’s Asia’s Oxford Street, with a kiss of warm weather and bargains proudly co-habiting with coveted luxury treasures.

Out of the light, and into the darkness. Those who take the plunge into the cavernous Cenotes in Mexico need to keep a firm grip of that mouthpiece: the underwater sinkholes are gasp-inducing. The Riviera boasts the six longest underwater cave systems on Earth (Ox Bel Ha at 238km, Sac Aktun at 215km, and 82km-long Dos Ojos being the giants), formed millions of years ago by collapsed limestone caves. Despite certification, expert advice and 800km of guide lines, danger lurks in the freshwater-filled, enclosed spaces of this Yucatan Peninsula highlight. The rewards, though, far outweigh the risk.




Float on the Dead Sea

Conjure the magic of Disneyworld

Eat your way round Copenhagen

As wellness tourism blossoms around the world, a visit to what was one of the world’s first ever health retreats is a must. One of the most unique places on Earth, the Dead Sea – which is actually a salt lake – is Earth’s lowest elevation on land, measuring in at 423m below sea level, and was frequented by both Herod the Great and Queen Cleopatra, who believed in the regenerative properties of the stimulating mud and healthy minerals of the lake. Thanks to its unusually high salt concentration, floating in this body of water in Jordan’s Rift Valley is effortless, so take your favourite novel and head out onto the water.

It’s easy to be cynical about Disney’s calculated grabs at the hearts of kids and the wallets of their parents – but all that cynicism melts away as soon as you enter the-theme-park-to-end-them-all and realise just how good Disney is at what it does. Don’t miss the genre-defining rollercoaster Space Mountain, the imaginative Tower of Terror and for younger riders, Splash Mountain. Don’t forget to pick up a Fastpass+ ticket before you visit, which allows you to reserve access to attractions before you leave home – vital for those who don’t want to wait in long lines for some of the bigger rides.

The cool kid on the Scandinavian block, Denmark’s capital is an edgy, style-centric city where gastronomic delights await. At latest count, a total of 20 Michelin stars were awarded to 16 restaurants in Copenhagen: not bad for a municipal of just over one million people. Topping the list with three stars is Geranium in the city’s Common Gardens, while stalwart Noma, where the Nordic food revolution started, was named the World’s Best Restaurant four years in a row (it's that good). The cobbled city’s bikefriendly streets offer candlelit cafes, hotdog stalls, delis and open-faced sandwich bars aplenty – all more palatable for your wallet. 65

Patagonia, Chile

Destinations 100 Must-Have Experiences


August 2016 World Traveller



Straddle East and West

Peruse the Museum of Islamic Art

Standing in two continents, Istanbul is a metropolis of contrast, where green hilltops command unforgettable views over magnificent waterways, and spectacular mosques are just the tip of a vibrant history. Visit the architectural wonder of the Blue Mosque, with its curvaceous domes, elegant minarets and over 20,000 blue tiles. Then head to Hagia Sophia, an incredible building that is currently a museum, but reflects the city's eclectic and shifting past (and that of Turkey as a whole). The Grand Bazaar is the world’s largest covered market: have fun losing yourself in the labyrinth of winding streets and passageways.

The legendary I. M. Pei made his mark on the Doha skyline (along the Corniche waterfront) with a traditionally-inspired blocky building, surrounded by calm pools of water and protective palm trees. Yet what's inside equally astounds. The ambition of ‘MIA’ is to spearhead Doha’s emergence as a cultural capital, and choice works from a canon of 1,400 years of Islamic creativity are safeguarded here, with courses, talks and lectures opening dialogue of the genre. The neighbouring park hosts film screenings and sports events, while on cooler months visitors can walk the promenade to view Richard Serra's towering work, '7'.



Get adventurous in Patagonia

Say hello to David in Florence

An adventurer’s delight, Patagonia's immense land seemingly stretches into infinity, covering some 1.4 million Get up close to one of the world’s largest glaciers, hiking through an otherworldly, white-onwhite landscape. Or take an off-road glacier adventure over treacherous terrain. Hike through National Parks with pristine alpine lakes, spectacular waterfalls and hurtle through downhill mountain bike trails. Go rock climbing in Patagonia’s wilderness, plunge into the night on a snowmobile ride through whispering forests. This wondrous land, tucked away at the southernmost tip of the Americas, awaits discovery.

There are actually two statues of Michelangelo’s David, both found in artobsessed Florence. The original – created in 1504 by the great sculptor, who famously said “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free” – now stands in the Accademia Gallery. An identical replica can be found in the Piazza della Signoria, on the same spot where Michelangelo’s opus posed – his white eyes blazing towards Rome (David became a symbol of Florence’s fight for Independence). No trip to the birthplace of the Renaissance is complete without clapping eyes on Italy’s most charismatic warrior – naked and ever-defiant. 67


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Winchester Wuhan Wuxi York %FYNE  'LERKWLE  +YVKESR  Stratford-upon%ZSR  /LSFEV  &IVPMR 


August 2016 World Traveller


Two days is still plenty of time to travel 70 One Weekend For All: London 72 48-Hour Foodie: Doha 73 Staycations 74 Great Escapes: Doing It For The Kids 78 Reader Offers


Weekends London For All...

One Weekend For All In... lOndOn

There’s never been a better time to go on a shopping spree in the UK-capital, and there’s plenty else in the city to make for a worthwhile long-weekend

The romantic one

With plenty of secluded hideyholes around the city to capture some privacy, set the right tone with a beautiful bouquet from Columbia Road Flower Market. Or, perhaps, search for a longer-lasting memento in Burlington Arcade,which is full of artisanal treasures such as hand-made gloves, vintage watches and jewellery. Strolling Little Venice and boating the lake at Hyde Park are just two perfect ideas for when the weather is fine. But the quinessential date, of course, is a cuddle at the movies, and cinema obsession hits new heights at BFI Southbank where the British Film Institute puts on seasons of contemporary and classic flicks. Spend a loved-up afternoon immersing in hundreds of hours of film and TV from the archive. Pre-dinner, ramp up the romance with a private capsule and a glass of bubbles aboard the London Eye, cooing over views of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral and more. As you’ll discover, a vista is enough to stir any heart: accompany it with sumptuous fare on the 31st floor of London icon The Shard in Aqua Shard, with its contemporary British cuisine and dining room with a soaring backdrop. 70

The family-friendly one

For a family stroll, opt for Crystal Palace Park and tell the children it’s Jurassic Park. Fill-size dinosaurs lurk between the trees and lakes, with a farm, playground and a maze on-hand in case the dino-fascination quickly becomes history. For creatures and beasts with a bit more zest for life, ZSL London Zoo is a highlight: 750 incredible species call this zoo home, including endangered Asiatic kings of the jungle in its Land of the Lions. Chances are, at some point during your city-stay you’ll ride the famous London Underground, and the London Transport Museum can put you in the driving seat on a Northern Line simulator, steering through tunnels and up to platforms. Moving from the everyday to the extraordinary, take a behind-the-scenes peek at the actual sets and props from the world of Harry Potter by embarking on a Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – a special ‘Finding The Philosophers Stone’ hunt runs until September 5. Looking for a creepy sweet treat for your little terrors? Hoxton Street Monster Supplies is the place to stock up on zombie mints, werewolf biscuits, ‘The Thickest Human Snot’, earwax fudge and other gifts for ghouls. Yummy.

Clockwise from below: View of The Shard; Houses of Parliament; Hyde Park; Trafalgar Square; London skyline with Big Ben

August 2016 World Traveller

Did You Know?

Ask A local

• London is syonymous with one word in particular: Harrods. The upmarket enclave is a Knightsbridgelocated, every-department store, created for laidback indulgent shopping afternoons; there’s always something experiential and exclusive to discover here. One of its lesser-known items is gold bullion, which can be acquired from Harrods’ banking division. The store recently launched an online gold-buying service, for those who can’t get there to purchase in-person

“You simply must plan your visit with the big icons in mind: Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace still amaze me even though I live here. After a day gazing in awe at famous landmarks, indulge in British culture and enjoy the tradition of afternoon tea. Conrad London St. James is just a short walk from these famous sites, and is renowned for its tea experiences; they’ve a yummy Candy Shop themed tea, inspired by everyone’s favourite childhood sweets. You’ll have earned it with all that walking!”

The adventurous one

The restful one

The O2 Arena was built as a venue to enjoy entertainment and exhibitions within, but what about scaling over it? Visitors can, with an unforgettable 90-minute traverse across the roof via a tensile fabric walkway suspended 53m above ground level. You definitely should look down: 360° views of London are the reward for endeavour. If you’re looking to see the city and burn some energy, Santander Cycles (or Boris Bikes) provide access to a network of 13,000 bikes and over 800 stations. Alternatively, take to the water and blast past landmarks on a Thames Rocket. ‘Break The Barrrier’ is a fast and furious journey, with hits from Sinatra to Sia accompanying the breakneck voyage. Put the ice back in your veins with a dose of the cold, by trying your hand at real indoor ice climbing at Vertical Chill, located in Covent Garden. And with plenty of dining options in the capital, add an element of intrigue by booking a table Dans Le Noir. The sensory culinary experience is set in total blackness: fare from your chosen ‘surprise menu’ is brought by blind servers (who double as ‘guides’). A meal to feed your fear of the dark...

- Zoe Wagner

Start the weekend right with a spot of pampering: ladies can plump for the luxury May Fair Spa Experience (with its herbal sauna and aromatic steam room), while the gent can head to Murdock – the go-to barbershop for a beard trim or wet shave: how very refined. There are a smorgasbord of cultural delights in The Big Smoke. Galleries, museums, monuments and landmarks; where to begin? An instant classic is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, a copy of the original play-house from 1599, Off the beaten track, there are tons of ‘alternative’ museums away from the big-hitters (like the bustling National History Museum) in which to leave the crowds behind. Corners of London that delight the critics are the anthropology of Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, the Fan Museum and its 3,500 ornate antiques in Greenwich, and the Marianne North Gallery tucked away at Kew Gardens; a hushed silence to be found in each. For some fresh air rather than being indoors, the London Wetland Centre is a pretty, 100-acre reserve teeming with birds and peace: your only company, aside from other wildlife enthusiasts. 71

Weekends 48-Hour Foodie

48-Hour Foodie


Despite the city’s small size, its culinary scene is thriving, with a seriously mouthwatering selection of culinary offerings – from celebrity-chef-run restaurants to low-key local stalwarts

DAY ONE Breakfast

DAY TWO Breakfast





Start your day on the right note with a visit to Chef’s Garden. Located near the Al Shaqab Academy, it’s worth the jaunt out of the city to discover this hidden gem where the focus is organic produce and healthy living. Minimalist interiors with high ceilings offer an understated elegance, the perfect backdrop to tuck into delicious eggs benedict paired with a highly-recommend cucumber mojito. Food aside, the highlight is the striking garden - you won’t find a prettier spot. West Bay’s hippest eatery, Opal by Gordon Ramsay is a great spot for a relaxed lunch of classic western cuisine. The bistrostyle space offers a simple but tasty menu of gourmet burgers, crisp salads and classic British desserts. Moody interiors contrast perfectly with the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf in this popular spot at The St. Regis Doha. If it happens to be Friday, then the a la carte British brunch is something you shouldn’t miss out on, but be sure to book in advance as tables fill up fast. Carnivores will be in their element at Ipanema, the award– winning Brazilian Churrascaria heavyweight at the JW Marriott Marquis. Definitely go here hungry, and be prepared to eat like a king, feasting on prime cuts of tender Brazilian meat. The atmosphere is bustling and a live band keeps things soulful with mellow Latin American tracks. Meanwhile, friendly servers dish up unending tender cuts prepared in traditional oven pits, until you finally relent and place a card on the table to signal that you simply can’t handle any more. 72

With four pages of the menu dedicated to breakfast, Ric’s Kountry Kitchen is a colourful favourite with locals and something of an institution, having served up feasts since 1997. Appearances can be deceiving, so don’t let the slightly tired exterior of this place put you off – inside awaits a cosy American-diner atmosphere, peppered with Qatari influences, welcoming staff and humongous portions. For a lazy breakfast of old-fashioned comfort food at wallet-friendly prices, this hidden gem is a great choice. Souq Waqif tops most visitor lists, and rightly so. With a nineteenth-century souq look and beautifully restored Qatari buildings, it’s the place for shopping, souvenirs, spice and ouds. Wandering the labyrinth-like alleyways opens up up a whole host of eateries: early afternoon, head for Shay Al Shoomos, a tiny eatery specialising in piping hot plates of traditional Qatari baid o tomate (egs and tomatoes) and khobiz regag (crepe-like bread). Later in the day, opt for Italian eats at La Dolce Vita, where they also serve some of the best ice-cream in town. Idam is housed at the top of the Museum of Islamic Art. The brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, this spot offers French haute cuisine that’s nothing short of spectacular. We recommend the Middle Eastern soup, which comes with a garnish of edible gold; you also won’t go wrong ordering camel– the restaurant’s signature offering is braised for six days. The Philippe Starck-designed décor ensures intricate portals of light bounce elegantly off the carefully considered dining space, creating an inviting Arabian ambience.

August 2016 World Traveller

Staycations Desirable hotel hotspots on the GCC doorstep, for a relaxing weekend escape

Rotana Salalah Resort A Romantic Retreat

Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa Wellness discovered

Crowne Plaza Salalah Land of Frankincense

W Dubai Habtoor Neon-centric Fun





In a Nutshell

In a Nutshell

In a Nutshell

In a Nutshell

Carved from desert rock and surrounded by palm-lined beaches, this Omani-inspired resort is unforgettable

The GCC’s only Thalassa Spa hotel is a fusion of elegant French and local Bahraini style, paired with stunning sea views

Laid back Arabian-inspired interiors with stunning views over one of the country’s favourite beaches

Colourful, vibrant and trendy, this is the go-to spot for fashionistas, party goers and those in the know

On-site Highlight

On-site Highlight

On-site Highlight

On-site Highlight

Settle down beachside with a private dining experience accompanied by premium bubbles and a glorious sunset. Misty rain and cooler temperatures ensure perfection

Unwind and re-energise with stimulating seawater treatments packed with medical benefits and all delivered in a gorgeously relaxing environment - a reason to visit in itself

Take advantage of the cool Khareef climate and have fun on the water with snorkelling, water-skiing and surfing all on offer. Scuba-divers can delight in the myriad of marine life

Futuristic and downright fun it’s hard to pick a highlight. We love the colourful artwork, the 30th-level check-in lounge, the round beds, the buzzing party vibe and the pet-friendly-ethos

Selected Suite

Selected Suite

Selected Suite

Selected Suite

Wake up to stunning views over the Arabian Sea in the Premium Ocean View Suite as you enjoy coffee on your private beachfront balcony

Indulge in the Royal Suite with a colossal king-size bed, infinity pool and jacuzzi, private terrace, and a bathroom stocked with premium Hermes products

Escape it all with your very own villa. Sylishly appointed, there’s plenty of space for the little ones to run around while you relax on your private terrace

Celebrate in style in the neoncentric Extreme Wow suite. Boogie on its private dancefloor, strut down your own catwalk then live it up in the party room





Funky beach shack Coco-Hut is great for refreshments, while Saffron, Silk Road and Arabesque offer fantastic dinner options

Try award-winning seafood at La Mer, authentic Southeast Asian at Vietnamese Wok or head to trendy Fiamma Italian

Lavish breakfasts at Darbat, tasty beachside cuisine at Dolphin and late night fun at Al Khareef

Funky Namu serves up Asian delights, Level 7 has Mediterranean and party-lovers will look forward to Wet Deck

Oman Expect a shimmering network of lagoons, beautifully set on the shoreline of the Arabian Sea

Bahrain Small but beautiful, this spa resort in the tiny island kingdom puts an emphasis on luxury

Oman Right on the beachfront and just a short hop to Salalah’s Frankincense Museum

Dubai The downtown location of this funky new spot helps ensure its finger is on the pulse


Weekends Great Escapes


doing it for the kids Hotels are increasingly catering to

those most-discerning of travellers, with dedicated Kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Clubs and specially-tailored childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s facilities


August 2016 World Traveller 1.



Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

At AKA (Atlantis Kids Adventure) they’re likely to learn something along the way to fun. From Willy Wonka Wednesday to Under The Sea and the Candy Olympics, that’s only (some of) the Evening Adventures mentioned. There’s also an underwater theatre, play zone, Kids Command Centre and more: it’s the ultimate haven for youngsters in Dubai.


Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts


The wonders of Rome, combined with play? Perfect! The IT Club means art workshops, cooking lessons, Theme Park days, ‘Magical Afternoons’, a Ferrari F1 simulator, and even the chance to don armour and duel at Gladiator School. For August, The Chalet Stadium means kids can also watch the drama of the Olympics, in style. They’ve enough to make adults envious...


Soneva Fushi Resort, Maldives


Spotting dolphins from the deck of a dhoni and stargazing at the night sky, children will think they’ve seen it all... then they’ll make it to The Den. An indepth programme of activities here encompass ideas such as Wellness (mini-aerobics and spa), Sea & Sky (snorkelling and swimming), and Pirates (treasure hunt); Soneva’s littlest guests are well taken care of.


One&Only Le Saint Géran, Mauritius

Named KidsOnly, the intentions are clear at this resort: children are a priority (and they cater to toddlers as well). ‘Great Outdoors’ activities make for adventures in the midset of nature, while the club – with its shipwreck theme – has dedicated computer and movie rooms to keep kids techconnected and entertained. 75

Weekends Abu Dhabi

City of Spectacle

Summer Season continues, as Abu Dhabi swoons with performance, music, comedy and culture


isitors to the city over recent summer months have been treated to a varied calendar of entertainment, and the fun isn’t about to cease yet. As August arrives, so too does an array of goodies for the whole family. Fans of Bollywood (or those looking for a gig with a difference) will enjoy a handful of the heroes from India’s silver screen (and music charts). Shaan Live in Concert kicks off proceedings in the grand surrounds of Emirates Palace on August 11, while Bollywood in the Capital – A Musical Extravaganza plays on August 12 and 13 at du Forum, featuring the multi-talented duo of Vishal and Shekhar, the award-winning trio of Shankar, Ehsan and Loy (playing their new material for the first time in the region), and Bollywood royalty in the shape of Farhan Akhtar. For some bellyaching laughs, Kapil Sharma – Indian TV’s Comedy King – and Marlon of The Wayans Brothers bring their shows to town on August 12 and 19


respectively, while popular GCC comedian Tarek Al Ali stars in a theatrical production called Heart for Sale, for two nights on August 4 and 5. On the interactive front, Fun Nation is gaming, cooking, sports and fashion, with celebrity appearances, engaging workshops, and activities all under one roof at du Forum. The District, a separate event, is aimed at a younger audience aged 14- 22, and serves as a platform for guidance in areas such as innovation, health, digital media, technology and fashion. Then there are the almighty visual feasts. First up is Cirque Adrenaline, a pulsepounding extravaganza of dangerous and death-defying acts at Al Raha Theatre on August 18 and 19. The rousing crescendo to the month is Peter Pan – The Never Ending Story. A timeless classic in every sense, the story swoops into Al Raha Beach Theatre from August 31 to September 3 and this version is theatrical magic, stunning illusions, a circus, a blockbuster movie and

a rock spectacular all rolled into one. Songs from the likes of Robbie Williams, Rod Stewart, Supertramp and Seal provide the soundtrack, as Tinkerbell hovers above the audience and dancers and stunt artists bring the story to life: a spellbinding occasion for children and adults alike.

Stay here

With so much wonder flooding the imagination, the best way to process all you’ve witnessed is to retreat to serenity. The Fairmont Bab al Bahr garners attention with its blue glass exterior, however this unrivalled beachfront property strikes the right chord when it comes to indulgence. The sumptuous guest suites and fine hospitality are complemented by an Olympic length swimming pool, dedicated family and children areas, a pristine beach line, and world class dining options (including a restaurant created by Marco Pierre White). It’s all spectacularly relaxing.

BAKU Emerging & exciting… be there


rs u o h 3 n a Less th AWAY


Hurry & book today on call +971 4 389 8666 or visit your nearest dnata Travel outlet 3 nights stay at Holiday Inn Baku* • Breakfast daily • Half-day Baku panoramic city tour on private basis • Return airport transfers • Return economy class airfare (Azerbaijan Airlines) Valid until 15 October 2016. *Hotel selection may change subject to availability. Please note some seasonal surcharges may apply. Price was correct at time of printing and is subject to currency fluctuation up until the time full payment is made. Price is subject to availability and special conditions apply.


Weekends dnata Offers


Weekend Reader Offers

To book, call +971 4 316 6666, visit a dnata outlet, or log onto

Four Seasons Abu Dhabi at Maryah Island

One&Only Royal Mirage Arabian Court

Salalah Rotana Resort

Oman Salalah Rotana Resort

2 nights from USD206 per person Special Offer: 20% discount on room rate Includes: Stay in a Classic Room with breakfast Validity: Now ‘til Aug 31, 2016

UAE Kempinski Hotel Ajman

1 night from USD50 per Special offer: 44% discount on room rate Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Room with Sea View and breakfast Validity: Now ‘til Aug 31, 2016

One and Only Royal Mirage Arabian Court

1 night from USD215 per person Special Offer: 35% discount on room rate 78

Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa

Includes: Stay in an Arabian Court Deluxe Room with breakfast Validity: Now ‘til Sep 2, 2016

Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

1 night from USD137 per person Special Offer: Summer Promotional Rates Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Room with breakfast and lunch or dinner Validity: Now ‘til Sep 30, 2016

Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island

4 nights from USD745 per person Special Offer: Stay 3 nights and receive an additional night free Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Room with breakfast and lunch or dinner Validity: Now ‘til Sep 30, 2016

Jumeirah Emirates Towers

Fairmont The Palm, Dubai

1 night from USD130 per person Special Offer: Receive 40% discount on room rate, complimentary upgrade to Half Board and kids up to 18 years of age stay and eat for free Includes: Stay in a Fairmont Room with breakfast and lunch or dinner Validity: Now ‘til Aug 31, 2016

Kempinski Hotel Ajman

Kuwait Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa 2 nights from USD270 per person Special Offer: 35% discount on contracted room rates and complimentary airport transfers Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Room with breakfast Validity: Now ‘til Sep 30, 2016 (Blackout dates: Sep 8-16, 2016)

August 2016 World Traveller

WIN! A luxury break at The Sun Aqua Vilu Reef resort in the Maldives Hidden amongst the lush foliage of the Sun Aqua Vilu Reef, the deluxe beach villa with pool is just steps away from the powdery white-sand beach and the refreshing azure waters surrounding the island in Dhaalu Atoll. Guests take time to explore Vilu Reef and enjoy the watersports, or relax and rejuvenate in the Sun Aqua Spa, which features six private treatment pavilions. The resort’s restaurants, meanwhile,

offer delicious cuisine, made with fresh produce from the resort’s nearby private farm island, as well as fish, caught fresh every day. The Sun Aqua Vilu Reef is easily accessible from Malé International Airport via a 35-minute scenic seaplane ride,* while the Family Lounge at the seaplane terminal heralds an immediate start to the holiday, easing guests into the Sun Aqua spirit. Our prize this month is a fantastic three-night stay at a deluxe beach villa for two, with breakfast included. For a chance at winning, just correctly

solve this resort-themed question: The Sun Aqua Vilu Reef lies in… A) Noonu Atoll B) Dhaalu Atoll C) The Hatta Atoll Email your answer to easywin@ by August 31, 2016.

*Flights to and from Malé and seaplane rides to and from the resort are not included in this competition prize. Validity Sep 1, 2016 to Aug 31, 2017. Blackout dates: Sep 29- Oct 9, 2016; Dec 23, 2016- Feb 5, 2017; Apr 13- 20, 2017.


Weekends Suite Dreams

Suite Dreams

What: Deluxe Room with Plunge Pool Where: Grace Santorini About:

There’s nothing quite like the renovation of a hospitality classic: all the existing charm and reputation, given a new breath of life. This Greek boutique hotel has a proud vantage overlooking the Aegean Sea, and is enriched with new enhancements while retaining its intimacy. Suites are imbibed with contemporary style and accompanied by handcrafted details, whilst the ‘Bespoke by Grace’ idea allows a totallytailored experience – details range from pillow choices and room fragrances to tapping into the diversity of the island (with an adventure focused on romance, history, culture, sailing or gastronomy). Back in the abode, special elements include ultra-luxurious ensuite bathrooms with mosaic walls, replete with hammam steam bath and a separate interior plunge pool with its own Caldera view. Fragments of volcanic rock are placed upon windows-sills beyond which guests can swoon over panoramic vistas. Then, opt to pad down to a new addition – the Champagne Lounge, 363m above sea level – to sip on a drink whilst watching the sun dramatically dip below the horizon. It’s hard to determine which emerges more-refreshed: the hotel design, or the guest. 80

Spend your summer in Abu Dhabi with superb entertainment across the emirate for all the family including live concerts, amazing theatre shows, great comedy and your favourite kids' characters live on stage!

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