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THE REGION’S BIGGEST LUXURY TR AV EL MAGAZINE

Issue One Hundred and Four | December 2016

SAINT-GERMAIN

Uncover stories of times gone by with a wander round Paris’ most intellectual hub

SINGAPORE

Embrace contrast and devour culture as you roam the Lion City’s secrets

BERLIN

Produced in International Media Production Zone

Delectable dining and international flavours await in the marvellous German capital

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St Moritz Cosy up après-ski amid the glistening snowy peaks of Switzerland’s original winter wonderland


A PLACE TO EMBRACE LIFE Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai, a lifestyle destination for those who set the trend. Located on Pearl Jumeira, the resort introduces 132 keys comprising 117 rooms and suites, 15 villas with private pools as well as 63 private residences boasting top-line facilities. Host of unique food and beverage offerings including the world-famed Nikki Beach Restaurant & Beach Club. Relaxation and wellness are key elements of the resort where you can enjoy the choice of pools, sundecks or a more relaxed environment at Nikki Spa.

For reservations or more information please contact reservations.dubai@nikkibeachhotels.com Pearl Jumeira, PO Box 8286, Dubai, United Arab Emirates T: +971 4 376 6000 F: +971 4 376 6333 NIKKIBEACHHOTELDUBAI

NBRSDUBAI | NIKKIBEACHHOTELS.COM


World Traveller

Welcome

December 2016

Editor’s Note

December 2016 ISSUE ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR Managing Director Victoria Thatcher Editorial Director John Thatcher Group Commercial Director David Wade Editor Hayley Skirka Sub-Editor Emma Laurence Art Director Andy Knappett Designer Emi Dixon Illustrations Tommy Parker, Adam Avery Business Development Manager Rabih El Turk rabih@hotmediapublishing.com +971 4 369 0915 Production Manager Muthu Kumar

As we edge ever closer to the end of 2016, we’re turning our focus to New Year – an event that comes just once every 365 days, which surely makes it worth celebrating in style. We take you to two of our favourite spots: Scotland’s picturesque capital, where cannons, ceilidhs and candlelit processions await; and the Big Apple, for the prospect of witnessing the bucket-list staple that is the Times Square ball drop. In Paris, uncover history along the shores of the Left Bank in pretty Saint-Germaindes-Prés, a one-time stronghold of sans-culottes, refuge for writers and paradise for bohemians. Next, roam around the Lion City with our in-depth look at where to go, what to eat and the best places to stay in this pocket-sized island city-state. And with ski season upon us, we’re off on a jolly to fun-filled St Moritz, the birthplace of alpine tourism and a longtime favourite with royalty, the haut monde and all the beautiful people. We’ve also got stylish après-ski finds to help you look as good off the slopes as you do whizzing down them. Closer to home, with the Seychelles just a short flight away, we delve in and discover the very best of the world’s most beautiful islands in all their dazzling, rainbowcoloured brilliance – a great choice for anyone seeking some last-minute winter sun. As we welcome in the New Year, full of things that have never been, keep in mind that you’re never too old to set a new goal, discover a new country or dream a new dream. With that, all that’s left to say is happy holidays – and have a fantastic New Year, wherever you’ve decided to ring in 2017.

Hayley Skirka

hayley@hotmediapublishing.com

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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Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa is a landmark for hospitality in Kuwait and the country’s destination for premier meetings, conferences and events. For all occasions, our team is ready to deliver truly memorable experiences that will exceed all expectations. For more information, visit jumeirah.com or call +965 222 69 600. /JumeirahMessilahBeach

@jumeirahmessilahbeach

@JumeirahMB


World Traveller

Contents

Contents

December 2016

P10-31

Brimming with luxury hotels, stylish eateries and a vibrant arts scene, explore all Singapore has to offer in our comprehensive feature on page 51

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BE HERE NOW................................. p10 Say goodbye to 2016 and see in the New Year in style wondering at fireworks in historic Edinburgh or watching the ball drop in New York GLOBETROTTER............................ p14 The very best that Nepal has to offer, Dubai’s newest hotel opening and show-stopping Sydney stays: our showcase of what’s hot in travel MY CITY............................................ p18 Shopping, eating, history and charm – in bustling Bangkok, the fun truly never stops SPOTLIGHT ON TOKYO............... p21 Manga, sushi, puppetry and more… Japan’s hyperactive capital is an assault on the senses CHEF’S TOP TABLES.................... p22 From Denmark to São Paulo, Michelin-starred chef Marcel Ravin gives us tips on his top eateries around the world STYLE & WELLNESS..................... p25 What to wear on and off the slopes, plus stunning spots for a stress-free festive break 7


World Traveller

Contents

December 2016

P32-64

P65-80

Destinations

Weekends

DISCOVER THE SEYCHELLES... p32 Topaz waters, lush green hills, granite boulders, white-ribbon beaches… enter the colourful playground of this bijou archipelago

ONE WEEKEND FOR ALL.......................... p66 Hair-raising roller coasters, gold-topped palaces and luxurious desert islands: the UAE’s capital has something for everyone

ST MORITZ...................................... p38 Make like the royals, celebrities and moneyed wannabes with a trip to the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism

48-HOUR FOODIE........................................ p68 Discover a food scene that’s brimming with international delights from Hungary, France, Japan and more… in Berlin

SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-PRES..... p44 John Baxter takes us on a journey through streetside cafés, history and culinary gems in this quintessential Parisian neighbourhood

THE LOCALS’ GUIDE TO HONG KONG...p70 Walking tours, stylish haunts and the best places to chow down – we ask some in-the-know Hong Kongers for their city secrets

SINGAPORE..................................... p51 From cultural hot spots and swanky hotels to superb shopping and unforgettable food, this city-state packs a mighty punch

TRAVEL NOTES............................................ p72 Drawing inspiration from around the world, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is nothing short of monumental STAYCATIONS............................................... p74 Escape it all and unwind with a short break. Our monthly look showcases the GCC hotels where memories are just waiting to be made 8


A World of Sophisticated Beauty Armani Hotel Dubai brings to life the “Stay with Armani� philosophy delivering a genuine home approach and a unique lifestyle experience where every need and desire is fulfilled for each guest individually. www.armanihoteldubai.com


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Be Here Now

December 2016

Be Here Now

New York City, USA While New York is a pretty neat place to visit all year round, there’s nothing quite like seeing the Big Apple in December. The entire city sparkles with holiday cheer, even as the temperature drops. From the lighting of thousands of bulbs on the famous Rockefeller tree to iceskating in Bryant Park or taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park with all its illuminations, it’s a winter wonderland. When it comes to retail therapy, world-famous displays at the likes of Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys make for a window shopper’s paradise – and, for a classic American finale, catch The Rockettes in the Radio City Music Hall’s traditional festive show that’s been running since 1932. 10


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October 2016


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October 2016 December

Edinburgh, Scotland There’s no better place to ring in the New Year than the Scottish capital. The festivities start early – a whole day early – with a torchlit procession along the Royal Mile as thousands of flame-wielding locals wind through the streets of the old town, from Parliament Square to Calton Hill, for a dramatic firework display accompanied by the wail of bagpipes. The next three days sees the Hogmanay party continue with a raucous street bash, live music in the gardens below Edinburgh Castle, ceilidh dancing, canon firing and concerts. When the fun is over, make the climb to Arthur’s Seat and be prepared to catch your breath at the memerising view of the glittering, frost-covered city at your feet. 13


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Globetrotter

December 2016

Globetrotter

From scoping out all the OC has to offer to spotting rhinoceroses in Chitwan and admiring stunning Himalayan views in Pokhara, we showcase what’s hot in travel this month…

Introducing…

NIKKI BEACH RESORT & SPA, DUBAI

T

he legendary Nikki Beach Resort & Spa opens its doors in Dubai this month, bringing the fun-loving, trendsetting leisure brand to the Middle East for the first time. Located in Pearl Jumeirah, you can expect spectacular sea views over the Arabian Gulf at this boutique bolthole – perfectly placed if you’re after the exclusivity of a desert-island retreat but with all the convenience of being in the heart of the city. Inspired by the simplistic beauty of the beach, sea and sky, interiors are gorgeously natural. Think neutral fabrics, understated, sophisticated furnishings and plenty of white combined with authentic local touches. 14

With 117 rooms and suites, and 15 private villas, nature is the source for almost every design element throughout the venue, which effortlessly boasts that sought-after feel-good factor. And techies will love the art moodlighting systems, entertainment walls and interactive televisions in every room. A sprawling 450m private beachfront is the ideal place to escape the hustle of the world, or head inside for some well-earned me-time in the Nikki Spa. When it comes to dining, the food is as Insta-worthy as it is delicious. What’s more, if it’s anything like its international counterparts, this vibrant destination resort promises excellent people-watching, too.


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Globetrotter

December 2016

• Food for thought THE BLACK TAP WAY It’s all about the beef this month as New York’s cult burger bar opens in Dubai, following huge success in the Big Apple. Black Tap, situated within the new Jumeirah Al Naseem complex, will offer carefully constructed, uncomplicated burgers, towering milkshakes and one of the largest hops selections in the region, with varieties sourced from Scotland to the USA. Chef Joe Isidori is the mastermind behind the scenes (and the menu) at Black Tap, to which the New York Post attributed the start of the city’s dessert craze – avoid the queues and get down there before dessert fever takes hold in this food lover’s city.

V S

Stay in Sydney

One of the best places to ring in 2017, stay in the harbour city and take your pick from an iconic address by the Opera House or a haven of cool in a century-old building PARK HYATT SYDNEY • What to expect? With fabulous contemporary interiors and amazing views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, this legendary hotel is known as one of the best on the planet. Get ready to step into a world of understated luxury at this harbourside residence. Floor-to-celling windows make the most of the outlook, as do the private balconies, and you can also take advantage of 24-hour butler service, a beautiful day spa and a breathtaking rooftop pool. • Where? In the historic Rocks precinct, you can’t get much more ‘Sydney’ than this spot. Essentially the city’s birthplace, get a sense of times gone by with a stroll through the area’s cobbled lanes, dine in some of its cosy cafés or grab a drink in one of its oldest watering holes. • Must-do? Make the most of being right by the harbour and hop on a water taxi to check out the highlights up close. Ride over to the Opera House, sail under the Harbour Bridge and explore the island housing Fort Denison. sydney.park.hyatt.com

OVOLO WOOLLOOMOOLOO • What to expect? In typical Ovolo fashion, this quirky hotel aims to really connect guests with the city and has oodles of locally sourced highlights. Energetic and unflappably cool, each of the 100 rooms is uniquely designed and boasts gorgeous artworks, Apple TV, fully stocked free-of-cost minibar and lots of quirky extras – one of the suites even has its own dance floor. • Where? Located in the 100-year-old Finger Wharf, the hotel really celebrates the building’s heritage, bringing it up to date with sunny, tree-filled spaces and colourful art. Plus, the Royal Botanic Garden, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia are all just a few minutes’ walk away. • Must-do? After you’ve made the most of Lo Lounge’s free happy hour, head off on the eight-minute walk to The World Bar, a gorgeous fourstorey Victorian terrace that was once host to countless legends and curiosities and is now one of Sydney’s favourite party spots. ovolohotels.com 15

• Insider WINTER PARADISE In need of an end-of-year escape? Head for picture-perfect Mahe in the Seychelles as Qatar Airways launches its brand-new route from 12 December. Connecting the UAE with the paradise islands via Doha, stay at Banyan Tree Seychelles for colonial-style private-pool villas, or play castaway with a side of luxury at JA’s Enchanted Island Resort.


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Globetrotter

December 2016

Three ways to…

Discover Nepal’s beauty

With Kathmandu rebuilding, new National Park lodges and Himalayan lansdcapes to remember, now’s the time to visit the roof of the world Kathmandu Dwarika’s Hotel, a regal oasis in the heart of the capital, recently reopened after working to restore its centuries-old façade, which was damaged during the earthquake last year. As well as upgrading its 86 rooms and suites, the hotel has also been heavily involved in relief efforts across the city and is the backbone of Camp Hope – a village providing shelter to over 300 refugees from the nearby mountainous district of Sindhupalchowk. dwarikas.com

Chitwan Head east to Meghauli Serai – A Taj Safari Lodge in the stunning Chitwan National Park and get set for an experience straight out of a storybook. Meet one-horned rhinoceroses, deer, monkeys, leopards, sloth bears and, if you’re really lucky, the majestic Bengal tiger in this 932 sq km grassland paradise. You can also take a spin down the Trishuli River and try your hand at some whitewater rafting. taj.tajhotels.com/en-in/meghauli-serai--a-tajsafari-lodge 16

Pokhara Perched 1000ft above the Pokhara Valley, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge boasts spectacular Himalayan views and is quite simply a haven of tranquillity. A member of Secret Retreats – a collection of some of the world’s most distinctive abodes – the cluster of cottages resembles a traditional Nepali village and its gourmet offerings complement the place to a T, with deliciously fresh local ingredients and home-grown herbs. tigermountainpokhara.com


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Globetrotter

December 2016

• Culture OVERNIGHT ART It’s not often you can get a true culture fix in a hotel but that’s exactly what’s on the cards as The Address Boulevard Dubai begins to take shape An impressive 48 artists and a whopping 251 pieces of art are currently being installed in new luxury hotel The Address Boulevard Dubai, due to open in early 2017. From the moment they arrive, visitors will be able to marvel at the diverse creative stable, with Ben Barrell’s large-scale Wings sculpture located right in the middle of the hotel driveway. Inside, Katina Huston’s visuals are set to enchant in the lobby, alongside work from emerging artist Anna Masters, who specialises in mixed media featuring watch and clock parts, symbolising the mechanics of time. Fine-art-photography fans will be delighted with Simon Schofield’s digital images and art aficionados can observe the efforts of Syrian artist Nasr Warour, whose silver ink on grouch paper will be prominent in the hotel’s Majlis area. A true cultural feast for the senses, the artistic offering at this address is one to watch out for.

• Insider EXPLORE THE SULTANATE Good news for those wanting a taste of Oman: British Airways has launched its first direct flight between the Sultanate’s capital and London. The inaugural flight landed in Muscat to a water-cannon salute last month, and the timing is perfect for expats seeking a few days’ escape after being in the UK for the festive season. Bed down at the newly opened Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, the highest five-star hotel in the Middle East, the even newer Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara or the palatial The Chedi.

• Going up in the world CALI’S SOUTHERN HEART Where? Orange County, California. Why? Gorgeous weather, pristine beaches, modish hotels and sunny days – it’s no wonder the OC is topping globetrotters’ wish lists. What? Endless sunshine and beautiful beaches are the initial draw, but there’s so much more to see here. For culture vultures, Costa Mesa is a must, with its walkable arts and theatre district, and, in typical Cali style, even the museums are hip here – don’t miss the fabulously quirky International Surfing Museum. Head to Watermarc in Laguna Beach for cosy, contemporary Californian cuisine on the historic Pacific Coast Highway, or 17

bring out the credit card at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, an open-air smorgasbord of speciality boutiques and alfresco restaurants. Afterwards, wind things down at one of the OC’s oceanfront spas; try Aquaterra Laguna Beach – perfect for couples. Where to stay? If you want to be on the OC’s 42 miles of uninterrupted white sand and really embrace the California vibe, stay at Surf & Sand Resort and fall asleep to the sound of ocean waves right outside your window. Further inland and closer to the urban action, a stay at the newly renovated Hotel Irvine is equally enticing – be sure to check out its organic, locally sourced marketplace. surfandsandresort.com


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World Traveller

December 2016

My City

My City

Bangkok, Thailand

TREVOR MACKENZIE

Heading up Mango Tree Worldwide from the Thai capital, Canadian-born Trevor has made this inimitable city his home

B

angkok has a charm that you just don’t find in other cities. For me, it has everything I ever had in the West and more; food, accommodation, nightlife, modern transportation, ease of use… it’s all here. From the moment you step off the plane, there’s an air of relaxation that goes along with the bustle – its organised chaos. To really get a feel for this wondrous city, you need to look backwards. Start with a tour of Rattanakosin Island, home of the Grand Palace. Pay a visit, too, to Talat Yodpiman, the third-largest flower market in the world. As the Venice of the East, so much history is found along the Chao Phraya River. Venture inwards to places like Charoen Krung to see where it all started, and look out for the plethora of temples around every corner. My personal favourite thing about Bangkok is the food – it’s my passion and every day a handful of new restaurants open up so there’s always something fresh to try. Stalwarts popular with the locals can be

found in Charoen Krung or Yaowarat, or for something more inventive, head to Thonglor, and expect a contemporary buzz. A trip to Bangkok would not be complete without a taste of the city’s street food – don’t miss the deep-fried grasshoppers. Of course, I can’t talk about my favourite city without mentioning Mango Tree, which embraces the very essence of Thai living and is an experience in itself. Hop aboard its private speedboat and enjoy the views as you whizz along the river in style, then feast on delectable eats in the beautiful restaurant that overlooks Wat Arun, the most photographed temple in Thailand. November to January is the coolest time of year in Bangkok, and when you’ll see everyone head outdoors. My favourite spot is Lumpini Park – it’s huge and right in the middle of downtown Bangkok, handily close to my home. Sun Rot Fai is another good option, especially if you want to cycle. There are lots of open spaces for kids to run around and you’ll see loads of people playing football and enjoying 18

themselves – the Thai lifestyle is all about living, having fun and smiling. I don’t love shopping but for those that do, I’d recommend Sukhumvit Road, one of Bangkok’s best-known shopping streets. Easily accessible by BTS Skytrain, it’s a mass of air-conditioned malls, department stores and stalls. Like any big city, it pays to be streetsmart when visiting such busy spots. Two tips for getting around the city without getting stuck in traffic: take the BTS Skytrain or MRT subway system whenever you can. And, if you want to impress the locals, learn a bit of Thai. The people of Thailand love it when you try to speak their language. Keep an open mind in Bangkok and you’ll really see life as it is in this wonderful and amazing city that never sleeps. As the sun goes down, a new day is starting in Bangkok! Everything is possible here, anything you want to do can be done – we even have ice-skating rinks and a few hockey teams – which suits my Canadian roots just fine.


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World Traveller

Ask The Expert

December 2016

Ask The Expert

Rob Arrow

Head of product at dnata

Rob Arrow is a self-confessed hotel geek. With over 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 beloved city is Melbourne, and his dream is to own a boutique retreat in the Italian Alps

Gudauri ski resort in Georgia

Q. A.

Where’s good right now for a spot of early-season skiing? This is always a tough one as you can never guarantee snow. That said, I’m filled with confidence as the season has started well – I’ve personally witnessed some snow in Georgia and Sweden already. The slopes of Kazbegi, in the north of Georgia, are open now – spend a few nights at Rooms Hotel Tbilisi and you’ll instantly see what all the recent Georgian buzz is about. Shahdag Mountain Resort in Azerbaijan should also be open for business by early December – the Pik Palace Hotel is a great base for a stay here. Looking at more traditional ski destinations, mid-November snowfall means that many of the Alps’ higher resorts, such as St Moritz, Gstaad and Tignes, are also open. Go before 25 December, or midweek in January, for some very quiet slope time. The same goes for Geneva, Munich, Salzburg and even Venice. If you fancy going further afield then Canada’s Rockies offer beautiful accommodation in picture-perfect settings. Try Lake Louise for breathtaking scenery or indulge in sheer luxury at Whistler’s Four Seasons Resort. The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is a midmountain resort in Northstar California that’s ideal if you’re heading Stateside.

Q. A.

Where are your top places to ring in the New Year? There’s always a lot of hype around this time of year and although there are plenty of fantastic places to see in 2017, it really depends if you want to be among hundreds of party people or just those that matter the most. If you’re after an iconic spot, nothing beats the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Check into a Harbour View room at the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney to watch all the action from the comfort of your room, or push the boat out and stay at the Park Hyatt Sydney – just be prepared to see your face in the next morning’s newspapers, that’s how close you’ll be to the festivities. Of course, Dubai has a whole host of options, too. Burj Khalifa lights up with spectacular fireworks and an impressive light show, as does The Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab. Even if you’re based in the UAE, a staycation is a great way to enjoy the New Year in style. Check into the One&Only The Palm, one of my absolute favourites, for true indulgence coupled with a real sense of warmth and intimacy. Europe is tough to call but London always has a stunning fireworks display as well as a New Year’s Day parade to rival the best. Stay at one of the Firmdale Hotels, each designed by British interiors star Kit Kemp. For a cosy 20

ambience, choose the Charlotte Street Hotel or, if you want to be well placed to hit up the New Year’s Day sales, plump for Ham Yard Hotel on the edge of party-central Soho. Further north, New Year becomes Hogmanay, and in Edinburgh there’s a fantastic concert, fireworks and countless ceilidhs. Of course, I can’t omit New York’s Times Square, which is set to be as buzzing as ever. Washington DC has some awesome festivities, too – stay at the new Rosewood in Georgetown for an authentic colonial experience. Another of my favourites is the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, where you can enjoy fabulous fireworks right by the harbour. For a taste of the East, Shanghai, Seoul and Taipei all have brilliant parties this time of year. Check into The Peninsula Shanghai, right on the Bund, the recently opened Four Seasons Hotel Seoul, perfectly placed for sightseeing, or the Mandarin Oriental Taipei with its gorgeous festive tree. And don’t forget, many parts of the world celebrate New Year at different times, so just a week after 31 December you can do it all again in the likes of Moscow or Baku. To book your own memorable experience, visit your local dnata outlet, call +971 4 316 6666 or log on to dnatatravel.com


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World Traveller

December 2016

Spotlight On

Spotlight On

TOKYO Japan’s hyperactive capital is an assault on the senses. Obsessed with the latest trends, fixated on food and hugely proud of its ancient heritage, prepare to be seduced

• SEE AND DO Look down For the best views of the city, ascending the world’s tallest freestanding broadcast tower should be high on your to-do list. At 634m tall, drink in the view from the Tokyo Skytree’s observation deck and peer through the glass floor at the city beneath your feet. The adjoining shopping mall has lots of original handmade Japanese crafts, the aquarium is great for kids and the foodie floor is perfect for getting a bite to eat. Best visited just before sunset on a clear day for Insta-worthy shots of Tokyo and Mount Fuji.

Unleash your inner geek Tokyo is a veritable hub for Otaku, whether you collect anime, manga, action figures or yoyos. And the best district for this has to be Akihabara. Wander along the main street, Chuo Dori, get lost in Mandarake’s eight floors of anime, superheroes, comics and mascots, stop for lunch at Gundam Cafe, where staff greet you in robot uniforms, and hit up Yodobashi for all things electrical. Soak up some park life Boasting the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Nature and Science, Ueno Zoo and oodles of sprawling green spaces, Ueno Park is a must-visit. Among our picks are the beautiful Shinobazu Pond and the Metropolitan Art Museum – but, with 300 acres of museums, temples, natural attractions and important institutions, you’ll need at least a day to explore properly. • STAY Komadori Sanso For one of the most ‘out of the city’ experiences you can have without actually leaving Tokyo, head for this secluded mountain lodge. The effort to get there – which involves trains, a bus, a cable car and a mini hike – is more than worth it for the stunning scenery and sense of peace that await. If it’s not too cold, try your hand at takigyo, where you learn to meditate as waterfalls thunder around you.

Mandarin Oriental Towering above Tokyo’s historic centre, this sleek hotel occupies the top nine floors of the Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower. The lobby is spectacular, with glass walls framing stunning vistas across the capital. And, a perfect fusion of ancient tradition and contemporary design, the nature-inspired rooms – think leaf motifs, paper lanterns and bamboo walls – are a nice juxtaposition to the shiny façade of five-star luxury. Don’t miss a trip to the spa and hit up the Tapas Molecular Bar for bite-sized creations to remember.

• EAT AND DRINK Bar Martha In trendy Ebisu, Martha’s entrance is via a battered wooden door with an illuminated sign above it that simply declares ‘bar’. Inside, dim lighting and tiny tables greet guests who come from far and wide to sample the huge range of beverages that boast echoes of Scotland but are brewed in the distilleries of Honshu and Hokkaido. The eclectic record collection is as impressive as the drinks menu.

Kanda Headed up by owner/chef Hiroyuki Kanda, this three-Michelin-starred restaurant in one of Tokyo’s most upscale residential areas is the choice for consistently good, traditional Japanese fare. Dishes are created with originality and panache, but adjusted to suit diners’ preferences to the extent that there’s no written menu. Japanese rice beverages are paired with select dishes; the beef cheeks simmered in red grape and served with delicately whisked eggs are a must-try. 21

Ninja Akasaka As cool as its name suggests, this is another place with an inconspicuous entranceway – set in the bleak wall of a building with only a small logo announcing its presence. The décor within depicts a stone-walled fortress, with waterfalls, ponds and even the chirps of crickets filling the corridors. Illuminated by Yasuyuki Tomita, one of Japan’s top lighting designers, the sense of drama is echoed only by the presentation of the dishes the chefs carefully place on your table. A real experience. • DON’T MISS See the country’s traditional stage arts 400 years in the making at the December Kabuki plays hosted in the National Theatre. Rarely performed outside of Tokyo, expect elements of Noh theatre, Bunraku puppetry, and exaggerated costumes and wigs, combined with the Japanese sense of beauty. Shows run three times a day and you can rent an Englishsubtitle device to follow the story. Find out more at ntj.jac.go.jp/english


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Chef’s Top Tables

Chef’s Top Tables: MarcelRavin

Michelin-starred chef Marcel Ravin takes time out from his Monaco restaurant, Blue Bay, to talk us through his favourite eateries across the globe • NOMA, COPENHAGEN Order: The smoked quail eggs served on a nest of smoking hay – wonderful Consistently touted as the best restaurant in the world, it’s not hard to see why. Everything at Noma, a two-Michelin-starred eatery in the Danish capital, is superb. Headed up by chef and co-owner René Redzepi, the food is inventive, stunning and always harmonious with his vibrant outlook. Chef Redzepi not only performs his magic in the kitchen, he can also be found front of house, serving his creations to diners and explaining the components of each dish. There’s certainly no absent-chef syndrome at this gastronomic bastion. • D.O.M., SAO PAULO Order: La fourmi à l’ananas The food of Brazilian chef Alex Atala is just magic. Located in the Jardins neighbourhood of São Paulo and created at a time when little was known about the flavours of Brazil, this venue is top-notch. In keeping with my own philosophies, Chef Atala makes sure that he does not forget his origins, and his menu highlights local produce and experiments with ingredients from the Amazon rainforest. The result is simply amazing. Moreover, it’s

obvious he’s not afraid of anything and is even able to carry off serving up ants à la carte! • OSTERIA FRANCESCANA, MODENA Order: Go for the Camouflage dessert – it really reminds me of a true ecosystem Named The World’s Best Restaurant this year, Massimo Bottura’s tranquil eatery in a sidestreet of culinary icon Modena has everything going for it. I really love this chef – he ages local Parmesan cheese (just as you would grape) in order to be able to offer diners at Osteria Francescana a panel of all ages of Parmesan, each equally delicious. His creations are influenced by art and jazz, and the restaurant is made up of three elegant rooms adorned with high-quality contemporary artwork. Try Sensations, the ever-changing seasonal showpiece tasting menu. • LA TABLE DE MARCEL, MARTINIQUE Order: The cochon planche per Mamy Yvanesse I can’t really list my favourite eateries in the world without mentioning my own signature restaurant. Based in Martinique (which just happens to be my hometown), the Simon Hotel’s La Table de Marcel is headed up by executive chef Lindley Lanappe, also a native 22

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Chef's Top Tables

December 2016

Left: Noma Above: D.O.M.

of the island. An intimate space with only 24 seats, the menu is influenced by small local producers and the cuisine changes to reflect seasonal market finds. Creativity is key, and traditional dishes are brought up to date with a flourish, allowing diners to discover unexpected gastronomic finds. • DANIEL, NEW YORK CITY Order: Coq de Bruyère (foie gras-stuffed Scottish grouse with pawpaw, grapes, celery and juniper berries) One of the most classically opulent of all New York’s restaurants, Daniel Boulud’s flagship eatery on Park Avenue boasts a sprawling dining room styled with white walls, contemporary wrought-iron sconces and a centrepiece bookshelf lined with crystal vases, all the work of renowned designer Adam Tihany. The menu changes with the season but always includes a few signature dishes. What makes this place extra special is the chef’s ability to unlock unexpected flavours and add exquisite refinements to what is essentially traditional French peasant food. The exceptional service doesn’t hurt, either. Finally, don’t miss the cheese cart – it’s one of the finest in the city. 23


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December 2016

Style & Wellness

Style & Wellness This month’s style files encompass escapes to nourish the soul, eclectic San Fran and winter’s most stylish picks for both on and off the slopes

Style-Savvy Local SARA LALJI, SAN FRANCISCO The founder of eco-chic fashion label Regal Tiger details her unmissable moments in the Californian coastal city that’s long been known as the land of fog and fabulousness

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Stress-Free Stays This time of year can be stressful, as expectations and social engagements lead to an imbalance of body, mind and soul – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Plan ahead, and you can actually enjoy the festive season, without the usual stress REBALANCE A high-tech hub and a place of pure serenity, Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo is the perfect choice for a pit stop on a European winter break. Check in for a Relaxing Stopover experience and enjoy two nights of indulgence at this marine-based retreat, including five water treatments and one massage over the course of your stay. It’s the ideal way to ensure you arrive at your festive destination feeling at one with the world. ESCAPE For a fail-safe, last-minute option to cancel out your seasonal woes, book a spot on a PreFestive Restorative Break at The Body Holiday on beautiful St Lucia. One of the world’s best

wellbeing resorts, everything here is based on a founding philosophy of relaxation, restorative beauty, exercise and diet. So you can prepare yourself for the festivities, accompanied by picture-perfect Caribbean weather. DE-STRESS If you’re short on time, make a beeline for Abu Dhabi’s Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara, to leave the chaos of the city behind and relax into a soothing, nature-filled calm. Embark on a pathway to wellbeing in the Anantara Spa, where Arabian traditions and Thai techniques combine to invoke your inner Zen. Customise your own package inclusive of a massage, Elemis facial and treatment of your choice to ease tension from body and mind. 25

an Francisco is an eclectic, vibrant city with a past that merges into its future. Dive in for a taste of old and new, burgeoning neighbourhoods, and all the sights and sounds that make this place so unique. Base yourself in Lower Nob Hill – a great area with an upscale vibe. For a stylish stay to remember here, it’s got to be the Clift San Fransciso hotel, designed by Philippe Starck. Kick-start your morning with a trip to Pier 39 – best midweek to avoid crowds – and pop into the legendary Buena Vista Cafe, which opened back in 1916, to get a taste of its signature Irish coffee. Relish in the glow as you stroll along the pier to get a glimpse of the iconic sea lions guaranteed to be lounging on the docks. You’ll also get a great view of the infamous Alcatraz Island. For lunch, head downtown to the Financial District and enjoy some seafood at Leo’s Oyster Bar, the newest restaurant collaboration by San Franciscan designer Ken Fulk. Don’t miss the lobster roll. If the famous fog has rolled in or it’s a drizzly San Francisco afternoon, make your way to the Legion of Honor, one of the city’s Fine Art Museums. When it comes to retail therapy, Union Square has all your favourite high-end retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney’s and Louis Vuitton. If you’re here in winter, you can also throw on some skates and whizz around the shopping plaza’s ice rink. For a more boutique experience, get down to Fillmore Street in Lower Pacific Heights for an entire street of chic shopping and dining. Grab a drink as the day winds down at Waterbar on The Embarcadero, where you can also drink in gorgeous views of the Bay Bridge. Sit outside on the patio to catch the last rays of sun or settle in after dark to see The Bay Lights, a glittering art installation on the bridge by world-renowned artist Leo Villareal.


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Style & Wellness

December 2016

What to pack for... A glamorous week in the French Alps The silver Rimowa Topas carry-on (nordstrom.com) is ideal for a ski break in the mountains. Whizz down snow-laden slopes in style, then nail the après-ski vibe with these off-piste essentials.

1. Core Performance stretch leggings, USD245, Lucas Hugh 2. Keyes ribbed wool- and cashmere-blend sweater, USD1,290, The Row 3. Cashmere headband, USD215, Missoni 4. Rain faux-fur-trimmed cable-knit wool beanie, USD245, Eugenia Kim 5. A.P.C. Sac DemiLune leather shoulder bag 6. Hampton Sun SPF35 Continuous Mist Sunscreen, USD32 7. Dr. Barbara Sturm Sun Drops SPF50, USD109 8. Alana herringbone wool- and cashmere-blend scarf, USD235, Etoile Isabel Marant 9. The Stylish Life: Skiing by Gabrielle le Breton, 26


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Style & Wellness

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USD35 at Amazon 10. Canvas and shearling hat, USD225, Canada Goose 11. St. Louis mirrored sunglasses, USD255, Krewe 12. Allure Chain gold-plated earrings, USD217, Eddie Borgo 13. Tom Ford Beauty Lips & Boys in Addison, USD35 14. Shearling fingerless gloves, USD166, Karl Donoghue 15. iPhone 7, from USD649, Apple 16. Sport Pulse Special Edition Wireless Earbuds, USD161, Jabra 17. Les 3 VallĂŠes Ski Pass, from USD57 at les3vallees.com 18. Mirrored ski goggles, USD316, Fendi. All at Net-A-Porter, unless specified 27


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December 2016

dnata Offers

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USA

WALDORF ASTORIA ORLANDO 5 nights from USD625 per person Special offer: Stay 4 nights and receive an additional night free Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Room with return airport transfers Validity: Now ’til 31 Jan 2017 Wake up each day in a serene golf and spa resort with all the magic of Walt Disney World right on your doorstep. Perfect for you and the kids.

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HOTEL DU COLLECTIONNEUR ARC DE TRIOMPHE 3 nights from USD648 per person Special offer: Stay 2 nights and receive an additional night free Includes: Stay in an Executive Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now ’til 31 Jan 2017

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BOSCOLO MILANO 3 nights from USD648 per person Special offer: 25% discount on room rate Includes: Stay in a Classic Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now ’til 31 Jan 2017 Bold, unapologetic and a real icon of Milanese modernism, this chic urban hotel makes for an eye-popping stay in the heart of the action.

This luxe Art Deco extravaganza has a truly enviable location among the City of Light’s most famous landmarks. 28

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Egypt

INTERCONTINENTAL CITYSTARS CAIRO 2 nights from USD217 per person Special offer: 15% discount on room rate, children under 12 stay for free, plus 50% discount on meals for children aged 6 to 12 Includes: Stay in a Standard Room with breakfast daily Validity: Now ’til 31 Dec 2016 Unbridled luxury and much sought-after serenity in the centre of Egypt’s buzzing capital.


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Thailand

FOUR SEASONS RESORT LANGKAWI 3 nights from USD303 per person Special offer: 35% discount on room rate, plus one complimentary dinner for two Includes: Stay in a Ground Floor Garden View Pavillion with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now ’til 31 Jan 2017

ANANTARA SIAM BANGKOK HOTEL 3 nights from USD1,120 per person Special offer: Complimentary room upgrade and smartphone with unlimited calls to 10 countries and 3G connectivity Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now ’til 31 Jan 2016

This enclave of tranquillity is surrounded by natural beauty.

Expect silk murals, elegant rooms and a truly upmarket air.


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Clockwise from top: Grand Hyatt Istanbul; Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort; Taj Exotica Resort & Spa; Four Seasons Hotel Baku

dnata’s Fantastic Four Indulgent escapes

To book, visit a dnata outlet, call +971 4 316 6666 or log on to dnatatravel.com

Embrace a new world of luxury and bring on the happy at these palatial abodes

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Turkey

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Maldives

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Destinations

World Traveller

Discover The Seychelles

Discover... The Seychelles An archipelago of some 115 islands, located roughly 932 miles off the eastern coast of Africa in the glistening Indian Ocean, this honeymoon favourite offers a taste of nature’s bounty, relatively untouched by the ravages of time

Anse Source d’Argent Quite possibly the most pristine beach you’ll ever walk upon, Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue, the smallest of the inhabited islands, is also rumoured to be the most photographed beach on Earth – and it’s not hard to see why. A long stretch of baby-powder sand, granite boulders tumbling into the sea and swaying coconut palms have made it the star of countless movies including Tom Hanks’ Castaway. It was also the source of inspiration for Ian Fleming’s first book of short stories based on one of the world’s greatest fictional characters, 007 James Bond. 32

December 2016


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Destinations

Discover The Seychelles

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December 2016


World Traveller

Destinations

Discover The Seychelles

Félicité Island If you’re after a castaway experience of your own but don’t want to relinquish any luxury in the process, then the small granitic Félicité Island could be for you. Known for the huge, smooth boulders lining its coast, inland the private island boasts wild vanilla orchids, mangoes, coconut palms, bananas and oranges, while the surrounding watery wonderland is perfect for snorkelling. 34

December 2016


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Destinations

Discover The Seychelles

December 2016

La Passe For a relaxed island vibe, the coastal village of La Passe, at the northern tip of La Digue, more than fits the bill. With just a touch of local life, the island has a tiny population of 2,000 people. And as there’s no airport and only a handful of road vehicles, getting around is generally a case of hopping on a bicycle and setting off to explore coastal roads, steep green climbs and spectacular ocean vantage points.

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Discover The Seychelles

Paradise Found

Your next trip to paradise is now even easier as from 12 December Qatar Airways launches a daily return flight via Doha to Mahe, making the tropical archipelago more accessible than ever before. To book, head online to: qatarairways.com

Carnaval International de Victoria One of the best times to visit the Seychelles has got to be April, when the world of carnival meets the world’s most beautiful islands. Revisiting its multi-ethnic origins, the celebrations bring the capital of Victoria to life with music, food, costumes and dancing in a gorgeous explosion of colour and movement. 36

December 2016


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Discover The Seychelles

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December 2016


World Traveller

Destinations St Moritz

The

Magic

Of

St Moritz Channelling the aura of guests like Audrey Hepburn and Marlene Deitrich, it’s no wonder that the St Moritz mountain retreat is still the go-to destination for winter-loving socialites Words : Lesley Woit

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Destinations St Moritz

December 2016 Previous pages: Night skiiing at Corvatsch. These pages, from left: The Carlton Hotel; the cable car from Celerina to Marguns; Swiss heritagelisted San Gian in Celerina; Bellavita in Pontresina. Next pages: A horse-drawn sleigh in the Val Roseg

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full-length sable passes by with a whoosh. The gentle babble of French, Italian and local Romansch hangs in the air. As I step from the little red train sparkling in the January sun, a liveried chauffeur offers me a gloved hand. With a heel click and a smile, I am whisked, along with my skis and rucksack, into a car previously used to drive a lady to town on the occasional Sunday. It’s jackpot city riding through St Moritz in a Rolls-Royce Phantom once owned by the Queen, another win-win in a town where winter sports were born on the back of a wager. It was autumn 1864 when hotelier Johannes Badrutt ensured his British summer guests that they would enjoy ample Engadin sunshine if they dared come back in winter. Back they came, again and again. Snow and glamour – together forever. I’m despondent about leaving my Phantom, but thrilled to be deposited into the fairy-tale world of Badrutt’s Palace. Built by the son of Johannes Badrutt, the Palace lobby is known as the catwalk of St Moritz. Depending on the time of day, living models range from genteel aristos to high-octane glamourpusses. A Rafael here, a Madonna there, in former times, people stayed so long that they travelled with their own furniture, some of which decorates the hotel today. These corridors are steeped in old-world excess: an elephant at a birthday party; a Rolls-Royce left in lieu of paying a bill; half a million Swiss francs lavished on New Year’s Eve decorations. Today, more than 500 staff tend 157 rooms that have welcomed stars from Hitchcock to Hepburn. Where there’s fun there must be games. While Badrutt delivered sunshine (the tourist office has been known to “guarantee” more than 300 days of sunshine a year), visitors pursued snowy pastimes, the dicier the better. Enter the Cresta toboggan run, where riders reach 140km/h as noses

scrape face-first over, above and through the ice; the bob, whose natural ice track is the world’s oldest and has seen two Olympic Games; and more benignly, ice-skating, bandy (now hockey) and curling: it was probably an early Scottish winter guest who sent the first four pairs of curling stones to Johannes Badrutt. Skiing came later. In modern St Moritz, all these amusements are still on the menu. I start with the bob. Anyone can sign up for a hair-raising experience at the world’s oldest bobsleigh club: CHF250 (USD165) includes a photo, certificate and a St Moritz-style start: a courage-infusing glass of bubbles swilled in Gunter Sachs Lodge. Sachs, famous for his socialite antics and his marriage to Brigitte Bardot, was a fixture on the track. Raising a glass, I consider what an open-top sleigh feels like at 135km/h, Santa with wings. “Keep your head down,” says a bystander. “Have fun. And never let go.” With the pilot in front, the two passengers squish in behind, behelmeted and twitchy. The announcer wishes me bonne route, wellwishers whoop, the brakeman runs, pushes, slots in behind and we’re away. Built in 1897 for amateur athletes and bon vivants, this tube of speed has heard thousands of holidaymakers, as well as toned Olympians, cry for joy as the bob careers down the track, but I concentrate on keeping command of my bowels: 40km, 50, 60… 70, 80, 90… My ears are roaring and the whiplash is full-body. Within seconds I am thrashed by 4Gs of pressure. I stop breathing long before turn 13, known as Gunter Sachs Corner. Barely a minute later I’m clutching my bob certificate in one clammy hand and my neck in the other, full of endorphins and respect for the pioneers of wacky winter sports. I’ve earned a good lunch. That means skis on to head for La Marmite, the mid-mountain HQ of chef Reto Mathis and all things truffle. In the Fat Monk room, we are 40


World Traveller

Destinations St Moritz

December 2016

Built in 1897 for amateur athletes and bon vivants, this tube of speed has heard thousands of holidaymakers, as well as toned Olympians, cry for joy as the bob careers down the track

surrounded by stuffed marmots, Mathis’ favourite. “They sleep for half a year, wake up and mate for two months and eat for another six,” Mathis says. “In the next life I want to be a marmot.” Mathis co-founded the St Moritz Gourmet Festival 17 years ago. Every year, international Michelin-anointed chefs roll into town in late January to cook their magic. Notable names over the years have included Noboyuki Matsuhisa, Wolfgang Puck, Angela Hartnett and Jason Atherton. Three hours and several courses of truffle pizza, succulent venison and chocolate pudding later, I fall out of the door, clicking my bonus ballat into my bindings and sliding downhill on to Corviglia – the ski area directly above St Moritz – faster than ever. If anything is as entertaining as the bountiful array of hairless dogs and furry coats this legendary resort attracts, it is its wide-open slopes, as well groomed as their patrons. Nearly 90% of the runs are graded beginner or intermediate. Laced over four main peaks, St Moritz does for the average skier what Coco Chanel did for women – makes them look fabulous. 41


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Destinations St Moritz

St Moritz does for the average skier what Coco Chanel did for women – makes them look fabulous

I roll from lunch into an area stretching to 3,057m, high above the tree line on ideal sun-soaked south- and east-facing slopes. Thanks to snowstorms that pounded in from the Adriatic earlier in the week, and St Moritz’s preponderance of fur over freeriders, I trace tracks of shin-deep powder over the rolling splendour of the 1948 Olympic Downhill run. There is scarcely a queue all week. Skiing features low on the list for contemporary St Moritz beau monde, after shopping (Chanel, Gucci, you name it), spa treatments (try the Palace’s oxygen facial – all the ladies are doing it), taking tea and Engadine nut torte at Hanselmann’s or, depending on the week, watching snow polo, skijoring or horse racing on the frozen lake at the White Turf, listening to the classical music festival, or dining round the palatepleasing Gourmet Festival. Near the 15th-century San Gian lives one of the oldest winter-sports clubs in the world. Established in 1885, it remains practically unchanged in 130 years. An epic, natural-ice-lined, bone-busting test of masculinity and bravado, the Cresta Run delivers more than 125km/h all taken in from a prone, head-first perspective. “You need the stomach for it,” explained Rolf Sachs, Cresta vice president and son of the late Gunter Sachs, from his London studio. “The Cresta is a gentlemen’s club. Some are very competitive, others take it easy. Basically it is an agglomeration of wonderful friends – a vast array of people, from the local butcher to dukes and royals from many nationalities. Like every sport, you need to practise, practise, practise. It’s the old Olympic maxim. The important thing is to participate.” Unless you’re a girl, of course. Ladies are welcomed on the track only one day per year, so I head back to the comfort of the lavish Kulm Hotel. Home of the original Badrutt wager and another of St Moritz’s five-star grandest dames, the Kulm retains its Cresta cred: downstairs in the Sunny Bar, the plus-four brigade are nursing some post-practice glasses. No rest for the wickedly lucky. This evening, one of the highlights of the Gourmet Festival is dinner, courtesy of three-Michelin-starred Kyoto guest chef Yoshihiro Takahashi, in the Carlton Hotel. From bohemian to sybarite, the all-suites, all-aglitter, Carlo Rampazzi-designed hotel is tough to beat. In its grand Romanoff Room corks pop, crystal tinkles and a fragrant feast of sea urchin, lobster, bream and delicate Japanese beverages form many candlelit courses, a fittingly cosmopolitan way to ring in St Moritz’s sesquicentennial. From backwater to global brand in 150 years, this is one Rolls-Royce of a ski town. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call +971 4 316 6666 or log on to dnatatravel.com 42

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Destinations St Moritz

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Destinations

Saint-Germain-des-PrĂŠs

December 2016

Words : Hayley Skirka

The

Rebel

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Destinations

Saint-Germain-des-PrĂŠs

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December 2016


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Destinations

Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Tucked along the shores of the Left Bank, Saint-Germaindes-Prés embodies so much of what makes Paris special. Its cobblestoned streets and ancient façades survive to this day and reveal a history littered with luminaries

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f you had to select the most classically Parisian neighbourhood in all of France, it would surely have to be Saint-Germain-des-Prés. This Left Bank locale has it all: genteel blocks lined with upscale art galleries, storied cafés, designer boutiques, atmospheric restaurants and a fine selection of museums. Named after the oldest abbey in Paris, it’s become a prized address for Parisians and expats alike – and yet, despite its pristine veneer, this wasn’t always silver-spoon territory. For many years, SaintGermain was a stronghold of revolutionaries, a refuge to artists, a paradise for bohemians. This is the place where, beneath mansard roofs, Jean-Paul Marat published his revolutionary works and Thomas Paine wrote Rights Of Man. Napoleon, Hemingway and Sartre have all called it home. Descartes is buried here. It’s precisely this fascinating history that John Baxter has brought to life in Saint-Germain-des-Prés: Paris’s Rebel Quarter, the first book in a series exploring the great and diverse neighbourhoods of Paris. The author of The Most Beautiful Walk In The World: A Pedestrian In Paris, Baxter is without question a good man to tell the story of one of the City of Light’s most iconic quarters. It’s where he has lived since moving to the French capital 25 years ago and falling in love with both the city and his Parisienne wife, Marie-Dominique. “I grew up in cities. I never expected to settle down in a village,” begins Baxter in the opening pitch of his latest tome. “That said, this isn’t like many other villages. Our village of Saint-Germain is real. It began as all true villages do, when men and women closed ranks against the unknown. After agreeing on the limits of their community, 46

December 2016


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Destinations

Saint-Germain-des-Prés

December 2016

Opening pages: SaintGermain-des-Prés is a gateway to old Paris. These pages, clockwise from far left: Café de Flore (and bottom); the Medici Fountain in the Jardin du Luxembourg; Saint-Germain street life. Next pages, clockwise from top left: Lapérouse restaurant; the Luxembourg Palace; pedestrians rule here; a kiosk in the Jardin du Luxembourg; one of the area’s many bistros; the iconic Pont des Arts

they built some kind of wall, appointed a few neighbours to represent them, others to stand guard. Our village has no walls, not physical ones anyway, nor is the accent particularly distinctive. Nobody wears a uniform. Unless you count political demonstrations, we do not parade. There are no souvenir shops selling scented candles or snow globes; look in vain for ‘I Saint-Germain’ T-shirts. We do not advertise. We just tell visitors, ‘Look for yourselves,’ and for those who do, our secrets reveal themselves.” And what enticing secrets and stories they are. A stroll down the Cour du Commerce-Saint-André, for instance, offers visitors a fragment of the area’s 18th-century glory. In this alley, now taken over by cafés, creperies and bars, number six previously belonged to harpsichord maker Tobias Schmidt and Dr Joseph-Ignace Guillotin. This is where the guillotine – the instrument on which thousands of condemned men and women would take their last breath – was invented. A little further down is the one-time studio of controversial Polish-French artist Balthus. Further still, at number eight, is a stone tower that was the abode of Jean-Paul Marat. It was here that Marat launched L’Ami du Peuple (‘The friend of the people’), a newspaper that was radical even by revolutionary standards. This was also where the journalist and politician would meet his maker when, one night in 1793, as he took his evening bath, a young woman who claimed knowledge of his most aggressive opponents was admitted entry to his chambers. Finding Marat in the bathtub, she took a kitchen knife from under her skirt and instantly ended his days. The act served as propaganda for Marat’s cause and ultimately led to The Terror, a period of endemic violence between his supporters 47


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Destinations

Saint-Germain-des-Prés

December 2016

There are no souvenir shops selling scented candles or snow globes; look in vain for ‘I Saint-Germain’ T-shirts. We do not advertise

and enemies. Catch a glimpse of some of this history today in the arcade at the bottom of the passage, where a café displays an example of classic 18th-century construction, with chestnut beams and plaster visible. On this side of the River Seine, pavements are narrow, roads make way for pedestrian promenades and open-air markets sell fruit, vegetables, bread and, of course, cheese. Almost as quintessentially French as the fromage is the sweet scent of chocolate that habitually wafts through the air. There are many chocolatiers of distinction scattered across Paris but Debauve et Gallais on Rue des Saints-Pères is one of particular merit. Founded in 1800, Debauve was chocolatier to the court of Napoleon and a visit to this distinguished Saint-Germain store guarantees creations of excellence, prettily packaged in blue and grey boxes embossed in gold, and each topped with the prototypically French fleur-de-lys motif. Another place where Saint-Germain’s history runs vivid is Café de Flore, a favourite of Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Simone de Beauvoir. Sartre once said, “We are at home at the Flore”; today, of the few surviving literary cafés, it retains a whiff of the original atmosphere, but unfortunately has been diluted with snobbery. To experience it in as much of its original form as is still possible, take a table at the edge of the terrace on a sunny afternoon. Order an espresso and a glass of water and simply spend an hour watching people go by. While you certainly won’t be disappointed, the Sartres of today will most likely remain elusive, forced to frequent more ubiquitous enclaves. Yet, while Starbucks replaces Flore, and laptops replace notebooks, Saint-Germain’s tradition of hosting aspiring writers working all day in cafés continues. Staying in the realms of gourmet, Crémerie-Restaurant Polidor at 41 Rue Monsieur le Prince is a good option for a typical Parisian meal. Featured in Woody Allen’s magical romcom Midnight In Paris, this institution has barely changed since it opened in 1854. Expect country cooking, 48


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Saint-Germain-des-Prés

robust and unsubtle: try the slow-cooked beef with mashed potatoes, cabbage and lentils, or the pintade – guinea fowl braised with cabbage. Baxter’s personal favourite eatery is Le Petit Zinc – an intimate eatery that has retained its original Art Nouveau interiors. “The oysters are superb – and the foie gras, of course, with a bottle of very good grape,” says the author. Bon appétit. Just inside the Northern Gate of the Jardin du Luxembourg, half hidden by trees, you’ll find the bust of Henri Murger. Author of Scenes De La Vie De Bohème (on which the opera La Bohème was based) and today considered by many the first of the bohemians, Murger died penniless at the age of 38. Throughout his work, destitute characters when down to their last sou would often head for the nearest bookshop, many excellent examples of which can still be found along Boulevard Saint-Michel. The guru on books in the village today is Jim Carroll, proprietor of The San Francisco Book Company. A visit here is a step into the past; a glass cabinet holds a treasury of rare first-edition reads – perhaps acquired from Murger’s contemporaries – and long corridors are filled with a wealth of literature. Buying a Proust novel, heading back to the Jardin du Luxembourg, pulling up a little metal chair and sinking into its pages is Baxter’s personal recommendation for anyone seeking a truly condensed experience of Saint-Germain’s magic. Of his adopted home, he muses, “You might think that every original thought would long since have been wrung from these stones, these lanes and courtyards, and that one’s mind would run off over the sea of metal roofs of Paris into wider fields and skies. But one does not tire here. There is always more to experience because each day more is made. Nothing in our village ever dies. It is a living museum of what we can create, both at our finest moments and our worst. You should come. You might even stay a while. I did.” Saint-Germain-des-Prés: Paris’s Rebel Quarter by John Baxter is available from harpercollins.com. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call +971 4 316 6666 or log on to dnatatravel.com 49

December 2016


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Destinations Singapore

Clockwise from right: Gardens by the Bay; the Singapore Cable Car; cycling around Marina Bay; the view from the Singapore Flyer

• WHAT TO DO You’ll never be bored in Singapore. Take your pick from exhilarating funfair rides and indoor skydiving or slow things down with a meandering cycle around the island With all its noise and gaiety, a guided tour is perfect for getting your bearings in the Lion City. City Tours Singapore takes you via coach around the most famous sights, with an option to include the Singapore Flyer, a 165m-tall observation wheel overlooking Marina Bay. History buffs will revel in the Round Island Tour, which takes in Changi Prison, the Kranji War Memorial and Gardens by the Bay, while active types can work up a sweat on a bike tour that explores the city’s many cyclist-friendly streets. Alternatively, Ketam Mountain Bike Park has a series of trails of varying difficulty, which loop around Ketam Quarry and the surrounding area. A trip to Forest Adventure is a great way to get a bird’seye view of the jungle. Situated amid the lush greenery of Bedok Reservoir Park, this is Singapore’s first and only treetop adventure course. Ladders, bridges, rope swings, nets and giant zip lines are built into the towering trees, resulting in outdoor fun for all the family. Overlooking the Straits of Johor, meanwhile, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is home to an estimated 140 bird species. Get there before 10am to increase your chance of seeing as many of the park’s vivid-winged residents as possible. Weekdays are blissfully serene but keep an eye out for large monitor lizards and the odd saltwater crocodile. Those who prefer cooler pastimes can head to Snow City, Singapore’s indoor snow facility that lets visitors snow tube, ski or snowboard in even the warmest weather. Why not pop into an igloo or indulge in a playful snowball fight? You can also beat the heat with a day at Adventure Cove Waterpark. Seven exhilarating rides, slides, dips and thrills will keep your brood entertained for hours. The Rainbow Reef allows you to snorkel in a lagoon with 20,000 kaleidoscopic species of marine life, while younger children can enjoy attractions like the Seahorse Hideaway, a shallow wading pool complete with gentle fountains. Soar through the sky on the 1.6km-long Singapore Cable Car ride over to Sentosa Island, where a world of fun is in store at the sprawling Resorts World Sentosa. Here you’ll find Universal Studios Singapore, featuring rides and thrilling roller coasters based on blockbuster movies like Battlestar Galactica, Shrek and Jurassic Park. The island is also home to iFly Singapore, the world’s largest themed wind tunnel for indoor skydiving. Suitable for kids aged seven and up, every flyer gets two skydives in the flight chamber, equivalent to freefalling from 12,000ft to 3,000ft. Also at Resorts World Sentosa, a display unlike any other in the world is the Crane Dance, a free nightly light and water show featuring two giant cranes (the mechanical kind) that fall in love and transform into birds. Magical. 52

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Destinations Singapore

December 2016

OFF-THE-BEATEN-TRACK BUYS A world apart from the glistening malls of Orchard Road, head to Little India’s winding streets, where a treasure trove of antiques and textiles await. Electronic bargain hunters need to visit the 24-hour Mustafa Centre, while computer geeks should make a beeline for Sim Lim Square. Chinatown offers medicine, heirlooms, and local arts and handicrafts, while Haji Lane is vintage-shopping heaven and a pilgrimage for Singapore’s hipster types.

• WHERE TO SHOP From streetside flea markets to luxury mega-malls, Singapore is a shopper’s paradise Dirt-cheap prices may be a thing of the past, but the region remains a retail joyride and there’s something for every shopper, from international brands to uniquely local products. The best time to pick up a bargain is during the annual Great Singapore Sale (known to Singaporeans as the GSS), held from May to July, which sees retailers offer steep discounts – sometimes up to 70% off – at the main shopping malls across the island. Orchard Road is the country’s prime shopping district. This ambitious consumer sanctum is brimming with catwalk couture and on-trend designer labels. The 2kmlong boulevard is lined with swanky restaurants, luxe hotels and glossy mega-malls, including ION Orchard. The sheer size of this futuristic building is overwhelming; it’s home to over 330 shops spread across eight floors. And, for the third year running, it clinched the top prize at this year’s AsiaOne People’s Choice Awards for Best Shopping Centre. Step inside and you’ll find the largest Prada store in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as top names like Longchamp, Diane von Furstenberg and Dior. You can also browse budget-friendly favourites such as Topshop and Mango, for those who don’t want to break the bank. 55

Nearby Paragon is a high-end mall offering six levels of designer fashion and luxury boutiques. The choice destination for upmarket shoppers, heavyweight brands include Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tod’s, Balenciaga, Burberry and Jimmy Choo. Next door in the Grand Park Orchard hotel is Knightsbridge, a four-storey mall that includes the flagship stores of Abercrombie & Fitch and Tommy Hilfiger, along with Malmaison by The Hour Glass. This bespoke emporium houses Patek Philippe and Rolex boutiques, vintage Cartier objet d’art jewellery, Frédéric Malle perfume and Ethan K handbags – crafted from exotic skins in bold hues by Singapore’s Ethan Koh. Across the street, Mandarin Gallery offers another four levels of premium international and local labels. Atelier Fang is ideal for those seeking wallet-friendly, highquality footwear, and don’t miss Singaporean designer Jo Soh’s womenswear boutique, Hansel, which blends quirky insouciance with understated minimalism. The interconnected enclaves of Ann Siang Hill and Club Street form a quirky quarter. Alongside buzzy bars and intimate restaurants, you’ll find chic boutiques such as MYthology, a multi-label fashion hub selling one-of-akind items by both established and up-and-coming Asian designers, and Aston Blake, which specialises in bespoke menswear, as well as ready-to-wear pieces featuring seasonal colours and prints.


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• WHAT TO SEE Modern architecture stands side by side with ancient Malay structures on this beautifully diverse island Experience the city’s epic skyline from above on the Singapore Flyer. Popular with locals and tourists alike, Asia’s tallest Ferris wheel offers 360° views over the magnificent Marina Bay. You’ll also catch glimpses of the neighbouring Indonesian Spice Islands and the bustling Straits of Johor. Standing at a stunning 165m, the Flyer offers incredible, picture-perfect panoramas, especially during the annual Singapore Grand Prix, an adrenalinefuelled night race that usually takes place in September. For a more ancient perspective, the Thian Hock Keng Temple is one of the oldest Buddhist-Taoist temples in

Destinations Singapore

December 2016

Singapore and a rare haven of tranquillity. Originally built in 1842, it’s since been beautifully restored and remains one of the most important religious sites in the region. Meanwhile, Little India and Kampong Glam boast a grittier blend of history, culture and cool-crowd hangouts. The neighbouring districts are filled with elegant Arabian and Renaissance architecture, and truly come alive during Ramadan, when you can join an evening iftar or stroll through the energetic night markets. Spice traders spill their colourful wares across meandering walkways, while labourers busily congregate at the weekend. Just across from Little India, Chinatown proudly offers up an awe-inspiring blaze of neon lights, authentic street foods and vibrant Eastern culture. An incredible mix of the old and the new, the area is bursting at the seams 56

Previous page: Siam Paragon. Above: The Singapore River and beyond


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Above: Gardens by the Bay. Next pages, clockwise from top left: Two aspects of the ArtScience Museum; the city skyline at twilight

Destinations Singapore

with traditional stalls and funky eateries, including the excellent Cafe Insadong and Les Délices. Singapore has two of the world’s most renowned zoological attractions in Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. The former is home to an array of beautiful and exotic animals, while the latter allows you to visit nocturnal creatures in their natural habitat – under cover of darkness, so you can view them in their element. Don’t leave without exploring Singapore River and its famous quays: Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. Robertson is the most laid-back of the three and has become something of a hipster haven with its cool cafés and trendy bars. Why not jump on a boat cruise? They depart every 15 minutes from the main quays and take visitors on a complete circuit of Singapore’s changing waterways. 57

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• MUST-SEE GREEN SPOTS The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Singapore Botanic Gardens showcase the most spectacular of the city’s flora and, on the highest hill, the National Orchid Garden crowns 74 hectares of gorgeous greenery. Open to the public from 5am to midnight, there’s no excuse not to visit. Taking the green theme into the future, at Gardens by the Bay, two state-of-the-art biodomes house the world’s most exquisite collection of wildlife – don’t miss the nightly music and light performance. Finally, head for Merlion Park, where you’ll find Singapore’s legendary icon, the lion-fish hybrid, in all its 8.6m-high water-spouting glory.


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Destinations Singapore

• WHERE TO GET YOUR CULTURE FIX With a vibrant mosaic of cultural influences, there’s plenty for history buffs and art lovers to explore Singapore’s rich cultural heritage is arguably the country’s biggest attraction. With several world-class museums and galleries, whatever your tastes and interests, there’s something for you to explore. Singapore may be a modern city but it’s also brimming with historic buildings, each of which exemplifies its multicultural credentials. The National Gallery Singapore is the world’s largest museum dedicated to modern Southeast Asian art. Connected by a striking aluminum and glass canopy, the 64,000 sq m complex has been converted from the city’s impressive former Supreme Court and City Hall buildings. Among its many delights are offerings from Singaporean art giants Cheong Soo Pieng and Chua Mia Tee, in addition to works from luminaries like the Philippines’ Fernando Cueto Amorsolo and Imelda Cajipe-Endaya. On Tanglin Road, the Museum of Art & Design (better known as MAD) is Singapore’s first private art gallery and exhibits contemporary work from both established and emerging artists. Opened in 2009, MAD aims to make art accessible to all and often features important pieces that rarely go on display. Continuing the art theme, it may seem a little strange to head to a hotel for your fine-art fix but The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore is home to one of the finest modern and contemporary collections in the region. The hotel even has 58

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Destinations Singapore

December 2016

The National Museum of Singapore charts the country’s transformation from a humble fishing village to an independent nation. It’s also custodian of 10 national treasures including the 13th-century Singapore Stone

an iPod-assisted tour highlighting 30 key works from the likes of Frank Stella, David Hockney and Henry Moore. The National Museum of Singapore is the oldest museum in the country, with a history that dates back to 1887. A cultural and architectural landmark, it charts the country’s transformation from a humble fishing village to an independent nation. It’s custodian of 10 national treasures including the 13th-century Singapore Stone and it often hosts innovative festivals, as well as thought-provoking performances and film screenings. The Peranakan Museum, meanwhile, houses the world’s finest and most comprehensive collection of Peranakan artefacts from China, Malaysia and India. This rich legacy is highlighted by state-of-the-art display technology, as well as interactive educational exhibits for children. The Chinatown Heritage Centre is another cultural hot spot. Set within three beautifully restored shophouses along Pagoda Street, the centre has been designed to closely resemble the living quarters of the area’s residents in the 1950s. Visitors are able to step back in time and experience how Singapore’s early Chinese migrants once lived, as well as learn about local customs. Inspired by a lotus flower, the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands is altogether more futuristic. It has 21 galleries totalling 50,000 sq ft that are dedicated to both art and science. It’s the premier venue for major international shows and has been home to some of the most critically acclaimed exhibitions in Singapore, including The Nobel Prize: Ideas Changing The World. 59


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December 2016

These pages, from far left: Antoinette’s La Pâtisserie au Sofitel; The Refinery; Tippling Club. Next page: The St. Regis Singapore

• WHAT TO EAT “What you do in Singapore is eat. It’s a really food-crazy culture, where all of this great food is available in a kind of hawker-stand environment.” Words from celebrity chef, bestselling author and globetrotting TV host Anthony Bourdain, and we couldn’t help but agree Start the day with a cup of kopi (Singaporean-style coffee) paired with tasty kaya toast. A favourite franchise among locals is Ya Kun Kaya Toast, which you can find all across the city, or for something a bit more unusual try Butter My Buns (yes, it’s a bit of a brazen name), nestled in a corner of the National University of Singapore. Here you can tuck into all-day DIY breakfasts with waffles, crêpes and eggs whichever way your heart desires. For foodie heaven, head to the Lavender district to check out the super-popular area around Jalan Besar, packed with hipster cafés such as The Refinery, a Japanese yakitori spot, and Butter Studio, where you need to try the lychee rose cake. Sample the famous fried porridge at Royal J’s Seafood and be sure to dip into fare from the vast number of hawker stalls in the vicinity. We particularly like the triple-tiered steamboat at Emperor Pot – open till 3am every day, it’s extremely pocket-friendly and delicious. On Beach Road, stop in at Mrs Pho for great-tasting, piping-hot pho or, for old-school hawker flavours, wander into Luk Lu Eating House. Or, for sushi to remember, head to Shoukouwa, where the edible artistry comes direct from

Tokyo’s Ginza. With fresh fish flown in daily from Japan’s famed Tsukiji Market, you can expect a journey of delicate tastes and enchanting flavours in a beautifully calm space. When it comes to five-star dining the choice is epic, with some 29 establishments boasting coveted Michelin stars. Top of the bunch is Joël Robuchon Restaurant, the only place in the country to be awarded three merits. Located in Resorts World Sentosa, this contemporary French eatery offers the very best in haute cuisine with gastronomic classics and a huge list of grape from around the world. Go for Le Homard: chilled lobster served with sweet-and-sour turnip ravioli and rosemary. For those with a sweet tooth, quintessential French patisserie Antoinette in Lavender is a must-visit. Pang Kok Keong, one of Singapore’s finest pastry chefs, creates deliciously crafted cakes, pastries and fine foods. Their afternoon tea is a good shout. Meanwhile, Tippling Club is the place to go for experimental eats paired with incredibly innovative mixed drinks. Chef-owner Ryan Clift isn’t afraid to break the mould and the multi-course tasting menu guarantees a great evening out. If going à la carte, we recommend the razor clam. Finally, for all the talk of Singapore being an expensive city, Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle at Liao Fan is the home of quite possibly the cheapest Michelinstarred meal in the world. Lovingly prepared by Uncle Chan Hon Meng, get a taste of it at his authentic stall in the Chinatown Complex Food Centre. 61


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Destinations Singapore

A feat of engineering and an architectural triumph, the 2,561room Marina Bay Sands is one of the city’s most spectacular hotels

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Destinations Singapore

• WHERE TO STAY Whether it’s a cool island resort or a quiet heritage neighbourhood spot, Singapore’s hotels are as diverse as the city-state itself When it comes to the ‘wow’ factor, Singapore’s hotel scene remains unrivalled. Luxury digs are plentiful and among the world’s best, with options from colonial to romantic. Staying here can be expensive, but budget travellers will also find plenty of newer, mid-range hotels to choose from. Exceptionally located next to one of Singapore’s most vibrant markets, and just five minutes away from Bugis MRT Station, is the newly opened Mercure Singapore. This heritage-inspired 395-room hotel is designed to reflect the local neighbourhood – as is the Oasia Hotel Downtown. A feat of engineering and an architectural triumph, the 2,561-room Marina Bay Sands is one of the city’s most spectacular, with a 150m-long curved infinity pool that forms part of a rooftop platform spanning the hotel’s three towers. Designed by Israeli-North American architect Moshe Safdie, this sprawling resort has over 40 restaurants, including outposts from Wolfgang Puck and Mario Batali, as well as a casino, mall, theatre and museum complex. Across the water, the 32-storey, seven-acre hotel oasis that is The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore has some of the biggest rooms in town. All have five-star amenities, exemplary service and memorable views of either the city skyline or Marina Bay – as well as one of the largest collections of modern art in Southeast Asia. Only moments away and shaped like the fan that’s become synonymous with its name, Mandarin Oriental, Singapore features luxurious rooms with subtle Oriental design flourishes and floor-to-ceiling windows. As a leader in hospitality and wellness, the hotel’s outdoor pool boasts unbelievable cityscape views and an opulent spa. Plus, there are seven restaurants and lounges to choose from, including the classic American steakhouse, Morton’s. Brand spanking new, the 240-room W Singapore Sentosa Cove reaches sophisticated new heights, while at the other end of the scale, The Club’s four-star colonialera façade keeps things svelte with 28 spacious, whiteand-black boutique guest rooms. Singapore’s most iconic establishment, however, is undoubtedly Raffles Hotel. Opened in 1887, the former boarding house has welcomed a stellar guest list over the years, from Charlie Chaplin to Noël Coward. With a magnificent ivory frontage that oozes colonial grandeur and high-ceilinged suites – many with their own veranda and all with a personal butler – this hotel leaves nothing to be desired. Don’t leave without sipping a Singapore Sling in the prohibition-style Long Bar, a drink first concocted here by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon in 1915. The beautiful Fullerton Hotel Singapore is another oldworld charmer, built in 1928. A grand former Post Office 63

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with soaring Doric columns and Italian marble floors, its 400 glamorous suites and rooms offer sweeping views of the river, city or harbour. The landmark’s more modern sister property, The Fullerton Bay Hotel, is located in the financial district. Designed by Hong Kong-based architect Andre Fu, the sleek glass and steel building couldn’t be more different than her neoclassical relative. Inside, there are 105 suites and rooms featuring decadent décor, as well as a popular rooftop lounge and infinity pool. Away from the waterfront and moments from Orchard Road’s shopping and entertainment hub is the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore. Two pools and two air-conditioned indoor tennis courts greet privileged guests, along with rare Asian artwork. Nearby, the Grand Hyatt Singapore has an elegant outdoor pool and six delectable dining options. The Quincy Hotel, is also close by; this design-led boutique hotel proudly showcases stone feature walls, egg-shaped sofas, iMac stations and quirky art installations. A stone’s throw away from the Botanic Gardens, the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore is an opulent option. Set amid 15 acres of lush landscaped gardens, it boasts a colonnaded, marble-clad lobby with crystal chandeliers, and 750 majestic rooms. Also within strolling distance is the sumptuous The St. Regis Singapore. With chauffeur-driven Bentley transfers, spacious Art Deco-style rooms, and one of Asia’s finest private art collections, The St. Regis certainly doesn’t do things by halves. Located at the crossroads of the upmarket shopping and embassy districts of Tanglin and Orchard, this place epitomises timeless elegance. Aside from the 299 gorgeous rooms and suites on offer, one of the true highlights of any stay here has to be The St. Regis Butler Service. Born of a distinctive legacy and developed for modern connoisseurs seeking the very finest experiences imaginable, this unmatched resource affords every guest flawless personalised attention from the moment you check in. Whether unpacking your suitcase, pressing a dress or shining your shoes for a night on the town, or hand-delivering freshly brewed coffee, you’ll enjoy service that’s fit for a king. For those seeking something even more bespoke, the St. Regis Aficionado provides exclusive services specially curated to your interests. Fancy a hand-tailored shirt from highly sought-after local tailor Kevin Seah? Not a problem. Or perhaps you’d like a special scent crafted just for you by Du Bois, fifth-generation perfumiers from the 17th century. Foodies can partake in an epicurean moment to remember as the chef de cuisine of Brasserie Les Saveurs, Thomas Cruise, creates a sevencourse degustation menu especially for you, paired with complementary grape selected by the grand sommelier. These experiences and many more can be crafted for you at this address of sophistication. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call +971 4 316 6666 or log on to dnatatravel.com


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Terms & conditions: Valid for bookings and travel up until 31/01/2017. Prices correct at time of printing, and are subject to change. Includes 4 nights B&B at 5-star InterContinental Dublin, Economy flights on Emirates from Dubai and two tours: Belfast city tour and Cliffs of Moher tour.

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Weekends

There’s much you can do in just a few days... ONE WEEKEND FOR ALL: ABU DHABI p68 48-HOUR FOODIE: BERLIN p70 THE LOCALS’ GUIDE TO HONG KONG p72 TRAVEL NOTES: SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE p74 • STAYCATIONS p76 • • • •

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48 Hour Foodie

December 2016

48-Hour Foodie: Berlin

Germany’s capital packs a punch when it comes to simple, good-quality dining and a huge array of cuisine Illustration : Adam Avery

• Regional delights “If you want to try some really hearty dishes, you should stop by Restaurant Jolesch for the goulash, which originates from Hungary but is very popular across Germany, and the boiled filet. For a taste of German tradition, Königsberg meatballs and sauerbraten are both must-tries – order them at Marjellchen.” – DANIEL ACHILLES Head chef at Reinstoff • Hot right now “Brand-new 893 Ryōtei offers delicious Japanese fusion food in a funky setting; be sure to try the sashimi taquitos. Located on the famous Potsdamer Strasse, Panama is cosy and eclectic, and offers South Americaninspired dishes prepared with regional products. In the beautiful area around Savignyplatz, Le Petit Royal is tiny, with seating for only 50 guests. Its menu is French and you can expect excellent steaks and seafood as well as Gallic classics, all with a contemporary twist. When it comes to the sweet stuff, Coda, in the district of Neukölln, is Berlin’s first dessert bar. The work of chef pâtissier René Frank, indulge in delicious treats and creative beverages. Finally, for a taste of modern Korean fine dining in a casual setting, don’t miss Dae Mon, where the open kitchen steals the show.” – CHRISTOPH HUNDEHEGE Head concierge at Waldorf Astoria Berlin

Day One

Day Two

• Breakfast Alpenstueck Bakery and Cafe brings southern German food, considered to be some of the best in the country, to the capital. Breakfast is served on traditional wooden boards piled high with cheese, cold cuts and freshly baked pretzels. Try the Mutschel – sweet yeast-studded rolls best paired with one of the tastiest cappuccinos in the city.

• Breakfast One of the most popular places in town, it’s not hard to see why Berliners and tourists alike flock to Café Anna Blume. Step inside and allow yourself to be enveloped by a heady mixture of florals, coffee and freshly baked cakes. Order the Anna Blume Special and get ready to tuck into an extravagant tiered plate of breads, fruit, jam, cheese, pastries and more.

• Lunch Hackethal’s is a rustic, family-owned spot, not too far from the zoo, that’s perfect for lunch. Don’t expect a huge menu – there’s usually just a handful of items each day – but whatever you order will be delicious, the portions huge and the meat tender. All this is coupled with exceptional service and home-brewed hops.

• Lunch On top of the historic Reichstag, Kafer Dachgarten-Restaurant is the only eatery in the world located in a parliamentary building and open to the public. A visit here takes a bit of forward planning – you need to send full names and dates of birth of all guests at least 24 hours in advance – but it’s worth it for the fresh regional produce. Try the breaded schnitzel served with wild cranberries.

• Dinner Treat yourself to dinner at Restaurant Richard, one of Berlin’s more affordable Michelin-starred eateries. Housed in the former Kopenpicker Hof, the carved wooden ceiling and big street-facing windows have been preserved, and contemporary art and bubble chandeliers added for a modern touch. Food is inspired by French haute cuisine, fulfilled by seasonal produce, and presentation is gorgeously fragile; we recommend the crayfish ravioli with parsnip cream. 69

• Dinner Round things off with dinner at Facil, one of the prettiest places in the city. Headed up by chef Michael Kempf, this two-Michelin-starred restaurant in The Mandala Hotel serves up a careful combination of German classics and Asian flavours, complemented by seasonal offerings. It has a relaxed atmosphere in an elegant setting and over 400 varieties of grape, so you’ll easily find one to suit your meal.


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Weekends

The Locals’ Guide

December 2016

The Locals’ Guide To...

Hong Kong Spend a weekend exploring the pearl of the orient with our insider tips from those in the know

SKI YEO Founder of bigfoottour.com

JASMINE SMITH Founder of dressmeblog.me

A Slice Of Local Life

Style In The City

• What always surprises visitors most about Hong Kong? How we still use bamboo scaffolding, even for skyscrapers. People are amazed when they see our ‘Spidermen’ at work.

• What’s your go-to shopping destination? I love the little sidestreets of Hong Kong Island: SoHo; Square Street, Gough Street, Tai Ping Shan Street… The boutiques are as quirky as they are quaint, from home-grown fashion to modern Chinese bakeries and hip art galleries. PMQ, in the old police headquarters, has a great assortment of local designers, too – perfect for unique finds.

An expert when it comes to exploring the city on foot, Ski has plenty of tips on how to see the real Hong Kong

• If we’re only here for 24 hours, what are the must-dos? Sham Shui Po for the most down-to-earth, authentic market experience; Victoria Peak for amazing views of Hong Kong’s charming skyline; a scenic Star Ferry ride across Victoria Harbour; and to get a deeper feeling of the city, one of our four-hour Real Hong Kong Walking Tours. • Where’s the best place to go for a culture fix? Wong Tai Sin Sik Sik Yuen Temple, a Taoist, Buddhist and Confucianist building regarded by locals as a place where dreams come true. Fortune-telling is also deeply ingrained in Hong Kong culture and you can try it for yourself at one of the many fortune-teller booths dotted around town. Another authentic Hong Kong experience is a trip to a wet market, where locals source ingredients for their daily cooking. We’re talking live toads, fish and chickens – not for the faint-hearted. • The best off-the-beaten-track experience? Hong Kong has so much natural scenery to offer, from walking trails to taking in the dramatic rock formations of Hong Kong Global Geopark or birdwatching in our wonderful Wetland Park. If you have more time, head to one of the many outlying islands – Cheung Chau tops my list and you can’t miss the infamous pirate hideout there. • What’s your most popular tour? The Central & Western District route. It gives a great overview of Hong Kong, as well as a beautiful contrast of old and new, East and West. You discover interesting facts about Hong Kong’s history, sample amazing local food from hole-in-the-wall eateries and learn all about our traditions. On every tour, we focus on seeing Hong Kong through the eyes of a local – where we live, our favourite places to eat, bargain places to shop, and how we all rely on Hong Kong’s efficient public transport to get around the city.

Image consultant, personal shopper and blogger Jasmine gives us the low-down on fashionable Hong Kong

• Your favourite place for beauty buys? Joyce Beauty houses a flurry of international brands and the Global Beauty Edit – 15 covetable essentials from the likes of Clinique, Clarins, NARS and Kiehl’s. For more basic buys, pop into SaSa – they’re as common as 7-Elevens, super cheap and great for all your beauty needs. • What about jewellery? Check out L’Dezen for sliced-diamond pieces that are often seen on the red carpet. Niin is known for beautiful, eco-chic arrangements, while Marijoli combines rubies with wood, leather and diamonds to create signature settings. • Where can we find a special souvenir? Shanghai Tang does a divine Ginger Lily fragrance that can be used as a room spray. It’s a gorgeous scent and the packaging is so brilliantly Hong Kong with its sharp contrasting colours – it’s the perfect non-tacky souvenir. • What’s the street style like in Hong Kong? Expect everything from basketball jerseys cinched with leather harnesses to skate tees with faux-fur sleeves, oversized Crombies and peacoats. Hong Kong is no stranger to mix-and-match and does it with extreme flair. • Where’s the place to see and be seen? In your best attire at Stockton, or Salon No 10 for quirky cool. Both offer some fantastic people-watching opportunities. • Your number-one tip for shopping in the city? Wear trainers – this city expands both horizontally and vertically so you’ll need them for pounding the pavement! 70


World Traveller

Weekends

The Locals’ Guide

December 2016

Tai Sin Sik Sik Yuen Temple is regarded by locals as a place where dreams come true

daniel haddad Founder of hungryhongkong.net

Taste The Difference

Daniel spends his days scoping out the best eateries in the city. Get stuck into his top foodie highlights • Where’s your go-to place to eat? I love 22 Ships in Wan Chai. The food is consistently good and they constantly change their specials so there’s always something new to try. Another place I go to again and again is BBQ in Sai Ying Pun. It’s a great local restaurant with a variety of cheap and delicious barbecued seafood and meats, including my favourite, cheesy oysters. • And for breakfast? You’ll find everyone from tourists to locals at Lin Heung Tea House, one of the oldest dim-sum places in Hong Kong. The staff push around carts of steaming-hot food so you can choose what you want, even if you don’t know the name. • What’s the one must-try food? You can’t visit Hong Kong without trying dim sum. You can get it everywhere from street stands and old tea houses to modern Cantonese restaurants and Michelin-starred eateries like the famous Tim Ho Wan. • What’s trending food-wise at the moment? There’s a big focus on chefs working really closely with farms and fisheries to make sure they’re getting the very best produce as well as being environmentally aware. Rhoda and Seafood Room are great examples of this. • The hottest foodie area in town? Ship Street and the surrounding area in Wan Chai has everything from great local eateries to Michelin-starred restaurants, all in walking distance from one another. • Where should we go for a stylish dinner? Bibo in Sheung Wan is definitely one of the city’s most stylish restaurants. With impressive interior design and artwork from street artists like Banksy, plus innovative French food, you’re guaranteed a memorable night. • Finally, what’s Hong Kong’s best-kept foodie secret? Spring Deer, which is hidden above tailor shops in TST. They do some of the best Peking duck you’ll ever taste. 71


World Traveller

Weekends

Travel Notes

December 2016

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi’s most iconic landmark features 82 gleaming domes, a mix of modern and classic Islamic architecture, and inspiration from all around the world

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Just like the tides of the ocean, the building breathes with the moon

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Ottoman and Fatimid styles, condensing the diverse Islamic world into one summation of art and beauty. It’s also home to the world’s largest rug – flown in from Iran, it took two years to weave and was the work of around 1,200 artisans. Specialist carpet makers were flown in to join it all together, and you can almost sense the hopes, dreams and wishes of those women among the 2,285,000 knots. Throughout the structure, Sheikh Zayed’s love for nature is unmistakable. Over 1,000 columns are clad in marble panels inlaid with blue lapis lazuli, red agate, violet amethyst, and the iridescent blues, greens and purples of abalone shell, all depicting botanical designs. The florals of choice include irises, poppies, tulips, roses, jasmine and passionflowers, varieties from around the globe. And just like the tides of the ocean, the building breathes with the moon, cementing it in Abu Dhabi’s landscape. A hugely complex lighting system mirrors the lunar cycle, reflecting the full moon in full white and slowly traversing over the next 14 days from open white to cool white, to pale blue and mid blue, sinking into deep blue as the moon waxes completely. Then, as the moon wanes, the process reverses, transforming the whole thing back to pure white. Exceptional and imposing in every sense of the word, each of the building’s four minarets rise to a heady height of 107m, while the central dome ascends to 80m. One of the largest mosques in the world, it has space for more than 40,000 worshippers – a number that is often surpassed, especially around the holy time of Eid. Monumental in stature and awe-inspiring to behold, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a poetic emblem of changing times and a truly magical sight to behold.

riving onto the Sheikh Zayed Bridge, the skyline to the left changed dramatically. After what seemed like endless palm-lined highway since leaving Dubai an hour earlier, a sparkling white structure appeared on the horizon. Crossing over the top of the bridge, we craned our necks for a better view. And there it was, in all its extraordinary glory, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Marking the entrance to Abu Dhabi City Island, the mosque is visible from all three bridges into the capital, its location a symbolic expression of the emotional resonance it has in the hearts of UAE citizens. The final resting place of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, first president of the UAE, this monument is the crowning glory of his legacy. Ever present on the horizon – an alabaster metropolis in the daytime and an illuminated night-time icon – the mosque is more than a simple place of worship. A dream of the founding father of the nation, it took over 10 years to build and today stands as a place of learning, discovery, art and history, but most of all as a symbol of unity. The catalogue of countries that were involved in its construction reads something like a list of the United Nations. Sivec marble from Greece and Macedonia clads the exterior. Stonework comes courtesy of Italy, from a man renowned for his work in Saudi Arabia’s Mecca and Medina. Seven sparkling chandeliers were crafted in Germany and are decorated with stunning Italian glasswork and Austrian Swarovski crystals. The insides of the mosque’s domes display traditional Moroccan artwork and the Sahan features 37 shades of marble, originating from various parts of the world including Brazil and Italy. A representation of intermixed architectural influences, the structure combines Mamluk,

Words : Hayley Skirka Illustration : Tommy Parker 73


Weekends

World Traveller

Abu Dhabi

Six Reasons To Love ADFF

December 2016

Clockwise from top left: Matt Preston; SIAL; Graham Elliott; Street Feast; Adriano Zumbo; Street Feast

From celebrity chefs and street eats to cartoon characters and more, there’s plenty to get stuck into at this month’s Abu Dhabi Food Festival 1. Matt Preston The MasterChef Australia co-host and judge will be in town surprising visitors with pop-up appearances. As well as writing a weekly food column in Taste Magazine, Preston has judged all seven series of MasterChef Australia and is a favourite with fans. 2. SIAL The fastest-growing food, beverage and hospitality fair in the MENA region will also form part of ADFF this year. Running from 5 to 7 December, it’s set to bring together 900 exhibitors from 50 countries and over 15,000 visitors to 25,000 sq m of exhibition space at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. 3. Graham Elliot Elliot first burst onto the culinary stage as the youngest ever American chef to receive a four-

star award from a major publication. Since then, he’s been a regular on US shows like Iron Chef America, MasterChef and MasterChef Junior. He also heads up a couple of signature restaurants in his adoptive home of Chicago, and has his own show, Craziest Restaurants In America. Attend one of the colourful chef’s meet-and-greet sessions to be regaled by his exciting tales from the world of gourmet.

5. Adriano Zumbo Innovative Australian patissier and chef Zumbo – he of towering croquembouche fame – is also in town for ADFF. Best known for introducing MasterChef Australia contestants to his technically challenging desserts, he’s also recently launched a new show, Zumbo’s Just Desserts. Make sure you get this creative genius’ autograph on your cookbook.

4. Street Feast On the Food Festival menu once again, this popular interactive spectacle sees more than 60 food trucks from all across the globe make their way from Al Ain to the capital in a travelling foodie extravaganza. Freshly cooked street food, exciting international flavours, live entertainment, an outdoor cinema and impromptu performances are all the right ingredients for an amazing day out.

6. Family Fun All kinds of culinary fun will fill the 19 days of the festival – from desert-, sea- and sky-themed experiences to a gourmet golf tournament and a Fast Cars, Slow Food barbecue. Little ones will love Kitchen Missions, where they can cook alongside Dora the Explorer, the Ninja Turtles and SpongeBob SquarePants. ADFF runs across the emirate from 5 to 23 December. Find out more at visitabudhabi.ae

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World Traveller

Weekends

dnata Offers

December 2016

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Win!

Escape to a magical paradise with a three-night stay at the Seychelles’ Enchanted Island Resort

Competition

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e’ve found paradise and now you can too thanks to JA Resorts & Hotels, which is offering a stay for two at the gorgeous Enchanted Island Resort on Round Island. This hidden gem in the middle of the sparkling Indian Ocean is encircled by white sand, turquoise waves and tropical flora. Mother Nature certainly bestowed her blessings on the 115 islands that make up the Seychelles, generously dishing out topaz waters, verdant hills and white-ribbon beaches bordered by huge granite boulders. And Round Island was perhaps one of the luckiest recipients; exotic flowers, swaying coconut palms and lush greenery wait to greet the lucky few who retreat here. This luxurious hideaway offers just 10 exclusive villas, each boasting a private walkway to the beach, infinity pool, outdoor rain shower, private sundeck and inviting four-poster bed, making it ideal for romantic escapes. When it comes to dining, personalised culinary offerings filled with local produce are on offer, served in style at Bounty Restaurant. 79

December 2016

A sundowner to remember is yours for the taking at Castaway Bar, where you can also enjoy some serious stargazing as night falls. The hilltop spa is the perfect place to truly escape the hustle of daily life and a clifftop infinity pool promises unforgettable views. To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the following question: What’s the name of the island that the Enchanted Island Resort is located on?

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World Traveller

Suite Dreams

December 2016

Suite Dreams Our monthly finish with a flourish, delving into a unique suite whose character and style will set you apart

What: PRESIDENTIAL SUITE

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Where: Viceroy Snowmass, Aspen

ft suite is split over two levels and boasts four bedrooms. It also has a transitional kitchen, featuring wood and glass display cabinetry, Bosch appliances, marble countertops and a peninsula bar that opens into the living area and the spectacular views. Fusing a timeless Colorado sensibility with Viceroy’s own unique take on luxury, you’ll appreciate the serene ambience as soon as you step through the doors. And with two full decks and balconies for entertaining on, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to drinking in the scenic surroundings. The real highlight here is the ski-in, ski-out aspect of the Viceroy but there’s also plenty to do off-piste, in the Roaring Fork Valley, and staff are well versed in providing recommendations – you only have to ask. Back on site, take a dip in the pool, lounge in the hot tubs or just cosy up in your suite, sip on a hot cocoa and wonder at the extraordinary sight of towering snow-capped mountains right outside your window. viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/snowmass

n December 1967, Snowmass-At-Aspen opened with five chairlifts, 50 miles of ski trails and lift tickets costing just USD6.50. Today, it’s the best ski area in all of Colorado and, suffice it to say, lift tickets will cost you a little more. At the base of this mountain range lies Viceroy Snowmass, a gorgeous achievement of refined design, world-class lodging and forward-thinking environmental credentials. The penthouse Presidential Suite represents the crème de la crème of Aspen’s sojourning options. Elegant amenities and stylish interior décor by The Rockwell Group await, accompanied by truly breathtaking views of the exquisite mountain range. Expect a sleek, modern atmosphere with warm hues and refined textures, wood plank flooring and plush, oversized furniture. The perfect place for entertaining, the living space is complete with a cosy fireplace, custom wall coverings, lightcoloured drapes, a walnut wood table with starbust inlay and an island glass chandelier, sure to be a talking point. A skiers’ haven, the 3,474 sq 80


WH E R E W IS E M E N TU R N E D TH E DE S E R T GREEN you c an st ill fin d th eir a n c i e n t i r r i g a t i o n s y s t e m s , givin g life t o ac res of palm - frin ged t ran qu ili ty. Look u p an d you ’ll see t h e fru it of t h ose set t lers wh o m an aged t o brin g wa te r an d st ren gt h wh ere on c e t h ere was on ly san d.

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