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The Region’s BiggesT LuxuRy TR av eL Magazine

issue one hundred and six | February 2017

Couples’

Retreats Kenya, St Lucia, Malaysia and more – we’ve found the world’s most romantic spots

Produced in International Media Production Zone

AUCKLAND

Discover New Zealand’s shining star of a city

LApLAND

Feel the magic among snow-covered igloos and sparkling night skies

omAN

Exploring the Sultanate’s mountains just got a whole lot more luxurious

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9:28 9:28 AM AM TheThe moment moment youyou turned turned intointo a launch pad. thethe beach beach a launch pad. FromFrom the tranquil the tranquil beach, beach, breathtaking breathtaking sunsets sunsets and iconic and iconic architecture architecture to thetosumptuous the sumptuous flavours flavours of theofhotel’s the hotel’s diningdining venues, venues, Fairmont Fairmont Ajman Ajman offersoffers families families and couples and couples a a weekend weekend retreat retreat that is that simply is simply unforgettable. unforgettable.

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World Traveller

Welcome

February 2017

Editor’s Note February 2017 Issue one hundred and sIX

Managing Director Victoria Thatcher Editorial Director John Thatcher Group Commercial Director David Wade Managing Editor Emma Laurence Editor Hayley Skirka Art Director Andy Knappett Designer Emi Dixon Illustrations Adam Avery, Jacob Stead & Tommy Parker Business Development Manager Rabih El Turk rabih@hotmediapublishing.com +971 4 369 0915 Production Manager Muthu Kumar

Have there ever been two things more perfectly matched than travel and romance? I, for one, am not quite sure and neither is Danish novelist Peter Høeg, who said, “Travel tends to magnify all human emotions.” On that note, perhaps it’s no wonder that falling in love comes easy when you’re drinking in sweeping canyon vistas atop a mountain in Oman or snuggling under blankets gazing at piercing strikes of Northern Lights. This issue, World Traveller got to do both. With February being Valentine’s month, we’ve also been busy hunting down some truly epic destinations, places that will simply make you want to fall in love. From luxury tents on a riverbank in Kenya’s Maasai Mara, to an opulent villa stay in Mussolini’s former Italian abode, romance is almost guaranteed. Soaring above the clouds in hot-air balloons in California’s Napa Valley, or settling into a Caribbean sanctuary with the stage-like settings of St Lucia’s impressive Pitons, intoxicating escapades for two are just waiting to be discovered. Like love, travel gets under your skin and so does South Africa’s most-visited city. Dramatic, ever-changing landscapes and an ambience of effortless edge infused with pulsating nightlife and a culture overload, Cape Town is a tonic for romance – we let the locals divulge the city’s secrets. Elsewhere, dive into Como – the most spectaular of Italy’s great lakes – with our insider’s guide on page 19. And if you happen to be travelling solo this month, we’ve got some great inspiration. Shoot off to Amsterdam for a foodie-centric weekend of feasting, or pack your clubs and tee off on some of the world’s greatest golf courses; our travel expert has all the details on page 20. Locally, we’ve got a stylish travelogue around Abu Dhabi city and plenty of staycation suggestions across the GCC. Whatever your February holds, get out there and find the place that makes your heart beat faster.

Hayley Skirka

hayley@hotmediapublishing.com

Jun-Dec 2016 | 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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World Traveller

Contents

Contents

February 2017

P10-37

Feel the love this month with our pick of round-the-world destinations that boast their own magical romance on page 52

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Be Here Now................................................... p10 Beautifully blue and amazingly intricate, Chile’s Cuevas de Marmol is sure to impress, while Namibia’s desert wilderness is like nowhere else GloBetrotter.............................................. p15 We introduce the most recent addition to the Maldives, whizz through changing vistas by train, and sample fine dining with a side of crickets My City.............................................................. p19 Immerse yourself in the rich history and beauty of one of the world’s most romantic destinations, Italy’s Lake Como spotliGHt oN HaNoi.................................. p21 Exotic, overwhelming, hip and historical, be prepared for a sensory overload in Vietnam’s capital CHef’s top taBles...................................... p22 French food maestro Timothy Newton takes us from Paris to London, via San Fran and LA, sampling the world’s tastiest delights style & wellNess....................................... p25 Set off for a stylish stay in Prague or indulge in rose-petal baths in Venice – we’re all about the romance this month tHe loCals’ GUiDe to Cape towN....... p36 Dramatic, romantic, eccentric and effortlessly cool, we get the lowdown on South Africa’s most eclectic city 7


World Traveller

Contents

February 2017

P38-63

P66-80

Destinations

Weekends

discover auckland......................... p34 Straddling two harbours, New Zealand’s most culturally diverse city is thriving with shopping, dining and entertainment galore

one weekend for all.......................... p66 Sprawling and congested, Sri Lanka’s capital city makes up in charm and quirk what it lacks in obvious landmarks

lapland.................................................. p44 Amid icy landscapes, snow-covered pines, husky safaris and oodles of reindeer, we head off to meet Lapland’s most famous resident

48-Hour foodie........................................ p68 While gourmet cuisine isn’t something Amsterdam’s known for, the city is a surprising foodie gem where a hearty feed is never far away

couples' retreats........................... p52 From Kenya's rolling grasslands to Caribbean mountain resorts, love is guaranteed with our round-up of the world’s most romantic getaways

travel notes............................................ p70 Saddle up and come with us as we canter across Dubai’s crimson sands, taking in bright blue skies, ancient Ghaf trees and desert dunes

oman........................................................ p58 Hit new heights on Jabal Akhdar’s rugged slopes, where Arabian charm complements canyon ridges, wadi trenches and towering vistas

staycations............................................... p72 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


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Be Here xxxxNow

October 2016 February 2017

Be Here Now

Cuevas de Marmol, Chile Get ready to be impressed by the wonder that is Mother Nature in the XI region of wondrous Chilean Patagonia. Cuevas de Marmol is a mesmerising 6,000-year-old sculpture hewn by the crashing waves of Lake General Carrera. Intricately detailed and a geological formation of beauty, its surrounding cave network is just as enticing, dramatically reflecting the lake’s azure waters. Ringed by bright glaciers and mountains and unbelievably blue waters, far from any roads, these caves are only accessible by boat – but for the natural spectacle that awaits, it’s well worth the journey. 10


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Be Here Now

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February 2017


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October 2016 February 2017


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Be Here xxxxNow

October 2016 February 2017

Namib Desert, Namibia A sight as striking as it is eerie, Namibia’s vast desert effortlessly musters adjectives. Terrifying, sprawling, desolate, romantic, beautiful: this Southeast African titan is all of the above, and then some. With its almighty saffron-hued sands and sweltering blue skies, sequestered trees stand as if unnerving sentinels under a night sky heaving with stars. Stretching over 81,000 sq km, it was the setting for John Moore’s disaster movie Flight Of The Phoenix and the dystopian backdrop to 2015 blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road. One of the world’s oldest deserts, journey through its stricken landscape for front-row seats to the battle of nature’s colours, where deep-orange dunes grapple with bright-white mineral pans, red rocky outcrops and inky black shadows. 13


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World Traveller

Globetrotter

February 2017

Globetrotter it’s the month of love so we’re comparing lodgings in the City of light, introducing Myanmar’s most captivating locale and meandering across borders as we taste the romance of rail travel. here’s what’s hot in travel this month…

Introducing…

The ST. RegiS MaldiveS voMMuli ReSoRT

L

ove it or hate it, February is all about Valentine’s Day, and, in one of the most romantic destinations on the planet, what better time to introduce the newest addition to the world’s most beautiful archipelago. Amid the azure waters of the Indian Ocean and surrounded by swaying coconut palms, The St. Regis Maldives Vimmuli Resort is the brand’s first ever private island resort, and what a debut it is. Spread over lagoon, beach, coast and jungle, the 77 island and over-water villas, all with private pools, are scattered throughout these areas, each of which offers something unique. The lagoon boasts a water amphitheatre and The Iridium Spa; the beach has two signature waterfront restaurants; and the jungle houses a recreational centre and pop-up café. Beautifully designed with bespoke service, 15

those looking for all-out spectacular should book into the Astor Estate, the largest private villa in the entire country, covering 1,530 sq m. With a dedicated St. Regis Butler, a huge infinity pool, private fitness centre, minitheatre and dedicated spa suite, this is quite possibly paradise found. As well as endless castaway vistas, guests can enjoy the Blue Hole Pool, the Maldives’ largest heated seawater hydrotherapy pool, dine on gourmet street food in a restaurant fashioned from an old shipping container, and discover Vommuli House, the expansive integrated recreational area. Go shopping at the Boutique, picking up the latest in fashion and accessories, indulge in star-gazing at the observatory tower or check out the watersports centre for endless adventure on – or beneath – the crystal-clear waters.


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World Traveller

Globetrotter

February 2017

•Insider a big FaT gReeK aPPle If New York and Greece’s largest city have been on your visit list for a while, get set to smile as Emirates launches a daily service between Dubai and Newark, via Athens, starting from 12 March. The new route offers global travellers another convenient access point to the popular New York Metropolitan area and will be the only year-round, non-stop daily service between the United States and Greece. Travel in true comfort by flying premium – book into one of the fullyn enclosed first-class suites or hop onto one of 42 angled ( practically flat) business-class seats.

V S

Escape to the City of Love

Paris became the world’s most romantic city during the Belle Epoque, a title that it’s retained to this day… do you prefer a palatial retreat or a touch of the exotic? FouR SeaSonS hoTel geoRge v • What to expect? Originally built in 1928, immerse yourself in stunning history and whimsical architecture at this palace hotel with the most illustrious floral displays in the country. Rooms are fittingly palatial, with period furniture, heaps of marble and vast dressing rooms. Bring your corgi, furry friends are welcome. • Where? Just a mile from the Eiffel Tower – perhaps the most romantic landmark on earth – and steps from the Champs-Elysees, this is the golden triangle of Paris and you simply couldn’t be in a more romantic spot. Splurge on highend shopping, visit the Arc de Triomphe and wonder at history amid the Grand Palais. • Must-do? There’s nothing better than French fare, and Le Cinq is one of the city’s best thanks to chef Christian Le Squer. Settle into the beautiful La Galerie, where you can share some bubbles and feed one another home-made pastries from the elegant dessert cart accompanied by the sound of the resident pianist. fourseasons.com/paris

hoTel MaiSon SouqueT • What to expect? A magical Moulin Rouge moment in this exotic abode that brings to life one of the most lavish pages in the history of Paris. With just 20 rooms, expect beds garnished with lush drapes and rare silk, boudoir-style seating, tasselled lampshades and ornate mirrors – if romance is the order of the day, this place has you covered. • Where? Just a short walk from the rebuilt original Moulin Rouge cabaret, this hotel is on the street where Emile Zola lived, discreetly hidden behind an understated façade signalled by two red lanterns in the shopping, sightseeing and restaurant hub of Paris. • Must-do? The Reading Room, with its hidden bar, monumental fireplace and rich woodwork, is a must-dine and the hotel’s Secret Spa – exclusively for guests who know to request the key – boasts a sparkling ceiling decorated with golden stars that shimmer above the swimming pool. Also check out the Musée national Gustave Moreau, a few minutes away. maisonsouquet.com 16

• Culture bedouin aRTS The word Bedouin conjures up various images of shifting sands, flowing robes and long, loping strides of camels, but the culture is about so much more. The largest collection of Bedouin artefacts outside the Middle East is on display at Florida’s Ruth Funk Center of Textile Arts from now until 29 April. With more than 50 pieces including elaborately embroidered textiles and embellished metalwork, as well as several photographs, learn how the ancient people of Arabia embraced family life, craftsmanship and the arts amid the harsh conditions of the desert at this fascinating exhibit in America’s sunshine state.


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World Traveller

Globetrotter

February 2017

Three ways to… Ride the rails

Whether thundering across Mongolian wilderness or threading through the heart of Europe, it’s time to take it slow with everchanging vistas and the sheer romance of rail Trans-Siberian Swim in glacial lakes, wonder at Mongolian wilderness and immerse yourself in history on the world’s greatest railway journey. Running at a whopping 9,290 km, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains will whisk you from Moscow to Vladivostok aboard a beautifully designed train where your private suite also comes with a personal cabin attendant to ensure that you and your loved one want for nothing.

Venice Simplon-Orient Express Travel through continental Europe as you relive the nostalgic age of rail travel from London to Venice via Paris, the Alps and the Venetian Lagoon. Don your finery and allow the white-gloved stewards to welcome you aboard this vintage sleeping train, complete with socialite bar car, resident pianist and caviar-heavy dining menus. Whizz across the world’s most romantic continent in sheer style. 17

Eastern & Oriental Express Soar past gleaming pagodas and lush tea plantations, and catch glimpses of ancient village life aboard Belmond’s colonial-style train. Cosy up in your private lounge on a banquette-style sofa, and enjoy how your cabin transforms into a plush bedroom by night as you pass the colours of Singapore, roll through southern Malaysian countryside and trundle into Thailand and all the drama of Bangkok.


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Globetrotter

February 2017

• Food for thought ThinK CRiCKeTS Need more protein in your diet? Then don’t let the idea of eating insects bug you as the foodie news of the moment is surprisingly much more crispy than it is crawly Azul Condesa, Mexico City In stylish Condesa in Mexico City, this buzzing restaurant offers attentive service, fine dining and grasshopper guacamole. Tasty and nutritious, expect a grittier, meatier-tasting avocado-based dip with a smoky undercurrent that goes perfectly with freshly baked tortillas. D.O.M, Sao Paolo When DJ and chef Alex Atala visited Sao Gabriel das Cachoeiras in a remote Amazon state, an old woman offered him a bowl of ants to snack on. Pleasantly surprised by their gingerlike taste, he added the item to the menu at Sao Paolo’s stylish D.O.M, one of the world’s best restaurants. Archipelago, London While Brits aren’t known for their adventurous eating habits, this spot on central London’s Cleveland Street is renowned for being a place to taste the exotic. The award-winning eatery serves up delicious creepy crawlies with the menu featuring dishes such as worm faux caviar and crispy chilli and garlic crickets.

• App Wannago Add to your travel wish list with free app WannaGo, which helps you build and organise your visit lists by city. While it’s still a little hin on the ground in places, this app has potential. Your must-visit spots are stashed on your profile page along with lists you follow from the app’s dedicated Tastemakers, who are based in cities across North America, Europe and the Middle East. Get it on Google Play or the Apple store.

• Insider The M SCene Just five minutes from the world’s tallest building, the four-star M Hotel Downtown By Millennium – formerly the Radisson Blu Downtown – has opened its doors as the first of the M Hotel Brand in the UAE.

• Going up in the world anCienT WondeRS Where? Yangon, Myanmar. Why? Currently one of the most exciting places to be in all of Myanmar, Yangon – formerly Rangoon – is on the up, with serious investment across the country and new direct flights from Nepal’s Kathmandu. What? Reaping the benefits of Myanmar’s recent political and economic liberalisation, buildings that were once decaying and monuments that were crumbling are being spruced up, and there’s an entire influx of new 18

restaurants, bars and shops coupled with aweinspiring scenic views (that have been around for centuries, of course). Where to stay? In the heart of the city, the Sule Shangri-La is perfectly located; go for a Club Suite for sweeping Yangon views. Tuck into Burmese eats at Summer Palace restaurant and then step outside – you’ll be at the centre of the action, with Bogoyko Market, China Town and Yangon’s colonial buildings all within walking distance. Just a few minutes’ drive away, the National Museum and Kandawgyi Lake await your visit.


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World Traveller

February 2017

My City

My City

Como, Italy

OsvaldO Presazzi

The executive chef at Grand Hotel Tremezzo spills the secrets of this northern Italian beauty spot with all its lakeshore finery

C

omo is rich in history and beauty, making it an ideal holiday destination for anyone with a thirst for exploration and sightseeing. First up, I recommend a trip to Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo. This gorgeous residence was built at the end of the 17th century and is famous for its botanical garden decorated with sculptures, ancient stairs and fountains. Lake Como is actually bursting with spectacular residences, another of which is nearby and worth a visit. Situated at the tip of a peninsula jutting into the lake, Villa del Balbianello is quite cinematic, and was used as a filming location for the James Bond movie Casino Royale, as well as Star Wars II: Attack Of The Clones. Across the lake from Tremezzo lies the town of Bellagio – often considered the Pearl of Lake Como, it boasts gorgeous views backed dramatically by the towering Alps. This entire region is known for its cuisine, and some of my favourite places to dine are in typical mountain grottoes. These are natural

cavities that were once used to store food and beverages, but have now been transformed into unique restaurants. Booking into any one of them guarantees a great experience and really helps you connect with part of Como’s past that gourmands definitely shouldn’t miss out on. Artists and culture vultures will be equally enraptured by Como’s past. Thanks to its Latin origins, the lake has inspired many writers including Plinio il Vecchio and has been an elite tourist destination since the 17th century. Renowned artists and composers – such as Liszt, Bellini, Rossini, Verdi and Wagner – all resided here. Happily, the city has preserved all that charm and glamorous La Dolce Vita atmosphere to this very day. If you happen to be here in summer, make sure you take in the Lake Como Film Festival, which has been growing in popularity since it started in 2013. Presented in a beautiful open-air setting, it showcases a plethora of international films with Lake Como as a very apt backdrop. 19

If fashion is your forte, I would recommend a stroll downtown, where narrow lanes are full of local artisan shops and a unique, historic atmosphere pervades. Fashion and heritage go hand in hand here thanks to Como’s long history and tradition of silk production – something that has been in existence here for over 4,000 years. A wonderful place to buy local silk is the ivy-entwined Villa Sucota; the upstairs boutique here simply brims with all sorts of beautiful handmade crafts made by the Ratti silk company. Personally, one of my best-loved activities in Lake Como is walking. A favourite route is through the Greenway – a leisurely, pleasant walk of around 10km that will lead you from Colonno to Cadenabbia. It follows traces of the Antica Strada Regina – an antique connection road – and passes through Tremezzo. On Lake Como and in the surrounding province, it’s easy to find beauty and peace for the soul, no matter where you look.


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World Traveller

February 2017

Ask The Expert

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 the mountains, to experience bright-blue sky. Stay overnight and make the most of the sheer tranquillity at Rooms Kasbegi. Of course, if you have more time and need some real moments of inspiration, then there are some great packages to Kerala and Goa in India. Go for a full immersion at the amazing Como Shambhala resort in Bali, or get the year off to a great start with an early vacation and travel to Orlando and Walt Disney World, the happiest place on earth.

Q. A.

Kerala, India

Q. A.

Where’s a good travel pick for some cheering up this month? This time of year often seems to drag on with the festive season long gone and an extended stretch till that coveted first long weekend in April. And that makes now a great time to book an extra day off work at the weekend, head out of town and just stop, breathe and reset your mind and body, giving yourself a little perk-up before the holidays roll around again. In this part of the world, there’s plenty you can do with a long weekend, and now is a great time to get out and explore the inner regions of the GCC. Venture inland to the Al Wadi Desert in Ras Al Khaimah. Recently taken over by RitzCarlton, and with a fantastic new general manager by the name of Amit, it really is a wonderful place to stop and reconnect with yourself in the stunning spa or a private

villa. You can also bond with nature, as brightlycoloured feathered friends and Arabian oryxes stroll nonchalantly around. Slightly further afield, take advantage of our close proximity to the Maldives and experience the amazing bright and energizing over-water villas at the Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. Totally refurbished over the past 12 months, enjoy brand-new private pools and awesome relaxation areas right on the edge of clear blue waters. Add to this that it’s a boutique island, with great service and amazing food, and relaxation is practically guaranteed. If you fancy forgetting the past and trying something new then why not combine a bit of a city experience with the clean open mountains of Georgia? Enjoy a wintry night by the fire in Rooms Tbilisi, strolling the streets and possibly venturing into the hammams of the old city, before heading to Kasbegi, high in 20

For keen golfers, what are some of the best destinations right now? This is an interesting question – and one I’ve had to get a friend’s input on – as golf is not my forte. In the GCC, and especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi, there are a number of very good courses, but I understand that there is nothing more fun than trying out new and challenging golf courses around the world. A great place to play at the moment is South Africa, especially around Cape Town and the Western Cape – and, with the current exchange rate, it’s also very economical. Resorts such as Conrad Pezula offer amazing courses and stunning views as well as wonderful hospitality. If you fancy something really quite different, then the courses at Punta Mita in Mexico are second to none with a few daring holes to try, including one on an island in the midst of the Pacific. Add to this stunning sunsets and the luxury of having the Four Seasons and The St. Regis Punta Mita on-site, and you can enjoy amazing golf in a destination that’s guaranteed to keep even non-golfers very happy. Mexico isn’t close so it may be a good idea to try out some other courses when travelling so far. Cypress Point Club at Pebble Beach in California is a must on most keen golfers’ lists, again with some stunning views and trying holes. If you’re willing to wait a while for the weather to improve, it’s difficult to beat Scotland and Ireland for some of the best resorts in the world. Not only are they great for play, but they’re steeped in history and have great recently-upgraded accommodation options. Head to the birthplace of golf at gorgeous St Andrews or make a beeline for Royal County Down in Northern Ireland. For all these trips and more, dnata can help so log on to dnatatravel.com, visit one of our stores or call us on +971 800 dnata


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World Traveller

February 2017

Spotlight On

Spotlight On

HANOI Vietnam’s capital is a sensory overload kind of place where ancient architecture, age-old traditions and vibrant street life synchronise beautifully

• eat and drink Highway 4 This place began life as a no-frills distillery in the late Nineties. Named after the road that connects the city with its mountain country to the north (where many of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities live), it quickly garnered popularity with locals and tourists alike. Serving up traditional country-style cuisine amid authentic Vietnamese surrounds, dishes are complemented by plenty of local herbs. Go for the catfish spring rolls, or try one of the daily specials, which always come highly recommended.

Pho Thin On tree-lined Lo Duc in the historic French Quarter of the city, squeeze onto the wooden benches in this tiny eatery that dates back to 1979 and be prepared to taste some of the best pho in all of Vietnam. Bowls of steaming broth flow from the kitchen piled high with shreds of meat, delicate green onion and lots of garlicky goodness. Make like the locals and add a squirt of lime, pickled chillies and hot sauce in this family-run eatery that will keep your wallet heavy. Pots n Pans If you want to splash out, then a visit to this well-frequented spot makes sense. Taking Vietnamese cooking and doing it differently is the motto at this fine-dining fusion that blends methods from the east and west. It’s pricier than a lot of other eateries but the open kitchen is staffed mostly by alumni of KOTO – a Hanoi non-profit initiative that prepares former street kids for careers in the world of hospitality. Try the vegetarian cannelloni or go for the beautiful braised duck – you won’t be disappointed. • Stay Hilton Hanoi Opera In trendy Hoan Kiem, this hotel certainly has the wow factor thanks to its marvellous old-world architecture. Right next door to the Opera House, it’s smack bang in the centre of the city and exudes a faux-colonial elegance that blends well with its neoclassical neighbour. Great service, spacious rooms and an excellent Vietnamese restaurant make this a good choice for your stay in the City of Lakes.

Sofitel Legend Metrople Hanoi A historic luxury landmark since 1901, this place evokes feelings of glamorous bygone eras thanks to its grand persona. For something different, explore the hotel’s recently discovered wartime bomb shelter. Otherwise, dine in Spices Garden for fine examples of Vietnamese specialities.

• See and do Explore the French Quarter A world away from the chaos of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, this area is all wide-open streets, majestic buildings and tree-lined promenades. Easy to walk around, start at the statue of Ly Thai To and head east along Le Thach Street. Be impressed at the grand government buildings, then marvel at the imposing Opera House, where you might be lucky enough to catch a performance. The National Museum of Vietnamese History is also well worth a visit and just around the corner is the Army Hotel, where the swimming pool is open to the public. Finish up with a scoop of Hanoi’s most famous ice cream, Trang Tien, at the bottom of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Cross the Red Bridge Peaceful and quiet, Hoan Kiem Lake surrounds Ngoc Son Temple, a pagoda that sits proudly on a small central island. One of the city’s most visited sites, it was built in commemoration of the 13th-century military leader Trang Huan Dao who was known for his bravery in his battle against the Yuan Dynasty. The island that the temple is built on is called Jade Island 23

and is accessible via the iconic Huc Bridge, a scarlet-hued wooden bridge that’s a must for photo opps. Explore the temple on the other side then sit back and watch the locals.

Discover the Old Quarter If you want to get a real feel of Hanoi’s history, then the Old Quarter is a must-visit. Let yourself be immersed in the hustle, bustle, colour and noise as you wander ancient streets. Take a walk through Dong Xuan Market to see locals going about their daily business and haggle for interesting souvenirs. Take a seat on one of the small plastic chairs on the sidewalk and tuck into tasty street food at next-tonothing prices, and don’t miss the colourful water puppet show, a tradition that dates back thousands of years. • don’t MiSS Every year on 3 February, the streets of Hanoi are draped in red as the city celebrates the anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party. Expect parades, music and celebrations with all houses facing the main streets hanging giant national flags – making it a great photo opportunity.


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Chef’s Top Tables

February 2017

There are now Hakkasans all over the world, but this one on Hanway Place is the original

Chef’s Top Tables: Timothy Newton

Timothy Newton is the man behind the eatery that kick-started Dubai’s love affair with French food. Now at the helm of chic Parisian-style café Bagatelle, he details some of the restaurants around the globe that live up to his supremely high standards • The Wolseley, london Order: The roast loin of venison with parsnip purée and redcurrant jus Definitely a bucket-list restaurant, this space is amazing, with grand columns and truly first-class food in a fusion of European sophistication and London heritage. Delight in the buzz of conversation, the chink of crockery and the eclectic menu, which is always bang-on. With up to 1,000 diners a day, they’re definitely doing something right here. No matter what time of day you visit, there’s always something delicious on offer; non-meateaters will love the additional vegetarian menu. Breathtakingly grand but never intimidating, it’s a must-visit. • Tommy’s JoynT, san Francisco Order: The pastrami sandwich An institution in San Fran, this family-owned place has been feeding hungry folks for over 70 years. One of the most distinctive eateries in the city, the exterior and rooftop are covered in colourful murals, neon signs and flags. Inside, the walls are chock-full of American memorabilia, road signs, stuffed animal heads, coasters, photographs and autographs of famous patrons. One of the best buffets for hot sandwiches that I’ve ever tasted, they

roast all their meat on site every day. A cosy neighbourhood atmosphere with great eats: what’s not to love? • hakkasan, london Order: The legendary dim-sum selection There are now Hakkasans all over the world, but this one on Hanway Place is the original. Expect classy Cantonese food, superb service and a beautifully designed dining room – the work of French interiors maestro Christian Liagrie. The sleek décor and cool lighting make this a great place to both eat and socialise, and the menu is full of exciting fusions of Chinese fare tapered to suit Western tastes. Under the watch of head chef Tong Chee Hwee, who has been with the brand since its inception, the open-plan kitchen adds a touch of theatrical drama as diners can survey the creative energy of the chefs at work. • animal, los angeles Order: The foie-gras biscuit, smothered in gravy Known for its meaty offerings, this somewhat aptly named restaurant on the coolest street in LA is a dream come true for the carnivorousminded. Fairfax is to LA what the Lower East Side is to Manhattan, just with added palm 24


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Chef's Top Tables

February 2017 Left: Hakkasan’s legendary dim sum

trees, and Animal’s sparsely decorated room in the heart of it certainly pulls in the coolest customers. Headed up by celebrity chefs Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook, the menu is creative, the portions decadent, and the staff suitably informed. Serving up consistently nearperfect dishes, if you want to get in on the action here be sure to book ahead. • Tour d’argenT, Paris Order: The pressed duck with rich cherry sauce As well as being the oldest restaurant in Paris, this spot has a special place in my heart, as it’s where I had my first real restaurant experience as a youngster. Nestled between the River Seine and the Bernardins Monastery, it was built in Renaissance style and first opened back in 1582. For over 60 years now, the restaurant has brought in exclusively reared ducks from the marshlands of the Vendee region in a tradition that dates back to the reign of Philip IV of Spain in 1650. Its classically timeless design pairs beautifully with fantastic views of the city, but it’s the food that ensures this place is wholly deserving of its outstanding reputation. 25


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February 2017

Style & Wellness

Style & Wellness prague’s winding streets, venice’s pastelshaded palazzi and paris, the city of love. This month we’re embracing wellness with a healthy dose of romance and wanderlust

Style-Savvy Local DINA GHANDOUR Founder of yApparel – the Middle East’s first yoga and active wear boutique – Dina talks us through the secrets of the UAE’s capital

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The Power Of Love It’s all about amour this month as Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so pamper your other half with something special. From rose-petal baths to vitality pools, we shortlist three romantic treatments totally worth travelling for love in… paris What could be more romantic than escaping to the City of Love? This February, the Mandarin Oriental, Paris is pulling out all the stops to ensure love stays in the air. Couples can book in for a pampering Treat for Two retreat at the hotel’s award-winning spa, where, in a private suite decorated for the occasion with candles and flowers, you can take your pick from one of the spa’s 80-minute body or facial treatments. Afterwards, round off the indulgent experience with a complimentary couple’s vitality-pool bath, beauty-care treatment or hand massage, accompanied by strawberries, chocolates and a glass of bubbles. love in… venice In undoubtedly one of the most romantic cities in Europe, taste the love for yourself with a stay at Boscolo Venezia, where you’ll find all the ingredients for the perfect Valentine’s getaway – starting with free couples’ access to the hotel spa. Enjoy a Turkish bath for two

followed up by a rejuvenating hydromassage and, later, a candlelit dinner. The floating city makes a wonderful backdrop for continuing the tone – take a private gondola ride on the splendid Grand Canal before getting lost down Venice’s intimate alleyways and taking in the famous Rialto Bridge, a postcard-perfect icon of romance the world over. love in… Dubai Things move at lightning pace in the bustling emirate of Dubai so make this the month you take some time out to celebrate love. Head to Taj Dubai, in the heart of Business Bay, and ease away your tensions and enjoy the luxury of togetherness at the hotel’s Jiva Spa. Traditional Indian aromatherapy massages will transport you both to a relaxed state of mind in a luxurious spa room beautifully lit by candles. Afterwards, enjoy a private couple’s rose-petal bath, inspired by the ancient wellness heritage of India and the centuriesold culture of Indian healing therapies. 27

was born in Abu Dhabi so there’s a history and nostalgia about the city that’s really close to my heart. I love that it’s easy to get around, has many gorgeous beaches and is actually quite a humble place, something I find quite refreshing in this region. When people think of Abu Dhabi, they often think that it’s quiet – that’s true to an extent, and it’s one of the things that, for me, makes the city so endearing. If you’re planning a trip to the capital of the UAE sometime soon, I would highly recommend starting your day with breakfast at Café Arabia – here you can tuck into simple yet modern Middle Eastern fare in an eclectic, art-gallery-meets-villastyle setting. Afterwards, pop over to Saadiyat Island for the afternoon and spend some time on its beautiful white sandy beaches. While there, if art is your thing, perhaps make a quick stop at Manarat Saadiyat, where you can check out the truly fantastic art exhibits. If you’re looking for a souvenir to take home, head to the Lebanese Roaster and pick up a delicious bag of Arabic coffee. The one thing you must do is the tour of The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – it’s a true artistic, architectural and cultural masterpiece. As night falls, head back into town and make a beeline for Asia de Cuba, a lovely spot on the Corniche where you can tuck into great food with fantastic vibes and entertainment. Afterwards, wind down with a wander over to the old vegetable market at Mina Port. Order a sweet Karak tea, then simply watch the traders bustling around as they bring in produce for the next day’s market. Having taken the plunge to start my own company a few years ago, I’m always looking for brands that are unique and that tell a different story, and I think there are parallels between that mantra and the authentic vibe of Abu Dhabi.


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Style & Wellness

February 2017

What to pack for... A weekend of romance in Prague Ensure you have all the ingredients for a Valentine’s escape to remember with this Tumi Tegra Lite Large Trip Packing Case (saksfifthavenue.com). Wander the city of a hundred spires in style in what is easily one of Europe’s most romantic destinations.

1. Panama leather notebook, USD80, Smythson 2. Luango watch, USD315, Larsson & Jennings 3. Cashmere cardigan, USD260, Vince 4. Striped sweatshirt, USD260, A.P.C. Atelier de Production et de Création 5. Loose pocket clutch, USD230, Anya Hindmarch 6. Milan III sunglasses, USD255, Illesteva 7. Printed scarf, USD390, Gucci 8. Prague: A Novel by Arthur Phillips, USD25 at Amazon 28


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Style & Wellness

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9. Heart earrings, USD249, Alison Lou 10. Buly 1803 Pommade Virginale face cream, USD44 11. Embellished leather gloves, USD667, Gucci 12. Nars Matte Lipstick in Sarah Moon, USD23 13. Nars Audacious Mascara, USD23 14. Play Red Eau de Toilette, USD74, Comme Des Gardons Parfums 15. Rock Candy Lollipop necklace, USD2,250, Ippolita. All at Net-A-Porter unless otherwise stated 29


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February 2017

It’s the most magical place to experience a Valentine’s dinner of oysters, caviars and delicious desserts under a canopy of twinkling stars

In The Name Of Love

This Valentine’s Day, spoil your loved one in the stunning surrounds of Anantara The Palm Dubai

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et on the eastern crescent of Dubai’s iconic Palm Jumeirah, the distinct personality of this retreat is apparent from the moment you arrive, and are met by the sight of shimmering water and Thai-inspired tiered roofs. Anticipate an all-round Far Eastern aura: the ideal setting for a dose of soul-nourishing wellness and romance. They say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach and you can rest assured that at this haven, it’s an effortless assignment. Mekong is the perfect spot for an evening of romance – indulge in authentic Eastern recipes at rickshaw-style seating and oriental tables, or reserve the discreet private dining room for a truly intimate celebration. As well as dishes to remember, all the little touches truly set the bar for romance – from chic décor and beautiful flowers to complimentary chocolates, every last detail has been taken care of so all that’s left for you and your loved one to do is sit back and enjoy. For something extra special, Flavours of the Ocean by Dining by Design offers an enchanting Arabian atmosphere at a private sweetheart table on the beach overlooking the gorgeous Palm Jumeirah. It’s the most magical place to experience a Valentine’s dinner of

oysters, caviars and delicious desserts under a canopy of twinkling stars – surely a moment to treasure forever. If your love is more laid-back, then perhaps Bushman’s is the place to be. An authentic menu peppered with the flavours of the outback awaits, and where better to tuck in than by the cosy fire pit; settle in and snuggle up for an evening of delicious eats and fantastic company. For the ultimate in romance, why not book in for an overnight stay in luxurious privacy. A content night’s sleep and seclusion can be found in each of the 293 tastefully furnished rooms and villas. Go for one of the only overwater villas in the UAE, with a clear-glass panel that reveals sparkling crystal-clear blue waters below. Start your morning with a lavish breakfast overlooking the infinity pool, spend the day relaxing on the pristine white beach and then head to the Anantara spa, where the promise of inner peace is achieved through melting massages, foam baths and therapeutic Thai and Arabian traditions. Discover true indulgence and get closer to those you love with a romantic stay at Anantara The Palm Dubai. dubai-palm.anantara.com 30


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February 2017

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WORLD TRAVELLER

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Jordan

shangri-la bosphorus, istanbul 3 nights from USD425 per person Special offer: 22% discount on room rate, guaranteed upgrade to Deluxe City View Room, plus 2 children under 12 stay and eat free Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Atrium View Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now ’til 10 Apr 2017

marriott sharm el sheikh resort 3 nights from USD105 per person Special offer: 30% discount on room rate, plus 2 children under 6 stay and eat for free; children aged 6-12 stay for free and get 50% discount on dining Includes: Stay in a Mountain Side Garden View Room with breakfast Validity: Now ’til 10 Apr 2017

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A romantic check-in right on the waterfront.

Steps from Naama Bay, this is perfect for all the family.

The tallest building in Jordan, with sleek designs and epic views. 32

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constance ephelia 3 nights from USD835 per person Special offer: 25% discount on room rate Includes: 3 nights’ stay in a Junior Suite inclusive of breakfast and dinner daily, plus return airport transfers Validity: Now ’til 31 Mar 2017 On two of the most beautiful beaches of Mahé, surrounded by gorgeous gardens and shimmering lagoons.


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kurumba maldives 4 nights from USD378 per person Special offer: Stay 3 nights and receive a complimentary night and dolphin cruise Includes: 4 nights’ stay in a Superior Room with breakfast daily and return speedboat transfers Validity: Now ’til 10 Apr 2017 A tropical island paradise blessed with pristine white beaches and coconut palms.

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Thailand

sheraton grande bangkok 3 nights from USD320 per person Special offer: Stay 2 nights and receive an additional night and complimentary butler service Includes: 3 nights’ stay in a Superior Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now ’til 10 Apr 2017 In the bustling capital, this luxury abode is perfect for navigating Bangkok’s treasures.

Phuket island’s best-kept secret. 33

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swiss-belinn legian, bali 3 nights from USD97 per person Special offer: 10% discount on room rate Includes: 3 nights’ stay in a Deluxe Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now ’til 31 Mar 2017 A good hub for visiting Legian’s famous entertainment hubs and the popular Seminyak beach, where the waves and sunset truly captivate.


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February 2017

dnata Offers

Clockwise from top: Sofitel Munich Baverpost; The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo; Radisson Blu Disneyland Paris; The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur

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From the magic of Disney to the awe of Tokyo, Munich’s fairy-tale castles and Malaysia’s wondrous twin towers, this month it’s all about fantasy

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Germany

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Malaysia

radisson blu disneyland paris

sofitel munich baverpost hotel

3 nights from USD415 per person Special offer: 20% discount on room rate Includes: Stay in a Standard Room with breakfast and lunch or dinner, plus return airport transfers Validity: Now ’til 10 Apr 2017

3 nights from USD430 per person Special offer: 15% discount on room rate and kids’ welcome amenities in room Includes: Stay in a Superior Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now ’til 10 Apr 2017

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The Locals’ Guide

February 2017

The Locals’ Guide To...

Cape Town A colourful fusion of a place where culture, cuisine and effortless cool come together, South Africa’s oldest city is well worth the trip

olivia davidson French style and image consultant and founder of stylemanagement.co.za

johan eddie Executive at Bicycle CPT – a community-generated campaign to promote cycling through Cape Town

Beautifully eclectic

Cultural wonders

• The city’s best shopping secret? The recently revamped Watershed at the V&A waterfront is a local market housed in a former industrial shed that promotes local artists and offers a diverse selection of beautifully crafted, unique designs in jewellery, clothing, art and ceramics.

• What’s the most exciting cultural thing in the city? There’s so much culture here but one of the most touching and interesting things to see is the District Six Museum. The place tracks a community that began as a mixture of merchants, artisans, labourers, immigrants and former slaves, and was then torn to pieces by the government who declared it a ‘white’ area and forced over 60,000 people from their homes.

Having lived in Cape Town since 2003, Olivia knows the best-kept secrets when it comes to style in the city

• To avoid tacky souvenirs, what would you recommend buying as a memento of a visit to Cape Town? Locally produced creams made from Rooibos, an indigenous plant to the Western Cape. • What’s the street style like in Cape Town? Cape Town has a very relaxed, almost ‘beachy’ style first and foremost, but it is also at times very eclectic and colourful. The city’s diverse food scene is also reflected in the fashion industry with a regular influx of new boutiques and big international labels setting up shop. • Any local designers we should know about? Lara Klawikowski’s designs are highly unusual, intricate yet imminently wearable, and beautifully made in her Cape Town studio where she produces both a couture and a readyto-wear collection. Her bridal designs are also amazing. • What’s the city’s most stylish restaurant? There’s something to suit all occasions, from fine dining at Michelin-starred restaurants in Constantia, Stellenbosch or Franschoek, to casual meals in the city centre. One of the newest additions is Villa 47 – set across three levels, each one offers a different experience and it’s one of the more fashionable places to go. • Tell us something that only the locals know? The Thursday-night summer market at Cape Point Vineyards in the seaside town of Noordhoek offers spectacular views of mountains, beach and glorious sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean; a great place to soak up the atmosphere with a sundowner and some local market fare.

Johan takes time out from riding bicycles to reveal Cape Town’s historic side

• Is there anything that visitors are surprised by when it comes to culture in Cape Town? I’m not sure about surprised, but something that always delights visitors is Bo-Kaap. On the slopes of Signal Hill, not only does this place have some of the best views in the city, it is famous for its different brightly coloured houses and quaint cobbled streets. • What’s the art scene like in the city? Thriving. Visit the country’s premier art museum, the South African National Gallery: with collections of South African, African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art and regularly changing showcases, there’s always something new to see. Whatiftheworld is an up and coming spot showcasing contemporary African installations, drawings, sculpture and more. • If readers only had 24 hours in the city, what would you recommend they do or see for a culture fix? As well as enjoying Cape Town’s great food and drinks, be sure to visit the Castle of Good Hope – this place has been the centre of Capetonian life since 1666. Also check what’s showing at Theatre on the Bay at Camps Bay. Intimate and charming, you can catch a great mix of local and international performances as well as tuck into delicious eats at the Act Theatre Café. For something a bit more sobering, The Iziko Slave Lodge is one of the oldest buildings in the city and offers an essential look at the origins of South Africa, the country’s history of slavery and its impact on South African culture. 36


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February 2017

The Locals’ Guide

I’m not sure about surprised, but something that always delights visitors is Bo-Kaap

jessica stafford Founder of jessicastaffordstudio.com (@jessbinxx)

Lekker eats

Travel and lifestyle enthusiast Jess takes us on a tour of Cape Town’s foodie finds • Where’s your go-to restaurant in Cape Town? One of my favourite restaurants is in the southern suburbs of Cape Town, a place called Starlings. It’s an old house that’s been turned into a rustic eatery with a lush back garden, too. They serve an amazing eggs benedict and a mean flat white. I also love Solo Restaurant. • What are your in-the-know spots? Head out into the uplands for Asian-inspired cuisine at Delaire Graff’s Inochine restaurant. If you’re visiting on a summer’s day, try The Grand Café. And for artisan ice cream, Unframed Ice Cream on Kloof Street is a must. Try their unique flavours – like jasmine, rice and lemongrass, or coconut and raspberry. • What’s trending food-wise in Cape Town right now? Burgers, tapas, a growing coffee culture and stuffed donuts at Jason’s bakery on Bree Street or My Sugar in Sea Point. • The hottest area in town? Bree Street for First Thursdays where, on the first Thursday of every month, restaurants host open galleries and exclusive entertainment. • What’s the city’s most stylish restaurant? There are so many great places that it’s hard to pick just one but I do love Giulio’s Café on Loop Street. • And the must-try local food? Make sure you have a Gatsby – a foot-long roll filled with ‘slap’ chips, masala, your choice of meat, cheese, garnish and eggs. Others include sweet spiral koeksisters, biltong, fish and ‘slap’ chips – try the latter at Kalky’s restaurant or the famous Fish on the Rocks.

V&A Waterfront

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• Tell us one thing about Cape Town that only a local would know? When you stop at robots (traffic lights) you can buy fruit, windscreen wipers, ornaments, paintings, phone chargers, T-shirts, sunglasses and even vuvuzelas.


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Destinations

Discover Auckland

Discover... Auckland

Framed by two harbours, Auckland is a city blessed with fantastic shopping, dining and culture, encircled by the rugged beauty of wild beaches, lush rainforest and the glistening Haruaki Gulf

Sky Tower Impossible to miss, this imposing structure stands as a symbol of Auckland’s skyline and, at 328m, is the southern hemisphere’s tallest landmark. Shoot 40 floors up on a whizztastic elevator journey, then gaze at the city below through the glass floor. Spectacular lighting makes the icon even more impressive at night. For the daredevils among you, SkyWalk – a terrifying stroll around the outside halo of the tower – and SkyJump – a thrilling 11-second, 85km/h wire base leap – are also on offer.

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Destinations

Discover Auckland

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February 2017


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Destinations

Discover Auckland

One Tree Hill Maungakiekie, or One Tree Hill, is an Auckland landmark that was erected for the city’s centenary celebrations in 1940. It was part of a bequest from Sir John Logan Campbell (one of the city’s founders) to commemorate his admiration for the Māori people. The famous nearby pine tree was actually removed in 2001, after it was damaged by Māori activists who believed an exotic tree was inappropriate for the site.

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Destinations

Discover Auckland

February 2017

Waiheke Island A haven of picturesque vineyards, stunning vistas and white sandy beaches, this island is a short 35-minute ferry ride from the centre of Auckland and boasts pristine natural beauty, an overriding sense of tranquillity and a unique character. Packed full of art galleries and craft boutiques, there’s also plenty of places to enjoy a good cup of coffee or dine on New Zealand’s fresh Pacific Rim cuisine while looking out over vine-covered valleys to the blue sea beyond.

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Destinations

Discover Auckland

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Discover Auckland

Record breaker

Qatar Airways has launched the world’s longest nonstop flight, departing daily from Doha to Auckland on a Boeing 777, meaning a visit to the City of Sails has never been easier. To book, head to qatarairways.com

Point Chevalier Beach While it may not be the prettiest of all New Zealand’s beaches, this stretch in West Auckland is a great spot for a day out. Bring the kids and have a picnic on the sand, or take the plunge into the clear blue ocean from the many water-jumping pontoons dotted along the edge. Located in Coyle Park, which covers nearly five hectares, the coast here is characterised by steep cliffs and rock shelf that are dramatically exposed at low tide. 43


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Destinations Lapland

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Destinations Lapland

Our Friend In The North

Glass igloos, husky trails and reindeer charm: one family heads to Lapland for a magical meeting with someone very special

Words : John Thatcher 45

February 2017


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t’s their faces I’ll remember most. Eyes like saucers, mouths open in disbelief, their necks twisting back and forth to look first at the snow-covered fields spread wide beneath them and then at me, as if seeking confirmation that what they were looking at was indeed real. Their excitement was palpable, and yet our plane hadn’t yet touched down in Lapland. In truth, I was almost as thrilled to be here. I’d been waiting for my kids to reach an age (seven and five) where they’d be able to remember this trip and all the for-the-veryfirst-time experiences they’d garner, including – having been born and raised in Dubai – playing in deep snow. Myself, I was more excited about being in the homeland of Santa Claus just before Christmas, given that I’m the type of person who would happily put their tree up in early November if my wife would let me. Bah humbug. Our private audience with Santa was to come. First, on arrival at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort – via a short coach transfer from Ivalo Airport, during which we had to stop to let a reindeer cross the road, as you do – we swapped what little winter-appropriate clothes we’d mustered from various friends in Dubai for full-on thermal suits, hats, gloves and boots. Then it was into the snow, where the first thing I had to do was try in vain to remove the

Destinations Lapland

snowball my eldest daughter Aerin had planted perfectly on my neck so that, on impact, it broke up and slipped down my spine. The air, so crisp and cold, turned momentarily blue. I suffered further in my attempts to build a snowman. So fine was the snow that I struggled to roll anything larger than the size of a tennis ball before it disintegrated in my hands. “It looks a bit like a pyramid with a pea on top,” reckoned Aerin, distinctly unimpressed with my best effort at recreating Frozen’s Olaf. She was equally unimpressed when I landed a snowball on her head in response. It wasn’t long before the temperature swing, from 28°C back home to -9°C in Lapland, began to bite – Jack Frost nipping at our noses, toes, and fingertips. But there was no freezing the urge to take a sledge to the top of a steep hill, which we slid back down at such speed that the parting snow kicked up and smothered us. To passers-by, our rolling snowball would have probably looked like the onset of an avalanche. We thawed out back in our Kelo Glass Igloo, part log cabin, part glass dome and, with its roof capped in a good foot of snow, every bit the postcard-perfect winter abode. Inside was an open fireplace (more of that in a minute) and a sauna, in which we all sat to remind ourselves of summer in Dubai. 46

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Destinations Lapland

February 2017

We thawed out back in our Kelo Glass Igloo, part log cabin, part glass dome

Prior to dinner on our first night, the kids reacted with wonderment when the owner of the resort introduced himself as Santa’s brother – he did bear a canny resemblance, it has to be said – but the festive cheer nearly dulled to a whimper when we perused that evening’s menu. The main course was reindeer, though it didn’t specify which one, or whether there was a surcharge if yours had a very shiny nose. We’d booked a reindeer safari for the next morning, so rather than educate the kids by telling them that eating reindeer in Lapland is as common as eating shawarma in Dubai, we chose instead to lie – telling them the menu was Christmasthemed, and that either side of reindeer meat they could order Santa soup for starters and elf ice cream for dessert. Thankfully, our waitress said they could also order chicken nuggets and chips. Christmas was saved. That night, the four of us lay on the bed inside the glass igloo part of our cabin and scanned the night sky for the Northern Lights. While sightings aren’t overly common in November, if they are spotted word soon spreads around the resort and faint cheers from the assembled crowd will direct you to the best viewing point. Lucky for us, we didn’t have to move an inch, as right above our heads streaks of green pierced the darkness. They were pale that night, a mere hint of what they often can be, but it was yet 47


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Destinations Lapland

February 2017

On the winter-safari scale, at the polar-opposite end to the placidity of reindeers is the excitability of huskies

another moment to cherish and we were only at the end of our first day. Reindeer are beautiful creatures up close (I was glad I ordered salmon the previous night) and a gentle sleigh ride through the forest next morning, when the sky was a mix of baby blue and softer-still pink, was wonderful. Midway through the two-hour safari we stopped and headed inside a traditional Lappish teepee to enjoy hot chocolate, ginger biscuits and the heat from a roaring fire. And it was that charming experience that encouraged me to light a fire of my own once back in our room. My fire-lighting skills are restricted to turning the knob on our gas barbecue, so it was with a huge amount of pride that I stood back and admired the flames licking up the fireplace after my very first attempt to light it. Man build fire. Me man. Unfortunately, me also forgot to open the chimney, and before long our room was shrouded in smoke and the ear-piercing screech of the fire alarm had wiped the smugness clean from my face. Our only option was to open the door for an hour to let the smoke out and the -9°C chill in. Me not very popular with wife and kids. On the winter-safari scale, at the polaropposite end to the placidity of reindeers is the excitability of huskies. My wife Victoria and I listened intently as our guide shouted out riding instructions over the incessant cries of 49

the eager-to-run animals. Of the assembled riders, 16 or so, our girls were the only children, and Victoria and I swapped concerned glances when it became apparent that the only thing stopping the huskies from making off with our kids was the strength of our grip. As the single rider, you grip a handle at the very back of the sleigh, and place one foot on either side of a metal brake. To bring the huskies to a halt, you need to jump fully on the brake between your feet. “What happens if you fall off?” asked one woman. “Don’t fall off,” reassured the instructor. With the girls snuggled up in blankets and sat in their respective sleighs, Victoria and I drove one each, our knuckles no doubt white beneath our thick gloves. But as soon as you’re accustomed to the speed of the huskies, following the initial surge when they’re let loose, the experience is incredible and an absolute thrill. You head deep into the forest, through tall trees, their branches weighed down with fresh snow, and the only sound is that of the huskies beating a path throw the snowfall. Having mastered seven dogs, I also like to think I recovered some of my manhood lost in that fire. Well, I didn’t fall off, at least. The best was saved for last. Beneath their thermal suits the girls wore their only-forChristmas dresses and sparkly shoes for our date with Santa Claus. The suits were swiftly


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Destinations Lapland

Opening page and next page, left: A reindeer safari from Kakslauttanen Next page, right: Glass igloos on a snowcovered landscape Previous pages, clockwise from top left: Northern Lights dance above a Kelo Glass Igloo; two winter sunrises; an aerial view of Kelo Glass Igloos at Kakslauttanen This page: A Kakslauttanen husky safari

discarded when we reached the warm of the resort’s reception, where Mrs Claus was waiting. “Are you ready to meet my husband?” she asked. Both girls were too tongue-tied to offer up any response beyond their wide eyes. Mrs Claus led the way through the snow, past a house with a tiny door for the elves and over a bridge under which a river laced with gold flowed, and towards the door of Santa’s house. Mrs Claus had set the scene perfectly. Santa opened his door and welcomed us inside. There was a roaring fire, a decorated tree, and a writing desk piled high with all the letters that he receives from children around the world. Thanks to the quickfire questions of my youngest daughter Pandora, the girls learned a lot about Santa, such as porridge being his breakfast of choice and that he’s partial to one or two ginger biscuits, which I guess explains the paunch. They then handed Santa the letters containing their Christmas wish lists and received a present each. From Santa’s house Mrs Claus led us to feed the reindeer – the same ones that fly on Christmas Eve – and then to an elf’s workshop, where we saw how all the presents are made (it’s all to do with the gold extracted from that river, but don’t tell anyone else or Santa might add me to his naughty list). The whole thing was incredibly well done and, I have to say, even a touch magical. Halfway through it I turned to look and saw my kids’ faces convey everything from curiosity and uncertainty to elation and sheer disbelief at where they were and what they had just seen. And even allowing for all the fun and the memories we made in Lapland, what I saw then was reason enough for making this the trip of a lifetime. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call +971 4 316 6666 or log on to dnatatravel.com 50

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Destinations

Couples’ Retreats

Couples’ Retreats As we enter the month of love, we cast our gaze around the globe to bring you 10 of the world’s most romantic getaways – kids not included

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Couples’ Retreats

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Destinations

Couples’ Retreats

In this world, there are simply some places, some journeys and some wonders that make us want to fall in love. That could be finding yourself somewhere powdery beaches seem to kiss the ocean – like tropical Thailand, where there’s no shortage of beachside retreats. Or perhaps it’s falling asleep under a sea of twinkling stars in a luxury tent in the middle of the Maasai Mara, or marvelling at awe-inspiring views from a cliff on the Western Cape of South Africa. Even in big cities like Dubai there are experiences sure to make even the most unromantic stop and smile – bedding down in a Bedouin retreat in the heart of the red-tinged dunes of a conservation park, for one. Whatever does it for you, travel and romance are inextricably linked, so read on for our pick of dreamy destinations for grown ups only...

Layana Resort and Spa, Thailand Nestled on Koh Lanta Yai Island, in beautiful Krabi where limestone karst, mangrove-lined channels and picture-perfect lagoons abound, this adults-only resort has amour all tied up. Right on the beachfront, the retreat starts off with some James Bond-style treatment as you’re whisked along the Andaman Coast on a private speedboat. Once on land, lounge in the saltwater infinity pool, indulge in a couple’s treatment at the sumptuous spa and tuck into delicious Thai eats with stunning sunset views at the Sundowner Bar and Lounge. For the ultimate in romance, reserve La Maison and you’ll have the run of a private two-storey townhouse, complete with wraparound balconies, 24-hour butler service and the resort’s largest private pool. Mara Explorer, Kenya There’s nothing quite as exciting as being immersed in the wild of nature and at this spot in Kenya’s Maasai Mara you can do exactly that, enveloped in luxury. With just 10 tented accommodations on the peninsula, each one opens onto a private frontage of the River Talek’s nature-rich southern banks. Inside, handcrafted four-poster beds, antique furniture and open-air bathtubs await. Prise yourself away for the thrill of an early morning hot-air balloon ride and watch the sun rise over the grasslands below, or tuck into a bush dinner by the river’s edge while wildlife roams around you. And with no little ones permitted, you can rest assured the sounds of a screaming child won’t disturb your viewing. Daily game

February 2017

Roam perfectly manicured gardens, take a boat trip around the lake and feast on exceptional Italian cuisine

drives in custom-built four-wheel-drive safari vehicles means there’s never a dull moment at Mara, and you’ll be filled with wonder as you get up close and personal with rhinos, elephants, giraffes, hippos, cheetahs, lions and more in one of Africa’s best national parks.

Coco Bodu Hithi, Maldives An intimate hideaway in the Indian Ocean, Coco Bodu Hithi almost guarantees romance. Located on the tear-shaped island of Bodu Hithi in the North Malé Atoll, this tropical oasis is perfect for honeymooners, anniversary celebrations and anyone else in love. Villas are artfully designed and combine Maldivian architecture with intimate, open-plan layouts. Suspended on stilts above the lagoon, the Water Villas provide blissful seclusion – a decked walkway leads you into a gorgeous living space and your king-size bed offers unforgettable views of the ocean. This resort is all about creating moments you’ll treasure for a lifetime, so wonder at the brightly coloured fish darting beneath your villa, enjoy a movie on the beach, or embark on a moonlit stroll underneath a canopy of twinkling stars. Paradise discovered. Al Maha Desert Resort, UAE Set among burnt-orange dunes where gazelles and oryx roam freely, Al Maha Desert Resort was one of Dubai’s first desert retreats and is the place to go for an authentic ‘Arabian nights’ experience. Nestled in Dubai’s Desert Conservation Reserve, this place has a hint of historic charm, having been modelled on an 54


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Destinations

Couples’ Retreats

February 2017 Opening page: Piton View, St Lucia This page: Grand Hotel A Villa Feltrinelli Next pages, clockwise from top left: Jade Mountain Resort; Coco Bodu Hithi; Mara Explorer; Birkenhead House

old fortress and boasting traditional Arabian carpets and ancient artifacts coupled with all the warmth of the region’s famous hospitality. Check into a Bedouin-style villa and avail of your own plunge pool and sunset deck, perfect for watching the sun go down. With an onsite telescope and in-room binoculars, as well as game drives and camel treks, wildlifewatching opportunities are plentiful and, with no children under the age of 12 admitted, you’re guaranteed peaceful evenings in the heart of the Arabian desert.

Hurawalhi Resort, Maldives The Maldives and romance pretty much go hand in hand but at the adults-only playground that is Hurawalhi Resort, it’s on another level altogether. Set on its own private island in the enchanting Lhaviyani Atoll, things here are well and truly quixotic. Check into a private villa suspended over the glistening Indian Ocean, where you can descend a staircase directly into the lagoon or take a soak in your own infinity pool. When it comes to dining, 5.8 UnderSea is a stunning underwater restaurant with outof-this-world marine views, where every table is set just for two. Amp up the romance with a day on Dream Island accompanied by a picnic hamper thoughtfully packed for two, take a couple’s journey in the oasis of relaxation that is Duniye Spa, spot dolphins or manta rays from your private deck, or head to Coco Bar for a sundowner with a view that’s simply breathtaking. And with solar panels, an on-site water-bottling plant and a host of other energysaving solutions, you can ease your conscience with the knowledge that, at Hurawalhi, the environment has been included in the plans. Setting the bar for island romance, you'll find it hard not to fall in love with this retreat. Grand Hotel A Villa Feltrinelli, Italy No one does romance quite like the Italians and with beautiful scenery, delicious food and sparkling waters, Lake Garda is perhaps one of the most romantic spots in the entire Bel Paese (literally: beautiful country). While there’s no shortage of stunning hotels, Grand Hotel A Villa Feltrinelli is sure to impress. Set in eight-acre grounds, this historic 19th-century villa was the former home of Mussolini and was converted into a hotel in 2001. The neogothic building boasts opulent interiors lavishly restored with Venetian mirrors, Art Nouveau lamps and custom-made furnishings throughout. With just 21 rooms, there’s an air of exclusivity and the vibe is decidedly intricate. Roam perfectly manicured gardens, take a boat trip around the lake and feast on exceptional Italian cuisine at this grand villa where romance is the order of the day. 55


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February 2017

Be sure to wake up early for one of the most glorious sunrises you’ll ever see on the east-facing main beach

Auberge De Soleil, California Napa Valley is one of the top romantic destinations in California thanks to its scenic coastal views, rolling grasslands, cosy neighbourhood vibe and adults-only policy. Often frequented by Hollywood celebrities, Auberge is one of the most coveted check-ins in the entire valley. Set amid a 33-acre sunlit olive grove just five miles from the charming town of St Helena, this elegant Provenceinspired resort greets visitors with sculptured gardens and rambling walking paths. Settle into your beautifully designed room and take in the amazing scenery through floor-toceiling windows, cosy up beside the feature fireplace, or indulge with a soak in the huge bathtub, complete with sweeping valley vistas. Dining is a delight – the main restaurant has been Michelin-starred for over 10 years. Enjoy seasonal California flavours here with a French twist, which can easily be paired with grape from the Napa region. Birkenhead House, South Africa Located in the best place on the planet to view whales in the wild, Birkenhead House in Hermanus commands pride position, perched on a clifftop overlooking Walker Bay – you may even be lucky enough to spot a majestic humpback from your room. As suave as it is grand, this imposing mansion embraces its seaside environs with plenty of beach house décor, all rolled with luxury. Each of the 11 suites is individually designed – we love the bold hues and ideally situated balcony of Room 2. Wander the rocky grounds, stroll the magnificent beachfront, and take your pick from three swimming pools (the sparkling infinity pool overlooking the ocean is our tip). Feast on a world-class menu bursting with fresh local seafood like Cape salmon, kingklip and red roman. Dedicated foodies can opt to go foraging along the shoreline with Executive Chef Browne for edible fynbos species, which he’ll then prepare as part of a delicious fivecourse dinner. Unwind with an intensive treatment at the Birkenhead House Spa, where, when the weather is fine, you can enjoy your massage in the open air, overlooking the ocean. At Birkenhead the focus is on making each guest feel special and the staff go over and 57

above to ensure this happens, which wraps up a romantic visit perfectly.

Vivanta By Taj, Rebak Island, Malaysia Escape to your very own private island where the Andaman Sea, lush jungles and pristine beaches await. Vivanta by Taj, Rebak Island is an idyllic retreat located on one of the 99 islands that make up the tropical archipelago that is Langkawi. Arrive at Port Cenange to be greeted by a private speedboat transfer that will whisk you across to the island, named after the indigenous Rebak tree. Opt to stay in a wooden chalet where traditional Malaysian architecture prevails, or go for a seafront room and enjoy direct access to the beach. The landscape of this 390-acre island is quite something; expect stunning rock formations, a thick, ancient forest and crystal-clear waters rich with marine life, and be sure to wake up early for one of the most glorious sunrises you’ll ever see on the east-facing main beach. Relax, you’re here. Jade Mountain Resort, St Lucia Quite possibly the most romantic retreat in all of the Caribbean, the Jade Mountain Resort in oh-so-beautiful St Lucia had to make our cut. In a location like no other, the resort has views of both the Piti and Gros Piton mountains floating upon the bright Caribbean Sea. Set on the private estate of Anse Chastanet, among 600 acres of lush tropical greenery, and bordered by two beaches flanked by pristine coral reefs, the locale literally wants for nothing. Vibrant architectural design makes the resort mesmerising; expect sweeping spaces leading to extravagant infinity pools and extraordinary viewing platforms. Head to the Celestial Terrace, perfect for gazing at star-filled skies, and dine on dishes by James Beard Award-winning chef Allen Susser at the colourful kaleidoscope that is the Jade Mountain Club. Exclusivity and privacy are key, making this the ideal romantic escape that’s just for the two of you. Cocooned from the outside world in a haven of luxury, magic and unforgettable landscapes, you’re guaranteed to feel love in this hilltop wonderland. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call +971 4 316 6666 or log on to dnatatravel.com


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Destinations Oman

The Height Of Adventure Explore Oman’s mountainous terrain some 2,000m above sea level with all the comforts of the region’s highest five-star hotel Words : Hayley Skirka

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gripped my fingers tighter around the sandcoloured rock my left hand was clinging to, swinging my right leg forward as high as I could and stabbing at the rugged rock face in a bid to find something of a foothold. My trainer scuffed the cliffside, my foot slipping back down to the ledge I was precariously perched on. I sighed. “Try again, you almost had it,” yelled Ali from below. Refocusing, I threw my leg back up onto the rock, pulling myself a little higher with the paltry arm strength that I have. Jackpot! My foot hit something of an indent and, transferring all my weight onto that foot, I used it as a lever, enabling me to hoist the rest of my body with one more push, so that I could finally touch the top of the rock. A whoop arose from below, no doubt my patient instructors – although whether they were cheering my success or celebrating not having to climb up and rescue me, I couldn’t be sure. Manoeuvring myself solidly onto the clifftop, I turned around, ready for my reward. And what a reward it was. There, sprawling in front of me, lay hundreds of metres of untouched, isolated desert rock

Destinations Oman

face. From dusky brown to burnt sienna and a million shades in-between, the canyon ridge stretched for miles, endless in its beauty. A bit off in the distance, some older trees and bush fringed the ridges, surrounding the small valley that was only just visible when I cupped my hand above my eyes, filtering out the haze. This was Jabal Al Akhdar, Oman’s Green Mountain and a haunting terrain perfect for exploring. The mountains here are actually the result of a collision some 60 million years ago, of the continental and oceanic plates, that caused major earth movements resulting in the uplift of sedimentary mountains all along the northern coast and into the southwestern spine of the country. The spectacular shapes and heights found in the Akhdar mountains stem from this, and the canyon ridge that Anantara Al Jabal Akhdar lies upon is no exception. The highest five-star hotel in the region, this newly opened haven is the ideal abode for anyone seeking an adventure-filled stay with a view to remember. The rock I had just conquered constitutes one of the many outdoor activities offered by the resort’s on-site adventure team, 60

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Opening page: Jabal Akhdar is part of the Al Hajar Mountains range in the Ad Dakhiliyah Governorate of Oman This page, clockwise from above: Enjoy a mountain view from an Anantara Cliff Pool Villa; one of the Premier canyon-view bedroom suites; local Omani touches feature throughout Anantara Al Jabal Akhdar’s interiors; crumbling abandoned villages scatter the mountain Next page, from top: Birkat Al Mouz in the Jabal Akhdar region; an aerial view of Anantara Al Jabal Akhdar Resort


World Traveller

Destinations Oman

February 2017

Gazing in wonder, stillness encasing me, it really wasn’t hard to see why Princess Diana fell in love with this spot

appropriately referred to as Mountain Gurus. Experts in all things mountaineering, they’re happy to take guests climbing, abseiling, trekking and biking. Our rock-climbing session had followed a sunrise yoga class on the mountaintop and I was feeling pretty good about all these active pursuits. Mountain, check, I headed back to my beautifully designed suite, where Omani touches pepper the space in a subtle ode to the region. Stepping through the glass doors onto the deck, my private infinity pool glistened brightly in the winter sun. And yet, it was the dramatic view ahead of me that commanded my attention. Grabbing a pair of binoculars from the dressing table, I soaked in the surroundings. Scanning the horizon to the right, my eyes settled on an area referred to as Asinin by the locals, which translates to ‘two teeth’ and where there lies an ancient cave people once used as a resting point on epic journeys to the town of Nizwa. In-between the two huge mountains I spotted the ruins of Izki, the oldest town in Oman. Looking closer I could see an extensive complex of disintegrating mud-brick buildings enclosed by a rectangle 61

of impressive solid walls, all built on raised stone foundations. This locale is also the home of Oman’s oldest falaj, Al Mulki, making it an important point in the region’s development. By now it was nearing sunset, so I gathered my camera and a sweater – it gets remarkably cold in the desert when you’re 2,000m above sea level – and headed to Diana’s Point. Named after a 1986 visit from the late Diana, Princess of Wales and her then-husband Prince Charles, it’s rumoured to be the best sunset viewing point in all of Oman. I positioned my camera carefully, thankful to be behind the safety of a glass panel on this craggy cliff, and watched as nature’s show commenced. The sky, already painted a hazy shade of pink, began to warp towards orange – reflecting the setting sun and the bright red of the rocks below. Drowning in the rocky horizon, the rays of light glimmered as the darkness edged in and the clouds above began to reveal a sliver of crescent moon. Gazing in wonder, stillness encasing me, it really wasn’t hard to see why Princess Diana fell in love with this spot. Almost as soon as it had begun, the spectacle ended and, as night took over, we headed to Bella Vista for some


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Destinations Oman

From dusky brown to burnt sienna and a million shades in-between, the canyon ridge stretched for miles, endless in its beauty

authentic Italian cuisine, the perfect way to round off such an incredible evening. Having left the curtains of my Cliff Pool Villa slightly open before I went to bed, morning came calling in a flurry of beauty, sunlight streaming in from every angle. To say the sunrise is spectacular is nothing short of an understatement and I would have happily enjoyed breakfast on that terraced vista for hours upon end. With every need thought of, the villas are truly perfect for a couple’s retreat and boast a private majlis with artist’s sketchpad and colouring pencils for capturing the perfect vantage, specially selected grape collections and outdoor rainforest showers. But linger in my villa I could not for there was plenty more exploring to do. Climbing into a waiting 4x4, we trundled over rocky terrain in the direction of a drop-off point, not too far from the resort’s edge. From here, we began with a starting view of Hail Yemen, a tiny village perched on this highland plateau. Clambering out of the vehicle, and with local Mountain Guru Tariq leading the way, we began our trek to Wadi of the Waterfall, just one of many the resort offers. As we walked, Tariq answered our questions, pointing out where the Akhdar plateau would often be carpeted in lush greenery, showing us where wadis might run and unveiling plenty of fossilised shells buried on the mountain slopes, evidence of an era when this entire region was actually submerged in shallow sea. Deep gorges provide narrow pathways where even the lightest

of rainfall can garner incredible strength, eventually driving torrents powerful enough to sweep away anything in their path. For this reason, camping in wadis is not advised, though Tariq admits it’s a favourite pastime with the local children. Reaching the base of the canyon, we were thrilled to discover that, despite the dry desert landscape at this time of year, there was indeed a waterfall, albeit not a rushing one. Lizards, birds and bright-blue dragonflies whirred around, all having come to make this soughtafter water source their playground. I ventured a foot into the clear green water, but the cold was enough to make me retreat. Meanwhile, Tariq had somehow produced the means to make steaming cups of local Qahwa (coffee) served with fresh fruit from the Akhdar mountains. Often referred to as the Fruit Bowl, this region’s lofty orchards produce some of the finest pomegranates, apricots and pears. Munching lunch in the shade of a giant mountain, deep in Omani terrain, a sense of smallness came over me. This place really is a true testament to nature’s intermingling of power and beauty. Heading back up the mountain after a day of exploration, nothing seemed more welcoming than returning to the comfort of our hotel. For a place where you can truly live the high life, in more ways than one, this Omani mountaintop retreat takes some beating. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call +971 4 316 6666 or log on to dnatatravel.com 62

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CITY SEASONS TOWERS ALWAYS GREAT MOMENTS! Stay in the heart of Dubai

Located in Bur Dubai, beside Burjuman Mall, City Seasons Towers is the perfect stay for business trips and family getaways. Metro: Burjuman

City Seasons Towers, P.O. Box 5847, Khalifa Bin Zayed Road, Mankhool, Dubai, U.A.E. T +971 4 516 3333 | F +971 4 516 3334 | E info.dubaitowers@cityseasonshotels.com www.cityseasonshotels.com A Member of City Seasons Group of Hotels


Weekends xxxx

Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque, Colombo

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Weekends

There’s much you can do in just a few days... • • • • 65

one weekend for all: colombo p66 48-Hour foodie: amsTerdam p68 Travel noTes: a deserT Hack p70 sTaycaTions p72


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Weekends

Colombo For All

February 2017

One Weekend For All In... Colombo

Sri Lanka’s vibrant capital is a port city with a rich colonial heritage. Despite its small size, it’s packed with plenty to see, taste, try and do, and is the perfect showcase of the country – in all its guises

The Romantic One To stay • Casa Colombo • Hilton Colombo • Grand Oriental

• Ask a local “Lots of people fly into Colombo and then go straight to the coastal areas, but you should spend a couple of days exploring this crazy city – it’s hot, noisy and crowded but it’s a lot of fun. Start the day with a sunrise walk on Mount Lavinia Beach; the further north you go the quieter it will become. Stop at a local café for breakfast – one of my favourites is Himagiri, where you can get excellent hoppers. If you want a real overview of the city, hop on a tuk-tuk and take a tour, stopping at Odel for some great shopping. Even better is Barefoot, where you can buy well-made local products – they have a great place to eat, too. Of course, you need to try a proper Sri Lankan tea, so make your way to The Heladiv Tea club at the Dutch Hospital, where you can also have a great dinner at the Ministry of Crab. – Prithiva Fernando

Bustling Colombo may not be your first thought when it comes to a romantic escape but, if you’re visiting this Valentine’s Day, there are plenty of couple-centric activities to keep you feeling all loved up. First, head to Galle Face Green, a five-hectare oceanside urban park, and make your way to the old lighthouse opposite the Light House Galley. Climb up the steep flight of steps and, perched just above the sea, you’ll find a handsome European-style square built around a stately old lighthouse, perfect for sunset watching. Or make the trip to Viharamdhadevi Park, and stop by the museum to wonder at the enormous Italianstyle mansion filled with all sorts of beautiful ancient things. When it comes to eating, embrace everything Sri Lankan with dinner at the famous Nuga Gama in the Cinammon Grand Hotel. Brought to life around a 200-yearold banyan tree, dine surrounded by wattle and daub huts and traditionally dressed staff. Afterwards, why not plump for drinks at Sky Lounge in The Kingsbury Hotel. Round things of with a visit to the beach – after all, what’s romantic Colombo without the seaside? Take a stroll along Mount Lavinia or Dehiwala Beach for golden sand, bright-blue sea and beautiful sunsets to remember.

• Did you know? Today Sri Lanka’s Ceylon tea is world famous, but in the 1860s the country was the world’s biggest coffee producer. Only after a deadly disease struck the coffee plantations did the British colonists convert them over to tea. 66


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Weekends

Colombo For All

February 2017

The Adventurous One

The Family-Friendly One

The Restful One

To stay • Taj Sumudra • Colombo Courtyard • The Saffron

To stay • Movenpick Colombo • Mount Lavinia Hotel • Cinammon Grand Hotel

To stay • Galle Face • Cinammon Lakeside Colombo • Ozo Colombo

Embark on an epic adventure through the colourful capital from within a speeding tuktuk. Hold on as you navigate the busy streets and markets of the Colombo Fort and Pettah Bazaar, then make for the nearby Dutch Reformed Church, Red Mosque, and endless temples and monuments. Enjoy zig-zagging between Independence Square, the CBD and Colombo Town Hall. Not only will you get to take in most of the city’s sights this way, you’ll also see first-hand the sheer contrast between the leafy streets of Colombo 7 and the slum-like surroundings of Pettah. After all that action, stop for lunch at Ministry of Crab, housed in a restored 400-year-old Dutch hospital. Co-owned by chef Dharshan Munidasa and cricketing legends Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, expect export-quality crab with sizes ranging from 500g up to a ‘crabzilla’ 2kg. Next, check out the manic commerce of Pettah and its many markets. Don’t miss the Federation of Self Employees Market, which stretches along 5th Cross St and is a hive of colourful household goods and piles of food. As night falls get your dancing shoes on and head to Zaza. Housed in a glass cube, it lights up as partygoers descend on its highly acclaimed Uber Bar Lounge.

Sri Lankans love children and, as a result, there are lots of kid-friendly eateries across the city. Try Il Ponte in the Hilton for stroller access, a kid-orientated menu and a play area that they can burn off steam in. When it comes to entertainment, if your kids are old enough, check out The Colombo National Museum for an insight into local history. Then, treat them to some fun at Excel World. Although it’s quite tame compared to amusement parks in some other countries, it boasts a bowling alley, games arcade, climbing wall, indoor go-kart track and a handful of rides for under-fives. For a real introduction to the country’s culture, visit Gangaramaya Temple. While you can walk into any of the temples scattered around the capital, this particular one is more geared towards tourists. Just a walk across the road, a bridge will take you over the Bera Lake, in the middle of which a small monument of the temple is located. Make sure you wear modest clothes and remove hats and shoes before entering. Afterwards, take the kids to Buba Beach Restaurant and let them play on the sand or paddle in the sea while you relax with a cool drink. The recently upgraded Galle Face Green is another good option for kids who need space to run around.

Start your trip at the Dutch Period Museum in what was originally the 17th-century residence of the Dutch governor. The mansion contains a lovely garden courtyard and exhibits include Dutch colonial furniture and ancient artefacts. When lunchtime rolls around, make a beeline for Ceylon Tea Moments, one of the best of the upscale tea emporiums sweeping Colombo right now. Settle back into a plush armchair and try a speciality drink like the cinnamon tea shake while you ponder the huge menu. Fed and watered, head to one of Colombo’s most photographed sights, the Seema Malakaya Meditation Centre, on an island at the east side of the lake. Tiny but captivating, it was designed by Geoffrey Bawa in 1985 and the two pavilions – one filled with Thai bronze Buddhas, the other centred on a bodhi tree and four Brahmanist images – are especially striking when illuminated at night. Finally, to truly relax, make an appointment at White by Spa Ceylon for some pure Ayurvedic indulgence, with treatments derived from ancient properties and performed via age-old techniques. Feeling rested, end your day at Buba’s beach club. Enjoy candlelit tables right on the beach and tuck into deliciously fresh seafood under a twinkling night sky.

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48-Hour Foodie

February 2017

48-Hour Foodie:

Amsterdam

Dotted with canals, cyclists and flower stalls, Amsterdam is also a culinary delight where there’s always something new to try when it comes to eating out Illustration : Adam Avery

• Regional delights “Try the seasonal menu at Vermeer by Chris Naylor for local European fare or head to Rijks to have some traditionally slow-roasted meats. If you want to try Chinese food, Amsterdamstyle, pop in to Taste of Culture.” – Jurgen van Der ZaLm Chef de cuisine at Restaurant Vinkeles • Hot right now There are so many hot-right-now spots in this city, but you need to make sure you find places that have great food as well as that coveted atmosphere. Restaurant Vermeer is one such place, headed up by the Michelinstarred chef Chris Naylor. Izakaya is another, offering cutting-edge mixed drinks paired with authentic Asian eats. Moon, the revolving restaurant located on the 19th floor of the landmark A’DAM Toren, offers fine dining with spectacular 360° panoramas of the city – well worth a visit. Also check out Jansz in Pulitzer Amsterdam, where beautifully crafted modern classics get reinvented with that easy-going Dutch attitude. Another great choice is MOS, located on a small island in the middle of the river IJ. Owned by executive chef Egon van Hoof, you can expect delicious bites and gorgeous river views. Of course, our own Restaurant La Rive has a long-standing reputation in Amsterdam, which has recently been bolstered by our win in the National Cooking Championships. – aaD van Den Berg Chief concierge at the Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam

Day One

Day Two

• Breakfast Start your weekend in the picturesque Jordaan, a neighbourhood as rich in charm as it is in history. Pancakes Amsterdam serves up every version of the flat dish that you could imagine – from traditional Dutch-style to fluffy American-style, all topped with delicious sweet or savoury options. For authenticity, try the traditional pancake topped with Jonagold apples and melted Dutch cheese, served with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

• Breakfast Go traditional at Gartine, a small breakfast spot tucked away on one of Amsterdam’s typical little sidestreets. The décor is oldschool, the crockery antique and the service welcoming. When it comes to the food, everything is organic – try some delicious Dutch staples such as sugar bread, farmer’s cheese or tangy apple syrup.

• Lunch Diners at C Amsterdam can take their pick from a menu that’s organised by temperature in Celsius, rather than dishes: 0-20 (raw); 40-80 (slow-cooked); 100 (steamed); and 200 (grilled). A lunchtime visit is all about diversity, and head chefs Michiel van der Eerde and Arnout van der Kolk – who have both earned their stripes in some of the world’s most renowned restaurants – create a Chef’s Menu that’s certain to surprise. • Dinner If you’re looking for something to impress, then the Panorama Rail Restaurant is for you. Check in at the royal waiting area in Amsterdam’s Central Station and head down the red carpet to the waiting reinvigorated 1960s carriage. All aboard, head off on a romantic ride through Amsterdam’s villages and towns, all while dining on a four-course menu as delightful as the ever-changing vistas. 68

• Lunch For Asian street food with a modern twist, Happyhappyjoyjoy at the Bilderdijstraat is the place to visit. The menu here is bursting with typical Asian street-food dishes, try the duck gyoza, pad Thai, banana fritters or bun-cha meatballs. The quirky, colourful interior with bright neon signs simply adds to the funky vibe while the steaming pans, sizzling barbecues and hot woks in the open kitchen will make you feel like you’re right in the middle of a (very tasty) hawker market. • Dinner Saving the best for last, head to The Dylan Hotel for dinner at Michelin-starred Restaurant Vinkeles. Serving up a contemporary and classic French cuisine, executive chef Dennis Kuipers uses only the freshest seasonal ingredients. Set in a sunken dining room that was once a bakery, you’re surrounded by 18th-century ovens coupled with a great view over the hotel gardens. Try the Anjou pigeon imperial for a dish to remember.


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February 2017

Travel Notes

A Desert Hack Saddle up for a ride through one of Dubai’s most picturesque locations, breathing in crisp winter air in the surrounds of the Arabian desert

Mushrif Park, Dubai

Home to around 70,000 trees, ranging in age from 20 to over 150 years old, the Mushrif landscape is truly something

W

hen I was a kid, growing up in Scotland, I used to love horses. From the age of about nine, every Saturday morning my dad would pile me into the car and drive me to the next town, dropping me off at Tannoch Stables. There, under the watchful eye of Sally – a twentysomething student and horse enthusiast – I’d spend the next 60 minutes learning to trot, canter, gallop and run. Usually, I rode Pegasus, a gorgeous grey and white stallion with the deepest brown eyes. Then, one day, Sally told me we were going to jump fences. As a child, fear wasn’t something I had much of, so I excitedly helped tack up Pegasus and mounted his saddle, brazenly heading off towards the field that Sally had set up with a variety of obstacles. Guiding the horse to one end of the field, I squeezed my legs against his body and made the click-clicking sound I had spent hours perfecting. Pegasus took off at a fair pace, headed straight for the first hurdle. About five centimetres from the fence, I pushed myself into an almost standing position – just as Sally had shown me – ready to soar over the fence. Unfortunately for me, Pegasus seemed to have other ideas and, midair, seemed to panic, bucking his back legs and swerving to the left. Regrettably, this meant that little old me reared right up out of the saddle and over Pegasus’ shoulder, before landing hard in the muddy field. The sight of the horse’s giant hoof, handsomely capped in steel, heading straight for my skull caused me to pass out – and I collapsed in an unmoving heap on the ground. What unfolded next, so I’m told, was that somehow – mercifully – Pegasus changed direction at the last minute and his hoof missed my head, narrowly scathing my

shoulder instead and leaving a fairly hefty bruise but not much more physical damage. The mental scars, however, weren’t quite as mild and that was the end of my riding days for the next two decades. So, with that in mind, you can imagine it was with a hint of trepidation that I made my way to the government-owned Mushrif Equestrian Club in Dubai’s Mushrif Park ready to embark on a 90-minute dessert hack atop an Arabian horse – those creatures so famed for their spirited disposition. Wandering into the stables, I put on my allocated helmet and hopped up onto the waiting crate as a groom arrived with a grey Arabian stallion called Mbjuahir. Swinging myself up into the saddle, I was a pulsing bundle of excitement and nerves. As my friend (an accomplished rider) mounted her chestnutbrown horse, Naseer, our instructor, headed out in front atop a beautiful but headstrong white mare called Sultana. In this world, females take the lead. Heading out of the stables, our horses traipsed in an orderly line across the footpath and onto the golden sand in this quiet section of Mushrif Park. Located about 15km from the city centre, the park comprises 1,300 acres of greenery and untouched desert landscape. Our instructor was super-relaxed – perhaps a little too relaxed for my liking, given my horsey history. But, somehow sensing my trepidation, he came riding over to me, expertly hooking Mbjuahir’s reigns onto Sultana’s and delivering a 15-minute chaperoned ride to set the pace and calm my nerves as I got used to my horse. It worked and I was soon feeling pretty happy to be riding again. Unhooking my horse, we set off at a trot and it all began to come back to me. Thanks to some helpful “Shorten your reigns”

Words : Hayley Skirka Illustration : Tommy Parker 70

instructions yelled out by our groom, it wasn’t too long before I felt like I knew what I was doing, and Mbjuahir – despite an occasional halting to snack at something growing on the forest floor – seemed to be in sync with what I wanted him to do. Setting off at a run, all three of the horses’ hooves kicked up clouds of bright-red sand, creating a mini sandstorm in the heart of Mushrif Park. And with only the sound of their hooves and an occasional lone bird’s call amid the crisp desert air of a January morning, I truly felt like I was miles away from the city. Slowing to a walk and simply being out there, on horseback, it was easy to relax and soak in the surrounds. And some pretty impressive surrounds they were. Home to around 70,000 trees, ranging in age from 20 to over 150 years old, the Mushrif landscape is truly something. Snakes, deer, hares and foxes dwell in the park, but tend to keep themselves out of sight – unless you happen to be riding at night, something that’s a possibility during the club’s monthly fullmoon excursions, where navigation is done by celestial light. A wide range of birdlife also resides here, and you can spot nests and hear the chirps of quails as you meander through the desert. With exciting plans in the works to transform the equestrian club into something bigger – think improved facilities, extensive training and introductory classes to help educate youngsters in the UAE about the entire world of horses, rather than just the riding element – Mushrif Equestrian Club is a mustvisit for anyone with little ones keen to learn more. And for myself, even the onset of the next day’s aching legs wasn’t enough to put me off feeling happy to be back in the saddle.


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February 2017

Staycations

Staycations

Sometimes you just need to get away from it all. With our comprehensive round-up of great places to escape to across the GCC, you’re all set for a weekend of stress-free fun

Avani Deira Dubai Hotel

Hyatt Regency Makkah

minorhotels.com/en/avani/ deira-dubai

makkah.regency.hyatt.com

Location dubai

Waldorf Astoria Al Baleed Resort Dubai Palm Jumeirah Salalah by Anantara waldorfastoria3.hilton.com

salalah.anantara.com

Location saudi arabia

Location dubai

Location Oman

In a nutshell Old meets new in the historic heart of Dubai at this 216room hotel that fuses Arabian traditions with contemporary style. Family-friendly and perfectly located for exploring the city, this is a great family getaway.

In a nutshell This modern abode is located in Jabal Omar, right beside Al Masjid Al Haram, and offers great hospitality, a warm welcome and an elegant ambience amid a spiritual atmosphere in the revered holy city.

In a nutshell Palatial and elegant, this fabulous abode offers magnificent views of the Arabian Gulf and the glittering shoreline of Dubai accompanied with all the finery you would expect from this luxury brand.

In a nutshell In picturesque Salalah, this swanky new villa hotel is nestled between a beach and a freshwater lagoon and boasts tropical gardens, an infinity pool and the city’s first luxury hammam.

Selected suite The Avani Executive Suite is the perfect place for your city break. With great views and a huge living space, you also get access to the Avani Executive Lounge.

Selected suite Stay in the palatial 190 sq m Royal Suite for sheer luxury, with its spacious dining room, separate office, and walk-in marble rain shower.

Selected suite The King Premier Suite is a private oasis offering a huge balcony, living room, exclusive lounge access and a gorgeous sea view.

Selected suite Go for the Beach Villa for the best views in the resort. Enjoy turquoise waters and pristine sands, a lush landscaped terrace and your own private pool.

Cuisine Tuck into delicious eats at Jigsaw, where local, organic ingredients prevail. Head to Spectators Sports Bar for sporting action and sundowners on the deck.

Cuisine Enjoy all-day dining at The Oasis, tuck into Italian specialities at Al Forno, gather with the family at Tea Lounge, or grab and go with delicious bites from Al Tekkaya.

Cuisine Where to begin? Try Social by Heinz Beck, Serafina for sundowners and live entertainment, or LAO for authentically delicious Vietnamese.

Cuisine Mekong offers Pan-Asian eats, Al Mina serves up Mediterranean fare with a side of fantastic entertainment, and Sakalan is the stylish all-day dining restaurant.

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February 2017

Staycations

Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara abu-dhabi.anantara.com Location abu dHabi

In a nutshell A beautiful palatial retreat near Abu Dhabi’s natural mangroves, this spot is a dream escape. With an on-site marina, landscaped pools and one of the best spas in the city, you’ll feel like royalty. Selected suite Inspired by its surroundings, the Kasara Mangroves Suite is pure understated elegance. Comfortable and relaxing, it also boasts spectacular scenic views of the surrounding waterways. Cuisine Try Asian delights at Paychalen, all-day deliciousness at Ingredients, and sundowners with a view to remember at Mangrove Lounge.

Fairmont Ajman fairmont.com/ajman

Location aJman

• Ask the concierge Guest services manager Moustafa AbdelSalam gives us some insider tips

In a nutshell Nestled on a 200m stretch of golden sand, this spot evokes tranquillity and serenity while reflecting a rich Arabian heritage.

Which is your favourite suite? The Penthouse. It’s the largest at over 500 sq m and has amazing views. The master bedroom is gorgeous and the spa marble bathroom, with dual-unit rain shower and oversized soaking bathtub, the cherry on top. What’s your favourite resturant? Kiyi for authentic Turkish cuisine in a traditional Imperial Ottoman setting. Any well-kept hotel secrets? The 16m-diameter glass art in Azrak Lobby Lounge was created by Lasvit and resembles a spiralling shoal of fish. It represents deep gratitude for the sea, which is still at the heart of the Ajman culture.

Selected suite Offering panoramic views of the Gulf flanked by an emerging city skyline, the Penthouse suite is our pick. Cuisine Enjoy Italian at Gioia, brunch at Spectrum, mezze at Badr and fine Turkish dining at Kiyi. 73


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Abu Dhabi

City Of Beauty

February 2017

Clockwise from top: Qasr Al Muwaji; Al Ain Oasis; traditional handicrafts

Gather the family and head for Al Ain, the emirate’s garden city where there’s a whole host of events taking place this month EVENINGS AT THE OASIS Make your way to the UAE’s first curated UNESCO World Heritage Site this 3-4 February for a family-centric afternoon of workshops and events, and an exciting community market of crafts and artisanal products. Then, on 1011 February, a fantastic new series entitled Evenings at the Oasis kicks off. Perfect for the whole family, enjoy traditional performances, film screenings of pop culture spanning the 1980s and 1990s, and lots of delicious food and entertainment. Throughout the month, there will also be ongoing events celebrating the seasons and highlighting what it means to have been an oasis farmer, ideal for helping little ones understand a little bit more about the country they live in.

MY HERITAGE, MY RESPONSIBILITY On 9-10 February, make your way to the former home of the late UAE founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, for an exciting event created in a bid to encourage youngsters to find out a bit more about the country and its fascinating history. Kicking off at 5pm at the Al Ain Palace Museum, get the low-down on lots of different elements of the intangible heritage of the country such as traditional medicine, local dialects and words, and customary dress and adornments. Bring the kids and let them explore the restored, rambling palace. They can even step inside the majlis where Zayed used to receive visitors, roam around the kitchens that were used to prepare his meals and see the Land Rover he drove across the dunes. 74

A LITERARY SPECTACLE This February, the first in a series of literary evenings takes place at Muwaiji. Starting at 7pm on 18 February, gather in the fort to witness narrators, storytellers, chroniclers and poets deliver touching performances, very fitting in a country well-known for its folklore traditions. Fittingly happening at the birthplace of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan – now a UNESCO-protected site – marvel at the fort that has stood guard over the oasis surrounding it for almost 100 years. Having been spectacularly renovated, the structure stands as a testament to the effort of the numerous archeologists, conservators, architects, historians and curators that have worked on the project over the years.


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dnata Offers

February 2017

dnata

Weekend Offers To book any of these offers, call +971 4 316 6666, visit a dnata outlet or log on to dnatatravel.com

Oman

intercontinental hotel muscat 2 nights from USD330 per person Special offer: 33% discount on room rate Includes: Stay in a Standard Mountain View Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now ’til 10 Apr 2017

Qatar

W Doha hotel & resiDences 2 nights from USD248 per person Special offer: 15% discount on room rate Includes: Stay in a Spectacular Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers Validity: Now ’til 10 Apr 2017

UAE

yas viceroy hotel 1 night from USD95 per person Special offer: 40% discount on room rate Includes: Stay in a Marina Room with breakfast Validity: Now ’til 10 Apr 2017

WalDorf astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah 1 night from USD214 per person Special offer: Special room rate, plus children under 12 stay and eat for free when sharing a room with parents Includes: Stay in a Deluxe Room Skyline Sea View with breakfast Validity: Now ’til 10 Apr 2017

granD hyatt Dubai 1 night from USD145 per person Special offer: Complimentary access to Grand Club Lounge, 2 children under 12 stay and eat for free when staying and dining with parents, 20% discount on selected heritage spa packages and 20% discount in selected food and beverage outlets Includes: Stay in a Club Creek Room with breakfast Validity: Now ’til 10 Apr 2017

WalDorf astoria ras al Khaimah 1 night from USD219 per person Special offer: 15% discount on room rate, plus 2 children under 12 go free when sharing a room with parents Includes: Stay in a Junior Suite Sea View with breakfast daily Validity: Now ’til 10 Apr 2017 76

Clockwise from top left: Intercontinental Muscat; Four Seasons Abu Dhabi; Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah; W Doha Hotel & Residences; Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah; Yas Viceroy Hotel; Grand Hyatt Dubai

four seasons hotel abu Dhabi at al maryah islanD 1 night from USD122 per person Special offer: Complimentary upgrade from Superior to Deluxe Room, kids go free (complimentary extra bed and buffet breakfast for children under 12), plus guaranteed early check-in and late check-out Includes: Stay in a Superior Room with breakfast Validity: Now ’til 10 Apr 2017


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February 2017

World Traveller Recommends

World Traveller’s Recommended

Beach stay Gleaming white, uber-sophisticated and effortlessly cool, this is the place to be seen

WHERE? Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai THE LOW-DOWN: Having only opened its doors at the end of 2016, this resort is gorgeously sleek. On Pearl Jumeira, one of Dubai’s hottest locales, the resort boasts endless sea views and a gorgeous ambience, much as you’d expect from the fun-loving international superbrand. And with 450m of private beach as well as dazzling Arabian Gulf panoramas, it’s something special. THE SCENE: Part of the world-renowned Nikki Beach brand, expect style-savvy sunseekers, fashionable trendsetters and those who like to party with panache. Celebrity spotting is also on the cards.

THE ROOM: Checking into one of the resort’s Luux Rooms, you’ll be blown away by the refreshing palette that’s clearly inspired by the ocean and its surrounds. Natural light floods in through huge windows and is reflected on giant mirrors, and linens are all bright white, sea blue and sandy beige. Wooden furniture hints at natural driftwood and colourful wall panels in green and blue pay homage to the waterscape right outside your window. TO DO: This place is all about pool lounging so it makes sense that they’ve got a gorgeous pool with a Jacuzzi as well as a sleek 15m lap pool for those wanting to actually swim. Inwater loungers, pristine white daybeds and private cabanas circle the pool while funky music drifts from hidden speakers. The Nikki 77

Spa offers indulgent treatments to help you unwind further and, if all that relaxation gets a bit much, head to the fully equipped Tone Gym to work up a sweat.

TO EAT: Café Nikki has an intimate vibe, awesome sea views and responsibly sourced ingredients, while Soul Lounge is the perfect place for chilled-out sundowners. Open on weekends only, Nikki Privé guarantees a VIP experience alongside epic views of the sea and the twinkling cityscape. OUR FAVOURITE PART: It’s hard to pick just one thing, but if we had to, we’d say the beautifully designed pool with its wraparound sun terrace – it’s simply made for lounging on, all year round.


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February 2017

World Traveller Recommends

World Traveller’s Recommended

cIty stay In the heart of Downtown Dubai, the world’s tallest hotel is worth a visit

WHERE? JW Marriot Marquis Dubai THE LOW-DOWN: Spanning two identical towers in the Business Bay district of the city, this place has some excellent eateries and bars, and the gorgeous suites certainly make the most of their cloud-skimming vantage point. THE SCENE: Being smack-bang in the centre of town means this place is popular with everyone – from families who want to be close to all the happenings in and around The Dubai Mall, to honeymooners looking for something sleek or those in-the-know travellers keen to stay in a world-record-holding hotel. Luckily, the hotel is easily equipped to make everyone feel special, no matter what you’re after.

THE ROOM: Settle into an Executive Suite to make the most of the hotel’s towering height and fantastic Downtown location, with floorto-ceiling windows that we promise you’ll spend some time taking in the view from. The whole room exudes space and light in contrast to the cosy hardwood finishes and sumptuous fabrics. Rooms are also fully kitted out with all the latest technology, so you’ll be well looked after if you need to catch up on some work or just want to chill with a movie (we wouldn’t blame you – once you we checked in, we really didn’t want to leave). Even the bathrooms are gorgeous, with rain showers and huge oversized tubs, perfect for soaking in. And you also get access to the Executive Lounge, which means complimentary snacks and drinks all day long – what’s not to love about that? 78

TO DO: Check into the world-class Saray Spa, where you can try a whole lot of pampering treatments – perfect for a spot of relaxation. If you want to spend, treat yourself to something from the Shopping Galleria and, if you can bring yourself to venture outside, all the city action is literally on your doorstep. TO EAT: Some of the city’s best steaks are available at Prime 68, while tasty Japanese awaits at Izakaya. Celebrity chef Atul Kochhar heads up the gorgeous Rang Mahal and there’s authentic Italian at Positano, while Weslodge Salon has American eats with a funky vibe. OUR FAVOURITE PART: It’s got to be the jawdropping view. Day or night, it’s mesmerising, and definitely something to remember.


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Win!

An indulgent overnight stay at Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

Competition

I

f you’re craving a spot of indulgence or perhaps in need of some much-needed respite, then how does a fantastic overnight stay at Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa sound? Offering something entirely different, this resort is set in the heart of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, which means rolling red sand dunes and a feeling that you really have escaped the bustle of the city. Check into this low-rise oasis for a real Arabian Nights experience where wildlife such as gazelle and oryx wander the sands and a twinkling night sky awaits. In this gorgeous location, you can be assured of some of the best sunrises you’ll ever lay eyes on. While you’re here, indulge in a desert activity – take your pick from falconry, horse riding, dune driving and nature walks. Or try your hand at the noble art of archery, a sport that’s always been part of the Middle East’s Bedouin culture, before heading out to experience the dunes by camelback on an evening trek. 79

February 2017

Spoil yourself and your loved one with a treatment at The Timeless Spa, which offers a wide range of therapies drawn from cultures around the world. This fantastic prize includes an overnight stay on a fullboard basis and two desert activities. To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the following question: What wildlife are you likely to see when staying at Al Maha?

A) Koalas B) Hippopotamuses C) Oryx Email your answer to easywin@hotmedia publishing.com by 28 February 2017. Prize voucher includes one-night stay for two on full-board basis and two desert activities. Voucher valid from 1 March 2017, excluding blackout periods. For more information on the resort, visit al-maha.com


World Traveller

Suite Dreams

February 2017

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

What: wynn tower parlor Suite

F

Where: Wynn Las Vegas, Nevada

Away from your suite, you’ll find yourself in one of the most elegant addresses in all of Vegas, where celebrity spotting could become a regular pastime. No matter what you’re after, chances are you won’t need to leave the hotel as everything you could possibly imagine is right at hand. Dining-wise you’ll be spoiled for choice – the hotel’s seafood buffet is one of the most popular on the Strip, late-night bites at Allegro are a definite must and Wynn’s Country Club delivers brilliant live jazz coupled with New Orleans-style cooking. Enjoy dinner and a show to remember at the Encore Theater’s spectacular production Le Rêve – a mysterious world within an incredible aqua theatre where you’ll see underwater dancing, daring high dives and stunning aquatic performances. Shopping at The Wynn Esplanade is fantastic – Chanel, Cartier and Dior are just a few of the boutiques in residence – while golfers can enjoy rolling greens on the on-site fairways. Those looking to unwind can head to The Spa or to a private cabana overlooking the pool – complete with mini-fridge, plasma TV and plush sofas. Wynn Las Vegas is a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection; preferredhotels.com

rom the minute you step into the Parlor Suite you’re sure to be impressed. Spanning almost 1,300 sq ft, it’s an expanse of understated comfort and elegance. The thing you’ll notice first is probably the Wynn Dream Bed, sitting perfectly plump with overstuffed pillows and cushions. Meanwhile, the adjoining bathroom is a welcoming haven of Italian marble with dual sinks, a whirlpool-deep soaking tub and a separate glass-enclosed shower. Expect soothing earth tones and floor-to-ceiling windows that make the most of golf course or bustling Strip vistas. Ideal for anyone who wants to combine both work and play, this huge suite allows you to separate your workspace from the common areas – that is if you can concentrate on work amid such spellbinding views. In this suite, everything is made for your convenience – think bedside touchscreen curtains, lighting, room service and privacy controls. What’s more, all Tower Suite guests enjoy upgraded perks like a private entrance, exclusive check-in lounge, access to the private Tower Suites pool and complimentary breakfast for two at the elegant American-style eatery Tableau. 80


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World Traveller February'17  

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