Issue 117 | january 2018 | ComplImentary Copy
new Zealand cambodia seoul iceland
An island holiday of a lifetime awaits in Indonesia
Produced in Dubai Production City
Discover culture & history in Amman
From big hitting cities to beachside towns, explore Tokyo, Kyoto, Naoshima and more
Experience Polynesia in the heart of Dubai Parks and Resorts Step into an exciting world of curiosity with an unforgettable stay at Lapita, a unique gateway to the endless fun and enjoyment on offer at Dubai Parks and Resorts. Create moments to treasure with friends and family when you stay within Polynesian inspired rooms with complimentary theme park tickets*, bond over a meal at amazing restaurants or unwind at the Lapita lazy river. Exactly like nothing else.
Book now at lapitadubaihotel.com Tel +971 4 810 9999
Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection Hotels Dubai Parks and Resorts, Sheikh Zayed Road, P.O. Box 334221, Dubai, UAE LapitaHotel |
*Terms and conditions apply
Editor’s note managing director Victoria Thatcher Editorial director John Thatcher group Commercial director David Wade managing Editor Faye Bartle Editor Tiffany Eslick art director Kerri Bennett designer Jamie Pudsey senior advertising manager Mia Cachero firstname.lastname@example.org Production manager Muthu Kumar
The Little Book of Hygge (the manifesto about that Danish concept of ‘cosiness’ that went global) sat on my nightstand for the whole of last year. Alas, I was too busy to read it and now it’s basically too late because ikigai, a Japanese wellbeing notion, is 2018’s latest ‘thing’. Read more about this and keep up to date about many more travel-related trends in our special Globetrotter feature starting on page 19. On the topic of Japan… out of the 50 or so countries I’ve visited, it’s definitely in my top five. And Tokyo takes first place in my ‘best cities’ list. From neonlit streetscapes to ancient temples, beautiful parks to bustling restaurants, it’s a place filled with culture and tradition that’s always on the move. If you’re planning a visit, don’t hesitate, book it now. But if you need more convincing, Laura Goulden’s story on page 40 is sure to inspire. If you’re less of a city slicker and prefer stepping off the grid then why not give Indonesia’s Sumba Island a try? There’s an eco-luxury resort on its remote southwestern coast that recently changed my life. (See page 46). And for any foodies out there, don’t miss our round up of Vietnam’s top three cooking classes on page 27. Turn over, and see what three-Michelin-star chef Niko Romito names as his four favourite restaurants at which to eat. In terms of staying local, our Weekends section is packed with exciting staycations and ideas about where to visit next. Amman is so often overlooked as a destination due to Jordan’s big hitters such as Petra, the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum drawing the crowds. I’d encourage you to read Olivia Cuthbert’s mini-guide to this capital city and its surprising highlights. I wish you all a happy new year filled with adventure. Until next month, happy travelling, Tiffany Eslick email@example.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
CovEr imagE The Fushimi Inari Shrine, Japan
Clockwise from above: Street art finds from an early morning walk in Amman, Jordan; outside Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan; the best view over Coconut Cove beach on Sumba Island, Indonesia.
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Contents January 2018 30
Worth Avenue, Palm Beach
CheCk in A CHANGE OF SCENERY
Immerse yourself in New Zealand’s natural landscapes; sail along a canal just outside Mexico City and head to Cambodia’s atmospheric ruins GLOBETROTTER
Your guide to all that’s hot in travel for 2018, including emerging destinations, new hotel openings and lifestyle trends. Plus renowned travel author Hannah Fielding on her travel favourites and a round up of Vietnam’s best cookery schools
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CHEF’S TOP TABLES
Michelin-star chef Niko Romito on where to eat in Denmark, Hong Kong and Italy SHOP MY CITY
Luxury handbag designer Lana Marks on where to shop in Palm Beach, Florida THE LOCALS’ GUIDE TO SEOUL
Three local personalities share their best ways to explore South Korea’s dynamic capital city
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The view from a Treehouse at Nihi Sumba Island, Indonesia
40 46 52
DeSTinATiOnS RING AND A PRAYER
Writer Laura Goulden and her husband go in search of a serene, switched-off break mixed with moments of exotic adventure during a trip across Japan INTO THE wILD
Tiffany Eslick travelled to Sumba Island where she found an eco-luxury resort that’s quietly making a difference among an ancient Indonesian tribe SILENT NIGHTS
Discover Iceland on an adrenaline-fuelled journey with moments of hypnotic stillness
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59 64 66
WeekenDS A LONG wEEKEND IN AMMAN
From Roman ruins to cafés, art galleries and sustainable hotels, the Jordanian capital has a lot to offer EVERYONE’S HEADING TO...
Ajman’s Al Zorah is watersports enthusiast's dream, plus The Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival is coming to town wHEN IN FUjAIRAH...
Tiffany Eslick heads to the northern emirate for a beach party, followed by R&R and a dash of culture
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Enjoy a great break on your doorstep at these luxury hotels READER OFFERS
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Step inside the splendid Presidential Suite at Mandarin Oriental, Boston
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CheCk In A change of scenery
A change of scenery NEW ZEALAND
With forests, mountains, beaches, rainforests, fish-filled rivers and fjords, New Zealand is the ultimate destination for adventure travellers who can’t get enough of the outdoors. And whether it’s surfing, heli-skiing, kayaking, hiking, rafting or mountain biking that you’re after, there are a number of ways in which you can explore the beautiful North and South Islands. Lake Hayes is situated in Central Otago on the latter. Spend a blissful summer’s day on its shores, before exploring the nearby Arrowtown – a historic gold mining village. Overall, the country is easy to travel around and self-drive holidays are popular. Accommodation options include quaint bed and breakfast inns, eco-lodges and high-end hotels. World Traveller 13
Change of scenery CheCk In
A change of scenery MEXICO
Mexico City has dusted off its gritty feel and is fast becoming known for its flourishing cultural and foodie scenes. Meander through its bustling downtown area and discover this capitalâ€™s history, from pre-Hispanic and colonial-era grandeur to its contemporary edge. Then, head to the famous canals of Xochimilco, the remnants of a former system of lakes and waterways built by the Aztecs that crossed the Valley of Mexico. Hop aboard one of the colourful trajineras (gondolas) for a leisurely cruise while food vendors float past.
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CheCk In A change of scenery
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Change of scenery CheCk In
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CheCk In A change of scenery
A change of scenery CAMBODIA
The Cambodia we know today was once ruled for hundreds of years by the Khmer empire, which, during the Angkorian period, reigned over what is now Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Remains of this ancient kingdom can be seen at the temples of Angkor â€“ arguably one of Southeast Asiaâ€™s most monumental sites. Built from 1186 and originally known as Rajavihara (Monastery of the King), Ta Prohm is one of the most atmospheric ruins in the complex. A thick jungle engulfs its crumbling walls, towers and dislodged piles of stone blocks that are covered in moss and foliage allowing dappled sunlight to dance across the whole scene.
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Surrender your senses with treatments designed to rejuvenate your body, mind and soul every Sunday to Thursday. Book any massage between 9am to 2pm and receive 50% off. Afterwards, treat yourself to a lunch at Lobby Lounge, grab a fresh sandwich from La Farine CafĂŠ & Bakery or enjoy pool-views with bites at Aqua. Lunch is not included within the offer. The price is based on the spa treatment selected. Saray Spa received an award for Best Male Spa at the World Luxury Spa Awards 2017 and Best Hydrotherapy Treatment at the Middle East Pool & Spa Awards 2016.
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai | Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE T +971 4 414 6754 | firstname.lastname@example.org | jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com JW Marriott Marquis Dubai |
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Globetrotter From finding your ikigai in Okinawa to basing your itinerary on your emotions, we’ve rounded up what’s hot in travel for this year
spin the Globe If you can’t decide where to head to next, let our insider travel intel set you on the right track…
AfricA’s biG moment
Arguably one of the best continents for culturally rich traditions, wildlife and exquisite landscapes, Africa offers diverse destinations and it’s set to shine in 2018. “We have noted a rise in the level of interest into Africa especially South Africa and Kenya – and we expect the trend to continue,” says Maggie Bootsman, Manager, Travel Counsellors UAE, which works in partnership with dnata Travel. South Africa has also topped Virtuoso’s 2018 Luxe Report as 2018’s top adventure destination, with safari playing a key part of the experience. ➤
Zebras at sunrise in Amboseli National Park, Kenya
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the up-AnD-comer Azerbaijan With arresting architecture, a cosmopolitan vibe and plenty of culture, Azerbaijan’s capital city Baku is making a name for itself as a top city break for travellers from the UAE. “People are looking for somewhere different to visit at the weekend and this destination has a lot to offer, including great nightlife,” says Maggie Bootsman. “It’s good value for money and is easily accessible, just a three-hour flight from Dubai.” From wandering through the UNESCOlisted old walled city Içeri Seher, to brushing up on art know-how at the Azerbaijan State Museum of Art, and shopping for authentic carpets in The Old Town, there’s much to discover. Top hotels include Four Seasons Hotel Baku, where you can settle into a room with a view of the Caspian Sea, and Fairmont Baku, part of the striking Flame Towers complex and a stone’s throw from Baku Boulevard. Also try: Armenia and Georgia are increasingly popular among globetrotters in the region. See page 32 to find out more. Azerbaijan
You don’t have to go first class all the way to have a richer travel experience. Going back to basics can be far more rewarding. “We have seen a shift in luxury travel trends recently with more travellers seeking culturally immersive experiences, whether that’s through meeting locals, wandering a city by foot, or learning about destination specific traditions and customs,” says Lisa Holladay, Global Brand Leader, The Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis Hotels & Resorts. “In this increasingly globalised and connected world, today’s luxury traveller is also returning to scarcity and authenticity as true indicators of luxury and are looking for access to unique, one-of-a kind experiences.”
HoLiday Hotspots The most popular destinations currently on the radar, according to dnata Travel, are: Dubai, Bangkok, London, Istanbul, Milan, Rome, Bali, Maldives, Geneva and Muscat. 20 World Traveller
A craftsman in Vietnam
CheCk In Globetrotter
Dibba Farm, Six Senses Zighy Bay
It may have been on the radar for some time, but the responsible tourism movement is set to shine brighter over the next 12 months. It’s the theme for the region’s biggest travel event, Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which is taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 22-25 April 2018. “Travellers have become very conscious of the carbon footprint they are leaving while visiting destinations across the globe and the subsequent impact this has on the environment,” says Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM. The good news is that there are many ways to ensure you satisfy your wanderlust while being carbon conscious… book non-stop flights whenever you can. It’s takeoffs and landings that create
most of an aeroplane’s carbon emissions. check your hotel’s green credentials. An increasing number of hotels and resorts are upping their efforts to save energy, recycle and re-use. The Cove Rotana Resort, Ras Al Khaimah, for instance, is scoring major brownie points for cutting down on waste with a dedicated ‘Captain Green’ to ensure as much is recycled as possible. Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman has recently expanded its Dibba Farm to welcome two milking cows and a herd of goats for cheese and yoghurt production, as well as a brood of laying chickens. seek out local artisans. When shopping for souvenirs, buy directly from local artisans. As well as giving their business a boost, in many cases you’ll be helping to preserve their culture.
heAD for the meD
The lure of the Mediterranean holds strong, with the number of visitors to Southern and Mediterranean Europe up by 12% between January and August 2017, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. One of the hottest new hotel openings in 2018 will be Nobu Hotel Marbella, which is launching in spring. The first Nobu hotel to open in Spain, the property is located at Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa on the Golden Mile, and features 10 restaurants including the two-Michelin star Dani Garcia. Opening in May, Ikos Resort Corfu is another luxury property that is set on Dassia beach, with spacious suites, views of the Ionian sea, and a stand-out spa.
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Globetrotter CheCk In
How best to discover a destination may be based upon your emotions in the future. The concept has been tested by Singapore Tourism, which teamed up with neuroscientists from Australia to use technology to measure the brainwaves of travellers, and pinpoint how they were feeling as they explored a city. Using electroencephalography headsets, electrical activity in the brain was translated into common emotions including happiness and relaxation. This was used to create an interactive travel guide curated by emotions. Meanwhile augmented reality, virtual reality and even Instagram stories will continue to help us fall in love with destinations from afar. Technology also has its practical uses by helping to streamline the journey. At Centara’s new COSI Hotel on Samui, for instance, guests can book via their smartphone, check themselves in and out at the digital self-serve stations and more.
7 soLd on
out with hyGGe, in with ikiGAi
Last year, the world was still obsessed with hygge, the Danish idea of finding happiness in ‘cosiness’. Now, people are turning their attention to Japan, where the lifestyle concept of ikigai is credited with helping us slow down the pace and find a sense of purpose. According to Okinawa residents, the world’s longest living people, finding our individual ikigai is key to a happier and longer life. “Although most people are living in cities these days, human beings are made to be part of the natural world. We should return to it as often as we can,” says Héctor García, co-author of ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life (published by Hutchinson). “The villagers practice the concept of wabi sabi – accepting the impermanence and imperfection of the world around us. If you don’t know what your ikigai is yet, it’s your mission to discover it.”
staycations Short holidays will continue to be huge among travellers in the emirates. Currently 65% of travellers are staying for one to two nights, according to Travel Counsellors UAE. If you’re searching for your new favourite weekend destination, there are a number of new hotels opening soon that are creating a lot of buzz, including The EDITION Abu Dhabi on the waterfront of Al Bateen in Abu Dhabi Marina, and W Dubai – The Palm.
If dining is always the highlight of your trip, then be sure to tick these ultimate foodie destinations off your list. This top 10 is taken from the list of 100 acclaimed foodie cities worldwide compiled by Caterwings, which analysed thousands of established food hubs and hidden provincial gems taking everything from Michelin-star restaurants to quality of the
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street food into consideration to determine the best locations for food lovers to visit. 1. san sebastian, spain 2. tokyo, Japan 3. new york city, us 4. barcelona, spain 5. singapore 6. paris, france 7. madrid, spain 8. lima, peru 9. london, uk 10. munich, Germany
Globetrotter CheCk In
To The beach
Four Seasons Resort at Desroches Island
COMO Uma Canggu
Montage Los Cabos
be among the first to feel the sand between your toes at one of these beachfront properties opening in 2018.
Four seasons Resort seychelles at Desroches island. This luxurious hotel is in a natural jungle setting – think treetop villas and deserted beaches. Cool off in the infinity-edge plunge pool. como uma canggu. Set to open in February in the coastal village of Canggu (Bali’s latest ‘it’ place), this property features three-bedroom duplex penthouses with individual rooftop pools and great surfing opportunities. baglioni maldives. Find this slice of paradise, set for a spring debut, on the island of Maagu in the Dhaalu atoll, a 40-minute seaplane ride from Malé. montage los cabos. This plush beachfront resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico has walk-in access to some of the best swimming, diving and snorkelling in the region, as well as wellness programmes offered at Spa Montage. Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi
Travelling with kids in tow can present some epic challenges, but hotels offering all-inclusive packages and added extras are getting the thumbs up from parents, hints dnata Travel’s Rob Arrow. Thrillseekers should head to Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection Hotels in Dubai, which offers
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complimentary tickets to all four theme parks: Legoland Dubai, Legoland Water Park, Motiongate Dubai and Bollywood Dubai – with all rooms booked. Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi is another good choice. Overlooking Yas Marina Circuit, it is in the thick of all the action and entertainment, including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Beach, and Yas Waterworld.
“Another new trend that will continue in 2018 is that expat families living in the UAE are holidaying together and Sri Lanka, just a four-and-a-halfhour flight from Dubai, Sharjah or Abu Dhabi airport, is a top pick,” says Maggie Bootsman. “Rather than stay in a resort, they are opting for familyfriendly villa accommodation.”
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Globetrotter CheCk In
A life well travelled Each month, a seasoned explorer lays open their travel journal The Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan Hotel
Egyptian by birth, HANNAH FIELDING is one of the UK’s leading travel and romance fiction authors. She is fluent in French, English and Arabic and has lived all over the world. From Tanzania to Venice, you’ve set your stories in a number of exotic locations. Do you travel to all of them? And how do you immerse yourself in a country’s culture? I research in detail, with dedicated trips to locations. There, I talk to the local people, asking them about their traditions and legends; I read their poetry, listen to the music, and eat the food; I go to local festivals, restaurants and visit lots of museums. I drink in the sights and sounds and smells and the very feel of the place. Do you travel alone or with company? There is a French saying, which I abide by: ‘Il vaut mieux être seul que mal accompagné’ – it is better to be alone than in bad company. More often than not I travel with my husband who is great company. Your new book, Aphrodite’s Tears, is set in the Greek Islands. What have been some of your most memorable moments there? I bought my wedding dress in Greece and I felt like a princess out of an ancient myth when I wore it. And my husband and I honeymooned there on the beautiful island of Rhodes. I also attended a production of the Sleeping Beauty ballet under the stars at the open-air theatre at the Acropolis in Athens.
mask, a darker side, concealed in what Erica Jong called “the city of mirrors, the city of mirages”. This was one of the inspirations for my novel The Echoes of Love.
is my home for the other half of the year where I live in a Georgian house on a hill that commands the most fabulous views, and I write overlooking the countryside.
What inspires your book ideas? So many things. Sometimes it may be something as simple as a face in the crowd that catches my attention. Other times I’m gazing out at beautiful scenery when an idea wanders into my head. Or I could be at the theatre, or listening to a piece of music, or re-reading a novel.
What are your top five favourite countries? Italy, Spain, Greece, France and Egypt, all Mediterranean countries with wonderful old histories and cultures, stunning architecture, varied countrysides and delicious food. The sunny weather renders the people happy, exuberant and hospitable, traits that are reflected in their way of life and in their customs and festivals.
In which sort of setting or scenery do you feel most comfortable writing? It has to be the sea. I live half of the year in France, where our farmhouse affords wonderful views over the bay of St Tropez, and wherever I write, I am always positioned so that I can see the sea. Ireland
In your opinion, what is the most romantic destination in the world? The Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan Hotel in Egypt. Built on a granite promontory in the Nubian Desert on the banks of the Nile, the dark-pink edifice, in the style of Belle Époque villas of the 19th century, has retained all the splendour of yesteryears. The hotel propels you to a time and place of legendary people and stories. Which city has surprised you the most? Venice, Italy. When I first visited, I expected it to be so sublimely romantic – and it is. But Venice is a city of two faces: that which the tourists flock to admire, and beneath the 26 World Traveller
What is your best hidden gem at which to stay? On the isle of Paxos, in the Ionian Sea, Studio Superior is a little gem huddled away among wild-fig and lemon trees. Set among a domaine of villas, it stands on its own in a small garden, with the sea only a few steps below, and looks onto the port of Gaios shimmering in the distance. Where are you heading next? After Aphrodite’s Tears, my next novel is set in two of my favourite countries, France and Italy, transporting readers to the Côte d’Azur and to Lake Como. It is, as you would expect of these passionate countries, a concerto of romance and sensation.
When in Venice, Italy...
Hannah Fielding’s new novel Aphrodite’s Tears is out from 23 January.
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Cao lau – Hoi An’s signature dish
Learn to cook classic dishes in Vietnam GRAIN There are a number of reputable cookery schools in Ho Chi Minh City, but GRAIN – the brainchild of Vietnamese-Australian chef, restaurateur and TV host Luke Nguyen – is the latest go-to spot. Instructors demystify local cuisine and a hands-on approach will see you preparing a fourcourse meal that includes pumpkin flowers stuffed with dill and prawn and a chicken salad with cabbage and jellyfish. grainbyluke.com
Vy’s Market Restaurant & Cooking School Cao lau is a dish that’s unique to Hoi An. Made with noodles, meat and local greens, its unique taste and texture is achieved by using water from an undisclosed ancient well. Meet the only ‘official’ noodle maker in the region during a countryside bicycle tour and cooking class with chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Ms Vy. You’ll also get to make white rose dumplings and banh xeo, a stuffed, crispy pancake. tastevietnam.asia
Old Hanoi It’s every Hanoi first-timer’s rite of passage to eat cha ca – grilled fish with turmeric and dill. Learn to make this and other delicacies at Old Hanoi. The aptly named Mr Rice runs cookery classes. They start with a stroll through the bustling fruit and vegetable market, where you can haggle for produce. Private courses can be arranged too – book one of these and ask to cook Vietnam’s famous broth, called pho. oldhanoi.com World Traveller 27
Dining CheCk In
Chef’s top tables
Join us on an expert-led culinary tour around the world as a chef in the know gives us his picks for eating out on a global scale Chef NIKO ROMITO is perhaps best known for Reale – a three-Michelin-star restaurant that is set in a 16thcentury former monastery. He’s also behind three eponymous culinary concepts for the new Bulgari hotels in China and the UAE. At Il Restorante Niko Romito that’s housed in the Bulgari Resort Dubai, he presents Italian flavours that are rooted in tradition and presented with sophisticated flair.
A dessert at Spazio
Dining at this world-renowned restaurant by chef René Redzepi is one of my best memories. I was impressed by the consistency – from the moment you walk in, right through to when you leave – all the elements come together perfectly. I like original concepts and Redzepi has created an innovative experience. He’s rewritten a new model for Northern European cuisine. WHAT I RECOMMEND: Every single dish is excellent.
CaMpaNIa, ItalY pepe in Grani Owned and run by chef Franco Pepe, this pizzeria is situated in the old Roman town of Caiazzo, about an hour northeast of Naples. I’ve known the chef for years and he is responsible for bringing awareness to this countryside spot. When you arrive in the town, you feel isolated, and then you turn into a narrow road and suddenly see the cars queuing up outside his eatery. WHAT I RECOMMEND: Any of the pizzas, they’re the arguably the best in the world. 28 World Traveller
hoNG KoNG Din tai fung
MIlaN, ItalY spazio
There are a number of outlets of this restaurant chain in Hong Kong and around the world. I ate at one in a shopping mall, and I’d say it was the most delicious Chinese food I’ve ever eaten. It could accommodate about 300-400 people, and what I liked is that the concept is accessible to everyone. Everything I tried was incredible. I remember being fascinated by the speed at which the food was prepared and the delicious broths. WHAT I RECOMMEND: The black truffle meat dumplings. They’re a modern version of the restaurant’s renowned xiao long bao. They’re elegant and creamy. I will never forget the taste.
I have to say that I really enjoy eating at Spazio, a restaurant-laboratory that’s run by a group of students who graduated from my cooking school, the Niko Romito Formazione. Set on the fourth floor of the Mercato del Duomo, with views of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and Piazza del Duomo, it is a space for chefs to learn about respecting their raw materials while experimenting and sharing the culture of food. Spazio offers diners a good balance of quality fare at reasonable prices, a great setting and lots of ambience. WHAT I RECOMMEND: Try any of the vegetable dishes; they can easily replace meat, poultry or fish options.
Images courtesy of Brambilla Serrani Photographers
CopeNhaGeN, DeNMaRK Noma
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JW Marriott Marquis Dubai |
Shop my city CheCk In
shoP Palm Beach Luxury handbag designer Lana Marks on fashion, art and food markets in South Florida LANA MARKS is renowned for her exotic leather handbags, which are favourites among A-listers and royalty. She’s also a philanthropist and serves on the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Florida’s Palm Beach is where she calls home, but her reach is global, and her exquisite designs are now available at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai. lanamarks.com
I love Palm Beach Because… it’s where I first got the idea to start a handbag collection. More than 30 years ago, my husband and I were invited to a birthday celebration for Queen Elizabeth II aboard the royal yacht Britannia. We were staying in town for the weekend and I was looking for a red alligator handbag to match my suit. It was an unsuccessful search, and I decided then and there to start my line of accessories. The BesT shoPPIng area Is… Worth Avenue, one of the most prominent retail streets in the US, which stretches four blocks from Lake Worth to the Atlantic Ocean. This area has retained the original architecture of the Mizner era. [Addison Mizner was an influental resort architect who presented Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial revival styles]. All the buildings are protected, there are no high-rise structures and it’s all about charm, elegance and sophistication in the surrounds. There are a variety of stores and great restaurants. one of my favourITe fashIon ouTleTs Is… Lilly Pulitzer. I love the bright colours that are used on the fabrics. They’re absolutely fantastic.
good deParTmenT sTores are… Saks Fifth Avenue and Nieman Marcus at the top of Worth Avenue. Both are
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Clockwise from top: Cycling along Worth Avenue; ostrich-leather metallic chain bags by Lana Marks; the Flagler Museum is a landmark in Palm Beach; Worth Avenue is a premium lifestyle destination
edited versions of the bigger outlets that exist yet they have incredible assortments. The calibre of staff is excellent. They are well trained and can provide personal shopping advice to a discerning clientele.
for vInTage, head To The... vias off
Worth Avenue’s main street. Whether its second-hand clothing, jewellery or antiques that you are after, there are some very special buys available, especially at auctions from any of Palm Beach’s grand old estates.
I ThInk There are more arT gallerIes... per capita near Worth Avenue than
anywhere else in the US. For such a small area, the offering is remarkable.
The oPen-aIr green markeT on a saTurday mornIng… has been voted
as one of the top markets in the US. The local community flocks to this meeting place that’s right on the water to pick up fresh produce from farmers and speciality stores. You can find honey, flowers, vegetables and more. There’s live music, great views of the yachts nearby. I highly recommend it.
ASK THE ExpErT
Abanotubani bath houses in Tbilisi, Georgia
Trusted advice for happy holidays
Rob Arrow, head of product at dnata has more than a decade’s experience in the luxury travel industry and loves nothing more than talking hotels and discovering destinations
We’d like to book a lastminute family ski trip in France. With so many resorts available it’s difficult to make a decision. Please help. La Plagne would be my first suggestion for a fun family holiday. It features 11 resorts that are spread across the mountains, which means you have a variety of venues and facilities from which to choose. In terms of skiing, it has good beginner and intermediate slopes open well into the evening. It also offers the exclusive Olympic Bobsleigh track. Megève ski resort village in the southeastern French Alps is great for an indulgent experience. It’s one of the oldest and most stunning retreats. There’s so much to do there and there’s a great après-ski scene. If you have young children, Les Karellis is ideal. There’s a special sledging area for babies and toddlers, an excellent child-minding centre at no extra charge for resort guests and older kids and teenagers are catered for as well.
La Plagne, France
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I’m intrigued by Armenia and Georgia – what recommendations do you have for both countries? Many people seem to think that these two places have a lot of similarities but actually they offer quite different experiences. Armenia is smaller, easier to get around and a cost-effective destination. Its capital city Yerevan is compact and has a great street-life culture with bustling cafés, restaurants and bars. It also has good museums and innovative art galleries such as Cafesjian Center for the Arts, which is built into the side of a mountain. A day trip to Lake Sevan is a great idea. It’s less than two hours away by car and will put you in the heart of the country, which looks a bit like Switzerland. Georgia needs a bit more time if you really want to experience it properly. Tbilisi is a fantastic city – it’s more developed than Yerevan in terms of hotel offerings while its Old Town is beautiful and beckons to be explored. Rooms Hotels have a contemporary property in the heart of the city and another property in Kazbegi, up in the mountains. Both are worth staying in. Gergeti Trinity Church is a popular site and you can only reach it by taking a 4X4 or by walking. And the Jvari Monastery is a sixth century Georgian Orthodox monastery near Mtskheta, eastern Georgia that’s a must-see.
FLIGHT DELAYED? We spotlight three international airports at which you won't mind spending some extra time
Dubai International Airport impresses with its excellent shopping and dining options, spas, lounges, kids play areas and relaxation spots. And there’s the Dubai International Hotel with its G-Force Health Club. Have no fear that you will easily find a way to enjoy yourself during a delay. Not many people know this, but Seoul’s Incheon International Airport has an ice rink underneath its building. This is in addition to a golf course, private sleeping rooms, a spa and an outpost of the Cultural Museum of Korea. Lastly, Singapore Changi Airport has a lot to offer across its four terminals, from a variety of shops and restaurants to art installations and even organised city sightseeing tours. Highlights include a cactus garden with more than 100 different cacti from Africa and the Americas in T1; the Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel’s Jacuzzi, poolside bar and shower facilities; T2’s illuminated Enchanted Garden and T3’s tranquil Butterfly Garden.
CheCk In Globetrotter
The Fortification of Salzburg, Austria
On OuR RADAR Grab your passport and head to these trending destinations… Kyoto, Japan This is a brilliant ancient city and it can serve as a good alternative to Tokyo. It’s also a picturesque place to experience the Sakura or cherry blossom season. Prague, Czech Republic This historic city has a beautiful cultural side, an emerging restaurant scene and is within close proximity to the region, making it ideal for a short break.
I’m looking to surprise my partner with the ultimate romantic break. I’d prefer to stay away from an island escape, and perhaps visit two or three cities. What do you suggest?
Italy would be a good destination has it has a number of ‘romantic’ cities. Fly into Venice (it’s well serviced from the region) and you have an instant dreamy setting with its canals, ancient buildings and waterside hotels. You can walk around easily as it’s a car-free city, but why not go all out and ride a gondola? Verona is not too far away and it’s often overlooked. It inspired the story of Romeo and Juliet and meandering around there still feels like you’re part of Shakespeare’s legacy. Keeping to the north of the country you could end up in Milan, or go somewhere different like Lake Como. Alternatively, Austria is very easy to get to and offers a magical escape. The capital has beautiful hotels such as the Park Hyatt Vienna, amazing architecture, the grand Hofburg palace and Palais Schaumburg and cosy coffee houses. Keep Salzburg for the end of your journey. It looks like something straight out of a fairytale with a castle perched atop a hill. It’s home to the Hotel Sacher Salzburg, which is renowned for the sachertorte.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia As an ultimate long-haul destination from the Middle East, it’s a major trip – but one that is definitely worth it. You’re guaranteed amazing images for your Instagram feed. Bora Bora is where the first over-water villas were built, too.
For inspiration for your next trip, step into a dnata travel centre, call +971 800 dnata, or visit dnatatravel.com
FOLLOw THE ARROw
Photos courtesy of Rob Arrow
Rob takes us behind the scenes, with a selection of his favourite finds from his recent travels...
ZAGREB I visited St. Mark’s Church in Croatia and had to photograph this beautiful building with its ornate roof.
YALA nATIOnAL PARK It was such fun taking this drone image of the Wild Coast Tented Lodge in Sri Lanka.
LOnDOn I recently stayed at Four Seasons Hotel London within Ten Trinity Square – one of Britain’s architectural landmarks. World Traveller 33
The locals’ guide to…
South Korea’s dynamic capital city has a futuristic approach that’s deeply rooted in tradition. Explore its mix of cutting-edge architecture, design, temples, palaces, food and fashion Cheonggyecheon Stream
CITY SLICKER JADE SHIN is a professional guide who has showed everyone from diplomats to travel writers around her hometown. She reveals her list of top attractions. What do travellers have to see and do in Seoul? Seoul’s history dates back hundreds of years meaning that we have a rich cultural offering. There are five grand palaces from the Joseon Dynasty that are all worth seeing. You will see many people (locals and foreigners) wearing traditional dress called Hanbok walking around the city, too. These clothes can be rented from various outlets and it can be fun way to immerse yourself in our customs. Ikseon-dong is a hidden ‘village’ that’s on its way to becoming the next hotspot. Despite being one of the oldest neighbourhoods, it’s drawing young artists and entrepreneurs who are opening up cafés, restaurants, and concept stores selling handicrafts. You can’t miss the Cheonggyecheon Stream that runs through the city. It was part of a massive urban renewal project and landscaped walkways, footbridges and waterfalls surround it. In the summer, you can dip your feet in the water. 34 World Traveller
Which art galleries and museums do you suggest? The National Museum of Korea houses hundreds of thousands of relics. The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art is a museum run by the Samsung Foundation of Culture. It comprises two parts that house traditional Korean art and contemporary art from around the world. Where can we see good views? About 70% of Korea’s landscape is made up of mountains and because of this we have many hiking and walking trails. Climb to the top of the peaks surrounding Seoul for amazing panoramas of the city. What’s an easy day trip? The Demilitarized Zone (a buffer area between North Korea and South Korea) is a famous spot for foreign visitors. For something completely different, check out The Garden of Morning Calm. This expansive space was conceptualised by a Korean professor who was inspired by the words of a great Indian poet. As the oldest private garden in the country, it's home to about 5,000 kinds of plants, including 300 varieties native to the spiritual Baekdusan Mountain. This is a good family destination.
CheCk In The locals’ guide
A variety of South Korean side dishes
STYLISH SUGGESTIONS LEE JI-YEON is a fashion designer based in Seoul. She shares her tips on where to find everything from cutting-edge couture to beauty quick-fixes. Which designers should travellers look out for in Seoul? Jain Song is known for minimalistic designs for women; Sonja Park is a good footwear and accessories designer, Choi Beomseok presents unconventional menswear; and LIE SANGBONG is one of the most famous fashion houses. You can find a number of emerging local designer boutiques at DOOTA fashion mall. Where is best for high-end shopping? The street from the Cheongdam Station intersection to the Galleria Department Store is lined with luxury boutiques, many of which offer items that can only be found in Korea. Shinsegae Department Store is a popular premium shopping destination.
FOODIE FORWARD Itaewon is home to an expat community and JAY KEN is a leading chef in this suburb. Find fusion fare inspired by his travels at his restaurant, Midnight Bistro Jubari Project. How would you describe the food scene in Seoul at the moment? There’s a focus on ‘new Korean cuisine’, which sees up-andcoming young chefs moving away from presenting purely traditional dishes. They look at the latter for inspiration but they also focus on fusion food. Pop-up restaurants are trending at the moment, and modern interpretations of the cold-noodle dish naengmyeon are popular, too. Where is the best place to go for street food? Many people will tell you that Myeong-dong, Insa-dong and Hongdae are famous places for street food. I’d say if you want a truly authentic Korean experience, head to either the Namdaemun or Gwangjang markets.
What are the best markets in the city for artisanal handicrafts? I would recommend you head to the areas of Insa-dong, Bukchon or Samcheong-dong – one of Seoul's most hip hangouts. South Korea’s skincare brands are making a name for themselves globally. Where can we find them? Laneige, Sulwhasoo, O HUI, Whoo and HERA are a few of the top beauty brands to buy. Some of them are only available in department stores in the city.
Left to right: Designs by LIE SANGBONG; a look from Jain Song's show at HERA Seoul Fashion Week
When you’re not in the kitchen what do you eat and where? I mostly eat traditional food such as naengmyeon, a beef-bone soup with rice called gomtang and seolleongtang, a soup made from bones, brisket and other cuts. Woolaeok or Neung Ra Do are both good casual restaurants. For fine dining I’d suggest Mingles in the Cheongdam-dong district and Joo-OK. What’s one must-try local dish in Seoul? I recommend you try a Korean BBQ. I usually head to a casual spot called Yeokjeon Hoegwan, where various local side dishes are served with the meat. World Traveller 35
Looking for a luxurious mini break that’s under the radar? Embark on a clandestine journey to Desert Palm Dubai
lose your eyes and imagine yourself leaving the bustling city behind and stepping into a luxurious oasis designed to unwind body and mind. From floating in the infinity pool and admiring the lush green vistas to being pampered to perfection in the spa and taking a private tour of the polo estate, Desert Palm Dubai begs discovery. Travellers who like to avoid the crowds will be pleased to learn that this urban oasis takes a ‘hush hush’ approach, making a visit there seem extra special and as if you’ve found a hidden gem in the emirate. Set amid a 160-acre polo estate, this low-key hideaway is just a 20-minute drive from Downtown Dubai. It has 38 spacious rooms, suites and villas, including the popular private Pool Villas, which each feature a sunken bedroom, large living and dining spaces designed to bring the outdoors in, and a skylight bathroom overlooking your very own eightmetre-long temperature controlled swimming pool. Sink into a deep sense of relaxation at LIME Spa, which has a steam room, sauna, ice room, plunge pool, heated beds and chromotherapy showers, as well as a tempting range of treatments. Book the Lime Intuitive Massage and your therapist will take you on a healing journey using a blend of techniques, from reflexology to aromatherapy, tailored especially to you. When it comes to dining, there are numerous ways to indulge. Enjoy an al fresco meal on the terrace at 36 World Traveller
Polo Suite bedroom
Recline on cocoon daybeds at the Pool Residences
A treatment room at LIME Spa
Take in the polo over afternoon tea
Wood-Fire Grill where you can savour chargrilled meats and fresh seafood paired with vintage beverages while soaking up the views of the polo field and towards the glittering Dubai skyline. The Jewel Afternoon Tea is served year-round and, until April, you may be lucky enough to catch a polo match while you sip your brew. A number of destination dining options can also be arranged, with a personal chef and waiter on hand to help you have a meal to remember. Currently, you can book a â€˜secretâ€™ stay in any of the rooms, suites or villas and receive complimentary mini bar access (soft drinks only) and discounts in the spa, restaurants and bars. Plus, this month, the hotel is hosting an openair ballet by The Covent Garden Dance Company. Ballet Under the Stars is set to take place on 15 and 16 February from 7pm onwards, in an especially crafted theatre, with special guest stars including Mara Galeazzi (principal of the Royal Ballet) and Gregory Dean (principal of the Royal Danish Ballet). Guests will enjoy an elegant reception with French bubbly, followed by a three-course dinner with drinks and 12 world-class performances during the evening. Whether you want to stay for a while or experience an evening of highbrow entertainment, our secret spot, Desert Palm Dubai, is now your secret too. Find out more at desertpalm.ae and by searching the hashtag #whatsyoursecret World Traveller 37
The infinity pool at Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara
A seaside stunner Escape to Oman’s Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara for a weekend of relaxation, unrivalled luxury and rich culture
et on the coast in Oman’s southern province of Dhofar (about 1,000km from Muscat), Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara offers a seemingly far-flung destination but, thanks to direct flights, is easily accessible. The first luxury pool villa resort of its kind in the region, the hotel hugs an untouched beach and a sparkling freshwater lagoon. Its design pays homage to the region’s iconic fortresses and features a collection of whitewashed buildings with sweeping arches and decorative Arabesque detailing that sit amid lush grounds. Dotted among the resort’s towering palm trees are 88 one- and two-bedroom villas with private pools offering ocean, garden or lagoon views. There are also luxurious Premier Sea View rooms and 10 Deluxe rooms with sea or garden views. Families or groups of friends will enjoy the spacious Three Bedroom Royal Beach Villa, which boasts a prime shoreline setting, a huge outdoor terrace (perfect for al fresco
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One Bedroom Beach View Pool Villa
Promotion Dining by Design on the beach
The spectacular hammam
Camel rides on the beach are one of the many activities available at the resort
entertaining), a sundeck with loungers, a kitchen and more. When it comes to dining, the hotel’s three onsite restaurants offer an excellent variety. Sakalan, overlooking the pool terrace, specialises in international fare, while Al Mina’s chefs serve up the very best Mediterranean dishes with flair. Signature restaurant Mekong (currently ranked number one in Oman on TripAdvisor) promises a culinary voyage through the ageold recipes of Thailand, China, and Vietnam. If it’s privacy and romance you’re after, the hotel’s Dining by Design experiences could see you enjoying a meal in a number of secluded areas across the property. A sure win is a lantern-lit sumptuous seafood spread at dusk on the wonderfully wild beach. Beyond the resort’s golden shores and Instagram-worthy infinity pool, lies a desert landscape awash with history and sites that beckon to be explored. Salalah prospered in the 13th century thanks to its thick forests of frankincense trees at Wadi Dawkah and the skilled craftsmen who took this valuable resin and made all sorts of products from burning incense, candles and oils to soaps and perfumes. Learn more about this industry at the neighbouring Land of Frankincense Museum and Al Baleed Archaeological Park, A UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to 2,500 BC. For something more evocative, go in search of the mythical lost city of Ubar on the southern edge of the Rub’ Al Khali desert. Known as the ‘Atlantis of the Sands’, it sank without trace into the surrounding soils. If you’re seeking adrenaline-fuelled fun, then try wadi bashing, hiking or head out on a 4x4 expedition with the resort’s local expert to discover ancient villages. Or get out on the water for dolphin-spotting or a fishing trip to catch marlin, tuna and saltfish. When you’re in need of well-earned pampering, there is the Anantara Spa. Treatments on the menu draw inspiration from Thai roots and Arabian culture. Highlights include the two-hour Coconut Indulgence, which uses ingredients from the coconut and banana plantations surrounding Al Baleed and the Frankincense Ritual where two therapists slather you in the sacred Omani essence as they perform a synchronized four-hand massage. Don’t leave this tranquil haven without trying the only luxury hammam in Salalah, too. Find out more at salalah.anantara.com World Traveller 39
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Ring and a prayer Her husband wants a serene, switched-off honeymoon. Laura Goulden needs more exotic adventure. Hoping for both they journey to Japan, but will they still be a happy couple on their return?
Clockwise from top left: Shibuya Crossing; wishes tied to nails at Meiji Shrine; Fushimi Inari Shrine; Naoshima coast; traditional geta wooden slippers; a walking path in the town of Kinosaki
n the first morning of our honeymoon, at 6am we felt the earth move. The pendant lights in our room, on the 26th floor of a Tokyo tower block, were swinging. Our jet-lagged brains took a few minutes to process what was happening before our anxious gazes met. We leapt out of bed into our fluffy hotel bath robes (very practical in a natural disaster) and fled... Down in the lobby, we discovered, via other jittery tourists’ iPhones, that the earthquake measured 7.4 in nearby Fukushima – whatever that felt like. The hotel staff looked up at our panicked pyjama party blankly and got back to laying tables for breakfast. ‘At least we can start the day early!’ I said brightly as we all padded barefoot back up to our rooms. My new husband, Steve, sighed. As he’d feared, our honeymoon was not going to revolve around lie-ins. I felt for him. Steve was tired. The fastidious one, he’d tasked himself with most of the wedding arrangements. But while he’d been dithering over canapé fillings and Portaloo price comparisons, I’d nailed down the honeymoon – to Japan, the weirdest place on the planet, for what I hoped would be the most romantic holiday of our lives. Except that, a couple of weeks before the big day, I caught him late one night looking longingly at his laptop. There were pictures of a hammock in the Maldives next to his wedding spreadsheet. ‘Is it too late?’ he whimpered. So why Japan? This was a special trip. I didn’t want to come back with a tan, and I wanted to return with a stack of memories for souvenirs, stories that would get us through the mundane Sunday-night-Ocadoshop moments of marriage. I’d been to Japan and knew its life-changing potential – to push you out of your comfort zone. World Traveller 41
The earthquake was a good example of everyday Japan living that would ruffle feathers back home. Sure enough, before our first day was through, we experienced scores more: eating raw fish for breakfast; changing into specially designated slippers to use the loo; and being encouraged to eat as noisily as possible. The last was to show our appreciation of the world’s most delicious food: a bowl of liquid roast-chicken ramen at Kagari, a holein-the-wall restaurant in the glitzy Ginza district. ‘Room service?’ Steve suggested hopefully that evening back at the hotel. Bless him. You can do many things in the Japanese capital, but relaxing isn’t one of them. Instead, Tokyo offers exhilaration to the jet-lagged and weary: it’s the holiday equivalent of a vitamin B injection. On your first night, you do not crash out at your hotel, you put on your best outfit and hit the town. I said words to similar effect as I shoved Steve, his T-shirt on back to front, into the lift and out into the neon-lit night for dinner, then a show. Shinjuku – the neighbourhood you’ve seen on guidebook covers – specialises in exhilaration, with its luminous signs, karaoke booths and intensely
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irritating pachinko game parlours, not to mention restaurants. Tokyo has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city on the planet – but for Brits like us, used to bland M&S sushi boxes, even the cheapest mouthful of raw fish in Japan is mind-blowing. Stumbling across a branch of Tsukiji Sushico, a mid-range sushi chain, we bagged a counter seat and ate piece after piece of perfectly vinegared rice topped with sea urchin, mackerel and umpteen varieties of tuna. Mesmerised as the chef squeezed, sliced and flipped with the dexterity of a brain surgeon, we agreed we’d had one of our best meals ever. Perked up by protein and carbs, we went on to the show at Robot Restaurant, misleadingly named since the only dish served is a sweaty pre-packed bento box. But that’s OK, because you’re here for the spectacle, which is unlike anything you’ve seen in the West End or indeed on planet Earth. Entering is like walking into a giant glitter ball, furnished with gold seashell armchairs and a silver robot playing ‘Isn’t She Lovely?’ on the sax. The show itself has a storyline of sorts – something about robot Armageddon – but no-one cares because they’re
too busy gawping at giant remote-control robots and fire-breathing fish. By the end even Steve was enthusiastically waving a glowstick. Much to his relief, I’d anticipated Steve’s fatigue and booked two nights at Tokyo’s newest five-star hotel, Hoshinoya, which promised peace after our shaky tower block. It had the feel of an elegant, traditional Japanese ryokan (sliding screens, tatamimat floors), but in a sleekly modern high-tech high-rise. There was a Zen tranquillity, as well as a steaming bath on the roof, and a restaurant serving dishes so beautifully elaborate, they could only have been prepared using tweezers. Steve shuffled, beaming, between hot tub and communal lounge in his complimentary cotton kimono, savouring tiny cups of tea and flipping through the pages of blackand-white interiors magazines, absorbing tips on how we could reconfigure our furniture back home to make married life just that bit more Japanese. Diplomatically (because that’s how marriages work, right?), we divvied up the sightseeing. And so, on our second day (a Saturday) Steve guided me onto the subway (efficient, all in English). We emerged at Harajuku station into a pink cloud of squeaky
teenagers in layers of chiffon. With orders to ‘Keep moving’ through the sugary scent of pancake stalls, Steve led me to the Meiji shrine, under its calm blanket of evergreen: a timber-and-copper sanctuary in one of the most hectic parts of town. This was a Japan moment to share with the grandchildren one day: rinsing hands at the water station; tossing a coin into the offering box; bowing and clapping as the locals do. Then, as we rose to leave, a Shinto wedding procession slid silently, cinematically through the courtyard, the bride in a thick white kimono and the rest of the congregation a beautiful trail of origami silks and hair flowers. Moments of urban calm like this were the honeymoon highs that united us – so, one afternoon, we retreated to the quiet, low-rise streets of Daikanyama and pressed pause on Tokyo... This was where we’d live if we ever upped and moved to the city. The cute, tree-lined streets and chic boutiques lent a dash of San Francisco to the neighbourhood. The incredible jeans shops, though, were unmistakably Japanese – each with a resident denim geek on a sewing machine, customising turn ups while you wait. We cooed over the sea of indigo in
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our favourite, Okura, picking out matching keepsake jackets. Well, if you can’t dress like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake circa 2001 on your honeymoon, when can you? There was time for more classic ‘postcard’ outings: to Tsukiji fish market for slivers of shiny sashimi fish; Shibuya’s world-famous cat’s-cradle zebra crossing for a selfie; and the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt, for a spangly view. Then, just when we’d found our rhythm, it was time to leave Tokyo, the cityscape melting away as we exhaled on the bullet train to Kyoto. For first-timers, the ancient capital is the antidote to 21st-century Tokyo. I was worried that things might feel tame by comparison, but I needn’t have. Away from the bright lights and high-rises, Japan does interesting and easy-going in equal measure. Steve was by now into his sightseeing stride, whereas secretly I was ready for the gentler pace – and in Kyoto we found real honeymoon harmony. It feels as dramatically old as Tokyo does new, with an astonishing number of temples – more than 1,600 – although so far, no-one has completed the count. Slowing to local time, we cycled among some of the big hitters – our favourites the golden Kinkaju-ji temple and 15th-century Ryoan-ji, with its absorbing rock garden; then stopped at Pass the Baton, a diminutive tea shop next to the river in Gion, the geisha district. Over green tea with caramel-flavour shaved ice on gold-edged tableware, we watched the world go by from our window seat. Three geishas shuffled past clad in shades of red and gold, a glimpse as extraordinary as it was effortless – and another magic moment for the memory bank. By the time we moved on from Kyoto we were halfway through our honeymoon: just one week away from facing the realities of marital bliss. Luckily, Japan does island idylls every bit as romantic and remote as the Caribbean: next stop Naoshima, a dreamy outcrop in the Seto Inland Sea, only hours south of Kyoto but light years from the workaday world. It was our honeymoon within a honeymoon, home to three galleries of great art, spilling beyond the walls: Yayoi Kusama’s much-photographed spotty pumpkin sculpture stood on the jetty, endlessly splashed by the sea, with Hiroshi Sugimoto’s serene seascapes dangling precariously from cliffs... Naoshima is the result of a very special creative relationship between a billionaire art collector and Japan’s most famous architect, Tadao Ando. For Steve, its obvious appeal lay in its serenity, seemingly laid on exclusively as a gift for us newlyweds. At some stage we found ourselves alone in a vast white room filled with Monet’s water lilies, the two of us spellbound in different ways. ‘All the colours,’ I exclaimed, as we sat afterwards in the cafe. ‘And no 44 World Traveller
Previous spread: Tokyo's busy skyline. This spread, clockwise from top left: Yasaka Pagoda in Kyoto; artist Yayoi Kusama's striking artwork on Naoshima island; contemporary cuisine with a traditional twist at Hoshinoya hotel (photo by Hoshino Resorts); views from Park Hyatt Tokyo; zen patterns at the Ryoan-ji temple; neon signs in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district
“We found ourselves alone, spellbound. ‘All the colours,’ I exclaimed. ‘And no queue,’ he murmured, looking out at a sea view as enthralling as the art” queue,’ he murmured, looking out at a sea view as enthralling as the art. Thus blissed-out we drifted to our last port of call, Kinosaki, a pretty pile of wooden houses and weeping willows as relaxing as any Maldivian resort — for the simple reason that all you do here is immerse yourself in balmy waters. The village was built around a mineral-rich hot spring that has been funnelled into seven pools, known as onsen. Trust the Japanese to take the daily ablutions and turn them into a memorable occasion. Men and women simmer separately (cozzies aren’t permitted for reasons of hygiene), so it’s not that romantic, but it is a fascinating ritual. In one, I got chatting to a backpacker in a barrel tub; in another, I drifted off to the sounds of three teenagers gossiping in an outdoor cave bath, and in the last I was quizzed on my bathing technique by a gang of grandmas in a gorgeous rooftop pool. Fingers pruned, I dried and waited for Steve in the reception while a panpipe version of Auld Lang Syne warbled, and figures clopped by in wooden slippers, clad in colourful kimono-style yukata. It was a trickier look for men to pull off than women. Steve demonstrated as much, emerging from the changing rooms as if off to a fancy-dress party as ‘old dame in dressing gown’. I fell into a fit of giggles but Steve, dribblingly relaxed after three long soaks didn’t bat an eyelid, merely lending me a powder-blue arm as we shuffled back to our ryokan. He might not have won first prize for hottest honeymooner, but the photographic evidence will get me through many a day in the more routine times ahead. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call +971 4 316 6666 or visit dnatatravel.com
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Into the wild As a resort, Nihi Sumba Island delivers a dream holiday in a remote setting, but the opportunities to engage with and help one of Indonesia's most unique and fascinating tribes is what sets this place apart Words: Tiffany Eslick
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umba is an intriguing place that is satisfyingly off the grid. Unlike many of its neighbouring Indonesian islands, it is not volcanic. Instead, its landscape suggests both Asia and Africa with its mix of undulating mountains, rugged savannah, maize plantations, rice paddies and thick jungle. Dotted throughout the countryside are hilltop villages with thatched-roof houses that look like giant wizards’ hats. They cluster around monumental tombs, where traditional Sumbanese (many of whom are Christian) still practice animistic Marapu beliefs. Sacrificial ceremonies run deep in this culture’s roots – I was confronted with this soon after leaving the island’s tiny airport as I drove past two big-horned buffalo being slaughtered in the street. And rituals such as the annual mock-war Pasola in February shed light on how rival clans would hurl spears at each other on horseback in order to ‘fertilize’ the soil with human blood. Headhunting is also said to have taken place among the territorial tribe, but this custom has long been outlawed. As a destination, you might say Sumba is still a best-kept secret. But for those who do visit – most are probably lured by its untouched beaches and cult surf breaks. And many of these travellers, have probably, like me, stayed at Nihi – a resort on the south-western coast. Founded by former co-owner and surfing enthusiast Claude Graves, who fell in love with the island in the 80s, Nihi (formerly called Nihiwatu) was born from his vision to create a place that would preserve and share the breath-taking beauty of Sumba with those who would truly appreciate it. American entrepreneur Chris Burch and South-Africa-born hotelier James McBride took over in 2012, and in keeping with Graves’ original philosophy, they’ve continued to drive huge social responsibility projects, while expanding and adding luxury touches to the resort. All this is what captures the attention of eco-conscious travellers, who of course appreciate the resort’s pampering aspects, but more importantly, believe in its purpose.
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“Every aspect of the resort – from its construction and design to the food and activities – pays tribute to the Sumbanese culture” From wherever you’re coming, Nihi is a long haul. Located about an hour’s flight east of Bali, Sumba is situated in the East Nusa Tenggara province, and once you’ve arrived with the daily flight, it’s about two hours of hard driving to the resort. When you finally arrive, however, it’s obvious as to what all the talk is about.
Life at Nihi
‘The edge of wildness’ is carved into a wooden sign that welcomes you to the resort. It stands atop a mountain and the view from up there is unforgettable. Looking down, over banana palms and trees smothered by creeping vines, you can make out Nihi’s own collection of pointy thatched roofs. Beyond these and to the right, a wild, white sandy beach with striking rock formations stretches for miles. And to the left, a vast expanse of the Indian Ocean sweeps towards the horizon, its colour changing from turquoise and cerulean to cobalt blue. Every aspect of the resort – from its construction and design to the food and activities – pays tribute to the Sumbanese culture. The villas, which vary in size and style are constructed from indigenous timbers, stone and grasses. Meandering paths connect them, and their layout resembles that of the local villages. Interiors are decked out in colour palettes and patterns of the hand-spun ikats (cloths) for which the islanders are renowned. The majority of the genuinely friendly staff hail from nearby settlements.
And where possible fresh produce is sourced from either Nihi’s onsite organic garden or from local suppliers. Life at this haven can be as solitary or as social you wish it to be. Most of my interactions with fellow guests happened around meal times. In the early evenings, we gathered at the Boat House to take in the glorious golden sunsets while snacking on sashimi, before moving to the breezy main restaurant Ombak for dinner. I chose to skip any Western offerings on this outlet’s menu, and dined on Indonesian specialities such as nasi goring, and fragrant curries instead. There’s also the Kapten’s Goa (Captain’s Cave) for laid-back fare and the option to dine at Nio Beach Club, which has an idyllic infinity swimming pool, too. It’s perched over the main beach and offers spectacular sea views. Yoga is an integral part of the Nihi Sumba Island experience. And practising sun salutations from an open-air pavilion atop a cliffside ridge was extraordinary. Mary Tilson is the Yoga & Wellness Director who is highly skilled in a variety of styles. In addition to daily group classes, she holds private sessions that can be arranged at just about any location on the resort you wish. Another quintessential ‘Nihi moment’ is cantering along the sand and through the rolling waves on the back of a Sumba Pony. These quick, athletic animals descend from Mongolian horses and ancient Chinese stock that was crossed with Arabian thoroughbreds. I went for a ride at dusk, as the sky turned from orange to fiery shades of pink and then red. It was romantic, but I must admit that much to my faithful steed’s dismay I opted for a slow trot due to nerves.
Out and about
Nihi also offers a number of excursions including paddle boarding down a river, hikes to waterfalls, fishing trips and surfing. ‘Occy’s Left’ is a legendary left-hander break in front of the resort that beckons top-class surfers from all over the world, but beginners (under the guidance of a Tropicsurf teacher) can head to Coconut Cove’s calmer waters not too far away.
Previous spread: Nihi’s breathtaking infinity pool Clockwise from this image: Only 10 surfers per day are permitted to ride ‘Occy’s Left’; Lantoro villas are perfect for families; Sumbanese children; daily work in the rice paddies; open-air ‘suites’ at NihiOka spa; Wheihola village
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It’s easily the ‘safari’ to NihiOka spa, which was one of the most memorable experiences for me. And this is not because of the endless hours of indulgence in an al fresco treatment room, but mostly because of the journey that happened before. An approximate 90-minute trek (these adventures start early in order to avoid the heat) took me walking across luminous green rice paddies, up and down hills and through patches of dense forest. Along the way, my dagger-wearing daredevil guide Tiger sporadically scaled towering palm trees to procure me fresh green coconuts from which to drink. And I was fortunate to enter Wheihola, a remote village, engulfed by jungle and boulders. There, in a muddy courtyard amid a collection of humble clan houses, I met with shy people, who quietly laid out their beautiful hand-woven wares. Their wide-eyed children kept me within fixed stares, and occasionally one of the scrawny dogs barked, but most of the time they weren’t too fussed by my presence, and just lay about in the morning sun.
Clockwise from this image: Sunset rides along Nihi’s wild beach; a Pasola horseman; paddleboarding down a river, is one of many excursions offered by the resort
A good cause
The Sumbanese are among the poorest people of Indonesia. Most of the approximately one million strong population live in settlements like Wheihola and it’s only after visiting this local village, a school and one of Nihi’s self-funded clinics, that I understood the severity of the situation and just how untouched the island still is. The construct of a traditional thatched house on Sumba is primarily built around a central fire, with beds laid on the perimeter of this. All family members, from infants to the elderly, are constantly exposed to smoke and soot and breathing this in is hugely detrimental to their health. Upper repertory infections are a result of this and are one of the biggest health concerns on the island, followed by malaria. The Sumba Foundation, which was established by Graves, is committed to lessening the consequences of poverty on the island, while still preserving and respecting the culture and traditions of its people. Nihi’s profits and donations from guests, provide aid for clean water and wells, health, education and economic projects. 50 World Traveller
To date, more than 25,000 people have been treated by the four health clinics built and staffed by the foundation; malaria rates in the area have been reduced by 85 per cent; more than 60 water wells and 240 water stations have been developed; and 16 primary schools have been provided with water, toilets, books and supplies. Eleven of these schools are also provided with three meals per week. In addition, the foundation provides scholarships for students to attend nursing and trade schools, with the best students offered employment within Nihi and the foundation. And this year, new
endeavours such as piloting smokeless burners in homes will be launched. It’s impossible not to be moved by all that you see on Sumba. And in my experience as a travel journalist, it’s rare to find a resort so dedicated to its surroundings. There’s a lot left more work to be done on the island, but this does not detract from what has been achieved. Amid the wild and mysterious setting, I was privileged to stay at a place that’s left a lasting impression with me about how important it is to get out there and make a start. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call +971 4 316 6666 or visit dnatatravel.com
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Strokkur Geyser erupting
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nıghts Hayley Skirka discovered Iceland’s wilderness on a journey that was equal parts adrenaline-fuelled adventure and hypnotic stillness
housands of tiny lights shimmered above my head, bounced off the walls and swirled on the roof. The air in front of me filled with mist – the -1°C weather reacting with the warmth of my breath. It hovered in the stillness for a moment, before disappearing towards the crystal-coated ceiling of the ice cave. I called out “hello” and the word echoed. It was such a mystical setting that I half expected the Ice Queen from Narnia to appear. The only other person there with me, however, was snowmobile guide, Hjorleifur. Icelandic born and bred, he has hosted tours across icy cliffs, snow-covered plains and glacier lagoons for years and discovered over 20 ice caverns while at it. “This one is particularly beautiful so I called it Magdelena, after my granddaughter,” he said, “but there’s many still to be found.” It’s this sense of discovery in a land so ancient that amazed me about Iceland during my whirlwind visit across the country. I journeyed there in search of big adventures and taking part in a driving expedition with Arctic Trucks allowed me to experience a number of remarkable moments. Originally part of Toyota Iceland’s reengineering division, Arctic Trucks was formed in 1990 as locals sought ways to get around a country that sees long snow-covered winters and has more gravel roads than paved ones. Since then, it’s been the go-to place for car modifications and driving adventures across the Nordic island in specially converted trucks.
On the first day of my expedition with the company, I had woken early, excited and a little nervous to get behind the wheel of the vehicle that awaited me – a gargantuan cherry-red modified Toyota Hilux AT38 truck. Fortunately, Andre, an equally mammoth man, was standing beside it. Well over 6ft tall and a former finalist in Iceland’s Strongest Man competition, he introduced himself as my driver for the next few days. We left the capital of Reykjavík and its pastelcoloured houses gave way to sweeping prairie lands. We climbed through the hills, and coasted towards Haukadalur, home of The Great Geysir. Comprising over a dozen hot water blowholes, many of which have been active for over 1,000 years, this sight is a patchwork of boiling mud pits and exploding geysers. The main attraction is Strokkur, which sporadically shoots water some 30 metres up in the air. Joining the snaphappy tourists, iPhones at the ready, we awaited an eruption. Within seconds a spray of water soared into the air, showering anyone standing within a 10-metre radius. Back in the truck, we headed east to the Gullfoss falls. Cascading down the side of a cliff, this two-tier waterfall is Iceland’s most famous – no mean feat in a country where waterfalls are ten a penny. The name translates to Golden Falls, a reference to the shimmering mist that often rises as a halo over the falls. Watching rainbows appear as the spray interacted with the sunlight was mesmerising. World Traveller 53
Next, we trundled through Thingvellir National Park, making small work of the ever-disappearing roads. “Every year tourists drive this route in a normal car, and every year we have to go and rescue them,” explained Andre. Sure enough, after just a few kilometres as the road turned to rocks, we saw a man in a match-box sized Nissan reversing timidly along the treacherous path. As we drove on, the terrain changed constantly, from ploughed farmland and wild fields dotted with grazing Icelandic horses to land covered with clusters of stumpy trees. “What should you do if you get lost in an Icelandic forest?” Andre asked. “Call for help?” I offered dubiously. “No” he laughed, “Just stand up.” Consistently ranking in lists of the world’s friendliest countries, this type of banter and sense of humour is yet another of the country’s charms. The biggest moment of the day came when Andre stopped the car, let the air down in the truck’s tyres and offered me the wheel. Clambering into the driver’s seat, I adjusted the chair as far forward as I could thanks to my titchy height. The road felt such a long way beneath me as the 38-inch wheels crunched easily Negotiating an icy river bank
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“As I relaxed into the driving, I began to enjoy the sheer isolation. It was a snow-dusted wilderness” over winding grit roads. Despite the truck’s heftiness, the ride was instantly impressive in terms of sheer power. My first ‘challenge’ was to cross a river. With no time to really think about it, I did exactly as Andre advised – kept slow and steady and then careered into it. I could sense the force of the water cutting across the vehicle, but the truck was so strong that it felt like driving in a strong breeze on the highway. Upon reaching the other side, we crushed through the ice gathered on the river’s edge, clambered up its bank and sped up a snow-covered hill. My efforts earned me a high-five from my Viking-like guide and boosted my confidence enough that I decided to stay off-road. We travelled on for miles and, as I relaxed into the driving, I began to enjoy the sheer isolation. With no other cars, tyre tracks or even birds around, it was a
snow-dusted wilderness. Of course, the stillness couldn’t last forever. Next up, was mounting a powdery peak. Its seemingly untouched snow was so soft that it was hard to keep going in one direction. Thankfully, Andre tracked down some partly-covered tyre tracks for me to follow. As we ascended the side of the mountain, the gradient became sharper and my heart began to pulse. “Floor it” was Andre’s command, so I did exactly that. The truck zoomed forward and we hurtled closer to the crest. I worried the plan may have been to soar right over it, but my concerns were preempted as my ‘back-seat’ driver suggested I turn left. I pivoted the wheel but the tyres plunged straight into a thick patch of snow, sending us sharply back to the right. Sensing my panic, Andre threw himself across to my seat, grabbed the wheel and steered us safely back in the right direction. Crisis averted, we continued on, tackling a few more summits while marvelling and the wondrous wilderness be settling in for the night at Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort. Nestled in a cluster of rugged mountains by the banks of the river Asgarda, the property offers basic cabins that command awesome views. As the
destinations Usa Gulfoss waterfall in the morning light
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Xxxxxxxxxx destinations Inside one of Iceland’s glacier caves
“It was such a mystical setting that I half expected the Ice Queen from Narnia to appear" 56 World Traveller
The Kerlingarfjöll mountains are part of a large volcano system Arctic Trucks at The Great Geysir
From wild fields with pint-sized ponies to frozen lakes, snowtopped peaks and more, Iceland offers diverse landscapes An icy lake in Thingvellir National Park
snow began to fall, we retreated to the Aðalskáli, to enjoy a traditional feast of fish and a few glasses of locally-brewed hops, toasting our epic day of adventure. The next morning Andre claimed his spot in the driver’s seat, giving me the chance to really take in the surrounds. Iceland’s landscape consistently amazed me as to how hugely changeable it was. One minute the sky was bright blue, peppered with a handful of fluffy clouds, and the next it was a whiteout with no visibility and tyre tracks that were covered almost as soon as they were made. We eventually reached Blaskogabyggd, where I met Hjorleifur – my aforementioned cave companion. It was after a thrilling snowmobile ride atop Europe’s second largest glacier that we stopped our machines, climbed through a barely-visible hole in the snow and dropped into that mystical cavern. Hveravellir nature reserve in the west was our final destination. Set between two glaciers, with smoking fumaroles and hot springs, it too offers spectacular sights. Despite the chilling temperatures outside, swimming in the warm waters there is a quintessential experience, so I de-robed, trotted through the snow in nothing but a purple bikini and pink hat, and joined Andre in the piping-hot pool. Sitting beneath a clear blue sky that showed no signs of shifting, surrounded by swirling steam and twittering birds, I relished the moment. To the left of me was Porisjokull glacier, which covers a 1,350-metre-high table mountain, and to the right I caught a glimpse of Langjökull – the second largest ice cap in the country. Between the two lies the valley Pordisdlur, said to once have been the refuge of Grettir, an outlaw hero in local folklore. Gazing at this mythical site, I thought back on my remarkable adventure and about all the stories Iceland must hold. The beautiful silence reached a crescendo. “It’s like we’re alone in the world,” said Andre. I couldn’t help but agree. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call +971 4 316 6666 or visit dnatatravel.com World Traveller 57
Weekends There’s a loT you can do in jusT a few days
The Via Ferrata is not for the faint-hearted
Ras Al Khaimah Surrounded by the craggy Hajar Mountains and offering sandy beaches, lush mangroves and sun-baked desert landscapes, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. It’s home to two of the UAE’s most exciting adventure attractions, too. A 470-metre-long Via Ferrata offers three courses along the rocky facades of Jebel Jais, which stands more than 1,800 metres high. And you can fly like a superhero as your soar across the world’s longest and highest zip line, which opens this month. Take your bravest friend and embark on this adrenaline-fuelled adventure as a duo, using the dual lines. If you’re afraid of heights, then head to the ocean for fishing trips and diving excursions. It’s currently an ideal time to spot rare green turtles. rasalkhaimah.ae World Traveller 59
Your guide to: AMMAN From Roman ruins to contemporary cafés, abundant art galleries to eco-focussed luxury hotels, the Jordanian capital has a lot to offer
ummer may be peak tourist season in Jordan but winter offers a fresher spin on life in the country’s capital. Out come the gas fires as people huddle on café terraces to sip warm drinks and smoke shisha while inside they order steaming vats of meaty stew to keep out the cold. Food, as any visitor will quickly discover, is a way of welcoming guests in Jordan so prepare to indulge in an endless round of delicious dishes in this most hospitable of Arab nations. There are plenty of ways to walk it off too, whether exploring the backstreets of leafy Jabal Webdieh, browsing boutiques in the new Abdali district or delving into the maze of Roman ruins at the historic Citadel.
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Clockwise, from this image: Inside an Umayyad mosque; city views from Amman’s Citadel; the hand of Fatima is popular throughout the Middle East; Temple of Hercules
CULTURE TRIP Amman through the ages
Amman has some of the oldest roots in the region, with evidence of human occupation dating back to 7250 BC. During the Roman era, it was known as Philadelphia – one of the 10 Decapolis
Street art abounds in Amman and various initiatives encourage the city’s artists to display their talent on a number of blank walls. Spot some of the best examples in Jabal Weibdeh, Al Balad and Shmeisani.
HISTORIC GEMS The former Philadelphia
Evidence of Amman’s illustrious Roman past can be seen in abundance at The Citadel, with highlights such
cities that formed a strategic string of settlements stretching across the Levant. The Jordan Museum is the perfect place to gain insight into Amman’s antique heritage as well as an update on more recent events exploring the capital in modern times. jordanmuseum.joen
as the Temple of Hercules, which dates from 162-166 AD, as well as other structures from periods, including a Byzantine church, an Umayyad mosque and an Ayyubid watchtower. Leave a good three hours to explore this site properly and take in all its treasures.
Dinner and dialogue
The Duke’s Diwan
Set up to provide a place for people of all cultures to share their views and discuss timely topics over home-cooked food, Shams Community always makes for an interesting evening out. Master classic Jordanian dishes in the kitchen with friendly strangers or go on one of the international nights and sample different cuisines, cooked and served at a long table in this bohemian space. facebook.com/shamscommunity
Amman’s art scene is populated by hole-in-thewall venues tucked away down sleepy side streets. Often, it takes a bit of hunting to find them but the effort is well rewarded, particularly around the arty hotspots of Jabal Amman and Jabal Weibdeh.
For a personal perspective on Amman, drop in on The Duke at his Diwan for coffee and an illuminating chat. Housed in the city’s oldest residence – a beautiful old building dating back to 1924, this stately time warp was purchased in 2001 by Mamdouh Bisharat, known locally as the ‘Duke of Mukheiheh’, who welcomes visitors curious to learn more about the colour, culture and character of his beloved city. #travelgoals Hike a section of the picturesque Jordan Trail, which runs from the top of the country to the bottom, and stop off in rural villages to glimpse everyday local life.
Darat El Funun
Really an art gallery, but also a much-frequented café, this fantastic venue sprawls down a hillside in Jabal Weibdeh and houses one of the city’s most intriguing archaeological sites in a pretty garden set back from the road. daratalfunun.org World Traveller 61
MINI BREAK #travelgoals If you’ve never tried Yemeni food then now is the time to sample this aromatic Arabian cuisine. Head to Bab Al Yemen and be sure to order plenty of traditional bread served hot from the oven.
LOCAL FLAVOURS A taste of tradition
Using dishes reproduced from her grandmother’s recipe book, Nivin Karam has created a paean to Jordanian cooking with her menu of classic dishes prepared to perfection. Open for lunch (and on request for large private bookings in the evening), this charming spot has been lovingly decorated to capture the essence of old and new Amman. facebook.com/najlashomemade
Cooking and culture
WHERE TO SHOP Nature’s bounty
The home of local brand Trinitae, Soap House sells exquisite-smelling bath and beauty products that make the perfect gift to take home. The olive soap in particular is irresistible and, like all the brand’s products, is made from natural ingredients. trinitae.com
#travelgoals For exquisite handicrafts, jewellery and foodie products made in Jordan's nature reserves, including silver jewellery, organic herbs, teas and jams, check out the Wild Jordan Nature Shop. wildjordancenter.com
A cross between a café, art gallery and cultural meeting space, Jasmine House draws a crowd of creatives who come to enjoy excellent Italian food in one of Amman’s prettiest settings. Set up to inspire open dialogue and discussion in a convivial environment, this is the ideal spot to tap into the city’s cultural community while tucking into delicious Italian fare. facebook.com/JHA23
Fakhreldin is arguably the city’s finest Arabic restaurant. Housed in the former abode of the late H.E. Mr. Fawzi Al-Mulki the first Prime Minister of Jordan, it is frequented by the city’s elite and offers an elegant spin on popular dishes, with over 100 options to choose from on the ample menu. fakhreldin.com
No Amman shopping experience would be complete without a visit to one of the city’s traditional Arabian marketplaces. For deals on second-hand designer ware, head to the late-night Friday market in Downtown, still called the Abdali market after its former location. To stock up on Middle Eastern herbs and spices, browse the stands at the Fruit and Vegetable souq in Al Balad (Downtown) or to pick up some traditional trinkets, head to the pop-up Souq el Sodfeh in Jebel Webideh at the weekend.
Best of the malls
Amman has its fair share of shopping centres, including TAJ Mall in the affluent Abdoun district, City Mall and Mecca Mall. These all offer a typical range of high-street and designer brands with food courts, cinemas and restaurants for a rainy day. There’s also the shiny new Abdali Boulevard complete with high-end boutiques and five-star restaurants. 62 World Traveller
Clockwise from this image: Al fresco dining at Fakhreldin; find an array of spices at Jordan’s street markets; Feynan EcoLodge; the swimming pool at Grand Hyatt Amman
DAY TRIPS Cabin in the woods
WHERE TO STAY Four Seasons Hotel Amman
Those expecting Jordan to be all arid desert and dry wadis will be pleasantly surprised by the abundance of greenery in the forested hills of Ajloun where log cabins look out over verdant valleys. Spend the night in the Ajloun Forest Reserve for the ultimate ecotourism experience complete with hiking, a tour of the medieval castle and a visit to local craft centres. wildjordan.com
This five-star hotel has a spa, rooftop pool and several excellent dining options, including the recently opened La Capitale, which serves French fare. fourseasons.com/amman
Grand Hyatt Amman
Conveniently located within easy reach of the city’s major leisure area, this luxury hotel has all the facilities needed for a comfortable stay. amman.grand.hyatt.com
Words: oLIVIA CUTHBErT
There are several cities within easy driving distance for a day trip from Amman. Salt and Madaba, both about 40 minutes away, feature architectural gems and the mosaics of Madaba, one of which depicts the oldest map of the Middle East. It’s must-see.
More Roman ruins
Just half an hour from Amman, Jerash contains some of the best-preserved Roman ruins outside of Rome, including several magnificent ampitheatres and a spectacular street lined with columns where the grooves of the chariots that once rumbled this way can still be faintly discerned.
Sheraton Amman Al Nabil #travelgoals Book an overnight stay at the Feynan EcoLodge in the Dana Biosphere and explore some of Jordan’s most beautiful Wadis with an experienced Bedouin guide. ecohotels.me/ feynan
With all the grandeur of an old colonial hotel, this is the perfect base to explore the city and return each night to five-star comfort. sheratonammanalnabil.com
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Last-minute WEEKENDs John Legend
EvEryonE’s hEading to… Al Zorah Ajman’s premier lifestyle hotspot has launched a roster of new water-based activities ideal for outdoor enthusiasts Mangrove kayaking
ON YOUR DOORSTEP Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival Celebrating jazz along with other genres of music, such as indie, pop, R&B and more, this year’s festival is set to bigger than before
A range of adrenalinfuelled activities await
Music lovers, listen up! Mark your calendars as the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival is returning for its 16th edition next month. The three-daylong festival (running from 21–23 February, 2018) will see spectacular acts take to the Premier Suite bedroom at Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah
Where: Ajman When: All year round Why: Only a 25-minute drive from Dubai International Airport, Al Zorah (alzorah.ae) is a lifestyle destination that boasts stretches of white sandy beaches, glittering lagoons and acres of protected verdant mangrove forests that have been declared as a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention. A number of thrilling watersports have recently been launched, allowing you to discover the area like never before. Enjoy: Activities for you to get stuck in to include gentle paddle boarding and kayaking. And adventure-seekers can take to the water on a jet ski, water-ski, wakeboard or flyboard. On the horizon: Look out for the StandUp Paddle Boating Championships, an underwater photography competition and 64 World Traveller
jet-skiing acrobatic displays, which are all set to feature on Al Zorah’s calendar soon. Marina 1 – a berthing area for yachts and lifestyle destination – is also nearing completion, and it’s there that you’ll soon be able to sign up to seaplane tours or dine at a variety of restaurants. While you’re there: Should you feel like a break from all things aquatic, try your hand at teeing off on Al Zorah’s 18-hole championship golf course. Where to stay: The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah features ubercomfortable rooms and suites with private terraces offering sweeping ocean views, while the property’s spacious villas all have their own private pools. Besides an array of dining veneus available, the onsite spa and main infinity pool are welcome retreats. oberoihotels.com
stage. Headlining the first day will be British rock band Duran Duran; they’ll showcase some of the biggest hits from their forty-year career, including ‘Rio’ and ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’. Tentime Grammy Award winning artist John Legend will bring his smooth soul and sultry R&B to the stage on 22 February. And Latin pop sensation Ricky Martin will dazzle audiences on 23 February. dubaijazzfest.com Duran Duran
weekends Abu dhabi
Al Ain Oasis
Past and present Al Ain, Abu Dhabi’s ‘Garden City’, is home to a number of listed UNESCO World Heritage Sites and cultural attractions. Plan your day trip with this round up of top historic destinations Al Ain Oasis Set in the heart of the city, this site is spread over 120 hectares and contains more than 70,000 date palms, which grow on various plantations, many of which are still working farms today. Aflaj irrigation systems have existed in the Al Ain region for thousands of years. By way of a series of underground and surface channels, water was carried across the desert to large oases. You can see and learn more about these here. Al Jahili Fort Originally constructed in the late 19th century to defend the city, this sandcastlelike fort is one of the UAE’s most historic buildings. Today, music concerts and events take place in its courtyards. Don’t miss the permanent exhibit of photographs taken by British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger during his crossings of the Rub Al Khali (The Empty Quarter) desert in the 1940s. Al Ain Palace Museum Located on the edge of Al Ain Oasis, this compound was the former home of the late UAE founder, His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It was built in the late 1930s, renovated in the late 1990s, and became a museum in 2001. While you explore its various areas and rooms, look out for the collection of portraits of the royal family. Al Ain National Museum This notable museum is split into two sections: Ethnography and Archaeology. The former includes displays of ancient handwritten Holy Qurans, manuscripts, costumes, swords, jewellery, weapons and
more. The latter is where you’ll find exhibits of tools, iron- and bronzeware, and beautiful pottery dating as far back as the Stone Age.
basement. Linked to the centre is Souq Al Qattara, where you can find traditional handicrafts designed by local artisans.
Qasr Al Muwaiji This former fortress is where His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the current President of the UAE, was born. The site now boasts a cutting-edge museum that ‘floats’ on a raft foundation allowing it to sit above archaeological remains. Permanent exhibitions celebrate the life of Sheikh Khalifa, chart the history of the building and feature archaeological finds from the region.
Hili Archeological Park This popular place combines tombs and the remnants of a settlement (dating back some 5,000 years to the Umm al-Nar period) within a park. A highlight is the Great Hili Tomb, with two entrances that are decorated with carvings of humans and antelopes.
Al Qattara Arts Centre Set within a restored traditional mud-brick tower and house, this venue provides the UAE community (and visitors) with a hub where art, music and local culture can be studied through events, exhibitions and workshops. During the creation of the centre, archaeological excavations revealed vestiges from the Iron Age, many of which are on display in a specially designed
Hafeet Tombs Situated at the foot of Jebel Hafeet (the most well-known mountain in the UAE), the 5,000-year-old Jebel Hafeet tombs mark the beginning of the Bronze Age in the UAE. Excavations by Danish archaeologists in 1959 found evidence for ceramic vessels and copper artefacts in these tombs, indicating the importance of maritime trade across the Arabian Gulf. For more information, visit visitabudhabi.ae
Qasr Al Muwaiji
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Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort sits under a backdrop of the Al Hajar Mountains
When in Fujairah... Tiffany Eslick heads to the northern emirate for a beach party, followed by R&R and a dash of culture
A Family Room with sweeping ocean views
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f I were ever to compile a list of the UAE’s most extraordinary swimming pools, those at Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort would make the cut. One is set on a rooftop and has pretty black patterns on the bottom resembling motifs on a Persian rug. It also features a swim-up bar, and is flanked by lines of oversized loungers. The other is a huge free-form pool tiled in red, yellow and orange. It boasts six in-built Jacuzzis, and is the centerpiece of the property’s new Lava Beach Club. Designed to appeal to families and the social crowd, this swanky spot opened last month. And with a launch extravaganza featuring mermaids, synchronised swimmers, a streetfood festival and some banging Balearic beats, I’d say this is one place where you need to be. During the day, the club welcomes guests of all ages (there’s a great splash pad for kids), but come nightfall, it transforms to more of an adults-only abode. I’d suggest you book one of the five poolside chalets with TVs and private washrooms so you can relax all day, freshen
up and party into the night. Or, you could splurge on the sleek four-bedroom penthouse suite overlooking the pool. In my opinion, this latest development is really all that the Fairmont needed to secure its position as Fujairah’s liveliest staycation spot. December 2017 marked this seaside resort’s first anniversary, and in just one year, it’s made a name for itself as a relaxing luxury escape. It’s a gorgeous one, too. The property puts art under the spotlight with homegrown and international works adorning its walls. The décor combines Arabesque and Moroccan furnishings and this look flows throughout the hotel, from the rooms and suites (all offering ocean views) to the lantern-lit Willow Stream Spa. The latter offers an interesting treatment menu with innovative ingredients used in many of the therapies. I can vouch for the ho-leaf, rosemary, The rooftop swimming pool
lemongrass and nutmeg tension release massage. And the detoxifying body ritual with za’atar (my favourite Middle Eastern herbal mix for cooking) is what I would be tempted to try next. There's a good mix of restaurants at the hotel. European bistro-style Café Pronto offers addictive homemade focaccia breads, fresh pastas (try the shrimp linguine) and an ice-cream bar that kept me going back for more. And all-day dining outlet Canvas does a good buffet breakfast, which was the best cure for the morning after the night before. Besides the two swimming pools, the resort’s private beach is also a tranquil place to unwind. The only thing I regret is not packing my swan, unicorn and flamingo lilos, as Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort it the type of place where one of these would fit right in.
While you’re there… Venture beyond your sun lounger and discover more of the emirate’s natural beauty and its rich cultural and archaeological heritage. A good place to start any day trip resort is at the historic Fujairah Fort. Built in late 1600s and restored in the late 20th century, this landmark is perched on a hilltop amid date tree plantations. It played a pivotal role in the defense of the city in the past. The nearby Fujairah Museum houses a good collection of local artefacts, some of which date back 4,000 years. Nestled among a rocky valley, is Al Hayl Fort, which is less than a 30-minute drive away. The journey there will take you along a gravel
To find out more, visit fairmont.com/fujairah
road, past humble farmhouses and quiet villages. And Al Bithnah Fort, the second largest in Fujairah, is located to the west of the city and overlooks an oasis. It’s worth a visit while en route to the Masafi Friday Market, where you’ll find everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to traditional art and crafts and handwoven carpets. The tiny Al Bidyah Mosque, which was built in the mid-14th century, is the oldest known mosque in the UAE and a definite must-see. Its modest stone and mud structure adorned with four pointed domes is built into a low hillside and two ruined watchtowers guard it. Lastly, Fujairah is surrounded by the craggy Al Hajar Mountains and a number of hiking trails exist. Make sure you include a picnic stop at the mineral springs of Madhab or under Wadi al Wurayah waterfalls.
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Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa Escape to Oman for a family-friendly seaside stay Al Waha’s swimming pool
The Lazy River
et against the dramatic backdrop of Al Hajar Mountains, offering a private haven with spectacular views, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is just a 20-minute drive from the centre of Muscat and 45-minutes from the international airport. The property is split into two hotels: Al Waha and Al Bandar. Families will enjoy the spacious accommodation, diverse range of leisure activities and sumptuous dining options available at both.
The rooms There are almost 500 rooms available between both hotels and all offer beautiful vistas of the resort’s lush gardens, swimming pools, and of course, the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Oman. The larger of the two hotels is Al Waha or ‘The Oasis’, which features 262 guestrooms, 40 of which are perfect for families. These abodes comprise two interconnecting bedrooms: one with a king-size bed, the other with twin beds; each has its own en suite bathroom. The twin rooms include extras such as DVD players, PlayStations and games – ideal for younger visitors. The food Resort guests have access to a total of 19 dining and nightlife outlets. Al Bandar is home to eight of these, including the Al Tanoor, which is known for its 68 World Traveller
Middle Eastern and Indian culinary spreads. Highlights at Al Waha are the Assira Poolside Bar, Bait al Bahar, which serves fresh seafood, and all-day dining restaurant Samba that presents international fare. Children can also be entertained by resort mascot Habibi the Turtle on weekends at Samba. The faciliTies There is a variety of attractions and activities to keep younger guests amused. Major draws include the Cool Zone kids’ club open until 10pm, several swimming pools (toddlers will love their dedicated pool with a rubber-cushioned floor), the Splashpad (a play zone with numerous water effects, from light mists to projection jets) and the 500-metre Lazy River. Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is just one of five
turtle nesting sites in all of Oman. Learn more about this at the Eco Centre with daily ‘Turtle Talks’ given by the property’s dedicated Turtle Ranger. Kids of all ages will love the Adventure Zone located within Al Mazaar Souk, a retail arcade located on the property. Within this is GameZ entertainment centre, which offers air hockey, snooker, billiard, table football and ice hockey. In addition to the above, there is a nine-hole mini-golf course, tennis lessons, a fitness centre with a roster of classes, a dive centre and dolphin watching tours. Trustworthy babysitting services allow parents to take some much-needed time off to enjoy a well earned vacation. To find out more, call + 968 2477 6666 or visit shangri-la.com/muscat/barraljissahresort
Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates Dubai
With cosy chalets overlooking an indoor ski slope, this five-star property offers one of the UAE’s most unique sleeps The open-plan living area in the Duplex Aspen Ski Chalet
rom the moment you enter the marble-clad lobby at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates Dubai, you’ll be impressed by the property’s splendour and the staff’s impeccable service. But this is really just the beginning, as a world of luxury, great reataurants and one-of-a-kind experiences awaits.
The rooms With a variety of accommodation, ranging from plush suites to poolside chalets, this hotel has something to suit all tastes. For a special occasion, book one of the sumptuous Aspen Ski Chalets that overlook skiers shimmying down Dubai’s famous indoor slope. For couples, we suggest the Duplex chalets. These feature huge living areas (including banquet-sized dining tables, open-plan lounges, crackling stone faux fireplaces and mini ‘libraries’ with great selections of books), as well as good-sized kitchens that are stocked with an assortment of treats. Bedrooms with king-sized beds and marble bathrooms with free-standing tubs and rain showers are situated on the second floor of these abodes. You’ll love the complimentary Hermès amenities including bottles of perfume. And the surprise fruit platters, mugs of hot chocolate and aperitifs delivered by white-gloved butlers. The food There are two lively casual restaurants at which to dine, along with a cocktail bar, pool bar and elegant lobby lounge that serves a decadent afternoon tea. Salero Tapas & Bodega is a rustic Spanish outlet that features authentic fare. Must-have small plates include the spicy fried potatoes, garlicy shrimps and morsels of manchego cheese. A Friday Fiesta Brunch there is full of fun. Olea is where you’ll find excellent Levantine favourites – try 70 World Traveller
The master bedroom in an Aspen Ski Chalet
the Palestinian white fish and vegetables that come in a traditional clay pot. If you’re up for a challenge, reserve a table (on the charming outdoor terrace) on a Thursday and order a 1.5-metre skewer that holds 1.5 kilogrammes of meat. explore or ease abouT Facilities include two outdoor pools, the Softouch Spa, a Maison de Joelle beauty salon, a tennis court and a fully equipped
fitness centre. The hotel’s convenient connection to Mall of the Emirates means that cafés, cinemas and more than 500 shops are just on your doorstep, as is Ski Dubai, and a stay in one of the Aspen Ski Chalets guarantees you complimentary access to its slopes and wintery wonderland park. To find out more, call +971 4 341 0000 or visit kempinski.com
Relax poolside at Fairmont The Palm, Dubai
Relax and RechaRge Head to Fairmont The Palm, Dubai this winter for its new wellness offerings that will help to revive your body and soul
easide holidays are synonymous with hours of sunbathing, saltwater swims and indulging in sumptuous cuisine. While this all feels great at the time, relaxing means your fitness routine takes a slide. Find a happy medium at Fairmont The Palm, Dubai where leisure, wellbeing and health-conscious dining combine, meaning you’re guaranteed to leave feeling better than ever before. The hotel's new Be.Your.Best. Experience gives guests access to a number of activities and services including everything from learning to make wholesome meals at The Chef's Palette to curating a bespoke training programme. Add Aqauaspin and PRAMA by Pavigym to your schedule and you’re sure to have fun. The former sees you cycling on a stationary bike while submerged in the hotel’s North Residence Pool. And using the water resistance to exercise means zero impact on your joints, too. The latter tests your
fitness levels as you move around an interactive and illuminated floor. Unwind at the Willow Stream Spa after your workout for hours of pampering spoils. And end the day with studio-based or beachside yoga and mediation sessions to ensure inner peace. To find out more, call +971 4 457 3388 or visit fairmont.com/palm-dubai
AquaspinTM is just one of the many new activities on offer at the resort
Yoga with an impressive view
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SATISFY YOUR CURIOSITY ROOM DISCOUNTS,
FREE NIGHTS & KIDS STAY FREE
Book at dnatatravel.com call +971 4 389 8555 or speak to us in-store Download our app
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READER OFFERS exclusive deals to get you packing
This monthâ€™s raft of great offers includes a stay at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara in Abu Dhabi
World Traveller 73
the fantastic four
Langham hoteL, London This prestigious propety is a landmark in Britain. Set in the heart of the capital, it's the chosen hotel of royalty, dignitaries and many celebrities.
Shangri-La hoteL PariS Not far from the Eiffel Tower Arc de Triomphe, this lxuury hotel is renowned for its rooms, suites and restaurants as well as excellent amenities.
includes: Stay in a Superior Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. offer: Stay two nights and receive an additional night for free. Valid from: Now until 4 Mar, 2018.
includes: Stay in a Superior Room and return airport transfers. offer: Stay two nights and receive an additional night free. Valid from: Now until 31 Mar, 2018, book by 31 Jan, 2018.
3 nights starting from usD 625 per person
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3 nights starting from usD 880 per person
dhigaLi maLdiveS Located in Raa Atoll, this awardwinning hotel offers an ideal romantic escape.
3 nights starting from usD 1,065 per person
includes: Stay in a Beach Bungalow with breakfast daily and return seaplane transfers. offer: 20% discount on room rate, complimentary upgrade to half board and 40% discount on spa treatments. Valid from: Now until 15 Apr, 2018.
duSit thani Laguna Phuket Set amid tropical gardens on the shores of the Andaman Sea, this resort is the perfect base from which to explore Phuket.
3 nights starting from usD 680 per person
includes: Stay in a Deluxe Lagoon View Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. offer: 20% discount on room rate. Valid from: 11 Jan, 2018 â€“ 31 Mar, 2018.
dnata Travel offers
the WeStin kuaLa LumPur
3 nights starting from usD 220 per person
includes: Stay in a Deluxe City View Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. offer: 30% discount on room rate. Valid from: Now until 31 Mar, 2018.
orChard hoteL SingaPore
3 nights starting from usD 4290 per person
includes: Stay in a Deluxe Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. offer: 20% discount on room rate. Valid from: Now until â€“ 31 Mar, 2018.
the ritz-CarLton, BudaPeSt
3 nights starting from usD 445 per person
includes: Stay in a Superior room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. offer: 10% discount on room rate. Valid from: Now until 30 Mar, 2018. Sofitel Munich Bayerpost
arounD the WorlD
SofiteL muniCh BayerPoSt
3 nights starting from usD 462 per person
includes: Stay in a Superior Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. offer: 15% discount on room rate and one child under 12 years stays free. Valid from: Now until 31 Mar 2018, book by 31 Jan, 2018.
SofiteL Bangkok Sukhumvit
3 nights starting from usD 330 per person
includes: Stay in a Luxury Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. offer: 20% discount on room rate and complimentary upgrade to Luxury Park View Room. Valid from: 10 Jan, 2018 â€“ 28 Feb, 2018.
Le meridien vienna
3 nights starting from usD 318 per person
Orchard Hotel Singapore
Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit
includes: Stay in Classic Courtyard Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. offer: Stay two nights and receive an additional night free and complimentary welcome amenities. Valid from: Now until 27 Feb, 2018.
azerbaijan hiLton Baku
3 nights starting from usD 310 per person
The Westin Kuala Lumpur
Le Meridien Vienna
includes: Stay in a Guest Room and return airport transfers offer: 15% discount on room rate Valid from: Now until 24 Feb, 2018.
movenPiCk reSort & SPa JimBaran
3 nights starting from usD 225 per person
includes: Stay in a Classic Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. offer: Complimentary upgrade to Classic Pool View and a complimentary 60-minute spa treatment for two. Valid from: Now until 31 Mar, 2018. World Traveller 75
Something for the weekend Whether itâ€™s a stylish city break or a luxury seaside resort, plan the perfect staycation at one of these luxury hotels 1
Photographs: 1. Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara. 2. Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa. 3. The H Dubai. 4. The St. Regis Abu Dhabi. 5. Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara. 6. Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi. 7. Fairmont The Palm, Dubai.
Fairmont the Palm, Dubai
1 night starting from USD 226 per person
Special offer: 45% discount on room rate, complimentary upgrade to half board and two children below 18 years stay and eat free. Includes: Stay in Fairmont City View Room with breakfast and return airport transfers. Valid from: Now until 28 Feb, 2018. the h Dubai
1 night starting from USD 173 per person
Special offer: 30% discount on room rate, two children below 12 years stay and eat free and one complimentary extra bed & one complimentary baby cot per room. 76 World Traveller
Includes: Stay in Deluxe Room with breakfast and return airport transfers. Valid from: Now until 30 April, 2018. the st. regis abu Dhabi
1 night starting from USD 320 per person
Special offer: Complimentary upgrade to half board. Includes: Stay in Superior Room with breakfast and return airport transfers. Valid from: Now until 30 Jan, 2018.
upgrade to half board. Includes: Stay in Fairmont Room with breakfast and return airport transfers. Valid from: Now until 31 Jan, 2018. Qasr al sarab Desert resort by anantara, abu Dhabi
1 night starting from USD 265 per person
Fairmont bab al bahr, abu Dhabi
Special offer: 35% discount on room rate. Includes: Stay in Deluxe Garden Room with breakfast and return airport transfers. Valid from: Now until 31 Jan, 2018.
Special offer: 25% discount on room rate, complimentary
soFitel bahr ain Zall aQ th al assa sea & sPa
1 night starting from USD 215 per person
1 night starting from USD 205 per person
Special offer: Early check-in, late check-out, 20% discount on F&B and 20% discount on spa. Includes: Stay in Luxury Room with breakfast return airport transfers. Valid from: Now until 31 Jan, 2018.
al baleeD resort salalah by anantara
3 nights starting from USD 236 per person
Special offer: Stay three nights and receive an additional night free. Includes: Stay in One Bedroom Garden View Villa with breakfast and dinner. Valid from: Now until 31 Jan, 2018.
dnata Travel offers
How to book
By calling dnata on +971 4 316 6666
By visiting a dnata outlet or logging on to dnatatravel.com
On the website you can also sign up to the dnata newsletter and receive more offers direct to your inbox. T&Cs apply.
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In next month’s
World Traveller… ➤ Discover LA’s finest defining
moments, from shopping to celebrity-spotting, brunching to sunbathing on the best beach
➤ Step beyond Hong Kong’s
futuristic high-rises and explore an intriguing ancient city
➤ Find out why Bogotá, Colombia is the latest South American place to visit
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Suite dreams Our monthly finish with a flourish, delving into a suite that has a character and style all of its own
Mandarin Oriental, Boston Every season the historic city of Boston can lay claim to myriad charms. The crisp air and brilliant blue skies of winter; the vibrancy of the Public Garden in spring; the balmy nights of summer, and the spectacular foliage of fall. It’s a city that begs to be explored on foot, and a stay at Mandarin Oriental, Boston – home to the best hotel staff in the city – puts you in a privileged position at its heart. You’re minutes from the tree-lined Newbury Street, home to a mix of the high-end (Chanel) and the hip (Sneaker Junkies), and a short stroll to the iconic brownstone homes and start of the Freedom Trail. After exploration comes entitlement – take a long soak in the Jacuzzi before putting your feet up in front of the fire, both housed within the silk-lined walls of your sublime Presidential Suite. Find out more at mandarinoriental.com/boston
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Visit Al Ain and enjoy the culturally enriched annual programme of activities and events. Celebrate the emirate’s essence of the past and the contemporary vision of the future.
CULTURAL PROGRAMMES JANUARY 2017
Beyond the Walls
AL AIN OASIS
AL AIN MUSEUM
Write Your Name in Cuneiform
My Old House Tour 4 Jan 2018 Monthly from October 2017 - April 2018
Workshop Every Sunday from Oct 2017 through Apr 2018
Travel Through Our Traditions 13 Jan 2018 Monthly from October 2017 - April 2018 Abu Dhabi Art - Beyond Large-scale installations by Manal Al-Dowayan (Al Ain Oasis) and Nasser Al-Salem (Al Jahili Fort) 8 Nov 2017 - 27 Jan 2018
AL AIN PALACE MUSEUM My Heritage, My Responsibility 11-12 Jan 2018
Drawing on Pottery Every Wednesday from Oct 2017 through Apr 2018
QASR AL MUWAIJI Weekends at the Oasis Every weekend from mid November to end of March
AL JAHILI FORT
‘Ramsa’ Every Sunday from Oct 2017 - Apr 2018 Ayallah and Harbiya Performances Every Thursday from Oct 2017 to Apr 2018
Handicrafts Workshops Every Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the year
Poetry Evenings (accompanied by a workshop) 18 Jan 2018 Monthly from Oct 2017 - April 2018
AL QATTARA ARTS CENTRE Trucial Scouts: Life and Times Exhibition 2 Nov 2017 - 26 Apr 2018 Handicrafts Workshops
Every Tuesday - year long Military Band Performance Every Thursday from Oct 2017 - Apr 2018
Emirati Playground Concept Exhibition 16 Nov 2017 - 7 Jan 2018 Al Qattara Cinema 26 Jan 2018
Police Dog Show Every Wednesday from Oct 2017 Apr 2018
Royal ‘Bisht’ Workshop 18 Jan 2018 Monthly from October 2017 - April 2018 ‘Yalsa’ Every Thursday from Oct 2017 - Apr 2018 Restoration Workshop Every Thursday from Oct 2017 - Apr 2018 Excavations and Treasure Hunts Every Wednesday from Oct 2017 Apr 2018 Falconer’s Camp Every Saturday from Nov 2017 - Feb 2018