ISSUE 123 | JULY 2018 | COMPLIMENTARY COPY
EUROPEAN CITIES AT THEIR BEST IN SUMMER
Produced in Dubai Production City
TORONTO AMSTERDAM CAIRO CALIFORNIA
A weekend fling in Indiaâ€™s sultry south
M A U RMI A T IUURSI T I U S S TA R T C SO TA LR LE T CCTOI N LG L EY CO TU I NRGBYEO SU T RM B OEMSETN M TS OM OE NN T S O N W W W . BW EA WCW H .CBO EM AB CE HR C .O CM OB ME R . C O M
Picture taken at Paradis Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa
Where the Beauty of the place inspires the Beauty of the heart
While at Raffles, why not visit Dubai?
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THIS MONTH’S TRAVEL COMPANIONS
School's out for the summer, and we couldn't be more excited. If, like us, you're whisking the family away on an epic adventure, this month's features are sure to ramp up the anticipation. As many of you may agree, Europe is at its finest at this time of year. From the cobbled towns and hidden beaches of Split to the chilled-out vibes of Lisbon and sun-soaked promenades
and parks of Berlin, a city break provides a fantastic chance
for the little ones to soak up a different culture while spending
some much-needed time outdoors. Turn to page 44 to see the
destinations that top our list.
Group Commercial Director
DWIVEDI reveals his favourite restaurants
If you're going long haul, be inspired by our long read on
Toronto (page 52), which sees writer Ellen Himelfarb rediscover
the easy, breezy, outdoorsy way of life with the kids in tow.
p26 COYA's SANJAY
Those who haven't got a lot of holiday time can still squeeze
in a long weekend or a few staycations. Kerala is a great choice
right now, as monsoon season makes it an ideal time to reap the
benefits of Ayurveda (see page 61). Closer still is our line-up of
hotels on the doorstep that are ready and waiting to welcome
you on a mini break that'll shield you from the heat.
p27 British hairdresser to the stars, TREVOR SORBIE MBE, shares his wanderlust
Art Director Kerri Bennett
Jamie Pudsey Senior Advertising Manager
Find us at…
firstname.lastname@example.org Production Manager Muthu Kumar
FACEBOOK @worldtravellermagazine INSTAGRAM @dnataworldtraveller
p29 Stylish sisters AYA and MOUNAZ ABDELRAOUF tell us how to shop Cairo
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Stay up to date on what’s happening online and on our social channels on page 87
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
p67 Filmmaker and travel vlogger LOUIS COLE describes his best adventures
COVER IMAGE The sun sets behind the palm trees in the backwaters of Kerala. Getty Images.
World Traveller 7
CONTENTS July 2018
CHEF’S TOP TABLES
A LIFE WELL TRAVELLED
Inspiring, Insta-worthy images captured in Northern Ireland, Italy and India
Summer festivals with a twist, digital art in Tokyo and Luang Prabang on our radar...
COYA’s main man Sanjay Dwivedi opens up his little black book of go-to restaurants
Legendary hairdresser Trevor Sorbie on why guaranteed sunshine tops his travel wishlist
SHOP MY CITY
THE LOCALS’ GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM
Designer sisters Aya and Mounaz Abdelraouf take us on a shopping spree in Cairo
Three tapped-in Amsterdammers tell us all they know about their canal-strewn city
A novel way to mark your stay at Bangkok's landmark Mandarin Oriental World Traveller 9
SUMMER IN THE CITY
Adam Edwards ditches the driving gloves and lets the train take the strain from LA to San Fran
Sundowners on a sidewalk in Paris? A stroll through honey-hued Split? Europe's finest summer cities revealed
Never go back? Find out how Ellen Himelfarb fared on her return to the city of her childhood
A LONG WEEKEND
MY GREAT ESCAPES
British filmmaker and travel vlogger Louis Cole highlights his global adventures
Enjoy a well-deserved weekend away at these luxurious hotels and resorts
Take advantage of our exclusive deals for your next adventure
Why you shouldn't let monsoon season rain on your parade
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BALLYMONEY, NORTHERN IRELAND
The Stuart family planted this magnificent avenue of beech trees in the 18th century as captivating scenery for visitors approaching their estate, Gracehill House. Known as the Dark Hedges, the intertwined trunks and twisted branches of the trees lend the street a supernatural quality, and it even has its own spooky ghost story about a â€˜grey ladyâ€™ who appears to float among the rows at dusk before disappearing where the lane ends. The hedges are one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland and a frequently featured location in various films and television shows such as Game of Thrones.
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TAKE ME THERE
Situated at the top of Italyâ€™s distinctive boot, Riomaggiore is surrounded by mountains and rocky beaches, with colourful houses offering breathtaking views of the Ligurian Sea. It is a start (or end) point for the Cinque Terre, a string of five centuries-old fishing villages linked by an ancient system of footpaths that is a popular hiking route. This UNESCO World Heritage site is known for its captivating rugged beauty and Riomaggiore village is also buzzing with culture, entertainment and nightlife. Experience its rich history at the Castle of Riomaggiore, watch the brave souls leaping from the cliffs into the turquoise waters below and enjoy beautiful sunsets while dining in the small seafood restaurants that line the wild coastline.
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TAKE ME THERE
Rajasthani women adorned in vibrant saris fetch water for their families, carrying traditional matkas (pots) on their heads. It’s part of the traditional, everyday way of life in Jodhpur, which was founded by (and named after) Rao Jodha, a chief of the Rathore dynasty in 1459. The second largest city in Rajasthan, Jodhpur is known as Sun City due to its perennial bright and sunny weather. Get a feel for local customs and traditions by visiting the city’s variety of beautiful palaces and forts, such as Mehrangarh, which is one of the best preserved, and Rai ka Bagh Palace – go on camelback for a more traditional experience. The Government Museum and its manicured Umed Garden is another must-see spot. 16 World Traveller
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Dubai, Al Seef
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Globetrotter Be informed, be inspired, be there
OUT OF THIS WORLD Blazing a trail in Tokyo this month is a collective of selfstyled 'ultra technologists' who have opened teamLab Borderless, a digital museum of immersive art where you can bounce on a galaxy of planets, be encircled by rushing waterfalls, and walk within a forest of flowers. Also on our radar is Luang Prabang in Laos (p24) where you can traverse spectacular landscapes for real. World Traveller 19
3 SUMMER FESTIVALS WITH A TWIST 1. HENLEY FESTIVAL, UK Billed as the UK's only 'luxury' festival, guests of Henley's black-tie soirée (July 11-15) arrive by row boat to enjoy music, food, art and comedy on the banks of the Thames. This year's highlights include performances by Rita Ora and Grace Jones (below) on the floating stage, and Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett manning the kitchen of Europe’s biggest restaurant — biggest in a field, that is. 2. UNDERWATER MUSIC FESTIVAL, US Divers exploring Florida's Looe Key Reef will find themselves serenaded by the sounds of local radio station WWUS 104.1 FM, which has laid a system of pipes to create a fully submerged dance party on July 11. 3. BORYEONG MUD FESTIVAL, SOUTH KOREA There's no escaping the dirt at this homage to all things muddy — those who try get sent to so-called mud prison — so if you're one for wallowing in the mire, here's where you can enjoy giant mud slides and baths from July 13-22.
YOUR CARRIAGE AWAITS To celebrate 25 years of railway journeys across Southeast Asia onboard its Eastern & Oriental Express service, Belmond has given two of the train's carriages a modern makeover, courtesy of the fanciful drawings of artist Somnuek Klangnok. The newly tagged train will next hit the tracks in September. Not one to be shown up in the style stakes by her younger sibling, the grand dame of the railway — Venice Simplon-Orient-Express — has added further finery by introducing three new Grand Suites.
Adopting the names of a trio of cities to which the train will travel this month — Paris, Venice and Istanbul — the suites were given the bespoke treatment by myriad specialist craftsman including a traditional glassblower, mosaicist and marquetry worker, who took care to respect the train's original 1920s art-deco design. The result? Bathrooms with marble showers and spectacular glass sinks, huge wooden beds and a living area replete with bespoke furnishings.
Oscar de la Renta and Christian Louboutin are two brands bound for Mykonos, with the former's summer pop-up boutique housing an exclusive collection inspired by the beach town. 20 World Traveller
MOUNTAIN DUE Mallorca's Sóller Valley gears up to welcome a new resort
Set amid the orange groves of the Sóller Valley and framed by the Tramuntana Mountains is Bikini Island & Mountain Hotel (1 July), a welcome addition this month to the village of Port de Sóller in Mallorca. Book a suite for its terrace, which comes with a daybed and splendid bay views. Another mountain, another opening as Suvretta House (1 July) sets up for the summer season in Switzerland’s beautiful Upper Engadine Valley, mere moments from the largest natural lake in the Alps. If the Turkish Riviera floats your boat more, the Bodrum EDITION opens this month (1 July), tucked into a wind-sheltered cove. One for foodies, Diego Munoz, formerly of elBulli and Mugaritz, heads up the resort's two signature restaurants.
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THE HOT LIST
The Reel Deal
dnata Travel's seasoned explorer, Rob Arrow, gives the inside track on where to go this month
1 The tropical city of Luang Prabang (pictured) in Laos is one of this year's in vogue destinations — get here before the crowds come. Explore its historic old town area, flanked by the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, which is home to UNESCOlisted colonial buildings, glittering temples, lively local markets and a few fine restaurants.
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2 Yes, Mexico City in Mexico is a long way to travel but there is so much to see, do and enjoy — from Mayan temples and the iconic Reforma avenue to the culture, cafés and boutiques of the brilliant Polanco district — that it's well worth the journey. For a luxurious central base, stay at the St. Regis Mexico City.
3 Despite its popularity in summer (for good reason) it's still not too late to book the Greek island of Mykonos, where spectacular scenery, heart-tugging sunsets and fabulous food abound. If you want to live life like a local here, book one of the brilliant onefinestay rental homes that afford views over the Aegean Sea.
4 Dubai in summer? Yes it's hot, humid, and the sand will scorch your feet, but summer is also by far the best time to experience some of the world's most luxurious hotels at a price that will make you smile. I suggest the brilliant Bvlgari Resort Dubai, which has an indoor pool you can escape to when outside is too hot to handle.
CHECK IN Be here now WORLD TRAVELLER X ACCORHOTELS
Holidays with heart From luxury city breaks to island idylls, stay with Raffles, Fairmont and Sofitel this summer and feel welcome
iving in the UAE means we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to planning our holidays. Those of us in Dubai, for instance, are within four hours' flying time of a third of the world’s population, so it’s easy to understand how deciding where to travel can feel overwhelming at times. With a network of 4,300 hotels and nearly 620,000 rooms in 100 countries, AccorHotels will catch you wherever you land. Those who want to live the legend are sure to be impressed by Raffles Hotels & Resorts. Steeped in history – the iconic Raffles Singapore introduced the world to private butlers (and the Singapore Sling) back in 1887 – its properties can be found in leading cities and lavish resort locales in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa and Europe, and are known for treating guests like family. Alternatively, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts are buzzing with the energy, culture and history of their surrounds, with locally-inspired cuisine, lively bars and lounges and a distinctive design characterising each of the properties – The Plaza in New York is just one example of a much-loved Fairmont institution. For a taste of modern French luxury, Sofitel Hotels & Resorts offer a chic travel experience that blends the essence of a destination with art de vivre. Think bespoke service, modern facilities, and a great night’s slumber thanks to the MyBed™ concept, which is designed to promote restorative sleep. Healthy gourmet dining and in-the-know nightlife recommendations make this hospitality brand a top choice among travel connoisseurs. To further help you narrow down your options, the experts at AccorHotels highlight six hotels that should be on your radar…
Raffles Seychelles Located on the northeastern tip of Praslin, the second largest granite island in the Seychelles, here you can explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites, unwind on the beach and be pampered the spa.
Raffles Dubai A calming oasis in the city, this property offers a fantastic sense of place, with most suites offering stunning skyline views. The nearby Khan Murjan souk is a haven for artisan keepsakes.
Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort With panoramic views of the Gulf of Oman, this family-friendly property is great for active types, with watersports, guided mountain bike tours, and hiking in the mountains on offer.
Fairmont Amman Boasting a glitzy address in the 5th circle, this contemporary property is a top choice for foodies, with highlights including Levant cuisine at Nur, Japanese at Tsuki, and succulent steaks at Salt.
Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa In need of some 'me' time? Home to the only Thalassa Sea and Spa in the GCC, this is the place to go for a restorative break, with plush rooms and great dining rounding out your stay.
Sofitel Dubai Downtown Shopping fans will be perfectly placed at this property, which is connected to The Dubai Mall. Stash your buys inside your suite before cooling off with a dip in the infinity pool.
To find out more, visit accorhotels.com World Traveller 25
CHEF’S TOP TABLES A purveyor of fine Peruvian cuisine, Sanjay Dwivedi opened COYA’s latest global outpost in Monaco in May, adding to sites in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi
On my wish list…
I would love to go to Arpège by Alain Passard. Chef Alain is the pioneer when it comes to vegetables. A Frenchman with three Michelin stars, he took the bold step in 2001 to remove meat and fish from his restaurant. Vegetables have been playing a big role on my menus and Arpège set the trend.
THE FAT DUCK Bray, UK thefatduck.co.uk I have known Heston Blumenthal for over 15 years and his progression has been a pleasure to watch. I worked for him before he received his first Michelin star, and whenever I’m celebrating a special occasion I always choose to dine at The Fat Duck. When I got married, after my twins were born and when we opened COYA in Mayfair in 2012, that’s where I went. The thinking behind every dish is on another level. FAVOURITE DISH: The bacon and egg ice cream. 26 World Traveller
MAIDO BY MITSUHARU Lima maido.pe Before I opened COYA, I went to Peru for a three-week gastronomic adventure. I had the opportunity to eat at Central, Astrid & Gaston, Maido and countless other amazing restaurants. What struck me about Maido was its simplicity – nothing too fancy, courteous staff and amazing food. Chef Mitsu is very humble and wears a permanent, warm smile. His imaginative cooking left its mark. FAVOURITE DISH: Chupe de Camarones shellfish soup.
108 RESTAURANT Copenhagen 108.dk Last winter I had the chance to visit Copenhagen. What struck me, apart from the cold weather, was that every restaurant uses what is in season, as little grows. Celeriac and cauliflower were in every type of restaurant, from Michelin-starred to brasserie. The fermentation technique was interesting to witness and understand how different cultures adapt to their surroundings. FAVOURITE DISH: Salt baked celeriac, hazelnuts and aged cheese.
A LIFE WELL TRAVELLED
TREVOR SORBIE The British hairdresser to the stars and MBE, who lives in London with his wife Carole, shares his wanderlust The only rituals I follow in life are to do with travel. I’m not the most confident flyer, but I consider the journey part of the holiday. I always treat myself to a luxury taxi to get me to the airport comfortably, and I like to fly business class whenever possible. Carole and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to travelling and what we look for in a holiday. There are three main things on my checklist when choosing where to go. Firstly, I like to stay in the best hotel I can afford. Even the nicest room can start to feel a bit claustrophobic after a few days, so I tend to book suites whenever I can. We’re foodies, so having good restaurants on the doorstep is also important. Lastly, agreeable weather is a must. I’m not a sun worshipper but I gravitate towards places with guaranteed sunshine. I prefer city breaks. They're simply more interesting to me, due to the vast choice of restaurants and hotels. When I landed in Las Vegas for the first time many years ago, I was overwhelmed by the decadence of the surroundings – I even got to meet David Copperfield. However, after about the 15th visit, the shine did start to wear off. A travel experience I remember particularly clearly was taking off from Washington en route to London when a flock of geese hit the plane. The flight engineer had to check through the window for damage and we ended up doing an emergency landing, which was nerve-racking, but we were soon on our way again. I love Dubai and have been on holiday there eight times, so I’m really excited that my salon has now opened in The Dubai Mall. The emirate ticks all the boxes for an ideal trip: fantastic weather, amazing hotels and great restaurants. I know some people don’t like that the city is man-made, but it has captured my heart. We’ve recently returned from a holiday to Tenerife. It’s a bit of a home-from-home for us, and there’s a fantastic hotel we stay at each time we go. Most recently, we were upgraded to a beautiful villa, which was an unexpected bonus. Next, I’d like to go LA. I’ve visited so many places myself that I’ve now taken on Carole’s travel bucket list as my own, and she has always wanted to go there. Luckily, I know Los Angeles well enough to be her personal guide. The first-ever Trevor Sorbie salon in the Middle East is now open in Fashion Avenue, The Dubai Mall. trevorsorbie.com
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Girlsâ€™ Day at Saray Spa. Renew for the journey ahead.
Experience the ultimate in girly indulgence and retreat to the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai for 5-star pampering. Begin your afternoon with a 30-minute Facial or Back Massage followed by a complimentary reflexology session. Afterwards, savour a medley of sweet and savory treats with Afternoon Tea amongst the chic interiors of La Farine. Daily, AED 300 per person
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai | Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE T +971 4 414 6754 | email@example.com | jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com JW Marriott Marquis Dubai |
*Terms & Conditions: Offer is subject to availability. Advanced booking required. Booking is valid for a group of maximum 6 people.
Clockwise from left: Okhtein handbags; Massimo Dutti Ramadan Collection; Bonia at Mall Of Egypt; Khan el-Khalili bazaar
SHOP MY CITY
Aya and Mounaz Abdelraouf, founders of designer bag brand Okhtein tell us how to shop their hometown Currently, the shopping scene in Cairo is shifting its focus to local designers rather than well-known brands. Since the government imposed strict laws on importing items, it has led more local designers to push themselves to create and sell here, so the style scene is growing slowly but surely. The chaos, culture and history of the city motivates designers like us to find beauty amid the mayhem. Most have a unique taste and will always stay true to their culture through design. As such, the aesthetic is unique, which definitely gives shoppers here an edge. Zamalek in western Cairo is home to a number of designer brands including, of course, Okhtein (Degla Center, okhtein.com) for handbags that champion Egyptian artistry; Azza Fahmy (azzafahmy.com) for handcrafted jewellery; and Ghazl Banat (11 Hassan Sabry St., @ghazlbanat) for contemporary labels.
More top spots for luxury shopping are: Maison 69 (15 Ismail Mohammed, @maison69store), which is dedicated to fashion, art and design; Pop Up Shop (@popupshopeg), a cool concept store stocking brands like DOU footwear and artisan jewellery; and Hype department store (3133 Ahmed Heshmat, hypeegypt.com), which carries brands like M Missoni. For everything under one roof, City Stars shopping mall (Omar Ibn El-Khattab, citystars-heliopolis.com.eg) is home to Massimo Dutti, Ted Baker and Tory Burch among others, while Mall of Egypt (Al Wahat Road, mallofegypt.com) is great for high-street brands. Those seeking keepsakes should head to Khan elKhalili bazaar, where you can barter for spices, silver jewellery and trinkets you can’t find anywhere else.
“Designers find beauty amid the mayhem”
Okhtein is available at Bloomingdale’s Dubai and Kuwait, and at Ounass.com World Traveller 29
THE LOCALS' GUIDE TO
Amsterdam Discover the best of the Dutch capital thanks to these tapped-in residents who share their expert insights into the city’s most happening scenes Words: Olivia Cuthbert
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FUN FOR FAMILIES Entrepreneur Melvin Broekaart lives with his family in the countryside and knows all the best options for those with little ones in tow aircommerce.com Amsterdam is great for families as nearly everybody speaks English, besides native Dutch, and people are friendly, open and welcoming to children. Summer is the best time to discover the city via bike or boat. You don’t need a license to rent a boat so you can see the sights from the water, at your own pace. It’s also extremely easy to hire bicycles. The 17th-century city centre was originally built for pedestrians and horse wagons, so riding is more convenient than driving. Popular rental companies include Yellow Bike (yellowbike.nl) and Mac Bike (macbike.nl), and there is the option to place a child’s seat at the front or back. You can reach the countryside and back in about four hours and while guided tours are easy to come by, you can also go your own way. Simply buy a paper map or download a bike navigation app like Fietsknoop (fietsknoop.nl). When downtown, Rijksmuseum (rijksmuseum.nl) arts and history museum offers a fantastic children’s tour while more top family attractions include Natura Artis Magistra zoo (artis.nl) and NEMO Science Museum (nemosciencemuseum. nl), which is more of a play and discovery zone for children of all ages. To maximise your time outdoors, head to Vondelpark for a stroll through nature and to enjoy a relaxed picnic on the grass. Plus, just outside the city centre there is a lovely goat farm in the forest called Ridammerhoeve (geitenboerderij.nl). For a unique piece of history on the river, stop by Zaanse Schans in Zaandam (dezaanseschans.nl), which is characterised by windmills, handicraft shops and museums with actors offering a glimpse into everyday life in the 18th and 19th century. Lastly, Muiderslot medieval castle in Muiden (muiderslot.nl) has a dedicated kids’ discovery route that offers little ones the chance to earn a medal and become 'officially' knighted. World Traveller 31
ARTISTIC APPEAL Gerhard Hofland is a household name on the Amsterdam art scene who exhibits renowned artists in his gallery and helps develop upcoming talent gerhardhofland.com Whatâ€™s new and interesting on the arts and culture scene in Amsterdam? Like everywhere, it is currently in transition. In the Netherlands we are moving from a state-funded art scene to one where the market and collectors are increasingly responsible for the continuous existence of the arts. This has resulted in the opening of a number of new, private art spaces and museums, most prominently Museum Voorlinden (voorlinden.nl) in Wassenaar, about 40 minutes from the city centre by car. What makes it unique? What makes Amsterdam particularly great when it comes to art is its two post-graduate art academies: De Rijksakademie and De Ateliers. These
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encourage an influx of talented creatives, making the city a breeding ground for great international artists. After graduating, most of these artists tend to stick around, and a lot of their work can be seen in the galleries all over town. Is there an underground arts scene? Personally, I think an underground scene no longer really exists as everybody is generating exposure, but there are a number of fabulous, smaller institutions that do a great job in presenting more cutting-edge and young contemporary artists, such as W139 (w139.nl), De Appel arts centre (deappel.nl), and Kunstverein (kunstverein.nl), to name a few. What is your top pick? The EYE Filmmuseum film institute (eyefilm.nl) is a curiously designed building across the water from Amsterdam Centraal station. It has a wonderful programme of international film screenings and continuously presents extraordinary art exhibitions on the edge of cinema and contemporary art. Combined with its unique architecture, it is one of the most beautiful places in the city to have coffee.
Which of the most established museums is your favourite? Some might say it has lost its touch over the last few years, but Stedelijk Museum (stedelijk.nl) was and is an institution. It has an outstanding collection, which is worth coming back for, and the temporary exhibitions are magnificent in quality and always manage to inspire and stimulate the mind.
CULINARY ADVENTURES Chef Dennis Huwaë, co-owner of Restaurant Daalder knows how to navigate the culinary culture, from the traditional to the avant-garde daalderamsterdam.nl
Creative license. The Netherlands does not have a rich culinary history like France or Italy, so there are no strict rules and conventions for restaurants to follow. As a result, Dutch chefs have more creative freedom in the kitchen and develop their own style, which makes for an eclectic culinary scene. Some of the most interesting and creative dining venues in the city are The White Room (restaurantthewhiteroom.com), MOS (mosamsterdam.nl) and HoogtIJ (hoogtij.amsterdam), which has a great location in Amsterdam North with a spectacular lookout over the IJ river.
Photo of Dennis Huwaë by LVF photography, Lyan van Furth
Culinary traditions. We use a lot of typical Dutch products in our restaurants, such as Brussels sprouts, sprout of chicory, beetroot, Dutch potatoes, Dutch cherries and delicious fish from the North Sea as well as seaweed and Dutch lamb. The restaurants that serve typical local fare are more for tourists – you won’t find Dutch foodies in there. Those who insist on trying old fashioned Dutch food to satisfy their curiosity can go to Haesje Claes (haesjeclaes.nl) or d'Vijff Vlieghen (vijffvlieghen.nl) in Spuistraat. They're touristy but not tourist traps.
Dutch pancakes are rightly renowned and there are plenty of boutique Pannekoeken cafés dotted around the city. The Pancake Bakery, housed in a 17thcentury Dutch East India Company canal house on the Prinsengracht, is one of the best.
Street food. There’s a lot of good street food in Amsterdam, a city that lends itself to pedestrian culture. Westerpark Market on the first Sunday of every month serves excellentquality street food, most of which is naturally sourced. The Albert Cuyp Market is a great daily pop-up market (open every day except Sundays) while Noordermarkt is another foodie favourite specialising in organic fare. I like to stop for an apple pie at Café Winkel (winkel43.nl) and watch the people pass by.
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WORLD TRAVELLER X AL BALEED RESORT SALALAH BY ANANTARA
Secret garden The best-kept secret on the Arabian Peninsula, the Omani summer capital of Salalah offers travellers a refreshing seasonal experience
n direct contrast to the rest of the region, summer and Salalah is a perfect match, thanks to khareef season. A colloquial term for autumn, it ushers in three months of light rains, early morning mists and decidedly cooler temperatures, transforming the area’s mountains, wadis and lakes into lush green vistas from July to September. Choose Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara as your base and take full advantage of its back-to-nature setting with the beautiful coastline, a tranquil freshwater lagoon and heritage-rich archaeological park just steps away from your room or villa. The first and only luxury pool villa resort in Salalah, we feel it’s only fair to warn you that once you check into your preferred accommodation, it’s all too easy to simply succumb to the relaxing vibe of this 136-room hideaway. If R&R is your intent then a one-bedroom pool villa with
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view of the sea or lagoon is our top pick, whether you are a couple in search of a private idyll or family of four on a weekend getaway. Surrounded by high walls, chill poolside, doze in your own cabana or book a bespoke culinary experience for dinner on your own time. Leisure pursuits beyond the four walls of your room include the resort’s 44-metre-long infinity pool, complete with mini sunbeds and cabanas for the kids, plus a 250-metre-long private beach while the onsite spa is a destination for escapist relaxation. Known as the land of frankincense, Salalah and the Dhofar region still celebrate this ancient aromatic resin. Experience its healing and restorative powers for yourself with a 90-minute frankincense ritual for a fourhand massage using essential oil. Activities are high on the agenda for those seeking more to explore, from complimentary bicycles, tennis and
badminton courts, watersports and beach games to signature outdoor experiences (an evening game of pétanque is great fun). Younger guests also have their own spaces with the Albahhara Kids’ Club and Alshirae Teens Club providing a full schedule of fun things to do, including cooking classes, karaoke, arts and crafts and gaming consoles. As day’s end approaches, don’t miss the sunset long drum procession, a resort tradition, and the perfect precursor to dinner at one of a trio of world-class restaurants. With a choice of international, Indochinese and Mediterranean cuisines, you can join your fellow guests for a memorable meal or ‘dine by design’ – a tailor-made experience to be savoured under the stars on the resort’s golden sands or in a blossoming garden paradise. To find out more, visit anantara.com
Be pampered at the spa
A bathtub with a view inside a One Bedroom Garden View Pool Villa Garden View Rooms and Villas are ideal for couples, families and groups
The lush garden of the Three Bedroom Royal Beach Villa
Unwind and soak up the view
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STAY ON TRACK A classic California trip without the drudge of driving? Let the train take the strain. Adam Edwards has a hoot on a week aboard the Coast Starlight, as it snakes from LA to San Fran
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I’M RACING AGAINST A VINTAGE MUSTANG ON HIGHWAY 1. THE SUN IS SHINING, PALM TREES ARE SWAYING AND THERE ARE A COUPLE OF CYCLISTS RIDING ON A BEAUTIFUL BEACHFRONT BOARDWALK. IT’S EVERYTHING A CALIFORNIAN ROAD TRIP SHOULD BE. EXCEPT I DON’T HAVE A CAR. World Traveller 37
I’m sitting, drink in hand, in an observation carriage, watching the scenery roll by from a plush Amtrak lounge chair. This is road-tripping the stress-free way. While the Mustang probably spent its morning battling LA’s traffic, mine began beneath the hammer-beam ceiling of the city’s Union Station, listening to a pianist tinkle Come Fly with Me, as porters ferried luggage to waiting trains. If you’ve always dreamt of a big American road trip, but like me, are less turned on by the effort and cost it entails, this might be the alternative you’ve been looking for. I’m travelling on the Coast Starlight, a gleaming snake of a train that connects all of California’s best bits – and leaves you change from $150. It’s the perfect LA-San Fran itinerary. The train runs every day and I plan to follow the route north, but instead of completing the full 12-hour ride between the two cities in one go, I’ll take two weeks hopping on and off, spending a day or two getting to grips with some of California’s surprisingly walkable towns. I’ll stop in Santa Barbara (for the Spanish history), San Luis Obispo (the food scene), Paso Robles (wine) and Monterey (to see
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whales and Big Sur). The train carries on to Seattle, but I’ll end my journey in Oakland, just across the bay from Alcatraz and San Francisco’s tram-tracked hills. My Californian adventure began in West Hollywood, where I spent two nights in a suitably glam apartment-hotel, halfway between the movie lots and the beaches. It was the full LA experience. I brunched on coconut ‘bacon’ and plantain ‘chorizo’ at trendy, vegan eateries. I papped my way along the Walk of Fame and cruised down Sunset to Rodeo Drive on a bike. I even had a real-life celebrity encounter: standing in-line behind David Beckham and his daughter Harper at Bellissimo coffee shop, in touristy Venice Beach. Now, here I am, with my nose pressed against the Coast Starlight’s carriage-length windows, watching girls play volleyball and guys surf as Santa Barbara’s pier slides into sight. Known as the American Riviera, this is where great East Coast dynasties of yore – the Vanderbilts, the Kennedys – came to escape the winter, and where stars come to escape the fish tank that is LA. Oprah owns a house here, Kim Kardashian had one of her weddings here, and local girl Katy Perry is regularly spotted
in the Funk Zone, the low-key district where both the railway station and my trackside hotel, the Wayfarer, are based. But Santa Barbara isn’t just a city of beaches and (celebrity) beach babes. If you like historic architecture, then this, mi amigo, is the place for you. Founded around the 18th-century mission church, where I listen to a chorister sing psalms through a cloud of incense, the town is a fantasy of whitewash and terracotta. In fact, many of the original buildings were destroyed in a 1925 earthquake, as I learn on a walking tour of the Old Town (eatthisshootthat. com). In its place sprouted stunning Spanish Revival masterpieces, including the Courthouse, where tourists mingle with lawyers and law-breakers to glimpse triumphant frescoes and Gothic chandeliers – and climb the belfry. More recently, the town has seen another kind of Spanish revival, as I discover at chi-chi Loquita, one of several new cantinas to have popped up in the past few years. This is Spanish cuisine – only Californified. See, California is all about food fads, and the menu here is peppered with the latest ‘must-eats’: cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts. ‘Sprouts are the new kale,’ says
This page: The view from the historic area of Candelaria
BANGKOK Opposite: Neon illuminates the city at night This page: The BTS Skytrain speeds over a colourful traffic jam along Sukhumvit road
Opposite: Contemporary art in Iglesia de Santa Clara
â€˜I papped my way along the Walk of Fame and cruised down Sunset to Rodeo Drive on a bikeâ€™
This page, clockwise from top left: palm trees on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills; cycling along Venice Beach in LA; Santa Barbara and its mountain backdrop; 'surfrider beach' in Malibu, LA
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my softly spoken waitress, Mahea. The world outside the train may be in constant trend-led flux, but the same can’t be said of life on board, a utopia of dinner calls and friendly introductions, where people chit-chat with strangers rather than read. Journeys play out like games of musical chairs, passengers hopping about the carriage for different views and different chats. There are serious conversations about Steinbeck, fun exchanges about festivals, and indulgent talk about sticky-date pudding in the dining car. It’s train travel like it used to be – but not in some walnut-panelled, Agatha Christie kind of way. No, the Coast Starlight’s USP is not that it’s a window on a bygone world, but rather a window onto the best of this one. The views are stunning: cliffs tumbling into foaming sea, spray lapping the tracks. Every bend in the line unveils a scene more dramatic than the last. My favourite bit? This stretch of coast, west of Santa Barbara – arguably the most dramatic in the country – is slap-bang in the middle of the Vandenberg Air Force Base, a vast no-man’s land where missiles are launched and cars are banned. I’m not only getting to experience California’s highlights on this railroad trip, I’m seeing places drivers never would, too. ‘We only took the train because of the views,’ says Don, a heavy-set fellow doing the entire route to Seattle. ‘Nobody travels by train any more,’ chirps his wife as she takes a photo out of the window. From Vandenberg, it’s just a few horseshoe bends to my next stop: San Luis Obispo, a city of mercantile storefronts and Old West charm. Sadly, the saloons are no more; instead, stripped-back bars serve cocktails infused with coconut oil and goat’s cheese (so California). If you’ve never heard of San Luis Obispo, you’re not alone. Most of America hadn’t either, until Oprah raved about its food scene on her show a few years back. She dubbed it the ‘happiest city in America’, and it’s not surprising. This part of central California is where most of the USA’s fruit and veg is grown. Farmers’ markets close the streets, drive-thrus are illegal, and the city is full of field-to-fork restaurants such as Thomas Hill Organics, which rewrites its entire menu to suit what’s good at the market. In fact, the eating 40 World Traveller
Left: sidewalk café in downtown San Luis Obispo Right: flowers in bloom aside the train tracks in Santa Barbara
here is special enough to tempt Benedict Cumberbatch, the Kardashians and Kristen Stewart to whizz up from LA. I spend two days doing little more than eating or drinking, including a visit to the vineyards of Paso Robles – an easy, cheap Uber ride from town. I’m staying nearby, at Melody Inn, a movie-worthy motel, complete with pool in the car park and neon out front. There are fancier places in town, but I want the full American experience – from glitzy West Hollywood hotels and roadside motels to wholesome US inns. I certainly found the latter back in San Luis Obispo. My hotel there, Apple Farm, was a slice of pure Americana, with rocking chairs out front and free homemade cookies. And I also struck gold at my next stop, Monterey, where I’d booked into the antiques-filled Martine Inn.
Strictly speaking, I shouldn’t be stopping in Monterey — it’s not even on the train network. But you can’t come to California and not detour here for the whales and coastal scenery: Amtrak knows as much, laying on a bus to carry passengers directly from the station in nearby Salinas. That’s the beauty of this trip. I’ve not been restricted to sights within a whistleblow of the railroad tracks. Indeed, I even squeeze in that road-tripping icon Big Sur. I’ve done all the research — for $5 I can take the No. 22 bus from town and stop at all the bridges along the coastal route. But I needn’t have bothered. One of my fellow train passengers, Richard, turns out to be from Monterey, and insists on driving me, instead. It’s incredible. Like Vandenberg, earlier on my trip, but with the chance to stop. We cruise along storm-battered cliffs, stopping
‘We only took the train because of the views’
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This page: the iconic Bixby Creek Bridge in Big Sur Opposite, bottom right: dolphins race through the waters of Monterey Bay
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‘The surrounds are stunning: cliffs tumbling into foaming sea, spray lapping the tracks’ industry that brought untold wealth, but caused the sardine population’s collapse, as I learn on a wander round the brilliant aquarium on the old ‘Cannery Row’. Seventy years on, fish stocks seem to be recovering. I’m on a boat, watching a family of humpback whales corral a shoal into a ball of silvery scales. We’re close. I’m talking sniff-the-halitosis close. ‘Smells like broccoli,’ says Isaiah, one of the marine biologists from Monterey Bay Whale Watch. Suddenly I don’t fancy fish dinner... There are more than just whales here. ‘Dolphins; 400 to 500, at least,’ confirms Isaiah. They’re darting through the water, between gulping humpbacks and plummeting sea birds. It’s a frenzy of foam and fish, feathers and fins, the likes of which I’ve only seen on Planet Earth. As ‘road trips’ go, this certainly has been a whale of one. I’ve had the sand between my toes and the wildlife at my feet. Seen all the sights. And even had a celebrity run-in. And I’ve not finished yet. San Francisco is still out there. Beyond the whales and the mist-cloaked horizon, along scenic passes tracked by speeding Mustangs. Where the railroad is still king. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call +971 4 316 6666 or visit dnatatravel.com
Credit: Adam Edwards/ News Licensing/ Sunday Times Travel Magazine
at bridges that pincer across earth-splitting chasms. We wander through redwoods of neck-cricking proportions, and come across people-less beaches, trimmed with wildflowers. I’m impressed. Richard, on the other hand, can’t stop talking about Vandenberg. We argue the toss over dinner that evening – which, like the petrol, Richard insists on paying for. It seems such an extraordinary act of hospitality. But, apparently, it’s pretty ordinary for California. On the train, I overhear strangers extending offers of dinner ‘when you get to Sacramento/San Francisco/ are next in LA’. That’s another great thing about the Amtrak – it encourages connections in a way driving can’t. Then again, everyone in California is so welcoming. As is the wildlife. I’m kayaking off Monterey, surrounded by sea lions waving their flippers right by my prow. Over the past two hours in my rented kayak, I’ve been nearly skewered by low-flying pelicans, startled by heavybreathing seals, and found myself utterly seduced by sea otters floating, pups on their bellies, in the middle of a kelp forest. It’s improbably rich with sealife. Which is why the seafront here was once lined with huge fish-processing plants. It was an
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SUMMER IN THE CITY
Sun has warmed the cobbles, the cafés are abuzz... Our favourite places in Europe are at their finest when the mercury climbs. Here’s where to go with the flow
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SPLIT, CROATIA Visitors are drawn in their droves to the Dalmatian islands, seeking out Venetian cobbled towns and hidden beaches among lovely dense woodland. To get to the likes of party-central Hvar, beachy Brač or undeveloped Vis, they all need to come to Split, the starting point for dozens of ferry routes. But don’t disappear as soon as you arrive — there’s plenty in this honey-hued town to fill a lazy couple of days. Wander down cramped alleyways lined with gelato shops and and you’re suddenly thrust into café-lined squares, where suited waiters dart between tables serving luscious prawn linguine. Indeed, seafood is Split’s real star. Try Restoran Bajamonti (restoranbajamonti.hr) for sea views, or cosy Konoba Varos (konobavaros.com), its vast, ancient architecture only adding to the atmosphere. Between the aged churches and Romanera Diocletian’s Palace (diocletianspalace. org), whose ancient walls and chambers cover half the Old Town, you feel as though you could be in a teeny, seaside Rome. There’s even a little beach, Bačvice, where locals come to squeeze in on a free afternoon. It’s not Croatia’s finest, but the people-watching is great. Finally, just potter: through the Pazar flower and veg market just east of the walls, or past tablefuls of brass treasures at the flea market. Reserve evenings for ambles along the seaside embankment, lined with umbrella-topped cafés serving strong coffees. World Traveller 45
LISBON, PORTUGAL Cobbled hills, chilled-out vibes and oneeuro coffee-and-custard-tarts all help make Lisbon one of the most charming of city breaks, but it really comes into its own once the beach weather kicks in. This is when you’re pretty much obliged to alternate city sightseeing and shopping (just try coming home without a vivid sardine tin or ceramic bowl) with easy half-hour train rides out to the beach. There are sands closer to town, but follow the locals to the more sheltered 46 World Traveller
spots at Estoril and Cascais. Rainha beach, once reserved for Portuguese royalty, is the best-looking; Tamariz, by a 17th-century fort, is good for families. Surfers should pick up a free city bike at Cascais station and pedal to Guincho for its Atlantic waves and sunset-view Bar do Guincho. Back in town, don’t see the city’s seven hills as your enemy in the heat. Instead, take it slowly, get on a funicular or a tram and make the most of the contours to catch
a cooling breeze. Sightseers’ favourite, tram No. 28, runs up to the Moorish Sao Jorge castle at the top of the Alfama district. Better still, you can admire it across terracotta rooftops from the Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara. On another day, dip back down for a riverside stroll from the cool cloisters of the Jeronimos Monastery to the curvy new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology.
NICE, FRANCE It’s nice to be in Nice in July. Temperatures hover at 25°c around the clock, so you can shrug off the sweater while sipping your morning coffee in a pretty square. It’s not yet too hot to walk mid-afternoon down the rambling Promenade des Anglais, or laze on the polished pebbles of the beach. And, crucially, the surrounding Côte d’Azur towns that you’ve probably come here to see – Antibes, Cannes, all the way down to Saint-Tropez – haven’t yet suffered the full onslaught of the summer ‘set’, so the scene is still largely local (and a bit more affordable). Nice’s Old Town is where the action is. Locals throw open the shutters of their creamy townhouses and trot down to the winding lanes of butchers, boulangeries and cheese shops. Rent an apartment and you can join them, or else decamp to Cours Saleya market, where you can sip rosé in the sun, munching on fresh socca, a warm chickpea pancake that’s satisfyingly crisp and crumbly. For that postcard-perfect shot of Nice’s gently curving arch of azure, scale the zigzagging steps up the Bellanda tower. Should the day start to get sweaty, simply make like the local children and run through the vast fountains in Parc du Paillon. Or, catch a breeze over an icy drink at Le Méridien’s rooftop bar overlooking the Med.
Open-air baths surrounding wedding-cake
With 3am sunrises and 10pm sunsets
As you might guess, Emilia Romagna’s
Hapsburg architecture, a rambling castle
throughout July, you get a lot of sun for your
industrious capital loves its food. And so will you,
fortress overlooking a squiggle of a river —
buck here. Focus on Gamla Stan and
particularly in summer. Invariably eating is al
Budapest was seemingly made for wandering,
Skeppsholmen islands, and the waterfront by
fresco, be it on the hoof through markets, or
especially in the sunny mid-summer. If it all
Strömgatan. There are sleepy isles to explore,
at some piazza café, soaking up the sun. Wafts
gets a bit too hot, you can always go for a dip
too, so get out on the water — try Grinda, an
of Parmesan, ham and coffee fill the maze-like
with the pensioners at Szechenyi Thermal Baths
hour away by ferry; or take the hop-off-hop-on
Quadrilateral quarter, while Piazza Maggiore is a
gelato-licking parade. World Traveller 47
PARIS, FRANCE Paris in August is like a ghost town, right? Well, not quite – it’s actually rather a good time to come. Sure, lots of Parisians are away, but plenty remain, enjoying their city at a more relaxed pace, especially in the less-central neighbourhoods. Join them picnicking in the parks, enjoying drinks canalside and swimming in the Paris Plage pools at Bassin de la Villette. The centre is still tourist-busy, but the weather makes an open-top bus tour a thing of glory.
HELSINKI, FINLAND Endless summer nights, harbourside walks, markets stuffed with fresh-picked berries and cool design make this city a dream weekend. Hop between shops in the Design District, lokalhelsinki.com). Don’t miss the outdoor Hietalahti flea market for vintage glassware, then feast on cinnamon rolls at pavement tables at Robert’s Coffee (robertscoffee.com).
‘In summer the German capital sheds its dreary demeanour, transforming into a carefree, sun-streaked paradise’ BERLIN, GERMANY
LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA A cluster of candy-hued baroque buildings on a snaking, green-banked river, it’s a wonder Ljubljana isn’t busier at this time of year. A few hours of lazy meandering past market squares and hilltop castle ramparts will take you through the ‘sights’. Spend the rest of your weekend café-hopping or cycling around Tivoli park (hire from the tourist office) and, of course, eating the Italy-quality food. 48 World Traveller
Winters can be long and grey, but in summer the German capital sheds its dreary demeanour, transforming into a carefree, sun-streaked paradise. The city is surprisingly green, peppered with vast parks, such as the tree-rimmed Tempelhofer Feld, where you can fly kites, rollerblade or cycle along a disused airport runway. Berlin is threaded with waterways, too – lined with promenades and criss- crossed with bridges. Stroll along the meandering Landwehr canal, popping into the Tiergarten for a row around the lake and a brew in the Cafe am Neuen See’s garden. Further green thrills await at Marzahn’s Gärten der Welt, ablaze with
blooms from Japan, Korea, Italy and Bali, and the Comenius Garden in Neukölln. If it gets too steamy (temperatures can spike at 32°c in summer), rent a bike (berlinfahrradverleih.com) or jump on an S-Bahn. Within 90 minutes you could be cooling off in the glistening waters of Wannsee, one of the largest lidos in Europe, or lying on the sand with an ice cream at the Tegeler See or Liepnitzsee lakes. Berlin’s nighttime party scene also goes al fresco. When the sun dips, the rumble of bass can be heard at outdoor bars-cumclubs, such as Badeschiff (arena.berlin), Club der Visionäre (clubdervisionaere. com) and the rooftop Klunkerkranich (klunkerkranich.de).
Credit: News Licensing / The Sunday Times Travel Magazine
drooling at minimalist-chic plates (try Lokal;
Grand Central Hotel
BARCELONA, SPAIN They used to call Barcelona the city with its back to the sea, but not anymore. Just metres from the leafy Ramblas, with its Gaudí concoctions and fairy-tale turrets, what was once a derelict spit of coast is now home to everything from hip xiringuitos (beach bars) and stylish restaurants to giant sculptures. The sun shines most of the year, but the city is best before the August rush – the air, tempered by sea breezes, means it’s not yet too hot, and you can combine the culture, shopping and foodie hits of Spain’s coolest city with all its five-star beaches, from bustling Barceloneta to family-friendly Bogatell. The big sights are all still there for the ticking: the Sagrada Família, the
Fundació Joan Miró, but the true joy at this time of year is feasting on freshly landed seafood, while watching the waves lap near your feet. There’s a string of restaurants with beachfront terraces near Barceloneta, and the best, Can Majo (canmajo.es), dishes up juicy prawns, alongside Catalan classics such as suquet, a saffron-flecked fish casserole with monkfish, clams and abundant prawns. Great places to enjoy a drink and Barcelona go hand in hand. El Born or Raval are the go-to areas for late-night drinks and nibbles, but first hit Eclipse (eclipsebarcelona.com) for the sunset. Here, on the 26th floor of the W Hotel, the watermelon mocktails are the same colour as the evening sky.
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ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA Russia’s pretty port city is a place where the
Andreevsky Market (through the arch between
sun never sets and the parties go on all night.
16 and 18 Bolshoy Prospekt), with its beetroot-
On Friday evenings, the unmissable Hermitage opens ’til 9pm (hermitage museum.org) – beat the queues by booking in
stained pickled garlic and hand-painted matryoshka dolls. Squeeze in an afternoon nap — you could
advance online. Afterwards, a short waterside
be out all night. First fuel up with designer
stroll along the embankments, gleaming in
burgers at Bureau (barbureau.ru) followed by
the night-time sun, brings you to New Holland
doughnuts from retro-style Pyshechka. Then
Island, a hip redevelopment hidden among old
stroll along the Fontanka to Rubinstein Street,
canals. Kuznya restaurant channels pre-rev
making regular stops for refreshments, or
Petersburg – try the borscht or honey cake.
catch a late-night ballet on the roof terrace
Now’s also the best time to see the city
of the Mariinsky II Theatre. Fifteen minutes’
by bike. Roll through St Isaac’s Square and
walk away, the dome of St Isaac’s Cathedral
baroque Petrogradsky on a tour (peterswalk.
is open all night – head up for a 4am sunrise,
com), seeing lift-bridges on the Neva and quiet
before a porridge-and-pancake breakfast at
backstreets on Vasilievsky Island. Don’t miss
nearby Bonch (bonchcoffee.ru).
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‘In summer, Russia’s pretty port city is a place where the sun never sets and the parties go on all night’
VALENCIA, SPAIN Valencia doesn’t draw as many visitors as some Spanish cities, but it should. There are just as many historical buildings, squares, tapas bars, gardens and museums – plus a breeze-licked beach where you can flop and simply ignore it all. Evenings are made for sitting out on promenade-side tables, forks in saffron-bright paella (made ‘properly’ the local way – try Casa Carmela; casa-carmela.com).
VALLETA, MALTA The sunniest city in Europe is hot news this year: it’s seizing its moment as European Capital of Culture 2018, while bold design and trendy openings have given this UNESCO World Heritage Site a fresh new look. The architect of London’s The Shard – Renzo Piano – revitalised Valletta’s grand city gate. Baroque mansions have reopened as boutique hotels, and the ancient streets are now rippling with cool restaurants.
MARSEILLE, FRANCE Marseille’s trick is to make you feel like you’ve had a week’s summer holiday in one stress-free, strollable 48 hours. One minute you’re by the big boat port; the next, you’re up in the pretty, historic Le Panier district; or you’re absorbing the ‘culture’ on the rooftop terrace of the modern Mucem museum. Then you’re off into the multiethnic Noailles area for mint tea and bourek pies, before hitting the coast for beaches. World Traveller 51
Easy, breezy, and effortlessly outdoorsy... Toronto is the metro break minus the city stress, says local girl Ellen Himelfarb. Even with the kids in tow...
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TORONTO World Traveller 53
hat a sensible city Toronto is, with its wide, American grid, its Scandinavian orderliness, its European street life. How cleverly it has cherry-picked the best from its Benettoncoloured public – food, fashion, community – and built on it. You couldn’t do better if you started from scratch with a focus group. Yet how modest. When I was growing up, the best nickname the city could muster was ‘Toronto the Good’. Only we Torontonians knew there was greatness here. We kept all those Cape Cod beaches to ourselves, along with the Caribbean markets, dim-sum diners and weird Japanese boutiques. All distributed in orderly fashion, in neighbourhoods we could walk between easily. I left it all a decade ago for London, met my future husband and had two kids. But
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I’ve never stopped spreading the word about Toronto. Then, last summer, having grown into obliging young tourists, the girls came with us to see the city, with me as their nostalgic guide. It’s just as much fun as I remember – particularly in summer. All that dependable sunshine and reliable heat give the easy streets a playground quality. You could nickname it the city vacation for families who shy away from city vacations. A sensible choice, yes; but a great one, too. Staring down at a two-metre hamburger splayed on the floor of the Art Gallery of Ontario, I am eight years old again. Claes Oldenburg’s massive, foam-filled Floor Burger is the first work of art I properly clocked as a child, one of the first anyone saw when entering this sprawling concrete mass at the edge of Chinatown. After climbing through the Henry Moore sculpture outside, we’d crouch low to
inspect its ‘toasty’ canvas bun. I loved it. And today, seeing it through the eyes of my own eight-year-old daughter and her six-year-old sister, that love is rekindled. The gallery’s even more breathtaking now. Earlier, we’d climbed the spiralling new staircase by Frank Gehry to a galleria ribbed with wood like the inside of a whale. Then we followed shafts of sunlight down into the atrium, collapsing onto Bauhaus benches. Burgers. Toast. Hunger. It’s been hours since we set off, taking the scenic route through Kensington Market for cardamom-spiced lattes at a townhouse called Fika (fika.ca). It’s not your typical city street market, but a humble district of fishmongers, cheese-makers, burrito stands and vintage-clothing purveyors operating out of painted Victorian cottages. As students, we’d collect here like stray cats at now-lost record stores, or cycle in for cheap groceries.
â€˜You could nickname it the city vacation for families who shy away from city vacationsâ€™
Opening pages: a swan swims in Lake Ontario against a backdrop of the CN Tower These pages, clockwise from top left: Toronto City Hall; shopping in Kensington Market; Art Gallery of Ontario
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Above: Victory Cafe on Bloor St. Right: Philly steak sandwich. Far right, from left to right: exterior of CN Tower; Toronto Blue Jays in play at the Rogers Centre
‘Even if you know nothing about baseball, you’ve got to see it at Rogers’ My friend Deanna, a one-time stray cat herself, is meeting us for Spanish tapas at Bar Raval (thisisbarraval.com), on a corner of Little Italy, 20 minutes away by foot. It’s a good thing she arrived early: at noon, the interior is as crammed as a speakeasy. This end of Little Italy is on the up again. A century after Italian immigrants populated these Edwardian shopfronts, the lofty standards of Italian cooking began to slip; cocktail clubs, then bouncers, then hen nights took over. Raval and its ilk have brought back the homely vibe. The girls hoist themselves up on stools and we lean on the brass rail. Soon the food flows, tender cubes of beef glazed with nuts and chilli. Hand-cut crisps tumble over morcilla-and-egg toasties. Charred radicchio and green shishito peppers with crackling grilled skin balance out the grease. We have to raise 56 World Traveller
our voices over the indie-rock playlist, layered with drink-fuelled laughter. Navigating Toronto is like spinning a globe. Yesterday we travelled from Greektown to Little India to red-brick Cabbagetown, where Irish Protestants settled in the 1800s. And now we carry on through Little Portugal to Trinity Bellwoods Park, a meeting place for pensioners in white vests and children slurping snacks. Bidding Deanna adieu, the kids scatter into a valley popping with old-growth trees, and Jason and I meander to the south gate to count the new restaurants opened in the modest storefronts of Queen Street West. When I was growing up, worthy chefs set up shop in the stretch towards Osgoode Station, among dark taverns where angry musicians played late sets. But that end got ‘too commercial’, according to those ageing punks. Today the Queen Street worth
discovering spreads west into tributaries such as Ossington and Dovercourt. We spend the afternoon poking into shops dedicated to Japanese stationery and kitsch furniture made from old canoes. Resisting the latest joint (riffing on the Québécois staple of chips with gravy and cheese curd), we think bigger. Edulis (edulisrestaurant.com), in a clapboard bungalow, is getting rave reviews. And the patrons, savouring their wild sorrel and truffles, don’t seem to mind us ensconced in the window. Servers are happy to bring a pair of sides for the kids, while we dive into gourmet set menus. I sigh over wagyu-beef shoulder that bleeds into stewed aubergine; a convoy of freshwater fish; and a pool of cool, herbinfused soup. The girls waste themselves on warm, cakey bread and salty butter, then scoop into our berry fool, puddled
Credit: Ellen Himelfarb / The Sunday Times Travel Magazine / News Licensing
on a warm croissant. No judge would have convicted me for batting them away. Toronto’s subway is laughably unambitious. Expansion sputtered to a stop in the ’70s, refusing to follow the city’s outward growth. It’s good for one thing: getting you to the big-ticket attractions. And husband Jason, tackling city vacation like a safari ‘big five’, has made a list. Within 15 minutes of agreeing our strategy, we’ve emerged from the courtyard of the revamped Union Station. Shoot an arrow in any direction and you’ll hit a quintessential Toronto attraction: the Hockey Hall of Fame, the hangar-like St Lawrence market. But the sky-prodding CN Tower beckons the loudest. Once the world’s tallest ‘freestanding structure’, the concrete megalith is now a distant ninth and sinking. But it still gives a good view. Not to be caught in the queues, we’ve gone online to nab early, discounted tickets to the top.
I’ve given this postcard cliché a wide berth since my teenage years, when the revolving restaurant was a prestige location for awkward first dates. On a summer morning, though, and with the girls to entertain, the CN Tower's lift seems more uplifting than I remember, the misty morning views more moving. It helps that I’m able to point out key bits: the road to their grandparents’ house, the island we ferried to, the US border where I once got nabbed driving back purchases from American chain stores. Beyond a scrum of teens, a glass floor cantilevers almost 350m over the piazza. Only my youngest makes it. No fear, that one. The tower is the gateway to the Entertainment District, where nightclubs and theatres compete with Broadway shows. Up the road is TIFF Bell Lightbox, the HQ for Toronto’s September film festival. To fill seats year-round, organisers run a series of mini-festivals, and during
school holidays kids over-stimulate themselves on heat-sensored screens and robots. We pop in and watch ours submit to the video game world. Big mistake. With only an hour to spare, getting them to leave requires Matrix levels of manipulation. Jason has pimped our day. In his pocket are tickets to watch the Blue Jays play baseball at the Rogers Centre, Counting down to the first pitch, we drag the girls up into the bleachers. The Jays were one of the major league’s top teams a couple of years back, so tickets, even up here in the nosebleeds, were coveted. But the fantasy was fleeting; now they’d almost pay you to see them lose. Even if you know nothing about baseball, you’ve got to see it at Rogers, where, on a white-hot day, the roof is open and the CN Tower photobombs the view to the sky. The big-headed jay mascot rouses the crowd to chants and Mexican waves.
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‘Few Canadians relish entering into a gloat-off with an American, but there’s little dispute we have the edge at Niagara’
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The Jumbotron flashes trivia. And our team, on fire, knocks balls into the far wall with underdog energy. The game is a buzz. The girls teeter in their seats. Balancing our hot dogs, drinks, and mountains of popcorn, we risk spillage with every jumpout-of-our-seats play. And Jason, never merrier than when spouting statistics, is in ecstasy. To top it off, the Jays won. It’s easy to overlook the fact that Toronto sits by a lake the size of a small country. So one day, thirsty for a bit of blue, we head for it, jumping into our car and rolling onto the Gardiner Expressway. Skirting the western beaches, we merge onto Queen Elizabeth Way and, less than 90 minutes later, pull into Niagara Parkway. The road narrows as it cuts through Queen Victoria Park. It’s all very civilised, as you might expect of a layout named after our beloved sovereigns. Few Canadians relish entering into a gloat-off with an American, but there’s little dispute we have the edge at Niagara. Out the back of the banal welcome centre, we’re hit with spit and roar. The Falls come as a shock. Their bellowing water is relentless, the spray rousing. We rush to an iron balustrade and stare down at the unfathomable chutes of water, immense clouds of mist and seemingly suicidal boats that give you the soaking of your life. Sidling along the railing, we discover there is no bad view, and that rainbows are commonplace. On a map, Lake Ontario is dwarfed by the other Great Lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie. And here, their relative power manifests itself. Together they contribute quadrillions of litres of water to the Niagara river, eventually tumbling
down 99m to keep Ontario flush. The Niagara Parkway follows the run-off along the river and out to Lake Ontario. Some 15 minutes along, the landscape flattens and vineyards appear, the calm after the storm. Up the road is the twee Victorian town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. It’s worth a look for its preserved-in-aspic homes with frilly iron porches, turrets and show gardens. This is B&B Land: tea and chintz on streets named after British war heroes. The Americans lost this territory in the war of 1812 and it has carried on as a sort of living museum ever since. But actually we’re here for pies, for which Niagara-on- the-Lake is famous. At the Pie Plate (thepieplate.com), I buy four: two for our dinner tonight and two for the freezer — as one does. Driving back to the city, we pull off by Kew Gardens. The Beach, as this neighbourhood is called, was once used by Victorians as a summer retreat. But its Cape Cod-style houses were too desirable to abandon for nine months of the year. The Beach is the only place in Toronto where you can get a straight view from your porch to the water, punctuated only by dog-walkers and the lifeguard’s chair. And so, after gossip and burgers on the grill, we settle into the porch with plates of pie and gaze out at the scene. This is the Toronto I remember — as uncomplicated as the pie we’re eating, with an inevitable breeze reminding us that winter isn’t far off. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call +971 4 316 6666 or visit dnatatravel.com
Left: A boat full of visitors get close to the dramatic Niagra Falls. Right: a slice of pumpkin pie with cranberries
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UNCOVER EVEN MORE FUN AND THRILLS THIS SUMMER!
Every Friday, we are opening our doors from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm for more fun with your friends and family. Enjoy all our thrilling rides, gourmet meals and refreshments under the evening sky from June to September! Buy your ticket online today on wildwadi.com or call us on +971 4 348 4444
Weekends Staycations and short-haul escapes
STILL THE MIND Sailing along the backwaters of Kerala is an experience that frequently tops the wishlist for intrepid travellers. Embarking on a tranquil cruise is a once-in-a lifetimeexperience that'll steer you along the serene stretches of lakes, canals and lagoons parallel to the coast of the Arabian Sea. Alappuzha is especially popular for its houseboat cruises that will immerse you in nature. Find out more in our mini guide overleafâ€Ś
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Rolling tea plantations near Munnar
YOUR GUIDE TO: KERALA
Ancient temples, gently spiced cuisine and Ayurveda – it may be monsoon season, but India’s languid, tropical state of Kerala is as captivating as ever
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Vizhinjam lighthouse stands tall beside Kovalam beach
Words by Michelle Wranik-Hicks Images, with thanks to Kerala Tourism
ou may have heard Kerala described as “God’s Own Country” (a phrase coined, believe it or not, by an advertising agency in 1989), and during the monsoon season (from June to August), you’ll understand why. When the rains arrive, India’s southern state transforms into a lush, emerald-coloured Garden of Eden. Waterfalls flow, coconut groves glisten, and mist covers the hill stations, yet amid the sudden downpours are brilliant interludes of sunshine. Rain may deter some tourists, but not those interested in Ayurveda*, one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems, as it's the best time undergo a rejuvenation. Read on for a few more reasons to book a trip now…
Watch the colourful performers of Kathakali, the classical Indian dance
In perfect harmony Ayurveda was born in India some 5,000 years ago and its heartland is Kerala. Today, modernised practices have been adopted around the world and how you are treated will depend on the diagnosis of your body's doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha – and what is needed to achieve a state of balance. Discovering it in Kerala during monsoon season is the ideal time, as the moisture in the air, which transfers to the skin, helps the natural medicines work most effectively. Plus, medicines are derived from herbs enhanced by the rich alkaloid content of the soil that’s unique to the area. Kizhi care One of the most popular Ayurvedic treatments is Kizhi, a massage that’s known to help ease pain and is carried out using a warm poultice containing herbs, herbal powders, rice or sand. You'll find many treatment centres and resorts that specialise in it.
*Always check with your doctor before trying Ayurveda or any other alternative medical treatment.
Mind, body, and spirit The main goal of Ayurveda is to promote good health and those visiting for a stretch of time can enrich their experience beyond individual treatments by seeking advice on a rounded approach that includes everything from mindful eating to meditation. A list of government-approved Ayurvedic centres can be found online at keralatourism.org/ayurvedacentres.
travelgoals Toddy is a fermented beverage made from the sap of coconut flowers – it’s a must-try while exploring the backwaters
CULTURE TRIP A dose of history A confluence of religions and Portuguese, Dutch and British Raj influences, the atmospheric port city of Kochi is a sensory riot, crammed with historic sites like Jain Temple, the 400-year-old Paradesi Synagogue, Mattancherry Palace and Portuguese churches. Timehonoured traditions continue even in the rain: sniff spices along Bazaar Road, head to the harbour to watch fisherman working giant Chinese fishing nets and take a peek inside Kerala Museum (keralamuseum.com). Local theatre Part dance, part mime, the 17th-century theatre tradition of Kathakali, classical Indian dance characterised by colourful performers with exaggerated expressions, is as old as Shakespeare. Book tickets for a performance at Kerala Kathakali Centre (K.B. Jacob Rd, kathakalicentre.com) in Kochi.
Ayurveda was born in India some 5,000 years ago
Get festive Onam, one of Kerala’s most important festivals, starts on 15 August this year. The 10-day harvest festival is marked by elaborate feasts, folk performances and temple visits. It culminates with the Snake Boat Race, held on the river Pampa in Aranmula (around 111 kilometres from Kochi) – an unmissable spectacle of hundreds of oarsmen, rowing along the river clad in white dhotis and turbans, past chanting crowds. World Traveller 63
MINI BREAK Taste Kappa Puzhukku, a traditional tapioca-based dish
travelgoals Take a closer look at the vibrant coastal village life of Kovala, which is a hive of activity of everything from coconut leaf weaving to trading the local catch at the fish markets
PURE ADVENTURE Backwater bliss Gliding along languid backwaters past simple, rural riverside communities, lush coconut groves and rice paddies – there are few experiences as authentic as a cruise on a converted kettuvallam. These former thatch-roofed barges once carried spices towards the ports, but now function as houseboats staffed by crew, a cook and guides. Boats range from the rustic fan-only sort right through to the luxurious. Time for tea plantations Fresh cool air, mountains blanketed in mist, and stunning tea plantation views – Munnar, a colonial hill station in the southern Western Ghats, is particularly beautiful during monsoon. Once you’ve drunk your fill of tea, taken a stroll around a tea estate, and checked out the Tea Museum, the 2,695-metre Anamudi peak beckons for trekking, paragliding and mountain biking adventures.
FOODIE FINDS Breakfast like a king With sizeable portions and hefty calories, Keralan breakfasts are utterly delicious, consisting of sweet things like puttu (a type of roll made of roasted rice and grated coconut); appam pancakes (also made of rice and coconut), and idli dumplings, doused in banana, sugar and coconut milk or served with sweet chutneys as well as savoury dishes like nadan mutta curry (egg curry). A seafood bonanza All that coastline means seafood in abundance, with fishermen heaving in basketfuls onto the sands each day. No matter where you stay, there’s bound to be succulent lobster, fish, calamari and king prawns on the menu. Binge on chemmeen kari (prawn curry) or kappa meen, a spicy tapioca, kingfish and tamarind curry, scooped up with fluffy appam. Feast on sadya Comprised of 28 small dishes, sadya is a vegetarian feast served on a plantain leaf, and it’s a must try, particularly during festivals like Onam. Small servings (eaten in order to aid digestion) include red rice and pickles, curries like lentil parippu curry, and the creamy dessert payasam (coconut milk mixed with molasses and spices, garnished with cashews and raisins). Afterward, the plantain leaf is simply wrapped up and discarded. 64 World Traveller
It’s a jungle out there
Don’t miss seeing Set out on a safari, South Indian style, the luscious Kerala to spot prowling tigers in the protected waterfalls – Athirappalli Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary or at is the most famous at Bandipur Park, a reserve home to around more than 80ft high. The cascades are 139 tigers and nearly 2,000 elephants. popular year-round Another habitat for rare creatures is Munnar’s picnic spots Eravikulam National Park, home to the protected though endangered Nilgiri Tahr – see them up close on a guided tour. The picturesque Kochin backwaters
HOT TO SHOP
The Malabar House is set within a converted mid-17th century residence
Bohemian buys Beach shack shopping along Varkala’s clifftop is geared toward the Western boho crowd, with souvenirs of excellent quality and range, from organic cotton dresses and edgy beachwear to hand-carved wooden sitars, and leather sandals and bags made to order. The clifftop markets also have a Tibetan bazaar where vendors spruik handicrafts, silk and even singing bowls. Snap up an antique Find rare, one-of-a-kind pieces in Kochi, which has a concentration of some of the country’s finest antique sellers. Try Heritage Arts, home to an astonishing collection of handcrafted teak furniture and jewellery; Madonna Exports for a tempting array of handicrafts, wood carvings and tribal art; The Ethnic Passage for bronze masks and spice boxes, and Crafters, where the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are regular customers. Mirror mirror Should you venture to Aranmula to watch the Onam festival boat race, add a kannadi to your shopping list. These exquisite, handheld metal-alloy mirrors are made by artisans in the small temple town, who follow an ancient and secretive method that omits the use of glass or mercury.
WHERE TO STAY
A kannadi is an ideal keepsake
The Malabar House A modern boutique and a member of Relais & Châteaux, there are 17 stylish suites in this converted mid-17th century house, with local art and artefacts, landscaped gardens and discreet service creating an ideal retreat after a day exploring Kochi.
travelgoals Animal lovers will be pleased to learn that Kerala has six national parks dedicated to protected and endangered species such as the Indian slothbear, lion-tailed Macaque, the Indian bison, Bengal tiger and Nilgiri tahr
Windermere Estate This former cardamom plantation is a cosy retreat in the misty mountains of Munnar, featuring guestrooms and cottages named after spices and beds carved from teak and maple. Set out on guided forest walks and return to tuck into homestyle cuisine. Abad Turtle Beach Located close to the coastal village of Mararikulam in Alleppey, this charming property offers premium cottages and villas with direct access to the white sand beach. Unwind with an Ayurveda treatment or yoga lesson, take a stroll in the vegetable and butterfly garden, or laze by the swimming pool. World Traveller 65
WORLD TRAVELLER X DCT ABU DHABI
Summer of fun With top deals on shopping, dining, entertainment and hotel rooms, Abu Dhabi Summer Season delivers memorable moments for fun seekers for all ages
f you’re spending time in the UAE capital this summer, be sure to arrive with energy to burn as Abu Dhabi Summer Season (ADSS), taking place from 21 June until 18 August, will keep you on your toes with a city-wide line-up of exciting experiences. Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), this year’s ADSS brings a selection of top hotel deals, dining offers and shopping promotions to the fore, with lots of family-friendly events and entertainment thrown in alongside. Thrill-seekers should head to Yas Island where the new Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, opening on 25 July, is offering
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free entry for one family member upon purchasing a four-person Family & Friends ticket, so you can enjoy all of the park’s hair-raising rides and attractions for less. Foodies will eat up the fantastic deals at over 200 participating eateries by Zomato. Look out for the themed culinary weeks, when 25 restaurants will be offering a variety of tempting discounts. Plus, if your birthday falls between 21 June and 18 August, you can eat for free at up to 50 participating restaurants. Those looking to bag the latest fashions will be pleased to learn that there will be discounts of up to 80 percent at participating shopping malls. In addition,
there’ll be on-the-spot prize giveaways and the chance to win clothing, accessories, gift vouchers, and even cars in the popular Unbox the Amazing campaign. If you’re bringing your kids along for the ride, rest assured they won’t be bored thanks to the variety of acts on offer, including concerts and performances by leading entertainment and event companies in the region, as well as special guest appearances by characters from all their favourite shows, including Pink Fong and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who are descending on Dalma Mall and will bring some super fan fun. abudhabummerseason.ae
My Great Escapes British filmmaker and travel vlogger Louis Cole documents his global travel adventures to more than two million subscribers at youtube.com/FunForLouis and via @funforlouis
1. Meeting the marine life in Baros. A remote getaway location with some of the best marine life to discover on a snorkelling adventure. It is always difficult to say goodbye to clear turquoise waters. 2. Chasing the sunset in Cape Town. This is one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world. I love chasing the African sunset with friends on a drive along Chapmans Peak, as well as taking advantage of the many outdoor activities that the city offers. 3. Admiring architecture in Abu Dhabi. One of my favourite memories is being with someone I love while watching Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque illuminated at twilight. The city has a way of transporting you to another world with its incredible architecture. 4. Getting back to nature in the Dominican Republic. Nothing comes close to sleeping under the stars in a jungle. It’s a dream of mine to have my own treehouse one day and to be able to go on many tropical explorations. From climbing trees for fresh coconuts to bathing under waterfalls – this place offers me a chance to clear my head and revitalise my energy. 5. Seeing a world wonder in Nuuk. Greenland is simply magical. While on my world adventure last year, I stood outside for an hour watching the Aurora Borealis. It made me realise how some things are just purely too beautiful to describe. 6. A journey of discovery in Montana. One of my favourite things to do is to go on a road trip with a few friends and to exchange stories and share our dreams with one another. There is so much natural beauty in the landscape and you can’t help but feel overwhelmed by how great and powerful the mountains are.
On your doorstep
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WORLD TRAVELLER X THE ST. REGIS ABU DHABI
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi Make waves this summer at this splendid property overlooking the Arabian Gulf THE ROOMS Although we tend to spend more time indoors in this part of the world during the peak summer months, you can still enjoy soothing sea views from the guestrooms and suites at this five-star property located on Abu Dhabi Corniche. The Superior Seaview Rooms are a great fit for couples while families can consider splashing out on the grand Al Hosen Suite, which fits up to three adults and two children.
THE FOOD You can breakfast like a king at the Terrace, which serves a New York style feast of French toast, fluffy pancakes and Eggs Benedict among other dishes, while the St. Regis Friday Brunch (12.30pm to 4pm) is a brilliant reason to indulge a taste for seafood, sushi, foie gras, grilled cuts and more. Football fans will be happy to learn that the St. Regis Bar is screening all the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches until 15 July.
THE ACTIVITIES Step into RemĂ¨de Spa and feel a wave of serenity wash over you. At this pampering sanctuary, therapists will tailor treatments to suit you, drawing on therapies and ingredients from the region to relax body and mind, so no two massages are ever the same. Afterwards, take the air-conditioned private tunnel to Nation Riviera Beach Club for a dip in the pool followed by an early evening stroll along the private beach.
To find out more, call +971 694 4444 or visit stregisabudhabi.com 68 World Traveller
An Exquisite Family Summer Escape Plan a Summer family staycation and create lasting memories. Stay exquisite in one of our Superior rooms or for the ultimate level of luxury upgrade to a Signature Suite. Located at the vibrant heart of Abu Dhabi with a 200 metre stretch of pristine beach, overlooking the turquoise waters of the Nation Riviera Beach Club at the finest address in the city. Superior Room from AED 700* includes:
Complimentary upgrade to Sea View room**, AED 200 restaurant dining credit, breakfast and 4:00 pm late checkout.
Signature Suites from AED 1200* includes:
AED 500 restaurant dining credit, breakfast and 4:00 pm late checkout.
Book one room and save 50% on the second room. Perfect for families, connecting rooms available**
Wander More and save up to 30% off on your Stay, Dining and Remede Spa experience Join the Starwood Preferred GuestÂŽ program and enjoy the best perks from 1 May to 30 September 2018. *Prices are subject to 10% service fee, 6% tourism fee, 4% municipality fee and 5% VAT ** Subject to availability
ÂŠ2018 Marriott International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, St. Regis and their logos are the trademarks of Marriott International, Inc., or its affiliates.
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates t. +971 2 694 4444 stregisabudhabi.com
Stay exquisite at more than 40 St. Regis hotels and resorts worldwide. @stregishotels
WORLD TRAVELLER X BAB AL SHAMS DESERT RESORT & SPA
Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa Head deep into the dunes to experience another side to authentic Arabian hospitality THE ROOMS With its Arabian fort-like ambience and secluded desert dunes location, this is a getaway that combines rustic charm with 21st century comfort at every turn. The resort's 115 guestrooms and suites are a nod to cultural symbolism, with locally inspired artwork and decorative camel saddles mounted on the walls. The calm-inducing Hamman-style bathrooms, however, steal the show.
THE FOOD It's hard to beat Al Hadheerah desert restaurant, a fairytale setting for a spectacular Arabic feast complete with live entertainment, although the irresistible taste of the sub-scontinent awaits at Masala. As the sun sets, head to Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge and drink in the sweeping views of the resort. Plus, this month Al Forsan Lounge is showing all the FIFA World Cup matches, with themed snacks and drinks.
THE ACTIVITIES It's a toss-up between action and relaxation with a host of family-friendly activities to try, from camel riding and desert safaris to falconry, horse riding, archery, mini golf and croquet. If that sounds a little too taxing, you can drop the children off at Aladdin Kids' Club and book a pampering couples' treatment at Satori Spa, or head to the outdoor swimming pool for a refreshing dip in the water.
To find out more, call +971 4 809 6100 or visit babalshams.com 70 World Traveller
WORLD TRAVELLER X THE CHEDI MUSCAT
The Chedi Muscat Spend some quality time with the family at this tranquil beach resort in Oman THE ROOMS The 158-room property blends dramatic Omani architecture with calming Asian influences for a five-star stay in a scenic setting beside the Gulf of Oman, surrounded by the Hajar Mountains. Those travelling with kids in tow should opt for a Chedi Club Suite, which fits two adults and two kids, with large living spaces to stretch out in, a private balcony or terrace and exclusive access to The Club Lounge.
THE FOOD Foodies can indulge at six restaurants and two lounges serving a wide variety of cuisines. A gourmet experience complete with open show kitchens, live piano music and statement interiors make The Restaurant a top choice, with private dining rooms ideal for family gatherings. Alternatively, for views of the glistening swimming pool, The Serai Pool Cabana is open for a relaxed lunch and dinner.
THE ACTIVITIES Cocoon yourself away from the summer heat at the hotel spa, the largest in Muscat, which specialises in Balinese therapies, Ayurveda and indigenous rituals designed to pamper (the Chedi Jade Massage is great for easing deep muscle tension). Keep your fitness goals on track at the floodlit tennis courts, inside the living room-style gym, or by practising your stroke in the three outdoor temperature-controlled pools.
To find out more, call +968 2 452 4401 or visit ghmhotels.com/en/muscat 72 World Traveller
15 May - 30 September 2018 Two luxurious nights and A third night with our compliments Superb accommodation, award winning restaurants and memorable experiences are waiting to be discovered in Oman. The Chedi Muscat provides the perfect escape for you and your family this summer. From OMR 140* per room, per night. - Stay and pay for 2 nights and receive the 3rd night with our compliments. - Full breakfast at The Restaurant, daily. - 20% discount on food & soft drinks. - Buy one get one free for any 90 minute therapeutic massage.
To make a reservation or to find out more information, please call (+968) 24 524401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
*All rates quoted are per room per night and subject to 17% tax.Terms & Conditions apply: * Minimum stay of 2 nights * Black out periods apply.
WORLD TRAVELLER X THE MEYDAN HOTEL
The Meydan Hotel Trade up to an altogether more tranquil experience on the edge of the city THE ROOMS Be at one with nature yet remain within easy reach of Dubai's major attractions courtesy of the hotel's unique location, which cradles the world-famous Meydan horse racetrack with the city skyline as its backdrop. The property's 284 contemporary guestrooms and suites also pack plenty of visual impact. We rate the Grand Executive Balcony room for its stunning views out across the turf to the horizon beyond.
THE FOOD The world comes to Meydan for some of the best sporting action on the planet and it also offers the world on a plate, with dining options to suit all palates. Japanese and Chinese sit side by side at Shiba while PRIME showcases the finest cuts from around the globe. Plus, in the spirit of the FIFA World Cup 2018, Qube Sports Bar is offering a selection of Russian food specialities and is showing all the matches.
THE ACTIVITIES It may be heating up outside but the activity never stops with an on-site tennis academy for those looking to perfect their serve. Keen golfers have access to The Track, Meydan Golf for 9-holes of floodlit fun while fitness buffs can call upon a personal trainer to draw up a bespoke workout plan. Cool down with a spa treatment such as The Meydan Signature massage, which blends deep tissue massage with hot stones to ease away tension.
To find out more, call +971 4 381 3333 or visit themeydanhotel.com 74 World Traveller
WORLD TRAVELLER X KEMPINSKI HOTEL MUSCAT
Kempinski Hotel Muscat A focus on wellness, adventure and fine fare combine to deliver a memorable stay in Oman THE ROOMS A gateway to an authentic Omani adventure, this five-star hotel situated in the luxurious Al Mouj development in the heart of Muscat blends local traditions with European luxury. Many of its 310 guestrooms and suites offer stunning views of the sea. For large families, the suites offer generous space, featuring a substantial living and dining area in addition to a bedroom and walk-in closet.
THE FOOD There are 10 restaurants and lounges to enjoy. If you're a fan of Thai street food, Soi Soi is the place to go for a casual meal that will transport your tastebuds to Bangkok. Head to Bukhara for authentic North Indian cuisine with a contemporary twist â€“ the live tandoori oven offers a sneak peek of the sizzling dishes being prepared. For all-daydining, The Kitchen suits all with its delicious mixture of Levantine and European cuisine.
THE ACTIVITIES Unwind at Kempinski The Spa, which offers pampering treatments inspired by the seasons. Or, head to Zale beach club and lounge, the only one of its kind in Al Mouj, which serves international fare by day and transforms into a lively venue by night. Keep the fun times happening with a game of ten-pin bowling at Cosmic Bowling. And if you need some kid-free time, little ones can be entertained at Dippy's Clubhouse.
To find out more, call +968 24 98 5000 or visit kempinski.com/muscat 76 World Traveller
EID FAMILY GETAWAY Enjoy a fantastic getaway with your family, and experience exhilarating watersport activities, bowl a strike at Cosmic Bowling or just relax at one of our tranquil pools. Take a culinary journey through our 10 unique dining destinations, discover live interactive stations and authentic Northern Indian and Thai cuisine. Our junior guests will be fully entertained at Dippyâ€™s Clubhouse with a full range of innovative activities. Room rates from OMR 110* Enjoy 50% oďŹ€ a connecting room for children aged under 16 years Rate is inclusive of breakfast for two people Children under 16 years dine on complimentary basis with paying parents Get resort credit of OMR 25 per night for each suite booking** Get resort credit of OMR 15 per night for each room booking** *Rates are subject to applicable taxes and service charge **Terms and conditions apply Rooms and rates are subject to availability at the time of booking +968 2498 5000 RESERVATIONS.MUSCAT@KEMPINSKI.COM KEMPINSKI.COM/MUSCAT
Your poolside paradise
Oman: destination fun Whether you’re seeking a getaway for the whole family or want to combine gourmet dining with thrilling watersports and pampering spa treatments on a long weekend away with friends, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa has you covered Nestled against the dramatic backdrop of rugged mountains and beside the pristine waters of the Gulf of Oman, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is a destination resort comprising two hotel wings: Al Waha and Al Bandar. The 262-room Al Waha (meaning The Oasis) is Oman's first dedicated leisure hotel, so is the ideal spot for those in need of a rejuvenating break. With the family in tow, a spacious room is essential, and on this count Al Waha delivers in true Shangri-La style. Guestrooms stretch at least 32 square metres each, but we rate the sizeable Family Room, which is actually two en suite rooms in one (the first with a king78 World Traveller
sized bed, and the other with twin beds). A door connects the two, so grown-ups can enjoy quiet time on their sea-facing balcony while, in the adjacent room, the kids can battle it out on the PlayStation. A veritable playground for toddlers through to tweens and with a team of resort hosts on hand to entertain, Al Waha packs in plenty of perks. The resort’s fun-filled Cool Zone Kids’ Club is located here, offering young ones aged between four and eight an exciting lineup of scheduled activities, from movie time to creative crafts. Al Waha is also home to a swimming pool dedicated to toddlers and children and the brilliant splash pad where the whole family
The resort boasts Oman's only Lazy River
WORLD TRAVELLER X SHANGRI-LA BARR AL JISSAH RESORT & SPA
can get a good soaking through touch sensitive sprays and projection jets. Once you’ve dried off, it’s time to enjoy a family meal. If you’re craving somewhere casual, make a beeline for Surf Café, where deep filled sandwiches, tasty burgers, fresh salads, homemade milkshakes and sundaes will satisfy any appetite. For heartier fare, the open show kitchen, extensive buffet, and à la carte menu available at Samba cooks up a feast of grilled meats and fish, alongside family favourites for sharing, like nachos topped with succulent beef. Plus, be sure to stop by poolside restaurant Assira, which has been designed to appear like an oasis amid the hotel’s swimming pools and palm trees. Over in the vibrant Al Bandar wing (meaning The Town), which is inspired by Muscat of old, a variety of top-rated restaurants and lively post dinner destinations make it the perfect place for a weekend away with friends. The deluxe property has 198 guestrooms, each offering a minimum of 38 square metres’ space, complete with a balcony or terrace offering views of the lush garden, shimmering sea or sparkling swimming pools. Speaking of which, the huge main swimming pool has sunbeds halfimmersed in the water so you can unwind in the great outdoors without breaking a sweat. The pool at Al Bandar also features a Jacuzzi and children’s pool, and has access to the Lazy River – the only one of its kind in Oman. With close to half of the resort's 19 food and beverage outlets based here, delectable dining is mere steps away. For a night that will linger on your mind as well as your tastebuds, head to the ocean-side terrace of inventive Italian outlet Capri Court and savour its homemade pasta dishes. Post dinner, there's no more welcoming spot than the ever-elegant Piano Lounge, which offers a fine line in organic grape. Whether staying at Al Waha or Al Bandar, you’re free to roam the entire resort and its myriad facilities. So whatever type of holiday experience you want to curate, the resort offers it all and more.
Views from a guestroom balcony at Al Waha
COMMON KNOWLEDGE Whether you’re staying at Al Waha or Al Bandar, you’ll have access to a host of common facilities across the resort…
Foodie delights. In total, the resort has seven main
restaurants, two all-day-dining outlets, two pool bars, two lobby lounges, three cafés and three bars. Highlights include Bait Al Bahr, which serves fresh seafood, and BAB Lounge, Muscat’s only rooftop venue. Plus, you’ll enjoy access to two additional restaurants – Shahrazad and Sultanah – located in the adjacent Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa.
Pools aplenty. There are six lifeguard-
supervised swimming pools to take a dip in.
Ride the rapids. Scramble into an inflatable donut
and ride the 550-metrelong Lazy River for a fun and relaxing way to travel through the resort, from Al Bandar to Al Waha.
Thrilling watersports. The 500-metre-long
beach is home to the Watercooled centre, where a team of professionals can organise awesome activities such as hydro-sport jet packing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, windsurfing, clear-bottom kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, snorkelling and so much more.
Perfect pampering. Unwind at CHI, THE Spa,
which provides a full range of body treatments and facial therapies. It’s home to some of the largest and most luxurious private spa suites and villas in Oman, in a secluded, village-like setting
To find out more, call +968 2477 6666 or visit shangri-la.com/muscat/barraljissahresort
A bird's eye view of the resort
amid the lush gardens.
World Traveller 79
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Photo: Rustic Canyon restaurant. Santa Monica (photo by Rick Poon)
#dnataworldtraveller FOODIE FINDS
Top chef Tom Aikens
One of the best ways to explore a destination is by sampling the local cuisine, and we have lots of articles on our website that are sure to satisfy an appetite for travel. Simply visit our Food section to find out where top chefs such as Masaharu Morimoto, Niko Romito and Tom Aikens recommend dining out around the world. Plus, our feature on how to eat like a local, whether you're headed to New York, Paris, Tokyo or beyond, is food for thought.
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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 Bangkok In one of the world's most storied hotels, the Author's Wing has been a central character in tales that date to the property's opening, some 140-plus years ago. A long list of literary greats, including Conrad, Michener, Coward and Greene, have penned their name in the guestbook, while Le CarrĂŠ wrote The Honourable Schoolboy here. And each could easily have dedicated a chapter to the Royal Suite, to which a whole floor of the Author's Wing is devoted. A gym, spa, library (of course), sunroom and a balcony bestowing river views would make for notable mentions.
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