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Northern exposure

Produced in Dubai Production City

Canada explored through a child's eyes

Bucket and spade at the ready to dig into 40 brilliant beaches

8:32 AM The moment the soul of the Maldives found you.

Generous villas with understated echoes of the many cultures of the Maldives. An untouched diving destination, on the largest lagoon in the Maldives, shimmering with cerulean light. Fairmont Maldives artfully connects nature to the soul and the result is unforgettable.


30 OFF %


* Terms and conditions: Book before 15 August 2019 and stay dates until 19 December 2019. Subject to availability at the time of booking. Offer is non-refundable and non-cancellable. Subject to prevailing taxes and service fee. This offer is not valid in conjunction with any other promotion. Terms and conditions are subject to change without prior notice.

Welcome note

Whether your idea of beach bliss is an isolated Caribbean paradise, a retro-riviera fishing village nook, or a dash of remote windswept drama, we've found a slice of shore for you. This month's cover story (p26) shines a light on no less

Managing Director Victoria Thatcher Editorial Director John Thatcher General Manager David Wade Managing Editor Faye Bartle Content Writers Habiba Azab Sophia Dyer

than 40 of the most brilliant beaches on the planet, so you can kick off your summer travel fest with some sparkling toes-in-the-sand fun. Beyond the beaches, we've plenty more to inspire your next trip. From venturing into the edgier parts of Miami (p38) to eating your way around Piedmont (p44) and going whale watching in Canada (p50), join us as we venture off the beaten track. Before you go, be sure to read our round-up of best travel apps (p22) that'll help with everything from getting around a new destination to learning the lingo. If you've only time to squeeze in a few short trips, our insider guide to Istanbul (p60) shows why a trip to this dynamic city is always a good idea. Plus, take a closer look at Beirut's lively art and creative scene for a mind-nourishing mini break that's packed with culture (p58). Happy travels, Faye Bartle


A three-night stay at Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman on p75

Art Director Kerri Bennett Senior Designer Hiral Kapadia Senior Advertising Manager Mia Cachero


Karma Beach in Bali can only be reached via an open-air cable car – talk about making a 007-style entrance, p26


Did you know that Turin was the first capital of unified Italy? And it has all the grand squares, portico-lined streets and statues of men on horses to prove it, p44


The picturesque fishing village, Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia, has a population of just 30, p50


When in Istanbul, be sure to order to famous hünkâr beğendi (slowcooked lamb on a bed of smoked eggplant) for a true taste of the city, p60


Eibsee is one of the most beautiful lakes in Bavaria, with water so clean you'll want to dive right in, p74

Production Manager Muthu Kumar


Photography credits: Getty Images and Phocal Media Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from HOT Media Publishing is strictly prohibited. HOT Media Publishing does not accept liability for omissions or errors in World Traveller. Tel: 00971 4 364 2876 Fax: 00971 4 369 7494

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Credit: The Farmstead at Royal Malewane

Contents July 2019



regulars 8





This month's go-to places include the heartland of Bali, and Baku, where mediaeval meets modernity.

Join the culture club as Venice hosts the UAE Pavillion at Biennale Arte and New York sets the stage for Shakespeare alfresco.

From price-match bookings to maps that don't require mobile data: the travel apps you need to ensure a hassle-free holiday.

Head online for exclusive content and, better still, the chance to win a three-night stay at Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman.

Join us in the Maldives as we soak up the soothing sight of ocean lapping at palm-fringed beach at Vakkaru Maldives.












From powder-soft sands and ice blue waters to wild wonders and waddling penguins.

Nick Redman rolls up his suit jacket sleeves as he seeks out Miami's nicest vices beyond the lure of South Beach.


Craving Italian food with a side order of fun, Liz Edwards heads to pretty Piedmont.

With his daughter along for the wild ride, Stanley Stewart heads home to Canada.



Credit: Neolokal



weekends 58


Beirut offers up a treasure trove of cultural highlights to hit up on a short break.





Laura Brunt heads East and West in Istanbul's storied streets.

Feel in need of a break? We have a few more reasons to book a weekend escape.

It's time we sent you packing. Choose your next adventure from our exclusive offers.




© Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi / Photo by Hufton+Crow. Architect: Jean Nouvel.


SEE HUMANITY IN A NEW LIGHT Louvre Abu Dhabi brings different cultures together to shine light on the shared stories of human creativity. Admission: AED 63, children under 13 free



Emily Williams, dnata Travel’s resident globetrotter, reveals the best places to hop on a plane to this month


It’s peak season in Bali and despite its ever-growing popularity, the green paradise of Ubud is still an excellent place to escape to for a sense of calm. The Ubud District’s green rainforests and terraced rice paddies are among Bali’s most famous and picturesque landscapes. A treasure trove of cultural landmarks, you can discover art galleries and museums, as well as some of the finest dining in Bali. Highlights 1 Visit Monkey Forest Ubud to see the temples, as well as the monkeys that live in the sanctuary, including the Balinese long-tailed monkey (macaque). 2 Open daily, Ubud Art Market is the place to go for artisan keepsakes, from sarongs to intricately carved wooden picture frames. 3 Grab your swimmies and head to Tegenungan Waterfall for a dip amid the lush jungle setting.




With its location on the Caspian Sea and its cooler temperatures, travellers are escaping to Baku for a city break closer to home this summer – it’s just a three-hour flight from Dubai. Azerbaijan’s capital is known for contemporary landmarks including the Zaha Hadid designed Heydar Aliyev Center and Flame Towers, an iconic trio of skyscrapers. The modern skyline is juxtaposed with its mediaeval walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights 1 Make the 25km journey to Yanardagh (Burning Mountain), which is eternally ablaze due to the natural subterranean gas that seeps up to the surface. 2 Taste the traditional Plov – saffron-flavoured rice cooked with aromatic herbs, fried meat and vegetables. 3 Take a peek inside The Museum of Miniature Books in the old city, to see a novel collection amassed over 30 years. 9


The largest lake district in Europe, Finnish Lakeland (the land of a thousand lakes) is a beautiful summer holiday spot. Some of the world’s cleanest lakes can be found here, surrounded by an incredible backdrop of deep green forests and rolling hills. Stay in Hämeenlinna, just over an hours’ drive from Helsinki, which is surrounded by the lakes and national parks. Plus, it's home to two impressive castles, a theme park, spas, eight golf courses and more. Highlights 1 For a charming way to explore, take a steamship cruise of Lake Saimaa. 2 Traverse the lakes at your own pace in a kayak – the water is at its warmest from June to August. 3 Test your skills at fishing, and you may even spot elks at the shore.




Known as the capital of southern Spain, Seville is famous for its flamenco dancing, local food markets, and gothic architecture. Alcรกzar of Seville, one of the oldest palaces still in use in the world, has been in the spotlight recently, having featured in Game of Thrones (the UNESCO World Heritage recognised palace complex is the setting for the Winter Gardens of Dorne). It'll transport you into a fantasy world, complete with labyrinth to explore. Highlights 1 Savour the intense flavours of traditional tapas dishes, from white anchovies to snails. Simply hop from bar to bar for a delicious pit stop while sightseeing. 2 Admire the artisan ceramics that characterise the city, and spend your euros on some decorative Sevillian pottery. 3 Awaken your duende by catching a flamenco performance at El Patio Sevillano. 11



Standing tall in the heart of Dubai Marina, featuring incomparable panoramic views of the city, combine the best of all worlds with luxurious accommodation, three contemporary dining destinations and a blissful caravanserai-inspired, Saray Spa.

Globetrotter JULY


Be informed, be inspired, be there

OFF-GRID ADVENTURES Descend on Islas Secas, an archipelago of stunning islands in the Gulf of ChiriquĂ­ on the Pacific Coast of Panama, and let the resident adventure concierge whisk you off on a journey of discovery. From heading under the surface to see the vibrant marine life, to exploring Coiba National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site), and observing migrating Humpback whales, this eco-resort will have you hooked. It's home to just four Casitas nestled amid the lush tropical forest, sleeping up to 18 guests at a time. 13

GLOBETROTTER Arambrook Boutique Hotel, South Africa


Fresh on the scene From South Africa to The Sunshine State, check out these hotel hotspots 1


Arambrook Boutique Hotel, Cape Town With not so much as a blade of grass out of place, this picture-perfect boutique hotel welcomes guests to try its unique brand of quaint luxury. Ultra-exclusive, each of the eight rooms have their own distinct interior design, with a hushed, calm theme running throughout. Situated in the esteemed Bishopscourt suburb, you can expect South African charm in abundance.

JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, Florida Not strictly new, but after undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation, this resort certainly has a fresh lease of life. The interiors lend a Balinese feel, while the Floridian sun and crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico enhance the island vibe. Want a kid-free break? The 94-key adult-only Paradise by Sirenee, is a hidden hideaway within the resort that has your name on it.


3 The Farmstead at Royal Malewane, Greater Kruger National Park An extension of the renowned Royal Malewane, The Farmstead is an intimate safari hotel experience for up to 14 guests. Three Luxury Farm Suites and a three-bedroom villa come complete with rustic style interiors. After a day's safari, you can sit down to a meal prepared by an executive chef and spend the evening by the fire reflecting on the day's adventures.



Head indoors and delve into Sharjah’s vibrant culture and arts scene this summer


nown as the Cultural Capital of the Arab world, Sharjah is a dream destination for art and culture fans. Creative minds can embark on a journey of discovery to the emirate's impressive museums and art galleries this summer. Housed inside a former souk, the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation pays homage to the Islamic world. The story of its progression is told through thousands of artefacts gathered from around the globe. Start your tour in the Abu Bakr Gallery of Islamic Faith and learn more about the history of the Five Pillars of Islam, which is illustrated alongside rare historical Quran manuscripts. Next, stop by the Ibn Al-Haytham Gallery of Science

and Technology, which showcases the achievements that have led to landmark advancements in Islamic society. Art fans will want to catch the first solo exhibition of the work of Andrew Stahl in the Middle East, which is running until 10 September at Al Hamriyah Studios. Presented by Sharjah Art Foundation, you can view large-scale figurative paintings dating back to the 1970s, as well as a sculpture made in situ. Afterwards, cool off in the Rain Room in Al Majarrah. The London-born experiential art installation is now a permanent fixture that's exclusive to the Middle East. Navigate through the dark room avoiding the downpour, as motion sensors trigger

showers of recycled water. Also running this summer, the seventh addition of annual photography exhibition, Vantage Point Sharjah, is back from 8 July. This year, the foundation has expanded its reach to include the works of photographers around the globe, which are being exhibited at Sharjah Art Foundation’s Galleries 1 and 2 in Al Mureijah Square. If you want a more hands-on experience, we say head to Al Hamriya Art Centre and take a Naskh Calligraphy class where you’ll learn the how Arabic letters ascend and descend while creating a piece of cultural art to take home.

Find out more at 15

GLOBETROTTER Nujoom Alghanem, Passage, 2019. Courtesy National Pavilion UAE – La Biennale di Venezia. Photo credit: Barbara Zanon



Stuff to stash in your suitcase Get your summer scent wardrobe fully stocked and ready to roll thanks to this chic travel pouch by Henry Jacques perfumes. Part of the Voyage collection, it's ideal for transporting those delicate crystal flacons filled with all your favourite scents. Designed to keep you looking good on the move,


Aesop’s Departure travel kit contains seven travelsized essentials from the company’s skin, body and personal care ranges, all of which comply with international restrictions for in-flight carriage of liquids. An Arrival kit is also available. Worried about losing your valuables while travelling? Think of the Ekster Belmond Hotel Cipriani. Photo © Tyson Sadlo

Art at Belmond Hotel Cipriani

VENETIAN VIEWINGS Join the culture seekers making their way to La Biennale di Venezia's 58th International Art Exhibition. Entitled May You Live In Interesting Times, it's divided into two separate presentations (in the Arsenale and Giardini’s Central Pavilion respectively), featuring the work of 79 artists from around the world, with works addressing contemporary matters of concern, from the acceleration of climate change to the growing disparity of wealth. Be sure to stop by the National Pavilion UAE exhibition, Passage, which presents a new video installation by acclaimed 16

poet, filmmaker and artist Nujoom Alghanem. The art exhibition is running until 24 November 2019, so you've plenty of time to check it out. In terms of where to stay, look no further than Belmond Hotel Cipriani, which has transformed its historic grounds and dining spaces into a thrilling new art park and studio, showcasing internationally-acclaimed sculptors, artists and galleries. Enjoy a painting lesson in the Casanova Gardens, among other activities, or ask the experts to curate you a tailormade tour. Plus, all the masterpieces on show are available to buy.

Trackable Wallet 3.0 as your hi-tech security blanket. This solar powered, voiceactivated, RFIDblocking leather smart wallet, compatible with Alexa and Google Home, can ring and is traceable on a map. A must-have accessory for stylish travellers, LOEWE’s latest bag, the Postal, is prelaunching in China from 15 July and will be available worldwide from 8 August. We're coveting the limited edition series featuring illustrations of major world cities.

R A R E , I N D I G E N O U S , C A P T I V AT I N G . Experience the alluring, golden desert landscape, the captivating silence of nature, the free-roaming wildlife in the reserve, all enjoyed from your private suite and pool. Indulge in a luxurious desert adventure with camel treks, horseback riding, falconry, archery, dune drives and more.



Stay beyond the Fourth of July celebrations and discover the best of the Big Apple this summer

THEATRE Head to Central Park to see Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte – one of the best free things to do in NYC. Coriolanus is playing from 16 July to 11 August.

SNAP Visit the newlyopened Hudson Yards and take a shot of The Vessel – it's fast becoming the most Instagrammed locale in the city.

MUSIC Also in the parks, SummerStage 2019 brings an eclectic range of music, from classical and hip hop, to rock out to. You can catch free performances until 24 September.

STAY The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, New York puts you at the heart of all the action, boasting sweeping cornerside views of Central Park.


Photo: The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, New York


THE CURE FOR A COMMONPLACE HOLIDAY If you’ve visited the usual places and seek something special, consider the Indian Ocean. The Maldives offers tropical atolls that seem to float between clear sea and endless sky. The family-friendly Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa, on its own atoll, offers guests a luxury, All-Inclusive experience with fabulous dining options, open bar, daily champagne breakfast, exciting excursions and more. Or choose Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa, an intimate escape for couples and honeymooners at an adult-oriented resort. Sri Lanka combines tropical beaches, mountains, temples, and history. The geography and culture are inspiring, while native spices make the food a delicious discovery. Centara Ceysands Resort & Spa, nestled between the Bentota River and ocean, mixes adventure with tranquillity. Centara’s Asian roots and gentle, Thai-style service make it an ideal host. Let us help make your holiday extraordinary. DISCOVER MORE AT

Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives THAILAND


Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa Maldives


MEMBERS GET MORE CentaraThe1 members receive 10% off any online rate, plus many more privileges.


Centara Ceysands Resort & Spa Sri Lanka •





Dial down the pace at Soneva Fushi, and enjoy once-ina-lifetime experiences at this desert island hideaway


ave goodbye to your busy schedule, embrace the 'no news, no shoes mantra', and stroll barefoot along the sand at this luxurious private island resort in the Maldives. Exclusive sanctuaries nestled on the sunset and sunrise side of the island await. If you need a little help deciding, we'd advise keen snorkellers to opt for a sunset side villa for easy access to three stunning house reefs (snorkelling with manta rays is a must-have experience here). If privacy is key, base yourself on the sunrise side for uninterrupted sea views. The latter is also a sound choice for early risers who want to take advantage of the sun's gentle rays. An incredible dining destination in its own right, Soneva Fushi is famous for its creative approach. Due to its links with the Michelin Guide, the island has played host to some of the world's most celebrated and decorated chefs. As such, mealtimes are far from ordinary. From sampling the intimate,


eight-seat no menu concept at Once Upon A Table to enjoying a nourishing dish from the plant-based menu Shades of Green, this is where fine dining meets fun. There's a variety of culinary journeys to embark on, such as the Astronomical Dinner Cruise, which treats you to a four-course meal on a private boat under the stars. It’s not all high-end high jinks, however, as the resort is also extremely family friendly. On top of making the most of nature's playground, kids can investigate the sprawling children's club, the Den, where a marine biologist can teach them more about the marine world. Sail away in search of dolphins, unwind with a Tibetan hot stone massage at Six Senses Spa, indulge inside the complimentary cheese, chocolate, and ice cream rooms, or learn a new skill, such as glassblowing. However you spend your days, you're sure to leave with a fresh perspective. Call +960 660 0304 or visit


The Knowledge HOW TO...

Have an appy holiday Embrace the digital age with these clever travel apps designed to help you get the most out of your trip BEST FOR BOOKING dnata Travel You can plan and book your entire holiday from your phone or tablet thanks to this trusted app, which is a window to 180,000 hotels in more than 38,500 destinations and flights from 300 airlines. Use the interactive map to swot up on where hotels are situated before booking, search for nearby attractions and locate the nearest airports. Plus, you can share holiday ideas with friends and family at the touch of a button. Simply sign in to save your favourite hotels and recent searches so it’s easy to keep an eye on prices. Booking is fast and secure, and the price match guarantee has your back when it comes to getting a great deal.

BEST FOR FREQUENT FLYERS LoungeBuddy If the hustle and bustle of the airport terminal fills you with dread, let this savvy app come to the rescue by pointing you towards the nearest airport lounge. All you need to do is plug in your travel details to see which ones you have access to. If the answer is zero, don’t fret, as you can buy instant access to selected airport lounges around the world in a matter of seconds. It comes in especially handy if you need somewhere to work or freshen up while on the move.

BEST FOR GETTING AROUND You can switch off your mobile data and still find your way around a new city thanks to this popular navigation app, which is loaded with free, searchable offline maps, with GPS to guide you turn by turn. The maps are nicely detailed, giving directions to everything from points of interest to 22

hotels, restaurants, hiking trails and more. It’s all kept bang up to date by daily contributions to the wiki style world map OpenStreetMap, giving rise to lots of off-the-beaten track suggestions worth discovering. What’s more, all the maps are optimised so it won’t drain your memory space.

BEST FOR COMMUNICATION Drops If you can’t speak the lingo, this handy app will have you saying merci beaucoup in no time. Use it to learn new vocabulary through fun, fast-paced games with simple mnemonic images. You can choose from 30 languages, including French, Mandarin, and Brazilian Portuguese. It’ll turn you into a hyperpolyglot before you know it.

BEST FOR MONEY MATTERS XE Currency Exchange It’s an oldie but a goodie. This free currency converter lets you calculate

live currency and foreign exchange rates while on the move. Plus, if you want to be a geek about it, you can set up a rate alert that’ll prompt you via email when your currency pairing reaches your desired rate.

BEST FOR STARGAZING SkyView Lite If, like us, you find yourself with just enough time to stop and stare at the starry night sky while on holiday, then this dreamy app is for you. The intuitive stargazing tech uses your camera to spot and identify celestial objects up above during the day or night. Just point your camera at the sky to see galaxies, stars, constellations, planets, and satellites (including the ISS and Hubble) passing overhead. You don’t need Wi-Fi to use it and you can share your favourite snapshots on social media. It’s equally good for teaching your kids about the universe as it is for ramping up the romance on a couples’ break.

Ayn Athum, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Salalah. Photo by Maju Jose

Ready to drop Escape to Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara during Khareef and enjoy a refreshing holiday come rain or shine


ith the temperature hitting a peak at home, Salalah’s Khareef couldn’t arrive at a more welcome time. The annual monsoon season treats Oman’s southern city (named the 2019 Capital of Arab Summer resorts by The Arab Tourism Organisation) to a lush makeover, transforming the desert landscape into a tropical green haven and bringing cascading waterfalls to life with splashes of rain and swirling mist. It’s a brilliant short cut to cooler climes – you can fly there direct from Dubai in just two hours and 1hr 45 mins from Riyadh. Plus, you can now hop on seasonal direct flights during Khareef from Bahrain, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi. And with the thermostat rarely rising above 27 degrees Celsius, you’ll not only feel a dramatic difference, but can embark on a refreshingly different style of holiday too. Situated just 15km from the airport, the resort is inspired by the region’s coastal fortresses – think whitewashed facades and shimmering Arabic lanterns – with rooms and villas



overlooking the Arabian Sea, the lagoon, or the tranquil gardens. For the ultimate in privacy and luxury, check into a one- or two-bedroom Pool Villa for easy access to your own private temperature-controlled swimming pool. The three-bedroom Royal Beach Pool Villa is the most exclusive of the bunch, with commanding views of the sandy bay and calming lagoon. There are three dining venues to discover, including all-day dining concept Sakalan, South East Asian restaurant Mekong and Mediterranean beach bar and eatery Al Mina, which is the perfect spot for drinks and shisha. Continue the big cool down at Anantara Spa and be pampered with rejuvenating treatments that

draw upon indigenous ingredients, such as pomegranate, coconut and frankincense, or unwind in the region's only luxury hammam. (There’s a kids’ and teens’ club offering funfilled activities if you need to keep the youngsters occupied in the meantime). Another way to make the most of the temperate weather is by venturing outdoors to explore the local area. Ask the hotel’s very own Salalah Guru to show you the ancient ruins and heritage sites, such as Al Baleed Archaeological Park, a 60-hectare UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains the remnants of centuries-old mosques. Alternatively, ramp up the pace by trekking through mountains, rugged wadis and beaches, marvelling

at the spectacular landscape. The resort will prepare a gourmet picnic for you to take with you. Lastly, for a fragrant reminder of your trip to the perfume capital of Arabia, head to the souk and local shops to haggle for some aromatic frankincense direct from Dhofar’s famous groves. Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara’s Let It Rain Khareef package invites you to experience a cool summer break for less, with up to 25% off villa accommodation, staying on a half-board basis, and with 25% off spa treatments. Valid for stays between 26 July and 7 September 2019. Visit to find out more

Unwind in a Two Bedroom Garden View Pool Villa

A camel in Gogub. Photo by Siby Joseph The sharing platter at Mekong

Blue views at the infinity pool 25

40 brilliant beaches Some will make you want to strip off, some will have you dressing up, some will even have you wrapping up. We’ve found the world’s top seaside stunners



Nisbet Beach, Nevis Empty, easy and open to all Best because: You glide down a symmetrical green avenue, all lawn and sweeping palms, and seemingly hit the ends of the Earth, it’s so empty. Nisbet is open to the public, but you’ll likely be staying at the genteel, ageing-gracefully Nisbet Plantation, where — as elsewhere on the island — you’ll feel as if you’ve found a big Caribbean secret. Take a breezy walk first thing, along virgin sands and rugged, volcano-backed grassland, followed by a dip in glacier-blue shallows, or a flop into one of the hammocks strung between the palms.

Grumari, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Where urban Rio gets wild Best because: Ipanema and Copacabana grab the headlines, but this bay of talc-fine sand, washed by bottlegreen waves and backed by rain forested mountains, is where locals go to sunbathe, surf and beach-shacksnack. It’s in a nature reserve beyond the urban sprawl, so take a taxi from Jardim Oceânico Metro.

Low Newton-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, UK Remote windswept drama Best because: You’ll only hear the wind along this vast open stretch, owned by the National Trust. With only one road in and out, it’s all yours in low season for rock-pooling, blustery walks and home-brews at the Ship Inn, tucked into a square of fishing cottages. After dinner at the Inn (booking essential), stay on for Gothic drama from the moonlit ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, overlooking Embleton Bay.

Ras Mkumbuu, Pemba, Tanzania

This page: an ocean drive in Grumari, Rio de Janeiro

Tropical idyll above and below water Best because: You’ll find a crumbling 14th-century mosque hidden between the palms as you stroll Ras Mkumbuu’s white sands, and you can dive with psychedelic shoals on the wrecks and reefs submerged in its Indian Ocean waters. Few foreign visitors make it beyond neighbouring island Zanzibar, so Pemba feels like a total escape. Leave the beach to find vervet monkeys and flying foxes in the Ngezi

jungles, and see turtles hatching in the sand on the desert isle of Misali.

Voidokoilia, Peloponnese, Greece Ancient port with natural perfection Best because: It’s an uncannily perfect, omega-shaped beach of white sand and clear sapphire water. Once the port of ancient Pylos, it’s no secret, so arrive early in summer (there’s nowhere to buy supplies so bring them with you). Take walking shoes, too, to hike up to the ruined castle for extraordinary views of the beach and adjacent bird-filled Gialova lagoon.

Cola Beach, Goa, India Rootsy, remote tented tranquillity Best because: It’s typical of the serene, yellow-sand shoreline that attracted hippies to Goa decades ago. The beach is as soft underfoot as crumble topping, rinsed with tranquil shallows and scattered with basic loungers shaded by low-slung palms. Don’t expect more than drowsy silence here, as couples unwind in studenty simplicity, murmuring occasionally over paperbacks, drinking in the thatched-roof café and admiring ruby sunsets over rice-and-veg dinners picked from the Biro-scribbled menu.

Mimizan Plage, Cote d’Argent, France Sand dunes and surfer-friendly waves Best because: South of the mighty Dune du Pilat, Europe’s largest sand dune, stretches a wild and unspoilt coastline of golden sandy beaches bordered by towering pine trees. Aim for the beaches in and around Mimizan Plage, where the huge Atlantic rollers tumble in (hire surf kit locally) and you can play castaway, with the beach to yourself year-round.

Praia de Odeceixe, Alentejo, Portugal Family-friendly simplicity Best because: It’s a soulful Alentejo sizzler for simple family holidays. You’ll come for the beach sheltered by cliffs and watered by a shallow river that’s irresistible to tots. But it’s the blissed-out, bygone vibe that’ll make you linger: fishermen’s cottages not villa resorts; friendly local surfers (join 27


them); and instead of a posey beach bar, nicely shabby Esplanada do Mar — low prices, with million-euro views.

Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa Paddling with penguins Best because: You get to swim with penguins. An hour from Cape Town, you can stand within metres of hundreds of knee-high birds braying like donkeys (hence their ‘jackass’ nickname). Follow one boardwalk above the year-round colony’s nests in the dunes, or take the upper-level boardwalk to find another concealed beach where a dozen or so birds sunbathe on boulders and paddle in the shallows. Fancy a race? Prepare to lose — they may waddle on land, but they hit 24kph in water.

Ream Beach, Sihanoukville, Cambodia Hollywood looks; backpacker prices Best because: With squeaky white sand, gentle aquamarine seas, frangipaniscented air and one tiny bamboo and palm-thatched resort, this is one of the few stretches in Southeast Asia that still delivers on the budgettravel dream. There’s little to do but sunbathe and swim — most magically at night, when the ocean glows with phosphorescent plankton and the sky fills with a million stars.

Cala Llombards, Mallorca, Spain Clifftops and crystal waters Best because: Mother Nature couldn’t have made this a more ideal cliffjumping spot. They carved the rockface to perfect leaping height, then dredged the sea to the purest turquoise. (Mortals made it even easier by notching steps to the clifftop from the ashy beach.) Drive down to this south-coast spot at 10am and you’ll have space to spread out, or come at 5pm for the last rays.

Teignmouth Back Beach, Devon, UK Beach huts and boats Best because: While Teignmouth’s main beach draws the crowds, tiny Back Beach is the locals’ favourite. Admire the line of colourful beach huts, rows 28

of gig boats and views down the Teign Estuary, eat superb seafood at the Crab Shack, pause for a paddle, then take the dinky, centuries-old ferry across to the village of Shaldon.

Sunj, Lopud, Croatia Dubrovnik’s secret sands Best because: You get two for one in the loveliest pine-scrubbed bay near Dubrovnik. First there’s sand (the exception in pebbly Croatia) that’s fine enough for castles. Second, there’s the dreamy day trip to Lopud: relaxed, car- and crowd-free. The opposite of summertime Dubrovnik, basically. Access is via vintage ferry from Dubrovnik’s Gruz port; golf-buggy taxis whisk you from harbour to beach

for $3. Come for a long lazy day, punctuated with lunch at the palmthatched café.

San Fruttuoso, Liguria, Italy Retro-Riviera fishing-village nook Best because: Its startlingly still, stony shallows are as pure as a paperweight, and warm enough from May onwards for a rejuvenating plunge. An hourly ferry from Portofino deposits you in San Frutt’s cove of butterscotch homes shadowed by an abbey, the lot hemmed by steep flanks of pines. Come as early as you can to bag a sunlounger. While you could bring a picnic, the point of the place is largely lunch, preferably mussels at La Cantina.

SHOAL BAY, ANGUILLA Isolated Caribbean paradise Best because: The twin elements are startlingly, improbably beautiful: fine sands have the pearly purity of a supermodel’s smile, waters are layered in the horizontal blue shades of a Rothko canvas. And there you have its appeal. Nothing else — neither crowds nor high-rises — blemishes the flawless shoreline. Just a bleached branch tossed photogenically, perhaps, and sounds from Gwen’s Reggae Grill. This is where you must eat and drink.

Opposite page, top to bottom: Boulders Beach; Cala Llombards 29

Beirigh, Isle of Lewis, UK Wild white sands and seals Best because: Cut adrift near the western tip of the Outer Hebrides, Traigh na Beirigh (Reef Beach) is dizzyingly remote — you’re 65km from Stornoway, so it’s probably just you, the 2km-long, bone-white beach, and the occasional curious seal bobbing in the turquoise bay. Bring your binoculars — you might see orcas, dolphins and whales. The Callanish Standing Stones are the fabulously haunting Neolithic bonus, only an 11km swim (OK, 30-minute drive) away.

Negril, Jamaica World-beating sunset spot Best because: The kilometres of squishily soft, gently shelving sand aren’t even Negril’s best bit. This beach is one of the Caribbean’s finest sunset spots:


come 6pm, myriad colours fill the sky and reggae soundtracks the dying embers of the day. While the hippie vibe isn’t what it used to be (the beach is now lined with resorts), you can seek out bohemian allure by heading further south to Negril’s limestone outcrops, where local kids like to cliff-jump into the azure.

Morris Bay, Antigua Low-key Caribbean cove Best because: Powder sands, smooth sea lapping gently shelving shallows, and a fringe of coconut palms providing shade for beach picnics — it’s a stunner that’s often deserted, but is easy to access on the southwest coast. Bring your own mask and snorkel, and stay until sunset to watch for the green flash as the sun sinks into the ocean.

Plage de Saint Guirec, Ploumanac’h, Brittany, France Beguiling pink granite fantasia Best because: It’s the star of Brittany’s Côte de Granit Rose. Fringed by pines and a romantic little oratory that’s isolated at high tide, Saint Guirec’s pale sands are strewn with rose-tinted boulders eroded into voluptuous Henry Moore-ish shapes. Get up at dawn to see the rocks blush hot pink, then top it off with the easy, but spectacular, walk along the surreal coast to Ploumanac’h’s lighthouse.

Tejakula, Bali, Indonesia Back-of-beyond beauty Best because: The ribbons of sand that wrap along this unexplored northern coast are black — deep, jet black, not dirty-washing-grey like Seminyak, or pewter-ish as on the east coast.


Opposite page: Sunset in Negril This page, clockwise from top left: Tejakula; Mawgan Porth; Tulum and its Mayan ruins; windswept Beirigh

It’s a two-hour drive from Ubud through the mist-licked Abasan mountains to reach tranquil Tejakula and you’ll want to pack beach shoes for the pebbly beach. But you’ll be doubly glad you bothered come sunset, when the swimmable, dolphindotted Bali Sea turns to molten gold.

Tai Long Wan, Hong Kong Treks and the city Best because: You get a triple-whammy of peroxide-blonde sands splashed by luminous blue seas. Yet only a handful of Hongkongers ever make it to Tai Long Wan. The reason? It can only be reached by hiking 10km along the magnificent Maclehose Trail, swooshing through mountain peaks, forested valleys, curvy coastline and abandoned villages. Or take the speedboat from the seaside town of Sai Kung. We’d recommend doing both: hike in the cooler morning (with supplies), then cruiseback on the final 5pm boat for sunset.

Tulum, Mexico Swim while you’re sightseeing Best because: There can’t be many gorgeous beaches that come with their own slice of Mayan history. Bring your costume to Tulum’s World Heritage Site, so you can follow the stairs down the cliff, wade out over fine, pale sand to float on gentle Listerine waves, and gaze back up at the impressive 13th-century clifftop El Castillo. Coach parties from Cancún fill the site by mid-morning, but stay down the road in modern Tulum and you can be at the gates at 8am for your own solitary dip.

Praia de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal Natural beauty laid bare Best because: It’s a natural winner on the otherwise manicured Algarve. Twice-hourly 20-minute ferries from the ancient Moorish town of Tavira take you to this, the first of three beaches along the 11km Ilha de Tavira sandbar. Alight through pines to sand studded

with sunloungers and small cafés. Miss the 5pm ferry back, and you can grab a water taxi.

Mawgan Porth, Cornwall Surfy, sandy walking paradise Best because: In summer months, this big Cornish beach, framed by cliffs, is a bucket-and-spade dream of soft sand, rock pools, caves and surf-perfect waves. It's also busy, which is why it's often best during the quieter, cooler months. That’s when its adjoining walking paths, snaking up and down the grassy coast, turn blustery and atmospheric. Hike north up the cliff from the sands, and you’ll be rewarded with Cornwall’s finest, fluffiest homemade scones in the cosy Carnewas Tea Room at Bedruthan Steps hotel.

South Beach, Miami, USA Glam urban resort Best because: Pastel-hued Art Deco hotels, palm trees and a boardwalk line the 4km stretch of South Beach 31


Rugged, wild and wind-blown Best because: Just 10 minutes’ drive from Vík village on Iceland’s stormy southern coast, this is a beach for invigorating walks along seemingly endless, empty black sands, past pounding breakers, brooding black crags and ocean-carved cliff-caves. Year-round, come well wrapped up in Icelandic woolly jumpers and raincoats to withstand the icy spray. From October to March, arrive late afternoon and stay until night to see the Northern Lights shimmer majestically overhead.



sand on the city-island of Miami Beach. Find space to sprawl amid families and dog-walkers in the south, or work up a sweat with the muscle set in the free outdoor gyms and beach volleyball courts of Lummus Park midway up. But the big draw is in the sexy northern area, where DJs spin tunes steps from the waves, and bartenders dole out drinks to beautiful people on sunloungers, backed by swanky highrise hotels.

Playa Grande, Dominican Republic Under-the-radar Caribbean corker Best because: No-one’s heard of it! Most tourists are queuing at an all-inclusive buffet miles away, so you’ll only meet local families and guests of the two discreet hotels that were lucky enough obtain planning permission among the palms. Also here are a handful of colourful numbered fish kiosks frying up the day’s catch for a few dollars — go to shack No. 12 for the most photogenic parrotfish and friendliest waiters.

Foreshore Walk track for five minutes from Nielsen Park to find it.

La Concha, San Sebastian, Spain Scrumptious city-centre stunner Best because: Nowhere else has such an exuberant holiday spirit so close to the city action (world-class eating, in San Sebastián’s case). Yes, the sands get crowded, but somehow everyone slots in — partly because at low tide the 1.5km horseshoe sweep is vast, partly because so many are playing frisbee, strolling the shallows, paddleboarding or swimming out to diving platforms. Don’t fancy sunbathing? People-watch and soak up headland-hugged views from La Concha café, up on the prom.

Margate, Kent, UK Old-fashioned, but cool seaside fun Best because: The Old Town may have been gentrified, but down on the shore you can still build sandcastles, eat fat, just-fried chips, play in the amusement arcades, buy 99 Flakes and paddle with your trousers rolled up to your heart’s content. You’ll find plenty to explore just steps from the beach: the seafront Turner gallery has regularly changing world-class art exhibits; the Old Town and curving harbour arm are well-endowed with cafés and indie art shops; and the retro-chic theme park Dreamland does a great line in rollercoasters, rollerdiscos and old-school circus acts.

Ao Yai, Koh Phayam, Thailand Surfing, sunsets and sweeping sands Best because: It’s a refuge for The Beach-style backpacking, made accessible by cheap flights from Bangkok. Framed by jungly headlands, the powder playground of this bolthole near Burma provides 5km of hippie heaven. Learn to surf with boards hired at Phayam Lodge, then stay for sundowners as heavy bass booms from driftwood-formed Rasta Baby. (There are no ATMs on the island — take cash.)

This page, from top to bottom: Harbour Bridge views from Milk Beach; Playa Grande

Milk Beach, Sydney, Australia Sydney’s secret strip Best because: Bondi is busy, busy, busy. Instead, head to this secluded harbour beach in the upmarket Eastern Suburbs. One of Sydney’s secret weapons, it offers dazzling views of the iconic city skyline. The soft, creamy sand here melts into diamond-clear shallows that are ideal for all-day frolicking. Bring along a giant inflatable and snap a shot with the Harbour Bridge photo-bombing in the background. Follow the Hermitage 33


Baie des Anges, Nice, France Unfussy urban strand Best because: It’s so much less pretentious than you thought the French Riviera would be. The promenade whirrs with cyclists; beach bars serve jars of drinks to sip as you gaze at the hazy blue horizon; coiffed dames with parasols avoid the rays, while clusters of nut-brown teens make the most of them.

Ditch Plains Beach, Montauk, USA

Koh Poda, Krabi, Thailand Late-afternoon limestone lovely Best because: Rising out of the Andaman Sea like a jagged tooth, circled by heavenly white sands, blue and yellow angelfish and red brahim sea eagles, this junglecovered limestone isle feels positively prehistoric — at least until the tour boats arrive. Although not as busy as its more famous neighbours, Phi Phi and James Bond Island, Poda still has crowds in the hundreds between 10am and 2pm. Dodge the hordes and arrive early or late on a private longtail boat from Railay Beach.

Elafonisi, Crete, Greece Faraway islet with rose-tinted sands Best because: The radiant colours of

the pink-white sands and shallow turquoise lagoon are irresistible. Buses from Chania make for a twohour journey, but you should stay nearby for the sunsets, magical night silence, and the unforgettable chance to be first on the beach. Coachloads do turn up mid-morning, so if it gets too busy, walk to Elafonisi island and its numerous coves — often possible without getting your feet wet.

Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii Cocktails and surfers Best because: The upbeat mood is infectious, as kids boogie-board, music lilts from dozens of iconic bars, and out on the horizon, the best of the best skim eight-footers towards the shore. Book a group surf lesson to take the pressure off (the school in front of the Hilton is good), then reward yourself with a ice-cold drink at Outrigger’s, its tables clustered around a gnarled Banyan tree, creating a wonderfully scenic spot.

Credit: The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/News Licensing

New York hipster hideaway Best because: Old-money Manhattanites have been weekending for decades in the Hamptons, a clutch of posh towns east of NYC on Long Island. But they’ve always ignored the island’s eastern tip, Montauk, so young Brooklynites have recently coopted it as their own. Join in: surf or splash in the Atlantic rollers that crash onto cliff-backed Ditch Plains Beach; scoff fish tacos and artisan espressos

from the summer-only shacks along the 1km swathe of latte-coloured sand; or get takeaways from the permanent outposts in the hippie-chic town centre, two kilometres away.


Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Karma Beach; Cathedral Cove; Waikiki; Elafonisi Beach This page: Venice Beach

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand Wave-carved caves and crystal waters Best because: You get two beaches for the price of one here. Separated by a jut of cliff as smooth and white as a slab of tofu, twin stretches of eggshell sand slope into luminous blue water. The star of the show, though, is the cavernous, wave-carved tunnel that links the two beaches at low tide. It’s a gentle 45-minute hike here from the seaside town of Hahei, but it’s far more fun to skid ashore in a kayak.

Venice, California, USA The movie icon Best because: This is California on steroids. Literally. Buzzy Venice is

where you’ll find the beefcakes of Muscle Beach pumping iron for the crowds, acrobatic teens doing tricks at the beachfront skatepark, hippies tight-roping between the palms, and bikini-clad blondes rollerskating along the promenade. Stop for Baywatchinspired selfies by the lifeguard stations, but to do Venice like a local by taking a swing on the monkey rings (no excuses — the boardwalk is lined with outdoor gyms).

Cala Mitjana, Menorca, Spain Secluded, idyllic wooded cove Best because: Its beauty is all the more pristine for the effort it takes to get there — half an hour from Ciutadella on the south coast, it’s accessible only

by boat or a 20-minute hike through pine trees. The reward: white, sugarsoft sand, transparent turquoise water (bring your snorkel) and the chance to dive off the low, white cliffs that hug the cove. Bring all supplies, although fruit-sellers are on hand in summer. And if the beach gets too busy, swim over to its little sister, Cala Mitjaneta.

Karma Beach, Bali, Indonesia A beach to reach Best because: At the bottom of a cliff in Bali’s rugged Uluwatu district and reached only via open-air cable car, this exclusive private beach club offers a 007-worthy entrance. The beach is ideal for paddleboarding and snorkelling, but it’s all about that descent. 35

Piedmont, Italy


Postcards Stories from journeys far and wide

MIAMI p38 ITALY p44 CANADA p50 37


South Beach is prettily seductive – but Miami's edgier parts now deliver its nicest vices, says Nick Redman

38 39


n Miami, it's dogs that seem to enjoy the vices these days. After an afternoon exploring Coconut Grove, I'm getting my head around the local yappy hour: a canine happy hour, when pets can upgrade their chicken and rice bowls with a Cuban cigar, or 'chew-gar', as the staff at the Spillover call it. 'Almost all the restaurants in the Grove have dog menus,' says Nicole, a resident who's been my guide. Her Jack Russell ('Jack') eyes its prize as Nicole and I share virtuous oven-cooked heirloom cauliflower. All's serene on this balmy spring day in the Grove, an enclave of jewellers and yachts on the edge of Biscayne Bay. We've seen Regatta Harbor, lined with mangroves. We've wandered along Grand Avenue and Main Highway, where live oaks dapple the sidewalks with shade. We've even tried (and failed) to flag down a Freebee, the new golfcart-style service introduced to whizz locals around (Don Johnson's Miami Vice Ferrari it isn't). Ironically, it was in search of gritty city colour that I'd Uber'd to Coconut Grove from the throngs and thongs of South Beach. Somehow its name held the promise of a TV drama: skateboarders, streetwalkers, largerthan-life types. And yet, the Grove, like the beachfront, could easily be a big, blissful, mainstream Caribbean resort. For all the pushy backstory — the crime, the busts, the killing of Gianni Versace — my wanderings have so far reinforced just how much Miami isn't the scary TV-cop series place it was in the '80s and '90s. I enjoyed a drink last night 40 storeys above the glittery city at Sugar, a kooky nook set in shrubbery atop the hotel East, itself a fine glitzy Asian-brand import. The moment was rare, even if I could have been anywhere, so highrise-international was the outlook over the financial district, Brickell, 'the Manhattan of the South'. From this viewpoint it appeared like an armada of cruise-ship monsters 40


upended: stunning yet sanitised, the shiny new self-appointed capital of North-meets-South America. I didn't want to see Miami and get it in the neck, exactly, but for me the whole point of coming is for exposure to urbanUS excess: horn-beep and street hustle; late-night loucheness and offbeat types. In fashion shoots and movies, Florida's capital of sun and sin invariably comes off like some glam-fatale time warp, where ceiling fans stir the potted palms portentously while the bar band plays shuffly salsa and guys in zoot suits peer shiftily over drinks, waiting for 'The Man'. I'm craving that filmic frisson and, while seduced by beautiful, laid-back Coconut Grove, I'm ready now for a part of Miami with more welly than its electric buggies. I got a first whiff of overpowering pleasantness upon checking in at my hotel, the Betsy, on Ocean Drive, in South Beach. This is the famous shorefront district of pastel Art Deco hotels and bars that reinforced the city's as-seenon-MTV bad-girl image — helped by the likes of J Lo and Madonna. Taking my first walk beside the sands, though, I got more of a vanilla-Vegas vibe, mixing among snowbirds in matching baseball caps and parties of off-the-leash young weekenders. All great fun, but bigcity gritty? South Beach deserves due homage all the same, and the Betsy was the place to pay it, with its faux-colonial lobby of foxtail palms, low sofas, a giant

mirror framed in zebra print and a retrolicious cocktail bar: without doubt the most elegant, grown-up hotel on Ocean Drive. An ice-cream-cool slab of streamlined interwar modernity, it basked in understatement, with big alfresco burgers on the veranda, which invited you to idle for hours, and low chairs serving as stalls for the ballet that is beachy Miami. A pink ice-cream truck glided past, topped with a giant white cat. A pneumatic pedestrian gyrated by, then another, with a bum like blown bubble gum. Who could fail to love Ocean Drive? Even the blip-beat of identikit R&B from cafes was agreeably hypnotic. Boyfriends and girlfriends snapped each other against spaceshipsized vintage cars, candy-coloured lifeguard stations and angular hotels. Born in 1896, when the railroad arrived, Miami grew into a naughty whirl of a girl: a playground for escapees from the cold formality of the north, purposebuilt to be the Florida Mediterranean, with 'dreams set in concrete, terracotta and stucco' as one historian put it. During Prohibition, from 1920 to 1933, South Florida was one of the 'leakiest' spots in the USA, as rum runners dropped the Cuban crates discreetly — but directly — onto the beach in places such as the Surf Club. Today, that former den of iniquity is a luxury Four Seasons hotel, north of South Beach in idyllic Surfside, peopled by clean-cut success stories, relaxing in chinos and floaty dresses. So I was pleased to find a generous dash of decadence in Peacock Alley, the Four Seasons' atmospheric vaulted corridor that leads to the beach. Elizabeth Taylor, Dean Martin, Liberace — Monochrome photographs told the tale of Miami's maverick mid-century years. It felt only right to raise a glass in the soigné new-classic restaurant Le Sirenuse, to the strains of Frank and Ella. And the vice went into overdrive when a second helping of saucy rigatoni


Opening pages: Ocean Drive as dusk falls This page, clockwise from top left: Restaurant sign beckons diners along Miami Beach; aerial view of Miami Beach; Lummus Park; weekend brunch is served; graffiti project in Wynwood 41

arrived, peddled by white-jacketed Arturo, the persuasive head waiter. Next day, I crossed the causeway from Miami Beach, bound for Little Havana, to find a city moving to an edgier rhythm. My base here, Life House Little Havana, was a new home-share-style place. Its lobby, lined with books and chairs around a communal table, made you feel part of the furniture — and the fun. In Latino shades of cigar, tobacco and coffee-cream, bedrooms oozed Cuba: a battered case as bedside table here, a vintage Kodak camera there. When dusk glowed orange, guests met in the rattan-colonial backyard, lit by candles in lanterns. Over salsa-tinkle from the speakers, chat drifted like smoke. Little Havana is well accustomed to lunch trade — not least for the cheese, ham, mustard and pickle 'midnight' sandwich at Versailles Restaurant, a famous local window onto Cuban life, with regulars glued to the TV for news of The Island. Personally, I felt perfectly at home after dark. OK, once I passed a cop car a block from the hotel, and a handcuffed suspect under scrutiny from officers. But I couldn't have been better placed for the nocturnal fizz of Calle Ocho, the main vein, neon-bright with signs for money-changing and hot chicken. At Ball & Chain, a recent recreation of a spot that ran from the '30s to the '50s on the same site, I ordered a Cuban spring roll beneath posters for Chet Baker, Count Basie and others who'd been here long before me. Around 9pm, the band snapped into life in the corner, all fat organ chords and savage drum snares. I saw the sticks ticking away, white in a spotlight, and ducked when the salsa tutors started touting for partners. Luckily Café La Trova, a smart new kid on the block, left things to the pros. As bejeaned friends in skyscraper heels drank, the band played trova — the old salsa of strolling players — below laundry on a balconied stage. 42


Harmonies were angelic and spiritual, borne on the swishing conga rhythm, long into the heat-blurred night. Waking to sun through slatty blinds, I planned the day over breakfast Colombian style at a Life House tip-off, Sanpocho, built around a parking lot. It was a big sprawl of a diner-store, where the server spoke Spanish and loved it when customers did, however poorly — which was me, ordering refried beans and rice. Here was one of those perfect only-in-America moments: ordinary yet edgy. Watching cars curl in to park, I felt like an extra in Breaking Bad, although the only threat to my existence was the corncake offered me, lethal with butter and salt. I opted to go north for more illicit pleasures — outré art and pricey retail. Planes raced into the mid-am sky above me on the Uber ride to the Design District, and flinty glass high-rises were pin-sharp to infinity against a blue day. Sweeping around one curve of freeway after another, revealing more tough urbanity, I felt the beginning of the endlessness of America, that shiver of risky possibility, the urge to hitch a ride with some passing longhaul truck straight out of a movie, the irresistible danger of a stranger. The new Institute of Contemporary Art was certainly sexier than its serious name: a sensory realm of white rooms to drift through, distracted by grainy, arcane video screens and labially informed ceramics. But the wider Design District was merely cookie-

cutter retail heaven for label addicts, such as you find from LA to Shanghai. Fortunately Wynwood, half an hour's walk south, felt artfully rougher. Once a wasteland, its old warehouses now shouted with psychedelic graffiti and its walls with funky murals. It was all downhill, or Downtown, from here. Walking on East Flagler Street the next day — my last in Miami — I saw an empty Art Deco pharmacy, formerly a famous branch of Walgreens, bearing a banner: 'Witness the new Downtown!' I'd come to pay my respects to the city's origins here in 1896 — the year Henry Morrison Flagler, a founder of Standard Oil, unveiled a key station on the Florida East Coast Railway. His plan: to create a new American Riviera in a place immune to freezes. Downtown had been depressed for decades, explained my guide, Dr Paul George. The area had, he said, been a victim of 'white flight': the gradual migration of the carowning middle classes out to the suburbs, lured by big malls and better living. Downtown's fate spoke for itself, in boarded-up '30s department stores and skyscraping Neo-Classical relics, many empty now. Barely a decade ago, it was dangerous to come here after dark. Now, in its midst, there were green shoots: that defunct Walgreens was set to open as a restaurant, music hall and brewery, hence the banner. At night, among the faded Florentine-style civic buildings on and off Flagler, I found an upbeat scene going on, as drinkers flocked to a select few new scuzzy-chic spots. Way after midnight, I reached Jaguar Sun, a terminally trendy little newcomer. I grinned, gingerly, and the bartender put me at ease. 'I like that smile,' he said, catching my eye as I scanned the offering, 'and you look like you need a drink.' Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call +971 4 316 6666 or visit

Credit: News Licensing / The Sunday Times Travel Magazine


XXXXXXXXXXXXX A colourful lifeguard tower on South Beach 43

This page, clockwise from left: Plate of vegetable ravioli; hanging grapes ready for harvesting




Let’s get ready to

Where to begin with an Italian foodie trip? Head north, says Liz Edwards: in pretty Piedmont, it's all flavour and no pretensions 45



chocolate, espresso and cream, as rich a confection as the gilt-and-marble interior of the church next door. Later on, we went a bit more sophisticated, watching people wander through stately Piazza San Carlo over alfresco drinks at city institution Caffè Torino. The local find that really made me smile, though, was the Pinguino, the pre-Magnum choc-ice-on-a-stick dreamt up by Turin gelateria Pepino in 1939. I mean, yes, the ingredients are quite posh — high-end chocolate, creamy gelato — but eating a choc-ice is essentially a nonserious experience. We scoffed ours (Turin's hazelnut chocolate gianduja flavour) in lovely riverside Valentino Park, racing to get more in our mouths than on our clothes or the grass we sat on. Fears of food snobbery were further allayed back in town: I spotted a streetside vending machine selling $5 reheated lasagne. There's nothing like a bit of trash to make the fine food seem finer, and the locals more human. We were going to like it here. 'Slow Food unites the pleasure of food with responsibility, sustainability and harmony with nature,' said Carlo Petrin, founder of the organisation that promotes local food and traditional cooking. Admirable? Certainly. Laugh a minute? Maybe not. Still, we couldn't stay totally straight-faced about its headquarters, where we were off to next: a town called Bra. Obviously I wanted to check that its cafes offered a full range of cup sizes. What we found, among the mountain-backed terracotta roofs, Baroque belltowers and old tannery chimneys, was a place that looked sleepy, but had a youthful energy. Slow Food might have tapped into the town's existing appreciation of food done well, but the nearby University of Gastronomic Sciences has added student-driven oomph. There were cool delis, trendy gelaterias and, come early evening,

a buzzy aperitivo scene — we idled happily over artisan drinks and generous nibbles among the youngsters outside Art Deco Caffè Boglione. It didn't mean the oldsters had been kicked out, though. We were too early for September's biennial international cheese fair, but we could still taste our way into a cheese stupor in Giolito, the brick-ceilinged, local-formaggistuffed shop that started 100 years ago with grandma Giolito selling cheese at markets. We bought soft little robiolas to picnic on and a robust chestnut-leafwrapped Occelli to take home. And our hotel, Albergo Cantine Ascheri, was family-run and went back 200 years, but it wore a strikingly contemporary face — lots of concrete, pale wood and chrome, with reinforced glass on sections of the reception floor. It worked for me (as did the bucket of Nutella on the breakfast buffet). Bra was also a good base for exploring the hilltop villages that make Piedmont a less touristy, just-as-pretty alternative to Tuscany. We wandered the biscuity cobbles of Verduno to find its belvedere — a grassy space helpfully planted with limes and chestnuts so we could admire the view sunburn-free. Fifty shades of green swelled across the slopes below us in tidy patches of vines and hazelnuts (that Nutella doesn't nuttify itself) — nature at its well-groomed neatest. An inscribed ledge identified other hilltop villages — La Morra, Monforte, Montelupo — for further pootling round postcard-ready panoramas. Lunch that day was in Cherasco, a Baroque stage-set of a town and scene of our Michelin-starred blowout (we couldn't not have one). Da Francesco, the restaurant in a 17th-century palazzo, couldn't have looked more the part, its extravagantly frescoed walls and ceilings suggesting statuary, stucco, marble and gilt. There wasn't an un-tromped oeil

Credit: Liz Edwards/The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/News Licensing

oodness, doesn't Italy make your tummy rumble? Top to toe, it's so ridiculously mouthwatering that pretty much every region, every town, has its speciality, its own comehither, nobody-does-it-better thing. There's Parma with its ham and cheese, Modena with its balsamic vinegar, Naples for pizza, Genoa for pesto. For a couple of Italy ingenues like my husband and me, looking to expand horizons and waistlines, it could have just been a case of sticking a pin in the map. But it's easy to get a bit chin-strokey and po-faced about all the good stuff — we wanted to have fun with it, too. And then (after a little Googling) it came to me: some of the lowestcommon-denominator names in Italian food began in one region — Piedmont, at the base of the Alps. Sure, it was known for its truffles, its Barolos and its anti-trash Slow Food movement. But it's also the home of Ferrero Rocher and Nutella. Crucially, like Nigel Slater scoffing a Big Mac, Piedmont seemed to embrace guilty pleasures. Surely it couldn't take itself that seriously? We could only hope. Turin was our first stop — we'd city-break for a couple of days before looping southeast out into the Langhe countryside for the rest of the week. And it's quite a place. The city of the shroud and of Fiat (never mind those Italian Job Minis) was the first capital of unified Italy and has all the grand squares, portico-lined streets and statues of men on horses to prove it. You'd expect its citizens to be well fed even if it weren't surrounded by foodproducing mountains and farmland — but it is, so the markets overflow with bounty, the streets glint with Michelin stars, and mom-and-pop delis sell 17 types of homemade grissini (they were invented in a nearby palace). Greedy tourists cannot live on breadsticks alone, though, so we beelined to 18th-century cafe Al Bicerin for its eponymous elevenses drink: hot


This page, clockwise from top left: Beefsteak tomatoes at Piazza della Repubblica market; a worker harvesting grapes; alfresco dining at a cafĂŠ in San Carlo Piazza; Piazza San Carlo

Opening pages: grilled prawn salad; climbing a tree against the backdrop of a fiery sunset This page: Petit Piton above Margretoute Bay 47


in the house. The food wasn't bad, either: delicate, modern riffs on local ingredients, including the snails the town's famous for. Snail risotto came my way, and rather nice it was, too. The very definition of slow food. It was time to find Piedmont's underground edible star, the truffle. Natale and Giorgio Romagnolo were our men, Lizzy and Brio their dogs. From the brothers' scenic family farmhouse between Alba and Asti, we set off into the oak and poplar woods — fungus intel coming thick and fast — in search of black truffles. (White truffles, more delicate, more aromatic, more expensive, only appear from September to January.) And we very rapidly found one. Lizzy caught a scent, started digging, Giorgio loosened the soil with a little knife and there we were: a grey, knobbly truffle the size of a golf ball was ours. Well, theirs really, but back at the farmhouse Natale did shave some slices for us over hunks of local cheese. As the deliciously deep, earthy smell wafted our way, he told us how the pheromones that help the dogs find them also act as an aphrodisiac. 'They're natural viagra,' he said. 'And they go very well with Andrea Bocelli's music.' With only a couple of days left, we'd moved to stay near Neive, a gorgeous village in Barbaresco country and setting for our finest evening of the trip. Sitting in a sunny corner of a garden next to a former primary school, we ate outstanding food — simple, prepared with care and time, a paradigm. Our drinks, made in on-site barrels, revealed similar expertise. Our fellow diners here at CitaBiunda were tattooed and man-bunned, younger and hipper than people we’d encountered elsewhere. Yep, we'd come for hops and pizza. OK, craft hops and 36-hour-proofed pizza dough, so maybe these guys were taking themselves a bit seriously, but it had paid off — and we saw more dogs stroked than chins. This corner of Italy had given us fine fare and it had given us fun and we couldn't have been happier. Piedmont, with this trip you were really spoiling us. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call +971 4 316 6666 or visit 48

The scenic hills of Langhe 49

INDONESIA Driving through the beautiful wilderness

Sentimental journey

His daughter's desire to go whale-watching takes Stanley Stewart back to his own childhood in Canada: through Nova Scotia, by campervan, on an odyssey of emotions



e could hear the whales before we saw them. That long breathy exhalation of a humpback blowing as it breached. Leaning over the side of the Zodiac, Sophia peered across the water into the thick curtains of fog. 'She is close,' she whispered. It was her first whale. This is what she'd come for: the whiff of adventure, whales and bears, campfires and Indian trails. We were on a road trip — a father daughter thing — through Nova Scotia, and Sophia woke every morning in the expectation of another chapter out of White Fang. I'd actually come for something quite different. I'd come for the nostalgia of small towns and familiar streets. I'd come for those big red barns with silos, and for pretty farmhouses surrounded by apple orchards. I'd come for leafy streets of Victorian houses, their front porches bathed in the dusty light of childhood memories. I was on a nostalgia trip. Sophia, quite understandably, thought this sounded dead boring. Canada was big enough to cater to us both. The country has always seemed a touch schizophrenic, and it's not just the French and English thing. Canada veers between two contrasting personalities - between cute towns and vast wilderness, between Main Streets and migration routes too complex to fathom, between corner diners and tracts of unknown forests. Take a look at a map. Everyone lives along that southern border in a neat network of roads and towns. But above them is empty space, a wilderness of woods, dark unnamed lakes and distances inhabited only by moose, caribou and wolves — and grizzlies keen to dine on unwary townsfolk who ventured onto their patch. I grew up in Canada — in the cute towns part not the hungry grizzlies bit — and the holiday I remember most fondly was caravanning in the Maritimes in the eastern Atlantic provinces. I was eight and life was good. My Dad and I pored over maps and picked campsites, and every day felt like an adventure. Now my daughter was eight, I wanted to bring her home and show her the Maritimes. Booking 51



Main Street to soda fountains run by a guy called Pop and people get all the news they need in the Lunenburg Ledger. Confronted with the landscape of my childhood, I came over all emotional. But that wasn't why Sophia had come to Canada. She wanted drama. She wanted wilderness. In Canada, wilderness is always close. Barely 150 years ago, virtually all of Canada's 10 million square kilometres was wilderness. They have cut down a few trees since Queen Victoria's day, but it hardly seems to have made a dent — approximately half of Canada is covered by forest. Even among the settled small towns of Nova Scotia, there are vast tracts of the country that no-one has got round to using yet. Turn up a back road or hike over the next hill here and you find yourself in trackless forest where there have been few human footprints since the First Nations people ghosted through these trees on moccasined soles. From the coast we cut inland on a two-lane highway. The landscape and the road emptied, and the forests closed in. After a couple of hours we came to the entrance of Kejimkujik National Park, a broad swathe of virgin forest where the only permanent marks of man are the petroglyphs of the Mi'kmaq people. Eighty per cent of the park is accessible only by foot or canoe. This was the antithesis of pretty, settled Lunenburg. Kejimkujik is not pretty. It is wild, pure and ravishingly beautiful. To visitors like us, Kejimkujik is an outdoor playground, a place to commune with nature. To the Mi'kmaq, it's home, a National Historic Site more than a National Park. This is what their Nova Scotia looked like before we arrived with town-planning and strange ideas about roads. Sophia slipped so readily into the Mi'kmaq vibe I began to wonder about her mother's ancestry. We parked in our designated campsite, lit a campfire and cooked salmon on the coals. Later, we skittered down a steep slope to swim in Kejimkujik Lake, warm, still and cleaner than any water I had ever seen. Then we sat on a log on the shore watching sunset colours spill across the surface of the water. For the first time Sophia heard the call of a loon — Canada's signature tune, a plaintive, haunting sound drifting across the darkening lake from the unseen bird.


Later, we followed paths through the dark woods to the Sky Circle, a raised deck of sloping benches designed for stargazing. Without a trace of light pollution, Kejimkujik offers skies that are dense with constellations. Other stargazers came and went on tiptoe, as if worried about disturbing the universe. Whispering in the dark, a park warden guided us round the familiar constellations: Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Pleiades and Orion. Aligning his telescope, he showed us a star cluster that was one of our nearest neighbours. Sophia asked how long it would take to reach it, as if we could rent a spaceship as easily as we rented a campervan. Not so long, the star warden said. About 25,000 years. And suddenly any feeling of familiarity vanished. We were gazing at the unknowable. In the following days in Kejimkujik, we biked along forest trails, through glades of hemlock and maples, through meadows of wild ferns. We waded in rivers where herons stalked the shores. We discovered a beaver dam, an architectural shambles of sticks and mud creating its own lake, then hunkered down on the bank to watch Papa Beaver fell a small tree with his teeth. We canoed across lakes to empty islands where we picnicked among windswept pines. We sat inside an empty Mi'kmaq tepee and wondered about the people who had lived here without feeling the need to asphalt the paths or construct a town hall in the middle of a clearing. We watched ospreys fish, carrying their catch back to nests the size of small bungalows. Coming as it did with a deer sighting and the beaver tree-felling, Sophia nominated the osprey day (she had spotted the nest herself) as the best one so far. At least until we got to the whales.

Credit: The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/News Licensing

a campervan, we took a flight to Nova Scotia and we knew we were somewhere different the moment we arrived. There are rocking chairs in Halifax airport. Among the homogenising tendencies of North America, the Maritimes are a place apart. There is an Anne of Green Gables innocence about these small provinces, which made it ideal territory for my nostalgia trip: an old-fashioned place of small towns and family farms, of fishing boats and lighthouses, of rocky shores and rocking chairs. Celtic roots run deep here and at the ceilidhs, the traditional songs, are about homesickness. Homesickness was why I was here. In Halifax, we collected our new home. The RV was a big hit. 'It's a whole house, Papa,' Sophia said excitedly, as she inspected the double beds, the kitchen, the on-board loo and shower, the storage space that could have catered for an Apollo mission. For the next week she played house, fussing with the wardrobe arrangements, sweeping the floor and trying to keep her Papa in order. We popped some Nova Scotia folk into the CD, punched Lunenburg into the sat nav and headed along Nova Scotia's South Shore. The RV was a handful — an eight metre, 6,800kg behemoth. Out on Highway 3, I prayed I'd never have to execute a three-point turn or parallel park. With 8,000km of coastline, Nova Scotia is a sea-faring province, at one time it had the fourth-largest merchant fleet in the world. The Mary Celeste was built here and the dead from the Titanic were buried here. Sailors and fishermen are the local heroes, and no-one spends more than a week here without venturing out on the water. We passed villages where century-old houses framed harbours of trawlers draped in nets. At Peggy's Cove (population: 30), I sat on the weathered deck of a fishing shack chatting to a whiskery fellow about the lobster catch, while Sophia danced like a sea sprite across the granite outcrops that frame St Margaret's Bay. Further down the coast, the town of Lunenburg is so pretty it's been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Colourful houses built in the 19thcentury line its streets. Here was the innocent small-town North America I was seeking. Kids ride their bikes down

This page, clockwise from top left: Humpback whale diving back into the ocean; canoeing on an ice blue lake; a beaver rears its head; a typical coloured house in the UNESCO World Heritage fishing village of Lunenburg 53

A winter sunset over Peggys Point Lighthouse in Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia




A few days later, in Annapolis Royal, beyond the park, we encountered the early European settlers who had been so keen on the town-hall idea. At Fort Anne, it was time for a bit of history. Scampering round the ramparts where battles were fought, and peering into dungeons where prisoners of war were held, we found history was suddenly fun. Through the 18th century, this valley had been a battleground between the English and the French for ascendancy in the New World. While bewigged chaps in chandeliered rooms in London and Paris put their names to treaties, out here, ships were sunk, lives were destroyed and men perished. In its heyday, Fort Anne changed hands seven times before the Brits finally prevailed and the French were obliged to hand over Canada in 1763. At Port-Royal, they have recreated the first settlement in Canada, a French fort set round a courtyard. Sophia tried her hand at the blacksmith shop, while I stretched out in the workmen's bunks. In the gate lodge, we got dressed up in three-cornered hats and beaver jackets for selfies. In a warm Canadian summer the place seemed rather idyllic. But it wasn't, at least for those early settlers. In their first winter here, half of the 79 Frenchmen died. The next morning, we headed along the shores of the Bay of Fundy, down a long finger of land known as Digby Neck. The morning was fogbound, and the Neck, barely 5km wide, felt insubstantial, hovering between land and sea. At the end of the Neck, I managed to manoeuvre our beast of a home onto a small ferry for the crossing to Long Island and our whale-watching outfit. Kitting up in orange flotation suits,

we waddled down to the Zodiac that would have us at eye level with the sea monsters. The Bay of Fundy is one of the best places in the world for whalewatching and Captain Tom, a kind of whale-whisperer, has managed to locate whales on virtually every outing over the course of 30 years. As he steered our boat into the bay, he engaged us with tales of humpbacks, minkes and finbacks, of sightings of the endangered North Atlantic right whale, of the outing when a blue whale, the Earth's largest creature, surfaced just metres from his boat. After a time Tom cut the engines and we drifted. The sea was cloaked with fog. The shore, the bay, even the sky above us, had disappeared behind grey veils. An eerie silence had descended, punctuated by the muffled sound of ships' horns calling mournfully to one another. Then through the fog came the unmistakable sound of a whale blow. Moments later the leviathan appeared, barely 20 metres from the boat, a long grey back breaching. It looked huge — until its mother broke the surface. Fifteen metres of barnacled, scarred whaleback arching through the waves, blowing a spout of water three metres into the air, is something to raise the hair on the back of anyone's neck. Their size made them look as if they were moving in slow motion. And then they dived, raising their fluked tails as if waving goodbye. Sophia was so excited, I thought she had stopped breathing. We spent the next hour following them as again and again they breached, throwing their great spouts into the air, riding the waves before diving with that dramatic flourish of their tails. Sophia had found the drama she craved. A month later, I heard her telling her friends of the whales and Captain Tom. Years ahead, she might just recall the campervan, the road trip and the adventures with Papa. As for me, I'd found all the memories I needed. Stepping out for dinner, strolling down a street in Annapolis Royal, I stopped to chat to a family on their porch and was abruptly back there - in the small town I grew up in; as if, dredging the past, I'd caught it in a golden net of nostalgia. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call +971 4 316 6666 or visit 55 Your passport to the Middle East's first fully bookable travel inspiration website

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Weekends Staycations and short-haul escapes

JUNGLE NOOK Nestled within the lush tropical jungle, the castaway-style Tented Jungle Villas of Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi take glamping to the next level. Surrounded by foliage, privacy is assured as you emerge from your California King-size bed and wander out onto to your private deck. This five-star resort, which is great for families (there's a new wave of art and adventure experiences to try), is a 55-minute seaplane ride from the airport. 57

WEEKENDS Exploring Sidi Bou Said


Let us reacquaint you with this culture spot that's ideally placed for a mind-nourishing mini break



Buzzing with creative energy, Beirut has earned its place on the culture map due to its lively art scene and historic sites. At the heart of it all, the soulful Mar Mikhaël neighbourhood is home to urban street art (notably The Colourful Stairs connecting to Jeitawi), independent galleries and lots of nightlife. Head to contemporary art hub Galerie Tanit Beyrouth, sister of the German gallery by the same name, to see the The Towards the Sublime exhibition running until 9 August. It's a showcase of ethereal pieces from Syrian-born artist Youssef Abdelke, among others. Also nearby, the homegrown gallery space and bookshop Plan Bey showcases a variety of prints and art books created by Lebanese artists, some of which are limited editions, which make great keepsakes. Later in the year, the 10th edition of the acclaimed Beirut Art Fair hits the city from 18-22 September. For a bohemian feel, head to the neighbourhood of Gemmayzeh, known for its French colonial buildings, winding alleys and slew of hip eateries. You can taste traditional Lebanese flavours at local favourite Bou Melhem – try the smoked hummus and shrimp feta. The Penthouse, Phoenicia Beirut


Beirut Art Fair

DON'T LEAVE WITHOUT... Taking a bus tour to Byblos to explore this ancient coastal town’s ruins. Roaming around the American University of Beirut campus, home to an Archaeological Museum and Natural History Museum. Bopping away to Lebanese artists such as Elissa and Ziad Rahbani at the Beirut Holidays music festival (11-26 July).

Downtown Beirut

A city of religious diversity, the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque is a must see, with its blue domes and ornate ceilings. Just a six-minute stroll away is the equally magnificent Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint George, which features restored detailed frescoes and a glass floor where you can view ruins of the Byzantine church. Ancient religious artefacts, such as a Byzantine-era tomb with Christian adornments from 440AD can be found on display at the National Museum of Beirut. Gain a deeper insight into the modern-day city with a visit to Downtown Beirut, once coined ‘the Paris of the Middle East’ and rebuilt in recent years, there’s both history and glamour aplenty here. Be sure to visit Martyrs’ Square, a landmark tribute to the country’s past. In terms of where to stay, the five-star Phoenicia Beirut has a focus on art running throughout with an on-site gallery to check out. At the heart of Downtown, the sleek Le Gray offers stunning rooftop views while Raouché Arjaan by Rotanna is a sound choice for sea vistas.



long weekend the


This page: The Blue Mosque Opposite, from top: Sweeping views of the city, with Galata Tower standing tall; Çırağan Palace Kempinski


East meets West in this dynamic city brimming with history, architecture and fabulous food


Thriving culture, magnificent architecture and a unique location straddling Asia and Europe makes Istanbul as tantalising as ever. The city has been the capital of three empires – the Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman – and, while Ankara wears the crown today, Istanbul remains the economic and cultural heart of modern Turkey. Home to more than 15 million people, the city is located on a peninsula surrounded by the Golden Horn to the north, the Bosphorus – the scenic strait that links Europe and Asia – to the east, and the Sea of Marmara to the south. Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s oldest neighbourhood, is home to iconic sights such as the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar. Across the Galata Bridge, Beyoğlu is the centre of the city’s nightlife and includes the waterfront Karaköy neighbourhood, dotted with small galleries and cool shops. Leafy Nişantaşi, meanwhile, is known for its luxury hotels and designer boutiques; just down the hill is bustling Beşiktaş fronting the Bosphorus. Here’s our curated guide to the best Istanbul has to offer…


From palatial properties to hipster hotels, here’s the pick of the places to sleep

Enjoy the ultimate Istanbul experience at the Four Seasons Hotel at the Bosphorus, a 19thcentury Ottoman palace in Beşiktaş. Elegant rooms are flooded with light, although you’ll most likely be by the waterfront pool or in the lantern-lit hammam. A couple of doors down, the Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul combines a former sultan’s palace with a modern annexe. Palmstudded lawns and an

infinity pool overlook the Bosphorus, while all rooms come with a butler and a balcony with views of the water or lush gardens. In nearby Nişantaşı, The St. Regis Istanbul features Art Deco-influenced interiors and sleek rooms, including a unique suite inspired by the Bentley Continental. Don’t miss dinner at rooftop Spago, the only European outpost of chef Wolfgang Puck’s storied restaurant. Creative souls should check-in to Soho House

Istanbul in Beyoğlu. Social spaces are in a 19th-century mansion, where original frescos sit alongside midcentury furniture. The main attraction, however, is the buzzy rooftop pool. In the same neighbourhood, Witt Istanbul Hotel is an 18room boutique bolthole with bags of character. Each apartment-style room is outfitted with a marble kitchenette and a Juliette balcony or wrap-around terrace offering sweeping views of the Golden Horn.

how bazaar With Ottoman-era markets overflowing with exotic goods, Istanbul is a shopper's paradise. Set aside a few hours – or days – to explore the labyrinthine GRAND BAZAAR, which houses some 4,500 shops. You’ll find everything from hand-knotted silk carpets and antique jewellery to fake designer handbags in this Aladdin's cave of treasures. Top buys include handwoven pestemals (bath wraps) at Abdulla ( and traditional glazed pottery at Iznik Art (iznik-art. com). A 10-minute stroll away, the aromatic SPICE BAZAAR has been the go-to for herbs and spices, dried fruits, nuts and olives since 1664. Be sure to grab a bag of freshlyground Turkish coffee from Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi (mehmetefendi. com), one of Istanbul’s oldest coffee shops, and hunt out the city’s best lokum (Turkish delight) at nearby Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir ( 61

culture fix Discover the thriving art scene at these unique spaces and museums Istanbul Modern Temporarily located in Beyoğlu while its new building on the shores of the Bosphorus takes shape, the city’s premier arts venue showcases the best of modern Turkish art. The current exhibition explores the relationship between humans and cities, nature, and each other, with works by the likes of Sarkis, Tracey Emin and Olafur Eliasson. Salt Galata Housed in a former 19thcentury bank in Karaköy, this cutting-edge institution presents temporary art exhibitions, lectures and screenings, all of which are free. Architecture fans will appreciate the surprisingly distinct styles – Neoclassical and Oriental – found on opposing façades. Museum of Turkish & Islamic Arts In a 16th-century Ottoman palace opposite the Blue Mosque, this must-visit museum is a treasure trove of artefacts dating to the 8th century. Highlights include the 800-year-old carved wooden doors from Damascus.


Where to get your fill of one of the world’s finest cuisines

Neolokal Book a table by the window for dreamy views across the water at this stylish restaurant, which masterfully mixes traditionalism with modern flair. Opt for the multi-course sharing menu to taste as many of the modern Anatolian dishes as possible, such as shrimp su böreği – a twist on traditional Turkish borek.

Pandeli With beautiful blue tiles adorning its walls, this iconic restaurant above the entrance to the Spice Bazaar has welcomed a slew of famous diners, including Robert De Niro. Open for lunch only, be sure to order the famous hünkar beğendi – slowcooked lamb served on a bed of smoked eggplant.

Mikla Regularly named one of the best restaurants in Istanbul, this rooftop spot atop the Marmara Pera hotel offers inventive local cuisine to match the postcard-perfect panorama. Multi-course menus feature dishes such as slow-cooked grouper with pickled mandarin and mantı dumplings with smoked buffalo yoghurt.


Pack your walking shoes and devote a day to wandering around Sultanahmet. Start at the ancient Hippodrome, where chariot races were held in Byzantine times. Next, wander over to the Blue Mosque to admire the cascading domes and six slender minarets, before heading inside to soak up its grand proportions and walls adorned with blue İznik tiles. Stroll over to the neighbouring Hagia Sophia; built nearly 1,500 years ago for Byzantine emperor Justinian I, the architectural marvel is famous for its shimmering gold mosaics, swirling Arabic calligraphy and huge dome. Next, descend the 52 stone steps to the Basilica Cistern, a Byzantine-era aqueduct system with more than 300 columns. Finish up at Topkapı Palace, the opulent residence of Ottoman sultans until the mid-1800s. Don’t miss the Imperial Treasury, filled with a dazzling collection of jewels, thrones and ceremonial swords. 62

THE LONG WEEKEND Opposite page, from top: A dish served at Neolokal; Istanbul Modern This page, from top: Bey Karaköy; Kiliç Ali Paşa Hamam Photo © Cengiz Karliova

HIP BOUTIQUES Beyond the bazaars, check out these stylish independent stores Sanayi 313 This concept store in the Maslak district mixes fashion, design and food. Shop for co-founder Serena Uziyel’s super luxe shoes, featuring bold decorative elements like embroidery and sequins, and stay for lunch at the contemporary Turkish restaurant. Bey Karaköy Fashion-forward gents should head to this multi-brand boutique in Karaköy, which mixes cool-kid Scandinavian staples with pieces from talented homegrown designers. Be sure to check out Bey’s own brand of bestselling jeans too. Souq Dukkan Founded by a former Turkish Vogue features editor, this concept store in Kanyon mall stocks a thoughtful edit of largely local brands and designers, ranging from men’s and women’s fashion to homewares, books and prints.

ask a local

Words: Lara Brunt

Yaprak Aras, co-founder of Souq Dukkan (, shares her top tips for exploring the city The coolest neighbourhood in Istanbul right now is Kadıköy-Moda on the Asian side. There’s been an influx of young and creative İstanbulites moving from the European side in the last couple of years, making it a vibrant place with lots going on. My favourite café is Bi Nevi Deli ( in Beşiktaş; it’s the most innovative plant-based kitchen in the city. Don’t leave without thoroughly exploring the Bosphorus. Skip the boat trips and take the ferry from Eminönü pier instead. Stop for brunch at Feriye Lokantası ( in Ortaköy, and enjoy the 40-minute stroll along the waterfront promenade from Arnavutköy, a pretty village with ornate wooden mansions, to the 15th-century fortress Rumeli Hisarı.

HEAVENLY HAMMAMS Indulge in a traditional Turkish hammam in one of these historic bathhouses Cağaloğlu Hamamı This 300-year-old hammam in Sultanahmet boasts soaring marble columns, domed ceilings and Romanesque arches. Plump for the Sultan Mahmud package, which includes a collagen facemask and 45-minute aromatherapy massage. tr. Kiliç Ali Paşa Hamam Across the water in Beyoğlu, this 16th-century gem features one of the largest hammam domes in Istanbul. Alongside the traditional steam, scrub and soak ritual, you can add an aromatic oil or a

deep tissue massage. kilicalipasahamami. com. Çukurcuma Hamamı Also in Beyoğlu, this 1830s hammam opened last year after a decadelong renovation. With

grey marble bathing areas and a sleek white relaxation lounge, it’s one of the most luxurious hammams in Istanbul, and welcomes couples too. 63



Family fun

School’s out for summer, so treat the kids to some unforgettable experiences in the UAE capital


Feel the G-force at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Catapult yourself from zero to 240 km/h in 4.9 seconds on Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest rollercoaster, or go for a spin inside an F1-inspired giant tyre for a speed freak’s take on the traditional teacup ride. There’s a winning mix of rides and attractions for visitors of all ages at this thrilling theme park on Yas Island, with added entertainment in the form of family-friendly shows. Fuel their creative flair at Louvre Abu Dhabi. Got a future Picasso on your hands? The Art Explorers Summer Camp at Louvre Abu Dhabi encourages bright young minds to explore the museum’s extensive collection and learn more about the world’s cultures and history by interacting with the art on show. For ages six to 11 and 12 to 16 (on various dates in July). Spot wildlife on Sir Bani Yas Island. Rise and shine for an early morning drive through the Arabian Wildlife Park on this protected wildlife sanctuary located just off the coast, and marvel at the free-roaming animals, including cheetahs, giraffes and Arabian oryx. Bed down at one of three rustic yet luxurious Anantara resorts, with dining options to suit even the pickiest eaters.



Photo: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi






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JW Marriott Marquis Dubai ROOMS & SUITES Prepare for a restful night's sleep in your plush abode, which towers above the bustling downtown district. This landmark hotel is the pinnacle of luxury, with each of its rooms and suites boasting marble bathrooms and deluxe bedding. Over the summer, Marriott Bonvoy members save 25% on the room rate, with complimentary breakfast, while non-members receive 15% off*.

THE FOOD Variety reigns supreme here, with 15 award-winning restaurants to choose from. Make the most of the exclusive dining offers by brunching at Positano for Italian classics in a family-friendly setting (Dhs180-365 depending on the drinks package). For dinner with a touch of luxury, head to Prime68 Steakhouse for a 350gm steak sprinkled with 24-karat edible gold flakes (Dhs330 per person).

THE ACTIVITIES Indulge in cutting edge beauty treatments at Saray Spa – the new facials draw upon Korean beauty products that harness the complexionboosting properties of diamonds. When you're ready to face the world, the hotel’s central location means top attractions, such as The Dubai Mall, are close by, so you can shop 'til you drop at Dubai Summer Surprises (until 3 August).

To find out more, call +971 4 414 3000 or visit 66

*Summer promotion offer valid until 30 September, 2019.

Take your staycation experience to the next level at the world’s tallest five-star hotel

Inspiration. Expertly crafted. Comprising two iconic towers, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is centrally located beside the Dubai Water Canal and offers a spectrum of facilities and services for a seamless experience. The hotel features: 1,608 Luxurious Guest Rooms and Suites, Over 15 Award-Winning Restaurants and Lounges, Saray Spa featuring Traditional Hammams, A Dead Sea Floatation Pool and 17 Treatment Rooms, State-of-the-Art Health Club and Fitness facilities, 8,000 sqm of spectacular Meeting Spaces.

JW MarriottÂŽ MarquisÂŽ Hotel Dubai Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE | T +971.4.414.0000 |



InterContinental Muscat Enjoy a slice of natural serenity in the heart of the city ROOMS & SUITES A room with a view is the premise here, with each of the recently-refurbished guestrooms showcasing the stunning natural landscape. Wake up to ocean, garden or mountain views observed through large windows, and enjoy quiet moments on your private balcony. Upgrade to an Executive Room and enjoy a private check-in, complimentary breakfast and pre-dinner drinks.

THE FOOD A foodie's delight, the hotel's delight dining venues each bring a different flavour to the table. Japanese restaurant Takara offers a delicate selection of fresh sushi and sashimi, with added drama courtesy of the dedicated teppanyaki area. For casual bites, Al Ghazal Pub’s traditional British atmosphere is brought to life by classic dishes such as fish and chips and sticky toffee pudding.

THE ACTIVITIES Top attractions on the doorstep include Royal Opera House Muscat, with its impressive line-up of opera, ballet and music performances, and Mutrah Souq, where you can barter for artisan keepsakes. The nearby Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque provides a fantastic opportunity to deepen your knowledge of the spirit of Islam. Back at the hotel, cool off in the Olympic-sized pool.

To find out more, call +968 2468 0000 or visit 68


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Includes: Stay 3 nights in a Superior Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. Offer: 33% savings on stay. Valid from: Now until 31 July 2019.

3 nights starting from USD610 per person

3 nights starting from USD949 per person

3 nights starting from USD535 per person

The Anvaya Beach Resort, Bali

Velassaru, Maldives


4 nights starting from USD998 per person Includes: Stay 4 nights in a Deluxe Room with breakfast daily and return private water taxi transfers. Offer: Stay for 4 nights pay for 3 nights. Valid from: Now until 31 July 2019.



3 nights starting from USD795 per person

Includes: Stay 3 nights in an Executive Room with breakfast and return airport transfers. Offer: 25% savings on stay, minimum 2 nights. Valid from: Now until 8 September 2019.



3 nights starting from USD635 per person

San Clemente Palace Kempinski, Venice

Includes: Stay 3 nights in a Superior Room with breakfast and airport transfers. Offer: 15% savings on stay, minimum 3 nights and free bike rental for 4 hours. Valid from: Now until 10 September 2019.



3 nights starting from USD250 per person Includes: Stay 3 nights in a Deluxe Room with breakfast daily and airport transfers. Offer: 25% savings on stay. Valid from: Now until 31 October 2019.



3 nights starting from USD545 per person

The Watergate Hotel, Washington D.C.

Banyan Tree Phuket

Includes: Stay 3 nights in a Deluxe Villa with breakfast and speedboat transfers. Offer: 30% savings on stay, 2 children under 12 years stay free. Valid from: Now until 31 July 2019. 71


Le Royal Meridien Hotel, Abu Dhabi


LE ROYAL MERIDIEN HOTEL, ABU DHBAI 1 night starting from USD79 per person Includes: Stay 1 night in a Corner Ciry View Room including breakfast and return airport transfers. Offer: Special rate. Valid from: Now until 30 September 2019.

THE EDITION, ABU DHABI 1 night starting from USD145 per person Includes: Stay 1 night in a Deluxe Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. Offer: Special weekend only rate. Valid from: Now until 28 September 2019.

PALAZZO VERSACE, DUBAI 1 night starting from USD150 per person Includes: 1 night in a Deluxe Versace Room City View with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. Offer: Special rate. Valid from: Now until 31 August 2019.

SIX SENSES ZIGHY BAY 1 night starting from USD625 per person Includes: Stay 1 night in a Pool Villa with breakfast and dinner daily and return airport transfers. Offer: 2 children under 12 years stay free. Valid from: Now until 31 July 2019.


GRAND HYATT, DUBAI 1 night starting from USD95 per person Includes: Stay 1 night in a Club Room Downtown View with breakfast daily, light evening meal and drinks 6-8pm and return airport transfers. Offer: 2 children under 12 years stay free, 20% saving on spa. Valid from: Now until 19 September 2019.

SALALAH ROTANA RESORT 1 night starting from USD125 per person Includes: Stay 1 night in a Classic Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. Offer: Special rate. Valid from: Now until 31 July 2019.

AMWAJ ROTANA JUMEIRAH BEACH HOTEL, DUBAI 1 night starting from USD105 per person Includes: Stay 1 night in a Classic Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. Offer: 40% savings on stay. Valid from: Now until 31 July 2019.

DOWNTOWN ROTANA MANAMA 1 night starting from USD142 per person Includes: Stay 1 night in a Classic Room with breakfast daily and return airport transfers. Offer: Special rate. Valid from: Now until 31 July 2019.

How to book


Palazzo Versace, Dubai

The Edition, Abu Dhabi

Grand Hyatt, Dubai


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Dublin, Ireland: Explore Trinity College with a university insider, before getting priority access to the famous library and Book of Kells.

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THROUGH THE LENS Eibsee, Bavaria "This photo was taken near lake Eibsee, one of the most beautiful and clean lakes in Bavaria, Germany. Even though it was a cold evening and not much was visible due to the foggy weather, I was inspired by the natural colours and the smell of autumn. I admire nature's simplicity; it's fascinating what nature is able to create on its own. Humanity has changed the world so much that, as a photographer, it's hard to find places that are still beautifully untouched, like this hidden gem. I aspire to show people the beauty of our planet through my lens as well as motivate them to always show respect and care for it the best that we can."

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A three-night, half-board stay at Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman Located on the northern Musandam Peninsula in Oman, this luxury resort beckons with its indigenous village-style accommodation and dramatic mountain views. Offering an exciting line-up of experiences to delight the senses, you can dine on the cliff edge, be pampered in the spa, or immerse yourself in adventure in the deep blue sea. To find out more and to enter, visit (terms & conditions apply).

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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

Beach Pool Villa Vakkaru Maldives

Soak up this classic Maldivian vista from the sanctuary of the tub that has been strategically placed inside this villa's spa-like bathroom. On top of having its own private plunge pool and direct beach access, this rustic-styled abode, which sleeps two adults, features a separate relaxation and reading area so you can make the most of your downtime. One of the country's newest additions, Vakkaru Maldives is located within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll, a 30-minute seaplane ride from MalĂŠ International Airport.


FR O M T H E T O P O F T H E W O R L D T O T H E B E L LY OF THE SERPENT y o u r l a u g h t e r e ch o e s a c r o s s t h i s w a t e r y w o r l d o f t h u n d e ro u s thrills and daring drops. Slip and s l i d e d o w n 4 5 h e a rt - s k i p p i n g r i d e s and muster the courage to race inside serpents or enter the eye of an exhilarating tornado.


Yas Waterworld #InAbuDhabi

Indian cuisine VIHIĂ RIH

Now Open From Mumbai to New Delhi, Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, a pioneering contemporary Indian restaurant, has made its debut at the world’s tallest 5-star hotel. Join us and experience a one-of-a-kind signature 12-course menu! Open daily from 6pm until 11.30pm

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE T +971.4.414.3000 | | masalalibrarydxb

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