Page 1

INSPIRED BY

ISSUE 141 | JANUARY 2020 | COMPLIMENTARY COPY

JAPAN MARRAKECH STAYCATIONS TRAVEL OFFERS

SPARRING PARTNERS

Recharge at these dreamy Indian Ocean spas

The new New York How to put a fresh

Produced in Dubai Production City

spin on a golden oldie

Soft-sand beaches, zingy African flavours, and devoid of tourists – introducing the delicious little islands of São Tomé and Príncipe


JAresorts.com

/Manafaru

@JAManafaru_Maldives


JA Manafaru, JA Manafaru, an award-winning an award-winning RESORT RESORT IN THE IN THE MALDIVES MALDIVES Found inFound the most in the northerly most northerly tip of ‘Haa tip Alif of ‘Haa Atoll’ Alif our Atoll’ chicour tropical chic tropical hideaway hideaway featuresfeatures 84 84 beautifully beautifully appointed appointed beachfront beachfront and over-water and over-water villas, including villas, including three Residences three Residences each each with their with own their private own plunge privatepool, plunge spacious pool, spacious indoor and indoor outdoor and outdoor living areas. living areas. DiscoverDiscover the layers the oflayers islandof life island with life its unique with itsexperiences, unique experiences, soar above soarthe above scenery the scenery by by seaplane, seaplane, dive under dive water under towater meet to colourful meet colourful sea life, swim, sea life, spa, swim, playspa, andplay indulge and as indulge you as you muse over muse theover magic theofmagic JA Manafaru. of JA Manafaru.

For bookings For bookings or more information, or more information, visit JAresorts.com visit JAresorts.com or email or reservations.manafaru@jaresorts.com email reservations.manafaru@jaresorts.com


Welcome note

If, like us, staring at the blank pages of a brand new travel journal fills you with wanderlust, and you're armed with a refreshed batch of annual leave, it's high time to start booking those trips you promised you'd take in 2020.

Managing Director Victoria Thatcher Chief Creative Officer John Thatcher General Manager David Wade Managing Editor Faye Bartle faye@hotmedia.me Content Writer Habiba Azab habiba@hotmedia.me

If you're still feeling the effects of the silly season, a wellbeing boosting break could be just what the doctor ordered. This month, we've rounded up the 20 best pampering spa experiences to indulge in across the Indian Ocean (page 26). From doing your daily sun salutations on a white-sand beach in the Seychelles to getting a vitamin infusion in the Maldives or having a hydrating honey wrap in Mauritius, these luxury spas will help you emerge a smoother, shinier, happier version of your former self. Also inside this issue, we take you to the streets of New York, where there's always something new to discover (page 38); shine a light on the wonderfully off-radar little islands of São Tomé and Príncipe (page 44); and show you why swapping cherry blossom for snow-capped mountains in Japan may be the best decision you make this year (page 50). Happy travels, Faye Bartle

Editorial Assistant Ronak Sagar

Win!

A two-night stay at Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf in Dubai, p71

Art Director Kerri Bennett Senior Designer Hiral Kapadia

FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED THIS ISSUE: 1

Snuggling under a weighted blanket could help ease your nerves when flying, p22

2

The new Statue of Liberty Museum is the most significant addition to Liberty Island since the statue was launched in 1886, p38

3

In São Tomé, they like to 'Léve-léve' ('take it easy'), p44

4

You can support disadvantaged women by sampling their everchanging menu of local dishes at Amal Women's Moroccan restaurant in Marrakech, p56

5

December through March is the quietest and cheapest time to visit Japan, p50

Senior Advertising Manager Mia Cachero mia@hotmedia.me Production Manager Muthu Kumar

INSPIRED BY

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

COVER IMAGE Getty Images

Find us at… ONLINE worldtravellermagazine.com FACEBOOK @WorldTravellerME INSTAGRAM @worldtravellerme TWITTER @WTravellerME

worldtravellermagazine.com 5


Contents January 2020 Yoga on a sandbank at Soneva Jani. Photo by Stevie Mann

15

GLOBETROTTER

regulars 10

15

22

70

72

This month's go-to places include sunny Perth, adventurous Koh Samui and the winter wonderland of Yerevan.

Why ultra all-inclusive is the way to go in 2020, wellbeing boosting breaks to help you start the year right, and fab new hotels on our radar.

Does the thought of flying give you sweaty palms? We share some tried and tested tips for getting you on that aeroplane.

Head online for exclusive travel content and, better yet, the chance to win a luxury stay at Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf in Dubai.

Soak up the views of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia from the free-standing bathtub in this grand Terrace Suite at The One Barcelona.

TRENDING DESTINATIONS

GLOBETROTTER

THE KNOWLEDGE

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

SUITE DREAMS

worldtravellermagazine.com 7


CONTENTS

features

26

38

44

50

We've rounded up 20 fabulous places to be pampered in Seychelles, Maldives and Mauritius.

Faye Bartle discovers how to put a fresh spin on a timeless classic by mixing the old with the new in New York.

Soft-sand beaches and zingy African flavours; Stanley Stewart introduces the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe.

Onsen baths, piping hot noodle bowls, and ways to get cosy, Alicia Miller explores the snowy spectacle of Japan.

THE BEST INDIAN OCEAN SPAS

GLAMOUR & GRIT

INTO THE UNKNOWN

CHILL OUT

La Mamounia, Marrakech

56

LONG WEEKEND

weekends 56

60

STAYCATIONS

66

Let the city's heady blend of culture and beauty lure you in.

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.

A LONG WEEKEND IN MARRAKECH

8 worldtravellermagazine.com

TRAVEL OFFERS


Wellness Haven at Saray Spa. Renew for the journey ahead.

A relaxing realm of quiet luxury, Saray Spa at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is an authentic wellness Spa, where ancient healing techniques and locally sourced natural ingredients are combined to enhance the well-being of each guest. The Spa features 17 treatment rooms, inclusive of two private Hammam rooms, one Dead Sea treatment room boasting the UAE’s only Dead Sea Floatation Pool found within, and two Private Luxury Spa Suites. Experience the wonders of the Middle East through Arabian Body Rituals or Hammam Rituals, or benefit from the resultsoriented facials. An exclusive retail boutique offers luxurious gifts and spa products for every occasion.

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai | Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE T +971 4 414 6754 | mhrs.dxbjw.spa@marriott.com | jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com *Terms and conditions: Offer is subject to availability and advance reservations are required. This is a limited time offer.


TRENDING DESTINATIONS

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

Koh Samui

It’s dry season in Thailand – an excellent time to explore its beautiful islands. An adventure seeker's paradise, Koh Samui is home to the Ang Thong Marine Park – an archipelago of more than 40 islands where you can swim, snorkel, hike and kayak to your heart's content. Explore the colourful neighbourhoods, such as Chaweng for its buzzing main street, beach dining and nightlife, as well as the rustic Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village and its popular night market. Highlights 1 Hire a motorbike and set off on a thrill-a-minute tour – you can circumnavigate the island in just a couple of hours. 2 Stroll through the Secret Buddha Garden private sculpture park atop Pom Mountain and discover its unique collection of hand-carved statues nestled in the lush jungle. 3 Get fit quick by booking yourself in for some private Muay Thai training sessions – Punch It Gym takes beginners through to seasoned fighters under its wing.

10 worldtravellermagazine.com


TRENDING DESTINATIONS

Perth

The sunniest (and perhaps the coolest) city in Australia, Perth calls with its glittering downtown skyline, vibrant Elizabeth Quay, and contemporary Australian dining at the multilevel Print Hall. Enjoy endless sunshine on its pristine beaches lapped by the Indian Ocean, from the renowned Cottesloe Beach to the 63 white-sand coves on Rottnest Island, a nature reserve home to the cute and friendly quokka, and which will soon boast a new marina. Highlights 1 For thrills and spills, head to Perth's Outback Splash, which has unveiled a new six-storey slide tower featuring Western Australia's fastest-ever body slide, among other attractions. 2 Animal lovers can head to Yanchep National Park to stroll along the koala boardwalk for a peek at these cuddly creatures in their natural environment. 3 Embark on a tour of Perth's hip urban art, including the stunning new mega-mural on Hay Street by Melbournian street artist Matt Adnate.

worldtravellermagazine.com 11


Cape Canaveral

The hub of the US space programme, Cape Canaveral calls would-be astronauts to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where you can learn about space travel, train like an astronaut, or strap yourself in for lift-off in its shuttle launch experience. It makes a great day trip from Orlando (the theme park capital of the world) as part of an adventurous itinerary. Or, you can stay at the Cape and enjoy its hotels, restaurants and quiet beaches. Highlights 1 Visit Canaveral National Seashore, part of America’s national park system, which boasts a vast stretch of beautifully wild white-sand beach, home to various plant and bird species. 2 Stare into a beautiful sunset at Center Street Park and, with any luck, you'll enjoy a rare glimpse of manatees in the river. 3 Learn about the city’s past, its present and the origins of its celebrated port at Exploration Tower, a seven-storey building of interactive exhibits with wonderful views of Port Canaveral.

12 worldtravellermagazine.com


TRENDING DESTINATIONS

Compiled by: Soumaya El Filali

Yerevan

A winter wonderland that's close to home, Yerevan is usually covered in fluffy white snow at this time of year, and the waters of Lake Sevan freeze over. The city streets light up for the festive period and local businesses are keen to welcome visitors in from the cold to enjoy delicious local Armenian cuisine, including lots of lavash bread. Take a day trip to the surrounding mountains for some of the most affordable skiing on the planet. Highlights 1 Spend some time in the rosy-hued Republic Square, made partly from Armenia’s famous pink tufa stone. Its central building houses the History Museum of Armenia, as well as the National Art Gallery of Armenia. 2 Climb the 572 steps of the Cascade stairway for stunning views of the city. While you're there, check out contemporary art giant, the Cafesjian Center for the Arts. 3 Stock up on keepsakes at Vernissage open-air flea market, where artisan finds include beautiful ceramics, dazzling jewellery and traditional ornaments.

worldtravellermagazine.com 13


Globetrotter JANUARY

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Be informed, be inspired, be there

ROCK ON With its jaw-droppingly beautiful rugged landscape, star quality and designer shopping, the glamour and glitz of Capri is a siren call. Join the shiny happy people heading to this idyllic Italian island hotspot in the spring when Jumeirah is orchestrating a grand re-opening of the legendary Capri Palace for a brand new season of la dolce vita. Born in the 1960s, it is designed in the style of an 18th century Neapolitan palazzo, with a two-Michelinstar L’Olivo restaurant, beach club and cutting edge medical spa enticing you to holiday like the A-list. worldtravellermagazine.com 15


GLOBETROTTER JA The Resort, Dubai

Taylor River Lodge , Colorado

GO ALL IN

Kinara by Vikas Khanna at JA The Resort, Dubai

One &Only Gorilla's Nest

Why go all-inclusive when you can go ultra-all inclusive? We find out what the fuss is all about... Taking the 'everything's included' concept to the next level, offering a host of supersized added extras, ultra-inclusive holidays are the ultimate indulgence. Here's a few of our favourites: Taylor River Lodge, Colorado will put you up in a rustic cabin with an expert guide on hand to help you make the most of your trip by taking part in awesome outdoor activities, from fly fishing in the trout pond to white-water rafting; the remote Rio Palena Lodge, Chile, situated next to its namesake river, invites adventure seekers to discover the best of Patagonia with thrilling pursuits on tap, such as hiking on a dormant volcano and a day's heli-fishing; on our doorstep, JA The Resort in Dubai is luring dedicated foodies for a mouthwatering staycation with a free rein at a whopping 25 dining spots there.

Rio Palena Lodge, Chile

ON OUR RADAR The first aquarium dining experience in Bali, Koral Restaurant, has opened at The Apurva Kempinski Bali, serving up a taste of the Indonesian coast.

Polo fans can head to Saudi Arabia, which is hosting its first ever polo tournament from 16-18 January at AlUla heritage site as part of the Winter at Tantora festival.

Visiting St. Petersburg just got a little easier for nationals of 53 foreign states, including those from Saudi Arabia, thanks to the new eVisa service.

worldtravellermagazine.com 16 worldtravellermagazine.com

The perfect spot for a girls-only holiday, the new Sofie’s floor at Sofitel Dubai Downtown Hotel is dedicated exclusively to female guests.


WORLD TRAVELLER X DCT ABU DHABI

THREE WAYS TO EXPERIENCE ABU DHABI...

Stay a step ahead

Make an energetic start to the new year by checking out these active attractions that'll help you discover the capital from a fresh perspective

1

2

Enjoy one of the UAE’s most beautiful architectural spectacles from the still waters of the Arabian Gulf by taking part in a kayaking tour of Louvre Abu Dhabi. Guides will take you on a serene journey around the landmark as they share the story of the French museum’s launch in the UAE. Tours last one hour and are available for people of all skill levels. For an even more magical experience, book in for one of the full moon tours. Children age six to 12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

3

Nature lovers can take a hike along the new Mangrove Boardwalk opening this month. Built on Jubail Island, and stretching between Yas and Saadiyat islands, it offers a coveted chance to get a feel for 'the lungs of the city', providing a glimpse of the area's rich biodiversity, including its flora and fauna and exotic bird life (think pink flamingoes and herons). You can also set off in a kayak, take the kids to the play area, or simply soak up the scenery from the viewing terraces. Find out more at visitabudhabi.ae

Photo: CLYMB Abu Dhabi

Great for all the family, the newly opened CLYMB Abu Dhabi on Yas Island calls all those with a head for heights. It's home to the world's largest indoor skydiving flight chamber and tallest indoor climbing wall, The Summyt, which reaches 43 metres in height. Test your skills with the help of the expert instructors who are on hand to ensure everyone from first-time flyers (aged three and up) to seasoned climbers have a thrilling time. The aesthetically stunning geometrically designed building is an attraction in itself.

worldtravellermagazine.com 17


GLOBETROTTER

NEW FOR YOU Fresh places to stay

MALDIVES EMERALD MALDIVES RESORT & SPA With its coveted wraparound reef placing you mere footsteps away from exotic fish, turtles and manta rays, this deluxe all-inclusive resort (40-minutes by seaplane from MalĂŠ) will blow the winter cobwebs away with its mix of sun, sea, sand and delicious food.

TUNISIA ANANTARA TOZEUR RESORT Surrounded by the majestic desert, with views of the Chott El Djerid salt flats, this luxury resort on the edge of Tozeur beckons. We rate the Arabian Cultural Village, with its souk and restaurant serving delicacies such as camel steaks cooked on an open fire.

Photography: Katie Wilson

DUBAI ANDAZ DUBAI THE PALM Promising you'll arrive a visitor and depart a local, this Palm Jumeirah hotel (which opened on 15 December) has gone all out to weave local culture into its DNA. Lap up its adults-only Cabana pool area, boutique spa, yoga terrace and five delicious dining spots.

18 worldtravellermagazine.com


GLOBETROTTER ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort and Spa

SELF-CARE HOTSPOTS

JET OFF ON A HEALTH TRIP TAKE A THERAPEUTIC DUNK... IN THE HOT SPRINGS OF JAPAN Famous for its hot springs, Oita Prefecture in Japan is the place to go for a beautifying dunk. ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort and Spa is designed to coax guests into a state of calm, with its own stylish onsen inviting you to soak in the soothing myoban waters while overlooking Beppu Bay. Turn to page 50 to read our feature on winter in Japan. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS... ON A WELLNESS CRUISE IN VIETNAM Heritage Line has launched a threeday wellness and mindfulness focused

voyage on Lan Ha Bay in Vietnam. Board the 10-suite vessel, Ylang, and be pampered in the floating spa inbetween meditation sessions, early morning tai chi sessions on the deck and savouring light Vietnamese dishes. HAVE A HOLISTIC DETOX... IN KOH SAMUI Need a clean sweep? Ease yourself into it on the 12-Day Holistic Detox Package at Absolute Sanctuary, Koh Samui, which incorporates spa treatments and alternative therapies, such as magnesium foot baths and Thai stretch massages, alongside two healthy meals a day.

It seems you can put a price on good health. International wellness tourists spend around US$1,528* per trip 20 worldtravellermagazine.com

Feeling under pressure? The 7-day Stress Management Programme at Spain's SHA Wellness Clinic will restore vitality, health and balance.

Need to break out of a rut? Holistic healer Leela Isani, will take you on a journey of self-healing at Atmantan Wellness Resort in India this month.

Soneva Jani in Maldives currently has a fab line-up of visiting wellness practitioners specialising in ayurveda to help you feel your best.

*Source: The The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) Global Wellness Economy Monitor

WELLBEING BOOSTING BREAKS


worldtravellermagazine.com Your passport to the Middle East's first fully bookable travel inspiration website

Extend your journey with World Traveller magazine by heading online to read more inspirational and exclusive travel content and take advantage of upto-the-minute hotel and holiday features

Dream Read Click Book


KNOW-HOW

The Knowledge HOW TO...

Conquer your fear of flying From the art of deep breathing to snuggling under a weighted blanket – we share some practical and easy tips for getting you on that aeroplane Clammy palms, palpitations, butterflies in the tummy… if the very thought of flying breaks you out in a cold sweat, you’re not alone. One in four UAE residents have a fear of flying, according to a study by British Airways, with concerns around safety and being afraid of the unknown the biggest triggers. While severe aviophobia can be a challenge to overcome, if you have a moderate case of the jitters there are lots of useful tips and tricks to try so you don’t have to miss out on those exotic holidays.

TALK TO AN EXPERT A good first step is to reach out to a professional who can draw upon some tried and tested therapies to help get you airborne. “For a fear of flying, we work on visualisation, reducing anxiety, systematic desensitisation, and exposure therapy,” says Dr Thoraiya Kanafani of the Human Relations Institute and Clinics in Dubai. “The gist of the treatments are based on the cognitive behavioural therapy approach, which posits that by changing the way that we think, we can ultimately change the way we behave. Eventually, the anxiety subsides to a level where it is no longer causing any dysfunction in the person's life or at times, even acknowledged.”

USE FACTS OVER FEAR Many fears can stem from ‘what if?’, so if you are armed with facts and knowledge, these unknowns become greatly diminished. Did you know, for instance, that turbulence is a natural occurrence when flying and, although it can feel scary at times, it's totally normal? British Airways has a one-day course coming up in Dubai on April 17, 2020 led by experienced presenters and BA pilots that explains the 22 worldtravellermagazine.com

technical side of aviation, including all the unusual noises and sensations you experience in an aircraft. Plus, they'll share some relaxation techniques that'll help you take control of your anxiety. (See flyingwithconfidence.com).

GRAB A WEIGHTED BLANKET Studies have shown that a weighted blanket can have a relaxing effect on the body. Hence, getting your hands on a travel-friendly version can help you feel more at ease mid-flight. Popular brands include SensaCalm and ZonLi – you can find them easily online.

breath for a count of seven seconds and then exhale to a count of eight.

GET PLUGGED IN While you’re packing, en-route to the airport, in the sky; tune into the power of music to keep you calm. Researchers at Stanford University say that music is “one of the most widely available and cost effective therapeutic modalities that ever existed” and suggest that "listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication”. Apps like Calm and Spotify have some perfectly curated playlists to help soothe you.

BREATHE SLOWLY AND STEADILY

VISUALISE

Simple breathing exercises can send a signal to the parasympathetic nervous system to calm the body down. Breathing expert Max Strom (maxstrom. com) has some easy videos and courses to try – simply download his Strategic Breathing app. One such suggestion is the 4-7-8 breath technique: empty the lungs of air, breathe in quietly through the nose for four seconds, hold the

Exercises in visualisation and mindfulness can be a powerful distraction from a state of fear. Try visualising yourself stepping off the aircraft into the arms of loved ones, or into a lovely warm climate. There are many apps available to support you with guided exercises, including Headspace, Catch It, Beat Panic, Thrive and the online course, Be Mindful.


HAVE YOU PICKED UP YOUR EDITION OF

DNATA TRAVEL

DEALZ THIS MONTH?

Don’t miss dnata Travel’s top monthly offers

TRENDING DESTINATIONS

STAYCATIONS

INTERNATIONAL

CLOSER TO HOME

PACKAGES

AND GETAWAYS

HOLIDAY

With our 60 years of experience and global partnerships, you’ll be surprised at how far we can take you, for less. Go on an unmissable UAE staycation to a brand new property or a great located resort with plenty of added extras. Experience your dream international holiday, to an exciting, trending destination or on a package designed for all the family — with extras including discounts off of your stay, room upgrades and free kids stays. Whatever your travel style, you’ll find something incredible for you at an amazing price, right here in dnata Travel dealz.

For more information visit dnatatravel.com, call 800 dnata (36282) or visit your nearest dnata Travel outlet Download our app

| Follow us on


A diamond in the rough

Luxe mobile camping

Escape to Anantara’s resort in Salalah and unlock an intriguing mixture of culture and heritage, with a generous helping of outdoor adventure

24 worldtravellermagazine.com


WORLD TRAVELLER X AL BALEED RESORT SALALAH BY ANANTARA One Bedroom Beach View Pool Villa

One Bedroom Garden View Pool Villa The luxurious hammam

S

et on a wild, palm-fringed beach, Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara is an idyllic hideaway that's fast becoming a favourite among intrepid travellers. For a moment, you may even be fooled into thinking you’re lazing on the tropical beaches of southern India as you unwind on the pristine stretch of shoreline. The reality is even better, however, as the verdant southern province of Dhofar is famous for its lush natural attractions, including its fruit plantations, waterfalls and green rolling hills that burst into life during the summer monsoon season. Home to fascinating sites including Al Balid City, which dates to 2000 BCE, and the Museum of the Land of Frankincense, it's also the perfect spot in which to soak up the rich Omani heritage. Indeed, the destination calls adventure-seekers in droves with its awesome landscape that blends the majestic mountains, great expanses of desert and the sparkling blue sea. Guests at Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara can enjoy a bespoke itinerary, which weaves in all those must-have experiences, from camel trekking with

members of the local Mahrah tribe along the ancient frankincense routes, to special interest trips focusing on marine life, astrology, archaeology and more. Hiking in the mountains, which are dotted with cultural and historic sites and brimming with flora and fauna, is unmissable – make your way up for views that will take your breath away. Those who like to be on the water can take part in dolphin and seaturtle watching, enjoy a day’s fishing, or discover the underwater delights with some snorkelling or diving in the area, which is teeming with sea life. Back at the resort, you can stay in hot pursuit of adventure while on a glamorous camping experience. Operated by Oman Expeditions, you can sleep under the stars (albeit with all your creature comforts) in a luxury tent complete with comfortable mattress, cotton sheets, private bathroom, and open-air shower, with finishing touches including Arabesque rugs, candles and oil lamps creating a magical ambience. Your personal chefs will prepare an array of Middle Eastern, North African and Mediterranean dishes using local ingredients for a delectable

dinner under the stars served by the camp fire. During your adventure, you’ll cross paths with local tribesmen and get an up close look at the rich wildlife the country has to offer, as you experience the way of the bedouin. Simply tailor the experience to suit you. If all that adventure has burned through your energy reserves, take some time to rejuvenate at the main resort. Offering elegant rooms and villas (the largest of which sleeps up to six adults and three children), a pampering spa that draws upon age-old Ayurveda techniques and fine dining on tap, you'll receive nothing short of the royal treatment. Feed your appreciation for the place by siting down to a five-star meal at Mekong, which brings together some of the best of Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine. Another favourite is beach bar and lounge Al Mina, offering dishes inspired by Middle Eastern, Spanish, Greek and Italian cuisine, as well as a sizzling beach barbecue that's best enjoyed alfresco.

To find out more, visit www.anantara. com/en/al-baleed-salalah worldtravellermagazine.com 25


The Indian Ocean’s most incredible spas Feeling jaded after the festive season? Head to one of these dreamy spas in the Maldives, Seychelles or Mauritius to thoroughly recharge

Seychelles Le Syel Spa, Four Seasons Resort Seychelles High on a hilltop overlooking Petite Anse Bay on Mahé’s southwestern coast, this nurturing spa is reason enough to check-in for at least a week. There are five open-air treatment rooms, all facing the ocean and with an outdoor bathtub for soaking up the best views and breezes. Treatments such as facials, body scrubs and massages are locally-inspired and performed by expert hands, while the resident yogis and visiting practitioners, from reiki healers to sophrologists, provide top-to-toe rebalancing. Top treatment: Performed by two therapists working in unison, the Four-Handed Elevation is two hours of pure, sleep-inducing bliss.

Raffles Spa, Raffles Seychelles On the north-eastern tip of Praslin, the second-largest island in the Seychelles, this slick spa mixes Biologique Recherche facials with Asian massage and yoga. There are a dozen open-air treatment pavilions where you can admire the views of the sapphire-blue ocean (if you can keep your eyes open long enough, that is). Recline by the outdoor pool in between treatments, and relax in the sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. Top treatment: For the most buttery-soft skin imaginable, try the Traditional Chocolate Scrub – a sweet-smelling concoction of cacao powder, raw sugar and coconut oil.

26 worldtravellermagazine.com


SUITE INCREDIBLE SPOTSSPAS 2019

Le Syel Spa, Four Seasons Resort Seychelles Photo: Ken Seet

worldtravellermagazine.com 27


INCREDIBLE SPAS

Kempinski The Spa, Kempinski Seychelles Resort Baie Lazare Set on a stunning stretch of coastline in southwest Mahé, the Kempinski’s spa menu is inspired by the four seasons. Nestled among swaying palm trees with the air infused by frangipanis, there are six thatch-roof bungalows and a menu of treatments designed to leave you feeling revitalised, relaxed, balanced or energised. Rejuvenate both body and mind with morning yoga on a hilltop overlooking the sea, and afternoon pétanque on the beach. Top treatment: Experience three coconut-infused treatments – an exfoliating body scrub, hair treatment and massage – during the two-hour Island Coco Trio ritual.

U Spa by Constance, Constance Ephelia Where better to unwind than a barefoot-luxe resort on Mahé’s northwestern coast, bookended by beaches with a mangrove forest in the middle? Tucked among tropical gardens, U Spa by Constance is like a mini-village: a dozen traditionalstyle bungalows dotted around a pool, with sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, yoga pavilion and beauty bar. Take your pick of treatments and couples’ rituals that use natural products inspired by local plants, while the soothing soundtrack of birdsong floats in. Top treatment: The no-oil Thai shiatsu massage combines deep kneading and stretching to help ease tense muscles and balance your mind.

AvaniSpa, Avani Barbarons Resort & Spa Ease into the rhythm of island life at this tranquil spa on Mahé’s west coast. Choose from ‘me-time’ treatments or ‘we-time’ couples’ rituals performed by skilled therapists using natural products, including nourishing body treatments, heavenly massages and Ayurvedic therapies. In-between treatments, work on your tan by the plunge pool, or head down to the beach where the resident yoga instructor leads daily sun salutations and guided meditations. Top treatment: Want smooth, plumped-up skin? The Glorious Skin facial reduces fine lines and rehydrates sun-damaged skin. 28 worldtravellermagazine.com


Banyan Tree Spa, Banyan Tree Seychelles Banyan Tree spas are all about traditional techniques (Thai, Balinese, Ayurvedic) and natural ingredients (coconut, honey, cucumber), and this gorgeous hideaway on MahÊ’s south-western coast is no exception. Nimble-fingered therapists will unknot tense muscles so you float out feeling incredibly calm, while yoga and meditation sessions take place in the tropical gardens overlooking the crescentshaped beach, or on the powdery soft sand. Top treatment: The 2.5-hour Royal Banyan ritual begins with a herbal soak, followed by acupressure, herbal compresses and a soothing face massage.

worldtravellermagazine.com 29


INCREDIBLE SPAS

Maldives The Over-Water Spa, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island With three glass-floored treatment rooms set on stilts over the sea, this spectacular spa in the South Ari Atoll offers both ancient therapies and modern treatments. There’s a comprehensive massage menu, including hot stone, four-hand, shiatsu and Thai, as well as a dozen different facials with products from Elemis and cult Swiss brand Valmont. Two-hour colour rituals, meanwhile, are designed to balance your chakras (stressed-out types should opt for energising orange). Top treatment: Enjoy side-by-side pampering during the Maldivian Indigenous couples’ treatment that includes a full-body massage using heated coconut sticks.

Six Senses Spa, Six Senses Laamu

Iaso Medi Spa, Heritance Aarah

Overlooking a talcum-white beach in the remote southern Laamu Atoll, the Six Senses Spa has a zen-inducing vibe. The focus is on natural and holistic treatments, including facials, wraps and gentle full-body pummelling, along with Ayurveda therapies based on your dosha (body type) and soul-nurturing meditation and yoga in the rooftop studio. For targeted transformation, opt for a bespoke wellness programme focusing on sleep, fitness or detoxing. Top treatment: Banish fine lines with the 24k Gold Age-Defying Facial, which uses jasmine and gold leaf to boost collagen production and stimulate cell renewal.

Named after the Greek goddess of recuperation, this overwater spa in the Raa Atoll offers much more than massage. Alongside facials, body scrubs and pedicures, there’s a menu of highly specialised treatments to target pesky problems such as sunspots, sagging necks and frown lines. Need a total reboot? Tailored programmes combine things like vitamin infusions, face peels and PT sessions to help you roll back the years or shift those extra pounds. Top treatment: Tighten and brighten dull and droopy skin with a Non-Surgical Facelift, which uses microcurrents to boost collagen.

Six Senses Laamu

Heavenly Spa, The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort Set on a jetty jutting into the turquoise waters of the Baa Atoll, this aptly-named spa has glass-walled treatment rooms with windows in the floor so you can keep an eye on the marine life below. Choose from anti-ageing facials and muscle-melting massages to paraffin hand treatments and pedicures. After you’ve been thoroughly pampered, head to the light-filled lounge for a cup of herbal tea and yet more blissful views. Top treatment: The 90-minute Maldivian Bliss face and body treatment includes a magnesium-rich bath and dynamic massage for instant results.

30 worldtravellermagazine.com


SUITE SPOTS 2019

Calm Spa & Salon, JA Manafaru Maldives In the northernmost Haa Alif Atoll, JA Manafaru’s fabulous retreat was named Best Luxury Destination Spa at this year’s World Luxury Spa Awards. Pad through lush tropical gardens to the thatched-roof spa surrounded by a lily pond, where all 10 treatment rooms come with private garden and outdoor bathtub. One room is kitted out for Ayurvedic oil treatments and another for Thai massage, while treatments includes facials, massages, scrubs and wraps. Top treatment: The ultraindulgent Seven Day Manafaru Journey includes coconut-oil massages, Elemis facials, aftersun treatments and more.

worldtravellermagazine.com 31


Sun Spa by Esthederm, Movenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives Nestled in the Noonu Atoll, this sublime spa specialises in pre- and post-sun rituals by French skincare brand Esthederm to enhance your golden glow. Treatments take place in jungle suites or overwater pavilions, with skilled therapists to ease away shoulder knots and plump tired skin. Special treatments are available for little ones, while yogis will love the overwater shala where you can practise your poses during sunrise or sunset classes. Top treatment: Let your cares float away during a Sea of Serenity massage, which uses firm, rhythmic strokes inspired by waves.

32 worldtravellermagazine.com


INCREDIBLE SPAS

Spa by JW, JW Marriott Maldives Resort As relaxed as you may be lounging by the pool at this brand new resort in the northern Shaviyani Atoll, you’ll definitely want to check out the brilliant Spa by JW. Against a backdrop of shimmering aquamarine water, treatments range from pampering to deeply restorative – think hydrating facials, warm-oil massages and perfect mani-pedis. Be sure to squeeze in a workout at the overwater gym, or stretch out in the open-air yoga pavilion. Top treatment: Couples can choose between four different treatments during the two-hour Island Touch ritual, including reflexology, body scrub and hot stone massage.

AVI Spa, InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort Meaning ‘sunshine’ in the local language, AVI Spa’s thatched-roof overwater villas offer picture-perfect views of the Raa Atoll’s largest lagoon. When you’re not spotting manta rays, indulge in sweet-smelling organic treatments and mani-pedis by Margaret Dabbs, or try acupuncture and aerial yoga. There are outdoor pools with hydro-massage jets, as well as thermal suites with steam rooms and ice fountains. Top treatment: Bliss out with a soothing aloe vera and lavender body wrap, followed by a scalp massage, during the 60-minute Sun-kissed Skin Cooler.

Away Spa, W Maldives This private island resort in the North Ari Atoll serves up a full menu of massages, facials and more immersive experiences – think chakra balancing and sound bathing – in four luxurious treatment villas on the water. Each one has a spectacular sundeck with soaring white sails, outdoor tub and daybed so you can chill out before and after your treatments. In the main pavilion, you can practise your asanas during group or private yoga classes. Top treatment: The hour-long Crystal Healing Facial includes a jade-stone mask, use of cool rose-quartz crystals and warm herbal poultices to purify the skin. worldtravellermagazine.com 33


Mauritius Chi Spa, Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa

Alongside nine treatment rooms in earthy tones, you can elect to have your treatment by the ocean at Shangri-La’s sleek resort on the east coast. The menu is filled with Asian therapies (Chinese reflexology, Filipino hilot massage, Indian shirodhara) and face and body treatments using luxurious Carita and Decléor products. But as you’re in Mauritius, try a locally-inspired massage performed to the meditative rhythms of traditional sega tipik music. Top treatment: Ayurveda devotees should indulge in an Abhyanga detoxifying massage with long, symmetrical strokes to promote sleep.

34 worldtravellermagazine.com


INCREDIBLE SPAS

Shanti Spa, Shanti Maurice Resort With more than 25 treatment rooms, this south coast idyll is one of the largest spas in Mauritius. Set around a serene lagoon dotted with water lilies and two tea pavilions, the complex contains pavilions for aerial yoga, a Pilates studio, meditation rooms, hammams and two pools. Along with conventional face and body treatments, the spa takes an holistic, mind-body-soul approach to wellness, with a resident Ayurveda doctor on hand to devise customised programmes for each and every guest. Top treatment: Try Watsu, a form of shiatsu massage and movement therapy that takes place in a warm pool.

Lux Me Spa, LUX* Grand Gaube Resort & Villas This impressive spa on the island’s north coast has 10 treatment rooms, sauna and steam rooms, Kérastase hair salon and Essie nail station, plus three pools with varying water temperatures. Tailor-made treatments include anti-ageing facials by Carita, and massage with exclusive oils created by renowned aromatherapist Shirley Page. For targeted results, chat to Burwing, the resident wellness concierge, who provides bespoke programmes and nutritional advice. Top treatment: The fashionably hirsute should go for the signature Wet Shave at Murdock, an outpost of the hip London barbershop.

Iridium Spa, The St. Regis Mauritius Resort Staying at this colonial-style resort on the gorgeous Le Morne Peninsula on the island’s southwest tip is a tonic in itself. The sprawling spa, meanwhile, boasts 12 treatment rooms, sauna and steam rooms, hair and nail salons and a barbershop. Treatments are decadent but results-driven – facial therapies by Swiss brand Valmont, cellulite-busting lymphatic massage and hydrating honey wraps – while daily mindfulness, tai chi and yoga classes add to the relaxed vibe. Top treatment: Start your day right with the Morning Bliss in Paradise, a ylang ylang massage for two in a cabana on the beach, followed by a healthy breakfast.

Words by: Lara Brunt

U Spa by Constance, Constance Prince Maurice This serene spa on the northeast coast features seven treatment rooms centred around a palm-shaded courtyard with a thermal pool, along with a sauna, steam room and plunge pool. Gentle therapists deliver hydrating facials and toning body treatments by French spa brand Sisley, while honeymooning couples enjoy Balinese massages in the openair pavilion by the beach. Kids aren’t forgotten either, with junior treatments and animal yoga classes. Top treatment: Treat your feet to a medical-grade pedicure designed by celebrity podiatrist Brice Nicham, whose A-list fans include Nicole Kidman and Eva Longoria. worldtravellermagazine.com 35


XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Postcards Stories from journeys far and wide

NEW YORK p38 SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE p44 JAPAN p50

worldtravellermagazine.com 37


XXXXXXXXXXXXX

38 worldtravellermagazine.com


NEW YORK

From soaring landmarks to awe-inspiring art, luxury shopping and dishes with star quality – Faye Bartle discovers how to put a fresh spin on a timeless classic by mixing the old with the new in the city that never sleeps

Opposite: Interior view of The Vessel, courtesy Of Tim Schenck This page: Nordstrom NYC. Photo: Connie Zhou

worldtravellermagazine.com 39


W

ith its bold blue swirls blending the hills into the sky and dashes of brilliant yellow and white punctuating the darkness, Van Gogh’s Starry Night has a hypnotising quality. Firmly under its spell, some polite jostling allowed me to make my way to the front of the hushed crowd that had gathered to behold its haunting beauty until I was planted firmly on the viewing line. Smaller than I imagined it would be, but mighty nonetheless, I dared to lean a little further towards it, earning an impressive dose of side-eye from the security guard. Painted in 1889 during the artist’s stay at the asylum of Saint-Paulde-Mausole near Saint-Rémy-deProvence, the movement in the masterpiece is infectious. Stifling my urge to reach out and touch it, I took one last mental snapshot for the memory bank before giving way to the next patient row of onlookers. There was plenty more to see inside New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Having recently re-opened after a massive renovation, which has brought expanded galleries and brand new spaces dedicated to live performances, art creation and sparking conversation, this muchloved institution is buzzing with people seeking a fresh perspective on the Big Apple’s quintessential art experience.

40 worldtravellermagazine.com

YOU CAN SEE ROTHKO’S BEST TEARJERKERS, DALÍ’S MELTING CLOCKS AND EVEN MONET’S MURAL-SIZED WATER LILIES TRIPTYCH

Yes, you can see Rothko’s best tearjerkers, Dalí’s melting clocks and even Monet’s dreamy mural-sized Water Lilies triptych. But you can also now view emerging works in the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio (the new space for live and experimental programming) which, when I visited, was home to a curious immersive installation by electronic music maestro David Tudor. As I strolled around the room, turning my ears towards the sounds resonating from the everyday objects suspended in the air (the vintage computer hard disc was my favourite instrument) I found myself craving an altogether different soundtrack – that of New York itself. The whoosh of a subway train speeding past, the incessant honking of taxi horns, a flurry of shoes clickclacking along the sidewalks, sirens


NEW YORK

These pages, clockwise from this image: Statue of Liberty Museum Engagement Gallery, courtesy of National Park Service; Presidential Suite by Roche Bobois at The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue; installation view of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies (Gallery 515) The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2019 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Kurt Heumiller

wailing and street vendors enticing you to buy their pretzels and hot dogs in their thick New York drawl… the city’s energetic score may seem mundane to some but, to me, is absolutely thrilling. Formerly a dedicated London rat, a decade in Dubai had me missing the sounds of the streets. And although the winter weather was decidedly fresh – I’d forgotten what it felt like to be slapped in the face by a sub-zero gale – I was determined to spend the majority of my time exploring on foot. Gloves and woolly hat on, a walk in Central Park was non-negotiable. The last time I had visited, in 2004, there was snow on the ground. On this brisk November morning, however, as skaters glided across the ice rink, the leaves falling from the trees were still heart-warming shades of brown, red and orange. “Hey, where you from?” shouted a stranger wrapped up like the Michelin Man. “Dubai,” I offered back. “I’ve heard it’s a very nice country,” he retorted. I could have explained, but instead I simply smiled and continued on my city hike. Anyway, I had a lunch date at Marea, the famous Italian on the edge of the park, where you can often spot off-duty A-listers (Sarah Jessica Parker – her shoe boutique is just a hop and a skip away – Jay-Z and Beyoncé and even Barack and Michelle Obama have reportedly eaten there). It’s certainly the place to see and be seen. We craned our necks while sipping our bubbly but alas, the restaurant’s two Michelin stars would have to be enough to dazzle us today – and that they did. My oysters were plump and delicious, and the striped bass with clams was rich in flavour yet light enough for a middle of the day indulgence. Experiencing New York’s vibrant dining scene while actively trying to avoid falling into a food coma was proving quite the challenge, however. I savoured a divinely rich homemade short rib and boschetto cheese ravioli at yet another Italian great, Ai Fiori [The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue], tasted zingy gazpacho before splitting a humongous lip-smacking black Angus steak at Leña in Mercado Little Spain [10 Hudson Yards], and enjoyed a taste of home at Ilili restaurant worldtravellermagazine.com 41


NEW YORK

[236 5th Avenue], which serves Lebanese Mediterranean food with a twist, such as lamb chops seared with zaatar salsa verde and homemade semolina gnocchi, as well as all your mezze favourites. Everything I tasted was beyond delicious. Even the steaming cup of hot chocolate I sipped to warm my bones on the ferry to Liberty Island was extraordinarily good. I was heading there for a slice of American history courtesy of the new Statue of Liberty Museum, which opened in May last year – the most significant addition since the monument herself was launched in 1886. Home to three immersive and engaging gallery spaces, it tells the story of Lady Liberty, where she came from, how she was built and what she stands for culminating in an up-close view of the original torch, which was held high for nearly 100 years until it was replaced in 1986. You can practically feel the power surging though it. And while you can’t visit the monument's real torch today (it has been closed since the Black Tom explosion in 1916), you can climb all the way up to the crown. I was saving my legs for scaling the Empire State Building, however, which was just around the block from my hotel; The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue. I joined the sunset rush, zooming up in the lift and then climbing the last few flights to the open-air 86th Floor Observation Deck in order to get there before the sun dipped below the horizon. The view was just as magical as I had hoped for, with everything from Times Square to the Brooklyn Bridge, to feast my eyes on, it’s still one of the most romantic ways to get an overview of the city. Another elevated experience that won a place in my heart was walking The High Line. This public park built on a historic freight rail line above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side is dotted with public art, beautiful gardens and more, delivering surprises at every twist and turn. Peering out from underneath my umbrella, I spotted Robert Indiana's Love sculptures, canoodling couples and bold political statements as window dressings in the apartments that line the track. I came back down to ground level at Hudson Yards, yet only with a view to 42 worldtravellermagazine.com

scaling yet another new attraction: The Vessel, which opened in March 2019. The honeycomb-like structure, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, is comprised of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs, challenging you with almost 2,500 steps to take to reach the top. Gritty views of the city, the river and beyond are your reward. With my trip drawing to a close, I was keen to see what New York had to offer on the shopping front that was different to what I could find back at home. It’s unusual for anything massive to open in Manhattan, which is what makes the flagship Nordstrom, which opened in October 2019 at 57th & Broadway, particularly noteworthy. A behemoth spread over seven floors, it’s one of the first new stores of its size to open on the island since the 1920s. It’s home to a number of exclusives worth splashing your dollars on, including the Nordstrom x Nike trainer boutique (it's where I found the Air Force 1 Metallic Sneakers of my dreams). You can put your own stamp on anything you buy, with tailoring or monogramming, thanks to the in-store Personalization Studio. The beauty floor is dangerously good, with clever solutions for busy New Yorkers, including the FaceGym where you can give your face a workout with moves designed to lift, sculpt tone and tighten, and the Drybar that turns a messy mane into a head of glorious locks without a drop of water in sight. This page: The Statue of Liberty stands proud Opposite: A snapshot of The High Line

PEERING OUT FROM UNDERNEATH MY UMBRELLA, I SPOTTED ROBERT INDIANA'S LOVE SCULPTURES ON THE HIGH LINE

Perhaps it was because my room at The Langham was like a little apartment (indeed, a large apartment by New York standards), my unfettered view of the Chrysler Building from my supersized tub, and being swept away in a whirlwind of room service and butter-soft bedding. Or perhaps it was the fact that I didn't suffer an ounce of jet lag thanks to being horizontal for practically the entire flight thanks to Saudia’s Business Class beds, but I'd taken to New York like a mandarin duck to Central Park pond. And while I’d packed a lot into my five-day stay, I learned that even if you're a seasoned visitor, there are always new ways to discover the city that never sleeps. We flew with Saudia and stayed at The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call 800 DNATA or visit dnatatravel.com


XXXXXXXXXXXXX

worldtravellermagazine.com 43


Coconut palms sway along the shore in Porto Alegre

Into the

Unknown Soft-sand beaches, zingy African flavours – and yet the delicious little islands of São Tomé and Príncipe are still almost empty. Fill your boots, says Stanley Stewart

44 worldtravellermagazine.com


SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE

ometime past midnight, with little but starlight to guide us, we crept along the sands of Praia Grande in search of a miracle. ‘We have several every night,’ our guide was saying. ‘Many have come thousands of kilometres to get to this beach, some from the other side of the Atlantic.’ Somewhere behind the line of waves we found a green turtle. She had created a nest by digging a hollow in the sand and laid a cache of eggs like a collection of white marbles. Now she was trying to hide them, her back flippers slowly flicking sand. She seemed exhausted, and must have felt clumsy and heavy on this beach. She worked in fits and starts, pausing after each exertion to catch her breath, until the eggs began to disappear. The guide located a tracking tag and checked the details. She was over 100 years old, born when men were still dying in the trenches of the First World War. The long peregrinations, the return to their place of birth, the danger, the courage… The whole sea-turtle story was what had brought me here. It appealed to my romantic instincts. For millions of years, they were the chief visitors to São Tomé and Príncipe, two small islands roughly 150km apart, lying in the Gulf of Guinea, 320km off the coast of West Africa. The lush, verdant islands were a terrestrial paradise – an Eden without Adam and Eve to mess things up. No one lived here until colonialisation

began in 1470, when the islands became an outpost of that creakiest of enterprises, the Portuguese empire – powered by the sweat of slaves imported from the African mainland. They may be two small outcrops in the mid-Atlantic that few people have heard of – yet, sure enough, with their gorgeous natural assets, São Tomé and Príncipe have begun attracting barefoot-in-thesand paradise-seekers in recent times, the kind of escapees who’ve fallen for Thailand and Goa in the past, but now fancy a couple of weeks of tropical R&R untainted by burger bars, nightclubs and suave-mixologist-dominated hangouts. And all without stinting on stylish, comfy, world-class places to rest their heads. São Tomé and Príncipe have beaches that would impress a Brazilian; dance steps (the kizomba, the tarrachinha) that would make a Cuban blush; vegetation more riotous than the Amazon’s; the world’s best chocolate; and a fascinating bird – sadly only seen by a handful of people and known by locals as a goo-goo, which apparently eats eggs and poos gold. Oh, and did I mention the sprinkling of elegant boutique-y hideaways? In São Tomé they say ‘Léve-léve’ – literally ‘Softly-softly’, in the sense of ‘Take it easy’. It makes sense. Disembarking in São Tomé, I was soon immersed in a leisurely swirl of life: mothers carried 50kg of bananas on their heads and babies on their backs, ‘commuters’ pushed bicycles uphill with fish hanging from the crossbar. Dogs slept in the middle of the road. Goats jaywalked. But this stopover was merely a taster – it was Príncipe that delivered me to heaven. All it took was a half-hour onward worldtravellermagazine.com 45


SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE

flight by propeller plane. In Príncipe they say ‘Móli-móli’ – advice for people who find ‘Léve-léve’ just that little bit too rushed. Unsurprisingly, I was soon drowsing in a haven of hammocks and tropical plants, empty beaches and islanders living in rural tranquillity. I checked in at Roça Sundy, an old plantation house reworked as a boutique hotel of high-ceilinged rooms, fourposter beds and polished floorboards, where I slipped effortlessly into a less brutal version of the colonial lifestyle. By the first evening I had established something of a routine: sipping rum Daiquiris on the terrace and dining alone in candlelit splendour, as if I were a hill-station planter. Roças, as these plantation houses are known, fell into disrepair after 1975, when the Portuguese realised their empire was well past its sell-by date, and packed up and left, taking everything moveable, including all the country’s currency. Today, across the northern half of the island, the properties stand largely as overgrown monuments, riddled with dry rot and ghosts. But there are impressive restorations, such as Roça Sundy, a ruin saved and made beautiful by a wealthy South African, Mark Shuttleworth, who spent a week aboard the International Space Station in 2002. On Príncipe they call him the Man on the Moon. For me, Sundy’s seductions went far beyond the Daiquiris. Parts of the roça are still inhabited by Príncipean families, and the terreiro – the long central grassy courtyard around which the old plantation buildings were set – was as lively as an Italian piazza in the hour of the passeggiata. For a couple of days I was content to do nothing more than watch children chase footballs, twirl skipping ropes and scatter chickens. Toddlers clambered over a defunct steam engine. While men idled on benches, women bathed children, carried firewood, fetched water, cooked lunch, weeded gardens, planted corn and generally kept the world turning. Before long I fell in with Manu, a warm and energetic sexagenarian, who farmed pineapples on the slopes beneath his house. His wife brought us coffee and a plate of finger bananas. He grew expansive about the old days under the Portuguese, veering between praise for the economic 46 worldtravellermagazine.com

I PICNICKED ON EMPTY BEACHES. I TOOK MINI VOYAGES TO REMOTE PENINSULAS JUST TO LAZE AND LISTEN TO BIRDSONG activity, the enterprise of the roças as well as the oppression of the colonial system. He was soon on his feet, telling stories full of theatrical flourish. He was entertaining, certainly, but the tales he told contained genuine trauma. He was exorcising ghosts. Reducing the stories to anecdotes was his way of coping with a painful past. His wife returned with a plate of pineapple slices. ‘We must live for today,’ he exclaimed, throwing his hands up. ‘We have the sun, the sea, this beautiful island.’ He leant forward conspiratorially: ‘And I have the best pineapples on Príncipe.’ He was right, although I suspect his wife was responsible for them. As móli-móli as I could, on Sunday morning I set off to explore, following red-earth roads through exuberant jungle. I went to church in the toy-town capital, Santo António, and found myself in a swaying chorus line of heavenly backing singers as dogs wandered in to have a snooze beneath the high altar. At Praia Abade it was the villagers who were snoozing in hammocks, while the children, glossy as seals, somersaulted into the waves. One man woke to say hello. Luis was an émigré from São Tomé. He stretched his arms to encompass

the long beach with the fishing boats drawn up, the leaning palm trees and the wide, blue bay. ‘You know why I stay?’ he asked. ‘Because time stands still here.’ To say tourism is in its infancy is an understatement. In a week I saw only 20 other visitors. I picnicked on empty beaches. I took mini voyages to remote peninsulas just to laze and listen to birdsong. I was usually delivered to shore by Luis, who turned out to be just one of a bunch of beautiful characters happy to be earning a living helping visitors. There was João the driver, Miguel, the maitre d’, Alexander, the ubiquitous barman. And then there was lovely Leandro… I found Leandro one afternoon having ventured out to Roça Paciência, a plantation abandoned decades ago. In one of its empty storerooms he was weaving basket lampshades for the resorts, his bony hands looping the reed in and out of the struts. From time to time, he took a break to smoke his way through the dictionary. ‘Do you know we are at the centre of the world?’ he asked, tearing another page from his old book to roll a cigarette. Through the doorway I could see glamorous birds with long, silky tails swooping across


Opposite: Red sky at night at Porto Alegre This page, clockwise from top: A vibrant parrotfish pauses by the coral reef; a fishing canoe rests at Lagoa Azul; juicy pineapples grow on the island

worldtravellermagazine.com 47


48 worldtravellermagazine.com

TO SAY TOURISM IS IN ITS INFANCY IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT. IN A WEEK I SAW ONLY 20 OTHER VISITORS

the sea turtles, swimming earnestly towards their birthplaces, their little startled faces gazing up at me through shafts of refracted light. On these islands, turtles are creatures of legend and myth. They are seen as heroic, symbols of loyalty and determination. On Príncipe people speak of someone with courage as having the heart of a turtle. On that beach at Praia Grande, just after midnight, the heroism was evident. Having covered her eggs, my green turtle began the trek back to the ocean. It wasn’t that far unless you were an exhausted 110kg turtle trying to walk on flippers after a 1,500km swim having just produced 100 eggs. It took her half an hour, levering herself forward a pace at a time, pausing

to recoup her strength. I spent a couple of hours at Praia Grande with a guide from Marapa, a marine-conservation charity protecting the nesting sites. Half a dozen turtles were laying their eggs that night, after making the epic trip up the beach. The largest was a leatherback probably two metres across. Its offspring, hatching weeks later, would need that turtle heart. Not many would even make it to the ocean; fewer than 1% would live to maturity. But those that did would eventually return to this same beach on São Tomé and Príncipe: paradise found – for all discerning travellers. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call 800 DNATA or visit dnatatravel.com

Credit: The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/News Licensing

the old plantation lawns. The sound of the Atlantic pounding on the pristine beach drifted our way through the trees. ‘People say we are far away, that this is a remote place,’ he told me as we talked. ‘But this island is the closest land to where the equator meets zero degrees longitude. This is the centre. It is everyone else who is far away.’ The old plantations occupy the northern half of Príncipe. The southern half (the whole island is barely 30km long) is virgin forest. To islanders it is as remote as Outer Mongolia. To me, it felt like a lost world halfway between Tolkien’s Middle Earth and Gauguin’s South Sea paradise. Volcanic towers – spectacular basalt phonolites – thrust their way through the jungle canopy, rising hundreds of metres above the treetops. Flat-topped mesas and mountains dominate the skyline. I took a boat to this outback, flying fish darting beneath the bows, and went ashore to trek along jungle trails, keeping an eye out for the elusive goo-goo. The astonishing birdlife (there are 28 species on Príncipe) was as tame as in the Galápagos, lending a strange, dreamlike quality. A kingfisher perched a mere metre away, cocking its head to get a good look at me. Finches gathered about me, settling on nearby branches. A golden weaver alighted near my elbow, a piece of grass in its beak, ready to slot into its nest. I donned a mask and snorkel and the dream continued. With warm currents and excellent visibility, Príncipe’s seas are as pristine and as little explored as the land. An expedition here in 2006 discovered 60 new fish, including 10 from completely unknown species. I gazed down at nurse sharks 2.5 metres long, hovering over beds of sea grass in aqueous light. I watched silvery barracuda, stationary with the merest flick of their tails. Beyond a reef of pale rock, I spotted a spectacular Atlantic sailfish, its huge dorsal fin hoisted to the currents. With a turn of my head, I saw colourful parrotfish grazing on algae, bloated pufferfish comically struggling to keep themselves upright in the wash above the reefs, and shoals of yellowtail sardinella, wheeling this way and that like well-drilled regiments. And finally, in Mosteiros Bay, I found


This page: Soft, SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE

Credit: Andrew Eames/The Sunday Times Travel Magazine / News Licensing

colourful corals around Lizard Island

Opposite: A harvest of cocoa pods This page: An aerial view of a paradisiacal beach cove

worldtravellermagazine.com 49


Snow falls on the gassho-zukuri farmhouses in the historic village of Ogimachi in Shirakawa-gĹ?

50 worldtravellermagazine.com


JAPAN

Winter in Japan can be harsh, but, thanks to the country’s heated onsen baths, piping hot noodle bowls and intimate restaurants, the freeze also offers the ultimate chance to get cosy. Alicia Miller wraps up and explores the snowy spectacle

can no longer feel my toes. That’s all I can think, crunching down the narrow, icy path, past tall pine trees, needles laden with snow, along perilous, frigid cliffs. Suddenly – finally – I reach my destination: Jigokudani, or Hell’s Valley. The name suits. Amid the dunes of fresh white that carpet this frozen forest, hot streams ripple, glassy pools shift and scorching waters lap smooth boulders clean. I’ve reached an onsen, a Japanese hot spring. It’s miles from anywhere – and yet far from secret. Before me, bodies teem. They slip in and out of the waters, stroking and fluffing hair, rubbing pink faces. The light is fading, I’m numb from head to toe and nothing would be nicer than joining them in the steaming pools. But it wouldn’t be right, bathing in this onsen. Because I’m not a snow monkey. Snow monkeys are an only-in-Japan sight. Or, more specifically, an only-inJapan winter sight. Officially known as

Japanese macaques, they’re so-nicknamed because when powder blankets the ground, they descend in droves from their remote mountain habitats for thawing dips in hot springs, famously at Jigokudani, a dedicated conservation park outside Nagano. If you’re lucky, you might spot a handful in spring or autumn, but they really come into their own when the weather turns frosty. As do belly-warming bowls of ramen noodle soup, pretty Alpine towns and, of course, onsen itself. Most travellers flock to Japan for spring cherry blossom, or in sultry summer, or to see autumn leaves turn – but they don’t know what they’re missing. December to March is the quietest and cheapest time to visit, but winter here has so much more to offer besides. This is when the thick clouds that cloak Mount Fuji finally melt away, revealing its cinematic snowcap against a crisp blue sky. It’s when Tokyoites huddle in squeezy, smoky bars, stamping their feet and slurping rich oden fish stews to shake off damp evenings. And it’s when,

high in the craggy peaks of the Japanese Alps, a few hours northwest from the capital, and also in Hokkaido, Japan’s northern most island, blankets of thick, powdery snow bring everything to silence and stillness. Under the veil of white, landscapes achieve postcard-perfection – like real-life Hokusai prints – and it’s as if nothing has changed here for centuries. In the most picturesque, snowy parts it’s icy – minus points on the mercury, maybe in double digits – but no matter: the Japanese know how to handle a freeze. More than that: in the most frigid of its regions, they actually appreciate the chill – knowing that without cold, there’s no such thing as cosy. The air was crisp when I touched down in the Japanese capital two days before meeting those monkeys. I was a Tokyo veteran and fell into its frenetic, neon embrace as one falls into the arms of an old friend. It was rainy and 48 hours was just enough to get my fix, visiting the parts I’d loved as a resident: the worldtravellermagazine.com 51


JAPAN

crushing intersection at Shibuya and the soaring Tokyo Skytree tower. It was just as well, as that time was all I had – after all, I wasn’t here for drizzle, but for a taste of the real Japanese winter. My journey northwest traversed a dramatic shift in climate. The bullet train rolled out of Tokyo Station 7.52am precisely, under a grey haze, and sped through boxy suburbs that melted into open, flurry-brushed fields. Tokyo had been heavy-sweater weather; when I stepped out to change to a bus at Nagano an hour and a half later, snowflakes were dancing in the air. By the time I hit Jigokudani in early afternoon, I had ascended more than 800 metres and the ground was covered in white drifts. Comic-book icicles clung to stout old homes by the park-entrance gate. It was a half-hour trudge along that slippery, alabaster path to the monkeys. It was cold, but I felt a warm glow the moment I saw those adorable, fluffy critters dart excitedly into their onsen baths. Onsen, if you didn’t know, is actually a Japanese ritual for humans. Foreigners can get nervous about the complex

52 worldtravellermagazine.com

ON MY LAST DAY, I SPENT THE AFTERNOON IN THE PARK. NOT WANDERING, BUT CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

etiquette – and the awkward nudity (hot springs are entered strictly in the buff, men and women segregated). But try an alfresco dip in winter and you’ll be forever converted: frosty air cooling your neck, coddling, mineral-rich water soothing your limbs – the chance to savour nature’s stimulating contrasts at their best. Stepping into the warm outdoor hot spring at Hotakaso Sangetsu ryokan was like getting a big hug. A bus had whisked me here along icing-sugar roads from Nagano to remote Hirayu Onsen town, from which a silent taxi driver ferried me up into the hills. Once in the still, steam-

cloaked waters, with no other company but a couple of whispering, wrinkly old ladies, I knew the journey had been worth it. Beyond my rock-studded pool was a panorama of trees and a crinkle of whitecapped mountain ranges: the Japanese Alps. These folds of icy rock, a seam 200km long and higher than 3,000 metres in places, hold many treasures. When I finally emerged from the onsen, pink as a peach, I pulled on my yukata robe and slippers and made for my tatami-mat-lined bedroom. Before long, a knock at my door revealed a smiling woman with a heaving tray. I ushered her in, where she laid an elaborate private banquet on a low table: sashimi platters; pickles; marbled red beef for a DIY hotpot; a flame-licked vessel of slow-cooking mushroom rice. Settling onto a cushion on the tatami mat floor, I surveyed the feast before me, letting her carefully explain each dish (in mime – her English wasn’t great, my Japanese worse). Then she bowed and shuffled out the door, leaving me to devour my gourmet meal in serenity (and, even better, still in the comfort of my robe).


Opposite: Large snowflakes fall in busy Shibuya This page: A mother snow monkey cuddles her baby

worldtravellermagazine.com 53


JAPAN

MOST TRAVELLERS FLOCK TO JAPAN FOR SPRING CHERRY BLOSSOM, OR TO SEE AUTUMN LEAVES TURN – BUT THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE MISSING

54 worldtravellermagazine.com

lit alleyway lined with tiny ramen shops, filled with laughing students lapping up miso-rich bowlfuls. I longed to enter a shop’s warming embrace, but held firm: on a tip from a Japanese friend, I was out for jingisukan – a DIY Mongolian BBQ, the city’s speciality. I found the restaurant – and the queue. It was below freezing outside and yet a row of brave faithfuls stood undeterred snaking down an icicle-lined alleyway outside cult-favourite Daruma. I joined them and minutes ticked by; gradually, I lost feeling in my limbs, from the ground up. But when the door finally opened on my turn, an hour later, I was rewarded for my persistence. Perched on stools around an oval wooden counter, chattering couples sipped drinks, while grilling marbled lamb on domed hotplates, fired by glowing charcoal. I squeezed in and ordered a cockle-warming feast, with a flourish of fluffy rice, kimchi and a sesame-garlic dipping sauce. As I griddled my hunks of lamb, fat dripped gorgeously down the grill to soften golden onions. By now, I’d forgotten all about the cold outside. Sapporo and its charms unveil themselves slowly, like a gradual spring thaw. You can spend a day out at frozen lake Shikotsu, enjoying its illuminated winter display; another soaking at a geyser-studded onsen in Noboribetsu town, a train ride away; yet another watching rare red-crowned cranes dance across fields of ice. Or simply keep to the city centre, walking through the fish market, stocked with lithe, prickly crabs; it’s a treat to dine on the sweet, perfectly in-season meat in any no-frills restaurant. Japanese tourists flock to the city in early February. Some ogle the towering ski jump, a remnant of the 1972 Olympics; most sip frothy brews at the rambling Sapporo brewery. But all are here to watch artists from around the world chisel vast ice sculptures, competing

for glory in the annual, city-wide Snow Festival, the biggest and busiest event of the year. On my trip, it hadn’t officially started yet, but even the largest of scaffolds couldn’t hide the elaborate masterpieces taking shape in Sapporo’s central Odori strip. Elaborate lifesized temples, enormous carvings of horse-racers and panoramas of J-pop stars all rose proud in the icy mix. On my last day, I spent the afternoon in the park. Not wandering, as I might in spring or autumn – but cross-country skiing, past silvery larch trees, over gentle, hilly drifts. This being snow country, one can hire skis, sleds or even show-shoes at Moerenuma Park for three hours. I didn’t last quite that long: two hours in, my face was whipped by wind and my toes were unresponsive in my boots. After a couple of slippery falls, I felt the chilliest I’d been yet and needed to get out of the frosty air, fast. So, as dusk washed over the city, I hopped in a cab back to vibrant, raucous Suskino and took the lift up to the second-floor Nikka Bar, overlooking a humming traffic intersection. Cloaked in dark polished woods and rich leathers, the bar’s walls were lined with glimmering bottles. Socialising salarymen were cloistered in corners. I thumbed through the menu, before a suited barman poured my drink of choice as if it was liquid gold. Out the window, in the streets below, bundled-up commuters darted between tumbling snowflakes. Settling into my squishy chair, I felt my cheeks warming and my limbs thawing. Then, my drink appeared before me and I raised the glass to my lips, taking a long, slow sip. Rolling it across my tongue, I savoured its sharp heat – and the frosty hit of ice. Shiveringly good: the very essence of winter Japan. Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call 800 DNATA or visit dnatatravel.com

Credit: Alicia Miller/The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/News Licensing

While Japan nails the whole cosy-winterhibernation thing, I didn’t want to spend my entire trip holed up. I filled the following days exploring the Alps: Takayama, one of country’s prettiest towns, its creaky wooden buildings housing atmospheric teahouses and fragrant saké breweries; Ogimachi, peppered with ancient gassho-zukuri farmhouses – pointy, snow-strong structures that look transplanted from Switzerland. Then Matsumoto, with its grand old castle and artisan soba noodle shops. The time flew by in a flurry of snowflakes and soon it was time to make for Hokkaido, Japan’s northerly isle, a 90-minute flight away. I hoped it would be the perfect wintry (snowcapped) peak to my trip. If I thought it was cold in Jigokudani, I hadn’t felt anything yet. Stepping out into the city centre in Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital, I faced a new level of freeze – piercing, breath-snatching. Under a startling blue sky, long, straight boulevards radiated out from the central station, empty. Below ground, however, was a hive of activity: a web of interconnecting sub-surface walkways ferried scarf-wrapped workers and hooded shoppers across the city centre. They’d pop up from this underground city when they reached their desired stop, like dolphins breaching for air, and dart across windswept intersections into towering silver office blocks. Hardened to the chill, these locals may grit their teeth on the most blistering of days, but they rarely complain. If Tokyoites are like Londoners, whingeing over a light chill and shaking umbrellas through winter, Sapporo’s residents are stoic Scandinavians – brave in the face of this vast, great iciness. That evening, I wandered south from my hotel along the gritted streets to Suskino, Sapporo’s nightlife district. Tummy rumbling, I shivered past warren-like izakaya pubs and a lantern-


This page: Soft, colourful corals around Lizard Island

Clockwise from above left: The icy path to hot spring haven Hell's Valley; a swan spreads its wings in front of Mount Fuji; Kyoto's historic Higashiyama district gets a dusting; a steaming bowl of ramen

worldtravellermagazine.com 55


long weekend the

56 worldtravellermagazine.com

This page: Sunlight penetrates a labyrinthine souk in Marrakech Opposite: Aromatic spices for sale; Royal Mansour Marrakech

Marrakech Offering a heady blend of culture and beauty, Marrakech is luring the in-crowd to its charming riads, bustling bazaars and must-see art attractions


THE LONG WEEKEND

Founded almost 1,000 years ago, Marrakech is one of the great cities of the Maghreb. Known as the Red City thanks to its red clay buildings that swarm the medina, it is easily one of the most beautiful and fascinating spots in Morocco. A place where Europe, Africa and the Middle East mingle and merge, this popular trading hub marries the past and present with an energy that can sometimes feel intimidating, but plan it right and you’re sure to have the trip of a lifetime. Home to atmospheric souks and some of the most impressive architecture (both old and new) that you’ll find anywhere in the world, nowadays this intoxicating city is prized as much for its trendy art galleries, hip hotels and fine-dining restaurants as it is for its bazaars and hidden palaces. It’s to the famous medina that most visitors gravitate, where your senses will be overwhelmed with music, the call to prayer and elaborate feasts. Dark alleyways are brimming with artisan workshops and sprawling markets in which you can wander for hours. Offering a tantalising taste of Africa within easy reach, get set to fall in love with Marrakech…

... and restful riads

Revel in a touch of glamour at these stand-out abodes If you’re seeking opulence, you've come to the right place. Home to 53 luxury riads, spread across a medina filled with alleyways and secret doors, Royal Mansour Marrakech provides a rich introduction to Moroccan culture. Be sure to dine at the new Sesamo Italian restaurant by the three-Michelin-Star chef Massimiliano Alajmo. One of the most spectacular residences in the city, the Mandarin

Oriental, Marrakech is situated just 20 minutes from the city’s main square of Jemaa el-Fnaa, and with its stunning terracotta buildings nestled among palm, orange and olive trees, it’s the perfect mix of splendour and tradition. Once home to royalty, La Mamounia has been a preferred choice among A-listers through the decades and has hosted a glittering array of VIPs in its 210 rooms. Set in

lavish gardens and styled with handcrafted Moorish opulence, this is the place to see and be seen. Those craving a cooler, more contemporary vibe should check out Radisson Blu Hotel, Marrakech Carré Eden, which called upon a chic and savvy Casablanca design studio to craft its laid-back, mid-century style. With a coveted address in Guéliz, the city’s hippest bars and restaurants are just a stone’s throw away.

Charming, calming and every interior designer’s dream, Marrakech’s many riads offer welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. A quiet oasis situated in the heart of the medina, LE RIAD YASMINE has an idyllic pool, which gets a lot of attention, but sipping a traditional Moroccan mint tea in the lounge is equally dreamy. One of Marrakech’s first boutique riads, EL FENN, which is owned by Vanessa Branson (sister to Richard), is a maze of interconnected riads that take up an acre of the medina. First launched to showcase Vanessa’s impressive art collection, the display is constantly re-curated so no two visits are ever the same. Over 200 years old, RIAD TCHAIKANA offers stunning views of the Atlas Mountains. With just five bedrooms, it gets booked up fast, so make sure you plan in advance. worldtravellermagazine.com 57


Wander the souks

With their bustling atmosphere and thrilling bargains proving an assault on the senses, the souks of Marrakech are a highlight for any visitor. There’s always someone ready to greet you at these open-air venues, where artisans have been toiling over their creations for centuries. Traditional woven carpets, aromatic spices, colourful lanterns and pottery stalls can be found in abundance – tagine pots, serving plates and soup bowls come in all sizes, while jewelled glassware and ornate tea pots make a pretty addition to any dining room back home.

Originally dedicated to leatherwork, Souq Semmarine and Souq el-Kebir are the most popular street markets in the city, and today sell practically anything you can think of. Prices here may be higher than in other bazaars, however, so if you're willing to travel a little bit further north to where the specialist quissariat (covered markets) are located, you may be able to find similar products for less. 58 worldtravellermagazine.com

HAUTE CUISINE On top of its famous street food scene, the city has made some serious strides into fine dining Le Petit Cornichon Owned by Erwann Lance, who has several Michelinstarred restaurants in Paris and New York, Le Petit Cornichon is stylish, contemporary and colourful, so it’s no surprise that the style set gather here. Tuck into dishes such as sea bass ceviche with grapefruit and pink peppercorns of tarragon chicken. lepetitcornichon.ma

+61 Bringing a taste of Australia to Morocco, chef Andrew Cibej aims to capture the laid-back culture of the country with a modern twist, by way of delicious dishes designed to share. Favourites include homemade ricotta with roasted red peppers, balsamic-glazed lamb ribs and chargrilled sirloin sandwiches. plus61.com

Le Crystal Located in the Pacha complex, which is also home to the famous Ibiza nightclub of the same name, those seeking a touch of glamour should definitely pay Le Crystal a visit. A Moroccan Italian menu comprises the likes of shrimp risotto, garlic parmesan gnocci and foie gras ravioli that are definitely worth the price tag. pachamarrakech.com

LOCAL DELICACIES Craving a taste of authentic Moroccan cuisine? Marrakech is sure to awaken the senses through traditional flavours influenced by Spain, Arabia and France, and the streets are teeming with these wallet-friendly eateries. Dedicated to empowering disadvantaged women through culinary skills, guests can enjoy an ever-changing menu of local dishes at Amal Women’s Moroccan Restaurant. For stunning views to accompany your meal, Al Baraka, in the heart of the legendary Jemaa el-Fnaa, does some of the best couscous in the city. Taste light and simple Moroccan fare at the magical Dar Marjana while the belly dancers sway – if you’re feeling adventurous, try the pigeon pie.


THE LONG WEEKEND

Boutique finds If it’s one-of-a-kind pieces you’re after, Marrakech isn’t short on stylish boutiques that are as unique in interior design as they are in merchandise. Globetrotting Belgian designer Valerie Barkowski’s concept store V. Barkowski is reminiscent of a high-end New York loft that showcases her fine white bed linens and fluffy towels that come delicately trimmed with her signature mini pompoms, while Norya Ayron sells an array of fashion-forward silk and cotton kaftans and abayas loved by the likes of Sharon Stone, Monica Belluci and Kate Moss. For medina-style streetwear, head to Max & Jan for a selection of soft drape dresses, slouchy pants and billowing dresses perfect for a summer beach holiday, while at Laly, browse the rails for bold capes, camo babouche slippers and pochette purses by designer Badra Benjelloun.

Opposite from top: Le Petit Cornichon; vibrant claypots in the bazaar This page from top: V.Barkowski (Photo: Cecile Zehnacker); inside the beautiful Bahia Palace

Ask a local

Words: Naomi Chadderton

Amanda PonzioMouttaki, blogger at Maroc Mama (marocmama. com), shares her insider tips on how to get the most out of your trip

“The best advice I can share about visiting Marrakech is to have a sense of humour and accept that you will get lost in the medina. I've found when you can be lighthearted and laugh with people it really breaks the ice and you’ll end up having a much more pleasant experience. One of my favourite neighbourhoods is the kasbah, because it still has the older charm of traditional Marrakech without some of the extreme busyness you might experience in other areas. Be sure to try tangia (not to be confused with tagine) when you’re here; it’s the speciality dish of Marrakech made with very slow roasted lamb, garlic and preserved lemons in a clay pot. If you want a keepsake to take back home, spices or Moroccan tea glasses are easy to pack and are sure to be used long after you return.”

CULTURE CRAM Delve deeper into the city's beating heart Marrakech has a fascinating and complex history, with an impressive array of museums and sites to prove it. Take a walk around the Saadian Tombs – Saadian Sultan Ahmed Al Mansour Ed Dahbi spared no expense in crafting his burial site, importing Italian Carrara marble for his

own mausoleum. A fascinating piece of Marrakech’s historical jigsaw, El Badi Palace is another great attraction and even though it largely stands in ruins today, you won’t have any trouble taking a journey back in time and imagining the splendour of the palace’s heyday. In complete contrast is the well-preserved Bahia Palace, which once housed the

Resident General during the French Protectorate. If you’re a fashion lover, make time to visit the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech. Dedicated to the late designer’s work, it showcases a rotating curation of 5,000 items of clothing, 15,000 accessories and thousands of sketches and documents stored for four decades.

worldtravellermagazine.com 59


WORLD TRAVELLER X DUKES THE PALM, A ROYAL HIDEAWAY HOTEL

STAYCATION

Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel Holiday like royalty at this quintessentially British beachfront hotel on Palm Jumeirah THE ROOMS & SUITES Tucked away in the modern heart of the city, yet shielded from the hustle and bustle, the hotel's modern take on a traditional British residence is sure to win you over. Every room has been elegantly styled to marry centuries of age-old charm with contemporary glamour. Request a room with glittering Arabian Sea views and relax to the sound of the waves lapping the shore.

THE FOOD What better way to show someone you care than with a romantic candlelit dinner on the beach? Savour a threecourse meal and a bottle of red or white under the twinkling stars as the balmy evening breeze washes over you (Dhs1,000 per couple). Elsewhere at the property, Great British Restarant, West 14th Steakhouse, Khyber and the sophisticated Duke's Bar compete for your attention.

THE ACTIVITIES Start the new year as you mean to go on with an energy-boosting workout at the hotel's state-of-the-art gym. Next, get some vitamin D by soaking up the gentle winter rays as you lounge around the infinity pool with a good book in hand. Once you're suitably sunbathed, stretch your legs by taking a stroll along the private beach and end your day on a fun note by floating along the lazy river.

To find out more, call +971 4 455 1111 or visit royalhideaway.com 60 worldtravellermagazine.com


WORLD TRAVELLER X SOFITEL DUBAI THE PALM

STAYCATION

Sofitel Dubai The Palm Perfect the art de vivre at this French-inspired luxury resort on Palm Jumeirah THE ROOMS & SUITES Bringing elegant French style to the Middle East, this Polynesian-style resort is the antidote to the city’s ubiquitous skyscraper hotels with its tropical understated glamour. Being a pebble’s skim from the sea means you get to sleep and wake up to the gentle swoosh of the waves crashing on the shore from any of the stylishly appointed rooms and suites.

THE FOOD Meaning "Welcome" in Polynesian, Manava serves up world-class dishes in a setting straight out of Paul Gaugin's Tahitian paintings. But if you're up for something with more zest and spice, Hong Loong blends timeless Chinese recipes to create explosive flavours perfectly paired with tea. End your evening soaking up the sea view with a chilled drink at Laguna Lounge.

THE ACTIVITIES Water babies are in for a treat with a great variety of activities on offer. Whether it's jetting off on a boat excursion, spending a day admiring the cityscape on a pedal boat or just lounging on the wide stretch of private sandy beach, there's something for every taste. A day in the sun might wear you down, but a quick trip to the spa offers soothing treatments and massages that'll leave you in a tranquil bliss.

To find out more, call +971 4 455 6677 or visit all.accor.com 62 worldtravellermagazine.com


WORLD TRAVELLER X JW MARRIOTT MARQUIS DUBAI

STAYCATION

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai Reach for the sky at the world’s tallest five-star hotel THE ROOMS & SUITES Wake up in the clouds and revel in stunning floor-to-ceiling views of the city's futuristic skyline or the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf. Sleek suites boast marshmallow soft beddings and soundproof windows for a serene slumber, while Executive Rooms come with perks including complimentary drinks, a continental breakfast and afternoon tea in the lounge.

THE FOOD Foodies are spoilt for choice with more than 14 dining venues offering a selection of delicacies from around the world. Splurge on a unique sky-high dinner at Prime68 steakhouse before heading for a glitzy nightcap at Vault. To spice it up, the recently opened Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra serves traditional recipes from ancient India with a contemporary twist.

THE ACTIVITIES Discover the shiniest gems the city has to offer with top attractions including The Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Opera right around the corner. After a day out and about, pamper yourself back at the hotel with a mini refresh at Saray Spa. Soothing body massages, bespoke facials and holistic rituals draw upon the spa's Arabian heritage for a top-totoe rejuvenating experience.

To find out more, call +971 4 414 3000 or visit jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com 64 worldtravellermagazine.com


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 jwmarriott.com/DXBJW Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE | T +971.4.414.0000 | jwmarriottmarquisdubai.com


1 INSPIRED BY

Reader offers Great deals to get you packing

4

2 3

FOUR FANTASTIC HOLIDAYS PORTUGAL

RWANDA

SRI LANKA

JORDAN

LISBON & PORTO

GORILLAS IN THE MIST

SCENIC WILDLIFE TOUR

WADI ADVENTURES

Includes: With medieval castles, cobblestone villages and stunning cities, Portugal is worth exploring. Enjoy 3 nights each at Tivoli Avenida Liberdade, Lisboa in Lisbon and Pestana Porto. Includes a 7-day Hertz car hire. Valid from: Now until 31 January 2020.

Includes: Stay 2 nights at Park Inn at Kigali with breakfast, 1 night at Le Bambou Lodge at Volcanoes National Park and enjoy a gorilla trekking experience with a driver-guide in a 4x4 land cruiser. Includes hotel pick up and transfers. Valid from: Now until 31 January 2020.

Includes: Stay 1 night at Kandy, 2 nights at Nuwara Eliya, 1 night at Udawalawe National Park, 1 night at Yala National Park and 1 night at Bentota. Includes breakfast daily and private transfers by driver/guide. Valid from: Now until 29 February 2020.

Includes: Stay 3 nights in Amman, 1 night at the Chalets of Mujeb Reserve with dinner, 1 night in Petra, 1 night at Sun City Camp in Wadi Rum with dinner and breakfast daily. Includes a guided tour of Amman, Jerash, and Petra, 2 hour jeep tour of Wadi Rum and private transfers. Valid from: Now until 29 February 2020.

6 nights starting from USD670 per person

66 worldtravellermagazine.com

3 nights starting from USD2,920 per person

6 nights starting from USD1,290 per person

6 nights from USD1,460 per person


DNATA TRAVEL OFFERS

AROUND THE WORLD SEYCHELLES

MAURITIUS

INDONESIA

HILTON SEYCHELLES LABRIZ RESORT AND SPA

MARADIVA VILLAS RESORT AND SPA

THE WESTIN RESORT NUSA DUA, BALI

Includes: Enjoy 3 nights in a Garden Villa with breakfast. Offer: Kids stay and dine for free. Valid from: Now until 05 April 2020.

Includes: Stay 3 nights in a Luxury Suite Pool Villa with breakfast. Offer: Save 40% on your stay. Valid from: Now until 29 February 2020.

Includes: Stay 3 nights in a Deluxe Garden Room with breakfast. Offer: Save 30% on your stay. Valid from: Now until 31 March 2020.

3 nights starting from USD735 per person

Dhigali Maldives

3 nights starting from USD1,007 per person

3 nights starting from USD197 per person

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

MALDIVES

DHIGALI MALDIVES

3 nights starting from USD599 per person Includes: Stay 3 nights in a Beach Bungalow with breakfast and dinner. Offer: Save 30% on your stay and complimentary upgrade from bed and breakfast to half board. Valid from: Now until 31 October 2020.

HONG KONG

MANDARIN ORIENTAL, HONG KONG

3 nights starting from USD718 per person Includes: Stay 3 nights in a City View Room with breakfast. Offer: Enjoy 30% savings on your stay. Valid from: Now until 14 March 2020.

USA

The Edgewater Hotel, Seattle

Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa

THE EDGEWATER HOTEL, SEATTLE

3 nights starting from USD550 per person Includes: Stay 3 nights in a Deluxe Garden Room. Offer: Enjoy complimentary F&B credit of $50 and complimentary room upgrade. Valid from: Now until 31 January 2020.

MALAYSIA

THE RITZ CARLTON LANGKAWI

4 nights starting from USD860 per person

The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali

Maradiva Villas Resort and Spa

Includes: Enjoy 4 nights in a Rainforest Deluxe Room with breakfast. Offer: Stay for 4 nights, pay for 3. Valid from: Now until 31 March 2020.

UNITED KINGDOM

LONDON HILTON ON PARK LANE

3 nights starting from USD587 per person

Includes: Stay 3 nights in an Executive Room with breakfast. Offer: Enjoy 15% savings on your stay. Valid from: Now until 29 February 2020. worldtravellermagazine.com 67


DNATA TRAVEL OFFERS

Fairmont The Palm, Dubai

WEEKEND ESCAPES UAE

ATLANTIS THE PALM, DUBAI 1 night starting from USD278 per person Includes: Stay 1 night in an Ocean King Room with breakfast and dinner. Offer: Enjoy complimentary half board upgrade. Valid from: Now until 02 May 2020. FAIRMONT THE PALM, DUBAI 1 night starting from USD145 per person Includes: Enjoy 1 night in a Fairmont Room with breakfast. Offer: Save 55% on your stay. Valid from: Now until 31 March 2020. TAJ DUBAI 1 night starting from USD120 per person Includes: Stay 1 night in a Luxury Room with breakfast. Offer: Enjoy 35% savings on your stay. Valid from: Now until 25 January 2020. W DUBAI - THE PALM 1 night starting from USD230 per person Includes: Stay 1 night in a Fabulous Room with breakfast and dinner. Offer: Enjoy complimentary half board upgrade and complimentary room upgrade.

Valid from: Now until 31 January 2020. GRAND HYATT DUBAI 1 night starting from USD95 per person Includes: Stay 1 night in a Grand Standard Room with breakfast. Offer: Enjoy 45% savings on your stay. Plus, 2 children up to 11 years old can dine and stay for free. Valid from: Now until 31 January 2020. FAIRMONT BAB AL BAHR, ABU DHABI 1 night starting from USD125 per person Includes: Stay 1 night in a Fairmont Room with breakfast. Offer: Save 20% on your stay. Valid from: Now until 31 January 2020.

Grand Hyatt Dubai

W Dubai - The Palm

ZAYA NURAI ISLAND, ABU DHABI 1 night starting from USD499 per person Includes: Enjoy 1 night in a Beach Villa with breakfast. Offer: Save 20% on your stay. Valid from: Now until 31 January 2020.

OMAN

THE CHEDI MUSCAT 2 nights starting from USD538 per person Includes: Enjoy 2 nights in a Serai Room with breakfast. Offer: Save 25% on your stay. Valid from: Now until 05 April 2020. Zaya Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi

How to book

68 worldtravellermagazine.com

By calling dnata on 800 DNATA

By stepping into a dnata outlet or by visiting dnatatravel.com

On the website you can also sign up to the dnata newsletter and receive more offers direct to your inbox. T&Cs apply.


THROUGH THE LENS Lago di Braies, Italy "Visiting this majestic lake had been on my bucket list for years since I first stumbled upon a photo story in a magazine proclaiming it one of Italy's most beautiful lakes. Two flights and a threehour drive later, I finally arrived at the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As soon as I caught sight of the bright emerald green waters, I was in awe of their breathtaking beauty. In the early light, the sight of the reflection of the mountains on the lake and the charming wooden rowing boats was like a fairy tale."

Travel and photography fan Melissa Ngo loves to travel because: "it grounds me and keeps me humble." Follow her at @helloomelissa, withlovemelissa.blog

EMAIL US YOUR BEST TRAVEL PHOTOS in high-res jpeg format, along with the stories behind them to habiba@hotmedia.me and you may end up being featured on this page

70 worldtravellermagazine.com


DIGITAL

Now win!

BE OUR TRAVEL COMPANION

Stay up-to-date with all that’s happening on our social channels and join in the conversation by sharing your experiences. Here’s where you can find us…

@worldtravellerme Double tap our dreamy destination shots and tag us in your images for a chance to feature on our wall. @WorldTravellerME Stay up to date with travel stories as we post them. @WTravellerME Make the most of your 280-character allowance by sharing your best travel moments with us. #WorldTravellerME

Win a two-night stay at Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf in Dubai Enjoy the very best of Madinat Jumeirah while staying in the Arabian-inspired summerhouses of Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf. Ideal for those who favour low-key luxury, the summerhouses are nestled in a serene garden setting, just steps away from the beach. Enjoy evening drinks with friends old and new before setting off on an abra along the waterways to discover the dining delights of this enduringly popular Dubai resort, which is home to more than 50 restaurants. To find out more and to enter, visit worldtravellermagazine.com/win. (T&Cs apply).

TRAVEL INSPO AT YOUR FINGERTIPS Let our travel news and round-ups, available to read on our website, inspire your next trip…

1

The Knowledge. Read our handy how-tos, from getting to grips with travel insurance to helping kids beat jet lag, and more.

2

Staycations. Take a peek inside these top hotels and resorts on your doorstep, and then book your next mini break.

3

Insider guides. Check out our in-the-know travel edits of some of the most popular holiday destinations on our radar.

worldtravellermagazine.com 71


Suite dreams Our monthly finish with a flourish, delving into a suite that has a character and style all of its own

TERRACE SUITE SAGRADA FAMILIA The One Barcelona, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts

Rooms with a view don't come any grander than this; the room in question being a huge, daylight-flooded suite bedecked with abundant luxuries, and the view a sweeping one of low-rise Barcelona, with Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece Sagrada Familia as its towering focal point. It's a sight you can soak in (literally) from the free-standing bathtub in the marble-lined bathroom, or, better still, from the alfresco Jacuzzi, on a stunning terrace you can access from every room. 72 worldtravellermagazine.com


AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, WHERE THE SKY SWIMS IN SEA BLUE th i s i s l an d s a n ctu ary we l co m e s yo u wi th b re e ze a n d b i rd s o n g , ca n d l e l i t d i n n e rs a n d i n f i n i te vi e ws . Ju s t d ayd re a m s awa y f ro m t h e b u zz o f t h e cap i ta l , yo u ca n l o s e yo u rs e l f i n t h e p e a ce f u l l u xu ry o f yo u r o wn p e rf e ct u n i ve rs e .

YOUR E X T RAORDI NA RY STORY

Zaya Nurai Island Resort #InAbuDhabi

visitabudhabi.ae


Flavors of Latin America Latin American is the name of the game at Garden, where vibrant street food from Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil and Argentina are taking Dubai by storm. Get Latino fever with your favorite modern riffs from tacos to arepas. We hear there’s even a Taco Society.

Just Opened

Complemented by fun and exciting beverages, Garden’s dreamy outdoor setting on the bustling terrace will keep you coming back for more! Open Sunday - Thursday | 5:30pm - midnight JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

T +971.4.414.3000 | jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com gardendxb

Profile for Hot Media

World Traveller - January'20  

World Traveller - January'20  

Profile for hotmedia