Exotic Places • Interesting People • Intelligent Travel
The full The World’s Greatest 24 Hours in Monte Carlo
Arctic Nights in Norway
NY Distilleries // McLaren’s P1 // Citrus Cravings
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hotel EXPERIENCE by Constance
The magical settings nurture our passion to create
The Ultimate Experience Begin the U-experience: call (230) 402 2772/73 or visit us at www.constancehotels.com
10 EDITOR’S LETTER
elcome to another issue of Jetsetter, the quarterly travel and lifestyle guide to experiential living. You’ll notice that with supplements on both the stunning Indian Ocean and on the dynamic Chinese city of Xiamen, as well as a bumper page count in the main book, this is one of the largest Jetsetter so far. And why not? For avid travellers like you, the world may be getting smaller, but the number of unique experiences on offer never seems to diminish, and we’ve done our best to cover as many as we can, from around the world, in this issue. We start off in the frozen landscape of arctic Norway, chasing the stunning Northern Lights, which are said to be the most active they’ve been in the past half-century. The iconic Norwegian mail boat fleet, the Hurtigruten, offer travellers a truly insightful journey, from crab-fishing on frozen fjords, to dog-sledding with champion packs and of course, plenty of opportunities to view the lights in pristine conditions. You might want to warm up after Norway with a stop in at the tiny principality of Monaco, and our Full Monte: 24 Hours in Monte Carlo guide will get you to the major attractions and a few hidden gems in no time. Another city we’re delving deeper into is Melbourne, where Gayatri Bhaumik returned to discover the newest fine-dining, mixology and houses of slumber in this southern belle city. All this travel will have built up an appetite; fortunately we have you covered with the world’s best foodie hotels, from the Napa to the Western Cape, and if you need a siesta afterward, we also showcase our pick of Mexico City’s top boutique hideaways. In our regular Lifestyle section, look out for British-born chef Luke Dale-Roberts, new boutique distillers in New York, and wine options for those looking to avoid gaining winter weight. Whether you’re spending this Autumn travelling or at home planning your next big journey, we know Jetsetter will have everything you need to travel experientially, and in style.
PUBLISHER Denis Fahy firstname.lastname@example.org MANAGING EDITOR Nick Walton email@example.com DEPUTY EDITOR Gayatri Bhaumik ART DIRECTOR Aileen Lino firstname.lastname@example.org TRAVEL INDUSTRY RELATIONSHIP DIRECTOR Tammy Fong Tammy@channel1hk.com BEIJING SALES MANAGER: Louis Chu email@example.com sales manager Fatima Cameira firstname.lastname@example.org Traffic Manager Dido Ma email@example.com Jetsetter is registered as a newspaper & periodical.
Master of Wine Debra Meiburg is a celebrated wine journalist, TV personality, wine educator and in-demand speaker. With a serious tongue for wine, but a little tongue-in-cheek, Debra is pleasing palates across Asia with her fresh take on the world of wine. In this issue, she looks at red wine as a sneaky option for those wary of the temptations of winter.
Jetsetter is published by Channel One Communications Jetsetter is printed by Channel One Communications Suite 402-3, Hong Kong Trade Centre 161-167 Des Voeux Rd Central Hong Kong www.jetsetter.hk
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Crystal Leung has a strong passion for travel, and loves to share her experiences with everyone. Not only has she worked in Australia and America, she has also delved into western Europe on her own. In this issue, she gives a nod to the top beaches in the Seychelles in our Indian Ocean supplement, and shows us what she wants for Christmas in our Wishlist section.
Hong Kong-born Johnny Ng has a strong interest in writing and travelling, passions which have inspired him to move into the field of travel journalism. This issue, he checks out the latest travel gadgets in our technology section.
All rights Reserved: Copyright and distribution rights are reserved exclusively for Channel One Communications, their partners, associates and affiliates. All materials published remain the property of the publisher. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written permission. All information contained in this publication is from a reliable source. Channel One does not make any guarantees to the accuracy of the information contained.
When on assignment, JETSETTER’s editorial team use Nikon professional cameras.
contents 12 CONTENTS
The Full Monte 24 Hours in Monte Carlo
Latin Leanings Boutique Hideaways in Mexico City
Hunting the Lights Arctic Nights in Norway
Foodie Hotels Sleep Where You Eat
Melbourne Of Legends & Laneways
The Knowledge Capital Osakaâ€™s Modern Makeover
contents 14 CONTENTS
94 112 88
Food Adventures Citrus Cravings
Testing the Limits South Africa’s Chef Luke Dale-Roberts
Industrial Revolution The Rebirth of NY Distilleries
Wine The Liquid Diet
Road Rage McLaren’s Stunning New P1
Page Turner Epic Excursions
HONG KONG WINE & DINE FESTIVAL New Central Harbourfront, Hong Kong October 31-November 3, 2013 Bringing together fine wine and food from around the world, the four-day Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival includes street carnivals, live entertainment, and hundreds of booths bursting with wine and dining offers. Visitors can also join wine appreciation classes and tours held by top wine experts, or visit the new Sweet Pavilion, which matches decadent desserts with dessert wines. Also new this year, the New Products Zone showcases the latest wine-related products. www.discoverhongkong.com Where to stay: Ovolo Hotel 2 Arbuthnot Road, is a luxury boutique hotel in the middle of Central, and is home to some of Hong Kong’s best wining and dining experiences. Remember to start each evening with the complimentary happy hour drinks at the hotel’s LO Lounge. www.ovolohotels.com
DREAM YOSAKOI MATSURI Tokyo, Japan November 2-3, 2013 Originating with the concept of “Disseminating Tokyo Dreams To The World”, Dream Yosakoi Matsuri is one of the biggest dance festivals in Japan. Every autumn, thousands participate in the mass parade of yosakoi, a traditional style of dance in Japan. Dressed in colourful costumes, dancers of different ages perform with narukos, wooden clappers held in both hands. Also look out for the hotly contested fashion shows of new costume designs. www.dreamyosakoi.jp Where to stay: A former headquarter of the US army in the 1940s, Hilltop Hotel retains the wooden walls, leather sofas and antique decorations of yesteryear. The history and design of the hotel attracts many writers and novelists looking for inspiration. www.yamanoue-hotel.co.jp
LEIPZIG CHRISTMAS MARKET Leipzig, Germany November 26-December 23, 2013 Among the numerous Christmas fairs in Germany, Leipzig’s Christmas Market is one of the largest. Established in 1714, the medieval-style market is held in front of the old town hall, where composer Johann Sebastian Bach started his career as the city’s musical director. In the market there are daily performances, including trumpet recitals, Christmas concerts, and oratorios. Once you’ve had your fill of gingerbread and mulled wine, spend a day appreciating the beauty of Leipzig, an ancient town of music and art. www.germany-christmas-market.org.uk Where to stay: Situated near the old town hall, Hotel Fuerstenhof Leipzig features a full-service spa and elegant interior designs. It is also close to the Leipzig Zoo and the Museum of Fine Arts. www.hotelfuerstenhofleipzig.com
SEOUL LANTERN FESTIVAL Jongno-gu, Seoul November 2-18, 2013
SCHICK HYDRO COOLANGATTA GOLD Queensland, Australia October 19-20, 2013
Taking place in Cheonggyecheon, the Seoul Lantern Festival is an iconic and colourful annual event. All the way from Cheonggye Plaza to Seungyo Bridge, hundreds of uniquely designed lanterns are showcased on the banks of the ancient stream. Handcrafted by local and international artists, the lanterns’ designs vary along annual themes. Visitors can also release water lanterns to light up the stream, contributing to the fascinating ambience. www.english.visitkorea.or.kr
The Schick Hydro Coolangatta Gold 2013 is a festival of surfing and swimming at the famous Gold Coast shoreline in Australia. The festival attracts water sports lovers from around the world, with events like the famed Collangatta Gold endurance race, the Great Gold Coast Swim, a five-kilometer Beach Fun Run and a free Family Fun Day along the coast. It’s a perfect opportunity for families to exercise and work up a sweat together at the weekend. www.sls.com.au
Where to stay: Nestled in Jongno-gu, close to the venue of the festival, Fraser Suites Insadong features luxurious self-catering apartments with private kitchens and spacious living areas, providing a sense of comfort and home. www.frasersuitesseoul.co.kr
Where to stay: Palazzo Versace is a unique luxurious hideaway near the Gold Coast that boasts a private beach, and elegant rooms with balconies. Attractions like Marina Mirage and Sea World can also be found nearby. www.palazzoversace.com.au
MACAU FRINGE FESTIVAL Macau November 9-24, 2013 Created to fill the city with art and music, the Macau Fringe Festival is a series of art events held across Macau in November. The 16-day festival includes parades, dramas, and interactive art events held by local and international artists. Featuring the idea of ‘Staging Everywhere, Audiences Everywhere’, performances are staged in unusual venues like bookshops, buses or even food markets. There are also art exhibitions and workshops, as well as art tours held at local schools. www.macaufringe.gov.mo Where to stay: Hotel Lan Kwai Fong Macau is a 200-room luxury hotel with a private casino downstairs. Located next to the Macau ferry terminal, the hotel is easily accessible, with attractions like historic churches and temples nearby. www.macaulkf.com
20 ROOM WITH A VIEW
here’s nothing quite like a nice soak after a long day exploring new locales. At the new Anantara Eastern Mangroves’ Royal Mangroves Residence, that soak comes with some pretty stunning vistas. Situated on the top two floors of the luxurious new urban retreat, the views from every room in the residence, including the spacious bathroom, capture the natural beauty of a protected mangrove reserve. The largest suite in Abu Dhabi, the Royal Mangrove Residence boasts between three and ten king-sized guest rooms, depending on configuration, as well as a private 60sqm infinity pool with swim up bar, a rooftop garden that’s perfect for stargazing, and of course, the free-standing terrazzo bathtub from which you can enjoy the stunning Gulf sunsets. From US$14,900 per night; abu-dhabi.anantara.com
ROOM WITH A VIEW 21
to heli Hong Kong-based luxury travel company Lightfoot Travel has teamed up with Canadian heliskiing outfit Last Frontier to offer affluent snow bunnies truly unique heliskiing adventures on some of North America’s most challenging peaks. Last Frontier has been a force in heliskiing and heliboarding in Canada since 1996. Operating out of two luxury lodging experiences in Northern British Columbia – Bell 2 and Ripley Creek Inn – Last Frontier has access to the largest heliskiing area on the planet, a geographic footprint that enjoys some of the largest snowfalls in the Americas and offers a wide range of skiing encounters. Specialising in small groups – a maximum of five skiiers at a time – Last Frontier’s four to seven day itineraries are ideal for ski travellers looking for an adrenalin-pumping add-on to stays at conventional resorts like Whistler. www.lightfoottravel.com
Java Journey ☞ Perfect for coffee junkies looking to learn a little more about their favourite brew, the Nicaragua Tourist Board has created the Coffee Trail, a new tourist route that will give visitors an authentic coffee experience in the northern region of the country. The Coffee Trail covers five regional departments - Estelí, Jinotega, Madriz, Matagalpa, and Nueva Segovia - and aims to show visitors the diverse culture, food, scenery and tourism experiences of the less-visited north. Visitors following the route will travel through several coffee and tobacco plantations and stay in charming rural hotels or guest farmhouses where they can take part in everyday activities. Hike through nature reserves, visit picturesque villages and towns, and see how the locals produce beautiful handicrafts made of marble, clay or tusa corn skins. There is also an opportunity to visit the National Coffee Museum in Matagalpa, the country’s main producer of coffee. www.visit-nicaragua.com
☞ Dive into the Cold Expedition cruise and adventure company Aurora Expeditions will offer passengers the chance to snorkel in Antarctica this season. This ground-breaking new activity will provide passengers with the opportunity to explore Antarctica in a completely new dimension, witnessing wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through crystal clear waters, adventurers can discover the amazing mobility and speed of penguins entering and exiting from the ice, marvel at the beauty of sculpted icebergs below the water, and swim alongside large charismatic marine mammals. The snorkelling excursions are the latest in a series of daring add-ons created by Aurora Expeditions, who were the first company to offer scuba diving and camping in Antarctica. This latest innovative activity is led by expert polar diving guides using state of the art equipment, including specially designed waterproof snorkel-drysuits, gloves, hoods, weight belts, fins, masks, and snorkels. Passengers will be provided with all of the training and equipment they need to experience Antarctica from this truly unique angle. The excursions are on offer between February and March 2014 and are priced from US$975 per person. www.auroraexpeditions.com.au
Safari with a Twist ☞ Explore Assam’s Kaziranga National Park and the Nameri Tiger Reserve in northern India with a new walking safari from Jungle Travels India. With the next departure in December, this unique walking safari delves deep into two of the best nature reserves in India for wildlife and birding enthusiasts. During the walking safaris, guests visit many tourist-free areas of the two reserves, ensuring truly captivating wildlife experiences, and while you’ll be on foot for much of the excursion, the program also includes the fun of jeep safaris and elephant rides in Kaziranga National Park, rafting on the serene Jia Bhoreli River flowing through the Nameri National Park, a drive through the plains of rural Assam, and visits to tribal villages. You won’t have to rough it either; guests enjoy luxurious stays at the beautiful Diphlu River Lodge, as well as an authentic jungle camp in the heart of the Nameri National Park. www.jungletravelsindia.com
Hermit Kingdom Highlights ☞ On The Go Tours has launched a new private tour to North Korea, offering intrepid travellers a rare opportunity to be among the few thousand foreign visitors allowed into this isolated country each year. Shrouded in mystery and with a tumultuous history, North Korea has remained relatively untouched by tourism and offers the inquisitive traveller spectacular mountain scenery, fascinating museums, ancient temples and much more. The nine-day Inside North Korea tour departs from Beijing and travels to the Sovietstyle capital of Pyongyang, where travellers can visit state museums and historical monuments, with state guides as escorts, naturally. The itinerary also offers a chance to visit Mt Myohyang, the “mountain of mysterious fragrance” and visit the thousand year-old Pohyon Buddhist Temple. Priced from GBP1,899 per person, the program includes tours in both Beijing and North Korea, airport transfers and flights from Beijing to Pyongyang, tourism visas and accommodation. www.onthegotours.com
☞ Polar Adventure Adventure specialists Intrepid Travel is offering adventure-seekers the opportunity to accompany prolific polar explorer and environmental scientist Tim Jarvis on an extended ice-walk while exploring the incredible wildlife and wilderness of the Arctic. One of the world’s leading explorers, Jarvis (pictured) holds records for the fastest unsupported journey to the South Pole, and longest unsupported journey in Antarctica. On the June 2014 Spitsbergen Explorer voyage, sailing on Sea Spirit and escorted by Jarvis, travellers will meet in Longbearyen, the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, before embarking on an 11-day voyage of private zodiac excursions, daily talks and presentations, and – subject to weather and polar bear activity – an extended ice-walk. As well as almost guaranteed polar bear sightings, travellers are likely to see an abundance of wildlife including walruses, puffins, and whales. They will experience a surprising variety of landscapes, from stunning fjords to polar deserts and towering glaciers, and for those who want to get up close to the action, there are options for snowshoeing and sea-kayaking to more isolated pockets of Spitsbergen. Priced from GBP3,918, triple share. www.intrepidtravel.com
Scottish Road Trip ☞ Explore Scotland in true style with the new Great Outdoors driving itinerary from Connoisseurs Scotland and Little’s Chauffer Drive. The itinerary allows travellers the opportunity to discover Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty by day and enjoy the country’s most deluxe accommodations by night. With travel in a Mercedes E-Class or a Jaguar XF, this fully chauffeur-escorted six-day journey starts at the 17-room Inverlochy Castle Hotel, a 19th-century Scottish castle that sits at the foothills of the highest mountain in the United Kingdom. Here, guests can explore the Highlands in a stylish Rolls Royce Phantom, before stopping for a champagne picnic on the banks of Loch Ness. There are also options for mountain biking excursions, hiking, and even wildlife photography courses. At the Pool House, which sits alongside the River Ewe and overlooks the famous sub-tropical Inverewe Garden, guests can explore the Scottish bays or rocky shorelines of Wester Ross during a canoe paddling adventure, or participate in a rock climbing course. Alternatively, sail in the bay, hike the surrounding trails, or take the unique “Shellfish Safari” on Badachro Bay. On the final day, guests travel the 131 kilometres to Inverness Airport or 233 kilometres to Edinburgh in style, down the side of Loch Maree, considered one of the most beautiful roads in the world. www.connoisseurs-scotland.com www.jetsetter.hk
Cruising the Wilds Explore the untamed wilds of Papua New Guinea on a special voyage aboard the SeaDream II superyacht. Operated by Australia’s SeaDream Yacht Club, the exclusive 14-day voyage departs the Queensland city of Cairns on February 1, 2014, and will allow 112 guests to veer off traditional cruising routes and take the road less travelled by using nimble Zodiacs. Ports of call for this cruise will include Milne Bay, Kitava, Watam Village, Jayapura, Banda Neira, and Komodo Island. Along the way, travellers will be introduced to the local culture in Alotau; explore the Trobriand Islands, where they’ll experience colourful and powerful performances by young warriors and local girls on the beach; discover the coral atolls of Tami island, and cruise the Sepik River, Papa New Guinea’s longest waterway. As an added bonus, professional wildlife photographer Sue Flood will be aboard to document the journey, and share tips for capturing the perfect picture.
Cruise to Mandalay With Myanmar an emerging destination for intrepid travellers, luxury travel operator Abercrombie & Kent is giving guests a chance to experience this charming destination aboard its new luxury river cruiser, Sanctuary Ananda, named after the country’s renowned Ananda temple. Guests can choose from a series of three through eleven-night itineraries on the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin rivers, which will introduce them to the ancient culture, awe-inspiring monuments and friendly people of this still untouched country. For a thorough immersion into this legendary destination, sail on the eight-day Mysteries of Myanmar cruise which will take in British colonial Yangon, the Shwedagon pagoda, the temples of Bagan, and the floating gardens of Inle lake.Featuring twenty-five spacious suites across four decks, the Sanctuary Ananda boasts a range of creature comforts including sumptuous cuisine, a sprawling sundeck, a spa, and panoramic lounges.
Cuba Calling Cuba is the hot new destination on the 2014 schedule by tall ship cruise specialist Star Clippers, which also features a host of new itineraries and ports. From February 2014, the Star Flyer will operate five and seven-night cruises around the exotic Caribbean island; it will also take guests on a special journey in May 2014, that will feature Monte Carlo, Cannes and the rest of the French Riviera, while allowing them to enjoy the Monaco Grand Prix. Meanwhile, the Star Clipper will be using Palma de Mallora as its new departure port for the 2014 summer season. Other new departure ports for the ship will include the Scandolo Nature Reserve in Corsica, and La Savina in Formentera. Much more variety will be available aboard the Royal Clipper, which will sail a range of itineraries including a three night jaunt from Venice, and a 21-night transatlantic cruise from Barbados to Rome.
Antarctic Novelty Aurora Expeditions are reinvigorating their Antarctic cruise itineraries with the introduction of a new ‘Antarctic Gateway’ to their 2014/2015 program. A number of the Antarctic voyages will depart or end at Puerto Williams on Navarino island, an eco-rich haven nestled on the Chilean banks of the Beagle Channel. Guests on trips that begin or end here will be treated to a tour of the port town, a scenic flight over the Dientes de Navarino mountains, and have the opportunity to explore the UNESCO-listed Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. Puerto Williams will be used as an alternative to the usual Argentinean port of Ushuaia, which will still be used as a departure or arrival port for selected itineraries.
Culinary Cruises Indulge in a sumptuous culinary cruising experience while taking in a range of Europe’s most stunning scenery with APT’s ‘Royal Experience’ European river cruises, a series of new itineraries for 2014. Intimate, elegant and truly indulgent, the Erlebnis Chef’s Table Restaurant is a gourmet initiative being introduced as standard onboard all Aria and Concerto ships. The initiative is an exclusive 24-person fine-dining experience where guests can observe their meals being prepared by a private chef in a glass-enclosed kitchen. The restaurant will feature special six-course degustation menus, which will be accompanied by a range of free-flowing drinks. The restaurants’ menus will be designed by APT’s award-winning executive chef, Primus Perchtold, who will round up some of the best flavours in Europe.
Crystal Anniversary Crystal Cruises will mark its 25th anniversary in 2015 with 64 voyages calling in at 248 ports in 79 countries. The 2015 line-up will include a number of new highlights, most notably among them the 22 maiden port calls in exotic locales like Burgas, Bulgaria; Richards Bay, South Africa; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and Rijeka, Croatia. A number of new itineraries have also been announced, including an 18-day itinerary of the North Cape and White Sea which departs from Reykjavik and features five maiden calls; a Holy Land and Mediterranean cruise that visits Ashdod and Haifa in Israel; and a Transatlantic cruise that calls in overnight at Bermuda. Crystal Cruises will also operate an exclusive Christmas and New Year cruise from San Juan to Rio de Janeiro. The 2015 highlight however, is an epic 108-day “Silver Celebration” world cruise that will circumnavigate the globe round-trip from Miami. After the new year, Crystal Symphony will kick-off 2016 cruising South America and Antarctica, while Crystal Serenity will begin the year with a luxurious cruise on the Panama Canal before embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime world cruise.
28 HOTELS & RESORTS
An Icon Reborn
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, the pristine 22,000-hectare reserve situated in South Africa’s malaria-free Eastern Cape, has reopened Melton Manor as an exclusive-use villa catering to four guests. With emphasis placed on comfort, spaciousness and easy living, an extensive refurbishment has transformed the acclaimed wildlife lodge into a luxuriously elegant yet laid-back safari home for guests seeking privacy. Distinctively South African, the lodge features pieces of simple colonial furniture sourced from across the Eastern Cape, as well as textured fabrics and hides and the extensive use of wood, stone, pewter, ceramic, and wicker. Interconnecting doors connect two large suites situated either side of the open courtyard, while loungers on private decks are ideal for afternoon snoozes between safari excursions, and covered and uncovered verandahs and decks are perfect for good weather dining and to gather and recount the day’s excitements. Guests also have the use of a private 4x4 safari vehicle, ranger, and tracker, as well as a butler and chef inviting them to set the tone and order of events each day of their stay. www.kwandwe.com
Windy City Winner
Next month, Thompson Hotels opens its 11th property, Thompson Chicago, a chic urban hideaway that promises to offer its savvy clientele the sophisticated comforts of a home-away-from-home. Located in the heart of Chicago’s famed Gold Coast, the 247-room hotel offers unobstructed city views of Lake Michigan and is just steps from glamorous Michigan Avenue, Oak Street boutiques, and downtown’s finest dining and nightlife destinations. Award-winning British designer Tara Bernerd, who worked on the group’s London property, Belgraves, has been chosen to create eye-catching interiors for Thompson Chicago, including the guest rooms, public spaces, and restaurant. She has incorporated her signature style, marked by intelligent space planning and a strong emphasis on texture and bold colours, while One Off Hospitality Group, the brains behind criticallyacclaimed Chicago restaurants Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, Big Star, The Violet Hour and, most recently, Publican Quality Meats, will open Nico at the hotel. Nico will serve Italian cuisine in a rustic yet elegant setting, with a focus on fresh pastas that are made daily and sourcing the finest seasonal seafood to craft dishes that are unconventionally creative and inspired by Italian traditions. www.thompsonhotels.com
Opening in November, the Paola Navone-designed Point Yamu by Como will be the newest luxury resort on Phuket’s tranquil east coast. Overlooking the limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay – a UNESCO-listed site – and the Andaman Sea, the resort comprises 106 rooms and private villas, a 100m swimming pool, Italian and Thai restaurants, and a child-friendly interactive learning area. Spa junkies will love the Como Shambhala Retreat with its eight treatment rooms, beauty treatment room and a yoga studio offering yoga, Pilates, and Asian-inspired therapies. Guests looking to stay a little longer can snap up one of a limited number of private residences. The resort boasts the group’s signature clean lines and contemporary style spiced up with Navone’s colourful approach, with bright aquamarines, hot oranges, and Thai artisanal techniques like traditional wood tiling and woven rattan; the oceanfront floor-to-ceiling windows in each room offers spectacular views of the Andaman Sea. Point Yamu is Como’s first resort in Thailand outside Bankok, and the first designed by Italian design talent Navone. www.comohotels.com www.jetsetter.hk
HOTELS & RESORTS 29
Emerging from six years of reconstruction, Hotel Nikol’skaya Kempinski Moscow has opened in the Russian capital. The second Kempinski in Moscow, Hotel Nikol’skaya is located at the corner of Nikol’skaya Street and Lubyanka Square, and offers views of the capital’s historical downtown area, including the Red Square and the Kremlin, while guests are only a few minutes’ walk away from the Bolshoi Theatre, the Duma, and GUM department store. Formerly the home of Count Orlov-Davydov, the building’s heritage façade has been lovingly restored, including the decorative mosaics made by Edouard Nierman in 1907, which grace the hotel’s elegant Mosaik Restaurant. The hotel’s 211 rooms and suites, as well as its impressive lobby and restaurants, were created by Leo International Design Group, and the result is that of an old world ocean liner, complete with curved staircases, chandeliers, a stained glass dome, and Art Deco furniture. Look out for Arabic, Russian and Oriental cuisine in the all-day Mosaik restaurant. www.kempinski.com
Luxury Under the Sun
Opening in November, LVMH Hotel Management will open the luxurious Cheval Blanc Randheli, its second Cheval Blanc Maison in the Maldives. Located on the unspoiled Noonu Atoll, a 40-minute trip on the resort’s own seaplane from the international airport, Cheval Blanc boasts just 45 sleek villas, each of which feature lofty cathedral-style ceilings framed by seven-metre-high hand-crafted doors, 12.5-metre private infinity pools, and an extensive use of natural materials such as teak, rattan, bamboo, thatch, and coconut shell. Look out for the resort’s collection of sculptural colour “spots” by artists Vincent Beaurin. Families will love the 15 one or twobedroom Island Villas and Garden Villas, which feature outdoor terraces and access to private white sand beaches, while the 15 overwater bungalows epitomise the true Maldivian experience for the romantic at heart. Guests can spend their days snorkelling, diving or fishing in the pristine waters of the atoll on a traditional dhoni, cruise at sunset on the resort’s private yacht, or lounge by the mesmerising main infinity pool, and by night, dine on special wine dinners at Le 1947, or watch chefs in action at the Diptyque live cooking theatre. www.chevalblanc.com
What a Feeling
Hyatt has launched in Cambodia with the opening of the sumptuous 108-room Park Hyatt Siem Reap. Formerly the Hotel De La Paix, one of the nation’s most luxurious houses of slumber, the new Park Hyatt has benefited from an extensive 14-month renovation by awardwinning interior guru Bill Bensley. With a location in the heart of downtown Siem Reap, the hotel is the perfect base of operations for exploring the lively night markets and funky restaurant districts, as well as Cambodia’s Unesco-listed Angkor Wat. To escape the heat of the day, opt for one of the four suites with private plunge pools, each of which is dressed with Khmer-inspired contemporary art work, Italian marble, and gleaming wood floors. Also leave time for a feast for the senses at The Dining Room, where traditional Khmer and French provinicial cuisine is served in the shade of an ancient banyan tree. www.park.hyatt.com www.jetsetter.hk
After a US$200 million renovation at the hands of Ertim Architectes SA and French designers Pierre-Yves Rochon and Bruno Borri, Paris’ acclaimed Prince de Galles has reopened with new look rooms, suites and public spaces. Each of the landmark Luxury Collection hotel’s 115 guest rooms and 44 suites have been reimagined by the design duo as private rooms in a luxurious residence, reminiscent of the defining Art Deco style from the 1930s. Each unique space features exquisite materials and design accents such as custom Art Deco furniture in Macassar ebony wood, Saint Laurent marble floors, and intricate mosaics artwork created by illustrious French ‘maisons’ selected by Rochon. For the ultimate Parisian hideaway, the hotel’s extravagant twostorey, 245sqm L’Appartement Parisien comes complete with breathtaking panoramic views and distinct Art Deco design accents. Leave room for a visit to the signature La Scène restaurant, now headed by Stéphanie Le Quellec, one of the most promising talents on the French culinary scene. www.princedegallesparis.com
INTRODUCING 31 Located in the heart of Pyrmont, a newly gentrified corner of central Sydney, new boutique beauty 1888 Hotel is dedicated to the captured image. Named for the year Kodak launched its patent for its first box and roll cameras, guests at the iron, bark, and bronze-bedecked boutique hotel will have access to Instagram-friendly walking maps of Pyrmont, a harbourfront precinct once populated by warehouses and shipyards, while the hotelâ€™s lobby will host revolving photographic exhibitions of Instagram images taken by guests. The former wool storage warehouse underwent a two-year, AU$30 million (US$26.8 million) renovation to become the 90-room hotel, which includes a coveted rooftop penthouse apartment with city skyline views. The new house of sumber is walking distance from the Sydney Convention Centre and CBD as well as the restaurants and bars of Darling Harbour and Cockle Bay. www.1888hotel.com.au
In the group’s first venture into North Africa, Grace Hotels has opened a luxury boutique hideaway in the village of Tamesloht, outside the hotspot of Marrakech. The new Grace Marrakech, formerly the Les Terres M’ Barka, marries breathtaking views of the Atlas Mountains with 18 sumptuous one, two and threebedroom suites wreathed by olive groves, organic vegetable gardens, and horse stables. Our favourites are the two VIP Suites, which feature elaborate Moroccan craftsmanship and design, as well as private gardens and a shared swimming pool, and are perfectly suited for families travelling together. For a small number of rooms, the 15-hectare property has something for everyone, from the outdoor heated pool and intimate library, to the traditional farm kitchen, and full service spa, complete with hammam and whirlpool. Be sure to check out the hotel’s interactive Moroccan cooking classes and farm tours. www.gracehotels.com
INTRODUCING 33 One of the most anticipated openings in the Maldives this year, Velaa Private Island redefines luxury in one of the most popular sunkissed destinations on the planet. Located north of the capital Malé, within the Noonu Atoll, Velaa Private Island, which opens December 1, is the brainchild of founders Radka and Jiri Smejc and epitomises their own sense of intimacy and luxury after years living the jetset life. With architecture by Czech designer Petr Kolar, Velaa’s 43 private villas and five four-bedroom residences fuse local materials with contemporary touches, including spacious private pools. To make the most of your Maldivian escape, opt for one of the 18 sumptuous over-water villas, and be sure to pamper yourself with a visit to the unique My Blend By Clarins spa, the first in the Maldives. Michelin-starred chef Adeline Grattard will oversee the resort’s signature restaurant Aragu & Cru, as well as breakfast nook Tavaru; couples will love her destination dinners in the Maldives’ tallest tower (pictured), while golfers will be tempted to perfect their swing at the Maldives’ only Troon Short Game Golf Academy, designed by Masters champ Jose Maria Olazabal. www.velaaisland.com
34 SPA PROFILE
The Four Seasons Guangzhou has opened in the city’s newest skyscraper, but despite the din of commerce at street level, you’ll find respite on the 69th floor and the Hua Spa. Boasting just nine luxurious treatment rooms – including three naturally-lit oversized VIP suites – each decadent space features private showers and intimate steam rooms. Choose from an indulgent treatment selection laced with traditional Chinese wellness rituals and techniques, many inspired by hua, or flowers. “Everything is centred on the physical and emotional wellbeing of our guests,” says Spa Director Sophia Patel, who was most recently with the acclaimed Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. “Using the highest quality products from Biologique Recherche and Aromatherapy Associates, we have created an extensive menu of massages, facials, body treatments and more for our guests to experience.” For true pampering, opt for the signature Flowers of the Four Seasons treatment, a 150-minute journey perfumed by mu mian (spring), lotus (summer), Chinese rose (autumn) and peony (winter) that includes a foot bath, body scrub, face and body mask, and finally a luxurious massage. Alternatively, the Bed of Roses treatment includes body exfoliation with gentle olive grains, a rose-fragranced bath, a body wrap in rose gel and evening primrose oil, and a facial using essential oils of rose and frankincense for a complete top to toe ritual in 120 minutes. www.fourseasons.com
Southwest China now boasts a signature Banyan Tree Spa at the recently opened Banyan Tree Chongqing Beibei. Taking advantage of the natural healing waters of the North Hot Spring, the extensive spa houses seven different outdoor and indoor hot spring pools, nine exquisitely appointed treatment rooms, and an extensive spa menu. Try the signature Royal Banyan treatment (RMB2,400/ US$392). The soothing 150-minute ritual includes a lemongrass cucumber body scrub, a Royal Banyan Herbal Pouch massage, a Jade face massage, and a therapeutic herbal bath, and will leave you relaxed and refreshed. Afterwards, spend 30 minutes soaking in the hot spring pools and absorb the waters’ healing mineral contents, which include calcium sulphate, magnesium and potassium. www.banyantreespa.com
The signature Heavenly Spas at Westin Hotels & Resorts properties around the globe have unveiled a series of four new signature treatments which have been developed with London-based skincare specialist Aromatherapy Associates. The Aspire Massage, Energise Scrub, Revive Facial, and Renew Ritual have been created as the ultimate rejuvenation experiences for spa-goers. Specially-trained therapists will asks guests what they want from the experience, before selecting the appropriate combination of essential oils, sophisticated techniques, and music to go along with their chosen treatments. The result is an immediately discernible amelioration in physical and mental wellness. www.starwoodhotels.com/westin
The highly effective Lifestage age-defying facial has won critical acclaim in London, Milan, New York, and Chicago, and now it’s finally made its Asian debut at the Ritz Carlton Spa by ESPA in Hong Kong. Featuring the innovative combination of ESPA’s advanced facial massage techniques and the exclusive Lifestage skincare range, the facial addresses skin ageing concerns and reveals immediate results. The pioneering Natural Encapsualtion Technology (NET) used in the products has previously only been used in the pharmaceutical industry, but here, they are deployed with great effect to hydrate the skin, promote firmness, and counteract age spots and pigmentation. Catering to men and women with skin displaying signs of ageing, the Lifestage facial treatment (HK$1680/US$217) is a 90-minute ritual that begins with ESPA’s signature Skinvision analysis, involves a facial massage that smoothes, stretches, and lifts, and finishes with a mask that invigorates, rejuvenates, and makes the skin glow. www.ritzcarlton.com
The Alila Jakarta promises the city’s spa-goers a luxurious new refuge with the unveiling of the refurbished Spa Alila. Featuring a chic, comptemporary aesthetic, the revamped Spa Alila features a new menu of therapeutic beauty treatments using 100 percent natural Alila Living products. Try the signature Two Souls in Harmony treatment, an indulgent four-handed massage featuring Balinese techniques and acupressure on the feet, or choose your own combination of treatments to create a bespoke four-hour package with the Personal Pampering Program. The new spa also features five Spa Suites, where guests can relax and unwind, and the Reflex Room, which caters to time-poor business travellers with short treatments ranging from 15 to 60 minutes.
new in Asia
38 Business Travel New Way to Fly Singapore Airlines is rolling out a series of revamped cabin features in a bid to set new industry benchmarks for premium air travel. Beginning this autumn, customers on select flights between Singapore and London will experience new seats and a new Krisworld in-flight entertainment system, features which are initially being introduced onboard eight Boeing 777-330R aircraft. The first class seats have been designed for privacy, and boast a seat width of 35 inches and bed length of 82 inches, as well as a 24-inch LCD touch-screen. New business class seats feature greater recline at 132 degrees, and two new seating positions which have been developed from customer feedback, as well as an 18-inch LCD screen. In economy class, passengers will enjoy more personal space and leg room, ergonomic cushioning, and a wider 11.1-inch monitor. www.singaporeairlines.com
Charging on the Go TakeCharger LLC has solved all the problems associated with charging electronics on the road with the launch of ChargerGenie, the world’s first tote bag to feature a built in power block capable of charging up to eight electronic devices at a time. Currently available in three colours – black, red, or pink cheetah – the ChargerGenie looks like the average fashion tote, but conceals six power outlets and two USB ports around its lower perimeter, and is capable of powering devises like phones, tablets, headphones, and laptops. The ChargerGenie is powered by a single cord, which is conveniently stored in a hidden compartment in the base of the bag. The bag is currently available at a reduced price of US$39 on Indiegogo. www.chargergenie.com
Pre-Flight Pampering Following the success of the Dr. Hauschka spa at its Clubhouse at New York’s JFK International Airport, which was launched in March 2012, Virgin Atlantic has decided to expand its partnership with the exclusive skincare brand by introducing it to three lounges in London. Travellers on the airline’s Upper Class section will now be able to experience this award-winning service at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports, as well as the Revivals lounge at Heathrow. The new spas will treat guests to some pre- and post-flight luxury through a range of products and treatments designed to soothe the skin, mind, and body, the perfect remedy to endless hours of jetsetting. Dr. Hauschka-trained therapists will administer a number of complimentary or paid treatments, including the signature Radiant You Facial, and hot stone back treatments. www.virgin-atlantic.com www.jetsetter.hk
BUSINESS TRAVEL 39 Staying Connected The Mira Hong Kong has been a leading tech-friendly hotel since it first opened, but it’s now taking its hi-tech offerings to a new level by being the first hotel in the Asia Pacific region to introduce a complimentary mobile solution for all guests. Called handy, the new service is essentially a smartphone providing a convenient and useful platform, which will be integrated with all of the hotel’s 492 rooms. On entering their room, guests will be able to access the smartphone, which provides the luxury of unlimited free local and international calls to 25 countries, including the US, Germany, the UK, France, Australia, and Singapore; an informative city guide with articles written by an expert team of Hong Kong-based editors; 3G data and wifi thethering; and a selection of apps like news services, currency converters public transport maps, and social media applications. Best of all, on check out, all information and history will be erased from the handset, protecting guests’ privacy. www.themirahotel.com
Airport Haven Star Alliance, the global airline network, has opened a new lounge at the Tom Bradley International Terminal of Los Angeles’ International Airport. For the exclusive use of first, business and Star Alliance gold card passengers departing LAX on Star Alliance flights, the spacious new lounge will cater for up to 400 guests, and includes an exclusive area for first class passengers. Developed by member carrier Air New Zealand, the new lounge features an outdoor terrace, a bar area, a library, a den, a study, and a media room, as well as eight shower rooms. Business travellers will be able to work in various locations around the lounge, which offers high-speed wifi, printing, fax, and copy services, safe in the knowledge that their electronic devices will remained charged thanks to a number of power outlets and USB ports. For those looking to kill a few hours, the lounge also has a number of tablet computers available by request. www. staralliance.com
Singapore in Style The Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore has unveiled its new club lounge, which offers guests a range of exclusive services as well as panoramic views of Marina Bay and the Kallang River. Designed by Burega Farnell, the lounge is an elegant, luxurious space boasting custom furniture and hand-woven carpets which complement Indonesian teak flooring, Italian marble, and crystal design accents. Occupying 320sqm on the hotel’s 32nd floor, the club caters to 75 guests with champagne breakfast, hor d’oeuvres, bespoke cocktails, and chocolate afternoon tea. Guests can relax in the quiet alcove that is the Drawing Room, hold meetings in the fully-equipped Library, or have their profiles sketched by the resident caricaturist. Other complimentary services on offer include personalised check-in and check-out in guest rooms or the lounge; internet connectivity; laundry of up to five pieces of clothing; and personalised stationary. www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Singapore www.jetsetter.hk
40 24 HOURS IN...
One of Europe’s most luxurious and coveted enclaves, the principality of Monaco is an increasingly popular side trip for travellers headed to Southern Europe, discovers Nick Walton
9am Start your day off at The Hotel de Paris, Monte Carlo’s most famous house of slumber. Opened in 1863 next to the equally prestigious Monte Carlo Casino, the hotel remains a city icon. Spoil yourself and check into the 170sqm Diamond Suite, which features two decadent bedrooms, an elegant living room, and a 40sqm terrace with views across Casino Square, perfect of a spot of celebrity watching over a glass of champagne. Before venturing out, fuel up with breakfast at the Côté Jardin garden restaurant. www.hoteldeparismontecarlo.com 10am For another great view of Monte Carlo, take the Le Grand Tour hop-on, hop-off open-top bus from outside your hotel to the Prince’s Palace, home to the royal family. Built in 1191, the Genoese fortress sits at the top of a bluff with captivating views across Monaco from both sides. Look out for the elaborate changing of the guards ceremonies which take place at the palace gates. www.monacolegrandtour.com www.jetsetter.hk
11am From the palace, wander down the narrow hilltop streets which lead towards the waterfront. Here you’ll find great cafés for people watching, hidden boutiques and galleries, and even private family chapels which have stood the test of time. Grab a coffee in one of the courtyard cafés of the Old Town and soak up the Mediterranean sun like a local. Noon You’ll emerge from the narrow cobbled streets of Monaco’s Old Town at the Oceanographic Museum. Best known for its stunning sea-facing façade, the institute was founded in 1910 by Prince Albert I, with Jacques Cousteau as director from 1957-1988. The museum’s exhibitions cover everything from marine life and model ships through to the work of Prince Albert I and the laboratory from his first research vessel, the L’Hirondelle. Also look out for the Shark Lagoon, a giant aquarium that’s home to blacktip and nurse sharks, as well as hawksbill sea turtles and giant guitarfish. www.oceano.mc
24 HOURS IN... 41 2pm Dine stylishly late with lunch at Brasserie de Monaco, which reintroduced beer making to the principality in 2008 after a 30 year gap. Located beside the superyachts of the Monte Carlo Yacht Club, today the chic eatery combines its award-winning beer with a menu based on “zero kilometres”, with a focus on using produce sourced from Monaco or the French and Italian districts immediately adjacent. Grab a platter of cold cuts and locally produced cheese, or a zesty salad and soak up the marina precinct ambiance. www.brasseriedemonaco.com 4pm Time for a spot of retail therapy, and Monaco won’t disappoint. Stay on the waterfront and make for La Condamine, home to the more than 200 shops that wreath Port Hercule. Top shopping streets to check out include Rue Grimaldi, Rue Millo and Rue Terrazzani for bespoke fashion and artisanal brands – be sure to keep your eyes peeled for visiting starlets. From there, head up the hill to the Casino Gardens and the Métropole Gallery, home to over 80 luxury boutiques, including Kenzo, Max Mara and Red Valentino. www.metropoleshoppingcenter.com 7.30pm Get in early to ensure a terrace table at Le Vistamar & Terrace at the Hotel Hermitage. With elegant décor by Pierre Yves Rochon and a stunning fine-dining seafood menu by chef Joël Garault, the restaurant boasts an expansive terrace with captivating views across Monte Carlo. Menu highlights include hazelnut and truffle potatoes spaghetti; and oven-grilled lobster with tarragon, sautéed parsley and cèpes. www.montecarlosbm.com 10pm Finish your evening with more stunning views at the aptly named Billionaire Sunset Lounge at the nearby Fairmont Monte-Carlo. Located on the cusp of cliffs overlooking Port Hercules, this is one of the most coveted cocktail divans in town. DJs spin tracks all evening and guests can select tipples from an extensive cocktail, champagne and shisha menu. www.fairmont.com 11am With the Mediterranean sun warming the sandstone cliffs, there is only one place to brunch, and that’s the iconic Monte-Carlo Beach Club. Book ahead for one of the coveted beachfront cabanas and order from the healthy menu at the dedicated Les Cabanas restaurant, open from April to October. www.monte-carlo-beach.com www.jetsetter.hk
42 HOTEL REVIEW
High Expectations Nick Walton checks into Beijingâ€™s highest hotel, the China World Summit Wing by Shangri-La, and finds luxury and sophistication alive and well in the Chinese capital.
HOTEL REVIEW 43
Located atop the 330-metre China World Trade Centre, the tallest skyscraper in Beijing’s ever-more intriguing skyline, the China World Summit Wing by Shangri-La is a hotel for true travellers. Despite its 278 rooms, located on the 64-77th floors, the hotel boasts the ambiance of a boutique hideaway, and features all the perks of a five-star business hotel, including a location that appeals to tourists and power suit visitors alike, and levels of service that will make you reluctant to ever leave.
We arrived at a sumptuous marble-lined lobby at the tower’s base reserved for hotel guests, from where elevators whisk guests to the 80th floor sky lobby, an infinitely elegant space more akin to a members-only gentlemen’s club than a hotel lobby. In fact, the space doubles as an executive lounge and offers magazines and newspapers, meeting spaces, and all-day snacks to all guests, making it ideal for impromptu corporate get-togethers. Within minutes, cheerful staff escorted me to my Grand Premier Room, a decadent yet tranquil space with stunning views across the city.
Home Away From Home
There are three categories of guest room, and four suite styles at the China World Summit Wing. My 75sqm Grand Premier Room – decorated in traditional yet understated and muted earthy tones – featured a spacious vestibule, a blissfully spacious and contemporary bedroom complete with double-height ceiling, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a king-sized bed, and a sizable workstation. To one corner, a minibar and Nespresso coffee machine was housed in a timber case beside two regal armchairs covered in rich Chinese silk. In the bathroom, guests can while away an evening in a deep soak tub complete with L’Occitane amenities (suites have Bulgari potions and lotions) and views across the CCTV Tower, or dress to impress while staying informed, thanks to a 15-inch LCD television in the bathroom mirror above a double vanity. To one side, a spacious powder room meant there was hanging space for a competitive couple and room to hide the luggage. Rooms also benefit from plenty of technology, including a 40-inch LCD television, high-speed wired and wireless internet, a DVD player, and an iPod docking station.
Dining With the Stars
Like any Chinese five-star hotel worth its salt, dining is a central theme and the China World Summit Wing boasts six restaurants and bars; the crowning glory is Grill 79, a chic fine-dining restaurant with a stellar wine collection and stunning cityscape views. Regarded as one of the top tables in the capital, look out for regular wine-matching degustation dinners and captivating menus of Asian and European dishes laced with locally-sourced ingredients. On our visit, a multi-course degustation menu was served with military precision and perfectly matched by the resident sommelier. Downstairs, Fook Lam Moon serves up refined Cantonese cuisine, complete with two private dining rooms, while Nadaman, a long-established Japanese culinary icon, is popular for power lunches, as is The Red Chamber’s quick and tasty noodles. Above Grill 79, Atmosphere is Beijing’s highest, and certainly one of its most sophisticated lounges, with an extensive single malt collection and a clientele of the capital’s who’s who.
A Spot of Pampering
A gem in the hotel’s wellness offering has to be the mesmerising 25-metre indoor infinity pool on the 78th floor, which on our stay was never being used, meaning you can have a unique soak in solitude. Nearby is a world-class 24-hour fitness centre, complete with sauna, steam room and vitality pool, and on the same level is Chi, The Spa. Boasting six luxurious treatment rooms, the spa offers a host of indulgent scrubs, baths and massages, including the Ultimate Indulgence, a combination of a steam shower, a milk-and-honey wrap, an oil massage and an oxygenating facial.
What We Love
The hotel’s guest rooms are remarkably tranquil and inviting spaces, with dark muted tones making you want to curl up on the bed and gaze at the blinking lights of the city’s skyscrapers. The same tranquility can be found in the arrival lounge, where there are little nooks with armchairs for bookworms, and beautiful brass telescopes for the voyeuristic.
What We Hate
Although Atmosphere is a chic hotspot, the smoking section dominates, with a thick layer of cigarette and cigar smoke hanging over the city’s beautiful and ensuring a parting gift in the form of smokeinfused clothing.
The China World Summit Wing by Shangri-La is quite different from most Shangri-La’s, with their imposing lobbies and gilded personas, and quite unlike most Beijing hotels, ready for the travelling masses. This makes it an ideal hideaway for the regular business traveller looking for a little peace in one of China’s most vibrant cities. No.1 Jianguomenwai Avenue, Beijing, 100004, China, Tel: (86) 10 6505 2299; www.shangri-la.com www.jetsetter.hk
44 BOUTIQUE & BEAUTIFUL
A trio of design-savvy boutique hotels is breathing new life and colour into the Mexican capital, discovers Nick Walton.
Blending colonial 17th century grandeur with a raw industrial edge, Downtown Mexico is hidden away in the Centro Histórico borough of Mexico City and offers guests a new perspective on the city’s indigenous culture. Leave the Unesco-listed colonial landmarks of this historic quarter behind and step through towering copper-studded timber doors into Downtown’s stone-lined vestibule, and an intimate sun-kissed inner courtyard. Created by owner Carlos Couturier and a team of local artisians lead by interior specialists Cherem Serrano Arquitectos, The Design Hotels member features just 17 rooms and suites, each of which boasts a stripped-back, bohemian-chic elegance. Make your way up the spectacular stone-forged staircase and past walls of red volcanic rock to discover rooms that are simple and unadorned, yet elegant and welcoming – we love the spacious balcony of the Independence Suite. Streetside rooms also have balconies to take in the views, while the others look over the lush and perfectly manicured patio. Kick each day off with breakfast on the Breakfast Patio, once the central balcony of the Palace of the Countess Miravalle, and welcome witching hour over cocktails on the rooftop pool terrace, with its views across the colonial-era churches of the city’s historic centre. Isabel la Católica 30, + 52 55 5130 6830; www.downtownmexico.com
BOUTIQUE & BEAUTIFUL 45
Condesa df Hotel
Tucked away on a tree-lined avenue in Mexico City’s trendy Condesa neighbourhood, this eponymously named boutique hotel is the brainchild of architect Javier Sánchez and interior design guru India Mahdavi, who have converted and decorated a local 1928 French neoclassical icon into the capital’s address du jour. A showcase of Mahdavi’s design simplicity, The Design Hotels member is elegant and refined, and combines both European and Mexican influences. Mirroring the peaceful yet vibrant surrounds of emerging Condesa, with its restaurants, cafés, and jacarandá-lined streets, each of the 40 guest rooms – our favourites are the six Terrace Suites – feature bespoke furnishings, including chairs by Cherner and lamps by Moooi. Dressed in moss green, cream, and chocolate tones, guest rooms feature indiginious touches like hand-woven rugs from Oaxaca, as well as modern touches like iPod docks. After a busy day exploring the nearby galleries or the leafy Bosque de Chapultepec gardens, steam away your stress in the hotel’s hammam before treating to yourself to an aged tequila in the La Terrazza bar, with its views over the adjacent Parque de España. Avenida Veracruz 102, + 52 55 5241 2600; www.condesadf.com
Far from a hidden and unassuming boutique hotel, Distrito Capital, a member of Design Hotels, is chic, modern and bodacious, boasting stunning cityscape vistas across the skyscraper district of Santa Fe through doubleheight windows. Unashamedly minimalist, the 30 beautifully-appointed guest rooms and suites – we opt for one of the Corner Suites, with their spacious living rooms and soak tubs – are a symphony of space and light that are fashionable without being pretentious. Each features impeccable design touches, from vintage furnishings by Charlotte Perriand to designs by Parisian interiors guru Joseph Dirand. Rooms feature high-speed internet, luxurious linens and Acqua di Parma amenities, as well as those stunning vertiginous views. Be sure to pop your head in at the innovative Mexican restaurant by Rodrigo Moreno on the fifth floor, a culinary hotspot, or cool off on the spacious outdoor pool terrace. Av. Juan Salvador Agraz 37 Santa Fé, + 52 55 5257 1300; www.hoteldistritocapital.com
What sets the Napa Valley apart from other wine regions? Napa has around half of all the soil types found in the world – at least 33 – so it can grow a wide range of grapes. Plus, the valley’s sun exposure, consistently hot summers, and the cooling daily marine fog help grapes ripen at the optimal rate. Which are the must-try wines from Napa? Fantesca’s Chardonnay is great in the summer, but I also like the Cabernets from Realm or Anomaly, and Tres Sabores does a great Zinfandel. What are the best winery experiences in Napa? The tour at Buchaine, in the back of a truck with the winemaker, is a great experience, while the Kenzo estate offers a great lunch plate from Bouchon, by Thomas Keller. If you have kids, take them to Castello di Amorosa where they can explore a 13th century style Tuscan castle. If you can get them, the by-invitation experiences, like that at Fantesca, are amazing. We’ve only got a day in Napa, where should we go? Start with an early spa session at Solange or Auberge du Soleil, then go to three wineries: choose a www.jetsetter.hk
big one like Castello Di Amorosa, a byappointment only winery like Opus One, and a boutique label such as Gabrielle Collection or Tres Sabores. In between, stop at Gott’s Roadside Grill for a quick lunch. Where’s the best place for a romantic picnic in Napa? Because of strict regulations, most picnics have to be carefully planned with private estate tastings. I recommend arranging picnics at Chapellet, Summit Lake, or Reverie, who will of course, include wine tastings. Where can we have a delicious, lingering lunch with great views? Everyone would say Auberge du Soleil, and I would have to agree. But Calistoga Ranch is also a beautiful spot, and the Vista Dome car on the wine train offers some of the best views around. What differentiates Sonoma County from Napa Valley? Sonoma is very diverse, with a rugged terrain and small ‘mom and pop’ wineries. Napa is a polished, manicured landscape that’s half the size of Sonoma but with twice the number of wineries, many of which are quite large operations.
Which are your favourite wineries in Sonoma? I love William Selyem for their delicious wines, Repris for their wines and beautiful caves, Kaman, because the owner, Robert Kamen, is such an entertainer, and Garden Creek, because it’s run by a wonderful husband and wife team, and the setting is amazing – you pull up to a barn with chickens and ducklings running around and lambs on the other side of the fence. What are the must-try wines in Sonoma? The 2011 Numbers, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from Adrian Fog has that classic, coastal factor that makes for a darker, richer Pinot Noir. What are the best food experiences in Sonoma? Go to Madrona Manor and ask for Jessie, the chef, and ask him what to order, but whatever you do, don’t miss the ice cream: it’s ‘churned’ at the table using liquid nitrogen! It’s a show in itself! Also, try and have dinner at the Rivers End restaurant in Jenner, which has one of the most spectacular views in all of Northern California. The colours are ridiculously intensified by the ocean!
THE LIST 47
The Danube at Regensburg
istory and legend collide as you cruise the Nile, the world’s longest – and probably most famous – river. Live out Antony and Cleopatra dreams as you lounge on your barge, but take a break to peek at the pyramids are you sail past Giza.
he most popular European river for cruising, the fabled Danube flows through towns like Regensburg in Germany, the Austrian wine town of Melk, and sophisticated Budapest, and meanders past landscapes of medieval towns, romantic castles and magnificent cathedrals.
enophiles and gastronomes will relish cruising France’s Rhône, which winds its way through the Beaujolais wine region and the country’s culinary capital of Lyon, while cultural buffs will appreciate the heritage-listed sites of Arles and Avignon.
ature enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the fauna and wildlife of South America’s legendary Amazon, which flows through six countries and is wreathed in parts by the Amazon rainforest. But be warned, this cruise is not for the faint-hearted: the blistering equatorial sun, high humidity, swarming insects, and the lurking presence of deadly wildlife like anacondas and piranhas make the Amazon a real adventure.
Seeing the world while navigating its rivers is an experience unlike any other, allowing you to sail past picturesque landscapes while stopping now and then to see places you might never reach otherwise. Here, we give you the lowdown on our favourite rivers to cruise.
tretching through much of South East Asia, the Mekong river is a great way to see the best of the region. Start from the upper Mekong and sail through Asia’s famed Golden Triangle as you drift towards Vientiane and Ho Chi Minh City, before berthing in Siem Reap to see the ruins of Angkor Wat. Along the way, you’ll pass through landscapes of lush vegetation and secluded riverside villages.
48 ROAD WARRIOR
After visiting some of the most remote places on earth, Singaporeborn Hajar Ali made headlines when she became the first woman to cross the legendary Empty Quarter. Now, she offers others a chance at their own intrepid adventures through Urbane Nomads, a travel operator specialising in luxury travel to remote places. She talks to Gayatri Bhaumik about her adventures, mishaps, and going off the beaten track.
Q. What’s it like being the first woman to cross the famous Empty Quarter? A. I’d planned on being the first woman to
cross the Empty Quarter. Thesiger’s books, and the stories of legendary explorers put the idea in my head. The romantic notion of being on an expedition appealed to me, and it’s nice to have my name attached to an area that coincides with the golden age of exploration. Rosita Forbes was to have crossed the Empty Quarter with St. John Philby, but eventually the expedition didn’t work out. When I crossed the Empty Quarter, it was a statement on the ability of a female to mount her own expedition.
Q. What have been some of your favourite experiences? A. Of course, camping in the Empty Quarter was amazing. It was unbelievable to wake up to different landscapes every morning and experience all the different things that area had to offer. Riding in the ominously-named Quebrada del Diablo (Devil’s Gorge) was special; it was my first time riding a Chilean horse, which was a departure from the thoroughbreds I’m used to riding. Northern Kenya was also quite an experience. I’d had a bad fall off a horse, but I still insisted on sleeping under the stars, with nothing but a mosquito net between me and the stars. I also really enjoyed rafting down the Nam Lang river in the Burmese Himalayas.
Q. What do you look for in a destination? A. Stories of unique traditions – like the eagle hunters of Kazakh Mongolia, or the fairy-
Confessions of a worshipping ceremony amongst the Kalash people in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan – always get me researching potential itineraries. I try to look for places that combine beautiful scenery, cultural authenticity, and if possible, luxury accommodation.
Q. What are your top five favourite destinations? A. In no particular order: the Atacama in South
America; the Empty Quarter; the North-West Frontier Province in Pakistan; the Laikipia plateau in Kenya; Hardangervidda in Norway; and Otago in New Zealand. Okay, that was six, I couldn’t pick just five!
Q. Given all the out of the way places you’ve been to, were there any moments that really scared you? A. There was a series of unfortunate events in one night in Kazakh Mongolia that included an episode where a man tried to pull me into his car, like the scene in Borat which riffed the practice of bride kidnappings in Central Asia. It makes for a good story, and I laugh about it now, but it was really scary when it happened.
Q. How do you really get under the skin of a city? A. A famous writer once said that you need to
have had time to be bored in a place in order to really know it. Most of us don’t have the luxury of time, so ‘getting under the skin of a place’ usually means accessing a city in the way a local would. Gourmets will insist on trying local
food, outdoorsy types will want to stake out a wild swimming spot; it all leads back to having a savvy local counterpart who can open doors during your stay with privileged access and local knowledge.
Q. What would you say to people scared to go off the beaten track? A. It’s a process of progression and evolution.
If you eventually get to the stage where shopping jaunts and beach holidays no longer appeal to you, then you know it’s time to get off the beaten track. But, this isn’t something that appeals – or is appropriate – for everybody.
Q. Why is it important to you to publicise the fact that going off the beaten track doesn’t have to mean giving up luxury? A. There’s a whole group of people keen to experience off-the-beaten track options without necessarily giving up creature comforts. Luxury lodges typically also have the advantage of having the best location in a given area or access to a place. Places like the Matakauri Lodge outside Queenstown, or the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge in Tanzania, have the best vantage points for natural scenery; the Explora in the Atacama gives its guests exclusive access to its private natural sanctuaries in the area, where it supports the work of scientists here; while the Nihiwatu Lodge in Sumba believes in keeping tourism numbers low and sustainable through the model of luxury tourism. These are all off-the-beaten track places that are best accessed in luxury.
COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE 49
Asia’s architectural persona is usually defined by towering skyscrapers, but for many Asian cities, the architectural heritage of past powers plays an equally important role, anchoring history and contributing to a sense of identity in the face of modernity, discovers Nick Walton.
Fullerton Bay Hotel
One of the most iconic British settlements in the Empire, forward-thinking Singapore has embraced much of the architecture that remains from its colonial master, preserving some buildings while incorporating others into its modern persona. While many eyes are on new structures like the towering Marina Bay Sands, some of the city’s top hotels and restaurants are housed in preserved colonial-era buildings, which offer a more understated elegance. With white marble works by Rudolfo Nolli, panels made from locally-sourced rubber depicting rural life in what was at the time still Malaysia, and a stunning barrel vaulted roof, Singapore’s Tanjong Pagar Station, which opened in 1932, is a grand welcome for guests arriving on the Eastern & Oriental Express, a colonial-style train which runs between the Lion City and Bangkok. It has been preserved as a living museum and as a testament to the city’s conception. The Fullerton Hotel, housed in a beautiful Victorian colonial-era building, complete with towering columns and an enviable position on the Singapore River, has become iconic, spurring the city’s growth in boutique hotels nestled in preserved legacy buildings. Named for Robert Fullerton, the first Governor of the Straits Settlements, the hotel was designed by Shanghai architectural firm Keys & Dowdeswell and opened in 1928. The building played host to the General Post Office, The Exchange, the Singapore club, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, before being gazetted by the Singaporean government in 1997. It was opened as the Fullerton Hotel in 2001 and remains one of Singapore’s most sought after accommodations.
50 COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE
Fullerton Bay Hotel
Singapore’s thriving hotel industry has recognised the importance of heritage buildings as well. The Fullerton Bay Hotel opened down the road from its sister property and is housed in the former Customs House, another heritage building now saved through development. Located off Orchard Road, the Goodwood Park Hotel began life in 1900 as the Teutonia Club, an elite members’ club for German expats, before becoming the Goodwood Hall in 1918. By the 1930s, the newly-named Goodwood Park was one of Asia’s most famous hotels and welcomed many illustrious guests, including the Duke of Windsor and Prince of Wales, and was gazetted as a national monument in 1989. The British left their architectural legacy across Malaysia as well, with iconic structures preserved from Kuala Lumpur to Malacca and Penang. On the island of Penang, colonialera buildings are not only influenced by the 171-year British presence, but also testify to the nation’s multiculturalism, with Malay, Hindu and Chinese influences also evident in some of the island’s most historic structures. The oldest colonial remnant is Fort Cornwallis, a starshaped fort designed to protect the former colony from naval attacks. Built by Captain Sir Francis Light in 1786, it remains the largest standing fort in Malaysia, and a popular tourism attraction for history buffs, who linger over its ancient cannon, the largest of which, Seri Rambai, was cast in 1603. The Chapel at the fort remains the earliest roofed colonial structure on the island. The beautiful Eastern & Oriental Hotel, located on the Penang shoreline, is another of the city’s architectural gems. Built originally as the Eastern Hotel in 1885 by the Armenian Sarkies Brothers, it became so popular that another was built and named the Orient. When the two were joined it was given it’s elegant new persona and became a colonial-era household name. The brothers went on to create the iconic Raffles Hotel in Singapore, which remains one of the region’s most lavish houses of slumber.
COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE 51
Other historic Penang buildings include The Mansion, the Uplands International School buildings, the Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Clocktower, the Chinese-styled Khoo Kongsi Temple, built in 1906, and the beautiful Southern Bank Building. From British to French colonial architectural and Phnom Penh. With its river-side mansions, manicured parks and wide open streets, Phnom Penh was once considered the most beautiful city in all of IndoChina. Head to the Central Markets, known as Phsar Thim Thmei, to find western design influences. Constructed in 1937, the sprawling market has a distinct Art Deco feel, especially with its gigantic yellow-hued dome, and has recently benefitted from a US$4.2 million renovation funded by the French Development Agency. The Raffles Hotel Le Royal remains the city’s most luxurious house of slumber. First built in 1929, it regularly welcomed celebrities, including Jackie O and Charlie Chaplin. The Le Royal was reopened in 1997 after a multi-million dollar restoration by its new owners, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, bringing it back to its former glory. Jakarta may be a thriving modern city but it still boasts beautiful examples of colonial era architecture, including the City Hall and Central Post Office, both of which are situated within the boundaries of Old Jakarta, or Batavia, once the heart of the colony’s commerce. Here, the Jakarta History Museum not only has a beautiful collection but is itself a stunning piece of architecture. Located on Fatahillah Square and built in 1710 as Batavia’s City Hall, it now stands preserved, displaying objects from the Dutch colonisation through to independence in 1945. Nearby, the Wayang Museum boasts Indonesia’s best collection of traditional puppets, also known as wayang. It occupies a church built in 1640 that served the Christian colonisers and Jan Pieterszon Coen, the brutal general governor of the time, is said to be buried in what was once the churchyard. He is best remembered for having his ward’s Raffles Hotel Le Royal
52 COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE
High Court in Yangon
lover, a 15 year old standard bearer, beheaded when he found them making love in the gardens of his estate. In the Vietnamese city of Danang, French colonial influences can still be seen in the spacious, low hung bungalows created by French traders and plantation owners. Some of the city’s best examples of colonial villas can be found at the Ba Na Hill Station, an hour’s drive (sometimes more) from downtown. Here, in the 1920s, the colonialists would escape the heat for the cooler weather of the mountains, building more than 200 villas as well as private clubs and restaurants. Another beautiful example of colonial architecture in Vietnam is Hanoi’s famed Metropole Hotel. A Sofitel Legends property because of its prestige, it was built in 1901 in a French colonial style and survived the bombing of then North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Located in the heart of this bustling city, it has also hosted more than its fair share of celebrities, including Charlie Chaplin, Jane Fonda, George H. W. Bush, Jacques Chirac and Isabelle de Valvert. Finally, in Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar, attempts are being made to protect the city’s colonial icons before the city expands and devours them. Like Phnom Penh, Yangon was once famed for its wide boulevards and leafy avenues. Formerly a British protectorate, the city has the highest number of colonial-era The Strand Hotel
buildings in Southeast Asia, although thanks to a lack of investment and economic sanctions, few have benefited from renovation over the years. The eye-catching High Court was constructed of red brick in 1911 in a typical Queen Anne style. Designed by James Ransome, it took six years to build and has been listed as one of the city’s key heritage icons. Also on the list is the Strand Hotel, a Victoria-styled hotel that remains one of the city’s most visited attractions. Built in 1896 by Tigran and Aviet Sarkie, with views across the Yangon River, it was commandeered by the Japanese in 1941, and was managed by Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel. The Japanese, unlike the British, let local Burmese into the hotel, and the building retains a special place in the hearts of many of the city’s older residents.
One of Japanâ€™s biggest commercial hubs is undergoing a slick urban redevelopment, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the Umeda district, where the colossal Grand Front Osaka development has recently opened. by Gayatri Bhaumik
riving into downtown Osaka from Kansai airport, visitors are bound to get a sense of the renewed vibrancy that is reviving the CBD of Japan’s third largest city. Dull plateaus of uniform industrial districts give way to a cacophony of bright neon lights and futuristic skyscrapers like the Umeda Sky Building, which hovers like a UFO over the city centre. In just the last few years, Osaka has been revamped by a series of urban makeovers which have breathed new life into the important commercial hub. In no area are these changes more visible than in Umeda, a vital district in the heart of Osaka where redevelopment projects are reshaping the city and preparing it for its future as a bustling leisure and entertainment destination. These changes have been unleashed in the form of exciting new retail and dining options, new buildings, and updated local infrastructure. French chef Alain Ducasse’s first restaurant in Osaka – Le Comptoir de Benoit – is nestled into the 33rd floor of Umeda’s Breéze Tower which opened last November; around the same time, the refurbished Bulgari café was unveiled during the opening of the rebuilt Hankyu Umeda department store in which it’s housed. Nearby, the Coffret Umeda property, completed in November 2011, features 5,396sqm of office and retail space. Getting around is also becoming much easier with the revitalisation of the area’s infrastructure. In May 2011, upgrades to the massive JR Osaka railway station – Japan’s busiest – were unveiled, after several years of renovation that included the addition of the JR Osaka Mitsukoshi Isetan department store. More recently, in early 2013, the sprawling Umeda Freight Station was closed and relocated to make way for a host of new development projects that will include commercial and residential properties. There are even plans to improve the area by turning the streets into wide pedestrian-friendly pathways reminiscent of the boulevards of Europe. www.jetsetter.hk
t the forefront of the area’s makeover is the imposing Grand Front Osaka, a behemoth commercial development made up of four buildings which seem to dwarf everything else around them. Envisioned as a retail and business hub providing exciting new experiences for customers, tourists, and businesses, Grand Front Osaka houses 266 stores and restaurants, a massive convention centre, and an array of business facilities which fly under the banner of Knowledge Capital. The development also features the brand new Intercontinental Osaka, the group’s first hotel in Japan’s Kansai area. Boasting 215 guest rooms and 57 residential suites, as well as five restaurants and bars, and a spa, the hotel offers contemporary, luxurious accommodation in the heart of the city. The Grand Front Osaka complex occupies a seven-hectare site in a prime location, said
to be the last available chunk of real estate in downtown Osaka, and its central positioning offers direct access to the JR Osaka station and other vital transport links. In its very short period of operation, Grand Front Osaka has already become a city icon, a business destination, a tourist attraction, and a popular shopping and meeting point. During its first two months, the complex saw over seven million customers pass through its doors, and at this rate, the target of 25 million in a year will be easily smashed. Of course, shops and restaurants in one giant complex isn’t the only offering. The development encourages visitors to explore the surrounding area with the provision of two public transport options. Tourists can buy a ¥200 (US$2) day ticket for the Umegle Bus, which runs a circular route around Umeda with 12 stops at points of interest, while for the eco-conscious and active, the www.jetsetter.hk
Umegle-Chari are electric bikes which can be rented by the hour. For shoppers and gastronomes, Grand Front Osaka offers an exciting new customer experience – and in this case, ‘experience’ should be taken literally. Have your running style analysed at Asics’ running lab before being fitted for the perfect shoe; sip espresso at the Mercedes Benz Connection while pondering which car to test drive; play with a full range of electronics at the Panasonic showroom before grabbing a bite to eat at a café which only uses the brand’s professional kitchen appliances. And don’t forget to stop by the Suntory Whisky House to sample some of the brand’s famous Yamazaki whisky while learning about the label’s history. Of course, many of the stores – from www.jetsetter.hk
The Gap and Samantha Thavasa to Birkenstock – offer a more traditional retail format, and even Spanish retailer Zara has a space here, albeit in the form of a Zara Home, the first of the brand’s homeware stores in Japan. When it comes time to eat, you’ll be spoilt for choice. For fancy, fresh fare, stop by Shunkoku Shunsai, a fusion French restaurant by Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef Kiyomi Mikuni that uses produce grown at the adjacent indoor Shunkoku Shunsai City Farm. Pick-me-ups are necessary on long shopping trips, and it doesn’t get better than the sumptuous City Bakery, which bakes delicious, Western-style snacks; but be warned, the bakery is so popular that there are always queues. Adventurous epicureans should test themselves at the Kinki University Fisheries Restaurant, which serves farmed fish cultivated by Kinki University – try the kindai maguro (Kinki University Tuna). Of course, if it all gets too much – and given the huge array of options, being overwhelmed is a definite possibility – head straight to Gurunavi.
This shop front provides a culinary concierge service where knowledgeable gourmet guides that speak four languages can help you navigate Osaka’s food scene by providing restaurant suggestions – and deals – to fit whatever food mood you’re in. Grand Front Osaka has also positioned itself – and by extension, Osaka – as a business hub with the addition of Knowledge Capital, an umbrella label which covers a range of business-related spaces over an area of some 88,000sqm spread across 13 floors. The Knowledge Salon provides professional yet relaxed meeting areas; the Collabo Offices are great for adhoc or temporary office spaces; and the Congrés Convention Centre is the largest in Osaka. Visitors should also check out Knowledge Capital’s Active Lab, where companies display product prototypes and invite customers to try them out and give feedback. With a huge variety of shops, restaurants, and business facilities offering fresh new options and innovative experiences, Grand Front Osaka is all set to revamp downtown Osaka and attract a new breed of tourists and businesspeople to the city.
SENIOR MANAGEMENT 57
Paving the way Through a career that’s taken her to the Dominican Republic, Thailand, and the Maldives, Haydee Cruz has developed a keen sense of creating memorable experiences for resort guests. Now in her role as Director of Sales and Marketing for the Beach House Collection, Haydee is bringing her skills to a new destination as she helps open Beach House Pasikudah on Sri Lanka’s east coast. She speaks to Gayat ri Bhaumik about this increasingly hot destination. golden sand beaches and turquoise sea is the main attraction that lures visitors to the region. Pasikudah is also getting a face-lift with new access roads, electricity, and water schemes being developed at a rapid pace. With 14 hotels already in development, the area is becoming an international hotspot, and is a great place for couples, honeymooners, families, and groups. We also see potential to market the area as a regional short break destination. Have you noticed any major distinctions between western and Asian guests? Asian guests tend to stay for
Q& A Were you always interested in hospitality? It is my passion; I discovered it at
a young age, when I was still at school. Luckily, I have been able to follow my dreams in a successful career which has taken me around the world. Sri Lanka is becoming a hot destination. Why do you think that is?
There is something special about the island that is hard to express in a sentence. The diversity on offer is key: Sri Lanka has beautiful beaches, national parks, colourful people, culture, and history, to mention just a few things. How is Sri Lanka developing as a destination? It’s a combined effort
between the government and the private sector. Trade is also playing an important role in promoting the island in the global market. More international hotel chains are establishing a presence, which contributes to increasing the level of service in the tourism sector. New highways are under construction to shorten distances to tourist destinations, and airport facilities are also being improved. These are all positive moves to cater to the demands of international travellers, and to make Sri Lanka a desirable getaway in Asia. Why should visitors to Sri Lanka choose to visit the country’s east coast? With the dawning of peace in Sri Lanka, Pasikudah – famous for its
breathtaking beaches – is in the process of developing as a tourist destination. The
shorter periods, due to fewer vacation days in Asia. The cultural differences are also remarkable, and we are adapting the food and services to meet demands, whether that’s having staff speak different languages, or chefs cooking the traditional cuisines of other countries. A multilingual website and social media platforms are also essential to communicate effectively with audiences in their own languages. How do you manage demanding guests? We strive to
anticipate the needs of our guests at each step of their journey, from the first interaction at reservation, to post-departure communication. Our teams at the resorts are trained to always look for solutions to the demands of the guests so that they thoroughly enjoy their stay and leave the resort with a positive and memorable experience. How important do you think it is for a hotel to provide guests with more than just a place to sleep? Very – it’s what sets a hotel apart from the crowd. At the Beach House Collection, we’re dedicated to crafting extraordinary experiences. Our value proposition is to offer perfectly realised resort experiences that intuitively understand the needs of guests, and surprise them with visionary service and unexpected details that leave them with enduring stories. Guests feel at ease in their surroundings, and we delight them with personal touches, and inspire them with local art and design influences. When they leave the resorts, they have stories to tell and memories to share. How is the role of the GM changing? In a new era in hospitality, we have to anticipate every guest’s needs and expectations, always be there for them, and deliver on our promises. Connecting with our guests is more important than ever, and the interaction with them during their stay is a focus for the team at the resorts. www.jetsetter.hk
The Norwegian Arctic Circle is the perfect destination for travellers looking for icy adventures and cosmic displays, discovers Nick Walton.
he temperature is dropping by the minute as lazy snowflakes fall, dancing in the clouds of steam from our breath. Engines revving in the darkness mark our departure into the Norwegian wilderness. Lifting my helmet visor, the cold, fresh air bites at my lips and eyes as flakes of ice wash up from the snowmobiles in front. Time is running short; tension is building as we race through the darkness, eyes peeled towards the sky, headlights whipping across the thick snow. The hunt is on. The Northern Lights have captivated visitors to the Arctic Circle for centuries. Found in the high latitudes, on cold, clear nights, they’re caused by the collision of energy-charged particles with atoms at high altitude. The Lights are an elusive prey. They come and go as they please, their green, pink and purple bands appearing in the inky sky in moments, dancing, taunting, only to vanish so quickly you’re forced to ask if they were ever there. And sometimes, just sometimes, they come out in a staggering display that reaches across the sky,
captivating the imagination of us mere mortals below. Exciting night snowmobile safaris like this are just one of a raft of iconic Arctic activities offered by Hurtigruten, a cruise line-cumferry company and local Norwegian icon. One of the very best ways to explore Norway’s stunningly rugged west coast and to delve into the country’s slice of the Arctic Circle, Hurtigruten’s 11 vessels connect isolated fishing communities with urban centres like Kirkenes, Tromso, and Bergen, while also connecting an increasing number of intrepid travellers with this truly unique landscape. In Tromso, the unofficial Arctic capital and a popular stepping off point for Lights hunters and adventurous snow bunnies, I leave the MS Trollfjord, one of Hurtigruten’s most modern vessels, and cross the meandering fjord, bound for Kvaløya and Tromsø Villmarkssenter, the region’s top husky breeding and racing facility. Founded by international dog-sledding racer Tove Sørensen, the property – and its 300 Alaskan huskies – is as much a training facility for important races like the Alaskan Iditarod, as it is a chance for Hurtigruten passengers to interact with these amazing dogs.
We start off with a tour of the facility, and a chance to meet the huskies, who live in pairs in a village of dog houses, each with their resident’s name painted on top. The dogs prefer to live outside and only venture into their wooden homes when temperatures drop below minus 20 degrees Celsius. Fortunately, it’s a relatively balmy minus two this afternoon as we pair off and mount up in narrow dog sleds. Our sled driver, Campbell, is Canadian and has been sledding much of his young life. He collects the snow anchor, calls the dogs and we’re away, bumping, skating, and sliding through a white-toned landscape punctuated by towering pines and the final rays of sunshine behind the mountains. Curled up in special jackets and mittens, it’s a
stunning experience to watch the dog pack pull together, with each husky assigned a specific role as we race and scrape our way through a rugged cross-country course. Things move at a much faster pace outside Kirkenes on a crab-catching safari. This far north, at this time of year, the sun struggles to light the pale sky as we race powerful snowmobiles across the frozen ice of the Langfjorden fjord, the horizon and the sky blending in pale sheets of white, the lights of the snowmobiles flaring in the early morning twilight. A trio of Norwegian soldiers on camouflaged snowmobiles race by on the other side of the fjord, patrolling the territory close to the Russian border. A simple timber A-frame marks our destination, a traditional ice-fishing hole in the www.jetsetter.hk
middle of the frozen landscape. Here, our guide Yuri saws away the night’s frozen ice with a menacing looking ice saw before we join in to haul a net packed with massive, spidery king crab to the surface. Before long, we’re back in the warmth of the lodge, the crabs steamed and served with melted butter and thimbles of fiery local aquavit, while outside the snow falls through the pine trees and the light ebbs from the sky. Another Arctic adventure is located nearby; the Kirkenes Snow Hotel is one of the world’s most famous icy houses of slumber, and for good reason. Each year, pure snow melt is piped from the property’s lake and used to create a new hotel based on a theme. Bands of ice sculptures from Harbin in China, home to the famed annual ice festival, carve out the hotel’s guest rooms, pedestrian tunnels and cocktail ice bar, all of which are punctuated during our visit with sculptures of dwarfs, polar bears, and even Marilyn Monroe. The ice bar is a central meeting place for guests seeking a last warming tipple before heading, special sleeping bags in hand, to their beds of frozen ice blocks, located in rooms that are kept at a frosty minus four degrees. As fun and exciting as the Arctic activities are, it’s the Northern Lights www.jetsetter.hk
which fill the cabins of the Hurtigruten ships, and although we see plenty of stunning spectacles from the decks of our ship, there is no better place to view the lights then from the middle of nowhere, with nothing but snow on the ground and darkness above. We leave the MS Trollfjord in the remote fishing community of Kjøllefjord well after dark, scrambling into survival suits that make us walk like astronauts; our feet toasty in foil-lined boots, and our hands bundled into gloves that resemble oven mittens. A bus takes us up the winding road from the town into the mountains which wreath the tranquil harbor. Snowcapped peaks are silhouetted on the horizon by the residual twilight, and the blinking red lights of a crop of towering windmills tell of the power farms which ring Kjøllefjord. Our guide points into the darkness at the northern most forest in the world, a copse of slender birch trees that stubbornly defy their proximity to the North Pole. In the dead of winter, this road can become treacherous and when Mother Nature’s temper is felt, snow ploughs must lead scheduled convoys out of town. A couple of times a year the weather whips up a frenzy, preventing the Hurtigruten ship visits, closing the road and cutting the town off from the rest of the world, “or the rest of the world from us,” our guide Vikonov chuckles. But tonight there are no snow
ploughs and no other vehicles; we’re on our own, enveloped in darkness, racing ever further into the nothingness. We come to a stop, torch beams probing the darkness, the air pinching at exposed skin, and the faint rumble of engines on
NORWAY 63 the wind. I almost walk into the first snowmobile, a powerful half-bike-half-sled contraption that sits patiently in the silver moonlight. As big and powerful as they are, snowmobiles are very easy to use and after a quick safety briefing, we’re mounting up and following Vikonov in a chain of lights and revving engines into the moonlit frozen landscape hunting the lights. Vikonov leads the convoy deep into the countryside, across flat plains of footdeep snow, and down into shallow valleys. Gaining confidence at the controls, many in the group climb the valley walls, zigzagging through the powder and bumping through the tracks left behind by snowmobiles before them. In the distance, the skies are stirring. On a final climb up a steep hill that has the convoy revving and steaming, we summit a peak overlooking our final destination, the arctic town of Mehamn. The lights of the tiny settlement twinkle in the distance like grounded stars and beyond, the lights of the MS Trollfjord can be seen as she steams up the Finnmark Coast to collect us. As if on cue, the sky’s inky blackness starts to shift as pale streaks of colour gather contrast, their fingers reaching across the horizon until the sky is a series of spectacular green and blue bands. We lie back on the seats of the snowmobiles, breathing plumes of steam into the air and gazing as the lights literally dance above, shifting hue and form constantly. Time seems to stand still, the rush to see the lights gone, the rush to the ship ignored for 10
tantalising minutes as the skies erupt with colour above us in an aweinspiring display. Camera memory cards filled with time-lapse images, and fingers begging to be buried back in the oven mittens, we mount up, this time for the quick race down the mountain’s back to the
harbour. We’re soon back on the ship, enjoying the warmth of the dining room, while beyond, the last wisps of the Northern Lights flicker on the horizon, as if calling us back to the frozen wilds of Norway, where they play in a jewelled sky above a darkened stage.
Travel Essentials Getting There: Fly SAS from Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai or Tokyo to Bergan via Copenhagen. www.flysas.com Getting Around: Hurtigruten sails between Bergan and Kirkenes all year. The best months to see the Northern Lights are between the autumn equinox and spring equinox, September 21 - March 21. www.hurtigruten.com More Info: For ideas on tours and activities go to: www.visitnorway.com Essential Reading: The Northern Lights: The True Story of the Man Who Unlocked the Secrets of the Aurora Borealis; Lucy Jago www.jetsetter.hk
Celebrating Macau’s Portuguese Heritage with 16
Lusofonia FESTIVAL November 1-3
ourmands from all four corners of the world will descend on Macau between November 8 and 24, 2013, when the city hosts the 13th Macau Food Festival at the Sai Van Lake Square. The highly-anticipated event attracts local residents and visitors with 130 booths offering a delicious array of Asian, European, Chinese and local delicacies. The festival has become a firm favourite for its uninhibited, welcoming atmosphere that’s fuelled by exciting live entertainment, games, and beer competitions. This year the festival will reach new heights with its offerings, and with its special theme. 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of the Macau Grand Prix, and to celebrate this milestone the Macau Food Festival will adopt
usofonia Festival, the Macau-based festival which celebrates Portuguese-speaking countries around the world has become one of the city’s must-go events, one that’s hotlyanticipated by locals and tourists alike. This year, the festival will celebrate its 16th year from November 1 to 3, 2013, at the Carmo Area next to Macau’s Taipa Houses Museum. The festival’s name is derived from the word ‘Lusitania’, the name of an ancient Roman province on the Iberian Peninsula which corresponds to modern-day Portugal. Originally conceived as a celebration of the Portuguese-speaking individuals who contributed to Macau’s development, the Lusofonia festival was first held in 1998, on the Portuguese Expatriate Day, June 10. In the intervening years, Lusofonia has gone from strength to strength to become one of the major events on Macau’s calendar. The fiesta includes music and dance performances, traditional delicacies and drinks, arts and handicrafts, football matches, traditional Portuguese games, cultural presentations, exhibitions, and a range of other cultural and culinary ventures. Previous Lusofonia Festivals have featured spirited performances by musicians and dancers from Portugal, Brazil, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Mozambique, and Goa, and this year’s Lusofonia Festival promises to be just as exciting.
13th Macau Food Festival November 8-24
the concept of a ‘Food Racing Tour’. The 130 booths will allow visitors to race through a number of designated streets, including a Chinese food street, an Asian food street, a Continental food street, and a dessert street. This year’s festival will also feature a special Thai village which will bring together the four major cuisine styles from Thailand.
The village will also showcase a range of Thai-themed performances, including a Muay Thai exhibition match, traditional Thai dances, Thai sculptures, and Thai handpainting. There will also be two days of Loy Krathong activities, which will allow guests at the festival to experience the excitement and festivities of this traditional Thai celebration.
Rev Your Engines:
T h i s y e a r, t h e M a c a u G r a n d P r i x c e l e b r a t e s i t s 6 0 t h a n n i v e r s a r y, and the city is gearing up to
C e l e b r at e s I ts A n n i v e r sa r y
to mark this significant milestone with a series of special events.
rom humble beginnings, the Macau Grand Prix has gone from strength to strength to become one of the most hotly anticipated events on the city’s calendar. The inaugural Macau Grand Prix was held on October 30th and 31st, 1954, and was originally intended as a club race for local motoring enthusiasts. The event saw just 15 competitors fight for the top prize over 51 laps of the city’s Guia circuit, and was eventually won by Eddie Carvalho in his Triumph TR2. At the time, the Guia circuit came under heavy criticism, with official stewards commenting that the “back of the circuit is very bad – mostly dirt and loose sand”. For the 1955 event, the back section of the circuit was completely overhauled, with the old cobbles dug up and replaced with asphalt. By 1956, the event had gained such popularity that a permanent concrete grandstand incorporating 10 pits and seating for 300 spectators was constructed. More races were added to the event in 1957, including one for ladies, and another for novices. In just a few short years, the Macau Grand Prix was able to establish itself as such a significant event, that by the 1960s, the rest of the world began to take notice. In 1960, the race was entered onto the international racing calendar for the first time, and in subsequent years, the event saw the participation of international drivers. Philippine-born Arsenio ‘Dodjie’ Laurel set a Macau Grand Prix record in 1963, when he became the first driver in the event’s history to win two consecutive grand prix; meanwhile, the 1966 event made history by featuring the first competitor from Europe, Italy’s Mauro Bianchi. 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix, and to celebrate and get everyone excited for this very special occasion, organisers are putting on a series of high octane events over two weeks. Macau’s Tap Seac Square and Friendship Square will thrill petrol-heads with road car and supercar shows, while biking enthusiasts will enjoy the motorcycle show which will be held over the weekend of November 8 to 10. A grand parade of vintage cars is also being planned during the festivities, but if you miss it, you’ll still have the chance to get up close and personal with these classic vehicles, as they will be on display at the exhibition hall at The Venetian between November 9 and 17. All of these adrenaline-fuelling events are designed to complement the official line-up of Grand Prix events. In addition to these events, to celebrate this milestone anniversary, organisers have commissions a commemorative book. Compiled by Dr Philip Newsome, a recognised Macau Grand Prix historian, “The Macau Grand Prix at 60: A Diamond Jubilee” is a bilingual tome (in English and Chinese) which chronicles the colourful history of the event’s first 59 years. This year, the Macau Grand Prix will be held over six days and two weekends: November 9 to 10, and 14 to 17. Official events will include practice sessions, qualifiers, main races, as well as surprise special events, and even a lion dance. Star River-Windsor Arch won title sponsorship rights for this year’s Macau Grand Prix; title sponsor for other races include City of Dreams Macau, Suncity Group, and Hotel Fortuna. The 2013 Macau Grand Prix will be held at Macau’s Guia Circuit, the same track which has been the site of all previous races, since the inaugural event in 1954. The Guia Circuit has a length of 6.2 kilometres, a minimum width is just 7 metres and features no less than 19 turns. The track features many of the same hallmarks which are present in street circuits around the world – narrow, bumpy, and offering limited overtaking opportunities. Two features, however, set the Guia circuit apart from other street circuits: varying altitudes and long straight stretches. Over 30 metres separate the highest and lowest points of the circuit, and F3 cars can reach top speeds of 260km/h thanks to an extremely long main straight. The combination of hill-climbs, sharp corners and long straights make this one of the most demanding circuits around. It remains to be seen if any driver this year can beat the track’s lap record of 2:10:732, which was set by Italy’s Edoardo Mortara in 2009. Tickets are available for practice sessions and race events, and range from MOP50 – MOP900 (US$6.25 - $11.50). For more information about the 60th Macau Grand Prix and for ticketing information, visit www.macau.grandprix.gov.mo
STAR RIVER -WINDSOR A R C H 6 0 t h Macau Saturday, November 9
Sunday, November 10
Thursday, November 14
0730 – 0800 Hotel Fortuna MAC/HKG
0730 – 0900 Practice
0730 - 0830
Star River-Windsor Arch
Interport Race - Practice
0915 – 1000 Hotel Fortuna MAC/HKG
Macau Motorcycle Grand
0815 – 0845 Audi R8 LMS Cup - Practice
Prix – 47th Edition – Practice
0900 – 0930 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia –
1025 – 1110 Audi R8 LMS Cup – 10 Laps
0855 – 0935 Lotus Greater China Race –
1135 – 1220 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia –
0945 – 1015 Formula Masters China
0955 – 1035 Suncity Group Macau Road
Series - Practice
Interport Race – 10 Laps
1245 – 1345 CTM Macau Touring Car
1030 – 1100 Lamborghini Super Trofeo
1055 – 1140 Star River-Windsor Arch
1410 – 1455 Lamborghini Super Trofeo
Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix
1115 – 1145 CTM Macau Touring Car
Cup - Practice
1505 – 1535 Special Event
1200 - 1230
City of Dreams Macau GT
Hotel Fortuna MAC/HKG
1600 – 1645 Formula Masters China
Cup - Practice
Interport Race - Qualifying
1250 – 1330 Scirocco R China Masters
Asia Series - Practice
Cup - 12 Laps
Asia Series – 10 Laps
Series – 10 Laps
Sport Challenge – Practice
1245 – 1315 Audi R8 LMS Cup -
1350 – 1420 FIA WTCC – Guia Race of
1330 – 1400 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia –
Macau – Presented by
Star River-Windsor Arch
1415 – 1445 Formula Masters China
1440 – 1510 Star River-Windsor Arch
Series - Qualifying
Challenge – Practice
1500 – 1530 Lamborghini Super Trofeo
Formula 3 Macau Grand
Prix – Qualifying
Asia Series – Qualifying
1545 – 1615 CTM Macau Touring Car
1550 – 1635 Star River-Windsor Arch
Macau Motorcycle Grand
Prix – 47th Edition – Qualifying
Cup - Qualifying
G r and P ri x Even t S c h e d u le 2 01 3 Friday, November 15
Saturday, November 16
Sunday, November 17
0730 – 0815 Star River- – Windsor Arch
0730 – 0750 Star River-Windsor Arch
0715 – 0740 Practice
Motorcycle Grand Prix –
Macau Motorcycle Grand
0755 – 0805 City of Dreams Macau GT
47th Edition – Qualifying
Prix – 47th Edition –
0830 – 0900 FIA WTCC – Guia Race of
0830 – 0845 FIA WTCC – Guia Race of
0820 – 0920 Lotus Greater China Race
River-Windsor Arch –
River-Windsor Arch –
0950 – 1050 Suncity Group Macau Road
0920 – 0950 Lotus Greater China Race –
0920 – 1020 City of Dreams Macau GT
1120 – 1220 Scirocco R China Masters
1010 – 1040 Suncity Group Macau Road
Challenge – 8 Laps
1045 – 1300 FIA WTCC – Guia Race of
1250 – 1310 City of Dreams Macau GT
1100 – 1145 Star River-Windsor Arch
River-Windsor Arch – 2
Formula 3 Macau Grand
1400 – 1450 Star River-Windsor Arch
races of 9 laps each, with
Prix – Practice
Formula 3 Macau Grand
a 15 minute break
1215 – 1245 FIA WTCC Guia Race of
Prix – Qualification Race
– 10 Laps
1320 – 1410 Special Event
Macau – Presented by Star
Sport Challenge – Qualifying
Macau – Presented by Star
- 10 Laps
Sport Challenge – 10 Laps
Cup – Qualifying
Cup – Warm Up
Macau – Presented by Star
Cup – 12 Laps
Macau – Presented by Star
River-Windsor Arch – Practice
1530 – 1630 Star River-Windsor Arch
1500 – 1515 Lion Dance
1305 – 1335 Scirocco R China Masters
Macau Motorcycle Grand
1530 – 1630 Star River-Windsor Arch
Prix – 47th Edition – 15 Laps
Formula 3 Macau Grand
Prix – 15 Laps
Challenge – Qualifying
1355 – 1425 City of Dreams Macau GT
Cup – Qualifying
1445 – 1515 Star River-Windsor Arch
Formula 3 Macau Grand
Prix – Qualifying
1535 – 1625 FIA WTCC – Guia Race of
Macau – Presented by Star
River-Windsor Arch – Qualifying
Schedule subject to change. For more and update information on Macau Grand Prix please check the website: http://www.macau.grandprix.gov.mo/ or download the Macau Grand Prix Mobile APP at http://cms.macau.grandprix.gov.mo/en/mgpapp
Following in the popularity of her modern Balinese escape Luna2, Melanie Hall’s boutique properties appeal to a niche market of discerning world travellers — and pay homage to her architect father.
ali is called the Island of Gods, but surely the deities have never seen anything like the private hotel that interior designer Melanie Hall opened in southwest Bali in 2007, or its new sister property next door, Luna2 studios. Located on the beach in trendy Seminyak and named after the first spacecraft to land on the moon in 1959, Luna2 is an exclusive-use, fivebedroom property that takes just one booking at a time. Every care, no matter how big or small, is tended to by a staff of 24 dedicated employees. If you don’t want to spend US$3,000 a night, you can still get a full dose of Hall’s funked-up, modernist Luna2 studios, which recently opened right next door—complete with a thirty-seat restaurant, Lunaplex cinema, Pop! lounge bar, and fourteen open-plan guestrooms. It’s the first of four planned properties to open in the coming years (with others slated to appear in Phuket, Thailand; Niseko, Japan; and Lombok, Indonesia), after which Luna2 has identified key hot-spots around the world in which to
expand the Luna2 collection of properties. Both properties are havens for adventure seekers, design junkies, and discerning gastronauts: whether celebrities, socialites, residents, or expatriates from around the globe. A British expat who designed the James Bond–like interiors herself (American architect David Wahl did the somewhat modernist exterior), Hall says: “We provide ‘cosmic spaces for jet-setting lunatics.’ Our well-heeled, rightfully demanding guests are seeking more privacy or intimacy, in a more vibrant environment, with the services of an exclusive five-star hotel.” To set foot into Luna2 or the studios is to step into the mind of Melanie Hall. From the sliding glass-walled facade to the 1960s-inspired furnishings of Luna2, everything reflects her background and sensibility. Luna2 is especially a tribute to her late father, the architect Alan Chambers, who instilled in her a love of modernist architecture. She even referenced many of his photos and drawings in designing Luna2. “I see things through my father’s eyes, and I trust he is looking down at me with a smile,” she says. “He travelled the world to soak up as much great architecture as he possibly could. He photographed and documented masses of Oscar Niemeyer’s works in Brazil; Le Corbusier’s ‘Fort of Chandi’ in Chandigarh; and timeless modernist wonders in South Beach, Miami.” Her dad once designed a house for a friend in Lancashire, England, with a river running under it and a lit-up dance floor in the basement lounge bar. Though a river doesn’t run through Luna2 studios, it does feature a lit dance floor in its underground lounge bar. Having grown up in the Caribbean and Nigeria, Hall has a real tropical-meets-urban flair. She spent the first few years of her life in Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands, where her father had a practice and
worked on the reclaiming the main harbour, among other residential projects; her mother, an educator, met Alan Chambers at Liverpool University. The family then moved to Nigeria for six years, before she and her three brothers enrolled in a British boarding school. She then joined her parents in St. Lucia for the final years of her secondary education. “My father lived in the tropics for about forty years, and I never once saw him wear a pair of shorts or sandals,” Hall recalls fondly. “He was impeccable in his style, smooth as James Bond. He ingrained a certain amount of etiquette in all of us.” After a year of college back in England, she became a management trainee at Harrods, where she ultimately worked for five years as a sales manager in menswear. “It was the best training one could ever start off with in life,” she says. “It was like being in the army. I was awarded several bottles of champagne by Mohammed Al Fayed for my high levels of customer service. I even approached him about holding the first of what became many charity balls. I had weekly meetings with Al Fayed, and he would sit with his feet up on a stool and say, ‘Okay, Melanie, what do you want from me today?’ And then say to his secretary, ‘Give Melanie my Harrods account number. She needs to shop for auction prizes at my expense.’” In 1992, at age 25, Hall became Polo Ralph Lauren’s Head of Visual Merchandising in the United Kingdom; during her two years there she opened forty “shopin- shops” — a Polo Ralph Lauren shop within a department store—in the United Kingdom and Europe. She then moved to House of Fraser, where she was Head of Visual for men’s and children’s wear for all fifty stores. “Life was good,” says Hall. And it would get better. In 1996 she moved to Hong Kong to become Calvin Klein’s Head of Creative for Asia-Pacific, overseeing the rollout of new
cK Calvin Klein stores, including the space planning, displays, and interiors for all stores throughout Southeast Asia, while living in a fantastic studio apartment in the infamous Lan Kwai Fong party district. A couple of years later, she moved to Jakarta to get engaged to her boyfriend, banker Stewart Hall. She also started her own interior design company, working closely with several of the country’s top architects to outfit homes and businesses with her own custom designed furniture and carpets. Just as her store-opening role in the fashion industry led her to start her own business, so too did interior design and extensive travel inspire her to get into the hotel business with her husband, who serves as CEO. “I couldn’t help it! It found me!” says Hall, who keeps a modernist walled enclave in Bali but has recently moved into a large new apartment in Singapore so that the couple’s three children (ages 9 to 12) can go to the best schools. “We saw such a clear gap in the market for providing holidays for jet-setting lunatics, singles, and couples, with or without kids. And with my love of design and Stewart’s business and finance expertise, combined with the fact that both of us have lived in scores of different countries between us, it all just slotted into place.” This story originally ran in Design Hotels’ Made by Originals book. www.designhotels.com www.jetsetter.hk
74 INSIDER MELBOURNE
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EAT Melbourne is known for its incredible foodie culture, so it should come as no surprise that there is a plethora of award-winning restaurants in the city. Attica (www.attica.com.au, +613 9530 0111), in the leafy Edwardian suburb of Ripponlea, took the city by storm when it was awarded the 21st spot on the 2013 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list by San Pellegrino, the only Melbourne restaurant on the list. Under the meticulous direction of New Zealand-born chef Ben Shewry, Attica produces imaginative dishes using the freshest local ingredients. Visit on Tuesday night, when new dishes are tested at the Chef ’s Table, or choose from five or eight course tasting menus, which boast dishes like King George whiting in paperbark, and the Cecil spud, a standout plate described as ‘a simple dish of potato cooked in the earth it was grown’ [sic]. Feasting on Italian food on Lygon Street is a quintessential Melbourne experience, and since opening in 1979, Donnini’s (www. donninis.com.au, +613 9347 3128) has established itself as a go-to for fresh Italian fare in the historic city-fringe suburb of Carlton. Featuring simple furniture and a welcoming family-style atmosphere, the restaurant specialises in hand-made pasta and uses only the best seasonal ingredients to produce sumptuous dishes like tagliatelle with pork sausage ragu, and veal cotolette with pancetta and peas. Make sure to check out the wine list, which boasts a great range of Italian and Australian labels. The coveted tables at Chin Chin (www.chinchinrestaurant.com. au, +613 8663 2000) are nearly impossible to get, thanks to its raging popularity and no reservations policy. The trick: get here early, get on the waiting list, and enjoy a delicious cocktail in the dark, sexy Go Go Bar downstairs while you wait. Once seated, bask in the loud, energetic ambiance as you devour inspired takes on Thai street food, including massaman curry of coconut braised beef, and kingfisher sashimi. If you’re really hungry, say ‘feed me’ and you’ll be served up a selection of the restaurant’s favourite dishes. Don’t miss the Chin Chin Coconut Ice, a frozen coconut cocktail with fruit of the day, which can be spiced up with a shot of 42 Below vodka. With sturdy wooden tables and exposed steel beams, the Little Creatures Dining Hall (www.littlecreatures.com.au, +613 9417 5500) resembles a converted warehouse and occupies prime position in eclectic Fitzroy, Melbourne’s first suburb. The food here functions as a delightful accompaniment to the range of Little Creatures beer that is served on tap, and much like the suburb, it’s quirky,
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interesting, and in no way traditional. Sharing is the way to go here: start with the sinful cheese and bacon croquettes; split a chorizo, sweet corn and feta pizza or charred lamb ribs, then tuck into the daily homemade pie. Wash it all down with a pint of the namesake pale ale. No Melbourne foodie experience is complete without a visit to a “local” – a neighbourhood watering hole serving up hearty pub grub and local brews – and The Leveson (www.theleveson.com, +613 9328 ATTICA
1109), tucked into the gritty suburb of North Melbourne, is a surprisingly gentrified iteration of the Melbourne saloon. The slick, white banquettes and modern furnishings speak to a mid-scale restaurant, but the kitchen serves pub classics like chicken parmigiana, and fish and chips. Do justice to the utterly satisfying food with a draft from the bar – try Fat Yak or James Squire.
SLEEP A rich sense of history and past grandeur pervades much of Melbourne, and this can even be seen in its houses of slumber. Dubbed the ‘Duchess of Spring Street’, The Hotel Windsor (www.thehotelwindsor.com.au, +613 9633 6000) is an exquisite reminder of the grace and elegance of the Victorian era. Australia’s only surviving 19th century city hotel, the Windsor retains Victorian charm in every detail, from the nostalgic furnishings of its rooms to the sumptuous afternoon tea, which has been a Melbourne institution since 1883. With its distinguished pedigree and attention to detail, the hotel has captivated the many luminaries that have stayed here, including Katherine Hepburn, Meryl Streep, Sir Laurence Olivier, Richard Branson, Muhammad Ali and former Prime Ministers John Howard and Gough Whitlam. An icon of popular Fitzroy Street in the seaside suburb of St Kilda, the Tolarno www.jetsetter.hk
Hotel (www.tolarnohotel.com.au, +613 9547 0200) is a small art hotel with a colourful history. Run by local artist Mirka Mora and her husband in the 1960s, the hotel still has a close association with the Melbourne art scene; it sponsors art prizes at three local art schools, and often buys the winning paintings which are then displayed throughout the hotel. The building dates back to the 1880s and houses 37 rooms, and while it has thoroughly modern facilities, it retains much of its original structure and charm. Boasting 40 well-appointed suites featuring a contemporary oriental aesthetic, the Lyall Hotel & Spa (www.thelyall.com, +613 9868 8222) is a chic, cosmopolitan hideaway in South Yarra. Hidden in a small cross-street, you’ll be forgiven for forgetting you’re just a short stroll from the lively shopping boulevards of Toorak Road and Chapel Street and an easy 10 minutes from the city. Choose the Platinum Suite, which features two fireplaces and a huge outdoor terrace, perfect for enjoying the fresh air with your morning coffee. An oasis of refined luxury, Crown Towers (www.crownhotels.com.au, +613 9292 6868), set in the heart of the Southbank entertainment district, offers guests easy access to the best of Melbourne. One of three hotels at the Crown complex, Crown Towers boasts 481 elegant and spacious rooms, each of which offers spectacular views of Southbank or Port
Philip Bay through floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel is well-known for providing refuge to visiting celebrities like Tom Cruise, Kim Kardashian, Nicole Kidman and tennis stars Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, so settle in for a pre-dinner drink at The Waiting Room in the lobby and see who you can spot sneaking in. A slick, modern structure, The Olsen (www.artserieshotesl.com.au/olsen, +613 9040 1222) is a 229-room boutique art hotel, one of three managed by the Art Series hotel group. The hotel takes its name from Australian landscape artist Dr John Olson, whose murals and sculptures take pride of place in the lobby, and whose prints adorn the walls of the hotel’s hallways and suites. Located at the northern end of Chapel Street in South Yarra, the hotel offers comfortable accommodation and friendly, efficient service in a great location. It’s no wonder celebrities like Justin Bieber and Venus and Serena Williams choose to call this their Melbourne home.
PLAY Melbourne has bars aplenty, but you know you’re onto a winner when you get lost looking for the newest watering hole everyone’s talking about, because Melbourne is all about hidden gems. The unmarked wood-panel doors of Eau de Vie (www.eaudevie.com.au/ Melbourne, +61 412 825 441), secluded at the end of a dark CBD laneway that could star in a B-grade horror film, are difficult to find, but walk through and you’ll find a sexy, sophisticated space in the style of a prohibition era speakeasy, complete with jazz tunes and debonair waistcoated waiters. Find a seat – if you can – and let your waiter guide you through the cocktail list, but insist on trying the decadent Espresso Zabione and the refreshing Kengsington #3 group cocktail. Hidden behind a small wooden door on an unlikely corner in the CBD, Whisky + Alement (www.whiskyandale.com.au, +613 9654 1284) is one of those Melbourne
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gems frequented only by those who know it exists. Whisky is the specialty of the house with some 480 labels from all four corners of the globe, but the small, dark space isn’t just ideal for whiling a few hours away nursing a snifter. The bar also offers a range of whisky-themed classes and events, and has attained enough of a status in the whisky world to have partnered with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which makes its tipples available here. A marvellous drinking parlour best described as Alice in Wonderland meets a garden party, Madame Brussels (www. madamebrussels.com, +613 9662 2775) is not a place you just stumble across. You either know it exists on the 3rd floor of a non-descript building in the CBD, or are sadly uninitiated. Borrowing its name from a notorious madame who ran a string of brothels in Melbourne towards the end of the 1800s, the bar takes a firmly tongue-in-cheek approach to everything, from the whimsical décor to the gorgeous staff costumed in tennis whites. Grab a seat on the garden terrace, order a jug of the Pimm’s cocktail and some of the creamy cupcakes – a house specialty – and slip blissfully down the rabbit hole. Hiking up seven floors on a night out might be a big ask, but those who make it to the Rooftop Bar (www.facebook.com/ rooftopbarmelbourne, +613 9654 5394) on top of the city’s Curtin House building are in for a treat. The casual, open air watering hole attracts all sorts and offers gorgeous views of the city, best enjoyed with a chilled draft – or the house mulled wine in winter. During the summer, between December and March, the
bar turns into an open-air cinema after 8pm, where patrons can enjoy drinks and nibbles while watching eclectic films from the comfort of beachy deckchairs. Bringing feisty Latin flair to the heart of Melbourne, Los Barbudos (www. losbarbudos.com.au, +613 9416 0079) takes its name from Fidel Castro’s bearded guerilla army turned baseball team. The vintage-style rum bar, located on hipster Smith Street in Fitzroy, is a dimly-lit hideaway featuring wooden furniture, black and white prints, and CRT televisions playing vintage baseball games. Sip on Cuban classics like mojitos, cuba libres or Hemingway daiquiris, try obscure rums such as Con Cubay and Ron Varadero, and if you must have beer, order Cristal or Bucanero Fuerte, two popular Cuban brews. When you’re hungry, grab some empanandas and other Cuban snacks from El Paladar, the street food truck out the back.
EXPERIENCE The best way to understand Melbourne is to try some of the many unique experiences the city has to offer. Melbourne has a notorious history of crime and underworld goings-on, and Melbourne Crime Tours (www.melbournecrimetours.com.au, 1300 736 551) is the best introduction to the city’s seedy past. See where Melbourne’s first strip club was located; check out Acland Street, where cake shops hid illegal gambling joints in the 1920s; go through Fitzroy, the suburb inexorably linked with 1920s mobster ‘Squizzy’ Taylor, and visit filming locations for the popular crime show Underbelly before finishing your tour at the old Melbourne Gaol. Along the way, you’ll
also visit Melbourne landmarks like Flinders Street Station and Luna Park. Markets are a weekend tradition for many Melbournians, and while the Queen Victoria Market might be better known, many locals prefer the bustling South Melbourne Market (www.southmelbournemarket. com.au, +613 9209 6295). The city’s oldest market – in operation since 1867 – boasts over 133 stalls selling a huge range of products and services. Spend a morning browsing secondhand books and antiques, choosing handmade jewellery, and checking out the organic fresh fruit and meat stalls – don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs to take home. When you need to refuel, stop in at Simply Spanish for an authentic paella and sangria. Melbourne is Australia’s sporting capital, and the Melbourne Cricket Ground (www.mcg.org.au, +613 9657 8888) – affectionately known as ‘the G’ – is the ultimate destination for any sports fan. For a true Melbourne experience, try and catch a game of cricket or ‘footy’ – Australian Rules Football – and marvel at the feverish passion of the city’s sports fanatics. While you’re there, check out the National Sports Museum, which pays tribute to Australia’s sporting greats in the worlds of AFL, cricket, horse racing, and the Olympics. Don’t miss the collection of ‘Baggy Green’ caps worn by the country’s test cricketers, or the coveted Ashes trophy. Coffee is practically a religion in Melbourne, and Degraves Street, a small, frenetic laneway hidden in the south end of the city, is one of the best places in which to worship. Wander along the lane soaking in the cacophony of sights and sounds, then park yourself in the outdoor section of a likely café and order a flat white – only appropriate, since the Antipodeans invented this coffee style – and spend a few hours watching the world go by. While you’re here, pop into nearby Hosier Lane, famous for its gorgeous array of graffiti art. Trams have been an iconic feature of Melbourne since 1884, and there is no better way to try one of the city’s most popular public transport systems than with an evening aboard The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant (www.tramrestaurant. com.au, +613 9695 4000). You’ll enjoy multicourse meals featuring mouth-watering dishes like chicken liver and cognac pâté, grilled barramundi, and sticky date pudding in a refined setting while being whisked through the city and surrounding Albert Park, St Kilda, and South Melbourne. Choose from lunch, early dinner or late dinner services, or for a really memorable experience, book a private charter. www.jetsetter.hk
78 FOODIE HOTELS
These days, hotels have to provide more than just a place to sleep to stand out to the well-travelled jetsetter. Gayatri Bhaumik checks out the foodie hotels where beds come second to sustenance.
FOODIE HOTELS 79
Auberge du Soleil Napa Valley, USA The story of Auberge du Soleil began more than 30 years ago when visionary restaurateur Claude Rouas opened the restaurant in Californiaâ€™s Napa Valley. Now, an eponymously-named inn is a delightful afterthought to the restaurant, which maintains its culinary legacy under the direction of executive chef Robert Curry. Innovative Mediterranean-inspired menus incorporate diverse fresh local produce and homemade ingredients, complemented by one of the most extensive wine lists in the valley. The restaurant offers fine-dining throughout the day; order a la carte, or choose the tasting menu, which rounds up the restaurantâ€™s best offerings, including Day Boat Scallop, served with corn mousse, prosciutto, cranberry beans and espelette, and the suckling pig with orange glaze, tempura hearts of palm, romesco and natural jus. Casual dining is available at the Bistro & Bar, which serves tasty morsels like crispy Monterey Bay calamari, wild mushrooms in red wine jus, and charcuterie platters, accompanied by a selection of more than 40 wines by the glass. www.aubergedusoleil.com
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Miami, USA The luxurious SLS Hotel on Miami’s South Beach is a gastronomical delight and aesthetic dream. Masterminded by entrepreneur Sam Nazarain, designer Philippe Starck, chef José Andrés, and singer Lenny Kravitz, the hotel serves sophisticated cuisine amid slick, modern settings. At The Bazaar, award-winning chef Andrés fuses Asian and Latin influences as he constructs creative dishes like the Japanese Taco, BBQ unagi (eel) with shiso leaf, cucumber, wasabi and chicharrones; and delicate yet spritely dragonfruit ceviche. Meanwhile at Katsuya by Starck, diners can enjoy the Starck-designed sparse, modern interiors while feasting on a range of sushi and robatayaki dishes by master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi. With specials like baked crab hand rolls; and Wagyu filets with foie gras, it’s no surprise that the restaurant consistently receives top ratings. www.slshotels.com/southbeach
Le Quartier Francais Franschhoek, South Africa
This boutique hotel is nestled in the mountainous wine region of Franschhoek, an hour from South Africa’s adventure capital of Cape Town. In a region known for its wine and food, Margot Janse, a Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef and Chef of the Year 2012, has created an exceptional culinary experience. The sumptuous food – loosely described as European sensibility meets African flavour – is served up tapas-style at the more casual Common Room restaurant, as an a la carte fine-dining experience in the award-winning Tasting Room, or through four, six or eight-course Surprise Tasting Menus that includes delectable dishes like the sous vide paradyskloof, quail breast served with truffled quail egg and asparagus, and delicate yet robust home-cured charcuterie with distinctive South African flavours. www.lqf.co.za
Brooklodge & Macreddin Village
County Wicklow, Ireland Just over an hour from Dublin, Brooklodge & Macreddin Village is a foodie gem set in the lush Irish countryside. Under the guidance of chef Evan Doyle, the ‘food village’ serves up a mouth-watering array of free range, organic, and wild cuisine. With four dining options and a microbrewery, the village is sure to please even the fussiest of food critics. The Orchard Café and Waterside Lounge offer casual dining experiences, while the Acton Pub serves pints of organic larger or stout. La Taverna Armento is an Italian tavern which imports fresh ingredients from Italy’s Basilicata region, but the pièce de résistance is The Strawberry Tree, Ireland’s only certified organic restaurant. Featuring locally-available organic ingredients, the restaurant produces sumptuous offerings like pan fried John Dory with Swiss chard and saffron cream; and beef fillet with buttered beetroot and balsamic jus. www.brooklodge.com www.jetsetter.hk
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São Paulo, Brazil
Situated in the heart of São Paulo’s exclusive Jardins district, the sophisticated Emiliano doesn’t just provide sumptuous accommodation; it also takes gastronomy very seriously. The award-winning Emiliano restaurant prepares dishes like ravioli de vieiras com bottarga – a scallop ravioli served with gourmet caviar – using seasonal organic and biodynamic ingredients, and pairs them with a wine list that features over 200 labels. The restaurant is also a trendsetter; it has paved the way for gastronomic trends like black garlic and mead, and its community-minded ethos means it works with small local producers and encourages sustainable agriculture. Another foodie highlight is the hotel’s Champagne and Caviar bar, which serves over 75 types of champagne and sparkling wines with rare Iranian and European caviars. www.emiliano.com.br
Langdon Hall Ontario, Canada
A little over an hour from Toronto, this gorgeous property exudes old-world charm and modern comfort, and is surrounded by sprawling, picturesque lawns. The award-winning cuisine, overseen by critically acclaimed Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef Jonathan Gushue, is as much a treat for the taste buds as the property is for the eyes. Many of the ingredients are taken from the property’s own kitchen garden and surrounding wilderness, while others – like the home-churned butter – are produced on-site. A range of menus are available, including a filling breakfast buffet, a fine-dining Sunday brunch offering, and creative lunch and dinner options. The real gem, however, is the Chefs Tasting Menu which is available at dinner. Incorporating the freshest local ingredients, the menu changes every few days, and features mouth-watering dishes like oyster escabeche; and Blackviews’ grass fed veal, which can be paired with wines which have been carefully selected to complement each course. www.langdonhall.ca
Lodge Cape Margaret River, Australia Set in a secluded vineyard in the Margaret River region of Western Australia, Cape Lodge, a member of Luxury Lodges of Australia is a gourmet hotel that serves up palatepleasing fare amid stunning landscapes dotted with forests, lakes and parklands. The host of the celebrity chef-studded annual Gourmet Escape Weekend, the Lodge’s kitchens are under the supervision of executive chef Tony Howell, and his restaurant uses fresh, local ingredients to prepare uncomplicated, flavourful cuisine. Choose from dishes like Margaret River venison with beetroot puree, char-grilled plums and horseradish cream, or the grilled Exmouth prawns with Spanish black pudding, jamon crumbs and corn puree. Better still, try the chef tasting menu which features plates like char-grilled Dardanup beef with mushroom duxelle, sour cream pastry, broccolini and duck liver parfait, and can be paired with fine Margaret River wines. For true gourmands, the hotel also offers cooking classes with Tony Howell which includes lunch paired with the estate’s wine. www.capelodge.com.au www.jetsetter.hk
82 THE LIST
et in Midtown New York, Aquavit is a Michelin-starred restaurant oozing Nordic cool in every detail, from the charred gravlax and Swedish meatballs to the bar serving Norwegian beer and cocktails which use Swedish whiskey.
earing a name fashioned from nordisk and mad – Danish words meaning Nordic and food – the critically-acclaimed Noma in Copenhagen is known for its menu which reinvents Nordic cuisine with dishes like beef rib and lingon berries.
The fresh, clean cuisine of the Nordic countries is catching on in a big way. These are just a few great restaurants serving up the dishes of the moment.
tatholdergarden is Oslo’s hidden gem. The intimate restaurant offers an ever-changing menu that features clean, simple flavours in dishes like the fried Norwegian scallops served with bell pepper cream, snow peas and lime beurre blanc.
reshness, simplicity, and purity are the watchwords of Madsen, a Nordic restaurant in London’s South Kensington district. Fresh, seasonal ingredients are used to produce classic and modern cuisine including dill marinated herring, and Frikadeller – pork and veal meatballs served with a creamy cabbage and apple salad.
ntimate and elegant, Restaurant Frantzén is the epitome of Stockholm cool. Amid décor that’s all wooden chairs and crisp white linen, chef Björn Frantzén serves fresh local produce such as turbot with asparagus and sweetbreads with liquorice and caramalised yuzu.
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Fresh New Look in First Cathay Pacific has breathed life into its exclusive First Class product, introducing new levels of luxury and comfort for long-haul travellers.
athay Pacific has unveiled a new-look First Class product on its fleet of 777-300ER aircraft. With designs by London architects Fosters + Partners, who recently recreated the airline’s first class lounge The Wing at Hong Kong International Airport, the new-look suites offer luxury and practicality for long-haul travellers. “Our award-winning First Class suite has been very popular with passengers since it was introduced in 2007,” says Cathay Pacific general manager product Toby Smith. “Given its popularity, we saw no pressing need to completely replace the product. However, we decided it was appropriate to give the suites a fresh new look and make a few changes that will enhance the overall experience for our premium passengers.” First class suites on the 777-300 will now boast a high-gloss grey textured material on the outside, and warm, earthy-toned leather on the interior surfaces to give a luxurious touch. A new side console is also wrapped in natural leather, with subtle linings, refined stitching and fewer panels for a cleaner and more sophisticated look. The seat’s new fabric is custom-made www.jetsetter.hk
with a specially selected combination of materials that is soft and smooth to touch. Other enhanced features of the rejuvenated suites include a new 4.3-inch LCD touch screen controller, which allows passengers to easily recline the seat and adjust lumbar support, while new reading lights with a wider angle are adjustable to five light levels via the controller. Input from members of the Marco Polo Club, the airline’s frequent flyer’s club, has been incorporated to improve certain aspects of the product, including a more adjustable meal table, more room in the personal closet, and additional space inside the console compartment for personal items such as phones and glasses. A drink holder
has been introduced on the new side console top to prevent cups and glasses slipping during turbulence. Passengers in first also benefit from new BOSE QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones, which feature superb comfort and sound quality. A good night’s sleep is crucial to the first class experience and Cathay’s new offering includes 500 thread count cotton fabrics used for the duvets, pillows, cushions, and a thicker bed mattress. Combined with Ermenegildo Zegna amenity kits for men and Trussardi amenity bags for the ladies, each of which include a range of Aesop products, passengers flying at the nose of the plane are guaranteed a journey to remember. www.cathaypacific.com
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Doing Australia Proud Brisbane, as a gateway to the rich agricultural lands and natural resources of Queensland and the Australian Outback, is an increasingly popular destination for business travellers from Asia. National carrier Qantas’ new-look international business class offers the perfect way to start, or finish, business Down Under, discovers Nick Walton. Check-in Check-in at Brisbane International Terminal was a breeze, with dedicated counters for business class passengers manned by efficient and surprisingly cheerful staff despite the relatively early hour. Within minutes I was through to security, where the express departure card for business class passengers meant a dedicated security process that was also quick and efficient. The Lounge The Qantas Club Lounge at Brisbane International Airport is elegant and tranquil, despite being one of the busiest in Australia. The spacious lounge is located on a second floor mezzanine overlooking the central concourse’s duty free shops, and caters to approximately 150 passengers. Comfortable couch settings are scattered around the main lounge space and lit with natural light through a double-height glass façade. The flight was departing at 10.20am, and a healthy breakfast service of toast, fruit, yogurt, and cold cuts was on offer, matched with barista-made coffee and a selection of wines, spirits, and fresh juices.
ity, ample work space, and lumbar support. When coupled with the airline’s new seat mattresses, duvets, and turndown service, these second generation Skybeds are arguably the most comfortable seats in the sky. A new amenity kit by Kate and Jack Spade features a selection of Malin+Goetz skincare products, as well as comfort items, including an eyemask, ear plugs, socks, and an environmentally friendly biodegradable toothbrush with Colgate toothpaste.
The Flight Boarding commenced on time, and I was quickly directed to my seat on the Airbus A330 aircraft. The A330 is one of three aircraft types flying from Australia to Hong Kong and benefits from Qantas’ ergonomic and award-winning Skybed seating in business. These intelligent yet remarkably minimalist cocoon-style seats were designed by Marc Newson and feature streamlined storage, in-seat connectiv-
S BUSINESS CLAS
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Dining Qantas’ Rockpool-designed menu is wellsuited to the airline’s different routes; on the Hong Kong route, an early lunch service included a choice of roast onion soup with parmesan croute; Blackmore’s wagyu bresaola with a white bean and rocket salad; baked leek
Carrier Qantas QF097 Departure Brisbane
SS BOARDING PA S BUSINESS CLAS GATE
Arrival Hong Kong
and blue cheese tart; and trevalla and potato croquettas with lemon crème fraiche – light, simple options for a medium-length daytime flight. For mains, we had a choice of Chinese Yunnan-style mushroom hot pot with white noodles; taleggio, eggplant and tomato lasagna; a delectable Chicken schnitzel toasted sandwich with Swiss cheese and coleslaw; steamed seafood broth with fregola and grilled asparagus; and seared venison fillet with grilled polenta and a green peppercorn sauce. These were matched with glasses of BillecartSalmon champagne on boarding, and a 2008 Coldstream Hills Chardonnay with lunch. Snacks were also offered two-thirds of the way through the 8 hour 30 minute flight, including a miniaturised version of the chicken sandwich. A new Select on Q service even allows business class passengers to pre-order their dishes on selected routes. Summary Consistency is the name of the game in the business class arena, and Qantas’ welltrained staff and ever-innovating in-flight product ensure passengers always know they’re in for a treat. www.qantas.com.au
R No 00 012 34567 891
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Lufthansa’s new 747-8 service between Frankfurt and Hong Kong is helping pave the way for the business class experience of tomorrow, discovers Nick Walton. Check-in My wife and I checked in at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle International Airport, flying via Lufthansa’s primary hub of Frankfurt, on the way home to Hong Kong. Even if you hadn’t planned on flying via Frankfurt’s colossal airport, turning left on the new 747-8 makes it worth the deviation, as it benefits from a re-evaluation of business class by one of the world’s leading airlines. In Flight Lufthansa is one of the few airlines operating the new incarnation of the 747-8 – although other airlines, including Cathay, are eagerly awaiting their super jumbos to arrive. Used on routes like Frankfurt-Hong Kong, where there is high demand for premium seating, the 747-8 offers eight redesigned first class seats in the nose and a whopping 80 in business, including an extended upper deck. Access to this upper deck, with its 32 new business class seats, is via a redesigned staircase which is much wider and easier to tackle with carry-on luggage. Passengers were greeted on the evening flight with glasses of Duval Leroy champagne, steamy hot face towels, and amenity kits that resembled beach bags in blue and white stripes. Despite the fact that we were going home to winter in Hong Kong, the Nivea sunscreen, post-sun relief, and lip balm were a nice touch. The Seat Lufthansa took the opportunity of the 747-8 to rethink the most important component to the business class offering – the seat. Unlike the business class product on the Airbus service between Hong Kong and Munich, which is still comfortable but very much about space efficiency, the new seat on the Queen of the Skies features a larger screen, ergonomic www.jetsetter.hk
Cruising with the Queen BOARDING PASS PASSENGER TICKET
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Carrier LH796 Lufthansa Departure Frankfurt
BOARDING PASS BUSINESS CLASS GATE
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R No 012 34567 89100
controls, and the ability to convert into a completely lie-flat 1.98-meter long bed – a relative rarity on European carriers. With 32 seats on the upper deck in a 2-2 configuration, and 60 seats on the main deck, upstairs is the place to be for a quiet journey in style. Each new-look seat – the product of a 2007 survey of top-tier travellers and extensive inplane trials – features more space at shoulder level when in the lie-flat position, thanks to lowerable armrests, while materials like virgin wool and leather emphasise the cabin’s pedigree. Passengers access Lufthansa’s inflight entertainment through a 15-inch screen and can convert the seat from armchair to bed with the touch of a button. Dining In flight dining also benefited from a shake up with the launch of the 747-8. The airline has teamed up with some major names in hospitality, including Sea Cloud Cruises and the Portman Ritz-Carlton Shanghai to create a menu that appeals to all travellers. Appetisers included roasted duck breast with five spice jelly; king prawns with avocado and bean salad; and grilled pineapple and glass noodle salad with peanut sauce. A choice of
mains – tenderloin of beef and braised beef cheek with chocolate chili sauce; a ragout of pork in the “Shanghai style” with sugar snap peas; and a monthly special of cod with bell pepper catsup and herb potato patties – was served with a mixed summer salad. White lovers had a choice of a 2012 Riesling from Weingut Neef-Emmich or a 2011 Estate Blanc from Paul Mas, while red lovers could choose from a 2008 Chateau La Roque de By or a 2010 Two Vines Shiraz from the US. For travellers looking for a sleep aid, a monthly special included a Seaman’s Shot – a tripledistilled vodka with natural herbs, menthol and eucalyptus. The meal service took quite a long time and many travellers opted to skip it and go straight to sleep, but when it did arrive, it was served by cheerful and efficient staff who were always quick to respond to any request. Summary Lufthansa’s 747-8 aircraft has not only allowed the airline to innovate the way we travel in business class, but also shake off its rather fuddy-duddy persona and compete with not only the best carriers in Europe, but from across the globe. www.lufthansa.com
lifestyle Road Rage
McLaren Unleashes the P1
New York’s Distillery Renaissance
Testing the Limits
South Africa’s Chef Luke Dale-Roberts
Beautiful Things for Beautiful people
Cartier Spoils the Boys Citrus Cravings // Liquid Diets // Green With Envy Carry Ons
88 FOOD ADVENTURES
Believed to have originated in the lush valleys of India, Myanmar and Chinaâ€™s Yunnan province, the members of the citrus family are now well and truly fruit of the world, and regular travellers will be surprised just how often they can enjoy their sweet and sour surprises on the road. BY Gayatri Bhaumik
FOOD ADVENTURES 89
itrus is big business in Florida,
where the local industry is second only to tourism. For a really all-encompassing citrus experience, head over to Bradenton to visit Mixon Fruit Farms. Sample freshly-squeezed orange and grapefruit juices, try the ‘orange swirl’ ice cream cones, and prop yourself up at the wine counter for a tasting of local wines made with muscadine grapes and Mixon’s own oranges. Then, jump on the Orange Blossom Express tram to check out the working citrus groves while learning about Florida’s citrus heritage. The homemade marmalades, zesty salsas, and other citrusy products in the gift store make great take-home gifts. www.mixon.com
On the west coast of the US, in San Francisco, master mixologist Kevin Diedrich serves up the ultimate thirstquencher at Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen. Inspired by a trip to the beer halls of Europe, Diedrich’s cheeky Wiessen Sour combines Buffalo Trace bourbon with lemon juice, orange marmalade, orange bitters, and just a splash of Hoegaarden white beer. The result is a flavourful, refreshing tipple perfect for whiling away a lazy Sunday afternoon. www.jasperscornertap.com For a wonderfully aromatic and indulgent experience, go north to Canada, where Ste Anne’s Spa in Grafton, Ontario offers some seriously soothing citrus-based pampering. The Citrus Sun treatment begins with a hydrating foot soak laced with citrus essential oils and fresh orange slices, before you’re scrubbed down in a full body exfoliation using a halved grapefruit dipped in sugar. After rinsing off with an invigorating hydrotherapy bath filled with citrus essential oils, your treatment winds down with a thoroughly relaxing citrus massage, a blissful experience which revives, energises and refreshes. www.steannes.com Citrus-flavoured desserts are relished the world over, but none have the cult following of the Meyer Lemon Tart of Melbourne, Australia’s Albert Street Food & Wine. Fans flock to the chic eatery for a slice of the decadent dish, which took creator Philippa Sibley years to perfect – and what perfection it is. Zesty Meyer lemons provide just the right amount of tartness for the velvety-smooth curd, which melts on the tongue, while the thin, golden-brown base is a masterful savoury counterpoint. A dusting of icing sugar is the final flourish on this rich, sinful, but oh-so-delightful dessert. www.albertst.com.au Continue your citrus journey to Spain; Valencia is known for its oranges, and it’s in the sleepy coastal town of Burriana where you’ll find a true tribute to the humble fruit. Housed in a late 19th century merchant’s townhouse, the Museu de la Taronja – which grandiosely translates to the Spanish Citrus Historical Museum – is a treasure trove of information with more than you’ll ever need to know about the town’s most famous export. Duck through the display rooms to track the history and evolution of Valencia’s orange industry, spanning from the 18th century to present day. For serious aficionados (or academics), the museum’s library boasts over 6,000 holdings and a collection of more than 1,000 photographs, among other orange paraphernalia. www.museonaranja.com
90 CHEF PROFILE
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CHEF PROFILE 91
Q& A How has your round-the-world restaurant experience influenced your culinary style? I think that my food and my philosophy on dining is a result of my life experiences, whether they be my childhood or my travelling experiences. I believe that a chef’s food should reflect who he is.
What do you hope diners at The Test Kitchen take away from the experience? I hope they walk away satisfied and happy, having felt they have had fun, and ultimately, they should walk away with a memory of the experience.
If you had one golden rule for cooking, what would it be? Taste everything. First and foremost, a dish needs to be immediately delicious. The concept, feeling, or philosophy of a dish is irrelevant if it is not immediately delicious.
When opening The Test Kitchen, you declared that you would revisit the menu every three months, and completely revamp it. Why is this important, and how do you do it? Evolution is key in any business, to keep it fresh and zingy and alive. This is particularly important in the kitchen, as my team also needs to evolve and feel that they are learning and getting better all the time. I have deliberately taken away the idea of signature dishes, as I believe that most dishes that have been on the menu for more than six months are not being considered carefully enough by the people making them. I may take a dish off for a while and bring it back in a slightly different way later.
You emphasise creativity and innovation at The Test Kitchen. How do you ensure that this translates to the menu and dining experience? We always look at things as being deeper than their face value or meaning. That is to say, we spend a lot of time thinking about the meaning of a dish. What it is supposed to taste of, smell of, and ultimately, what does it make you think of.
You won the ‘Cacao Barry One To Watch’ award at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards this year. Where do you go from here? Who knows! I would hope we keep on evolving! That award was a huge deal for us, as we have only been operating for around three years. I took La Colombe to 12th place before leaving, so who knows. Having said that, I do believe that winning awards and
Where do you find inspiration for your culinary creativity? Everywhere! It could be anything from a load of coals left in a barbecue to a perfect red cabbage, or the smell of freshly cut grass. Seasons always play an important role in the creative process. Cape Town has four distinctive seasons, so we evolve our style based on that.
accolades should always be a by-product of what you do and not the central purpose. If it becomes your central purpose, then the creative process will become tainted along the way. What do you think has made The Test Kitchen stand out so much? I think it’s a different experience to most other restaurants. What we do is out of the box, as it were. I think the food is different, and the setting is quite unique in that the kitchen is basically right in the middle of the guests. People love to see what happens behind the scenes. I think our dishes are also unique and different to the norm. I suppose you could call it non-conformist. How do you differentiate The Test Kitchen from your other restaurant, The Pot Luck Club? The Test kitchen is multi-sensory and involves thought from the diner. It’s a lot more intense in terms of what we put on the plate, whereas The Pot Luck Club focuses on simplicity. It’s small plates, high flavour punch, and a whole lot of fun. What can diners expect from The Test Kitchen in the coming season? Crayfish cooked at their table in concrete balls, and eggs that are not eggs!
With a career that’s seen him helm top-tier restaurants in London, Zurich, Australia, and Asia, Britishborn Luke Dale-Roberts has made his mark in South Africa, where his Cape Town restaurant The Test Kitchen has won numerous accolades, including the 2013 ‘Cacao Barry One to Watch Award’ at the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony. He tells Gayatri Bhaumik what drives his creativity, and why staying ahead of the game is so important.
92 MINIBAR Russian vodkas are now competing with spirits from a host of other distilling countries, from New Zealand to Norway. One of the newest spirits to catch bartenders’ eyes in Asia is Double Cross, a premium vodka made in the mountains of Slovakia by distilling master Dr Jan Krak. Inspired by the double cross on the Slovak coat of arms, this awardwinning spirit not only boasts a stunning design – complete with Slovak poetry etched in the glass – but also a complex spirit made from Tatra Mountain water drawn from an aquifer 200ft beneath the surface, and the finest winter wheat. The spirit is then distilled an impressive seven times, and filtered a further seven times to ensure an unparalleled purity and smoothness. Be sure to check out the vodka’s site for innovative cocktail suggestions and for a unique bottle engraving service that makes Double Cross the perfect gift for spirit lovers. www.doublecrossvodka.com
As awareness for true 100 percent agave tequila increases across Asia, more and more spirit connoisseurs are reaching for the likes of Chinaco Tequila, named after Mexico’s legendary Chinacos freedom fighters. Famed for its Añejo style tequila, a spirit that is aged in former bourbon barrels previously used for reposados tequila, the Chinaco Añejo is rich and honey-hued, and ideal for sipping in a snifter like a fine cognac or whisky. Rich golden amber, Chinaco Añejo has subtle aromas of pear, wild flowers, vanilla, smoke, and baked apple, edged with papaya and mango. The flavours are very rich and complex, with exceptional depth, balance, and style, ending in a luscious, spicy, smoky finish that’s ideal for post-dinner digestives. www.chinacotequila.com www.jetsetter.hk
Elderflower is an ingredient that an increasing number of bartenders in Asia are experimenting with, and for good reason. Its sweet, floral notes are a perfect addition to many cocktails, and with super-premium quintuple distilled Knockeen Hills London Cut Elderflower Gin, you can join them. Made with natural botanicals and a unique Irish whey distillate, this unique, award-winning gin carries the coveted London Dry label, meaning the botanicals have all been cut and distilled in the city of London, a historic gin-distilling capital. Despite its floral notes, Knockeen Hill’s elderflower gin is a surprisingly clean and crisp spirit. The gin’s botanicals are steeped for at least 24 hours, ensuring a superior complexity that’s ideally suited for the likes of gin sours and even gin-based punches. www.elderflower-gin.com
Baileys has long been a popular liqueur in Asia and a great addition to home-made cocktails. The newest flavour variation to arrive in the region, Hazelnut, is sure to continue inspiring home bartenders. Perfect for sippers who already love a touch of hazelnut in their coffee, the new Baileys product features the same silky finish but with a distinctive Hazelnut flavour. At 17 percent ABV, Baileys is the number one selling liqueur in the world, and the number of cocktail and even dessert combinations possible with the new Hazelnut treat are limitless; try a shot in a café latte for a take on the Irish Coffee, or over ice cream for a decadent treat at the end of a meal. www.baileys.com
MINIBAR 93 Gin lovers should keep a keen eye out for West Winds Gin, an artisanal spirit from Australia’s Margaret River that is named for the trade winds which bring rains from the Indian Ocean. This pure rain water is triple distilled to form the core of a new gin style that’s more classic English than Plymouth or London dry style. Its elegant notes of lemon, coriander seed, and juniper are matched with orange and lime freshness that makes West Winds the perfect gin for cocktails in the sun. The gin’s 12 botanicals also include a few Aussie additions, such as wattle seed, and lemon and cinnamon myrtle, which gives a new dimension to the spirit and makes it ideal for citrus peel martinis with the softer style vermouths, like Lillet, that are enjoying such a renaissance. For a more robust alternative, the Cutlass by West Winds is a cast strength gin with fresh coriander root and coriander seeds, as well as native bush tomato to create a lingering gin that’s ideal for a first round on a Friday evening. www.thewestwindsgin.com
Scotch whisky distiller Glenmorangie has released Glenmorangie Ealanta, the fourth annual release in its award-winning Private Edition range. Scots Gaelic for ‘skilled and ingenious’, Ealanta is a 19 Years Old Glenmorangie, fully matured in virgin American white oak casks with a provenance that stretches all the way to the mountains of Missouri and the Mark Twain National Forest. A whisky that’s been in the experimental stage since the early 1990s, special oak casts made from trees from the Mark Twain National Park were set aside to create a drop with a delicate floral spirit and a rich woodiness that Glenmorangie aficionados will find an interesting divergence on other Private Releases. At 46 percent ABV, look out for toffee, vanilla, and butterscotch on the nose, followed by candied oranges and sugarcoated almonds on the palate, and a spicy finish with hints of ginger and aniseed. www.glenmorangie.com
From liqueurs with a sweet touch, to artisanal spirits from Down Under, here is what’s on our wet bar this season. For something warming as autumn arrives, keep a keen eye out for New York’s 77 Whiskey, produced by Breuckling Distilling. Made using locally-sourced rye and corn, previously known as White Wax, and aged for a minimum of seven months in new American oak barrels, this hearty wheat whiskey spirit has all the attributes of a small batch drop, with punchy upfront flavours and spices, with enough sweetness to make it a great sipping whiskey, and enough complexity to make it ideal for Manhattan and Rob Roy variations. Look out for 77’s distinctive coppery honey and amber hue, with caramel and fruit on the palate, followed by a medium finish punctuated with hints of fading oak. You’ll find this modern whiskey at bottle stores across the Big Apple. www.brkdistilling.com/products
And finally, for something mellow and smooth and perfectly suited to the cooler evenings of autumn, Eagle Rare is a 90-proof ten year old Kentucky straight bourbon that’s the perfect touch after a sumptuous meal. Produced by the Buffalo Trace Distillery, this is an exceptional example of great bourbon, with a complex aroma as well as a smooth and lingering taste. Look out for toffee, hints of orange peel, honey, and leather on the nose, followed by bold oaky flavours with rich cocoa on the palate, and a dry finish that makes it an ideal sipping bourbon for true spirit connoisseurs. www.buffalotrace.com
Industrial Distilleries large and small are returning to New York, once the Eastern seaboard’s home of hooch. At the forefront is Industry City Distillery, an ambitious new set up designed to challenge and innovate this ancient trade, discovers N ic k W a lt o n .
t’s a story that virtually tells itself. Five 30-somethings combining their talents and visions, emboldened by changes in New York State legislation, and fuelled by the rebirth of boutique distilling in the Big Apple. Pooling their imaginations and diverse backgrounds – from a printmaking biological engineer to a machinist who sculpts, to a code-wrangling graphic designer, a yoga instructor turned business manager, and a hard-drinking commercial
salmon fisherman – they set themselves an ambitious task: to create a modern and profitable distillery, from scratch. Industry City Distillery, which is about to release its first commercial batches of Industry Standard Vodka in the US, isn’t the first project from the gents – Max, Rich, Zac, Dave and Peter – behind The City Foundry. But as a design and research commune that improves on small-scale manufacturing through the application of science and art,
Revolution Craft distilling is in the midst of a fantastic resurgence, but whisky is getting most of the attention. We wanted to create a clear spirit that was equally interesting and enjoyable.
it’s certainly one of the most involved. And opportunistic. With licensing fees reduced from as high as US$16,000 to $1,000, New York is seeing an influx of innovative new distilleries that are set on continuing a distilling tradition culled by Prohibition. That tradition is alive and well at the City Foundry, a 6,000sqft space in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, that not only holds the distillery, but everything else the Foundry Five will need to launch a premium spirit
in a competitive market that has seen more than one luxury vodka launched a week. There is space for a biological research lab, a machine shop, a design studio, onsite printing, and a public tasting area to boot. But the main point of difference is that none of this even existed 24 months before. Every cylinder, vat, and still, every bench, pipe, spring, and coil has been custom designed and hand made by this industrious gang of gin slingers. “With all that’s going on in the world of craft spirits, our goal is to make a production line and a product that’s special, not simply because we made it all from scratch, but because by making it all from scratch, we can make it better than anyone else,” says machinist Zac Bruner. “Craft distilling is in the midst of a fantastic resurgence, but whisky is getting most of the attention. We wanted to create a clear spirit that was equally interesting and enjoyable. We’ve had to build fermentation and distillation systems from scratch to do it, but we think the results are worth it.” That result is a rich and unique spirit – the first true commercial batch after experimental batches 2-4 were sold in limited quantities – distilled from sugar beets with hints of subtle fruits on the nose, and light floral characteristics which open to a smooth, complex texture and a finish of vanilla and spice. www.drinkicd.com www.jetsetter.hk
the liquid diet S
Just because you’re cutting calories doesn’t mean you have to cut back on your favourite vino, says Master of Wine
Debra Meiburg .
un-soaked days of mojito cocktails, glistening water and hedonistic Michelin-starred meals are drawing to a close; it’s time to squeeze back into last season’s jeans. It doesn’t take long to decide the first dietary casualty has to be the liquid calories. No more sugar-laden cocktails or frothy pints of lager – that’s easy enough – but do we have to give up wine? It is a simple matter of calorie mathematics: numbers-in had better not exceed numbers-out (the opposite of your post-vacation budget plan). It is a sad fact that alcohol is one of the world’s four main calorie sources, the others being protein, fat and carbohydrates. Alcohol doesn’t contain fat, but it certainly packs its share of numbers: one gram of alcohol equals seven calories. When it comes to alcohol calories, wine is the dieter’s preferred option, primarily because it has a lower percentage of alcohol than spirits. By way of comparison, a four-ounce glass of dry red wine is about 90 calories, whereas a 2.5 ounce shot of rum is 120 calories. If you add mixers to spirits – juice, sugars, and creams – or double the shots, the calories can tally up quickly. A piña colada runs about 300 calories, and even a seemingly light gin and tonic scores 171 calories. Beer, of course, has lower alcohol levels than most wines, so would appear to be a better bet. But – other than my Aunt Lillian – who would stick to a four-ounce serving? Besides, beer is burdened by additional calories that provide its malt flavors, whereas the calories in dry wine come solely from alcohol. Another dietary advantage of wine is its refined pace: wine is sipped more slowly than beer. Wine is also considered a healthier alternative, being blessed with antioxidants that help protect against heart disease and many cancers while raising “good cholesterol” levels. When it comes to wine selection, opt for wines from cool climates as they have lower alcohol levels and therefore fewer calories. For example, a bottle (25 ounces) of dry German Riesling from the cool Mosel Valley has about 280 calories, whereas a Chardonnay from the sunny Barossa Valley has about 580 calories. To do the math, multiply 1.6 by the number of ounces poured and by the percentage of alcohol level stated on the label. For example, a four ounce serving of Champagne with 12 percent alcohol multiplied by 1.6 equals 76 calories. Dry wines contain far fewer calories than sweet wines, so you might want to take a one-month breather from Port, Sauternes and Australian stickies (particularly before the holidays roll around). For example, a four-ounce glass of Sauvignon Blanc has about 85 calories, whereas a glass of dessert wine can weigh in at 250 calories, depending on its sweetness level. The best weight management strategy? Pour a glass of wine and put on your dancing shoes. The faster your moves on the floor, the faster you’ll burn the calories. That’s simple math.
www.winemerchantsasia.com | firstname.lastname@example.org 1/f, No. 11 Sing Woo Road, Happy Valley, Hong Kong Tel:+852 2504-2221
THE FIRST CELLAR TO SEARCH FOR WINES
98 RESTAURANT REVIEW
A Feast for the Gods W
alking into Souvla, the first thing that strikes you is how big the place is. In a city where restaurants often pack diners in so tightly that personal space becomes a laughable concept, the 4,000sqft venue allows patrons to indulge in food and drink without the risk of having their private conversations overheard. Melbourne is well-known for having the largest Greek population outside Greece, so it’s fitting that Souvla is the brainchild of restaurateur Viviano Romito and executive chef Michael Van Warmelo, two imports from the Australian city. In an elegant, slick space that features tables of imported stone, deconstructed stone pillars, low lighting, and a red accent pattern on the walls that hint at the Greek tradition of bee keeping, visitors can indulge in traditional Greek cuisine and innovative cocktails. We started with a round of signature cocktails, all of which use Metaxa 7 – a Greek spirit – as a base. The Bada Bing Bada Boom, one of the most popular cocktails, is a smooth elixir of Metaxa 7, St Germain (an elderflower liqueur) and champagne, topped off with a single maraschino cherry and served in a champagne saucer, but The Kraken was our www.jetsetter.hk
With the opening of Souvla, Concept Creations has unleashed a culinary gem on Hong Kong’s crowded foodie scene, discovers Gayatri Bhaumik. favourite. The frothy concoction resembles the innocent Piña Colada, but don’t be fooled – the potent mixture of Metaxa 7, lime, coconut, and pineapple is laced with a heavy dash of Kraken spiced rum, and packs quite the punch. While the cocktails themselves are worth a visit, it’s the food – simple, hearty and done just right – that really sets Souvla apart. We started off with saganaki, fried kefalograviera cheese served with a homemade fig marmalade, the sweetness of which is the perfect counterpoint to the salty cheese. The octopus sti skara was easily one of the meal’s highlights; the expertly grilled pieces were surprisingly tender, and well-seasoned. Of course, meats are an integral part of any Greek meal, and from our table overlooking the open kitchen, we could see huge hunks being cooked on spits. The Glacier 51 toothfish was succulent and delicate, with well-balanced flavours. This storied fish is found only in the glacial Antarctic waters
around Heard Island, located some 4,000 kilometres off Australia’s southwest coast; fishermen battle frigid winds and tempestuous seas in their quest to procure this sought-after delicacy, which was complemented by a Cypriot salata, a sumptuous salad of grain pulses, nuts, currants, honey, cumin, fresh herbs, and yoghurt. The Golden Greek Time, a play on the popular Golden Gaytime Australian icecream, is one of Soulva’s most popular desserts, and how satisfying it was. A deep-fried ball of vanilla ice cream with a mastika (plant resin) centre was served with a salted caramel sauce and bits of crunchy honeycomb, all of which came together in a magnificent dessert that would please the gods of Olympus. 1/F, Ho Le Commercial Building, 40 D’Aguilar Street, Central, Tel: +852 2522 1823, www.conceptcreations.hk
Two Italian restaurants cater to international travellers needs at Hong Kong International Airport
ituated in Terminal 2, Grappa’s Chek Lap Kok is new to the family of the renowned Italian restaurant chain in Hong Kong. We pride ourselves in using only the highest-quality Italian produce. Here customers can discover fresh and allnatural ingredients used in simple, homestyle recipes that bring out their flavor. The wide selection of both food and drink menus caters to our travelers from all over the world. A large selection of the best wines from Italy is also available for wine connoisseurs. Our aim is to deliver the best to people who are passionate about food and knowing where it comes from, and providing appealing dishes to our diversified customers. Catering to the needs of modern travelers who require high efficiency, Grappa’s Express located opposite to Grappa’s Chek Lap Kok provides an alternative for customers who want a fast meal yet enjoying fine Italian food. Here it provides a variety of pizzas which are sold by the slices, allowing customers to just grab-and-go. Though efficiency is greatly emphasized, high-standard quality is also guaranteed to ensure satisfaction of customers’ taste buds. Pizzas at Grappa’s Express is characterized by its thin crust with a chewy and crispy texture, along with fresh salads, Panini sandwiches and carefully selected drinks, customers will be treated to a dining experience just though they were in a real Italian bistro. The spacious and contemporary-style environment of Grappa’s Chek Lap Kok, together with the convenient and efficient service of Grappa’s Express, these two restaurants will bring a new horizon of Italian cuisine at the Hong Kong International Airport.
Grappa’s Chek Lap Kok 6P032, Level 6, SkyPlaza, Terminal 2, Hong Kong International Airport (Non-restricted area) Reservation / Enquiry: +852 3559 1445 Open from: 7am – 10pm daily
Grappa’s Express Address: 6P095, Level 6, SkyPlaza, Terminal 2, Hong Kong International Airport (Non-restricted area) Reservation / Enquiry: +852 3197 9445 Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm daily (Self Service)
Select Service Partner SSP is the leading dedicated provider of food and beverage brands in travel locations, operating restaurants, bars, cafés, food courts, lounges and convenience stores in airports, train stations, motorway service stations and other leisure locations. With a heritage stretching back over 60 years, today SSP has 30,000 employees, serving over a million customers every day. It has business at over 140 airports and over 250 rail stations, and operates more than 2,100 units in 30 countries around the world.
100 TOP TABLES
Chinese Indulgence Offering a wide range of regional cuisines from across China, Jing Yaa Tang has opened at the Opposite House in Beijing. Using the best local ingredients and traditional cooking techniques, the 155seat restaurant features authentic dishes including Peking duck, Kung Pao chicken and Dandan noodles. A collaboration with internationally-recognised restaurateur Alan Yau, the restaurant features a striking contemporary, whimsical Chinoiserie design with a communal table to share snacks at, a central bar, and intimate private dining booths strategically positioned in corners. Decked out with exposed brickwork and glossy, lacquered wall applications, the social dining space exudes an elegant and stylish ambiance. The Opposite House, Building 1, Taikoo Li Sanlitun North, No.11 Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, Tel: +86 10 6417 6688, www.theoppositehouse.com Spanish Flavour Inspired by authentic Catalan recipes, Catalunya is a contemporary Spanish restaurant and bar nestled in the picturesque Morrison Hill area of Wanchai. Featuring an open-air street-front café, two main dining rooms, a private room, and a seductive cocktail lounge, Catalunya offers tantalising menus of tapas, paellas, and meat and seafood dishes. Award-winning mixologist Dario Nocentini has also created an exotic list of innovative cocktails, such as the Flamenco Martini, an imaginative concoction of vodka, home-made cinnamon syrup, passionfruit purée, lime juice, honey, ginger, and a dash of egg white; a wide range of exquisite Spanish wines is also available. A Wednesday ladies’
for fall Whether you’re after authentic Chinese cuisine, Spanish sustenance, or Bavarian beer, we’ve rounded up this season’s best gourmet offerings. C o mp i l e d b y C r y s ta l L e ung
night has just been introduced, allowing women a little mid-week indulgence with two-for-one cocktail specials. G/F, Guardian House, Morrison Hill, 32 Oi Kwan Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2866 7900, www.catalunya.hk
Jing Yaa Tang
Italian Flair Famed British chef Jamie Oliver makes his first foray into Asia with the opening of Jamie’s Italian at Singapore’s Vivo City mall. The menu runs the full gamut of Italian cuisine, from antipasti and pastas, to risottos and hearty secondi – main
TOP TABLES 101
Yan Toh Heen
dishes. Start off with a meat or fish plank, or the ‘World’s Best Olives on Ice’, if you are an olive fan, before moving onto the main course. The pastas, made on-site each day, are deliciously fresh, and come in two portion sizes – try the prawn linguini or the sausage pappardelle. The mains, slightly less authentically Italian but still appetitewhetting, include fritto misto, – a mixed bag of fried seafood – beef and veal meatballs; and lamb chop lollipops. Bearing a famous name, the restaurant is sure to be popular, so book well in advance. 1 HarbourFront Walk, VivoCity, Singapore, Tel: +65 6733 5500, www.jamieoliver.com/italian/singapore Michelin-Starred Makeover The InterContinental Hong Kong has unveiled a new design for its one Michelinstarred Cantonese restaurant Yan Toh Heen. Paying tribute to the restaurant’s heritage, Yan Toh Heen’s new-look entrance features a dramatic back-lit wall comprised of the restaurant’s original jade place settings that acts as a gateway through the past and into the modern rendition. The new interiors evoke a warm residential feel, punctuated with curated art pieces and modern touches, as well as elements of jade, green onyx, and mother of pearl. Divided into spaces akin to a private home, the central section features banquet seating under a shimmering ceiling, while a ‘living room’ space features mock book cases and ashwood walls, contrasted by grey marble table tops and works by Korean
artists Ran Hwang. An elegant private dining room features a modern abstract Imperialstyled Chinese screen, and a main dining table that accommodates 16. Guests can also enjoy a new menu showcasing the finest Cantonese dishes, from all-time favourites through to new creations created by chef Lau Yiu Fai, a 14 year Yan Toh Heen veteran. 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2313 2323 www.hongkong-ic. intercontinental.com Euro Chic Mano, a chic, modern, all-day-dining restaurant, is bringing European flair to the heart of Central with a sumptuous range of Western fare liberally infused with Mediterranean herbs and spices. Boasting a spacious, casual dining atmosphere, Mano serves up satisfying breakfasts of freshlybaked artisanal breads and gourmet coffees; lunches featuring delicious salads, and meaty mains, like the spring chicken with mandarin and rosemary sautée, served with roasted ratte potatoes and a grain mustard sauce; and dinners replete with meat and seafood. Diners can also use the convenient graband-go option, where they can choose from a variety of specially-prepared sandwiches, soups and pastries. G/F, The L Place, 139 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2399 0737, www.manohk.com Bavarian Export Without a long-haul flight to Munich,
New Yorkers can now sample authentic German beers at the Paulaner Brauhaus & Restaurant NYC in New York City’s Bowery. Paulaner, the world’s leading Bavarian beer exporter, with over 375 years of craft beer history, has launched its flagship brewery and restaurant in the US, providing a range of exclusive beers including the classic Hefeweizen, Munich Lager, and Munich Dark, all of which are brewed on-site from authentic recipes created in 1634 by Bavarian monks. Salvator, Oktoberfest, Maibock and other seasonal beers are also featured on the menu. To enhance your Bavarian experience, pair your favourite beers with traditional Bavarian cuisine like roasted pork knuckle, or wiener schnitzel, and finish off with a decadent apple strudel. 265/267 Bowery, New York, New York, Tel: +1 212 555 5555, www.paulaner-brauhaus.com/nyc www.jetsetter.hk
Sparkle and Shine From a shimmery designer clutch to lust-inducing jewellery, this autumn is all about pieces that exude glamour and luxury. C ompiled
C r y stal
Inspired by Elizabeth Taylor’s turn as ‘Queen of the Nile’ in the 1963 classic, Cleopatra, Bulgari’s new Diva jewellery collection features an array of geometric patterns and bright colours. A standout from the collection is the delicate, blossom-shaped ring forged from pink gold and featuring 3.15 carats of pavé diamonds. Intriguing, elegant, and mysterious, the piece embodies all the sensual charm of the Egyptian temptress. HK$149,000 (US$19,212). www.bulgari.com
Heavy on sparkle and movement, Tiffany & Co. captures the spirit and motion of the sea in its latest collection of colour-saturated jewellery pieces. These extraordinary drop earrings from the new collection embodies all of the above, as well as the mystery and depth of the ocean. Featuring lustrous emeralds and emphatically-cut diamonds set in platinum and 18-carat gold, the earrings combines grace, fluidity, and elegance while reflecting the majesty of the sea. www.tiffany.com
Tom Ford’s Autumn/Winter 2013 collection features heavy lashings of a specially-crafted zig-zag design dubbed ‘Kapow’. The design is meant to represent a mash-up of cultural styles from across the world, such as the blending of Inuit and Japanese aesthetics. The Beaded Zig-Zag Ring Clutch reflects this ‘cross cultural, multi-ethnic’ theme with its playful pattern, and colourful juxtaposition of fiery orange and creamy white ‘caviar beads’, so named because of their small, shimmery appearance. HK$20,900 (US$2,695). www.tomford.com
A flashy, state-of-the-art compact camera, the Hasselblad Stellar is a gorgeous new toy for photography aficionados. Featuring an Exmor CMOS sensor that allows shooting at 20.9 megapixels, a Carl Zeiss Vaio-Sonnar T* 3.6x zoom lens, and a wide ISO sensitivity range, this camera makes capturing the perfect picture a cinch. The stylish hand-grip is available in sleek carbon fiber or one of six types of wood, each of which has been carved from raw blocks of wood. €1,480 (US$1,950) www.hasselblad-stellar.com
They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and this precious stone should feature in at least one piece in every woman’s jewellery collection. The perfect complement to any special occasion, this bangle from the High Jewellery collection by Butani is meticulously hand-crafted from 18-carat white gold, which is set off by no less than 24 rose-cut and pear-shaped diamonds. Intricate, luminous and more than a little special, this piece isn’t just a statement: it’s a conversation starter. US$62,000 www.butani.com
Crafted by world-renowned designers Maria Grazia Chuiri and Pierpaolo Picciolo, V109S is the latest piece of eyewear by Valentino Men. Part of a larger collection, the slick shades feature sleek shapes and bold lines which hint at masculinity while putting a modern twist on a timeless classic. Coated in enamel, the oversized metal frames are available in three different colours, and are guaranteed to turn heads and make you feel like a paparazzi-dodging pro. www.valentino.com
Based on classic timepieces that have changed the way we perceive time, three brands have unveiled incarnations to their piéces de résistance.
Graff has created a new generation of the MasterGraff Minute Repeater inspired by the original watch launched in Basel in 2011, and limited to just 100 pieces. This new and spectacular timepiece showcases two sophisticated horological complications housed within a 47mm case featuring a new, stunning mother of pearl dial. The exquisite dial displays a striking radially carved motif and is available in black, navy blue or white variations. The Minute Repeater element is triggered on demand by an upward push on a dedicated repeater slide positioned on the side of the case. Two hammers striking two gongs sound the hours, quarter hours and minutes through a dial opening at 6 o’clock, encircled by a small seconds disc. The tourbillon has become a symbol of horological expertise and fine traditions, and the unique visual appeal of the MasterGraff Minute Repeater makes a fine match for the auditory pleasure of its chimes. Secured to the wrist by a black crocodile strap, this distinctive and elegant model is available in rose or white gold. www.graffdiamonds.com
2 The ultimate classic watch since 1932, the Calatrava has forged Patek Philippe’s reputation with its inimitable rounded lines. The brand’s new reference, the Calatrava 5227, reflects the collection’s legendary identity codes, while opting for originality with a cover that detaches completely from the back of the timepiece and is rendered invisible by its inner hinge. Reference 5227 also symbolises unique know-how, exemplified by the 39mm case with its concave bezel, slightly curving lugs and slender silhouette. The dial features a creamy, lacquered shade and focuses on the essence of time: three hands plus the date. Finally, beneath this architectural expertise lies the in-house Calibre 324 S C with gold rotor, illustrating the brand’s concern for details through its polished and bevelled bridges, its engraved finishes, and its legendary precision. Available in 18-carat pink, white or yellow gold, with a 39mm sapphire crystal and screw-down sapphire-crystal caseback with invisible hinge, this timepiece is water-resistant to 30m. www.patek.com www.jetsetter.hk
Since it was launched some 56 years ago, the Omega Speedmaster has defined the classic chronograph. It’s rugged and reliable and has a timeless design. Omega has now created the Speedmaster ’57 Omega Co-Axial Chronograph, an innovative new member that salutes its legendary ancestor but which has been designed to experience new adventures of its very own. Among the subtle nods to the very first Omega Speedmaster from 1957 are the straight lugs extending from the watch case and the bracelets which recall that iconic chronograph. The Speedmaster ’57 models are powered by the Omega Co-Axial calibres 9300/9301 – the first of OMEGA’s exclusive in-house Co-Axial calibres to incorporate a chronograph function. The column-wheel chronograph has 12-hour and 60-minute counter hands placed on the same sub-dial at 3 o’clock and has been created with a 41.50 mm case available in a choice of metals, including 18-carat red or yellow gold, lightweight titanium, a fashionable bicolour blend of 18-carat red gold and stainless steel, or classic stainless steel. www.omegawatches.com
edicated to the medical research benefiting muscular dystrophy, the biannual Only Watch charity auction, held since its inception in 2005 in Monaco, is one of the watch world’s hottest tickets. Held under the high patronage of H.R.H. Prince Albert II, the auction of one-of-a-kind or first-in-a-series watches designed especially for the occasion is staged to raise funds for this debilitating disease. Sensitive to the gravity of MS and keen to demonstrate his commitment to aid ailing children, Marc A. Hayek, President & CEO of Montres Breguet, will once again make a contribution at this year’s event by offering the superb Classique Chronograph openworked 5284, a piece animated by an exceptional hand-wound movement, the calibre 533.2 SQ, originally known as 2310.
A noteworthy fact regarding this column wheel chronograph movement is that it has long been the motor of the finest watches of many a brand. Designed in the 1940s by Albert Piguet at the Lémania workshops, the calibre CH 27 undecorated movement quickly won a reputation for its endurance and reliability. It drew the attention of highly regarded brands, which preferred to use it for their chronographs rather than undertake the gigantic task of developing their own movements. Its popularity ensured its further evolution into the highly refined calibre 2310. Today, Breguet brings this movement to life again by offering it a unique design. The case of reference 5284 in 18-carat yellow gold is decorated with fine fluting on the caseband, reflecting Breguet’s first timepieces. The open-tipped hands designed around 1783 by the brand’s founder enhance the overall beauty of the movement, entirely engraved by hand, which can be admired through a sapphire crystal. Two counters symmetrically positioned at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock echo each other in a subtle way, the first one indicating the small second, the other one being a 30-minute counter. A large central hand completes the chronograph’s functions. This unique watch on a leather strap is water resistant to 30 meters and has a power reserve of 48 hours. www.breguet.com www.jetsetter.hk
Although his family has been involved in Bulgaria’s food and beverage industry since the 1800s, Tenio Latev initially eschewed the family business for a career in investment banking. Now, he is spearheading the family’s latest venture with Rhyton, the first importer of Bulgarian wines to Hong Kong. He talks to Gayatri Bhaumik about the tradition of Bulgarian wine, and what sets it apart from its more well-known French and Italian counterparts.
Bulgarian wine has a long and rich cultural history. What are some of the highlights? The story began some 3,500 years ago, when viticulture took root in ancient Thrace, now southern Bulgaria. Benefitting from a variety of terroirs thanks to its diverse landscape, Thrace was an important wine-producing region in the Greco-Roman world. It’s said that Homer was so enchanted that he included a heavy, black, sweet wine from Thrace in The Illiad. Wine was also part of many Thracian religious rituals, as they believe that with wine, they could reach their gods. In the 1960s, Bulgaria’s wine industry was modernised with state-of-the-art Soviet technology, and by 1989, Bulgaria was second only to France in wine exports.
What grapes and varietals can be found in Bulgarian wines? Bulgaria has its own indigenous grapes which are used in its wine production. Bulgarian reds may include varieties like Gamza, Melnik, Mavrud, Pamid, while you might find Dimyat, Misket or Dimiat in the whites. Of course, many vineyards produce more traditional grapes like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Muscat, Riesling, and Chardonnay, which are also used in Bulgarian wines.
For someone new to Bulgarian wines, what do you suggest they start with? I would very much recommend starting with wines made with Mavrud or Gamza grapes. These varietals are well balanced, and are also found in combination with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Mavrud has aromas of dark fruits and plum, while Gamza is bright and fruity, with hints of raspberry.
What are some of the best Bulgarian wines being produced right now? Some of my favourites include Zagreus, who focus on traditional grapes and have most of their wines certified organic; Black Sea Gold is one of the biggest wine makers in Bulgaria, and I would highly recommend their Chardonnay; Eduardo Miroglio is a new vineyard in south-central Bulgaria producing some highlysought-after wines; and Lovico Suhindol’s Gamza and Mavrud wines are famous and have been well received. www.jetsetter.hk
Why would someone choose Bulgarian wine over other European wines? Bulgarian wines offer good value for money, and thus far haven’t been counterfeited, which can be a problem with wines nowadays. Consumers can choose from a wide variety of grapes, vintages, and price levels, so there’s something for every taste and budget.
What flavours can be expected in Bulgarian wines? There are four wine regions in Bulgaria, and each one offers unique terroirs for wine-making. The Danubian plain is perfect for producing Muscat, Ottonel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pamid; the Thracian Lowland is famous for Mavrud, Merlot and Cabernet; the Black Sea region is great for fine whites; while the Struma River Valley has a strong Mediterranean influence and produces great Melnik, Cabernet and Merlot. In summary, one can expect the full range of flavours that can be found in French and Italian wines, along with surprising new additions from indigenous grapes that infuse flavours like forest herbs, smoked pork, peach, and tobacco.
What kinds of food can pairs well with Bulgarian wines? Bulgarian wines go well with a wide range of food, but since Bulgarian cuisine is influenced by Russian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, dishes from these areas pair especially well. Most Bulgarian wines go well with salads or cheese. Meat dishes pair especially well with Bulgarian reds, since indigenous Bulgarian grapes can produce wines which are heavy and strong, and of course, many Bulgarian whites go very well with seafood.
108 MEN’S STYLE
The Gentlemen’s artier has created a stunning collection of men’s accessories that are bound to impress any alpha male. From impeccable collectibles for the friend or relative who has everything to precious surprises for your lover, each timeless piece has been superbly crafted and promises to be a gift to remember.
Take on Lady Fate with this Cartier poker set in sycamore black lacquered wood with mother-ofpearl, red, and grey marquetry, palladium finish, and red garnet cabochons. Limited to just five individually numbered pieces. Make a subtle but unmistakable impression with these Cartier cufflinks in 18-carat white gold with rhodium finish, diamonds, black ceramic points, and onyx. HK$$217,000. Never regret putting your hand in your pocket with this elegant Cartier wallet in black calfskin. HK $4,600.
Sign your name in style with this Cartier Transatlantique Collection Louis Cartier fountain pen with palladium finish details, engraved Kotibé wood, citrine cabochon, and an 18-carat solid gold rhodiumized nib. Limited to just 1,847 numbered pieces, from HK$144,000. www.cartier.com
3 4 www.jetsetter.hk
110 CARRY ON
Stylish, luxurious and just a little tough, this gorgeous case from Anya Hindmarch’s Studded Heart collection is the ultimate travelling companion. The velvet calf leather is buttery smooth, while the dainty golden heart studs add a bit of rock star chic. Best of all, the bag is big enough to fit your make up essentials, yet small enough to throw into your purse. HK$3,450 (US$445) www.anyahindmarch.com
GREEN Elegant and extremely durable, the pretty printed Brigitte case from Tory Burch will have your make up ready for any adventure. With an outer shell made of resilient coated poplin and an inside lined with nylon, cleaning up spills and stains is a breeze. Finished off with an understated logo and zippered closure, this bag is trendy without being over-the-top. HK$606 (US$78) www.toryburch.com
The colour authorities over at Pantone have deemed emerald the 2013 colour of the year. This autumn, stay on trend while travelling with these gorgeous green cosmetic cases.
Practical and understated, the cute Malibu Lime Large Flat Pouch by Stephanie Johnson will show off your fashion-insider knowledge while keeping your cosmetic essentials close at hand. Capturing the essence of California’s laid-back style, the simple bag is anything but boring, and with its 100 percent polyvinyl-chloride exterior and nylon lining, it’s sturdy and ready to accompany you wherever your travels may lead. US$38 at www.stephaniejohnson.com
The newest supercar from McLaren promises sublime performance and a unique driving experience, discovers Nick Walton.
own force is a word that’s often thrown around by car junkies and racing engineers. But it’s the concept at the heart of the new P1, McLaren’s newest limited-edition supercar. Boasting more down force – a force produced by air resistance plus gravity that increases the stability of a motor vehicle by pressing it downwards – than any production road car, thanks to advance designs borrowed from the aviation industry, the P1 is superglued to the road, offering new levels of performance and stability, on and off the track. The astonishing technology developed for the McLaren P1 includes active aerodynamics and adjustable suspension – both now banned in Formula 1 due to being seen to give a performance advantage. Airflow is optimised around the body through the use of an active wing and underbody devices. The adjustable rear wing can extend from the bodywork by 120mm on road, up to 300mm on the race track, maximising the levels of downforce. The wing is directly inspired by Formula 1 designs, with the intersection of the double element rear wing and design of the endplates being the same as that on the 2008 championship winning MP4-23. “McLaren introduced the carbon fibre chassis to the world of Formula 1 in 1981 with the MP4/1, and we had the first carbon-bodied road car,” says McLaren Automotive executive chairman Ron Dennis. “We have always been at the cutting edge of vehicle aerodynamics, and all of this experience has gone into the new McLaren P1. Twenty years ago, with the McLaren F1, we raised the supercar performance bar. With the McLaren P1, we have redefined it once more.” Of course the P1 boasts more than just great lines. Featuring www.jetsetter.hk
exceptional straight-line performance and instant throttle response, the McLaren P1 uses an innovative IPAS petrol-electric powertrain comprising a substantially revised 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine and a single electric motor, with a combined power output of 903bhp (916PS). As important as absolute power is to supercar junkies, the marriage of the petrol engine with the electric engine means instant torque while remaining efficient. In fact, the P1’s carbon dioxide emissions are less than 200g/km, with the supercar able to cover more than 10km in electric-only mode. While the top speed is electronically limited to 350km/h, the P1 can still roar from stand still to 100km/h in less than three seconds, and on to 300km/h in less than 17 seconds – a full five seconds quicker
than the McLaren F1. Control at such great speeds is bolstered by the revolutionary RaceActive Chassis Control (RCC), which can lower the car’s new hydro-pneumatic suspension by 50mm in Race mode, and by an ultra-light carbon fibre MonoCage monocoque, which forms a complete structure incorporating the vehicle’s roof and its distinctive snorkel air intake – a styling feature inspired by the McLaren F1 road car. McLaren is an acknowledged world leader in carbon technology. The material offers lightness, strength and rigidity – improving performance, safety, handling, agility, durability, efficiency, and ride comfort. The body panels of the McLaren P1 are also made from lightweight yet strong carbon composite, with their complex shapes tuned for optimal aerodynamics.
The car’s sterling racing credentials continue in the carbon fibre cockpit which features full climate control, satellite navigation, and a bespoke sound system, developed from the outset with Meridian, but has been designed to be lightweight and racing savvy. The racing bucket seats use the minimum amount of foam, are encased in ultrathin carbon fibre shells, and mounted on lightweight brackets and runners, contributing to an overall weight of just 10.5kg each. The seat backs are set to 28 degrees, with the height of the seat custom set to suit the driver and passenger. The effect is that of a fighter jet cockpit, complete with glass canopy overhead and a windscreen that is deeper than it is wide, leaving drivers of the just 375 units to be built, ready for takeoff. www.hongkong.mclaren.com www.jetsetter.hk
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION
ocated in the stunning North Ari Atoll, Constance Halaveli Resort offers fivestar luxury with a distinctive European twist. A 35-minute sea plane journey from the international airport, Constance Halaveli Resort boasts 86 private and exclusive villas, perched above the azure waters of the lagoons or nestled in lush tropical foliage. One of the most luxurious and intimate retreats in the archipelago, Constance Halaveli Resort is loved by travellers looking for serenity and sophistication. A major draw card for luxury travellers
is Constance Halaveli Resort’s two worldclass spas, housed in a dedicated village of thatch-roofed treatment pavilions perched above crystal clear seas. Boasting a Spa de Constance and the exclusive Valmont Spa, Constance Halaveli Resort’s five single and three double treatment pavilions all feature staggering sea views, while a dedicated Ayurveda room caters to four signature treatments inspired by Indian wellness philosophies. Signature treatments like the Skin to Within Experience are a great way to get the
most out of a visit to the Spa de Constance. The 180-minute treatment combines a Skin to Within body massage using a blend of oils, elemi, coriander, lime, coconut, and pomegranate, followed by a revive coco glow, and a sublime healing wrap. A final restorative hair mask completes the journey. Alternatively, the Purity Throughout treatment is 160 minutes of pampering that includes an Ocean Purity body massage and a rejuvenating spice wrap using the healing powers of rosemary, blue chamomile, lavender, and black pepper. A sweet touch before a day spent in the sun, the Pre-Sun & After-Sun treatment prepares and protects the skin from the sun with a body polish and deep, nourishing signature scrub using the powerful protective properties of pomegranate oil, jojoba oil, and Andaman sea salt. The resort’s Valmont Spa uses the internationally-acclaimed brand’s spa products to nourish and revitalize the body and mind while also enhancing beauty and reducing the appearance of aging. The Radiance Ritual helps guest maintain a glowing complexion using vitamin C and white lupine extract to act in depth. With express and complete options,
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION
the ritual helps clear complexions in just 30 minutes thanks to a specialist collagen mask. Alternatively, the 45-minute Bisses Purity body scrub breaks down impurities with a special whole body exfoliation using sea buckthorn oil with apricot kernels. After your treatment, be sure to have a session in the sauna or while away the afternoon in one of the shaded lounges overlooking the lagoon. www.halaveli. constancehotels.com A 30-minute boat ride away, Constance Moofushi Resort has the persona of a chic Robinson Crusoe retreat. Located in the South Ari Atoll, the resort is famed for the quality of its diving and snorkelling and remains popular with honeymooners. Its 24 spacious Beach Villas and 56 Water Villas offer uninterrupted views across the Indian Ocean as well as all the modern
conveniences of a truly luxurious retreat. Perched above the gently lapping waters of the lagoon, where tiny stingrays play, the Spa de Constance is a haven of solitude and refinement. Rebalance your body and mind with a wide range of treatments inspired by ancient techniques from around the world, including hot stone, aromatherapy, Swedish, and Thai massages. Treatments are conducted in eight specialist stilted treatment pavilions, including two couples suites, while a dedicated yoga pavilion looks out across the ocean. A wide range of indulgent treatments is on offer to cleanse, detoxify and relax both body and mind, using only the purest natural ingredients. After a long day snorkelling, the Moofushi Signature 4-Hand Massage, a 60-minute treatment, is performed by two experienced therapists using mandarin and orange pouches filled with essential oils as well as a combination of pressure points along specific meridian lines. This is a truly unique experience inspired by traditional Ayurvedic massage to indulge the senses, revitalise the body and renew the spirit. Another popular ritual is the Reenergising Massage, a 75-minute combination of dry and oil massage that uses light stretching and pressure points to help the body reach its optimum energy levels. If youâ€™re really looking to pamper yourself, opt for the Pomegranate Scrub Experience, a 45-minute exfoliation that harnesses the antioxidant healing powers of pomegranate extract to give guests a smooth and radiant complexion that theyâ€™ll be able to show off on the beach. www.moofushiresort.constancehotels.com
the culture of If you’re headed to Sydney this southern summer, be sure to check out a rather sinister new exhibition at the Justice & Police Museum in Circular Quay. Curated by Peter Doyle, The City of Shadows, an updated showcase of the city’s founding underworld, is an intimate and hauntingly beautiful record of the mysterious people and dark places of Sydney’s past. Focusing on the victims, perpetrators and vicinities of crime, the original City of Shadows introduced the world to the Museum’s extraordinary and compelling collection of police forensic photography dating from 1912-1960. Since then, museum curators have been investigating leads and following up tips from the public, solving in the process several time-weathered mysteries. Meet thieves, breakers, receivers, magsmen, spielers, urgers, gingerers, false pretenders, hotel barbers, shoplifters, dope users, prostitutes, makers of false oaths, and the occasional murderer. The exhibition of photos, profiles, and clues will be on show until June 2014. www.hht.net.au
â€œArguably the best bespoke tailor in Hong Kong, thanks to their superior fabrics and impeccable craftsmanship. TAI PAN ROW continues to be the only Hong Kong tailor selling their own exclusively custom made products. TAI PAN ROW has always stood neck and neck with the best international menswear products.â€?
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ULTIMATE EARS, best known for its custom earphones, has introduced the UE Boom, a 360 degree bluetooth speaker. The size of a water bottle, the waterproof speaker is a highly portable device, ideal for travelling or partying. The plasma-coated speaker produces balanced and vibrant sounds, with a dual passive radiator creating extra deep bass. The UE Boom can be controlled by smartphone or tablet with the Boom application, and thanks to the Double Up function, two speakers can be used together for stereo audio. Suitable for travelling, the speaker has a rechargeable battery which can be run for 15 hours, and comes in six colourful designs. www.ultimateears.com
If you’ve ever experienced losing your luggage while travelling, TRAKDOT’s new Luggage Tracker will be a useful gadget to you. Simply sign up online and connect the tracker to an app on your phone, and you can pinpoint the exact location of your luggage. With the newly patented sensor, the device can be tracked anywhere, including covered areas like cars and metal containers. Approved by the USA’s Federal Communications Commission, it is a safe device which will automatically turn to sleep mode during the flight and activate itself once the plane has landed. A text message or an email will be sent to notify the owner of the exact location of the luggage. www.trakdot.com
Travel with Bose AE2w, the very first Bluetooth headphone by BOSE. Featuring the brand’s exclusive TriPort technology, the headphone has high quality sound, with clear highs and full lows. It also boasts the function of double-device connection, allowing users to enjoy music from one device while expecting a call on their smartphones. The headphone is rechargeable, with each charge providing seven hours of music. In case it runs out of battery in the middle of a trip, there’s a bundled cable attached inside the device, which can convert it into a conventional wired headphone. At only 149.6 grams, and with its own case, it’s also easy to carry. www.bose.com
With the SAMSUNG Galaxy NX, the world’s first mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera with the Android operating system, travellers can now share high-definition photos with family and friends instantly. Featuring a 20.3MP APS-C sensor, a DRIMe IV image signal processor, 1/6000 sec shutter speed, and 8.6fps shooting speed, the Galaxy NX is a professional camera producing high-quality pictures. Running the user-friendly Android 4.2 Jelly Bean system, users can shoot, edit, and share their photos with any application available in the Android app store. There are also some creative built-in functions, like creating animations with continuous shots, and taking photos along with audio tracks. www.samsung.com
Take your next vacation to a whole new level with these slick, sexy tech gadgets designed to make travelling that much easier. Compiled by Johnny Ng.
Perfect for travelling iPhone users, OLLOCLIP’s newest telephoto lens is an innovative accessory designed to improve the photo-taking experience. The lens delivers 2x optical magnification, which can also create depth of field by adjusting focus. The lens features a circular polarising lens, which can reduce glare and reflection, and sharpen the colour of the picture. Made with ground glass multi-element optics and aluminum, the Olloclip is durable and high-quality. It can also be used with the brand’s 3-in-1 lens, which features macro, fisheye, and wide-angle functions. www.olloclip.com
Ideal for business travellers, LENOVO’s Thinkpad Helix is both a laptop and a tablet, thanks to the brand’s “Rip and Flip” design. The 11.6-inch tablet weighs only 0.785kgs, features a 1080p high resolution display, and can be detached from the keyboard dock. There are six different connecting points which allow users to attach the tablet at different angles. Compared to similar products, the Thinkpad Helix is a high-performance device with an Intel Core i5-3337U processor and 8GB of memory. It also boasts great battery life, with eight hours in laptop mode, and 5.6 hours in tablet mode. www.lenovo.com
120 PAGE TURNER
Epic Excursions To travel is easy, but to really journey requires boundaries to be pushed. In this issue, Gayatri Bhaumik recounts stories of ambitious adventures which test the limits of physical and mental endurance.
The Longest Road: An Irish Pan-American Cycling Adventure
The Lure of the Honey Bird: The Storytellers of Ethiopia
Ben Cunningham The Collins Press
Elizabeth Laird Polygon
What happens what a bunch of twentysomething Irish guys band together to cycle what’s believed to be the world’s longest continuous land route? Well, now we know, thanks to this first-hand account of the adventures of Ben Cunningham and friends as they get on their bikes and take on all 25,000 kilometres of the Pan-American Highway. Between the starting point in Deadhorse, Alaska and the final destination of Ushuaia, Argentina, the boys encounter vicious mosquitoes, corrupt bureaucracy, and threatening gangsters while taking in gorgeous landscapes, experiencing the immense kindness of strangers, and every now and then, suffering debilitating hangovers. At times, it seems like some of the obstacles being thrown in their way might stop them from reaching the end of the road, but somehow, the boys always find a way to keep going. While this is an inspirational tale of endurance and perseverance, the narrative could have been improved by a more sophisticated writing style, although the book’s short chapters do make it easy to read.
British-born Elizabeth Laird first encounter with Ethiopia was in the 1960s, when she ventured forth to take up a teaching post in Addis Ababa. While there, she met emperor Haile Selassie, made a mountainous pilgrimage to the ancient city of Lalibela, and was erroneously arrested for murder; she also fell in love with this colourful country. Years later, Laird returned to Ethiopia as an established fiction writer, and with the blessing of the British Council and the Ethiopian Ministry of Education, proceeded to travel to each region of the country collecting folk stories, which would then be turned into English language books for use in Ethiopian schools. Written in a clear, simple style, the account of Laird’s travels are readable; what gives them another layer of interest are the Ethiopian folk tales that are liberally dispersed throughout. In between stories about her encounters with ex-guerilla fighters, camel traders, Coptic nuns, farmers, and merchants, you’ll find compelling fables of princes, zombies and hyena-women, and interesting twists on western fables – like the tortoise and hare story, which actually turns out to be about something else entirely.
Tony Wheeler’s Dark Lands Tony Wheeler Lonely Planet The latest release from Tony Wheeler, co-founder of the ubiquitous Lonely Planet guidebooks, acts as a sequel to his 2007 tome Bad Lands. While his previous book explored the ‘Axis of Evil’ - Iran, Iraq, and North Korea – and six other countries with negative reputations, Dark Lands continues his adventures in eight countries which are best described as ‘dark’ because “each [country] had some distinctly dark shadow in its story”. Along the way he gets stoned by kids in Palestine; is issued a speeding ticket in Zimbabwe; visits the scene of Osama Bin Laden’s capture in Pakistan; gets mugged in Bogotà; and evades a plane crash in the Congo . Witty, well-written, and with just a touch of that famous Aussie humour and laid-back attitude, Dark Lands is a thoroughly engaging account of Wheeler’s brushes with disaster. What makes this such a fun read is how Wheeler expertly deploys social, political and cultural commentary – expect words about Kate Middleton’s bikini mishap; “Mitt Romney’s latest foot-in-mouth performance”; and references to The Emperor’s New Clothes and Wagner – to set off his personal anecdotes.
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